816: Dehydrated in China

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 55m
April 14th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Sir Snrkl, Sir K-Town

Associate Executive Producers: Eric Olson, Sir Barislov Marinov, Bryan Mancuso-Sir Scheister Destroyer of Cones, Anonymous, Jonathan Rowley, iAmsterdam

Cover Artist: 20wattbulb


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FAQ - Democracy Spring
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 18:12
When is Democracy Spring?April 2nd-11th: March from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C.
April 11th-18th: Mass nonviolent sit-ins and legal protests at the Capitol in DC.
Who is organizing Democracy Spring?Democracy Spring is being organized by a growing coalition of over 100 organizations, including a steering committee made up of 99Rise, Avaaz, Democracy Matters, Energy Action Coalition, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), and the United States Student Association (USSA). We are united by these principles of unity. You can see the list of endorsing organizations at the bottom of the home page. If your organization would like to sign on as an endorsing organization please email democracyspring@gmail.com and let us know!
What exactly are we demanding that Congress do?Our collective demand to Congress is that it take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free & fair elections in which every American has an equal voice. We have identified at least four reform bills that are already pending before Congress as exemplary actions that can be taken. These include proposed legislation that would implement robust small-dollar citizen-funded elections, combat voter suppression, and empower citizens with universal suffrage; it will also introduce a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.
Our proposed reform bills are: the Government by the People Act & Fair Elections now Act; the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 & Voter Empowerment Act of 2015; and the Democracy for All Amendment.
Importantly, while we will be very clear in pointing to the bills we think are best, we welcome any serious proposal for legislative action to address this crisis that is consistent with the imperative of citizen equality. No opponent of reform will be able to say that they cannot support action to address this problem because the specific bills we promote are not perfect '-- we will call on them to propose a better alternative or admit to being a protector of corruption.
What is the Equal Voice for All Pledge and how will it be used? Has anyone taken it yet?The Equal Voice for All Pledge calls on current members of Congress and candidates for public office at any level of government '-- from President to City Council '-- to commit to fight for reform to save our democracy and ensure political equality. The Pledge is a tool to establish public commitments from elected officials or candidates that can be used to demonstrate the breadth of support for reform, educate voters about what candidates to support, and hold candidates-elect accountable to honor their commitment by fighting to pass reform.
The Equal Voice for All Pledge reads:
"I pledge to fight to ensure that our government is free from the corrupting influence of big money in politics and solely dependent upon the People as equal citizens, by supporting pro-democracy reforms including voting rights protections, anti-corruption measures, citizen-funded elections, and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United."At present, no members of Congress or candidates have yet been asked to take the pledge. In the next several weeks, we will begin outreach to elected officials and candidates by directing them to www.equalvoiceforallpledge.org.
Is Democracy Spring a partisan campaign?No. Democracy Spring is not affiliated with any political candidate or party. Further, while progressive leaders and organizations are initiating it, it is not a progressive or a conservative action but rather an American action. We urge all who agree with our demand to embrace others from all walks of life in a spirit of inclusion. We will stand together '' progressive, conservative, Republican, Democrat, independent, libertarian '' as leaders and citizens who want a government accountable to voters rather than big money interests. We may disagree on many things as Americans of different political perspectives, but we believe that it's time for all who love our country to defend the republic that binds us as a free people.
What are the nonviolence guidelines or agreements for this action? How will they be maintained?Democracy Spring will be a deeply nonviolent campaign, in the tradition of the American civil rights movement. The guidelines for nonviolence for all Democracy Spring actions, which all participants must commit to uphold, are the following:
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.Anyone who is planning to risk arrest as part of Democracy Spring will be expected to participate in a nonviolent civil disobedience training beforehand. Trainings will be offered in local areas before we converge in DC and provided in DC twice every day for the duration of the sit-ins. Further, a corps of leaders will be trained to take special responsibility at all Democracy Spring actions for ensuring that all participants uphold our agreement on nonviolence.
I've never risked arrest or participated in civil disobedience before. How and when will I be trained?Everyone who risks arrest in Washington, D.C. as part of the Democracy Spring will be expected to participate in a basic nonviolent civil disobedience training before hand.
We are holding an Action Camp in D.C. from the 11th to the 13th of March to train volunteer leaders who will be able to offer local trainings around the country in the coming month. Beginning on April 10th and for the duration of the mass sit-ins in DC, there will be nonviolent civil disobedience trainings twice daily. Further, online learning opportunities will be made accessible through our website as supplementary resources for those wishing to do additional preparation before taking part in this powerful, essential tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience.
What will the legal support for those risking arrest be? How will it be provided?Answers to frequently asked legal questions can be found here.
Legal orientation will be part of the training provided to participants.
We have hired a lawyer with decades of experience with civil disobedience cases as our lead attorney. 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.
If you are an attorney and interested in volunteering to be part of that team, sign up here and let us know at democracyspring@gmail.com.
How will we organize locally to get as many people as possible to go to DC? How can I help?We have established Regional Organizing Hubs to coordinate and support local Democracy Spring organizing efforts in over 40 cities and states, with more emerging every week. These Hubs will help us recruit, train, mobilize, and transport as many people from cities, towns, and regions across America as possible. Click here to see if there is a Regional Organizing Hub near you. If you are interested in stepping up to lead a Regional Organizing Hub, let us know at democracyspringlocal@gmail.com. We will provide training, coaching, and support resources to the leaders of the Hubs.
What is Democracy Awakening? Is it different than Democracy Spring?Democracy Awakening is a mass mobilization being planned for April 16th-18th in Washington, D.C. that is distinct from, but closely aligned with and supportive of Democracy Spring. It will include an array of actions, including demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action trainings, music, a Rally for Democracy, and nonviolent direct action and advocacy pressing for a Congress of Conscience. Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening organizers are in close coordination to ensure that the two mobilizations are as integrated and complimentary as possible.
Supporters of Soros Backed Coalition "Democracy Spring" Pledge to Get Arrested During D.C. Protest In April
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:45
By Joseph Jankowski
The leaders of Democracy Spring, a George Soros-backed, far-left coalition planning mass civil disobedience, told BreitbartNews they have 2,912 protesters who have pledged specifically to risk arrest.
The protesters have signed an option on the coalition's website stating, ''I pledge to be one among thousands who will risk arrest to save democracy in DC between April 11 '' 16.''
From Breitbart:
Kai Newkirk, Democracy Spring's campaign director, explained that his team called each of the 2,912 protesters pledging to risk arrest and spent about twenty minutes on the phone expounding on the movement's goals as well as helping to coordinate travel and logistics.
''People are coming from Montana, Seattle, and other states around the country,'' Newkirk told Breitbart News in a phone interview. ''They are driving, taking buses, flying, because there are so many people from across the political spectrum that are just tired of the status quo of a democracy that works for the super rich and not for the everyday American. They want to take this stand to say enough.''
Newkirk said he is ''confident'' that ''if Congress doesn't respond to our demands and they would rather send people to jail, then it will be the largest civil disobedience of the century.''
''We are committed to non-violence,'' he stressed. ''That is the principle of our campaign.''
Newkirk's statements were affirmed by Peter James Callahan, communications director for Democracy Spring, who joined Newkirk on the phone for the Breitbart News interview.
Democracy Spring will begin on April 2 at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The group then plans to march across the East Cost and have a sit-in in Washington, DC, starting April 11.
The official website of the group reads:
Our collective demand to Congress is that it take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free & fair elections in which every American has an equal voice. We have identified at least four reform bills that are already pending before Congress as exemplary actions that can be taken. These include proposed legislation that would implement robust small-dollar citizen-funded elections, combat voter suppression, and empower citizens with universal suffrage; it will also introduce a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.
The coalition is made up of the same anti-Trump groups we saw during the chaos in Chicago earlier in the month that caused GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to cancel his rally.
The group is backed by numerous organizations, including the George Soros-funded groups MoveOn.org, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Demos, reports Breitbart.
Despite being backed by billionaire George Soros, Democracy Spring 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.''
The group claims to be non-violent, but considering the chaos that erupted in Chicago involving the same group of people, it seems that violence might be unavoidable.
Image Credit
Also Read:Soros-Backed Pro Clinton Group Caught Funding Violent Protests to Smear Sanders and TrumpBaltimore Riots: A Product Of The Soros MachineJoseph Jankowski is a contributor for PlanetFreeWill.com. His works have been published by recognizable alternative news sites like GlobalResearch.ca, ActivistPost.com and Intellihub.com.
Follow Planet Free Will on Twitter @ twitter.com/PlanetFreeWill
Media Silent as #DemocracySpring Protest in D.C. Fills Jails
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 20:28
Initial reports suggest that hundreds of protesters are being arrested outside Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., right now for participating in a peaceful demonstration against corporate money in politics.
With over 53,000 tweets, #DemocracySpring is trending on Twitter and on Facebook, and the protest is still unfolding. However, some noted that even with a massive outcry, mainstream media coverage was nowhere to be found.
The protesters arrived at the U.S. Capitol Building in D.C. after marching 150 miles from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia over the course of a week as a part of the Democracy Spring campaign. Upon arriving, they engaged in a peaceful sit-in outside the Capitol, with the goal of staying there for another week.
The Democracy Spring website says the campaign's goal is to ''demand a Congress that will take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.'' Furthermore, their proposals include support of the Government by the People Act & Fair Elections Now Act, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 & Voter Empowerment Act of 2015; and the Democracy for All Amendment.
The website reports that over 3,600 people have pledged to take part in this act of civic disobedience, though a final number has yet to be confirmed. Police were quickly called to the scene, and they began arresting people not even an hour after the protest begun.
Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks took part in the sit-in, saying ''They can arrest us today and they can arrest us tomorrow, but we're gonna keep coming back. They can't arrest the whole country.''
Despite the arrests, the mood of the sit-in remains peaceful and even celebratory. Police reported that the protest has resulted in a record number of arrests at the US Capitol.
Meanwhile, activists around the country have taken to Twitter to show their support.
The sit-in is scheduled to last until April 18th, with more people planning to bus in throughout the course of the week, so it's safe to say that more arrests are on the way.
If the police can figure out where to put everybody.
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW
'Democracy Spring is a Soros-funded, anti-Trump radical movement' '-- RT Op-Edge
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 21:28
Americans, at least the enlightened ones, know that the system is rigged. And the organic element that's here is that the people of America have every right to be angry because big money dominates politics, Christopher Greene from alternative GreeneWave TV, told RT.
RT:What's the key driver of this public anger we're seeing in the US capital?
Read more
Christopher Greene: George Soros, primarily. It is important to note that 'Democracy Spring' is an anti-Donald Trump radical organization. And what I mean by that '' we have to deconstruct again who is behind this radical 'Democracy Spring' movement. You just have to do a basic internet search to know that George Soros, the billionaire, funds groups like MoveOn.org, also organizations like the Institute for Policy Studies and Demos that fund these radical events in Washington DC. So there's certainly an organic element here, there's anger. We see this as a part of 'American Politics Today'. It's one of the reasons Donald Trump and people like Bernie Sanders - outsiders - are so popular. But it is a little bit ironic here as well because a billionaire is behind the funding of this campaign. And aren't the people on the ground being arrested now supposed to be against billionaires funding money in politics? So really what this is, in my opinion, it's social engineering. This is social chaos instituted by the likes of billionaires like George Soros. And again this is anti-Donald Trump. We saw the same thing with the violence and a rally having to be cancelled at the University of Illinois and Chicago not too long ago. So, we need to ask that question first: who is behind this?
READ MORE: George Soros: A psychopath's psychopath
RT:What are the chances that any of the protesters demands will be met?
CG: No, I don't think so. I think most Americans, at least the enlightened ones, know that the system is rigged. And that's the organic element here is that the people of America have every right to be angry because big money dominates politics. And that is and what makes up the oligarchical system and the demagoguery that is the US today. It is also important to note that America is a ''constitutional republic''. It is a representative government. That's how our founding fathers founded this great nation and many Americans shed blood so we could have very little freedom here in the US. So, no. I don't think that big money is going to get out of politics at all. I think that the election has already been decided if we are looking at 2016 here.The global elites, people like George Soros who contributes $6 million plus to super PACs supporting people like Hillary Clinton. So, big money is certainly not getting out of politics. The system is rigged here in the US. Just like Donald Trump was on Fox and Friends'... talking about how there was no vote in Colorado. There was no primary vote '' so Ted Cruz stole - even though it is legal - all the delegates in Colorado. Does that sound like a democracy to you? So the people on the ground - and I noticed that one of your reporters had also been arrested - they are right when it comes to that. And the American people should be angered, but we should be shining a giant spotlight on the real criminals - people like Hillary Clinton, people like Barack Obama '' these are the enemies.
Sarah van Gelder, Co-founder and editor at large, YES! Magazine, commented on the issue: ''We want our democracy back. It doesn't matter whether you care more about inequality, about how low-wage workers are being paid in ways that don't let them to make a living, or if you care more about the climate. Whatever your main issue is '' you can't get it done until we get our democracy back and as long as big business is able to call the shots with their big money.''
RT:The Occupy movement still exists, although it's not as big as it once was. Will Democracy Spring take further hold?
CG: I think so. We've known that this was going to be coming for months now. It is not a surprise. I've been following the story. It is interesting to note that CNN barely has a headline on this right now. So, thank you RT for actually shedding light on this. But also it is interesting if we just look at the semantics calling it 'Democracy Spring'. Of course, anyone enlightened knows that CIA here in the US, the US and our allies organized and engineered covertly and was a large part of what we saw with the Arab Spring protests not long ago, toppling governments in countries like Egypt with revolution'... The ouster and indirect murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi '' all of that engineered by the West, the US. Again, not that there's organic qualities and not that these leaders like Muammar Gaddafi weren't despots or horrible dictatorial figures, but we know who is really behind this. Just like we see a 'Democracy Spring' movement here in the US today, which is backed by George Soros.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Study: Drinking Champagne Can Improve Memory And Prevent Dementia. | Newsner
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 11:57
Champagne is not only delicious. It turns out that it can also have positive effects on memory.
New research is showing that the bubbly drink contains phenols that counteract age-related memory problems, such as dementia.
A study from the University of Reading in the UK examined champagne's impact on memory, revealing that the drink contains phenols, which stimulate signals in the brain and ultimately may help us remember things better. Phenols can also counteract age-related memory impairment, such as dementia.
Champagne contains higher amounts of phenol than in white wine. According to the researchers leading the study, one to three glasses of champagne a week is optimal.
''These exciting results illustrate for the first time that the moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory,'' said professor Jeremy Spencer.
Photo: Wikipedia
Obviously, downing an entire bottle of champagne is probably a bad idea.
Champagne consumption's effect on the liver and kidneys was not examined in this study, however past research from the University of Reading has shown that two glasses of champagne can be good for the heart and blood circulation. This in turn may reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.
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Elections 2016
Missing 13th Amendment Found: ''No Lawyers In Public Office'' | Your News Wire
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 11:35
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States has been altered from its original in order to fool the American public into accepting a government that is mostly illegally in office.
The information contained in the article below contains stunning revelations that the entire U.S. congress should be deemed illegitimate, after evidence that a clandestine plot to alter the U.S. Constitution has now emerged.
Themillenniumreport.com reports:
In the winter of 1983, archival research expert David Dodge, and former Baltimore police investigator Tom Dunn, were searching for evidence of government corruption in public records stored in the Belfast Library on the coast of Maine.
By chance, they discovered the library's oldest authentic copy of the Constitution of the United States (printed in 1825). Both men were stunned to see this document included a 13th Amendment that no longer appears on current copies of the Constitution. Moreover, after studying the Amendment's language and historical context, they realized the principle intent of this ''missing'' 13th Amendment was to prohibit lawyers from serving in government. So began a seven year, nationwide search for the truth surrounding the most bizarre Constitutional puzzle in American history '-- the unlawful removal of a ratified Amendment from the Constitution of the United States.
Since 1983, Dodge and Dunn have uncovered additional copies of the Constitution with the ''missing'' 13th Amendment printed in at least eighteen separate publications by ten different states and territories over four decades from 1822 to 1860. In June of this year (1991), Dodge uncovered the evidence that this missing 13th Amendment had indeed been lawfully ratified by the state of Virginia and was therefore an authentic Amendment to the American Constitution. If the evidence is correct and no logical errors have been made, a 13th Amendment restricting lawyers from serving in government was ratified in 1819 and removed from the U.S. Constitution during the tumult of the Civil War. Since the Amendment was never lawfully repealed, it is still the Law today. The implications are enormous.
The story of this ''missing'' Amendment is complex and at times confusing because the political issues and vocabulary of the American Revolution were different from our own. However, there are essentially two issues: What does the Amendment mean? and, Was the Amendment ratified? Before we consider the issue of ratification, we should first understand the Amendment's meaning and consequent current relevance.
MEANING of the 13th Amendment
The ''missing'' 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:
''If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.''
At the first reading, the meaning of this 13th Amendment (also called the ''title of nobility'' Amendment) seems obscure; unimportant. The references to ''nobility,'' ''honour,'' ''emperor,'' ''king,'' and ''prince,'' lead us to dismiss this Amendment as a petty post-revolution act of spite directed against the British monarchy. The U.S. modern world of Lady Di and Prince Charles, make anti-royalist sentiments seem so archaic and quaint, that the Amendment can be ignored.
Not so. Consider some evidence of its historical significance: First, ''titles of nobility'' were prohibited in both Article VI of the Articles of Confederation (1777) and in Article I, Sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution of the United States (1787);
Second, although already prohibited by the Constitution, an additional ''title of nobility'' amendment was proposed in 1789, again in 1810, and according to Dodge, finally ratified in 1819. Clearly, the founding fathers saw such a serious threat in ''titles of nobility'' and ''honors'' that anyone receiving them would forfeit their citizenship. Since the government prohibited ''titles of nobility'' several times over four decades, and went through the amending process (even though ''titles of nobility'' were already prohibited by the Constitution), it's obvious that the Amendment carried much more significance for our founding fathers than is readily apparent today.
To understand the meaning of this ''missing'' 13th Amendment, we must understand its historical context '-- the era surrounding the American Revolution. We tend to regard the notion of ''Democracy'' as benign, harmless, and politically unremarkable. But at the time of the American Revolution, King George III and the other monarchies of Europe saw Democracy as an unnatural, ungodly ideological threat, every bit as dangerously radical as Communism was once regarded by modern Western nations. Just as the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia spawned other revolutions around the world, the American Revolution provided an example and incentive for people all over the world to overthrow their European monarchies.
Even though the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War in 1783, the simple fact of our existence threatened the monarchies. The United States stood as a heroic role model for other nations, that inspired them to also struggle against oppressive monarchies. The French Revolution (1789-1799) and the Polish national uprising (1794) were in part encouraged by the American Revolution. Though we stood like a beacon of hope for most of the world, the monarchies regarded the United States as a political typhoid Mary, the principle source of radical democracy that was destroying monarchies around the world. The monarchies must have realized that if the principle source of that infection could be destroyed, the rest of the world might avoid the contagion and the monarchies would be saved. Their survival at stake, the monarchies sought to destroy or subvert the American system of government. Knowing they couldn't destroy us militarily, they resorted to more covert methods of political subversion, employing spies and secret agents skilled in bribery and legal deception '-- it was, perhaps, the first ''cold war''. Since governments run on money, politicians run for money, and money is the usual enticement to commit treason, much of the monarchy's counter- revolutionary efforts emanatedfrom English banks.
DON'T BANK ON IT (Modern Banking System)
The essence of banking was once explained by Sir Josiah Stamp, a former president of the Bank of England:''The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin'... Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again'... Take this great power away from them, or if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit.''
The last great abuse of the U.S. banking system caused the depression of the 1930's. Today's abuses may cause another. Current S&L and bank scandals illustrate the on-going relationships between banks, lawyers, politicians, and government agencies (look at the current BCCI bank scandal, involving lawyer Clark Clifford, politician Jimmy Carter, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and even the CIA). These scandals are the direct result of years of law-breaking by an alliance of bankers and lawyers using their influence and money to corrupt the political process and rob the public. (Think you're not being robbed? Guess who's going to pay the bill for the excesses of the S&L's, U.S.-taxpayer? You are.) The systematic robbery of productive individuals by parasitic bankers andlawyers is not a recent phenomenon. This abuse is a human tradition that predates the Bible and spread from Europe to America despite early colonial prohibitions.
When the first United States Bank was chartered by Congress in 1790, there were only three state banks in existence. At one time, banks were prohibited by law in most states because many of the early settlers were all too familiar with the practices of the European goldsmith banks. Goldsmith banks were safe-houses used to store client's gold. In exchange for the deposited gold, customers were issued notes (paper money) which were redeemable in gold. The goldsmith bankers quickly succumbed to the temptation to issue ''extra'' notes, (unbacked by gold). Why? Because the ''extra'' notes enriched the bankers by allowing them to buy property with notes for gold that they did not own, gold that did not even exist. Colonists knew that bankers occasionally printed too much paper money, found themselves over-leveraged, and caused a ''run on the bank''. If the bankers lacked sufficient gold to meet the demand, the paper money became worthless and common citizens left holding the paper were ruined. Although over-leveraged bankers were sometime hung, the bankers continued printing extra money to increase their fortunes at the expense of the productive members of society. (The practice continues to this day, and offers ''sweetheart'' loans to bank insiders, and even provides the foundation for deficit spending and the U.S. Federal government's unbridled growth.)
If the colonists forgot the lessons of goldsmith bankers, the American Revolution refreshed their memories. To finance the war, Congress authorized the printing of continental bills of credit in an amount not to exceed $200,000,000. The States issued another $200,000,000 in paper notes. Ultimately, the value of the paper money fell so low that they were soon traded on speculation from 5000 to 1000 paper bills for one coin. It's often suggested that the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against a paper economy '-- ''No State shall'... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a tender in Payment of Debts'' '-- was a tool of the wealthy to be worked to the disadvantage of all others. But only in a ''paper'' economy can money reproduce itself and increase the claims of the wealthy at theexpense of the productive.
''Paper money,'' said Pelatiah Webster, ''polluted the equity of our laws, turned them into engines of oppression, corrupted the justice of our public administration, destroyed the fortunes of thousands who had confidence in it, enervated the trade, husbandry, and manufactures of U.S. country, and went far to destroy the morality of U.S. people.''
A few examples of the attempts by the monarchies and banks that almost succeeded in destroying the United States:
According to the Tennessee Laws (1715-1820, vol. II, p. 774), in the 1794 Jay Treaty, the United States agreed to pay 600,000 pounds sterling to King George III, as reparations for the American revolution. The Senate ratified the treaty in secret session and ordered that it not be published. When Benjamin Franklin's grandson published it anyway, the exposure and resulting public uproar so angered the Congress that it passed the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) so federal judges could prosecute editors and publishers for reporting the truth about the government. Since we had won the Revolutionary War, why would U.S. Senators agree to pay reparations to the loser? And why would they agree to pay 600,000 pounds sterling, eleven years after the war ended? It doesn't make sense, especially in light of Senate's secrecy and later fury over being exposed, unless we assume U.S. Senators had been bribed to serve the British monarchy and betray the American people. That's subversion.
The United States Bank had been opposed by the Jeffersonians from the beginning, but the Federalists (the pro-monarchy party) won out in its establishment. The initial capitalization was $10,000,000 '-- 80% of which would be owned by foreign bankers. Since the bank was authorized to lend up to $20,000,000 (double its paid in capital), it was a profitable deal for both the government and the bankers since they could lend, and collect interest on, $10,000,000 that didn't exist.
However, the European bankers outfoxed the government and by 1796, the government owed the bank $6,200,000 and was forced to sell its shares. (By 1802, the U.S. government owned no stock in the United States Bank.) The sheer power of the banks and their ability to influence representative government by economic manipulation and outright bribery was exposed in 1811, when the people discovered that European banking interests owned 80% of the bank. Congress therefore refused to renew the bank's charter. This led to the withdrawal of $7,000,000 in specie by European investors, which in turn, precipitated an economic recession, and the War of 1812. That's destruction.
There are undoubtedly other examples of the monarchy's efforts to subvert or destroy the United States; some are common knowledge, others remain to be disclosed to the public. For example, David Dodge discovered a book called ''2 VA LAW'' in the Library of Congress Law Library. According to Dodge, ''This is an un-catalogued book in the rare book section that reveals a plan to overthrow the constitutional government by secret agreements engineered by the lawyers. That is one of the reasons why this Amendment was ratified by Virginia and the notification was lost in the mail. There is no public record that this book exists.'' That may sound surprising, but according to The Gazette (5/10/91), ''the Library of Congress has 349,402 un-catalogued rare books and 13.9 million un-catalogued rare manuscripts.'' There may be secrets buried in that mass of documents even more astonishing than a missing Constitutional Amendment.
In seeking to rule the world and destroy the United States, bankers committed many crimes. Foremost among these crimes were fraud, conversion, and plain old theft. To escape prosecution for their crimes, the bankers did the same thing any career criminal does. They hired and formed alliances with the best lawyers and judges money could buy. These alliances, originally forged in Europe (particularly in Great Britain), spread to the colonies, and later into the newly formed United States of America.
Despite their criminal foundation, these alliances generated wealth, and ultimately, respectability. Like any modern member of organized crime, English bankers and lawyers wanted to be admired as ''legitimate businessmen''. As their criminal fortunes grew so did their usefulness, so the British monarchy legitimized these thieves by granting them ''titles of nobility''.
Historically, the British peerage system referred to knights as ''Squires'' and to those who bore the knight's shields as ''Esquires''. As lances, shields, and physical violence gave way to the more civilized means of theft, the pen grew mightier (and more profitable) than the sword, and the clever wielders of those pens (bankers and lawyers) came to hold titles of nobility. The most common title was ''Esquire'' (used, even today, by some lawyers).
In Colonial America, attorneys trained attorneys but most held no ''title of nobility'' or ''honor''. There was no requirement that one be a lawyer to hold the position of district attorney, attorney general, or judge; a citizen's ''counsel of choice'' was not restricted to a lawyer; there were no state or national bar associations. The only organization that certified lawyers was the International Bar Association (IBA), chartered by the King of England, headquartered in London, and closely associated with the international banking system. Lawyers admitted to the IBA received the rank ''Esquire'' '-- a ''title of nobility''. ''Esquire'' was the principle title of nobility which the 13th Amendment sought to prohibit from the United States.
Why? Because the loyalty of ''Esquire'' lawyers was suspect. Bankers and lawyers with an ''Esquire'' behind their names were agents of the monarchy, members of an organization whose principle purposes were political, not economic, and regarded with the same wariness that some people today reserve for members of the KGB or the CIA.
Article 1, Sect. 9 of the Constitution sought to prohibit the International Bar Association (or any other agency that granted titles of nobility) from operating in America. But the Constitution neglected to specify a penalty, so the prohibition was ignored, and agents of the monarchy continued to infiltrate and influence the government (as in the Jay Treaty and the US Bank charter incidents). Therefore, a ''title of nobility'' amendment that specified a penalty (loss of citizenship) was proposed in 1789, and again in 1810. The meaning of the amendment is seen in its intent to prohibit persons having titles of nobility and loyalties to foreign governments and bankers from voting, holding public office, or using their skills to subvert the government.
The missing Amendment is referred to as the ''title of nobility'' Amendment, but the second prohibition against ''honour'' (honor), may be more significant.
According to David Dodge, Tom Dunn, and Webster's Dictionary, the archaic definition of ''honor'' (as used when the 13th Amendment was ratified) meant anyone ''obtaining or having an advantage or privilege over another''. A contemporary example of an ''honor'' granted to only a few Americans is the privilege of being a judge: Lawyers can be judges and exercise the attendant privileges and powers; non-lawyers cannot.
By prohibiting ''honors'', the missing Amendment prohibits any advantage or privilege that would grant some citizens an unequal opportunity to achieve or exercise political power. Therefore, the second meaning (intent) of the 13th Amendment was to ensure political equality among all American citizens, by prohibiting anyone, even government officials, from claiming or exercising a special privilege or power (an ''honor'') over other citizens.
If this interpretation is correct, ''honor'' would be the key concept in the 13th Amendment. Why? Because, while ''titles of nobility'' may no longer apply in today's political system, the concept of ''honor'' remains relevant. For example, anyone who had a specific ''immunity'' from lawsuits which were not afforded to all citizens, would be enjoying a separate privilege, an ''honor'', and would therefore forfeit his right to vote or hold public office. Think of the ''immunities'' from lawsuits that U.S. judges, lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats currently enjoy. As another example, think of all the ''special interest'' legislation the U.S. government passes: ''special interests'' are simply euphemisms for ''special privileges'' (honors).
