Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:57
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
War veteran's dying wish was for them to post his Leave vote | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:14
A grieving family last night revealed how their war hero father's last words before he died were 'post my Leave vote'.
Able Seaman Leonard Moore, who was a submariner during the Second World War, marked a cross in the Leave the European Union box just before being taken into hospital.
His family last night said it was his final act before he died because he loved Britain.
They said he 'fought for this country until the end'.
Able Seaman Leonard Moore, who was a submariner during the Second World War, marked a cross in the Leave the European Union box just before being taken into hospital
The 91-year-old blind veteran enlisted into the navy when he was 17, in 1942, and served on a submarine. He served throughout the war and sailed over 35,000 nautical miles.
Last month his health started to deteriorate and he registered for a postal vote application because he knew he would not be able to leave the house to vote.
Last night his daughter, Kim Low, 61, said: 'He was so patriotic and he saw a European Union in decline. He believed the England he fought for was barely recognisable.
'The last thing he did with a pen was to tick the Leave box. My brother, Alan, then posted it for him.'
Mr Moore, from London, died of heart and kidney failure on June 1.
Mr Moore's vote still counts despite his death.
The 91-year-old blind veteran enlisted into the navy when he was 17, in 1942, and served on a submarine (pictured second from right)
An Electoral Commission spokesman said: 'Once it has been sent off, it is a valid vote.'
His nephew, Graham Moore, 52, said he went to visit him in hospital before his death, adding: 'His last words to me were ''post my Leave vote''.
'He was a submariner during World War Two fighting for this country until the end.
'He said whatever you do, my vote Leave postal vote is on the side so don't forget to post it.
'He said he was ready to go. Every year he went to the cenotaph service without fail, he absolutely adored the navy.'
He added: 'He believed what he fought for wasn't what we have now. He was so passionate about England.'
Mike Hookem, defence spokesman for Ukip, said Mr Moore was a 'true hero whose last wish was to see his country, a country he loved, free of the European Union'.
Priti Patel meets (from left) Corporal Donald Williams, Lieutenant Tony Banks, Lieutenant Francis Goode, Lance Corporal Colin Ashford and Flying Officer Bryan Neely at White Waltham Airfield in Maidenhead
Details of his death came as veterans from all three services gathered together yesterday at White Waltham Airfield in Maidenhead, Berkshire, to campaign for a Brexit, along with Priti Patel MP.
Colin Ashford, 97, who survived the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, said: 'Under the EU all the democratic freedom we had in the pre-war days in the 20s and 30s, all that has been eroded away by the EU.
'We want to become more of a democratic country again. '
Lieutenant Francis Goode, 92, said: 'I don't want my grandchildren and their children to be subservient to a different country, we fought for freedom for Britain.'
Flying officer Bryan Neely, 92, said: 'We want our country back again.
'We might be old codgers and beyond our sell by dates but we've still got brains and we should be allowed to speak for our country. It is a dictatorship by stealth.'
Mr Neely, who served in the RAF and remembered making Molotov cocktails at school in case of a Nazi invasion during the Second World War, added: 'They thought we were on our backs at Dunkirk and they were wrong then.
'We went on to save Europe, and now we can save Europe again.'
Background checks for guns: What you need to know - U.S. News
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:36
By U.S. News
Lawmakers reached a compromise Wednesday to expand background checks to cover buyers at gun shows and shopping on the Internet, just like those already required when buying from licensed dealers. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports.
Two critical senators with ''A'' ratings from the National Rifle Association proposed a deal Wednesday that would expand background checks on firearms sales, which are currently required on purchases from federally licensed dealers. The compromise proposal put forward by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey would mandate them for sales at gun shows and on the Internet as well, yet make an allowance for transfers between family members.
More than 167 million checks were made through the FBI's system between 1998 and early 2013, but the process remains obscure to many Americans. What are background checks, and why has it taken so long for lawmakers to piece together a deal on a measure polls say is overwhelmingly favored by American voters? Here's a primer:
How do background checks work now?
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which allows the seller to check a buyer's eligibility with a search that usually takes less than a minute. The system was fully launched in 1998. Before selling a gun, the gun store worker calls in to the FBI or other designated law enforcement agency to run a check against the system's records. If the prospective buyer's record doesn't raise a red flag '' possible triggers include a person having been adjudicated as mentally ill or being sought by law enforcement '' the sale is cleared to go through.
What kinds of gun purchases don't require background checks under current law?
That depends on where you live. In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, President Obama asked for a federal law that would require universal background checks, including at gun shows. Right now, only California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island require background checks at gun shows, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. But most states have looser restrictions. While local laws can vary widely, 33 states do not have a law addressing what is commonly referred to as the ''gun show loophole.'' Similarly, regulations on sales between private parties or transfers between family members can be very different from state to state, where they exist at all.
Is the background-check system foolproof?
Critics of the current background check system point to gaping holes in the ways states submit records to the NICS. While 44 states have individual laws regulating the sale of firearms to the mentally ill, for example, far fewer states submit the names of prohibited mentally ill individuals to the national database. Just seven states account for 98 percent of the names prohibited for mental illness, according to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, meaning most states are in there barely, if at all. In one oft-cited example, Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho passed a background check before obtaining a gun and killing 32 people, despite having been declared mentally ill two years before. States are responsible for compiling mental health records from courts, hospitals, and other sources to submit to NICS, but they are not legally required to do so.
Does the public support broader background checks?
The vast majority of American voters do. Eighty-five percent of Americans said they support background checks at gun shows and for private sales in a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this year. Other polls have found even wider support for broadening checks, with 92 percent of respondents to a February survey by Quinnipiac University saying they favored them on every single gun sale. That number dropped to 91 percent among gun-owning households.
Given this level of support, why aren't universal background checks already law?
That's a harder question to answer, as the issue becomes bitterly political. Momentum on Capitol Hill toward a bill requiring comprehensive background checks has been slow to gain traction. Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee said that they would filibuster debate on new gun legislation, but that idea lost steam on Tuesday as other Republican lawmakers including Sen. John McCain said they would not support a filibuster. The NRA released a statement on Wednesday after the Manchin-Toomey compromise was announced saying that expanding background checks ''will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools.'' Other opponents of expanded background checks have argued that they would require a national registry of gun owners, something the White House has denied.
Are background checks effective?
The numbers show that background checks do keep guns out of the hands of at least some people who are not supposed to have them. Nearly 1.8 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were denied between the passage of the law in March 1994 and December 2008, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The FBI and state law enforcement denied firearm purchases to 153,000 people in 2010 alone, the most recent year for which data is available.
Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA file
Shoppers examine handguns on display for sale at The Nation's Gun Show held in the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, USA, 28 July 2012.
Trump's Anti-Interventionism - Neocons Hate It As Anti-War Left Comes Around | Zero Hedge
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:32
Submitted by John Walsh via LewRockwell.com,
Until recently the progressive mind has been resolutely closed and stubbornly frozen in place against all things Trump.
But cracks are appearing in the ice. With increasing frequency over the last few months, some of the most thoughtful left and progressive figures have begun to speak favorably of aspects of Trump's foreign policy. Let us hear from these heretics, among them William Greider, Glen Ford, John Pilger, Jean Bricmont, Stephen F. Cohen and William Blum. Their words are not to be construed as ''endorsements,'' but rather an acknowledgment of Trump's anti-interventionist views, the impact those views are having and the alternative he poses to Hillary Clinton in the current electoral contest.
First, let's consider the estimable William Greider, a regular contributor to TheNation and author of Secrets of the Temple. He titled a recent article for the Nation, ''Donald Trump Could be The Military Industrial Complex's Worst Nightmare: The Republican Front Runner is Against Nation Building. Imagine That.''
Greider's article is brief, and I recommend reading every precious word of it. Here is but one quote: ''Trump has, in his usual unvarnished manner, kicked open the door to an important and fundamental foreign-policy debate.'' And here is a passage from Trump's interview with the Washington Post that Greider chooses to quote:
'''I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they'd be blown up,' Trump told the editors. 'And we'd build another one and it would get blown up. And we would rebuild it three times. And yet we can't build a school in Brooklyn.'... at what point do you say hey, we have to take care of ourselves. So, you know, I know the outer world exists and I'll be very cognizant of that but at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially in the inner cities.'''
Trump talks about building infrastructure for the inner cities, especially better schools for African American children, rather than bombing people of color halfway around the world! That is hardly racism. And it is not how the mainstream media wants us to think of The Donald.
Next, Glen Ford, the eloquent radical Left executive editor of Black Agenda Report, a superb and widely read outlet, penned an article in March 2016, with the following title: ''Trump Way to the Left of Clinton on Foreign Policy '' In Fact, He's Damn Near Anti-Empire.'' Ford's piece is well worth reading in its entirety; here are just a few quotes :
''Trump has rejected the whole gamut of U.S. imperial war rationales, from FDR straight through to the present.''
''If Trump's tens of millions of white, so-called 'Middle American' followers stick by him, it will utterly shatter the prevailing assumption that the American public favors maintenance of U.S. empire by military means.''
''Trump shows no interest in 'spreading democracy,' like George W. Bush, or assuming a responsibility to 'protect' other peoples from their own governments, like Barack Obama and his political twin, Hillary Clinton.''
''It is sad beyond measure that the near-extinction of independent Black politics has placed African Americans in the most untenable position imaginable at this critical moment: in the Hillary Clinton camp.''
Next, let's turn to John Pilger, the Left wing Australian journalist and documentary film maker who has been writing about Western foreign policy with unimpeachable accuracy and wisdom since the Vietnam War era. Here are some of his comments on Trump:
''..Donald Trump is being presented (by the mass media) as a lunatic, a fascist. He is certainly odious; but he is also a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our skepticism.''
''Trump's views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than those of David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.''
''In 1947, a series of National Security Council directives described the paramount aim of American foreign policy as 'a world substantially made over in [America's] own image'. The ideology was messianic Americanism. We were all Americans. Or else. '...''
''Donald Trump is a symptom of this, but he is also a maverick. He says the invasion of Iraq was a crime; he doesn't want to go to war with Russia and China. The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted 'exceptionalism' is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.''
The money quote is: ''The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton.'' When Pilger submitted his article to the ''progressive'' magazine Truthout, this sentence was deleted, censored as he reported, along with a few of the surrounding sentences. Such censorship had not been imposed on Pilger by Truthout ever before. Truthout's commitment to free speech apparently has limits in the case of The Donald versus Hillary, rather severe ones. So one must read even the progressive press with some skepticism when it comes to Trump.
Trump has also been noticed by the Left in Europe, notably by the sharp minded Jean Bricmont, physicist and author of Humanitarian Imperialism who writes here:
(Trump) ''is the first major political figure to call for 'America First' meaning non-interventionism. He not only denounces the trillions of dollars spent in wars, deplores the dead and wounded American soldiers, but also speaks of the Iraqi victims of a war launched by a Republican President. He does so to a Republican public and manages to win its support. He denounces the empire of US military bases, claiming to prefer to build schools here in the United States. He wants good relations with Russia. He observes that the militarist policies pursued for decades have caused the United States to be hated throughout the world. He calls Sarkozy a criminal who should be judged for his role in Libya. Another advantage of Trump: he is detested by the neoconservatives, who are the main architects of the present disaster.''
And then there is Stephen F. Cohen, contributing editor for The Nation and Professor Emeritus of Russian History at Princeton and NYU. Cohen makes the point that Trump, alone among the presidential candidates, has raised five urgent and fundamental questions, which all other candidates in the major parties have either scorned or more frequently ignored. The five questions all call into question the interventionist warlike stance of the US for the past 20 plus years. Cohen enumerates the questions here, thus:
''Should the United States always be the world's leader and policeman?
''What is NATO's proper mission today, 25 years after the end of the Soviet Union and when international terrorism is the main threat to the West?
''Why does Washington repeatedly pursue a policy of regime change, in Iraq, Libya, possibly in Ukraine, and now in Damascus, even though it always ends in ''disaster''?
''Why is the United States treating Putin's Russia as an enemy and not as a security partner?
''And should US nuclear weapons doctrine include a no-first use pledge, which it does not?''
Cohen comments in detail on these questions here. Whatever one may think of the answers Trump has provided to the five questions, there is no doubt that he alone among the presidential candidates has raised them '' and that in itself is an important contribution.
At this point, I mention my own piece, which appeared late last year. Entitled ''Who is the Arch Racist, Hillary or The Donald''? Like Cohen's pieces, it finds merit with the Trump foreign policy in the context of posing a question.
Finally, let us turn to Bill Blum, who wrote an article entitled, ''American Exceptionalism and the Election Made in Hell (Or Why I'd Vote for Trump Over Hillary).'' Again there is little doubt about the stance of Blum, who is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, a scholarly compendium, which Noam Chomsky calls ''Far and away the best book on the topic.''
Blum begins his piece:
''If the American presidential election winds up with Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, and my passport is confiscated, and I'm somehow FORCED to choose one or the other, or I'm PAID to do so, paid well '... I would vote for Trump.''
''My main concern is foreign policy. American foreign policy is the greatest threat to world peace, prosperity, and the environment. And when it comes to foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is an unholy disaster. From Iraq and Syria to Libya and Honduras the world is a much worse place because of her; so much so that I'd call her a war criminal who should be prosecuted.''
