817: Sellout Politics

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 2m
April 17th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Stone Harriman, Sir Sean Earl of Federal Reserve District 7, James Pyers,

Associate Executive Producers: Kyle Ferencz, Timnonymous, Dame Sam Menner, Jesse Simonin

Cover Artist: Mark G


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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.
For more good news like this in your feed, just click the like button below.
Elections 2016
Sanders Says Verizon 'in a Given Year Has Not Paid a Nickel in Taxes' '-- So CEO Releases Inconvenient Numbers in Scathing Response | TheBlaze.com
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:39
Prior to Wednesday's strike by nearly 40,000 Verizon employees, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced to a cheering crowd in Buffalo, New York, on Monday that the corporation ''in a given year has not paid a nickel in taxes'' despite billions in profit.
Supporters wave signs as Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally Monday, April 11, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
That didn't sit well with Verizon's CEO, who posted a scathing response Wednesday to the Democratic presidential candidate's ''contemptible'' and ''uninformed views.''
''[Sanders'] first accusation '' that Verizon doesn't pay its fair share of taxes '' is just plain wrong,'' Lowell McAdam wrote in a LinkedIn piece. ''As our financial statements clearly show, we've paid more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years '' that's a 35% tax rate in 2015, for anyone who's counting. '...''
Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon, speaks at the conference ''Ignition: Future of Digital,'' Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
McAdam added that Sanders ''has started to fudge his language '' talking of taxes not paid in some unspecified 'given year' '' but that doesn't make his contention any less false.''
''Sen. Sanders also claims that Verizon doesn't use its profits to benefit America. Again, a look at the facts says otherwise,'' the CEO continued. ''In the last two years, Verizon has invested some $35 billion in infrastructure '-- virtually all of it in the U.S. '-- and paid out more than $16 billion in dividends to the millions of average Americans who invest in our stock. In Sanders's home state of Vermont alone, Verizon has invested more than $16 million in plant and equipment and pays close to $42 million a year to vendors and suppliers, many of them small and medium-sized businesses.''
McAdam added, ''I challenge Sen. Sanders to show me a company that's done more to invest in America than Verizon.''
More from the essay:
Sen. Sanders has also involved himself in our on-going negotiations with the labor unions representing some 36,000 communications workers in our wireline business, a bargaining process that has been going on since last June. At a labor convention in Philadelphia last week, Sanders claimed that Verizon is demanding that workers take pay cuts and reduce health benefits or see their jobs shipped overseas.
Again, Sen. Sanders is wrong on the facts. More egregiously, he oversimplifies the complex forces operating in today's technologically advanced and hyper-competitive economy.
Our objective in these negotiations is to preserve good jobs with competitive wages and excellent benefits while addressing the needs of our ever-changing business. All of our contract proposals currently on the table include wage increases, generous 401(k) matches and continued pension benefits. Contrary to Sen. Sanders's contention, our proposals do not call for mass layoffs or shipping jobs overseas. Rather, we've asked for more flexibility in routing calls and consolidating some of our call centers, some of which employ a handful of people. We would continue to provide health insurance for active and retired associates and their dependents, but we have proposed some common-sense reforms to rein in the cost of these plans, which in 2015 ran to $1.4 billion a year for these represented employees, retirees and dependents. In fact, our healthcare plans '' which provide access to medical, prescription drug, dental and vision coverage '' are robust enough to make us subject to the ''Cadillac tax'' on excessive plans as defined in the Affordable Healthcare Act '... the very law Sen. Sanders supported and voted for.
McAdam couldn't help adding a quip: '''Feeling the Bern' of reality yet, Bernie?''
The CEO noted quickly changing dynamics in telecommunications technology amid a global economy needs attention as opposed to ''nostalgia for the rotary phone era'' '-- and that Verizon employees need to ''engage in an honest conversation'' about the future.
''I understand that rhetoric gets heated in a Presidential campaign,'' McAdam concluded. ''I also get that big companies are an easy target for candidates looking for convenient villains for the economic distress felt by many of our citizens. But when rhetoric becomes disconnected from reality, we've crossed a dangerous line. We deserve better from people aspiring to be President. At the very least, we should demand that candidates base their arguments on the facts '... even when they don't fit their campaign narratives.''
You can read McAdam's entire response to Sanders here.
Hillary Clinton Prescribed a Dangerous Blood-Thinner
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 13:44
Being rich and famous does not necessarily mean you get better healthcare.
Hillary Clinton's campaign has released a letter from one of her doctors giving her a clean bill of health after a full medical exam and attesting to her physical ability to serve as president. The letter revealed that Mrs. Clinton is being treated with the drug Coumadin to help prevent blood clots, which she experienced in 1998, 2009, and 2012. Coumadin (also called warfarin) is an anticoagulant intended to prevent blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
We've written before about how dangerous this and other drugs like it can be. It is one of the leading causes of emergency room fatalities. In 2011, it was the subject of 1,106 serious adverse event reports, including seventy-two deaths'--and that is just in hospitals!
Warfarin has a long list of nasty side effects, including bleeding gums, blood in the urine, blurred vision, chest pain, peeling skin, serious bone loss, and confusion. It can also cause necrosis'--the death of skin tissue. One study found that long-term warfarin use after myocardial infarction (that is, after a heart attack) did not reduce mortality or reinfarction, but is associated with significantly more major bleeding.
Warfarin can also create a vitamin K deficiency and calcification of the arteries. In a study of patients undergoing surgery for aortic valve replacement, patients who took warfarin had twice the calcium build-up in their heart valves as patients not on warfarin, presumably because the loss of vitamin K was preventing the calcium from getting into the bones as it should. This is also why calcium should never be taken without important co-factors like vitamin K (in particular, vitamin K-2, which is especially important), magnesium, vitamin D, and omega''3 fatty acids.
Warfarin also requires constant monitoring. Patients taking it must regularly be screened by their physicians to ensure that their international normalized ration (INR)'--a measure of how quickly blood coagulates'--remains within a safe range. As Life Extensionmagazine reports, this can be difficult to obtain, as one's INR can fluctuate due to even minor alterations in diet.
We might politely point out to Mrs. Clinton that there are natural blood thinning alternatives that do not come with the laundry list of side effects from Big Pharma medications. Dr. Robert J. Rowen, for instance, recommends omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, bioflavanoids (such as gingko), natural clotting modulators like garlic, and nattokinase, which is made from fermented soy. Other natural blood thinners include the enzymes serrapeptase and lumbrokinase. Blood thickness (viscosity) is a good thing to test on an ongoing basis. High viscosity is an important risk factor for heart disease, as Jonathan Wright, MD, and other integrative physicians have emphasized.
Mrs. Clinton is also reportedly taking Armour Thyroid to treat an underactive thyroid gland. We were glad to hear this. It means that at least one of her physicians knows something about natural medicine. Armour Thyroid is DTE'--desiccated thyroid extract, the natural form of the hormones, as opposed the synthetic forms that conventional medicine often prescribes. We wrote about Armour in 2013, when there was a suspicious shortage of DTE. We suspected the FDA was up to its usual cronyism, clearing the way for Big Pharma's synthetic drugs. But the letters our readers sent to Congress and the FDA seem to have averted that outcome.
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Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill - NYTimes.com
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 13:43
WASHINGTON '-- Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill's passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom's message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom's economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.
''It's stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,'' said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims' family members pushing for the legislation.
President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.
A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found ''no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.'' But critics have noted that the commission's narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot.
Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.
The dispute comes as bipartisan criticism is growing in Congress about Washington's alliance with Saudi Arabia, for decades a crucial American ally in the Middle East and half of a partnership that once received little scrutiny from lawmakers. Last week, two senators introduced a resolution that would put restrictions on American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which have expanded during the Obama administration.
Families of the Sept. 11 victims have used the courts to try to hold members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks and charities liable because of what the plaintiffs charged was Saudi financial support for terrorism. These efforts have largely been stymied, in part because of a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in American courts.
The Senate bill is intended to make clear that the immunity given to foreign nations under the law should not apply in cases where nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on United States soil. If the bill were to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president, it could clear a path for the role of the Saudi government to be examined in the Sept. 11 lawsuits.
Interactive Feature | The Big Four in Saudi Arabia's Government Brief background information on the most powerful figures in the kingdom, and how they stand in the sometimes complicated order of succession.
Obama administration officials counter that weakening the sovereign immunity provisions would put the American government, along with its citizens and corporations, in legal risk abroad because other nations might retaliate with their own legislation. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate panel in February that the bill, in its current form, would ''expose the United States of America to lawsuits and take away our sovereign immunity and create a terrible precedent.''
The bill's sponsors have said that the legislation is purposely drawn very narrowly '-- involving only attacks on American soil '-- to reduce the prospect that other nations might try to fight back.
In a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on March 4, Anne W. Patterson, an assistant secretary of state, and Andrew Exum, a top Pentagon official on Middle East policy, told staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops and civilians could be in legal jeopardy if other nations decide to retaliate and strip Americans of immunity abroad. They also discussed the Saudi threats specifically, laying out the impacts if Saudi Arabia made good on its economic threats.
John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement that the administration stands by the victims of terrorism, ''especially those who suffered and sacrificed so much on 9/11.''
Edwin M. Truman, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said he thought the Saudis were most likely making an ''empty threat.'' Selling hundreds of billions of dollars in American assets would not only be technically difficult to pull off, he said, but would also very likely cause global market turmoil for which the Saudis would be blamed.
Moreover, he said, it could destabilize the American dollar '-- the currency to which the Saudi riyal is pegged.
''The only way they could punish us is by punishing themselves,'' Mr. Truman said.
The bill is an anomaly in a Congress fractured by bitter partisanship, especially during an election year. It is sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York. It has the support of an unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative senators, including Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, and Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas. It passed through the Judiciary Committee in January without dissent.
''As our nation confronts new and expanding terror networks that are targeting our citizens, stopping the funding source for terrorists becomes even more important,'' Mr. Cornyn said last month.
The alliance with Saudi Arabia has frayed in recent years as the White House has tried to thaw ties with Iran '-- Saudi Arabia's bitter enemy'-- in the midst of recriminations between American and Saudi officials about the role that both countries should play in the stability of the Middle East.
But the administration has supported Saudi Arabia on other fronts, including providing the country with targeting intelligence and logistical support for its war in Yemen. The Saudi military is flying jets and dropping bombs it bought from the United States '-- part of the billions of dollars in arms deals that have been negotiated with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations during the Obama administration.
The war has been a humanitarian disaster and fueled a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Yemen, leading to the resolution in Congress to put new restrictions on arms deals to the kingdom. Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, one of the resolution's sponsors and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Congress has been ''feckless'' in conducting oversight of arms sales, especially those destined for Saudi Arabia.
''My first desire is for our relationship with Saudi Arabia to come with a greater degree of conditionality than it currently does,'' he said.
EU-parlementairen krijgen samen tot 18 miljoen euro bovenop loon | Europees Parlement | De Morgen
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:17
Van de 751 leden van het Europees Parlement genieten er 398 (of 53 pct) inkomsten bovenop hun loon als volksvertegenwoordiger. Samen dikken zij hun jaarsalaris aan met een bedrag dat schommelt tussen 5,8 en 18,3 miljoen euro. Dat zegt Transparency International, dat de cijfers opsnorde. Guy Verhofstadt is de eerste Belg in de ranglijst, op de vierde plaats.
De ngo verzamelde alle beschikbare informatie over de bijbaantjes van de europarlementsleden. Ze baseerde zich vooral op de opgave van financile belangen die elk parlementslid moet neerleggen. Op die manier bieden de gepubliceerde cijfers een mooi overzicht, maar ze bieden weinig hard nieuws.
"Priv(C)belangen alarmerend hoog"De priv(C)belangen die aan de oppervlakte gekomen zijn, zijn "alarmerend hoog", stelt Transparency International. 175 parlementsleden ontvangen elke maand meer dan 500 euro voor buitenparlementaire activiteiten, 12 EP'ers verdienen zelfs meer dan 10.000 euro. E(C)n parlementslid, de Franse liberale Nathalie Griesbeck, rijgt maar liefst 68 mandaten aan elkaar en verdient daarmee tot 33.000 euro per maand. Zij staat dan ook helemaal bovenaan de 'External Activity Indicator' die Transparency ontwikkelde, een soort index voor de mandaten die elk parlementslid uitoefent en de vergoeding die hij/zij daarvoor ontvangt.
Verhofstadt, Michel en NeytsGuy Verhofstadt is de eerste Belg in de ranglijst, op de vierde plaats. Vooral zijn vergoedingen als bestuurder bij Sofina, Exmar Belgi en EIPA (Europees Instituut voor Openbaar Ambt) doen de score van de ex-premier aandikken. Louis Michel en Annemie Neyts vervolledigen de Belgische top-3.
Belangenconflicten?Transparency International vindt dat de parlementsleden meer duidelijkheid moeten verschaffen over hun mandaten. "Of hun activiteiten echt een belangenconflict veroorzaken, is moeilijk te zeggen wegens een gebrek aan transparantie", luidt de kritiek. De administratie van het Parlement krijgt de hint de opgaves van financile belangen beter te controleren en valse verklaringen te sanctioneren.
Europarlementslid Nathalie GriesbeckontkentEuroparlementslid Nathalie Griesbeck ontkent nu dat ze maandelijks tot 33.000 euro zou verdienen met haar buitenparlementaire activiteiten. Ze spreekt daarmee cijfers van de ngo Transparancy International tegen.
Griesbeck laat nu weten dat door het departement van de Moezel is aangeduid als vast lid in 55 organisaties en als plaatsvervanger in 13 andere organisaties. Maar al die functies zijn "onbezoldigd" en worden uitgevoerd als verantwoordelijke voor het departement van de Moezel, benadrukt ze.
Meer info op de nieuwe website www.integritywatch.eu.
Shut Up Slave!
UK Government concerned too many people could be trying anal sex | UK Politics | News | The Independent
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:44
The Government is concerned that increasing numbers of young people are trying anal sex, according to an official consultation.
Officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are baffled at the increased popularity of the act despite apparent ''research'' suggesting it is not pleasurable for women.
The warning is included in a consultation document issued by the Department about plans to further restrict access to online pornography. It argues that young people are trying anal sex as a result of having viewed pornography, and that this is an unwelcome development.
''Many people worry that young people will come to expect their real life sexual experiences to mirror what they or their peers see in pornography, which often features ambiguous depictions of consent, submissive female stereotypes and unrealistic scenarios,'' the consultation reads.
''There is also a question about the effect of pornography on 'unwanted sex' '' for instance more young people are engaging in anal intercourse than ever before despite research which suggests that it is often not seen as a pleasurable activity for young women.
''While the increase in anal sex cannot be attributed directly to pornography consumption, it does feature in a large percentage of mainstream pornography (for example, one content analysis found it featured in 56% of sex scenes).''
The consultation suggests that restricting access to pornography might reduce the numbers of people trying anal sex.
Officials supported their view by citing a 2014 British Medical Journal paper from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which collated interviews about the practice with 130 16-18 year olds.
That study actually however concluded that ''accounts revealed a complex context [of people trying anal sex] with availability of pornography being only one element''.
The Government's negative view of anal sex recalls opposition to the practice by Margaret Thatcher, who in 1986 watered down an anti-AIDS campaign so as not to acknowledge the act's existence.
According to Cabinet minutes released at the New Year Mrs Thatcher sent a memo asking for a section on ''risky sex'' to be scrubbed from the campaign because ''it could do immense harm if young teenagers were to read it''.
When the newspaper advert warning of the dangers of AIDS went ahead, she said: ''I remain against certain parts of this advertisement. Adverts where every young person will read and learn of practices they never knew about will do harm.''
Homosexual anal sex was criminalised under law as ''buggery'' in England and Wales until 1967.
Incidents at Sea Agreement
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:17
Signed at Moscow May 25, 1972Entered into force May 25, 1972
NarrativeTreaty TextProtocol
In the late 1960s, there were several incidents between forces of the U.S. Navy and the Soviet Navy. These included planes of the two nations passing near one another, ships bumping one another, and both ships and aircraft making threatening movements against those of the other side. In March 1968 the United States proposed talks on preventing such incidents from becoming more serious. The Soviet Union accepted the invitation in November 1970, and the talks were conducted in two rounds -- October 1, 1971, in Moscow and May 17, 1972, in Washington, D.C. The Agreement was signed by Secretary of the Navy John Warner and Soviet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov during the Moscow summit meeting in 1972.
Specifically, the agreement provides for:
steps to avoid collision;not interfering in the "formations" of the other party;avoiding maneuvers in areas of heavy sea traffic;requiring surveillance ships to maintain a safe distance from the object of investigation so as to avoid "embarrassing or endangering the ships under surveillance";using accepted international signals when ships maneuver near one another;not simulating attacks at, launching objects toward, or illuminating the bridges of the other partys ships;informing vessels when submarines are exercising near them; andrequiring aircraft commanders to use the greatest caution and prudence in approaching aircraft and ships of the other party and not permitting simulated attacks against aircraft or ships, performing aerobatics over ships, or dropping hazardous objects near them.The agreement also provides for: (1) notice three to five days in advance, as a rule, of any projected actions that might "represent a danger to navigation or to aircraft in flight"; (2) information on incidents to be channeled through naval attaches assigned to the respective capitals; and (3) annual meetings to review the implementation of the Agreement.
The protocol to this agreement grew out of the first meeting of the Consultative Committee established by the agreement. Each side recognized that its effectiveness could be enhanced by additional understandings relating to nonmilitary vessels. In the protocol signed in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 1973, each party pledged not to make simulated attacks against the nonmilitary ships of the other.
Like other confidence-building measures, the Incidents at Sea Agreement does not directly affect the size, weaponry, or force structure of the parties. Rather, it serves to enhance mutual knowledge and understanding of military activities; to reduce the possibility of conflict by accident, miscalculation, or the failure of communication; and to increase stability in times of both calm and crisis. In 1983, Secretary of the Navy John Lehman cited the accord as "a good example of functional navy-to-navy process" and credited this area of Soviet-American relations with "getting better rather than worse." In 1985, he observed that the frequency of incidents was "way down from what it was in the 1960s and early 1970s."
Treaty Text
Agreement Between the Government of The United States of America and the Government of The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas
Signed at Moscow May 25, 1972Entered into force May 25, 1972
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
Desiring to assure the safety of navigation of the ships of their respective armed forces on the high seas and flight of their military aircraft over the high seas, and
Guided by the principles and rules of international law,
Have decided to conclude this Agreement and have agreed as follows:
Article I
For the purpose of this Agreement, the following definitions shall apply:
1. "Ship" means:
(b) Naval auxiliaries of the Parties, which include all naval ships authorized to fly the naval auxiliary flag where such a flag has been established by either Party.
(a) A warship belonging to the naval forces of the Parties bearing the external marks distinguishing warships of its nationality, under the command of an officer duly commissioned by the government and whose name appears in the Navy list, and manned by a crew who are under regular naval discipline;
2. "Aircraft" means all military manned heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air craft, excluding space craft.