WHAT IF? (Implications if Restored)
If the missing 13th Amendment were restored, ''special interests'' and ''immunities'' might be rendered unconstitutional. The prohibition against ''honors'' (privileges) would compel the entire government to operate under the same laws as the citizens of this nation. Without their current personal immunities (honors), US judges and I.R.S. agents would be unable to abuse common citizens without fear of legal liability. If this 13th Amendment were restored, the entire U.S. Government would have to conduct itself according to the same standards of decency, respect, law, and liability as the rest of the nation. If this Amendment and the term ''honor'' were applied today, U.S. Government's ability to systematically coerce and abuse the public would be all but eliminated.
Imagine! A government without special privileges or immunities. How could we describe it? It would be '... almost like '... a government '... of the people '... by the people '... for the people! Imagine: a government '... whose members were truly accountable to the public; a government that could not systematically exploit its own people! It's unheard of '... it's never been done before. Not ever in the entire history of the world.
Bear in mind that Senator George Mitchell of Maine and the U.S. National Archives concede this 13th Amendment was proposed by Congress in 1810. However, they explain that there were seventeen states when Congress proposed the ''title of nobility'' Amendment; that ratification required the thirteen states, but since only twelve states supported the Amendment, it was not ratified. The Government Printing Office agrees; it currently prints copies of the Constitution of the United States which include the ''title of nobility'' Amendment as proposed, but un-ratified.
Even if this 13th Amendment were never ratified, even if Dodge and Dunn's research or reasoning is flawed or incomplete, it would still be an extraordinary story. Can you imagine, can you understand how close the US came to having a political paradise, right here on Earth? Do you realize what an extraordinary gift our forebears tried to bequeath us? And how close we came? One vote. One state's vote.
The federal government concedes that twelve states voted to ratify this Amendment between 1810 and 1812. But they argue that ratification require thirteen states, so the Amendment lays stillborn in history, unratified for lack of a just one more state's support. One vote. David Dodge, however, says one more state did ratify, and he claims he has the evidence to prove it.
In 1789, the House of Representatives compiled a list of possible Constitutional Amendments, some of which would ultimately become our Bill of Rights. The House proposed seventeen; the Senate reduced the list to twelve. During this process that Senator Tristrain Dalton (Mass.) proposed an Amendment seeking to prohibit and provide a penalty for any American accepting a ''title of Nobility'' (RG 46 Records of the U.S. Senate). Although it wasn't passed, this was the first time a ''title of nobility'' amendment was proposed.
Twenty years later, in January, 1810, Senator Reed proposed another ''Title of Nobility'' Amendment (History of Congress, Proceedings of the Senate, p. 529-530). On April 27, 1810, the Senate voted to pass this 13th Amendment by a vote of 26 to 1; the House resolved in the affirmative 87 to 3; and the following resolve was sent to the States for ratification:
''If any citizen of the United States shall Accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.''
The Constitution requires three-quarters of the states to ratify a proposed amendment before it may be added to the Constitution. When Congress proposed the ''Title of Nobility'' Amendment in 1810, there were states, thirteen of which would have to ratify for the Amendment to be adopted. According to the National Archives, the following is a list of the twelve states that ratified, and their dates of ratification:
Maryland, Dec. 25, 1810Kentucky, Jan. 31, 1811Ohio, Jan. 31, 1811Delaware, Feb. 2, 1811Pennsylvania, Feb. 6, 1811New Jersey, Feb. 13, 1811Vermont, Oct. 24, 1811Tennessee, Nov. 21, 1811Georgia, Dec. 13, 1811North Carolina, Dec. 23, 1811Massachusetts, Feb. 27, 1812New Hampshire, Dec. 10, 1812
Before a thirteenth state could ratify, the War of 1812 broke out with England. By the time the war ended in 1814, the British had burned the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and most of the records of the first 38 years of government. Whether there was a connection between the proposed ''title of nobility'' amendment and the War of 1812 is not known. However, the momentum to ratify the proposed Amendment was lost in the tumult of war.
Then, four years later, on December 31, 1817, the House of Representatives resolved that President Monroe inquire into the status of this Amendment. In a letter dated February 6, 1818, President Monroe reported to the House that the Secretary of State Adams had written to the governors of Virginia, South Carolina and Connecticut to tell them that the proposed Amendment had been ratified by twelve States and rejected by two (New York and Rhode Island), and asked the governors to notify him of their legislature's position. (House Document No. 76) (This, and other letters written by the President and the Secretary of State during the month of February, 1818, note only that the proposed Amendment had not yet been ratified. However, these letters would later become crucial because, in the absence of additional information they would be interpreted to mean the amendment was never ratified).
On February 28, 1818, Secretary of State Adams reported the rejection of the Amendment by South Carolina. [House Doc. No. 129]. There are no further entries regarding the ratification of the 13th Amendment in the Journals of Congress; whether Virginia ratified is neither confirmed nor denied. Likewise, a search through the executive papers of Governor Preston of Virginia does not reveal any correspondence from Secretary of State Adams. (However, there is a journal entry in the Virginia House that the Governor presented the House with an official letter and documents from Washington within a time frame that conceivably includes receipt of Adams' letter.) Again, no evidence of ratification; none of denial.
However, on March 10, 1819, the Virginia legislature passed Act No. 280 (Virginia Archives of Richmond, ''misc.' file, p. 299 for micro-film): ''Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that there shall be published an edition of the Laws of this Commonwealth in which shall be contained the following matters, that is to say: the Constitution of the united States and the amendments thereto'...'' This act was the specific legislated instructions on what was, by law, to be included in the re-publication (a special edition) of the Virginia Civil Code. The Virginia Legislature had already agreed that all Acts were to go into effect on the same day '-- the day that the Act to re-publish the Civil Code was enacted. Therefore, the 13th Amendment's official date of ratification would be the date of re-publication of the Virginia Civil Code: March 12, 1819.
The Delegates knew Virginia was the last of the 13 States that were necessary for the ratification of the 13th Amendment. They also knew there were powerful forces allied against this ratification so they took extraordinary measures to make sure that it was published in sufficient quantity (4,000 copies were ordered, almost triple their usual order), and instructed the printer to send a copy to President James Monroe as well as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. (The printer, Thomas Ritchie, was bonded. He was required to be extremely accurate in his research and his printing, or he would forfeit his bond.)
In this fashion, Virginia announced the ratification: by publication and dissemination of the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
There is question as to whether Virginia ever formally notified the Secretary of State that they had ratified this 13th Amendment. Some have argued that because such notification was not received (or at least, not recorded), the Amendment was therefore not legally ratified. However, printing by a legislature is prima facie evidence of ratification. Further, there is no Constitutional requirement that the Secretary of State, or anyone else, be officially notified to complete the ratification process. The Constitution only requires that three- fourths of the states ratify for an Amendment to be added to the Constitution. If three-quarters of the states ratify, the Amendment is passed. Period. The Constitution is otherwise silent on what procedure should be used to announce, confirm, orcommunicate the ratification of amendments.
Knowing they were the last state necessary to ratify the Amendment, the Virginians had every right announce their own and the nation's ratification of the Amendment by publishing it on a special edition of the Constitution, and so they did.
Word of Virginia's 1819 ratification spread throughout the States and both Rhode Island and Kentucky published the new Amendment in 1822. Ohio first published in 1824. Maine ordered 10,000 copies of the Constitution with the 13th Amendment to be printed for use in the schools in 1825, and again in 1831 for their Census Edition. Indiana Revised Laws of 1831 published the 13th Article on p. 20. Northwestern Territories published in 1833. Ohio published in 1831 and 1833. Then came the Wisconsin Territory in 1839; Iowa Territory in 1843; Ohio again, in 1848; Kansas Statutes in 1855; and Nebraska Territory six times in a row from 1855 to 1860. So far, David Dodge has identified eleven different states or territories that printed the Amendment in twenty separate publications over forty-one years. And more editions including this 13th Amendment are sure to be discovered. Clearly, Dodge is onto something.
You might be able to convince some of the people, or maybe even all of them, for a little while, that this 13th Amendment was never ratified. Maybe you can show them that the ten legislatures which ordered it published eighteen times we've discovered (so far) consisted of ignorant politicians who don't know their amendments from their'... ahh, articles. You might even be able to convince the public that our U.S. forefathers never meant to ''outlaw'' public servants who pushed people around, accepted bribes or special favors to ''look the other way.'' Maybe. But before you do, there's an awful lot of evidence to be explained.
In 1829, the following note appears on p. 23, Vol. 1 of the New York Revised Statutes:
''In the edition of the Laws of the U.S. before referred to, there is an amendment printed as article 13, prohibiting citizens from accepting titles of nobility or honor, or presents, offices, &c. from foreign nations. But, by a message of the president of the United States of the 4th of February, 1818, in answer to a resolution of the house of representatives, it appears that this amendment had been ratified only by 12 states, and therefore had not been adopted. See Vol. IV of the printed papers of the 1st session of the 15th congress, No. 76.'' In 1854, a similar note appeared in the Oregon Statutes. Both notes refer to the Laws of the United States, 1st vol. p. 73 (or 74).
It's not yet clear whether the 13th Amendment was published in Laws of the United States, 1st Vol., prematurely, by accident, in anticipation of Virginia's ratification, or as part of a plot to discredit the Amendment by making it appear that only twelve States had ratified. Whether the Laws of the United States Vol. 1 (carrying the 13th Amendment) was re-called or made-up is unknown. In fact, it's not even clear that the specified volume was actually printed '-- the Law Library of the Library of Congress has no record of its existence.However, because the noted authors reported no further references to the 13th Amendment after the Presidential letter of February, 1818, they apparently assumed the ratification process had ended in failure at that time. If so, they neglected to seek information on the Amendment after 1818, or at the state level, and therefore missed the evidence of Virginia's ratification. This opinion '-- assuming that the Presidential letter of February, 1818, was the last word on the Amendment '-- has persisted to this day.
In 1849, Virginia decided to revise the 1819 Civil Code of Virginia (which had contained the 13th Amendment for 30 years). It was at that time that one of the code's revisers (a lawyer named Patton) wrote to the Secretary of the Navy, William B. Preston, asking if this Amendment had been ratified or appeared by mistake. Preston wrote to J. M. Clayton, the Secretary of State, who replied that this Amendment was not ratified by a sufficient number of States. This conclusion was based upon the information that Secretary of State John Quincy Adams had provided the House of Representatives in 1818, before Virginia's ratification in 1819. (Even today, the Congressional Research Service tells anyone asking about this 13th Amendment this same story: that only twelve states, not therequisite thirteen, had ratified.)
However, despite Clayton's opinion, the Amendment continued to be published in various states and territories for at least another eleven years (the last known publication was in the Nebraska territory in 1860). Once again the 13th Amendment was caught in the riptides of American politics. South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860, signaling the onset of the Civil War. In March, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated.
Later in 1861, another proposed amendment, also numbered thirteen, was signed by President Lincoln. This was the only proposed amendment that was ever signed by a president. That resolve to amend read:
''ARTICLE THIRTEEN, No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.''
In other words, President Lincoln had signed a resolve that would have permitted slavery, and upheld states' rights. Only one State, Illinois, ratified this proposed amendment before the Civil War broke out in 1861. In the tumult of 1865, the original 13th Amendment was finally removed from the US Constitution. On January 31, another 13th Amendment (which prohibited slavery in Sect. 1, and ended states' rights in Sect. 2) was proposed. On April 9, the Civil War ended with General Lee's surrender. On April 14, President Lincoln (who, in 1861, had signed the proposed Amendment that would have allowed slavery and states rights) was assassinated. On December 6, the ''new'' 13th Amendment loudly prohibiting slavery (and quietly surrendering states rights to the federal government) was ratified, replacing and effectively erasing the original 13th Amendment that had prohibited ''titles of nobility'' and ''honors''.
To create the present oligarchy (rule by lawyers) which the U.S. now endures, the lawyers first had to remove the 13th ''titles of nobility'' Amendment that might otherwise have kept them in check. In fact, it was not until after the Civil War and after the disappearance of this 13th Amendment, that American bar associations began to appear and exercise political power.
Since the unlawful deletion of the 13th Amendment, the newly developing bar associations began working diligently to create a system wherein lawyers took on a title of privilege and nobility as ''Esquires'' and received the ''honor'' of offices and positions (like district attorney or judge) that only they could hold. By virtue of these titles, honors, and special privileges, lawyers have assumed political and economic advantages over the majority of U.S. citizens. Through these privileges, they have nearly established a two-tiered citizenship in this nation where a majority may vote, but only a minority (lawyers) may run for political office. This two-tiered citizenship is clearly contrary to Americans' political interests, the nation's economic welfare, and the Constitution's egalitarian spirit.
The significance of this missing 13th Amendment and its deletion from the Constitution is this: Since the amendment was never lawfully nullified, it is still in full force and effect and is the Law of the land. If public support could be awakened, this missing Amendment might provide a legal basis to challenge many existing laws and court decisions previously made by lawyers who were unconstitutionally elected or appointed to their positions of power; it might even mean the removal of lawyers from the current US government system.
At the very least, this missing 13th Amendment demonstrates that two centuries ago, lawyers were recognized as enemies of the people and nation. Some things never change.
THOSE WHO CANNOT RECALL HISTORY '.... Heed warnings of Founding FathersIn his farewell address, George Washington warned of '''... change by usurpation; for through this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.'' In 1788, Thomas Jefferson proposed that we have a Declaration of Rights similar to Virginia's. Three of his suggestions were ''freedom of commerce against monopolies, trial by jury in all cases'' and ''no suspensions of thehabeas corpus.''
No doubt Washington's warning and Jefferson's ideas were dismissed as redundant by those who knew the law. Who would have dreamed the U.S. legal system would become a monopoly against freedom when that was one of the primary causes for the rebellion against King George III?
Yet, the denial of trial by jury is now commonplace in the U.S. courts, and habeas corpus, for crimes against the state, is suspended. (By crimes against the state, I refer to ''political crimes'' where there is no injured party and the corpus delicti [evidence] is equally imaginary.)
The authority to create monopolies was judge-made law by Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, et al during the early 1800's. Judges (and lawyers) granted to themselves the power to declare the acts of the People ''un-Constitutional'', waited until their decision was grandfathered, and then granted themselves a monopoly by creating the bar associations. Although Article VI of the U.S. Constitution mandates that executive orders and treaties are binding upon the states ('''... and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.''), the supreme Court has held that the Bill of Rights is not binding upon the states, and thereby resurrected many of the complaints enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, exactly as Thomas Jefferson foresaw in ''Notes on the State of Virginia'', Query 17, p. 161, 1784:
''Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless'... the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is [now] while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.''
We await the inevitable convulsion. Only two questions remain: Will we fight to revive our rights? Or, Will we meekly submit as our last remaining rights expire, surrendered to the courts, and perhaps to a ''new world order''?
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Furious Trump Claims the 'Biggest Story in Politics' Just Unfolded in Colorado After Cruz Takes All of State's 34 Delegates | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:16
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (TheBlaze/AP) '-- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is blasting the way the country chooses presidential party nominees as ''corrupt'' and ''crooked'' as he grapples with the potential of a contested convention that he risks losing.
Reacting to the fact that all of Colorado's 34 delegates went to his rival Ted Cruz despite the fact that residents were not allowed to vote, Trump alleged the ''people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians.'' He called it the ''biggest story in politics.''
The Denver Post explained the unusual situation in Colorado back in 2015:
Colorado will not vote for a Republican candidate for president at its 2016 caucus after party leaders approved a little-noticed shift that may diminish the state's clout in the most open nomination contest in the modern era.
The GOP executive committee has voted to cancel the traditional presidential preference poll after the national party changed its rules to require a state's delegates to support the candidate who wins the caucus vote.
The move makes Colorado the only state so far to forfeit a role in the early nomination process, according to political experts, but other caucus states are still considering how to adapt to the new rule.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Speaking to thousands packed in a frigid airport hangar in western New York on Sunday, Trump also ripped the byzantine fight over delegates at the heart of his party's nominating process. He argued anew that the person who wins the most votes in the primary process should automatically be the GOP nominee.
''What they're trying to do is subvert the movement with crooked shenanigans,'' said Trump, comparing his woes to those of Bernie Sanders, who is winning states but still far behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the race for delegates that decide party nominations.
''We should have won it a long time ago,'' Trump said. ''But, you know, we keep losing where we're winning.''
Trump was coming to terms with the political reality of candidates chasing delegates ahead of their nominating convention, and now he's shifting his focus to developing a strategy akin to the one rival Ted Cruz has been pursuing for months.
''A more traditional approach is needed and Donald Trump recognizes that,'' Paul Manafort, Trump's new delegate chief, said Sunday on NBC's ''Meet the Press.'' At his rally in Rochester, Trump repeatedly insisted his campaign was ''doing fine'' and predicted he would clinch the nomination before the summer convention.
Nonetheless, his supporters described with disdain what they saw as an effort by the party's establishment to deny Trump a victory they feel he has already earned.
''I'm 59 years old and maybe I've had my head in the sand through the years, but I've never seen anything like this,'' said Cheryl Griggs of Hilton, New York, who attended the rally with her son. ''To go against the votes of the people and the will of the people and put somebody else in there, I think, is horrific.''
She said she didn't understand the delegate process and believes that the winner should be decided by popular vote.
Rochester's Scott Nasca said he worries the efforts would only leave Trump bruised heading into a general election.
''The sad thing is the guy's got to go against the Democratic establishment, and now he's got to go against his own party's establishment as well, and it's just not right,'' said Nasca, 48, who owns an investment company,
''It's absolutely ridiculous. But he's a threat to the big people in politics, the lobbyists, the elitists in the Republican Party,'' he added. ''They're going to disenfranchise their own voters.''
His brother-in-law Mark Tachin, 50, a mason contractor in Rochester, was equally glum.
''It's like the American people don't have a voice anymore, it almost feels like that,'' he said. ''As much as people are voting right now in these huge turnouts that Trump is getting, they're still not paying attention to these turnouts. They're still trying to do their own thing despite the voice of the people. It's just unbelievable to me.''
''It's just they don't get it,'' he added, ''It's disheartening.''
Trump was introduced at the rally by Buffalo real estate developer and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who said that talk of a brokered convention ''suggests that they can take that right away from the American people to choose their leader.''
Elsewhere, Trump continued to try to catch up to Cruz's ground operation, which is months ahead in some states when it comes to securing friendly delegates. Cruz is trying to eat into Trump's home-state support in conservative pockets of New York.
Manafort said the Cruz campaign was using a ''scorched earth'' approach in which ''they don't care about the party. If they don't get what they want, they blow it up.''
''The key, especially for uncommitted delegates, is the electability question,'' Manafort said on NBC.
Last weekend, Cruz completed his sweep of Colorado's 34 delegates by locking up the remaining 13 at the party's state convention in Colorado Springs. He already had collected 21 delegates and visited the state to try to pad his numbers there.
Trump still has a narrow path to nailing down the Republican nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7, but he has little room for error. He would need to win nearly 60 percent of all the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the convention. So far, he's winning about 45 percent.
Following Cruz's sweep of Colorado's remaining delegates on Saturday, the Associated Press count stands at Trump 743, Cruz 545, and John Kasich 143. Marco Rubio, who ended his campaign, has 171 delegates.
Rabbit Hole Alert: Ted Cruz' Family Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald and Evil Bush Family Operations | Alternative
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:54
(Before It's News)
There is sound research into Ted Cruz's father's inconsistent personal histories which he has provided over the years. Rafael Cruz's stories didn't add up. Then there was the Dallas / New Orleans connection'...and then Rafael's fleeing to Canada and disappearing for years before returning to the US where his son wound up employed by the Bush Crime Family. When I found the real timetable of Rafael's actual whereabout between New Orleans and Dallas through the rubble of his many lies about his past, I began to write emails to many knowledgable about the assassination.
Cuban Rafael Cruz, a pro-Batista, CIA connected Cuban in exile met his wife in New Orleans (home of Oswald, Guy Bannister, David Ferry, Clay Shaw and the great Jim Garrison). New Orleans was ground zero for the CIA's Cuban manned ''Operation Mongoose'', the Bay of Pigs and as we all know, the JFK Assassination. Anyone familiar with the assassination and the works of Mark Lane, Jim Garrison, Jim Marrs and David Lifton'...and many more will be stunned by this troubling information.
It also seems that Cuban Rafael Cruz was also in Dallas, or nearby, the day of John Kennedy was assassinated.
Rafael Cruz fled to Canada shortly after Kennedy's assassination to work in the ''oil business''. The oil business? Like Zapata Oil, the CIA front company run by George Herbert Walker Bush? Yeah, that oil business.
Rafael Cruz returned to the United States after Nixon had been elected and the Bay of Pigs/JFK Assassination was put to rest for a while. He returned illegally to the United States with his son Rafael Eduardo ''Ted'' Cruz.
Ted Cruz got connections into Princeton and Harvard and went to work directly for the Bush Family where he met his wife, Heidi Cruz, who was also working for the Bush Family.
So how was it that Ted Cruz got right into the Bush Family Cabal so easily? His father, Rafael had favors to be paid back. Allen Dulles is long dead, but George Herbert Walker is still alive'...and GHB knows Ted Cruz very, very well.
Any surprise why Neil Bush is in Ted Cruz's executive campaign inner circle?
OK. Here is it'...finally, at long last breaking and great credit to Wayne Madsen '-- regardless of how you may feel about him '-- for having the guts to to point and say ''Behold the Man!''
Story from Wayne Madsen'...and it's only the tip of the iceberg.
Lee Harvey Oswald and Rafael Cruz Together in New Orleans
Oswald with Cruz Passing Out the Famous ''Hands Off Cuba'' Pamphlets. Oswald Was Arrested.
None Other Than Cuban Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's Father'...or a Carbon Copy
The Famous ''Hands Off Cuba'' Pamphlet Distributed From Guy Bannister's Office
Oswald with Cruz Passing Out the Famous ''Hands Off Cuba'' Pamphlets. Oswald Was Arrested.
Rafael Cruz to the far left handing out pamphlets.
In an article written by David Zephyr, he has exposed the connection between Rafael Cruz the father of candidate Ted Cruz and the Bush oil connection. Interesting facts have arisen connecting him to Lee Harvey Oswald. Interesting that Mr. Zephr has discovered the CIA connection that many of us have suspected of Rafael Cruz for a long time.
''I have written several DU'ers by private email over the last months about my research into Ted Cruz's father's inconsistent personal histories he has provided over the years. Rafael Cruz's stories didn't add up. Then there was the Dallas / New Orleans connection'...and then Rafael's fleeing to Canada and disappearing for years before returning to the US where his son wound up employed by the Bush Crime Family. When I found the real timetable of Rafael's actual where-about between New Orleans and Dallas though the rubble of his many lies about his past, I began to write emails to many knowledgeable about the assassination. As I a am old and almost blind, it is hard for me to post here at the DU anymore, but this is something I've been quietly working on since the Summer of 2015.
''Cuban Rafael Cruz, a pro-Batista, CIA connected Cuban in exile met his wife in New Orleans (home of Oswald, Guy Bannister, David Ferry, Clay Shaw and the great Jim Garrison). New Orleans was ground zero for the CIA's Cuban manned ''Operation Mongoose'', the Bay of Pigs and as we all know, the JFK Assassination. Anyone familiar with the assassination and the works of Mark Lane, Jim Garrison, Jim Marrs and David Lifton'...and many more will be stunned by this troubling information.''
The famous ''Hands off Cuba'' pamphlet distributed from Guy Bannister's office.
''It also seems that Cuban Rafael Cruz was also in Dallas, or nearby, the day of John Kennedy was assassinated.
''Rafael Cruz fled to Canada shortly after Kennedy's assassination to work in the ''oil business''. The oil business? Like Zapata Oil, the CIA front company run by George Herbert Walker Bush? Yeah, that oil business.
''Rafael Cruz returned to the United States after Nixon had been elected and the Bay of Pigs/JFK Assassination was put to rest for a while. He returned illegally to the United States with his son Rafael Eduardo ''Ted'' Cruz.
''Ted Cruz got connections into Princeton and Harvard and went to work directly for the Bush Family where he met his wife, Heidi Cruz, who was also working for the Bush Family.
''So how was it that Ted Cruz got right into the Bush Family Cabal so easily? His father, Rafael had favors to be paid back. Allen Dulles is long dead, but George Herbert Walker is still alive'...and GHB knows Ted Cruz very, very well.
''Any surprise why Neil Bush is in Ted Cruz's executive campaign inner circle?
''OK. Here is it'...finally, at long last breaking and great credit to Wayne Madsen '-- regardless of how you may feel about him '-- for having the guts to to point and say ''Behold the Man!''
''Story from Wayne Madsen'...and it's only the tip of the iceberg.''
The underhanded campaign tactics Cruz and his campaign have chosen to employ are right out of a Cuban dictatorship hand book. Shame on Cruz. It's time to expose his seedy past! All of it.
GOP strategist Roger Stone stops by to give his take on the Iowa caucus and reveals shocking ties Ted Cruz has to the bush crime family. is Ted cruz a canadian manchurian candidate?
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Obama Nation
Why Obama is forgiving the student loans of nearly 400,000 people - MarketWatch
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 21:26
Hundreds of thousands of student loan borrowers will now have an easier path to getting their loans discharged, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.
The Department of Education will send letters to 387,000 people they've identified as being eligible for a total and permanent disability discharge, a designation that allows federal student loan borrowers who can't work because of a disability to have their loans forgiven. The borrowers identified by the Department won't have to go through the typical application process for receiving a disability discharge, which requires sending in documented proof of their disability. Instead, the borrower will simply have to sign and return the completed application enclosed in the letter.
If every borrower identified by the Department decides to have his or her debt forgiven, the government will end up discharging more than $7.7 billion in debt, according to the Department.
''Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief,'' Ted Mitchell, the undersecretary of education, said in a statement. ''And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due.''
About 179,000 of the borrowers identified by the Department are in default on their student loans, and of that group more than 100,000 are at risk of having their tax refunds or Social Security checks garnished to pay off the debt. Often borrowers losing out on these benefits aren't even aware that they're eligible for a disability discharge, said Persis Yu, the director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center.
''Borrowers just frankly don't know about this program,'' she said. ''In the past it's been incredibly complicated to apply and that process has been getting better over time, but some people just assume that it's not going to work.'' The letters will help make more borrowers aware of their rights, Yu said.
The government identified eligible borrowers by matching Department of Education data on
Meet the digital wedding crashers(3:24)As more weddings use hashtags, more people are poring over strangers' wedding photos on Instagram.
student loan borrowers with Social Security Administration data to determine which federal student loan borrowers are receiving disability benefits and whose conditions aren't expected to improve.
Yu commended the collaboration and applauded the announcement, but she said she wished it went one step further by automatically stopping collections and garnishment on borrowers the government identified as eligible for a disability discharge. The Department may struggle to reach some borrowers because they don't have their most updated information on file, she noted. In addition, some borrowers who qualify for discharge because of a psychological reason -- such as an Alzheimer's patient -- may not be capable of understanding the materials they receive, she said.
''We identify you as somebody who qualifies for this, so as long as we've identified you can we at least stop taking your money?'' Yu said.
Eligible borrowers who do decide to take advantage of the discharge option should be aware that the forgiven debt may be considered taxable income. The Obama administration asked Congress in its 2017 budget proposal to get rid of the tax penalties for disability discharges, but meanwhile borrowers may find themselves paying taxes on the forgiven loans.
Despite these drawbacks, Adam Minsky, a Boston-based lawyer who specializes in student loan issues, said he's ''cautiously optimistic,'' about the announcement and will be watching to see how it plays out. ''When you're already totally and permanently disabled it can be challenging to go through this process without some help,'' he said. ''If this helps people that are clearly eligible for discharge get one with less red tape, less waiting and less uncertainty, that's great.''
Read more about student loan borrowers:
Obama to forgive the student debt of permanently disabled people - The Washington Post
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 01:06
The Obama administration plans to forgive $7.7 billion in federal student loans held by nearly 400,000 permanently disabled Americans.