And he concludes:
''He (Trump) calls Iraq 'a complete disaster', condemning not only George W. Bush but the neocons who surrounded him. 'They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.' He even questions the idea that 'Bush kept us safe', and adds that 'Whether you like Saddam or not, he used to kill terrorists'.''
''Yes, he's personally obnoxious. I'd have a very hard time being his friend. Who cares?''
I conclude with Blum's words because they are most pertinent to our present situation. The world is living through a perilous time when the likes of the neocons and Hillary Clinton could lead us into a nuclear Armageddon with their belligerence toward Russia and their militaristic confrontation with China.
The reality is that we are faced with a choice between Clinton and Trump, a choice which informs much of the above commentary. Survival is at stake and we must consider survival first if our judgments are to be sane.
The EU wants the Internet to be a ''Safe Space'' | HeterodoxAcademy.org
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:30
Is the Internet a safe space? The European Union thinks it should be, according to a recent proposal.
Vera Jourov, the EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, unveiled a new EU code to tackle illegal 'hate speech' on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have all lined up with the EU to remove hate speech from the web, with a particular focus on racism and xenophobia. ''The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech,'' Jourova said.
In advance of the proposed code'' and concurrently, the release of the second edition of Paul Coleman's book Censored: How European ''Hate Speech'' Laws are Threatening Freedom of Speech'' the online journal Spiked published a piece ''asking leading free speech thinkers to weigh in on Europe's increasingly punitive hate-speech legislation, which has led to individuals being arrested, fined and even jailed for anything from criticizing homosexuality in church sermons to handing out leaflets critical of Islam.''
Heterodox Academy collaborator Jonathan Haidt wrote one of the short essays. Much like we have seen on college campuses recently, Haidt argues, hate speech restrictions quickly devolve into justifications for intimidation, threats, disruptions, and disturbances- most frequently from left leaning individuals who do not condone, and then seek to block, conservative speakers, groups and clubs from forming, gathering and delivering talks or events. ''One side of the political spectrum arrogates to itself the right to decide what arguments are acceptable in the public domain.''
A friend of Heterodox Academy '' Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, also weighed in. He argued that the colleges themselves are complicit, with more than 55 percent of the 437 colleges and universities analyzed in a recent FIRE study maintaining speech codes that seriously infringe upon the free speech rights of students.
The Spiked feature includes reactions from additional thinkers who collectively make the case that the proposed EU code will undermine the very foundation of democracy and ideals that Western countries have long held up as their most sacred right.
Emails: State Dept. scrambled on trouble on Clinton's server
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:09
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- State Department staffers wrestled for weeks in December 2010 over a serious technical problem that affected emails from then-Secretary Hillary Clinton's home email server, causing them to temporarily disable security features on the government's own systems, according to emails released Wednesday.
The emails were released under court order Wednesday to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, which has sued the State Department over access to public records related to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's service as the nation's top diplomat between 2009 and 2013.
The emails, reviewed by The Associated Press, show that State Department technical staff disabled software on their systems intended to block phishing emails that could deliver dangerous viruses. They were trying urgently to resolve delivery problems with emails sent from Clinton's private server.
"This should trump all other activities," a senior technical official, Ken LaVolpe, told IT employees in a Dec. 17, 2010, email. Another senior State Department official, Thomas W. Lawrence, wrote days later in an email that deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin personally was asking for an update about the repairs. Abedin and Clinton, who both used Clinton's private server, had complained that emails each sent to State Department employees were not being reliably received.
After technical staffers turned off some security features, Lawrence cautioned in an email, "We view this as a Band-Aid and fear it's not 100 percent fully effective."
The AP initially reported Wednesday that the emails described security features being turned off on Clinton's own private server, but State Department spokesman John Kirby clarified hours later that the emails described "a series of troubleshooting measures to the department's system '-- not Secretary Clinton's system '-- to attempt to remedy the problem."
The emails were released under court order Wednesday to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, which has sued the State Department over access to public records related to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's service as the nation's top diplomat between 2009 and 2013.
Clinton has repeatedly denied there is any evidence her private email server ever was breached. Her campaign did not immediately provide comment Wednesday.
Days after the technical crisis, on Jan. 9, 2011, an IT worker was forced to shut down Clinton's server because he believed "someone was trying to hack us." Later that day, he wrote, "We were attacked again so I shut (the server) down for a few min." It was one of several occasions when email access to Clinton's BlackBerry smartphone was disrupted because her private server was down, according to the documents.
The AP reported last year that in the early morning hours of Aug. 3, 2011, Clinton received infected emails, disguised as speeding tickets from New York. The emails instructed recipients to print the attached tickets. Opening an attachment would have allowed hackers to take over control of a victim's computer.
In a blistering audit released last month, the State Department's inspector general concluded that Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup broke federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. Her aides twice brushed aside concerns, in one case telling technical staff "the matter was not to be discussed further," the report said.
The State Department has released more than 52,000 pages of Clinton's work-related emails, including some that have since been classified. Clinton has withheld thousands of additional emails, saying they were personal. The emails released Wednesday were not made available until after the inspector general's office published its report, and Judicial Watch asked a federal judge to force the State Department to turn them over.
The case is one of about three dozen lawsuits over access to records related to Clinton's time as secretary, including one filed by the AP. As part of its ongoing suit, lawyers from Judicial Watch on Wednesday questioned Bryan Pagliano, a former IT staffer for Clinton who helped set up the server, under oath. According to the group, Pagliano repeatedly responded to questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, as he did last year before a congressional committee.
The FBI is also investigating whether Clinton's use of the private email server imperiled government secrets. It has recently interviewed Clinton's top aides, including former chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Abedin.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in a speech Wednesday that Clinton's email server "was easily hacked by foreign governments." Trump cited no new evidence that hackers had successfully breached Clinton's server, but he said unspecified enemies of the United States were in possession of all her emails.
"So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States. This fact alone disqualifies her from the presidency," Trump said. "We can't hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies."
Follow Michael Biesecker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mbieseck
This version updates with State Department clarifying that security features on the department's computer system were disabled. An earlier version reported that the security features on Clinton's home server were disabled.
US Uncut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:05
US Uncut is a decentralized direct action group in the United States established in February 2011 to combat corporate tax avoidance and highlight cuts to social spending and public sector jobs. It draws its name, organizing structure, and tactics from UK Uncut, a movement that began four months earlier in London, England.
The group's first action occurred simultaneously in 50 cities across the United States, mostly at Bank of America branches. Since then, the group has expanded both its targets and its numbers. As of May 2011, over 100 cities have had Uncut sponsored actions.
In addition to Bank of America, US Uncut has held protests at Verizon stores, BP stations, FedEx stores, Target stores, and Apple Stores.
Bank of America, the original target, was chosen for its role in the financial crisis and the fact that it paid no income taxes in 2009 or 2010.
Verizon made over $24 billion in 2010, yet received a tax benefit of $1.3 billion. The significant tax benefit it received was mostly due to redirecting profits through its British partner Vodafone, which has been the frequent target of UK Uncut.
British Petroleum received a tax benefit of $9.9 billion for 2010 due to costs associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Hillary Clinton became a target after US Uncut began publishing articles on the 2016 Presidential Race such as: "Who Said It: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?" and "How the Democratic Establishment Is Digging Its Own Grave", with the latter post's opening line: "As they circle the wagons for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party establishment appears to be doing everything they can to lose not only this election, but to ensure decades of Republican supermajority rule by stifling the hopes of the party's future.",
On January 8, 2016, US Uncut was singled out criticized by a writer, Garrett Griffin in an article titled "Who Does Clickbait Better, Liberal or Conservative News? The Answer May Shock You," an analysis of "sensational" headlines on most alternate media websites considered partisan by the writer. Griffin criticized the website for posting an article with the headline, "A Terrorist Just Fire-Bombed a California Mosque While People Were Inside," saying it could be considered misleading. From the article: "If terrorism often includes political purposes but not always, U.S. Uncut is justified in using ''terrorist.'' (''Fire-Bombed'' is acceptable, as a molotov cocktail falls neatly with the bounds of that descriptor.) If political purposes must be involved, it becomes trickier. Some attacks, such as the almost yearly firebombing of abortion clinics or murder of doctors, can rightly be called terrorism using conservatives' definition. But others, like an attack on a mosque, may be more controversial." 
^Graves, Lucia (2011-02-27). "Liberal Tea Party? U.S. Uncut Disrupts Service At Bank Of America". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^"Targets / Corporate Tax Cheats". US Uncut. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^"RELEASE: After GE Stunt, US Uncut Organizing 100 Tax Day Actions Across America". US Uncut. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^ ab"US Uncut >> Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names". Counterpunch. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^"US Uncut target apple stores". US Uncut. Retrieved 2014-05-28. ^"Bank of America". US Uncut. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^Allison Kilkenny on March 18, 2011 - 10:22 AM ET (2011-03-18). "US Uncut Adds Verizon and FedEx to its Target List". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^Allison Kilkenny on April 18, 2011 - 9:35 AM ET (2011-04-18). "For Tax Day, US Uncut Asks Americans to Hold Corporate Tax Dodgers Accountable". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-05-18. ^Zach Cartwright on February 24, 2016. "Who Said It: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?". US Uncut. ^Tom Cahill on February 25, 2016. "How the Democratic Establishment Is Digging Its Own Grave". US Uncut. ^Garrett Griffin on January 8, 2016. "Who Does Clickbait Better, Liberal or Conservative News? The Answer May Shock You". Weekend Collective.
The Official Narrative of the Orlando Shooter Has Completely Collapsed
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:01
A man who claims to have had a sexual relationship with Orlando killer Omar Mateen says the massacre at the Pulse nightclub was ''revenge,'' not terrorism.
Mateen's former lover, who was identified only as ''Miguel'' in an interview with Spanish-language network Univision, said he and Mateen were ''friends with benefits'' for roughly two months after meeting on a gay dating site. The two had met 15 to 20 times, with their last tryst occurring in December of 2015.
Miguel told reporter Maria Elena Salinas that he would have never suspected Mateen to be capable of carrying out the mass shooting that led to the deaths of 49 and the wounding of over 50 others.
''I never detected anything. He was a very sweet guy,'' Miguel said. ''He loved to cuddle'... That was one of the things I was starting to see from him. He was looking for love. He wanted to be embraced.''
Miguel added that in conversations with Mateen about his practice of Islam, the Orlando shooter described his Muslim faith as a ''beautiful and spiritual religion.''
''It's a religion where everything is about love. Everybody is welcome. Gay, trans, bisexual, hetero, everybody,'' Miguel said.
This seems to fly in the face of the official narrative that Mateen was motivated by a desire to carry out an attack of Islamic terror in the name of ISIS, based on the 911 call he made on the night of the shooting.
According to Miguel, Mateen became enraged that a former gay lover had told him after their relationship that he had contracted the HIV virus. He also felt spurned by clubgoers at Pulse, feeling they had used him for sex.
''He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin '' but he felt rejected. He felt used by them '' there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,'' Miguel said. ''I believe this crazy horrible thing he did '' that was revenge.''
Mateen had deeply conflicted emotions regarding his sexuality, as Miguel described him as ''100 percent gay'' and said he only maintained a marriage to hold up a heterosexual screen. Miguel told Salinas that on one particular night, Mateen, who never revealed his name to Miguel, asked Miguel for a private conversation, in which he informed his lover that he was married and had a child. After a long conversation in which Miguel asked Mateen what he wanted, Mateen had said he wanted to continue their relationship in secret.
He added that he was completely stunned when he heard about the massacre. ''My reaction was that can't be the man I know. It's impossible that the man I know could do that,'' Miguel said.
The FBI confirmed they had spoken to Miguel as part of their investigation, but would not confirm or deny any of the details of the bombshell interview.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email a [email protected]
First State Terrorist Registry In The Nation | NY State Senate
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 21:34
NYS Senator Tom Croci Passes Legislation To Create Historic First-Ever State Terrorist Registry Proposed to Protect the Number One Terrorist Target in the United States '' New YorkMedia Contacts:
Christine Geed, Communications Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org or (631) 398-8044
Jennifer Romero, Press Secretary
email@example.com or (631) 513-5657
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
For Immediate Release
The New York State Senate is the first legislative body in the United States to consecutively pass legislation creating a Terrorist Registry, sponsored by Senator Thomas D. Croci (R-Sayville), Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Veterans and Military Affairs, and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights). The Senate approved the measure for the second year in a bipartisan vote (Senate bill S3464C;/Assembly bill A6129C).
''The deterioration of the security situation overseas and the growing number of attacks at home, including the barbaric attack this week in Orlando, it is clear we are under attack. Law enforcement and New Yorkers are not being unreasonable in demanding convicted terrorists be registered,'' said Senator Croci. ''CNN reported last year that FBI Director James Comey asked state and local law enforcement to help the FBI keep tabs on hundreds of individuals. We must give our police and law enforcement agencies every tool we can. We should know if the person living next door is a convicted terrorist.
This legislation would:
-Create the NYS Terrorist Registry, which is based on New York's highly successful Sex Offender Registration Act, and will allow our state and local law enforcement to monitor any terrorist residing, working or attending an educational institution in our state.