3. "Formation" means an ordered arrangement of two or more ships proceeding together and normally maneuvered together.
Article II
The Parties shall take measures to instruct the commanding officers of their respective ships to observe strictly the letter and spirit of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, hereinafter referred to as the Rules of the Road. The Parties recognize that their freedom to conduct operations on the high seas is based on the principles established under recognized international law and codified in the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas.
Article III
1. In all cases ships operating in proximity to each other, except when required to maintain course and speed under the Rules of the Road, shall remain well clear to avoid risk of collision.
2. Ships meeting or operating in the vicinity of a formation of the other Party shall, while conforming to the Rules of the Road, avoid maneuvering in a manner which would hinder the evolutions of the formation.
3. Formations shall not conduct maneuvers through areas of heavy traffic where internationally recognized traffic separation schemes are in effect.
4. Ships engaged in surveillance of other ships shall stay at a distance which avoids the risk of collision and also shall avoid executing maneuvers embarrassing or endangering the ships under surveillance. Except when required to maintain course and speed under the Rules of the Road, a surveillant shall take positive early action so as, in the exercise of good seamanship, not to embarrass or endanger ships under surveillance.
5. When ships of both Parties maneuver in sight of one another, such signals (flag, sound, and light) as are prescribed by the Rules of the Road, the International Code of Signals, or other mutually agreed signals, shall be adhered to for signalling operations and intentions.
6. Ships of the Parties shall not simulate attacks by aiming guns, missile launchers, torpedo tubes, and other weapons in the direction of a passing ship of the other Party, not launch any object in the direction of passing ships of the other Party, and not use searchlights or other powerful illumination devices to illuminate the navigation bridges of passing ships of the other Party.
7. When conducting exercises with submerged submarines, exercising ships shall show the appropriate signals prescribed by the International Code of Signals to warn ships of the presence of submarines in the area.
8. Ships of one Party when approaching ships of the other Party conducting operations as set forth in Rule 4 (c) of the Rules of the Road, and particularly ships engaged in launching or landing aircraft as well as ships engaged in replenishment underway, shall take appropriate measures not to hinder maneuvers of such ships and shall remain well clear.
Article IV
Commanders of aircraft of the Parties shall use the greatest caution and prudence in approaching aircraft and ships of the other Party operating on and over the high seas, in particular, ships engaged in launching or landing aircraft, and in the interest of mutual safety shall not permit: simulated attacks by the simulated use of weapons against aircraft and ships, or performance of various aerobatics over ships, or dropping various objects near them in such a manner as to be hazardous to ships or to constitute a hazard to navigation.
Article V
1. Ships of the Parties operating in sight of one another shall raise proper signals concerning their intent to begin launching or landing aircraft.
2. Aircraft of the Parties flying over the high seas in darkness or under instrument conditions shall, whenever feasible, display navigation lights.
Article VI
Both Parties shall:
1. Provide through the established system of radio broadcasts of information and warning to mariners, not less than 3 to 5 days in advance as a rule, notification of actions on the high seas which represent a danger to navigation or to aircraft in flight.
2. Make increased use of the informative signals contained in the International Code of Signals to signify the intentions of their respective ships when maneuvering in proximity to one another. At night, or in conditions of reduced visibility, or under conditions of lighting and such distances when signal flags are not distinct, flashing light should be used to inform ships of maneuvers which may hinder the movements of others or involve a risk of collision.
3. Utilize on a trial basis signals additional to those in the International Code of Signals, submitting such signals to the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization for its consideration and for the information of other States.
Article VII
The Parties shall exchange appropriate information concerning instances of collision, incidents which result in damage, or other incidents at sea between ships and aircraft of the Parties. The United States Navy shall provide such information through the Soviet Naval Attache in Washington and the Soviet Navy shall provide such information through the United States Naval Attache in Moscow.
Article VIII
This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of its signature and shall remain in force for a period of three years. It will thereafter be renewed without further action by the Parties for successive periods of three years each.
This Agreement may be terminated by either Party upon six months written notice to the other Party.
Article IX
The Parties shall meet within one year after the date of the signing of this Agreement to review the implementation of its terms. Similar consultations shall be held thereafter annually, or more frequently as the Parties may decide.
Article X
The Parties shall designate members to form a Committee which will consider specific measures in conformity with this Agreement. The Committee will, as a particular part of its work, consider the practical workability of concrete fixed distances to be observed in encounters between ships, aircraft, and ships and aircraft. The Committee will meet within six months of the date of signature of this Agreement and submit its recommendations for decision by the Parties during the consultations prescribed in Article IX.
DONE in duplicate on the 25th day of May 1972 in Moscow in the English and Russian languages each being equally authentic.
John W. Warner
Secretary of the Navy
Sergei G. Gorshkov
Commander-in-Chief of the Navy
Protocol to the Agreement Between the Government of The United States of America and the Government of The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas Signed May 25, 1972
Signed at Washington May 22, 1973Entered into force May 22, 1973
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, herein referred to as the Parties,
Having agreed on measures directed to improve the safety of navigation of the ships of their respective armed forces on the high seas and flight of their military aircraft over the high seas,
Recognizing that the objectives of the Agreement may be furthered by additional understandings, in particular concerning actions of naval ships and military aircraft with respect to the non-military ships of each Party,
Further agree as follows:
Article I
The Parties shall take measures to notify the non-military ships of each Party on the provisions of the Agreement directed at securing mutual safety.
Article II
Ships and aircraft of the Parties shall not make simulated attacks by aiming guns, missile launchers, torpedo tubes and other weapons at non-military ships of the other Party, nor launch nor drop any objects near non-military ships of the other Party in such a manner as to be hazardous to these ships or to constitute a hazard to Navigation.
Article III
This Protocol will enter into force on the day of its signing and will be considered as an integral part of the Argument between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas which was signed in Moscow on May 25, 1972.
DONE on the 22nd of May, 1973 in Washington, in two copies, each in the English and the Russian language, both texts having the same force.
J.P. Weinel
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Alekseyev, Admiral
Vaccine$ / Ebola / Zika
Related Bills - S.2512 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:27
A related bill may be a companion measure, an identical bill, a procedurally-related measure, or one with text similarities. Bill relationships are identified by the House, the Senate, or CRS, and refer only to same-congress measures.
BillLatest TitleRelationships to S.2512Relationships Identified byLatest ActionH.R.4400Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program ActIdentical billCRS02/05/2016 Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
Board of Directors | Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:23
C.S. Park, ChairFormer chairman and CEO, Maxtor Corp.
Carol BartzFormer CEO, Yahoo! Inc.
Jayne BatteyOwner, Miramar Farms
Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D.Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Rose Jacobs GibsonFormer San Mateo County Supervisor
Marie Oh HuberSVP, General Counsel and Secretary, eBay Inc.
Samuel Johnson, Jr., Vice ChairDirector of Administrative Services, Notre Dame de Namur University
Robert A. KellerVice Chairman, JPMorgan
Julie Miraglia KwonPartner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Dan'l LewinCorporate Vice President, Technology and Civic Engagement, Microsoft
Erik Dryburgh, Outside CounselPrincipal, Adler & Colvin
Wade W. LooRetired Partner, KPMG
David P. L"pez, Ed.D., Secretary/TreasurerExecutive Director, The Center for Latino Education and Innovation
Anne F. MacdonaldPartner, Frank, Rimerman & Co., LLP
Lynn A. McGovern, CPAPartner, Seiler LLP
Laura MieleSenior Vice President, Publishing, Electronic Arts
Kate MitchellCo-founder and Partner, Scale Venture Partners
Catherine A. MolnarExecutive Director, CHS Management LLC
Eduardo RalloManaging Partner, Pacific Community Ventures LLC
Tom StockyVice President, Search, Facebook
Thurman V. White, Jr.Chief Executive Officer, Progress Investment Management Company LLC
Obama letter Zika $1.9B funing request
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:02
THE DIRECTOR The President The White House Dear Mr. President: Estimate No. 1 ----'=-----114th Congress, 2nd Session EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET WASHINGTON, D .C. 20503 February 22, 2016 Submitted for your consideration is an emergency supplemental appropriations request to address the Zika outbreak and other vector-borne and emerging infectious diseases both domestically and internationally. These fonds are being requested to respond to the Zika virus by bolstering domestic preparedness, accelerating the procurement and testing of vaccines, diagnostics, and new mosquito control methods, and enhancing global capability to detect and respond to the Zika virus . This request provides approximately $1.9 billion to support immediate response activities to prevent the spread of, prepare for, and respond to Zika virus transmission; fortify domestic public health systems to prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus; speed the research, development, and procurement of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics; provide emergency assistance to States and the U.S. Territories to combat the mosquito vector and the Zika virus; provide additional Federal Medicaid funding in Puerto Rico and the other U.S. Territories for health services for pregnant women at risk of infection or diagnosed with the Zika virus and for children with microcephaly, and for other health care costs; and enhance the ability of Zika­affected countries to better combat mosquitoes, control transmission and support affected populations. The funding amounts proposed are requested to be designated as emergency requirements pursuant to section 251 (b) (2) (A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended . The major categories of funding are highlighted below: Department of H ealth and Human Services (HHS)-$1,509 million The request includes funding for the immediate response to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Zika virus and other vector-borne and emerging infectious disease threats. The request includes funding for the following HHS operating divisions: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C D C) -$.828 million. This funding is requested to support prevention and response strategies through the following activities: Grants and technical assistance to Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories ($225 million). Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S . Virgin Islands, and America Samoa. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories may
have substantial spread of the Zika virus as more than 80 percent of adults in Puerto Rico have already been infected with at least one strain of dengue, and about a quarter have been infected with the more recently introduced chikungunya. This funding is requested to expand vector control programs to reduce transmission of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and enhance lab capacity for the Zika virus and other infectious disease testing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories. In addition, these resources would: ' Expand surveillance and response to local transmission; ' Conduct active surveillance for Zika virus infections in pregnant women; and establish surveillance for Guillain-Barre syndrome, including a Pregnancy Cohort Study and State Maternal/Child Surveillance birth defects registry in Puerto Rico; ' Implement vector control activities in priority areas/risk populations to suppress Zika virus transmission in Puerto Rico; ' Deploy targeted prevention and education strategies with key populations and support public education efforts, with a specific emphasis on at-risk populations; and ' Improve capacity at Commonwealth and Federal laboratories in Puerto Rico to diagnose the Zika virus disease rapidly. Domestic Response ($453 million). This funding is requested to prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus and other infectious diseases; strengthen State and local response capabilities; and establish teams for rapid response to clusters in local areas of the United States. More specifically, this funding would be used to: ' Provide grants to southern and other States at risk, and Territories with known Aedes aegypti populations to support the following activities: o CDC emergency response teams that can be deployed as needed to assist affected Territories and States in vector control; and o Improved vector prevention and control in areas that have experienced sporadic dengue transmission, and are at risk of Zika transmission, including Florida and Texas. ' Enhance epidemiology, laboratory, and surveillance capacity to track Zika virus in people and mosquitoes. Funding would be provided through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Program and Laboratory Reference Network. ' Deploy targeted prevention and education strategies for key populations, including health care professionals, and support public education efforts, with a specific emphasis on at-risk populations. ' Conduct surveillance of health behaviors for women before, during, and after pregnancy using the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). Building on this existing capacity, CDC would expand PRAMS for Zika-related outcomes. CDC would also provide the clinical support and enhance the ability for birth defect registries across the United States to detect adverse health outcomes related to the Zika virus. ' Improve diagnostics for Zika, including advanced methods to refine tests, and support development of a vaccine through serological assays. 2
' Research the potential link between Zika and microcephaly and estimate the current prevalence of microcephaly and measure change in incidence rates over time as well as the risk factors and rates of adverse health outcomes from Zika. ' Strengthen existing CDC facilities, such as the Ft. Collins laboratory, to bolster capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus and other infectious vector-borne diseases. ' Minimize risk from transfusion, organ transplantation, and use of other equipment. CDC would also assist partners to identify sources of blood products for transfusion within affected areas to prevent transfusion-transmitted Zika. ' Develop novel methods and conduct research to control mosquitoes and discover new compounds that are safe and effective at both killing and repelling mosquitoes. CDC International Response Activities ($150 million). This funding would expand the Field Epidemiology Training Program, infectious disease surveillance, and emergency response activities in Zika-affected countries. It would also provide international capacity for surveillance, laboratories, training, and vector surveillance and control in countries at highest risk of the Zika virus disease and provide support to the Pan American Health Organization's (P AHO) laboratory network for increased vigilance on Zika. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ervices -$246 million. Puerto Rico and the other U.S. Territories are experiencing ongoing active transmission of the Zika virus. This request seeks a one-year increase in the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), from 55 to 65 percent in Puerto Rico and the other U.S. Territories, to provide an estimated $246 million in additional Federal assistance to support health services for pregnant women at risk of infection or diagnosed with the Zika virus and for children with microcephaly and other birth defects, and for other health care costs. This request does not make any changes to the underlying Medicaid program in the Territories, and the additional funding would not be counted toward current Medicaid allotments. Unlike States, Medicaid funding for Territories is capped, which has limited their capacity to respond to these emerging health needs. National In titutes o[Health Research Including Vaccines-$] 30 million. This funding supports efforts that would build upon existing resources to develop a vaccine for Zika and chikungunya (including the clinical testing phases up to the time when external interests would be willing to take over commercial development). Funds would also support basic research and research on the natural history of Zika. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccine and Diagnostics Development and Review -$10 million. This funding would support: development of reference reagents for Zika virus RNA to validate donor screening assays; evaluation of pathogen reduction methods for reducing Zika virus transmission in blood products; characterization of antigenic sites on the Zika virus for evaluating cross-protection by immunoglobulins against arboviruses; and expansion of diagnostic "regulatory-grade" nucleic acid database to support next generation diagnostic devices. The funding would also support post-market surveillance of vaccines, therapies, and other related administrative activities. 3
Other HHS Activities -$295 million. This funding would be available to support urgent needs related to the Zika virus and other infectious diseases, such as rapid advanced development and commercialization of new vaccines, diagnostic tests, and vector control methods for the Zika virus, force health protection, and support for State public health response needs. These resources would also expand programs to support additional capacity in health centers operating in Puerto Rico to support health services, including prevention, screening, and treatment for the Zika virus. This funding would also expand home visiting services targeting low-income pregnant women diagnosed with, or at risk of infection from the Zika virus, and families with children born with microcephaly and other birth defects. In addition, HHS would place additional clinicians in Puerto Rico, as well as provide targeted assistance related to the Zika virus to Puerto Rico's Maternal and Child Health program. There are also resources requested to respond to emerging and unanticipated needs including funding that could be transferred to other Federal agencies as needed, such as the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and others. This funding would provide the Federal Government the :flexibility to address the changing circumstances of the Zika virus infections. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) -$335 million The request includes investments to support affected countries' ability to control mosquitoes and the transmission of the virus, support maternal health, expand public education on prevention and response, and to create new incentives for the development of vaccines and diagnostics. The request would also provide flexibility in the use of remaining USAID Ebola funds. Activities would focus particularly on South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and would: ' Leverage the successful strategies from the President's Malaria Initiative to implement integrated vector management activities in countries affected by or at risk of the Zika vuus; ' Stimulate private sector research and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and vector control innovations through public-private partnerships and mechanisms to provide incentives, such as advance market commitments, volume guarantees, milestone payments, or incentive prizes; ' Support training of health care workers in affected countries including providing information about best practices for supporting children with microcephaly and providing support for pregnant women, including helping them access repellent to protect against mosquitoes. ' Establish education campaigns to empower communities in affected countries to take actions to protect themselves from the Zika virus as well as other mosquito-borne diseases; and ' Issue Global Health Security Grand Challenges calling for groundbreaking innovations in Zika diagnostics, vector control, personal protection, community engagement, and surveillance for Zika and other infectious diseases. Department of State -$41 million The funding request includes support for U.S. citizens in affected countries, medical support for State Department employees in affected countries, public diplomacy, communications, and other operations activities. The Department would also support the World 4
Health Organization (WHO) and its regional arm, the Pan American Health Organization (P AHO), to minimize the Zika threat in affected countries while reducing the risk of further spreading the virus. These resources would support critical public health actions underway, including preparedness, surveillance, data collection, and risk communication. Activities would also include support for the UN Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Zika response efforts in Brazil, activities to bolster diagnostic capabilities through deployment of equipment, and specialized training. The request would also provide flexibility in the use of remaining State Ebola funds. General Provisions The request includes provisions that would, for example, provide the authority to transfer certain funding made available in the Act to allow the Federal Government the flexibility to address the changing circumstances of the outbreak. This funding would be transferred to address emerging needs including funding across other Federal agencies as needed, such as the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The request also would provide HHS the authority to undertake certain renovations, alterations, and leasing of buildings overseas. In addition, the request includes language for HHS, State, and USAID to receive direct hiring authority for necessary Federal workers as well as the ability to enter into personal services contracts with qualified individuals to improve response efforts and to enable quicker response. This request further proposes new authority to expand HHS's ability to develop countermeasures for emerging infectious diseases and other threats to public health, and permit USAID to make multi-year funding commitments to incentivize the development of global health technologies. Recommendation I carefully reviewed this request and I am satisfied that it is necessary at this time. Without emergency funding, agencies would not have sufficient resources to address the Zika virus adequately. In particular, without these resources, HHS, State, and USAID would have fewer resources needed to effectively control the Zika virus from further spread, develop safe and effective treatments and vaccines, or urgently expand international capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to outbreaks. Therefore, I join the heads of the affected Departments and agencies in recommending you transmit the proposals to the Congress. Enclosures 5 Shaun Donovan Director