By law, anyone with a severe disability is eligible to have the government discharge their federal student loans. The administration took steps four years ago to make the process easier by letting people who are totally and permanently disabled use their Social Security designation to apply for a discharge, but few took advantage. The Department of Education is now taking it upon itself to identify eligible borrowers and guide them through the steps to discharge their loans.
''Too many eligible borrowers were falling through the cracks, unaware they were eligible for relief,'' said Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell in a statement. ''Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due.''
[Sidelined by disability and saddled with student loans]
Working with the Social Security Administration, the department has been identifying borrowers receiving disability payments and have the specific designation of ''Medical Improvement Not Expected,'' which indicates they are eligible for the discharge. The agencies found 387,000 matches in its first review. About 179,000 of those people are currently in default on their loans, putting them at risk of losing their tax refunds and having their Social Security benefits garnished.
''The creation of the matching program is a great first step, but the administration needs to go further to ensure that no borrower who has a right to student loan relief has their benefits taken,'' said Persis Yu, the National Consumer Law Center's student loan borrower assistance project director. ''Borrowers receiving SSDI need these payments to survive.''
Starting next week, borrowers identified in the match will receive a letter from the government explaining the steps needed to receive a discharge. They will not be required to submit documentation of their eligibility, unlike disabled borrowers who apply for the discharge on their own. Notification letters will be sent over a 16-week period, and followed up with a second letter after 120 days.
The letters will inform borrowers of the tax implication of the discharge, since the government has the right to tax the amount of money forgiven.
[Obama plans to make it easier to pay your student loans]
Many middle class families borrow to build their careers and send their children to college, and now struggle to pay back growing student loan debt. A new AP analysis shows it's a rising multi-generational problem. (AP)
Tuesday's announcement is an outgrowth of President Obama's Student Aid Bill of Rights, which directed federal agencies to overhaul the way Americans repay student loans.
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel covers the economics of education, writing about the financial lives of students from when they take out student debt through their experiences in the job market. Before that, she wrote about the banking industry.
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Obama administration snubs Medal of Honor recipients, names warships after liberal politicians - Washington Times
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 01:41
As the Obama administration this week named another warship after a politician, a new report is circulating in Congress that shows that nearly 200 Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients have never been awarded such an honor, contrary to naval guidelines and tradition.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who has named several ships after Democrats and liberal activists not connected to the military, was in Detroit on Monday to announce that an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named the USS Carl M. Levin. The Michigan Democrat served 31 years in the Senate and chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2007 to 2015.
The move has rankled some Republicans. They note privately the long list of war heroes yet to be so honored and the Navy's own tradition of naming destroyers after deceased Medal of Honor recipients and other combat heroes, as well as admirals and generals who played significant roles in naval warfare.
VOTE NOW: Should Navy ships be named after politicians?
Mr. Levin did not serve in the military.
In a new report privately delivered to lawmakers, the Congressional Research Service did an extensive examination this winter and found that, of 318 Medal of Honor recipients in the Navy and Marine Corps, 100 have had a ship named after them; the large majority of them '-- 186 '-- have not.
One congressional staffer noted that Mr. Levin presided over the committee during the Obama administration's major drawdown of troops and weapons systems. Joint Chiefs of Staff officers testified in recent months that they doubt they can fight one major war on the schedule outlined in the National Military Strategy.
PHOTOS: Take that, China '-- check out the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarines
The Levin naming did not conform to Mr. Mabus' own guidelines set out in a report to Congress in 2012 called ''Policies and Practices of the U.S. Navy for Naming the Vessels of the Navy.''
Congress demanded the accounting after Mr. Mabus had strayed from tradition on several warship namesakes.
The Navy report said its guideline calls for naming destroyers after deceased Navy and Marine Corps veterans and Navy secretaries.
An examination by The Washington Times of the 71 Arleigh Burke monikers shows Mr. Levin is the only one '-- except Winston Churchill '-- who does not meet the Navy guideline for destroyers. Most Arleigh Burke honorees are naval war heroes; a significant number earned the Medal of Honor. There are several Navy secretaries.
Capt. Patrick McNally, Mr. Mabus' spokesman, told The Times: ''He names ships for American heroes and considers Senator Levin's long commitment to the nation worthy of recognition '.... The naming conventions are guidelines set by the secretary. He can deviate from them if he desires.''
Capt. McNally said Mr. Mabus has named a number of destroyers after Medal of Honor recipients. They include the Ralph Johnson, the Thomas Hudner, the Harvey Barnum and the Daniel Inouye, the late Democratic senator from Hawaii.
Mr. Mabus announced in January that an Expeditionary Sea Base will carry the name of Hershel ''Woody'' Williams, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient.
Other Senate Armed Services chairmen have been so honored for other ship classes.
The George W. Bush administration named a Virginia-class attack submarine after former Sen. John Warner, who also served as a Marine enlisted man in World War II and as a Navy secretary.
Democrat John C. Stennis of Mississippi, a legendary defense hawk, has an aircraft carrier in his name.
Democrat Richard B. Russell of Georgia championed defense spending as Armed Services chairman. Like Mr. Warner, his name is on an attack submarine.
In the House, the late Democratic congressman Carl Vinson has his name on an aircraft carrier because he championed a large, ''blue water'' Navy able to operate in all oceans.
''Carl Levin is no Carl Vinson, Richard Russell or John Stennis,'' said a congressional defense staffer. ''He has presided over the dismantlement of the U.S. military, which is an accomplishment for the Obama administration.''
Mr. Mabus, a former Democratic governor of Mississippi, has irked some Republicans for veering from tradition by naming warships after social activists and politicians with no link to the military.
Since the start of the Obama administration, Mr. Mabus has named combat logistics supply ships after civil rights leader Medgar Evers and leftist farmworker Cesar Chavez.
All previous Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships had been named for famous explorers or people who made significant contributions to the military, as called for in Navy conventions.
He named a littoral combat ship after former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, who was seriously wounded in a January 2011 assassination attempt.
He named a San Diego-class docking ship after another Democrat, the late Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania. The previous nine ships had been named after U.S. cities, a park and a county, following Navy conventions.
Mr. Murtha was a Marine in Vietnam and supported the defense budget. He angered the Marine community in 2005 when he charged that Marines had killed civilians ''in cold blood'' in the Iraqi village of Haditha.
In January Mr. Mabus again broke with past tradition. He named a fleet replenishment oiler, TAO-205, after civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, George Democrat. Mr. Lewis voted for removing all U.S. troops from Iraq in 2007 and from Afghanistan in 2011.
Navy guidelines had said such ships are named for rivers or people instrumental to maritime and aviation design and production.
But Mr. Mabus changed the convention last year, saying the 17 oilers will be named after civil and human rights activists.
The 2012 Navy report to Congress stated: ''The foregoing discussion helps preview one of the central themes of this report: US Navy ship naming policies, practices, and 'traditions' are not fixed; they evolve constantly over time.''
The Navy report also defended Mr. Mabus' decision-making.
For example, it defended the naming of the Gabrielle Giffords: ''Secretary Mabus was well aware that Congresswoman Giffords is much younger than those Members of Congress previously so honored and, as a result, her record does not equal theirs in numbers of years served or in the general level of attention applied to military or naval matters. He also knows from many visits to hospitals that hundreds of young service men and women have received wounds as grievous as Ms. Giffords's, and agrees they all rightfully deserve respect and recognition. However, given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this case, he felt it both fitting and appropriate to exercise his discretion '-- established by the very first Secretary of the Navy over 210 years ago '-- to make an exception to a ship naming convention to honor Congresswoman Giffords.''
In an August 2009 ceremony to name a destroyer after Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, a posthumous Medal of Honor recipient for valor in Iraq, Mr. Mabus talked of the importance of a warship carrying a hero's identity.
''Today, Jason takes his rightful place in naval history alongside his storied legacy in the annals of the Marine Corps,'' he said. ''Though Jason is no longer with us, his name will live on in this magnificent warship that represents the best our nation has to offer.
''Jason's spirit '-- as a warrior, fighter and one who never gave up, even in the face of great challenges '-- lives on to lead all of the men and women who will ever serve aboard USS Jason Dunham, in home waters and abroad. In the fighting spirit of its namesake, the men and women of USS Jason Dunham will never back down from any challenge put before them.''
Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, on Tuesday sent a letter to Mr. Mabus asking him to explain his departure from convention in naming the Carl Levin.
''It is important that the Navy adhere to its own ship naming rules and takes every effort necessary to avoid politicization of this process,'' Mr. Hunter said.
Kabinet neemt pas na Brexit-referendum besluit Oekra¯ne-verdrag - BNR Nieuwsradio
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:49
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IMF denkt aan 10% belasting spaargeld | VTM NIEUWS
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 14:25
Moet iedereen binnen de Europese Unie binnenkort tien procent van zijn spaargeld afstaan aan de fiscus? Als het van het Internationaal Monetair Fonds (IMF) afhangt, zou dat kunnen.
In haar ''Fiscal Monitor'' zegt het IMF dat iedereen die geld op een spaarrekening heeft staan, daar tien procent van zal moeten afstaan om de crisis in de eurozone te bedwingen. Niet alleen mensen die tienduizenden euro's op de bank staan hebben, maar ook de bescheiden spaarders zullen hun steentje moeten bijdragen. Het gaat voor alle duidelijkheid om een voorstel, niet om een maatregel die al genomen is, maar het IMF ziet wel een groot voordeel aan zo'n eenmalige belasting.
"Het verleidelijke van zo'n belasting is dat ze kan worden ingevoerd voor mensen zich er aan kunnen onttrekken en dat wordt verondersteld dat ze eenmalig is en ze het gedrag niet verstoort'', klinkt het. Het IMF denkt dus dat ze de belasting zou kunnen invoeren vooraleer mensen hun spaargeld van de bank halen en dat ze dat na de invoering van de belasting ook niet zullen doen, omdat het om een eenmalige belasting gaat.
In mei breekt hier de revolutie uit - NRC
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 14:39
Arnold Karskens is oorlogsverslaggever en schrijver.
Herinnert u zich de Arabische Lente? Een volksopstand tegen regeringen van het Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika die in 2010 begon en werd veroorzaakt door werkloosheid, oneerlijke machtsverdeling en een bevolkingsexplosie? Welnu, gelijksoortige ingredinten vormen ook een serieus geweldsprobleem binnen de Europese Unie anno 2016. Ik voorspel daarom voor mei van dit jaar het begin van een Europese Lente. Een succesvolle revolutie voldoet aan vijf factoren.
1. Een hechte club neemt de leiding
De eerste factor is een centrale commandostructuur, een hechte club die de leiding neemt. Nationalistische partijen over heel Europa, van het Franse Front National en Geert Wilders' PVV tot Hongaarse en Poolse partijen met daarnaast tal van buitenparlementaire extreemrechtse groepen, werpen zich op als hoeders van de westerse waarden. Zij kunnen, onder andere door sociale media als Twitter en Facebook, sturing geven aan de onvrede die leeft onder de ruim 500 miljoen EU-burgers. Velen staan huiverig tegenover de komst van de door de Europese Commissie afgelopen najaar voorspelde drie miljoen asielzoekers tot eind 2016 en de demografische gevolgen, namelijk oprukkende islamisering en daarmee gepaard gaand herlevend conservatisme. Steeds openlijker storen Europeanen zich aan het lastigvallen door allochtonen van vrouwen, zoals tijdens de nieuwjaarsnacht in de Duitse stad Keulen, het beledigen en bedreigen van homo's of andersgelovigen als christenen en joden, en moeten leven met angst voor een geco¶rdineerde terreuraanslag als op 13 november in Parijs met 130 doden.
2. Economische onvrede
Ook economische onvrede vormt een belangrijke drijfveer voor een opstand. De jeugdwerkloosheid bedraagt in EU-landen als Griekenland en Spanje bijna 50 procent. Laaggeschoolden voelen de concurrentie op de arbeidsmarkt door migranten. Wie in aanmerking wil komen voor sociale huisvestiging ziet zijn kansen voorlopig verkeken. Werkloosheidsuitkeringen en pensioenen staan door Europese regelgeving onder druk terwijl de kosten voor de asielopvang schrikbarend groeien. In Nederland verdubbelt sinds 2013 nagenoeg ieder jaar het aantal asielaanvragen, in 2015 tot zo'n 60.000 personen. Volgens cijfers van het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek is het merendeel van de Somalirs (68,9%) en Syrirs (62,2%) afhankelijk van een uitkering.
3. Gebrek aan leiderschap
De derde factor is een wijdverspreid gevoel van onzekerheid door gebrek aan daadkrachtig politiek bestuur. Vicevoorzitter van de Europese Unie Frans Timmermans waarschuwde afgelopen november in Amsterdam zelfs voor het voortbestaan van de 28 landen tellende Europese Unie als de vluchtelingencrisis en eurocrisis elkaar in een 'žperfecte storm'', versterken, zo groot is de twijfel bij de EU-top over de uitvoerbaarheid van het eigen beleid.
EU-maatregelen voor het aanpakken van het kernprobleem, de asielstroom, blijken een wassen neus. Het Europees Agentschap voor het beheer van de buitengrenzen, Frontex, heeft de laatste jaren geen enkele boot met opvarenden teruggestuurd naar Turkije of Libi, ook al is het vertrekpunt veilig. De zogenaamde grensbewakers maken het migranten juist makkelijker, door hulp bij registratie.
Ieder conflict begint met een incident. Onderschat de massaliteit van een mogelijke strijd niet
4. Een incident
Ieder conflict begint met een incident. Bij de Arabische lente was dat de zelfmoord door verbranding van de Tunesische marktkoopman Mohammed Bouazizi op 17 december 2010. De latente onvrede over corrupt bestuur en miskenning sloeg vervolgens als een steekvlam over naar zo'n tien andere landen in Noord-Afrika en het Midden-Oosten.
5. Gunstige weersomstandigheden
De Europese geschiedenis leert dat opstanden vooral beginnen wanneer de weersomstandigheden dat toelaten. Zelf schat ik mei 2016. Bovendien stijgt in het voorjaar de stroom migranten vanuit Turkije en Noord-Afrika opnieuw tot grote hoogte, de wind gaat liggen en het zeewater warmt op, wat een succesvolle boottocht verzekert. Reken tegen die tijd op ruim tienduizend personen per dag, tegen ongeveer vierduizend nu, die in Griekenland en Itali aan land komen. Die zullen ergens heen moeten. Uit angst voor een stuwmeer aan migranten controleert Zweden en Denemarken de grenzen. Terwijl Duitsland eigenlijk jaarlijks niet meer dan 200.000 vluchtelingen ordentelijk kan opvangen, volgens Horst Seehofer, minister-president van de Duitse deelstaat Beieren. Hongarije heeft al een fysieke barricade opgeworpen in de vorm van een hek. De kans is daarom reel dat de eerste grote conflicten tussen plaatselijke autochtonen en opeengestapelde nieuwkomers uitbreken op de Balkan en in Griekenland. De Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel waarschuwde vorig jaar november in Darmstadt al voor 'žmilitaire conflicten'' in die regio.
De strijd in het Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika richtte zich in eerste instantie tegen de dictatoriale machthebbers en ontspoorde vervolgens in gevechten tussen sjiieten en soennieten en radicale strijdgroepen onderling. Door gebrek aan sterk leiderschap zal de kladderadatsch in Europa vooral een confrontatie zijn tussen voorstanders en tegenstanders van een ruimhartig asielbeleid, tussen islamieten en christenen, joden, seculieren en tussen zwart en wit. Leger en politie staan in het midden.
Onderschat de massaliteit van een mogelijke strijd niet. Verhalen over grootschalige verkrachtingen of een terroristische aanslag kunnen de stoppen ieder moment laten doorslaan. Naast reguliere asielzoekers, die kans maken op een verblijfsstatus, zoals Syrirs, groeit ondertussen de stoet van honderdduizenden uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers. Frustratie '' wegens de afwijzing '' en een gerucht over een koranverbranding vormen ook aan die kant een explosief mengsel.
De belangrijkste overeenkomst tussen de Arabische Lente en de Europese Lente '' ongeacht uiteindelijk resultaat '' blijft de les dat iedere rebellie ontstaat door gebrek aan kordaat, eerlijk leiderschap en het veronachtzamen van de eigen bevolking.
Banker Wars - Panama Papers
IMF chief talks Panama Papers fallout: time to 'think outside box' on global tax | Business | The Guardian
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:02
'I think it's an area where we all have to think outside the box because there are too many boxes in that tax field and thinking outside the box might be of great interest,' said Christine Lagarde. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it is time to ''think outside the box'' on global tax but warned that a proposal by Oxfam to establish a UN global tax body faces huge obstacles.
The British-based charity first put the idea forward last year, arguing that powerful countries write the rules on tax and take advantage of loopholes and offshore tax havens. It suggested that an independent entity could give everyone '' rich and poor '' an equal say.
The issue is now back in the spotlight after the Panama Papers leak exposed how the elite conceal their wealth and prompted Barack Obama to call for international tax reform to ensure that ''everyone pays their fair share''.
During a discussion at the World Bank's global parliamentary conference in Washington on Monday, British MP Stephen Twigg asked for reactions to the Oxfam proposal of an intergovernmental UN tax body.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, replied that she had not seen it but acknowledged: ''I think it's an area where we all have to think outside the box because there are too many boxes in that tax field and thinking outside the box might be of great interest.''
She warned, however, that nation states would be unwilling to surrender their tax powers to the UN.
''We need to be aware of the massive hurdles and obstacles along the way because taxation for the last century or so has been defined, conceptualised, designed, implemented on a purely territorial sovereign basis. And if anything, levying taxation is considered as an attribute of sovereignty, and anything that takes away from that is going to be very strongly opposed by many countries in the world, many forces.''
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, was even more sceptical, comparing the tendency of creating new bodies to that of constantly adding extensions to holiday houses in America's Cape Cod region. ''I think we have to be very careful about thinking the solution to a problem is to add on another institution,'' he told the gathering of international MPs.
''If you're going to add another UN institution it will require some chunk of ODA [official development assistance], we have to be realistic about where ODA is going. Official development assistance is at about $135bn, $140bn, it's been at that level for a very long time now '' it's not grown. I do not see your parliaments rushing to have a competition to increase taxes and increase your tax base so you can give more aid. I don't see that happening.''
This year many countries are using their ODA to pay for their own internal refugee problems instead of sending it abroad, Kim added, contending that the World Bank is already working to make taxes fairer and reduce illicit financial outflows.
The annual conference at World Bank and IMF headquarters hosts 200 parliamentarians from more than 100 countries as well as leaders from civil society and other organisations. Ahead of global economic figures due this week, Lagarde offered a cautious assessment.
''The good news is that there is recovery, there is growth,'' she said. ''The bad news is that there's a little less than we had hoped and that particular growth is fragile and is exposed to potential risks. Those potential risks are probably stronger, higher on the horizon than what we had thought a year ago.''
She identified a Chinese slowdown, lower commodity prices, monetary volatility '' leading to capital outflows from emerging countries to safe havens such as the US and Japan '' and the refugee crisis as risk factors.
Then there are ''almost self-induced political risks'', such as the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union which, she warned, ''clearly would create not only major uncertainty but certainly have dark consequences which we are in the process of studying and figuring out''.
BofA Warns "Europe Looks Frightening" - Trades Like 2001, 2008
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:02
"Europe looks concerning" warns BofAML's Stephen Suttmeier, pointing out, rather ominously that the broad European index - STOXX 600 - is trading like it did in 2001 & 2008.
The STOXX Europe 600 (SXXP) is trending below declining and bearishly positioned 26 and 40-week moving averages. ECB quantitative easing has not reversed this bearish trend.
The 2016 set-up is similar to early 2001 and early 2008 with 350 important resistance and 300 important support. Both 2001 and 2008 saw rebounds into bearishly positioned and falling 26/40-week MAs that formed important lower tops in May.
We think this pattern could repeat or at least rhyme moving into May 2016. The breaks below 300 in September 2011 and June 2008 led to much deeper weakness and a similar break in 2016 could see the SXXP trend down toward 200.
Source: BofAML
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Panama Papers reveal spies used Mossack Fonseca
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:12
View photos
The Panama Papers reveal that "current or former high-ranking officials of the secret services of at least three countries" are listed amongst the clients of Mossack Fonseca (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)More
Berlin (AFP) - Secret agents from several countries, including intermediaries of the CIA, have used the services of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in order to "conceal" their activities, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Tuesday.
"Secret agents and their informants have made wide use of the company's services," wrote the newspaper, which obtained a massive stash of 11.5 million documents from the company that is sending shockwaves around the globe.
"Agents have opened shell companies to conceal their activities... Among them are close intermediaries of the CIA," the newspaper reported.
The Munich-based newspaper said Mossack Fonseca's clients included "several players" in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, which saw senior US officials facilitate secret arms sales to Iran in a bid to secure the release of American hostages and fund Nicaragua's Contra rebels.
The Panama Papers also reveal that "current or former high-ranking officials of the secret services of at least three countries... Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Rwanda" are listed amongst the company's clients, the Sueddeutsche said.
Among them was Sheikh Kamal Adham, the former Saudi intelligence chief who died in 1999. Adham "spent the 1970s as one of the CIA's key intermediaries" in the Middle East, the daily said.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung received the huge stash of Mossack Fonseca documents from an anonymous source and shared them with more than 100 media groups through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
A week after the first revelations, the documents have shed light on how the world's rich and powerful have used offshore companies to stash their assets, forcing Iceland's prime minister to resign and putting pressure on a slew of other leaders around the world.
The People and Tech Behind the Panama Papers - Features - Source: An OpenNews project
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:11
How Long-Term Infrastructure-Building Enabled the Biggest Leak in Data Journalism HistoryLast Sunday, April 3, the first stories emerging from the leaked dataset known as the Panama Papers were published by a global partnership of news organizations working in coordination with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ. As we begin the second week of reporting on the leak, Iceland's Prime Minister has been forced to resign, Germany has announced plans to end anonymous corporate ownership, governments around the world launched investigations into wealthy citizens' participation in tax havens, the Russian government announced that the investigation was an anti-Putin propaganda operation, and the Chinese government banned mentions of the leak in Chinese media.
As the ICIJ-led consortium prepares for its second major wave of reporting on the Panama Papers, we spoke with Mar Cabra, editor of ICIJ's Data & Research unit and lead coordinator of the data analysis and infrastructure work behind the leak. In our conversation, Cabra reveals ICIJ's years-long effort to build a series of secure communication and analysis platforms in support of genuinely global investigative reporting collaborations.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
The RolloutQ. So, very first thing, ICIJ has said that it will release a batch of data later this spring, but not the entire dataset'--could you say a little about that, and about the way you're timing the reporting?
The plan is that we're actually going to keep reporting'--some partners are publishing for almost two weeks for sure. Then in early May we're going to release all the names connected to more than 200,000 offshore companies'--so we're talking about the beneficiaries, the directories, the shareholders, the intermediaries, and the addresses connected to those entities in 21 jurisdictions. We expect to have some bang around that, too.
But we're not going to release all 11.5 million files, we're going to release the structured data, which is the internal Mossack Fonseca database. This is especially valuable because tax havens sell secrecy, and their secrecy relies mainly on the fact that corporate registries are opaque and not accessible, so we think there's a great public value in releasing the names of companies and who's behind them.
We already did this is June 2013 in the Offshore Leaks database that you can access right now. We had a leak then similar to what we had now'--we had internal documents and data from two offshore service providers, which is basically what Mossack does. The only difference now is that this leak includes much more information and is much bigger, and the clients are high-level clients, so that's why this leak is very important. We're going to merge the two databases and all of them are going to be put together at the Offshore Leaks URL. You'll be able to search what could amount to the biggest public database of offshore companies ever.
Data ForensicsQ. What was it like to work with the leaked data? What kind of processing did you have to do?
Working with this data has been challenging for many different reasons. The first reason is, it's huge'--we're talking about 2.6TB. The second reason is that it didn't all come at the same time; we didn't receive a 2.6TB hard drive. We had to deal with incremental information, and we also had to deal with a lot of images. The majority of the files are emails and database files. There are also a lot of PDFs and TIFFs, so we have to do a lot of OCR-ing for millions of documents.
So first, most of the leak was unstructured data. Second, it was not easy working with the structured data. The Mossack Fonseca internal database didn't come to us in the raw, original format, unfortunately. We had to do reverse-engineering to reconstruct the database, and connect the dots based on codes that the documents had.
We've had to do that with every leak we've received: We had to do it with Offshore Leaks in 2013, we had to do it with Swiss Leaks last year, and we had to do it again this year. Our programmer, Rigoberto Carvajal, is a true magician, because he has become an expert in reverse-engineering databases. He and Miguel Fiandor reverse-engineered the database, reconstructed the Mossack Fonseca internal files, and put it into a graphed-database format. And that's the base of what we're going to be doing in the new Offshore Leaks database'--the improved version.
Offshore Leaks
The Tech StackWe believe in open source technology and try to use it as much as possible. We used Apache Solr for the indexing and Apache Tika for document processing, and it's great because it processes dozens of different formats and it's very powerful. Tika interacts with Tesseract, so we did the OCRing on Tesseract.
To OCR the images, we created an army of 30''40 temporary servers in Amazon that allowed us to process the documents in parallel and do parallel OCR-ing. If it was very slow, we'd increase the number of servers'--if it was going fine, we would decrease because of course those servers have a cost.
Project Blacklight in its natural habitat
Then we put the data up, but the problem with Solr was it didn't have a user interface, so we used Project Blacklight, which is open source software normally used by librarians. We used it for the journalists. It's simple because it allows you to do faceted search'--so, for example, you can facet by the folder structure of the leak, by years, by type of file. There were more complex things'--it supports queries in regular expressions, so the more advanced users were able to search for documents with a certain pattern of numbers that, for example, passports use. You could also preview and download the documents. ICIJopen-sourced the code of our document processing chain, created by our web developer Matthew Caruana Galizia.
We also developed a batch-searching feature. So say you were looking for politicians in your country'--you just run it through the system, and you upload your list to Blacklight and you would get a CSV back saying yes, there are matches for these names'--not only exact matches, but also matches based on proximity. So you would say ''I want Mar Cabra proximity 2'' and that would give you ''Mar Cabra,'' ''Mar whatever Cabra,'' ''Cabra, Mar,'''--so that was good, because very quickly journalists were able to see'... I have this list of politicians and they are in the data!
Project Blacklight admin interface for the Panama Papers
For the visualization of the Mossack Fonseca internal database, we worked with another tool called Linkurious. It's not open source, it's licensed software, but we have an agreement with them, and they allowed us to work with it. It allows you to represent data in graphs. We had a version of Linkurious on our servers, so no one else had the data. It was pretty intuitive'--journalists had to click on dots that expanded, basically, and could search the names.
Linkurious in action
We had the data in a relational database format in SQL, and thanks to ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) software Talend, we were able to easily transform the data from SQL to Neo4j (the graph-database format we used). Once the data was transformed, it was just a matter of plugging it into Linkurious, and in a couple of minutes, you have it visualized'--in a networked way, so anyone can log in from anywhere in the world. That was another reason we really liked Linkurious and Neo4j'--they're very quick when representing graph data, and the visualizations were easy to understand for everybody. The not-very-tech-savvy reporter could expand the docs like magic, and more technically expert reporters and programmers could use the Neo4j query language, Cypher, to do more complex queries, like show me everybody within two degrees of separation of this person, or show me all the connected dots'...
Our Linkurious admin
Panama Papers data graphed with Linkurious
We're already using the graphs from Linkurious and the database in the interactive The Power Players, which shows more than 70 politicians. Every time you see a graph in the interactive, that's the database. Linkurious has a great feature, which is that you can make calls to the API, so we make calls to the API to draw the data from this new database. It also has a built-in widget feature, so if you're using Linkurious for your reporting and you'd like a graph, you create a widget, publish the widget and embed it in your story, and it's interactive'--you can move the nodes around and display any kind of info panel'... It's great because we didn't have to work on any of that ourselves.
We're really happy with Linkurious'--they were super supportive. Whenever we asked them questions, or asked for a feature we needed, two days later it was implemented! That communication was great, it was like having an expanded development team.
For communication, we have the Global I-Hub, which is a platform based on open source software called Oxwall. Oxwall is a social network, like Facebook, which has a wall when you log in with the latest in your network'--it has forum topics, links, you can share files, and you can chat with people in real time.
