Cover for No Agenda Show 808: Happy Countries
March 17th, 2016 • 3h 4m

808: Happy Countries


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Elections 2016
ACTOR-Thomas Dimassimo: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know |
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:55
A protester has been arrested after he tried to rush the stage while Donald Trump was speaking during a rally Saturday morning in Dayton, Ohio, authorities say.Thomas Dimassimo was charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic, according to Montgomery County Jail records.
Dimassimo was released from custody and is due in court on Monday. His age is listed as 32, but it is not clear if that is correct. His social media pages and public records indicate he was born in 1993, not 1983.
Video, which you can watch above, show a man being taken down by Secret Service agents as Trump spoke at Dayton International Airport.
The incident came a day after protesters caused Trump to cancel a rally in Chicago.
Here's what you need to know:
1. Trump Has Claimed Dimassimo Has Ties to ISIS, But a Video Calling Him an ISIS Sympathizer Appears to be a Troll's HoaxTommy Dimassimo, a student at Wright State University in Dayton, has been an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on social media.
He has also taken part in rallies and protests in the past, including a rally at Wright State in April 2015, when he was recorded dragging an American flag. You can watch video from that protest above.
He captioned the video, ''Students at Wright State University #NotMyFlag protest. The protest occurred to stand in solidarity with the symbolic actions of Eric Sheppard.''
Sheppard, a student at Valdosta State University in Georgia, who created national controversy by standing on the American flag during a protest at his campus.
''This is not meant to individually disrespect member of military service for the sacrifices they made for this country,'' Dimassimo told WKRC-TV at the event, which ended with the protesters giving the flags to veterans to be properly disposed of. ''We are not anti-vet, we are not anti-troops. We are against systematic oppression and structural inequality.''
Video from the Wright State protest appears to have been used in a hoax ISIS video, which was uploaded to YouTube last year. The original video has since been deleted, but has been reuploaded.
Dimassimino did post the video footage used in the hoax video, but there are no mentions of ISIS:
Trump tweeted that Dimassimo has ties to ISIS after the video was circulated among his supporters:
USSS did an excellent job stopping the maniac running to the stage. He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2016
The video seems to have been created by a troll, the same person who started a Facebook page called ''Tommy dimassimo wasn't hugged enough as a kid.''
The Arabic caption on the original video appears to be a joke, including a phrase that roughly translates to saying Dimassimo thought he'd be a big man by standing on the American flag, but really has a small penis.
There is no indication that the video was created by ISIS or that Dimassimo is an ISIS supporter, although the video is being used by Trump fans to claim he is, as seen in the tweets below:
Thomas Dimassimo Photos: Pictures of Donald Trump ProtesterTommy Dimassimo, an Ohio college student, was arrested after he rushed the stage during a Donald Trump rally in Dayton. See photos of him here.
Click here to read more2. Dimassimo Was Tackled to the Ground by Secret Service Agents After Jumping a Barricade Behind TrumpThomas Dimassimo. (Montgomery County Jail)
Dimassimo was tackled to the ground by Secret Service agents after jumping a barricade, police say.
A video shows Trump reacting as Dimassimo rushes the stage:
Another video shows the Secret Service taking Dimassimo down:He was dragged out by the agents and police:
Trump told the crowd after the incident, ''I was ready for him, but it's much easier if the cops do it, don't we agree? And to think I had such an easy life! What do I need this for, right?,'' the Washington Post reports.
Police have not said that Dimassimo was armed, despite claims on social media that a Secret Service agent was cut by a knife during the incident.
Trump has had Secret Service protection since November.
Michelle Fields: 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowMichelle Fields, a reporter for, has accused Donald Trump's campaign manager of violently grabbing her by the arm after a news conference.
Click here to read more3. He Tweeted About Being at the Rally & Asked for 'Thoughts & Prayers'Thomas Dimassimo after being released from jail. (Twitter)
Dimassimo, who goes by @YoungLionKing7 on Twitter, tweeted about his plans to disrupt the Trump rally earlier Saturday morning and in the days before.
He has often tweeted about the importance of being a white ally to the Black Lives Matter movement and standing up to ''racist'' Donald Trump and his supporters.
He also tweeted after being released from jail, writing, ''F*ck you b*tch @realdonaldtrump,'' along with a photo showing his torn shirt, which you can see above.
You can see one of the tweets below:
Dimassimo previously tweeted that he would ''spit'' on Trump during the rally. He has since deleted his account.
Here are some of his other tweets about the rally:
So whites
If blacks are to be held accountable for the violent actions of other blacks
Then Trump & his racist rally's are our problem
'-- MARLON BANDO (@Younglionking7) March 11, 2016
Oh Trump I can't wait to see you big dog.
'-- MARLON BANDO (@Younglionking7) March 10, 2016
And I could not put down my sword when justice was my right
'-- MARLON BANDO (@Younglionking7) March 12, 2016
John McGraw: 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowJohn McGraw, 78, is accused of sucker-punching a protester, Rakeem Jones, at a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina in an incident caught on video.
Click here to read more4. He Also Taunted Confederate Flag Supporters During a Rally in Georgia Last YearTommy Dimassimo also gained national attention when he participated in a counter-protest along with other Black Lives Matter activists during a Confederate flag rally at Stone Mountain in Georgia last summer. You can watch vieo from that below:
He taunted flag supporters by tearing up and stomping on a Confederate flag. During a tense moment, one of the Confederate flag supporters appears to reach for a gun during an confrontation with Dimassimo. He was stopped by a police officer:
''To all my white friends observing my actions, and responding with love and support I thank you. But I feel you may be missing something essential. The POC who stood with me are the true heroes. As a white man I can choose to insert myself into danger when I feel the need to,'' he wrote on Facebook after the rally. ''That's privilege. The black women who stood with me are face that same danger when they drive down the street. 'ª'... I'm here to use my privilege to increase visibility for these type of issues. That doesn't make me a hero. It makes me a decent human being.''
Officer Jacai Colson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowA 28-year-old Prince George's County, Maryland, police officer was fatally shot after a gunman ambushed officers near the department's headquarters.
Click here to read more5. He Is Originally From Georgia & His Mother Is a Public Official in Atlanta(Twitter)
Dimassimo is originally from Powder Springs, Georgia. He is a fourth-year acting major at Wright State.
According to, Dimassimo was a child actor with roles on the TV shows ''Yes, Dear,'' ''Reno 911!,'' and ''House of Payne.''
In 2015, he played the role of ''Killer Cop'' in a short film called ''Red, Black, and Blue.''
His mother, Faye Dimassimo, was appointed to oversee the ''Renew Atlanta'' infrastructure project in November 2015, according to a press release. She was previously the director of transportation for Cobb County. His father, Tom, is a teacher in the local school district.
Arnold Demoski: 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowA 26-year-old man was arrested after police said he drove his snowmobile into two teams during the Iditarod race in Alaska, killing one dog and injuring others.
Click here to read more
Donald Trump's Presidential Run Began in an Effort to Gain Stature -
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:51
Donald J. Trump arrived at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April 2011, reveling in the moment as he mingled with the political luminaries who gathered at the Washington Hilton. He made his way to his seat beside his host, Lally Weymouth, the journalist and socialite daughter of Katharine Graham, longtime publisher of The Washington Post.
A short while later, the humiliation started.
The annual dinner features a lighthearted speech from the president; that year, President Obama chose Mr. Trump, then flirting with his own presidential bid, as a punch line.
He lampooned Mr. Trump's gaudy taste in d(C)cor. He ridiculed his fixation on false rumors that the president had been born in Kenya. He belittled his reality show, ''The Celebrity Apprentice.''
Mr. Trump at first offered a drawn smile, then a game wave of the hand. But as the president's mocking of him continued and people at other tables craned their necks to gauge his reaction, Mr. Trump hunched forward with a frozen grimace.
After the dinner ended, Mr. Trump quickly left, appearing bruised. He was ''incredibly gracious and engaged on the way in,'' recalled Marcus Brauchli, then the executive editor of The Washington Post, but departed ''with maximum efficiency.''
That evening of public abasement, rather than sending Mr. Trump away, accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world. And it captured the degree to which Mr. Trump's campaign is driven by a deep yearning sometimes obscured by his bluster and bragging: a desire to be taken seriously.
That desire has played out over the last several years within a Republican Party that placated and indulged him, and accepted his money and support, seemingly not grasping how fervently determined he was to become a major force in American politics. In the process, the party bestowed upon Mr. Trump the kind of legitimacy that he craved, which has helped him pursue a credible bid for the presidency.
''Everybody has a little regret there, and everybody read it wrong,'' said David Keene, a former chairman of the American Conservative Union, an activist group Mr. Trump cultivated. Of Mr. Trump's rise, Mr. Keene said, ''It's almost comical, except it's liable to end up with him as the nominee.''
Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, arriving at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April 2011.
Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency
Repeatedly underestimated as a court jester or silly showman, Mr. Trump muscled his way into the Republican elite by force of will. He badgered a skittish Mitt Romney into accepting his endorsement on national television, and became a celebrity fixture at conservative gatherings. He abandoned his tightfisted inclinations and cut five- and six-figure checks in a bid for clout as a political donor. He courted conservative media leaders as deftly as he had the New York tabloids.
At every stage, members of the Republican establishment wagered that they could go along with Mr. Trump just enough to keep him quiet or make him go away. But what party leaders viewed as generous ceremonial gestures or ego stroking of Mr. Trump '-- speaking spots at gatherings, meetings with prospective candidates and appearances alongside Republican heavyweights '-- he used to elevate his position and, eventually, to establish himself as a formidable figure for 2016.
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Trump acknowledged that he had encountered many who doubted or dismissed him as a political force before now. ''I realized that unless I actually ran, I wouldn't be taken seriously,'' he said. But he denied having been troubled by Mr. Obama's derision.
''I loved that dinner,'' Mr. Trump said, adding, ''I can handle criticism.''
Phantom CampaignEven before the correspondents' dinner, Mr. Trump had moved to grab a bigger role in political affairs. In February, he addressed the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Organizers gave Mr. Trump an afternoon speaking slot, and Mr. Keene perceived him as an entertaining attraction, secondary to headliners like Mitch Daniels, then the governor of Indiana.
But Mr. Trump understood his role differently. Reading carefully from a prepared text, he tested the themes that would one day frame his presidential campaign: American economic decline, and the weakness and cluelessness of politicians in Washington.
Over the next few months, Mr. Trump met quietly with Republican pollsters who tested a political message and gauged his image across the country, according to people briefed on his efforts, some of whom would speak about them only on the condition of anonymity.
One pollster, Kellyanne Conway, took a survey that showed Mr. Trump's negative ratings were sky-high, but advised him there was still an opening for him to run.
Another, John McLaughlin, who had been recommended to Mr. Trump by the former Clinton adviser Dick Morris, drew up a memo that described how Mr. Trump could run as a counterpoint to Mr. Obama in 2012, and outshine Mr. Romney with his relentless antagonism of the president.
Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, wrote a column on his website envisioning a Trump candidacy steamrolling to the nomination, powered by wall-to-wall media attention.
After all that preparation, Mr. Trump rejected two efforts to ''draft'' him set up by close advisers. If his interest in politics was growing, he was not yet prepared to abandon his career as a reality television host: In mid-May, Mr. Trump announced that he would not run and canceled a planned speech to a major Republican fund-raising dinner in Iowa.
Latching On to RomneyHaving stepped back from a campaign of his own, Mr. Trump sought relevance through Mr. Romney's. Again, Mr. Trump's determination to seize a role for himself collided with the skepticism of those he approached: While he saw himself as an important spokesman on economic issues and a credible champion for the party, the Romney campaign viewed him as an unpredictable attention-seeker with no real political foundation.
Still, given his expansive media platform '-- in addition to his reality-show franchise, Mr. Trump was a frequent guest on Fox News '-- and a fortune that he could theoretically bestow upon a campaign, Mr. Trump was drawing presidential candidates seeking his support to his Fifth Avenue high-rise. In September 2011, Mr. Romney made the trip, entering and exiting discreetly, with no cameras on hand to capture the event.
The decision to court Mr. Trump, former Romney aides said in interviews, stemmed partly from the desire to use him for fund-raising help, but also from the conviction that it would be more dangerous to shun such an expert provocateur than to build a relationship with him and try to contain him.
The test of that strategy came in January 2012, before the make-or-break Florida primary, when Mr. Trump reached out to say he wanted to endorse Mr. Romney at a Trump property in the state. Wary of such a spectacle in a crucial state, Mr. Romney's aides began a concerted effort to relegate Mr. Trump's endorsement to a sideshow.
The Romney campaign conducted polling in four states that showed Mr. Trump unpopular everywhere but Nevada, and suggested to Mr. Trump that they hold an endorsement event there, far away from Florida voters.
On the day he was to deliver the endorsement in Las Vegas, according to Mr. Romney's advisers, Mr. Trump met with Romney aides and said he hoped to hold a joint news conference with Mr. Romney, raising for the campaign the terrifying possibility that Mr. Romney might end up on camera responding to reporters' questions next to a man who had spent months questioning whether the president was an American citizen.
In an appeal to Mr. Trump's vanity, the Romney campaign stressed that his endorsement was so vital '-- with such potential to ripple in the media '-- that it would be a mistake to dilute the impact with a question-and-answer session.
''The self-professed genius was just stupid enough to buy our ruse,'' said Ryan Williams, a former spokesman for the Romney campaign. While they agreed to hold the event in a Trump hotel, the campaign put up blue curtains around the ballroom when the endorsement took place, so that Mr. Romney did not appear to be standing ''in a burlesque house or one of Saddam's palaces,'' Mr. Williams said. On stage, as the cameras captured the moment, Mr. Romney seemed almost bewildered. ''There are some things that you just can't imagine happening in your life,'' he told reporters as he took the podium, taking in his surroundings. ''This is one of them.''
Mr. Trump insisted in the interview that the Romney campaign had strenuously lobbied for his support, and described his own endorsement as the biggest of that year. ''What they're saying is not true,'' he said.
But if Mr. Trump expected a major role in the Romney campaign, he was mistaken. While Mr. Trump hosted fund-raising events for Mr. Romney, the two men never hit the campaign trail together. The campaign allowed Mr. Trump to record automated phone calls for Mr. Romney, but drew the line at his demand for a prominent speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. (Mr. Trump recorded a video to be played on the first day of the convention, but the whole day's events were canceled because of bad weather.)
Stuart Stevens, a senior strategist for Mr. Romney, believed that Mr. Trump had been strictly corralled. ''He wanted to campaign with Mitt,'' Mr. Stevens wrote in an email. ''Nope. Killed. Wanted to speak at the convention. Nope. Killed.''
Still, to Mr. Romney's opponent that year, the accommodation of Mr. Trump looked egregious. Mr. Obama, in a speech on Friday, said Republicans had long treated Mr. Trump's provocations as ''a hoot'' '-- just as long as they were directed at the president.
Building an OperationOnly a handful of people close to Mr. Trump understood the depth of his interest in the presidency, and the earnestness with which he eyed the 2016 campaign. Mr. Trump had struck up a friendship in 2009 with David N. Bossie, the president of the conservative group Citizens United, who met Mr. Trump through the casino magnate Steve Wynn.
Mr. Trump conferred with Mr. Bossie during the 2012 election and, as 2016 approached, sought his advice on setting up a campaign structure. Mr. Bossie made recommendations for staff members to hire, and Mr. Trump embraced them.
Mr. Trump also carefully cultivated relationships with conservative media outlets, reaching out to talk radio personalities and right-wing websites like
By then, Mr. Trump had won a degree of acceptance as a Republican donor. Advised by Mr. Stone, one of his longest-serving counselors, he had abandoned his long-held practice of giving modest sums to both parties, and opened his checkbook for Republicans with unprecedented enthusiasm.
Mr. Trump began a relationship with Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, who was trying to rescue the party from debt. He gave substantial donations to ''super PACs'' supporting Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.
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In 2014, he cut a quarter-million dollar check to the Republican Governors Association, in response to a personal entreaty from the group's chairman '-- Chris Christie. Still, Mr. Trump's intentions seemed opaque.
In January 2015, Mr. Trump met for breakfast in Des Moines with Newt and Callista Gingrich. Having traveled to Iowa to speak at a conservative event, Mr. Trump peppered Mr. Gingrich with questions about the experience of running for president, asking about how a campaign is set up, what it is like to run and what it would cost.
Mr. Gingrich said he had seen Mr. Trump until then as ''a guy who is getting publicity, playing a game with the birther stuff and enjoying the limelight.'' In Iowa, a different reality dawned.
''That's the first time I thought, you know, he is really thinking about running,'' Mr. Gingrich said.
On June 16, 2015, after theatrically descending on the escalator at Trump Tower, Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for president, hitting the precise themes he had laid out in the Conservative Political Action Conference speech five years earlier.
''We are going to make our country great again,'' Mr. Trump declared. ''I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.''
Still, rival campaigns and many in the news media did not regard him seriously, predicting that he would quickly withdraw from the race and return to his reality show. Pundits seemed unaware of the spade work he had done throughout that spring, taking a half dozen trips to early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and using forums hosted by Mr. Bossie's group to road test a potential campaign.
Even as he jumped to an early lead, opponents suggested that he was riding his celebrity name recognition and would quickly fade. It was only late in the fall, when Mr. Trump sustained a position of dominance in the race '-- delivering a familiar, nationalist message about immigration controls and trade protectionism '-- that his Republican rivals began to treat him as a mortal threat.
Mr. Trump, by then, had gained the kind of status he had long been denied, and seemed more and more gleeful as he took in the significance of what he had achieved.
''A lot of people have laughed at me over the years,'' he said in a speech days before the New Hampshire primary. ''Now, they're not laughing so much.''
Your Gleeful Liberal Takedown of Hillary Clinton Is Affirming Institutional Sexism '-- Medium
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:26
Your Gleeful Liberal Takedown of Hillary Clinton Is Affirming Institutional Sexism
It's time liberals acknowledge that their vitriol toward the presidential candidate is hurting women'Š'--'Šand speaks to something deeper
The Progressive Left's blitzkreig against Hillary Clinton is unprecedented. She's been branded a ''neocon'''Š'--'Šthis, in spite of a senate voting record netting an 83.9% ''liberal score'' from the National Journal (considerably higher than that of 2000 democratic candidate Bill Bradley or 2004 candidate John Edwards), a coveted ''F'' rating from the NRA, and an calculation of ''more liberal'' than Barack Obama.
She is singularly delineated as ''bought by Wall Street'''Š'--'Ševen with former Democratic nominees Al Gore and John Kerry receiving millions in campaign contributions from the so-called ''big banks'' during their presidential runs, including hefty sums from both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. When Republicans launched their dubious investigation into a ''corrupt,'' ''manipulative'' and ''dirty'' Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server while Secretary of State'Š'--'Šregardless of Colin Powell implementing the same practice during his tenure'Š'--'Šthis character assassination, quite troublingly, inspired many liberals to co-opt these very words, rewarding the carefully-crafted Republican fallacy and giving them new life in the progressive sphere. These educated and civic-minded men and women would never engage in the kind of blatant misogyny that chides on her inability to satisfy her husband, that bandies the word ''bitch,'' that forwards Kentucky Fried Chicken-themed memes boasting an ''HRC Special'' with ''2 fat thighs'''Š'--'Šthey instead use codified language that, when used in the context of a powerful female, serves as a tool of ''soft sexism'' that undermines and devalues women.
The Left's enthusiastic embrace of these tropes and rhetoric props up the narrative that, for a woman to have reached the upper echelons of power in her field, she could only have done so through depravity and deception. Her success is undeserved, and she is therefore unworthy'Š'--'Šand dismissing Clinton's campaign as a ''coronation'' only gives credence to a culture that has for so long cheered the brutal teardown of accomplished women. Hillary Clinton is indeed, as her critics claim, part of the ''the establishment.'' Like all women of lofty ambition, she is keenly and woefully aware that in 2016, less than a century out from women's suffrage, pioneering into a space formerly only occupied by men requires an acceptance that gender constrains one to work within the system, rather than from outside of it. So the next time you say, ''I hate Hillary Clinton,'' ask yourself why.
Donald Trump's Tampa Office Is an Unlikely Melting Pot -
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:16
TAMPA '-- Mireya Linsky, born to a Jewish family in Cuba, came to the United States as a refugee at age 5. Her family lived in public housing here for several years and sometimes relied on assistance from Catholic Charities. She has spent the past 33 years working for the Hillsborough County School District.
So Mrs. Linsky, 55, understands that some may see certain contradictions in the fact that she is now spending several nights a week volunteering here at Donald J. Trump's campaign office. ''Like I'm just pulling the drawbridge up behind me,'' she says.
Yet Mrs. Linsky is also quick to acknowledge a long list of racial fears and resentments that she says help explain why she is drawn to Mr. Trump: She is furious at undocumented workers who ''come basically to see what they can get.'' She is wary of Muslim Americans imposing their religion on communities in the United States. She is fearful of more American jobs being outsourced to China, India or Mexico. She even suspects President Obama ''has a dislike for white folks.''
''We're not taking care of our own,'' she said.
Recently, Mr. Trump's campaign has been engulfed by ugly images of mostly white Trump supporters facing off against, and sometimes attacking, young protesters, many of them black or Hispanic, at Trump rallies in Chicago, St. Louis and elsewhere.
But here in Tampa, in the week before the pivotal Florida primary, conversations with more than 20 volunteers showing up to make campaign calls or otherwise help out at a small Trump campaign office in an old cigar factory yielded some surprises on the subjects of race, ethnicity and bigotry.
For a campaign frequently depicted as offering a rallying point for the white working class, the people volunteering to help Mr. Trump here are noteworthy for their ethnic diversity. They include a young woman who recently arrived from Peru; an immigrant from the Philippines; a 70-year-old Lakota Indian; a teenage son of Russian immigrants; a Mexican-American.
They range the political spectrum, too, from lifelong Democrat to independent to libertarian to conservative Republican. To a person, they condemned and sometimes ridiculed David Duke and other white supremacists who have noisily backed Mr. Trump. ''I totally do not agree with them,'' said one volunteer, Andrew Cherry.
Yet like Mrs. Linsky, many spoke openly about how fears centered on race and ethnicity were at the heart of their support for Mr. Trump. To a large extent, they traced those fears to the scars they still bear from the Great Recession '-- lost jobs, drained 401(k)'s, home foreclosures, rising debt, the feeling that the country is broken.
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More than anything, several Trump volunteers here said, the Great Recession exposed a corrupt, out-of-touch ruling class in Washington that allows big corporations to outsource jobs at will while doing nothing to address millions of illegal immigrants who compete for jobs and drain government coffers. In Mr. Trump, they say, they see a potential antidote to all of this. A man too wealthy to be bought or co-opted. A man with the blunt-force clarity to declare that he is ready to Make America Great Again.
''I think we've come to the conclusion that our country is falling apart, and we have to take care of it,'' Mrs. Linsky said.
It would be hard to imagine more politically unfriendly turf for a Trump campaign office than the old Garcia and Vega cigar factory on Armenia Avenue. The factory looms over West Tampa, a Democratic stronghold long dominated by Latinos, especially Cuban-Americans. Today, the factory has been converted into space for start-ups. The campaign rents a small room on the second floor and uses a common area for its phone banks.
Early on Wednesday afternoon, Bob Peele, 62, pulled up to the back of the cigar factory in a pickup truck overflowing with Trump campaign signs. Mr. Peele, burly and bearded, wearing a Harley-Davidson hat and a T-shirt depicting a bald eagle, began unloading signs.
Just then, Annette Lux, 62, and Sharon Wollen, 70, pulled up in a small Chevy. They had driven nearly 20 miles from their senior community in Valrico in hopes of getting a sign, a T-shirt, a bumper sticker '-- anything to show support for Mr. Trump. Through the car window, Mrs. Lux, a lifelong Democrat, launched into a tirade against Hillary Clinton, accusing her of always pandering to African-American or Hispanic voters. ''When do you ever say you need the white person's vote?'' she called out to Mr. Peele. She quickly added, ''I'm not racist or anything.''
The women got out of the car and headed to the Trump campaign office. Mrs. Lux, walking with a cane, and Mrs. Wollen, tiny and frail, explained that everywhere they looked, they saw evidence of a diminished nation, one so hobbled it cannot give decent health care to many veterans. ''They even got rid of our space program,'' Mrs. Lux said.
Their circumstances have been diminished, too. Mrs. Lux ekes out a living at a check-cashing store; Mrs. Wollen lost her state job working for Florida's toll system. ''Now I'm working retail, and I'm starving,'' she said.
In Mr. Trump, they see someone at last willing to acknowledge the needs of the white working class. ''I feel that we're getting left out,'' Mrs. Lux said. ''There's more than Black Lives Matter. What about us?''
Mr. Peele was still unloading signs when Marcos Quevedo pulled up. He, too, wanted a Trump sign. Mr. Quevedo, 45, is the president of Sleepdreams Diagnostics, which also has office space in the cigar factory. The aftermath of the Great Recession cost Mr. Quevedo his managerial position with a sleep diagnosis company and contributed to the collapse of his marriage. ''Corporate America got a little ruthless,'' is how he puts it.
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Mr. Quevedo, a registered Democrat who was raised in West Tampa by parents who fled Cuba, says he is troubled by what he sees as thuggishness and racially charged language at Trump campaign rallies. But such is his frustration with both parties, and his desperation to shake up Washington, that he is willing to overlook the ugliness. ''I'm turning my cheek to the David Duke comments,'' he said.
That evening, Trump volunteers began arriving for several hours of phone banking.
Deloris Owens, 49, is one of the first to arrive. This is the first time she has volunteered for a political campaign. After 2008 she was laid off by Verizon, where she had worked as a call center supervisor. Then she and her husband lost their home in Brandon to foreclosure, as did many of their neighbors. Mrs. Owens, who describes herself as ''in the middle'' politically, said she voted for Mr. Obama in 2012.
Emma Aquino, 51, arrives moments later with her own tale of 2008 woe. Her home in Utah, she said, lost 50 percent of its value, and when an accident left her unable to work, she risked losing the house altogether. The most her bank would do was reduce her interest rate, but only at the cost of extending her mortgage to 40 years from 20.
To her, the mortgage meltdown perfectly encapsulates what she views as the corrupt bargain that rules the nation's capital '-- politicians from both parties getting in bed with big corporations and their lobbyists to rig the game against average Americans. ''The banks,'' she says, her voice rising with indignation. ''The government supported the banks.''
As Mrs. Aquino talks about what she loves about Mr. Trump '-- how ''he's against lobbyists'' and how he's ''not influenced by big corporations'' '-- at first it sounds as if she might be talking about Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But then she begins talking about a scourge of illegal immigrants. Mrs. Aquino stresses that when she arrived from the Philippines, she followed every rule, paid every fee. ''I went through the process,'' she said. She learned English, became a citizen and worked to ''create my own American dream.''
Mrs. Aquino brings up a court case she just read about. An Army captain, a Sikh, had sued the Defense Department, seeking the right to wear a turban and beard in adherence with his faith. ''Adhere to American culture,'' she says disapprovingly. ''Adhere to American tradition.''
Hours later, with the evening's phone banking session over, the Trumpites trickle off into the warm Tampa evening. Among the last to leave are Andrew and Juliana Cherry, both 35, who together operate a small real estate firm in Clearwater Beach. Mrs. Cherry, who came to the United States a few years ago from Peru, still struggles with English, though she spends hours each day defending Mr. Trump on Twitter. Mr. Cherry describes himself as a political pragmatist who will vote for Mrs. Clinton if the Republican establishment denies Mr. Trump the nomination.
Before 2008, Mr. Cherry made his living flipping property in Florida, in part using lessons he learned by taking a course from Trump University. The Great Recession wiped Mr. Cherry out. ''I ended up owing more than $1 million,'' he said. He wound up homeless, sleeping on his office couch for six months.
The Cherrys, though quick to condemn all forms of racism, say Mr. Trump is fundamentally correct when he promises to refocus the federal government's priorities on Americans' needs.
''If Trump doesn't make the economy better,'' Mr. Cherry said, ''we'll fire him in four years.''
How to Steal a Nomination From Donald Trump - Bloomberg Politics
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:16
Donald Trump has spent much of his campaign selling himself as a maker of great deals. But in the next phase of the campaign, the author of The Art of the Deal may be confronted with the ultimate dealmaking challenge, gaming the rulebook and horse-trading for delegates at what could be a contested convention. And if that situation comes to pass, it's one in which his opponents have a distinct advantage going in.
All three of Trump's Republican opponents are now convinced (even if some are loath to concede it publicly) that the current front-runner is the only candidate in the field who still has the chance to win the 1,237 delegates that would ensure his nomination in Cleveland. But if Trump is unable in the remaining primaries and caucuses to line up the necessary delegates, the convention will be deadlocked on its first ballot and then have to vote again'--and possibly again and again'--until a majority emerges.
That could offer mainstream conservatives and party regulars the opening they would need to take the nomination from a candidate who almost certainly will have accumulated more delegates and possibly millions more popular votes than his rivals. Of the other candidates, only Ted Cruz is focused on trying to finish ahead of Trump in the delegate count, even if neither gets the majority; Marco Rubio and John Kasich are resigned to the reality that they will be playing from behind.
''We're already into uncharted territory.''
John E. Sununu, national co-chair, Kasich campaign
''We're already into uncharted territory. Everyone knows we're pretty likely to have an open convention,'' says John E. Sununu, a national co-chair of Kasich's campaign, which has no mathematically viable path to win the nomination without one. ''We've got to let it play out. We won't have a sense of that for at least another month.''
By The Numbers: Delegate Math Class
Though the real action will take place on the convention floor in June, the machinations to take the nomination from Trump are already fully in progress. If the primary season thus far can be understood as a triumph for the candidate who defies the norms of politics, the shadow campaign now underway will reflect the primacy of rules, including some that can be wantonly rewritten to serve the interests of those in charge. While there's not a single Republican establishment with the power to dictate outcomes, there are many interlocking ones dispersed among the states. The key to winning at a contested convention is to get them working in tandem, and the age-old practices of favor-trading and influence-peddling will become the new norms. Here's what non-Trump forces are doing'--and will find themselves soon scheming to do'--to pull off one of the biggest, perfectly legal, heists in American memory.
MARCHThe Hunt for Double Agents
On Saturday morning, while the candidates were scattered across Ohio and Florida, Illinois and Missouri, Cruz's campaign was back in Iowa trying to wring another victory out of the state that gave him the first win of the primary season. After Iowa Republicans caucused on Feb. 1, diehards who stuck around their precinct got the chance to elect a local delegate to the county convention. It was those 1,681 precinct delegates who attended conventions in each of Iowa's 99 counties this weekend, where they selected from among themselves the delegates to subsequent conventions at congressional-district and state levels. Cruz's victory awarded him eight of the state's 30 delegates'--Trump and Rubio each got seven'--but his campaign saw that as a beginning rather than an end. Even after removing his paid staff from Iowa shortly after the caucuses, Cruz maintained an activist network. ''We keep an organization in the state,'' says Jeff Roe, Cruz's campaign manager. ''Two weeks out we make sure that all of the people who were whipped up leading up to the caucuses are ready for the convention.''
In many states, primaries and caucuses are just the most public face-off in a multi-step process to select the individual delegates who will choose the party's nominee. Only a small share of the 2,472 total convention delegates are free to pick the candidate of their choice, regardless of the election's outcome, on the first ballot, while about three-quarters of them are gradually freed to do so on subsequent votes. That means there is a small pool of so-called unbound delegates who are pure free agents, but a much larger number who can be recruited throughout the spring as double agents'--delegates who arrive in Cleveland pledged to Trump, all the while working in cahoots with one of his opponents and confessing their true allegiances once it is safe to do so.
''Forty-four states give the delegation-selection authority to a state convention or state executive committee, with no requirement that the candidate have a say in choosing delegates,'' says Benjamin Ginsberg, a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee who managed Mitt Romney's pre-convention delegate strategy. ''Centralized power has dissipated in many states so that pockets of grassroots activists hold great sway.''
''Of any of the campaigns the Ted Cruz people are the best-positioned,'' says Iowa Republican operative Grant Young. ''Not just because they won. They've got a big coalition and they're organized.''
At Cruz's Houston headquarters, a six-person team overseen by political operatives, lawyers, and data analysts is effectively re-enacting the primary calendar, often with the aim of placing double agents in Trump slates. The ability to pick up new adherents during the state-convention phase invites Trump's rivals to look anew at the map of his victories, based on the rules governing individual states. The 36 delegates Trump won in Alabama will be bound to him throughout the nominating process, but the 40 he won in Georgia are free to vote for whomever they choose after the first ballot. Georgia holds its county conventions on Saturday to select delegates for district conventions a month later'--the week's most important stop on the shadow-campaign trail. ''We're making resource allocations based upon stopping Donald Trump,'' says Roe. ''There's several scenarios where he doesn't make 1,237.''
APRILReports of the Party Boss's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
It has become fashionable to renounce the term ''brokered convention'' with the argument that, as strategist Stuart Stevens has said, ''there aren't any brokers.'' There may no longer be the handful of national leaders able, as their early 20th Century predecessors did, to settle multi-ballot convention battles in smoke-filled hotel suites. Indeed, the primary season has revealed the extent to which the so-called Republican ''establishment'' is better at antagonizing public opinion than guiding it, and completely inept at high-stakes political coordination.
But delegate selection is still an internal party matter, and in state capitals the Republican establishment holds unusual sway. In those states with a Republican governor, the state party is typically a fiefdom of the executive controlled through a chosen chair. Although campaign-finance reforms have prompted ''the weakening of state parties over the last decade,'' as Ginsberg puts it, 31 states today have Republican executives, more than at nearly any point in modern history. Across most of the country, the de-facto party boss can leverage the clout of state government'--budgetary authority, regulatory power, public appointments'--to enforce party discipline.
During the nominating season, this often means a governor can freely stack an at-large slate with cronies, expecting a rubber-stamp from a subservient party committee. In Iowa, where Governor Terry Branstad in 2014 helped to reclaim the state party after an unexpected takeover from supporters of Ron Paul, Republican officials actively discourage their rank-and-file from even understanding how the state's 18 at-large delegates will be selected.
Party bosses stand ready to gut some of Trump's greatest primary-season successes. He won every one of South Carolina's 50 delegates, by finishing first statewide and in each congressional district, but Trump is powerless to fill that slate with his own people. To serve as a national delegate from South Carolina, one has to have been a delegate to the 2015 state convention'--held over one month before Trump announced his candidacy'--and the approximately 1,000 eligible voters come from the same pool. Campaigns for the delegate slots are already underway. Some candidates have begun e-mailing voters, and often they spend small sums of money on campaign materials like stickers. They all get the chance to address the local conventions before the ballot, and would probably be better off saying they will follow the lead of anti-Trumpers Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham than the primary voters. ''Whoever is chosen for national delegate will have allegiance to the party establishment, and the party establishment is never going to be fond of Donald Trump,'' says a South Carolina Republican insider.
Pennsylvania's rules make it a special case, giving unprecedented power to political figures with an existing local base. By the time the 1980 primary season turned to Pennsylvania, Ronald Reagan's advisers determined they had no way of matching George H.W. Bush's spending in a vast state where television and radio time are expensive. ''The Reagan team was running out of money at that point, and even if it had wanted to it couldn't have competed,'' says Charlie Gerow, who served as the campaign's Pennsylvania delegate counter that year. Instead, Reagan tried to exploit the biggest loophole on the Republican primary calendar: a large haul of delegates who are selected through a process entirely distinct from the presidential contest. Bush ultimately won the popular vote handily in Pennsylvania, even though candidates loyal to Reagan seized 50 of the state's then-77 delegate slots (Pennsylvania now has 71 GOP delegates).
Pennsylvania's process has changed only slightly, with a pool of 17 delegates bound on the first ballot to the winner of the statewide popular vote. But 54 delegates are still free agents, who run in their home congressional districts untethered to a presidential candidate. ''If there is to be a contested or brokered or open convention'--whatever you want to call it'--Pennsylvania will be at the epicenter because of that huge share of unbound delegates,'' says Gerow, a former Carly Fiorina supporter running for delegate in a Harrisburg-area district.
Most candidates for those slots rely on their existing name recognition and ballot position, but a presidential campaign could easily step in to help allies professionalize their efforts through targeted voter contact and digital media. A committee established solely to elect, say, anti-Trump delegates could raise and spend freely before the April 26 primary: Pennsylvania has loose campaign-finance laws, including no limits on personal contributions.
MAYThe Art of the Deal
Early rumbles that party insiders are angling to displace the perceived winner of the primary season will provoke a furious backlash. ''If the Washington deal-makers try to steal the nomination from the people, I think it would be a disaster. It would cause a revolt,'' Cruz said recently in Maine. Talk radio and right-wing online media are likely to echo this appealing anti-establishment riff. Those plotting the theft will have to begin convincing supporters to stick with the scheme in the face of the onslaught, perhaps offering to bolster elected or party officials who go against their constituents with election-year support from a super-PAC established purely for that purpose.
There is nothing in the RNC's rules that prohibits delegates from cutting a deal for their votes, and lawyers say it is unlikely that federal anti-corruption laws would apply to convention horse-trading. (It is not clear that even explicitly selling one's vote for cash would be illegal.) To lure a governor, for example, the offer of a Cabinet post could be necessary, while a delegate may be swayed by a job as regional HUD administrator or a seat on the Postal Regulatory Commission. A crucial vote on a procedural question could be ensured with a state party's website-design contract to a delegate's cousin's firm.
But why waste an ambassadorship on someone who could be bought for far less? Every delegate and alternate is already paying for individual travel costs to get to Cleveland. Most state parties tell delegates to expect to spend $3,000 out of pocket on airfare, hotel and meals, and for some it could prove an unexpected hardship. (Delegates are assigned hotels by state; some could end up paying for the La Quinta Inn, others stuck with a bill from the Ritz-Carlton.) As blogger Chris Ladd has noted, Trump's slate in Illinois contains ''a food service manager from a juvenile detention center, a daycare worker from a Christian School, an unemployed paralegal, a grocery store warehouse manager, one brave advocate for urban chicken farming, a dog breeder, and a guy who runs a bait shop.'' Could some of them be tempted to flip their votes if a generous campaign, super-PAC, or individual donor picked up the costs of their week in Cleveland? Far-flung territories that are treated as states under RNC rules offer even richer opportunities for geographical arbitrage. Round-trip flights in July to Cleveland from the Northern Mariana Islands, which nine delegates are unbound after the first ballot, already cost over $2,000 each.
JUNEThe Disqualifying Round
Trump could still be within striking distance of 1,237 delegates on June 7, when the last five states'--including California and winner-take-all New Jersey'--hold their primaries. (More than 300 delegates will be awarded on that last day alone.) Party rules require that all states conclude their nominating contests six weeks before the convention begins. This interlude is usually the chance for a nominee to put his mark on the week's festivities: selecting speakers and entertainment, shaping the staging and visuals to reinforce desired themes.
If the primary calendar ends without any candidate emerging as its presumptive nominee, all those responsibilities will remain with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Thus far, Priebus has been docile toward Trump, who early on made being treated equitably by the national party a precondition for promising not to run as an independent in the general election. But if Trump doesn't finish with a clear majority of delegates, Priebus will face immense pressure from party officials and donors to undermine him.
Any challenge to a state's results will be litigated before the Standing Committee on Contests, and, if successful, the matter will then be handed to a Convention Committee on Credentials to rule on what slate of delegates will be officially seated on the convention floor. Delegates bound to Trump against their personal preference get a free hand in these decisions; stacking the credentials committee will be their first real chance to cast a vote undermining his path to the nomination.
Trump opponents will be aided by the fog of chaos that has surrounded his candidacy. Investigators deployed by an opponent's campaign or super-PAC can seek out cases of ''disorganization and confusion'''--as Romney lawyers described it when they successfully challenged the results of a 2012 Maine convention taken over by Paul supporters'--to knock out Trump slates nationwide.
Reports of caucus-site irregularities in Nevada'--ballot shortages, unreliable check-in procedures, supposedly neutral election officials wearing Trump garb in violation of party rules'--were quickly forgotten when Trump carried the state by a convincing margin of more than 20 points. But anti-Trump forces may now be eager to revisit them. Successfully demonstrating that the process violated Nevada Republican Party rules would not only jeopardize the 14 delegates that the winner was awarded but put all 30 of the state's delegates back into play. A challenge would have to begin at the state party convention in May, and be brought before the RNC by mid-June. Investigators would have to begin collecting affidavits well before that.
JULYWinning by Moving the Goalposts
In the days before House Speaker Paul Ryan gavels the convention to order on July 18, party officials will gather in meeting rooms near the Quicken Loans Arena to handle committee business. This is where the establishment has effectively unchecked power to begin squeezing out a candidate it does not want to see nominated.
All eyes will be on the Standing Committee on Rules as it is forced to revisit the RNC's Rule 40, which sets qualifications for a presidential candidate to appear on a convention ballot. Seeking to keep Paul supporters from entering his name into nomination in 2012, Romney lawyers raised the threshold from winning a plurality of delegates in five states to a majority of them in eight. Many party officials believed at the time they had elevated the standard from one that was too easy to meet to one too difficult. Before the official festivities start in Cleveland, the committee would have to rewrite Rule 40 for anyone other than Trump or Cruz to even be considered by delegates.
While the Contests Committee reviews specific challenges to Trump-friendly slates, the Rules Committee could help clear the way for unity slates to displace them on the convention floor. In 1952, supporters of Dwight Eisenhower succeeded in passing what his supporters called a ''fair-play amendment,'' that denied any delegate from a state whose status was being disputed from voting on any of the challenges. The argument could be easily updated for a day in which Trump-inspired hooliganism dominates the news, questioning why those in essence being charged with having tainted state-level results should be allowed to serve on their own juries.
When each committee's decisions come before the convention floor for what is typically pro-forma ratification, anti-Trump forces will be happy to see Ryan wielding the gavel as the convention's chairman; he will have wide latitude to manage the proceedings if they grow contentious. (Unlike other RNC meetings, which operate according to Robert's Rules of Order, the convention follows House of Representatives procedure.) In 2012, chairman John Boehner decided to hold a voice vote instead of a roll call on pro-Romney rule changes; even though the pro-Paul supporters were clearly the loudest, Boehner reflexively ruled in Romney's favor.
Trump supporters within the arena who see the vise closing on his chances to be nominated could respond in rage. Trump himself will likely be egging on an insurrection, from within the hall and amplified by his running commentary on Twitter and in broadcast interviews. To define the procedural debate in the media, Priebus will probably want to ensure that the parliamentarian he appoints to stand alongside the speaker is credible and mediagenic. Ryan, who knows that anything he does to provoke ire from the activist right could poison his ability to do his day job, will be eager to have someone else justify his rulings.
Another appointee, the convention's sergeant-at-arms, has authority to enforce convention rules and is charged with maintaining order; Priebus will want to ensure his or her political loyalties aren't in question. The chief sergeant-at-arms of the 2008 convention, South Carolinian Henry McMaster, zealously patrolled the crowd to crack down on any distraction that could mar John McCain's nomination. Calling himself the convention's ''top law-enforcement officer,'' McMaster at one point had his his security team rip a ''Ron Paul Revolution'' sign from the hands of a Massachusetts alternate delegate. Today, McMaster is his state's lieutenant governor and the most prominent official there to support Trump. It seems unlikely party officials will let McMaster hold onto his badge this year.
If the chairman so desires, the ayes can always have it, and the nays banished to the parking lot.
'--With assistance from Steven Yaccino.
Michelle Fields, Ben Shapiro Resign From Breitbart - BuzzFeed News
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:00
Washington Post / Getty Images
Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro are resigning from the company over the site's handling of Donald Trump's campaign manager's alleged assault on Fields, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart News chair Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night.
''Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,'' Fields said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. ''I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.''
In his own statement, Shapiro said the episode was emblematic of how he believes the site's management had sold out the legacy of its founder and namesake, the late Andrew Breitbart.
''Andrew's life mission has been betrayed,'' Shapiro wrote. ''Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew's legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew's mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump's personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News' Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump's bully campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly assaulted Michelle.''
Breitbart has been riven by internal strife in recent days after Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, allegedly grabbed Fields and yanked her away from Trump as she was attempting to ask him a question after a press conference in Florida. The Trump campaign denied the incident, despite considerable evidence to the contrary.
Breitbart published a story casting doubt on Fields' account, appearing to side with the Trump campaign over their own reporter. Joel Pollak, a senior editor-at-large at the organization, ordered staffers to stop defending Fields. One source with knowledge of the situation said some staffers who publicly defended Fields had been threatened with firing.
''Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion,'' Shapiro wrote in his resignation statement. ''Meanwhile, Breitbart News not only stood by and did nothing outside of tepidly asking for an apology, they then attempted to abandon Michelle by silencing staff from tweeting or talking about the issue. Finally, in the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story in which Michelle and Terris had somehow misidentified Lewandowski.''
The exodus, which began with the company's spokesman Kurt Bardella, is unlikely to end with Fields and Shapiro. Three sources say multiple staffers are searching for a way out of the company '-- with several actively circulating r(C)sum(C)s, according to two sources '-- and more resignations could follow in the coming days and weeks. The company is known for having editorial employees sign unusually strict contracts, at least some of which include non-compete clauses that could make it difficult to leave Breitbart for another news outlet.
Relations between Bannon and the site's staff '-- which were already fraught with tension over the direction and editorial vision for the company '-- have deteriorated sharply over the episode with the Trump campaign. According to one company source with knowledge of the situation, some editors have discussed telling Breitbart News CEO Larry Solov they will quit unless Bannon is ousted. Solov did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday night.
As a close personal friend and mentee of Andrew Breitbart's, it saddens me tremendously to announce that as of 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, I have resigned from Breitbart News as editor-at-large. I met Andrew Breitbart when I was seventeen years old and remained his friend until his tragic death; I signed on with Breitbart News two weeks before Andrew's death because I believed in his mission.
I am proud of what we accomplished in the years following his death, fighting back against the leftist media and debunking the left's key narratives. I have many good friends at Breitbart News, including editor-in-chief Alex Marlow and editor-at-large John Nolte, and I admire CEO Larry Solov for his dedication to ensuring a financial future for Andrew's widow, Susie, and his four children.
Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew's life mission has been betrayed. Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew's legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew's mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump's personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News' Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump's bully campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly assaulted Michelle. I spoke with Michelle the night after the incident. She told me her story. That story was backed by audiotape, eyewitness testimony from The Washington Post's Ben Terris, physical bruises, and video tape.
Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion. Meanwhile, Breitbart News not only stood by and did nothing outside of tepidly asking for an apology, they then attempted to abandon Michelle by silencing staff from tweeting or talking about the issue. Finally, in the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story in which Michelle and Terris had somehow misidentified Lewandowski.
This is disgusting. Andrew never would have stood for it. No news outlet would stand for it.
Nobody should.
This truly breaks my heart. But, as I am fond of saying, facts don't care about your feelings, and the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted. Steve Bannon and those who follow his lead should be ashamed of themselves.
Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation. I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.
Immigration Reform | Donald J Trump for President
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 17:23
The three core principles of Donald J. Trump's immigration plan
When politicians talk about ''immigration reform'' they mean: amnesty, cheap labor and open borders. The Schumer-Rubio immigration bill was nothing more than a giveaway to the corporate patrons who run both parties.
Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first '' not wealthy globetrotting donors. We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own. That must change. Here are the three core principles of real immigration reform:
1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.
Make Mexico Pay For The Wall
For many years, Mexico's leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country (as well as in other Latin American countries). They have even published pamphlets on how to illegally immigrate to the United States. The costs for the United States have been extraordinary: U.S. taxpayers have been asked to pick up hundreds of billions in healthcare costs, housing costs, education costs, welfare costs, etc. Indeed, the annual cost of free tax credits alone paid to illegal immigrants quadrupled to $4.2 billion in 2011. The effects on jobseekers have also been disastrous, and black Americans have been particularly harmed.
The impact in terms of crime has been tragic. In recent weeks, the headlines have been covered with cases of criminals who crossed our border illegally only to go on to commit horrific crimes against Americans. Most recently, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, with a long arrest record, is charged with breaking into a 64 year-old woman's home, crushing her skull and eye sockets with a hammer, raping her, and murdering her. The Police Chief in Santa Maria says the ''blood trail'' leads straight to Washington.
In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found that there were a shocking 3 million arrests attached to the incarcerated alien population, including tens of thousands of violent beatings, rapes and murders.
Meanwhile, Mexico continues to make billions on not only our bad trade deals but also relies heavily on the billions of dollars in remittances sent from illegal immigrants in the United States back to Mexico ($22 billion in 2013 alone).
In short, the Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners. They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.
The cost of building a permanent border wall pales mightily in comparison to what American taxpayers spend every single year on dealing with the fallout of illegal immigration on their communities, schools and unemployment offices.
Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards '' of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore.
Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States
America will only be great as long as America remains a nation of laws that lives according to the Constitution. No one is above the law. The following steps will return to the American people the safety of their laws, which politicians have stolen from them:
Triple the number of ICE officers. As the President of the ICE Officers' Council explained in Congressional testimony: ''Only approximately 5,000 officers and agents within ICE perform the lion's share of ICE's immigration mission'...Compare that to the Los Angeles Police Department at approximately 10,000 officers. Approximately 5,000 officers in ICE cover 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, and are attempting to enforce immigration law against 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States. Since 9-11, the U.S. Border Patrol has tripled in size, while ICE's immigration enforcement arm, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), has remained at relatively the same size.'' This will be funded by accepting the recommendation of the Inspector General for Tax Administration and eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.
Nationwide e-verify. This simple measure will protect jobs for unemployed Americans.
Mandatory return of all criminal aliens. The Obama Administration has released 76,000 aliens from its custody with criminal convictions since 2013 alone. All criminal aliens must be returned to their home countries, a process which can be aided by canceling any visas to foreign countries which will not accept their own criminals, and making it a separate and additional crime to commit an offense while here illegally.
Detention'--not catch-and-release. Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border must be detained until they are sent home, no more catch-and-release.
Defund sanctuary cities. Cut-off federal grants to any city which refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement.
Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa. Millions of people come to the United States on temporary visas but refuse to leave, without consequence. This is a threat to national security. Individuals who refuse to leave at the time their visa expires should be subject to criminal penalties; this will also help give local jurisdictions the power to hold visa overstays until federal authorities arrive. Completion of a visa tracking system '' required by law but blocked by lobbyists '' will be necessary as well.
Cooperate with local gang task forces. ICE officers should accompany local police departments conducting raids of violent street gangs like MS-13 and the 18th street gang, which have terrorized the country. All illegal aliens in gangs should be apprehended and deported. Again, quoting Chris Crane: ''ICE Officers and Agents are forced to apply the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Directive, not to children in schools, but to adult inmates in jails. If an illegal-alien inmate simply claims eligibility, ICE is forced to release the alien back into the community. This includes serious criminals who have committed felonies, who have assaulted officers, and who prey on children'...ICE officers should be required to place detainers on every illegal alien they encounter in jails and prisons, since these aliens not only violated immigration laws, but then went on to engage in activities that led to their arrest by police; ICE officers should be required to issue Notices to Appear to all illegal aliens with criminal convictions, DUI convictions, or a gang affiliation; ICE should be working with any state or local drug or gang task force that asks for such assistance.''
End birthright citizenship. This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration. By a 2:1 margin, voters say it's the wrong policy, including Harry Reid who said ''no sane country'' would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.
Put American Workers First
Decades of disastrous trade deals and immigration policies have destroyed our middle class. Today, nearly 40% of black teenagers are unemployed. Nearly 30% of Hispanic teenagers are unemployed. For black Americans without high school diplomas, the bottom has fallen out: more than 70% were employed in 1960, compared to less than 40% in 2000. Across the economy, the percentage of adults in the labor force has collapsed to a level not experienced in generations. As CBS news wrote in a piece entitled ''America's incredible shrinking middle class'': ''If the middle-class is the economic backbone of America, then the country is developing osteoporosis.''
The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans '' including immigrants themselves and their children '' to earn a middle class wage. Nearly half of all immigrants and their US-born children currently live in or near poverty, including more than 60 percent of Hispanic immigrants. Every year, we voluntarily admit another 2 million new immigrants, guest workers, refugees, and dependents, growing our existing all-time historic record population of 42 million immigrants. We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities' rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream.
Additionally, we need to stop giving legal immigrant visas to people bent on causing us harm. From the 9/11 hijackers, to the Boston Bombers, and many others, our immigration system is being used to attack us. The President of the immigration caseworkers union declared in a statement on ISIS: ''We've become the visa clearinghouse for the world.''
Here are some additional specific policy proposals for long-term reform:
Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program's lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.
Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.
End welfare abuse. Applicants for entry to the United States should be required to certify that they can pay for their own housing, healthcare and other needs before coming to the U.S.
Jobs program for inner city youth. The J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth will be terminated and replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.
Refugee program for American children. Increase standards for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to crack down on abuses. Use the monies saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States.
Immigration moderation. Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers. This will help reverse women's plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.
What's At Stake For Republicans In The March 15 Primaries | FiveThirtyEight
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:53
This could be it, folks. The Republican presidential primary may be settled '-- or at least a lot clearer '-- on Tuesday. Republicans will vote in six contests. Donald Trump is looking to stay on track to win a majority of states, if not delegates. Marco Rubio and John Kasich could be making their last stands. And Ted Cruz is hoping he's in a two-man race with Trump come Wednesday. A lot is at stake, so let's go through the contests one by one. (Also, check out my preview of the Democratic contests.)
Florida primaryFlorida is the biggest prize on Tuesday, and it looks like Trump is going to win it. Despite Rubio calling the Sunshine State home, Trump has led every single poll taken there this year. Trump should do well in the northern part of the state, a culturally conservative region that tends to vote like Alabama and Georgia, where Trump won handily. He should also perform well with older migrants from the Northeast who live in southern Florida. Rubio, for his part, is likely to draw a disproportionate share of his support from the Gold Coast in the southeast. Don't be surprised if the polls showing a single-digit Trump lead (instead of a double-digit lead) end up being accurate. Cuban voters '-- who are projected to make up 5 percent to 10 percent of Republican voters in Florida '-- have historically been difficultto poll, and surveys that don't properly account for them will be missing Rubio's core constituency. Still, all the polls have Rubio trailing, and it's difficult to see how he continues his campaign if he loses his home state.
North Carolina primaryThis is the only truly proportional state voting on the GOP side Tuesday, and there is no threshold to qualify for delegates. All of the candidates will win delegates in the Tar Heel State. Trump has led in every survey conducted in North Carolina this year, but his support has varied greatly from poll to poll. Some peg Trump's support in the low 30s, while one poll from SurveyUSA gave him 48 percent. Given that Trump won only 32.5 percent in the South Carolina primary to the south and 34.8 percent in the Virginia primary to the north, the polls in the lower 30s may be closer to the mark. If Trump doesn't make it out of the low 30s, Cruz has a chance to win. He has generally polled in the high 20s. Still, I must emphasize that this race is about delegates, and a candidate doesn't get extra delegates for winning with 32 percent versus losing with 32 percent.
Illinois primaryThis is perhaps the most confusing state voting Tuesday. Trump is polling at only about 30 percent to 35 percent in most surveys. But Cruz, Kasich and Rubio are splitting the non-Trump vote, according to the polls. That could potentially make it difficult for the anti-Trump constituency to properly cast the most effective anti-Trump vote. Adding to the confusion: The vast majority of delegates are determined by the vote in each congressional district. Voters in each district elect three delegates directly instead of voting for a presidential candidate (though each delegate's preferred candidate is listed on the ballot). So, voters need to vote up to four times '-- once for their candidate of choice in the statewide race and then for each of the three congressional district delegates they prefer. Cruz is probably going to do best downstate, while Kasich and Rubio are more likely to find strength in and around Chicago. Will voters sort through this mess and vote strategically, coalescing behind a single anti-Trump vessel? It's difficult to say. As long as Trump holds his 35 percent of the vote, he'll probably win most of the delegates in Illinois in part by taking the 15 delegates awarded to the statewide winner.
Ohio primaryThis is Kasich's last stand. If he doesn't win, his campaign is over. But Kasich is in a better position to win Ohio than Rubio is to win Florida: Kasich led in two polls released in the past week. Not only that, but Kasich did fairly well in Kentucky and Michigan in the counties bordering Ohio. One wild card in this contest is that Rubio's communications director basically said that Rubio supporters should vote for Kasich in Ohio to stop Trump. Although Rubio's numbers have fallen in the state over the past few weeks, any Rubio fans moving into the Kasich column could make a big difference. The importance of this primary to the larger Republican race is difficult to overstate. According to my math (and that of Republican Benjamin Ginsberg, who basically wrote the GOP's delegate rules), Trump is unlikely to reach a majority of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination if he loses Ohio.
Missouri primary52 delegates (40 district, 12 statewide)Winner-take-all on the district and statewide levelThis could be Cruz's best state on Tuesday, though there has been little polling so it's hard to know exactly what's going on in the Show-Me State. As in almost every other state, Trump is leading the field with support in the 30s. But unlike in Illinois, Cruz is in a clear second place in Missouri. Cruz has also done disproportionately well in the region. He won Iowa to Missouri's north and Kansas to the west, and he came in a close second in Arkansas to the south. Cruz also was competing with Rubio to be the anti-Trump in those states, but with Rubio's struggles, Cruz will get a clearer shot at Trump in Missouri. That said, those contests were not open primaries, like Missouri's, a format that has tended to favor Trump. If Trump wins in Missouri, he may be on his way to winning every state on Tuesday. Either way, there's a good chance of a delegate split in the state because most are awarded by congressional district.
Northern Mariana Islands caucusMost of you probably don't think very often about the Northern Mariana Islands, but nine delegates is nothing to scoff at. There's no polling for this contest, but the smart money is on Trump. Why? The commonwealth's political apparatus is backing Trump thanks to Ben Carson's endorsement. The executive director of the commonwealth's Republican Party had been a member of Carson's campaign and just signed up with Trump's team. Trump also has the support of the commonwealth's governor, Ralph Torres. If the voters follow their elected leaders, Trump is a shoo-in. (Then again, voters haven't done a lot of following their leaders this campaign.)
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Wright State Newsroom '' Wright State University chosen to host first presidential debate of 2016 Wright State University
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:40
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced today that Wright State University has been selected to host the first debate in fall 2016 prior to the November general election.
The debate will be held Sept. 26, 2016, at the Wright State University Nutter Center.
''I could not be any prouder of our university and the fact that the Commission on Presidential Debates has entrusted Wright State to host such an important event,'' said Wright State University President David R. Hopkins. ''The Commission had the daunting challenge of selecting just a few institutions and the fact that Wright State was selected is very gratifying and humbling. I am confident that our university will excel in supporting the Commission and represent our students, faculty and staff, community, and the State of Ohio in a way that will make us all proud. This is a huge win for all of us.''
The Wright State University Nutter Center
The CPD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation and has sponsored all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988. To learn more about the CPD visit
Visit the Wright State University Debate 2016 website '-- '-- to learn more about the event.
To learn more about Wright State, visit the Wright State University Newsroom and
Man arrested at Trump rally told police act was preplanned
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:39
CLEVELAND (AP) '-- A man arrested Saturday after he tried to get on the stage at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Ohio reportedly told police he planned to grab the microphone and yell that Trump is a racist but didn't intend to hurt anyone.
The Dayton Daily News reported that it obtained a report from Dayton police that included comments 22-year-old Thomas DiMassimo of Fairborn made to officers after his arrest. The newspaper said DiMassimo told officers he gave his car keys to his girlfriend before he rushed the stage because he anticipated being arrested.
The newspaper said DiMassimo vaulted over waist-high metal railings, muscled past security guards and nearly got on the stage at the end of Trump's rally before Secret Service agents tackled and handcuffed him. Video shows Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential campaign, turning around after hearing the commotion followed by agents surrounding him protectively. Trump was campaigning ahead of Tuesday's Ohio primary
DiMassimo was released on bail Saturday after being charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct. DiMassimo, an acting major in the theater program at Wright State University, couldn't be reached for comment Sunday. It's unclear if he has an attorney.
The Daily News also reported DiMassimo was involved in an anti-racism protest at Wright State in April. Video from the protest shows him dragging an American flag behind and then standing on it.
Trump on Twitter thanked the Secret Service for acting so quickly on and implied that DiMassimo has ties to the Islamic State group, an assertion dismissed by experts.
Activists Hang #ByeAnita Banners Attacking Cook County State's Attorney Alvarez: Chicagoist
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:26
With Illinois' primary election less than 24 hours away, activists are leaving large reminders all over the city urging Chicagoans to vote Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez out of office on Tuesday.
Led by the group Assata's Daughters, which has coordinated several actions targeting Alvarez along with Black Lives Matter, activists are hanging banners around the city with various messages on them reminding voters of several of the high-profile police shootings Alvarez has faced criticism over.
''Blood on the ballot,'' reads one banner hanging over the Kennedy Expressway at Irving Park. ''Justice for Rekia, no votes for Anita, reads another hung over the Nicholas Bridge of the Art Institute of Chicago. ''#AdiosAnita 16 shots and a cover up,'' reads another on Western Avenue near 18th Street. Alvarez has faced a tough reelection campaign, and has been specifically targeted by demonstrators on numerous occasions due to her involvement in the Laquan McDonald case, as well as her failure to secure a conviction for Dante Servin, the Chicago Police officer who shot and killed Rekia Boyd. In total, the group said it will hang 16 banners, one for each shot officer Jason Van Dyke fired at Laquan McDonald, killing him.
Alvarez's office has come under increased scrutiny since police shot and killed Laquan McDonald. A Daily Beast review of records shows that her office declined to prosecute police officers for killing civilians 68 times in the last seven years, with no documentation to support why. Additionally, Alvarez declined to charge a Chicago Police officer who falsely arrested more than 130 people in seven years, despite 40 witnesses accusing the officer of falsifying charges and video evidence showing him lying.
The group also says it plans to fly a plane carrying a banner that reads ''Chicago stands with Laquan, Hillary stands with Rahm, #ByeAnita #ByeRahm'' to link democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with Emanuel and Alvarez. In a press release, Tess Raser, an organizer with the group said:
''To this day, Hillary Clinton has yet to condemn Chicago's anti-black mayor. Mayor Emmanuel has conspired with State's Attorney Alvarez during his own re-election campaign to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald '--a life that to Emmanuel, Alvarez, and Clinton did not matter. Any politician who supports Emanuel should consider themselves implicated in his misconduct. Anti-black politicians are not welcome in Chicago whether they are running for State's Attorney or President of The United States.''
On Friday, members of the group along with others blockaded traffic along I-290 outside of the UIC Pavilion where thousands had gathered to protest Donald Trump's rally, which he cancelled because he was concerned about his safety. Holding a larger banner that read ''ByeAnita, Alvarez Must Go,'' the group chanted ''if you are saying dump Trump, then say bye Anita too.''
Assata's Daughters said there was a link between Alvarez's ''record of anti-blackness as top prosecutor'' and Trump, whose rallies and campaign rhetoric have become increasingly violent. ''We see a direct link between Trump's overtly racist white nationalist campaign and Anita Alvarez's record of filling jails and prisons with black bodies using dogwhistle tough-on-crime rhetoric,'' the group said in a statement. ''We do not want a future where Anita Alvarez or Donald Trump hold decision-making power over our lives.''
Secret Service agents: Hillary is a nightmare to work with | New York Post
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:15
''Good morning, ma'am,'' a member of the uniformed Secret Service once greeted Hillary Clinton.
''F'-- off,'' she replied.
That exchange is one among many that active and retired Secret Service agents shared with Ronald Kessler, author of ''First Family Detail,'' a compelling look at the intrepid personnel who shield America's presidents and their families '-- and those whom they guard.
Kessler writes flatteringly and critically about people in both parties. Regarding the Clintons, Kessler presents Chelsea as a model protectee who respected and appreciated her agents. He describes Bill as a difficult chief executive but an easygoing ex-president. And Kessler exposes Hillary as an epically abusive Arctic monster.
''When in public, Hillary smiles and acts graciously,'' Kessler explains. ''As soon as the cameras are gone, her angry personality, nastiness, and imperiousness become evident.''
He adds: ''Hillary Clinton can make Richard Nixon look like Mahatma Gandhi.''
Kessler was an investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post and has penned 19 other books. Among much more in ''First Family Detail,'' he reports:
'Š''Hillary was very rude to agents, and she didn't appear to like law enforcement or the military,'' former Secret Service agent Lloyd Bulman recalls. ''She wouldn't go over and meet military people or police officers, as most protectees do. She was just really rude to almost everybody. She'd act like she didn't want you around, like you were beneath her.''''Hillary didn't like the military aides wearing their uniforms around the White House,'' one former agent remembers. ''She asked if they would wear business suits instead. The uniform's a sign of pride, and they're proud to wear their uniform. I know that the military was actually really offended by it.''
Former agent Jeff Crane says, ''Hillary would cuss at Secret Service drivers for going over bumps.'' Another former member of her detail recollects, ''Hillary never talked to us .'‰.'‰. Most all members of first families would talk to us and smile. She never did that.''''We spent years with her,'' yet another Secret Service agent notes. ''She never said thank you.''
Within the White House, Hillary had a ''standing rule that no one spoke to her when she was going from one location to another,'' says former FBI agent Coy Copeland. ''In fact, anyone who would see her coming would just step into the first available office.''One former Secret Service agent states, ''If Hillary was walking down a hall, you were supposed to hide behind drapes used as partitions.''
Hillary one day ran into a White House electrician who was changing a light bulb in the upstairs family quarters. She screamed at him, because she had demanded that all repairs be performed while the Clintons were outside the Executive Mansion.''She caught the guy on a ladder doing the light bulb,'' says Franette McCulloch, who served at that time as assistant White House pastry chef. ''He was a basket case.''
White House usher Christopher B. Emery unwisely called back Barbara Bush after she phoned him for computer troubleshooting. Emery helped the former first lady twice. Consequently, Kessler reports, Hillary sacked him. The father of four stayed jobless for a year.While running for US Senate, Hillary stopped at an upstate New York 4-H Club. As one Secret Service agent says, Hillary saw farmers and cows and then erupted. ''She turned to a staffer and said, 'What the f'Š-'Š-'Š- did we come here for? There's no money here.''‰''Secret Service ''agents consider being assigned to her detail a form of punishment,'' Kessler concludes. ''In fact, agents say being on Hillary Clinton's detail is the worst duty assignment in the Secret Service.''
After studying the Secret Service and its relationships with dozens of presidents, vice presidents and their families, Ronald Kessler's astonishment at Hillary Clinton's inhumanity should reverberate in every American's head.
As he told me: ''No one would hire such a person to work at a McDonald's, and yet she is being considered for president of the United States.''
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor.
Hillary Clinton also likes to show off her supposed sense of humor in public, but is she really funny? These clips speak for themselves.
Narco Marco: I Think I Know What Went Wrong With Marco Rubio's Campaign - Breitbart
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 04:28
It is instead the gibbering GOP establishment watching the campaign of their handpicked golden boy collapsing faster than a handful of grandmas fleeing a Jeb Bush event (That would actually be quite slow, but you get the idea.) Yeah, in case you hadn't heard: Little Marco is out.
Rubio took a drubbing last week in important states like Michigan. No doubt he spent the weekend consoling himself with Pet Shop Boys albums and a strongly mixed chocolatini, readying for the big fight in his home state of Florida. Marco is obviously in the closet about his inability to gain traction anywhere besides Minnesota.
No one's surprised Rubio got schlonged in Florida today '-- least of all regular dog-walkers at Miami's Alice C. Wainwright Park.
Where did it all go wrong? It's hard to know for sure, but I think I have an idea of what might have driven his lacklustre debate performance: Marco displays all the symptoms of someone with ADHD.
First, there is his constant need to drink water, which Donald Trump famously mocked. You'd think someone from Florida would be accustomed to hot temperatures, but not Rubio. A dry mouth and a subsequent need to constantly hydrate, are, of course, side-effects of ADHD meds.
The real kicker, though, is that Rubio was caught live on camera at the last GOP debate, consuming an unknown substance that looked very much like a pill.
ADHD medication would also explain other problematic aspects of Rubio's performance. ADHD medications like Adderall are great at keeping you focused and awake, but they can also make you talk too quickly, repeat words, and stumble when thrown sudden questions. Sound familiar?
Trump-supporting Redditors who observed the GOP debate also smelled a rat:
Also explains the dry mouth, repeat talking, fast talking, loss of focus, hesitation trying to think of a response, and seemingly memorized responses.
If your on adderal you can study great. You can focus on something like work great. You can talk fast. What you become pretty poor at though, is thinking of something on your own quickly in response to a sudden question. It's why students on adderal often get more time in exams, it takes longer for them to answer even though they are more focused. In other words, it explains the Robotisms.
Source: have adderal prescription
Several other responses from Redditors experienced with ADHD medication can also be found in the thread. The combination of symptoms and apparent pill-popping is impossible to ignore: Rubio is almost certainly on medication of some kind, and given the symptoms, my money is on ADHD.
The state of Marco's campaign got increasingly grim toward the end. I understand they took to playing a modified version of 'Marco Polo' at his appearances, in which a blindfolded Marco gamely chases after supporters in nearly empty halls who answer ''Rubio!'' when he calls out his first name.
Narco Marco has a lot in common with Hillary: neither of them can pull off a public appearance without being severely medicated. Starting with his infamous water break during the response to Obama's state of the union speech, to his current behaviour during debates including sweating, cottonmouth, and interrupting other speakers, perhaps he should try a debate or two without the pill-popping if he ever runs again.
If it's true that ''once you pop you can't stop,'' Narco Marco should at least be upfront about it. He wants to be President, after all! Among the Floridian Latinos I've bedded, which is a statistically significant slice of the population, Trump is called ''Papi'' and Marco is called ''El enano con ojos vidriosos'' '-- or, ''the glassy-eyed dwarf.''
Think about how Trump would handle things if he needed to pop some pills like many believe Narco Marco did in the video above. He'd make a show of it. He'd dare the chattering classes to comment on it, and in general would own it. I mean, like, literally own it. He'd use Trump-brand ADHD pills.
There have been other issues and missteps by Rubio. Certainly there are questions about his sexuality. I wish the only parallel between Marco and El Chupacabra was their Hispanic origin and not their legendary ability to suck the life out of stronger mammals. Some have said that Rubio only ran because he misunderstood what a ''GOP establishment circle-jerk'' was.
Rubio has received bad advice how to battle Trump, and has made some laughable attempts to out-Trump him, going far beyond the bounds of decency in the process. Marco likes to make fun of Trump's hands, a typically catty move common in the gay community (Marco honey, the feet are a better predictor of what a man is packing).
Trump makes fun of Marco's vote counts and event attendance. If we look at his past, the foibles aren't new. It took Marco 20 years to pay off $100K in loans for law school. In lawyer terms, that's like taking a decade to pay your friend for his ADHD pills he gives you. Maybe Marco did that too!
Anyway, as I say, I feel awful. While a continuing Narco Marco campaign might have been mollifying for the party elites content to suffer election loss after election loss, it would have been hilarious for the alt-right. Imagine some of the fun things we could have looked forward to! Marco announcing his running mate is a guy named ''The Machine'' '-- since you don't use real names in the club.
Marco committing to build a border wall, as long as it is made out of foam and has a great sound system every hundred yards. Bill Clinton famously got in trouble for his haircut budget. 20 years later, would we even bat an eye at Marco's Astroglide bills?
All joking aside, Senator Rubio is Cubano Obama: he has done nothing but work for the government and he hasn't done anything of note in the senate, except sell out the American people with the Gang of 8. Incidentally, like me, Marco lost his virginity to a gang of eight.
And the hits keep coming! Most recently, Romney came out against Trump like a prizefighter. What happened to the meek Mormon mouse of 2012? I hate to assume some illicit affair but isn't he essentially saying ''NO ONE TREATS MY MAN THIS WAY''?
I think we can all come to terms with the fact that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will never utilize all of Jack Kennedy's secret Whitehouse date rooms with gentleman callers, but that doesn't mean he has reached the end of his usefulness on the campaign trail, both as a nostalgia moment for the GOP elite, who barely cling to sanity, and the alt-right, which considers him Trump's court jester.
Now Daddy has blown Rubio away in Florida, I almost feel bad. I wanted Narco Marco to stay in the race! He was the great Cuban hope of the GOP establishment, who were counting on him to mule their globalist agenda to rank and file Republicans who mistakenly think their party is for a strong America with a robust economy.
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Doctor warns Hillary: Your meds could kill you
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 04:26
Hillary Clinton
NEW YORK '' A California physician who had his license to practice medicine revoked in the state because he refused to administer the anticoagulant medication Coumadin, believes Hillary Clinton's use of the drug could be more life-threatening to her than the possibility of a recurring blood clot.
Dr. David K. Cundiff, who contacted WND after reading a WND story Thursday about Clinton's use of the drug, said he is inclined to support the Democratic presidential candidate but is speaking out mainly because of concern for her personal health.
WND reported Thursday that the medication Clinton has taken since 1998 to deal with her blood-clotting problems '' cerebral venous thrombosis '' may have dangerous side effects. They include blurred vision and confusion '' both of which she has been reported to have experienced '' plus a tendency to bleed excessively even from minor injuries.
The 'Stop Hillary' campaign is on fire! Join the surging response to this theme: 'Clinton for prosecution, not president'
''My interest in cerebral venous thrombosis and in Hillary Clinton's case is public health-based rather than political,'' Cundiff explained to WND.
''I think that her medical risks are much more from the side effects of the Coumadin than the recurrence of a venous thrombosis.''
'At high risk the rest of her life'
On his website,, Cundiff describes his concern about Clinton's medications.
''Hillary Clinton has had three episodes of venous thrombosis (clots in veins): deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) in her leg in 1998 and 2009 and thrombosis in veins in her brain (cerebral venous thrombosis) in 2012. On July 31, 2015, Ms. Clinton's doctor revealed that Ms. Clinton still takes the blood thinner (anticoagulant drug) Coumadin (warfarin),'' the doctor writes.
''If her doctors follow current clinical practice guidelines, Coumadin or other blood thinners will continue for the rest of her life. This puts her at high risk for major bleeding.''
Taking into consideration Clinton's medical history of suffering venous thrombosis, Cundiff calculates she has about five times the chance of a woman her age of developing another blood clot, amounting to a 20 percent chance over the next 10 years.
What do YOU think? Which Republican will finish first in the Iowa Caucus? Sound off in today's WND poll.
He writes that Clinton's chance of dying from a blood clot if she is not taking Coumadin, or any other prescribed anticoagulant medication, is only about 1.5 percent. But if she continues taking Coumadin, her chance of a major bleeding episode before 2025 would be about 50 percent, with a 10 percent chance of experiencing a fatal or disabling hemorrhage.
Harvard-affiliated physician lends support
Cundiff's concerns about the practice of prescribing anticoagulant medications for blood-clot patients has received support from Dr. Magdy Selim, M.D., Ph.D., at the Stroke Division, Department of Neurology, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Selim is also affiliated with the Harvard University Catalyst, a network of scientists also known as the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.
In an editorial titled ''Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: Another Heparin Controversy,'' Selim discussed favorably Cundiff's published research on the dangers of prescribing anticoagulants like Coumadin to blood-clot patients.
After noting that Cundiff's published research suffers from certain limitations encountered by referencing unpublished medical research data, Selim observed:
Despite these limitations, Cundiff raises valid concerns and questions of clinical and therapeutic importance that are yet to be fully answered. The use of anticoagulants in patients with CVT (blood-clots in the brain) poses a real risk: ICH (Intracerebral Hemorrhage, or bleeding within the brain).
Still fighting license revocation
On April 21, 2010, an administrative law judge in California rejected Cundiff's petition to have his physician's license reinstated in the case of a patient who died from clots. Cundiff stopped administering Coumadin to the patient, who had an alcohol problem the doctor believed could trigger internal bleeding.
After appealing all the way to the California Supreme Court, however, his petition was rejected.
''The Superior Court judge told me in court that all I needed to do to get my license reinstated was to admit that it was my error to stop heparin (another anticoagulant medication) and Coumadin in my patient with a DVT (deep vein thrombosis, or deep vein blood-clot) along with liver failure, advanced tuberculosis, severe malnutrition, alcoholism and tenuous social support,'' he said.
He also had to promise to treat all future patients suffering venous thromboembolism with anticoagulants.
''I told him my Hippocratic Oath and I my own research and judgment on this issue would prevent me from committing to make either of those declarations,'' Cundiff said.
''The only route that I will accept to get my license reinstated is for the Federal Drug Administration to declare all anticoagulant drugs contraindicated for venous thromboembolism,'' he stressed.
Cundiff has filed a petition with the FDA regarding venous thromboembolism. He received an interim letter from the agency saying his situation was so complex that it needed more time than six months to respond.
''Once the FDA follows my petition and bans anticoagulants for venous thrombosis, I will request that Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris personally review my case and order my license reinstated,'' Cundiff told WND.
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NASA confirms February 2016's shocking global warming temperature record.
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 15:07
NASA has confirmed that our planet's temperature surged in February 2016'--past a major milestone.NASA
Update, March 12, 2016: Data released Saturday from NASA confim that February 2016 was not only the warmest month ever measured globally, at 1.35 degrees Celsius above the long-term average'--it was more than 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the previously most unusually warm month ever measured: January 2016. The new NASA data confirms unofficial data released earlier this month showing a dramatic and ongoing surge in the planet's temperature'--if anything, that data, upon which the previous versions of this post were based, were an underestimate. On Twitter, Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which maintains the NASA temperature database, noted that February's temperature record was ''special'' and commented simply: ''Wow.''
NASA's global temperature data is measured from a 1951-1980 baseline, about 0.3 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels. That means February 2016 was the first month in history that global average temperatures passed the 1.5 degree Celsius mark. Also, since last month's warmth was concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere (2.76 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline) and the Arctic (5.36 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline), these regions of our planet were also record warm, likely the warmest they've been for at least thousands of years. As I said in the previous version of this post'--even though this surge of warmth is likely only temporary, it is a major milestone moment for humanity and our relationship to our planet.
A daily analysis of global temperatures shows the Northern Hemisphere likely exceeded 2 degrees Celsius above "normal" around March 1, 2016, when measuring from pre-industrial levels.*Ryan Maue/Weatherbell Analytics
Update, March 3, 2016: Since this post was originally published, the heat wave has continued. As of Thursday morning, it appears that average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have breached the 2 degrees Celsius above ''normal'' mark for the first time in recorded history, and likely the first time since human civilization began thousands of years ago.* That mark has long been held (somewhat arbitrarily) as the point above which climate change may begin to become "dangerous" to humanity. It's now arrived'--though very briefly'--much more quickly than anticipated. This is a milestone moment for our species. Climate change deserves our greatest possible attention.
Global temperatures hit a new all-time record high in February, shattering the old record set just last month amid a record-strong El Ni±o.Ryan Maue/Weatherbell Analytics
Original post, March 1, 2016: Our planet's preliminary February temperature data are in, and it's now abundantly clear: Global warming is going into overdrive.
There are dozens of global temperature datasets, and usually I (and my climate journalist colleagues) wait until the official ones are released about the middle of the following month to announce a record-warm month at the global level. But this month's data is so extraordinary that there's no need to wait: February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month.
Using unofficial data and adjusting for different base-line temperatures, it appears that February 2016 was likely somewhere between 1.15 and 1.4 degrees warmer than the long-term average, and about 0.2 degrees above last month'--good enough for the most above-average month ever measured. (Since the globe had already warmed by about +0.45 degrees above pre-industrial levels during the 1981-2010 base-line meteorologists commonly use, that amount has been added to the data released today.)
Keep in mind that it took from the dawn of the industrial age until last October to reach the first 1.0 degree Celsius, and we've come as much as an extra 0.4 degrees further in just the last five months. Even accounting for the margin of error associated with these preliminary datasets, that means it's virtually certain that February handily beat the record set just last month for the most anomalously warm month ever recorded. That's stunning.
It also means that for many parts of the planet, there basically wasn't a winter. Parts of the Arctic were more than 16 degrees Celsius (29 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than ''normal'' for the month of February, bringing them a few degrees above freezing, on par with typical June levels, in what is typically the coldest month of the year. In the United States, the winter was record-warm in cities coast to coast. In Europe and Asia, dozens of countries set or tied their all-time temperature records for February. In the tropics, the record-warmth is prolonging the longest-lasting coral bleaching episode ever seen.
The northernmost permanent settlement, Norway's Svalbard archipelago, has averaged 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal this winter, with temperatures rising above the freezing mark on nearly two dozen days since Dec. 1. That kind of extremely unusual weather has prompted a record-setting low maximum in Arctic sea ice, especially in the Barents Sea area north of Europe.
The data for February is so overwhelming that even prominent climate change skeptics have already embraced the new record. Writing on his blog, former NASA scientist Roy Spencer said that according to satellite records'--the dataset of choice by climate skeptics for a variety of reasons'--February 2016 featured ''whopping'' temperature anomalies especially in the Arctic. Spurred by disbelief, Spencer also checked his data with others released today and said the overlap is ''about as good as it gets.'' Speaking with the Washington Post, Spencer said the February data proves ''there has been warming. The question is how much warming there's been.''
Of course, all this is happening in the context of a record-setting El Ni±o, which tends to boost global temperatures for as much as six or eight months beyond its wintertime peak'--mainly because it takes that long for excess heat to filter its way across the planet from the tropical Pacific Ocean. But El Ni±o isn't entirely responsible for the absurd numbers we're seeing. El Ni±o's influence on the Arctic still isn't well-known and is likely small. In fact, El Ni±o's influence on global temperatures as a whole is likely small'--on the order of 0.1 degree Celsius or so.
So what's actually happening now is the liberation of nearly two decades' worth of global warming energy that's been stored in the oceans since the last major El Ni±o in 1998.
Numbers like this amount to a step-change in our planet's climate system. Peter Gleick, a climate scientist at the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, said it's difficult to compare the current temperature spike: ''The old assumptions about what was normal are being tossed out the window '... The old normal is gone.''
Almost overnight, the world has moved within arm's reach of the climate goals negotiated just last December in Paris. There, small island nations on the front line of climate change set a temperature target of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius rise by the year 2100 as a line in the sand, and that limit was embraced by the global community of nations. On this pace, we may reach that level for the first time'--though briefly'--later this year. In fact, at the daily level, we're probably already there. We could now be right in the heart of a decade or more surge in global warming that could kick off a series of tipping points with far-reaching implications on our species and the countless others we share the planet with.
*Correction, March 4, 2016: Due to a data error at Weatherbell Analytics, the graphic added in the March 3 update to this post showed that in recent days, the temperature had reached approximately 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The graphic has been replaced with an updated version showing a less dramatic temperature spike, to approximately 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, though still exceeding 2 degrees Celsius when measured from pre-industrial levels. This spike has been reproduced in a separate dataset, so there remains high confidence that the 2-degree level was breached.
Apple Crack
Facebook, Google and WhatsApp plan to increase encryption of user data | Technology | The Guardian
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 17:17
Work on new encryption projects began before Apple entered a court battle with US authorities over the San Bernardino killer's iPhone. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
Silicon Valley's leading companies '' including Facebook, Google and Snapchat '' are working on their own increased privacy technology as Apple fights the US government over encryption, the Guardian has learned.
The projects could antagonize authorities just as much as Apple's more secure iPhones, which are currently at the center of the San Bernardino shooting investigation. They also indicate the industry may be willing to back up their public support for Apple with concrete action.
Within weeks, Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp plans to expand its secure messaging service so that voice calls are also encrypted, in addition to its existing privacy features. The service has some one billion monthly users. Facebook is also considering beefing up security of its own Messenger tool.
Apple v the FBI '' video explainerSnapchat, the popular ephemeral messaging service, is also working on a secure messaging system and Google is exploring extra uses for the technology behind a long-in-the-works encrypted email project.
Engineers at major technology firms, including Twitter, have explored encrypted messaging products before only to see them never be released because the products can be hard to use '' or the companies prioritized more consumer-friendly projects. But they now hope the increased emphasis on encryption means that technology executives view strong privacy tools as a business advantage '' not just a marketing pitch.
These new projects began before Apple entered a court battle with the Department of Justice over whether it should help authorities hack into a suspected terrorist's iPhone. Apple is due to appear in a federal court in California later this month to fight the order.
FBI director James Comey testifies during a House committee hearing about the Department of Justice's fight with Apple. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPolling has shown public opinion is divided over the case. And any new encyrption efforts by tech firms put them on a collision course with Washington. Two US senators, the Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California and the Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, say they have written draft legislation that would create penalties for companies that aren't able to provide readable user data to authorities. Barack Obama has also made it clear he thinks some technology companies are going too far. ''If government can't get in, then everyone's walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket, right?'' he said 11 March at the SXSW technology conference in Austin, Texas.
Related:FBI 'could force Apple to hand over private key'
WhatsApp has been rolling out strong encryption to portions of its users since 2014, making it increasingly difficult for authorities to tap the service's messages. The issue is personal for founder Jan Koum, who was born in Soviet-era Ukraine. When Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in February that his company would fight the government in court, Koum posted on his Facebook account: ''Our freedom and our liberty are at stake.''
His efforts to go further still are striking as the app is in open confrontation with governments. Brazil authorities arrested a Facebook executive on 1 March after WhatsApp told investigators it lacked the technical ability to provide the messages of drug traffickers. Facebook called the arrest ''extreme and disproportionate''.
WhatsApp already offers Android and iPhone users encrypted messaging. In the coming weeks, it plans to offer users encrypted voice calls and encrypted group messages, two people familiar with the matter said. That would make WhatsApp, which is free to download, very difficult for authorities to tap.
Unlike many encrypted messaging apps, WhatsApp hasn't pushed the security functions of the service as a selling point to users. Koum, its founder, has said users should be able to expect that security is a given, not a bonus feature.
It's unclear if that will change. In the coming weeks, WhatsApp plans to make a formal announcement about its expanded encryption offerings, sources said.
The efforts come at a crossroads for Silicon Valley. Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter have all signed on to legal briefs supporting Apple in its court case. At the same time, some of the companies have shown an increased willingness to help the government in its efforts to fight the spread of Islamic extremist propaganda online '' often using their services.
Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has talked publicly about how tech companies can help the west combat Isis online and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet, recently joined a Defense Department advisory group on how tech can aid in future battles.
Those matters may seem separate, but US national security officials view the increasing availability of encryption technology as a major aid to Islamic State's online recruitment efforts. At some point, tech firms may have to choose whether they care more about being seen as helping the west to fight terrorism or standing as privacy advocates.
Some technology executives think one middle path would be to encourage the use of encryption for the content of messages while maintaining the ability to hand over metadata, which reveals who is speaking to whom, how often and when. That is why the specifics of the new products will be key to determining both their security and Washington's reaction to them.
The Guardian couldn't immediately determine the specific details of Snapchat's and Facebook's projects. All the companies declined to comment.
In 2014, Google announced a project called End to End, which would make it easier to send encrypted emails in such a way that only the sender and recipient could decode them. The project, once a collaboration with Yahoo, has been slow-going.
That appears to have changed in recent months, though, sources familiar with the project said, and other Google employees have shown in renewed interest in the idea. At a February internal town hall at Google, one engineer stood up and asked vice-president of security and privacy engineering Gerhard Eschelbeck why Google wasn't doing more to support encrypted communications, according to two people familiar with the exchange.
Gerhard countered the company increasingly was putting effort behind such projects. Some Google employees are discussing whether the technology behind End to End can be applied to other products, though no final determinations have been made.
''This has been an ongoing effort for a long time at Google,'' one person briefed on the project said. One of the challenges for the search giant is that there are some types of data for which it remains challenging to offer end-to-end security, both for usability and business model reasons.
Google sells targeted ads by scanning users' email, a process that gets tricky if the contents remain encrypted. Many consumers also use Gmail accounts, which include large amounts of free storage, as a sort of online file system, sometimes dating back more than a decade.
''There are lots of difficulties at Google that aren't same at Apple,'' the person briefed on the project said. ''The business models are just different.''
In the meantime, WhatsApp's encryption is based on code developed by a well-known privacy evangelist, Moxie Marlinspike, whose secure messaging app Signal is used by security hawks. One advantage of Marlinspike's encryption tools is that they have been tested repeatedly by outside security experts.
Apple, the company behind the two-year debate over encryption, is also taking steps to beef up privacy. The company has been in discussions with outside security experts about ways to make it technically harder still for investigators to force the company to hand over data from customers' iPhones, according to sources. The New York Times earlier reported on those conversations.
Last month, Frederic Jacobs, an accomplished cryptographer and one of the coders behind Signal, announced he had accepted a job at Apple. It's a summer internship with the security team for the iPhone's core software.
Putin Orders Start of Syria Withdrawal, Saying Goals Are Achieved - The New York Times
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:14
PhotoRussian pilots climbing into a fighter jet at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria in October.Credit Vladimir Isachenkov/Associated PressMOSCOW '-- President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday ordered the withdrawal of the ''main part'' of Russian forces in Syria, a surprise move that he said was justified by the ''overall completion'' of Moscow's military mission in the war-ravaged country.
Mr. Putin's order, reported by the state news media, came as the war in Syria was about to enter its sixth year and a United Nations mediator in Geneva was trying to revive peace talks to stop the conflict, which has displaced millions and created a humanitarian catastrophe.
Russia has operated a naval base on the Syrian coast since the Soviet period, but Mr. Putin's order seemed to relate to warplanes operating from a new air base in Latakia that since September have carried out intensive bombings against rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
Mr. Putin said the withdrawal would not mean the closing of the Latakia base, and he gave no indication when the withdrawal would be concluded.
Since Russian warplanes began their campaign on Sept. 30, Mr. Assad has gained ground against rebel forces and headed off the risk that his regime, Russia's closest ally in the Middle East, might collapse.
''I believe, that the tasks put before the defense ministry have been completed over all,'' Mr. Putin told Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov at a meeting in the Kremlin on Monday evening. ''Because of this, I have ordered that from tomorrow the main part of our military groups will begin their withdrawal from the Syrian Arab Republic.''
The Kremlin said Mr. Putin had telephoned the Syrian president to inform him of the Russian withdrawal, but gave no details of Mr. Assad's reaction to the move, saying only that he had expressed thanks for Russia's help and had praised the ''professionalism and heroism'' of Russian servicemen.
''The leaders noted that the actions of the Russian air forces have allowed a significant turn in the fight against terrorists,'' a statement on the Kremlin website said.
In tandem with the military withdrawal, Mr. Putin called on Russian diplomats to strengthen their efforts in reaching a negotiated settlement.
''I am asking the Foreign Ministry to intensify the participation of the Russian Federation in the organization of the peace process on the settlement of the Syrian problem,'' he said at the meeting.
Although the timing of Mr. Putin's announcement was a surprise, some analysts had been expecting it, suggesting that Russia had accomplished what it wanted in Syria and that prolonging the deployment might lead to unanticipated problems.
Continue reading the main storyThe partial cease-fire in Syria, which began Feb. 27, has proved more effective and durable than expected, significantly reducing the level of violence.
At the same time, Mr. Assad and his aides have shown increased unwillingness to negotiate a political settlement, which may have irked his Russian allies.
''Over the past few weeks, the Assad regime has made a number of statements indicating their negotiating position with the opposition remains quite rigid,'' said Andrew J. Tabler, a scholar of Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ''Putin's announcement, coming on the same day U.N. peace talks started in Geneva and in the absence of a decisive victory by Assad's forces, indicates that Moscow might not be with Assad till the bitter end,'' Mr. Tabler said.
Russia's military intervention in Syria, which involved the deployment of 45 strategic and tactical bombers as well as fighter planes, helicopters and antiaircraft systems, was Moscow's first such action outside the former Soviet Union since the collapse of communism in 1991.
The state-controlled news media in Russia trumpeted the intervention as a sign that Moscow had regained its role as a global military power. Television news broadcasters, after weeks of hailing the operation daily, seemed stunned Monday evening when news of the withdrawal first broke.
Russian warplanes gave a major boost to Mr. Assad's fading military fortunes, flying more than 9,000 sorties and helping the Syrian government regain control of 400 settlements, according to Mr. Shoigu, the Russian defense minister.
The decision to withdraw, announced as abruptly as Russia's initial decision to intervene, could allow Mr. Putin to avoid the risk that what has been a relatively painless and, in both military and public relations terms, highly successful mission for Russia could turn into a quagmire costly in lives, money and political capital for the Kremlin.
Mr. Putin's announcement appeared to catch the United States and other Western countries by surprise.
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said he had not seen reports of Russia's possible withdrawal from Syria, but the Obama administration has frequently expressed frustration with Russia's continued military support for Mr. Assad, whom the Americans have long insisted should step down.
''Obviously, we have talked about how Russia's continued military intervention to prop up the Assad regime made the efforts to make a political transition increasingly more difficult,'' Mr. Earnest said.
Mr. Putin's announcement came as the United Nations mediator, Staffan de Mistura, resumed his efforts to broker a peace deal, acknowledging the gulf still dividing the warring parties and putting the onus squarely on Russia, the United States and other powers to apply whatever pressure was needed to bring them together.
Speaking earlier to reporters, Mr. de Mistura remarked that ''the real peacemakers here are the peacemaking powers who wanted these talks,'' adding, almost as an afterthought, ''and hopefully the Syrian sides.''
If he saw no willingness to negotiate, he said, ''we will bring the issue back to those who have influence.''
Reporting was contributed by Neil MacFarquhar from Moscow, Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva, Gardiner Harris from Washington and Rick Gladstone from New York.
Pinhole glasses - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 19:31
Pinhole glasses, also known as stenopeic glasses, are eyeglasses with a series of pinhole-sized perforations filling an opaque sheet of plastic in place of each lens. Similar to the workings of a pinhole camera, each perforation allows only a very narrow beam of light to enter the eye which reduces the size of the circle of confusion on the retina and increases depth of field. In eyes with refractive error, the result is claimed to be a sharper image. However, a second effect may appear at the common bridge between each two adjacent holes, whereby two different rays of light coming from the same object (but each passing through a different hole) are diffracted back toward the eye and onto different places on the retina. This leads to double vision (objects having doubled edges) around the rim of each hole the eye is not focussing on, which can make the overall image disturbing and tiring to look at for prolonged periods of time.[citation needed]
Unlike conventional prescription glasses, pinhole glasses produce an image without the pincushion effect around the edges (which makes straight lines appear curved). While pinhole glasses are claimed to be useful for people who are both near- and far-sighted, they are not recommended for people with over 6 diopters of myopia. Additionally, pinhole glasses reduce brightness and peripheral vision,[1][2] and thus should not be used for driving or when operating machinery.[3]
Merchants state that after prolonged use, the plastic grating should become easy to ignore. However, each time the user blinks, the horizontal lines of the grating will briefly appear to be thicker. This is because the eyelid moving over the pupil will reduce the amount of light falling onto the retina and thus will briefly remove the lateral inhibition effect which normally makes all the holes appear bigger (and the grating appear thinner). So, as long as the user keeps blinking, they will be constantly reminded of the dark grating covering their eyes.
Pinhole glasses have been marketed by various companies on the claim that'--combined with certain eye exercises'--they could permanently improve eyesight. Skeptics argue that no scientific evidence has been found to support them. Due to a lack of formal clinical studies to substantiate this type of claim by companies selling pinhole glasses, this type of claim is no longer allowed to be made in the United States under the terms of a legal settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.[4]
The pinhole occluder, a device used by ophthalmologists and optometrists for diagnosis of refractive errors, works on the same principles, but is not intended for use outside of diagnosis.
As viewing through a pinhole can much improve clarity of vision of people with refractive error, in an emergency a clear view can sometimes be obtained by looking through a single improvised pinhole.
Two Minutes Hate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:43
The Two Minutes Hate, from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, is a daily period in which Party members of the society of Oceania must watch a film depicting the Party's enemies (notably Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers) and express their hatred for them for exactly two minutes.
Details from Nineteen Eighty-FourEditThe film and its accompanying auditory and visual cues (which include a grinding noise that Orwell describes as "of some monstrous machine running without oil") are a form of brainwashing to Party members, attempting to whip them into a frenzy of hatred and loathing for Emmanuel Goldstein and the current enemy superstate. Apparently, it is not uncommon for those caught up in the hate to physically assault or throw things at the telescreen, as Julia does during the scene.
The film becomes more surreal as it progresses, with Goldstein's face morphing into a sheep as enemy soldiers advance on the viewers, before one such soldier charges at the screen, submachine gun blazing. He morphs, finally, into the face of Big Brother at the end of the two minutes. At the end, the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted viewers chant "B-B!...B-B!" over and over again, ritualistically.
Within the book, the purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is said to satisfy the citizens' subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a wretched, controlled existence. By re-directing these subconscious feelings away from the Oceanian government and toward external enemies (which probably do not even exist), the Party minimises subversive thought and behaviour.
In the first Two Minutes Hate of the book, the audience is introduced to Inner Party member and key character O'Brien. Within the novel, hate week is an extrapolation of the two-minute period into an annual week-long festival.
Origins of the termEditOrwell did not invent the idea behind the term "two minutes hate"; it was already in use in the First World War.[1] At that time, British writers satirised the German campaign of hatred against the English, and imagined a Prussian family sitting around the kitchen table having its "morning hate".[2]
In addition, short daily artillery bombardments made by either side during the First World War, and aimed at disrupting enemy routines, were known as "hates":
The evening of this same inspection was one of the few occasions on which Pommier was bombarded. A sudden two minutes' 'hate' of about 40 shells, 4.2 and 5.9, wounded three men and killed both the C.O.'s horses, 'Silvertail' and 'Baby'
'--'‰A record of 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, T.F., during the First World War, 1914''1918[1]ReferencesEdit
Here's why I'm terrified of Donald Trump | Opinion | The Guardian
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:32
I'm a Muslim AmericanDonald Trump is a demagogue who has created an environment of acceptable bigotry against American Muslims with absolutely no accountability from his party or the mainstream media.
His false claims, like the ludicrous idea that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11, are extremely dangerous. History has taught us that there are extreme consequences if we don't address the threat he poses immediately and unite against hate. His outlandish, illegal and immoral proposed policies '' like banning Muslims from entering the US and building a wall to keep then out '' inspires vigilantism among his supporters aimed at communities of color, including Muslims.
This is particularly concerning in a moment when we are seeing a spike in hate crimes against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, vandalism against mosques and assaults on women who wear the hijab.
You know what scares me more than Donald Trump, though? It's the silent majority. He has empowered people to openly express hateful and bigoted behavior that in some cases has turned violent '' and that's the most dangerous thing of all.
Linda Sarsour
I'm a womanAll of the Republican candidates running for president would be terrible for women's rights, but Donald Trump seems to take particular joy in disparaging women - or as he likes to call us: slobs, fat, pigs or dogs.
Since Trump has no political experience to speak of, we can't look at past policies on women, we only have his words to guide us. And those words paint a disturbing picture of deep hatred for women.
Trump has called a woman ''disgusting'' for breastfeeding, said he would like to date his daughter if they weren't related, disparaged an opponent by calling him a ''pussy'', noted in New York magazine that you should treat women ''like shit'', and suggested that a female debate moderator who was tough on him must have been menstruating. He would later call his same woman a ''bimbo''. This is also a man who has sexually harassed a woman on air, blamed rape in the military on the fact that men and women serve together, is anti-choice, has been accused of sexual assault by two women, and was the longtime owner of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants '' some of the most retrograde sexist contests imaginable.
We don't need Trump to have a political background to give us clues about how dangerous he'd be for women '' he's already told us, again and again.
Jessica Valenti
I'm an African AmericanDonald Trump is a mouthpiece for the unsavory, racist, xenophobic notions of the mob that supports him. He retweets white supremacists. He's loathe to disavow the KKK. Reports and of these rallies shows that he gives permission to them to express their racial animus. And it's terrifying.
Cable news media's attempts to be fair and balanced normalizes his extreme nativist views, and people act them out. Last week, a white man in Milwaukee shot three of his neighbors after learning at least one of them was from Puerto Rico. An Illinois cop allegedly participated in a stabbing of a young Arab American teen in California. It doesn't matter at this point if Trump wins or loses, the damage is done.