1 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION CDC -Wide Activities and Program Support (Including Transfer of Funds) For an additional amount for "CDC -Wide Activities and Program Support", $828,000,000, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases and related health outcomes, domestically and internationally; and to carry out titles II, III, and XVII of the Public Health Service (" PHS") Act with respect to domestic preparedness and global health: Provided , That products purchased with these funds may, at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, be deposited in the Strategic National Stockpile under section 319F -2 of the PHS Act: Provided further , That funds may be used for purchase and insurance of official motor vehicles in foreign countries: Provid ed further, That the provisions in section 317S of the PHS Act shall apply to the use of funds appropriated in this paragraph as determined by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( "CDC" ) to be appropriate: Provided further, That funds appropriated in this paragraph may be used for grants for the construction, alteration, or renovation of non- federally owned facilities to improve preparedness and response capability at the State and local level: Provided further , That funds appropriated in this paragraph may be used for acquisition of real property (including long -term ground leases) and equipment, and construction, demolition, or renovation of facilities, including construction on leased land: Provided further , That funds appropriated in this paragraph may be transferred by the Director of CDC to other accounts of the CDC for the purposes provided in this paragraph: Provided further, That such transfer authority is in addition to any other transfer authority provided by law: Provided further , That, upon a determination that all or part of the funds transferred from this appropriation are not necessary for the purposes provided herein, such amounts may be transferred back to this appropriation: Provided further , That the amount appropriated in this paragraph is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further, That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide a total of $828.0 million to prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus and other vector -borne and emerging infectious diseases both domestically and internationally. This funding would expand vector control programs to reduce the ongoing transmission of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and enhance laboratory, epidemiology, and surveillance capacity, and testing for the Zika virus in States and T erritories, with a priority focus on areas with ongoing Zika t ransmission such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories, a s well as in areas with the mosquitos that can spread Zika . CDC would also support active s urveillance for Zika virus infections in pregnant women and establish surveillance for Guillain- Barr(C) syndrome, including a Pregnancy Cohort Study and State Maternal/Child Surveillance birth defects registry. In addition to strengthening preparedness in States and Territories , CDC would
2 enhance international capacity for virus surveillance and expand the Field Epidemiology Training Program and laboratory testing in countries at highest risk of Zika virus outbreaks. Currently, there is no vaccine or thera peutic available to prevent or treat Zika virus infections. CDC has found that infection by Zika virus is possibly associated with birth defects and adverse pregnancy outcomes, especially microcephaly. CDC expects the number of cases of Zika virus across the U.S. and around the world to increase in the coming months. Mosquito control is difficult . However, States and cities that invest in mosquito control mechanisms can track and address many mosquito breeding areas to drive down the populations. These resources w ould maximize the use of available tools to reduce the mosquitoes that can spread the Zika virus and other diseases , and equip S tate and local health departments and laboratories with the tools needed to detect and mitigate the spread of t he Zika virus.
3 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENTAL MANAGEMENT Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Including Transfer of Funds) For an additional amount for " Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund ", $295,000,000, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases and related health outcomes, domestically and internationally; to develop necessary countermeasures and vaccines, including the development and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, and administrative activities; for carrying out titles II, III, and XVII of the PHS Act with respect to domestic preparedness and globa l health; and for carrying out title III of the PHS Act and title V of the Social Security Act to provide health care and related services in areas affected by Zika virus: Provided , That funds appropriated in this paragraph may be used to procure security countermeasures (as defined in section 319F-2(c)(1)(B) of the PHS Act, as amended by this Act ): Provided further , That paragraphs (1) and (7)(C) of subsection (c) of section 319F -2 of the PHS Act, but no other provisions of such section, shall apply to s uch security countermeasures procured with funds appropriated in this paragraph: Provided further, That products purchased with funds appropriated in this paragraph may, at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, be deposited in the Strategic National Stockpile under section 319F -2 of the PHS Act: Provided further , That funds appropriated in this paragraph may be transferred to the fund authorized by section 319F ''4 of the PHS Act: Provided further, That funds appropriated in this paragraph may, for purposes of providing primary health services in areas affected by Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases, be used to assign National Health Service Corps ( "NHSC ") members to Puerto Rico and other T erritories, notwithstanding the assignment priorities and limitations in or under sections 333(a)(1)(D), 333(b), or 333A(a) of the PHS Act, and to make NHSC Loan Repayment Program awards under section 338B of such Act: Provided further, That funds may be awarded for projects of regional and national significance in Puerto Rico and other Territories authorized under section 501 of the Social Security Act, notwithstanding section 502 of such Act: Provided further, That funds may be used for the alteration or renovati on of non-federally owned facilities to improve preparedness and response capability at the State and local level: Provided further , That funds appropriated in this paragraph may be transferred to other appropriations of the Department of Health and Human Services, as determined by the Secretary to be appropriate, to be used for the purposes specified in this paragraph: Provided further , That any transfers of these funds shall be made in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget: Provided further, That the transfer authority provided in this paragraph is in addition to any other transfer authority provided by law: Provided further , That, upon a determination that all or part of the funds transferred from this appropriation are not necessary f or the purposes provided herein, such amounts may be transferred back to this appropriation: Provided further , That the amount appropriated in this paragraph is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended:
4 Provided further , That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would pr ovide $295.0 million to support the development and procurement of medical countermeasures to diagnose, prevent, and treat the Zika virus and related vector-borne disease, or other emerging infectious disease. This funding would also support expanded auth ority in the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Fund if the PREP Act coverage is extended to manufacturers through BioShield, Advanced Development, or other vaccine research funding. This request would provide resources for public health services in Puert o Rico and other geographies affected by Zika. This request also includes language that would support health care services in affected areas through Health Centers, National Health Services Corps, Home Visiting program, and Maternal Child Health Special P rojects of Regional and National Significance. Furthermore, t his request also provides resources to support emerging needs related to Zika and other infectious diseases such as vaccine development and procurement, improved vector control methods , and support emerging State public health response needs. The transfer authority associated with the funds for emerging needs allows transfers of resources within the Department of Health and Human Services. As the urgent and emerging Zika virus progresses during summer months, it is necessary to have maximum flexibility to respond in a manner that is most appropriate.
5 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases For an additional amount for " National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ", $130,000,000, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases and relate d health outcomes, domestically and internationally, including expenses related to carrying out section 301 and title IV of the PHS Act: Provided, That such funds may be transferred by the Director of the National Institutes of Health ( "NIH ") to other acc ounts of the NIH for the purposes provided in this paragraph: Provided further , That such transfer authority is in addition to any other transfer authority provided by law: Provided further, That, upon a determination that all or part of the funds transferred from this appropriation are not necessary for the purposes provided herein, such amounts may be transferred back to this appropriation: Provided further, That the amount appropriated in this paragraph is designated by the Congress as an emergency re quirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further, That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide $130.0 million to support preclinical and clinical development of vaccines for the Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases , or other infectious diseases . Funding would also be used for basic research and research on the natural history of disease of the Zika virus and other vector -borne diseases.
6 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION Salaries and Expenses For an additional amount for " Salaries and Expenses", $10,000,000, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases and related health outcomes, domestically and internationally, and to develop necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines, including the review, regulation, and post market surveillance of vaccines and therapies, and administrative activities: Provided , That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further, That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide $10.0 million in funding to support highly targeted regulatory science research required for the efficient development and regulatory review of medical products and blood screening assays for Zika virus ; collaboration with, and providing technical support to international partners ' response efforts; and FDA staff to support the development, review, regulation, and surveillance of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapies.
7 GENERAL PROVISIONS '--THIS ACT (Including Transfer of Funds ) S ec. ___. For purposes of preventing, preparing for, and responding to Zika virus , other vector-borne diseases, or other infectious diseases and related health outcomes domestically and internationally, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may use funds provided in this Act'-- (1) to acquire, lease, construct, alter, renovate, equip, furnish, or manage facilities outside of the United States, as necessary to conduct such programs, in consultation with the Secretary of State, either directly for the us e of the United States Government or for the use, pursuant to grants, direct assistance, or cooperative agreements, of public or nonprofit private institutions or agencies in participating foreign countries; and (2) to enter into contracts with individuals for the provision of personal services (as described in section 104 of part 37 of title 48, Code of Federal Regulations (48 CFR 37.104)), within the United States and abroad: Provided , That such individuals may not be deemed employees of the United States for the purpose of any law administered by the Office of Personnel Management. This provision would provide HHS with the authority to directly undertake certain renovations, alterations, and leasing overseas for the use of U.S. Government staff. The general provision would also provide expanded personal services contract authority for HHS to more rapidly hire/deploy staff to improve response efforts for the purposes of preventing, preparing for, and responding to the Zika virus, other vector -borne diseases , or other infectious disease s and related outcomes domestically and internationally. Currently, t he CDC does not have the authority to use personal services contracts domestically. This flexibility is necessary to meet the surge in integrated w orkforce that is required for HHS to respond to the Zika virus and perform domestic preparedness activities. Sec. ___. Section 3304 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding a new subsection (g) , to read as follows '-- "(g ) T he heads of the Depa rtment of Health and Human Services, Department of State, and the Agency for International Development may appoint, without regard to the provisions of sections 3309 through 3319, candidates needed for positions to perform critical work in direct response to a public health threat requiring an immediate response for which'-- "(1) public notice has been given; and "(2) the Secretary of Health and Human Services has determined that such a public health threat exists .". This proposal would provide authority for HHS , State, and USAID to directly hire staff during urgent public health threats such as Zika. Current hiring processes can involve delay and make it difficult to hire individuals with needed competencies. Expedited hiring aut hority would allow agencies to urgently respond to public health threats .
8 S ec. __. Funds appropriated by this Act may be used to reimburse accounts administered by the Department of Health and Human Services for obligations incurred for Zika virus respons e prior to the enactment of this Act. This proposal would allow funds provided in this Act to be used to reimburse accounts at the Department of Health and Human Services to address the Zika disease response that occurred prior to the enactment of this appropriation. S ec. ___. TRANSFER AUTHORITY. Funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services in this Act may be transferred to and merged with other Federal accounts for purposes specified in this Act following consultation with the Office of Management and Budget: Provided , That such transfer authority shall be in addition to any other transfer authority provided by law: Provided further , That, upon a determination that all or part of the funds transferred from an appropriation are not necessary, such amounts may be transferred back to that appropriation. This proposal would allow the transfer of certain resources provided in this Act to other Departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Agriculture . This authority would allow the Federal Government the flexibility to address the changing circumstances of the Zi ka virus. S ec.___. Section 319F -2(c)(1)(B) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d-6b(c)(1)(B)) is amended '-- (1) in clause (i)(III)(bb), by striking "; or" and inserting a semicolon; (2) in clause (ii), by striking the period and inserting "; or"; and (3) by adding the following new clause: "(iii)(I) the Secretary determines to be a necessary countermeasure to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or treat harm from any infectious disease that may pose a threat to the public health; and "(II)(aa) is approved or cleared under chapter V of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or licensed under section 351 of this Act; or "(bb) is a countermeasure for which the Secretary determines that suff icient and satisfactory clinical experience or research data (including data, if available, from pre- clinical and clinical trials) support a reasonable conclusion that the countermeasure will qualify for approval or licensing within 10 years after the date of a determination under subclause (I)." . This provision would expand the definition of a security countermeasure for the purpose of procurement under BioShield, such that countermeasures meeting the new definition are not required to be associated with a Material Threat Determination. Countermeasures meeting the new definition are countermeasures the HHS Secretary determines to be necessary to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or treat harm from any infectious disease that may pose a threat to the public health.
9 Sec.___. EMERGENCY INCREASE IN TERRITORIAL FMAP. (a) IN GENERAL.'-- (1) For purposes of title XIX of the Social Security Act, for the one year period beginning with the first day of the first full fiscal quarter following enactment of this section, the Federal medical assistance percentage ( "FMAP ") under section 1905(b) of such Act for the T erritories specified in paragraph (2) shall be raised from 55 percent to 65 percent. Any net increase in payment to such a territory under section 1903(a) of such Act, which is attributable to such raised FMAP, shall be disregarded in applying sections 1108(f) and 1108(g) of such Act to the territory. (2) The Territories specified in this paragraph are the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. (b) AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTING INCREASED FMAP.'--With respect to the amount needed for purposes of implementing the raised FMAP under subsection (a) for each of fiscal year s 2016 and 2017, such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended, and such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would increase the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), from 55 to 65 percent, in Puerto Rico and the other U.S. T erritories for one year to provide additional Federal assistance to support health services for pregnant women at risk of infection or diagnosed with Zika virus and for children with microcephaly and other birth defects , and for other health care costs. This request does not make any changes to the unde rlying Medicaid program in the T erritories, and the additional funding would not be counted towards current Medicaid allotments. Puerto Rico and the other U.S. T erritories are experiencing ongoing active transmission of the Zika virus. Unlik e States, Medicaid funding for T erritories is capped, which has limited their capacity to respond to these emerging health needs. This is being requested as a change in a mandatory program impacting both FY 2016 and FY 2017.
10 DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Diplomatic and Consular Programs For an additional amount for " Diplomatic and Consular Programs ", $14,594 ,000, to remain available until September 30, 2017, for necessary expenses t o support response efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases: Provided, That up to $2,419,000 may be made available for medical evacuation costs of any other Department or agency of the United States under the Chief of Mission authority, and may be transferred to any other appropriation of such D epartment or agency for such costs: Provided further , That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further , That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide a total of $14.6 million for immediate support to address the Zika virus. Of this amount, $8.4 million would support the Office of Medical Services to enable additional medical evacuations for employees facing increases risk due to the virus including authority to provide evacuation services to other agencies under Chief of Mission authority . The remaining $ 6.2 million of the request would support coordination efforts in the region, public diplomacy outreach, and related U.S. efforts .
11 DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Emergencies in the Diplomatic and Consular Service For an additional amount for "Emergencies in the Diplomatic and Consular Services", $4,000,000 for necessary expenses to support response efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases, to remain available until expended: Provided , That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further, That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide a total of $4.0 million in funding to support potential costs for evacuation of U .S. citizens from Zika -affected countries.
12 DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Repatriation Loans Program Account For an additional amount for "Repatriation Loans Program Account" for the cost of direct loans, $1,000,000, to support the response efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector-borne diseases, or other infectious diseases , to remain available until expended: Provided, That such costs, including the cost of modifying such loans, shall be as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974: Provided further , That such funds are available to subsidize an additional amount of gross obligations for the princ ipal amount of direct loans not to exceed $1,880,406: Provided further, That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amende d: Provided further, That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide $1.0 million to enable financing of $1.9 million in repatriatio n loans to U.S. citizens who are seeking to leave Zika- affected areas or who have been exposed to or contracted Zika.
13 DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS OTHER Global Health Programs For an additional amount for " Global Health Programs", $325,000,000, to remain available until expended, for necessary expenses for assistance or research to prevent, treat, or otherwise respond to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases : Provided , That funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for multi- year funding commitments to incentivize the development of global health technologies: Provided further, That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further , That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). The request would provide a total of $325.0 million for investments to support affected countries ' ability to implement vector management and control programs and reduce transmission of the Zika virus; support maternal and child health; expand public communication and behavior change efforts ; and create new incentives for the development of vaccines, diagnostics , vector control innovations, and other global health technologies . Activities would focus particularly on affected and at -risk countries, which are currently in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. While specific allocations w ould be refined as country needs are assessed, the following are preliminary anticipated allocations : ' $100 million to i mplement integrated vector management and control activities in countries affected by and at risk of the Zika virus and other vector -borne diseases ; ' $100 million to s timulate private sector research and devel opment of vaccines, diagnostics, and vector control innovations through public -private partnerships and mechanisms to provide incentives such as advance market commitments or volume guarantees; ' $50 million to provide s upport for maternal and child health in affected and at risk countries , including training of health care workers, ensuring access to voluntary family planning information, services, and methods , providing information about best practices for supporting children with microcephaly , and helping pregnant women and their partners access appropriate personal protection including repellant to protect against mosquitoe s; ' $25 million to e stablish public health communication and behavior change campaigns to empower communities in affected and at -risk countries to take actions t o protect themselves from the Zika virus and other vector -borne diseases; and ' $50 million to i ssue Global Health Security Grand Challenges calling for groundbreaking innovations in diagnostics, vector control, personal protection, community engagement and surveillance or other tools to address Zika and other infectious diseases , or develop other public -private partnerships designed to accelerate the introduction of innovative tools and practices .
14 INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE N onproliferation, Anti -Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs For an additional amount for "Nonproliferation, Anti -T errorism, Demining and Related Programs", $8,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2017, for necessary expenses to support response and research efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector-borne diseases, or other infectious diseases : Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency req uirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further , That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide a total of $8.0 million for necessary expenses for a United States voluntary contribution to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Zika response and research efforts. U.S. funding will support the IAEA 's work to develop and deploy nuclear techniques to help accelerate diagnosis , including related specialized training, and to implement sterile insect projects that help suppress mosquito populations.