The Oxwall-based Global I-Hub
Oxwall is designed for people who want to have a social network'--in the form for user registration, one of the options we had to disable was ''Are you looking for a male or for a female?'' So'...that we disabled, because of course it was a bit confusing! We repurposed it to use it for sharing and social networking around investigative reporting, and thanks to a grant from the Knight Prototype Fund, we improved the security around Oxwall and implemented two-step authentication on the I-Hub.
That was a bit of a nightmare, because some reporters didn't quite get it, and there were a lot of problems, but we did two-step authentication using Google Authenticator. In the end, everybody got it! We were worried because we were working with journalists in developing countries, and we worried that maybe some reporters wouldn't have a smartphone, but we were lucky and we didn't have that problem.
Everybody was using the platform to communicate and log in every day or several times every week and share the tips and exchange ideas, and when somebody found a cross-border connection'... When a colleague of mine found Messi'--I don't know how much you like soccer, but you know, Messi is the god of soccer today'--and one day a colleague of ICIJ in Spain was like, ''Oh my god, I found Messi!'' And everybody's like ''Oh my god, Messi!''
We knew we had things connected to FIFA and to UEFA, we knew there were soccer players, we knew that sports and offshore were intimately connected, but it's at that point that's it's so useful because he says ''Oh my god I found Messi!'' and all of a sudden everybody has Messi and everybody's covering Messi. The communication was very important.
A Platform Three Years in the MakingWe had already used many of these platforms before. We really have three types of platforms: the Global I-Hub for communication, the combination of Solr and Blacklight, and Linkurious.
We had already used previous versions of the communication platform, but it's not until we did the Knight Prototype that we improved its security, and this was the first time we had put it into practice. We were using Oxwall in our previous investigations'--in Luxembourg Leaks, which was published in November 2014, we were already using Oxwall. But Oxwall, again'--it's a social networking platform to meet people that had to be improved. We got the Knight Prototype Fund and started work mid''2014'--it took us six months, and then a bit more than six months because in the end there are tricks you want to do. At that point, we're at the beginning of 2015, and publishing the Swiss Leaks data and investigation. And then a year ago in April we got the call from S¼ddeutsche Zeitung. We were testing the platform at that time with ICIJ members, and then saw the perfect opportunity in this project to put it to work.
The other two platforms we had already used in Swiss Leaks, but we've improved them. The biggest problem was all the file formats that we had. Before, we had used Blacklight and Solr with all PDFs or all XLS files, but in here, you cannot imagine! There are formats I've never heard of, there are things you can't even find in Google. We got around 99% of the data OCRed and indexed'--I think that's amazing given the great variety of formats that we encountered.
I think something that is very important to have in mind is that my users, who are journalists, range from the super-techie reporter who has covered the Snowden files, knows everything about encryption, and works with a great developer, to the other side of the spectrum, the very good traditional investigative reporter who has sources and is great at digging into documents and talking to people but has a hard time dealing with technology. So every tool we produce and use has to cover both fronts. We have to go for simple tools that also allow for more complex work.
The Team Behind the DataThere's something important to know about ICIJ: we're a very small team. I've been working with ICIJ since 2011. I'm from Spain, and I studied at Columbia doing investigative reporting and data journalism there, and ICIJ hired me to come back to Spain and work here. When I started in 2011, ICIJ had a team of four people, and the team expanded or not depending on the project'--we hired contractors. Back then, we didn't have any in-house data capabilities.
After Offshore Leaks in 2013, and especially after the release of the Offshore Leaks database in June of 2013, which we did in cooperation with La Naci"n in Costa Rica, they had a very good data team that had two great programmers, and a great leader, Giannina Segnini. At that point, we realized, oh my god, we need to stop doing this externally! We need to have experts and developers in-house that work with us. I had been specializing on data journalism, so when we made that decision, it became evident that I was a good fit to lead the team. Giannina had left her position at La Naci"n to teach at Columbia, and the two programmers on her team, Rigoberto Carvajal and Matthew Caruana Galizia, came to work with us, and we started a data team at ICIJ. ICIJ today has 12 staff members and the Data and Research unit is half of the total staff. We have four developers and three journalists. Emilia D­az Struck, a great data-oriented researcher, is the research editor, and I lead the team.
I'm not a programmer, I'm a journalist who discovered data journalism at Columbia University back in 2009, 2010'--I thought if I could tell stories in a systematic way, it was much better than telling random stories of random victims. I've been pushing for data journalism in Spain, and I co-created the first-ever Master's degree in Spain on investigative reporting, data journalism, and visualization. With a colleague, I also created Jornadas Periodismo de Datos ''the NICAR conference of Spain'''--it's an annual data journalism conference for around 500 people trying to learn about data. So I'm very tuned into data, and I'm a data journalist myself'--not from a developer background, but I have great developers on my team.
One thing that is very important with this work is trust. So whenever we hire somebody, it has to be someone who's been highly recommended by colleagues and people we know, because we cannot trust this data to just anybody. We have to have references from very close people when dealing with this.
An Alliance Built on TrustQ. So, speaking of trust, there is this central mystery to me about this project'--how did you keep it secret for all this time, with so many people working on it around the world?
I have to say, I'm amazed myself that we haven't had any major problems with this, but it makes me believe in the human race, because it's really about trust. That's why choosing and picking the team is so important. We need media organizations that want to collaborate, we need journalists that we can trust and that follow the agreement. Every person that joins the project needs to sign an agreement saying they're going to respect the embargo and we're all going to go out at the same time. And the journalists who have worked with us before know that it's for their own benefit, to keep it quiet, because if we all publish at the same time, there's a big bang. But if there's a leak, it loses that power.
And you just have to look at what's happening this week, you know? If we had not published all together at the same time in more than 100 media organizations, it would not have been the same! Here in Spain, the two media organizations we work with were amazed about the world reaction. But again, it's all about trust.
My boss, Marina Walker Guevara, always says that this is like bringing guests to a dinner party. You need to choose the ones who are not going to cause trouble, the ones who are going to have a nice conversation. If you know that two of them don't get along very well, you seat them on opposite sides of the table.
To me, it's the most amazing thing'--it may sound harsh, but it makes me believe in humans, in us, in our power as individuals and the power we can achieve working together. And I think that's the way to go. There's no way we could have analyzed 11.5M files, 2.6 TB of information without a collaborative effort.
The Future of Leak ReportingQ. So what happens after the Panama Papers?
Something we've realized is that journalists are starting to get big collections of documents on their computers. So for example, in Argentina, journalists had all the official gazettes of Argentina and some other documents, and they have these big searchable database of documents. In Switzerland, they had the same thing'--they had a lot of documents from their investigation all in one place. Right now, they have to download the documents from us and feed them into their system to see if there are connections. We want to get the platforms of the media organizations and our platforms to talk to each other and do massive matches. Right now we were only able to do targeted searches or searches through spreadsheets, and the next step is to get collections of documents talking to each other.
In parallel with the Panama Papers, ICIJ is already working on DataShare, something we presented for a Knight News Challenge grant. We didn't get the money, so we're funding it through other means'--the Open Society Foundations have given us some money to work on it, and we're looking for more funding.
So we're actually working on a program that they'll be able to install on their computers in, like, ''Tabula mode,'' right? So as with Tabula, you install it on your computer. It works in your browser, and it allows you to extract the entities in your documents. What you share with the network are the entities in your documents, and then our search engine basically does the matches using fuzzy matching between the entities. It tells you if there's somebody else across the network with the same entities, and then you two have to get together and start talking to share the documents.
So we need big collections of documents to talk to each other, and we're trying to solve that at the level of the entities, because journalists don't want to share everything they have'--they have exclusive documents. But if you create an index of entities in their documents, it's not so much of a problem, and everybody can benefit from those matches. And of course, we're having a lot of headaches with natural language processing, and that's something we're dealing with inside the Panama Papers project as well.
Q. Do you already have your next data project in view?
Yes! We have a team working on the next project, and scoping it'--we have a few themes and we're seeing which of the themes is the next one.
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Panama raids offices of Mossack Fonseca law firm | Reuters
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 01:43
PANAMA CITY Panama's attorney general late on Tuesday raided the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm to search for any evidence of illegal activities, authorities said in a statement.
The Panama-based law firm is at the center of the "Panama Papers" leaks scandal that has embarrassed several world leaders and shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies.
The national police, in an earlier statement, said they were searching for documentation that "would establish the possible use of the firm for illicit activities." The firm has been accused of tax evasion and fraud.
Police offers and patrol cars began gathering around the company's building in the afternoon under the command of prosecutor Javier Caravallo, who specializes in organized crime and money laundering.
Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore companies, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Earlier, founding partner Ramon Fonseca said the company had broken no laws, destroyed no documents, and all its operations were legal.
Governments across the world have begun investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful after the leak of more than 11.5 million documents, dubbed the Panama Papers, from the law firm that span four decades.
The papers have revealed financial arrangements of prominent figures, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain and Pakistan and of China's President Xi Jinping, and the president of Ukraine.
(Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by G Crosse and Ryan Woo)
HSBC Whistleblower: The media leaks 'are only the tip of the iceberg' - Business Insider
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:07
Media leaks on HSBC accounts held in Switzerland "are only the tip of the iceberg," Herve Falciani, the former HSBC employee who supplied information on the bank's clients and their tax situation, told French daily Le Parisien.
Falciani said tax authorities have had access to much more data than media including French daily Le Monde and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had.
Asked if more clients were involved than the 106,000 identified by Le Monde, Falciani said: "Of course, there are many more than the journalists had. There were millions of transactions (between banks) in the documents I gave (to the government)."
HSBC client data obtained by Falciani, who used to work in IT at HSBC's Swiss subsidiary, is at the center of a storm over the British bank.
HSBC on Sunday admitted failings in compliance and controls in its Swiss private bank and faces investigation by U.S. authorities and an inquiry by British lawmakers after media reports said it helped wealthy customers conceal millions of dollars of assets in a period up to 2007.
French authorities have repeated since the latest media leaks they had already been looking into HSBC's Swissaccounts.
Questioned by lawmakers about what the French government was doing with the leaked data, Budget MinisterChristian Eckert said the government had passed more than 100 cases to judicial authorities.
The French government says it is now collecting 2.0 billion euros ($2.3 billion) per year in tax and fines from people who are coming clean with accounts held abroad which they had previously hidden from tax authorities.
More work needs to be done at an international level on "tax optimisation" by global multinationals, Eckert told the lawmakers.
He had told Europe 1 radio earlier on Tuesday that it was hard to say how widespread the question of hidden bankaccounts was. "It's hard to quantify what is hidden," he said.
Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.
Stats: HSBC money laundering and tax evasion - Business Insider
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:04
ReutersHSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver.
Swiss authorities shocked the markets Wednesday morning when police raided HSBC's Geneva offices.
In an emailed statement to Business Insider, the Swiss prosecutor's office confirmed it was investigating "HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA and persons unknown for suspected aggravated money laundering."
HSBC told us: "We have cooperated continuously with the Swiss authorities since first becoming aware of the data theft in 2008 and we continue to cooperate."
But for HSBC, being embroiled in a money-laundering scandal is not new. The bank already settled with US authorities in 2012.
Here's the quick guide about HSBC's money-laundering and tax-evasion scandals, old and new, in numbers.
£1.2 billion '-- this is how much HSBC was fined in December 2012 for having lax systems that allowed money laundering to occur through the bank.
2 years '-- Herve Falciani worked in HSBC's IT department between 2006 and 2008.
2008 '-- the year Falciani became a whistle-blower by handing over HSBC client bank account details to French authorities.
100,000 '-- HSBC client accounts under scrutiny related to tax evasion and money-laundering investigations.
£78 billion '-- the accounts' asset total.
2005 to 2007 '-- years in which the account data stems from.
203 '-- countries the scrutinised bank accounts come from.
£188 million '-- taxes and fines recovered by France from Herve Falciani's data leak.
£220 million '-- Spain's total amount of recovered tax from the whistle-blower.
£135 million '-- Britain's comparatively small amount of tax recovered from the Falciani leak.
140 '-- number of journalists from 45 countries to help unearth the secret accounts in Switzerland.
5 '-- the number of countries launching investigations into HSBC over client tax evasion and money-laundering allegations. They are Belgium, France, Argentina, the US, and Switzerland.
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HSBC whistle-blower claims a secret network worked to drag on the bank | Business Insider
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:02
Herv(C) Falciani, the French-Italian whistleblower who handed over 100,000 HSBC client accounts to French authorities in 2008, says his decision was prompted by an international network of secret agents and tax officers.
You may have thought of Falciani as a solitary whistleblower. But that's not the case.
In his latest book, ''La Cassaforte degli Evasori,'' Falciani describes the existence of a network of well-trained agents who worked in different roles to drag down the banking giant.
Here is how Falciani described it:
We were about a hundred people, all working towards the same objective, but only ten of us worked from within the bank. We were aware that, if the news about our actions would leak, we could have faced dangerous consequences both in our work and our lives.
Falciani says that he was contacted as early as 2006 by people from a highly-sophisticated organisation:
It wasn't me who tried to contact the secret services. It all happened through some people from HSBC branch in Geneva. They were not Swiss secret agents, I don't know what nationalities they were, but they were part of an organisation highly sophisticated and perfectly camouflaged. In Switzerland, I would learn, nothing is as it looks.
According to Falciani, Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on American citizens, was also in Geneva on behalf of the US Central Intelligence Agency.
''Snowden's team [in Geneva] was working on communication systems similar to the ones I had to use myself,'' Falciani writes.
Angelo Mincuzzi, co-author of Falciani's book and managing editor of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy's top business publication, alludes to a connection between the HSBC leak and the American secret service in the book's foreword:
The presence of several intelligence services suggests an undeclared war in the background, a war between the United States and Switzerland to abolish bank secrecy. It is possible, therefore, that the HSBC files were an instrument of clandestine negotiation on behalf of the United States.
In 2012, HSBC was fined $US1.9 billion (£1.25 billion) in the US in a deferred prosecution agreement over money laundering with drug cartels in Mexico.
At that time, it was the largest fine ever paid by a bank to the US government.
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HSBC files timeline: from Swiss bank leak to fallout | Business | The Guardian
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:02
Herv(C) Falciani leaked a cache of secret bank files that showed how HSBC's Swiss subsidiary helped wealthy customers avoid taxes and hide millions. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images
2006-07Herv(C) Falciani begins surreptitiously extracting client data from inside HSBC Suisse.
December 2008Falciani is arrested in Geneva. He is bailed but flees to France with the files. HSBC reveals that data has been stolen from its Swiss arm affecting 30,000 accounts.
January 2009French authorities refuse a Swiss extradition request and launch their own investigation into the data.
Early 2010French tax authorities begin informing other tax authorities around the world of the existence of the HSBC files.
February 2010Dave Hartnett, head of tax at Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), meets HSBC. He refuses to say what was discussed at the meeting.
April 2010HMRC receives the HSBC files.
July 2010The Financial Times reports that HSBC had asked the French courts to prevent the country's tax authority handing files to HMRC.
August 2010The prime minister, David Cameron, meets with HSBC chairman Stephen Green ''to discuss economic issues''.
September 2010Cameron meets Green a second time ''to discuss economic issues''.
The government announces Green is to be appointed as trade minister. The business secretary, Vince Cable, says: ''In Stephen we will be appointing a minister with a long career as a leading international banker, one of the few to emerge with credit from the recent financial crisis, and somebody who has set out a powerful philosophy for ethical business.''
November 2010Green joins the House of Lords.
December 2010Green steps down as group chairman of HSBC.
January 2011Green appointed minister of state for trade and investment.
September 2011Hartnett informs the Treasury select committee: ''I think the whole nation probably knows that our department has a disc from the Swiss '' from the Geneva branch of a major UK bank '' with 6,000 names, all ripe for investigation.''
July 2012BBC reports property developer Michael Shanly has pleaded guilty to tax evasion worth £430,000 in connection with the HSBC Swiss list.
December 2013Green steps down as minister of state for trade and investment.
January 2013Six months after retiring from HMRC, Hartnett joins HSBC as a consultant.
November 2014French judges place HSBC under official investigation for ''illicit financial and banking practices''.
Belgium charges HSBC with money laundering and fraud in connection with its Swiss arm.
Argentina charges HSBC with aiding tax evasion via its Swiss arm.
February 2015The Guardian and media organisations around the world publish revelations from the leaked files. HSBC admits wrongdoing at its Swiss arm and insists things have changed. A government spokesperson says that no minister had any knowledge of wrongdoing at HSBC prior to the HSBC files being reported in the press.
March 2015The French financial state prosecutor formally requests that HSBC's Swiss private bank be sent to criminal trial over tax fraud allegations.
'Yats' Is No Longer the Guy
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:57
Exclusive: Several weeks before Ukraine's 2014 coup, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nuland had already picked Arseniy Yatsenyuk to be the future leader, but now ''Yats'' is no longer the guy, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
In reporting on the resignation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the major U.S. newspapers either ignored or distorted Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's infamous intercepted phone call before the 2014 coup in which she declared ''Yats is the guy!''
Though Nuland's phone call introduced many Americans to the previously obscure Yatsenyuk, its timing '' a few weeks before the ouster of elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych '' was never helpful to Washington's desired narrative of the Ukrainian people rising up on their own to oust a corrupt leader.
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.
Instead, the conversation between Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt sounded like two proconsuls picking which Ukrainian politicians would lead the new government. Nuland also disparaged the less aggressive approach of the European Union with the pithy put-down: ''Fuck the E.U.!''
More importantly, the intercepted call, released onto YouTube in early February 2014, represented powerful evidence that these senior U.S. officials were plotting '' or at least collaborating in '' a coup d'etat against Ukraine's democratically elected president. So, the U.S. government and the mainstream U.S. media have since consigned this revealing discussion to the Great Memory Hole.
On Monday, in reporting on Yatsenyuk's Sunday speech in which he announced that he is stepping down, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal didn't mention the Nuland-Pyatt conversation at all.
The New York Times did mention the call but misled its readers regarding its timing, making it appear as if the call followed rather than preceded the coup. That way the call sounded like two American officials routinely appraising Ukraine's future leaders, not plotting to oust one government and install another.
The Times article by Andrew E. Kramer said: ''Before Mr. Yatsenyuk's appointment as prime minister in 2014, a leaked recording of a telephone conversation between Victoria J. Nuland, a United States assistant secretary of state, and the American ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, seemed to underscore the West's support for his candidacy. 'Yats is the guy,' Ms. Nuland had said.''
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. (Photo credit: Ybilyk)
Notice, however, that if you didn't know that the conversation occurred in late January or early February 2014, you wouldn't know that it preceded the Feb. 22, 2014 coup. You might have thought that it was just a supportive chat before Yatsenyuk got his new job.
You also wouldn't know that much of the Nuland-Pyatt conversation focused on how they were going to ''glue this thing'' or ''midwife this thing,'' comments sounding like prima facie evidence that the U.S. government was engaged in ''regime change'' in Ukraine, on Russia's border.
The 'No Coup' Conclusion
But Kramer's lack of specificity about the timing and substance of the call fits with a long pattern of New York Times' bias in its coverage of the Ukraine crisis. On Jan. 4, 2015, nearly a year after the U.S.-backed coup, the Times published an ''investigation'' article declaring that there never had been a coup. It was just a case of President Yanukovych deciding to leave and not coming back.
That article reached its conclusion, in part, by ignoring the evidence of a coup, including the Nuland-Pyatt phone call. The story was co-written by Kramer and so it is interesting to know that he was at least aware of the ''Yats is the guy'' reference although it was ignored in last year's long-form article.
Instead, Kramer and his co-author Andrew Higgins took pains to mock anyone who actually looked at the evidence and dared reach the disfavored conclusion about a coup. If you did, you were some rube deluded by Russian propaganda.
''Russia has attributed Mr. Yanukovych's ouster to what it portrays as a violent, 'neo-fascist' coup supported and even choreographed by the West and dressed up as a popular uprising,'' Higgins and Kramer wrote. ''Few outside the Russian propaganda bubble ever seriously entertained the Kremlin's line. But almost a year after the fall of Mr. Yanukovych's government, questions remain about how and why it collapsed so quickly and completely.''
The Times' article concluded that Yanukovych ''was not so much overthrown as cast adrift by his own allies, and that Western officials were just as surprised by the meltdown as anyone else. The allies' desertion, fueled in large part by fear, was accelerated by the seizing by protesters of a large stock of weapons in the west of the country. But just as important, the review of the final hours shows, was the panic in government ranks created by Mr. Yanukovych's own efforts to make peace.''
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Yet, one might wonder what the Times thinks a coup looks like. Indeed, the Ukrainian coup had many of the same earmarks as such classics as the CIA-engineered regime changes in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954.
The way those coups played out is now historically well known. Secret U.S. government operatives planted nasty propaganda about the targeted leader, stirred up political and economic chaos, conspired with rival political leaders, spread rumors of worse violence to come and then '' as political institutions collapsed '' watched as the scared but duly elected leader made a hasty departure.
In Iran, the coup reinstalled the autocratic Shah who then ruled with a heavy hand for the next quarter century; in Guatemala, the coup led to more than three decades of brutal military regimes and the killing of some 200,000 Guatemalans.
Coups don't have to involve army tanks occupying the public squares, although that is an alternative model which follows many of the same initial steps except that the military is brought in at the end. The military coup was a common approach especially in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s.
'Color Revolutions'
But the preferred method in more recent years has been the ''color revolution,'' which operates behind the fa§ade of a ''peaceful'' popular uprising and international pressure on the targeted leader to show restraint until it's too late to stop the coup. Despite the restraint, the leader is still accused of gross human rights violations, all the better to justify his removal.
Later, the ousted leader may get an image makeover; instead of a cruel bully, he is ridiculed for not showing sufficient resolve and letting his base of support melt away, as happened with Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.
But the reality of what happened in Ukraine was never hard to figure out. Nor did you have to be inside ''the Russian propaganda bubble'' to recognize it. George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, called Yanukovych's overthrow ''the most blatant coup in history.''
Which is what it appears if you consider the evidence. The first step in the process was to create tensions around the issue of pulling Ukraine out of Russia's economic orbit and capturing it in the European Union's gravity, a plan defined by influential American neocons in 2013.
On Sept. 26, 2013, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, who has been a major neocon paymaster for decades, took to the op-ed page of the neocon Washington Post and called Ukraine ''the biggest prize'' and an important interim step toward toppling Russian President Vladimir Putin.
At the time, Gershman, whose NED is funded by the U.S. Congress to the tune of about $100 million a year, was financing scores of projects inside Ukraine training activists, paying for journalists and organizing business groups.
As for the even bigger prize '-- Putin '-- Gershman wrote: ''Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.''
At that time, in early fall 2013, Ukraine's President Yanukovych was exploring the idea of reaching out to Europe with an association agreement. But he got cold feet in November 2013 when economic experts in Kiev advised him that the Ukrainian economy would suffer a $160 billion hit if it separated from Russia, its eastern neighbor and major trading partner. There was also the West's demand that Ukraine accept a harsh austerity plan from the International Monetary Fund.
Yanukovych wanted more time for the E.U. negotiations, but his decision angered many western Ukrainians who saw their future more attached to Europe than Russia. Tens of thousands of protesters began camping out at Maidan Square in Kiev, with Yanukovych ordering the police to show restraint.
Meanwhile, with Yanukovych shifting back toward Russia, which was offering a more generous $15 billion loan and discounted natural gas, he soon became the target of American neocons and the U.S. media, which portrayed Ukraine's political unrest as a black-and-white case of a brutal and corrupt Yanukovych opposed by a saintly ''pro-democracy'' movement.
Cheering an Uprising
The Maidan uprising was urged on by American neocons, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Nuland, who passed out cookies at the Maidan and reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their ''European aspirations.''
A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland's left.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, also showed up, standing on stage with right-wing extremists from the Svoboda Party and telling the crowd that the United States was with them in their challenge to the Ukrainian government.
As the winter progressed, the protests grew more violent. Neo-Nazi and other extremist elements from Lviv and other western Ukrainian cities began arriving in well-organized brigades or ''sotins'' of 100 trained street fighters. Police were attacked with firebombs and other weapons as the violent protesters began seizing government buildings and unfurling Nazi banners and even a Confederate flag.
Though Yanukovych continued to order his police to show restraint, he was still depicted in the major U.S. news media as a brutal thug who was callously murdering his own people. The chaos reached a climax on Feb. 20 when mysterious snipers opened fire, killing both police and protesters. As the police retreated, the militants advanced brandishing firearms and other weapons. The confrontation led to significant loss of life, pushing the death toll to around 80 including more than a dozen police.
U.S. diplomats and the mainstream U.S. press immediately blamed Yanukovych for the sniper attack, though the circumstances remain murky to this day and some investigations have suggested that the lethal sniper fire came from buildings controlled by Right Sektor extremists.
To tamp down the worsening violence, a shaken Yanukovych signed a European-brokered deal on Feb. 21, in which he accepted reduced powers and an early election so he could be voted out of office. He also agreed to requests from Vice President Joe Biden to pull back the police.
The precipitous police withdrawal opened the path for the neo-Nazis and other street fighters to seize presidential offices and force Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives. The new coup regime was immediately declared ''legitimate'' by the U.S. State Department with Yanukovych sought on murder charges. Nuland's favorite, Yatsenyuk, became the new prime minister.
Throughout the crisis, the mainstream U.S. press hammered home the theme of white-hatted protesters versus a black-hatted president. The police were portrayed as brutal killers who fired on unarmed supporters of ''democracy.'' The good-guy/bad-guy narrative was all the American people heard from the major media.
The New York Times went so far as to delete the slain policemen from the narrative and simply report that the police had killed all those who died in the Maidan. A typical Times report on March 5, 2014, summed up the storyline: ''More than 80 protesters were shot to death by the police as an uprising spiraled out of control in mid-February.''
The mainstream U.S. media also sought to discredit anyone who observed the obvious fact that an unconstitutional coup had just occurred. A new theme emerged that portrayed Yanukovych as simply deciding to abandon his government because of the moral pressure from the noble and peaceful Maidan protests.
Any reference to a ''coup'' was dismissed as ''Russian propaganda.'' There was a parallel determination in the U.S. media to discredit or ignore evidence that neo-Nazi militias had played an important role in ousting Yanukovych and in the subsequent suppression of anti-coup resistance in eastern and southern Ukraine. That opposition among ethnic-Russian Ukrainians simply became ''Russian aggression.''
Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)
This refusal to notice what was actually a remarkable story '' the willful unleashing of Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II '' reached absurd levels as The New York Times and The Washington Post buried references to the neo-Nazis at the end of stories, almost as afterthoughts.
The Washington Post went to the extreme of rationalizing Swastikas and other Nazi symbols by quoting one militia commander as calling them ''romantic'' gestures by impressionable young men. [See Consortiumnews.com's ''Ukraine's 'Romantic' Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.'']
But today '' more than two years after what U.S. and Ukrainian officials like to call ''the Revolution of Dignity'' '' the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is sinking into dysfunction, reliant on handouts from the IMF and Western governments.
And, in a move perhaps now more symbolic than substantive, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is stepping down. Yats is no longer the guy.
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 barnesandnoble.com).
Suspect arrested over attempted assassination of chief forensic expert in MH17 probe | Europe | News | The Independent
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 16:12
Police have arrested a man on suspicion of trying to assassinate the chief expert witness in the investigation into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet MH17.
Ukraine's most senior forensic scientist, Oleksandr Ruvin, was shot in the leg late last year in an attack that the authorities suspect was linked to his role in the crash probe.
In a short statement, the Ukrainian prosecutor's office said the country's chief military prosecutor, Anatoliy Matios, would hold a briefing later on Monday ''regarding the arrest of the killer who attempted to murder the chief expert on the case of the downed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777''.
A report into the downing of MH17 published in October 2015 confirmed the plane was shot down by a Russina-built Buk surface-to-air missile launched from eastern Ukraine.
MH17 Reconstruction Timelapse
The incident, in which 298 passengers and crew on board a routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed, and sparked a rapid review into the policy of allowing air traffic routes to pass over what is still a conflict zone.
While the Dutch Safety Board's report addressed ways in which the tragedy could have been avoided, it said it was for a criminal investigation to determine who was responsible for firing the missile which downed the plane.
That probe continues, with recent Dutch media reports suggesting evidence about the type of missile and where it was fired from will be presented ''before the second half of the year''.
Disgusted by incest? Genetic Sexual Attraction is real and on the rise
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 16:03
Isn't it disgusting? Isn't it funny? The woman who fell in love with her son.