The portion of white Americans who support Trump are emboldened. The climate this creates for white American extremism and violence is the threat. Trump's candidacy and his supporters are manifestations of white supremacy fighting back against a coming sea change in the demographics of this nation. I don't know what I fear more at this point: the potential of a Trump presidency, or the fevered violence of the mob following his lead.
Syreeta McFadden
I'm a journalistOne can only imagine what press freedom will look like under President Trump. In just the past two weeks, Trump has referred to the press corps covering him as ''lying, thieving reporters'', a Trump official threatened to have a columnist arrested if he left the ''press pen'' in which their campaign regularly corrals reporters, and a photographer got choke-slammed at one of his rallies.
Trump's disdain for the first amendment is nothing new '' in various ways, he has shown contempt for virtually every major clause, whether it's freedom of the press, assembly and religion. But every day he seems to find new ways to shock and disturb: on Monday he said every person who protests against him should be arrested, because an ''arrest mark'' would ''ruin the rest of their lives''.
Maybe our only hope if he becomes president is that his understanding of first amendment law is startlingly dumb. He complained his free speech rights were being violated by citizens exercising their own rights, and once even declared that Univision, a private company, was violating the first amendment for cancelling his Miss Universe broadcast.
He's threatened to sue various newspapers over a story he didn't like so many times, it's hard to count. Because media organizations don't normally comply with his censorious demands, he's also claimed he's going to ''open up'' libel laws in this country when he's president.
Unbeknownst to Trump, there is no federal libel law from him to repeal, unless you count the first amendment itself. But if his recent actions are any indication, he's won't let the pesky Bill of Rights get in his way.
Trevor Timm
I'm a Mexican AmericanWe Mexican Americans have been the unwilling victims of Donald Trump's campaign since day one. People felt more comfortable laughing him off back then. But for us, he has never been a joke.
His strategy hasn't changed: tap into pre-existing racism, amp it up with rhetoric, with promises of mass deportations and a huge wall, and then redirect that energy to his campaign. It is working remarkably well.
Fewer people are amused now than they were when Trump first entered the race. But my thoughts are the same. I think of my undocumented friends. I imagine life without them. I worry for them. I think of my brown-skinned family, of my mother and of my abuelos, and I imagine what might happen to them if Donald Trump wins.
America already has plenty of mass removals under its belt. America today commits violent raids against Central American refugees. America has passed ''show me your papers'' laws before. What would prevent President Trump from carrying out the policies he's promised?
Tensions continue to rise. What happened in Chicago shows we are reaching a tipping point. I suspect more unrest in the weeks to come. But for us Mexican Americans, for us Latinos, this tension has been a constant. We are angry. We are afraid.
John Paul Brammer
OPEC-Russia Meeting Set For April With Or Without Iran |
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:16
OPEC and Russia are pushing ahead with a planned meeting to discuss a production freeze, and have agreed to meet in Doha on April 17.
Qatar is billing the meeting as the ''Doha Initiative,'' an arrangement that it says has ''put a floor under the oil price'' and is largely responsible for the 40 percent rally in prices since early February.
But the markets have also soured a bit on the potential effects of production freeze.
Related: Putin's Dilemma: To Sell Or To Nationalize Oil Assets
The parties had been debating for several weeks, unable to even come to an agreement on where and when to meet. It was Iran's determination not to participate, however, that has deflated a lot of enthusiasm around the OPEC-Russia production freeze. Iran has insisted that it will not limit its output until it brings back oil exports to its pre-sanctions level, which means adding another 1 million barrels per day to its current production levels. With the rest of the major oil-producing countries set to participate in the Doha Initiative at or near their production maximums, freezing output will likely have little material impact on global supplies. Oil prices have recently fallen back from $40 per barrel, a level reached in early March.
Still, it appears that OPEC will push ahead with the April 17 meeting without Iran. Speaking on Iran's absence, one OPEC source told Reuters that the talks can still achieve something. "You can't ignore all other oil producers. The meeting is likely to go ahead," the source said. "We will not just meet for the sake of meeting."
Related: Oil Up As Saudis Mull Production Freeze Without Iran
Separately, OPEC produced its March Oil Market Report, which showed a slight contraction in output, largely led by supply disruptions in Iraq, Nigeria and the UAE. Those three countries combined for a loss of between 350,000 and 400,000 barrels per day, a total that was offset somewhat by gains in production from Iran of nearly 200,000 barrels per day.
Oman, another Middle Eastern oil producer but not a member of OPEC, also announced an uptick in production. Oman's production jumped by more than 12 percent from January to February, topping 1 million barrels per day, nearly all of which was exported. Oman was one of the few non-OPEC countries '' in addition to Russia '' that had expressed some willingness to work with OPEC to stabilize oil markets.
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The Rationale Behind Russia's Withdrawal From Syria | naked capitalism
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:15
By Robert Berke, an energy financial analyst with experience as a government consultant to the State of Alaska. Originally published at OilPrice
As reported around the world, Russia's decision to greatly reduce its military presence in Syria, coming as it did with little warning, has left the world struggling for explanations.
After having rescued the Syrian Government's position in Syria from certain defeat and securing a partial truce along with the onset of an imminent peace conference, the partial withdrawal is seen by many as a message to the Assad government to not take Russia's military aid for granted, and to be more flexible in the upcoming peace negotiations.
If we assume that all wars are essentially trade wars grown large, and in the Middle East, they almost always involve energy, then the Russian gambit in Syria can be viewed from a different perspective. Russia's economy is currently in recession, partly as a result of western sanctions, but much more seriously hurt by the crashing of energy prices.
Russia's warming relations with Saudi Arabia has helped to bring about an OPEC-Russian sponsored freeze in oil production, with only Iran refusing to comply. With the Syrian withdrawal, Russia has tempered a major political feud with the Saudis over Russia's support for Assad, a move that at once increases the prospects for a Russian-Saudi agreement on oil production cutbacks.
There are also many who think that Russia is also increasing pressure on its allies to be more flexible, not only in peace talks but also oil production cuts. With the withdrawal of the Russian protective air shield, Iran and Hezbollah's ground forces in Syria are suddenly exposed to the threat of Saudi and Turkish air attacks. Will the threat of a looming military catastrophe in Syria force Iran to comply with production cuts?
Many oil insiders believe that after decades of punishing western sanctions, Iran's oil industry is in no condition to meet its avowed quota for production, so that an agreement on cuts might cause little sacrifice.
Russia's actions may well have staved off other threats to its business. Recall that Robert Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the slain U.S. President, recently published an article in Sputnik, claiming that the major reason for the west's attempt to overthrow the Assad government was to build a natural gas pipeline from Qatar that traversed Syria, capturing its newly discovered offshore reserves, and continued on through Turkey to the EU, as a major competitor to Russia's Gazprom.
By re-establishing the Assad government in Syria, and permanently placing its forces at Syrian bases, the Russian's have placed an impenetrable obstacle to the development of the Qatar gas pipeline. Russia has also placed itself at the nexus point of other new offshore gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.
It's not hard to imagine a new Russian pipeline to Europe serving these new partners. Could easing of sanctions also lead to the implementation of the long-stalled plans of Gazprom for a second pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany for Russia and its partners, Royal Dutch Shell, Germany's E.ON, and Austria's OMV?
If so, we can be assured that the U.S. will be in fierce opposition to any such plans. As George Friedman, founder of Stratfor has stated, the American's worst European nightmare is an alliance between Germany and Russia.
The timing of the Russian withdrawal could not be more fortuitous, as it occurs at the very pinnacle of the European refugee crisis, a crisis that was caused by Europe's backing of the Saudi-Turkish attempt to overthrow Assad. For the first time in four years, the truce in Syria offers respite for Syrian refugees, fleeing from constant bombardment and attacks, and raises prospects for increasing security within their homeland.
Is this part of the Russian Syrian gambit? Is Russia gambling on receiving some modicum of European gratitude for helping to stem the flight of refugees to its borders, with the pay-off in terms of easing sanction and enabling its long stalled pipeline projects to be completed.
No, Putin could not possibly be so calculating, could he?
The Law is Clear: The FBI Cannot Make Apple Rewrite its OS '-- Backchannel '-- Medium
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:09
The Law is Clear: The FBI Cannot Make Apple Rewrite its OSBarack Obama has a fine legal mind. But he may not have been using it when he talked about encryption last week.
Every once in a while, President Obama removes his Law Professor in Chief hat and puts on his I Get Terrifying Briefings Every Day hat. Last week at SXSW, as he delivered general remarks about the encryption debate, he tried to sound reasonable and professorial: ''We recognize that just like our other rights'Š'--'Šfreedom of speech, freedom of religion, et cetera'Š'--'Šthat there are going to be some constraints that we impose in order to make sure that we are safe, secure, and, uh, living in a civilized society,'' he said, repeatedly making an embracing gesture with his palms. Symbolically keeping us safe, encircling us with his hands, the father of Malia and Sasha blinked a bit rapidly as he said this.
The president must have known that the FBI was on shaky legal ground when he spoke in Austin this past week. But he had clearly decided well before getting on stage that he would side with the people telling him that the world is an increasingly terrifying place. Law would have to give way.
''I am way on the civil-liberties side of this [government surveillance] thing,'' he said later, sucking in his lips and looking away from his interviewer into the middle distance, showing both that he was thinking about the problem and a little uncertain. ''I anguish a lot over the decisions we make.'' He cautioned the large audience listening not to be ''absolutist,'' reminding us that ''the dangers are real.''
The problem for the president is that when it comes to the specific battle going on right now between Apple and the FBI, the law is clear: twenty years ago, Congress passed a statute, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) that does not allow the government to tell manufacturers how to design or configure a phone or software used by that phone'Š'--'Šincluding security software used by that phone.
CALEA was the subject of intense negotiation'Š'--'Ša deal, in other words. The government won an extensive, specific list of wiretapping assistance requirements in connection with digital communications. But in exchange, in Section 1002 of that act, the Feds gave up authority to ''require any specific design of equipment, facilities, services, features or system configurations'' from any phone manufacturer. The government can't require companies that build phones to come to it for clearance in advance of launching a new device. Nor can the authorities ask a manufacturer to design something new'Š'--'Šlike a back door'Š'--'Šonce that device is out.
Today's FBI doesn't like that deal. So it is pointing emphatically and somewhat emotionally to a different statute, the All Writs Act. The FBI says that once law enforcement has a search warrant in its hand, the AWA gives a court basically unlimited power to get anyone to do whatever it wants.
The FBI has been terrific at reading statutes'Š'--'Šincluding CALEA'Š'--'Šin ways that require the rest of us to do headstands to understand what the agency is up to. Their claim about CALEA in their latest brief in the Apple case is a shining example of just this kind of breathless, vertiginous, Alice-in-Wonderland assertion: CALEA, they say, limited only law enforcement's authority to directly require companies to redesign devices and software. But once law enforcement is authorized by a court to do a search'Š'--'Šgiven a search warrant, in other words'Š'--'Šthen (under the AWA) an FBI official can ask the court to do what law enforcement is prohibited from doing directly under section 1002 of CALEA.
Got it? Right, I don't either. As the well-respected lawyer Albert Gidari carefully explains in a recent blog post, this is a weirdly circular argument that ignores the specific limitation Congress enacted to remove the government from the business of dictating the design of phones or software. No gaps; no interpretive sunlight: CALEA stops the government from doing what it wants to do to Apple.
So if the FBI wants to change the deal, it has to go back to Congress. But it doesn't want to, and the DOJ is pushing very hard to get courts to agree with its confabulatory view of the world. Planes will fall from the sky! People will die! Those are the kinds of arguments the FBI and the DOJ are undoubtedly making internally, appealing to everyone's well-justified fear in a repeated drumbeat of low-voiced indefatigable briefings. Now they've chosen their legal vehicle and they're ginning up public pressure on tech companies. It's quite a campaign.
I personally have no doubt that the narrow issue under consideration in the Apple case is just the first step of an inexorable, air-of-inevitability push to invest the DOJ with tech design authority.
The president'Š'--'Šour Law Professor in Chief'Š'--'Šhas to know the DOJ is on shaky ground. He's probably got this rule of statutory construction rolling around in his mind as he watches college basketball this week: Specific statutes trump general ones. Generalia specialibus non derogant.
Nonetheless, the president has chosen his I Get Terrifying Briefings Every Day hat. It's understandable. Who will blame him for protecting us? He's worried about something awful happening. It's just that increasingly hard-to-hear rule of law alarm bell going off again.
Susan Crawford, Backchannel's tech policy columnist, is a professor at Harvard Law School. In 2009, she served as President Barack Obama's Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy.
Photographs via Getty Images.
Salmon Full of Cocaine and Antidepressants? Study Finds Puget Sound Fish Full of Drugs
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 06:07
No wonder they swim upstream.
Researchers found cocaine, Advil, Prozac, Lipitor, Benadryl and dozens of other drugs in the tissue of juvenile chinook salmon caught in the Puget Sound in September 2014, the Seattle Times reported in February. The salmon likely picked up the drugs from wastewater in the area that's a "[cocktail] of 81 drugs," as the Seattle Times put it.
Read more: Scientists in Chile Just Turned a Chicken Into a Half-Dinosaur. Welcome to 2016.
Source: Bellingham Herald/Getty ImagesOther drugs found in the wastewater include (but aren't limited to): Aleve, Flonase, Paxil, Tylenol, Tagamet, Valium, Zoloft, Darvon, OxyContin, caffeine, nicotine fungicides, antiseptics, anticoagulants, Cipro and other "antibiotics galore," the Seattle Times reported.
Sounds like one hell of a ride for the salmon.
"The concentrations in effluent [sewage water] were higher than we expected," Jim Meador, an environmental toxicologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a lead author of the study of the contaminants found in the Puget, told the Seattle Times. "We analyzed samples for 150 compounds and we had 61% of them detected in effluent. So we know these are going into the estuaries."
The drugs found likely won't affect human health, Meador said, because juvenile chinook salmon or sculpin, another fish in the Sound that tested positive for drugs.
There are 106 wastewater treatment plants in the Puget Sound that empty to local water, the Seattle Times reported. While the treatment plant system is "doing its best" to decontaminate the water, Betsy Cooper, permit administrator for King County's Wastewater Treatment Division, told the Seattle Times "not everything goes away." Ongoing research being conducted at the facilities will hopefully help the team understand how to rid the water of these chemicals.
Pilot 'draws' huge aircraft outline using GPS flight data over Germany | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 06:02
Artistic pilot was behind the controls of a single-engined plane on SaturdayThe enormous image of a plane was sketched in the air near BremerhavenGerman pilot returned an hour later to sign his or her initials at 2,350ftBy Georgia Diebelius For Mailonline
Published: 12:56 EST, 14 March 2016 | Updated: 13:46 EST, 14 March 2016
A German pilot took to the skies and created an impressive plane outline using GPS flight data - then returned later on to sign it.
The artistic pilot was behind the controls of a single-engined plane when he or she 'drew' the double propeller image on a flight path over Germany on Saturday.
Screen grabs of the impressive flight path have already been shared more than 300 times after they were shared by a flight-tracking website.
A private pilot flying a small Robin DR-400/180 Regent sketched the enormous image in the air near Bremerhaven
The four-seater flew towards its destination - Heligoland in Germany - when it suddenly made a sharp left turn and began to draw the large aircraft at 3,500ft
The private pilot of the small Robin DR-400/180 Regent sketched the enormous image, captured on FlightRadar in the air near Bremerhaven.
It appeared to be a standard flight as the German plane departed from Hamburg shortly after 12.35pm local time.
The four-seater flew towards its destination - Heligoland in Germany - when it suddenly made a sharp left turn and began to draw the large aircraft at 3,500ft.
After creating the masterpiece, the pilot made their way towards the final destination and landed at 1.52pm local time - but was not done yet.
Taking off again at 2.40pm, the private pilot made their way back towards Hamburg and made sure to sign his or her initials along the way.
Taking off again at 2.40pm, the private pilot made their way back towards Hamburg and made sure to sign his or her initials along the way
During a 23-minute long flight on Wednesday, the same anonymous pilot drew a heart at 2,350ft before returning to Hamburg airport
The artistic sky GPS flight data drawings follow a previous sketch done by the same pilot on Wednesday.
During a 23-minute long flight, the anonymous pilot drew a heart at 2,350ft before returning to Hamburg airport.
MailOnline Travel previously covered an inflight artist in 2015, who clearly had time on his hands and may have produced the lewdest image ever using GPS flight data.
The pilot was behind the controls of a single-engine plane when he 'drew' a naughty image on a flight path over central Florida in March.
The pilot of a small plane 'drew' a lewd image in the air over central Florida using GPS flight data
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Anonymous hackers disagree over 'total war' on Trump
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 05:55
Anonymous declaring "total war" on presidential candidate Donald Trump is starting to reveal in-fighting within the hacker collective itself.
"Recently, Operation Trump has been re-engaged. We are here to terminate it and to banish it from the internet," reads a new statement from a hacker associated with the group, posted to YouTube on Wednesday.
The release comes fewer than 10 days after another Anon declared "total war" on Trump, renewing a call to attack the Republican front-runner that began in December.
It's a strange twist from what the shadowy hacker group has done in the past, in that there are now dueling statements and mixed messages going public. While there is no central leadership, Anons often loosely coordinate hacks and rally together, whether they were going after the Church of Scientology or helping to support Arab Spring protesters.
Now there are some calling to take down Trump's websites, while others openly criticize the operation as being irresponsible and "cringeworthy."
Cracks in the armorSo what's the problem here? Why isn't everyone rallying around the idea of attacking Trump?
While anyone can simply say they are "Anonymous" since there is no initiation or hierarchy, the group does have some loose rules most follow. And the collective's initial organization sprang from the anything-goes 4chan message boards, so most Anons champion freedom of speech.
But that seems to be an issue for some who may disagree with Trump but don't think he should be censored.
"Don't you think Trump has the right to speak his mind as everyone else," one user asked in the #OpTrump chatroom on Wednesday. "Even if its right wing?"
One Anon responded that Trump was causing a "resurgence of racism and unrest," while others compared the candidate to Hitler.
REUTERS/Chris KeaneU.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to supporters as he arrives to a campaign event in Radford, Virginia February 29, 2016.
Meanwhile, others within the group were opposing the operation on the grounds that it would ultimately prove ineffective.
That's mainly because the video announcing "total war" on Trump basically boiled down to calling for distributed denial-of-service attacks '-- a simple way of harnessing multiple computers to flood a website with data '-- against Trump sites, to begin on April 1.
Almost immediately, some members were openly criticizing "#OpTrump" on Twitter. "DDoS is not hacking," tweeted one prominent Anon account, @YourAnonNews. The account also called the initial posting "the most cringeworthy video within Anonymous."
Some others in the Anonymous chatroom agreed: "You cant destroy Trump by DDoSing. Only by leaking info no one should know about him and I don't think we can do it."
Beemsee, the hacker who is trying to rally others to #OpTrump, conceded the point in an updated release, writing that taking down sites would give them publicity. "We know they are not the best way to directly attack Donald Trump."
So what happens on April 1st?While the initial pitch asks followers to wait until April 1st to start flooding Trump's websites with traffic, some were already getting ahead of schedule. One Anon briefly took down the website on Wednesday, amid open talk of finding vulnerabilities on various sites in the group's chatroom.
Others were filling shared documents with web addresses to target. But the new release calls for the operation to be "terminated." Whether that dissuades the collective remains to be seen.
"We call upon the public and the entire anonymous collective to redirect in protesting the system, not just one candidate. We also ask the collective and lone wolf hackers to stray away from the planned attack on Trump's website this upcoming April 1st. Not only will this operation endanger the collective, it will prove nothing. There is enough information via the web to prove Trump's incapacity to become president."
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Read the original article on Tech Insider. Follow Tech Insider on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2016.
Did Hillary Clinton start the Obama birther movement? | PolitiFact
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:29
"The birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in!"
'-- Donald Trump on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 in a tweet
On April 27, 2011, the White House released President Barack Obama's long form birth certificate.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sent this tweet about Hillary Clinton. (Screengrab)Call it ricochet politics. First, a questioner at a New Hampshire rally for Donald Trump repeats the lie that President Barack Obama is a Muslim. Trump fails to correct him and faces a round of questions as to why he didn't. Then the host of NBC's Meet the Press asks Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson if it would be okay to have a Muslim president and Carson said, "I absolutely would not agree with that."
This prompts Hillary Clinton to tweet, "Can a Muslim be President of the United States of America? In a word: Yes. Now let's move on."
Then Trump responds with a tweet of his own. "Just remember, the birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in!"
The birther movement refers to the long-running myth that Obama was not born in the United States and thus, under the Constitution, could not be president. Trump promoted this belief avidly for several years with anyone who would listen. This week, Trump told Late Showhost Stephen Colbert that he doesn't "talk about it anymore."
Did Clinton not just start the birther movement but back it wholeheartedly by being "all in"?
The paper trail
The allegation about Obama's birthplace tracks back to the bruising 2008 Democratic primary between Obama and Clinton. According to a Telegraph article, as early as April 2008, a Clinton supporter passed around an email that questioned where Obama was born.
"Barack Obama's mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy," it said. "She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth."
The cry that Obama was not a legitimate candidate grew much louder in June 2008.
On June 7, 2008, Clinton conceded and called for all Democrats to rally behind Obama. Some in her party did not care to listen. By June 10, 2008, opponents to Obama were posting on a website called PUMA stood for Party Unity My Ass. The website encouraged frustrated Clinton supporters to back the Republican nominee.
John Avlon, editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast, explored the roots of the birther movement in his book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America. Avlon described a posting on the PUMA website with the heading "Obama May Be Illegal to Be Elected President!" He wrote that a Clinton volunteer in Texas, Linda Starr, played a key role in spreading the rumor.
Starr connected with Pennsylvania attorney Philip Berg in August and Berg followed up by suing in federal court to block Obama's nomination. The suit was thrown out repeatedly on the grounds that Berg lacked standing and the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately refused to hear his appeal.
There is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States. A review by our fellow fact-checkers at reported that no journalist who investigated this ever found a connection to anyone in the Clinton organization.
Clinton, herself, answered this very accusation after Trump's tweet during an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. Lemon asked Clinton if she started smear campaigns that Obama was born outside the United States.
"That is '' no. That is so ludicrous, Don. You know, honestly, I just believe that, first of all, it's totally untrue, and secondly, you know, the president and I have never had any kind of confrontation like that," Clinton said. "You know, I have been blamed for nearly everything, that was a new one to me."
We should note that the birther rumor is distinct from the myth about Obama's religion, which is what got the ball rolling at the Trump event in New Hampshire.
Our ruling
Trump said that Clinton started the birther movement and "was all in."
It's an interesting bit of history that the birther movement appears to have begun with Democrats supporting Clinton and opposing Obama. But Trump, and others who have made this claim, neglect to mention that there is no direct tie to Clinton or her 2008 campaign.
The story appears to have started with supporters of Clinton, an important distinction.
Trump goes on to completely distort the chain of events by claiming Clinton "was all in" on the birther movement. Most of the talk started after Clinton suspended her presidential campaign. And the only thing she officially has ever done is deny any accusation of starting a whisper campaign.
We rate this claim False.
Birther row began with Hillary Clinton - Telegraph
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:28
''Barack Obama's mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy,'' it said. ''She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth.'' Then in August 2008 Phil Berg, an ex-deputy attorney general for Pennsylvania and a renowned conspiracy theorist, filed a lawsuit alleging that Mr Obama was ineligible to be a candidate.
''Obama carries multiple citizenships and is ineligible to run for President of the United States. United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1,'' it said.
By then, the Obama campaign had posted a copy of his ''certificate of live birth'' '-- a shorter version of the birth certificate, which is accepted as proof of birth from applicants for a US passport.
But the fact it was not the full, original certificate '-- and that the campaign failed to show the serial number and other details in their scan '-- meant that the conspiracy theorists were unbowed.
The director of the Hawaii health department stated that she had seen the full certificate and that it was all in order. Entries from the birth records sections of two local newspapers from the time were found.
Yet still some were unconvinced, explaining away this extra evidence, and demanding to see the full certificate, which Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital said it could not release.
After Mr Obama's election victory and inauguration, the conspiracy theory survived, albeit quietly. Crudely fake Kenyan birth certificates purporting to prove it were circulated, and more lawsuits about Mr Obama's birth were filed.
It was not until last month, and the emergence of the property tycoon Donald Trump as a potential Republican presidential candidate, that the issue was thrust back into national prominence.
Mr Trump outed himself as a ''birther'' in an interview on his private jet on March 17. ''The reason I have a little doubt '-- just a little '-- is because he grew up and nobody knew him,'' he told ABC News.
Over the following weeks, Mr Trump reiterated his comments repeatedly. He added a string of further allegations, including that Mr Obama's grandmother had recalled witnessing his birth in Kenya, which were simply not true.
While insisting that the media was forcing him to talk about the subject, Mr Trump eventually resurrected the demand for Mr Obama to produce his full birth certificate.
Last week a poll suggested almost half of Republican voters believed the president was not born in the US. It appears to have convinced the White House that it was time to act.
Anti-Trump Groups Threaten 'Largest Civil Disobedience Action of the Century' - Breitbart
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 01:26
They intend to march across the East Coast in order to spark a ''fire that transforms the political climate in America.''
The operation, calling itself Democracy Spring, is threatening ''drama in Washington'' with the ''largest civil disobedience action of the century.'' The radicals believe this will result in the arrest of thousands of their own activists.
''We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won't leave until they do '-- or until they send thousands of us to jail,'' the website for Democracy Spring declares, channeling rhetoric from the Occupy movement.
The group is backed by numerous organizations, including the George Soros-funded groups, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Demos.
The pro-Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been playing a prominent role in organizing anti-Trump activism, including last weekend's shutdown of the billionaire's rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.
Another group endorsing Democracy Spring is the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The DSA's Chicago branch drove protesters to last weekend's nixed Chicago Trump event, as this reporter exposed.
The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, announced in a press release earlier this month it is ''all in behind Democracy Spring,'' perhaps indicating significant mobilization.
Next month's Democracy Spring chaos is set to begin with a meetup on April 2 at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
''Then, in the spirit of Granny D, the Selma to Montgomery marchers, Cesar Chavez and the farmworker pilgrimage, and others who walked for freedom, we will set out on a 10 day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to the Nation's Capitol,'' states the website.
In Washington DC, Democracy Spring expects ''thousands of Americans'' to engage in a ''sit-in on the Capitol building in Washington DC in what will be the largest civil disobedience action of the century.''
What do the radicals claim to want?
Despite the fact that many of the main groups endorsing Democracy Spring are funded by billionaire Soros, the group complains that ''American elections are dominated by billionaires and big money interests who can spend unlimited sums of money on political campaigns to protect their special interests at the general expense.''
But if the status quo goes unchallenged, the 2016 election '-- already set to be the most billionaire-dominated, secret money-drenched, voter suppression-marred contest in modern American history '-- will likely yield a President and a Congress more bound to the masters of big money than ever before.
The stage is set for a bold intervention to turn the tinder of passive public frustration into a fire that transforms the political climate in America, that sparks a popular movement that can't be stopped.
The group continues:
We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won't leave until they do '-- or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.
The leaders of the group have already held training sessions, the website says. Democracy Spring states it is requiring ''mandatory nonviolent civil disobedience trainings twice a day for those risking arrest from April 11th-16th.''
For those arrested, the group says it has already secured the legal aid of an unnamed lawyer ''with decades of experience with civil disobedience cases.''
''He is leading a team of pro-bono lawyers who will provide legal counsel and representation for all participants who risk arrest as part of this campaign,'' the website continues.
Democracy Spring is threatening ''drama in Washington'' that cannot be ignored: ''With hundreds of patriotic Americans being sent to jail, day after day for at least a week '-- simply for sitting in to save our democracy '-- the drama in Washington will rock the business-as-usual cycle of this election and catapult this critical issue on to center stage.''
The group says that it is not plotting violence.
The website posts the following rules for those engaging in civil disobedience:
We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any person.
We will maintain an attitude of openness and respect toward all we encounter in our actions.
We will not destroy or damage any property.
We will carry no weapons or any means of physical defense, including shields.
We will not wear masks or otherwise conceal our faces or identities.
We will exercise personal and collective responsibility to ensure that all participants adhere to this agreement.
Despite the involvement of groups active in opposing Trump, Democracy Spring's website does not mention Trump by name.
In December, Kai Newkirk, campaign director of Democracy Spring, interrupted Trump at a CNN-hosted GOP debate, saying, ''The American people deserve free and fair elections, not billionaire auctions.''
It remains to be seen how many people will actually turn up for Democracy Spring's planned revolution. So far, the group only has 1,653 Twitter followers, while their Facebook page boasts 4,778 followers. The group sent out three Facebook invitations for next month's events, garnering only 57 guests for Sit-In Day 1, 11 guests for Day 2, and 5 guests for Day 3.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, ''Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.'' Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Lightning strikes Trump Tower in Chicago as polls close in Illinois - The Washington Post
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 01:25
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PBS News Story on First-Time Trump Voters Prominently Displays Longtime White Power Tattoos
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:43
Still: PBSLast night, PBS NewsHour ran a story on the Tilly family of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Tillys do not have a history of being active in politics, but various members of the family'--both old and young'--are being motivated to vote or work for a campaign for the first time by Donald Trump.
If you can put aside the fact that the Tillys are rallying behind Trump, this is a small but almost heartwarming story of a family choosing to engage with democracy. That's also if you can put aside the fact that Grace, one of the central characters in the story, has large white power tattoos on each of her hands.
Above, you see Grace phone banking for Donald Trump, with the Celtic Cross tattoo on her right hand. Despite the tattoo being in plain view of PBS' cameras, the story never acknowledges that it is interviewing a walking white power billboard. The Anti-Defamation League explains that the Celtic Cross is one of the most ''commonly used white supremacist symbols.'' Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the ADL, tells me:
The Celtic Cross is an ancient and revered Christian symbol typically not associated with extremism at all. However, one particular version of the Celtic Cross'--a squarish cross with a thick circle intersecting with it (also known as Odin's Cross), has become one of the most popular white supremacist symbols around. In the past 20 years, its popularity has done little but grow, thanks to its use as the logo by Stormfront, the largest white supremacist website in the world.
In another shot, we see Grace's left hand, which bears the number 88:
Per the ADL's website, ''88 is a white supremacist numerical code for 'Heil Hitler.''' Finally, a connection has been made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump.
Pitcavage'--who noted that the ADL ''does not support or oppose any candidate for elective office'''--provided me with an example of these symbols in the wild:
Here is the beginning of the PBS story, which features both shots of Grace's tattoos:
Russian Warplanes Bomb Column of Terrorists Entering Syria from Turkey | Veterans Today
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:40
[Editor's Note: FARS is the only source on this today, but it mentions both Russian and Syrian planes involved, which seems to have been a display of their conducting joint operations on the day Russia was flying some planes out.
I have been wondering why we had not seen more of these column attacks while they were easier targets on the road versus letting them been deployed, dispersed and dug in. We shall have to see if there is confirmation on this in the next day, or maybe something they prefer to be a quieter message sent to Erdogan not to do this during the ceasefire.
This would be the closest thing to firing on the Turkish troops inside the Syrian border, or the artillery battalions shelling from over the border. Lavrov's major press statement today was on getting supplies from Turkey cut off, and he put that straight on Kerry's plate'... Jim W. Dean ]
The Russian Air Force tracked and targeted a long column of terrorists crossing Turkish border to join their comrades in Northern and Northwestern battlefields in Syria.
The terrorists, that were mainly Turkmen, were caught by the Russian Air Force's reconnaissance planes attempting to enter the Lattakia province from one of the Turkish border-crossings near Yayladagi.
Upon the entry of Jeish al-Turkmen and al-Nusra Front into Syria, the Russian air fleet struck their convoy of vehicles in the Furniluk Forests, ending in the rebel fighters scattering around the border in order to evade the powerful aerial assault.
When the Russian warplanes backed off, the Syrian Air Force launched their own airstrikes over the Furniluk Forests, keeping up the pressure on the trapped rebel fighters.
Meantime, the Syrian Army, the Syrian Resistance, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) carried out a ground assault on the final villages located before the Turkish border-crossing into the city of Yayladagi.
Currently, the Syrian Armed Forces are only 7.5 km away from the Turkish border-crossing at Yayladagi; however, 3 km of that distance is empty forests.
On Monday, the Syrian army advanced in the Northeastern part of Lattakia province and encircled a large number of terrorists in the key town of Kabani, leaving them with only one way out.
The Syrian soldiers and allies imposed full control over Hill 1154 at the Southwestern perimeter of Kabani after a violent battle with al-Nusra Front, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army's ''1st Coastal Brigade'' and ''Al-Ghaab Hawks Brigade''.
As a result of their success at Hill 1154 inside Jabal al-Akrad (Kurds Mountain), the Syrian Armed Forces were able to advance on Kabani from three different direction, leaving the extremists with only one outlet to retreat from this strategic town.
The military strategy used by the Syrian Armed Forces at Kabani is similar to that of their previous battles at Ghammam, Salma, Kinsibba, and Al-Rabi'ah, meaning they will surround the enemy combatants and leave only one road for the latter to use in order to retreat from the fight.
Full size Google of crossing (at top) and road into Latakia
Man charged in Kalamazoo shootings sues Uber
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 23:56
2 photos
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2016, file photo, Jason Dalton, of Kalamazoo Township, Mich., is arraigned via video before Judge Christopher T. Haenicke in Kalamazoo, Mich. Dalton who is accused of fatally shooting six people between driving passengers for Uber in Michigan is suing the ride-sharing company for $10 million. He filed a handwritten complaint Tuesday, March 15, 2016, against Uber, saying he\'s "in prison because of Uber," though he doesn\'t mention the shootings directly. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
DETROIT (AP) '-- A man who police say told investigators that "a devil figure" on Uber's app was controlling him when he allegedly killed six people in western Michigan is suing the ride-sharing company.
In his handwritten complaint filed Tuesday, Jason Dalton does not mention the shootings directly, but said: "I am currently in prison because of Uber." Dalton is accused of fatally shooting six people and wounding two others between picking up passengers for Uber in Kalamazoo on Feb. 20.
In his lawsuit, Dalton seeks $10 million from Uber. He claims that the company "ripped" him off and failed to pay him back wages and overtime. The 1½-page lawsuit was mailed to the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
"I busted my butt for them," Dalton wrote. "They gave me no Christmas bonus, I wasn't invited to any corporate parties, they made me work when I was sick and didn't let me spend time with my two children."
He continued: "My life is ruined because of Uber. My wife is divorcing me because of Uber."
The company said Dalton started working for Uber earlier this year.
"It's hard to know how to respond to someone who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions," Uber said in an emailed statement Wednesday. "Our hearts go out to the victims' families who have to live with the consequences of his terrible crimes."
Dalton is charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings at three separate locations.
According to documents police released Monday, Dalton told investigators that when he opened the Uber app, "a devil head popped up on his screen and when he pressed the button on the app, that is when all the problems started."
His attorney has not responded to requests for comment on his client's behalf.
Emails: Clinton sought secure smartphone, rebuffed by NSA
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 23:34
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Newly released emails show a 2009 request to issue a secure government smartphone to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was denied by the National Security Agency.
The messages made public Wednesday were obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal advocacy group that has filed numerous lawsuits seeking the release of federal documents related to Clinton's tenure as the nation's top diplomat.
The Democratic presidential front-runner has come under intense scrutiny for her decision to use a private email server located in the basement of her New York home to route messages, including some containing sensitive information. Security experts have raised concern the arrangement could have left the messages vulnerable to attack by hackers, including those working for foreign intelligence agencies.
Clinton's desire for a secure "Blackberry-like" device, like that provided to President Barack Obama, is recounted in a series of February 2009 exchanges between high-level officials at the State Department and NSA. Clinton was sworn in as secretary the prior month, and had become "hooked" on reading and answering emails on a Blackberry she used during the 2008 presidential race.
"We began examining options for (Secretary Clinton) with respect to secure 'Blackberry-like' communications," wrote Donald R. Reid, the department's assistant director for security infrastructure. "The current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State, and is very expensive."
Reid wrote that each time they asked NSA what solution they had worked up to provide a mobile device to Obama, "we were politely told to shut up and color."
Resolving the issue was given such priority as to result in a face-to-face meeting between Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills, seven senior State Department staffers with five NSA security experts. According to a summary of the meeting, the request was driven by Clinton's reliance on her Blackberry for email and keeping track of her calendar. Clinton chose not to use a laptop or desktop computer that could have provided her access to email in her office, according to the summary.
Standard smartphones are not allowed into areas designated as approved for the handling of classified information, such as the block of offices used by senior State Department officials, known by the nickname "Mahogany Row" for the quality of their paneling. Mills said that was inconvenient, because they had to leave their offices and retrieve their phones to check messages.
Mills also asked about waivers provided during the Bush administration to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her staff to use Blackberries in their secure offices. But the NSA had phased out such waivers due to security concerns.
The department's designated NSA liaison, whose name was redacted from the documents, expressed concerns about security vulnerabilities inherent with using Blackberry devices for secure communications or in secure areas. However, the specific reasons Clinton's requests were rebuffed are being kept secret by the State Department.
The following month, in March 2009, Clinton began using private email accounts accessed through her Blackberry to exchange messages with her top aides. The State Department has thus far released more than 52,000 pages of Clinton's work-related emails, a small percentage of which have been withheld because they contain information considered sensitive to national security.
In recent months, Clinton has said her home-based email setup was a mistake, but that she never sent or received anything that was marked classified at the time.
Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.
The FBI is investigating whether sensitive information that flowed through Clinton's email server was mishandled. The State Department has acknowledged that some emails included classified information, including at the top-secret level. The inspectors general at the State Department and for U.S. intelligence agencies are separately investigating whether rules or laws were broken.
There are currently at least 38 lawsuits, including on filed by The Associated Press, seeking records related to Clinton's service as Secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. On Tuesday, Judicial Watch filed a discovery motion in one of those cases seeking to question eight former State Department staffers under oath, including Mills and Reid. The judge overseeing the case indicated last month he was strongly considering allowing lawyers from the group to question Clinton's former aides.
"These documents show that Hillary Clinton knew her Blackberry wasn't secure," Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said Wednesday. "The FBI and prosecutors ought to be very interested in these new materials."
Follow Michael Biesecker on Twitter at
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 22:15
What is a 'Safe country of origin'?International Law (the Geneva Convention) and EU law (the Asylum Procedures Directive) consider a country safe when there is a democratic system and generally and consistently: ŽNo persecution Ž No torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment ŽNo threat of violence ŽNo armed conflictThe Copenhagen CriteriaWhen EU Member States decide to make a country a candidate for EU membership, they check they fulfill the 'Copenhagen criteria' of guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. Candidates for EU membership are thus usually 'safe'. No automatic rejectionsAny citizen has the right to apply for asylum. Applications will continue to be assessed on an individual, case-by-case basis. Strong safeguards, including the right to appeal, remain in place. Fighting abuses of EU and national asylum systemsAround 17% of the total number of applications lodged in the EU come from citizens of the 7 countries on the proposed list.Applications from nationals of countries on the Safe List will be fast-tracked, allowing for faster returns if the individual assessments of the applications confirm no right of asylum.This will: Žincrease the efficiency of asylum systems. Ž deter attempts to abuse the European Asylum System Ž allow Member States to devote greater resources to protection for persons in need AN EU 'SAFE COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN' LISTAn EU List:12 EU countries* already have national lists of safe countries of origin. The Commission is proposing one, common EU list designating as 'safe'.Albania: Ž7.8% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 8 Member States already designate as a safe country of origin ŽAn EU candidate countryBosnia and Herzegovina: Ž4.6% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 9 Member States already designate as a safe country of originThe Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Ž0.9% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 7 Member States already designate as a safe country of origin ŽAn EU candidate countryKosovo: Ž6.3% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 6 Member States already designate as a safe country of originMontenegro: Ž3% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 9 Member States already designate as a safe country of origin ŽAn EU candidate countrySerbia: Ž1.8% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 9 Member States already designate as a safe country of origin ŽAn EU candidate countryTurkey: Ž23.1% of applications were well-founded in 2014 Ž 1 Member State already designates as a safe country of origin ŽAn EU candidate country+ Others may be added in the future* Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.The Commission can suspend a country from the list immediately, in case of a sudden deterioration of the situation in that country whi\ch would mean it could no longer be considered 'safe'.
Current National ListsMember StateCountry considered as safeAustriaAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, EEA Countries/Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Ne\w ZealandBelgiumAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, IndiaBulgariaAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Armenia, Bangladesh, China, Georgia, India, TurkeyCzech RepublicAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, EEA Countries/Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Canada\, USA, Mongolia, Australia, New ZealandDenmarkAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, EFTA Countries, Moldova, Russian Federation, Canada, USA, Mongolia, Australia, Japan, New ZealandFranceAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mauritius, Senegal, Tanzania, Armenia, Georgia, India, MongoliaGermanyBosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Ghana, SenegalIrelandSouth AfricaLuxembourgAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Benin*, Cape Verde, Ghana*, SenegalMaltaEFTA Countries/Switzerland, Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Uruguay, USA, India, Australia, Japan, New ZealandSlovakiaMontenegro, EEA Countries/Switzerland, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychell\es, South Africa, Canada, USA, Australia, Japan, New ZealandUnited KingdomAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine, Gambia*, Ghana*, Kenya*, Liberia*, Malawi*, Mali, Mauritius*, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone\*, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador*, Jamaica, Peru, India, Mongolia, South Korea* Safe only for males
Turkey's bid for visa-free travel for its citizens to Europe could backfire | Middle East Eye
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 22:08
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu proudly told reporters of a "Kayseri-style bargaining" which he and his colleagues were engaged in at the EU-Turkey summit meeting on Monday this week. The inhabitants of Kayseri, a large thriving industrial city in central Turkey, have long been a byword for business cunning and acumen.
Was Turkey showing foresight when it abruptly upped its demands this week, doubling its request for EU aid from $3 billion to $6 billion, and insisting that Turkish citizens get the right to travel without visas in the Schengen area four months ahead of the previously agreed date set for October-November this year?
Perhaps. It certainly took the EU by surprise. ''The EU was not expecting our move,'' the prime minister declared. Some European governments are indeed already critical of the agreement because it came hot on the heels of news that the government had seized Zaman, one of Turkey's largest circulation dailies
On paper the Turkish government's tough tactics have got what it wanted and Davutoglu has been able to declare a victory. The European leaders '' pressed hard by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel - took 12 hours of tense discussion to reach agreement, but in the end they provisionally agreed to give Turkey what it was asking for. The agreement applies only to countries which are members of the Schengen common visa area: Turks will still require visas for the UK.
But if it turns out that Turkey overplayed its hand and demanded concessions that the EU countries will not be able to give, then the deal will look much less of a success in a few months and there is likely to be strong bad feeling on both sides.
Simmering grievanceThe disappointment in Turkey would be politically explosive. Seen from Turkey, easier travel for Turks in Europe looks like something to which the country's people are entitled, a long overdue normalisation of the Turkish-EU relationship, ensuring that Turks - citizens of a major regional economic and strategic power - have the same rights as citizens of other countries on the edge of Europe.
Ordinary people in Turkey have found it ever harder to travel easily inside the EU for the last quarter of a century. The restrictions affect business travellers, families, students, and officials, reinforcing the deep sense of psychological estrangement between Turkey and Europe and sometimes causing personal tragedies such as for example when cumbersome visa processes delay someone from seeing a dying relative.
Other non-EU European countries do not face such strong barriers. The EU announced on Wednesday that Georgians, citizens of a country whose links with the EU are much less long-standing than those of Turkey, will soon also enjoy the right to visa-free travel inside the Schengen zone. Unlike the Turks, the Georgians, possibly because they are a much smaller and predominantly Christian country, have not had to engage in tough political bargaining to obtain this privilege.
But question marks and uncertainties bristle around the visa deal struck by Davutoglu on Monday. EU governments across Europe, notably that of France, still seem to have serious reservations about easing visas in particular and a veto from any one of them could torpedo the proposal.
They will have to reckon with the fact that Turkey will work determinedly to complete its side of the agreement, almost certainly passing most of the 36 items of legislation still needed for the change by June. The prime minister has asked opposition parties to cooperate with the government in helping this and it is unlikely they will refuse.
Not all the requirements will be easy: it remains to be seen whether Ankara will also recognise the government of Cyprus, with which it has been locked in dispute since 1974. Though talks for a Cyprus settlement are going well, nobody imagines that there will be a full Cyprus peace agreement by June.
Misplaced EU suspicionMore fundamentally, Turkey's size and persisting historical antagonism towards it among public opinion in EU countries lead many right-wing politicians to oppose fiercely the idea of free movement by Turks inside the EU.
Turkey's population size '' currently around 78 million '' is one source of anxiety. Another is a strong element of cultural and historical prejudice in European public opinion: one Greek MEP even denounced Turks in the European Parliament yesterday as "dogs" and was promptly ejected from the session. But readers' comments below newspaper articles in European countries also display feelings towards the idea of Turkish migration which are not so very different.
The hostility rests on an out-of-date view of Turkey's society and economy. Industrialisation and economic development in Turkey over the last three decades have markedly reduced the disposition of the population in the West of the country to migrate in search of a better life. Indeed, before the refugees from the conflict in Syria began to flood the country four years ago and make an impact on the Turkish labour market, Turkey was actually the recipient of illegal migrant workers from abroad, from neighbouring countries including Bulgaria and Romania before they joined the European Union.
Opponents of allowing easier access to Europe for Turks point to more recent upheavals such as the fighting in south-eastern Anatolia between the government and Kurdish militants. The possibility that persons uprooted in the conflict might try and move to Europe cannot be excluded - but again the established pattern suggests that it is much easier for migrants from eastern Anatolia to settle in western or central Turkey and that is likely to remain their preference over exile in another country.
The biggest obstacle to visa liberalisation, however, may prove to be the blatantly confrontational spirit in which the agreement was made this week. After being rebuffed and even snubbed on many occasions in the past by the EU, it is not surprising that when it had the upper hand this week, Ankara tried to extract every single scrap of advantage from it that it could. With Germany behind it, its hand is additionally strong.
But despite Angela Merkel's short-term tactical support, it is no secret that Germany "has major doubts" about letting Turkey into the EU. The "Kayseri bazaar spirit" may turn out not to be the right means to winning the equal rights in Europe that Turks so ardently desire.
- David Barchard has worked in Turkey as a journalist, consultant, and university teacher. He writes regularly on Turkish society, politics, and history, and is currently finishing a book on the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gesture as they look from a balcony during their meeting in Ankara on 8 February, 2016 (AFP).
Alone in Berlin: How Merkel Has Gambled Away Her EU Power - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 22:06
There were times when interactions between the German chancellor and European Council President Donald Tusk were more congenial. When Angela Merkel entered the conference hall at the European Council building in Brussels, Tusk would bow deeply and clasp Merkel's hand. He would then kiss it so intimately that even Merkel, who is used to all manner of obsequiousness, would look in quizzical confusion at the former Polish prime minister's bowed head.
On Wednesday, Merkel got to know a different Tusk. Once again, he sent Merkel a greeting, but this time he opted to use Twitter instead of his lips. He sent out a tweet thanking the countries of the Western Balkans for closing their borders to refugees and "implementing part of EU's comprehensive strategy to deal with migration crisis."It was not exactly a gallant move from Tusk. For weeks, Merkel has been trying to prevent the closure of the Balkan Route, arguing that Europe cannot leave Greece alone to deal with tens of thousands of desperate Syrians trying to escape the civil war in their country. Three weeks ago, when Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann announced his country would only accept a limited number of asylum-seekers each day -- an announcement that led to border closures up and down the Balkans -- Merkel shook her head with concern. The move, she said, was "not helpful."
And now Tusk. The man who was only able to rise to the European Council presidency with Merkel's backing has now ambushed her.
It is yet another incident that demonstrates Merkel's loss of power. The chancellor has played a variety of roles in Brussels throughout her career. She began as a clumsy novice, but as a result of the euro crisis she ultimately became the most powerful leader in Europe. Now, however, she has isolated Germany in the European Union to a greater degree than any chancellor before her.
Germany has always had a special role in Europe. Helmut Kohl emphasized modesty in Brussels to reduce European fears of a newly dominant Germany in the wake of reunification. Merkel, by contrast, was not afraid of taking a leadership role and pushed through her strict austerity policies. In the end, though, she stopped short of throwing Greece out of the euro zone against the will of France and other southern European member states.
Defection to the Enemy Camp
Now, the fissure runs through the entire continent. Germany and France are estranged, Eastern European member states have joined Austria in an anti-Merkel alliance and European Council President Tusk has defected to the enemy camp.
Merkel has remained true to her convictions -- one has to grant her that. She has withstood domestic pressure -- primarily exerted by the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) -- and she has resisted the pressure of Faymann in Austria and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn. With three important German state elections approaching this Sunday, she has also resisted pressure from CDU campaigners, who are not expecting a glorious showing. If one judges politicians by how well they stick to their principles, even when it gets uncomfortable, then Merkel has been impressive in recent weeks.
But what Merkel's people describe as rectitude, the rest of Europe sees as an attempt to spread the costs of her noble-minded blunder across the entire European Union. The fences that have now been built do not just prevent refugees from moving through the Continent -- they're also symbolic of resistance to German presumption.
When Merkel stepped before gathered journalists late on Monday night following the special EU summit in Brussels, she spoke of a "breakthrough" in the refugee crisis. But that claim too was an affront. The same Merkel who has brandished her moral fortitude by criticizing border closures and barbed wire fences is nevertheless prepared to make herself dependent on a Turkish government that is transforming its country step-by-step into an autocracy.
Nothing reveals Merkel's hypocrisy more than her handling of the Balkan Route closure. With only a few hundred migrants a day now reaching Germany, Merkel is perhaps the greatest profiteer of the border closures. But it is the result of policies imposed by her political adversaries. Not only that, but these policies were originally supposed to receive the European stamp of approval at Monday's summit. For the summit's closing document, Tusk proposed the following statement in reference to the Balkan Route: "This route is now closed." The sentence is a statement of fact, but Merkel nevertheless refused to sign on. Doing so would have been a public admission of failure.