15 INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE International Organizations and Programs For an additional amount for "International Organizations and Programs", $13,500,000, to remain available until September 30, 2017, for necessary expenses to support response and research efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases : Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to sec tion 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further , That such amount shall be available only if the President designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide a total of $13.5 million to support activities undertaken by the WHO and its regional arm, PAHO , UNICEF, and the Food and Agriculture Organization related to Zika virus response.
16 INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Operating Expenses For an additional amount for "Operating Expenses", $10,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2017 for necessary expenses to support response efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases : Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further , That such amount shall be available only if the P resident designates such amount as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This request would provide $10.0 million for additional operating costs to support Zika virus response .
17 GENERAL PROVISIONS - DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS U se of Ebola B alances for O ther I nfectious Diseases S ec. __. Unobligated balances of amounts appropriated under title IX of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act , 2015 (division J of Public Law 113''235) shall also be available for necessary expenses for operations, assistance, or research to prevent, treat, or otherwise respond to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector-borne diseases, or other infectious diseases: Provided , That amounts repurposed pursuant to this section are designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended: Provided further , That such amounts shall be available only if the President designates such amounts as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A). This provision would allow unobligated balances of amounts provided to the Department of State and USAID in FY 2015 to address the Ebola disease to also be used to respond to the Zika virus or other infectious diseases as needed. Transfer Authority S ec. __. (a) Funds appropriated by this Act under the headings "Global Health Programs ", "Nonproliferation, Anti -Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs ", "International Organizations and Programs ", and "Operating Expenses " may be transferred to, and merged with, funds appropriated by this Act under such headings to carry out the purposes of this Act . (b) Funds appropriated by this Act under the headings "Diplomatic and Consular Programs ", "Emergencies in the Diplomatic and Consular Service ", and "Repatriation Loan Programs " may be transferred to, and merged with, funds appropriated by this Act under such headi ngs to carry out the purposes of this Act. (c ) The transfer authorities provided by this section are in addition to any other transfer authority provided by law. (d) Upon a determination that all or part of the funds transferred pursuant to the authoriti es provided by this section are not necessary for such purposes, such amounts may be transferred back to such appropriations. This proposal would allow transfers of resources between the accounts in this title at the Department of State and USAID in order to provide the flexibility to address the changing circumstances of the Zika virus. Reimbursement Authority S ec. __. Funds appropriated by this Act may be used to reimburse accounts administered by the United States Agency for International Development and the Department of State for obligations incurred for Zika virus response prior to the enactment of this Act.
18 This proposal would allow funds provided in this Act to be used to reimburse accounts at the Department of State and USAID for obligations to address the Zika virus response that occurred prior to the enactment of this appropriation. Availability of Funds for International Organizations S ec. __. Section 307(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 shall not apply to funds appropriated by this Act . This proposal would allow any voluntary contributions to international organizations for Zika virus response using funds provided in this Act to be made without regard to the "pariah state " withholding of section 307 of the Foreign Assistance Act. Notwithstanding Authority S ec. __. Funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this Act and prior Acts ma king appropriations for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs that are made available to support Zika virus response and related activities may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law . This proposal would a llow funds from this or prior Acts that are made available to support Zika virus response to be used notwithstanding any other provision of law, to ensure that Zika virus response activities can be undertaken where restrictions might otherwise impede or pr event the U.S. G overnment response. Personal Service Contractors S ec. __. Funds available in this Act to support response efforts related to the Zika virus and related health outcomes, other vector -borne diseases, or other infectious diseases may be us ed to enter into contracts with individuals for the provision of personal services (as described in section 104 of part 37 of title 48, Code of Federal Regulations (48 CFR 37.104)) in the United States or abroad: Provided , That such individuals may not be deemed employees of the United States for the purpose of any law administered by the Office of Personnel Management. This proposal would allow the Department of State and USAID to quickly hire additional experts, such as global health practitioners, infe ctious disease physicians, and other medical staff, to support assistance programs and assist with the high volume of inquiries and requests for assistance from posts overseas.
Oxfam: $1.9B in Ebola aid not delivered by donors - Business Insider
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:45
syndication.ap.orgFILE - In this Wednesday March 11, 2015 file photo, relatives weep as they bury a loved one suspected of dying from the Ebola virus at a new graveyard on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. Activists say international donors have failed to deliver promised funds to help West African countries recover from the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people. Oxfam said Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, that $1.9 billion has not been delivered. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh, File)
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) '-- International donors have failed to deliver $1.9 billion in promised funds to help West African countries recover from the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people and decimated already weak health care systems, the U.K.-based charity Oxfam said Sunday.
The remaining $3.9 billion pledged has been difficult to track because of "scant information" and a lack of transparency, the group said.
"We're finding it hard to understand which donors have given what money, to whom and for what purpose," said Aboubacry Tall, Oxfam's regional director for West Africa.
Oxfam called on donors and the governments of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea '-- the three hardest-hit countries '-- to provide detailed information on how aid is being provided.
More than $5 billion was pledged by the international community as part of a special International Ebola Recovery Conference in New York last July. At least $1.9 billion of that "still has not been allocated to a specific country in a pledge statement let alone through more firm commitments to specific recovery programs."
Originating in Guinea more than two years ago, the Ebola outbreak left some 23,000 children without at least one of their parents or caregivers, while some 17,000 survivors are trying to resume their lives despite battling mysterious, lingering side effects.
The international community already has been criticized for how it handled the crisis. An Associated Press investigation found the World Health Organization delayed declaring an international emergency for political and economic reasons. Emails, documents and interviews obtained by the AP show the World Health Organization and other responders failed to organize a strong response. None of the senior leaders involved in directing the Ebola response has been disciplined or fired.
Meanwhile, the disease has not been stamped out entirely. Though the WHO declared an end to virus transmission throughout the region on Jan. 14, the next day officials in Sierra Leone reported a new fatality and a second person has since tested positive.
WHO said it had anticipated there would still be flare-ups before Ebola was truly over. However, Oxfam said the slow response to recent flare-ups in both Sierra Leone and Liberia show they are still not able to deal effectively with new cases.
Administration Will Use Ebola Funding for Zika, but $1.9B Request Stays - Morning Consult
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:42
The Obama administration will transfer $589 million, including $510 million that was originally allocated for Ebola, to fight the Zika outbreak, but is still calling on Congress to fund a $1.9 billion emergency funding request from February.
''We should not play with fire here,'' Donovan said. ''We should not risk the outbreak spreading and getting out of control before Congress acts.''
The administration needed to scale up efforts against the mosquito-borne virus as the looming spring and summer weather brings more mosquitos to the continental United States and the number of cases in Puerto Rico and other territories grows, Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Wednesday on a call with reporters.
Officials have been open to using a portion of funds previously allocated for Ebola, but maintain that it will not be ''a sufficient response to significant threat posed by Zika,'' Donovan said. He did not say how long the funding would cover necessary actions against the virus.
''Without the full amount,'' he said, activities ''that need to start right now would have to be delayed and curtailed or stopped within months.''
Funding the full emergency request would also replace the funding that would have gone towards Ebola, which is still necessary, he said. Ebola remains a global threat, and continued outbreaks in West Africa demonstrate why continuing to fund those programs are necessary, said Heather Higginbottom, deputy secretary for management and resources, told reporters on the call.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, has committed to replenishing the funds, Donovan said.
House Appropriations Committee leaders, including Rogers and Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who respectively chair the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee and the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee, had called on the administration to use existing funding because the country needs to quickly respond to the outbreak, the trio said in a statement.
''We will look carefully at the details of today's proposal by the Administration to ensure the best and most effective use of these funds, and to provide proper oversight,'' they said. ''As we move forward, the Appropriations Committee will continue to monitor the changing needs resulting from this unpredictable crisis to assure the resources necessary for the response are available.''
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, said Wednesday he supported transferring the money to the Zika account. Congressional Republicans had pushed for using the Ebola funding before allocating new funding to fight Zika.
''From what they tell me, I think that should cover it,'' he told reporters.
Zika funding could also come in the appropriations process, which will be kicking off in the Senate later this month. Donovan said there were ''real consequences and risks of waiting.''
Signifiant research is still needed to learn about Zika and how to properly respond to it, which is part of the reason why more funding is needed, said Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell.
Further research would help develop vaccines and diagnostics, which researchers have already started working on though there are still many unknowns, she said.
''I think we have been clear, this money can get us started,'' she said. ''We do not want to be in a place where we run out of those funds.''
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.
DHS considers flexible hiring paths for cyber talent
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:04
DHS considers flexible hiring paths for cyber talentBy Mark RockwellApr 14, 2016As the Department of Homeland Security adapts to an increasingly tight supply of cyberdefenders and skilled IT workers, the agency is looking to make it easier for those professionals to enter, exit and return to government service.
"It's not our grandfathers' government anymore," said Angela Bailey, chief human capital officer at the DHS. She noted the trend toward a more mobile technical workforce, putting in shorter stints at individual employers.
Bailey has been at DHS for only three months and is looking at new ways the agency can recruit and employ IT workers in an increasingly tight market for technical talent. She left her chief operating officer position at the Office of Personnel Management in January.
At DHS, she's thinking about how a "passport" approach to IT jobs might allow tech and cyber workers at DHS to move among federal and commercial jobs more flexibly. That approach, she said in remarks at an April 14 AFCEA DC event, would allow DHS to approach IT and cybersecurity jobs not as a traditional, long-term hire, but as project-based, "special forces" kinds of assignments. She stressed the passport idea is just that: an idea and not a formal program at this point.
DHS is operating under a cyber hiring mandate issued in Dec. 2014 that gives the agency greater authority for hiring and paying cybersecurity professionals. The mandate also allows DHS to create an entirely new personnel and pay system for cyber workers.
That kind of hiring flexibility, DHS CIO Luke McCormack said, can be just as critical to how the agency approaches future IT projects as agile development is.
DHS, he said, is the "gold standard" for cybersecurity training and DHS cybersecurity workers are heavily recruited by commercial industries. Banking and finance firms in particular look to hire away agency talent.
"Banking and Wall Street are fishing" in the agency's cyberworker pool, McCormack said, because they recognize those workers have a valuable skill set. Commercial companies can "triple their salary" or provide other benefits the agency can't match. However, he said, that move might not be a bad thing, if DHS can hire them back as needed.
Thirty-year careers exclusively inside a federal agency, McCormack said, are a thing of the past in IT.
The passport idea would allow IT professionals "to circle back" to government more easily, bringing their experience in the private sector with them, McCormack said. "We actually want that," he said. "It keeps us fresh."
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
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.
Missing 13th
The Missing 13th Amendment: ---No Lawyers allowed in Public Office--- | SicknessHope.com
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 14:32
13th Amendment --- Missing
David M. Dodge, ResearcherDate 08/01/91In 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 principleintent 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 areenormous.
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 ofCongress, 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 theArticles 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 typhoidMary, 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 wasever 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 thetemptation 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 productivemembers 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. Thisled 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 thisAmendment 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 ofnobility) 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 ofCongress, 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 ofre-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 rulersare 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"?
As we go to press, I've received information from a researcher in Indiana, and another in Dallas, who have found five more editions of statutes that include the Constitution and the missing 13th Amendment. These editions were printed by Ohio, 1819; Connecticut (one of the states that voted against ratifying the Amendment), 1835; Kansas, 1861; and the Colorado Territory, 1865 and 1867.
These finds are important because:
They offer independent confirmation of Dodge's claims; and They extend the known dates of publication from Nebraska 1860 (Dodge'smost recent find), to Colorado in 1867.
The most intriguing discovery was the 1867 Colorado Territory edition which includes both the "missing" 13th Amendment and the current 13th Amendment (freeing the slaves), on the same page. The current 13th Amendment is listed as the 14th Amendment in the 1867 Colorado edition. This investigation has followed a labyrinthine path that started with the questions about how the U.S. courts evolved from a temple of the Bill of Rights to the current star chamber and whether this situation had anything to do with retiring chief Justice Burger's warning that we were "about to lose our Constitution". My seven year investigation has been fruitful beyond belief; the information on the missing 13th Amendment is only a "drop in the bucket" of the information I have discovered. Still, the research continues, and by definition, is never truly complete.
Imagine a nation which prohibited at least some lawyers from serving in government. Imagine a government prohibited from writing laws granting "honors" (special privileges, immunities, or advantages) to individuals, groups, or government officials. Imagine a government that could only write laws that applied to everyone, even themselves, equally. It's never been done before. Not once. But it has been tried: In 1810 the Congress of the United States proposed a 13th Amendment to the Constitution that might have given us just that sort of equality and political paradise. The story begins (again) in 1983, when David Dodge andTom Dunn discovered an 1825 edition of the Maine Civil Code which contained the U.S. Constitution and a 13th Amendment which no longer appears on the Constitution:
"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honor, or shall without the consent ofCongress, 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."
This Amendment would have restricted at least some lawyers from serving in government, and would prohibit legislators from passing any special interest legislation, tax breaks, or special immunities for anyone, not even themselves. It might have guaranteed a level of political equality in this nation that most people can't even imagine. Since 1983, researchers have uncovered evidence that:
The 13th Amendment prohibiting "titles of nobility" and "honors" appeared in at least 30 editions of the Constitution of the United States which were printed by at least 14 states or territories between 1819 and 1867; and This amendment quietly disappeared from the Constitution near the end of the Civil War.
Either this Amendment was: Unratified and mistakenly published for almost 50 years; or Ratified in 1819, and then illegally removed from the Constitution by 1867.
If this 13th Amendment was unratified and mistakenly published, the story has remained unnoticed in American history for over a century. If so, it's at least a good story -- an extraordinary historical anecdote.
On the other hand, if Dodge is right and the Amendment was truly ratified, an Amendment has been subverted from our Constitution. If so, this "missing" Amendment would still be the Law, and this story could be one of the most important stories in American History. Whatever the answer, it's certain that something extraordinary happened to our Constitution between 1819 and 1867.
PROS AND CONS (for Ratification)
Of course, there are two sides to this issue. David Dodge, the principal researcher, argues that this 13th Amendment was ratified in 1819 and then subverted from the Constitution near the end of the Civil War. U.S. Senator George Mitchell of Maine, and Mr. Dane Hartgrove (Acting Assistant Chief, Civil Reference Branch of the National Archives) have argued that the Amendment was never properly ratified and only published in error. There is some agreement. Both sides agree the Amendment was proposed by Congress in 1810. Both sides also agree that the proposed Amendment required the support of at least thirteen states to be ratified. Both sides agree that between 1810 and 1812 twelve states voted to support ratification. The pivotal issue is whether Virginia ratified or rejected the proposed Amendment. Dodge contends Virginia voted to support the Amendment in 1819, and so the Amendment was truly ratified and should still be a part of our Constitution. Senator Mitchell and Mr. Hartgrove disagree, arguing that Virginia did not ratify. Unfortunately, several decades of Virginia's legislative journals were misplaced or destroyed (possibly during the Civil War; possibly during the 1930's). Consequently, neither side has found absolute proof that the Virginia legislature voted for (or against) ratification. A series of letters exchanged in 1991 between David Dodge, Sen. Mitchell, and Mr. Hartgrove illuminate the various points of disagreement. After Dodge's initial report of a "missing" Amendment in the 1825 Maine Civil Code, Sen. Mitchell explained that this edition was a one-time publishing error: "The Maine Legislature mistakenly printed the proposed Amendment in the Maine Constitution as having been adopted. As you know, this was a mistake, as it was not ratified."
Further, "All editions of the Maine Constitution printed after 1820 [sic] exclude the proposed amendment; only the originals contain this error." Dodge dug deeper, found other editions (there are 30, to date) of state and territorial civil codes that contained the missing Amendment, and thereby demonstrated that the Maine publication was not a "one-time" publishing error.
After examining Dodge's evidence of multiple publications of the "missing" Amendment, Sen. Mitchell and Mr. Hartgrove conceded the Amendment had been published by several states and was ratified by twelve of the seventeen states in the Union in 1810. However, because the Constitution requires that three-quarters of the states vote to ratify an Amendment. Mitchell and Hartgrove insisted that the 13th Amendment was published in error because it was passed by only twelve, not thirteen States. Dodge investigated which seventeen states were in the Union at the time the Amendment was proposed, which states had ratified, which states had rejected the amendment, and determined that the issue hung on whether one last state (Virginia) had or had not, voted to ratify.
After several years of searching the Virginia state archive, Dodge made a crucial discovery: In Spring of 1991, he found a misplaced copy of the 1819 Virginia Civil Code which included the "missing" 13th Amendment. Dodge notes that, curiously, "There is no public record that shows this book [the 1819 Virginia Civil Code] exists. It is not catalogued as a holding of the Library of Congress nor is it in the National Union Catalogue. Neither the state law library nor the law school in Portland were able to find any trace that this book exists in any of their computer programs."
Dodge sent photo-copies of the 1819 Virginia Civil Code to Sen. Mitchell and Mr. Hartgrove, and explained that, "Under legislative construction, it is considered prima facie evidence that what is published as the official acts of the legislature are the official acts." By publishing the Amendment as ratified in an official publication, Virginia demonstrated that they:
Knew they were the last state whose vote was necessary to ratify this 13th Amendment; Had voted to ratify the Amendment; andWere publishing the Amendment in a special edition of their Civil Code as an official notice to the world that the Amendment had indeed been ratified.