-Require individuals convicted of terrorism to be added to the registry by the Division of Criminal Justice Services. DCJS will create and publicize the registry list, making only non-confidential information available to the public and confidential information only available to certain government agencies such as the state police and NYS Homeland Security.
-Change the current law to allow for local and state law enforcement to monitor individuals who have been convicted of a state or federal crime of terrorism, or who have committed a verifiable act of terrorism outside our state.
-Require individuals convicted of terrorism to register with local authorities when moving to a new residence.
-Make noncompliance of registration a class A-1 felony for those convicted of terrorism.
This bill was drafted in response to the identified need for a centralized state tracking system to assist law enforcement agencies with monitoring the individuals associated with carrying out domestic and foreign terrorist threats, as evidenced by the surge in homegrown acts of terror and the growing recruitment of terrorist sympathizers by terrorist groups such as ISIS. The need for this legislation is further demonstrated by the FBI's recent appeal for assistance from local law enforcement and the public in helping to keep track of suspected terrorists and the continuing terror attacks on innocent American citizens.
The bill will be sent to the Assembly.
All media inquiries should be directed to Senator Croci's Communications Specialist, Christine Geed at (631) 398-8044 (call or text) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries for additional information should be directed to Senator Croci's Press Secretary, Jennifer Romero at (631) 513-5657 or via email at email@example.com
Winston Churchill: calling for a United States of Europe
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 21:21
Winston Churchill, a former army officer, war reporter and British Prime Minister (1940-45 and 1951-55), was one of the first to call for the creation of a 'United States of Europe'. Following the Second World War, he was convinced that only a united Europe could guarantee peace. His aim was to eliminat\e the European ills of nationalism and war-mongering once and for all. He formulated his conclusions drawn from the lessons of history in his famou\s 'Speech to the academic youth' held at the University of Zurich in 1946: ''There is a remedy which ... would in a few years make all Europe ... free and ... happy. It is to re-create the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe.''Thus the driving force behind the anti-Hitler coalition became an active campaigner for Europe's cause.Winston Churchill also made a name for himself as a painter and writer: in 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.Winston Churchill: calling for a United States of Europe Winston Churchill 1874 - 1965(C) J.Russell & son/CORBISEarly lifeWinston Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 into the aristocratic Spencer-Churchill family of the noble Dukes of Marlborough, but his mother was born in America. After enjoying a privileged childhood, Churchill began his education in 1888 at Harrow, a top London boys' school. He did not prove to be an outstanding student and school was not therefore something he enjoyed. On finishing school in 1893, it took him three attempts to pass the entry exam for Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy. But after graduation he began a military career that, over the next five years, saw him fight battles on three continents, win four medals and an Order of Merit, write five books and win a seat in Parliament, all before his 26th birthday. Political careerWhile serving in the British army, Churchill was also a newspaper correspondent. Whilst reporting on the Boer War in South Africa, he made headlines when he escaped from a prisoner of war camp there, returning to England in 1900 to embark on a political career. He was elected to Parliament and served in different Cabinets as Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty (Minister responsible for the navy). In 1915 he was forced to resign after the failure of a particular military campaign. He decided to join the army again and led the men of the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers in the trenches of France. When in 1917 a new government was formed he became Minister of Munitions. In the years leading up to 1929, Churchill held all of the most important ministerial posts except that of Foreign Minister. The Founding Fathers of the EU EN
Churchill gives the 'V' for victory sign during a speech at the European Congress in The Hague in 1948.In 1929, he became estranged from his party, the Conservatives. This is the start of a period in Churchill's life known as the 'Wilderness Years'. He continued writing and became a very productive and well published author of articles and books. Churchill was among the very first few people to recognise the growing threat of Hitler long before the outset of the Second World War and the first to voice his concerns. Second World WarIn 1939, Churchill's predictions became reality as the Second World War broke out. In 1940, he became Prime Minister and led Great Britain through the difficult war years, offering hope and determination to the British people with his inspirational speeches. His staunch refusal to consider defeat or to bargain with the Nazis inspired British resistance, especially at the start of the war when Britain stood alone in its active opposition to Hitler. Nevertheless, he lost the elections after the end of the war. He did not, however, lose his ability to interpret correctly how future events would play out, as proven by his famous speech in Fulton, Missouri about the threat from the Soviet Communists, in which he coined the well-known expression about the 'Iron Curtain'.A 'United States of Europe'In 1946 Churchill delivered another famous speech, at the University of Zurich, in which he advocated a 'United States of Europe', urgi\ng Europeans to turn their backs on the horrors of the past and look to the future. He declared that Europe could not afford to drag forward the hatred and revenge which sprung from the injuries of the past, and that the first step to recreate the 'European family' of justice, mercy and freedom was ''to build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living''. Council of EuropeWith this plea for a United States of Europe, Churchill was one of the first to advocate European integration to prevent the atrocities of two world wars from ever happening again, calling for the creation of a Council of Europe as a first step. In 1948, in The Hague, 800 delegates from all European countries met, with Churchill as honorary president, at a grand Congress of Europe.This led to the creation of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949, the first meeting of which was attended by Churchill himself. His call to action can be seen as propelling further integration as later agreed upon during the Messina Conference in 1955, which led to the Treaty of Rome two years later. It was also Churchill who would first moot the idea of a 'European army' designed to prote\ct the continent and provide European diplomacy with some muscle. Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights was created in 1959 '-- a decade after Churchill first championed the idea. Providing the inspiration to the people of Europe as the binding factor in the allied fight against Nazism and fascism, Winston Churchill consequently became a driving force behind European integration and an active fighter for its cause. The Founding Fathers of the EU(C) European Union
Egypt to decide whether the black box from EgyptAir flight needs to be sent abroad for repairs
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:59
Investigators have begun analysing the two severely damaged black boxes from EgyptAir flight MS804.
The cockpit voice recorder of the doomed EgyptAir plane that crashed last month killing all 66 people on board may need repairs abroad. Picture: AP/Thomas Ranner
EGYPTIAN investigators are to decide shortly whether the memory units of crashed EgyptAir flight MS804's black box recorders will need to be sent abroad or can be repaired locally, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said.
If the memory units are sent abroad, it will be for a 24-hour period and under Egyptian supervision, Fathy told reporters overnight at a contract signing with an airport security company. ''The experts on the Egyptian Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee will determine today if the black box memory units need to be sent abroad, in which case it will be for 24 hours under Egyptian supervision,'' the minister said.
A handout picture taken shows one of the two black boxes from the EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean last month. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
Egypt would decide which country to send the memory units to, he added. Egyptian investigators are being assisted by counterparts from France's BEA air accident agency and the United States' National Transportation Safety Board.
The Airbus A320 crashed on May 19 on its way to Cairo from Paris, killing all 66 people abroad.
France is taking part in the investigation as the plane's point of origin and as the country of manufacture. The plane's engine was US-made.
''We will not treat the plane's case in a political manner and the results of the investigation will be announced with the utmost transparency,'' Fathy said.
The crash was the third blow since October to Egypt's travel industry, which is still suffering from the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.
A Russian plane went down in the Sinai Peninsula in October, killing all 224 people on board in an attack claimed by Islamic State.
In March, an EgyptAir plane was hijacked by a man wearing a fake suicide belt. No one was hurt.
EgyptAir Crash Investigators Yet to Access 'Black Box' Data - WSJ
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:58
Almost a week after recovering the ''black boxes'' from EgyptAir Flight 804, investigators have yet to download their data, slowing efforts to determine why the plane plunged into the Mediterranean Sea last month.
Search teams on Thursday retrieved the Airbus Group SE A320's cockpit voice recorder and a day later recovered the flight-data recorder. Those were handed to the Egyptian-led team investigating the crash, which began tests on...
With Or Without You? U2 Urges Irish Brits To Vote "Remain" | Zero Hedge
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:54
You know the establishment is paniccing when they roll out Bono (and Liam Neeson) to appeal to the Irish (which make up around 10% of the UK electorate) to vote "Remain" or face "the worst ramifications."As The Irish Times reports,U2 warns "a Brexit vote will make us weak," suggesting a vote to 'Leave' would mean Thursday bloody Thursday and a vote to 'Stay' would be a Beautiful Day.
Irish4Europe communications director David D'Arcy said: "Irish represent up to 10 per cent of the UK electorate and we are asking each and every one of those Irish voters to make voting Remain their first task tomorrow." And as The Irish Times reports,
Irish musicians U2 have backed a remain vote in Britain's European Union referendum, saying Europe without Britain seems unimaginable.
The band posted a video on its Facebook page from British Irish group Irish4Europe. The video says a vote to leave the European Union could damage progress in Northern Ireland.
''We were asked to repost this video, we like it and we're humbled to be in it. For Irish voters in Britain, don't go we'd miss you'... Europe without Britain seems unimaginable to us. Bono, Edge, Adam, Larry,'' U2 wrote.
Bono had previously noted,
"Europe is America's most important ally since the Second World War.
"Are we not your most important ally in the fight against violent extremism? This should really matter to you. I know it does.
"Put simply, as we Europeans have learned, if the Middle East catches fire, the flames jump any border controls. And if Africa fails, Europe cannot succeed."
Separately, Irish actor Liam Neeson added his voice to the campaign, also urging voters remain in the EU.
''I would like to lend my voice to Irish4Europe's campaign to encourage Irish citizens to vote for the UK to remain in the EU.
''A UK exit would have the worst ramifications for the island of Ireland. Economically, this would be a backwards step for Ireland.
''Border controls would be implemented to allegedly stop illegal immigrants coming into the UK through the back door. Trade will be enormously impacted. It would be truly a shame to sacrifice all the progress that has been made by the peace process regarding border controls. There is strength in unity. A Brexit vote will make us weak. I urge you to go out and vote to remain in the EU.''
Finally, we note that Bono has recently claimed the continent faces a wave of "hyper-nationalism" before warning that Britons could vote to leave the EU on June 23. The rock legend, best known for 1987 hit With and Without You, said:
"This is unthinkable stuff. And you should be very nervous in America about it."
Google legend joins Defense Digital Service -- FCW
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:50
Google legend joins Defense Digital ServiceMatt Cutts is taking a leave of absence from his job as head of Google's web spam team to work for the Defense Department's digital SWAT team.
Cutts announced his move to the Defense Digital Service in a June 17 blog post in which he described seeing technology professionals trying to improve the way the government works.
"They're idealists who are also making a large impact," he wrote. "From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy is contagious and they're trying to improve things in all kinds of ways."
He has been described as the Alan Greenspan of search engine optimization because of the impact his pronouncements have had on the business of SEO.
Cutts joined Google in 2000 and has been the public face and a key engineer behind the scenes on the company's efforts to improve search quality and minimize web spam. He wrote the first version of SafeSearch, Google's parental-control filter.
The Defense Digital Service consists of about 15 entrepreneurs and technology experts who are trying to get DOD to apply a startup mentality to certain projects.
A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed Cutts' hiring and told FCW that participants are typically assigned to a team based on what issues DOD faces, though Cutts might have a specific issue he'll want to work on.
The Defense Digital Service helped carry out Hack the Pentagon, a first-of-its-kind bug bounty program in May in which vetted hackers were allowed to probe DOD websites for vulnerabilities. Hackers found about 90 vulnerabilities in the process, including the ability to manipulate website content.
The group is also focused on improving the Pentagon's widely disliked travel booking system.
Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Jun 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM
A brief update
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:50
Over the last couple years, I've seenmoreandmorepeople in technology trying to make government work better. They're idealists who are also making a large impact. These arepeople that I respect''some of them worked to fixhealthcare.gov, for example. From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy is contagious and they're trying to improve things inall kinds of ways.
I want to see whether I can help too. So for the next few months, I'll be taking a leave from Google. I'm joining theUS Digital Servicefamily, specifically theDefense Digital Serviceat the Pentagon. I'll be moving out to Washington, D.C., as part of the change. If you're in the area, pleasesay hello! And if you're interested in the US Digital Service, you can find more information atusds.gov.
GAO wants more privacy protections for facial recognition data
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:49
GAO wants more privacy protections for facial recognition dataBy Mark RockwellJun 20, 2016In an era of concerns about the federal government's use of personal data, the Government Accountability Office wants the FBI to step away from traditional law enforcement thinking when dealing with digital images generated by facial recognition technology.
In a report issued June 15, GAO outlined some of its concerns about the FBI's use of facial recognition technology, including how it's handled by a relatively unknown internal unit called Facial Analysis, Comparison and Evaluation (FACE) and by its Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS).
FACE can access 412 million images, including photos from driver's licenses, visas and passports. It can tap resources at the Defense Department, the State Department and 16 states that have their own facial recognition programs. NGI-IPS can access 30 million images kept by the FBI.
Diana Maurer, director of GAO's homeland security and justice team, said both programs were created without up-to-date privacy assessments and with an uncritical eye toward data privacy. That needs to change, she added.
In a June 17 update to the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, Maurer said the FBI told GAO that the systems were being used to develop investigative leads and were similar to other investigative tools for which privacy protections didn't necessarily apply. ISPAB advises the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
David Plocher, a senior attorney at GAO, told the board that FBI officials thought facial recognition technology "was the same as looking through mug shots."
Mauer said that attitude is prevalent among national security and law enforcement agencies and stressed that the images generated by facial recognition technology are not photographs in a book but instead are connected to personally identifiable information and should be afforded privacy protections.