The result was a tenacious battle over terminology. When EU member state ambassadors assembled on Sunday afternoon to prepare the summit, the German representative Reinhard Silberberg protested. But Tusk's cabinet chief Piotr Serafin remained firm, Silberberg communicated in a classified cable to Berlin that evening. The countries affected along the Balkan Route, he wrote, "expect a clear indication of support from the '... European Council."
Higher Powers
When European heads of state and government arrived in Brussels on Monday, the quarrel had not yet been resolved. Before he entered the Council building, French President Fran§ois Hollande said: "This route is closed." Later, an argument erupted between Faymann and Merkel. A rift could only be avoided by way of compromise. The final document ultimately stated: "Irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkan route have now come to an end." It makes it sound as though higher powers stopped the migrants in their path.
The price for the cosmetic improvement was high. In return, Eastern European member states received the guarantee that no further demands that they accept refugees -- neither from Greece nor from Turkey -- will be made. For Merkel, that is not a positive result.
She continues to insist that border closures cannot solve the refugee crisis, instead placing her hopes on the deal with Turkey. To take part in the negotiations, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Brussels on Sunday evening for a meeting with Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe.
The meeting itself was unusual enough, with many EU countries unimpressed by Merkel's diplomatic offensive. But when it became known that the Turks had presented a completely new proposal during the confidential meeting, rumors began making the rounds that Merkel was trying to hoodwink the other EU member states.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy only learned of the Turkish paper after he landed at the Brussels airport. When it was distributed at the beginning of the summit, Luxembourgian Prime Minister Xavier Bettel took a photo of it with his smartphone and sent it to his aides so they could quickly examine it.
The mood was tense when the leaders gathered for a late lunch at 3 p.m. Most made it clear that they would be unable to agree to a deal without having first perused the Turkish proposal in detail. Before long, many began to suspect that the paper had actually been authored by Merkel's chief advisor on European affairs, Uwe Corsepius -- and not by the Turks. Merkel vehemently denied the allegations. But the incident serves to demonstrate just how deep mistrust of the Germans has become.
Open Rupture
For Merkel, the new plan presented by Turkey was a coup. For the first time, Ankara agreed to reaccept refugees who had fled across the Aegean to Greece. In return, the EU would agree to take Syrians from Turkey -- initially in accordance with a complicated formula but ultimately a fixed quota. In addition, Turkey is to receive an additional '‚¬3 billion ($3.35 billion), relaxed visa requirements -- as early as June, if possible -- and a commitment to accelerating Turkey's long dormant EU accession negotiations.
It is unclear whether the plan will ever be implemented. For that to happen, Merkel needs the confidence of her European partners -- confidence that she has spent the past several months eroding. French President Holland only refrained from rejecting the Turkish proposal outright at the Brussels summit because he wanted to prevent an open rupture with Merkel.
For France, though, lifting Turkish visa requirements as early as this summer is out of the question. "We won't be able to push that through here," says one Hollande advisor. Thus far, Turkey has only fulfilled half of the 72 conditions demanded by Brussels for the lifting of visa requirements. Ankara, for example, still stubbornly refuses to recognize passports from Cyprus, which is an EU member state. Furthermore, only travelers with biometric passports are allowed to enter the EU without a visa. Turkey, though, has yet to produce travel documents that fulfill the EU's strict criteria.
Paris is not the only place where resistance to visa relaxation can be found. "We cannot exchange a refugee wave for a visa wave," says Andreas Scheuer, general secretary of the CSU. "Otherwise we'll go from the frying pan into the fire."
"My fraction is very skeptical of complete visa freedom for Turkish citizens," adds Manfred Weber, head of the conservative European People's Party group in European Parliament. "There will be no refugee rebate."
The acceleration of Turkish accession negotiations is even more controversial than the visa issue. Cyprus is categorically opposed to the opening of additional negotiation chapters. The northern part of the Mediterranean island has been occupied by the Turks since 1974, and they don't recognize the Republic of Cyprus as a sovereign country. Even aside from that, the approach to Turkey comes at an awkward moment. On the Friday before the Brussels summit, the Turkish government raided the editorial offices of the opposition paper Zaman and took over control.
'We Can't Trust Turkey'
The core element of Turkey's proposal is also legally questionable. It would be a violation of European and international law to simply send migrants back to Turkey after they had made it across the Aegean. Asylum-seekers may only be sent back to countries where a fair asylum hearing is guaranteed. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told SPIEGEL this week that "we don't yet consider Turkey to be a safe country of origin nor a safe third country for asylum-seekers." The solution currently looks to be that of Greece declaring Turkey to be a safe third country. Then, most refugees could be sent back.
Many of Germany's EU partners would love to see Merkel fail. They see the border closures along the Balkan Route as tangible policy results and Merkel's diplomatic dance with Turkey as delusional. "We can't trust Turkey," says a source close to Hollande.
Still, one has to give Merkel credit for her attempt to make Europe more humane. She believed that if Germany accepted refugees, other countries would be infected by the generosity bug. Her policy hinged on a belief that humanitarianism could be contagious. It is a nice idea, and perhaps not totally absurd. Even if half of the Syrian population had made its way to Europe, could not the EU's population of 500 million have handled it?One significant problem with Merkel's refugee policy was the timing of the crisis. When she opened Germany's borders to the refugees trapped in Budapest last September, she was at the zenith of her power. But in Europe, her austerity demands had turned many countries against her -- and here she was imposing her refugee principles, a curious mixture of Protestant parsonage and German sensibility, on the Continent.
Merkel failed to realize soon enough just how little Europe was willing to accept. The price for her policies is not just the rise of a new right-wing populist party in Germany and a German society that is more divided and disgruntled than it has been in years. She also created a Europe that is no longer united.
By Julia Amalia Heyer, Peter M¼ller, Ralf Neukirch, Christoph Pauly, Ren(C) Pfister and Christoph Schult
Lame Cherry: I did not have sex with that man, John Kasich
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:55
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
I am delighted really at how things are progressing for President Donald Trump. What is really delicious to quote Noel Sheppard now perished by cancer after attempting to bitch slap me on Newsbusters is this, and that is Rush Limbaugh and the Cruz boogers have been so fixated on Donald Trump, that they never figured on that Ted Cruz slipping up behind them and cocking them one in the ass.
See John Kasich is a democratic insider crook like Mormon Romney. He had in Romney voting machines the opportunity to steal Ohio........again just like Kruz election thefts of Mr. Trump being 5 points ahead, but come come election day, it is Kasich winning by 15, that is vote fraud and it is all based on a system of e vote flipping and shutting polls down early so Trump voters could not vote.
When the establishment have told you that Donald Trump will be "shy" of the delegate margin, that is exactly what they are going to steal this by. That is why Kasich is now being attacked by Limbaugh in being called delusional and crazy, as the boogers have had it finally dawn on them, that without Donald Trump's protection, Ted Cruz is politically dead.
OK I will explain this so you get this in why the boogers are are all Kasich snotty.
The race was Trump 52%, Cruz at the Jeb ceiling of 23%, Rubio at 13% and Kasich in the bushes at around 8%. Remove Rubio from this and suddenly the Cruz ceiling is going to be looking at Kasich appearing with 21% and billed with all the positive media as the ALTERNATIVE to the must hated vote cheater Ted Cruz.So the race becomes Cruz at 23 and Kasich at 21, and in this shift, you are looking at least a 3 point erosion of Ted Cruz, so it would be Kasich 23 and Kruz 20........and suddenly it is touted it is a two man race in Trump and Kasich, and the boogers find that they are cut out of all the delegate power structure.The Cruz killer in this race is John Kasich and that is the terror that Limbaugh now faces without Donald Trump protecting Cruz.
It is why I warned you boogers to vote for Donald Trump like Marco Rubio's voters pissed away the literal Vice Presidency. Now it is Ted Cruz's turn to burn.
Cruz now has the heavy baggage. He has Peckergate in using that poor little black gal who had to run to Donald Trump for support, and his numerous crimes starting with being a foreigner, Goldman Sachs, lynching Ben Carson, vote fraud...........yeah Ted Cruz is like a taco 3 days old under a fat ain't looking too good or smelling any better.
As you can see from the above, the primaries all now favor Trump and Kasich. This is what I meant when I stated that if the GOPliters could not get Donald Trump early, they were not going to get him late as this primaries all swing to the east. The alternative to Donald Trump is going to be John Kasich now, and not Ted Cruz, as the eastern folk do not like smarmy, twangy, tan skins, who dress up like Brokeback Mountain dick up the ass cowboys.This is what has Limbaugh terrified as certain as the Mercer billionaires, as it is a CERTAINTY that after the vote fraud in Missouri, Ted Cruz is going to finish a distant 3rd place from this moment until May. From this point on, it is Winner Take All for two months, and they do not give out delegates to dual citizenship Ted Cruzs for finishing in 3rd place.
I am once again telling you Cruz voters to tell your boogerman to stop attacking Donald Trump, to get on stage immediately and confess to the world 'how wrong I was for attacking Donald Trump as he is going to be the next President" and that you will now all vote for Mr. Trump as Hillary in a skirt John Kasich is not what America needs.............and gain an understanding that Ted Cruz will be the next appointment to the Supreme Court, as Ted Cruz throws all the delegates and support to Donald Trump in the first round voting in the convention to keep the GOPliters from stealing this.
Look at the numbers Cruz boogers in the next states. The time to have cut a deal with Donald Trump was before Texas. As you are about to face Rubio Oblivion, get it understood to back Donald Trump now, and cut a deal for Ted on the Supreme Court as you booby prize.Rush Limbaugh is in a panic over Kasich, but Kasich is the monster you Kruz boogers created, now that monster is going to booger eat you Cruz boogers.
Trump 2016DonaldTrumpestPraesesetAmericanfuturum
Lame Cherry: The Toxic Merrick Garland
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:38
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
When I came across the following on the image Obama nomination of the Supreme Court, it settled for me forever, that this person does not belong anywhere near the Department of Justice.
In 1993, he joined the newly installed Clinton administration as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division. A year later, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, the department's second in command, asked Garland to be her principal deputy. She said she chose him because he had "the perfect background," having worked in the department at both high and low levels. Moreover, says Gorelick, "He had shown himself to be a brilliant lawyer with excellent judgment, utterly without any political agenda, other than to do right."A String Of Bombing CasesGarland was soon put to the test. He supervised the investigations into the Unabomber and the Oklahoma City and Atlanta Olympics bombings, among others. In the Oklahoma City case, he not only headed the investigation but also put together the trial team that prosecuted Timothy McVeigh,
So you know what you just read, the key works in this are Jamie Gorelick, the Clinton stooge who oversaw the walls of separation to hide Clinton bribery crimes and campaign money laundering which brought about the disaster of 9 11, when she and Al Gore attempted to humiliate Bush43 in that terror event which they did not stop..........And the reality of Oklahoma City and Atlanta bombings, where the entire enabling of the BATFE in supplying McViegh and Nichols, along with the evidence that the bomb which was detonated DID NOT BRING DOWN THAT BUILDING, and contrary to what Attorney John DeCamp wanted in keeping the Murrah Building standing for evidence, but it was toppled by Justice.......along with the railroading of an innocent Security Guard in Atlanta named Richard Jewel which destroyed his life, and put him in an early grave, is proof what a head up his ass person Merrick Garland was and is.
Merrick Garland has done nothing, but cover up massive police state crimes and the destruction of innocent Americans.
Furrthermore, his wife was the daughter of that Rosenman, whose leftist, meaning community Jewry was part of the FDR and Truman cabal, promoting German genocide, turning eastern Europe over to Soviet enslavement and murdering General Patton and destroying General MacArthur.Those damned Peking communists eating America alive today were put into power because Harry Truman threw out the leader of China for that butcher Mao, and that is the background on Merrick Garland.
My God, the Supreme Court has NO PROTESTANTS upon it any more. It is all Jew and Jesuit, and you can see what a disaster it has been for America, for they do not vote Conservative or liberal, and only vote for cabal.
Yes Mark Levin's Senator Orin Hatch of Utah was praising Merrick just last week, so you know the fix is in on this........yes Levin backed Hatch who likes at stooge like Garland and Levin vouches for Ted Cruz.
Merrick Garland needs to be investigated for his cover up of Oklahoma City, his ruining Richard Jewel's life and his part in 9 11, because what is Merrick Garland is the blood soaked streets of Chicago gun control of genocide of blacks and the bloody snow of Oregon in the political prisoners of the Bundy Patriot movement.
Korte rokjes-verbod in Amsterdams stadsloket ingetrokken na mediarel | Binnenland | de Volkskrant
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:29
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Donald Trump Warns There Could Be Riots If He Isn't GOP Nominee
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:17
WASHINGTON -- Although he is leading the Republican primary race by a wide margin, casino mogul Donald Trump is still far from winning the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the party's uncontested nomination.
Trump warned Wednesday morning that there would be widespread unrest if he does not "automatically" get the nomination as the candidate with the greatest number of delegates.
"I think you would have riots," Trump said during an interview with CNN, adding that he represents "many, many millions of people," including several first-time voters.
Party operatives hoping to stop Trump have looked to the possibility of a brokered convention, which could block his path to becoming the nominee should he only win a plurality of delegates.
Trump said such a scenario would outrage his supporters, who have shown increasing willingness to use violence against their political detractors.
"If you disenfranchise those people, and you say, 'Well, I'm sorry, but you're 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short,' I think you would have problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen," Trump continued. "I wouldn't lead it, but I think bad things would happen."
Over the past several weeks, journalists covering Trump's campaign and people protesting at his rallies have beenmanhandled, punched, threatened and physically removed from events. The candidate said he would consider paying the legal fees for a supporter who was charged with assault for punching an anti-Trump protester in the face.
When the threat of violence against protesters at a campaign rally in Chicago forced Trump to cancel the event last week, he blamed the protesters andthreatenedto send his supporters to rallies for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) -- which could be read as an implicit threat that his fans would harm Sanders' supporters.
Even as he boasts about his wide lead in the presidential primary, Trump seems acutely aware that he is still in danger of not getting a majority of delegates. During last week's debate, he called 1,237 an "artificial" and "very random number" and said whoever has the most delegates at the end of the primaries should be the nominee. (In fact, it is not random at all, as it is the majority of the 2,472 available delegates.)
In an article weighing the fairness of the majority requirement in the primary races, Sean Trende aptly explained the downside of allowing a candidate to win by a plurality instead. "It is possible for a candidate who is loathed by a majority to win the post if the other voters don't vote strategically," he wrote.
With Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) out of the race as of Tuesday night, it's possible the party will unite behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) or Ohio Gov. John Kasich to block Trump from becoming the uncontested nominee -- but at this stage in the race, it's unlikely either candidate could overtake him as the front-runner.
Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.
Donald Trump Is Successfully Conning The Entire Country
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:13
On arecent episode of "Last Week Tonight," comedian John Oliver shared an unsettling encounter he'd had with Republican presidential front-runner and reality TV star Donald Trump.
Trump declared last year that he'd turned down an invitationto appear on Oliver's show. "John Oliver had his people call to ask me to be on his very boring and low rated show. I said 'NO THANKS' Waste of time & energy!" he wrote in quintessentially Trump tweet.
According to Oliver, that simply never happened.No one at his show had invited Trump to be a guest. But Trump doubled down. In a radio interview, he outlandishly maintained that he'd been asked "four or five" times to appear on "Last Week Tonight."
Oliver was rattled.
"It was genuinely destabilizing to be on the receiving end of a lie that confident," he said on air. "I even checked to make sure that no one had even accidentally invited him, and of course, they hadn't."
Trump's claim was delivered with such gusto that Oliver began to doubt what he knew to be true, even though he knew Trump was lying.
That's the power of gaslighting.
This form of psychological abuse typically plays out like so: The gaslighter states something false with such intensity and conviction that whoever is on the receiving end is confused and begins to doubt their own perspective.
The term comes from a 1938 play called Gaslight, in which a husband drives his wife crazy by secretly altering things in her house and making her question her grip on reality.
As Nicole Hemmer eloquently argued in a piece for U.S. News And World Report, Trump is a classic gaslighter -- and his target is all of us. She writes:
Trump is a toxic blend of Barnum and bully. If you're a good mark, he's your best friend. But if you catch on to the con, then he starts to gaslight. Ask him a question and he'll lie without batting an eye. Call him a liar andhe'll declare himself''truthful to a fault.'' Confront him with contradictory evidence and he'll shrug and repeat the fib. Maybe he'll change the subject. But he'll never change the lie.
When faced with their brazen lies, gaslighters deny their own statements, change the subject, lash out with insults (think "little" Rubio and "liar" Cruz), act indignant about the accusation, or turn on the messenger -- which, for Trump, is often the national media.
According to Robin Stern, associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life, Trump is exhibiting textbook gaslighting behavior.
"When you don't take responsibility for your actions, or deflect responsibility, or try to undermine the credibility of the person asking you about your actions, that's gaslighting," she said.
Trump has said a lot of things that are simply untrue, with varying degrees of consequence.
He said theunemployment rate may be 42 percent: Not true. He said he watchedthousands of people in Jersey City celebrateon 9/11: Not true. He said there's been "no violence" at campaign rallies, despite plenty of documented evidence to the contrary. He said that Michelle Fields, the reporter who alleged she was assaulted by Trump's campaign manager, must have "made the story up" -- even though others have verified her account and she tweeted a photo of her bruised arm. Even "Trump steaks" aren't what he claims they are.
According to a Politico analysis of a week's worth of his speeches, Trump tells a falsehood, on average, once every five minutes. It's hard to keep up with that many untruths, but Politifact has a good running compilation.
Yet despite his history of patently false statements, neither his opponents nor reporters have had much luck calling him out.
Stern said it's extremely difficult to get gaslighters to take responsibility for their actions, because instead of expressing shame or contrition, they are likely to feign outrage and attack the questioner.
"You might be confronting the person on their own behavior, but they will immediately turn you into the problem," she said. "It can be extremely damaging to your sense of self and psychological stability."
While there's no particular personality type that is more likely to employ gaslighting, Stern said the technique is often used in abusive relationships.
So what should the country do?
According to Stern, the best way to handle a gaslighter is to disengage and let go of the relationship.
"Confronting the gaslighter can inflame him," she said. "You can not win that power struggle with someone who is invested in gaslighting. With some people, it's hard to penetrate their system, if not impossible."
With Trump inching ever closer to the GOP nomination, the only way for America to break off the relationship is to show up at the polls and vote him down.
Editor's Note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.
Melissa Jeltsen covers domestic violence and other issues related to women's health, safety and security. Tips? Feedback? Send an email or follow her on Twitter.
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HOLLAND COULD BE NEXT-Terreuronderzoekers: Wilders wakkert geweld aan
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:11
De oproep van Geert Wilders om in verzet te komen, wordt door extremisten aangegrepen om met geweld in actie te komen tegen vluchtelingen. Dat is het oordeel van de Nationaal Co¶rdinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid (NCTV).
Met het oordeel spreekt de NCTV ook hun zorgen uit over de toename van geweld, intimidaties en bedreigingen richting vluchtelingen en moslims in Nederland. Dat staat te lezen in hun nieuwste analyse van de veiligheid in Nederland, het Dreigingsbeeld Terrorismebestrijding Nederland (DTN).
In de analyse voorspelt de NCTV dat extreemrechtse groeperingen en individuen steeds vaker hun afkeer van vluchtelingen en moslims met geweld zullen uiten. Sinds PVV-leider Geert Wilders in augustus vorig voor het eerst de hashtag #kominverzet twitterde, is die oproep ruim 100.000 keer gedeeld. Dat blijkt uit een analyse van RTL.
De toename van dreiging en geweld, zoals laatst de terroristische aanslag met een molotovcocktail op een moskee, is voor de NCTV reden voor 'extra alertheid ten aanzien van de veiligheidssituatie van moskeen'. Geert Wilders heeft met zijn oproep extremisten gemobiliseerd. Die extremisten houden het allang niet meer bij demonstraties en gebruiken tijdens hun acties de naam en foto van Wilders.
Wilders werd al bij de eerste keer dat hij de oproep deed, en vervolgens bij de vele herhalingen, gewaarschuwd dat het als een vrijbrief voor geweld zou worden opgevat. Wilders zelf heeft laten weten dat hij daartoe niet heeft opgeroepen. Zo nu en dan heeft hij afstand genomen van geweld, vaak ook niet. Ondanks dat keer op keer blijkt dat 'kom in verzet' leidt tot meer geweld, blijft Wilders zijn hitsende oproep herhalen.
Bron: RTLcc-beeld: Metropolico
Democracy Spring
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:02
WHY THIS? WHY NOW?Every American deserves an equal voice in government. That is our birthright of freedom, won through generations of struggle. But today our democracy is in crisis. American elections are dominated by billionaires and big money interests who can spend unlimited sums of money on political campaigns to protect their special interests at the general expense. Meanwhile, as the super-rich dominate the ''money primary'' that decides who can run for office, almost half of the states in the union have passed new laws that disenfranchise everyday voters, especially people of color and the poor.
This corruption violates the core principle of American democracy '-- ''one person, one vote'' citizen equality. And it is blocking reform on virtually every critical issue facing our country: from addressing historic economic inequality, to tackling climate change and ending mass incarceration. We simply cannot solve the urgent crises that face our nation if we don't save democracy first.
But if the status quo goes unchallenged, the 2016 election '-- already set to be the most billionaire-dominated, secret money-drenched, voter suppression-marred contest in modern American history '-- will likely yield a President and a Congress more bound to the masters of big money than ever before. And our planet and people just can't afford that. But there is another possibility.
What if we can intervene in a way that no one can ignore to make this election a turning point toward reform?The moment is ripe. Poll after poll shows transpartisan public frustration with the corrupt status quo reaching new, nearly unanimous highs. Voters in Maine and Seattle just passed bold new anti-corruption laws to enact citizen funded elections. A growing democracy movement has lifted this issue into the public debate. Yet Congress refuses to act.
The stage is set for a bold intervention to turn the tinder of passive public frustration into a fire that transforms the political climate in America, that sparks a popular movement that can't be stopped. How? From Selma to Occupy Wall Street, the Tar Sands Action to Black Lives Matter, everyday people have proven the power of mass, escalating nonviolent action to rapidly shift the political weather and open the door to reforms previously considered impossible.
Now it's our turn.This spring, in the heart of the primary season, as the national election begins to take center stage, Americans of all ages, faiths, political perspectives, and walks of life will bring the popular cry for change to Washington in a way that's impossible to ignore: with nonviolent civil disobedience on a historic scale.
We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won't leave until they do '-- or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.
With hundreds of patriotic Americans being sent to jail, day after day for at least a week '-- simply for sitting in to save our democracy '-- the drama in Washington will rock the business-as-usual cycle of this election and catapult this critical issue onto center stage. We will focus the nation's attention as never before on the urgency of this crisis, the existence of solutions to it, and the strength of the popular demand to enact them. We will make this election a referendum on whether our democracy should belong to the People as a whole or to the billionaire class alone.
That's a referendum we can win, setting the stage to achieve fundamental reform that will give us '-- finally '-- the democracy for all we were promised.
We know that this is no ordinary ask. But these are not ordinary times.This is the hour to stand tall, to challenge each other to rise to this historic moment in which we did not choose to live, but which we now must choose to face. With love, with courageous hope, with the legacy of those who struggled for freedom before us in our minds '-- we must act with a determination matching the urgency of this crisis.
Already, many leaders and public figures have pledged to risk arrest and over 100 organizations have signed on to this non-partisan campaign (as listed below). We are ready to take this bold step and will provide the necessary training and legal support to all who will join us. But to do this successfully, we need to know we can do it at a historic scale. We need to know that enough people who believe as we do and love our country as we do are ready to join us.
Take the pledge: help us make history and save our democracy.
Gaby Hoffman
Lawrence Lessig
Zephyr Teachout
Frances Moore Lapp(C)
Cenk Uygur
Umi Selah FKA Phillip Agnew
Dante Barry
Medea Benjamin
Ben Cohen
Josh Fox
Stuart Appelbaum
Heather Booth
Captain Ray Lewis
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Paul Song
Kerri Kelly
The Yes Men
Martha Hennessy
Carlos Saavedra
John Sellers
Kai Newkirk
Paulina Gonzalez
Nelini Stamp
Joseph Huff-Hannon
Rhana Bazzini
Joan Mandle
Tom Swan
Jodie Evans
David Segal
Winnie Wong
Adam Green
Derek Cressman
Louis Leo IV
Mary Knapp
Jim Hightower
Lauren Windsor
Terry O'Neill
John Cavanagh
Ed Fallon
Bill Fletcher, Jr.David Braun
15 Now Philly
100 Grannies for a Livable Future
African American Ministers in ActionAmerican Ethical Union
American Family Voices
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Backbone Campaign
Big Apple Coffee Party
Brave New Films
Catholics United
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for the Working Poor
Citizen Action NY
Code Pink
Coffee Party USA
Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
Conscious Elders Network
Courage Campaign
Ctzn Well
Demand Progress
Democracy Chronicles
Democracy Coffee
Democracy for America
Democracy Matters
Democratic Socialists of America
Dolores Huerta Foundation
East Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)
East Point Peace Academy
Elder Activists
Elders Climate Action
Every Voice
Energy Action Coalition
Food & Water Watch
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth
Get Money Out - Maryland
Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)
Hightower Lowdown
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
Leadership Development Initiative
March Against Corruption
March Against Monsanto
Maryland Committee to Amend
Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)
Money Out! People In!
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National People's Action
Network of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun Magazine
New Hampshire Rebellion
Occupy Catholics
Office of the Americas
Other 98%
PA United to Amend
Pay 2 Play
Peace Action
People Demanding Action
People for Bernie
People for the American Way
People Over Politics
People's Empowerment Project
Pride at Work-New York City/Long Island
Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Progressive Democrats of America
Public Citizen
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
ReThink Media
Shalom Center
Small Planet Institute
Social Security Works
South Central Wisconsin United To Amend
Stamp Stampede
Stop Police Terror Project DC
Sustain US
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County
United Native Americans
United for Peace and Justice
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
United States Student Association (USSA)
United We Dream
U.S. Climate Plan
Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice & Peace
We are Woman
We the People Massachusetts
WildEarth Guardians
Women's Promise
Working Families Party
Workmen's Circle
World Beyond War
Yes MenYoung Democratic Socialists
Youth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future
Montana Suspends Non-Vaccinated Students Due to Mumps 'Outbreak' - Truth Kings
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:00
Once again, a few mumps cases have caused dramatic news headlines to circulate the country and school district to act in reactionary, unreasonable and illogical ways. Four Belgrade, Montana students (2 in High School and 2 in Middle School) have confirmed mumps.
However, the school decided to send 15 to 20 students home for being non-vaccinated. The issue? At least two of the current mumps cases are found with students who are vaccinated. A third student was non-vaccinated, and the status on the fourth is not yet confirmed. According to NBCMontana, the school recommends everyone get vaccinated.
Officials are asking the 15 to 20 students in Belgrade schools who have not been vaccinated to stay home.
Kelley says the best thing that can be done to protect against mumps is to get vaccinated.
One dose of the vaccination is 78 percent effective and two doses are 88 percent effective. Even with immunizations, there is a still a chance of becoming ill.
''There's always a chance, with any vaccine, that people will still be susceptible to getting the disease. The idea of a vaccine is that over the course of a population, you can get enough coverage to reduce the transmission. The advantage that we have is that probably about 95 to 98 percent of students in Belgrade schools are fully immunized,'' explained Kelley.
The school reacts to vaccinated children getting mumps, an illness they were vaccinated from, by telling non-vaccinated students to go home. How are the non-vaccinated students a threat in this scenario? We've seen these cases at Harvard, several Indiana Universities San Diego State University. The one common thread between all these schools is that mumps was spreading through the vaccinated communities. Those universities all require at least two shots. It is blasphemous to blame the non-vaccinated even under the guise of herd immunity. There is no cause whatsoever to send these children home.
The vaccine booster industry is booming. And maybe it could also be that Merck, the maker of the MMR vaccine, completely lied about its effectiveness.
Anyone who falls on either side of the debate about vaccines' alleged potential to cause harm is sure to have heard the big news this week '-- the unsealing of awhistleblower suit against Merck, filed back in 2010 by two former employees accusing the drugmaker of overstating the effectiveness of its mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine.
The scientists claim Merck defrauded the U.S. government by causing it to purchase an estimated four million doses of mislabeled and misbranded MMR vaccine per year for at least a decade, and helped ignite two recent mumps outbreaks that the allegedly ineffective vaccine was intended to prevent in the first place.
''As the single largest purchaser of childhood vaccines (accounting for more than 50 percent of all vaccine purchasers), the United States is by far the largest financial victim of Merck's fraud. But the ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection against mumps. And while this is a disease the CDC targeted to eradicate by now, the failure in Merck's vaccine has allowed this disease to linger with significant outbreaks continuing to occur,'' the suit alleges.
Photo by NIAID
Moscow-backed opposition calls for change in Syria
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:45
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Germany pushes EU-Turkey deal as 'real chance' to end migrant crisis | News , World | THE DAILY STAR
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:44
Mar. 16, 2016 | 10:26 PM
This Handout photo taken on March 15, 2016 made available by the German Navy shows some of their dinghies transporting some of the 615 rescued migrants back to Frankfurt-am-Main supply ship operating with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Rome, MRCC off the Libyan coast. AFP
Seasonal Affective Disorder in Children and Adolescents -
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:40
The symptoms are different for youth than adults. Here are some tips to help.'--
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), known colloquially as seasonal depression and winter blues, has become more widely discussed in recent years. Despite this increase in awareness, the discussion about SAD, its symptoms, and how to deal with it primarily focuses on adults. Children and adolescents can also be affected by SAD, and while the presenting symptoms can be different, dealing with SAD is no less difficult for children.
The most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) uses the following criteria to identify or diagnose depression with a seasonal pattern:
Depression that begins during a specific season every year for at least two yearsDepression that ends during a specific season every year for at least two yearsNo episodes of depression during the season in which you experience a normal mood for at least two yearsMany more seasons of depression than seasons without depression over the lifetime of your illnessWhen most people think of depression in general, they think of how it presents in adults: depressed mood, tearfulness, lack of pleasure in activities, low energy, feelings of worthlessness, etc. In children and adolescents, however, the symptoms of depression may look a little different.
For instance, rather than overt feelings of sadness or observed tearfulness, children and adolescents may be irritable or aggressive. Rather than being identified as fatigued, children or adolescents experiencing a depressive episode may be pegged as ''lazy'' by their parents or teachers. The diminished ability to think or concentrate or indecisiveness we see in adults with depression may be viewed as being off-task and disruptive at school in children and adolescents.
This misidentification of children and adolescents with SAD as being lazy, disruptive, or irritable may be even more common. If a child is displaying these symptoms year-round, parents and teachers may find it easier to identify depression as the underlying cause. On the other hand, a child who only displays these symptoms from November to March may be seen as a child who just doesn't like school and isn't putting in the effort.
Some studies suggest that between 1.7% and 5.5% of 9''19-year-old children may have SAD (Swedo et al, 1995), while others estimate that 10''20% of adult recurrent depression cases follow a seasonal pattern (Magnusson, 2000). What causes some people to develop symptoms of depression only during certain times of the year?
The specific cause of SAD has not been identified, but several factors are theorized to be at play, including one's own biological clock (circadian rhythm), serotonin levels, and melatonin levels.
Circadian RhythmThis theory posits that the decrease in the amount of sunlight in fall and winter may be the cause of fall/winter-onset SAD because the decrease in sunlight disrupts the body's internal clock. A red flag for this in children and adolescents is sudden oversleeping in the fall and winter months with no such issues in the spring or summer.
Serotonin LevelsReduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with mood, and many studies have shown that reduced serotonin can lead to a depressed mood.
Melatonin LevelsThis theory is related directly to the circadian rhythm theory, and it suggests that decreased light in the fall and winter disrupts the balance of melatonin in the body, leading to feelings of fatigue. Normally melatonin peaks at bedtime and reduces throughout the day, but a decrease in sunlight can disrupt this pattern, leading to more melatonin during the day.
The symptoms of SAD are particularly prevalent during the fall and winter months, when the days get shorter and the amount of sunshine each day decreases. For many children and adolescents, the sun may just be coming up as they are heading to school and starting to set once they get home. This can be a problem particularly for children and adolescents living furthest from the equator, in locations such as New England, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
What can you do if you suspect SAD may be the cause of your child's irritability, fatigue, and poor concentration at school?
Get Them MovingExercise increases energy levels and leads to more restful sleep. For children and adolescents with SAD, exercise can help counter the effects of melatonin disruption, and several studies have shown that exercise boosts serotonin production.
Go OutsideTake advantage of what sunshine you can, especially on the weekends. Even if it's cold, the sunshine will still help restore your child or adolescent's circadian rhythm. Just remember that even if the sunshine is minimal, sunscreen is still a must (and don't forget to bundle up)!
Eat HealthyMany adults talk about craving comfort food when the days get short and the weather turns cold. Sometimes this leads to not-so-healthy choices. For your and your kid's sake, focus on healthy eating during the fall and winter months. Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season will help you ensure that you get the hearty foods we are designed to crave during the cold months without turning to unhealthy alternatives. Proper fuel can do wonders for energy. Incorporating foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids is also a good way to help fight SAD. Some studies suggest that SAD is less common in those who consume more Omega-3 fatty acids, such as Icelandic people, who eat plenty of cold water seafood.
Bring the Light to ThemIf exercise, going outside and eating healthy aren't enough to combat the effects of SAD, light therapy may be a great non-pharmaceutical option. Light therapy consists of sitting close (usually within 18''24 inches) to a special light box for around 30 minutes a day, right after waking up. These boxes, which have become less expensive over the past decade, provide light intensity around 100 times brighter than usual home lighting and about one-fifth as intense as the light on a particularly sunny day. To get the positive effects, you need to have your eyes open, but don't look directly at the light. This may be a great time for your children to finish up homework from the night before.
While light boxes can be a great option, it is important to consider several factors:
Get a box designed to treat SAD. Not all light boxes are created equalConsider brightness; the brighter the box, the less time you'll need in front of it, but a box that's too bright will make sitting in front of it uncomfortableLightboxes to treat SAD should be designed to filter UV rays for your safetySome commercially available light boxes emit blue light while most emit white light. The effectiveness and risk of each can vary, so do your research to find the one that is best for youTalk to your doctor. While light boxes are generally considered safe, some conditions make the use of a light box inappropriate. Always discuss your treatment plan with your doctor, and find out if he or she has recommendationsWhile SAD in children and adolescents can lead to fatigue, irritability, and an inability to concentrate, there are many ways to combat the winter blues
By Contributing Writer: Becki Ledford
Photo: Pixabay
The World's Happiest Countries Take The Most Antidepressants
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:39
Ask the average person what the happiest country in the world is and the response will likely be somewhere in Scandinavia. It's become common knowledge that Denmark, Sweden and Norway routinely rank highest on lists of the world's happiest nations. There are many theories behind the region's overall positivity, but socialist, transparent governments, and the benefits and equality they promote are among the most frequently cited reasons.
Scandinavia is, of course, one of the darkest and coldest regions on earth. It has always seemed suspicious that anyone living in those conditions could be even remotely happy. Any of the annual happiness lists should be regarded with suspicion anyway, considering the emotion itself is impossible to accurately measure.
A new infographic created via Dadaviz and based on an OECD report suggests the moods of Scandinavian nations may be more closely linked to medicine than anything else. The chart depicts the relative amounts of antidepressant consumption across several different European nations. Iceland '-- not technically in Scandinavia but nearby '-- leads with 101 daily doses per 1,000 people. Denmark, Sweden and Finland are all close behind, with Portugal the only outlier. Norway ranks ninth.
The report notes that the prevalence of antidepressants in Europe is a growing trend. ''In all European countries for which data is available, the consumption of antidepressants has increased a lot over the decade, by over 80% on average across EU member states,'' it reads. According to the report, 30 percent of Icelandic women over the age of 65 had an antidepressant prescription in 2008.
It may seem paradoxical that the world's happiest nations also take the most antidepressants. It would also be reasonable to conclude that their sense of happiness is derived from the drugs. In reality, it's more likely that the availability of prescription antidepressants is yet another byproduct of Scandinavian-style government and culture. Universal health care means all citizens have access to mental health treatment. As the Guardian notes, Denmark records all mental health treatment in the Danish Psychiatric Research Register, giving scientists a wealth of data to work with. That data estimates that 38 percent of Danish women and 32% percent of Danish men will receive mental health treatment at some point during their lives.
Taboos and stigmas about mental health still exist in Scandinavian nations, but they're far ahead than much of the world in that regard. Norway launched Tips '-- its mental health destigmatization campaign '-- in 1997. The campaign helped the country reduce its DUP (duration of untreated psychosis) for schizophrenic individuals to six months. By comparison, the average world DUP is two years. Awareness and knowledge make a big difference.
Although Scandinavian countries have better access to mental health treatment than most nations, they may no longer be considered the world's happiest. In the latest Gallup and Healthways Global report, Central America overtook Scandinavia as the world's happiest region. Panama came in at number one, followed by Costa Rica and then Denmark. Sweden ranks below Austria, Brazil, Uruguay and El Salvador. There's even a relatively new book called The Almost Nearly Perfect People that debunks the myth of ''the Scandinavian Utopia,'' claiming that Danes and Swedes aren't as happy as the rest of the world might expect.
In the United States, by some estimates the 17th happiest country in the world, mental health treatment is slowly progressing. On Sunday, after accepting her Academy Award for "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1", filmmaker Dana Perry said that we should be talking about suicide ''out loud.'' Graham Moore, the writer of "The Imitation Game," used his time on stage to talk about his own struggles with depression and suicide. For better or worse, the Oscars are a major platform for celebrities to influence public thought. That's why every winner seemed to have a cause or social campaign this year. It's almost ridiculous that mental health treatment is still a cause in 2015, but at least the suggestion to talk about it "out loud" is being mentioned out loud. They may take the most antidepressants and they may no longer be the world's happiest, but at least Scandinavian nations are doing much more than talking when it comes to mental health treatment.
Denmark tops global 'happy' index, Burundi at bottom
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:38
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Next Republican debate canceled after Trump boycott
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:37
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Win or Lose, Will the Sanders Movement Last Beyond Election Day?
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:37
People cheer during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders at The Family Arena on March 14, 2016, in St. Charles, Mo. (Jeff Roberson / AP)
How do the millions of young people supporting Bernie Sanders for president see the future of their movement? Do they think it will make a lasting difference in American politics beyond Election Day? Will it change their lives?
In my career, I have reported on such movements many times before'--most recently with Occupy Wall Street'--and lately I have been wondering whether the enthusiasm of the current generation will last beyond Election Day.
It has happened before: for example, when Occupy veterans moved into the Sanders campaign, and when DeRay Mckesson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, jumped into the race to become mayor of Baltimore.
In Michigan's primary last week, Sanders won the 18-to-29-year-old vote by a big majority'--81 percent, according to one postelection poll. For many in that age range, the Sanders campaign is their first dip into politics, just as the anti-war movement was for an earlier generation coming of age during the Vietnam War.
''I do think that you'll see people running for office, to be on school boards, be on commissions, and working to change the system from within,'' Mckesson told Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times.
In addition, Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker wrote recently, ''With Sanders winning young voters overwhelmingly, his campaign may eventually be seen as an incubator for the [Democratic] Party's future politicians.''
To learn more, I pulled up a list of organizers in College Students for Bernie.
I emailed Brendan Eprile at Oberlin College'--a politically active campus that is actually both a liberal arts college and a conservatory of music, about 35 miles from Cleveland. (Interestingly enough, Oberlin is the alma mater of Adrian Fenty, the mayor of Washington, D.C., from 2007 to 2011, as well as Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the current mayor of Baltimore.)
The Ohio primary was days away at the time, and Oberlin's Sanders supporters there were busy.
Here's what Eprile told me in an email:
At Oberlin, we have started a college chapter called Oberlin Students for Bernie Sanders. In that chapter we host weekly meetings. We've raised awareness by planning events and putting up flyers, and we have participated in extensive phone banking. '...
Overall at my school I would say there is overwhelming support for Bernie Sanders. When I started the chapter in the fall I was not expecting the level of support we have received. I'd say as Bernie's campaign has continued to grow nationally, it has grown at my school as well. We use multiple mediums to communicate with each other such as Facebook and Slack and we have had many students stepping up and taking a leadership role in the movement.
I think there is something special about the Bernie campaign in terms of how young people have gotten involved. I have never heard of a presidential candidate that has inspired so many young people to actively participate in a political campaign. I have friends who spend hours of their free time phone banking for Bernie's campaign.
I truly believe that even if Bernie Sanders does not win the nomination, he has still changed the way the country views politics, especially the youth. I think Bernie's grassroots approach has really struck a chord with the American people. Bernie Sanders has made it this far not because he has the support of the establishment or Super PACs but he has the support of the American people. It has been inspiring to help out in a campaign where we can see that we are actively making a difference.
I also talked to students at Occidental College in the middle-class Eagle Rock neighborhood in the heart of urban Los Angeles. Occidental is another campus that is famous for political activism, producing leaders as diverse as Barack Obama and Jack Kemp, the professional football quarterback who became a congressman and conservative idol.
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North Korea Sanctions
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:27
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Sanctions Brochures
Sanctions Brochures are an overview of OFAC's regulations with regard to the North Korea sanctions. They are useful quick reference tools. Frequently Asked Questions
OFAC has compiled hundreds of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about its sanctions programs and related policies. The links below send the user to the entire list of OFAC's FAQs. Interpretive Guidance
OFAC issues interpretive guidance on specific issues related to the sanctions programs it administers. These interpretations of OFAC policy are sometimes published in response to a public request for guidance or may be released proactively by OFAC in order to address a complex topic. Applying for a Specific OFAC License
It may be in your and the U.S. government's interest to authorize particular economic activity related to the North Korea sanctions. Certain activities related to the North Korea sanctions may be allowed if they are licensed by OFAC. Visit the link below to apply for an OFAC license. General Licenses
OFAC issues general licenses in order to authorize acitivites that would otherwise be prohibited with regard to North Korea. General licenses allow all US persons to engage in the activity described in the general license without needing to apply for a specific license. General License Number 1 - North Korean Mission to the United Nations and Employees of the United Nations (March 16, 2016)General License Number 2 - Provision of Certain Legal Services Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 3 - Entries in Certain Accounts for Normal Service Charges Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 4 - Noncommercial, Personal Remittances Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 5 - Certain Services in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations' Activities Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 6 - Third-country Diplomatic and Consular Funds Transfers Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 7 - Transactions Related to Telecommunications and Mail Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 8 - Certain Transactions Related to Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights Authorized (March 16, 2016)General License Number 9 - Emergency Medical Services Authorized (March 16, 2016)Guidance on OFAC Licensing Policy
Certain activities related to North Korea may be allowed if they are licensed by OFAC. Below OFAC has issued guidance and statements on specific licensing policies as they relate to the North Korea. Licenses for Legal Fees and Costs - Guidance on the Release of Limited Amounts of Blocked Funds for Payment of Legal Fees and Costs Incurred in Challenging the Blocking of U.S. Persons in Administrative or Civil ProceedingsEntities Owned By Blocked Persons - Guidance On Entities Owned By Persons Whose Property And Interests In Property Are BlockedExecutive Orders, Statutes, Rules and Regulations Relating to North Korea
The North Korea sanctions program represents the implementation of multiple legal authorities. Some of these authorities are in the form of executive orders issued by the President. Other authorities are public laws (statutes) passed by The Congress. These authorities are further codified by OFAC in its regulations which are published the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Modifications to these regulations are posted in the Federal Register. In addition to all of these authorites, OFAC may also implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) with regard to the North Korea. Proclamations
Proclamation 8271 - Termination of the Exercise of Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act With Respect to North Korea (Effective Date - June 27, 2008)Executive Orders
Executive Order - Blocking Property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea, and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to North Korea (Effective date - March 16, 2016)13687 - Imposing Additional Sanctions with Respect to North Korea'‹ (Effective date - January 2, 2015)'‹13570 - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect To North Korea (Effective date - April 18, 2011)13551 - Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to North Korea (Effective date - August 30, 2010)13466 - Continuing Certain Restrictions With Respect to North Korea and North Korean Nationals (June 26, 2008) Determinations
Code of Federal Regulations
Federal Register Notices
'‹76 FR 35740'‹-11 amending the North Korea Sanctions Regulations to implement Executive Order 13570'‹76 FR 35739-11'‹ removing parts 500 and 505 from 31 CFR chapter V pursuant to Proclamation 8271 of June 26, 2008 75 FR 67912-10 North Korea Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 510 72 FR 4960-07 Foreign Assets Control Regulations - Amendment to prohibit U.S. persons from registering vessels in North Korea 71 FR 17345-06 Foreign Assets Control Regulations - Amendment to limit the authorization of property transactions involving North Korea United Nations Security Council Resolutions
1874 (12 June 2009) 1718 (14 October 2006)
North Korea Designations
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:23
In addition, OFAC has updated its List of Specially Designated Nationals.
Specially Designated Nationals List Update
The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List:
JO, Yong Chol (a.k.a. CHO, Yong Chol), Syria; DOB 30 Sep 1973; nationality Korea, North; North Korea's Ministry of State Security Official (individual) [DPRK2].
RI, Won Ho, Egypt; DOB 17 Jul 1964; citizen Korea, North; Passport 381310014 (Korea, North) expires 12 Jul 2016; North Korea's Ministry of State Security Official (individual) [DPRK2].
The following entities have been added to OFAC's SDN List:
CHONGBONG SHIPPING CO LTD, Room 502, 90, Ponghak-dong, Pyongchon-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 5878589 [DPRK3].
HOERYONG SHIPPING CO LTD, 108, Pongnam-dong, Pyongchon-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 5817786 [DPRK3].
KOREA OCEAN SHIPPING AGENCY, Moranbong District, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Namp'o Branch, Namp'o, South P'yo'ngan Province, Korea, North; Hungnam Branch, Hungnam, South Hamgyong Province, Korea, North; Chongjin Branch, Songphyong District, Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, Korea, North; Haeju Branch, Haeju, South Hwanghae Province, Korea, North; Songnim Branch, Songnim, North Hwanghae Province, Korea, North; Wonsan Branch, Wonsan, Kangwon Province, Korea, North; Rason Branch, Rason, North Hamgyong Province, Korea, North [DPRK3].
KOREA SAMILPO SHIPPING CO, Tonghung-dong, Chung-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 1701459 [DPRK3].
KOREA ZUZAGBONG MARITIME LTD, Kinmaul-dong, Moranbong-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 1991835 [DPRK3].
KOREAN BUYON SHIPPING CO. LTD. (a.k.a. KOREA BUYON SHIPPING CO; a.k.a. KOREAN BUYON SHIPPING COMPANY LIMITED), Wonsan, Kangwon-do, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 5057119 [DPRK3].
KOREAN POLISH SHPG CO LTD, Kinmaul-dong, Moranbong-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 1267131 [DPRK3].
MIRIM SHIPPING CO LTD, Tonghung-dong, Chung-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 5647684 [DPRK3].
OCEAN BUNKERING JV CO, Otan-dong, Chung-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 4199470 [DPRK3].
THAEPHYONGSAN SHIPPING CO LTD, Room 402, 90, Sochon-dong, Sosong-guyok, Pyongyang, Korea, North; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 5878575 [DPRK3].
The following vessels have been added to OFAC's SDN List:
CHONG BONG Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8909575 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: CHONGBONG SHIPPING CO LTD).
CHONG RIM 2 Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8916293 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: OCEAN BUNKERING JV CO).
EVER BRIGHT 88 Sierra Leone flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8914934 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
GOLD STAR 3 Cambodia flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8405402 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
GRAND KARO Cambodia flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8511823 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
HOE RYONG Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9041552 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: HOERYONG SHIPPING CO LTD).
JH 86 Cambodia flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8602531 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
JIN TAI 7 Sierra Leone flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9163154 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
JIN TENG Sierra Leone flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9163166 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
MI RIM 2 Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9361407 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: MIRIM SHIPPING CO LTD).
MI RIM Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8713471 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: MIRIM SHIPPING CO LTD).
ORION STAR; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9333589 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
RA NAM 2 Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8625545 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: KOREA SAMILPO SHIPPING CO).
RA NAM 3 Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9314650 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: KOREA SAMILPO SHIPPING CO).
RYO MYONG Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8987333 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: KOREAN POLISH SHPG CO LTD).
SOUTH HILL 2 Sierra Leone flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8412467 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
SOUTH HILL 5 Palau flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9138680 (vessel) [DPRK] (Linked To: OCEAN MARITIME MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED).
THAE PYONG SAN Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 9009085 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: THAEPHYONGSAN SHIPPING CO LTD).
TONG HUNG 1 Democratic People's Republic of Korea flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8661575 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: KOREA ZUZAGBONG MARITIME LTD).
VICTORY 2 Mongolia flag; Vessel Registration Identification IMO 8312227 (vessel) [DPRK3] (Linked To: KOREAN BUYON SHIPPING CO. LTD.).
Investigatory Powers Bill: codes of practice - Publications - GOV.UK
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:14
To assist Parliament in scrutinising the Investigatory Powers Bill (and at the recommendation of the Joint Committee), the government is publishing drafts of 6 statutory codes of practice that will be made under the act.
These codes of practice address many of the committees' recommendations by providing details of how the powers and obligations will work in practice. The codes will be approved by Parliament and will have statutory force.
The Investigatory Powers Bill: Britain Wants You'... To Hack Your Customers '-- Medium
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:11
The Investigatory Powers Bill: Britain Wants You'... To Hack Your CustomersThe Electronic Frontier Foundation's Eva Galperin and Danny O'Brien on how Britain plans to force tech companies to join Her Majesty's Secret Service.When we first wrote about the UK Investigatory Powers Bill on the EFF's Deeplinks Blog, our initial read was that the draft law's language was so dangerously ambiguous you could drive anything'--from pervasive mass surveillance to secret cell phone backdoors'Š'--'Šthrough its loopholes.
When Britain's primary intelligence oversight committee came to much the same conclusion, we were informed in soothing tones that all these ambiguities would be resolved in forthcoming revisions to the legislation, and detailed in a series of upcoming Codes of Practice.
Well, the law has been revised, the Codes of Practice have been published and (with the aid of strong drink), we have reviewed them.
The civil liberties reforms made in the law were cosmetic:
'... but the real meat is in the Codes of Practice, which confirmed far more of our fears than they have dispelled.