Dodge concluded, "Unless there is competing evidence to the contrary, it must be held that the Constitution of the United States was officially amended to exclude from its body of citizens any who accepted or claimed a title of nobility or accepted any special favors. Foremost in this category of ex-citizens are bankers and lawyers."
RATIONALES (for Ratification)
Undeterred, Sen. Mitchell wrote that, "Article XIII did not receive the three-fourths vote required from the states within the time limit to be ratified." (Although his language is imprecise, Sen. Mitchell seems to concede that although the Amendment had failed to satisfy the "time limit", the required three-quarters of the states did vote to ratify.) Dodge replies: "Contrary to your assertion.., there was no time limit for amendment ratification in 1811. Any time limit is now established by Congress in the Resolves for proposed amendments."
In fact, ratification time limits didn't start until 1917, when Sect. 3 of the Eighteenth Amendment stated that, "This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified within seven years from the date of submission ... to the States by Congress." A similar time limit is now included on other proposed Amendments, but there was no specified time limit when the 13th Amendment was proposed in 1810 or ratified in 1819. Sen. Mitchell remained determined to find some rationale, somewhere, that would defeat Dodge's persistence. Although Sen. Mitchell implicitly conceded that his "published by error" and "time limit" arguments wereinvalid, he continued to grope for reasons to dispute the ratification: "... regardless of whether the state of Virginia did ratify the proposed Thirteenth Amendment... on March 12, 1819, this approval would not have been sufficient to amend the Constitution.
In 1819, there were twenty-one states in the United States and any amendment would have required approval of sixteen states to amend the Constitution. According to your own research, Virginia would have only been the thirteenth state to approve the proposed amendment." Dodge replies: "Article V [amendment procedures] of the Constitution is silent on the question of whether or not the framers meant three-fourths of the states at the time the proposed amendment is submitted to the states for ratification, or three-fourths of the states that exist at some future point in time. Since only the existing states were involved in the debate and vote of Congress on the Resolve proposing an Amendment, it is reasonable that ratification be limited to those States that took anactive part in the Amendment process."
Dodge demonstrated this rationale by pointing out that, "President Monroe had his Secretary of State... [ask the] governors of Virginia, South Carolina, and Connecticut, in January, 1818, as to the status of the amendment in their respective states. The four new states (Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, and Illinois) that were added to the union between 1810 and 1818 were not even considered."
From a modern perspective, it seems strange that not all states would be included in the ratification process. But bear in mind that this perspective is based on life in a stable nation that's added only five new states in this century -- about one every eighteen years. However, between 1803 and 1821 (when the 13th Amendment ratification drama unfolded), they added eight states -- almost one new state every two years. This rapid national growth undoubtedly fostered national attitudes different from our own. The government had to be filled with the euphoria of a growing Republic that expected to quickly add new states all the way to the Pacific Ocean and the Isthmus of Panama. The government would not willingly compromise or complicate that growth potential with procedural obstacles; to involve every new state in each on-going ratification could inadvertently slow the nation's growth.
For example, if a territory petitioned to join the Union while an Amendment was being considered, its access to statehood might depend on whether the territory expected to ratify or reject a proposed amendment. If the territory was expected to ratify the proposed Amendment government, officials who favored the Amendment might try to accelerate the territory's entry into the Union. On the other hand, those opposed to the Amendment might try to slow or even deny a particular territory's statehood. These complications could unnecessarily slow the entry of new states into the nation, or restrict the nation's ability to pass newAmendments. Neither possibility could appeal to politicians. Whatever the reason, the House of Representatives resolved to ask onlyConnecticut, South Carolina, and Virginia for their decision on ratifying the 13th Amendment -- they did not ask for the decisions of the four new states. Since the new states had Representatives in the House who did not protest when the resolve was passed, it's apparent that even the new states agreed that they should not be included in the ratification process.
In 1818, the President, the House of Representatives, the Secretary of State, the four "new" states, and the seventeen "old" states, all clearly believed that the support of just thirteen states was required to ratify the 13th Amendment. That being so, Virginia's vote to ratify was legally sufficient to ratify the "missing' Amendment in 1819 (and would still be so today).
Apparently persuaded by Dodge's various arguments and proofs that the "missing" 13th Amendment had satisfied the Constitutional requirements for ratification, Mr. Hartgrove (National Archives) wrote back that Virginia had nevertheless failed to satisfy the bureaucracy's procedural requirements for ratification:
"Under current legal provisions, the Archivist of the United States is empowered to certify that he has in his custody the correct number of state certificates of ratification of a proposed Constitutional amendment to constitute its ratification by the United States of America as a whole. In the nineteenth century, that function was performed by the Secretary of State. Clearly, the Secretary of State never received a certificate of ratification of the title of nobility amendment from the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is why that amendment failed to become the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."
This is an extraordinary admission. Mr. Hartgrove implicitly concedes that the 13th Amendment was ratified by Virginia and satisfied the Constitution's ratification requirements. However, Hartgrove then insists that the ratification was nevertheless justly denied because the Secretary of State was not properly notified with a "certificate of ratification". In other words, the government's last, best argument that the 13th Amendment was not ratified boils down to this:
Though the Amendment satisfied Constitutional requirement for ratification, it is nonetheless missing from our Constitution simplybecause a single, official sheet of paper is missing in Washington. Mr. Hartgrove implies that despite the fact that three-quarters of the States in the Union voted to ratify an Amendment, the will of the legislators and the people of this nation should be denied because somebody screwed up and lost a single "certificate of ratification". This "certificate" may be missing because either:
Virginia failed to file a proper notice; or The notice was "lost in the mail"; or The notice was lost, unrecorded, misplaced, or intentionally destroyed, by some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. This final excuse insults every American's political rights, but Mr.Hartgrove nevertheless offers a glimmer of hope: If the National Archives "received a certificate of ratification of the title of nobility amendment from the Commonwealth of Virginia, we would inform Congress and await further developments." In other words, the issue of whether this 13th Amendment was ratified and is, or is not, a legitimate Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is not merely a historical curiosity -- the ratification issue is still alive.
But most importantly, Hartgrove implies that the only remaining argument against the 13th Amendment's ratification is a procedural error involving the absence of a "certificate of ratification".
Dodge countered Hartgrove's procedure argument by citing some of the ratification procedures recorded for other states when the 13th Amendment was being considered. He notes that according to the Journal of the House of Representatives. 11th Congress, 2nd Session, at p. 241, a "letter" (not a "certificate of ratification") from the Governor of Ohio announcing Ohio's ratification was submitted not to the Secretary of State but rather to the House of Representatives where it "was read and ordered to lie on the table." Likewise, "The Kentucky ratification was also returned to the House, while Maryland's earlier ratification is not listed as having beenreturned to Congress."
The House Journal implies that since Ohio and Kentucky were not required to notify the Secretary of State of their ratification decisions, there was likewise no requirement that Virginia file a "certificate of ratification" with the Secretary of State. Again, despite arguments to the contrary, it appears that the "missing" Amendment was Constitutionally ratified and should not be denied because of some possible procedural error.QUICK, MEN! TO THE ARCHIVES!
Each of Sen. Mitchell's and Mr. Hartgrove's arguments against Ratification have been overcome or badly weakened. Still, some of theevidence supporting ratification is inferential; some of the conclusions are only implied. But it's no wonder that there's such an austere sprinkling of hard evidence surrounding this 13th Amendment:
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. The evidence of ratification seems tantalizingly close but remains buried in those masses of un-catalogued documents, waiting to be found. It will take some luck and some volunteers to uncover the final proof.
We have an Amendment that looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. But because we have been unable to find the eggshell from which it hatched in 1819, Sen. Mitchell and Mr. Hartgrove insist we can't ... quite ... absolutely prove it's a duck, and therefore, the government is under no obligation to concede it's a duck. Maybe so. But if we can't prove it's a duck, they can't prove it's not. If the proof of ratification is not quite conclusive, the evidence against ratification is almost nonexistent, largely a function of the government's refusal to acknowledge the proof. We are left in the peculiar position of boys facing bullies in the schoolyard. We show them proof that they should again include the "missing" 13th Amendment on the Constitution; they sneer and jeer andtaunt us with cries of "make us". Perhaps we shall.
It's worth noting that Rick Donaldson, another researcher, uncovered certified copies of the 1865 and 1867 editions of the Colorado Civil Codes which also contain the missing Amendment. Although these editions were stored in the Colorado state archive, their existence was previously un-catalogued and unknown to the Colorado archivists.
This raises a fantastic possibility. If there's insufficient evidence that Virginia did ratify in 1819, there is no evidence that Virginia did not. Therefore, since there was no time limit specified when the Amendment was proposed, and since the government clearly believed only Virginia's vote remained to be counted in the ratification issue, the current state legislature of Virginia could theoretically vote to ratify the Amendment, send the necessary certificates to Washington, and thereby add the Amendment to the Constitution.
Was it ratified? There is a lot of evidence that it was. Could all of the following publications have been in error?
The following states and/or territories have published the Titles of Nobility amendment in their official publications as a ratified amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
Colorado1861, 1862, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868Connecticut1821, 1824, 1835, 1839[?] Dakota1862, 1863, 1867Florida1823, 1825, 1838Georgia1819, 1822, 1837, 1846Illinois1823, 1825, 1827, 1833, 1839, dis. 1845Indiana1824, 1831, 1838Iowa1839, 1842, 1843Kansas1855, 1861, 1862, 1868Kentucky1822Louisiana1825, 1838/1838 [two separate publications]Maine1825, 1831Massachusetts1823Michigan1827, 1833Mississippi1823, 1824, 1839Missouri1825, 1835, 1840, 1841, 1845*Nebraska1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1873North Carolina1819, 1828Northwestern Territories1833Ohio1819, 1824, 1831, 1833, 1835, 1848Pennsylvania1818, 1824, 1831Rhode Island1822Virginia1819Wyoming1869, 1876
Totals:24 States in 78 separate official government publications.Note: "Pimsleur's", a checklist of legal publications, does not listmany of the above volumes.
* This volume was published twice in 1845. The first published the "Titles of Nobility" amendment, the second was published right after Congress set the requirements for Missouri's admission as a State. The "Titles of Nobility" amendment was replaced with a notation that this amendment was printed in error in 1835.
"The History of the World"Samuel Maunder, Harper, New York, 1850, vol. 2, p.462. Republished byWm. Burtis, Baltimore, 1856, vol. 2, p.462."The Rights of an American Citizen"Benj. Oliver, Counsellor at Law, Boston, 1832, p. 89."Laws of the United States of America"Bioren and Duane, Philadelphia & Washington, 1815, vol. 1, p.74. [See:Note]"The American Politician"M. Sears, Boston, 1842, p.27."Constitution of the United States"C.A. Cummings, Lynn, Massachusetts, not dated, p.35.Political Text Book Containing the Declaration of Independence"Edward Currier, Blake, Holliston, Mass. 1841, p.129."Brief Exposition of the Constitution of the United States for the useof Common Schools"John S. Hart, A.M. (Principal of Philadelphia High School and Professorof Moral Mental and Political Science), Butler and Co., Philadelphia,1850, p.100."Potter's Justice"H. Potter, U.S. District Court Judge, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1828,p.404, 2nd Edition [the 1st Ed., 1817, does not have "Titles ofNobility"].
Note: The "Laws of the United States" was published by John Duane. Without doubt, Duane was aware of Virginia's plan to ratify this amendment which targeted, amongst other things, the emolument of banking and the agents of foreign banking interests, the attorneys. Currency manipulation led to the failure of numerous banks and in turn to many a personal bankruptcy, including that of Thomas Jefferson. The allegiance of attorneys** has always been with the money state, whether pharaoh, caesar, monarch orcorporate monopoly.
** See: "Acts of Virginia", Feb. 20, 1812, p.143.The Court, in "Horst v. Moses", 48 Alabama 129, 142 (1872) gave the following description of a title of nobility:
To confer a title of nobility, is to nominate to an order of persons to whom privileges are granted at the expense of the rest of the people. It is not necessarily hereditary, and the objection to it rises more from the privileges supposed to be attached than to the otherwise empty title or order. These components are forbidden separately in the terms "privilege", "honor", and "emoluments", as they are collectively in the term "title of nobility". The prohibition is not affected by any consideration paid or rendered for the grant.
"Bouvier's Law Dictionary", 15th Edition, vol. 1 (1885) lists the due process amendments as 5 and 15 [15 was re-numbered to 14] on p.571. The prohibition of titles of nobility stops the claim of eminent domain through fictions of law. Eminent domain is the legal euphemism for expropriation, and unreasonable seizure given sanction by the targets of this amendment.
The debate goes on. The mystery continues to unfold. The answer lies buried in the archives. If you are close to a state archive or large library anywhere in the USA, please search for editions of the U.S. Constitution printed between 1819 and 1870.
If you will, please check your state's archives and libraries to review any copies of the Constitution printed prior to the Civil War, or any books containing prints of the Constitution before 1870. If you locate anything related to this project we would appreciate hearing from you so we may properly fulfill this effort of research.
If you find more evidence of the "missing" 13th Amendment please contact:
David DodgePOB 985Taos, New Mexico, 87571This version of this research text by David Dodge was edited for clarity, and hand-coded in HTML on July 4, A.D. 2002, by The Lawful Path, http://www.lawfulpath.com/, and was adapted from a prior version placed on the web by Barefoot Bob, May 5, 1996.
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 00-705-30815. 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
Pro-IS Twitter Account Calls for Jihadists to ''Grab Your Weapon'' and Perform Attacks
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:56
NOTE: The following materials are for information purposes only and may not be copied, reproduced, or transmitted without the explicit permission of SITE Intelligence Group and specific attribution to SITE Intelligence Group.
DetailsJihadist NewsCreated: 14 April 2016
A pro-Islamic State (IS) Twitter account incited followers to ''go outside & kill'' non-believers while commenting on recent terror attacks.
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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.
Google Fiber planning wireless home Internet where fiber is too pricey | Ars Technica
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 01:32
Google Fiber's latest expansion plans.
Google Fiber is testing a few wireless technologies in an effort to build a wireless home Internet service that would complement its fiber broadband, according to a company executive.
Craig Barratt, a senior vice president at Alphabet who oversees Google Fiber and other projects in the company's Access and Energy division, spoke generally about the plans in an interview with Re/code published today. Though Barratt didn't reveal a timeline or specifics on technology, he said Google Fiber wants to provide fixed wireless Internet to homes where it wouldn't make financial sense to build fiber.
"We are experimenting with a number of different wireless technologies," Barratt said. "One of the things that is intriguing about wireless is that it allows you reach houses and users that are in lower density settings'--where fiber becomes too expensive. So providing fixed wireless services using some of the technologies we think are ways of accelerating our deployments."
Wireless home Internet is often used in rural areas that lack fiber or cable. While wireless networks are often slow, some companies are developing networks that can rival the speeds of faster wireline ones.
Google has been testing wireless technology in Kansas City, the first Google Fiber city, the company said in a recent filing asking the Federal Communications Commission for authorization to use spectrum in the 3.5GHz band.
Barratt emphasized that the plans are around fixed wireless broadband, not mobile. Google is already in the mobile Internet business with Project Fi, but as an MVNO reselling Sprint and T-Mobile service.
Google Fiber recently ended a free Internet offer in Kansas City. While customers with the "free" service did have to pay a one-time $300 construction fee, it isn't surprising Google Fiber would want to improve its operating expense ratio, given how costly construction can be. Going with wireless could also lower the cost of expanding Internet access. Barratt said Alphabet is "confident in the business model" of Google Fiber but is "being very thoughtful in terms of where and how we invest."
Report: Nothing useful found on San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:54
The San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone that the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said was critical in their investigation has absolutely nothing useful on it, at least so far.Yes, the same iPhone that was subject of so much attention from the past few months.
Here's a brief look at what happened in recent months over the iPhone:
The DoJ and Apple were engaged in a legal battle over a court order that was forcing Apple to help the FBI access data on a locked iPhone tied to Syed Farook. Farook was one of two terrorists involved in the San Bernardino shooting incident last year that left 14 people dead.
The FBI desperately wanted access to that locked iPhone, not because it was expecting any case-breaking evidence on Farook's work-issued iPhone, but it was just trying to gather all available information, leaving no stone unturned.So in the end, it appears that there was nothing useful or helpful on the iPhone, as everyone expected.
Citing a law enforcement source, CBS News reports that "so far nothing of real significance has been found" on Farook's iPhone and that the agency is still analyzing data from the now-unlocked iPhone 5C.However, it isn't at all surprising, as the iPhone in question was one of three used by Farook and his wife. The FBI previously admitted that both of them had destroyed their personal iPhones that were found crushed and dumped in a trash at his house.
The only remaining one was Farook's work phone that was recovered intact, making it highly unlikely of holding anything of real value. If there had been any digital evidence or anything sensitive on it, they would have destroyed it too.
Now all these FBI's efforts weren't just a big waste of time, but it might cause the federal agency a big damage as well.
In the wake of the court order over unlocking terrorist's iPhone, Apple is reportedly now working on fully encrypt iCloud Backups to make it even harder for law enforcement to access data stored on its servers.The company has even hired Frederic Jacobs: one of the key developers of the World's most secure, open source and encrypted messaging app, Signal.Meanwhile, several major tech companies, including Google, WhatsApp, and Facebook, have sided with Apple in defense of privacy and digital rights. Recently, WhatsApp even announced full end-to-end encryption by default across its app, making itself unable to comply with any court order that demands access to the content of any conversation happens over its service.
Dyson Airblades 'spread germs 1,300 times more than paper towels'
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 22:18
Dyson Airblade hand-driers spread 60 times more germs than standard air dryers, and 1,300 times more than standard paper towels, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.
University of Westminster researchers carrying out the research dipped their hands into water containing a harmless virus. They then dried their hands with either a Dyson Airblade, a standard hot-air dryer, or a paper towel.
According to their findings, the Dyson drier's 430mph blasts of air are capable of spreading viruses up to 3 meters across a bathroom. The standard drier spread viruses 75cm, and the hand towels 25cm.
In 2014 a similar study by researchers from the University of Leeds found that airborne germ counts were 27 times higher around jet air dryers in comparison with the air around paper towel dispensers.
Research lead Professor Mark Wilcox said: ''Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with bugs from other people's hands.
''These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease.''
The earlier study was funded by the European Tissue Symposium. A spokesman for Dyson said at the time: ''This research was commissioned by the paper towel industry and it's flawed.
"They have tested glove covered hands, which have been contaminated with unrealistically high levels of bacteria, and not washed."
In February this year Dyson released a video on its YouTube channel hitting back at claims that paper towels are more hygienic than its hand-driers.
Titled "Paper's Dirty Secret", a voiceover on the video says: "Independent research shows that before they even reach the washroom, paper towels can contain large communities of culturable bacteria."
"Once in the washroom, bacteria in the air and contamination from previous users can be picked up by paper towels ... Up to 88% of unused paper towels contain bacteria."
Assessment of the environmental microbiological cross contamination following hand drying with paper hand towels or an air blade dryer - Margas - 2013 - Journal of Applied Microbiology - Wiley Online Library
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 22:28
Emma Maguire, Food Manufacturing Technologies Department, Campden BRI, Station Road, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6LD, UK.
E-mail: emma.maguire@campdenbri.co.uk
AimsThis study compared the potential for cross contamination of the surrounding environment resulting from two different hand-drying methods: paper towels and the use of an air blade dryer.