But laugh I did not, as I read the tale of Kim West '' the 51-year-old who entered a romantic relationship with her child 30 years after giving him up for adoption.
Her story was splashed over the newspapers last week after she revealed how a reunion between the pair sparked an intense romance. Now they want to get married and start a family.
No one had their confetti ready though.Across the internet, West and her toy boy lover were treated as circus freaks, called ''sick on every level''. Some even demanded that West be sectioned and now it's emerged they've gone into hiding fearing a jail sentence.
It's interesting that the public was so outraged, because the couple's story is far from unique. In fact, a number of family romances have emerged over the last decade '' and I can't see them stopping any time soon. There have been cases of grandparents settling down with grandchildren, fathers and daughters in love, and even twins twinned up.
What makes all these relationships tick isn't love, or looks, or destiny, but '' more likely '' Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA). It's the phenomenon no one wants to talk about - because it raises a taboo topic: incest.
But it's real '' and with advances in fertility options, something we need to get our heads round. Fast.
GSA describes a powerful sexual attraction that occurs when biological relatives '' parent and offspring, siblings or half siblings or first and second cousins '' meet for the first time as adults. It was first identified in the 1980s by Barbara Gonyo, who fell madly in love with her son. After they reunited in adulthood, Gonyo struggled for 13 years to break off feelings for him.
That's what GSA is: a struggle. When people criticise West, they overestimate her degree of control in the situation. Often GSA sufferers feel powerless '' as if their feelings are impossible to change. There have been heartbreaking cases of families broken apart by GSA. It's an affliction; a curse for all those involved.
"A number of family romances have emerged over the last decade '' and I can't see them stopping any time soon."
Quite why GSA occurs is still up for discussion. There isn't a great deal of research into the area, because who wants a PhD in incest? Some researchers have hypothesised, however, that an effect in infancy protects against GSA. When families live closely together, they become desensitised to each other as sexual prospects. This desensitisation effect is said to happen between birth and age six. Without it, and when relatives meet later in life, GSA can occur. Evidence from the Post-Adoption Centre and University College London suggests that GSA it happens in 50 percent of reunion cases.
Put in this context, West becomes far less of a freak and more of regularity. It is only her pride in her relationship that has perplexed others, as many GSA couples feel deeply upset about what's happened to them. There are even communities online for them to anonymously discuss their relationships.
In the future, I hope they won't have to hide away. I think that will be less likely as a result of increases in fertility options, which have dramatically upped the potential for GSA cases.
Perhaps one of the biggest causes for concern is egg and sperm donation. Over the last few decades, it has never been easier for organisations '' and individuals - to dish out large quantities of eggs and sperm to different locations. The last Human Fertilisation & Embryology (HFEA) report shows that sperm donations, especially, have been rising since 2005 '' with many coming from the US and Denmark.
This seed sprinkling will essentially mean lots of children go through life without ever knowing their biological father and/ or mother, and other important close relatives, in the time where the desensitisation effect should happen.
"Those who succumb to GSA are not sickos, or freaks, but victims who desperately need help and understanding."
Should they never meet with their (unknown) biological family, then they will never put themselves at risk of GSA. But such reunions have become much easier '' especially as new rules brought out by the HFEA mean that any child conceived on or after April 2005 can now seek information on their parents when they turn 16 years old. This will inevitably mean more children discovering their biological relatives in adulthood, with the potential for hundreds, if not thousands, of more GSA cases.
And when these individuals do find that they have suddenly fallen in love with Mummy, Daddy, or Cousin Jimmy, there will be very limited routes to help them. Just as there are for Kim West.
Instead of mocking this tale of motherly love (gone too far), I wish people though of West as an opportunity to consider GSA, and how we can prevent and treat it in the future. Those who succumb to GSA are not sickos, or freaks, but victims who desperately need help and understanding. Their feelings are not controllable, but with scientific research and support, we can give them some degree in control over this devastating affliction. And stop the cases we know are bound to come and keep coming.
12 Shocking Cases Of Genetic Sexual Attraction - TheRichest
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 16:04
There's been a lot of talk lately about 'keeping it in the family'. A recent report states that family-themed adult entertainment has inexplicably spiked in popularity over the last year '' by almost 700% in parts of the U.S. Where does this fascination come from, and is this last taboo ever actually broken outside of a Silicone Valley sound stage?
The short answer? Yes.
The phenomenon of genetic sexual attraction is sexual attraction between two close relatives. It's believed to be triggered when two family members are estranged early in life. Failing to form the family bonds which create a natural taboo around sexual bonding, they risk interpreting intense familiarity as sexual attraction.
Barbara Gonyo coined the term in 1980. She reported feeling overwhelmingly attracted to her own estranged son upon meeting him later in life. However, her son's unresponsiveness towards her attraction meant she never acted on it. Known as GSA, genetic sexual attraction is reported in a full 50% of reunion cases between adults separated by early adoption.
The inherent and almost universal societal taboo around incestuous sexual relationships means that GSA is often accompanied by debilitating feelings of guilt and depression. Due to the illegal nature of these relationships in many countries, most of those afflicted will be forced to hide the relationship or deny it. The following twelve people, some anonymous, have publicly spoken about their experiences of GSA in shocking, taboo-shattering testimonials that shook the world.
12. The German Siblings Who Have Four Kids
Via images.teinteresa.es
In Germany, having sex with a close relative is an offense punishable by up to three years imprisonment. Patrick St¼bing has faced this jail term, but his sister and wife has been fighting hard to get this law abolished.
At the time Patrick's sister, Susan, was born, he was already estranged from his mother. Years later, the three were reunited. Six months later, their mother suffered a heart attack and died. Soon after, Patrick and Susan fell head over heels for each other and brought four children into the world.
Two of the couple's children have disabilities, which haven't been traced back to inbreeding. Patrick has confirmed that the couple decided to have more children, even after the German authorities took their first baby away from them.
11. The Brazilian Siblings
via independent.co.uk
Adrianna and Leandro were both orphans. They had been married for 10 years before discussing the whereabouts of their respective parents. The two had both been abandoned by their parents at a young age.
Adrianna knew her mother's name as Maria. Maria abandoned Adrainna at the tender age of one. Coincidentally, Leandro's mother was also named Maria. She abandoned him at the age of eight.
One day, Adrianna called the Globo Radio station that specializes in reconnecting lost relatives and finally got a chance to talk to her long lost mother '' but this was just the beginning. Before hanging up, her mother also told her that he had an estranged son known as Leandro. Shocked, Adrianna quickly realised that she and her husband shared the same estranged mother.
10. The 18 Year Old and Her Father
A father and his daughter '' who have chosen to remain nameless '' lost contact for 12 years. When these two relatives met, sparks flew.
The daughter has been conceived when her parents were 18 years old, but the dad in question abandoned his wife while she was still pregnant and had not seen his daughter since she was 4 years old. Fast-forward 12 years and the 17 year old and her father began chatting online. They knew they were related and found out they had lots in common, down to a love for The Big Bang Theory.
The father soon invited his daughter to his house, and within days that had developed a sexual relationship. Two years down the line, they're planning to tie the knot and build a family together.
9. Barbara Gonyo and Her Son
via Current TV
Barbara Gonyo, the woman behind the term Genetic Sexual Attraction, experienced it at the age of 42.
Barbara fell pregnant at 16 but was forced to give her son up for adoption. 26 years later, in 1979, the two were reunited. At that time, Barbara developed a strong sexual attraction towards her son. She says she fantasized about him, to the point of obsession.
On the other hand, her son Mitch was entirely unresponsive. Despite this indifference, Barbara's desire to sleep with her son grew so wild that she admitted she had never felt such attraction, even towards her husband. However, twelve years of hard work thwarting those thoughts paid off and she was able to save her marriage and salvage a normal relationship with her son.
8. Barbara Gonyo's Client
As a renowned GSA expert, Barbara serves as a councillor to a number of other sufferers. One of her unnamed clients confessed to sleeping with his mother after finding her at the age of 21.
This went on for several years before stopping. The man stated that his mother ended the strange act because it was too emotionally painful for her. The excruciating guilt tore her up, and she was also fearful of being caught.
Although people trapped in a GSA relationship may be fully aware and willing, most suffer humiliating guilt. The man in this story reportedly said that he never regretted sleeping with his mother, but what depressed him was losing her. Barbara reports that such depressed feelings may even leave a GSA sufferer feeling suicidal.
7. The Twins Who Got Hitched
A pair of twins was separated at birth and the two were adopted by separate families. Years later, they met as strangers and experienced an instant attraction towards each other.
They proceeded to get married, allegedly without knowing their true relationship. When their relationship came to light, the legal system in the UK threatened to annul their marriage.
In 2008, Lord Alton stood before the House of Lords and presented this case. The Lord explained that a judge had cancelled the marriage '' but the couple maintained they never knew they were siblings at the time of their marriage. The house agreed that to prevent such GSA cases, it was imperative to uphold children's rights that make them aware of their biological parents.
6. Rachel and Shawn
Rachel and Shawn (not their real names) dated for four years before getting married. In all that time, they never knew that one man fathered them both. Rachel is Shawn's half sister. They were born 28 days apart.
Although they're now aware of their biological relationship, they say their marriage works. They go to bed together, they go to work, and they eat dinner like a normal family. They also have a good intimate relationship. Despite this, Rachel has second thoughts about having children with her half-brother, due to genetic concerns.
The two found out about their relationship after they made a commitment to seek out their unknown fathers at the age of 27. After finding out the truth, they now believe that their genetic resemblance did, indeed, intensify their attraction.
5. Sally and Her Son
Sally was reunited with her son 30 years after she gave him up for adoption. She vowed to be part of his life again, at some time in the future when she felt ready.
Two weeks after the meeting, Sally started feeling strong sexual desires towards her son. She said that, though the feeling was bizarre, she was sure she was falling in love with him. They spent their initial days cuddling and hugging. Soon after, they began having sex. Sally said that it was the most phenomenal thing she has ever encountered in her life. Meanwhile, her son also stated that he had found the idea partner in his mother.
4. Paul and His Sister
Upon meeting his biological sister, Paul, from British Columbia, immediately felt a strong attraction towards her. Even though he was married, Paul recounted that it was like meeting the perfect soul mate you always dream of. His strong feelings made him want to leave all else and walk into the sunset with his sibling.
These feelings transformed into a sexual relationship. For Paul, there was nothing wrong with wanting to ''physically, emotionally and soulfully'' bond with her sister in this way.
The affair went on for a while until his wife got wind of it. Paul ended his sexual relationship with his sister, and his wife has since likened the experience to ''growing pains''.
3. The Grandmother-Grandson Relationship
Via madworldnews.com
After Phil Bailey's mother died, Phil embarked on a search for his grandmother. He unearthed her address and wrote her a letter.
His grandmother, Mrs. Carter, was elated to hear from her grandson. They began emailing each other. Phil emailed her one of his pictures and she says she found him to be 'a handsome and sexy man.' She reports knowing that she would not have a normal relationship with Phil.
Upon meeting, both felt a flood of sexual attraction towards each other. Soon, they were kissing, and the kissing grew into a regular sexual relationship. In 2010, they paid a surrogate £20,000 to give birth to their first child. Both of them are still very much in love despite public ridicule and the very obvious taboos surrounding the strange relationship.
2. Ivor Lytton and His Twin Sister
Ivor successfully tracked down his estranged twin sister in South Africa and planned a dinner party to meet her.
In Ivor's own words, ''From the moment we met, I was smitten, and continued to be drawn to her like a magnet. As I got to know her, I felt she had given me a life transmission. She put a smile in my heart and a spring in my step.''
However, falling in love with his biological sister has had dire consequences for Ivor and his family. Ivor has suffered massive depression, as his sister doesn't reciprocate his feelings.
1. John and Jenny Deaves
Via resources1.news.com.au
John Deaves had been married twice before initiating a sexual relationship with his once-estranged daughter. His second wife always encouraged him to get in touch and form a bond with the children from his first marriage. So, he complied.
However, John and Jenny Deaves developed intense non-platonic feelings towards each other upon meeting. This, of course, angered the second wife and she left. Both John's first and second wives joined forced and notified the police of the inappropriate relationship.
John and Jenny were able to evade the authorities for eight years until court proceedings put paid to their relationship in 2008. Prior to this, they had given birth to a healthy daughter in 2007.
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Genetic sexual attraction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 16:03
Genetic sexual attraction (GSA) is sexual attraction between close relatives, such as siblings or half-siblings, a parent and offspring, or first and second cousins, who first meet as adults.[1]
The term was coined in the US in the late 1980s by Barbara Gonyo, the founder of Truth Seekers In Adoption, a Chicago-based support group for adoptees and their new-found relatives.[2]
Contributing factors[edit]People tend to select mates that are like themselves, which is known as assortative mating. This holds both for physical appearances and mental traits. People commonly rank faces similar to their own as more attractive, trustworthy, etc. than average.[3] However, Bereczkei (2004) attributes this in part to childhood imprinting on the opposite-sex parent. As for mental traits, one study found a correlation of 0.403 between husbands and wives, with husbands averaging about 2 IQ points higher. The study also reported a correlation of 0.233 for extraversion and 0.235 for inconsistency (using Eysenck's Personality Inventory). A review of many previous studies found these numbers to be quite common.[4]
Heredity produces substantial physical and mental similarity between close relatives. Shared interests and personality traits are commonly considered desirable in a mate. The heritability of these qualities is a matter of debate but estimates are that IQ is about 80% heritable, and the big five personality factors are about 50% heritable. This data is for adults in Western countries.[5]
For the above reasons, genetic sexual attraction is presumed to occur as a consequence of genetic relatives meeting as adults, typically as a consequence of adoption. Although this is a rare consequence of adoptive reunions, the large number of adoptive reunions in recent years means that a larger number of people are affected.[6] If a sexual relationship is entered, it is known as incest.
GSA is rare between people raised together in early childhood due to a reversesexual imprinting known as the Westermarck effect, which desensitizes them to later close sexual attraction. It is hypothesized that this effect evolved to prevent inbreeding.[7][8]
Instances[edit]A brother and sister couple in Germany, Patrick St¼bing and Susan Karolewski, fought their country's anti-incest laws. They grew up separately, met in 2000 when he was 23 and she was 15. He moved in with his mother and sister and the couple had four children which began in January 2001, the month after their mother died. Their appeal was rejected in 2008, upholding Germany's anti-incest laws.[9][10]
Kathryn Harrison published a memoir in the 1990s regarding her four-year incestuous relationship with her biological father, whom she had not seen for almost 20 years prior to beginning the relationship, titled The Kiss.[11]
A couple in South Africa who had been together for five years had a child and discovered that they are brother and sister just before their wedding. They were raised separately and met as adults in college.[12]
At age 18, Garry Ryan left his pregnant girlfriend and moved to the United States. The daughter, Penny Lawrence, grew up and later set out to find her missing father. When they met, they "both felt an immediate sexual attraction". They then lived together as a couple and as of April 2012 were expecting their first child together.[13]
In August 2012, a 32-year-old father and his 18-year-old daughter were convicted of incest after they admitted to having an incestuous relationship which began in August 2010 when the girl was 16. The incest continued until May 2012 and resulted in the couple having a daughter, who was born in 2011. The teen told the court she was in love with her father and that they had been living as 'husband and wife' after meeting each other in 2010.[14]
In popular culture[edit]J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion features the story of Tºrin and Nienor, siblings who meet in adulthood (Tºrin having been sent away from home before his sister's birth). Because of Nienor's amnesia, the two fail to recognise one another and marry, which results in Nienor's pregnancy.In the novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Estha and his sister, Rahel, are twins who were separated at a young age and then reunited as adults. In the book, sexual intercourse between the two is implied but not confirmed.In the original Star Wars movies, Luke Skywalker and his twin sister, Princess Leia, experienced a mild case of GSA. In The Empire Strikes Back, they even shared a kiss, although Leia did this mainly to make Han Solo jealous. Upon learning they are brother and sister, they move past their initial attraction and found other love interests.The anime and manga series Koi Kaze tells the story of a brother and sister (ages 27 and 15, respectively) who gradually fall in love with each other when they are reunited after a ten-year separation. As their feelings grew, they faced whether to continue their relationship and face ostracism, have a platonic relationship, or take their own lives. They end up deciding to stay together and keep their relationship a secret. A similar case occurs in Please Twins!, in which tells the tale of twins who are the same age and have met previously.In the manga Tsumi Ni Nureta Futari, Kasumi and Yoshiki are siblings who reunite after being separated most of their lives. On their first meeting, without knowing their biological relationship, have a one night stand. Even after learning the truth, they attempted to continue their relationship but face rejection from their mother, friends, and love rivals. At the end, Yoshiki fakes his death in order to allow him and Kasumi to run away and be together.In the manga True Love, Ai and Yuzuru are siblings who had been separated for 9 years following their parent' divorce. They start to fall in love and tried to resist due to their love being forbidden. After compromising to end their relationship, they make love for the first time, and Ai decided to get married. Yuzuru finds out he is not Ai's biological brother (in fact, he learns his real parents were siblings) and they get back together.The film Oldboy tells the story of a man who falls in love with his sister. As revenge for her death he tricks another man to fall in love with a young girl. The girl turns out to be the man's daughter, whom he has not seen since she was a child.In the Dollanganger series, Corrine and Christopher, the parents of Cathy and her siblings, were initially thought to have been uncle and niece who met for the first time as ages 14 and 17 respectively (in the fifth book, they were revealed to have been half-siblings). They fell in love at first sight and became lovers, which led to them being disinherited and disowned by her parents. They then ran away together, got married, and had four children.In the book Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, siblings Lochan and Maya are raising their younger siblings together, they see each other as friends and eventually fall in love. They kiss and have sexual intercourse throughout the book.See also[edit]^BBC America: Brothers and Sisters in Love^Kirsta, Alix (17 May 2003). "Genetic sexual attraction". The Guardian. ^Penton-Voak, I.S.; et al. (Spring 1999). "Computer graphic studies of the role of facial similarity in judgements of attractiveness"(PDF). Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social18 (1): 104''117. doi:10.1007/s12144-999-1020-4. ^Watson, David; Klohnen, Eva C.; Casillas, Alex; Nus Simms, Ericka; Haig, Jeffrey; Berry, Diane S. (1 October 2004). "Match Makers and Deal Breakers: Analyses of Assortative Mating in Newlywed Couples". Journal of Personality72 (5): 1029''1068. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3506.2004.00289.x. PMID 15335336. ^Bouchard, Thomas J. (1 August 2004). "Genetic Influence on Human Psychological Traits. A Survey". Current Directions in Psychological Science13 (4): 148''151. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.00295.x. ^Bob McKeown; Aziza Sindhu (May 7, 2009). "Part 2: Genetic Sexual Attraction '' Part One". The Current (CBC Radio). ^Lieberman, Debra; Tooby, John; Cosmides, Leda. "The architecture of human kin detection". Nature445 (7129): 727''731. doi:10.1038/nature05510. PMC 3581061. PMID 17301784. ^Fessler, Daniel M.T.; Navarrete, C.David. "Third-party attitudes toward sibling incest". Evolution and Human Behavior25 (5): 277''294. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2004.05.004. ^Kate Connolly, "Brother and sister fight Germany's incest laws", The Guardian, 27 February 2007. Accessed 20 May 2008.^Dietmar Hipp: "Dangerous Love: German High Court Takes a Look at Incest". Der Spiegel, 11 March 2008.^Harrison, Kathryn (1997). The Kiss. Avon Books, Inc. ISBN 0-380-73147-9. ^STEWART MACLEAN, "Engaged couple discover they are brother and sister when their parents meet just before wedding", Daily Mail, 3 November 2011. Accessed 9 November 2011.^"Woman carries father's baby and claims: We're in love". The Journal (Dublin, Ireland). 23 March 2011. ^"New Zealand father-daughter couple told to end incest". BNO News. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. References[edit]Further reading[edit]External links[edit]
Convicted Sex Offender Leads Transgender Rights Effort in North Carolina - Breitbart
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 22:58
Chad Sevearance is president of the Charlotte Business Guild, which describes itself as ''a network of LGBT professionals, business owners, employees and individuals in the Charlotte area who meet to nurture a network of business contacts; encourage fellowship and support among community business, professional and charitable pursuits; and provide and promote positive role models in the LGBT community.''
Sevearance and his group have taken a lead role in seeking the right to allow males to use the restrooms and showers of females, including those of little girls, which is described by advocates as nothing more than nondiscrimination measures. Sevearance was quoted in the Charlotte Observer saying that because a recent bathroom ''nondiscrimination ordinance'' bill did not pass, ''someone can ask me to leave a restaurant because I'm presumed to be gay or transgender.''
In 1998, Sevearance worked as a youth minister and in that capacity allegedly lured younger men to his apartment to spend the night where Severance showed them pornography and tried to talk them into sex. One boy testified that he woke up to find Severance ''fondling him.'' Severance was convicted on one charge of sexual molestation of a minor.
As a result of his 2000 conviction, Sevearance must register with the police on a regular basis for a minimum of ten years. His most recent mug shot and registration took place at the end of last year.
A reporter with the Charlotte Observer confirmed for Breitbart News that the Chad Sevearance they frequently quote is the same man who was convicted for sexual assault of a minor in 2000.
Repeated calls to the Charlotte Business Guild went unanswered.
Both the webpage and the Facebook page of Severance's group have been disabled.
Poppy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:07
Poppies are herbaceousannual, biennial or short-lived perennial plants. Some species are monocarpic, dying after flowering. Poppies can be over 4 feet tall with flowers up to six inches across. The flowers have 4 to 6 petals, many stamens forming a conspicuous whorl in the centre of the flower and an ovary consisting of from 2 to many fused carpels. The petals are showy, may be of almost any color and some have markings. The petals are crumpled in the bud and as blooming finishes, the petals often lie flat before falling away. Poppies are in full bloom late spring to early summer.[1] Most species secrete latex when injured. Bees use poppies as a pollen source. The pollen of the oriental poppy, Papaver orientale, is dark blue, that of the field or corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is grey to dark green.[2] The opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is mainly grown in eastern and southern Asia, and South Eastern Europe. It is believed that it originated in the Mediterranean region.[3]
Poppies belong to the subfamily Papaveroideae of the family Papaveraceae, which includes the following genera:
The flowers of most poppy species are attractive and are widely cultivated as annual or perennial ornamental plants. This has resulted in a number of commercially important cultivars, such as the Shirley poppy, a cultivar of Papaver rhoeas and semi-double or double (flore plena) forms of the opium poppy Papaver somniferum and oriental poppy (Papaver orientale). Poppies of several other genera are also cultivated in gardens. A few species have other uses, principally as sources of drugs and foods. The opium poppy is widely cultivated and its worldwide production is monitored by international agencies. It is used for production of dried latex and opium, the principal precursor of narcotic and analgesic opiates such as morphine, heroin and codeine. Poppy seeds are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein. Poppy oil is often used as cooking oil, salad dressing oil, or in products such as margarine. Poppy oil can also be added to spices for cakes, or breads. Poppy products are also used in different paints, varnishes, and some cosmetics (Jonsson and Krzymanski, 1989).
Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: Sleep because the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead.[4] Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. This symbolism was evoked in the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.[4]
A second interpretation of poppies in Classical mythology is that the bright scarlet color signifies a promise of resurrection after death.[6]
The poppy of wartime remembrance is Papaver rhoeas, the red-flowered corn poppy. This poppy is a common weed in Europe and is found in many locations; including Flanders, which is the setting of the famous poem "In Flanders Fields," by the Canadian surgeon and soldier John McCrae. In Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, artificial poppies (plastic in Canada, paper in the UK, Australia, South Africa, Malta and New Zealand) are worn to commemorate those who died in war. This form of commemoration is associated with Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11. In Canada, Australia and the UK, poppies are often worn from the beginning of November through to the 11th, or Remembrance Sunday if that falls on a later date. In New Zealand and Australia, soldiers are commemorated on ANZAC day (April 25),[7] although the poppy is still commonly worn around Remembrance Day. Wearing of poppies has been a custom since 1924 in the United States. Miss Moina Michael of Georgia is credited as the founder of the Memorial Poppy in the United States.[8][9][10]
Ancient Egyptian doctors would have their patients eat seeds from a poppy to relieve pain. Poppy seeds contain small quantities of both morphine and codeine,[12] which are pain-relieving drugs that are still used today. Poppy seeds and fixed oils can also be nonnarcotic because when they are harvested the morphine practically disappears from the seeds twenty days after the flower has opened (Jonsson and Krzymanski, 1989).
The California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is the state flower of California.
In Mexico, Grupo Modelo, the makers of Corona beer, used red poppy flowers in most of its advertising images until the 1960s.
A poppy flower is depicted on the reverse of the Macedonian 500-denar banknote, issued in 1996 and 2003.[13] The poppy is also part of the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia.
The powerful symbolism of Papaver rhoeas has been borrowed by various advocacy campaigns, such as the White Poppy and Simon Topping's black poppy.
The girl's given name "Poppy" is taken from the name of the flower.[14]
Artificial poppies (called "Buddy Poppies") are used in the veterans' aid campaign by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which provides money to the veterans who assemble the poppies and various aid programs to veterans and their families.[15]
Canada issued special quarters (25-cent coins) with a red poppy on the reverse in 2004, 2008 and 2010. The 2004 Canadian "poppy" quarter was the world's first colored circulation coin.[16]
Opium poppy with seed head
Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)
Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) seeds
White poppy seeds. There are about 140,000 poppy seeds to the ounce.[17]
Kutia, a sweet grain pudding traditionally served in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia
^Simon,J.E., Chadwick, A.F. and Craker L.E. (1984) Herbs: An indexed bibliography, 1971-1980: the scientific literature on selected herbs, and aromatic and medicinal plants of the Temperate Zone. Elsevier, Amsterdam and New York. ISBN 0444996265^Dorothy Hodges (1952). The pollen loads of the honeybee. Bee Research Association Ltd., London. ^Kryzmanski, J. and Jonsson, R. (1999) Poppy. In: Robbelon, G., Downey, R.K., Ashri,A.(eds.), Oil Crops of the World. Their Breeding and Utilization. McGraw Hill, New York, ISBN 00-705-30816. p. 388-393.^ abL. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p. 173, ISBN 0-517-50086-8^"Queen visits Tower of London poppy garden". BBC News. Retrieved 6 November 2014^Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, 24. 15 p. 96, ISBN 0-14-001026-2^Graham Seal (2004). Inventing Anzac: the digger and national mythology. Univ. of Queensland Press. pp. 105''. ISBN 978-0-7022-3447-7. Retrieved 18 September 2010. ^"Miss Moina Michael". ^World Book; Inc (2003). The World Book dictionary. World Book.com. pp. 1622''. ISBN 978-0-7166-0299-6. Retrieved 18 August 2010. ^United States of America Congressional Record. Government Printing Office. pp. 10121''. GGKEY:8F7NFQJ525R. Retrieved 18 August 2010. ^Jared Diamond (1997) Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. W W Norton & Co, ISBN 0-393-03891-2. p. 101^Meadway, C., George, S. and Braithwaite, R. (1998) Opiate concentration following the ingestion of poppy seed products '' evidence for 'the poppy seed defence'. Forensic Science International 96, 29''38^National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonian currency. Banknotes in circulation: 500 Denars (1996 issue) & 500 Denars (2003 issue). '' access date 30 March 2009^"Meaning and origin of the name Poppy". Baby Names UK. Retrieved 16 August 2015. ^Veterans of Foreign Wars Buddy Poppy Website^Canadian Poppy Coins^Dr. Hutchins, R. E. 1965. The Amazing Seeds. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company
Afghan Taliban announce spring offensive
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:06
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) '-- The Taliban announced the start of their warm-weather fighting season on Tuesday, vowing "large-scale attacks" in the 15th year of their war against the U.S.-backed Afghan government.
In an email to media, the militants said the spring offensive had begun at 5 a.m. They dubbed the campaign "Operation Omari" in honor of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, who died three years ago.
The Taliban added that in areas under their control, "mechanisms for good governance will be established so that our people can live a life of security and normalcy." The insurgents control several rural districts and last year seized the northern city of Kunduz and held it for three days.
The Taliban said they would try to avoid killing civilians or destroying civilian infrastructure, and would carry out a "dialogue with our countrymen in the enemy ranks" to try to convince them to join the insurgency.
More than 11,000 civilians were killed or wounded in 2015, according to the U.N.