Furthermore, she said the FBI's systems had not been tested in real-world conditions, leaving room for potential misidentification.
"The FBI didn't put a premium on accuracy or privacy," she told ISPAB.
In its response to the GAO study, the Justice Department said the FBI's FACE operations are covered by System of Records Notices, which inform the public about what kinds of information federal agencies maintain and seek to limit the uses and disclosure of that information. In addition, Justice officials said they provide facial recognition support for FBI agents and analysts.
Maurer said the states that share images through the FBI's systems should have a way of notifying their residents about that access.
She told FCW she intends to follow up with the FBI to see how it implements improvements and will post those findings to GAO's website. Public attention and congressional interest in the systems could encourage a better response, she added.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Russia not planning to boycott Olympics in Rio de Janeiro - ROC head
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:36
Russia is not planning to boycott the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov told reporters.
"The boycott of the Olympic Games is not discussed, Russian athletes will perform in Rio for sure, I do not doubt this," Zhukov said.
The Russian Olympic Committee fully shares the zero tolerance to doping use, and completely shares the International Olympic Committee's concerns over the protection of the rights of 'clean' athletes.
"Of course we stand for the unity of the Olympic movement to be preserved, there should be no boycotts in any case," Zhukov said.
Alexander Soros on Instagram: ''#lategram #tbt What an incredible honor it was to host and meet with President @barackobama at my NYC home last week. He continues to truly bring out the best in the United States of America! ðºð¸#obama #throwbacktuesd
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:27
Alexander Soros on Instagram: ''#lategram #tbt What an incredible honor it was to host and meet with President @barackobama at my NYC home last week. He continues to truly bring out the best in the United States of America! ðºð¸#obama #throwbacktuesday #barackobama #potus''About usSupportBlogPressAPIJobsPrivacyTermsLanguage(C) 2016 InstagramSECURITY WARNING: Please treat the URL above as you would your password and do not share it with anyone. See the Facebook Help Center for more information.
SolarCity: The epitome of Obama's green energy scam | The Strident Conservative '
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:58
If you own a business'--maybe a taco stand, a dress shop, or an insurance agency'--you know it takes a lot of hard work, good market analysis, a better product or service than your competition, and advertising. Add in a bit of luck, and you hope to grow your business'--though vacant storefronts and boarded up buildings in towns and cities across America show that isn't always enough. Each going-out-of-business sale represents the death of someone's dream.
If, however, you are a politically favored business'--say solar'--your story is different. Your growth is dependent on government generosity. And, when people, who may never buy your product or use your service, balk at underwriting your venture and convince their Congressmen to take away the taxpayer largesse, like a badly behaved toddler, you threaten to take your marbles and go home'--leaving former staffers unemployed and customers without service.
Such is the story of SolarCity'--which has taken advantage of the favored status and bilked government programs to grow into being the nation's largest installer of rooftop solar panels. Despite that distinction, SolarCity still loses millions of dollars. SolarCity doesn't manufacturer solar panels'--though, thanks to $750 million in funding from New York's taxpayers'--that will soon change.
Despite ''major changes and growing competition in an already competitive industry,'' as The Associated Press called it, Governor Andrew Cuomo is, essentially, giving SolarCity a state-owned, rent-free factory'--a decision that Michael Hicks, a professor of economics and director for the Center for Business Research at Ball State University, says is ''an eye-popping deal, a very questionable use of state funds, but a huge windfall for the investors of SolarCity.'' In return, SolarCity promises to ''create 1,460 high-tech jobs'' at the Buffalo, NY, factory scheduled to begin operations late this year. The company also expects to have 1,440 ''manufacturing support and service provider jobs,'' as well as at least 2,000 other jobs in the state'--which Hicks claims is ''small, given the investment.'' The New York ''gigafactory'' will manufacture a ''radically new type of solar technology'' that is, according to MIT Technology Review, ''a huge risk'' and ''a big gamble.'' About SolarCity's new move to manufacturing, the Review states: ''scaling up the production processes quickly and doing so while maintaining the efficiencies of the modules and without increasing costs could be difficult. And there are no guarantees that by the time the modules are commercially available they will still be the best on the planet.''
SolarCity has no qualms about throwing a tantrum and leaving a state that doesn't play by its rules'--as it has done in Arizona, Nevada, and, even in the UK. Now uber-green California is being threatened by an exodus and states such as Washington and New Hampshire received warnings that SolarCity won't come to the state if subsidies don't favor its operational model.
Last week, Nevada became the latest state to ''roll back'' its ''net-metering electricity scam,'' as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) calls it. As a result, ''SolarCity reacted by announcing that it would cease sales and installations in the state.'' Back in 2013, with great fanfare, SolarCity announced that it was coming to Nevada ''after securing incentives worth up to $1.2 million from the state's Governor's Office of Economic Development,'' reported the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Like in New York, SolarCity claimed it would create ''hundreds of jobs'' near Las Vegas. But times have changed.
Nevada is just one of many states considering changes to the subsidies offered to encourage rooftop solar installations. Arizona already made the change, causing SolarCity to shift resources to other states where the profit margins are higher. In April, the Arizona Republicannounced that SolarCity was relocating 85 workers out-of-state. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive called the changes: ''Too restrictive.'' He declared that they ''eliminate the potential to save money with solar for nearly all customers.'' The changes made Arizona ''the most challenging for his company.''
What states have found, is that the increasing implementation of solar, results in higher costs for non-solar customers'--who as the WSJ states: ''tend to be lower-income.''
The net-metering policies are at the center of the debate. In short, net metering compensates solar customers for the excess solar power they generate. The problem is that these individual generators get paid retail for the power, rather than the wholesale rate utilities pay for typical power supplies. As a result, customers with solar panels can completely avoid paying the utility'--even though they still use power, transmission lines, and services from the company. States are seeing costs shifted from solar customers to those who can least afford it. As a result, several states, including Nevada, California, and Washington have mandated policy changes. Generally, the changes reduce the payment to wholesale and add a grid connection fee or demand fee.
The WSJ called net metering ''regressive political income redistribution in support of a putatively progressive cause.'' Frank O'Sullivan, director of research and analysis at MIT Energy Initiative explains it: ''Net metering, in its most plain, vanilla form, is certainly a subsidy to rooftop solar owners. Obviously there has to be a cost transfer to others who don't have solar on their roofs.''
In response to SolarCity subsidiary Zep Solar's closure in the UK, due to cuts in solar subsidies, energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd said she was ''concerned at job losses'' but ''she had to control costs to consumers.''
Nevada's Governor, Brian Sandoval, stated: ''Nevada has provided tremendous support to the solar industry'' but the government must ensure that ''families who consume traditional energy sources are not paying more just to finance the rooftop solar marketplace.''
In Arizona, the changes to the net-metering policies grandfathered in current users, but added grid usage/demand fees. In Nevada, payments to existing customers have been slashed and connection fees have been raised. The current proposal in California would cut payments for excess electricity almost in half and solar customers would pay a monthly fee. In Washington, utilities are pushing for a charge on solar customers.
The solar industry is filing legal action as, admittedly, these ''proposals threaten to undermine the economics of their systems.'' WSJ explains: ''corporate welfare encourages dependency and entitlement that's difficult to break.''
Despite being the largest installer of rooftop solar in the country, SolarCity has not been profitable'--with losses of $56 million in one year and $293 million cumulatively. As more and more states look toward revising the generous solar subsidies as a way to rein in exploding costs and balance budgets, companies like SolarCity become a bad investment. When Congress extended the tax credits for solar as part of the 2015 omnibus budget deal, Solar City ''saw its share price skyrocket.'' The rich get richer and the poor get soaked.
Explaining the industry's reaction to changing policy, Rep. Jeff Morris, the sponsor of proposed legislation in Washington, HB 2045, said: ''The reason they are going off the rails on this is because they are afraid that it's going to sweep across the 50 states.''
It is the state and federal incentives, not free markets, which have created a burgeoning solar industry. Congress foolishly extended the federal credits. But with ''recent improvements in solar costs and efficiencies,'' as Lori Christian, president of Solar Installers of Washington says: ''it is time for all states to reassess the outdated incentive structure currently in place.''
When even California is proposing policy changes that would result in solar power being less-cost effective for homeowners and businesses, it is time to realize this business model has to change. And, that includes taking the silver spoon out of the mouth of SolarCity. Although they'll likely throw a temper tantrum, take their marbles and go home, it will save taxpayers millions and force solar to operate on a level playing field like other businesses have to do.
The author ofEnergy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director forEnergy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, theCitizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy(CARE).
She hosts a weekly radio program: America's Voice for Energy'--which expands on the content of her weekly column.
Read more from Marita at these great sites:
Before Voting, Consider What Trump and the Leavers Share
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:01
Op-Ed, The Huffington Post
June 22, 2016
Author:Andrew Gawthorpe, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
Watching the rise of Donald Trump while peering nervously over the Atlantic to watch the EU referendum unfold in my homeland, it has been hard to escape the feeling that they represent two different versions of the same phenomenon. The Leavers may be more genteel than the Donald, but they spring from the same poisoned well. Whatever their claims to the contrary, they are selling the same politics of division and mendacity '-- just on different sides of the pond. The time has come to decide whether you support this politics or not. No Leave supporter turning out to vote or Remain voter not bothering to do so has any excuse for what they will be allowing to happen.
The Leave camp will tell us they do not stand for division. Instead, they assure us, they are "globalists". They want simply to remove us from the shackles of the European Union so that they can broaden our collective horizons. Scratch the surface of a Little Englander and you will reportedly find Marco Polo. Once the dead hand of the bureaucrats in Brussels is removed from our economy, our trade with the rest of the world will flourish; and by the way, the Europeans will just roll over and give us everything we want, too. It's so simple that all we can do is marvel at the fact no-one thought to do it sooner.
If you think that removing us from the largest free market in the world seems a strange way to begin an export-led boom and foster a new politics of global inclusivity, you would be right. Look beyond these claims to what the Leave campaign actually wants to do and the rhetoric it uses to support it, and you see hints of a darker truth. Listen to them demur that in the last analysis it doesn't matter if the economy takes a hit for the sake of restoring "sovereignty" and immigration controls, and the truth becomes yet clearer. See them echo Donald Trump's rhetoric, and it becomes unmistakeable.
What unites both Trump and the Leavers is an essentially zero-sum view of global economics and politics in which their countries are not getting a fair shake. Foreigners, of course, are to blame. Trump has described Mexico as "an enemy nation", and Brexiteers have warned of the danger posed by "ze Germans". In a strange inversion of the post''Cold War optimism that greater trade would lead to peace and harmony throughout the world, the culprits often seem to be our closest allies. The Brexiteers stir us to battle against them.
An attempt to return Europe to a primordial state of nature in which each nation must battle anew to secure its livelihood and rights might seem worthwhile if it promised vast rewards. But it does not. The twin delusions on which the expectation of these rewards are based '-- that we will get everything we want in a "deal" with Europe and that non-European trade will skyrocket '-- quickly wither under analysis.
Brexiteers are fond of talking about national interests and of citing the role Germany will play in ensuring we get what we want from the EU after we leave, so let us consider Germany's national interest. According to the Leave campaign, Germany is so dependent on trade with the UK that it will ensure a quick, painless transition to a sort of la carte status for the UK in Europe in which we get all the benefits of the free market but none of the perceived drawbacks of free movement. What this completely fails to acknowledge is that Germany has a far greater interest in holding the EU and the euro together than it does in keeping tariffs off its relatively insignificant trade with us.
When the Leave campaign reduces Germany's national interest down to the size of its trade surplus with the UK, it displays a mind-bogglingly narrow-minded worldview which alone ought to make us question their judgement on every other issue. Germany will be devastated to see us go, but will immediately turn to stem the damage to the rest of the EU after we do. Encouraging members to leave and then negotiate their own la carte deals would serve the opposite interest. Presumably even the most pugnacious booster of John Bull recognises that the euro is more important to the German economy than selling cars to the UK. Any German politician who did not leverage the UK's overall much greater dependence on EU trade into a terrible deal for London would be guilty of professional negligence '-- especially given how desperate our post-Brexit government will be to secure a deal amid the twin sterling and fiscal crises that will inevitably follow.
Then take the supposed rewards of boosting non-European trade after Brexit. This would begin, of course, with renegotiating every trade deal that we currently have courtesy of our EU membership. A mere trifle that will only take a decade or so, I'm sure. Then we can somehow move on to leveraging our much smaller economy into achieving the better deals that our perfidious neighbours, with whom we form an exponentially larger and more attractive market, somehow held us back from. Germany, meanwhile, managed to export over three times more to China in 2014 than Britain. Given that both countries are part of the EU and subject to exactly the same regulations, this would seem to suggest the reason for Britain's sluggishness lies elsewhere. Some might wonder if the UK economy's dire productivity, the second-worst in the G7, had something to do with it. Others find it easier to blame "ze Germans".
We can tell by the rhetoric they have already employed how our new post-Brexit government will react when they fail to secure the concessions they promised from the outside world '-- as, make no mistake, they will. These right-wing radicals do not even have the excuse of their counterparts on the left who, in George Orwell's words, are often guilty of playing with fire without knowing that fire is hot. Our friends on the right know full well how hot fire is, and they intend to direct it appropriately. A movement that had its beginning in blaming foreigners for holding Albion back will return to this comfortable ground when its dreams are denied.