Methods and resultsOne hundred volunteers for each method washed their hands and dried them using one of the two methods. Bacterial contamination of the surrounding environment was measured using settle plates placed on the floor in a grid pattern, air sampling and surface swabs. Both drying methods produced ballistic droplets in the immediate vicinity of the hand-drying process. The air blade dryer produced a larger number of droplets which were dispersed over a larger area. Settle plates showed increased microbial contamination in the grid squares which were affected by ballistic droplets. Using the settle plates counts, it was estimated that approx. 1·7 — 105 cfu more micro-organisms were left on the laboratory floor (total area approx. 17·15 m2) after 100 volunteers used an air blade dryer compared to when paper towels were used.
ConclusionsThe two drying methods led to different patterns of ballistic droplets and levels of microbial contamination under heavy use conditions. Whilst the increase in microbial levels in the environment is not significant if only nonpathogenic micro-organisms are spread, it may increase the risk of pathogen contamination of the environment when pathogens are occasionally present on people's hands.
Significance and Impact of the StudyThe study suggests that the risk of cross contamination from the washroom users to the environment and subsequent users should be considered when choosing a hand-drying method. The data could potentially give guidance following the selection of drying methods on implementing measures to minimise the risk of cross contamination.
Comparative evaluation of the hygienic efficacy of an ultra-rapid hand dryer vs conventional warm air hand dryers
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 22:24
Journal of Applied Microbiology
J Appl Microbiol. 2011 Jan; 110(1): 19''26.
1Bradford Infection Group, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
2Microbiology Department, Dyson Limited, Tetbury Hill, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK
Anna M. Snelling, Bradford Infection Group, School of Life Sciences, University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford BD7 1DP, UK. E-mail: ku.ca.drofdarb@gnillens.m.aReceived 2010 May 14; Revised 2010 Jul 26; Accepted 2010 Aug 5.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Society for Applied MicrobiologyRe-use of this article is permitted in accordance with the Creative Commons Deed, Attribution 2.5, which does not permit commercial exploitation.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.AbstractAims:To compare an ultra-rapid hand dryer against warm air dryers, with regard to: (A) bacterial transfer after drying and (B) the impact on bacterial numbers of rubbing hands during dryer use.
Methods and Results:The Airblade' dryer (Dyson Ltd) uses two air 'knives' to strip water from still hands, whereas conventional dryers use warm air to evaporate moisture whilst hands are rubbed together. These approaches were compared using 14 volunteers; the Airblade' and two types of warm air dryer. In study (A), hands were contaminated by handling meat and then washed in a standardized manner. After dryer use, fingers were pressed onto foil and transfer of residual bacteria enumerated. Transfers of 0''107 CFU per five fingers were observed. For a drying time of 10 s, the Airblade' led to significantly less bacterial transfer than the other dryers (P0·05, range 0·1317''0·4099). In study (B), drying was performed ± hand rubbing. Contact plates enumerated bacteria transferred from palms, fingers and fingertips before and after drying. When keeping hands still, there was no statistical difference between dryers, and reduction in the numbers released was almost as high as with paper towels. Rubbing when using the warm air dryers inhibited an overall reduction in bacterial numbers on the skin (P < >Conclusions:Effective hand drying is important for reducing transfer of commensals or remaining contaminants to surfaces. Rubbing hands during warm air drying can counteract the reduction in bacterial numbers accrued during handwashing.
Significance and Impact of the Study:The Airblade' was superior to the warm air dryers for reducing bacterial transfer. Its short, 10 s drying time should encourage greater compliance with hand drying and thus help reduce the spread of infectious agents via hands.
Keywords:contamination, cross-contamination, hand drying, hand hygiene, hygiene, skin microflora
IntroductionHandwashing is a hugely important infection control measure in clinical, manufacturing and domestic environments. A great deal of research has focussed on such aspects as handwashing technique, efficacy of antimicrobial handwash agents, how to improve compliance and the effect of wearing jewellery (Pittet 2000; Jumaa 2005; Pittet et al. 2006; Rotter et al. 2009). In contrast, comparatively little research has been carried out to quantify the contribution that hand drying makes to the overall effectiveness of the washing event. With most handwashing regimens, the numbers of bacteria on the skin surface are lowered, but not eliminated. If hands are not then dried properly, transfer of commensal strains, or transients not eliminated by the wash itself, is more likely to occur (Gould 1994; Merry et al. 2001). The degree of wetness of hands appears to greatly influence bacterial transfer and dissemination to surfaces and items touched. This probably occurs not only because of the physical aspects of moisture droplets transferring between one surface and another but also because the bacteria may be maintained in a physiological state that makes them better able to survive in the new environment. Patrick et al. (1997) reported that by drying the hands, the numbers of bacteria transferred to samples of skin, food or utilities were reduced by an order of 99%.
If hands repeatedly remain damp because of ineffective hand drying, it can lead to skin excoriation which in turn can lead to altered and higher populations of bacteria colonizing the skin. This has been found to be a particular problem amongst certain cohorts of nurses, where routine duties require multiple instances of hand washing per hour. It can lead to greater carriage of Gram-negative bacteria plus yeasts. More worryingly, Staphylococcus aureus can become established as part of their normal skin flora (Larson et al. 1998). Hand drying to decrease microbial counts at the skin surface is now recognized as an essential part of handwashing procedures aimed at reducing the spread of methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA) in hospitals (Collins and Hampton 2005), but few protocols stipulate exactly how to dry the hands, or for how long. Even EN1499:1997 (BSI 1997), the European Standard Handwash technique widely used in laboratory and field studies, does not incorporate a precisely defined hand drying step, prior to microbiological sampling.
The four main methods of hand drying are letting the skin dry by evaporation, use of paper towels, cloth towels, or, in more recent times, use of warm air dryers. Whilst studies have found warm air dryers to be equivalent (Taylor et al. 2000) or even superior (Ansari et al. 1991) to paper towels for reducing numbers of micro-organisms on the hands, concerns have been raised about their overall hygiene. There have been conflicting reports regarding dispersal of bacteria in the washroom environment via aerosols liberated from the machines (Matthews and Newsom 1987; Redway 1994; Redway and Knight 1998; Taylor et al. 2000). Another issue concerns the need to rub the hands vigorously under the warm air stream, because this can cause increased bacterial counts on the skin surface after washing (Yamamoto et al. 2005).
The Airblade' (Dyson Ltd, Malmesbury, UK) is a new type of dryer that aims to address some of the problems outlined earlier. Air is drawn in through a HEPA filter at the base of the machine, through the motor and expelled through two 0·3 mm-wide slits, creating two high pressure 'knives' of filtered air (). The hands are inserted into the cavity between the slits, and sensors start the airflow automatically. The hands are then drawn up slowly through the sheet of air generated, and water on the hands is stripped off in a controlled manner. This process does not rely on evaporation of moisture from the skin, so the air does not need to be heated and the hands do not need to be rubbed to speed the process. The water that is removed is deposited onto the fascia of the machine, which uses a hydrophilic coating to spread the water out facilitating evaporation in the turbulent airflow. As the hands are held apart and drawn upwards through the airstream, drying takes just 10''12 s.
Simplified view of moisture being 'stripped' from the hands by the air knives of the Dyson Airblade' hand dryer.
In this study, the Airblade' was trialled against two models of conventional warm air dryers, typical of those widely used in public washrooms. In study (A), the impact of the hand drying process on the transfer of bacteria from fingers to an inert surface was quantified. In Study (B), the effect of hand rubbing was assessed and compared to the process of drying the hands with paper towels. The results provide an evidence base for the development and enhancement of hygienic hand drying practices.
Materials and methodsVolunteersFourteen volunteers (seven men and seven women) were recruited to take part in the study. All were over 18 years of age and gave written informed consent for their participation. Because of the need to handle raw meat during the tests, anyone with open sores or abrasions on either hand was excluded from participating. Volunteers were not currently receiving treatment for dermatological disorders and had not used oral or topical antibiotics during the previous 3 months.
Hand dryersTwo models of warm air hand dryer were used: a manual operation A5 (World Dryer Corporation, Berkeley, IL, USA) and an automatic operation Turbodry' (PHS Group plc, Caerphilly, UK). These are typical of dryers found in washrooms around the world, whereby unfiltered air is warmed and blown vertically downwards whilst hands are rubbed together in the airstream. Upon activation, the A5 unit stays on for 30 s and the Turbodry' for 35 s. A Dyson Airblade' dryer (240v UK model; Dyson Ltd) was also tested. This is an ultra-rapid dryer that uses two high-pressure 'knives' of HEPA-filtered air (at ambient temperature) to strip water from hands that are held apart as they are drawn upwards through the airstream. The manufacturers recommended time for drying hands with this machine is 10 s.
To avoid the risk of any pre-existing internal microbial contamination seeding the outlet air streams, new models of each type of dryer were used.
Study (A): quantification of bacteria transferred to an inert surface from the fingertips after dryingFirst, the hands of volunteers were deliberately contaminated by manipulation of a fresh, uncooked chicken, washed in the manner described below and then dried using a variety of methods. After drying, the volunteers touched strips of aluminium foil. Any bacteria transferred to the foil from the fingertips were then enumerated by standard culture techniques. In this way, transfer to an inert surface of any bacterial contaminants that survived the washing plus drying steps was quantified.
Standardized contamination and hand washing procedureFor all tests in this study, volunteers contaminated their hands (both left and right) by manipulating a fresh, uncooked chicken, as recommended by Charbonneau et al. (2000). Chickens were purchased from a local supermarket, stored at 4°C and used within 48 h. One chicken was used per volunteer per day. To contaminate the hands, the chicken was massaged inside and out for 45 s, then hands were allowed to air-dry for 1 min. Following this, hands were washed in tap water at a temperature of 40 ± 5°C and a constant flow rate of 4 l min''1. For each handwash, a single squirt (1·5''2 g) of nonmedicated liquid soap (Sommerfield Jasmin luxury cream handwash) was dispensed into the palm of the right hand. The hands were then washed for a full 60 s in accordance with the actions described in EN1499:1997 (BSI 1997).
Hand drying proceduresThe majority of the tests in Study (A) used a standard drying time of 10 s for all hand dryers. This drying time was selected because it is the time recommended for the Airblade' machine. As a control, some tests involved allowing hands to dry naturally in the room air, without movement or rubbing of any kind. In addition, experimental runs utilizing the A5, and Turbodry' machines were repeated using their activation period as the drying time.
On four separate occasions (different days or am and pm of the same day), each volunteer reported to the study laboratory, where they contaminated and washed their hands in the manner described earlier. The hands were then dried using one of the three dryers, or alternatively, allowed to dry naturally in the room air, as determined by a randomization table. When using the conventional warm air dryers, the volunteers rubbed their hands in their normal manner. With the Airblade', hands were held still. When no dryer was to be used, they held their hands still for 10 s, with fingers pointing upwards and spread out.
Quantification of bacteria transferred to an inert surface from the fingertipsImmediately after each drying event, the amount of bacteria transferred from the fingertips when touching aluminium foil was enumerated, with transfer from the left and right hands being quantified separately. This gave a total of 28 replicates (i.e. 14 volunteers — 2 hands) per drying method.
Volunteers pressed each finger (one at a time) onto a strip (c. 10 — 4 cm) of sterile aluminium foil. One strip was used per five fingers of each hand. As each finger made contact with the foil, it was gently rolled, as if being fingerprinted. After being sampled, volunteers washed their hands thoroughly with an antiseptic handwash to remove any remaining contamination acquired from the chickens.
Using aseptic technique, each foil strip was curled loosely and deposited into a universal bottle containing 5 ml of Maximum Recovery Diluent (MRD; Oxoid, Basingstoke, UK) with 2% Tween 80 (Sigma-Aldrich, Poole, Dorset, UK), 0·1% lecithin and 0·1% sodium thiosulphate to neutralize any soap residue (Leyden et al. 1991). The bottles were then vortexed for c.20 s to resuspend any bacteria adhering to the foil. Serial tenfold dilutions were then made in MRD, and 100-μl aliquots of each dilution (plus neat) was plated onto the surface of duplicate plates of tryptone soya agar (TSA). Plates were incubated overnight at 37°C, and the resulting colonies counted. Results were recorded as colony forming units (CFU) per right or left fingertips (i.e. average count from the 5 ml of diluent used for each hand).
Study (B): effect of rubbing hands during the drying procedure on the count of bacteria transferred from the surface of the skinThe performance of the Airblade' dryer was compared with that of the A5 and Turbodry' machines '' the latter two, each being evaluated with and without hand rubbing. For comparison purposes, paper towels (Hostess folded towels; Kimberly-Clark Ltd, West Malling, UK) were also included as these are a traditional and frequently used means of drying the hands. These tests did not involve deliberate contamination of the hands. They were designed specifically to assess the relative change in numbers of bacteria transferred from the palms, fingers and fingertips postwash vs prewash, when hands were dried with and without rubbing. Unlike Study (A), soap was not used in the washing process, because detergents can affect the break-up of skin squamae and bacterial clumps, masking effects of hand rubbing per se.
On six separate occasions (different days or am and pm of same day), each volunteer reported to the laboratory and washed their hands under running water (but without soap) for 60 s, in accordance with EN1499:1997. The hands were washed in tap water at a temperature of 40 ± 5°C and a constant flow rate of 4 l min''1. After washing, hands were shaken five times to remove excess water. Immediately after this, bacteria were sampled from the palms, fingers and fingertips of each hand, using TSA contact plates (Rodac plates prepared by Oxoid Ltd, area c. 10 cm2). One plate was used for the centre of the palm, one was pressed against the middle of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers, and with a third plate, each finger in turn was gently sampled. Thus, three contact plates were used per hand per sampling time.
After this, the hands were dried in one of six ways (), as determined by a randomization table, and bacterial sampling was repeated with fresh contact plates. The drying time was set at 15 s, in accordance with Yamamoto et al. (2005). In the case of paper towels, two towels were used, with the hands towelled for 15 s in accordance with the volunteer's normal procedure. Where hands were rubbed, the hand movements of the standard EN1499:1997 handwash procedure were followed.
Drying procedures compared in Study (B)
Contact plates were incubated at 37°C for 24 h, and the number of colonies counted with the aid of a magnifying lens. Reductions in colony counts per sampling site were then calculated for the various drying procedures.
Statistical analysisExperimental data were analysed using the Students t-test function in Microsoft Excel, with a confidence interval of 95%. A value of P < >ResultsStudy (A): quantification of bacteria transferred to an inert surface from the fingertips after dryingIn these tests, volunteers handled raw chicken, and after a standard handwash and use of one of the different dryers, the transfer of residual bacteria from the fingertips to foil was quantified. The results are summarized in the box plot in . The counts on the vertical axis represent combined transfer from all five fingers of each hand. The statistical significance of the results, together with mean log bacterial counts achieved, and standard deviations are summarized in .
Mean log bacterial counts, standard deviations, and P-values for tests carried out in Study (A). Statistically significant results are marked with shading. Analysis includes the outliers indicated in Box plot showing counts of bacteria transferred onto foil by the fingertips of each hand during tests with the different dryers in Study (A). (outliers are indicated by *).
Despite undertaking a thorough handwash with soap and running water, transfers of up to 107 CFU per five fingers were observed. There were 21 instances of no bacteria being transferred from a hand, and this occurred most often (seven instances) with the Airblade', followed by the Turbodry' (five instances, when used for 35 s). Comparing the results in with those in , it can be seen that when a standard drying time of 10 s was applied, the Airblade' unit performed considerably better (i.e. resulted in less residual bacterial transfer) than all the other methods of drying, with all the results being strongly statistically significant (i.e. P < > 0·050).
is a box plot summary of the collective data (all drying methods) for the seven male and seven female volunteers. This indicates that on average, female volunteers transferred considerably fewer residual bacteria to the aluminium foil strips than the male volunteers, after washing their hands following the handling of raw chicken.
Box plot of dominant vs subdominant hand, and male vs female data acquired from all 14 volunteers for the residual bacterial transfer tests carried out in Study (A). (outliers are indicated by*).
also shows the box plot summary of the collective data for the dominant vs subdominant hands of the volunteers. The data are presented in this way because some of the volunteers were left handed. It can be seen that when considering all volunteers together, after drying, there was no significant difference (P = 1·000) between bacterial transfer from the dominant vs subdominant hands. This demonstrates the appropriateness of using data from the left and right hands of a volunteer as replicates in the overall data analysis.
Study (B): effect of rubbing hands during the drying procedure on the bacterial count on the surface of the skinThe results of Study (B) are summarized in , which gives the mean % reduction in bacterial count achieved by the six drying procedures, after 15 s of use (). The percentage reduction in bacterial release achieved with the various drying procedures for the palms, middle of the fingers and the finger tips, respectively, are shown. Where a negative value is recorded, it means that there was an increase in the bacterial count on that area of the volunteer's hands after the drying process, relative to the postwash sample.
These results show that rubbing of hands when using the Turbodry' and A5 machines greatly inhibited the overall reduction in bacterial numbers released from the surface of the skin. In many instances, the bacterial numbers transferred from hands actually increased because of the rubbing action. The results obtained from the rubbing experiments were, in most cases, statistically significantly different from those obtained when holding hands still under the same devices (P < >DiscussionHands are washed primarily with the intention of removing transient pathogens. Substantive removal of the resident commensal flora requires the use of much more vigorous surgical-scrub type methods. The protocol for hand contamination used in Study (A) was selected because it replicates a very common scenario encountered in domestic or commercial kitchens (i.e. the handling of raw meat), which requires a person to remove transient pathogenic microbes from their hands to break the chain of transmission to another surface. The relative microbiological/hygiene risk associated with this type of contamination is emphasized by the fact that 12 (42·9%) of the 28 chickens used tested positive for the presence of one or more presumptive pathogens, such as Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp. and Listeria spp. (data not shown). A diverse mixture of bacteria (transient and commensal) typically survived the handwash and was subsequently transferred to the inert foil from the volunteers' fingers. Given that the standardized handwash lasted 60 s (i.e. longer than the period for which many people routinely wash their hands), the high levels of transients acquired from the chickens, which were still being transferred, are a cause for concern.
From the results of Study (A) (i.e. and ), it can be seen that residual moisture levels appear to play a critical role in determining the quantity of bacteria that are transferred from fingertips to the next items touched. This is demonstrated by the results for the Turbodry' and A5 machines which performed much better when used for 35 and 30 s, respectively, compared with when they were used for just 10 s. For both warm air dryers, the differences associated with the two time periods were statistically significant (i.e. P < >Patrick et al. (1997) and Merry et al. (2001), both of whom found that the wetness of hands greatly influenced bacterial transfer and dissemination. If hands are not dried properly after washing, then bacterial transfer is more likely to occur. However, for most electric dryers, what constitutes an 'adequate' drying time is ill-defined.
The results of Study (A) suggest that if people use conventional warm air hand dryers for at least 30 s, then it is likely that the hygiene benefit will be similar to that achieved with 10 s use of the Dyson Airblade' machine. However, if the drying time is much
VIDEO-Weekly Address: Ensuring Our Free Market Works for Everyone - YouTube
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VIDEO-Clooney: Sanders is right about 'obscene' amount of money in politics | TheHill
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Actor George Clooney, a major fundraiser for Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders backtracks on lawsuits against gun manufacturersYada, yada, yada: Seinfeld's Elaine questions Dem candidates in 'SNL' openingClinton meets privately with Hollywood big shotsMORE, said that it's ''ridiculous'' and ''obscene'' how much money goes into presidential campaigns.
In an excerpt of an interview with NBC's ''Meet the Press'' taped for Sunday, Clooney was asked if he thought the price of admission to attend a fundraiser the actor is hosting is an ''obscene amount of money.''''Yes, I think it's an obscene amount of money,'' Clooney responded. ''You know we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco '' and they're right to protest, they're absolutely right, it's an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it, is absolutely right, it's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics, I agree.''
The actor and his wife Amal hosted a fundraiser on Friday night for the former secretary of State, charging couples $353,400 to sit at a table with Clinton and the Clooneys. They are throwing another high-dollar fundraising event Saturday night.
In March, Clinton's opponent, Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders backtracks on lawsuits against gun manufacturersYada, yada, yada: Seinfeld's Elaine questions Dem candidates in 'SNL' openingClinton meets privately with Hollywood big shotsMORE, used the word ''obscene'' to describe the price of admission for Clooney's fundraiser.
''It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big money people to fund her campaign,'' the Vermont senator said on CNN's "State of the Union."