The Taliban went through a period of infighting after Mullah Omar's death became public last summer. Mullah Omar's deputy, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, had run the insurgency in his name and was elected as his successor by a small clique amid mistrust from the rank and file.
The dispute had little impact on the battlefield, however, where the Taliban have advanced on a number of fronts over the past year. And in recent months, Mansoor has consolidated power, bringing several onetime rivals back into the fold.
The Taliban said late Monday that around 20 fighters with a local Islamic State affiliate in the eastern Nangarhar province had pledged their support for Mansoor. It would be the first time IS militants, many of whom are disgruntled former Taliban members, have joined the Taliban in the province, which has seen heavy fighting between the rival jihadi groups.
The Kabul government has meanwhile been working with the U.S., China and Pakistan -- which has some influence over the Taliban -- to revive peace negotiations, but the insurgents earlier this year refused to take part in any talks.
The fighting subsides in much of Afghanistan during the winter, when snow and inclement weather descends on the mountainous border with Pakistan, making it difficult for the militants to travel back and forth and stage attacks.
But the Taliban remained on the march in the warmer south of the country, where they threatened or briefly seized strategic territory in three provinces.
The violence is expected to intensify once the poppy harvest in the southern provinces is finished in coming weeks. The Taliban will deploy extra forces to protect smuggling routes used for arms, minerals and other contraband that fund the insurgency.
Jabbar Qahraman, presidential envoy to Helmand, said most of the estimated 5,500 government troops and police killed in action in 2015 lost their lives in the opium-producing southern province. He blamed not only the Taliban but an "opium mafia" working with them. The drugs gangs "are a big headache as they are so active, and they have the full support of Taliban fighters in Helmand, each helping the other to their own benefit," he said.
Most of the world's heroin is produced from Helmand's poppy crop, worth up to $3 billion a year, with much of the profits going to fund the insurgency. Officials and diplomats in Kabul have said that Mansoor is the kingpin of this illicit trade.
Local officials say security forces have been overwhelmed by months of heavy fighting across Helmand. Ali Shah Khan, a tribal elder in Sangin district '-- which was under attack for weeks '-- said Kabul had been warned of the Taliban threat "so many times but no one listened and that is why the Taliban have gained control of more than half of the province."
At one point in December, the province's former deputy governor, Abdul Jan Rasoolyar, issued a plea for help on his Facebook page, warning that the entire province could fall.
"Without good leadership and coordination between the security forces, they just let the Taliban gain control over more territory," Khan told the Associated Press last week.
U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, shifting instead to a training and advisory role while continuing to carry out counterterrorism operations.
But as the situation in Helmand deteriorated last year, some 800 U.S. soldiers were sent there in the first deployment since the drawdown.
Some 13,000 U.S. and NATO forces remain in Afghanistan.
Associated Press writer Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, contributed to this story.
This story has been corrected to show that the figure of 11,000 casualties includes civilians who were killed or wounded.
ISIS puts out hit on Huma | New York Post
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 21:31
ISIS on Wednesday put out a hit list targeting moderate Muslims '-- including top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The list '-- in the latest edition of the terror group's magazine Dabiq'' targets several other prominent Muslims including US Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and British pols Sayeeda Warsi and Sajid Javid.
Abedin, the wife of former rep. Anthony Weiner, and other targets are branded ''overt crusaders'' and ''politically active apostates,'' who ''involve themselves in the politics and enforcing laws of the kufr [disbelievers].''
Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin told The Post he had no comment about ISIS' hit list.
Also in the 14th edition of the magazine, ISIS celebrates the Brussels bombings and identifies the key jihadists behind the terror.
''Paris was a warning. Brussels was a reminder,'' the magazine said in a threat of more violence. ''What is yet to come will be more devastating and more bitter by the permission of Allah, and Allah prevails.''
Brothers Khalid (left) and Ibrahim El BakraouiPhoto: Getty ImagesBrothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, who blew themselves up in the attacks on the Belgian capital, were responsible for ''all preparations for the raids in Paris and Brussels,'' the English-language magazine reported, for the first time referring to the jihadis by name.
Khalid, 27, and Ibrahim, 29, were convicted carjackers and bank robbers who had spent time in a Belgian prison, where they joined the ISIS cause, the magazine said.
Despite their radicalization, authorities failed to flag them as extremists, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Belgian prosecutors.
Dabiq described Khalid as a ''man of strong character, a natural leader'' who had three visions.
In his first vision, which he reportedly had while locked up, he claimed he saw the Prophet riding on a horse in battle.
''The vision took me beyond the battlefield. I saw myself as an archer shooting arrows at the enemy. I would shoot, take cover, then shoot again,'' he said.After being released, the magazine said, he began amassing a cache of weapons and explosives.
The second vision supposedly came after the Paris attacks.
Rescue workers gather victims in the 10th district of Paris following the attacks on Nov. 13.Photo: AP''I arose to a high place, as if I was in space, surrounded by stars; but the sky was like the blue of night,'' he said.
Khalid said he dreamed that he heard the voice of Allah telling him to ''fight for His cause and make His word supreme.''
In the final vision, he said he saw himself on a boat with his brother, where they had Turkish soldiers as hostages.
''I had a pistol and AbŠSulaymān (Ibrahim) had a belt. I told him to give me his belt, as I would feel better having it,'' he said.
''So he gave me the belt and I gave him my pistol. I then quickly advanced with the Turkish hostage in order to close in on other soldiers, two of whom were in front of us.
''I detonated my belt, killing the soldiers. My head then descended to the ground. One of the brothers working on the operation and Shaykh al-'AdnānÄ took my head and said 'Check to see if he is smiling or not.'
''I then saw my soul and those of the three soldiers. All of a sudden, the soldiers' souls burned and vanished and, suddenly, the banner of Islam '-- represented in the dream by the flag of the Islamic State '-- came out of the earth and was shining brightly. My soul then became full of light.''
He said his dream ended with a voice telling him that he had achieved ''deliverance.''
Khalid went on to kill 14 people at a Brussels Metro station.
The magazine also described Najim Laachraoui, 24, a Belgian of Moroccan descent who blew himself up at the Brussels airport, as the bomb maker for both the Paris and Brussels attacks.
Laachraoui, who joined ISIS in 2013, was assisted by Algerian-born Mohamed Belkaid, 40, who was killed in a police raid in Brussels shortly before the attacks that killed 32 people in the Belgian capital.
Meanwhile, three suspects arrested Tuesday in a raid in the Brussels neighborhood of Uccle in connection with the Paris attacks have been released without charges, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Rescue workers at the site of the subway station explosion.Photo: AP
Broken windows at the scene of explosions at the Brussels airport.Photo: Reuters
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US strikes al Qaeda's 'Khorasan Group' in Syria | The Long War Journal
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:37
The short bearded man standing in the middle is Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa, who was killed in an airstrike this week. The second man to his left (the reader's right) is Mohammed Islambouli.
The US struck senior al Qaeda leaders in Syria twice this week. ''These airstrikes were focused on targeting key Al Qaeda leaders who pose a threat to the US, our allies and our national security interests,'' CENTCOM announced today. CENTCOM added that the slain jihadists were ''core'' al Qaeda members.
The first airstrike killed Abu Firas al Suri, a longtime al Qaeda veteran who served on Al Nusrah Front's shura (advisory) council and was also the group's spokesman for a time.
Jihadists on social media identified one of those killed in the second bombing as Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa, a veteran Egyptian jihadist who first worked with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri in the 1980s and 1990s. Musa was released in the wake of the Egyptian uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. He eventually fled Egypt, making his way to Turkey and Syria.
The photo seen above was posted on social media by a supporter who mourned Musa's loss. Another jihadist seen in the image, which was first tweeted in July 2015, is Mohammed Islambouli.
US intelligence officials have identified both Musa and Islambouli as leaders in al Qaeda's so-called ''Khorasan Group.''
Mohammed Islambouli is the brother of Anwar Sadat's assassin, Khalid Islamobuli. He is the equivalent of royalty within al Qaeda because of his jihadist pedigree and longtime commitment to jihad. The UN mysteriously removed Islambouli from its al Qaeda sanctions list in October 2015, but he is still one of the US government's designated terrorists.
Islambouli's role in al Qaeda's so-called ''Khorasan Group'' was reported by NPR in October 2014. NPR said that US officials were ''concerned'' he ''might be directing the'' Khorasan Group. NPR also explained that Islambouli ''is very close to'' al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.
Several US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal subsequently confirmed Islambouli's leadership role in what al Qaeda calls the ''Khorasan Shura.'' (This is the same body that is commonly referred to as the ''Khorasan Group'' in the press.)
The Khorasan Shura is an elite body within al Qaeda that is charged with overseeing multiple aspects of the jihadist group's global operations. Plotting against the West is just one part of the Khorasan Shura's mission. In al Qaeda's hierarchy, the Khorasan Shura sits above al Qaeda's regional branches and is responsible for overseeing various aspects of the jihadists' paramilitary operations, especially in Syria.
Islambouli lived in Iran for years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While living in Iran, he led a contingent of jihadists in Gamaa Islamiya (IG) who formally merged with al Qaeda. Musa was once one of the IG's most senior officials as well.
Declassified files recovered in Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan compound demonstrate Islambouli's importance within al Qaeda. In one document, dated Oct. 20, 2010, bin Laden stressed the importance of protecting Islambouli, who had apparently evacuated northern Pakistan, after leaving Iran, for Kunar, Afghanistan. Bin Laden wanted to make sure that Islambouli was not killed in the American drone campaign.
''He [Islambouli] should be informed of the nature of work and he should be consulted on things that are being discussed,'' bin Laden wrote, in reference to some ongoing projects.
Following the uprising that dethroned Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Islambouli relocated to Egypt, where the longstanding terror-related charges against him were dropped. Once back in his native Egypt, Islambouli joined other jihadist figures in proselytizing for their cause. One of his companions was an old ally: Musa, who had been freed from an Egyptian prison.
Islambouli and Musa left Egypt shortly after Mohamed Morsi's Islamist regime was deposed from power. They enjoyed a hospitable environment in Morsi's Egypt, but under President Abdel Fattah el Sisi's rule they would have risked becoming wanted men once again. Press reports place the pair in several countries after their departure from Egypt in 2013, but they reportedly landed in Turkey.
Indeed, some of the Khorasan Shura's most important leaders, including Musa and Islambouli, have been based in Turkey. They are also known to travel into Syria, where Musa was killed.
Foreign Policy first reported that the US targeted the Khorasan Group (or Shura) in Idlib, Syria this week. In its account, Foreign Policy also linked to a video produced by the pro-jihadist On the Ground News showing the wreckage of a vehicle that was blown to pieces while carrying several al Qaeda members.
Social media accounts that track the jihadists' in Syria have identified another one of the casualties as a Belgian fighter known as Abu Sulayman al Belgiki.
Attempt to ''unify the ranks''
On his Facebook page, Gamaa Islamiya (Islamic Group, or IG) leader Assem Abdel Maged wrote that Musa was in Syria as part of ''a mission to unify the ranks of Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham.''
Al Nusrah is al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, whereas Ahrar is a jihadist group that has been seeded with al Qaeda veterans. Some of al Qaeda's veteran operatives in Syria have tried to hide their presence in Ahrar al Sham's senior leadership.
While still being close jihadist allies, Al Nusrah and Ahrar have differed on some tactical questions. They have also bickered in recent weeks.
In January, Al Nusrah and Ahrar discussed a potential merger. Abu Muhammad al Julani, Al Nusrah's emir, reportedly proposed a unity plan. But some Ahrar figures decided to reject it, arguing that it wouldn't work unless the combined entity could publicly distance itself from al Qaeda. [See LWJ report, Al Nusrah Front chief proposed rebel unity plan.]
This does not mean that Ahrar al Sham is opposed to al Qaeda or anything of the sort. The jihadists seek to maximize the support they receive from throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in order to better coordinate the insurgency against Bashar al Assad and his allies. The jihadists long ago realized that the al Qaeda brand name can act as a hindrance when trying to achieve their objectives.
For example, bin Laden's letters reveal that he told Shabaab, which became a formal branch of al Qaeda in 2012, to keep its al Qaeda ties secret. Bin Laden calculated that Shabaab would be more successful in acquiring external support from throughout the Gulf if people and governments didn't recognize it as part of al Qaeda's global network. Ayman al Zawahiri instructed Al Nusrah Front, which initially was not branded as an al Qaeda group, to keep quiet on its al Qaeda status as well. Zawahiri's reasoning was the same as bin Laden's: Al Nusrah's prospects for success in Syria were better if it avoided the international scrutiny that comes with the al Qaeda brand name. Al Qaeda also embedded veterans in other jihadist organizations, such as Ahrar al Sham, as part of its effort to hide its influence in the insurgency.
Musa may have been involved in arbitrating recent disputes between Ahrar and Al Nusrah. But he was also likely involved in the unification discussions. One proposal would have required the jihadists to announce that they are not tied to any external actors. This would allow the jihadists to portray their cause as a purely Syrian endeavor and avoid the same issues that bin Laden and Zawahiri sought to avoid. Musa may have even been in favor of this proposal.
Long hunted by American authorities
Musa was first hunted by American authorities in the 1990s.
Musa's al Qaeda ties were publicly recognized by the US government as early as 1998. In February of that year, he was included as a signatory on al Qaeda's infamous fatwa justifying terrorist attacks against American civilians. Some sources would later claim that Musa didn't really sign the fatwa, but his relationship with al Qaeda was well-established.
The Clinton administration's November 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda members responsible for the Aug. 7, 1998 embassy bombings noted that al Qaeda has ''functioned both on its own and through some of the terrorist organizations that operated under its umbrella.'' The indictment then named the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), headed by Ayman al Zawahiri, and the IG, which was headed by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and Musa, as two groups that fall under al Qaeda's ''umbrella.'' Rahman, the IG's longtime spiritual leader, was already imprisoned in the US at the time for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and follow-on plots against New York City landmarks.
Musa was specifically named by Clinton-era federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in al Qaeda's terror.
In the months that followed the US government's indictment, the CIA gathered intelligence suggesting that Musa was directly involved in anti-American terrorist plots.
On Sept. 13, 2000, the FBI recorded a conversation between Musa and an IG member residing in the US named Ahmed Sattar. An American court would later convict Sattar of passing messages from Sheikh Rahman to his followers.
Citing a senior US attorney, the New York Daily News described the conversation between Musa and Sattar in an article published in April 2002. The pair ''discussed planned terrorist attacks similar to Luxor'' and Musa mentioned ''a second Luxor.'' (The IG massacred dozens of tourists at an archaeological site near Luxor, Egypt in 1997.) They used the code word ''weddings'' to describe future operations. Additional conversations between Musa and Sattar were also documented in the US government's federal indictment of Sattar.
On Sept. 21, 2000, just over one week after the FBI recorded the conversation between Musa and Sattar, Al Jazeera aired a video showing bin Laden and Zawahiri demanding the release of Sheikh Rahman. Sitting between the two al Qaeda masters was Musa. ''By God, we all have a duty toward'' Rahman ''to free him,'' Musa said. Al Qaeda's dynamic duo agreed.
Less than one month later, on Oct. 10, 2000, al Qaeda bombed the USS Cole. Musa released a statement praising the attack.
''Our officers and soldiers, and the sons of our people in Egypt, should learn the lesson of the US destroyer in Aden,'' Musa said, ''they have the Suez Canal through which dozens of US and Jewish ships pass.''
Musa continued to advocate for terrorism in the months that followed.
''In early 2001,'' the State Department reported in its Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001, ''IG leader Rifa'i Ahmad Taha Musa published a book in which he attempted to justify terrorist attacks that result in mass civilian casualties.'' Foggy Bottom warned that while some IG members had renounced violence, Musa led a ''faction'' of the IG that remained committed to terrorism. While the group's ''[p]rimary goal is to overthrow the Egyptian Government and replace it with an Islamic state,'' Foggy Bottom reported, ''disaffected IG members, such as those potentially inspired by Taha Musa or [Sheikh Rahman], may be interested in carrying out attacks against US and Israeli interests.''
Musa disappeared after authoring the book, but the CIA was on his trail.
In his autobiography, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet explains that Musa was tied to pre-9/11 terrorist plots against Americans.
Tenet wrote that ''intelligence assessments painted a picture of a plot to kidnap Americans in India, Turkey, and Indonesia.'' The plot ''was said to be the work of'' Musa, who was ''then living in Damascus.'' Musa ended up in Syria after reportedly being ''expelled from Iran,'' but the Syrians arrested him after the US provided a ''tip'' concerning his whereabouts in late 2001. Other reports confirm that Musa was deported from Syria to Egypt.
Musa ''had put out numerous fatwas against the United States in the several months prior to his arrest,'' Tenet wrote. The former CIA head explained that the CIA kept ''a photograph of [Musa] seated right between the two of them,'' referring to the appearance by bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Musa on Al Jazeera in September 2000.
''Talk about Toxic Trio,'' Tenet wrote.
Anti-American, pro-al Qaeda protest in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012
Musa publicly reappeared during the Sept. 11, 2012 protest in front of the US Embassy in Cairo. In a video produced by a jihadist media group known as Al Farouq, Musa called on followers to rise up in protest against the trailer for a previously obscure anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims. A screen shot of Musa at the protest can be seen on the right.
''We call on Muslim youth in the world to respond in a practical way,'' Musa said during the protest at the US Embassy in Cairo, according to a translation of the video by SITE Intelligence Group. ''There are a billion Muslims worldwide, and if they were strong and honorable we would have defended the honor of the Prophet, Allah's peace and prayer be upon him, and America wouldn't have gotten to this way.''
Musa was not the only al Qaeda-linked jihadist to attend the US embassy protest in Cairo. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda-linked jihadists helped incite 9/11 Cairo protest.]
Mohammed al Zawahiri, the brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, admittedly helped stage the protest. He said that he called upon members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a designated terrorist organization that merged with al Qaeda, to attend. The younger Zawahiri has been imprisoned in Egypt multiple times, but was recently released once again.
Less than two weeks after the embassy protest in Cairo, Musa was interviewed by Asharq Al-Awsat. He was asked about the ''the Anti-Islam film which insults the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the subsequent attack on the American embassy in Cairo.'' Musa did not comment on the embassy assault, but branded the film ''a criminal act'' and called on the Egyptian government to ''sever diplomatic ties with the United States and expel the US ambassador, if only for a short period of time.''
Musa added: ''As for the United States, we treat it as an enemy, and we do not consider it a friend of the Arabs and Muslims.''
As for al Qaeda, Musa admitted his organization has had a relationship with the group. ''Yes, there was a relationship between al Qaeda and the Islamic Group, but it was not in the form of a common organizational framework,'' Musa claimed. ''It was similar to a relationship between any two political parties. There were exchanged benefits.''
Those benefits include collusion on terrorist plots. Asharq Al-Awsat asked Musa about his role in the 1995 assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia. Musa did not deny having a role in the plot, saying only that the ''Islamic Group attempted to assassinate Mubarak in many locations, including Addis Ababa'' and the ''arrangements for this operation were made (by Islamist leaders) abroad.''
Osama bin Laden himself had a hand in the IG's 1995 assassination plot against Mubarak. The 9/11 Commission found that Mubarak's ''would-be killers, who came from the Egyptian Islamic Group, had been sheltered in Sudan and helped by Bin Laden.''
Top jihadists are often coy about their real role in al Qaeda's operations. Given Musa's reported meetings with Ahrar al Sham, which has spread disinformation about its al Qaeda ties, it is likely that some will try to distance Musa from al Qaeda.
However, the US has strict rules of engagement concerning which parts of al Qaeda can be targeted in Syria. For instance, the US military often draw a misleading line between al Qaeda's Khorasan Group and Al Nusrah Front. In general, only those al Qaeda terrorists known to pose a threat to the West are targeted. And America's target list this week included Musa.
Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.
Tags:Ahrar al Sham, Al Nusrah Front, Al Qaeda, Khorasan Group, Mohammed Islambouli, Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa, Syria, Turkey
Hillary Email: Get Gaddafi To Stop Pan-African Currency
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 11:23
France wanted to get rid of Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi to stop his plan to create a pan-African currency, according to a Hillary Clinton email published by Wikileaks.
The April 2, 2011 email from Sidney Blumenthal to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explains that freezing Libya's foreign bank accounts would not stop Gaddafi's ability to fight a Western-backed rebellion that began in early February of that year.
Sidney Blumenthal
Quoting confidential sources, Blumenthal explains that Gaddafi was using approximately 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount of silver, to fund his military and intelligence operations. The precious metal reserves were valued at the time to be more than US$7 billion.
''This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar,'' Blumenthal writes. ''This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).''
The CFA is the currency used in Western Africa, which was mostly controlled by the French during the colonial period. France remains the dominant influence in the region and most West Africans speak French.
News of Gadaffi's plan committed then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy to decapitate the Libyan government, Blumenthal claims in the email.
On 27 February 2011, the National Transitional Council was established to administer the areas of Libya under rebel control. On 10 March 2011, France became the first state to officially recognize the council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
In addition to stopping Gadaffi's long-term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa, Blumenthal explains that Sarkozy had four objectives in getting rid of the Libyan leader; grabbing a larger share of Libyan oil production, increase French influence in North Africa, improve his own internal position within French politics, and reassert France's role as a military power in the world.
While Blumenthal's email appears to clear Secretary Clinton of any involvement in getting rid of Gadaffi, the United States was covertly involved in the Libyan rebellion from the very beginning.
As previously reported, the U.S. and Egypt had been training anti-Gadaffi forces for months in eastern Libya and centered around Benghazi, the de facto center of the uprising. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the use of covert American forces for the effort; British special forces and MI6 secret intelligence service agents were also used.
Another email released from Wikileaks shows Secretary Clinton supported the Obama Administration's effort to ignite the civil war in Syria as ''the best way to help Israel'' accept a nuclear Iran.
NA-Tech News
Uber, Lyft running 'deceptive' commercial on Prop. 1,... | www.mystatesman.com
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 04:01
HighlightsThe ad says Prop. 1 would require companies to keep doing background checks, but that's true even if it loses.
A former Austin council member charges that the companies are running a ''misinformation campaign.''
No, Prop. 1 supporters say, the deceiving element is the ballot language crafted by the Austin City Council.
Uber and Lyft send a ''deceptive'' message in a commercial running on Austin television, former Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison said Tuesday, charging that the ride-hailing companies have ''poured millions of dollars into a disinformation campaign, misleading the public by pretending that the council wants to drive them out of town.''
Morrison pointed to a sentence near the end of that 60-second spot, which shows a series of serene-looking drivers and passengers riding around while an announcer talks about the ride-hailing companies' safety practices. The spot, paid for by the Ridesharing Works for Austin political action committee (itself wholly financed by Uber and Lyft), is called ''Safety we can count on.''
The troubling sentence for Morrison is: ''On May 7, vote for Prop. 1 to require Uber and Lyft to keep doing criminal background checks.'' However, drivers for the transportation network companies would be required to undergo criminal background checks no matter how the election comes out. What the vote will determine is whether those background checks are based on information such as drivers' names, Social Security numbers and driver's licenses (if Proposition 1 passes) or also on fingerprinting (if voters reject Prop. 1).
''It does a disservice to the people of Austin for them to be casting it that way,'' Morrison said, ''when the fact of the matter is Prop. 1 would forbid the recommended and critical background checks of fingerprinting.''
Travis Considine, a spokesman for Ridesharing Works, swatted back Morrison's critique.
''The ad is accurate,'' Considine said in an email. ''A vote for Prop. 1 keeps things operating as they have since City Council acted two years ago. Plain and simple. It is the ballot language which is engineered to be misleading.''
Morrison spoke at a news conference called by Prop. 1 opponents and attended by about 100 supporters, including six members of the current City Council, Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea and former state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos. The Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice political action committee, which is fighting an up-Everest financial battle at this point with Uber and Lyft, organized the event.
The speakers doubled down on what has become the primary anti-Prop. 1 talking point: that Uber and Lyft, having plowed about $2.2 million into the May 7 campaign, are trying to purchase their own regulatory scheme in Austin. The Our City PAC, in financial reports turned in last week, showed about $15,000 spent so far, less than 1 percent of what Uber and Lyft have put in.
''We cannot let businesses regulate themselves,'' said former Austin school board President Gina Hinojosa, who is the Democratic candidate for state House District 49. ''I don't care how cool or innovative or useful they are.''
Former Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, named this week to be chairman of the Ridesharing Works campaign effort, was part of the majority in a 6-1 council vote in October 2014 that passed an ordinance very similar to the one that would become Austin law again if Prop. 1 passes. Neither that 2014 law nor the proposed company-back ordinance underlying Prop. 1 require ride-hailing companies' drivers to be fingerprinted as part of a background check.
But an ordinance passed by the current council in December does require fingerprinting, something Uber and Lyft oppose. Prop. 1 would repeal that December ordinance.
Leffingwell, in an interview with the American-Statesman, said he is being compensated for his role in the campaign but declined to say how much. He rejected the idea that Uber and Lyft are imposing their own regulations.
''What Uber and Lyft did was appeal the City Council decision with a legal state process involving a petition, and leave the final decision to the voters,'' Leffingwell said. ''(Save Our Springs) was done this way, the no-smoking ordinance was done this way, the 10-1 council was done this way.
''It is not like the City Council is totally sovereign in this matter.''
Uber says gave U.S. agencies data on more than 12 million users | Reuters
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:17
Tue Apr 12, 2016 | 2:22 PM EDT
By Narottam Medhora
(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Tuesday released its first ever transparency report detailing the information requested by not only U.S. law enforcement agencies, but also by regulators.
The ride-sharing company said that between July and December 2015, it had provided information on more than 12 million riders and drivers to various U.S. regulators and on 469 users to state and federal law agencies. (ubr.to/1WpJwyX)
The privately held company, valued at more than $60 billion, said the agencies requested information on trips, trip requests, pickup and dropoff areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers.
Uber said it got 415 requests from law enforcement agencies, a majority of which came from state governments, and that it was able to provide data in nearly 85 percent of the cases.
A large number of the law enforcement requests were related to fraud investigations or the use of stolen credit cards, according to the report.
Uber said it had not received any national security letters or orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act.
The company has not disclosed such requests for information from other countries.
'UBER-Instacart, Total Wine & More team up for Austin alcohol delivery | www.mystatesman.com
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:21
HighlightsAustin has posted the state's highest per-capita alcohol sales in recent years.
Total Wine & More opened its first Austin-area location in Sunset Valley in May 2015.
In another sign of Austin's growing thirst for on-demand alcohol deliveries, Instacart said Tuesday that it is adding Total Wine & More as its newest local partner.
The news comes after the fast-growing delivery service joined forces with Houston-based Spec's late last year and as several on-demand alcohol delivery apps have launched locally in recent years.
Alcohol is big business in Austin, which has posted the state's highest per-capita alcohol sales in recent years.
''It's a continued growth of this 'Uber' world that we live in, particularly in Austin,'' said Dwight Hill, a Dallas-based partner with retail consulting firm McMillan Doolittle.
Austin marks the second city where Instacart will offer deliveries from Maryland-based Total Wine & More, the largest U.S. independent retailer of wine and liquor with about 100 U.S. locations. The partnership first debuted in Miami.
Total Wine & More opened its first Austin-area location in Sunset Valley in May 2015 and added a Cedar Park store in October.
''Instacart allows us to provide the convenience of same-day delivery as part of our focus on an optimal customer service experience,'' said John Jordan, senior vice president of customer experience at Total Wine & More.
San Francisco-based Instacart, which delivers from dozens of grocery retailers in 19 U.S. markets, debuted in Austin in May 2014 and has 10 area retail partners, including Whole Foods Market and H-E-B. It added Spec's in November.
Customers ordering alcohol on Instacart must show proof of age with delivery.
''As we continue to expand the grocery shopping experience'... Total Wine & More is a welcomed partner in the Instacart marketplace,'' said Vishwa Chandra, vice president of retail accounts at Instacart.
Instacart's pricing program allows retailers such as Whole Foods, Petco and Total Wine & More to offer in-store prices because of special agreements. Meanwhile, prices for retailers such as H-E-B and Spec's may see a markup because Instacart sets prices in those cases.
Instacart offers a free, first delivery for new customers and otherwise charges $5.99 for one-hour delivery and $3.99 for two-hour delivery.
Austin has seen a growing list of on-demand alcohol delivery apps in the past two years, such as Thirstie, Drizly, Top Shelf, Minibar and Dallas-based Lash.