This brings us back to Donald Trump, who has already mapped out this ground for us. He has shown that in the globalized world we live in, any attack on foreigners outside our borders quickly becomes an attack on those within. The acrimony at other European nations who refused to deal on our terms, at the migrants and descendants of migrants within our shores on whose inherent undesirability the Leave campaign has based so much of its message, and even at the Scottish and Irish who will press claims of their own in the aftermath of Brexit '-- all of these will be grist to the mill of a movement grounded in English nationalism. If Brexit does lead to a continent-wide collapse of the EU, the same tragedy will play out 28 times.
Michael Gove has looked forward to this collapse as the continent's "liberation". He is wrong. Rather than gaining liberty, the continent would become incarcerated in a zero-sum prison which pitted its nations against each other and against minorities within. Only someone wholly ignorant of Europe's past, someone who takes the immense prosperity, security and civilization we have enjoyed these past decades for granted, could welcome this imprisonment. With the forces of division in ascendance and the dreams of unity buried beneath the cell floor, the only door out would lead deeper and deeper into the prison. How deep? We dare not say.
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
Full text of this publication is available at:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/andrew-gawthorpe/eu-referendum_b_10613288.html
For Academic Citation:
Gawthorpe, Andrew. "Before Voting, Consider What Trump and the Leavers Share." The Huffington Post, June 22, 2016.
Senate Narrowly Rejects Controversial FBI Surveillance Expansion'--For Now
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:00
A controversial amendment that would expand the FBI's surveillance power was narrowly defeated in the Senate Wednesday.
The final tally was 58 to 38, two votes shy of the 60 needed for the amendment to move forward. The issue will likely surface again soon, however, as Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., immediately filed for a motion to reconsider the amendment.
The amendment '-- lumped on last-minute to a criminal justice funding bill '-- would have expanded the scope of information the FBI can collect by sending technology and Internet companies what's known as a national security letter'--without getting any kind of court approval first.
The FBI would be able to access information about suspects' online behavior including what websites someone visits and for how long, IP address, social media activity, email headers, and more.
Companies can't talk about the requests because they come with a gag order. Only a handful of national security letters have been made public in the decades since the FBI started issuing them.
Privacy advocates and technology companies have protested the amendment as an intrusion on Fourth Amendment protections on sensitive personal information.
''The country wants policies that promote safety and liberty,'' said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Wednesday. ''Increasingly we're getting policies that don't do much of either.''
He pointed out that the USA Freedom Act, in a section he authored, would allow the FBI to get the records it seeks in an emergency immediately and seek judicial approval afterwards.
Advocates like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the amendment's sponsor, insist the FBI needs more power to combat ''radicalization'' on the Internet. ''Every law enforcement agency in American supports this,'' he insisted.
The vote comes shortly after Republican senators rallied around the recent tragedy at a night club in Orlando to push for expanded surveillance powers. Though the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., admitted on the floor before the vote that the amendment would not have prevented the mass shooting in Orlando, or the attacks in San Bernardino in December of last year.
Burr repeated FBI Director James Comey's assertion that the expansion being discussed is really just fixing a ''typo'' in the law'--because the FBI used to regularly seek those records before one company, whose identify remains unknown, ''bucked the system'' as Burr put it, and refused to hand them over because the language of the law was confusing.
In fact, the FBI has been trying to expand the power of its national security letters since 2008, when the George W. Bush Department of Justice interpreted those powers more narrowly than the FBI liked.
The FBI has also continued to ask for additional records until at least 2013 despite the DOJ's advice, exceeding its authorities, as The Interceptreported.
DISNEY RESEARCH-Researchers unlock secret of the rare 'twinned rainbow' | EurekAlert! Science News
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:35
ZURICH -- Scientists have yet to fully unravel the mysteries of rainbows, but a group of researchers from Disney Research, Z¼rich, UC San Diego, Universidad de Zaragoza, and Horley, UK, have used simulations of these natural wonders to unlock the secret to a rare optical phenomenon known as the twinned rainbow.
Unlike the more common double-rainbow, which consists of two separate and concentric rainbow arcs, the elusive twinned rainbow appears as two rainbows arcs that split from a single base rainbow. Sometimes it is even observed in combination with a double rainbow.
It is well-known that rainbows are caused by the interaction of sunlight with small water drops in the atmosphere; however, even though the study of rainbows can be traced back more than 2,000 years to the days of Aristotle, their complete and often complex behavior has not been fully understood until now.
"Everyone has seen rainbows, even double-rainbows, and they continue to fascinate the scientific community," said Dr. Wojciech Jarosz, co-author of the paper and Research Scientist at Disney Research, Z¼rich. "Sometimes, when the conditions are just right, we can observe extremely exotic rainbows, such as a twinned rainbow. Until now, no one has really known why such rainbows occur."
Jarosz and the international team of researchers studied virtual rainbows in simulation, considering the physical shape of water drops, and their complex interactions with both the particle and wave-nature of light. The key to the twinned rainbow mystery, Jarosz said, is the combination of different sizes of water drops falling from the sky.
"Previous simulations have assumed that raindrops are spherical. While this can easily explain the rainbow and even the double rainbow, it cannot explain the twinned rainbow," he said. Real raindrops flatten as they fall, due to air resistance, and this flattening is more prominent in larger water drops. Such large drops end up resembling the shape of hamburgers, and are therefore called "burgeroids".
"Sometimes two rain showers combine," Jarosz said. "When the two are composed of different sized raindrops, each set of raindrops produces slightly deformed rainbows, which combine to form the elusive twinned rainbow." The team developed software able to reproduce these conditions in simulation and the results matched, for the first time, twinned rainbows seen in photographs. The team also simulated a vast array of other rainbows matching photographs.
The team's discovery was unintentional. "Initially the goal was to better depict rainbows for animated movies and video games and we thought rainbows were pretty well understood," said Jarosz. "Along the way we discovered that science and current simulation methods simply could not explain some types of rainbows. This mystery really fueled our investigations." The researchers now see potentially wider application of their method beyond computer graphics, speculating that, some day, accurate rendering models of atmospheric phenomena, like the one they developed, could have impact in areas such as meteorology for deducing the size of water drops from videos or photographs.
The research findings by will be presented Aug. 8 in the "Physics and Mathematics for Light" session at SIGGRAPH 2012, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For a copy of the research paper, please visit the project web site at http://zurich. disneyresearch. com/ ~wjarosz/ publications/ sadeghi11physically. html.
About Disney Research
Disney Research is a network of research laboratories supporting The Walt Disney Company. Its purpose is to pursue scientific and technological innovation to advance the company's broad media and entertainment efforts. Disney Research is managed by an internal Disney Research Council co-chaired by Disney-Pixar's Ed Catmull and Walt Disney Imagineering's Bruce Vaughn, and including the directors of the individual labs. It has facilities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston and Zurich. Research topics include computer graphics, video processing, computer vision, robotics, radio and antennas, wireless communications, human-computer interaction, displays, data mining, machine learning and behavioral sciences.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Paypal (PYPL) has partnered with Coinbase for a bitcoin deal '-- Quartz
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:19
PayPal is slowly dipping its toes in the bitcoin waters.
The company has partnered with Coinbase, a virtual currency wallet and exchange, so Coinbase users can sell bitcoin and cash out to their PayPal accounts. Buying bitcoin isn't possible yet, but the small integration is a noteworthy first step.
PayPal did not immediately respond to Quartz's request for comment.
While bitcoin and its underlying technology, blockchain, has caught Wall Street's attention, consumer tech giants have largely stayed away from the technology until now. Recently, Quartz reported that Airbnb ''acquihired'' a bitcoin company and its engineers. Other tech giants, like IBM and Microsoft, have been exploring blockchain tech more closely. IBM developed open source code that's being used in the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger consortium. Microsoft has been integrating blockchain services into its Azure cloud platform.
Behind the scenes, PayPal's been showing signs of interest in virtual currencies. A recently published patent application from PayPal shows the company has explored integrating bitcoin and other virtual currencies like LiteCoin and Dogecoin into physical smartphone payments. The patent application was filed in December 2015.
PayPal also held a hackathon in December, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the event. The purpose? To find out new ways for PayPal to use bitcoin and blockchain technology. The attendees included Snapcard, a B2B bitcoin payments company, Coinbase, and Chain. Developers tested things like cross border payments, merchant processing, and creating a digital wallet using bitcoin.
For bitcoin's growth, even a slight interest in bitcoin on PayPal's part would be a big win. PayPal has over 180 million customers and processed $1.4 billion in payments in the first quarter of 2016. The payments giant recently added Wences Casares, CEO of bitcoin wallet Xapo and a renowned bitcoin advocate, to its board of directors in January 2016.
Spotify goes down leaving users unable to stream music
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:15
Music streaming service Spotify has gone offline for many users in Europe, the US and elsewhere.
The Spotify app was able to play songs that had been saved offline, but would not connect to the service and was not able to stream tracks over the internet on Wednesday afternoon.
Users loading the iPhone app reported a black bar along the bottom of the screen saying "Connecting..." but the search function and other online features of the app were disabled.
Outages were reported in several different countries, particularly the US, UK and continental Europe, according to Down Detector, which tracks network outages.
It is unclear why the service is down or when it will resume. Spotify has occasional outages, often due to a change when an engineer changes code in the service.
The Spotify status Twitter account acknowledged the issue, saying it was "investigating some issues and finding out more".
BREAKING NEWS : We did it! 564 yays and 246 nays!!!! The Washington state delegates are now endorsing Bernie Sanders as presidential candidate -
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:41
We did it! 564 yays and 246 nays!!!! The Washington state delegates are now endorsing Bernie Sanders as presidential candidate.
''Whereas the Washington state Democratic party held its presidential caucus on March 26th, 2016 and whereas Bernie Sanders prevailed, Therefore, we the delegation of the state Democratic party 1.
Formally endorse the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders and 2. Issue a press release announcing the Washington state Democratic party's formal endorsement.
''Whereas the Washington state Democratic party held its presidential caucus on March 26th, 2016 and whereas Bernie Sanders prevailed, Therefore, we the delegation of the state Democratic party 1. Formally endorse the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders and 2. Issue a press release announcing the Washington state Democratic party's formal endorsement.
-Reported delegate allocation by the Missouri Democratic Party shows that 681 delegates (51.4%) were allocated to Bernie Sanders and 644 delegates (48.6%) allocated for Hillary Clinton.
As of this morning a friend who lives in California told me that Bernie is winning there. It is a great day.
Senate rejects measure to give FBI more access to Americans' digital data | US news | The Guardian
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:29
The measure's advocates, including Republican John McCain of Arizona, won over a majority of their colleagues during a vote on Wednesday. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP
The Senate has rejected loosening restrictions on the FBI's ability to collect Americans' digital data, defeating for the time being a legislative move privacy advocates denounced as a cynical exploitation of the Orlando mass shooting.
The Obama administration-supported measure, a priority for the bureau before the 12 June massacre at an LGBT nightclub, would have allowed the FBI vast access to internet metadata, including messaging logs, account logins, browser histories and email records, all without a warrant, by using a kind of nonjudicial subpoena known as a national security letter.
The FBI already has the authority to collect that data, under the 2001 Patriot Act, but only with a judge's approval, prompting Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, to blast the measure for helping the FBI avoid ''paperwork''. Tech firms and civil libertarians said in a letter to senators opposing the proposal that the data ''would paint an incredibly intimate picture of an individual's life''.
The measure's advocates, Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina, won over a majority of their colleagues during a Wednesday vote. But they failed, 58 to 38, to add it to a Senate bill, thanks to parliamentary rules which require 60 votes to advance it, and vowed to pass it on a repeat attempt.
Related:FBI using vast public photo data and iffy facial recognition tech to find criminals
Once defeat loomed, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, filed a legislative maneuver to bring the measure back, probably before the 11 July recess.
Burr and McCain argued that the weakened restrictions are necessary to catch the next Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter who exhibited few signs of radicalization before the attack, even though they acknowledged the powers the measure sought might not have stopped last week's mass killing in Florida.
''Right now, there are unfortunately young people in this country that are self-radicalized, and what vehicle is doing the self-radicalization? It's the internet. We're not asking for content here, we're asking for usage,'' McCain said on the Senate floor.
''I don't know if this attack could have been prevented or not, but I know attacks can be prevented,'' McCain added.
''We're either gonna fight terrorism and prosecute criminals or we're not going to do it,'' Burr said on the Senate floor.
But Burr said Wyden was ''100% correct'' that expanded warrantless access to online records would have stopped neither the Orlando nor last December's San Bernardino attacks: ''I hope there's no legislation that's about a single incident. It's about a framework of tools for law enforcement.''
Wyden responded: ''What we're talking about today is not making the country safer but threatening our liberty.'' He added that the 2015 USA Freedom Act, which modified the Patriot Act, provided the FBI with emergency powers to briefly collect online metadata before receiving a judge's approval.
Tech companies, privacy campaigners and FBI veterans considered the measure both dubiously connected to the circumstances of Orlando and a questionable model for finding the next Mateen.