''I have a lot of respect for George Clooney,'' he added. ''He's a great actor. I like him. But this is the point. This is the problem with American politics, is that big money is dominating our political system, and we are trying to move as far away from that as we can.''
VIDEI-Climate Change HOAX exposed by Geologist straight to the UK Govt - YouTube
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VIDEO-Ted Cruz Says He Won't Ban Dildos If He Becomes President - BuzzFeed News
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Ted Cruz says he will not ban dildos and other sexual toys if he becomes president.
In a Mother Jonesstory earlier this week, it was revealed that Cruz defended a state ban on the sale of dildos as Texas's solicitor general.
''There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one's genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship,'' a brief co-authored by Cruz read.
Cruz, asked by WABC radio host Curtis Sliwa if he would ban ''the sale of sexual toys, dildos, or anything that sexually stimulates you,'' answered that he would not.
''Look, of course not, it's a ridiculous question, and of course not,'' Cruz told Sliwa on Friday. ''What people do in their own private time with themselves is their own business and it's none of government's business.''
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VIDEO-Donald Trump destroys Wolf Blitzer - YouTube
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"Granting this legal action for insulting a foreign head of state means neither a prejudgment of the person affected nor a decision about the limits of freedom of art, the press and opinion"
The controversial case of German comedian Jan Boehmermann has caused division within Germany's ruling coalition and accusations that Angela Merkel is not sticking up for free speech.
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VIDEO-Bill Nye, 'The Jail-The-Skeptics Guy!': Nye entertains idea of jailing climate skeptics for 'affecting my quality of life' (Exclusive Video) | Climate Depot
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By: Marc Morano - Climate DepotApril 14, 2016 10:44 AM with 51 comments
NEW YORK CITY '' Bill Nye, ''the science guy'', revealed he is openly favorable to the idea of jailing 'global warming' skeptics at the Hague as ''war criminals.'' Nye was confronted with environmental activists Robert F. Kennedy's call to jail climate skeptics for treason and lock them up at the Hague. See: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Wants To Jail His Political Opponents '' Accuses Koch Brothers of 'Treason' '' 'They ought to be serving time for it'
Nye openly pondered the idea that climate skeptics deserve jail. Climate Hustle's Marc Morano asked Nye in an exclusive interview, ''What is your thought on jailing skeptics as war criminals?''
Nye responded: ''Well, we'll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?''
Nye added, ''For me as a taxpayer and voter '-- the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen.''
Climate Hustle's Marc Morano, asked Nye:
Morano: ''We interviewed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. RJK Jr., the environmentalists. He said climate 'deniers', his words, Energy CEO's belong at the Hague with three square meals and a cot with all of the other war criminals. What is your thought on that and do you think some of the rhetoric on your side '-- as I am sure both sides '-- gets too carried away. What is your thought on jailing skeptics as war criminals?''
Nye: ''Well, we'll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?''
Morano: ''Interesting.''
Nye: ''So, we will see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail people from the cigarette industry who insisted that this addictive product was not addictive and so on? And you think about in these cases '-- for me as a taxpayer and voter '-- the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen. So I can see where people are very concerned about this and are pursuing criminal investigations as well as engaging in discussion like this.''
Morano also asked Nye about the ''chilling effect'' of threatening investigations and jail to scientists who dissent on man-made global warming claims. '
Nye responded: ''That there is a chilling effect on scientists who are in extreme doubt about climate change '-- I think is good. The extreme doubt about climate change people '' without going too far afield here '' are leaving the world worse than they found it because they are keeping us from getting to work. They are holding us back.''
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Wash Times: Bill Nye, the science guy, open to criminal charges, jail time for climate-change dissenters '' Mr. Nye's comments come with a coalition of liberal attorneys general pursuing companies that challenge the catastrophic climate-change consensus, a campaign that critics fear could chill research and free speech. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker raised concerns about a government crackdown on dissent when he issued a subpoena last week to the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute for its climate-related research and documents. About about the potential for a ''chilling effect,'' Mr. Nye said, ''That there is a chilling effect on scientists who are in extreme doubt about climate change'--I think that is good.''
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Flashback 2014: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Wants To Jail His Political Opponents '' Accuses Koch Brothers of 'Treason' '' 'They ought to be serving time for it' '' New York City '' Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lamented that there were no current laws on the books to punish global warming skeptics. . ''I wish there were a law you could punish them with. I don't think there is a law that you can punish those politicians under,'' Kennedy told Climate Depot in a one-on-one interview during the People's Climate March. The interview was conducted for the upcoming documentary Climate Hustle.
Kennedy Jr. accused skeptical politicians of ''selling out the public trust.'' ''Those guys are doing the Koch Brothers bidding and are against all the evidence of the rational mind, saying global warming does not exit. They are contemptible human beings. I wish there were a law you could punish them with. I don't think there is a law that you can punish those politicians under.''
Kennedy saved his most venomous comments for the Koch Brothers, accusing them of ''treason'' for ''polluting our atmosphere.''
''I think it's treason. Do I think the Koch Brothers are treasonous, yes I do,'' Kennedy explained.
''They are enjoying making themselves billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us. Do I think they should be in jail, I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals,'' Kennedy declared.
''Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offence and they ought to be serving time for it,'' he added.
Kennedy previously called for jailing his political opponents. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring ''This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors'' In 2009, RFK, Jr. also called coal companies ''criminal enterprises'' and declared CEO's 'should be in jail'... for all of eternity.''
This is not the first time global warming activists have sought to try their opponents with treason or jail them. In 2014, thewarmist Gawker website wrote: 'Arrest Climate-Change Deniers' '' 'Those denialists should face jail' '' 'Criminally negligent' '' 'It's time to punish the climate-change liars'
In 2009, New York Times Paul Krugman accused Congressmen who voted against climate cap-and-trade bill of 'treason against the planet!'
'Execute' Skeptics! Krugman's sentiment joined by fellow climate fear promoters
In June 2009, a public appeal was issued on an influential U.S. website asking: ''At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers.'' The appeal appeared on Talking Points Memo, an often cited website that helps set the agenda for the political Left in the U.S.
The Talking Points Memo article continues: ''So when the right wing fucktards have caused it to be too late to fix the problem, and we start seeing the devastating consequences and we start seeing end of the World type events '' how will we punish those responsible. It will be too late. So shouldn't we start punishing them now?'' (For full story see: 'Execute' Skeptics! Shock Call To Action: 'At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers' '-- 'Shouldn't we start punishing them now?' '' June 3, 2009)
After all the attention drawn to it by Climate Depot, the Talking Points Memo article was later pulled and the website published a retraction and apology, but the sentiment was stark and unequivocal and has significant company among climate fear promoters.
On June 5, 2009, Joe Romm of Climate Progress defended a posting on his website warning that climate skeptics would be strangled in bed for rejecting the view that we face a man-made climate crisis. ''An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,'' warned the message posted on Climate Progress.
Romm, a former Clinton Administration official, pulled the comments after Climate Depot drew attention to them. ''The original was clearly not a threat but a prediction '-- albeit one that I certainly do not agree with. Since some people misread it, I am editing it,'' Romm wrote.
Small sampling of threats, intimidation and censorship:
NASA's James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for ''high crimes against humanity.'' In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown ''into jail.'' In 2007, The Weather Channel's climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists.
A 2008 report found that 'climate blasphemy' is replacing traditional religious blasphemy. In addition, a July 2007 Senate report detailed how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation.
In 2007, then EPA Chief Vowed to Probe E-mail Threatening to 'Destroy' Career of Climate Skeptic and dissenters of warming fears have been called 'Climate Criminals' who are committing 'Terracide' (killing of Planet Earth) (July 25, 2007) In addition, in May 2009, Climate Depot Was Banned in Louisiana! See: State official sought to 'shut down' climate skeptic's testimony at hearing.
November 12, 2007: UN official warns ignoring warming would be 'criminally irresponsible' Excerpt: The U.N.'s top climate official warned policymakers and scientists trying to hammer out a landmark report on climate change that ignoring the urgency of global warming would be ''criminally irresponsible.'' Yvo de Boer's comments came at the opening of a weeklong conference that will complete a concise guide on the state of global warming and what can be done to stop the Earth from overheating.
October 28, 2008: License to dissent: 'Internet should be nationalized as a public utility' to combat global warming skepticism '' Australian Herald Sun
U.N. official says it's 'completely immoral' to doubt global warming fears (May 10, 2007) Excerpt: UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland declared ''it's completely immoral, even, to question'' the UN's scientific ''consensus.''
Weather Channel Climate Expert Calls for Decertifying Global Warming Skeptics (January 17, 2007) Excerpt: The Weather Channel's most prominent climatologist is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming. This latest call to silence skeptics follows a year (2006) in which skeptics were compared to ''Holocaust Deniers'' and Nuremberg-style war crimes trials were advocated by several climate alarmists.
VIDEO-French President kicks off middle east tour in Lebanon | euronews, world news
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:48
The French President has arrived in Lebanon for the start of his four-day trip to the Middle East.
Francois Hollande will spend the first two days of his tour in Lebanon, before travelling on to Egypt and Jordan.
Security is tight.
Hollande was met on arrival by Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Mouqbel.
The speaker of Lebanon's parliament, Nabih Berry, hosted an official welcome ceremony in Beirut itself.
During his trip, Hollande is due to meet refugees who will be resettled in France. It has been announced that Paris is to give Lebanon 100 million euros over the next three years to help ease the crisis.
Hollande is also expected to underline French support for the Lebanese Army.
Saudi Arabia suspended a grant of 3 billion dollars of French weapons to Lebanon earlier this year.
VIDEO-''You are not alone,'' Pope Francis tells migrants stranded in Greece | euronews, no comment
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:46
Pope Francis was greeted by emotional people, who begged him for help, when he visited Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday (April 16).
Some of the men, women and children in the camp cried and kissed his feet as he greeted many of them in person and listened to their stories through translators.
Aid organisations have described conditions at Moria, a disused army camp, as ''appalling.''
At euronews we believe in the intelligence of our viewers and we think that the mission of a news channel is to deliver facts without any opinion or bias, so that the viewers can form their own opinion on world events.
We also think that sometimes images need no explanation or commentary, which is why we created No Comment and now No Comment TV: to show the world from a different angle'...
VIDEO-Toner: If it's not al-Nusra, is it a U.S. proxy? 11 Apr 2016 - YouTube
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:31
VIDEO-Ben Carson Compares RNC's Rules to Jim Crow Era - YouTube
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:13
VIDEO-Bill Clinton On Sanders Supporters: 'Just Shoot Every Third Person On Wall Street' - YouTube
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:10
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 05:02
VIDEO-State Attorney's Press Conference Says Journalist More At Fault Than Trump Campaign Manager part.1 - YouTube
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:54
VIDEO-White House: Zika Bill 'Akin to Passing Out Umbrellas' Before a Hurricane | MRCTV
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:19
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said Wednesday that a bill allows the FDA to include Zika drug developers in its voucher program is an ''insufficient'' response to the Zika outbreak and ''akin to passing out umbrellas in the advance of a potential hurricane. ''
VIDEO-CBS Teams with White House, Pelosi to Attack GOP for Not Creating $1.9 Billion for Fighting Zika | MRCTV
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:40
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Thursday's CBS Evening News featured a segment in which chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook tag-teamed with the White House and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to attack Republicans for not going along with demands to create $1.9 billion (that could be passed through Congress) to allow the CDC and NIH to fight the Zika virus.
While no one has argued that Zika isn't a problem facing the Western Hemisphere and must be stopped, there was no point in the two-minute-and-seven-second piece that sought to explain how and where the $1.9 billion would come from.
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton Complains to Debate Moderators About No Abortion Questions | MRCTV
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:33
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
In the penultimate segment of Thursday's CNN Democratic Debate, Hillary Clinton diverted from the discussion topic about the Supreme Court vacancy to chastise CNN and all of the previous debate hosts for not asking both her and her opponents about the issue of abortion (since it's an issue that's such a firm plank of the Democratic Party).
Clinton attempted to provide a clear pivot by informing both the moderators and the audience that she ''want[ed] to say something about this since we're talking about the Supreme Court and what's at stake.''
VIDEO-ABC, CNN Tout 'Major Win' in Lawsuit Against Gunmakers Over Sandy Hook | MRCTV
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:01
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
On 15 April 2016, ABC and CNN's morning newscasts hyped a Connecticut Superior Court judge's decision to let the families of nine Sandy Hook victims continue their lawsuit against gunmakers and sellers. On New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo echoed the language of the pro-gun control Brady Campaign: "A big development '-- a major win this morning for families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims: a lawsuit holding gunmakers and sellers responsible for the shooting rampage will not be dismissed." On GMA, ABC's Amy Robach touted the "legal victory for families of the children killed in the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting."
VIDEO-Andrea Mitchell: 'Crickets' for Cruz During 'Terrible Night' at NYC Gala | MRCTV
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 02:57
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Opening her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Friday, host Andrea Mitchell triumphantly proclaimed: ''Tough crowd. It's crickets for Ted Cruz in Manhattan but Donald Trump is speaking their language at the big party dinner.'' In a report minutes later, she gloated: ''Cruz had a terrible night at the Republican black-tie gala here for the state party...''
Turning to correspondent Hallie Jackson, Mitchell quipped: ''But what happened when Ted Cruz tried to speak to his own '' well, his own Republicans, but they're not really his, they're New York State Republicans and I guess they have New York values?''
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 16:29
VIDEO-Mika Brzezinski Criticizes Clinton on Refusal to Release Wall Street Transcripts
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:48
VIDEO-IRS chief: Agency encourages illegal immigrant theft of SSNs to file tax returns | Washington Examiner
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 11:43
The IRS is struggling to ensure that illegal immigrants are able to illegally use Social Security numbers for legitimate purposes, the agency's head told senators on Tuesday, without allowing the numbers to be used for "bad" reasons.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made the statement in response to a question from Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., during a session of the Senate Finance Committee about why the IRS appears to be collaborating with taxpayers who file tax returns using fraudulent information. Coats said that his staff had discovered the practice after looking into agency procedures.
"What we learned is that ... the IRS continues to process tax returns with false W-2 information and issue refunds as if they were routine tax returns, and say that's not really our job," Coats said. "We also learned the IRS ignores notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number, and you use your own system to determine whether a number is valid."
More from the Washington Examiner
The Republican National Committee on Friday defended the various systems that states and territories are using to award delegates, and said it's up to candidates to know how the system works in each state.
The Friday morning memo was released after a week in which Donald Trump complained that Ted Cruz was able to sweep all of Colorado's 34 delegates. Colorado decided not to have people vote in a preference poll, and all the delegates went to Cruz.
Trump blamed the Republican establishment for a "crooked" system, but the RNC memo said the plans of Colorado and other states were known well in advance, and that it's the candidates' job to learn those rules.
'04/15/16 7:26 AM
Asked to explain those practices, Koskinen replied, "What happens in these situations is someone is using a Social Security number to get a job, but they're filing their tax return with their [taxpayer identification number]." What that means, he said, is that "they are undocumented aliens '... . They're paying taxes. It's in everybody's interest to have them pay the taxes they owe."
As long as the information is being used only to fraudulently obtain jobs, Koskinen said, rather than to claim false tax returns, the agency has an interest in helping them. "The question is whether the Social Security number they're using to get the job has been stolen. It's not the normal identity theft situation," he said.
The comments came in the broader context of a hearing on cybersecurity in the agency. About 464,000 illegally obtained Social Security numbers were targeted by hackers in a February cyber breach of the agency, while information on 330,000 taxpayers was stolen in an unrelated breach last year.
He added that the agency wanted to differentiate that "bad" misuse of personal data from other uses. "There are questions about whether there's a way we could simply advise people'... . A lot of the time those Social Security numbers are borrowed from friends and acquaintances and they know they've been used, other times they don't."
Also from the Washington Examiner
To start, Obama is calling on the FCC to open up set-top cable boxes to competition.
'04/15/16 6:00 AM
He also said that the agency is working to determine "the most effective way to do with this without necessarily having people decide not to file their taxes'... . Obviously the priority is to have the IRS collecting those taxes."
"In some cases, there may be a need for statutory authority [from Congress], because we are very sensitive to protecting taxpayer information on both sides," he added.
Top Story
Had Trump's team made two different choices, he might already be the Republican nominee.
'04/14/16 9:30 PM
VIDEO-Unhinged: Senator Boxer ridicules 'philosopher', assails Catholic priest at Senate climate hearing - YouTube
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 11:10
VIDEO-Fla. teacher who handed out 'privilege' form resigns
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 11:00
USA Today NetworkAvery Cottman, WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg9:58 p.m. EDT April 14, 2016
A teacher has been pulled out of the classroom at Monroe Middle School following parental outrage over a "privilege" form the teacher passed out to students which asked the children to circle words describing religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability in addition to race and skin color.(Photo: WTSP-TV, Tampa)
TAMPA '-- The Florida middle school teacher who asked students to fill out a "privilege" form as part of an assignment resigned from the Hillsborough County School District on Thursday.
Yoselis Ramos, who taught Spanish at Monroe Middle School, was suspended last week for passing out a "how privileged are you?" list to seventh- and eighth-graders in two of Ramos' Spanish classes as an extension of literature the students were reading.
In addition to race, the forms asked students about their disability status, gender and sexual orientation, and religion. In another section, kids were asked to circle "cisgender," "transgender" or "genderqueer."
Florida teacher's 'privilege' form outrages parents
Ramos said that students didn't need to turn in the forms; the goal was to teach them about diversity and inequality. But she was suspended after several parents complained to the school's principal about the assignment.
A subsequent investigation by the school district determined that Ramos had caused a disruption, was teaching something that was not part of the district's curriculum, and had offended families with her lesson plan.
Ramos resigned during a follow-up meeting Thursday with the school district. She declined to comment on the controversy.
Parents are outraged after their children had to fill out a form titled "How privileged are you?" during a Spanish class at a Florida middle school. VPC
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1SdxXb0
VIDEO-Barbara Boxer Goes Unhinged: Verbally Attacks Priest At Hearing Over Disbelief In Climate Change | Weasel Zippers
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 01:25
She is such an obnoxious witch. When did Boxer get her degree in science? And will Boxer be citing the Pope's view on abortion? Good on Father Sirico and the philosopher.
Via Daily Caller:
California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer >>went after a Catholic priest in a Wednesday hearing for supposedly questioning the pope's statements on the dangers of man-made global warming.
''So do you disagree with the pope when he says that climate change is one of the biggest issues,'' Boxer asked Father Robert Sirico of the conservative Acton Institute.
''I'm very grateful for your defense of the pope. Perhaps not in all of his magisterial authority and the cherry-picking of this or that,'' Sirico tried to respond before being interrupted by Boxer.
''I can ask you what I want,'' she said. ''Do you disagree with the pope on climate change, it's a simple yes or no.''
Keep reading'...