Austin-based BrewDrop was the first app to launch in the spring of 2014. On Tuesday, it was acquired by New York-based delivery.com for an undisclosed amount.
''Since BrewDrop already dominates alcohol delivery in Austin, they're the perfect partner,'' said delivery.com CEO Jed Kleckner.
Delivery.com said the burgeoning on-demand alcohol market is rapidly growing into a key revenue driver for the website.
Staff writers Arianna Auber and Gary Dinges contributed to this report
Uber transparency report
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 04:54
In this report, Uber is providing a comprehensive overview of information that was provided to U.S. state and local regulators and law enforcement agencies between July and December 2015.Regulatory reporting requirementsUber connects riders and drivers in a highly regulated transportation sector. Regulatory agencies like the California Public Utilities Commission and the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits oversee offline services like electricity, construction and taxis in addition to Uber rides. They are empowered by law to require regulated transportation companies to report information about their operations. Responses to these requirements are listed below.Law enforcement requestsLike other companies, we receive requests from law enforcement agencies for information about our riders and drivers during the course of a criminal investigation or other emergency. Details about these requests are also included below.Regulatory Reporting RequirementsRegulated transportation companies are required by law to provide certain information about their operations to local regulatory agencies. These agencies may request information about trips, trip requests, pickup and dropoff areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers in their jurisdictions for a given time period. In some cases, reporting requirements for online companies may differ or exceed what regulators demand from offline companies. And in other cases, online companies are requested to produce different types of information'--like an electronic trip receipt with a trip route instead of a paper log. Both occur because regulators assume that technology companies maintain and therefore should provide these records. The statistics here show how many riders and drivers were affected by regulatory reporting requirements, the number of times we attempted to narrow or aggregate the scope of the information requested, and whether we were successful in our attempt to do so.Total requestsRiders affected There is a risk that information like pickup and dropoff locations may allow government agencies'--or anyone else who obtains this information'--to identify individual riders by associating it with publicly available records. That is why we've specified the total number of riders whose trip details have been reportedDrivers affectedCompliance3311,644,000583,000As required21.2%As required, after negotiating narrower scope42.4%As required, unsuccessfully tried to narrow scope36.7%City/stateComplianceTotal riders affectedTotal drivers affectedAustinAs required, unsuccessfully tried to narrow scope00Burlington, VTAs required after narrowing scope00CaliforniaAs required5,419,000299,000CaliforniaAs required after narrowing scope
FBI paid professional hackers one-time fee to crack San Bernardino iPhone - The Washington Post
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:10
The FBI has found a way into San Bernardino Syed Farook's iPhone, and is now dropping bids to force Apple to help them crack into the phone. See all the latest developments in the case, and why the case isn't over yet. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)
The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist's phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone's four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said.
The researchers, who typically keep a low profile, specialize in hunting for vulnerabilities in software and then in some cases selling them to the U.S. government. They were paid a one-time flat fee for the solution.
[FBI has accessed San Bernardino shooter's phone without Apple's help]
Cracking the four-digit PIN, which the FBI had estimated would take 26 minutes, was not the hard part for the bureau. The challenge from the beginning was disabling a feature on the phone that wipes data stored on the device after 10 incorrect tries at guessing the code. A second feature also steadily increases the time allowed between attempts.
The bureau in this case did not need the services of the Israeli firm Cellebrite, as some earlier reports had suggested, people familiar with the matter said.
The U.S. government now has to weigh whether to disclose the flaws to Apple, a decision that probably will be made by a White House-led group.
The people who helped the U.S. government come from the sometimes shadowy world of hackers and security researchers who profit from finding flaws in companies' software or systems.
Some hackers, known as ''white hats,'' disclose the vulnerabilities to the firms responsible for the software or to the public so they can be fixed and are generally regarded as ethical. Others, called ''black hats,'' use the information to hack networks and steal people's personal information.
At least one of the people who helped the FBI in the San Bernardino case falls into a third category, often considered ethically murky: researchers who sell flaws '-- for instance, to governments or to companies that make surveillance tools.
This last group, dubbed ''gray hats,'' can be controversial. Critics say they might be helping governments spy on their own citizens. Their tools, however, might also be used to track terrorists or hack an adversary spying on the United States. These researchers do not disclose the flaws to the companies responsible for the software, as the exploits' value depends on the software remaining vulnerable.
In the case of the San Bernardino iPhone, the solution brought to the bureau has limited shelf life.
FBI Director James B. Comey has said that the solution works only on iPhone 5Cs running the iOS 9 operating system '-- what he calls a ''narrow slice'' of phones.
Apple said last week that it would not sue the government to gain access to the solution.
Still, many security and privacy experts have been calling on the government to disclose the vulnerability data to Apple so that the firm can patch it.
[As encryption spreads, U.S. grapples with clash between privacy, security]
If the government shares data on the flaws with Apple, ''they're going to fix it and then we're back where we started from,'' Comey said last week in a discussion at Ohio's Kenyon College. Nonetheless, he said Monday in Miami, ''we're considering whether to make that disclosure or not.''
The White House has established a process in which federal officials weigh whether to disclose any security vulnerabilities they find. It could be weeks before the FBI's case is reviewed, officials said. The policy calls for a flaw to be submitted to the process for consideration if it is ''newly discovered and not publicly known.''
''When we discover these vulnerabilities, there's a very strong bias towards disclosure,'' White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel said in an October 2014 interview, speaking generally and not about the Apple case. ''That's for a good reason. If you had to pick the economy and the government that is most dependent on a digital infrastructure, that would be the United States.''
But, he added, ''we do have an intelligence and national security mission that we have to carry out. That is a factor that we weigh in making our decisions.''
The decision-makers, which include senior officials from the Justice Department, FBI, National Security Agency, CIA, State Department and Department of Homeland Security, consider how widely used the software in question is. They also look at the utility of the flaw that has been discovered. Can it be used to track members of a terrorist group, to prevent a cyberattack, to identify a nuclear weapons proliferator? Is there another way to obtain the information?
In the case of the phone used by the San Bernardino terrorist, ''you could make the justification on both national security and on law enforcement grounds because of the potential use by terrorists and other national security concerns,'' said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.
A decision also can be made to disclose the flaw '-- just not right away. An agency might say it needs the vulnerability for only a few months.
''A decision to withhold a vulnerability is not a forever decision,'' Daniel said in the earlier interview. ''We require periodic reviews. So if the conditions change, if what was originally a true [undiscovered flaw] suddenly becomes identified, we can make the decision to disclose it at that point.''
Adam Goldman contributed to this report.
Read more:
FBI: It's 'simply too early' to say whether anything valuable is on the San Bernardino iPhone
FBI weighs if it can share hacking tool with local law enforcement
Tim Cook: Protecting America from itself '-- and protecting Apple from America
Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She focuses on issues relating to intelligence, technology and civil liberties.
AT&T's plan to watch your Web browsing'--and what you can do about it | Ars Technica
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:25
Aurich vs Star Wars
If you have AT&T's gigabit Internet service and wonder why it seems so affordable, here's the reason'--AT&T is boosting profits by rerouting all your Web browsing to an in-house traffic scanning platform, analyzing your Internet habits, then using the results to deliver personalized ads to the websites you visit, e-mail to your inbox, and junk mail to your front door.
In a few select areas including Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Missouri'--places where AT&T competes against the $70-per-month Google Fiber'--Ma Bell offers its own $70-per-month "GigaPower" fiber-to-the-home Internet access. But signing up for the deal also opts customers in to AT&T's ''Internet Preferences'' program, which gives the company permission to examine each customer's Web traffic in exchange for a price that matches Google's.
Further ReadingFurther ReadingAT&T charges at least another $29 a month ($99 total) to provide standalone Internet service that doesn't perform this extra scanning of your Web traffic. The privacy fee can balloon to more than $60 for bundles including TV or phone service. Certain modem rental and installation fees also apply only to service plans without Internet Preferences.
It wouldn't be accurate to say that paying extra gives customers "enhanced" privacy; paying those monthly fees that add up to hundreds of dollars more per year simply provides the same level of privacy customers would get from other Internet providers, or from AT&T's slower DSL and fiber-to-the-node services.
AT&T says Internet Preferences tracks "the webpages you visit, the time you spend on each, the links or ads you see and follow, and the search terms you enter.'' This helps AT&T serve ads targeted to each user based on that person's interests. And advertisers are willing to pay more when they know their ads will be shown only to the people most likely to be interested in their products.
Because AT&T can see almost everything you do online, no matter what websites you visit, the company may be in even better position to serve targeted ads than Web behemoths like Google and Facebook. While Google apparently doesn't impose anything similar to Internet Preferences on its fiber Internet, the company's cable service is delivering targeted TV ads based on its customers' viewing history.
As a side note, AT&T's best pricing may not be available in cities where it doesn't compete against Google Fiber. In Dallas, where Google Fiber hasn't arrived, AT&T was charging $120 a month for gigabit service and still requiring the customer to opt in to Internet Preferences.
''AT&T watches everything''Some Ars readers think AT&T has gone too far. "Google watches you use Google services, AT&T watches everything and only matches Google's price. Scumbag AT&T," Ars forum member arkiel wrote.
''A customer may receive an ad or a promotion on behalf of an advertiser'--through an ad network placement on a website or otherwise,'' an AT&T spokesperson told Ars. ''Customers' personal information is never given to that advertiser.''
The personalized offers don't just appear on websites, they also come "via e-mail or through direct mail," AT&T says. "If you search for concert tickets, you may receive offers and ads related to restaurants near the concert venue. After you browse hotels in Miami, you may be offered discounts for rental cars there. If you are exploring a new home appliance at one retailer, you may be presented with similar appliance options from other retailers... if you search for a car online, you may receive an e-mail notifying you of a local dealership's sale."
You can't opt out from AT&T's e-mail spam without paying the higher price, so worried customers should make sure not to give AT&T a preferred e-mail address. "Based on your consent to receive ads and offers through AT&T Internet Preferences, we will continue to send you marketing e-mails related to the program. You may opt-out of receiving these e-mails by choosing not to participate in the AT&T Internet Preferences and switching to GigaPower Standard pricing," AT&T says.
AT&T describes Internet Preferences as ''opt-in,'' but its website advertises the lower price without mentioning the traffic scanning unless you click ''See offer details.'' Even then, you have to click another link to find out what Internet Preferences actually is. Take a look:
AT&T's advertised prices are the lower ones that require customers to opt in to Internet Preferences, AT&T's program that examines its customers' browsing and serves personalized ads. But nothing on the home page makes that clear.
Is it legal?US laws against wiretapping have exceptions for cases in which there is ''consent.'' If Internet Preferences was ever challenged in court, the question would be whether AT&T's disclosures and opt-in system provide enough information to users.''There are always questions about consent being willful and informed,'' Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien told Ars. ''The reason legally it's important is under federal law it won't be unlawful for them to look at this stuff if you consent to them looking at it.''
Federal regulators could examine the program to see whether it breaks privacy laws, but ''AT&T has tried very hard to cover its bases'' by disclosing the basic parameters of the data collection, Tien said. ''I think they've done a decent job'... they would have an argument that they have made reasonable disclosures. I think that someone challenging it would have arguments that they didn't really get consent in the right way.''
AT&T's website certainly pushes customers to opt in to Internet Preferences. Even if you read the disclosures and understand exactly what Internet Preferences consists of, declining the offer makes Internet, TV, and phone service significantly more expensive.
To find out exactly how much it costs to opt out of traffic scanning and personalized ads, you have to go through AT&T's checkout process. GigaOm's Stacey Higginbotham tested this last month and found that for bundled services including TV, the privacy fee was actually as high as $66 per month.
Prices change over time. When testing this out directly last week, we found price differences ranging from $29 to $62 a month'--up to $744 a year. But it's actually worse than that. Only service with Internet Preferences can be hooked up without installation or activation fees. Declining Internet Preferences thus adds another $49 or $99 in up-front costs.
Additionally, service with Internet Preferences comes with a three-year price guarantee (with a one-year contract required). There is no such guarantee without Internet Preferences, so AT&T could raise your bill whenever it wants.
One Ars reader viewed the lack of a one-year commitment as a positive: "[T]he surcharge also eliminates the annual contract requirement," TexasFight wrote. "I refuse to sign up for GigaPower for a year at a time, so I pay the surcharge." Still, the pace at which Internet and TV prices rise makes three-year price guarantees attractive to many consumers.
Shut Up Slave!
Court rules warrantless collection of cellphone location data constitutional | US news | The Guardian
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:44
The ACLU said that cellphone location records could reveal details such as 'when the defendant spent the night at home and spent the night at a different neighborhood'. Photograph: Alamy
A federal appellate panel on Wednesday rejected a constitutional challenge to warrantless collection of cellphone location records, increasing the potential for the US supreme court to consider the legality of the practice.
In a 22-page opinion issued by the sixth circuit court of appeals, the judges said the Federal Bureau of Investigation's collection of records from wireless carriers for phone numbers connected to two Detroit men was constitutional.
Timothy Carpenter and Timothy Sanders, who were convicted for their role in a string of cellphone store robberies, argued the practice was a constitutional violation under the fourth amendment. A brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union noted that the location tracking in this case reveals the ''extraordinary private details'' police can obtain via location tracking, including where the defendants may worship and who they may be sleeping with.
The appellate panel disagreed in the ruling, saying the pair had ''no expectation of privacy'' for location information. The judges added the records are unprotected, as they ''say nothing about the content of any calls''.
In early 2011, law enforcement officials arrested four men suspected in a string of armed robberies around metro Detroit. One of the men confessed to multiple robberies and proceeded to cooperate with the FBI, handing over his phone number, as well as 16 others linked to other possible suspects. Investigators then sought orders to obtain records for ''cell site information'' for the phone numbers on incoming and outgoing calls over several months, the opinion said.
The judges granted the orders. The ACLU found investigators obtained records that included nearly 13,000 separate location points for Carpenter, and more than 23,000 for Sanders, which they calculated was an average of one every six minutes.
As a result, Carpenter and Sanders were charged with aiding and abetting multiple robberies. The pair's motion to suppress the cell location data, contending that a warrant with probable cause was required to obtain the records, was denied by the lower court. The opinion said that Carpenter was described in court as the organizer of several robberies, where Sanders ''had served as lookout''.
The court reasoned that the defendants do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in ''third-party'' data such as that from a cellphone carrier. The judges also distinguished between the content of communications such as emails and location information.
''[T]he cell-site data '' like mailing addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses '' are information that facilitate personal communications, rather than part of the content of those communications themselves,'' the ruling stated.
ACLU attorney Nate Wessler disagreed.
''When we did our own analysis of this location records '... we were able to tell things like when the defendant spent the night at home and spent the night at a different neighborhood,'' Wessler said. ''These records when they're aggregated can be very sensitive and it's very important that our understanding of the fourth amendment keeps pace with the advancing technology.''
Judge Jane Stranch joined the majority opinion but took issue with the ''sheer quantity of sensitive information procured without a warrant,'' which ''raises Fourth Amendment concerns''. Stranch also said there was a need to develop a new test to determine when a warrant is needed to obtain similar records.
''The runaway pace of technological development makes this task more difficult,'' she said. ''But the job is ours nonetheless and the circumstances before us lead me to believe that we have more work to do to determine the best method.''
The ruling is consistent with separate regional appeals courts, but conflicts with an August ruling by the fourth circuit court of appeals, which found that: ''Even as technology evolves, protections against government intrusion should remain consistent with those privacy expectations society deems reasonable.''
Wessler said he believes the conflicting opinions suggest ''more courts certainly will be taking up this question at the appellate panel''.
''And perhaps the supreme court will have to weigh in eventually to set a consistent standard across the country,'' he said.
The US attorney's office in Detroit, which prosecuted the case, declined to comment.
Carpenter's attorney, Harold Gurewitz, said his client may ask the sixth circuit to rehear the case or petition the supreme court for consideration.
''It concerns an issue that I think is important,'' he said, ''one that's been raised in other courts across the country, both state and federal, so it is important and we're going to look at it real quickly.'' Gurewitz said the supreme court needs to step in to resolve the issue at some point.
''Technology has moved forward at a speed that has continued to increase,'' he said. ''And I think it's time to give the [supreme] court an opportunity to talk about how the law ought to address these '... issues.''
Sanders was already serving a 30-year sentence for murder, and received an additional 14 years for his role in two robberies. Carpenter was sentenced to over 116 years in prison, which the court also found to be legal.
''Carpenter has a long criminal history,'' the opinion said. ''In this case, as the district court observed, Carpenter organized and led several 'very violent' robberies that put his victims 'in extreme danger'.''
Why should Turkish cleric Fethullah G¼len operate charter schools on U.S. Military bases? | TheHill
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 01:03
A secretive Islamic movement is trying to infiltrate the U.S. military by establishing and operating publicly-funded charter schools targeted toward children of American service personnel.
That charge may sound like a conspiracy theory from the lunatic fringe, but it is real and it is happening right now. The most immediate threat is in Nevada, where Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas (CASLV) is currently negotiating with the United States Air Force to locate a charter school at Nellis Air Force Base, with classes starting this fall. What is not widely known is that CASLV is part of a nationwide organization of charter schools and other businesses headed by Islamic cleric Fethullah G¼len, a reclusive but influential Imam living under self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania to avoid criminal prosecution in his native Turkey.
Our law firm has been engaged by the Republic of Turkey '' a key NATO ally in a hotbed region '' to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the operations and geopolitical influence of the G¼len organization, which is behind the Coral Academy of Science and over 140 other public charter schools scattered across 26 American states. Our investigation, still in its early stages, reveals that the G¼len organization uses charter schools and affiliated businesses in the U.S. to misappropriate and launder state and federal education dollars, which the organization then uses for its own benefit to develop political power in this country and globally.Aside from defrauding American taxpayers, the G¼len organization has an even more ominous objective in the United States. The organization is one of the country's largest recipients of H1-B ''specialty occupation'' visas, which it uses to import Turkish teachers into its charter schools, supposedly because local U.S. talent is not available to fill math and science teaching positions in its charter schools. The G¼len organization illegally threatens to revoke these visas unless the Turkish teachers agree to kick back part of their salary to the organization.
More importantly, the Turkish teachers in G¼len organization charter schools are evaluated not on the basis of their teaching skills, but rather on whether they achieve monthly goals in a secret point system designed to instil Turkish culture and G¼lenist ideology in our American students. The goal, we are told, is to develop a G¼lenist following of high achievers, incubated in our local community schools across the country.
The G¼len organization has been able to grow in the U.S. largely because it conceals both its identity and its motives. The first line of defense for G¼lenist charter schools and companies has been to deny any affiliation with Fethullah G¼len (their officers and directors claim that they are merely ''inspired by'' G¼len's religious teachings), as if the simple creation of business entities in which Fethullah G¼len himself holds no ownership interest could alter his ultimate control over the organization. In reality, the governing boards of the G¼len charter schools are populated disproportionately by loyal Turkish men answering to a handful of Imams who rule over defined regions across the U.S., reporting ultimately to G¼len in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.
In Nevada, CASLV is a three-campus school operating under a charter held by tax-exempt Coral Education Corp., headquartered in Reno. Three of Coral's board members are Turkish, one of whom was formerly the Principal at two other G¼len organization charter schools, the Sonoran Science Academy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and the Bay Area Technology School in California.
Unfortunately, Nellis Air Force Base is not the G¼len organization's first stab at a U.S. military base. The organization successfully opened a school on Davis-Monthan AFB in 2009, and it tried but failed to gain access to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. In California, Magnolia Public Schools applied for a charter in Oceanside, where Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is located, although it temporarily withdrew its application after our law firm pointed out Magnolia's connection to the G¼len organization earlier this year.
Lest there be any doubt about the objectives in the United States, the strategy of subtly indoctrinating school children into the G¼len movement is a familiar one overseas, and there is great peril in allowing it to flourish in this country. In his native Turkey, G¼len created a network of hundreds of schools that have produced '' over the past three decades '' a vast cadre of followers now prepared to perform his bidding from official positions in government, law enforcement, the judiciary and the media. Although precise numbers are impossible to verify, some have estimated that he currently controls more than half of the entire Turkish police force. The Economist newspaper compared G¼len's influence in Turkey to the Freemason infiltration of law enforcement and judicial elites in Europe during the last century. Numerous documented cases in Turkey involving planted evidence, tainted prosecutions and illegal incarceration of G¼len critics underscore that he is quite willing to abuse his power and influence.
The same game plan is playing out, at last count, in 101 countries on every habitable continent. With an estimated six million followers globally and assets in the range of $20-$50 billion, the G¼len organization has managed to conceal a great deal about its doctrine, mission or objectives. Whether G¼len's followers are classified as a religious sect, a commercial enterprise, a political movement or '' as Dutch legislators concluded '' a cult, it should be a matter of significant concern for our security and regulatory authorities.
In light of G¼len's modus operandi elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security should be asking itself why such a non-transparent, religion-based organization would seek to establish itself on our military bases, teaching the children of our service men and women.
Robert R. Amsterdam is founder of Amsterdam and Partners LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, DC and London.
VIDEO-Rose to Kasich: Why are Many GOP Voters 'Following the Path to Darkness?' | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 14:14
[See NewsBusters] The co-hosts of CBS This Morning on Tuesday devoted an exhaustive seven minutes to Republican presidential candidate John Kasich. What Charlie Rose really wanted to know, however, is just why GOP voters are "following the path to darkness.'' An eager Rose quizzed, ''I want to get to this. You were saying in a speech today there are two paths.... One is a path of darkness.'' He wondered, "Who is articulating a path to darkness?" After Kasich concluded that it was both Trump and Cruz, Rose jumped in: ''Both of them?'' He added, ''Why are so many Republican voters voting for them? Following the path of darkness?''
VIDEO-Ted Cruz Daughters Steal the Show at CNN Town Hall With This Moment | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:10
The Ted Cruz daughters have a particular person they'd like to invite to the White House, should their father win presidential election.
Asked by Anderson Cooper to reveal who it was, both Caroline and Catherine punted to their mom Heidi who explained they are both big fans of Taylor Swift.
Caroline then identified her favorite three Swift songs as ''Bad Blood,'' ''Blank Space,'' and ''Wildest Dreams'' '-- all hits off the pop singer's latest ''1989'" album.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook:
VIDEO-Wave Goodbye to Cyberbullies and Trolls: SocialAutopsy.com by Candace Owens '-- Kickstarter
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:02
We know what you're all thinking:
"There is no way that this many girls run a tech start-up".
Except we do, and we are about to save the virtual world with it, so listen up! We promise to keep this short and fun:
Somewhere between cells phones and technology (and the extinction of the VHS tape maybe) we've managed to create a culture of online-bullying, which was totally cool never, so it's time we put an end to it once and for all.
There have been so many amazing organizations before us who have made (and continue to make) significant strides and efforts to not only create awareness, but to push through to legislation to affect change.
But we thought, "instead of trying to stop it, why don't we try to capture it?".
Because what's the number one defense people use when they are making awful, nasty comments online?
Can't argue that one, so let's instead help them magnify those freedoms. Let's launch a database where we capture them exercising those rights and create digital records for them that anyone can access.
Yup. We consider ourselves to be patriots.
(This is the part where we address your immediate concerns.)
Important to note: We do not allow any commenting on our site because we do not want to host a platform for any bullying ourselves. Our database also cannot be searched by keyword (i.e, homophobia, racism, etc) which means a self-proclaimed vigilante would be unable to round up a specified group of online offenders.
(Okay this is the part where we tell you where your money is going.)
Thus far we have worked to collect data and create about 22,000 profiles from individuals that are surprising all over the employment spectrum (doctors, teachers, lawyers, you name it).
With your backing, we can take a break and go shopping, because we are women and that would be fun for us.
Just kidding.
With your backing, we can expand our team of web analysts in order to create profiles at a faster rate, as our goal is to launch the database at 150,000 profiles. We will immediately apply your funding to hiring a team of paid interns for the summer, and our continuing web development. We will devote all remaining funds toward our legal team, which we are going to need intact when we bring this site live.
(Now this is the part where we tell you how deep we roll)
Okay. That was a bit of dishonest marketing on our part. We do not know Taylor Swift, nor do we know Cara Delevigne, or for what reason exactly she is waving an English flag in this photo. In fact they will likely fire off a cease and desist letter to us for sourcing that image irresponsibly-- which we hope reinforces our earlier point about legal necessity.
All that squared away, the truer version of our squad is even more amazing:
We have worked to build and bridge with an impactful network. Most notably, we are proud partners and friends of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and their Day1 campaign.We encourage you all to check out their work and website. As well as a list of their organization's initiatives, which align fully with our own.
(Now this is the part where we tell you what's up next for us).
Our Founder, Candace Owens has been selected to give a TEDx talk on June 4th, 2016 about the perils of this era of technology, and all that we are doing to combat it.. The talk will be webcast live on the Ted.Com website, and it is slated to be the most important talk of our century, according to her mother. You will not want to miss it.
Now this is the part where we finish with a sweet one-liner and a bonus video, because you've earned that if you've gotten this far:
Our team has a simple message to share: Love is easier.
Check out all of crazy thoughts and experiences at our blog, Degree180.com.
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VIDEO-Putin's friend explains funds listed in the Panama Papers | euronews, world news
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 05:06
Russian cellist says his fortune is used for Russian cultural projectsAlleged to have 2bn USD in offshore accountsPanama Papers an ''attempt to destabilise Russia'' '' PutinWhat is happening?A friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, implicated in the Panama Papers outcry, has claimed in an interview that he invests all his money in music and young Russian cultural talent.
Cellist Sergei Roldugin says he wants to advance cultural projects in Russia.
It comes after his name appeared on the ''Panama Papers'' leak last week.
Roldugin says he is an honest man. ''People around the world try not to declare what they have bought and imported. They do it for security reasons. I should not have declared things either. Doing so has cost me a lot of money.''
What are the Panama Papers?11.5 million confidential records from a law firm in PanamaDetails of secretive financial accounts in low-tax havens used to conceal wealthRich, famous and world leaders implicatedIcelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Dav­° Gunnlaugsson resigned after his name appeared on the listWhat has the Russian President said?On Thursday, Vladimir Putin denied having any links to offshore accounts.
His name does not feature in any of the leaked documents.
The documents reportedly allege that Putin's associates have used a wide variety of offshore structures to move vast sums of money around the world.
Putin described the Panama Papers scandal as part of a US-led plot to weaken Russia.
Putin also defended Roldugin, saying his lifelong friend has done ''nothing wrong''.
What they are saying
VIDEO-Greece seeks to clear migrants from Piraeus port as tourist season nears | euronews, world news
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 05:01
As the summer season approaches, Greece is stepping up efforts to evacuate migrants from its biggest port of Piraeus, the main gateway to the Aegean holiday islands.
Buses have been laid on to take those sleeping rough to organised reception centres. Some are making the move. Many others prefer to stay put, afraid of a holding centre resembling a jail.
Tens of thousands of migrants are stranded in Greece amid border closures in the Balkans.
Given this, an EU deal to deport illegal migrants to Turkey and warmer weather, a surge in migration through Italy is now expected. Hence Austria's preliminary construction work in the Alpine Brenner Pass for what some believe will be a fence.
The diplomatic fallout from Sunday's clashes on the closed Greek-Macedonian frontier is intensifying.
Medical charity M(C)decins sans Fronti¨res said hundreds of people were hurt after Macedonian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at migrants trying to force their way through.
Greece also accused Macedonian police of using excessive force, with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras denouncing ''a big disgrace for European civilisation''.
Macedonian authorities have hit back, saying it is down to Greece to ensure law and order is respected in the Idomeni migrant camp. A statement from the Macedonian foreign ministry said its security forces had shown ''the greatest possible restraint''.
VIDEO-NY Mayor De Blasio: "I'm Pretty Comfortable With" The Racist Joke - YouTube
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:53
VIDEO-Senator Urges for Classified Info to Be Released from 9/11 Report - YouTube
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:25
VIDEO-Joe Biden slams Donald Trump, and says "I would like to see a woman elected" - YouTube
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 02:21
VIDEO-The people's army will prevail over anti-democratic EU - Nigel Farage, UKIP Leader - YouTube
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 01:49
VIDEO AUDIO-He thought his beliefs about global warming were based on science. Science proved him wrong |310|
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:13
Rick Archer from Buddha at the Gas Pump provides a demonstration of challenging beliefs on global warming.photo by: Khuroshvili IlyaAs I was putting the final touches on this show, I was reminded of a story I heard on the terrific podcast and NPR radio show, This American Life. It featured a person who had grown up in a conservative, Christian family and then went off to college and discovered conflicts between what he was told coming up in the church, versus what he was learning in college. As he digs into the real history behind his religious beliefs he becomes both angry and driven to learn all he can about biblical scholarship; archaeology; Nag Hammadi Library'...everything.