Mateen's behavior, online as well as physical, does not seem to have changed markedly in advance of the slaughter of 49 people in Orlando earlier this month. Relatives and friends have described him as consistently bellicose, and investigators are examining whether his allegedly repressed homosexuality spurred a crisis that drove him to both claim fealty to the Islamic State militant group and commit the nightclub assault.
The FBI had interviewed Mateen on three prior occasions in 2013 and 2014 regarding terrorism suspicions and ultimately found no basis for considering him a threat or pursuing an investigation.
The legislative push reflects a post-9/11 pattern to ''exploit a tragedy'' for expanded investigative powers, said Michael German, a former FBI counter-terrorism special agent.
''This is unfortunately a typical pattern that we've seen: rather than waiting for an opportunity to review the FBI's counter-terrorism methodology, policymakers, members of Congress and the administration leap to do something without regard to whether that something will be helpful or harmful to future efforts. Over and over again, when someone acts out, the FBI has already investigated them, so clearly the FBI has all the authority they need,'' German said.
''In all these cases, they tend to be powers the FBI has already been seeking, [and] exploit a tragedy to obtain.''
The FBI director, James Comey, testified in February to the Senate intelligence committee Burr chairs that expanded warrantless access to so-called electronic communication transaction records were a legislative priority for the bureau. A similar authority is contained within the annual intelligence authorization bill that Burr co-authored, another indication that the argument over the loosened restrictions has not ended.
Still, the parliamentary loss in the Senate is rare for the bureau. It comes amid a high-profile failure related to the San Bernardino attacks, where the FBI lost a battle to compel Apple to write a version of its mobile operating system with weaker security protections.
The tech giant Yahoo recently revealed that when the FBI sought warrantless access to much of data the amendment permits, the justice department in 2008 found that judicial authorization was required.
A coalition of civil-liberties groups and tech firms, including Facebook, Google and Foursquare, urged defeat of the amendment in a 16 June letter, warning that data collected by national security letters is stored ''indefinitely, [and] used to gain access to private information in cases that were not relevant to an FBI investigation''.
Fact Checking Donald Trump's Speech on Hillary Clinton
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:26
Why do I suspect that Trump Decongestants will be on the market any day now?
If, as I did, you listened to his thwacking''and largely unencumbered by truth''attack on Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday morning, it was hard to track the lies through the monumental sniffling that made it sound like He, Trump was campaigning as Darth Vader cosplay. But we paddle on, up against the implacable current of Mucus River, and we judge the speech as you judge the speeches of the presumptive presidential candidate of one of the two major political parties that we, as a people, have allowed ourselves.
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There were many interesting things about the speech. There were some lines of attack that, were they not being delivered by a self-evident public charlatan, might have proven effective. Like most politicians of the past 30 years, and like most people operating within the current financial elite, HRC really has been cozy with some unsavory people and regimes around the world. In fact, one of them was Donald Trump.
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Spending $208,000 on Hats Is Really Funny, Until It Isn't
He flirted with pointing out that gay people in the Muslim world have it quite rough and that many of them have it quite rough under governments that the United States supports and arms. (Of course, he's been running on a platform that we should keep these unfortunates out of the country until we "know what's going on.") He even made a run at the Jack Kemp Republicanism, although he didn't go all the way to talking about The Democrat Plantation. Some speechwriter will get there for him sooner or later, I'm sure. He did some two-stepping towards populism, especially on trade.
Some speechwriter will get there for him sooner or later, I'm sure.
There was some evidence of softening to his positions. Instead of accusing HRC of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment, he charged that she would appoint justices who would "virtually abolish" it. That's nonsense, too, but it's nonsense within some sort of logical bounds. And it was a fairly well-crafted address, even though, every time he delivers a scripted speech or reads from a TelePrompter, he appears very surprised by what's written down for him.
OK, now for the customary bullshit.
There is no record of his opposing the Iraq War, "Yes, even before the war ever started."
HRC did not "singlehandedly destabilize the entire Middle East." She had a lot of help in the years between 2001 and 2009, when somebody nobody mentions anymore was running things.
He grabbed onto two extended exercises in ratfcking''Peter Schweitzer's Clinton Cash and Gary Byrne's Crisis In Character''and held them close to his heart. Gary Aldrich must be off somewhere weeping because he was born too soon.
In fact, Hillary Clinton supports a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees coming into the United States, and that's an increase over President Obama's already very high number. Under her plan, we would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth''with no way to screen who they are or what they believe.
This is a barefaced non-fact. The vetting process generally takes two years. If you can't vet some poor sod with everything he owns in a backpack within two years, you should find other work immediately.
The United States is not the "highest taxed nation in the world." This is something that has been fact-checked on him somewhere between three and 18 gazillion times.
HRC was not sleeping when the phone call came in regarding the attack on the embassy in Benghazi. It happened at 3:45 a.m. Washington time, and she went right to work. Again, this is a canard that Trump has been peddling for almost six months, and it's no truer now than it was the first time he said it.
But, I was struck most heavily by the end of the speech, when He, Trump began to pine for the lost glory that once was America.
Americans are the people that tamed the West, that dug out the Panama Canal, that sent satellites across the solar system, that built the great dams, and so much more. Then we started thinking small. We stopped believing in what America could do, and became reliant on other countries, other people, and other institutions. We lost our sense of purpose, and daring.
I wonder how that possibly could have happened in this country. How did we abandon our dreams of greatness that we demanded of our self-governing Republic. We didn't dig the Panama Canal. Our government did, after it stole the land from Colombia. We, as individuals, didn't tame the West. Our government did, with railroads and homesteading and the U.S. Cavalry. We didn't ourselves build the Hoover Dam. Our government did. We didn't create our own private space exploration. Our government did.
How could the country have come to such a sorry pass? Perhaps a clue can be found in a speech given from the U.S. Capitol by a newly elected president on a cold, clear January morning in 1981.
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.
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A Massive Rainbow Appeared Over a Florida Vigil for the Orlando Shooting Victims
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:09
About 50,000 people attended last night's Lake Eola, Florida, vigil in honor of the 49 people killed in last week's horrific Orlando massacre, ABC News reports. Though it was initially intended to be a smaller event, all those in attendance were there to witness a giant rainbow, which appeared to be there "for" the gathering.
According to WESH, the rainbow appeared just before the vigil began and caused a "joyous roar" from the crowd. See some photos of the rainbow below:
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Fred Stern and The World of Rainbows :: Rainbow Maker's World
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:04
The Rainbow MakerI am Fred Stern, a man who makes natural rainbows in the sky. I make an artificial rainfall with large pumps which refracts the sun's light to create rainbows as large as 2000 feet across.
I have made over 50 rainbows around the world in an attempt to make our world a better place, and will travel anywhere in the world for the right cause..
A natural rainbow in support of a fund raiser for health issues, or to promote an environmental cause or political event is so unique that it always has large attendance and receives major media coverage.
The Rainbow Maker has Worked Withthe American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Make a Wish Foundation, Camp Sundown, The Alzheimer's Association, U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Portland Blues Festival, Stockholm Water Festival, Hague Appeal for Peace, Israel and Gaza Peace Conference, Burning Man, and the Colorado River Tribes protesting the placement of a nuclear dump site on sacred land.
I also work with Major Cities, Festivals, Public Relations Firms, Film and Television Producers. Commercial Clients include Coca Cola, Ikea, and Nippon TV.
Burning Man Rainbow August 2014I discovered an innovative technology for creating rainbows using high pressure water at the Africa version of Burning where I created a natural rainbow over their Statue.Based on this piece, I was invited to Burning Man in Nevada to create a natural rainbow over the Man.
Joined by a brilliant support team I created natural rainbows on both Monday and Tuesday afternoons using only 18 gallons of water on each day, not a drop of which touched the ground making it Burning Man Compliant.
Rainbow Over the U.N. BuildingIn 1995 in conjunction with National Japanese Television, I created a rainbow over the United Nations building as a visual metaphor for world peace using a New York City fire boat. In placing a rainbow over the U.N. building I raised the planet's flag above the flags of all nations symbolizing world peace coming before national allegiance
South Africa Free Election AnniversaryA Series of rainbows were created over Johannesburg in Celebration of the 20th anniversary of free elections, in April 2014. The documentary video of this project won 1 Gold, 2 Silver, and 2 Bronze awards at the Cannes Lion Festival for Creative Communications Industry. Click to see the award winning video.
Camp Quality RainbowCamp Quality is a camp for children with cancer. I created a large scale natural rainbow at several camps which the campers walked through to joyously discover what is at the at the end of the rainbow. My life has forever been changed by these courageous Children.
Hillary's State Dept. stopped investigation into Orlando shooter's mosque, deleted records, former DHS says | BizPac Review
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:04
Want more hot BPR News stories? Sign up for our morning blast HERE
Hillary Clinton's State Department stopped an investigation into mosque networks, that included the place where Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen worshipped, because President Obama feared that it unfairly targeted Muslims, according to a retired Department of Homeland Security agent turned whistleblower.
In his book ''See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government's Submission to Jihad,'' agent Philip Haney said that ''within a few months, the case drew the 'concern' of the State Department and the DHS's Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office because the Obama administration believed it unfairly singled out Muslims,''according to WND.
In December, 2015 Haney claimed that the Clinton-led State Department shut down an investigation into several mosques, among them, the one attended San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook.
On Sunday, Haney told WND that the Florida mosque Mateen attended was also part of that investigation.
In addition to putting a freeze on the investigation the administration deleted much the records related to the case.
''Along with the State Department's and Department of Homeland Security's quashing of the case in June 2012, the administration subsequently ordered the deletion of an additional 67 records related to a report on the Institute of Islamic Education,'' WND reported.
Still, when Haney heard the name of the mosque on Sunday he knew it sounded familiar.
''This case struck me as very similar to the San Bernardino shooting case,'' he told WND. ''I suspected that they were both part of a national and international network of organizations.''
He said that after Sunday's attack he checked out the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce using open-source information and confirmed his suspicions, according to WND.
How many more remain as hubs for radical jihadists?
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Carmine SabiaCarmine Sabia Jr started his own professional wrestling business at age 18 and went on to become a real estate investor. Currently he is a pundit who covers political news and current events.
Latest posts by Carmine Sabia (see all)
Trump's campaign spends $6 million with Trump companies
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:58
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Donald Trump is one of the wealthiest people to ever run for president, but his campaign appears to be flat broke. What's more, fundraising reports show he's used about $6 million in campaign money to pay his own companies and family members.
The billionaire businessman's financial woes were enough to inspire the mocking Twitter hashtag "TrumpSoPoor" on Tuesday and, far more seriously, give already reluctant donors a fresh batch of reasons to withhold their money.
Trump's campaign expenses are hardly inspiring confidence among people whose money he's pursuing. The spending includes a $423,000 May payment to Mar-a-Lago, the private club in Florida that serves as his vacation home, and enough Trump-branded bottled water to fill a bathtub.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton ribbed Trump on Tuesday, tweeting to followers: "What is Trump spending his meager campaign resources on? Why, himself, of course."
A presidential campaign is expensive '-- about $1 billion in recent years. That money pays for crucial candidate outreach, including costly television advertising and identifying, persuading and getting voters to the polls in November.
Trump began this month with $1.3 million in the bank, less campaign cash than many congressional candidates and even behind several of the Republican presidential candidates he defeated. The $3 million he collected in May donations is about one-tenth what Clinton raised.
Trump waves off criticism of his fundraising, saying he only began in earnest May 25 despite having become the presumptive nominee weeks earlier. He largely financed his successful primary bid through personal loans but now is leaning heavily on the Republican National Committee for help.
"To date, the campaign's fundraising has been incredible, and we continue to see a tremendous outpouring of support for Mr. Trump and money to the Republican Party," his campaign said in a statement Tuesday.
Both Trump and the party say he can write checks if donations don't pick up. But there are signs he is taking fundraising more seriously.
He made his first emailed pitch for donations on Tuesday, writing that he would match up to $2 million in contributions. "This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign," Trump wrote. "That's right. THE FIRST ONE."
That more-engaged approach can't come too soon for Republican financiers.
"There's a lot of reluctance," said Spencer Zwick, who was Mitt Romney's chief fundraiser four years ago. "Some are saying the finance organization is highly disorganized."
Trump's defenders, including New York donor Anthony Scaramucci, say a major part of his appeal is that he's a "non-politician" who does things differently.
That extends to his propensity to mix business with politics.
Finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission detail a campaign unafraid to co-mingle political and business endeavors in an unprecedented way.
Wealthy political candidates in the past, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presidential contender Steve Forbes both walled off their campaigns from the companies bearing their names.
Not so for Trump. Through the end of May, his campaign had plowed about $6 million back into Trump corporate products and services, a review of federal filings shows. That's nearly 10 percent of his expenditures.
There's nothing illegal about it. Regulations do require companies'-- even ones owned by the candidate'-- to charge fair-market value so as not to run afoul of a ban on corporate campaign contributions.
They also require some complicated record-keeping.
For instance, FEC reports show the campaign making about $400,000 in payments to Trump. But that's a campaign finance accounting quirk. What's actually happened is that Trump donated $400,000 in campaign office space and some salaries of company employees who have been working on his presidential bid.