In particular, the Equipment Interference Code of Practice has doubled down on the UK government's plan to turn almost any Internet company'Š'--'Šin the UK or abroad'Š'--'Šinto a weapon of British intelligence and law enforcement.
If you're an Internet company, or just run a website or WiFi hotspot, Britain wants you to help them hack into the world's computers.
There's a lot of talk right now about the FBI v. Apple and US government attempts to backdoor encryption, through litigation or legislation. But the IPB goes far beyond what the FBI is asking Apple to do in the US. In the UK, the plan is to not only compel companies to hack their own software or devices: they will also be commandeered to hack into otherpeople's equipment as well.
We may never even know which companies have been forced to comply with these orders, because they will be forbidden to disclose it. But if you're running an Internet company, or just a website, you should pay attention, because these new powers may well be used on you.
Who, me?Yes, probably you. The draft law states that they can require the assistance of all ''communications service providers'' or telecommunications operators: but that no longer means phone companies or Internet ISPs . The UK has redefined these terms so broadly that if you run an Internet company, administer a website, run an online video game, provision open source Internet software, operate a chat forum, or simply run a wifi hotspot, this power could be turned on you.
The new law defines a telecommunications operator as someone who ''offer[s] a telecommunications service to persons in the UK'', or ''control[s] or provide[s] a telecommunications system which is (in whole or in part) in or controlled in the UK.'' And what's a telecommunications system? It is:
'...any system (including the apparatus comprised in it) which exists (whether wholly or partly in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) for the purpose of facilitating the transmission of communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy.
We, and others, pointed out at the time that this was unconscionably broad. The new Equipment Interference Code of Practice helpfully clarifies that this is ''intentionally broad so that it remains relevant for new technologies'' (Our emphasis; their wording. In fact, what we're going to describe is so hard to believe, you may want to follow along in the Code. This is all in Section 2, paragraph 18.)
The government makes just how clear how wide a net it will be casting: ''Web-based email, messaging applications and cloud-based services'' are specifically listed as being included. So are websites and services that only incidentally provide communications. The code specifically lists online marketplaces, hotels, airport lounges, and public transport as being potential ''communications service providers'' (CSP) and therefore affected by the bill (Section 2.21). Almost anything that has a capability to pass messages over the Internet (or via any ''electro-magnetic energy'') is fair game.
Don't think that being based outside the UK will help. The IP Bill makes it clear that as long as you're offering a service to British users, it believes you'Š'--'Šor your British employees'Š'--'Šmust comply with this law. (Section 6.3''6.4) If you're outside Britain, the UK government can serve one of these orders on you simply by ''making it available for inspection at a place in the UK.''
'''...with a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard.''So I'm a communications service provider now! How does the IPB affect me?You must comply with ''equipment interference warrants.'' These are secret orders intended to allow various UK authorities to hack into or repurpose computing devices into surveillance systems (''equipment interference'' is GCHQ terminology for ''breaking into other people's computers''). Any CSP served with one of these orders must obey its provisions.
Who can serve me an order?The Investigatory Powers Bill grants the power to hack to Britain's security and intelligence services (including GCHQ, MI5, MI6, and military intelligence), its police forces, and tax and customs authorities. Any of those groups can compel any CSP ''inside or outside the UK'' to provide assistance.
What can an order compel me to do?A CSP must take all steps that are ''reasonably practicable'' to assist with the hacking warrant. You don't get to decide what is ''reasonably practicable'': the UK government does. Examples of what CSP might be expected to do (based on known GCHQ practices) might include:
include in your web advertisement inventory a fake advert that pushes malware to a group of your readers;roll out spyware to computers you have control over that would seize email, take screengrabs, pictures and record conversations;push updates to software you've written, including a government-specified backdoor;rewrite a smartphone app to relay its users' position directly to the British authorities;search through emails or other personal data you host, to find passwords or information that could help the authorities to hack;create or fake messages to cause password resets or mislead users into accessing malware-infected website.But these are just one-off jobs for targeting individual criminals, right?The equipment interference orders isn't just for specific individuals'Š'--'Šit can also be used against entire organizations, or a location (these are called ''thematic warrants.'' Section 4.). You might be asked to hack everyone in an office, or an entire intranet.
There's also a separate order that covers ''bulk equipment interference,'' which means you could be involved in hacking systems such as the routers at an ISP to facilitate the mass surveillance of innocent Internet users. (Section 5, for those keeping up.)
Aren't most of those actions illegal and/or unethical?Usually, yes, but according the UK government, that's just fine. The IPB's Code of Practice states that ''the Act makes lawful any conduct undertaken by a person '... to whom an equipment interference warrant is addressed. This therefore authorises activity taken by CSPs '... that would otherwise constitute an offence under the Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection legislation or other relevant legislation.''
The UK government plans to grant you a license to break any law, James Bond-style, as long as you spy for them.
Section 6.14, not ''double-oh.''How would I challenge an order if I receive one?Not easily. Unlike Apple, you won't be able to raise the matter publicly, as every order is secret, and sharing it is a crime, punishable with imprisonment. The UK government ultimately decides what is ''reasonably practicable'' for a CSP, and whether to prosecute you for failing to comply. The bill has its own tribunal and commissioner, but the Code of Practice is curiously silent on how CSPs can complain to them about these orders. They envisage you'll be able to submit a form on a website.
In case you're wondering: no,'s feedback form does not use https.What if I designed my service so that it's unhackable, even by me?That'll be where another IPB power kicks in. ''Technical Capability Notices'' (Section 7) can be served on any CSP with more than 10,000 users (how many hits does your website get a month again?) These orders require that you engineer (or re-engineer) your systems so that your company can respond to future British surveillance orders ''securely and quickly.''
Technical capability notices might also involve installing equipment or facilities for the UK government to use, or even designing and building your own equipment to help with their surveillance, much as the US government is currently demanding of Apple. The existence of this equipment must be kept confidential, of course. On the other hand, if you're the lucky recipient of a technical capability notice, you must hereafter ''notify the Government of new products and services in advance of their launch.'' (Section 7.29) You are sworn to keep the UK government's secrets, but the UK government must always be kept informed of your future plans.
Join the UK government to hear details of the latest iPhone.What can I do about this?The Investigatory Powers Bill is still under consideration by Parliament. If any of this (and there is far more than we could cover here) sounds like a step too far for you or your company, here's what you can do:
If you're in the UK, start by taking the Open Rights Group's excellent advice on how to contact your MP and what to say when you do:No matter where you are, you can sign this petition to Home Secretary Teresa May:Consider supporting the Don't Spy on Us coalition, a British coalition which is currently fundraising for activism against the billWherever you are in the world, please spread the word. The Investigatory Powers Bill represents a tremendous threat to privacy rights, innovation, and the trustworthiness of communications technology. Don't let the British government turn every communications service into a surveillance device.
Danny O'Brienis International Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and co-founder of Britain's Open Rights Group.Eva Galperinis EFF's Global Policy Analyst.
The Ever-Curiouser MH-17 Case '' Consortiumnews
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:49
Exclusive: The shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine has served as a potent propaganda club against Russia but the U.S. government is hiding key evidence that could solve the mystery, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
The curious mystery surrounding the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, gets more curious and more curious as the U.S. government and Dutch investigators balk at giving straightforward answers to the simplest of questions even when asked by the families of the victims.
Adding to the mystery Dutch investigators have indicated that the Dutch Safety Board did not request radar information from the United States, even though Secretary of State John Kerry indicated just three days after the crash that the U.S. government possessed data that pinpointed the location of the suspected missile launch that allegedly downed the airliner, killing all 298 people onboard.
A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Z¼rich, Switzerland)
Although Kerry claimed that the U.S. government knew the location almost immediately, Dutch investigators now say they hope to identify the spot sometime ''in the second half of the year,'' meaning that something as basic as the missile-launch site might remain unknown to the public more than two years after the tragedy.
The families of the Dutch victims, including the father of a Dutch-American citizen, have been pressing for an explanation about the slow pace of the investigation and the apparent failure to obtain relevant data from the U.S. and other governments.
I spent time with the family members in early February at the Dutch parliament in The Hague as opposition parliamentarians, led by Christian Democrat Pieter Omtzigt, unsuccessfully sought answers from the government about the absence of radar data and other basic facts.
Dutch parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt.
When answers have been provided to the families and the public, they are often hard to understand, as if to obfuscate what information the investigation possesses or doesn't possess. For instance, when I asked the U.S. State Department whether the U.S. government had supplied the Dutch with radar data and satellite images, I received the following response, attributable to ''a State Department spokesperson'': ''While I won't go into the details of our law enforcement cooperation in the investigation, I would note that Dutch officials said March 8 that all information asked of the United States has been shared.''
I wrote back thanking the spokesperson for the response, but adding: ''I must say it seems unnecessarily fuzzy. Why can't you just say that the U.S. government has provided the radar data cited by Secretary Kerry immediately after the tragedy? Or the U.S. government has provided satellite imagery before and after the shootdown? Why the indirect and imprecise phrasing? '...
''I've spent time with the Dutch families of the victims, including the father of a U.S.-Dutch citizen, and I can tell you that they are quite disturbed by what they regard as double-talk and stalling. I would like to tell them that my government has provided all relevant data in a cooperative and timely fashion. But all I get is this indirect and imprecise word-smithing.''
The State Department spokesperson wrote back, ''I understand your questions, and also the importance of the view of these families so devastated by this tragedy. However, I am going to have to leave our comments as below.''
Propaganda Value
This lack of transparency, of course, has a propaganda value since it leaves in place the widespread public impression that ethnic Russian rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin were responsible for the 298 deaths, a rush to judgment that Secretary Kerry and other senior U.S. officials (and the Western news media) encouraged in July 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Once that impression took hold there has been little interest in Official Washington to clarify the mystery especially as evidence has emerged implicating elements of the Ukrainian military. For instance, Dutch intelligence has reported (and U.S. intelligence has implicitly confirmed) that the only operational Buk anti-aircraft missile systems in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, were under the control of the Ukrainian military.
In a Dutch report released last October, the Netherlands' Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) reported that the only anti-aircraft weapons in eastern Ukraine capable of bringing down MH-17 at 33,000 feet belonged to the Ukrainian government.
MIVD made that assessment in the context of explaining why commercial aircraft continued to fly over the eastern Ukrainian battle zone in summer 2014. MIVD said that based on ''state secret'' information, it was known that Ukraine possessed some older but ''powerful anti-aircraft systems'' and ''a number of these systems were located in the eastern part of the country.''
The intelligence agency added that the rebels lacked that capability: ''Prior to the crash, the MIVD knew that, in addition to light aircraft artillery, the Separatists also possessed short-range portable air defence systems (man-portable air-defence systems; MANPADS) and that they possibly possessed short-range vehicle-borne air-defence systems. Both types of systems are considered surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Due to their limited range they do not constitute a danger to civil aviation at cruising altitude.''
One could infer a similar finding by reading a U.S. ''Government Assessment'' released by the Director of National Intelligence on July 22, 2014, five days after the crash, seeking to cast suspicion on the ethnic Russian rebels and Putin by noting military equipment that Moscow had provided the rebels. But most tellingly the list did not include Buk anti-aircraft missiles. In other words, in the context of trying to blame the rebels and Putin, U.S. intelligence could not put an operational Buk system in the rebels' hands.
So, perhaps the most logical suspicion would be that the Ukrainian military, then engaged in an offensive in the east and fearing a possible Russian invasion, moved its Buk missile systems up to the front and an undisciplined crew fired a missile at a suspected Russian aircraft, bringing down MH-17 by accident.
That was essentially what I was told by a source who had been briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts in July and August 2014. [See, for instance,'s ''Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts'' and ''The Danger of an MH-17 Cold Case.'']
But Ukraine is a principal participant in the Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team (JIT), which has been probing the MH-17 case, and thus the investigation suffers from a possible conflict of interest since Ukraine would prefer that the world's public perception of the MH-17 case continue to blame Putin. Under the JIT's terms, any of the five key participants (The Netherlands, Ukraine, Australia, Belgium and Malaysia) can block release of information.
The interest in keeping Putin on the propaganda defensive is shared by the Obama administration which used the furor over the MH-17 deaths to spur the European Union into imposing economic sanctions on Russia.
In contrast, clearing the Russians and blaming the Ukrainians would destroy a carefully constructed propaganda narrative which has stuck black hats on Putin and the ethnic Russian rebels and white hats on the U.S.-backed government of Ukraine, which seized power after a putsch that overthrew elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014.
Accusations against Russia have also been fanned by propaganda outlets, such as the British-based Bellingcat site, which has collaborated with Western mainstream media to continue pointing the finger of blame at Moscow and Putin '' as the Dutch investigators drag their heels and refuse to divulge any information that would clarify the case.
Letter to the Families
Perhaps the most detailed '' although still hazy '' status report on the investigation came in a recent letter from JIT chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke to the Dutch family members. The letter acknowledged that the investigators lacked ''primary raw radar images'' which could have revealed a missile or a military aircraft in the vicinity of MH-17.
Russian-made Buk anti-aircraft missile battery.
Ukrainian authorities said all their primary radar facilities were shut down for maintenance and only secondary radar, which would show commercial aircraft, was available. Russian officials have said their radar data suggest that a Ukrainian warplane might have fired on MH-17 with an air-to-air missile, a possibility that is difficult to rule out without examining primary radar which has so far not been available. Primary radar data also might have picked up a ground-fired missile, Westerbeke wrote.
''Raw primary radar data could provide information on the rocket trajectory,'' Westerbeke's letter said. ''The JIT does not have that information yet. JIT has questioned a member of the Ukrainian air traffic control and a Ukrainian radar specialist. They explained why no primary radar images were saved in Ukraine.'' Westerbeke said investigators are also asking Russia about its data.
Westerbeke added that the JIT had ''no video or film of the launch or the trajectory of the rocket.'' Nor, he said, do the investigators have satellite photos of the rocket launch.
''The clouds on the part of the day of the downing of MH17 prevented usable pictures of the launch site from being available,'' he wrote. ''There are pictures from just before and just after July 17th and they are an asset in the investigation.'' According to intelligence sources, the satellite photos show several Ukrainian military Buk missile systems in the area.
Secretary of State John Kerry denounces Russia's RT network as a ''propaganda bullhorn'' during remarks on April 24, 2014.
Why the investigation's data is so uncertain has become a secondary mystery in the MH-17 whodunit. During an appearance on NBC's ''Meet the Press'' on July 20, 2014, three days after the crash, Secretary Kerry declared, ''we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.''
But this U.S. data has never been made public. In the letter, Westerbeke wrote, ''The American authorities have data, that come from their own secret services, which could provide information on the trajectory of the rocket. This information was shared in secret with the [Dutch] MIVD.'' Westerbeke added that the information may be made available as proof in a criminal case as an ''amtsbericht'' or ''official statement.''
Yet, despite the U.S. data, Westerbeke said the location of the launch site remains uncertain. Last October, the Dutch Safety Board placed the likely firing location within a 320-square-kilometer area that covered territory both under government and rebel control. (The safety board did not seek to identify which side fired the fateful missile.)
By contrast, Almaz-Antey, the Russian arms manufacturer of the Buk systems, conducted its own experiments to determine the likely firing location and placed it in a much smaller area near the village of Zaroshchenskoye, about 20 kilometers west of the Dutch Safety Board's zone and in an area under Ukrainian government control.
Westerbeke wrote, ''Raw primary radar data and the American secret information are only two sources of information for the determination of the launch site. There is more. JIT collects evidence on the basis of telephone taps, locations of telephones, pictures, witness statements and technical calculations of the trajectory of the rocket. The calculations are made by the national air and space laboratory on the basis of the location of MH17, the damage pattern on the wreckage and the special characteristics of the rockets. JIT does extra research on top of the [Dutch Safety Board] research. On the basis of these sources, JIT gets ever more clarity on the exact launch site. In the second half of the year we expect exact results.''
Quinn Schansman, a dual U.S.-Dutch citizen killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. (Photo from Facebook)
Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to stonewall a request from Thomas J. Schansman, the father of Quinn Schansman, the only American citizen to die aboard MH-17, to Secretary Kerry to release the U.S. data that Kerry has publicly cited.
Quinn Schansman, who had dual U.S.-Dutch citizenship, boarded MH-17 along with 297 other people for a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. The 19-year-old was planning to join his family for a vacation in Malaysia.
In a letter to Kerry dated Jan. 5, 2016, Thomas J. Schansman noted Kerry's remarks at a press conference on Aug. 12, 2014, when the Secretary of State said about the Buk anti-aircraft missile suspected of downing the plane: ''We saw the take-off. We saw the trajectory. We saw the hit. We saw this aeroplane disappear from the radar screens. So there is really no mystery about where it came from and where these weapons have come from.''
Although U.S. consular officials in the Netherlands indicated that Kerry would respond personally to the request, Schansman told me this week that he had not yet received a reply from Kerry.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,America's Stolen Narrative,either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and
Malvertising campaign hits, NY Times, BBC, AOL - Help Net Security
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:48
In the last couple of days, visitors of a number of highly popular websites have been targeted with malicious adverts that attempted to install malware (mostly ransomware, but also various Trojans) on their systems.
The websites in question were those of the NY Times, the BBC, Newsweek, and The Hill, as well as Microsoft's MSN website,, the Weather Network, the HNL, and The number of monthly visitors to each of these ranges from tens of millions to over one billion (the MSN portal).
The websites themselves weren't compromised. The problem was that the the ad networks these sites use '' Google, AppNexus, AOL, Rubicon '' were tricked into serving the malicious ads, which would lead users to sites hosting an exploit kit.
''The first couple of days before this campaign went big, we observed a few hits on smaller publishers that were pushing the RIG exploit kit,'' noted Malwarebytes' Jerome Segura. ''On Sunday, when the attack really expanded, the Angler exploit kit was then used.''
Users vulnerable to the exploits leveraged by the exploit kits were initially saddled with the Bedep backdoor malware that would then download the Avrecon Trojan.
According to Trustwave researchers, the same campaign also hit visitors of, and several other popular sites during the weekend, and the malicious ads were delivered through at least two affiliate networks, one of which reacted almost immediately after being notified of the problem. The other has yet to get back to the researchers.
Trustwave noted that the attack resulted in the delivery of both the Bedep backdoor and TeslaCrypt ransomware '' if the targeted machines were found not using one of a long list of security products and tools, and sported vulnerabilities that the exploit kit could take advantage of.
It's Time to Abolish the Electoral College
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:15
As voters head to the polls once again today, let us consider how we might improve our electoral system to increase turnout and trust in our government. At the founding of the Republic, wise men like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison worried about how to manage democratic governance. They wanted government to ensure the well-being of the citizens while protecting against "tyranny of the majority," otherwise known as mob rule. To do this, they limited direct democracy by banning many residents from voting (women, slaves), having state legislatures elect senators, and by creating the Electoral College to elect our president. Only one of these limitations, the Electoral College, remains, and it is time to abolish it.
The Electoral College disenfranchises millions of American voters because of the "winner take all" approach in 48 of 50 states. There are many states that have voted for the same party's candidate for decades, and the minority party voters in that state are effectively stripped of their ability to influence the election.
There are a few states that are truly up for grabs like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia, but why should partisan demography determine one's political power? In my home state of Kansas, which votes predictably Republican in national elections, the Democratic voters are second-class citizens in presidential contests. The same is true for Republican voters in states like New York. And when voters have less incentive to vote in the presidential race, the impact on down-ballot races is significant.
There is no question that our democracy needs rejuvenation. Government reform could come through addressing a myriad of issues, like campaign finance reform, proper and objective congressional redistricting, and others. Nonetheless, the 2016 campaign again demonstrates the folly of the Electoral College, which effectively means that there is no such thing as a 50-state strategy, and the national interest suffers.
Apologies to my friends in the swing states, but this system leaves people in a majority of states effectively disenfranchised. The impact of voter turnout and political participation is only awarded to folks in those privileged states. For a democratic political system to be resilient it must be built on the trust of all citizens.
American democracy is ailing. Americans lack trust in government institutions, officials, the process, candidates, you name it -- they don't think it's "on the level" and representative of all the people: north, south, east, and west, and across social classes. The forces of globalization, income inequality, terrorism, and social change are creating challenges that government is not adequately addressing. In order to rejuvenate government, the American people must become more active participants in elections. There is no better way to improve participation than to abolish the Electoral College, an unnecessary relic of a bygone era.
The current chaotic primary election process and presidential candidate debacles have not necessarily instilled confidence in our political system. Nonetheless, democracy is often messy and the American public usually can wade through the mud and figure out what leadership is best for them. But electing a president is serious business and our country only works when the people have faith in our system and election process. Electing a president by national popular vote is necessary to restore that faith.
Gerry Adams denied entry to White House Irish gathering
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:11
Gerry Adams was due to attend the annual White House event, hosted by President Barack Obama, with party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and NI Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Sarah Bardon and Simon Carswell
Sinn F(C)in leader Gerry Adams was declined entry to a reception for the Irish community at the White House on Tuesday evening.
Mr Adams was due to attend the annual event, hosted by president Barack Obama, with his party's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
However, he was forced to wait 90 minutes as security examined his passport. Ms McDonald and Mr McGuinness attended the event but Mr Adams decided to leave when it became clear there was no immediate resolution.
He described the move to deny him entry as ''an unacceptable development'' after two decades of traveling to the US and many meetings with US presidents.
Mr Adams faces increased secondary inspections when flying as result of his connections to the republican movement. However, the issue has never arisen before despite his attendance at the event every year.
''Sinn Fein will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone,'' Mr Adams said in a statement.
''We are elected to represent citizens and we will do this. I am hopeful that the controversy around my White House invitation will help lead to a resolution of these matters.''
'Security'The Sinn F(C)in leader said that when he arrived at the White House on Tuesday afternoon for the annual presentation of shamrock by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Mr Obama he was told that there was an issue of ''security.''
''It is obvious that there remain some within the US administration who seek to treat Sinn Fein differently,'' he said. ''Some of our political representatives have been denied access to the USA while others, including myself regularly go through additional searches and scrutiny when we travel to and from the USA.''
Mr Adams referred to an incident at last year's St Patrick's Day events when the State Department initially refused to meet in what he said was ''part of a transparent effort to pressurise Sinn F(C)in during negotiations at Stormont.''
''That meeting did take place after protests from US political leaders. Efforts to pressurise us in the negotiations failed,'' he said.
''This morning Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and I met with the Congressional Friends of Ireland. They too shared our grave disappointment at the White House situation and expressed their determination to have this issue resolved.''
Mr Adams attended the St Patrick's Day lunch hosted by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan at Capitol Hill on Tuesday where he was recognised by Mr Kenny during his remarks.
BANKSTER-National Committeeman Curly Haugland | GOP
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:04
National Committeeman
National Committeeman, North Dakota Republican State Committee, 2004 '' PresentPresident, North Dakota Policy Council, 2006 '' PresentPresident, Recreation Supply CompanyPresident, Eureka Manufacturing CompanyBoard Member, Land Owner's Association of North DakotaPREVIOUS
Advisory Board Member, Bank of North Dakota, 1993-2000Commissioner, Northern Great Plains Rural Development Commission, 1994-1996RNC ACTIVITY
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11 Phenomenon - Are You Seeing the Number 11 Everywhere?
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:39
Are you seeing the number 11 everywhere? You are not alone! This 11 phenomenon is happening all over the world. What is going on? It is not a coincidence. We are actively working on solving this incredible mystery. (See what others are saying about this and other relatable phenomena in our 11 Forum. Your chance to connect with like-minded people who have been experiencing the same supernatural events.)
If 11's are driving you crazy you are part of a growing group of people who have been having this strange experience. You are probably drawn to this number on a digital clock far more than mathematically probable or seemingly even possible. You experience streaks where it seems like you are seeing 11's everywhere. The number 11, and often multiples of it (repeating numbers), such as 22 and 33 appear on receipts, license plates or in other various odd ways with unbelievable frequency. This experience probably started happening to you all of a sudden. For many it begins with seeing 11:11 all the time. The majority of people were unaware of such a phenomenon when they started experiencing this number 11 mystery.
If you happened to stumble upon this page and are thinking this is just one person with a vivid imagination, then please open another browser and do a couple searches on the subject of people seeing the number 11 everywhere and the 11 experience... You will be amazed to see this is shockingly widespread. This isn't a couple of drunken people in a field seeing or being abducted by UFOs. From my own research and observations I can say most people weren't even aware that such a phenomenon existed until they started experiencing it themselves. So now hopefully you're back from your searches on this phenomena and we can continue on this journey together...
I had never heard of this before it started happening to me. One night I glanced at the clock on my computer and it was 9:11. Not the first time certainly, but this was something different. It was like this number was calling my attention and it gave me chills. I thought it was just a 9/11 awareness thing, since this was about a year after the terrorist attack on America. Before any doubters write it off to a heightened awareness of those terror attacks, understand there were many people who had this experience before that day. As you continue to look into the number 11 meaning you will come to understand how strange this phenomenon is.
So after that the number 11 started popping up in a big way for me. I would happen to glance at the clock and it would be 11 after the hour at a much higher frequency than it should be. Since there is a 1 out of 60 chance of the clock being at any particular minute and I might look at the clock an average of 3 or 4 times an hour; I should not see that number half a dozen times out of, say, a 16 or 17 hour waking day. I should not have been waking up during the night and have it 11 minutes after the hour about 20% of the time for the last 8 plus years. This is what I call strange phenomena. There are countless personal stories out there out there of people having such an ongoing experience with the number 11.
I wrote this phenomenon off to coincidence for a long time. I laughed and joked about it. Then it became a little annoying. I then attempted to block it out as if I was ignoring an annoying person. The elevens would not get the hint. I would flip the channel to a ball game and the game clock would be stopped at 11:11. Again this would happen at an incredibly improbable frequency. I look over at a car dealership that I have driven by many times in my life that was founded by a distant relative and realize for the first time that the number on it is 1111. My son moves into a building with the same number.
Many people might also write this all off as a coincidence. However, this coincidence would probably be in line of winning the lottery 5 times in a row. If this is happening to you and you consider the mathematical probability of seeing a number this frequently, then you will know what I am talking about. Since I know I am not alone in this; it is like many people have had the same impossible lottery coincidence. When you learn the significance of the number 11 and world history you will really come to an awakening that something big is happening here; perhaps a supernatural occurrence. Is this somehow related to 2012 and the Mayan calendar? Is God trying to get our attention? Read on to learn more about this great mystery:
What is behind the 11:11 Phenomenon Mystery?***Check out the 11 Phenomenon Forum. Share your experiences or just see what other's are saying.***
**2010 Solstice Lunar Eclipse Occurs 11 Days Before 1/1/11
**Number 11 and the 9/11 terror attacks
Help us solve the mystery
Are your eyes attracted to 11.11? - Uri Geller
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:37
If your attention has been drawn to clocks and watches at exactly 11:11, then read the following:
I started experiencing this rather bizarre occurrence when I was forty years old, at first I thought they were coincidences, I would stand with my back to a digital clock and something made me turn around and I would notice that the time would be 11:11. These incidents intensified I would be checked into hotel rooms on floor 11 room 1111. I started noticing these digits on computers, microwave ovens, cars, documents, etc. I decided to write about it on my website. I was immediately inundated by hundreds of emails from all around the world. Individuals were telling me their own 11:11 stories, almost always saying ''I thought it only happened to me''. It is difficult for me to decipher what this is all about but my intuition tells me its positive.
I have been asked many times about the September 11th 2001 attacks in New York and Washington. People ask me how I can claim that 11/11 is positive when there were so many deaths in those attacks?
My answer is that those attacks would have been far worse if the terrorists had used a dirty nuclear weapon in the form of a suitcase bomb that could have been placed anywhere in New York, Los Angeles, London or any other heavily populated city. If that had happened the consequences would have been far more devastating.
I believe that those who died on September 11th did not die in vain.
This was a massive wake-up call to the world reminding us that the know-how to put such a bomb together is already out there.
Needless to say, such an explosion would have killed over 100,000 people and irradiated an area of hundreds of square miles with deadly radioactivity that would remain there for years.
Remember Chernobyl, now a ghost town?
When I see the number 1111 I pray for sick children and world peace, the prayer takes a moment but it's very powerful. Please if you can do the same I believe it helps!
I believe that people who have constant contact with the 1111 phenomena have some type of a positive mission to accomplish. It is still a mystery to me what it is that we all have to do or why are we all being gathered and connected together, but it is very real and tangible, I feel that it is immensely positive, almost like there is a thinking entity sending us these physical and visual signs from the universe. In me, it activates the power of prayer, love and determination to some how help the world. Some day I suspect we will find out the true meaning behind this puzzling phenomenon. It could start happening to you too after reading my website.
String theory is said to be the theory of everything. It is a way of describing every force and matter regardless of how large or small or weak or strong it is. There are a few eleven's that have been found in string theory.
I find this to be interesting since this theory is supposed to explain the universe! The first eleven that was noticed is that string theory has to have 11 parallel universes (discussed in the beginning of the ''11.11'' article) and without including these universes, the theory does not work.
The second is that Brian Greene has 11 letters in his name. For those of you who do not know, he is a physicist as well as the author of The Elegant Universe, which is a book explaining string theory. (His book was later made into a mini series that he hosted.) Another interesting find is that Isaac Newton (who's ideas kicked off string theory many years later) has 11 letters in his name as well as John Schwarz. Schwarz was one of the two men who worked out the anomalies in the theory. Plus, 1 person + 1 person = 2 people = equality.
Also, the two one's next to each other is 11. The two men had to find the same number (496) on both sides of the equation in order for the anomalies to be worked out, so the equation had to have equality! There were two matching sides to the equation as well because they ultimately got 496 on both sides. So, the 1 + 1 = 2 = equality applies for the equation as well.
Here is something more than the paranormal or numerology '' something very fundamental about the scientific and mathematical nature of the universe, involving unary arithmetic.
(a): 11=3, in binary arithmetic. 3 is the cornerstone of the trinity and also Hinduism.(b): 1 male + 1 female are needed to produce 1 child. Ergo, 1 + 1 = 3, in reproduction.(c): The building block of all existence since the ''the Big Bang'' is Hydrogen, which through nuclear fusion has produced all the other atoms known to humankind. Hydrogen is another 11, group 1, period 1, two ones of different type.(d): The Yin and the Yang are also 11 '' two ones of opposite kind, reflecting the duality of the universe in eastern religions and modern computer technology.(e): Following year 1BC is the year 1AD '' another 11, since our modern calendar has no year 0, which is why the 21st century officially began on Jan 1st, 2001.(f): And finally there is the oddity of the number 10, which historically grew out of counting on our fingers. The oddity is that 10 = 1010 in binary arithmetic '' 10:10. HOWEVER, if you count the fingers on your hands in unary arithmetic '' no zeros '' then 10 fingers, in unary mathematics, = 11111111111 '' EXACTLY 11 ONES
Our research on September 11 in history uncovered many anomalies and perhaps a significant prophetic sign. The most startling discovery was a book written in 1981, 20 years prior to the 2001 attacks, called ''The Birth of Christ Recalculated''. The author, Dr. Ernest L. Martin, claims to have calculated the exact date of Jesus Christ's birth based on the celestial charts for that era. The date of Christ's birth, based on the famous Star of Bethlehem, is calculated to be September 11, 3 B.C.. Dr. Martin's findings have been accepted by many scholars, theologians, historians, and astronomers. We also note that Jesus Christ has 11 letters. The crosses found standing in the ruins of the WTC, and the dominance of the number 11 in the 9-11 events, make this combination even more mysterious.
There is another significant religious event occurring about 2000 years later on September 11, 1999. According to Hebrew Scriptures September 11, 1999 was the 6,000th anniversary of Adam's creation, and year 1 on the Hebrew calendar.
The majority of computers today use binary coding but what is it?
Think of an on/off switch where 0 = off and 1 = on. These codes are linked together just as letters and then words are put together to make a sentence. In turn this is speeded up within your computer. It has become an electronic language '' a form of communication that can cross many barriers such as language itself. Not only that but it can be applied to so many things some of which have yet to be discovered or thought of. Its not a new concept. I think it began with a piece of string and a knot and then a piece of string and several knots, thousands of years ago. Throughout man's history it has evolved and developed, for example, the Abacus, a more sophisticated and effectively simple 'computer'. Everyone and everything in the world today is based on and affected by this electronic language. In the realms of 11:11 perhaps it can be seen as the communication between two people (and or their computer) for what is the human brain but a computer in the 'on' position. Through communication we learn to appreciate and respect one another's values, customs and beliefs '' that has to be a good thing '' and all this from a knot and a piece of string thousands of years ago!
The 11:11 enigma has been here for a while now and has affected the lives of countless thousands of people. Is it really a phenomenon, or is it our internal body clocks playing tricks on us? For many people seeing the 11s in such abundance makes them certain that this goes far beyond the realms of coincidence. If this is a message then four ones would be the most noticeable of all numbers to have appear on a digital clock. The major question is what can be gleaned from this 'message'.
In Colin Wilson's book, The Occult, his discussion of the Pythagoreans (the first numerologists) we get the first glimmer of a starting point, ''Creation starts with the 'divine pure unity', number one, then develops to the 'holy four', and the first four digits beget ten, the sacred number, from which everything else springs'' (p251).One and one is also the beginning of the Fibonacci curve, a universal pattern of nature found in everything from conch shells to galaxy spirals.
If you multiply 1111 by 1111 you get 1234321, representing a pyramid, and number 11 is a sacred number of the pyramid with the proportions of the great pyramid being of the ratio 7:11. Eleven is also a number harmonious with Pi. Therefore, it seems that number eleven is of central importance in understanding the mathematical infrastructure of the universe. This appearance of an abundance of 11:11 sightings on clocks seems to be is about thinking out of your box and letting your mind stretch outside it's comfort zone.11:11 does not allow you to forget about the larger questions because it is always popping back into your reality, acting as catalyst to distract our consciousness away from the sublime and on to something far more challenging.
In my own reflexive understanding of this phenomenon, I have taken it to mean the need to find balance in life and avoid becoming too ensconced in the superficiality of our corporate/consumer society. September 11th has created a miasma of evil and has connected the number 11 with much negativity. This, to me, is misplaced, as the choice of date by Bin Laden is probably a cruel joke to reflect the American emergency number. 11:11 seems to be the choice before man. Either realize that 1 Muslim is essentially the same as 1 Jew, 1 Christian or 1 Buddhist, so we can either live side by side in harmony, or we can concentrate on the small differences between us and use it as an excuse for conflict.
Optimism or pessimism is the choice before us.
I recently acquired a small Scottish island The Lamb. See the historic significance on my home page.What surprised me is that The Firth contains several small islands, the more significant of which are the Bass Rock, Cramond, Craigleith, Eyebroughy, Fidra, Inchcolm, Inchgarvie, Inchkeith, Inchmickery, Lamb and, farthest out, the Isle of May which = 11 islands!
Solara's (an amazing intuitive) and Uri's opinions:
The endless reoccurrence of these hours 11:11, 11:01, 11:10, 10:01, 10:11, 10:10, 1:01, 1:11 represents a positive connection and a gateway to the mysteries of the universe and beyond. A trigger of remembrance
For many years the numbers 11:11 have been mysteriously appearing to people all over the world. Often appearing on digital clocks, the sightings of 11:11 tend to occur during times of heightened awareness, having a most powerful effect on the people involved. This causes a reactivation of our cellular memory banks. There's a stirring deep inside, a hint of remembrance of something long forgotten. The appearance of 11:11 is also a powerful confirmation that we are on the right track, aligned with our highest Truth. Throughout the years, I have personally encountered thousands of people all over the world who, have experienced repeated sightings of 11:11. They all want to know what is happening to them and why. What does the 11:11 signify?
11:11 is a pre-encoded trigger placed into our cellular memory banks prior to our descent into matter which, when activated, signifies that our time of completion is near. This refers to the completion of duality. When the 11:11 appears to you, it is your wake-up call. A direct channel opens up between you and the Invisible. When this happens, it is time to reflect on whatever you are doing for a moment and Look Larger. A transfer is in position. You can enter the Greater Reality if you wish pray or meditate and seed your future and also, you can be seeded by the Invisible. You can ask for help in some specific area of your life or simply listen quietly and receive a revelation. The appearance of 11:11 is an always beneficial act of Divine Intervention telling you that it is time to take a good look around you and see what is really happening. It's time to pierce the veils of illusion that keep us bound to an unreal world. You have been chosen, because you are ready, to step into the Greater Reality. To lead the way for others into a new way of living, into a Greater Love. To ascend from duality into Oneness.
The 11.11 is the bridge to our vitality and oneness. It is our pathway into the positive unknown and beyond.
The Doorway the 11:11
This can presently be perceived as a crack between two worlds.
It is like a bridge which has the inherent potential of linking together two very different spirals of energy.
As we unite together as One, bringing together our fragments of the key, we not only create the key, but we make visible the Doorway.
Thus this bridge functions as an invisible door or a doorway into the Invisible realm.
The 11:11 is the bridge to an entirely different spiral of evolution.
The symbol of 11:11 was pre-encoded into our cellular memory banks long ago.
Returning our cycle of incarnations upon the Earth. The 11.11 has rested dormantly within us since that faraway position under time-release mechanization, combined with sealed orders which would only open when the 11.11 was fully activated. It has been gently sleeping, awaiting the moment of triggering. And now the 11:11 is finally activated'...
11:11 is the pre-encoded trigger and the key to the mysteries of the universe and beyond.
Some of you have recognized this symbol as something of significance, yet have been unaware of its true meaning. With the advent of digital clocks many years ago, the significance of 11:11 began to make itself felt, often appearing on clocks at times of accelerated awareness. For those of you who have know that 11:11 was something special, we now need you to come forth into positions of leadership. For you are important parts of the key.
11 isn't just a precursor to danger etc '' it's the whole point! 1+1 = 2 '' unity, togetherness, peace. September 11 was a tragic event '' no-one would question that '' but if it leads to people realizing that the only way for this race to survive is togetherness and peace, maybe those deaths will not be in vain.
Names, events and places that add up to 11 letters.
Pope FrancisThe day of Michael Jackson passing: 25 06 09 2+5+6+9= 22 11 11Colin WilsonBarack ObamaCoincidenceHELLHEAVEN sounds like eleven phoneticallyBERLIN WALL COMES DOWN 11.11.89Yasser Arafat dies 11.11.2004Nelson Mandela released '' 11th February 1990First telephone call by Alexander G. Bell '' 11th March 1876US Civil War began '' 11th April 1861-12th April 1861Boer War began '' October 11th 1899Lourdes vision seen '' 11th February 1858The Bali bombing and how they occurred 1 year, 1 month, and 1 day after the September 11th attacksHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2 always has her emblem written like this E11RSeptember 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2+5+4 = 11The date of the attack: 9/11 '' 9 + 1 + 1 = 11After September 11th there were 111 days left to the end of the year.Crucifixion = 11 A huge cross was formed from the charred metal at ground zero.Twin Towers '' standing side by side, looks like the number 11The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11 by American Airlines or AA -> A=1st letter in alphabet so we have 11:11The first tower collapsed in eleven seconds. Encarta World Atlas says that New York City and the World Trade Centre fall exactly on 74 degrees west, 7+4 = 11 Flight #11 '' 2 pilots + 9 attendants = 11 in the crewFlight #175 '' 65 on board '' 6+5=11Mohamed Atta '' (the pilot that crashed into the World Trade Center)Paul Tibbets '' the pilot of plane that bombed Hiroshima with atomic bomb; Plane was called Enola Gay B 29->11 (sum of digits)Ramzi Yousef '' (orchestrated the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993)State of New York '' 11th State added to the Union New York CityThe USS Enterprise is in the gulf during the attack its ship number is 65N +5=11British Army ParatroopersNuclear BombThe Civil WarHudson RiverEmpire State (is now the tallest building in New York).Nationalism (is stronger now in the United States).Armed ForcesWar on terrorWorld war oneWorld war twoWorld war IIINew York City emergency is 911Construction of the Pentagon began (the ground breaking ceremony) September 11th, 1941The World Trade Center was built from 1966 to 1977'... taking 11 years.Remembrance day is November 11. November is also the 11th monthAfghanistanThe PentagonThe number of storeys of the World Trade Centre was 110 (2x) 110 '' 110 11:11SkyscrapersJosef StalinAyrton SennaJohn McEnroeNIKOLA TESLAShimon PerezMount CarmelKEANU REEVESMohamed OmarAriel SharonHarry PotterJesus ChristMoshe RabenuDavid BlaineNostradamusAir Force OneGeorge W. BushBill ClintonJimmy CarterAntony BlairDerren BrownSaudi ArabiaColin PowellU.S. Secretary of StateThe American Zip Code for NYC is 10001Adolf HitlerHani Hanjour attacked the PentagonMohamed Atif, Osama Bin Laden's partnerKalashnikov, Osama Bin Laden carries with himKarachi CityFourth of July, is the seventh month so 4+7 = 11 (Independence Day)John KennedyFlight 93 crashed into a Pennsylvania field at 10.10 AM, remove the zeroes = 11Uri Geller born 20, Dec.1946. 1+9+4+6+2+0=22.11+11=22.Nikita Khrushchev died on September 11 1971.11 Downing Street is where the Chancellor of the Exchequer tries to balance the economic state of the United Kingdom.The total solar eclipse of August the eleventh 1999 was on 11.11 AM, GMT.Uri stopped Big Ben at 11.11 AM, GMT April the 30th 1997.The year 2002-2+2=22=11:11, Eiffel Tower could be the next target, Pearl Harbor.Star of David.Red Crescent.The Red cross Revelations.The book of revelations is powerful and has significant meaning relating to these numbers! You might want to read these verses 101, 1001, 1010. 1011, 1101, 1110, and 1111.War Declared is eleven letters.I just realised that I have been living for many years in a house with pillars resembling 11.11- have a look!Machu Picchu (Ancient Inca fortress city in the Andean mountains of Peru) = 11Number 11 through time
4000BC '' Historians' first real understanding of warfare begins somewhere between 4000 and 3500 BC in MESOPOTAMIA (11 letters) and Egypt.
TUTANKHAMEN, Egyptian Ruler (11 letters) died in January 1323 BC'...He was the 11th Ruler of the 18th dynasty
911 BC '' The rise of the Assyrians '' The Egyptians managed to save themselves from invasion during the reign of Rameses III by making successful attacks on the dangerous tribes of the Aegean. The Roman Emperor CONSTANTINE (11 letters) build the great city of Constantinople.
In 1211 Genghis Khan (11 letters) breaches the great wall of China.
The October revolution'...On 24th -25th of October 1917 Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian provisional government in a coup planned and led by LEON TROTSKY (11 letters) Lenin's second in command. On 12th of April 1945 HARRY TRUMAN (11 letters) became president of The USA after the death of Franklin Roosevelt.
Until 1959 Cuba was governed by a pro American dictator Batista but he was overthrown by a group of rebels led by FIDEL CASTRO (11 letters) 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 1,2,345,678,987,654,321 Looking at the back of a $100 dollar bill notice that the windows on each side of Independence Hall have 11 windows. 11 windows on the left side, 11 windows on the right side. Hence, 1111.
Some people notice that there is a distinct tendency for the linking of related events in time or space. This may be more easily understood by thinking of the universe as being constructed from abstract systems that are then represented by matter. This is an ancient idea and there are indications that a simplified version of it is essential in modern day physics.
From our point of view, so far, the world is an interlinking tapestry of causal and non-causal events. This feeds our senses. What is important here is the abstract nature of the events. This allows them to be looked at as having the properties of thoughts in the mind. From this idea it is possible to see that the less significant events may be filled in from an abstract pool of possibilities. The selection process can become skewed by the existence of a residue of higher-level conceptual thoughts, much as occurs in the sensory system of the brain. If one wanted to become mystical, it would be possible to say that this process highlights some valuable concept or co-existent situation. Many psychic phenomena are brought about by the construction of abstract situations that pass into reality at the appropriate moment.
The flow of information through the senses is to some extent governed by what the mind does with the information and what it is ready for. This could be viewed as the action of feedback via the motor systems of the body, but it often extends well beyond their range of influence. This helps to explain the existence of experimenter effects in psychic research. It is also seen as the influence of a positive attitude on the vagaries of life.
New Scientist Magazine (20 July 2002 edition) titled: Getting tough on ageing
Scientists have found a gene on chromosome number 11, in mice, which may be involved in DNA repair. This ties in with the theory that stem cells (found in bone marrow, for example) are responsible for the ageing process when they become 'useless' and non-resistant to DNA damage. So by making stem cells more hardy, longevity can be increased. That this gene could be involved in DNA repair would be a major discovery, and the fact that it is located on chromosome number 11 and the correlation with the prolongation of life is incredible.
Egypt 2011
After weeks of prtests but following 11 days of more serious protests, Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt after 30 years in office, on Feb 11-11. Given that protesters have been demanding his resignation for some time, and that he was due to step down the previous day '' isn't it strange that he waited until the eleventh to step down?
At the time of the announcement, Egypt ranked 111 on the list of countries by Human Development Index.
If you have interesting 11:11 stories please let me know by email.
11:11 | Seeing 11:11 Everywhere: Is It Happening to You?
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:29
11:11 '' Is it Happening to You?
Our Spirit Guides, angels, or higher selves like to speak to us through various methods, such as playing a recurring song on the radio that may have special significance, answering a prayer, flipping to a certain page in a book we're reading, or even directing our attention to repeating numbers on a clock or sign, such as 11:11. At first, this occurrence might seem like a silly coincidence, but by looking further into it, you will find that it has a powerful spiritual message hidden within.
More and more people seem to notice these repeating numbers on the clock, on roadside billboards, signs, and other places lately, which only provides further truth that a massive shift in consciousness and awareness is taking place. This phenomenon basically occurs to remind us of the profound synchronicities and cosmic shifts occurring during this beautiful time on the planet, and also brings our attention to our present thoughts and feelings. The underlying intention of our angels bringing our awareness to 11:11 is to make us more conscious of ourselves, and remind us that we always have guidance and a greater wisdom to rely on anytime we feel stuck, scared, or frustrated.
According to Doreen Virtue, a well-known angel therapist and psychic medium between the spirit world and human world, seeing repeating numbers, especially 11:11, means you should focus on keeping your thoughts positive, because your desires will manifest instantly into form. Put all your attention on what you desire instead of what you fear, and your angels will continue to reward you.
The more 1's you see on a clock, sign, or anything else with numbers, the stronger the connection between yourself and your spirit guides or angels. Millions of people all over the world can attest to seeing these numbers more often, which only suggests that more of us have begun our journeys to becoming Lightworkers, or healers for the planet. Since the Earth is in such a state of disarray outwardly, so many humans have been called upon in order to bring back peace and harmony to the planet, making our Earth a true Garden of Eden on which we can all thrive and enjoy the human experience.
According to the Mayan Calendar, the turning of ages began on December 21, 2012 at 11:11, marking a New Age on our planet '' a literal shift in consciousness from the Dark Age to the Golden Age. Another interesting thing about 11:11 is that the numbers add up to four, which is the number for transformation and the dissolving of the ego. Many healers and spiritual leaders on Earth interpret 11:11 to mean that the ascended masters have come back to the planet to aid us in this grand healing and help bring Earth back into alignment once again.
Any time you see numbers repeating themselves, specifically 11:11, your angels want you to know that you are on the right path, and that they will protect you no matter what adversities you face. During this time, we must become masters of ourselves, instead of succumbing to the negativity and chaos around us. We have literally created this world due to a lack of self-control, so now our masters have reminded us that we must reclaim our internal power and once again learn to govern ourselves, learning to coexist with all beings on the planet.
This is a very exciting time here on Earth, despite what you may see going on around you. As the grand healing and transformation continues to unfold, small changes will soon amount to much more significant changes as the veil is lifted and more people are awakened to our Oneness. It might seem difficult right now, but continue to trust in the angels, and know that they have your best intentions at heart.
We are all one family, and we are in this together. Don't look outside yourself for any answers; it will only lead to more confusion and feelings of disempowerment. Trust in the power of the universe to help you heal, and anytime you notice 11:11, monitor your thoughts and make sure that your vibration matches what you want to see in your physical reality.
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Where is Ankara's 'Je suis' moment? | Liz Cookman | Opinion | The Guardian
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:15
'In five months Ankara has seen more blood spilled by terror than many places do in a lifetime.' A protest after a bombing in Ankara in October 2015. Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA
On Sunday evening, a bomb exploded near a bus stop at a busy transport hub in central Ankara. At least 37 people died and many more were injured. Innocent people who were just trying to go about their day-to-day business had their lives blown apart. It's the third high-fatality attack on the Turkish capital since October, meaning that in five months this welcoming '' if often a little boring '' city has seen more blood spilled by terror than many places do in a lifetime. Yet where was our ''Je suis'' moment?
Related:Ankara car bomb: Turkish president vows to defeat terror after dozens killed
After the Paris attack last November, some Turkish schools had mourning ceremonies that lasted a full day. Buildings sported the tricolor flag, people lit candles in solidarity with the victims and hung pictures in condemnation of the senseless violence. This was despite the fact that, when a similar number of people were killed at a peace rally in Ankara the month before, the ripples were hardly felt by the rest of Europe. No BBC reporters broke down in tears. No Facebook app was launched to convert profile pictures into Turkish flags.
While the circumstances of the various attacks in the two cities were very different '' Ankara has been subjected to three suicide bomb attacks while Paris's attacks in January and November last year were largely carried out by gunmen '' it's hard to say that this alone could cause such widely different shows of support. If Sunday's bomb had instead been in Piccadilly Circus, the closest London equivalent to Kizilay in Ankara, the world would be talking of nothing else. So why not for Ankara?
''Is it because you just don't realise that Ankara is no different from any of these cities?'' James Taylor wrote in a Facebook post that went viral. ''Is it because you think that Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, like Syria, like Iraq?''
Britain has a love-hate relationship with Turkey. In tourist polls of the most popular destinations, sights and people, it often appears as both one of the most and one of the least liked places. It continues to teeter on the line between east and west, making it hard to understand '' a Muslim country with increasingly conservative values that also has its sights set on the EU. Yet geographically, Turkey is Europe's neighbour and politically Turkey has long been an ally, of sorts, to the west. It is not the only place to have seen its tragedies paid little attention by the rest of the world, but it feels like the most ''western'' example.