He digs into it the data and gets his ducks lined up because he wants to go back and confront his family with ''the truth.'' When he returns for Thanksgiving he has his chance. It's at the end of dinner with his uncle''a very pious, conservative, religious guy who prides himself on really knowing the Bible; and really knowing scripture. Well, he just lets [his uncle] have it, both barrels: conflicts in the Resurrection Story; James, brother of Jesus; contradictions with the Nag Hammadi Library. He has his uncle skating backwards in no time and he shows him no quarter. He buries him. At the end of dinner he's feels a surge of victory. He's like a prize fighter who's knocked out his opponent. But hey, this is just the warm up. Christmas is coming up and his dad will be there. So, he goes back to studying and he lines up all of his books and facts. Then, he sits down at the end of Christmas dinner and he's ready to let him have it. Bam! Both barrels. The whole thing. Finally, after he's done, his dad pauses and looks at him, and says, ''Gee, son. I'm sure you're right. But you see, when I found the church I was at one of the lowest points in my life. In fact, I was considering suicide. But then I found all of these great people, and they loved me and cared about me. Next thing you know, I found your Mom. We fell in love. We got married. I've had this great life since joining the church.''
At this point, everything changes for the son. His anger vanishes. He sees his dad, and his dad's connection to these beliefs in a totally new light. It's not about the data for his dad; it's about everything else.
The reason I bring up this story is that in today's episode we have a pretty dramatic demonstration of whether data and evidence can change beliefs. The belief in question is whether 97% of climate scientists believe man-made global warming is a major concern. But this belief is just a backdrop for the larger story of why data alone often isn't enough to change our beliefs '-- even if we think it will:
Alex Tsakiris: I have to nail that down a little bit more, Rick. The position I'm taking is that the 90 or 97% consensus is completely false. That's the position I'm taking. So if I am able to significantly undermine that fact''that data point''then you think your beliefs will change?
Rick Archer: Yes. We're not going to do it in the course of this conversation. We're obviously going to do it in subsequent exchanges.
Alex Tsakiris: Right. And I just have to share with folks, I'm going to lay my money on the fact that we will prove that conclusively, and your beliefs will not change at all. But that's just my opinion based on the exchanges that we've had. We'll see how it all turns out.
(this next excerpt is from the follow-up interview)
Alex Tsakiris: '... now that you've conceded on the 97% consensus idea (after reviewing the data Rick agreed that the study by Dr. John Cook showing a 97% consensus among climate scientists was bunk), has that significantly changed your opinion on man-made global warming?
Rick Archer: No, not significantly.
Alex Tsakiris: Perfect.
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Read Excerpts From Interview:
Alex Tsakiris: After this latest exchange, I really got to thinking about it more deeply because it was kind of upsetting, like these can be. Let's get real. We have these exchanges with people and we disagree about things even if we like that person. It can be unsettling. Why can't this person see the light? How can they be so blockheaded about this issue? I started thinking more deeply about that. In particular, the kind of work you do explicitly in Batgap. That is, the deeper, spiritual transformation work. And that's a much more subtle aspect of Skeptiko but it's there in my journey as well. And I did that kind of thinking and thought you know what, there's some unfinished business here between Rick and I regarding this topic. I really tied it back to this broader issue that we deal with on Skeptiko: Following the data wherever it leads and then realizing that sometimes the data isn't enough. Sometimes the data isn't what's really driving our beliefs. It's a bunch of other stuff that we've built up around the data. And that's what I was hoping to explore today and through this demonstration we're going to do. And do this through the lens of global warming because it's an issue that has seemed to have really impassioned both of us quite intensely.
Rick Archer: We should probably preface this by saying there is all kinds of data out there on all kinds of subjects. We're not climatoligists, we're not nuclear physicists, we're not statisticians. There are all kinds of things that we're not, each of which has it's own world of data. So we're kind of going at all these things from a layman's perspective doing our best to suss out what the experts are actually saying, and to a cetain extent, relying on what they have to tell us. I've never used the large Hadron Collider in Geneva but [scientists] say they've found the Higgs boson, so I guess they have. But how do I know?
Alex Tsakiris: That's a great point. One of the first points I wanted to make is that following the data isn't easy. Any piece of data that we might pick in this larger question of global warming is going to be very complex and hard to pull apart. That's why I think we really have to narrow our focus in terms of what we're going to deal with. I had a specific idea in mind. In the course of these emails that you've sent me, which, I really have to say, you can really lay it on pretty hard at times. And I guess I can too. But one point that seems to pop up again and again is this idea that there is this overwhelming consensus among science and among scientists: manmade global warming is real and it's something that we really need to worry about. I've gotten that consistently, over and over again. And I think that's a really important point because if the data really is as you say; if it's really 90 or 97% of scientists who think that manmade global warming is real and is something that we really need to worry about, I tell you, I will definitely switch my vote in favor of the global warming position that you take, and we really need to amp up all of our resources and make this a world, political agenda-number-one kind of thing. But I guess the first question I have for you that I'm teeing up here: would it be the same for you? If that's the topic that we took and it turned out that it isn't the case at all''the global warming consensus among scientists wasn't really there, but was more like a 50-50, Clinton versus Trump kind of thing, would that change your beliefs?
Rick Archer: It would but every time you send me something''some article or some YouTube video''it usually takes me about five minutes or less to find a really compelling rebuttal to it. For instance, the other day you sent me a YouTube video in which someone was testifying before Congress saying that in fact only 52% of climate scientists think that global warming is manmade. So I did a little research and I ended up on NASA's website and that was rebutted very effectively. I heard a climatologist on Bill Maher's show not long ago saying that in fact there has been virtually no peer-reviewed scientific study suggesting that global warming is not actually happening, and it's not manmade. Whereas there have been thousands indicating that it is, and has been. So show me something that I can't rebut with five minutes of Googling and I'll maybe start edging toward your position.
Alex Tsakiris: I have to nail that down a little bit more, Rick. The position I'm taking is that the 90 or 97% consensus is completely false. That's the position I'm taking. So if I am able to significantly undermine that fact''that data point''then you think your beliefs will change?
Rick Archer: Yes. We're not going to do it in the course of this conversation. We're obviously going to do it in subsequent exchanges.
Alex Tsakiris: Right. And I just have to share with folks, I'm going to lay my money on the fact that we will prove that conclusively, and your beliefs will not change at all. But that's just my opinion based on the exchanges that we've had. We'll see how it all turns out.
you've conceded on the 97% consensus,has that changed your opinion on warming? Rick Archer: No, not'...Click to Tweet
Alex Tsakiris: So Rick and I are going to be digging into this 97% consensus [idea]''that is that 97% of scientists agree that manmade global warming is a very important [and] problematic thing. But what I think what we're really going to be looking at is a demonstration of what it means to follow the data wherever it leads. So Rick with that, why don't we start with you. Tell us what you found.
Rick Archer: Sure. First, I feel like I've just dipped my little toe into the whole thing because there's such a vast amount of stuff that one could look at. There's so many [conflicting] things. For everything you find on YouTube you can find something that contradicts it. Not only YouTube but elsewhere on the Internet. But I would grant you that from my very unprofessional, very part-time review of links you've sent me and things I've had scarce time to poke around in since we last spoke, it's a naive and sort of blunt over-exaggeration to just keep parroting the 97% thing. I grant you that. It may be 97% but there are some good arguments that it's not. I'm flexible enough to acknowledge that probably it isn't. The percentage is somewhere else, and actually, it's also a very blunt thing to just lump [that number] for several reasons: it's blunt to throw out a percentage like that because firstly, you're not just talking about climatologists, you're talking about a whole spectrum of people with some scientific background who've voiced an opinion on this [issue]. And I've actually seen breakdowns [where] according to their professional focus, the percentages differ. Those who are strictly and qualified climate scientists tend to have higher percentages. Those with other fields of specialty tend to have lower concurrence of their agreements. Again, you have to break the whole thing down into what we're actually talking about. Are we talking about ice cover? Are we talking about tornado frequency and hurricane frequency? So there's different opinions about all of these different things. As my friend John Collins said to me, whom you interviewed with me on this show awhile back, if the proposition is that man is at least having some influence on climate, then you would get a 95% vote. But if you ask is human intervention heading us toward disaster, then it's going to be a much lower percentage''like 65%. And I'm sure that those percentages are debatable. There are people out there who would strongly disagree with what I just said. So just to wrap it up, neither you or I are professionals, I have a layman's interest in this [topic] because everything I've heard has convinced me that it's a pretty serious problem that we need to address in some way. However, especially since I'm not a professional it's foolish of me to go parroting percentages with any sort of adamant certainty because I could easily be proven wrong by somebody who has a better idea of what he's talking about.
Alex Tsakiris: There's a lot of ground to cover there. Let me first before I dive into all of your points, say that now you've conceded on the 97% consensus idea. Has that significantly changed your opinion on manmade global warming?
Rick Archer: No, not significantly.
Alex Tsakiris: Perfect.
Rick Archer: Hang on, as [Bob] Dylan said, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. If you basically look out the window these days''I just showed you the other day''Aspen, Colorado, the ski season is a month shorter than it was.
Alex Tsakiris: Let's not do that. I want to pull apart what you said because again, it touches on so many issues that we talk about here. You said that it's really complex and you're not a professional, and I'm not a professional all and the rest of it. Number one, I don't think this was very complex at all to get to the bottom of it. We're going to pull apart what we were really looking at and look at what that 97% means; or what we thought it meant. What you thought it meant. When I say 'you''...you were just reciting the standard shtick; the standard line that you hear from President Barack Obama, from members of Congress, from all sorts of advocacy groups; certainly from the mainstream media, over and over again: ''Ninety-seven percent consensus among scientists.'' Then when I really pushed you on that in the last interview, and I did set you up a little bit because I had done a little bit of research and knew where this was going. I said, Rick, they obviously went out and talked to sceintsits to be that confident. You said, yes, they've talked with scientists. That's what they've done. So now let's roll up our sleeves and get into some of the details here to kind of flesh this out a little bit. Then I want to get to the most important question in this: the 'how can this be?' question. Because I think you've glossed over that a little bit more than I think we should. So, 97% consensus''when I first confronted you on that and said, Rick, that's not the case. Look, here's this highly regarded climatologist from Georgia Tech, Judith Curry. She's challenging the center and saying that's not the real figure. And [you said], she's a conspiracy nut. Anyone who believes that it's not 97% is a conspiracy nut and I just looked up Judith Curry. She's a conspiracy nut, too. Now, to your credit in this email exchange that we had, you dug into it and said hey, I've looked into Judith Curry. She seems pretty credible to me. She seems like a top-notch scientist. She's at a good institution. She's been there for a long time. Her track record isn't one of being this, off-the-wall, over-the-top climate denier. She isn't today. She believes there is some manmade global warming effect going on but she's much more moderate. So you backtracked on that, but here's what you did: you said look Alex, I did just a few minutes worth of research. I found on the NASA website, right on the top this study by John Cook, and it concludes that 97% of climate scientists think manmade global warming is real. Again, you did what everyone else did. You're not unique. It isn't just Rick Archer coming up with this wild idea. So, what do we find when we look at that John Cook study on the top of the NASA page? The first point I'd bring your attention to, you said that this study went out and asked scientists. Did the study go out and ask scientists?
Rick Archer: No. From what I gather from the things you sent me that I read and listened to, it was a study in which the guy reviewed 11,000 abstracts or something like that, and made a pretty snap judgment based on his assessment of those abstracts. In many cases [it] must've taken him no more than a few seconds of perusing them because he had to do so many''as to which side of the issue these various authors stood, and then came up with this 97%.
Alex Tsakiris: Exactly. So right off the bat I think you would agree, anyone would agree, that's a pretty inferior method to actually going and asking a climate scientist. Right away you can see how that's prone to err. It's highly subjective, right? It's like layer upon layer of subjective. It's reading somebody's abstract, which isn't even the full paper, and then making some judgment about what you think that person was saying. Again, as I've pointed to you and to many people who've done this research, and of course this is my original criticism, there have been a number of climate scientists that have come forward and said, wait a minute, your analysis Dr. Cook, puts me in the camp of a proponent of global warming and I am not at all in favor of that. And you cited my paper as evidence for your case and it's evidence of the opposite. And what Dr. Curry did in her article''she said, here's a dozen people who are not by any means considered proponents of the man-made global warming thing, and let's look at how they rank. They came out very high, like 85% would be evaluated as being in favor of the proposition. Clearly, right away we can see this is a severely flawed figure, this 97%. So we both agree on that?
Rick Archer: Is Dr. Cook the only one? Obviously you sent me a couple of figures: [Dr. Curry] thinks 52 [percent] and this other guy that you sent me thinks a much smaller percentage. So those two would be opponents to Cook. But has there been anyone who has really done it the way Cook should have done it to your knowledge?
Alex Tsakiris: I don't know. But here's the point I wanted to get back to because I think this is really the heart of the issue, and I think you've glossed over here: How can this be, Rick? Again, you're not going out on a limb. You didn't invent this stuff. You're just saying what everyone is saying. How can they all be making this mistake? It took you a short period of time to come to this conclusion. It's self-evident as soon as you look at it. Everyone listening, it's now obvious to them. Why is that paper on top of the NASA website? Is NASA that dumb? That naive? Is President Obama that misinformed? He has a lot of smart people around him. He's a smart guy himself. Are they somehow just making an honest mistake here or is something else going on? How can this be?
Rick Archer: Let me ask you a question: how can it be that year after year now, we keep hearing that this was the 'warmest year on record'; this was the warmest December on record; this was the warmest July on record? This was the worst typhoon ever. This was the worst hurricane ever. As I tried to say a minute ago, the ski season in Aspen is a month shorter than it was in 1990. There's so many things you could say '... the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be completely gone before too long. So obviously the planet is warming up''to what degree and what exactly is causing it, are points of contention, but something is happening. And I would even go far as to say that even if man had nothing whatsoever to do with it, we've got a pretty serious situation on our hands. We should find a way [to] deal with it or we're going to have vast amounts of suffering. I'm afraid I'm taking you off your topic but to me the issue of''
Alex Tsakiris: You're taking yourself off your topic.
Rick Archer: To me the implications of what it's going to mean for humanity are paramount. So I'm working back from that sentiment.
Alex Tsakiris: This is the Skeptiko moment. This is what it means to follow the data wherever it leads because we've reached a point where the data can take us, and it causes all this consternation; all this cognitive dissonance; and we're faced with the 'how can this be?' Rather than address that head-on, because like I said, you know the proposition kind of makes you shake in your boots a little bit. How can Obama be lying about this? How can all of these guys be lying? How can they be pointing to the study on the NASA website that they know is bullshit? How can that be? Then you scramble around and you try and reformulate your opinion and bolster it with some data''we haven't looked at that data''we could go and look at every piece of that data and pull all of that apart; find out what that means; what the variability is and all of that. But what we'd really be doing is avoiding the part that really scared us which is the 'how can this be?' I'll give you the last word. Tell me what you've learned or taken away about following the data and how beliefs change.
Rick Archer: What I've learned from the experience, I guess, is that it's really fun talking to you and I enjoy a lively debate. I shouldn't be cocksure about things in which I am not an expert, parroting percentages and so on. But I'm not at all in your camp with regard to doubt about climate change regardless of its cause. I really think that something very serious is taking place and it's nothing to play around with. I mean, two percent would be pretty disastrous; six percent would exterminate humanity.
music by: Andy G. Cohen
VIDEO-FULL Interview: Donald Trump & Family at CNN Town Hall, Anderson Cooper, April 12, 2016 - YouTube
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:45
VIDEO-Vigil, protest held after Chicago cop fatally shoots 16-year-old boy | WFLD
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:35
There is outrage after Chicago police shot and killed a 16-year-old boy.
There is outrage after Chicago police shot and killed a 16-year-old boy.
In Homan Square on Monday night, police pulled over a car that was connected to an earlier shooting. Police say Pierre Loury jumped out and an officer chased him.
Police say Loury then pointed a weapon at the officer and that is when he was shot. But a witness claims he saw officers "high five" each other after the teen was gunned down.
And now, protesters are demanding justice. A group held a vigil at the scene of the shooting and then marched onto the Eisenhower.
Even though the facts of this case are still far from clear, there are those on the side of Loury who claim this was not a justified shooting, despite what police say that he pointed a gun at an officer, and that the gun was recovered at the scene.
It threatened to turn ugly Tuesday night as protesters loudly and angrily confronted police in front of the station where the officers involved in the chase and shooting work. Police managed to keep order and move the protesters down the street.
Earlier, several hundred people marched down the alley to the spot where Loury was shot and killed as he ran from a police stop a block away.
''We do believe that this individual turned and pointed the handgun at the officer the handgun was recovered at the scene where the young man was shot,'' said 1st Deputy Supt. John Escalante.
Police radio transmissions captured the intensity of the moment, and a neighbor facing the alley posted a video on Facebook of the scene shortly after the chaotic moment.
Loury's mother, overcome with emotion, joined the vigil as supporters chanted against police and in support of Loury.
''They gunned down one of our brothers, they executed him. 16 years old. 16 years old. He should be here right now,'' one person said at the vigil.
Police say Loury was a documented gang member. He posted a picture of himself holding a handgun on his Facebook page. People who knew him, though, did not think he would have been carrying a gun Monday night.
VIDEO-Swiss banker whistleblower: CIA behind Panama Papers
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:13
Bradley C. Bower | Getty Images
Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker, speaks during an interview at Schuylkill County Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pa., on Tuesday, April 27, 2009.
In an exclusive interview Tuesday from Munich, Birkenfeld said he doesn't think the source of the 11 million documents stolen from a Panamanian law firm should automatically be considered a whistleblower like himself. Instead, he said, the hacking of the Panama City-based firm, called Mossack Fonseca, could have been done by a U.S. intelligence agency.
"The CIA I'm sure is behind this, in my opinion," Birkenfeld said.
Birkenfeld pointed to the fact that the political uproar created by the disclosures have mainly impacted countries with tense relationships with the United States. "The very fact that we see all these names surface that are the direct quote-unquote enemies of the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan, Argentina and we don't see one U.S. name. Why is that?" Birkenfeld said. "Quite frankly, my feeling is that this is certainly an intelligence agency operation."
VIDEO-CBS: On One-Year Anniversary of Campaign Launch, Hillary Clinton Not Celebrating - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:43
VIDEO-Andrea Mitchell: What were Clinton and de Blasio thinking with that joke?
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:36
VIDEO-DNC Press Secretary Refuses to Answer Questions About Clinton's Emails
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:32
VIDEO-Miller Slams Rock Hall Despite Induction - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 16:36
VIDEO-Rachel Dolezal Writing Book On Racial Identity, Has No Regrets: 'I'm Still Me' | TODAY - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 15:37
VIDEO-Earnest: Resignation platitudes for Yatsenyuk. 11 Apr 2016 - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 15:06
VIDEO-Toner: Yatsenyuk exit for $1 billion in loan guarantees? 11 Apr 2016 - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 15:00
VIDEO-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Ignites Controversy After Telling Racially-Tinged Joke With Clinton | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:25
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ignited controversy over the weekend for telling a racially-tinged joke at an event with Hillary Clinton and ''Hamilton'' star Leslie Odom Jr.
The joke came at the Inner Circle Dinner on Saturday night. In a rehearsed skit, Clinton poked fun at de Blasio for initially taking some time to endorse her.
''Thanks for the endorsement, Bill. Took you long enough,'' she joked.
''Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. time,'' de Blasio quipped, an apparent reference to the ''Colored People Time'' stereotype.
''That's not '-- I don't like jokes like that, Bill,'' Odom said.
According to the New York Times, the joke left audience members cringing. Individuals also went after Clinton and de Blasio on social media.
The New York City mayor appeared on CNN Monday night and addressed the controversy, contending the skit was simply meant to be a joke.
''Every actor involved including Hillary Clinton and Leslie Odom Jr. thought it was a joke on a different convention,'' he said. ''That was the whole idea of it.''
A spokesperson for de Blasio added, ''Let's be clear, in an evening of satire, the only person this was meant to mock was the mayor himself. Certainly no one intended to offend anyone.''
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VIDEO-'Can You Guys Believe What You Just Heard?': MSNBC Panel Stunned Silent by Obama's Remarks on Clinton Email Scandal | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:24
MSNBC's ''Morning Joe'' panel on Monday was stunned by President Barack Obama's remarks about the FBI's investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during an interview this weekend.
In response to a question from Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace about whether Clinton will ''be in any way protected'' by political influence during the investigation, Obama replied, ''I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case.''
''Full stop. Period,'' the president stressed.
Image source: YouTube
The panel sat briefly in stunned silence.
''Wait,'' co-host Joe Scarborough said. ''Can you guys believe what you just heard?''
''He said, 'believe me,' like someone else,'' co-host Mika Brzezinski said.
''He said he wasn't going to talk to the attorney general about the pending investigation, but he just did, as he did back in October when he said, 'No national security issues here. Nothing to see, move along.''
Scarborough noted that the FBI has ''complained'' that the president should allow them to conclude their investigation before commenting on its outcome.
''And he just did it again!'' Scarborough said. ''And then in the same interview [he] said, 'I'm not talking to my attorney general about it.' Talk about a rigged process.''
''It seemed ill-advised to say I got no connection to this but here's what I know about it and here's my conclusion,'' Bloomberg's Mark Halperin added. ''In theory, he shouldn't really know the facts of the case.''
Scarborough said that this president has been ''more aggressive with reporters about classified secrets being leaked than any president.''
''Are the president's standards much lower when it comes to America's national security than his own State Department?'' Scarborough asked.
''It's as if he's like the Clinton campaign communications director in trying to exonerate her before the investigation is completed,'' Halperin said.
Brzezinski said that if the president is going to be ''campaigning for Hillary,'' he ''may as well endorse her.''
Bloomberg's Jon Heilemann called the inconsistency ''profound.''
''The system is rigged,'' Brzezinski reiterated.
Watch the video below:
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)
VIDEO-CNN Host Asks Trump Spox 6 Times if It Was Wrong for Aide to Accuse Cruz of 'Gestapo Tactics' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:19
The national spokesperson for the Donald Trump campaign was grilled Monday by CNN host Wolf Blitzer who repeatedly asked whether it was appropriate for a campaign aide to accuse 2016 rival Ted Cruz of employing ''Gestapo tactics.''
''Your convention manager Paul Manafort accused Ted Cruz's campaign, he used these words, of engaging in 'Gestapo tactics' after the clean sweep of the delegates on Saturday in Colorado. Is that characterization, 'Gestapo tactics,' really appropriate?'' Blister asked.
Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said John Kasich's campaign had been vocal about ''strong-arm'' tactics used by Cruz ''which is essentially the same thing.''
Blitzer continued to look for an answer.
''Is it appropriate to use the word Gestapo?'' the CNN host asked. ''Because I assume you know what the Gestapo did.''
''Well, it is a word to define exactly the type of malice that is involved in going after some of these delegates in a very hostile and intimidating way,'' Pierson said.
''But, Katrina, you know what the Gestapo did during World War II. That word should not be used to talk about the tactics that the Cruz campaign engaged '-- that was inappropriate, right?'' Blitzer pressed.
''Well, again, you are talking about a campaign that doesn't really care much about political correctness. And if it's a term that just simply describes '--,'' Pierson said.
Blitzer interjected, ''But it's inappropriate. Gestapo. You don't use the word Gestapo to talk about a political campaign in the United States. That gives the Gestapo too much credit, right? Don't you think he wish he could have taken that back?''
''Well, where was all this hostility and concern when Mr. Trump was being called Hitler? So no. I think this is just another situation where it is a word to determine how hostile that this has gone on in these states for these delegates. And I think it was a word that lets everyone know exactly what he was talking about,'' Pierson fired back.
''So you don't want to back away from that word, 'Gestapo?''' Blitzer pressed again.
''No,'' Pierson said. ''And the Kasich campaign also talked about the strong-arm tactics that'--''
''Strong-arm tactics is one thing,'' Blitzer interjected. ''But the Gestapo '-- you know what they did during World War II. You know the millions of people, especially Jews, who were murdered.''
''Yes, he was talking about the exact same thing,'' Pierson said. ''The strong-arm tactics that the Cruz campaign has been using. The intimidation.''
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VIDEO-Obama to Terrorists: 'You Can Kill Some of Us, But We Will Get You' - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:01
VIDEO-Top Clinton Surrogate Mistakes Obama for Osama Bin Laden - YouTube
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:59
VIDEO-White House: Everything Obama knows about investigation into Clinton emails is through news reports - YouTube
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:57
VIDEO-Toddler none too pleased to be picked up by Hillary Clinton - YouTube
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:56
VIDEO-You Say Scandal, Hillary Clinton Says 'Security Review'
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:31
VIDEO-Morning Joe: Obama Like Clinton's Comm. Director Trying to Exonerate Her From Email Investigation
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 13:01
VIDEO-Hillary on Bill's BLM Incident: He's Very Serious About 'Defending and Protecting Me'
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 12:45
VIDEO-Obama: There Was a 'Carelessness' With How Clinton Managed Her Emails
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 12:39
VIDEO-Sanders: 'I Appreciate Bill Clinton Being My Psychoanalyst'
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 12:25
VIDEO-Matthews to de Blasio: Your Racist Joke Was A 'Disaster' - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:49
VIDEO-Bono notes struggling U.S. economy: 'The American taxpayer is really hurting at the moment' - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:44
VIDEO-IMF's Christine Lagarde speaks her mind on Panama Papers, Greece default risk, refugee crisis'... - YouTube
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:52


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Bono on Violent EXtremism in the Senate on Comedy to be deployed.mp3
Kool & The Gang - Celebrate-8 year edit.mp3
Obama to Terrorists- ’You Can Kill Some of Us, But We Will Get You’ .mp3
Pentagon- Phase One, the Effort to 'Degrade' ISIL, 'Is Complete'-final.mp3

Elections 2016

Great with Boston Globe Ed board member on deportations Trump fake news.mp3
Hypocrite Blitzer Asks Trump Spox Katrina Pierson 6 Times if It Was Wrong for Aide to Accuse Cruz of ‘Gestapo Tactics’.mp3
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Ignites Controversy After Telling Racially-Tinged Joke With Clinton.mp3
Obama- There Was a ’Carelessness’ With How Clinton Managed Her Emails.mp3
Rose to Kasich- Why are Many GOP Voters ‘Following the Path to Darkness?’.mp3
Top Clinton Surrogate Joel Benenson Mistakes Obama for Osama Bin Laden.mp3
Trump He Wins ISO.mp3
Trump Pooper-1-RNC cant control when no money.mp3
Trump Pooper-2-On Establishment and Bernie.mp3
Trump Pooper-3-Ivanka on Daddy.mp3
Trump Pooper-4-Speak same to family as in debates.mp3
Trump Pooper-5-Melania on Trump and women.mp3
Trump Pooper-6-Trump on Social Media.mp3
Trump Pooper-7-Alchahol with a KICKER.mp3
Trump Pooper-8-Which is tougher-Bizz or Politics?.mp3
Trump Pooper-9-Repeats Own Money Pitch.mp3


Farrage-1-The people's army will prevail over anti-democratic EU - Nigel Farage, UKIP Leader.mp3
Farrage-2-Question about Flag-PUTIN.mp3


Toner- Yatsenyuk exit for $1 billion in loan guarantees?.mp3

JCD Clips

Al Jazeera shutters.mp3
British Bookies and Vrexit.mp3
british pamplet.mp3
clinton and vermont guns.mp3
dennis skinner and dodgy dave.mp3
DN citizens gunned down.mp3
Ferari britsh talker.mp3
great hit piece on Trump ABC.mp3
Liberty Counsel.mp3
Report on Syrian elections from Syria.mp3
Russians bizzing better at CBS.mp3
Russians buzzing ship ABC.mp3
Skin Central Science.mp3
speed limit report CBS.mp3
Tanks in desert ABC.mp3

Panama Papers

Putin’s friend explains funds listed in the Panama Papers .mp3
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