Yet Trump's companies also charge his campaign for goods and services, putting him at risk of appearing to be a self-dealer. That's why Forbes and Bloomberg avoided the issue altogether, former aides said.
"You just never want to have to worry about any blurred lines with personal, corporate, in-kind and contributor money," said Bill Dal Col, who ran Forbes' unsuccessful 1996 and 2000 White House campaigns.
One more complication: The $46 million worth of loans Trump made to his campaign can be repaid with donor money, even though he insists he won't do that.
The situation has some donors spooked, said Charlie Spies, a Republican elections attorney who has worked with major contributors and was helping Trump opponent Jeb Bush.
"Why would donors give money when the first dollars go to help a billionaire buy products from his own company?" Spies asked.
The biggest payment to a Trump company is $4.6 million to TAG Air, the holding company of his airplanes.
His campaign headquarters is at Trump Tower in New York. The campaign has paid about $520,000 in rent and utilities to Trump Tower Commercial LLC and to Trump Corporation.
For events, he often uses his own properties. The campaign paid out $26,000 in January to rent a facility at Trump National Doral, his golf course in Miami. He'd held an event in the gold-accented ballroom there in late October. The campaign spent another $11,000 on Trump's hotel in Chicago.
Even refreshments have a Trump tie.
About $5,000 from the campaign went to Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which offers Virginia wines bearing the bold letters of Trump.
Son Eric Trump also factors into another large Trump campaign expense.
The campaign has paid about $4.7 million for hats and T-shirts purchased from Ace Specialties. That company is owned by a board member of Eric Trump's charitable foundation.
Follow Julie Bykowicz and Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bykowicz and https://twitter.com/ChadSDay
The Scary And Heartbreaking Reason This Mom Photographed Her 3-Year-Old
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:56
A mom's viral Facebook post is highlighting the way mass shootings affect even the youngest children.
On Wednesday, Stacey Wehrman Feeley posted a photo of her 3-year-old daughter standing on a toilet in their house. She explained why in an eye-opening caption.
"I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny," the mom wrote. "I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, the moment she told me what she was doing I broke down."
"She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom," Feeley explained. "At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone."
The mom implored politicians to "take a look" at her photo. "This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and future generations to come," she wrote. "They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?"
Feeley launched into an earnest plea for action, calling for universal background checks, a universal registration database and limits on access to high-capacity magazines. "No one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control. But maybe, just maybe, it helps 1% or 2% or 50%? Who knows unless we try?" she wrote.
From evoking the United States Constitution as a "living document" to asking about the NRA's role to mentioning mental health, Feeley makes it clear she will have whatever conversation it takes to impel political leaders to action. She writes, "I applaud politicians like Senator Chris Murphy, but so many of our elected politicians can't manage to work together (maybe they shouldn't be paid for a job they can't do ... just saying) or since they are in bed with all the wrong people, it is up to us if we want change."
To that end, the mom asks, "Can I help?"
Addressing "entrepreneurs," "innovators," "incubators" and "investors," Feeley writes, "Can I help? Can I help you make a difference? I want to offer support. I cannot give you techie advice, expertise in healthcare, or financial backing, BUT maybe I can point you in the right direction? Maybe I know someone who knows someone who can help?"
"I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them, but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something!" she concluded, asking others to share her post and adding the hashtags "#dosomething" "#prayfororlando" and "#wecandobetter."
Feeley's impassioned Facebook post has received over 8,200 likes and 11,300 shares.
Here's hoping her powerful words translate into powerful actions.
H/T The Stir
Why isn't the assassination attempt on Donald Trump bigger news? - The Washington Post
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:49
A British man was arrested over the weekend for trying to steal a policewoman's gun at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's Las Vegas rally. Michael Steven Sandford told officials he drove from California to Nevada to kill Trump. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
The No. 1 trending question related to Donald Trump on Google right now is "Who tried to shoot Trump?" Which means a lot of people don't know the answer. Which is probably because the assassination attempt on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee hasn't been covered as a major news story.
The answer, authorities say, is Michael Steven Sandford, a 20-year-old British citizen who was in the United States illegally after overstaying his visa. Sandford allegedly tried to pull a gun from the holster of a police officer at a Trump rally in Las Vegas on Saturday. He was arrested and later told the Secret Service that he had driven to the event from California and had been planning to kill the candidate for a year, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nevada.
[British man accused of trying to kill Donald Trump acted 'weird' and 'nervous' before rally]
News outlets have certainly reported on the incident, but it hasn't gotten anything resembling wall-to-wall coverage. Cable news shows devoted little time to Sandford Tuesday morning and afternoon. Trump's dismal fundraising report from May and his recent firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski received far more attention. Trump called in to the Trump-friendly "Fox & Friends" morning show and wasn't even asked about the attempt on his life.
It's worth noting that the real estate magnate didn't bring it up, either. Trump hasn't so much as tweeted about it, which suggests he doesn't consider it a huge deal or doesn't want to talk about it.
The most obvious explanation is that Sandford doesn't appear to have come particularly close to completing his alleged mission. He didn't even succeed in arming himself at the Trump rally. Sandford's plot seems to have been feebly unsophisticated; he told authorities the extent of his training was a visit the day before the rally to a gun range, where he fired 20 rounds from a 9mm Glock pistol, a common service weapon, to learn how to use one.
In short, calling Sandford a legitimate threat might be giving him too much credit. A rough analogue might be Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who tried to kill President Obama in November 2011, but came nowhere close to doing so. Ortega-Hernandez got off shots '-- but fired aimlessly at the White House from 750 yards away '-- and hadn't done enough research to know the president was in San Diego at the time.
[Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez charged with attempt to assassinate Obama]
Other assassination attempts that failed by a long shot have received scant coverage, too. A previous, would-be Obama assassin, James McVay, also hatched a plot that involved swiping a police officer's gun. After stabbing a 75-year-old-woman to death in South Dakota and stealing her car, McVay drove to Wisconsin, where he planned to ambush a cop and take his firearm, according to statements he made to police after his arrest in July 2011. McVay said he planned to continue on through Chicago and Indianapolis and eventually kill the president on a golf range in Washington. But he was apprehended near Madison, Wis. CNN covered McVay's arrest and scheme, but some other national news outlets, including The Washington Post and New York Times, appear to have skipped the story altogether.
McVay was sentenced to death in 2014 for killing the South Dakota woman and hanged himself in his prison cell five months later.
From Trump's perspective, Sandford doesn't fit neatly into his campaign narrative. The billionaire has positioned himself as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, so he certainly won't use the failed assassination attempt to push for gun control. Sandford is an illegal immigrant '-- and Trump is all about deporting illegal aliens '-- but the candidate's focus is on building a wall to keep out Mexicans and barring foreign Muslims from entering the United States. A Briton who overstayed his visa isn't a very good poster boy for the cause.
[Ex-cop urges 'lone wolf patriots' to attack Black Lives Matter activists at GOP convention]
If Trump wanted to make this episode big news, he could do it. He's proven his ability to set the agenda over and over again. But he doesn't seem interested, and the media doesn't either. Indeed, to both sides, that could simply be because they don't want to give a poorly conceived assassination plot more attention than it's due.
But some on the right see a double-standard at play. The conservative news site Hot Air posed a hypothetical on Tuesday:
Can you imagine the coverage we'd be seeing if someone had attempted to shoot Hillary Clinton? The same could be said if it had happened with Barack Obama in the summer of 2008. Questions would be debated on air for weeks on end about the evil lurking in the hearts of men and why someone would be so desperate to prevent the election of the first black or female president. But when someone plots for more than a year to kill Trump, travels across the country to find an opportunity and then launches his attempt, it creates barely a ripple in the media pond.
Then there's this common sentiment from Trump supporters:
Glenn Beck, a prominent conservative commentator who opposes Trump, was recently suspended for a week by SiriusXM after Brad Thor, who writes political thrillers, made comments on Beck's radio program that some listeners interpreted as a call for Trump to be assassinated.
"If Congress won't remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that '-- if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president?" Thor said.
Thor and Beck both said later that the remark was not about assassinating Trump.
But for anyone already convinced that the media hates Trump, the coverage of Sandford's assassination attempt (or lack thereof) will probably only strengthen their belief.
Infiniti Q50 Recalled For Steering Problems | Insider Car News
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:11
First people criticized Infiniti's weird steering system for the Q50, now there's a possible problem and a recall. This affects over 28,000 vehicles in the United States and around 60,000 worldwide.
Normally, an electronic system controls the steering. It allows drivers to change adjustments while driving, which sounds cool, but isn't well-liked by most enthusiasts. The system can make small corrections to keep a vehicle in a marked lane. It also isolates the driver from things like bumps in the road and most steering feel.
Just in case the electronics fail, which they tend to do that now and then, there's a mechanical backup system that automatically engages. It's an interesting blend of new and old tech.
The recall is coming because of a software issue. According to a report from Jalopnik, Infiniti says the result could be a ''lack of steering responsiveness and a change in turning radius.'' Whatever that means exactly, it doesn't sound good.
Basically, if you have an Infiniti Q50 or know someone who does, you might want to reconsider driving it until the problem is fixed. There haven't been any accidents or injuries from the problem, but those are usually a person's famous last words. A timeline so far hasn't been released by Infiniti, but expect a fix to involve sitting in a dealership waiting room with The Expendables playing on a big screen television.
Back in 2013 the steering system was part of another software recall.
Why Gun Control Can't Be Solved in the USA | Scott Adams Blog
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:48
Posted June 22nd, 2016 @ 9:17am in #Trump#clinton2016
On average, Democrats (that's my team*) use guns for shooting the innocent. We call that crime.
On average, Republicans use guns for sporting purposes and self-defense.
If you don't believe me, you can check the statistics on the Internet that don't exist. At least I couldn't find any that looked credible.
But we do know that race and poverty are correlated. And we know that poverty and crime are correlated. And we know that race and political affiliation are correlated. Therefore, my team (Clinton) is more likely to use guns to shoot innocent people, whereas the other team (Trump) is more likely to use guns for sporting and defense.
That's a gross generalization. Obviously. Your town might be totally different.
So it seems to me that gun control can't be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other '' and want it to stop '' whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can't reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as ''Put down your gun so I can shoot you.''
Let's all take a deep breath and shake off the mental discomfort I just induced in half of my readers. You can quibble with my unsupported assumptions about gun use, but keep in mind that my point is about psychology and about big group averages. If Republicans think they need guns to protect against Democrats, that's their reality. And if Democrats believe guns make the world more dangerous for themselves, that is their reality. And they can both be right. Your risk profile is different from mine.
So let's stop acting as if there is something like ''common sense'' gun control to be had if we all act reasonably. That's not an option in this case because we all have different risk profiles when it comes to guns. My gun probably makes me safer, but perhaps yours makes you less safe. You can't reconcile those interests.
Our situation in the United States is that people with different risk profiles are voting for their self-interests as they see it. There is no compromise to be had in this situation unless you brainwash one side or the other to see their self-interest differently. And I don't see anyone with persuasion skills trying to do that on either side.
Fear always beats reason. So as long as Democrats are mostly using guns to shoot innocent people (intentionally or accidentally) and Republicans are mostly using guns for sport or self-defense, no compromise can be had.
If we had a real government '' the kind that works '' we would acknowledge that gun violence is not one big problem with one big solution. It is millions of people with different risk profiles voting their self-interest as they see it.
So stop acting like one side is stupid. Both sides of the gun issue are scared, and both have legitimate reasons to be that way. Neither side is ''right.''
*I endorsed Clinton for president for my personal safety. I write about Trump's powers of persuasion and it is not safe to live in California if people think you support Trump in any way. Also, I'm rich, so I don't want anything to change in this country. The rest of you might have a different risk profile.
If you are in favor of common-sense gun control laws, you might like my book. But that would be more coincidence than causation because the book doesn't mention guns. I don't even know why I brought it up.
Over 1 Million California Ballots Trashed; Secretary Of State Alex Padilla Unconcerned | Twist The Knife - Fiercely Independent Anti-Corporate Media
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:06
Independent Journalist Greg Palast made a call to the California Secretary State to find out how many votes have been thrown away.
As Palast writes on his blog:
''The mail-in ballots: 1,173,943 uncounted. Provisional ''placebo'' ballots '-- when they don't want you to vote, they give you pretend ballots '-- there are 712,849 uncounted. This is two weeks after the election! Even Iran counts the votes within two weeks. And we're not done'... 73,116 ''other'' votes have not been counted.''
''The other secret of American elections, that we're not supposed to tell anyone, is that we don't count all the ballots. We have ballots which are called ''spoiled.'' You've got some fly poop on the ballot so the computer kicks it out. There's all kinds of reasons why your ballot would spoil.''
So if this happens, naturally it would be nice if the Secretary of State had a concerned response, but:
''We've been on the phone with the Secretary of State's office, Alex Padilla. And, number one, he has no count.''
We should not be surprised. Neither should we be surprised that most of these uncounted votes come from independent voters, a group much more likely to vote for Bernie Sanders. Alex Padilla, by the way, is a Hillary Clinton supporter, as you can tell from the photo below.
Read the entire story on Palast's blog.