Perhaps the lack of sympathy for the city comes from pure ignorance
''Contrary to what many people think, Turkey is not the Middle East. Ankara is not a war zone, it is a normal modern bustling city, just like any other European capital,'' said Taylor. The fact that violence in Turkey has been on the rise since the ceasefire between state forces and the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) came to an abrupt end is undeniable. So is the country's proximity to Syria. Yet despite the heavy presence of armed police, there are no tanks on the streets of Ankara or barrel bombs being dropped.
Perhaps the lack of sympathy for the city comes from pure ignorance. When I first moved to Ankara, 18 months ago, I was asked by friends and acquaintances if ''they have chairs in Ankara, or does everyone sit on cushions on the floor?'' and if I would be ''allowed to walk down the street on your own as a woman?'' Most frustrating, and common of all, was ''Are you sure Ankara is the capital, because I'm pretty certain it's Istanbul?''
More people have been killed in the three attacks on Ankara than were in the multiple attacks on Paris. Many of the people killed were Muslims. They may not have been from one of Europe's sexiest cities, but their killing at the hands of terrorists still deserves our solidarity. As Taylor asks, ''You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?''
REDEF ORIGINAL: Age of Abundance: How the Content Explosion will Invert the Media Industry
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:06
If you read a list of mankind's most important or influential inventions, there's not far you could go without coming across those of Thomas Edison. Oddly, however, it's unlikely you'd ever see the device he so-routinely identified as his favorite: the phonograph. While it didn't defeat disease, conquer the night skies or take flight, the phonograph was just as Promethean as vaccines, electricity and the Wright Brothers' 'Flyer'. For thousands of years, media was a privilege of the elite, concentrated in cities and confined to a single moment in time. With Edison's phonograph, music had become non-rivalrous, infinitely replicable and indefinite. Yes, it took decades until the average family could afford a record player or radio, but the dawn of democratized consumption had arrived.
Unfortunately, however, this same trend led to an ossification in content creation and distribution. Records, after all, cost money. Production was expensive '' as was distribution, marketing and promotion. So expensive, in fact, that almost every artist lacked the capital required to actually release their music '' a need that paved the way for record labels (or TV studios, film studios, publishers etc.) that would finance said efforts in exchange for hefty royalty fees and content rights. These money men though wouldn't and couldn't afford to invest in every artist with a dream. Given the upfront cost of talent development and distribution, labels invested in ''Arts & Repertoire'' men, whose job it was to sift through countless musicians in order to identify the select few with ''commercial viability''. Potential artists were then further cut down in number when it came time to actually distributing their content '' and then again via marketing/promotional support. Underlying this fact was an unavoidable truth: content publishers had scale-related disincentives to support more than a handful of artists. Why record, distribute, market and promote 15 albums if you can achieve the same unit sales with 10?
Though this system was far from ideal, it was the inevitable outcome of a market in which talent was abundant, capital limited, distribution bandwidth (e.g. shelf-space, broadcast spectrum, print layouts) scarce, barriers high, and the cost of failure significant. But as a result, the content industry slowly shaped itself around a mysterious cabal of financiers and executive tastemakers that essentially programmed the national media identity. And anyone who wanted in had to move to New York, LA or Nashville, pay their dues and hope to work their way up until they could call the shots.
Of course, the music business was far from alone. The more expensive the medium, the more constrained the supply, the smaller the community and more homogenous the content. Local disc jockeys, newspapers and TV affiliates did have the opportunity to repackage and reprogram '' to imprint their personality or take, if you will '' but this was limited in scope, drew upon only the content that was already distributed, had to fit within an existing corporate identity and, again, depended on access to capital or infrastructure.
Over time, however, technology did what it does best: production costs fell, quality went up and distribution bandwidth increased. Economics, in turn, improved, as did the industry's carrying capacity '' the number of artists, titles, and pieces of content that could be supported. The media business was beginning to loosen up.
But it took until the late 2000s '' more than a century after the phonograph '' for creation and distribution to truly democratize. With the Internet, distribution became free and truly non-rival (if a bit non-excludable), while the proliferation of low-cost media equipment, mobile devices, and powerful editing software dramatically lowered the costs of production. The rise of creator-based consumption platforms and crowd-funding platforms, meanwhile, eliminated many of the remaining barriers hindering independent content creation. This meant that content could not only be created by those outside the business, but that commercializing this content became significantly less expensive and risky. This led to a massive increase in available, indexed and distributed content.
While the media business benefited from many of these changes, the consequences have been fundamentally destabilizing. The television industry has experienced such a surge in original content that annual cancellation rates have quintupled over the past 15 years (twice as many original scripted series were cancelled last year than even aired in 2000). Since 1985, the indie film industry has seen a nearly twentyfold increase in the number of theatrical releases even though ticket sales have remained flat (in 2014, the Head of SXSW's film festival decried that ''the impulse to make a film had far outrun the impulse to go out and watch one''). Plummeting music sales and unprecedented competition have made launching a new artist so expensive that catalogue sales now make up more than 200% of major label profits (in 2014, David Goldberg privately encouraged Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton to essentially halt A&R efforts, as well as investments in actually making new music). With the democratization of media creation, it's easier than ever to make content but harder than ever to make a hit.
Ironically, the increasing difficulty in creating hits has not bolstered the ''hit maker'' system but rather further weakened it instead. In 2013, Macklemore became the first unsigned artist since 1994 to have a number-one single in the United States '' a feat he repeated just three months later. Mega-star Taylor Swift has been with an independent label since her debut album and multi-platinum groups such as The Eagles and Radiohead have left the majors to start their own. The struggles of print publishing are well-known, but the uniqueness of some of ''print's'' recent successes are worth mentioning. The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, which has outsold The Harry Potter septet on Amazon in the United Kingdom and made author E.L. James 2012's highest-earning author, became a viral hit on long before it was picked up in print (and it's unlikely a publisher would have bought the rights upfront). Andy Weir's The Martian is another self-publishing success story.
This metamorphosis is about far more than ever increasing amounts of content and a handful of stars existing outside the traditional media ecosystem. The entire media business is inverting. For decades, scarce capital and constrained distribution capacity meant that the media's industry bottlenecks sat in the middle of the value chain. Today, however, the bottleneck has moved to the very end: consumer attention. This shifts the balance of power from determining what should be made to finding a way to convince people what to watch, listen to or read in a world of infinitely abundant content.
The preeminence of this challenge has given to the rise of a new type of aggregator-distributor, including news content sites like Gawker, the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed; video and music aggregation services like Netflix, YouTube and Pandora; and even physical products subscription offerings like Birchbox and Lootcrate. What's more, it enabled the major social networks to use their customer data to build massive stickiness, launch their own publishing platforms and become traffic kingmakers. More broadly, this shift has swung the balance of power from programmers with the ability to greenlight content to curators with the ability to get that content heard, seen or read. Of course, the old programming and financing guard remain important, but with the democratization of production and the explosion of content creation, the power of 1st party programming is quickly being eclipsed by the ascendance of 3rd party content curation. The gatekeepers are still manning their posts, but the city outgrew the walls and the barbarians circumvented the gates entirely.
The Tastemaker Curator
To date, curation has primarily been delivered in three ways. Most common is algorithmic recommendation powered by behavioral and social graph data '' e.g. Facebook's newsfeed, Spotify's Discover Weekly, Netflix's content feeds. Second is hand-picked selections delivered by and through the major distribution platforms '' e.g. Twitter Moments, Snapchat stories and Beats Radio 1. Third are one-off recommendations and shares by individual users '' posting a Spotify playlist, reblogging a tumblr post, sharing a link or retweeting a tweet. Suffice to say, curation today is dominated by well-capitalized technology-media companies and supported by significant manpower and bandwidth.
However, the next evolution in the media value chain will be the rise of decentralized curation '' with individual tastemakers building up mass followings and driving enormous consumption by recommending various articles, videos, shows, films, albums, exhibits and so on. While there's no way to effectively do this at scale today, the transition is long in development. Almost everyone today remixes content they've created with 3rd party content (just look at any social feed), reviews and engages in media commentary (ditto) and uses the recommendations of others to decide what to watch, see, listen to or even believe. Similarly, every social graph includes a handful of node users whose endorsements proliferate across the social web. The formalization of this influence will therefore represent both a natural and value-add extension of existing user behavior.
To this end, multimedia curation is and will continue to be pioneered by today's web influencers: YouTube, Instagram and Twitter celebrities such as Connor Franta or Michelle Phan that have already developed, personal and authentic voices that transcend individual verticals, genres and brands and influence millions. But it is not and will not be confined to these digital influencers alone. ''Traditional'' celebrities that connect with their audiences on a deep level '' a Howard Stern, Taylor Swift, Glenn Beck or Kardashian '' are positioned to and in some cases already beginning to dive into curation. Mindy Kaling doesn't have 6M Twitter followers, two books and her own TV show just because she's funny, but because her taste, endorsements and perspective resonates.
The template already exists: Martha Stewart and Oprah both built extensive, multi-category empires in the pre-digital era largely based on the power of their stamp of approval. With new distribution technologies, the influencers of today, and maybe Martha herself, will be able to build even more comprehensive empires than ever before, all built on the power of their taste and delivered via inexpensive but massively distributed web infrastructure.
This ability for consumers to tap into specific voices will also be critical as more content and more users come online. Consumer time (or ''attention'') doesn't scale with either the volume or ready availability of content at their disposal. Discovery functions, too, have a maximum. The significance of 1,000 likes, 400 ratings or 3.2M plays is very different with 3B Internet users than it was with 500M. Not only does contextualizing these social cues become impossible, but the demographics of the reviewers continues to change '' first in terms of age and income, then geography and culture '' making it difficult to understand the personal validity of any crowd based metric. That's not to say that a product on Amazon with 1,400 reviews and a 3.8 star rating isn't good '' just that the common review mechanisms found across the web mathematically soften taste out to the average. This works a lot of the time, but we tend to have very particular tastes in certain categories '' and there is a certain staleness created by narrowing these averages down using look-a-like groups and other algorithmic techniques. Not to mention the fact, that such an approach often lacks the element of serendipity and surprise from discovering something you loved but didn't expect (especially if you would otherwise have avoided it). As a result, curators both solve a media painpoint and enrich consumption.
Where Will this Be Built?
The most likely enablers of the age of curation will be today's social platforms. Though rarely viewed as such, these companies '' Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram '' are already in the business of content creation, remixing and distribution. As such, the expansion from one-off filters, albums, shares and vlogs to curation would represent an organic evolution of their existing user toolset. More importantly, however, this change will be critical if these platforms want to continue to grow user engagement and manage the massive influx of user created and user-submitted content.
Many services have invested in centrally-managed human curation feeds in recent months '' such as Snapchat's Live Stories or Instagram's event and theme-based ''Explore'' collections '' but these can only scale so far without the help of the crowd or truly massive content investments (just ask Encyclopedia Britannica). Twitter, notably, is already planning changes that will enable brands and everyday users to create their own moments and Instagram has been promoting curated follower lists from top influencers on the platform for months now. Others are likely to follow.
To support this, Facebook, Twitter and company will require a broad set of new user tools and capabilities '' such as the ability to bundle multiple types of on-and-off platform content, create evergreen collections, offer paid subscriptions and connect to physical goods fulfillment. Buy buttons are just the beginning. As a result, we may even see a new type of social platform emerge.
However, curation-centric services won't just be served by the social giants; there are already a number of in-market players today. Music start-up Dash Radio, for example, enables tastemakers to create their own OTT radio stations '' free from the need to be ''advertiser friendly'', FCC compliant or audience-maximizing '' and has accumulated three million US monthly users to date. Meanwhile Spot, an app out of Expa, recently launched with the goal of providing the means for people, experts and influencers to rate and recommend their favorite restaurants and other locations. In some cases, curators will have their own dedicated apps '' case in point, the massive success of the Kardashian clan's apps (particularly Kylie's), which are in effect vehicles for the families to curate both content and products including clothing, music and other media.
Influencer Inc.
As these capabilities become more available throughout the social web and individual curators grow into the power of their voices, many will expand beyond simple curation and commentary. Brand extensions, licensing partnerships and hired staff will be commonplace '' just look at Bethany Mota's massive Aeropostale partnership to catch a glimpse. The most successful curators will even begin commissioning content themselves. In many ways, the programmer-to-curator shift will appear to come full-circle. But the distinction is critical.
Traditional creatives (though talented) gained cultural influence through their connection to insiders and access to capital. Today's curators are influential because they have relationships with audiences. They're hired by fans because of their taste, not hired by executives to satiate the appetites of fans. This, when combined with frictionless commerce and fan engagement channels, can also make these influencers far more wide-reaching and multi-vertical than even the Oprahs and Martha Stewarts of the past. As such, their influence in taste making is an inversion of the classic model, not merely the replacement of old tastemakers with new.
For this same reason, many non-media brands will embrace curation in the hopes of strengthening their own consumer relationships and establishing a distinct voice in the age of social marketing. The first movers here are likely to be brands that have already achieved large footprints across multiple social networks, emphasize lifestyle rather than just their products, and interact with their customers several times a week (if not more than once a day) '' RedBull, GoPro, Starbucks, and Soulcycle are just some of many potential curator-brands. It's not hard to imagine any or all of them operating their own Twitter Moments, Snapchat live stories or newsletter services as part of their apps and loyalty programs, not merely as marketing efforts but as integral parts of their consumer offerings. This shift is in already process at Starbucks. Users can now listen to the company's music playlists right from their loyalty application and add their favorite tracks to their Spotify account.
Programmers and Programming in a Curation World
As curation's role in both content discovery and consumption intensifies, content companies will not only see their programming advantage continue to erode, they'll also need to change much of their existing beliefs, norms and business models. For most curators (and audiences), the distinction between content type (e.g. art, music, film, TV) and class (''premium'', ''low-grade'', ''UGC'') is without value. They curate according to their voice and interests, not library categorizations. This, of course, will prove prohibitive for Big Media. Few will want to acknowledge the competitiveness of ''less valuable'' content (this claim has been at the core of pitches to marketers and ad agencies, after all), let alone subject themselves to risk of unmanaged content adjacency (''what if the next recommendation doesn't align with our brand?!''). As a result, most content creators will initially resist influencer-based distribution, though its growing importance as a channel will make this retreat only temporary. If Mindy Kaling ''owns'' your target audience, you've few options other than to distribute through and with her.
More progressive content owners, however, will create technology and release strategies specific to influencer-based audience acquisition. Publishers, for example, already enable socially referred traffic to slip through paywalls '' a model that should be extended to other media categories such as music, podcast, film and television. In addition, we're likely to see subscription add-ons that allow curators to provide their followers with an opportunity to consume content from directly inside a curated environment. More simply, some content owners will look beyond distributing advance copies to journalists and include key curator-influencers. To promote its artificial intelligence original series, for example, AMC should have sent screeners to the likes of Elon Musk (who boasts 3M Twitter followers and often warns of the dangers of AI) and Marc Andreessen (who has 450k followers and vehemently rejects AI alarmism).
Regardless, traditional players will struggle to flex their cost structures, organizational models and incentives for the curation era. Few curators will see the need to purchase content licenses or commit to minimum guarantees. As a result, the monetization of curator-distributed content will tend towards revenue shares and branded content '' neither of which mesh well with Hollywood today. What's more, Tinseltown is already struggling with fragmented audience data, complex release windows and unpredictable ARPU.
Open Source Content
Six years ago, Simon Cowell was asked to explain his gift for identifying musical talent. While his answer seems reductive, its simplicity explains why the shift from programming to curation is so significant: ''I have average tastes. If you looked in my collection of DVDs, you'd see Jaws and Star Wars. In the book library, you'd see John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon. And if you look in my fridge, it's children's food '-- chips, milkshakes, yogurt.'' For nearly a hundred years, mass market programming was an essential capability in the media business. Content creation and distribution were too expensive and failure fraught. But that doesn't mean that our cultural tastes were some sort of objective standard alongside universal truths such as the equality of man or ''thou shalt not kill''. They were defined and constrained by legions of Simon Cowells '' white, high income men with common backgrounds and a shared idea of what was or should be listened to, watched or read.
In the decades since the phonograph was invented, technological changes have enabled our tastes to expand, our artists to diversify and our content to swell in abundance. While the notional shift from programming to curation can feel academic, it represents a crucial step in the democratization of media. Through thousands of individual curators, each of us will be able to escape the tyranny of averages and the limitations of algorithmic recommendations, as well as benefit from the ability to become tastemakers ourselves. For once, if we can't find something good to watch, read, or listen to, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
Tal Shachar is a Manager, Business Development at Otter Media. All views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer or its holdings. He can be found @tweettal or Liam Boluk is a venture capitalist and heads up Originals at REDEF. You can follow him @LiamBoluk or email
I WILL COMPLETE THE WALL-Cruz Immigration Plan Summary | Cruz for President
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 17:23
''It's not that we don't know how to solve illegal immigration. What is missing is the political will to get it done. And, as president, I will get it done. We will secure the borders.'' '' Ted Cruz
A Cruz Administration's first priority for immigration reform will be to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. We will:
Build a wall that works. The unsecured border with Mexico invites illegal immigrants, criminals, and terrorists to tread on American soil. I will complete the wall.Triple the number of Border Patrol agents. Securing the border is the federal government's obligation. I will dedicate the force necessary to do that.Increase vital aerial surveillance and other technology along the border. Adding boots on the ground is not enough. Eyes in the sky and other equipment are necessary to find and detain all illegal entrants.Finish the biometric tracking system at our nation's ports of entry. It is disgraceful that our federal government cannot keep track of those who enter the country. I will complete a biometric entry-exit tracking system.RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW
We need a President who will follow the law, hold those who break it accountable, and take seriously the duty to protect Americans. To restore the Rule of Law, a Cruz Administration will:
End President Obama's illegal amnesty. President Obama has issued over 20 illegal executive memoranda rewarding illegality. I will rescind each and every one on my first day in office.Increase deportations and end catch-and-release. Our laws are not being enforced. I will restore our commitment to enforcement, public safety, and the Rule of Law by rededicating DHS to fully enforcing the law, including through deportations and returns.End sanctuary policies, sign Kate's Law, and deport criminal immigrants. There are about 340 sanctuary jurisdictions in the United States. They make a mockery of our laws and endanger our citizens. I will end support for these jurisdictions.Prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving financial benefits and strengthen E-Verify. American taxpayers should not be funding benefits for those who are here illegally, and American jobs should not go to those who are here illegally. I will protect Americans' wellbeing by stopping the flow of taxpayer dollars and instituting a strong e-verify system.REFORM LEGAL IMMIGRATION TO PROTECT AMERICANS
In order to strengthen our immigration system, protect national security, and better serve American workers, we must:
Suspend the issuance of all H-1B visas for 180 days to complete a comprehensive investigation and audit of pervasive allegations of abuse of the program. New allegations detail appalling abuses of the H-1B visa program '' a program meant to create American jobs and spur economic growth. I will suspend the program for 180 days to investigate abuses.Halt any increases in legal immigration so long as American unemployment remains unacceptably high. The purpose of legal immigration should be to grow the economy, not to displace American workers. Under no circumstances should legal immigration levels be adjusted upwards so long as work-force participation rates remain below historical averages.Enforce the public-charge doctrine. Current law requires legal immigrants to certify that they will be economically self-sufficient. A Cruz Administration will ensure they do not receive government assistance, which defies the law and harms American taxpayers.End birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship was not intended to legalize the children of people who are breaking the law by entering and staying in the country illegally. I will take steps to pass legislation or a constitutional amendment to end it.''We stopped the Gang of Eight bill. Ted Cruz led the fight against the establishment. We would be living under amnesty right now if Cruz had not succeeded.'' '' Rush Limbaugh
Bullet casings disappear from LaVoy Finicum shooting scene, sources say |
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 17:12
Two bullet casings that might have proven an FBI agent shot at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum apparently disappeared from the scene shortly after the Jan. 26 highway confrontation turned deadly, according to law enforcement sources and newly released police reports.
Five FBI agents assigned to the traffic stop told investigators that none of them fired at Finicum's Dodge pickup after it crashed at their roadblock. Oregon investigators, however, concluded that one agent fired twice at the truck, hitting it once in the roof and missing on the second shot.
A state trooper later described to investigators seeing two rifle casings in the area where the agents were posted. Detectives tasked with collecting evidence didn't find the casings, police reports indicate.
FBI aerial surveillance video shows that before the detectives could get there, the FBI agents searched the area with flashlights and then huddled, according to law enforcement sources who have seen the video. The group then broke and one agent appeared to bend over twice and pick up something near where the two shots likely were taken, the sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The findings fill gaps left by authorities last week when they released the results of their investigation into Finicum's death. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson and Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris, who supervised the investigation, said two state troopers were justified in using deadly force to stop Finicum, one of the leaders of the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
They also announced they had evidence that an FBI agent fired at Finicum's truck but didn't disclose the shots. The agent and four of his colleagues then took "specific actions" afterward, they said, but offered no other details.
Nelson and Norris alerted federal officials to their findings. The FBI agents now are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general.
Former FBI agents and criminal justice experts have said they're baffled why elite FBI agents might hide the shots.
Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the Portland FBI office, cautioned at a news conference last week, "The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved."
He declined comment Tuesday "to preserve the integrity" of the federal investigation.
Click for larger image
Finicum's shooting came after FBI agents from the national Hostage Rescue Team and state troopers stopped leaders of the Jan. 2 refuge takeover as they were bound for a community meeting in John Day, 100 miles north of the bird sanctuary.
Finicum was driving his 2015 Dodge truck that also carried Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana, Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Mesquite, Nevada, Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah, and Victoria Sharp, 18, of Lakeside, Montana. In a Jeep behind them were Ammon E. Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Brian "Booda" Cavailer, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Mark C. McConnell, 37, of Buckeye, Arizona.
All three men in the Jeep surrendered as did Payne in Finicum's truck. But then Finicum took off, crashing into a snowbank along U.S. 395 when he encountered a police roadblock. He got out and two troopers shot him from behind when they saw him reach into his jacket while turning toward a third trooper armed with a Taser. Finicum later was found to be carrying a loaded 9mm handgun.
The episode was captured on FBI aerial surveillance video. Two days after the shooting, FBI officials released a 26-minute segment of the video to quell rumors about how Finicum died. But the video continues for another hour, law enforcement sources said, capturing the subsequent actions of the FBI agents.
The police reports show that investigators, who saw the full FBI video the day after the shooting, suspected something was amiss. They searched two FBI pickups used at the roadblock, looking for bullet casings, according to a detective's report. They didn't find any.
In the days following, detectives asked at least three state troopers what bullet casings they had seen after the shooting and whether they had seen anyone pick them up.
One trooper '' identified only as Officer 5 '' told investigators that he saw two rifle casings in the area of the roadblock. He described them both as copper-colored.
An investigator asked him, according to the interview transcript: "Did you happen to see anybody, um, picking anything up? Like, specifically, the rifle brass?"
The trooper responded: "No."
The color of the casings could be a crucial detail. Troopers use state-issued ammunition that comes in silver-colored casings.
At the time Finicum crashed, four FBI agents were posted at the roadblock. One was nearly run over by Finicum and two more were between an FBI pickup and Finicum's now-stopped truck. A state trooper also was nearby after firing three shots as the Dodge roared toward the roadblock. The shots hit the truck, but injured no one.
Police reports document that detectives didn't arrive at the roadblock to collect evidence until just before 7 p.m. on the day of the shooting. That was nearly 90 minutes after the FBI video showed the agents looking around where they had been posted. Evidence logs don't list any copper casings found at the scene.
Investigators later concluded that an FBI agent fired at Finicum after they examined the truck and cellphone video taken by Shawna Cox as she sat in the back seat of Finicum's truck. They said they could account for three bullet strikes on Finicum's truck coming from a trooper who was trying to stop the speeding pickup. They couldn't account for a fourth bullet through the roof.
Forensic specialists from the Oregon State Police conducted a ballistic trajectory analysis to determine the path of the bullet. Their calculations produced an estimate that traced the path back toward where two FBI agents were standing at the time the shot was fired. They pinned down that instant by synchronizing the moment when the Cox video recorded the round striking the truck with the overhead FBI video showing the location of all the officers.
State police specialists typically use trajectory rods and protractors to calculate a bullet's path. Such trajectory analysis is standard police practice.
Michael Haag, a national ballistics expert with the Albuquerque Police Department, hasn't studied the Finicum case but explained the trajectory procedure. A bullet hole alone usually won't determine the caliber of a round or the distance it traveled, he said.
A trajectory rod '' plastic or metal '' is fitted into the bullet hole and then aligned with a second hole created by the bullet, he said. Specialists then calculate the trajectory. They usually add a margin of error of 5 degrees either way -- a national standard -- and then graph a cone expanding out from the hole toward the source of the shot.
The investigators last week released an image of the trajectory cone for the hole in the truck roof. The Oregonian/OregonLive independently applied that cone to the FBI's overhead video and the Cox video at the time the shot struck the roof. The resulting image placed one FBI agent in the trajectory roughly 15 feet from Finicum's pickup. A second agent, standing behind him, also is partially in the cone.
Investigators, using precise measurements of vehicle locations and law enforcement positions, concluded that the first agent was the one who fired into Finicum's roof.
The FBI video shows two other FBI agents nearby as well as the state trooper who fired three times at Finicum's truck. None of those three is near the trajectory plotted by forensics experts.
Investigators checked the trooper's weapon after the shooting to account for the rounds he said he had loaded.
According to his interview transcript, he had 29 rounds in his AR-15 before the shooting. The police inventory showed his rifle had 24 rounds afterward, accounting for three shots at the truck and then two at Finicum.
Weapons carried by the FBI weren't checked because no one saw an agent shoot and none said they had, law enforcement sources said.
-- Les Zaitz
When do the clocks go forward in the UK? Why do we change to BST and should we? - Telegraph
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:52
What is Daylight Saving Time?Daylight saving time (DST) or summer time is the practice of advancing clocks during summer months by one hour so that in the evening daylight is experienced an hour longer, while sacrificing normal sunrise times.
Typically, regions with summer time adjust clocks forward one hour close to the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn to standard time.
Daylight Saving: Whose idea was it?
During the nine years he spent as American ambassador to France, American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called ''An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light'' to the editor of The Journal of Paris in 1784.
In the essay, he suggested that Parisians could reduce candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead.
William Willett was the man who introduced the idea of British Summer Time, aka as Daylight Saving Time, in 1907. He was keen to prevent people from wasting vital hours of light during summer mornings.
He published a pamphlet called 'The Waste of Daylight' in a bid to get people out of bed earlier by changing the nation's clocks.
Willett proposed moving the clocks backwards and forwards by 80 mins, setting the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on each of the four Sundays in September, a total of eight time switches per year.
Willett then spent the rest of his life trying to convince people his scheme was a good one.
100th Anniversary in April 2016Sadly, Willett caught the flu in 1915 and died at the age of 58; a year before Germany adopted his clock-changing plan on April 30, 1916 when the clocks were set forward at 11 pm. Britain followed suit a month later on May 21.
By then Britain and Germany had been fighting each other in the First World War (1914-18), and a system that could take pressure off the economy was worth trying.
The Summer Time Act of 1916 was quickly passed by Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time, 21 May 1916, was widely reported in the press.
Back then the hands on many of the clocks could not be turned back without breaking the mechanism.
Instead, owners had to put the clock forward by 11 hours when Summer Time came to an end.
The Home Office put out special posters telling people how to reset their clocks to GMT, and national newspapers also gave advice.
Even though Germany is commonly known as the first country to implement DST, Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada had implemented DST already in 1908.
What's the reason for moving the clocks back and forth?
Supporters for the proposal argued that such a scheme could reduce domestic coal consumption and increase the supplies available for manufacturing and the war effort during the First World War.
The idea was not a new one, however. In 1895 an entomologist (or insect expert) in New Zealand, George Vernon Hudson (pictured), came up with the idea to the Wellington Philosophical Society outlining a daylight saving scheme which was trialled successfully in the country in 1927.
William Willett, who died at his home near near Bromley in Surrey, is commemorated for his efforts by a memorial sundial in nearby Petts Wood, set permanently to Daylight Saving Time.
The Daylight Inn in Petts Wood is named in his honour and there's a road there called Willett Way.
Coldplay's 'Clocks' - a coincidence?Willett is a great-great-grandfather of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin.
This is Coldplay performing the song 'Clocks' from their 2002 album 'A Rush of Blood to the Head'. (There's also a song called 'Daylight' on there.)
Where will Daylight Saving Time start?EU countries which synchronise their DST include the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria as well as most other European countries '' including Norway and Switzerland.
A few European countries don't use DST at all: Russia, Iceland, Georgia, Armenia and Belarus.
Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2am on March 13th.
East coast US clocks spring forward in:In the US, each time zone switches at a different time.
The mornings will get lighter and the evenings darker and those living in participating states of the United States will get an extra hour in bed.
Several states and territories of the United States practice DST, which is the act of setting clocks one hour forward during the spring, and one hour back during the fall.
Daylight Saving Time occurs in many states and territories except Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Island. Utah is considering the ending its participation in DST also.
From 1986-2006, Daylight Saving Time in America began on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October. The current timetable for Daylight Saving Time was introduced on Aug 8th 2005, however, when President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act.
Clocks spring forward again in:The map below shows the countries in the world that have and haven't adopted DSTMany countries in the Northern Hemisphere (north of the equator) observe DST, but not all.
In the Southern Hemisphere (south of the equator) the participating countries start DST between September and November and end between March and April.
How dark does the UK get in summer?In the UK, the maximum 16 hours and 50 minutes of sunlight occurs on the longest day in June (the summer solstice) and dwindles to just seven hours and 40 minutes six months later in December (the winter solstice).
Has the time difference always been one hour?Today clocks are almost always set one hour back or ahead, but throughout history there have been several variations, like half adjustment (30 minutes) or double adjustment (two hours), and adjustments of 20 and 40 minutes have also been used. A two-hour adjustment was used in several countries during the 1940s and elsewhere at times.
A half adjustment was sometimes used in New Zealand in the first half of the 20th century.
Australia's Lord Howe Island (UTC+10:30) follows a DST schedule in which clocks are moved 30 minutes forward to UTC+11, which is Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) during DST.
In 1940 during the Second World War, the clocks in Britain were not put back by an hour at the end of Summer Time. In subsequent years, clocks continued to be advanced by one hour each spring and put back by an hour each autumn until July 1945. During these summers, therefore, Britain was two hours ahead of GMT and operating on British Double Summer Time (BDST).
The clocks were brought back in line with GMT at the end of summer in 1945. In 1947, due to severe fuel shortages, clocks were advanced by one hour on two occasions during the spring, and put back by one hour on two occasions during the autumn, meaning that Britain was back on BDST during that summer.
Why we should ditch Daylight Saving TimeThose against the change say its not clear if any energy savings are made while there are also potential health risks.
Critics claim that the darker mornings are dangerous for children walking to school and the energy saving argument may be invalid if people switch on fans and air-conditioning units during the lighter, warmer evenings. (But this is unlikely to bother people in the UK.)
In 2011, Tory MP Rebecca Harris floated a bill calling for year-round daylight savings but it failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session and was dropped.
A YouGov poll that same year found that 53pc of Britons supported moving clocks forward an hour permanently while 32pc opposed the change. The proposals were met less warmly by the Scottish population; Alex Salmond called the campaign an attempt to ''plunge Scotland into morning darkness" and his SNP colleague MP Angus MacNeil said any change would have "massive implications for the safety and wellbeing of everyone living north of Manchester".
"It is no secret that Tories in the south want to leave Scotland in darkness, but fixing the clocks to British summertime would mean that dawn wouldn't break in Scotland until nearly 9am," he said.
He had a point. Following a 1968 to 1971 trial, when BST was employed all year round northern Scotland saw a net increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured.
The sun wouldn't rise until 10am in parts of Scotland and the country's 1,000-or-so dairy farmers, who wake up before 5am, would have to work for hours in the dark. Other farmers and construction workers, who need sunlight to perform their jobs, would end up having to work later into the evening.
Some folks keen to reach a compromise have suggested the clocks change at Hadrian's Wall and not at Calais.
Philip Broom writing on the National Farmer's Union website in 2011 said: "A definite no. Combining will not start until midday and then have to go on until 11 o'clock. Our day is long enough now."
'A Thomas', also writing on the NFU site, was worried that "younger people having loud parties or barbecues in gardens and youths hanging around on streets would make it a nightmare for people getting up for work early mornings."
Why we should keep Daylight Saving TimeThere have been various trials over the decades from double summer time (GMT + 2 hours) during the Second World War to permanent British Summer Time (GMT + 1 hour) during the late 1960s but the current system of changing the clocks at the end of March and October has been in place since 1972.
Those in favour say that it would reduce traffic accidents, save energy, boost tourism and encourage more people to exercise outdoors. In the 1980s, the golf industry estimated that one extra month of daylight savings could generate up to $400 million (£246.6 million) a year in extra sales and fees.
Daylight Savings Time ''affects everything from Mid-East terrorism to the attendance at London music halls, voter turnout to street crime, gardening to the profits of radio stations,'' said David Prerau, author of Saving the Daylight: Why We Put the Clocks Forward.
This debate stretches years into the past, and the future of British time is still unclear.
Other things to look out for...A massive wind-up for some...Spare a thought for the staff of the Royal Collection. They spend over 50 hours adjusting over 1000 clocks spread across the official residences of The Queen.
Following months of planning, staff at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh start work in the early hours of the morning to ensure that the time is set accurately.
There are 379 timepieces at Windsor Castle, 500 at Buckingham Palace and 80 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse including organ clocks, astronomical clocks, musical clocks and mechanical clocks.
Sandringham Time - GMT+30minsAn added complication for Royal servants between the years 1901 to 1936 was the concept of 'Sandringham Time' which was introduced in by Albert, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. A keen fan of shooting, he wanted to make the most of winter daylight, so he ordered all clocks on the estate to be set half an hour fast.
The tradition was continued by King George V after he acceded to the throne in 1925 but King Edward VIII abolished it in 1936 shortly before his abdication.
20 famous clocks: Remember these?
With the clocks going back this Sunday, now seems like a good time to take a look at some of the most iconic clocks in popular culture. Press the image to view.
' 17 of the world's most beautiful clock towers
One robotics expert says autonomous cars 'absolutely not' ready | Driving
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:48
Self-driving cars are ''absolutely not'' ready for widespread deployment despite a rush to put them to put them on the road, a robotics expert warned this week.
The cars aren't yet able to handle bad weather, including standing water, drizzling rain, sudden downpours and snow, Missy Cummings, director of Duke University's robotics program, told the Senate commerce committee. And they certainly aren't equipped to follow the directions of a police officer, she said.
While enthusiastic about research into self-driving cars, ''I am decidedly less optimistic about what I perceive to be a rush to field systems that are absolutely not ready for widespread deployment, and certainly not ready for humans to be completely taken out of the driver's seat,'' she said.
It's relatively easy for hackers to take control of the GPS navigation systems of self-driving cars, Cummings said.
''It is feasible that people could commandeer self-driving vehicles '... to do their bidding, which could be malicious or simply just for the thrill of it,'' she said, adding that privacy of personal data is another concern.
But GM and Google officials who testified before the committee voiced worries that a patchwork of state and local laws will hinder deployment of the vehicles. They emphasized that the vast majority of auto fatalities are caused by human error and self-driving cars hold the potential for eliminating many of those errors. They also pointed to the vehicles' potential to improve the lives of the disabled.
In the past two years, 23 states have introduced 53 pieces of legislation that affect self-driving cars, said Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car program. He urged lawmakers to move swiftly to grant the secretary of transportation new authority to get ''innovative safety technologies'' like self-driving cars into the marketplace.
Critics have complained that the cumbersome federal rule-making process means it sometimes takes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration close to a decade to set standards and issue regulations for new technologies, by which time the technologies have already been displaced by even newer technologies.
NHTSA said last week in a report there are significant legal hurdles to allowing fully autonomous cars without steering wheels. The agency is working on new policies aimed at getting the self-driving cars on the road sooner.
Michael Ableson, GM's vice-president for strategy, said he believes it will be only a few years before the cars come into use, although they may not be fully autonomous at first.
None of the witnesses except Cummings was willing to say that the government should set minimum standards for the vehicles to protect the privacy of the data they gather and to prevent hacking despite being pressed by U.S. Sen. Edward Markey to support mandatory standards.
''These cars are going to be one big data-gathering machine,'' Cummings said. ''It's not clear who is going to be doing what with that data.''
She also said she believes NHTSA's staff doesn't have technological capability to set standards for automakers on what they must do to prevent hacking and protect misuse of data.
The first ride many people will take in a self-driving car is likely to be when they use their cellphone to hail a car through a ridesharing sharing service like Lyft or Uber, witnesses said. Lyft and GM have formed a partnership to help bring the cars into everyday use.
Securus Settles Lawsuit Alleging Improper Recording of Privileged Inmate Calls
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:43
ATTORNEYS AND ADVOCATES for people incarcerated in local jails in Austin, Texas, have settled a federal lawsuit against telecommunications company Securus Technologies, with an agreement ostensibly designed to ensure that privileged legal communications between defense attorneys and their clients are not improperly recorded.
The suit, originally filed in April 2014 by the Austin Lawyers Guild, the Prison Justice League, and several individually named defense attorneys, alleged that Securus recorded confidential and privileged communications between lawyers and detainees that were then accessed and listened to by prosecutors. Local prosecutors' offices and the Travis County Sheriff's Office '-- which manages the county's jail facilities '-- were also named as parties to the suit.
The Intercept first reported on the Austin lawsuit in our November 2015 story about an unprecedented hack of a recorded calls database belonging to Securus. An anonymous hacker provided the data via SecureDrop, including records related to more than 70 million individual calls placed by inmates to 1.3 million unique phone numbers over a 2 1/2-year period. In a follow-up story published last month, we reported finding within that data at least 57,000 calls made by detainees to lawyers, including calls that individual attorneys confirmed had been set up in advance to be privileged '-- and therefore unrecorded '-- communications.
The Austin lawsuit was unrelated to the revelations resulting from the leaked Securus database, but lent context to the hack, as well as credence to claims by prisoners themselves, who often insist that all of their communications are recorded.
The settlement requires the Travis County Sheriff's Office to establish within 90 days '-- with Securus's assistance '-- an online system that allows defense attorneys to place their phone numbers on a ''private do not record list,'' along with an ''access log'' to flag any privileged calls that are, in fact, listened to by law enforcement. The log must contain the name of the inmate, the phone number he or she called, the name of the person who listened to the call, and information about when the breach happened. The settlement also requires local prosecutors to provide defense attorneys with a written ''access of call'' letter notifying them of each breach. (Exempt from the requirements are calls accessed by law enforcement pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or search warrant.)
Securus never responded to repeated requests for comment for either of our stories on the hack, though in the wake of the November report, the company issued a press statement insisting that there was ''absolutely no evidence'' that any attorney-client calls had been recorded ''without the knowledge and consent'' of the parties to each call.
In its 2014 challenge to the Austin lawsuit, Securus noted that government intrusion into the attorney-client relationship could be a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel. But the company insisted that it has abided by its policy of not recording privileged phone calls '-- while at the same time maintaining that any existing recordings were voluntarily turned over by the state to defense attorneys during discovery in individual criminal cases. What's more, Securus argued that the plaintiffs had not proven that ''such recordings'' had any adverse effects on their cases. ''Securus acknowledges that Plaintiffs have alleged that recorded attorney-client calls have been shared with prosecutors, but they have failed to articulate a single instance where they have been harmed or prejudiced,'' the company said.
Prior to the release of the hacked Securus data, the company was likely best-known for the exorbitant rates and fees it charges prisoners and their families for phone calls '-- a circumstance highlighted by an ongoing challenge to those charges (and charges by the company's competitors), which for years has been pending before the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC took action to set interim rate curbs for interstate calls in 2013; in October 2015, it went further, curbing rates and fees for both interstate and intrastate calls. Securus and industry leader Global Tel*Link have sued to block provisions of the FCC rulings from taking effect, and earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. blocked the new rate caps from taking effect until the lawsuit is settled.
The mass recording of inmate telephone calls is a fairly recent practice, sold by private telecom companies like Securus as a security measure '-- a means to monitor potential jailbreak plots, for example, or curb the introduction of contraband into a facility. But this blanket recording, and long-term storage, of untold millions of routine communications raises serious concerns about the privacy rights of inmates and their loved ones.
Even more concerning is the recording of privileged communications between attorneys and their detained clients. The ability of defense lawyers to communicate privately with their clients is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system; monitoring and/or recording such conversations chills the attorney-client relationship and may also run afoul of constitutional protections '-- including the right to effective assistance of counsel and of access to the courts.
The Intercept found no records of calls made to any of the Austin defense attorneys named in the federal lawsuit within the hacked data. All of the calls contained within the database originated from prison facilities in Missouri, and the majority of the attorney calls were made to attorneys in Missouri. Yet, as the Austin lawsuit shows, there is nothing to suggest that the problem of recording privileged calls is unique to Missouri. Indeed, Securus serves more than 1.2 million inmates in 3,450 facilities throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. As of 2012, the company was processing 1 million calls per day. In Austin, some lawyers who were a party to the federal suit had received recordings of their privileged calls during the evidence discovery process.
Defense attorney George Lobb, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, is skeptical that all the ongoing problems will be fixed, although he points to the importance of implementing the access log, which ''will show who's cheating, when, and how.'' But otherwise, the Austin settlement mainly reiterates safeguards that should already have been in place to ensure that privileged calls are not recorded.
And even then, there is no guarantee: Lobb cited a local defense attorney who abided by the county's previous procedure for placing his phone number on a do-not-record list only to find records of his privileged calls with clients through the discovery process. Mere days before the settlement was reached, the lawyer found that he had been ''improperly removed'' from the do-not-record list, Lobb said. When Lobb tried to find out why the defense attorney had been kicked off the list, he got no answers. To him, this suggests that the ''Securus system just hasn't been fixed.'' It ''still has flaws,'' he said. ''They won't admit those flaws and won't fix them '-- and they won't tell us why.''
Nevertheless, the settlement includes a stipulation by both parties that there was ''no evidence of intentional misconduct'' by Securus or its codefendants. Securus will pay $20,000 in attorney fees to the plaintiffs and Travis County will pay $800 in mediation fees.
''I would not call this a victory,'' said Lobb. ''I would call it a temporary fix to a chronic problem.''
Hillary Clinton Emails Reveal More Shameless Cronyism
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:32
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
When it comes to raking in questionable dough via the abuse of political power, the Clintons are in a league all to themselves. In fact, their shamelessness is so rampant and sloppy, the only explanation is they simply thought no one would ever dare hold them to account.
Here's the latest example, from Raw Story:
Student loan debt continues to be one of the largest economic issues plaguing the U.S., with the total amount topping $1.3 trillion. Hillary Clinton's higher education policy touts debt-free degrees for underprivileged students. But is she being genuine in her efforts to address the issue?
While Hillary loves to rail against shady for-profit colleges on the campaign trail, she does have some financial ties to them that are likely to shape whether or not she holds them accountable for ripping students off.
It was recently revealed through Hillary's emails that during her first year as Secretary of State she insisted that Laureate Education be included in the guest list for an education policy dinner hosted at the U.S. Department of State.
''It's a for-profit model that should be represented,'' she wrote in the August 2009 email, and as a result, a senior vice president at Laureate was added to the guest list. Several months later, former President Bill Clinton became an honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities, which turned out to be incredibly lucrative. He was paid a cool $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014 for his role with the for-profit college.
Also consider that while 12 percent of the country's students go to for-profits, a whopping 96 percent of them have to take out federal loans. As a result, for-profit colleges account for 25 percent of all federal financial aid dollars and half of all Department of Defense Tuition Assistance funds.
After all, without the sucker U.S. taxpayer, how would rent-seeking politicians get paid?
Some may argue that not all for-profit colleges are created equal, and it's unfair to group Laureate together with the now defunct Corinthian Colleges, which was forced to cease all U.S. operations due to various state and federal investigations. But Laureate seems to be plagued with similar issues. That's why the company decided to expand in Latin American countries rather than the U.S. with the help of Bill Clinton.
There are five schools in the U.S. that operate under Laureate's umbrella. Walden University is a Laureate school in Minneapolis, and even though its parent company had the money to pay our former president $4 million a year, Walden charges students nearly $60,000 in tuition and fees for most undergraduate degrees.
Laureate gets 84 percent of its revenue from outside the U.S., and mostly from Latin American countries. The company faced a great deal backlash in Chile and Brazil, leading to the loss of accreditation for one of its Chilean schools in 2014.
Hillary's biggest challenge against Bernie Sanders is how much money in politics has influenced her policy decisions. While both candidates address combating student loan debt and college affordability in very different ways, it's critical to follow the money and figure out who is being sincere about solving the problem.
The truth is that Hillary's higher ed policy isn't very different from what we have in place now, which I will delve into in my upcoming column. Now her ties to the for-profit college industry make me question whether she'll hold them accountable if she got elected.
Clinton herself was paid $225,000 for speaking at a 2014 event sponsored by Academic Partnerships, a for-profit education company that helps public and private not-for-profit universities move degree programs online. Jeb Bush was also one of its investors.
Let me guess, she did it because of 9/11, or because ''it's what they offered.'' The only federal building this woman is fit to occupy is a penitentiary.
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Erdogan Said to Start Campaign for Presidential System in April - Bloomberg Business
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:30
Campaign for Presidential System in AprilSelcan HacaogluMarch 15, 2016 '-- 9:40 AM EDTTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to kick off a campaign to widen the powers of his office in April as he seeks public support for a possible referendum later this year, according to two senior officials with close knowledge of the preparations.
More:Erdogan Said to Start Campaign for Presidential System in April - Bloomberg Business
Trump Attacker Just Received Very Bad News ''
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:16
DiMassimo charged in federal court with illegal entry on restricted grounds, faces possible maximum sentence of one year in prison.Bet he wasn't expecting this! Here's what he should have been aware of, before attempting to jump the barricade and charge Mr. Trump:
Once candidates have Secret Service protection, it's a federal crime to 'impede or disrupt' them.
H.R. 347, which updated existing protest regulations in 2011, makes it a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to ''impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions'' '-- and that applies to a candidate if they're under Secret Service guard.
USA Today reports: A 22-year-old Ohio man, who allegedly attempted to rush a stage where Donald Trump was speaking over the weekend, has been charged in federal court with illegal entry on restricted grounds.
The March 12 incident in Vandalia, Ohio, prompted a dramatic response by U.S. Secret Service agents who jumped to the stage to form a body shield around the Republican presidential candidate whose rallies have become magnets for demonstrators and angry clashes between protesters and supporters.
The suspect, Thomas DiMassimo, was detained before reaching the candidate.
The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum punishment of one year in prison.
North American Weather Consultants - Company Info
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:56
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NAWC Flyer
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North American Weather Consultants (NAWC) is one of the longest-standing private meteorological consulting firms in the United States. In 1970, NAWC received the American Meteorological Society's prestigious Award for Outstanding Services to Meteorology by a Corporation "for its pioneering the practice of private meteorology in the United States..." We have been providing high quality, innovative consulting services to clients domestically and abroad for more than 50 years. This page provides some background on NAWC, describes who we are, what we do, and the underlying philosophy that drives our business approach and corporate standards.
Corporate History - NAWC has provided meteorological, weather modification, and air quality consulting services since its establishment in 1950. We have a long, proud history of providing our clients with complete, focused consulting services. Our underlying corporate philosophy and business approach have withstood the test of time. NAWC operated as a private corporation until being acquired by a large, publicly-traded corporation in 1992. In 1999, NAWC separated from the parent firm, resuming its operations as a private corporation.
NAWC was established in the Santa Barbara, California area in 1950 and maintained its headquarters there until 1980, when the corporate offices were relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah. Our offices are currently located in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City.
Our Corporate Philosophy - NAWC's corporate philosophy hinges on pride in our work and a clear focus on our clients' specific needs. Clients hire consultants to help them find answers to their problems/needs, each within a context of specific circumstances. Our simple approach is to listen very closely to our clients from the outset, and then tailor our work to address their specific needs. This approach leads to focused, timely, and cost-effective solutions for our clients.
Our Corporate Structure - NAWC consists of two primary divisions: 1) Weather Modification, including a broad spectrum of operations and research projects and 2) Applied Meteorology, involving a wide variety of activities in the areas of extreme precipitation (probable maximum precipitation), forecasting, climatology, and forensics.
Government Quietly Admits to Weather Modification Program | Wake Up World
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:55
12th March 2016
By Ryan Cristian
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
As the United States moves farther away from the democracy it once pretended to be, the level of propaganda and indoctrination that the average American must wade through in order to get the smallest amount of Truth is staggering. We have reached a point in which Americans are so overwhelmed with the current battle taking place between the Alternative News community and mainstream media, and its barrage of contradicting ''Facts,'' that most have simply chosen to completely remove themselves from any critical thinking. Even when the government itself reveals an age-old lie to be true, most are so indoctrinated with the idea of the ''conspiracy'' that they convince themselves that the revelation is just another trick of those deceptive ''conspiracy theorists.''
This has been seen many times in recent years. A perfect example of this is weather modification.
Weather modification, geoengineering, chemtrails; these are all topics that if brought up in most circles today, would garner the speaker the telltale look that most Truthers have become all too familiar with. It is a look that has been ingrained into all who have opted to cast aside their critical thinking for their comforting daily lie. There is a herd mentality that has been established that causes even those on the fence or those interested in ''outside the box'' ideas, to fall in line while surrounded by the docile mass. So when the government recently released a ''Notice of Intent'' on page 11 of the Pasadena Star Classifieds, announcing their plan to carry out weather modification in Los Angeles County, it became clear that those blank stares should be turned inward, for some much needed self-reflection and re-evaluation.
Notice Of Intent, posted in the Pasadena Star classifieds, January 2016.Obviously the appropriate area of the paper to release such a controversial topic is the classifieds, where it will no doubt be noticed by all. Sarcasm aside, it is clear they did not want anyone to take notice of this declaration of weather manipulation that has been fervently denied up until last year. Many were also unaware that in 2014 the Navy publicly confirmed previous conjecture in regards to weather modification and the HAARP facility.