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Agenda 2030

Barbara Boxer Goes Unhinged- Verbally Attacks Priest At Hearing Over Disbelief In Climate Change.mp3
Bill Nye, ‘The Jail-The-Skeptics Guy!.mp3

Elections 2016

Andrea Mitchell- ‘Crickets’ for Cruz During ‘Terrible Night’ at NYC Gala.mp3
Ben Carson with Andrea Mitchell Compares RNC's Rules to Jim Crow Era.mp3
Bernie Sanders DemDebate9-FIghting climate change will be ugly.mp3
Bill Clinton On Sanders Supporters- 'Just Shoot Every Third Person On Wall Street' .mp3
Hillary hits it home for hold your nose and vote clinton dem women.mp3
MSNBC SHOCKED about coporate whores comment.mp3
Pelosi on Obama's Economic Achievements.mp3
Sanders- 'Take Marijuana Out of the Federal Controlled Substance Act'.mp3
State Attorney's Press Conference Says Journalist More At Fault Than Trump Campaign Manager.mp3

Equality / BLM / SJW

Fla. teacher who handed out 'privilege' form resigns.mp3


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Toner- If it’s not al-Nusra, is it a U.S. proxy? 11 Apr 2016.mp3
WH Downplays Aggressive Maneuvers by Russian Jets; 'Concerned,' But No 'Alarm'.mp3

JCD Clips

ABC Naticve ad of the week.mp3
cameropn ad on Referendum.mp3
CBS debate rundown.mp3
CBS flawed trump report 2.mp3
CBS flawed trump report.mp3
CBS phone hacking.mp3
David brooks whopper on PBS.mp3
DN citizens gunned down.mp3
editorial board of daily news.mp3
egypt protests.mp3
Frozen turkey.mp3
MS vs USA PBS.mp3
sander hillary Palestine.mp3
Sanders to Rome.mp3
Sheer versus stooge FINAL.mp3
Skin Central Science.mp3
speed limit report CBS.mp3
Tanks in desert ABC.mp3
TSA report ABC.mp3


PREP-CDC- 'We’re Back to the Level of Disease...in Gay Men that We Were Seeing Before HIV in this Country'.mp3

Obama Nation

Obama Weekly Address- Ensuring Our Free Market Works for Everyone.mp3


Planned Parenthood Official- Zika Virus ‘Demonstrates The Critical Need Of Government Support For Sexual and Reproductive Health Care’.mp3

Vaccine$ / Ebola / Zika

CBS on $1.9B for Zika funding controversy WTF.mp3
Josh Earnest Zika Bill ‘Akin to Passing Out Umbrellas’ Before a Hurricane.mp3

War on Guns

ABC, CNN Tout 'Major Win' in Lawsuit Against Gunmakers Over Sandy Hook.mp3


Sen Bob Graham (D-Fl) Senator Urges for Classified Info to Be Released from 9-11 Report.mp3
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