'''...we're moving on to other ways of managing the ionosphere, which the HAARP was really designed to do, was to inject energy into the ionosphere, to be able to actually control it.''
Even after this statement, which was no doubt rationalized away by those unwilling to accept the reality currently slapping them across the face, the internet continued to be awash with ''conspiracy theorist'' slander and ridicule when discussing weather modification. Some have spoken out claiming that the statement released in the Pasadena Star newspaper, is only a notice to commence ''cloud-seeding,'' and that cloud-seeding is something that the government has been ''open'' about for a long time. First of all, open is not the word anyone would use to describe the US government, and second, of course it is cloud-seeding, but most will adamantly deny that even could-seeding exists; laughing it off as yet another crazy conspiracy. Twenty years ago, those very same people would have arguing that cloud-seeding itself was a crazy conspiracy. The notice of intent in the Star read further:
''Ground-based equipment will be used to disperse silver iodine particles into suitable storm clouds. Criteria have been developed for both initiating and suspending weather modification activities.''
The sad truth is that even following a blatant ''Notice of Intent'' to modify the weather, many are so well trained to ignore anything that goes against the mainstream narrative that they will justify and rationalize in whatever way they need, in order to make this fall in line, even with the statement coming from a small mainstream source. This is no doubt why it was released on page 11 of the Classifieds, so that those looking for a reason to discount its legitimacy will assume that, ''if the government wanted to admit something like this they would have done it on the front page.''
Ultimately, the spraying of silver iodine into the atmosphere should not be okay with anyone, despite the name or label one wants to give this process in order to satisfy their fragile reality. According to the County of Santa Barbara's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), silver iodine has the following Hazardous Identification:
Potential Acute Health Effects: Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.
Under Accidental Release Measures is states:
Be careful that the product is not present at a concentration level above TLV(threshold limit value). Check TLV on the MSDS and with local authorities.
And finally under Precautions:
Do not ingest. Do not breathe dust. Wear suitable protective clothing. In case of insufficient ventilation, wear suitable respiratory equipment. If ingested, seek medical advice immediately and show the container or the label. Avoid contact with skin and eyes.
When an idea has been thrown out that contradicts one's carefully constructed reality, their lifelong inculcation of specific ideas and beliefs that support the mainstream narrative has taught them to shut down completely. Not a moments thought is given to the possibility that the idea might have some merit or factual representation, because if the idea was given its proper consideration and found to be correct, even slightly possible, their entire world is suspect. This scares the life out of the average mainstream believer.
While many here would insert the appropriate Orwellian reference, Aldous Huxley had a slightly different yet equally scary perception of the future. In his book Brave New World he suggested a future where citizens would be flooded with so much information that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. It is not hard to see the logic in that thought process when one looks at the overwhelming amount of information, misinformation and outright lies perpetually circulating on the Internet. It becomes hard to know one's own opinion when over saturated with constantly conflicting narratives. This produces a public that is no longer interested in activism or advocacy because it would appear to be ineffectual at best.
The sad but unfortunate truth is that the United States government has become the very thing this nation was founded to prevent. Despite the fact that the country wasn't able to make it through five presidents before we began to see the cronyism and unilateral decisions that are rampant today, it is easy to see the virtue and justness within the founding ideals of the United States. History has shown us time and time again that human nature will always play its part in any position of power; man is inherently capable of both extreme good and evil. This was exactly the logic behind the second amendment, regardless of how many have attempted to dilute or distort its meaning with modern association. The American people have a right to defend their inalienable and self-evident rights against what the founding fathers saw as an inevitable eventuality: a tyrannical government. They knew that even men in that very room, had the potential to steer the nation in the direction we now face today.
What this nation is in dire need of is not a violent revolution, but a revolution of the mind. Americans need to begin to see the danger of current circumstances and the inevitability of history coming full circle. The history of the world if rife with leaders turning corrupt, people rising up to establish order, and repeat. This is due to the inherent qualities of any human being; we are all subject to greed, desire and ambition. All have skeletons in their closet; simply being elected to office does not somehow strip one of their human characteristics. Yet the people tend to cast these public officials is a light of morality by default, when our own nation's history strongly shows otherwise.
The American people can no longer refuse to see the dangers at its feet that are quickly becoming perilous. To ignore the very real dangers of manipulating the ionosphere, and injecting it with potentially harmful materials, or to disregard that this type of government experimentation is happening at all, is very naive and irresponsible at best. But to ignore the fact that up until recently the entire subject was denied, and has now been nonchalantly admitted as if it was commonplace all along, is just reckless. What is important to the future of this country is that each individual personally decides to give equal consideration to all possibilities, despite any pre-conceived misconceptions that have been subtly cast out into American culture for decades.
About the author:
Ryan Cristian worked for a degree in culinary arts, but quickly developed a deep concern about the state of our food and how it's produced '-- so much so that it prompted him to start the The Last American Vagabond website to voice his concerns. As both a writer and editor, Ryan has made it his mission, and the mission of his website, to bring to light the rampant injustice and malfeasance currently ingrained within the inner workings of American government. By allowing a free flow of information in regards to issues that are being purposefully and discreetly culled by those who stand to lose both financially and professionally, he hopes to bring about awareness to the issues of the most paramount importance.
You can connect with Ryan at:
''Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.'' '' John Lennon
Further articles from The Last American Vagabond:
When did Obama order the murder of LaVoy Finicum
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:26
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.There are now reports in the murder of LaVoy Finicum from historian Tex Marrs that Delta Force was deployed in Oregon.Delta Force is a military force which is never to be deployed against Americans or in America, Patriot Act or not.
Shawna Cox, the Patriot who filmed the last moments, has stated in a Jeff Rense interview that her recording was EDITED by the FBI. She states this is a fact, because LaVoy Finicum jumped off his running board, and into the deep snow. This is missing from the video.
Ms. Cox states at least a dozen snipers appeared from the side which LaVoy Finicum was murdered.She also stated that after they were removed from the pick up, that law enforcement opened up on the pick up with a mass volley.
Again Ms. Cox states that at least 100 rounds hit this pickup, and yet the released Deschutes County photos only reveal 3 hits. Again law enforcement stated they were shooting rubber bullets, and those bullets should have dented this pickup.
This planned execution of LaVoy Finicum was an ambush, but what was not known is that this was a convoy. The militia protectors and the Sharp family left earlier by 10 minutes. Victoria Sharp was late and rode with Mr. Finicum.As the Finicum and Bundy vehicle exited the Refuge, they noted that numerous unmarked black vehicles pulled out from a side road. The immediate response from LaVoy Finicum was that this was a set up.
Shawna Cox questioned one of the black suited snipers about where his head camera was and he showed her a flashlight. Leaving these cameras off.
Shawna Cox was detained at the site for 2 hours in the snow. They were not charged. This points to something bizarre in it was not until they were put in a van, that she first observed a marked police car. It comes to the point that these people did not break any laws, that the law enforcement did not expect them to be alive, and that Delta Force CAN NOT ARREST PEOPLE.
We have something now in what the police state is releasing, does not match the reality.
So now we know absolutes. This was an ambush without cell phone coverage in a blind set up. It is certain now that Oregon State Police was on scene, that the FBI snipers were there, but there were numerous snipers with long guns who emerged, who carried no identification or identified themselves, with the most troubling reality, that the standard issue cameras were all removed.
Finally, Shawna Cox and others are now having respiratory problems like pneumonia which they can not heal from, after being sprayed and gassed.
There is something absolutely damning in this beyond murder, and that is ONLY THE PRESIDENT CAN DEPLOY US MILITARY in these disUnited States, and that includes Delta Force, and then only under catastrophic circumstances which did not meet the standards in Oregon.
This means that image Obama had to have ordered the murder of LaVoy Finicum, and if image Obama did not, then the United States military was in direct violation of federal law. This means that Special Agent Gregory Bretzing was illegally managing a military operation in America against Americans which resulted in the murder of LaVoy Finicum and this has damning realities which follow.
Section 1076 is titled "Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies." It provided that:The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such... a condition... so hinders the execution of the laws... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
The question is now, did the FBI sniper team which is under investigation, were they offered up for sacrifice, because it was Delta Force who were firing the shots?This is a vital question, as we have had hidden from the public who the Oregon State Police officers were who supposedly shot Mr. Finicum. We have not had any forensic reports as to what caliber shot Mr. Finicum.We return to Shawna Cox again who said it was literally 5 hours, two sitting in the snow, and then 3 in a van, before they were taken into custody. Was something worked out to hide Delta Force's illegal actions and that is why all of this has been hidden, as it is certain now that the FBI has edited footage, and the FBI has not turned over to Deschutes County their high pixel recordings and audio recordings.Was this a Delta Force operation like Jade Helm and that is why Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne were not arrested for hours and only detained, because Delta Force can not arrest Americans, as that would leave tracks.
What must be discovered now again, as this blog stated from the start that some other entity was involved, and was looking at BATFE, but if it was Delta Force, is when did the image of Barack Hussein Obama sign orders to deploy Delta Force?Did the Joint Chiefs agree to this deployment?Did Loretta Lynch request the Delta Force?Was this a request from Special Agent Gregory Bretzing who requested Delta Force, as Bretzing did brag about his multi level operation?
We know that black operations appeared a few days before the murder at the airport. Tex Marrs has stated from his sources that shooting lanes were cut out of the trees in Oregon for this roadblock ambush site, which meant preplanning and if this was Delta Force, what was the chain of command in this operation? The Pentagon, Gregory Bretzing or the image of Barack Hussein Obama.
The reality is now certain that either image Obama ordered the murder of LaVoy Finicum or Delta Force went rogue in being illegally deployed in America, against Americans, and one American was murdered.
Nuff Said
Nigeria: Govt Officials Named in Oil Theft
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:20
By Okoro ChineduLagos '-- Illegal oil activities have cost Nigeria a whopping $16 billion, the Auditor General's office has revealed.
The latest development created a mammoth task for President Muhammadu Buhari in his attempt to fight out the rot in the oil sector, the country's economic backbone.
Nigeria, Africa's largest economy has over the years experienced massive illegal oil activities that deprived the nation of billions in revenue while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) fought losing battles to apprehend criminals.
"Oil theft by politicians, top government officials and general citizens is annoying. The illegal activities in the oil sector are serious cause for concern. The government, should work towards bringing the culprits to book, otherwise the problem has become cancer.
"Our country (Nigeria) is the richest in Africa yet we have more than 100 million of people living in abject poverty," said oil businessman Obafemi Aiyegbeni in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
Nigeria has a population estimated around 170 million with more than 100 million believed to be living in abject poverty.
More on ThisNigerian Audit Report Exposes Fraud in Oil RevenueSenate Probes Non-Remitance of N3.2 Trillion Crude Oil Fund By NNPC
Audit Report Reveals Big Fraud at Petroleum Body
Senate to Probe Non-Remittance of N3.3 Trillion By NNPC, Other MDAs
N3.3 Trillion Scam - Senate Vows to Probe Auditor-General's Report
"What makes this problem a crisis is that top politicians and government officials are also involved. Illegal oil activities will never stop unless government flexes its muscles.
"I can't see president Buhari winning this war yet. He needs serious commitment right from individuals, corporate and state," Aiyegbeni added.
Port Harcourt oil trader, Emeka Uche, accused the federal government of not doing much to investigate and arrest suspected top government officials involved in these illegal oil activities.
"This is annoying because for areas are known to be illegally demarcated for politicians to harvest oil at the expense of the nation. Such corrupt tendencies are clearly observed by individuals hence taking the law into their own hands.
"Every person wants to live, so, in one way or another, individuals should find ways to tap into the oil sector either by hook or by crook," said Uche.
However, President Buhari, in his attempt to address the illegal activities at the oil sector reshuffled some executives at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with a view to tackle the rampant corruption and inefficiency.
Among other challenges that emanate from illegal oil activities include conflicts of interest and opportunities for theft by those that entrusted to spearhead the clean out campaign.
"Everybody wants to shares in the oil sector, so the problems are huge... ..bigger than what we see with visible eyes," said Uche.
Nigeria has more than 70 companies exploring the oil resource.
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:08
CW 2.0 is the first amateur digital mode designed to use the HF transceiver in CW mode.
In many ways, this mode is designed to help amateurs worldwide better access digital communications on the HF bands:
Allows amateurs with CW-only equipment to experience the benefits of soundcard-based digital modes.Has UTF-8 Language support, so hams can communicate in the language with which they are most fluent.The Forward error correction used has an estimated gain of 9-10dB. This FEC gain acts like a download-able amplifier. With this: 1 watt is like 10 watts, and 10 watts is like 100 watts, etc.Simple: The computer keys the transmitter on and off for "1" and "0" using the CW-Key connection. It simply replaces the manual CW key.Using CW mode allows the use of narrow CW filters which drastically increases received signal to noise ratio, and pulls signals from the noise.Keying the Transmitter:CW 2.0 is different from most soundcard-based digital modes because it manually keys the CW key with the transceiver in CW mode. No audio is mixed into the microphone or data-port.
To physically key the CW port using the soundcard, an Fldigi feature called "
right channel PTT" is used.
For every 1 to be transmitted, a signal is sent in the form of a 3.2Khz audio tone on the soundcard's right channel. Using an interface circuit given in the Fldigi manual, this tone is converted electrically to a CW Key Down signal.For transmitting a 0, the mode simply sends no signal on the right channel for a CW Key Up signal.CW 2.0 is received with the transceiver in CW mode. This narrows the bandwidth of the receive filter dramatically from the default SSB bandwidth of 2400Hz.
By narrowing the receiver bandwidth, noise in decreased and SNR is increased.
Below are a few examples of the benefits , compared to 2.4Khz SSB.
2400Hz --> 500Hz = 6.0dB gain2400Hz --> 250Hz = 9.5dB gain2400Hz --> 100Hz = 13.8db gainThis receive-end gain helps to dig even weak signal from below the noise, increasing the chances of a successful contact or DX.
CW 2.0 consists of three variations: Mode Baud WPM FEC CW 2.0 20 ? No CW 2.0 FEC 40 ? 1/2 Rate CW 2.0 Fast 80 ?NoThe baudrates of these modes were chosen to be close to those HF transmitters were already designed for. Also, 50 and 60 baud are avoided (50/60Hz hum issues)
Twenty baud is close to slow CW speed.Fourty baud is almost identical to RTTY speed.Eighty baud is slightly faster than RTTY fast.CW 2.0 and CW 2.0 Fast:Characters to be transmitted are varicoded using the IZ8BLY / MFSK alphabet.The transmitter is then "keyed down" (transmit) for each 1 and "keyed up" (no-transmit) for each 0.
The design of these 2 modes was kept intentionally very-simple in order to make adding the mode to other software packages relatively easy.
CW 2.0 is intended more for casual keyboard-to-keyboard communication while CW 2.0 Fast is intended more for contesting.
As with the non-FEC CW 2.0 modes, characters to be transmitted are varicoded using the
IZ8BLY / MFSK alphabet.
These bits are then passed to a
convolutional encoder of constraint length 13, which applies the Forward Error Correction algorithm. This reduces the bitrate by half.
After FEC coding, the bits are passed through an
interleaver which mixes the bits to be transmitted over a time-window of 500 milliseconds. This length has been proven to be sufficient to handle most HF noise and short fades.
The bits from the interleaver are then transmitted like the non FEC modes: "key down" for 1 and "key up" for 0.
For added gain on the receive side, the
soft-decision viterbi decoder has a traceback of 156, which is twelve times the constraint length: 13.
Engineering books state that 8 constraint lengths is sufficient, and that longer tracebacks simple waste CPU cycles without adding gain. The caveat however is that 8 constraint lengths is only sufficient when starting from a known (good) state. When starting from a random/arbitrary (noise) state it takes 1.5 times longer. So 8 * 1.5 = 12.
Technical Details:FEC details:gain: 9.5db+constraint length = 13polynomial 1 octal: 016461polynomial 2 octal: 012767polynomial 1 decimal: 7473polynomial 2 decimal: 5623Interleaver:2 x 20 self-synchronizing500 milliseconds
Feds spend $1 million collecting 'suspicious memes'
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 14:46
7:40 a.m. ET
A homeless man from San Francisco helped assist in the capture of two escaped fugitives and is being rewarded $100,000 as a result. Matthew Hay-Chapman spotted the Orange County inmates by recognizing their stolen white van from news reports, The New York Times reports. He pointed them out to police in the area, which led to the inmates' arrest.
"Main thing I noticed people were sleeping in it, cause the windows were all steamed up, heavy, heavy condensation. I thought to myself, there's two people in that van 'cause I used to live in a Savannah GMC van many years ago when I had a job," Hay-Chapman told the press.
Bac Duong, Hossein Nayeri, and Jonathan Tieu vanished from Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana on Jan. 22. Duong turned himself over to authorities the day before Nayeri and Tieu were caught. The owner of the stolen van will receive $20,000, and a Target store manager who caught the fugitives on video footage will receive $15,000. Jeva Lange
Your Like On Facebook Is Being Used By Scammers -
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:44
Scam artists are using users' "Like" on social networking website Facebook to make them vulnerable to online scams, a media report said.
Facebook's "Like" option is used for appreciation and is a harmless way to express your thoughts on a photo or any information, but fraudsters are tricking users by making an attractive or emotional post popular before editing it to include dangerous content, a report in The Independent said on Saturday.
Facebook is being targeted by scammers hoping to trick people into sharing their hoaxes, it said.Generally on Facebook, like or share status on a picture or a link propels it to the top of news feeds, so that popular posts appear higher and more prominent.
Scammers will post a story on Facebook that contains nothing malicious, for example a story of a dog or a life event of an elderly man, which is likely to become popular and attract likes and shares from users.
As soon as the post has ample amount of likes and shares, scammers then change the content and add malicious content.
Scammers are also promoting fake pages of products to buy and introduce a paywall on the page to steal credit card information.
A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content without a paid subscription.
According to the report, Facebook has been contacted for comment.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Apple Music Overcomes Copyright, Streams Remixes, Mash-Ups & Bootlegs | Your EDM
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:39
In a defining move, streaming service Apple Music has received a leg up on competitors. Following a newly formed partnership with Dubset Media Holdings, the service now has the ability to stream remixes, mash-ups and DJ mixes for the very first time.
Dubset is an organization involved with over 14,000 publishers and record labels, allowing their extensive roster of content to be utilized and streamed without fear of copyright-oriented consequences. The secret to this ability, however, rests with a form of technology called MixBank.
Using algorithms similar to those of Youtube and Soundcloud's copyright detection service Zefr, MixBank scans remixed content with the intent of discovering the original rights holder. The company can locate the source, compensate them accordingly and even allow rights holders to limit the amount of times their material can be used in mixes.
This new partnership, some say, is a more effective alternative for remixers and DJs than Soundcloud's highly controversial system. By giving rights holders more control over their work and allowing listeners to access previously forbidden content, the potential for an exodus across services is now in the balance.
So far, no word has been given as to the exact starting date for Apple's inclusion of mixes on their service.
Source: The Verge
Rubio's DC headquarters briefly evacuated | TheHill
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:32
Marco RubioMarco RubioKasich makes general election pitchTrump to skip second Fox News debateTrump predicts 'riots' if he's not nomineeMORE's Washington, D.C., headquarters is being evacuated after staffers found an unidentified white substance in the building, according to multiple reports.
Alex Conant, a spokesman for the Republican Florida senator, told ABC News that campaign staff had evacuated to the roof and said HazMat crews were responding.
But a short time later, Rubio staffers tweeted that the headquarters was given the all-clear and said they are heading back into the building. The scare came just hours before GOP presidential primary polls close in five states voting Tuesday, including the senator's home state of Florida.
'--Updated 5:51 p.m.
CBS Looks to Exit Radio Business -
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:28
CBS Corporation announced on Tuesday that it was putting its radio business on the block, as the media company aims to streamline its business to focus on its broadcast network, the premium channel Showtime and digital.
Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, said that the company was looking at a number of strategic options but provided few other details. Speaking at the company's investor meeting in New York, he compared the development to CBS's move two years ago to separate its billboard business in an effort to ''unlock shareholder value.''
CBS owns 117 radio stations in 26 markets, which it estimates reach 70 million people in the United States each week. Mr. Moonves has been suggesting for years that he was willing to reduce the company's holdings in radio. CBS has disposed of a number of stations already, such as through a deal with the Beasley Broadcasting Group in 2014 in which CBS traded 14 of its stations for five of Beasley's.
But Mr. Moonves's comments on Tuesday were his strongest on the subject so far, and reflect the challenges in the traditional radio business as it tries to compete with online services like Pandora and Spotify. Analysts said that CBS was just making official what it had been trying to do with its radio group for a while. The question really is, Who would buy traditional radio assets today?
CBS said that revenue in its radio group was down 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, because of ''continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.''
CBS also reported an impairment charge of $484 million last year to reduce the value of F.C.C. radio licenses.
Revenue in the company's local broadcasting group, which also includes its TV stations, totaled $719 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, down 9 percent from $785 million during the same period the previous year.
CBS executives said that pursuing a sale of its radio holdings would help the company to shift its business away from the less-predictable advertising sales to the more-predictable revenue sources, such as subscription fees.
CBS also outlined a four-point plan for growth that executives predicted would deliver an additional $3.75 billion annually in incremental revenues over the next five years. One pillar for growth is a boost in so-called retrans and reverse compensation revenues that traditional and digital distributors pay to CBS to include the content in its offerings. The goal to generate an additional $2.5 billion a year in those revenues is a continuation of a long push by CBS to get paid for its programming in the same way that cable networks are paid.
Another area for growth, CBS executive said, is to land an additional $800 million a year from its streaming outlets, about half from Showtime's digital network and half from CBS's stand-alone streaming network. To reach that goal, Showtime and CBS each would need to recruit about four million subscribers in five years.
CBS also expects to continue to build its international distribution business, selling about $2.3 billion in annual content sales. The fourth opportunity is so-called skinny bundles offered by cable, satellite and digital distributors that feature fewer networks. CBS executives said that they expected that selling CBS to those new TV packages should add an $200 million in annual revenues, because the value of its content increases when the number of options gets smaller.
Mr. Moonves called the numbers ''both eye-popping but we think conservative.''
Ben Sisario contributed reporting.
Sorry, Hillary, but we're done: Keep repeating racist myths and praising Kissinger and the Reagans. I'm switching to Bernie Sanders -
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:24
I'm sorry Hillary, but I just can't do this anymore.
If the 2016 presidential campaign were a football game, the Democrats would be heading into it as two-touchdown favorites. Facing a Republican Party that seems to have collectively lost its mind, America's purportedly liberal party only needs to put forth a minimally competent candidate to win an election in which that candidate will face either a reality TV star who combines ranting racist rhetoric with a bottomless ignorance of every policy question under the sun, or an extreme right-wing religious fanatic.
With the presidential election all but being handed to them, the Democratic Party's powers that be have almost unanimously decided that Hillary Clinton is liberal America's best hope to keep the nation from being taken over by right-wing maniacs. (In terms of endorsements,'s formula currently has Clinton ahead of Bernie Sanders by a total of 478 to six. Even the much-reviled Donald Trump has more support among Republican power brokers than Sanders has from Democratic pooh-bahs).
The problem with this decision is that it's becoming clear that Hillary Clinton is a really bad candidate. I say that not as a Bernie Sanders supporter: my attitude toward the Democratic primary has been that just about the only relevant consideration is the question of whether Clinton or Sanders would be more likely to win the general election, given how catastrophic a GOP win would be.
Until recently, I was assuming that Clinton would be a stronger challenger to either Trump or Cruz, so I was hoping she would win out against Sanders. But I've changed my mind about that.
Clinton keeps making serious mistakes '' and these mistakes follow a pattern that reveal why she's making it increasingly difficult for even mildly progressive voters to support her.
Clinton's latest blunder was her bizarre claim that Nancy and Ronald Reagan played an important role in getting Americans to talk about AIDS in the 1980s: ''It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about H.I.V./AIDS back in the 1980s,'' Clinton told MSNBC. ''And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan '' in particular, Mrs. Reagan '' we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it. Nobody wanted anything to do with it.''
This is not merely false, but the precise inverse of the truth. Ronald Reagan managed to avoid ever mentioning the AIDS epidemic for the first several years of his presidency. The famous activist slogan ''Silence = Death'' was coined in response to the Reagan administration's studied refusal to even acknowledge the epidemic. Indeed, the Reagans ''started a national conversation'' about AIDS in the same sense that Donald Trump has started a national conversation about the extent to which racism characterizes much of the Republican Party's base.
Clinton's surreal historical revisionism '' which she walked back after a firestorm of criticism '' is typical of the eagerness with which she embraces even the most dubious figures, as long as they are members of what my colleague Scott Lemieux calls America's ''overcompensated and underperforming elites.''
For example, Clinton continues to cozy up to Henry Kissinger, and to the same bankers who came close to wrecking the world economy just a few years ago, shortly before they started paying her millions of dollars to give speeches to them.
A few weeks ago she repeated the racist myth that ''radical'' Northerners imposed corrupt governments on the defeated South after the Civil War, and thus paved the way for Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan. This week she engaged in some good old-fashioned red-baiting, criticizing Sanders for opposing America's sordid history of dirty wars in Latin America, which she mischaracterized as his support for Communist dictatorships.
All of this is both wrong as a matter of principle, and stupid politics to boot. How many votes does she think she's going to get from (increasingly imaginary) ''moderate Republicans'' as a consequence of this 1990s-style triangulation? Not nearly as many as she'll lose among disgusted liberals, who remember that the Contras were terrorists, that Kissinger is a war criminal of the first order, that Reconstruction didn't cause the virulent racism that undermined it, and that the Reagans' silence regarding AIDS contributed to countless unnecessary deaths.
I will, of course, vote for Clinton if she's the nominee '' she is after all vastly preferable to either Trump or Cruz '' but by now this is starting to feel like pointing out that a sprained ankle is preferable to a heart attack.
>> Radio Talk Show Host Arrested on Conspiracy Charges for Publicly Criticizing the US Govt
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:07
Portland, OR '-- A federal motion in the case of podcaster, blogger, and activist Peter Santilli demonstrates that the Government is prepared to treat independent media outlets as criminal enterprises if their coverage of controversial events makes federal officials look bad. Santilli was arrested in January on charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers.
Santilli, who operates a small online media network, was a prominent participant in the April 2014 standoff between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management in Bunkerville, Nevada. He is an unabashed advocacy journalist who often plays a direct role in the events about which he reports. In the motion seeking to deny Santilli pre-trial release, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams characterizes him as ''Bundy's shill and chief propagandist, using his knowledge of blogging to encourage, counsel, and incite others to travel to Nevada with guns to confront the BLM with violence.''
It is indisputable that Santilli urged activists to converge in Nevada, but he insists that the objective was to prevent violence, rather than commit it. In numerous broadcasts and interviews cited within the federal motion, Santilli expressed concern about federal over-kill of the variety previously seen at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and called for armed citizens to gather as witnesses and a ''defensive force'' if abusive conduct occurred. After the event, he expressed the opinion to internet reporter Adam Kokesh that ''both sides were guilty in that confrontation'' and later stated that ''Bundy Ranch should never have been an armed rebellion.''
Those remarks may be considered irresponsible, equivocal, or even, to some, irrational. Are they evidence of a federal crime, or a form of journalism protected by the First Amendment?
''The United States Supreme Court has long held that the First Amendment's protections of the press extend beyond recognized, mainstream media,'' points out Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. ''There's some references to the fact that he's calling people to come join them [the Bundy family and their supporters], but even that's not necessarily illegal. It kind of throws his objectivity in question, certainly, but I don't think he's claiming to be objective.''
Civil liberties attorney John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute describes the charges against Santilli as nothing less than an effort ''to intimidate members of the press who portray the government in a less than favorable light.''
''By singling this new media journalist out for arrest and prosecution, the government through its actions presents a grave danger to the First Amendment's protections of freedom of speech and the press,'' wrote Whitehead in a February 2 letter to Santilli's attorney, Thomas K. Coan. Whitehead contends that the FBI's criminal complaint focuses entirely on his behavior as ''a reporter of information and not as an accomplice to any criminal activity.''
Furthermore, Santilli is neither the first nor the only reporter targeted for this kind of treatment. Whitehead points out that several journalists covering the August 2014 upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri were arrested without cause and charged with ''interference'' or ''obstruction.'' This was ''a concerted, top-down effort to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press,'' he contends. Similar abuses occurred in Baltimore during riots in the spring of 2015, during which ''journalists were subjected to arrests and assaults as they attempted to cover the uprising'...''
''The government's own allegations demonstrate that Santilli was acting as a source of news and information for the public,'' continues Whitehead. ''The government's decision to charge and arrest Santilli '... illustrates that it has seized upon a tactic employed by other law enforcement entities of arresting journalists to prevent the public from knowing about civil unrest and the conditions that spawn that unrest.''
The Feds and their allies are using other means to restrict access to non-State-centered media outlets. On March 8, for example, when the FBI, Oregon State Police, and Deschutes County Sheriff's Office held a press conference to announce their findings regarding the police shooting of Bundy associate LaVoy Finicum, ''the sheriff's office didn't publicly announce the time or exact location of the news conference and asked reporters to send an email to reserve a place,'' reported The Oregonian newspaper. That arrangement allowed the pre-vetting of journalists allowed to participate '-- and permitted the FBI to winnow out any potentially troublesome independent reporters.
Arguably the most ominous element of the motion to deny Santilli pre-trial release is the repeated insistence that his impenitent ''anti-government'' views make him a ''danger to the community.''
By publicly criticizing the actions of what he believes to be rogue federal agencies and officials, ''Santilli continues to commit crimes using his blog and is a current threat to law enforcement officers,'' declares the motion. ''Santilli's rhetoric and his conduct relating to these charges make clear that he has not changed his mind about the BLM or the federal government.''
One example of such a ''threat'' cited in the document is Santilli's description of an Assistant U.S. Attorney as ''a f'n treasonous bastard working for an enemy which is the United States'' and his statement that ''If you were unconstitutional we are going to squeeze your balls. We will make every step null and void. The U.S. Constitution is non-negotiable.''
Vulgar, intemperate, and ill-considered though they may be, those statements do not constitute a ''true threat'' under existing legal standards. They are squarely in a tradition of patriotic hyperbole that began with Samuel Adams '-- another figure who blended direct activism (much of it illegal under British law) and media agitation. This implied comparison would trouble at least some of Santilli's former colleagues, who contend that he has long been a covert asset of the FBI '-- and can make a compelling case for that proposition.
It isn't necessary to see Peter Santilli as the heir to Samuel Adams, or sympathize with the cause to which he had attached himself, in order to take issue with the government's effort to imprison him for anti-government media agitation. If, as some erstwhile allies assert, Santilli has been employed by the Feds in as a COINTELPRO-style infiltrator, the government's willingness to use him in that role and then burn him offers an additional cause for alarm.
Donald Trump's volunteer contract forbids all criticism of Trump
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 12:54
Donald Trump's campaign requires volunteers to sign a contract that forbids them from criticizing the Republican presidential front-runner, his family members, any Trump businesses or products, or his campaign. The six-page contract, reviewed in full by the Daily Dot, theoretically lasts for the entirety of a volunteer's life.
Legal experts say, however, that the contract's non-disparagement clause would likely never hold up in court.
The tight control of volunteers stands in stark contrast to not only American political-campaign norms but also Trump's reputation for speaking his mind.
The contract first came to light late last week after Trump campaign emails indicated that some prospective volunteers were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to make calls for the campaign from Trump Tower in Manhattan.
''I don't see how a court enforces this.''
It wasn't until Monday that the contracts were unveiled to prospective volunteers at Trump Tower. A Daily Dot review of the contract found that the document extends beyond the non-disclosure agreement that was originally reported.
In addition to forbidding volunteers from disparaging Trump, the contract also includes a sentence that demands volunteers prevent their employees from criticizing Trump, thus making volunteers responsible for the free speech of others for an indeterminate amount of time.
''I guess he doesn't know about the First Amendment,'' Davida Perry, an employment lawyer in New York City, told the Daily Dot. ''This is really shocking.''
Non-disparagement, non-disclosure, and non-compete agreements'--which are all found in Trump's contract'--are common in business contracts, but they apply to employees, not volunteers who receive no compensation for their time and work.
Because volunteers give up their rights but get nothing in return, the contract is likely legally unenforceable, professor Samuel Estreicher, who directs the labor program at NYU Law School, told NBC News.
The Trump campaign could risk a lawsuit by forcing volunteers to give up so much without treating them as employees, Jeanne Christensen, an employment lawyer at Wigdor LLP, told NBC.
The contract extends down to the lowest levels of the Trump campaign, including at call centers, where people spend hours making phone calls to convince other citizens to vote for Trump.
Donald Trump's campaign contract Daily Dot
2. No Disparagement. During the term of your service and at all times thereafter you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the Company, Mr. Trump, any Trump Company, any Family Member, or any Family Member Company or any asset any of the foregoing own, or product or service any of the foregoing offer, in each case by or in any of the Restricted Means and Contexts and to prevent your employees from doing so.
3. No Competitive Services. Until the Non-Compete Cutoff Date you promise and agree not to assist or counsel, directly or indirectly, for compensation or as a volunteer, any person that is a candidate or exploring candidacy for President of the United States other than Mr. Trump and to prevent your employees from doing so.
Volunteers also sign a non-disclosure agreement, forbidding them from sharing any sensitive information from the campaign. What kind of information is sensitive or confidential is completely at Trump's discretion, according to the contract.''He's apparently so afraid that people would say something bad about him after spending some time on his campaign that they have to sign some sort of agreement,'' Perry explained. ''I don't see how this stands up. I don't see how a court enforces this.''
Volunteers must also sign a non-compete agreement that extends until Trump ceases his campaign for president, identified in the contract as the ''Non-Compete Cutoff Date.'' The agreement also forbids volunteers from working for another presidential candidate, should they change their minds.
In the event of a Trump victory in November's general election, the non-compete clause could extend until his 2020 reelection campaign or even 2024, at the end of a second Trump term, the document explains. If Trump loses but wants to run again in the next election or in any presidential election in the future, the contract states the volunteer cannot work for another candidate.
Volunteers are, once again, theoretically bound to ''to prevent your employees from'' working on any other presidential campaign at any point while Trump is running for president, ostensibly locking them into Trump's political career for life.
The Daily Dot viewed Trump's volunteer contract at the campaign's New York City headquarters on Monday morning. During that time, approximately two dozen prospective Trump volunteers handed over their state identification, submitted to a voluntary background check, and took the contract to read over and sign.
The Trump campaign did not respond to our request for comment.
Illustration via Max Fleishman
After Cash: All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses a Bank Account - Bloomberg View
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 08:04
The Bank of Korea is planning for a cashless society by 2020. Swedes are making the shift. I am intrigued but also troubled.
There's a lot to like about the idea of a cashless society, starting with its effect on crime. The payoff to mugging people or snatching their bags has already declined dramatically, simply because fewer and fewer people are carrying cash around. I myself almost never have any of the stuff on hand. If it weren't for the rising value of mobile phones, street crime would have largely lost its profit motive '... and if better phone security makes it impossible to repurpose a stolen phone, that motive will approach zero.
A cashless society would also see a decline in the next level of robberies: stickups of retail outlets. There's obviously no point in sticking a gun in the face of some liquor store clerk when all he can give you is the day's credit card receipts. Even if these sorts of crimes are replaced by electronic thefts of equivalent value, this would still be a major improvement for society, simply because the threat of violent crime is uniquely terrifying and corrosive to community.
One step beyond that, there's the effect on criminal enterprises, for whom cash is key. Making it impossible to transact business while keeping large amounts of money away from the watchful eye of the government will make it much harder to run an illegal operation. And while I love the tales of quirky bootleggers and tramp peddlers as much as the next fellow, the truth is that large criminal organizations are full of not very nice people, doing not very nice things, and it would be better for society if they stopped.
And one crime would be all but eliminated: tax evasion.
Then we should consider the other benefits of eliminating cash. Provided the payments system takes reasonable precautions, it's impossible to burn up all your money in a fire, or forget where you stashed it. (My grandfather, a survivor of the Great Depression, adopted in his latter years the habit of stashing piles of cash around the house, just in case. My grandmother almost gave $10,000 to the church rummage sale, saved only by a last-minute decision to wash out the ancient teapot in which he had tucked the cash.)
And then there are the prosaic joys of walking around your daily life unencumbered by wallets full of pretty-colored pieces of paper and bags full of coins. Most of us are already moving toward a cashless society -- not because we care about the crime-fighting, but because the stuff is darned inconvenient.
What's not to like? Very little. Except, and I'm afraid it's a rather large exception, the amount of power that this gives the government over its citizens.
Consider the online gamblers who lost their money in overseas operations when the government froze their accounts. Now, what they were doing was indisputably illegal in these here United States, and I am not claiming that they were somehow deeply wronged. But consider how immense the power that was conferred upon the government by the electronic payments system; at a word, your money could simply vanish.
Now consider what might happen if the government made a mistake. When I was just starting out as a journalist, the State of New York swooped down and seized all the money out of one of my bank accounts. It turned out -- much later, after a series of telephone calls -- that they had lost my tax return for the year that I had resided in both Illinois and New York, discovered income on my federal tax return that had not appeared on my New York State tax return, sent some letters to that effect to an old address I hadn't lived at for some time, and neatly lifted all the money out of my bank. It took months to get it back.
I didn't starve, merely fretted. In our world of cash, friends and family can help out someone in a situation like that. In a cashless society, the government might intercept any transaction in which someone tried to lend money to the accused.
Unmonitored resources like cash create opportunities for criminals. But they also create a sort of cushion between ordinary people and a government with extraordinary powers. Removing that cushion leaves people who aren't criminals vulnerable to intrusion into every remote corner of their lives.
We probably won't notice how much this power grows every time we swipe a card instead of paying cash. The danger is that by the time we do notice, it will be too late. If we want to move toward a cashless society -- and apparently we do -- then we also need to think seriously about limiting the ability of the government to use the payments system as an instrument to control the behavior of its citizens.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story:Megan McArdle at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:Philip Gray at
VIDEO-If the Geneva talks fail Russia will go back to Syria, says analyst | euronews, world news
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 05:17
"If a ceasefire is not maintained and is violated by different political groups in Syria, then military intervention would be Syria's only option and Russia will definitely play a key role in that option"
On the streets of Damascus in Syria people have been reacting to the partial withdrawal of Russian forces.
The capital has always remained in the hands of the Syrian government, where support for leader Bashar al-Assad is strong.
One Damascus resident said: ''The withdrawal indicates the Russian presence in Syria is a question of friendship and not one of sovereignty.''
Another resident, a journalist, said: ''Russia is a decent player in the Syrian case. They reduce their forces as the situation requires.''
Hossein Royvaran, an Iran-based analyst maintains removing Assad would result in chaos and pose a danger to the entire region.
''If the Geneva talks fail, I think Russia will go back to Syria. If a ceasefire is not maintained and is violated by different political groups in Syria, then military intervention would be Syria's only option and Russia will definitely play a key role in that option.''
Another Gulf-based analyst says Moscow's ability to make Assad negotiate is part of the Kremlin wanting to appear as a Middle East peace negotiator.
Theodore Karasik told reporters: ''I think this move is significant for the future of Assad and his associates because it makes them part of the negotiating process.
''It is as if big brother has taken little brother by the ear and has told him what to do.''
But there are mixed reactions among many other players in the Syria conflict, especially in those areas where fighting was at its worst, and where opponents to Assad are bitter about the role played by Moscow.
VIDEO-Russian pilots welcomed home as heroes from Syria | euronews, world news
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 05:12
They are being welcomed home as heroes and decorated by their military chiefs.
Fighter jets have begun landing at an air force base near Voronezh in the southwest of Russia after the Kremlin made the surprise decision to partially withdraw its forces from Syria.
Moscow says the withdrawal is possible as Russia has achieved its goals with the start of the peace talks in Geneva.
However, Russia will continue to maintain a military presence in Syria with military bases in Latakia and Tartus.
Also, the Russian army says its S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system in Syria will remain in place.
Sergei Ivanov, head of the President's Office and a fomer defence minister, said: ''This is in order to effectively provide security, including from the air, the most modern defence systems are needed.''
The Russian air force also says it jets will continue to strike ISIL targets in Syria and what it calls ''other terrorist groups''.
VIDEO-Brussels police continue anti-terror raids after fatal operation | euronews, world news
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 05:07
"The streets and cafes in the neighbourhood are not at all empty. But the tension in the Belgian capital is palpable"
Police in Brussels searched buildings in a city suburb well into Tuesday evening, hours after French-Belgian raid linked to November's Islamist attacks in Paris ended in death and injury.
The authorities say police were fired on by one or more gunmen as they carried out a routine search. Four officers were wounded in a subsequent shootout. Hours later police stormed the building and killed an individual armed with an assault rifle, according to the federal prosecutor.
The injured police officers included a French policewoman, the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told a news conference. Two were still in hospital on Tuesday night, he said, adding that the security operation was ongoing.
Earlier reports said one of those injured was seriously hurt.
Michel played down the importance of the operation, describing the presence of French forces as a coincidence. Belgium's security council is to meet on Wednesday.
Police have not confirmed reports saying two suspects are still being hunted. Media reports said one or two gunmen had escaped across rooftops.
The initial raid appears to have been a routine affair that took police by surprise. The prosecutor said they were armed and wearing bulletproof vests when they were fired on, but were not supported by special forces.
The events kept the southern district of Forest in a state of lockdown throughout Tuesday afternoon.
''They asked us to evacuate the bus because the police had blocked the Neerstalle street. We got out of the bus, walked, then I heard gunshots near the church, near the school, I also heard two women were involved, so I got careful and walked away and stood at the stop,'' said local resident Ayoub Kemoussi.
Brussels has witnessed many raids and security scares since being identified as the base from where the Paris attacks were planned.
Tuesday's ordeal lasted for hours for many parents, only able to collect their children from schools and kindergartens after dark.
Eleven people have been charged in Belgium in connection with the Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured hundreds. Eight of them are still in custody. The investigation has established that the atrocities were largedly planned and coordinated from Brussels.
According to police sources, Tuesday's operation did not target Salah Abdeslam or Mohamed Abrini, suspects wanted over the Paris attacks, but rather the entourage of one or several of the 11 people charged.
Euronews correspondent in Brussels, Sndor Zs­ros, reported from Forest on Tuesday night: ''A few hundred metres away from here terrorists shot at the police with machine guns. Despite this the streets and cafes in the neighbourhood are not at all empty. But the tension in the Belgian capital is palpable.''
VIDEO-UN special envoy Angelina Jolie receives riotous welcome in Greece | euronews, world news
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:57
Angelina Jolie is no stranger to the spotlight, but the Hollywood actress received a riotous welcome on a trip to Piraeus port, near Athens, to highlight the plight of refugees and migrants.
As United Nations special envoy, Jolie's mission was to boost efforts by the UN's refugee agency and the Greek government to ''reinforce efforts by UNHCR and the Greek government to step up the emergency response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation,'' she said in a press release.
Her visit came a day after the fifth anniversary of the start of Syria's civil war.
A makeshift camp at the port hosts thousands of refugees from the Middle East, but also irregular migrants.
Euronews reporter Panos Kitsikopoulos sent an update on the situation nationwide.
''Angelina Jolie's visit to the Piraeus port gave hope to the roughly 4,000 people hosted here. In the whole Attica region, we have almost 12,000 refugees and migrants, while there are around 45,000 in the whole of Greece. In Idomeni over 11,000 people have been registered, while the Greek government is preparing measures for an imminent evacuation of the area '-- a request also made by local authorities. Furthermore, at Thursday's summit in Brussels, Athens is going to put financial demands on the table,'' he said.
Mahmoud, a Syrian at the port, told euronews:''We are very pleased that Angelina came to visit, to see the Syrian refugees. We give thanks to Greece and its people.''
Panos Kitsikopoulos asked Ahmed, from Afghanistan, where he sees himself five years from now.
''As soon as the borders open and we go to a country, then we can say that we will have a future. But still we don't know. We are in a dark place,'' he responded.
Jolie was later received by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens and from there is eventually expected to travel north to the Idomeni camp on the Macedonian border.
VIDEO-Migrants: what could scupper the EU's talks with Turkey? | euronews, world news
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:52
A warning for TurkeyThe EU has warned that a deal with Turkey to curb mass migration to Europe hinges on Ankara acting to support peace talks in EU member Cyprus.
European Council President Donald Tusk says much work remains to be done.
EU officials have made last minute alterations to the draft document with Turkey to make it legally watertight.
But insiders say a stand-off over Cyprus could scupper the deal.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has threatened to veto any progress in Turkey's accession talks unless Ankara meets its obligations to open Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.
This would amount to a de facto recognition of the state.
An EU summit deal would also mean countries agreeing to accept quotas of refugees, something several states have so far rejected.
The terms of the dealThe proposals suggest Turkey takes back all migrants and refugees who enter the EU illegally from its territory or are detained in its waters.
In return, Ankara will get more EU money, faster visa-free access for its citizens and an acceleration of its slow-moving EU membership negotiations.
EU leaders will meet Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday morning to finalise the deal.
GreeceMore than 4000 refugees and migrants have been given temporary shelter at Piraeus, the port of Athens.
They are being housed in four passenger terminals and a warehouse owned by the Port Authority.
Piraeus has become overcrowded as border restrictions have been imposed along the Balkan route leading to Western Europe.
Some are being transferred to other transit centres to ease the bottleneck at the port.
ItalyFor Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the situation is hard to understand.
''Europe can organise expeditions to Mars but in Idomeni we have women washing their new-born babies with bottled water in so-called refugee camps.''
''This is happening in Greece,in Europe, on our continent.''
The unprecedented human flow is causing problems right along the Mediterranean coast.
More than 600 people were brought ashore in southern Italy on Wednesday.
They had been rescued by a German ship off the coast of Libya.
Work is progressing but there is still a lot to do''Work is progressing but there is still a lot to do'' '' EU Council President, Donald Tusk knows there are tough days ahead.
''It is right to reach an agreement with Turkey but there are principles that are fundamental for us, starting with human rights and press freedom.'' '' Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi says the EU's core values must be respected.
''We are certainly not giving Turkey a free ride,'' '' EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans promises officials will not be a pushover.
''When a step has been taken towards a solution, when agreement has been reached on a package, the whole structure should not be allowed to be ruined just because of the caprice of one EU member country'' '' Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir says the process must not be derailed.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz has told Germany's Funke Media Group he does not expect a ''final breakthrough'' this week.
VIDEO-Bill Maher spouts nonsense about Obamacare ending 'profit motive' in health care | MRCTV
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:15
After one of his guests points out that stock prices for health insurance companies have risen fourfold percent since 2009, HBO's Bill Maher makes the ludicrous claim that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, enacted in 2010, has eliminated the "profit motive" in health care; as heard on Real Time with Bill Maher, March 11, 2016.
VIDEO-Nets Silent on Hillary's Claim U.S. 'Didn't Lose a Single Person' in Libya | MRCTV
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:06
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Despite all three network morning shows on Tuesday covering Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders answering questions during back-to-back MSNBC town halls, none of the broadcasts reported on Clinton committing a major gaffe by claiming that the U.S. ''didn't lose a single person'' in Libya.
Talking to Hardball host Chris Matthews Monday night, Clinton defended her support for the use of force in overthrowing dictator Muammar Gaddafi: ''Is Libya perfect? It isn't. But did they have two elections that were free and fair where they voted for moderates? Yes, they did....Libya was a different kind of calculation and we didn't lose a single person...''
VIDEO-Trump says George W. Bush 'lied' to get U.S. into Iraq
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 03:34
As the latest Republican presidential debate opened Saturday, Donald Trump, in a heated exchange with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, bluntly accused George W. Bush of lying about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to fool Americans into supporting the war in Iraq.
''Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right?'' Trump thundered when asked about his call for then-President George W. Bush to be impeached. ''They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.''
Trump added, ''George Bush made the mistake. We can make mistakes, but that one was a beauty.''
Trump's attack, at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C., came two days before George W. Bush was to emerge from years of self-imposed exile from the campaign trail to try to help his brother's wobbly drive for the White House. In the days before the New Hampshire primary, Trump also made fun of former first lady Barbara Bush hitting the road for her son. ''Wow, Jeb Bush, whose campaign is a total disaster, had to bring in mommy to take a slap at me. Not nice!'' the real estate mogul tweeted.
Given a chance to respond, Jeb declared that he was ''sick and tired of Barack Obama blaming my brother for all of the problems that he's had.''
As for the real estate mogul's attacks, ''I could care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It's bloodsport for him. He enjoys it, and I'm glad he's happy about it,'' the former governor said.
''But I am sick and tired of him going after my family. My dad is the greatest man alive, in my mind. While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe, and I'm proud of what he did,'' Jeb continued.
The former governor denounced Trump for having ''the gall to go after my mother'' and declared, ''My mom is the strongest woman I know.'' (''She should be running,'' Trump interjected.)
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida rose to the former president's defense.
''I think you can look back in hindsight and say a couple of things, but he kept us safe,'' Rubio said. ''And not only did he keep us safe, but no matter what you want to say about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn't do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.''
Trump came roaring back. ''The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.''
Rubio charged that ''The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn't kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him.''
But Trump got the last word in the vitriolic exchange. ''By the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn't listen to the advice of his CIA.''
CBS debate moderator John Dickerson enlisted Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the exchange.
''This is just nuts,'' Kasich said of the back-and-forth. He noted that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had publicly accused Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction programs '' but then the governor pivoted to say: ''We should never have gone'' into Iraq.
The debate over the Iraq War was notable in part because the issue has powerful echoes on the Democratic side in the 2016 race to succeed President Barack Obama. As Obama did in 2008 to great effect, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders has been pummeling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with her 2002 vote to authorize the war.
As for Trump's opposition to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq: He came out against it in the summer of 2004.
VIDEO-Megyn Kelly Hits Back at Trump Over Media Criticism, Cites Hordes of Free Media Airtime | MRCTV
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 02:37
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Waiting until shortly after Donald Trump's Super Tuesday 3 victory speech in Florida, Fox News channel host Megyn Kelly responded indirectly at Trump's latest Twitter tirades (see here, here, here, and here) against her by citing how he seems to do that on a near constant basis and later hit back at the billionaire by citing the overwhelming amount of free media coverage he's amassed.
Kelly received the first crack once Trump's speech concluded and after a few phrases recapping his remarks, she noticed that (as co-host and Special Report host Bret Baier laughed): ''What a great night he's had commenting on the media, which is one of his favorite things to do pointing out that he'll get over 50 percent if there are not four people in this race and saying no one, no one has ever come under the kind of negative advertising barrage that he's come under.''
VIDEO-Tagg Romney, Voting Machines And Ohio 'In Context' : NPR
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:46
Social media and the liberal blogosphere have raised questions about a Texas-based voting system company's connections to several fundraisers for Mitt Romney and Romney's son Tagg. Further stirring concern, the voting systems are used in two counties in Ohio. We look at the issue in the latest installment of our series In Context. Tamara Keith talks to Audie Cornish.
Now, to the election and a rumor that's been going around. Have you heard the story about how Mitt Romney's son Tagg is going to steal the election for his dad? It swept the liberal blogosphere in recent days, and it's not true. But like all good conspiracy theories, it is based on kernels of truth. As part of our series In Context, NPR's Tamara Keith joins us to explain where the story came from. And, Tamara, first, walk us through this conspiracy.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: This conspiracy centers on voting machines in Ohio. And as we all know, Ohio is a key battleground state. A couple of Ohio counties use voting machines made by a company called Hart InterCivic. A little over a year ago, a private equity firm called H.I.G. Capital invested heavily in Hart and took over its board. And Tagg Romney, he has a private equity firm called Solamere. It invested in H.I.G. So goes the story, Tagg Romney could fix the election for his dad.
CORNISH: All right. So what are holes here? What's wrong with the story?
KEITH: Well, let's start with the voting machines. In Ohio, there are only two counties that use machines from Hart. I called Hamilton County - it's the most populous county. And aside from one election machine in each polling place for disabled voters - and those are electronic - the county uses what's called the Hart eScan machine.
So voters actually vote on paper ballots, and then those ballots are fed into a scanner that tabulates the votes. But there is always a paper backup so that if there is a recount, there is something to count. The county bought these machines back in 2005, so way before H.I.G. ever invested in Hart InterCivic. I spoke with Sally Krisel at the Board of Elections. She says Hart isn't involved in the election in any way.
SALLY KRISEL: We do all of our own pretesting on it, maintenance, diagnostics on it. And we do all of our vote tabulation, ballot preparation. All of that is done by bipartisan teams of people here in Hamilton County.
KEITH: She told me that they opted for this paper-based system so that they could be confident in their results.
KRISEL: We feel really comfortable with this system, and that kind of makes the most recent press really disheartening because we feel good about the system that we chose and the system that we operate.
CORNISH: And what is Tagg Romney's connection to the voting machine company?
KEITH: It turns out it isn't a real connection. According to H.I.G., Solamere is not invested in the fund that has an interest in Hart. So there is no direct financial interest or connection to the voting machines. That said, several top executives at H.I.G. are what's known as bundlers for the Romney campaign. That's according to a database created by USA Today and the Sunlight Foundation. And that means they've raised tons of money for Romney. There are also three H.I.G. executives on the board of Hart InterCivic, and two of them have given money to Mitt Romney. The one also has given money to President Obama.
And this does create the appearance that there could be something fishy. That's the kernel of truth in the conspiracy. But I would just take you back to Hamilton County and the machines there and the bipartisan election officials there who say Hart is absolutely not going to be able to tamper with their vote.
CORNISH: Tamara, I mean, why do you think this story took hold?
KEITH: Part of it is that in 2004, there was a similar controversy involving election machines made by Diebold. Also, these are just complex financial relationships that are difficult to understand. And it's Ohio, which is at the center of the fight and every vote counts.
CORNISH: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. Tamara, thanks.
KEITH: Thank you.
Copyright (C) 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.
VIDEO-Apple-DOJ faceoff gets testier |
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:39
The fight between Apple and the Justice Department keeps getting testier. Apple charges in its final legal brief that the U.S. founding fathers "would be appalled" by Justice's request to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. It said that even Congress had declined to give Justice the power to force Apple to help unlock the phone. The Justice Department said it looks forward to responding in court. In this showdown pitting privacy against security, the FBI wants to access the data on the phone to try to find out whether the shooters had contacts with militant groups before they killed 14 people in December. The government claims Apple is using its refusal to cooperate as a marketing ploy to showcase its commitment to privacy. Apple points out that not a single one of its 1,800 ads for its iOS 8 operating system has promoted its software's ability to block access to law enforcement requests. The two sides face off in court on Tuesday.
VIDEO-Guns brought into Colorado City classroom to promote gun safety - | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:33
COLORADO CITY -Students at Craver Middle School in Colorado City spent the past two days learning everything about safely handling guns -- where they've come from, why we have them, and how to shoot them.
"We're teaching them about the firearms so they are familiar with them, they can be safe with them," program coordinator Jim Heath said.
"It's a lot of guns to have in a school, especially because you don't have this many just at your house or something," 8th grade student Courtney Proctor said.
Heath, a state coordinator of Project Appleseed, brought the three day program to Craver Middle School. The course aims to teach people across the country how to fire weapons accurately and safely, with a foundation of American history.
"I think that it's better for them to have a respect for it [and] know how to handle it," Heath said. "Not that they should, but that they are aware about the firearm. It's not, 'Oh, what's this? What can we do with this?'"
Many students like 8th grader Courtney Proctor already had experience. "I feel OK, because I've been shooting a lot when I was younger with my parents," she said.
Volunteers from Project Appleseed and the NRA worked with the students to eliminate the element of fear associated with guns. It's the group's third consecutive year bringing the program to Craver Middle School.
"I think it's pretty cool, it's something that you don't get to see everyday. It's something that you just get to come in and say 'Wow, look at all these just nice, awesome firearms,'" 7th grade student Tristin Baker said.
Baker said only halfway into the class he had already taken away an important message.
"You should never be afraid of a gun, never, ever," Baker said. "You should have confidence around the guns, you should say, 'this is a gun, we've gotta be careful with this.' Even though we should never trust guns, we should always be careful with them."
These skills will be put to the test tomorrow as students will spend the entire day at a gun range, this time, with loaded guns.
VIDEO-Viacom, Vice and the Changing Landscape of Media - Bloomberg Business
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:24
Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.
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VIDEO-Melting Glaciers Concern for New Zealand Tourism - YouTube
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 20:57
VIDEO-Blitzer Calls Schultz Out on Democrats' Hypocrisy Regarding Supreme Court Picks
VIDEO-US subsidizes charter schools run by G¼len, man wanted by ally Turkey, former NATO commander says - Daily Sabah
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:07
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark said on Tuesday that the United States has become a part of Turkey's problems for letting Fethullah G¼len, who is wanted in Turkey, stay in the U.S.
Clark's comments in a televised interview on CNBC came as he was talking about the effects of the Syrian civil war, which has affected Turkey with an influx of more than 2.5 million refugees into the country.
Clark was asked whether the West or Russian President Vladimir Putin has won the political war over Syria, if there are winners or losers.
"The real losers, of course, are the people of Syria, who have suffered hundreds of thousands of dead, and the people of Europe who are struggling through this immigration crisis, and especially Turkey, [which] has some 2 million refugees. Now there is an active risk, there are bombings in Turkey, they've got problems at home." he said.
"We are even part of that. One of the most wanted people in Turkey is a man named G¼len, a former ally of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan, whose is in the United States, running a network of charter schools subsidized by the United States. Very strange," he added.
G¼len is among Turkey's most wanted, with the country exerting a tremendous effort to obtain an international arrest warrant for the cleric. He lives in a compound owned by his movement in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Ankara is seeking to secure his extradition from the U.S.
The G¼len Movement, which has seen its members and sympathizers purged from state institutions, including the police and judiciary, was designated by authorities as a national threat, a classification for terrorist organizations. A string of judicial inquiries over the past two years has revealed the seedier side of the movement, promoting itself as a charity group that runs schools and works for interfaith dialogue. G¼lenists are accused of illegally wiretapping thousands of people, from the prime minister to journalists and other prominent figures. They are also accused of imprisoning critics or anyone seen as an obstacle to the movement's attempts to gain further clout through sham trials. Hundreds of generals, academics and others were detained for years in cases in which they were accused of attempting to stage coups. It was later revealed that they were detained on charges based on false evidence planted by G¼lenist members of law enforcement.
VIDEO-We choose the nominee, not the voters: Senior GOP official
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:03
This could lead to a brokered convention, in which unbound delegates, like Haugland, could play a significant swing role on the first ballot to choose a nominee.
Most delegates bound by their state's primary or caucus results are only committed on the first ballot. If subsequent ballots are needed, virtually all of the delegates can vote any way they want, said Gary Emineth, another unbound delegate from North Dakota.
"It could introduce Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or it could be the other candidates that have already been in the race and are now out of the race [such as] Mike Huckabee [or] Rick Santorum. All those people could eventually become candidates on the floor," Emineth said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who decided not to run for the White House this year, said in a CNBC interview Tuesday he won't categorically rule out accepting the GOP nomination if a deadlocked convention were to turn to him. But on Wednesday, a Ryan spokeswoman said the speaker would not accept a Republican nomination for president at a divided convention.
Democrats experienced the last true brokered presidential convention to go beyond the first ballot in 1952. Republicans came close at their 1976 convention.
"The rules haven't kept up," Haugland said. "The rules are still designed to have a political party choose its nominee at a convention. That's just the way it is. I can't help it. Don't hate me because I love the rules."
Haugland said he sent a letter to each campaign alerting them to a rule change he's proposing, which would allow any candidate who earns at least one delegate during the nominating process to submit his or her name to be nominated at this summer's convention.
If the GOP race continues at the same pace, Trump would likely have a plurality of delegates. So far, he's more than halfway to the 1,237 magic number.
Trump split Tuesday's winner-take-all primaries in Florida and Ohio.
The real estate mogul dominated in Florida over Sen. Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race after losing his home state.
But Trump lost Ohio to the state's governor, John Kasich. Trump also won Illinois and North Carolina. He held a slim lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Missouri early Wednesday.
Emineth, also a former chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, told "Squawk Box" in the same interview that he's concerned about party officials pulling "some shenanigan."
"You have groups of people who are going to try to take over the rules committee," he warned. "[That] could totally change everything, and mess things up with the delegates. And people across the country will be very frustrated."
"It's important that the Republican National Committee has transparency on what they're doing [on the rules] going into the convention and what happens in the convention," he continued. That's because of "all the votes that have been cast in caucuses and primaries. Don't disenfranchise those voters. Because at the end of the day, our goal is to beat Hillary Clinton or whoever their [Democratic] nominee is in November."
Emineth said he's worried that frustration would discourage Americans in the general election from voting Republican.
'-- CNBC's Lori Ann LaRocco contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Napolitano: Garland Is 'Brilliant Judge Who Will Be Beaten Up Like a Pinata' | Fox News Insider
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:22
Krauthammer: Only an 'Act of God' or the FBI Can Stop Hillary Now
Huckabee: 'Hillary Is In for the Ride of Her Life' When She Takes On Trump
Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox Business Network that Merrick Garland is about to become a political "pinata" as Republicans fight President Obama's Supreme Court choice.
Garland, 63, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals in D.C., was nominated this morning to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the high court.
"Judge Garland is the most conservative nominee to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president in the modern era," said Napolitano, adding that he's "more Scalia than anti-Scalia."
Read Full ArticleNapolitano said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is betting that the next president will be a Republican, not Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
If a Democrat does win in November, a liberal judge like Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor will be put forward.
"Merrick Garland is a decent, brilliant human being and judge. He's going to be beaten up like a pinata and go nowhere. He's basically taking one for the team."
Watch the judge's take above from "Varney & Co." and see more of his analysis, here.
Judge Nap on Hillary's Gaffe: 'Libya Is Her Beast in the Night'
Mother of Benghazi Victim: 'Special Place in Hell for People Like Hillary'
Lifelong Dem Backs Trump: Kate Steinle Murder Was the Turning Point
VIDEO-ISIS Competition Fuels Al-Qaida Comeback In Africa : NPR
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:16
Recent terrorist attacks in Northern Africa suggest al-Qaida's arm in the region, known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM, is making a comeback. Analysts say al-Qaida's competition with ISIS in the region has driven it to act and, in particular, the two groups are wrestling over what is considered a terrorist crown jewel in the region: Libya.
Terrorists stormed a popular beach town in the Ivory Coast over the weekend, killing more than a dozen people. Hours later, al-Qaida's arm in North Africa claimed responsibility. It's a group called al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. Analysts worry that after months of being eclipsed by ISIS, the attack may be an indication that AQIM has decided to stage a comeback. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston explains why the group may be lashing out now.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: People woke up Sunday morning to this BBC headline.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Militants from al-Qaida's North Africa branch have turned a popular beach resort in the Ivory Coast into the scene of a mass shooting.
TEMPLE-RASTON: This week's attack marked the third time in five months that AQIM has taken aim at so-called soft targets in Africa. In November, it was a luxury hotel in Mali. In January, a hotel and a cappuccino cafe in Burkina Faso.
SETH JONES: What al-Qaida's trying to do now is to put itself back of the map, back on -in the media that it is still here and it is capable of conducting high-profile attacks.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Seth Jones is the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, and he says that al-Qaida's affiliates more generally appear to be trying to reassert themselves.
JONES: Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has increased its control of territory in Yemen. Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria has - continues to hold significant ground. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb does not hold the ground we see other al-Qaida affiliates have, but it is increasing its attack portfolios.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Increasing its attacks to remind the world in big bold headlines that ISIS isn't the only organization carrying the banner of jihad. The second reason for AQIM's emergence may be more fundamental. It feels threatened by ISIS in a place that used to be a stronghold - Libya.
BRUCE HOFFMAN: Firstly, Libya is this ideal target of opportunity.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Bruce Hoffman is the director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University.
HOFFMAN: The instability, the lawlessness, the complete absence of governance makes it a vital prize for whichever terrorist group is active there.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Libya not only offers oilfields, but proximity. It's right across the Mediterranean from Europe, and it allows easy access to neighboring Egypt, Mali, Tunisia and further into North Africa. Since 2011, the terrorist group most active in Libya was AQIM. But in the past two years, ISIS has expanded its presence there nearly tenfold, and AQIM has been battling them back. Again, Bruce Hoffman.
HOFFMAN: And I think it's really that competition between the two groups that has animated and really contributed to AQIM playing a much larger role than - at least a more obvious role than they've played in some time.
TEMPLE-RASTON: For some time now, it has appeared that al-Qaida has opted to play the long game. It was content to sit back and watch ISIS expend its energy and take the brunt of the attacks from the West while al-Qaida consolidated its forces behind the scenes. Hoffman says that that strategy may have shifted a bit.
HOFFMAN: The price of quiescence from al-Qaida's perspective is irrelevance.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Al-Qaida may have come to the conclusion that it had to do something before that happens. Dina Temple-Raston, NPR News.
Copyright (C) 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.
VIDEO-Turkey plans to make praise of violent acts a 'terror crime': ruling party official | Reuters
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:57
ANKARA Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called on parliament to act swiftly to broaden an anti-terrorism law, saying those who support killers of innocent people were no different from terrorists themselves.
His comments, drawing criticism from rights groups, followed the deaths of 37 people in a suicide bombing in Ankara on Sunday that security officials blamed on Kurdish militants. It was the second such attack in the capital in a month.
Rights groups fear that anti-terrorism laws, already used to detain academics and opposition journalists, will be used in courts to stifle discussion of issues such as a Kurdish conflict in the media and on other public platforms.
"Those who support directly or indirectly people who destroy innocent lives are not in the slightest different from terrorists," Erdogan said in a speech.
"We must immediately revise the definition of terror and terrorist. In line with this new definition, we must immediately change the penal code."
Western states are concerned about a wave of bombings in Turkey, blamed on Islamic State or Kurdish militants, valuing Ankara as a key ally in containing warfare in neighboring Syria and Iraq; but at the same time, they have criticized the NATO ally and EU aspirant's human rights record, raising questions about the independence of its judiciary.
Police detained 20 suspects, including lawyers, in an Istanbul operation targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is accused of carrying out the Ankara bombing, state-run Anadolu Agency said.
On Tuesday an Istanbul court detained three academics pending trial on charges of "terrorist propaganda" after they publicly read a declaration urging an to end military operations in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
A Briton, who has lived in Turkey for decades and had gone to the court to show support for the academics, was detained overnight for terrorism offences.
"I was released by the court but they're going to deport me now," Chris Stephenson, a teacher at Bilgi University told local media after his release. "This is very scary and wrong."
Stephenson was one of more than 1,000 academics who signed a petition this year criticizing military action in the largely Kurdish southeast.
A legal expert in the ruling AK Party told Reuters the government aimed to "broaden the extent" of the anti-terror law.
"A man may not have participated directly in terrorist acts but may have supported them ideologically. This may not be a full terror crime, but a degree of terror crime," he said.
Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch, said she was appalled at the prospect of a widening of the definition of terrorism. "It completely violates Turkey's international obligations and law," she said
Over 40,000 people have been killed since 1984 in an insurgency by Kurdish militants for autonomy. A ceasefire broke down in July, unleashing some of the worst violence in the history of the conflict.
The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
(Writing by Daren Butler and David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Ralph Boulton)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the opening ceremony of Vakif Participation Bank in Istanbul, Turkey February 26, 2016.
Reuters/Murad Sezer
VIDEO-Turkey-EU deal: 'It's not legal and it's not moral'² | Europe | DW.COM | 16.03.2016
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:46
The Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner has criticized the proposed EU-Turkey resettlement scheme as unworkable and illegal. He tells DW the only solution is EU members taking collective responsibility.
Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks has been a vocal critic of the proposed refugee resettlement scheme being negotiated this week between the EU and Turkey. That plan would allow the EU to deport asylum seekers arriving in Greece back to Turkey. In return, Turkey would receive cash, progress on visa-free travel for its citizens and progress on its EU membership application. Europe would also accept Syrian refugees from Turkey on a special one-to-one ratio, accepting one for every migrant returned to Turkey.
In an interview with DW, he says that the scheme would violate Europe's core principles and international law.
DW: The EU and Turkey are meeting this week to craft a resettlement scheme that would trade refugees between Europe and Turkey. Could this work?
Nils Muiznieks: In my opinion this will not work for a number of reasons. First of all, desperate asylum-seekers and refugees will find different routes to Europe: through Bulgaria, through the Black Sea, across the Mediterranean to Italy, across the Mediterranean to Spain; it won't stem the flow significantly in my view.
It will also lead to a lot of legal challenges to the deal at the European Court of Human Rights. It's in clear violation of a number of legal provisions. And then you might ask also: will European public opinion tolerate the sight of women and children being forcibly sent back to Turkey? So in my view it won't work, it's not legal, and it's not moral.
You've gone on record to say that no deal is better than a bad deal. Why is that?
The core principle of the international refugee regime is that every person seeking protection has the right to have his case examined on a case-by-case basis on the individual merits. This deal does not foresee that. It foresees summary expulsions of people. So it's against its fundamental principle which is enshrined in the international refugee regime as well as it contravenes the principle of the ban on collective expulsions - so it would be an illegal deal. It would undermine the very foundations upon which Europe is built. And so the question is: why strike an illegal deal which undermines everything we claim to stand for?
The EU's response to the refugee crisis has been piecemeal with failure to coordinate between member states. This hasn't helped the humanitarian situation nor has it brought a feeling of security. What is your advice national leaders confronting this challenge?
Nils Muiznieks
The first piece of advice is to stress that no national solution to this migratory challenge is possible. It's an illusion that you can deal with this by yourself; it's an illusion that you can foist the responsibility onto other countries, onto your neighboring countries.
One of the principals in the European Union is that of solidarity. If you do not participate in collectively resolving this migration crisis then there is no Europe, there is no union. Not only that but I think it's counterproductive to try to do it alone. Any country can face migratory pressures and if there's no solidarity, if there's no rules-based mechanism for sharing this responsibility, countries will be faced with impossible challenges.
We need more Angela Merkels in Europe - I think she's been exemplary in showing the way forward - but thus far she's been alone. So I commend her approach to this but I wish there were more leaders like her.
Greece is itself in the throes of an economic crisis. Now add to this crisis that tens of thousands of refugees are trapped since the closing of the so-called Balkan Route to northern Europe. How did we get here and is there a way out?
The dilemma right now is that we're paying for our neglect of this issue over the years. This is not a new phenomenon. If you look at Greece and Italy these countries have been coping with the influx of large numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers for many years and the system has been dysfunctional for many years. So, if you go to Greece and Italy and talk with people there, they say this is not a new challenge; it's just finally reached the back door of many countries in Europe.
The same holds true with the Syrian refugee crisis. This is not a new problem - this has been brewing for many years. I myself tried to ring the alarm more than two years ago that it is completely an illusion to think all the refugees would remain in the region - in Turkey in Lebanon and in Jordan - and that much more needed to be done.
Nobody listened back then: to me, to the UNHCR, or to others ringing this alarm bell, and now the chickens have come home to roost.
Nils Muiznieks has been the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights since April 1, 2012. He is based in Strasbourg.
VIDEO-McConnell cites 'Biden rule:' No hearing on Obama's Supreme Court nomination
VIDEO-HOW TO PAY FOR THE WALL-Samantha Bee Sits Down With Young Trump Supporters, and It Nearly Destroys Her - Truthdig
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:40
Setting out to prove that a presidential candidate can't win on the ''racist thug vote alone,'' the ''Full Frontal'' host brought together several young, college-educated Donald Trump fans to ask them some questions on everyone's minds these days'--in particular, ''Why on earth would you vote for Trump?''
'-- Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata
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VIDEO-AUDIO-CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves Finds New Way to Cheer for Donald Trump
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:26
CBS chief Les Moonves famously cheered ''Go Donald!'' during an investor call in December, and in February said Donald Trump's campaign ''may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS.''
Now he's found a new way to celebrate the Trump run.
Countering concerns in the media industry that Trump may not spend as much campaign money on TV commercials as a traditional major-party nominee, Moonves is pointing with delight to all the money down-ballot Republicans will spend to distance themselves from their party's standard-bearer.
''There may be some Republican candidates that '-- local senators and governors '-- who are going to have to spend more money, because let's put it this way, they may not be absolutely in sync with the national ticket,'' Moonves said at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference last week. ''So there may be more money that way.''
Moonves reaffirmed that the 2016 campaign season is still set to be a ''record-breaking'' year for political spending on TV.
''I'd be surprised if we don't see a new high-water mark,'' he said. ''This is a pretty interesting year. I'm going to be careful what I said because I got in trouble last week for saying something that got misconstrued about Mr. Trump. All I said was he's very good for ratings, put it that way.''
He explained: ''Ratings are way up in the debates and that means extra money and political advertising. If you notice, there's a whole new batch of advertising being spent right now, the political situation is very strong and I think it will remain so the rest of the year. It obviously helps our local stations a lot. We have a lot of stations in key markets, and so we are looking forward to this year as to be a year that delivers a lot of political advertising,''
Listen to Moonves's comments at the conference below:
Bryan Kraft, an analyst with Deustche Bank, raised the possibility that Trump will buck the tradition of candidates dumping large amounts of campaign money on TV. ''There's some concern out there that if Trump is a Republican nominee that he'll spend less on TV, because of his effective utilization of both social media as well as just the cable news,'' said Kraft.
According to data compiled by mediaQuant, a company that tracks media coverage, Trump has benefited from nearly $2 billion worth of media attention, far outpacing coverage of any other candidate in the presidential election.
Perhaps for that reason, Trump has spent far less on campaign ads than other leading candidates. Jeb Bush, who suspended his campaign after a dismal showing, spent $82 million on television advertisements compared to Trump's $10 million through February.
Media executives have been delighted about the onslaught of political advertisement spending for the 2016 campaign season. There are estimates there will be at least $5 billion in campaign spending this year, with much of that money going to television, radio and internet advertising. The role of super PACs in the presidential and key congressional races is seen as a driver for the increased spending.
In a recent column in the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik called Moonves's gleeful view of the carnivalesque presidential debate crass and cynical. The television networks have largely ignored the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, and refused to cover major speeches by Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, and others. ''The question today is whether the commercial impulses of TV are interfering with the imperatives of democracy,'' Hiltzik wrote.
''No TV executive has been heard to argue that the wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump has anything to do with the profundity of his policy statements, which barely exist at all,'' Hiltzik continued. ''It's all about the possibility that he'll do something outrageous.''
VIDEO-60 Minutes Video - The full episode of 60 Minutes from March 13, 2016. -
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:41
Encryption, Aid in Dying, Starchitect
Air Date: 03/13/16
Lesley Stahl reports on the privacy versus security debate sparked by the war on terror; then, should the terminally ill control how they die? Dr. Jon LaPook reports; and, architect Bjarke Ingels' billion-dollar designs.
VIDEO-Sanders Assumes Questioner in Town Hall Audience Is Muslim When He Isn't
VIDEO-Trump Claims He 'Never' Offered to Pay Legal Fees for People Arrested at His Rallies
VIDEO-Markay: Trump has appeal to working-class whites left behind by Democrats
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton's Four Days of Gaffes | SUPERcuts! #302 - YouTube
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:09
VIDEO-Trump: There could be 'riots' if nomination's taken from me, 'bad things' could happen
VIDEO-Trump on His Foreign Policy Advisers: "I'm Speaking With Myself" | Mother Jones
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 14:56
On March 8,Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski asked Donald Trump whether he had a foreign policy team. Trump gave a rambling response, saying, "Yes, there is a team. There's not a team. I'm going to be forming a team. I have met with far more than three people." On Wednesday morning, Brzezinski gave Trump another shot at the question. She asked him again about his foreign policy team and strategy, and specifically, who he consults with consistently.
Trump replied: "I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things. I know what I'm doing, and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people, and at the appropriate time I'll tell you who the people are. But my primary consultant is myself and I have, you know, a good instinct for this stuff."
VIDEO_How Hillary Clinton finally addressed Bill's infidelity (+video) -
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 14:43
Courting the votes of minority residents in Michigan, where Hillary Clinton and her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, will face off Tuesday, the former secretary of State delved into an uncomfortable and rarely acknowledged subject '' her husband's affair.
Comparing former President Bill Clinton to the Biblical story of the prodigal son, Mrs. Clinton related the story of how she came to forgive him to a mostly black congregation at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, a modest church in a run-down neighborhood.
She was introduced by Bishop Corletta J. Vaughn, who said the former first lady taught women how to "take a licking and keep on ticking'Ž.''
''I'm talking [about Clinton] as a wife and a mother,'' Ms. Vaughn said. ''She taught so many of us as women how to stand in the face of adversity."
Perhaps for the first time in her campaign, Clinton took center stage to talk '' though never in explicit terms '' about the scandal that rocked her husband's presidency in the 1990s.
''What has always guided me and supported me has been my faith, has been my belief in the saving graces, and the salvation that faith brings," she said, alluding to her faith as a long-time Methodist. "And in those difficult times in my life, I have often been struck by a particular passage from Scripture.''
She goes on to recount to the story of the Prodigal Son, who returns home after disappointing his father, having "been out there having a pretty good time committing every sin that you could list.''
''When someone has disappointed you, has often disappointed themselves, it is human nature to say: 'You're not wanted. We know what you've been doing. Go sleep in the bed you made,'" Clinton continued.
"But this isn't what the father did in this parable,'' she said.
Instead, she explains, the father dressed in his finest clothes, had the cooks prepare a feast, and went out to greet his son with an embrace.
It was this parable that reminded her to ''practice the discipline of gratitude every day,'' she said. ''There is much to be grateful for even when it doesn't feel or look like it.''
In Michigan and in the South, Clinton is overwhelmingly popular among black voters. On Sunday, she visited three different black churches. And it seems to be paying off '' among this population, she has, so far, a 55-point-lead over Sen. Sanders, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Sunday.
But while Vaughn and her congregation admire how Clinton handled her partner's infidelity, it is precisely this episode in her life that irks many feminist would-be supporters, who also cite Hillary's defense of Bill as several women were accusing him of sexual assault.
As Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner explains, Clinton's history of standing by her husband renders her to be less than the feminist champion she claims to be.
If we take a ride back 20 years to the 1990s, Hillary was involved in the most orchestrated and vicious victim-blaming campaigns against women in recent history. She spent years defending husband Bill from accusations that he raped, sexually assaulted or groped women. And even after he admitted publicly that he cheated on her, she stood by him."
Still, some are charmed by the Clintons' relationship '' especially after Hillary was able to forgive Bill for his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Meghan Daum writes in The Los Angeles Times:
The Clinton marriage is '-- pardon me while I duck for cover '-- kind of great, even romantic in its own way. Maybe not in a romantic love kind of way (though who knows?), but in the sense of a true partnership that transcends the common conventions of most marriages. ...
Her choice to stay never struck me as a sign of weakness or compromise. It struck me as the choice of a woman deciding that the value of her relationship with her husband was greater than or equal to the humiliations and setbacks caused by a philandering nature she was probably aware of from the get-go.''
Clinton, her husband, and her daughter Chelsea have all been campaigning in Michigan the past few days.
"I, my husband, my daughter, we will stay with you and do everything we can to fix these problems that you are experiencing," she told her supporters in the Great Lakes State, addressing the water-poisoned city of Flint and the dismal education conditions in Detroit.
VIDEO-George Carlin - Euphemisms - YouTube
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 14:41
VIDEO-Marco Rubio's emotional tirade against Donald Trump is required viewing for every voter.
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:46
On Saturday, March 12, a visibly distraught Marco Rubio stood in front of the press and slammed Donald Trump for inciting violence.
Image via Marco Rubio/YouTube.
The Florida senator, who has been criticized for giving pre-programmed answers to tough questions, finally got real about the Republican frontrunner '-- and he didn't hold back.
"This boiling point that we have reached has been fed, largely, by the fact that we have a frontrunner, in my party, who has fed into language that basically justifies physically assaulting people who disagree with you," a clearly shaken Rubio said, referring to events at Trump rallies in Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere last week.
Rubio laid into Trump for denigrating Muslim Americans..."How are you going to be the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces when you have men and women of the Muslim faith who serve us in uniform? Who could be killed in action?" Rubio said.
...called the billionaire out for his reckless, irresponsible leadership..."Leaders cannot say whatever they want," Rubio explained. "Because words have consequences. They lead to actions that others take. And when the person you're supporting for president is going around saying things like, 'Go ahead and slap him around, I'll pay your legal fees,' what do you think is going to happen next? Someone is actually going to literally believe it."
...and expressed fear for the future of American politics."We're going backwards here. This is a frightening, grotesque, and disturbing development in American politics," Rubio warned.
A reporter asked Rubio if he'd still support Trump if he became the Republican nominee.Remarkably, the senator replied:
GIFs via Marco Rubio/YouTube.
And then, later...
You don't have to agree with Rubio on policy or politics to applaud his candid warning about Trump.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
Rubio certainly hasn't been perfect. Not only did he wait to issue his condemnation of Trump until the billionaire was already the odds-on favorite for the nomination, but in some cases, Rubio's own rhetoric has been nearly as divisive as Trump's. He's suggested that, as president, he'd be open to shutting down not only mosques but "any place where radicals are being inspired." He's even implied that President Obama is doing deliberate damage to America (several times in the same debate, no less).
With his latest comments, however, the Florida senator finally drew a distinction between his disagreements with President Obama and the dangerous rhetoric coming from Trump.
And that matters.
The fact is: When a leading presidential candidate tacitly encourages his supporters to assault protesters and then stands back '-- or even offers to financially support them '-- when they act on his suggestions, a line has been crossed.This is bigger than Republican versus Democrat. This is about standing up for the idea that a political candidate who inspires their supporters to commit acts of violence against people who disagree with them is dangerous for democracy '-- and America.
Even though Rubio certainly isn't the first person to say this about Donald Trump's campaign, his condemnation '-- while late '-- gets it exactly right.
Watch the full interview below.
VIDEO-Clinton's Jaw-Dropping Claim About U.S. in Libya: 'We Didn't Lose a Single Person' | Video |
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 12:56
Hillary Clinton said at the MSNBC Democratic town hall Monday night that ''we didn't lose a single person'' in Libya, despite the fact that four Americans died in Benghazi while she was secretary of state.
Clinton was defending the Libyan state and what the Obama administration has billed as one of its greatest foreign policy successes. But Clinton was also among the first to point out there's still much more work to do in the North African country.
''Is Libya perfect? It isn't,'' Clinton explained. ''But did they have two elections that were fair where they voted for moderates? Yes they did. Changing from a dictator that has hollowed out your country to something resembling a functioning state and even hopefully more of a democratic one doesn't happen overnight.''
An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Clinton went on to advocate for continuing to support the Libyan people, citing the deteriorating situation in Syria as the alternative option.
''You see what's happening in Syria with the consequence of millions of people flooding out of Syria, with more than 250,000 people killed, with terrorist groups like ISIS taking up a huge swath of territory as big as some of the states in that area,'' Clinton said.
''So yes, Libya was a different kind of calculation and we didn't lose a single person,'' Clinton added.
VIDEO-Shitty Dutch Soccer Fans Throw Coins At Spanish Beggars And Laugh
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 22:34
PSV and their fans are in Madrid today ahead of their Champions League clash with Atl(C)tico. Apparently not sufficiently entertained by their food, drinks, and conversations in the Plaza Mayor, the visiting Dutchmen decided to have some fun at the expense of some beggars by chucking coins onto the ground and laughing at the poor women scrambling to scoop them up.
These people suck.
VIDEO-Don't Trust the Promise of Artificial Intelligence '' IQ2 Debates
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 21:42
For The MotionAndrew KeenInternet Entrepreneur & Author, The Internet Is Not the Answer
Andrew Keen, a renowned commentator on the digital revolution, believes 21st century machine intelligence may be the greatest challenge to the human species in history. Keen explores the current state and forecasts the future of artificial intelligence (AI), laying out the long-term economic implications of smart machines, particularly on human jobs. Keen is the author of three books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo, and The Internet Is Not The Answer, which the Washington Post called "an enormously useful primer for those of us concerned that online life isn't as shiny as our digital avatars would like us to believe." Keen is executive director of the Silicon Valley innovation salon FutureCast, the host of the popular Internet chat show Keen On, a senior fellow at CALinnovates, a columnist for CNN, and a much acclaimed public speaker around the world. In 2015, he was named by GQ magazine in their list of the "100 Most Connected Men.''
Learn more
For The MotionJaron LanierComputer Scientist & Author, Who Owns the Future?
Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, author, and composer, best known for his work in virtual reality research, a term he coined and popularized. A widely celebrated technology writer, Lanier has charted a humanistic approach to technology appreciation and criticism. He is the author of the award-winning, international bestseller Who Owns the Future?, as well as You Are Not a Gadget. He writes and speaks on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technological practices, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism. Included on Encyclopedia Britannica's list of history's 300 or so greatest inventors, Lanier has also been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time, one of the 100 top public intellectuals by Foreign Policy, one of the top 50 world thinkers by Prospect.
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Against The MotionJames HughesExecutive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
James Hughes, PhD, is the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. A bioethicist and sociologist, he serves as the associate provost for institutional research, assessment, and planning for the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, and is working on a second book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. From 1999 to 2011, Hughes produced the syndicated weekly radio program, Changesurfer Radio. A fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also a member of Humanity+, the Neuroethics Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Working Group on Ethics and Technology at Yale University. He speaks on medical ethics, health care policy, and future studies worldwide. Hughes holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.
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Against The MotionMartine RothblattTranshumanist, Entrepreneur & Author, Virtually Human
Martine Rothblatt is the chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, and the author of Virtually Human: The Promise '' and Peril '' of Digital Immortality. The highest-paid female CEO in the U.S., Rothblatt is a transhumanist, well known for creating BINA48, a cyborg of her wife. Previously, as an attorney-entrepreneur, she was responsible for launching several satellite communications companies, including SiriusXM, where she served as chariman and CEO. In the 1990s, she entered the life sciences field by leading the International Bar Association's project to develop a draft Human Genome Treaty for the UN, and by founding United Therapeutics. Rothblatt's inventions transcend information technology and medicine, and most recently include an Alzheimer's cognitive enabler that uses mindware to process mindfiles so that a mindclone of a person's consciousness results. The potential and ethics of this technology are described in her latest book, Virtually Human. She is also the author of books on satellite communications technology, gender freedom, genomics, and xenotransplantation.
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VIDEO-President Obama gets heckled White House LGBT | User Clip |
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:56
June 24, 2015 | Clip Of President Obama at LGBT Pride Month ReceptionUser-Created Clipby etouheyJune 24, 2015President Obama gets heckled at White House LGBT Reception President Obama is interrupted repeatedly by a heckler during remarks at an LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House. Eventually, he asked security for the man to be escorted from the room.
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO-Anonymous Declares Total War on Donald Trump *NEW 2016* - YouTube
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:30
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Tue, 15 Mar 2016 01:45
VIDEO-Rachel Maddow's Side-by-Side Trump vs. George Wallace Comparison Is So Spot-On It's Scary | Alternet
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 01:31
The MSNBC host compared the style of the Donald to the segregationist Alabama governor's.
Rachel Maddow compares Donald Trump to George Wallace on Jan. 5, 2016.Photo Credit: MSNBC
While some political observers argue that Donald Trump's presidential campaign '-- and his success '-- are unprecedented, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow argued on Tuesday that his style can be traced back to the rhetoric employed by segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace (D).
''Close your eyes and just listen to the news reports from that election, it's almost like they're talking about Donald Trump,'' she said.
Maddow played several clips detailing coverage of Wallace's run, including one describing his supporters as being angry about the political climate, and being drawn to his confrontational style. She also showed footage of protesters being violently taken out of the governor's campaign events, much like they have been during several Trump rallies thus far in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
She also pointed out that Trump's popularity did not suddenly come about this year; he drew great support among GOP voters during the 2012 campaign, when he teased a possible run while alleging that President Barack Obama was not an American citizen.
''Donald Trump has something that Republican voters like. They liked it the last time that he offered it to them for a short period of time,'' she said. ''And now they like it this time, as well '-- it's the same type of significant popularity. It just hasn't gone away this time around because he hasn't stopped running this time around like he did in 2012.''
Watch Maddow's commentary, as aired on Tuesday, below.
Arturo Sandoval is founder and president of VOCES, Inc. and the Center of Southwest Culture, Inc. He has been active for more than 40 years in community, cultural, environmental, and civil rights efforts in New Mexico and across the United States.
VIDEO-Sheriff's office weighing charges against Trump -
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 22:56
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday its investigation "is not complete" and that it is probing "the potential of whether there was conduct on the part of Mr. Trump or the Trump campaign which rose to the level of inciting a riot."
"Our investigation is not complete as to the incidents of Wednesday, March 9, 2016," the Sheriff's office said in a statement, referring to the date of Trump's rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Police arrested 78-year-old John McGraw and charged him with assault on protester Rakeem Jones after multiple videos surfaced online showing McGraw attempting to punch Jones, hitting him in the face with his elbow.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks flatly rejected the premise of the investigation into Trump's role in the violent altercation.
"It is the protesters and agitators who are in violation, not Mr.Trump or the campaign," Hicks said Monday in a statement.
Hicks added that Trump's speech was "extremely well thought out and well received" and instead focused on the role of protesters, who she said "in some cases ... used foul language, screamed vulgarities and made obscene gestures, annoying the very well behaved audience."
"The people that stood were loud, rude and abrasive. On one occasion, while the police were escorting a young man out of the arena, he seemed to lift his hand and make an obscene gesture. We are told a 78-year-old man took great exception to this," Hicks said, referring to McGraw's alleged assault.
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is also weighing additional charges against McGraw, after they already added an additional charge of communicating threats. That came after an "Inside Edition" report showed McGraw threatening to kill Jones the "next time."
Cumberland County Sheriff Earl R. Butler, first elected in 1994, is a registered Democrat, according to his official biography.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" Monday that "It's important that law enforcement does a full investigation in situations like this."
"However, I'm not concerned with the idea or the concept that the campaign or Mr. Trump had anything to do with any type of violence for that matter. We are in a situation where we have thousands of thousands of people who show up to Mr. Trump's rallies and Mr. Trump cannot control the actions of an individual, and I think everyone would agree with that," she said.
Trump said Sunday that he is weighing helping to pay for McGraw's legal fees.
But on Monday, Trump repeated to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he does not condone violence at his events.
"No, I don't like that. And we don't condone that, Wolf. And I've said that numerous times," Trump said, when asked about the North Carolina supporter who punched the protester.
"Now, with all of that being said, and I still don't condone it, that young man walked up and he made a gesture in his air -- in the air with one of his fingers, which was not good and was not nice and was very, very horrible to see also. But despite that, I don't condone it and we don't want that to happen," he said.
CNN's Ashley Young contributed to this report.
VIDEO-State Department Struggles to Answer Questions on Iran's Ballistic Missile Tests
VIDEO-CLINTON SNAPS at Military Veteran During Speech 'Shut Up And Listen!' at Hillary Rally -
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:47
Do you want to know what we would have to look forward to if the Clintons are back in the White House? Just watch this video of Bill Clinton campaigning for his wife Hillary in South Carolina this week.
During his speech, the former president was interrupted by a former Marine, who demanded to know what his wife intends to do for Veteran's Affairs.
''What do you think should be done with the VA?'' Clinton asked the veteran.
''The thing is, we lost four lives in Benghazi killed and your wife tried to cover it up,'' the Marine responded. The crowd was quick to boo the man, but he stood tall.
''Are you going to let me answer?'' Clinton snapped at the Marine. ''This is America. I get to answer. You listen to me. I heard you.''
''I heard your speech,'' Clinton continues. ''They heard your speech. You listen to me now. Am I allowed to answer? I'm not your commander in chief anymore, but if I were, I'd tell you to be more polite and sit down.''
''I would listen!'' the veteran shouted back.
''Do you have the courage to listen to my answer?'' Clinton continued. '''...That's what's wrong: his mind has been poisoned by lies and he won't listen.''
Finally, one woman decided to stand up for the veteran.
''Hillary lied over four coffins,'' she chimed in. ''She lied and she lied to those families. So all those families are liars?''
Watch the full interaction below and tell us what you think. Do we need to keep the Clintons far away from the White House?
VIDEO-Actor Danny DeVito stumps for Sanders |
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 17:14
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VIDEO-Stage-rusher: I can't believe Trump compared me to ISIS - CNN Video
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 16:15
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VIDEO-Holy See: Leonardo DiCaprio meets with Pope Francis - YouTube
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 16:04
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders promises to "take trucks off the road" if elected
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 15:15
During a recent campaign event, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shed some light on his plans for the trucking industry.
In the short clip, which can seen above, Sanders promised to ''do great things'' if elected president, including ''creating a state of the art rail system which takes trucks off the road.''
The crowd at the event responded with thunderous applause.
Several drivers immediately contacted us, expressing concern over the statements. ''This guy has to be stopped'' said one reader.
What do you think?
Is it political rhetoric used to excite uninformed followers, or will the trucking industry be significantly downsized under a Sanders' presidency? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook and in the comments below.
VIDEO-Donald Trump's Chicago scam - The Washington Post
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:32
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts on stage to what he may have thought was a security breach during a rally in Ohio. (Reuters)
We keep talking to ourselves. Constantly. Trying to make order out of chaos and sense out of the surreal. And this year, most doing the talking have gotten it wrong. Wrong about Trump. Wrong about Rubio. Wrong about Sanders. And now wrong about the road ahead.
What are we talking to ourselves about now on the Sunday shows, on cable news, in newspaper columns, in the blogosphere, on Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook? We are grimly warning the world that following Friday night's fracas in Chicago, America faces a deepening divide that is tearing away at the fabric of this great land.
What mind-numbing nonsense.
Friday's freak show was as prepackaged as a rerun of ''The Celebrity Apprentice.'' The only difference was that Donald Trump delivered his lines on the phone from a hotel room in the Windy City instead of on the set of his made-for-TV boardroom.
It was all a scam.
Amid growing security concerns, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign canceled a Chicago rally on March 11. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)
Has anyone noticed that Trump's campaign now regularly stages media events designed to eclipse any negative coverage that predictably follows Republican debates?
The Feb. 25 debate in Houston where Marco Rubio delivered the campaign's most withering critique of Trump was followed the next morning with Chris Christie's headline-grabbing endorsement. That Friday press conference consumed all political coverage throughout the weekend and limited any fallout from the Fox debate to a hardy band of Trump deniers on Twitter.
Then last Thursday, Rubio delivered the debate performance of his life in Miami. But with Florida and Ohio five days away, the Trump campaign took no chances. It leaked the news of Ben Carson's coming endorsement before the debate even began and held another Friday morning press conference to showcase it. But Carson was just the warm-up act.
When news broke early Friday night that the Chicago rally had been canceled because of safety fears, you didn't need to be a programming genius to predict what would be jamming America's airwaves for the rest of the night. And for the next four hours, the candidate who is promising to weaken libel laws spoke on cable news channels about how his First Amendment rights were being violated. He was doing all of this while reaching a far larger audience than he could have ever done while actually speaking at a rally.
As has been the case throughout the entire 2016 cycle, Trump thrives on the political chaos that he helps creates. If it is true that opportunity and chaos are the same word in Mandarin, Trump should stamp that word on a poster and sell it at his next scheduled event. For the Manhattan billionaire, manufactured chaos is just as profitable for his brand as Paris Hilton's sex tape was for hers.
But now important voices warn us that America is on the brink of chaos despite the fact that Friday's spectacle in Chicago was more reality show than political revolt.
The rally was canceled, we were told, because law enforcement officials consulted with the campaign and concluded that scrubbing the event was in the best interest of public safety. One problem: The Chicago Police Department said that never actually happened.
And if you find that curious, perhaps you will find it even more interesting that a political campaign whose security has been so stifling as to draw angry comparisons to fascist regimes would plan a key rally for Trump in the middle of a racially diverse urban campus. The fact that this campus sits in the middle of a city that is so Democratic that it has not elected a Republican mayor since before Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as president makes the venue's selection even more bizarre.
Following the rally's cancellation, Trump supporters expressed surprise at the number of protesters that were filling the lines and streaming into the event on a campus that is 25 percent Hispanic, 25 percent Asian and 8 percent black. William Daley, son of former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, did not share that surprise. ''Whoever picked that location knew what they were doing as far as poking that sleeping dog there,'' Daley said, suggesting to the New York Times that the venue was staged for the purpose of provoking protests that would energize Trump's own supporters.
It would also land Trump on cable news channels throughout the night, talking nonstop over endless loops of skirmishes that paled in comparison with rowdy celebrations that often explode in American cities after sports championships. Yet everyone got sucked into the political sideshow. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio's brief appearances on TV during the rolling cable news coverage only made their own candidacies seem smaller under the glare of Donald's Big Tent Show.
It was all a far cry from the kind of political riots that Americans saw during the 1968 Democratic convention. Those riots flickered across Americans' television screens while the nation was still absorbing the shock waves of violent convulsions that had ripped across the country during the first half of that horrifying year. The Tet Offensive, launched in January, led to February's record number of Americans killed in Vietnam, more than 500 in one week alone. In March, Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek reelection after being shocked in New Hampshire's primary by antiwar crusader Eugene McCarthy. The next month, dozens of cities went up in flames following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Eight weeks later, Bobby Kennedy was gunned down in California after winning that state's Democratic primary.
As Mayor Daley's city went under siege on the night of Aug. 28, Americans were more divided politically, racially and culturally than any time since the end of the Civil War a century earlier. Serving as backdrops to the Chicago riots were a bloody war, campus chaos, urban riots, murdered heroes and a 200-year-established order suddenly under siege.
America was at war with itself and for good reason. But Friday night's farce was a made-for-television event with a handful of Trump supporters squaring off against protesters offended by Trump's presence on their campus.
Unfortunately for his opponents, most of the protesters who appeared on camera during the night shouted profanities at cameras, intimidated others being interviewed by networks and played directly into the Republican front-runner's hands. Fox News's John Roberts kept asking a stream of protesters why they were out in force against Trump, and none could answer the question.
Perhaps they should have just used the New York developer's own words against him to explain why Friday's event took an ugly turn, like the time Trump said of a protester at a Las Vegas rally, ''I'd like to punch him in the face.''
Or when he declared that ''in the good old days,'' protesters wouldn't show up ''because they used to treat them very, very rough.''
Or when he told his audience to ''Knock the crap out of them, would you?''
There was so much that could have been said but instead those protesting against Trump being interviewed on camera seemed to be about as shallow as the reality-show routine of the man they love to hate. The difference, of course, is that Trump wants to be the next president of the United States. But that will never happen unless the man who is about to lock down the GOP nomination drops his reality-show routine, starts working on uniting his party and gets serious about the daunting task before him.
Mark me down as skeptical.
Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, hosts the MSNBC show ''Morning Joe."
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Clips & Documents

Melissa Harris-Perry backtracks on Mammy email.mp3
Abortion Researcher Disagrees That an Infant Born Alive Should Receive Available Medical Care for Survival.mp3
Elections 2016
Anonymous Declares Total War on Donald Trump.mp3
Bernie Sanders promises to “take trucks off the road” if elected.mp3
CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves Finds New Way to Cheer for Donald Trump.mp3
CBS This Morning HIT PIECE Asks Kids About Presidential Election.mp3
CNN Anchor Taken Aback When Kasich Campaign Official Ties Clinton Camp to Birtherism.mp3
Cruz on Trump media attention so Hillary can beat GOP.MP3
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MSNBC Chris Matthews deconstructs trump INSTAGRAM attack ad-edit.mp3
new Cruz strategy-‘They Want Donald Trump’ as the GOP Nominee.mp3
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Trump hates women AD.MP3
Trump on seeing the attack ADS.MP3
Trump Oreilley-GWB LIED.mp3
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JCD Clips
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ABC Trump rundown with Kashich.mp3
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Attacking Taliban kerfluffle in DC.mp3
brussels terrorists.mp3
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Hillary comments on trumps mob violence.mp3
lie witness news supreme ct.mp3
loser laws revealed.mp3
Russia leaves Syria.mp3
sanders snubbed again.mp3
supreme court and biden rule.mp3
trump on riot ABC.mp3
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Obama Nation
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Wes Clark on Gulen charter schools.mp3
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