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Facebook Signs Deals With Media Companies, Celebrities for Facebook Live - WSJ
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:41
Updated June 21, 2016 8:27 p.m. ET Facebook Inc.FB-0.26% has inked contracts with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its nascent live-streaming service, as the social network positions itself to cash in on a lucrative advertising market it has yet to tap'--and keep its 1.65 billion monthly users engaged.
The company has agreed to make payments to video creators totaling more than $50 million, according to a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Its partners include established media outfits like CNN and the New York TimesNYT0.51%; digital publishers like Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and the Huffington Post; and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
The arrangements are a way to encourage publishers to produce a steady stream of high-quality videos until Facebook figures out a more concrete plan to compensate creators, such as through sharing of ad revenue.
In March, Facebook said it would start paying some creators to use its live-streaming product, and some publishers have acknowledged being paid by Facebook. But the document reviewed by the Journal is the most comprehensive list so far of participating content providers and their specific financial dealings with Facebook.
''We wanted to invite a broad set of partners so we could get feedback from a variety of different organizations about what works and what doesn't,'' Justin Osofsky, Facebook's vice president of global operations and media partnerships, said in a statement.
The value of individual contracts varies widely, with 17 worth more than $1 million, according to the document. The highest-paid publisher is BuzzFeed, slated to receive $3.05 million for broadcasting live between March 2016 and March 2017. Just behind BuzzFeed is the New York Times, which is to receive $3.03 million for a 12-month deal. CNN is third, with a $2.5 million contract.
The document isn't a full accounting of all of Facebook's dealings with video creators, but it shows the broad scope of the tech giant's efforts to promote its Facebook Live product.
Facebook is already a major video hub'--its users watch 100 million hours of video daily in their news feeds. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is betting that live videos will provide a further lift in user engagement, getting people to come to the service more often and stay longer.
One indication of the importance of live video: when publishers stream something live, Facebook automatically sends a notification to their Facebook fans.
Though Facebook is an advertising powerhouse'--it accounts for nearly 20% of U.S. mobile ad revenues, according to eMarketer'--it has yet to tap into digital video as a major revenue source, unlike Alphabet Inc.GOOGL0.09%'s YouTube. That market, which is worth $9.8 billion in the U.S. alone, represents a big opportunity.
Most publishers'--traditional and digital'--already are pouring resources into online video to capture the attention of their audiences and grab high advertising prices. Facebook is a major source of traffic to their properties. Becoming one of its live-streaming partners in the early going could give their videos enormous exposure, and could be lucrative once selling ads in the platform is allowed.
In May, 44% of the top 500 Facebook pages maintained by media companies posted at least one live video on Facebook, up from 11% in January, according to an analysis by Socialbakers, a social-media metrics company.
Facebook is a ''relative rookie'' to live-streaming compared to rivals including disappearing messaging app Snapchat, Twitter Inc.TWTR-0.58%'s Periscope app and YouTube, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney in a note this week. But given its large user base, ''Facebook should be a viable competitor for consumer attention,'' Mr. Mahaney wrote.
Facebook invited publishers to be part of the program based, in part, on their track record with live video, Mr. Osofsky said. Among other factors, Facebook also looked for public figures who were able to ''easily produce and test a variety of live programming.''
Facebook is ''highly incentivized to get good content in there,'' said Jesse Hertzberg, chief executive of Livestream, a live-video company and maker of a $400 wide-angle Mevo camera that's directly integrated with Facebook Live.
The contract values are based on publishers' popularity on Facebook and the number of broadcasts they are willing to stream, according to Facebook and people familiar with the terms of the deals. Some contracts include requirements related to the length of individual broadcasts; in other cases, some additional payouts are available to publishers who exceed their minimum requirements.
The list reviewed by the Journal also includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History in New York; internet celebrities like Logan Paul, Andrew Bachelor and Lele Pons; dance music DJs Armin Van Buuren and Hardwell; and sports teams such as FC Barcelona.
Food-centric web video specialist Tastemade, which in April announced it would produce more than 100 Facebook Live shows a month, is set to receive about $1 million from Facebook for videos produced in a 12-month period ending in March 2017.
News CorpNWSA0.95%'s Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has no arrangement with Facebook to create videos for Facebook Live, a company spokeswoman said.
The potential power of Facebook's platform has been evident in early experiments. In April, two BuzzFeed employees streamed a Facebook Live video showing them placing rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded. It was Facebook's most-watched live video, until it was beaten out by Facebook user Candace Payne, who in May filmed herself in her car, laughing uproariously over a noise-making Chewbacca mask.
As of June 21, the nearly 45-minute watermelon video was viewed 10.8 million times; Ms. Payne's four-minute video has been viewed 157.6 million times.
After a live video is over on Facebook, it is stored so Facebook users can watch it later. About two-thirds of the watch time for a Facebook live broadcast happen after the fact, Facebook executives say.
Live videos are intended to be exclusive to the Facebook Live platform. Based on early testing, Facebook has said it found that the average user watches live video three times longer than other types of video.
Write to Steven Perlberg at email@example.com and Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com
DOJ Giving $1 Million in Federal Funds to Orlando First Responders: AG Lynch - NBC News
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:49
Police stand guard down the road from the Pulse nightclub on June 17, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mir Seddique Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at the popular gay nightclub early Sunday. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Despite his declarations, the FBI says it's found no evidence the attack was directed by a foreign terrorist organization. Mateen instead appears to have been radicalized on his own through jihadist propaganda on the internet, part of a population of Americans that law enforcement officials have repeatedly expressed concern about.
"There is no doubt that this was a shattering attack '-- on our nation, on our people and on our most fundamental ideals," Lynch said. "But the message of Orlando goes far beyond one night of unspeakable terror. The message of Orlando that I have seen today '-- and what the American people have seen in the wake of this horrific assault '-- is a message of determination to remove hatred and intolerance from our midst; to live our lives freely and without fear; and to stay true to the principles of liberty, justice and equality that define America at our best."
Senate Votes Down Four Gun Control Measures After Fiery DebateThe agency also has expressed support for a failed amendment sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, that would have blocked people on a terrorist watch list banned from flying while under investigation from buying a gun. The measure would also have empowered the Lynch to block a gun purchase if there was "reasonable belief" the person could use the weapon for terrorism.
Loretta Lynch: 'Most effective' response to Islamic terrorism 'is love' - Washington Times
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:41
Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Florida's LGBT community that the ''most effective'' weapon at America's disposal against Islamic terrorism is ''love.''
Mrs. Lynch told reporters in Orlando on Tuesday that an ongoing investigation will determine the precise motive for 29-year-old Omar Mateen's June 12 massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub. Mateen, a former security guard, called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group while killing 49 people and wounding 53 others.
''To the LGBT community '-- we stand with you,'' President Obama's attorney general said. ''The good in this world far outweighs the evil. Our common humanity transcends our differences, and our most effective response to terror is compassion, it's unity and it's love. We stand with you today because we grieve together, and long after the cameras are gone will continue to stand with you as we grow together in commitment and solidarity and in equality.''
Mrs. Lynch added that $1 million in emergency funding for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would be allocated ''as soon as possible,'' the Miami Herald reported.
The federal funds will be used to cover overtime pay and other costs incurred by Orlando's local law enforcement agencies during the massacre, the newspaper reported.
''The message of Orlando is a message of determination to remove hatred, to remove intolerance from our midst,'' Mrs. Lynch said.
Andrew Cunanan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:28
Andrew Phillip Cunanan (August 31, 1969 '' July 23, 1997) was an Americanserial killer who murdered at least five people, including fashion designer Gianni Versace, during a three-month period in 1997. On June 12, 1997, Cunanan became the 449th fugitive to be listed by the FBI on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The killing spree ended with Cunanan's suicide. He was 27 years old.
Cunanan was born in National City, California, to Modesto Cunanan, a Filipino American, and Mary Anne Schillaci, an Italian American, the youngest of four children. Modesto Cunanan was serving in the US Navy in the Vietnam War at the time of his son's birth.
In 1981, Andrew's father enrolled him in The Bishop's School in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California. At school, Cunanan was remembered as being bright and very talkative, testing with an I.Q. of 147. As a teenager, however, he developed a reputation as a prolific liar given to telling fantastic tales about his family and personal life. He was also adept at changing his appearance according to what he felt was most attractive at a given moment.[dead link]
When he was 19, his father deserted his family to avoid arrest for embezzlement. That same year, his mother learned that Cunanan was gay. During an ensuing argument, he threw her against a wall, dislocating her shoulder. Later examination of his behavior from reports indicate that he may have suffered from antisocial personality disorder, a personality disorder characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy (earlier known as psychopathy).
After graduating from high school in 1987, he enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, where he majored in American history. After dropping out, he settled in the Castro District of San Francisco. While there, he frequented high-class gay bars and sold sex to wealthy older men, and became involved in petty theft and drug dealing.
The first known murder was that of his friend Jeffrey Trail, a former US naval officer and propane salesman, on April 25, 1997, in Minneapolis.
The next victim was architect David Madson, who was found on the east shore of Rush Lake near Rush City, Minnesota, on April 29, 1997, with gunshot wounds to the head. Police recognized a connection, as Trail's body had been found rolled up in a rug in a closet in Madson's Minneapolis loft apartment.
Cunanan next drove to Chicago and killed 72-year-old Lee Miglin, a prominent real estate developer, on May 4, 1997. Following this murder, the FBI added him to its Ten Most Wanted list.
Five days later, Cunanan, who took Miglin's car, found his fourth victim in Pennsville, New Jersey, at the Finn's Point National Cemetery, killing 45-year-old caretaker William Reese. While the manhunt focused on Reese's truck, Cunanan "hid in plain sight" in Miami Beach, Florida, for two months between his fourth and fifth murders. He even used his own name to pawn a stolen item, knowing that police routinely check pawn shop records for stolen merchandise.
On July 15, 1997, Cunanan murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace. A witness attempted to pursue him but could not catch him. The vehicle he used, as well as the clothes he had just been wearing, an alternative passport, and newspaper clippings of his murders, were found in a nearby garage by the police who responded.
On July 23, 1997, eight days after murdering Versace, Cunanan shot himself in the mouth in the upstairs bedroom of a Miamihouseboat. He used the same gun he had used to kill Madson and Miglin, a Taurus PT100semi-automatic pistol in .40 S&Wcaliber, which had been stolen from the first victim, Jeff Trail. His cremated remains are interred in the Mausoleum at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in San Diego, California.
At the time of the crimes, there was much public and press speculation that Cunanan's motives were tied to a diagnosis of HIV infection; however, an autopsy found him to be HIV-negative.
In order to piece together a motive for his killing spree, police searched the boathouse where Cunanan died. However, Cunanan left behind few personal belongings, surprising investigators, given his reputation for acquiring money and expensive possessions from wealthy older men. Police considered few of the findings to be of note, except multiple tubes of hydrocortisone cream and a fairly extensive collection of the fiction of C.S. Lewis.
His motivations remain a mystery. Various theories include jealousy for Versace's role as a "gay icon", as well as necessity and opportunity in some of the other murders.
^"FBI '-- Serial Killers, Part 6: Andrew Cunanan Murders a Fashion Icon". FBI. ^ abcdefGeringer, Joseph."Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster: Andrew's World"^Orth, Maureen (14 June 2000). Vulgar Favors. Dell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-440-22585-0. ^ abcDanielle Esposito; John E. Douglas; Ann W. Burgess; Allen G. Burgess (2006). "Case Study: Andrew Cunanan". In John E. Douglas; Ann W. Burgess; Allen G. Burgess. Crime classification manual: a standard system for investigating and classifying violent crimes (2 ed.). John Wiley and Sons. pp. 448''452. ISBN 978-0-7879-8501-1. Retrieved April 10, 2011. ^"Famous Criminals: Andrew Cunanan". Crimeandinvestigation.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-10-13. ^Black, Donald W., Larson, C. Lindon. Bad boys, bad men: confronting antisocial personality disorder^ ab"Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster - Trail and Madson" (analysis), Crime Library.com, Courtroom Television Network LLC, 2005.^"''America's Most Wanted'': Andrew Cunanan". Amw.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13. ^"New Twist In Miglin Case". Chicago Tribune. 8 May 1997. Retrieved 8 October 2014. ^ abKastor, Elizabeth, Weeks, Linton. "Five Lives Cut Short"Washington Post. July 17, 1997.^Geringer, Joseph. "Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster: Unlike a Fugitive"^Phillips, Andrew. "Versace's Killer Kills Self"Maclean's August 4, 1997.^Lecayo, Richard. "Tagged for Murder".Time Magazine, June 21, 2001.^Janofsky, Michael (July 25, 1997). "Suspect's Suicide Brings Relief and Normality". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2009. ^"Andrew Phillip Cunanan (1969 - 1997) - Find A Grave Memorial". findagrave.com. ^"Who is Andrew Cunanan?", CNN.com, 17 July 1997.^Cunanan, Andrew - Autopsy report #1997-01742, Miami Medical Examiner.^ abcDirk Cameron Gibson, Serial Murder and Media Circuses, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 138.^"This Day in History: July 15: Gianni Versace Killed". Maxim. July 2009. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. ^Tyler Stoddard Smith, Whore Stories: A Revealing History of the World's Oldest Profession, p. 172
Radicalized at Home: FBI Tried to Lure Orlando Shooter Into Terror Plot / Sputnik International
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:27
Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida's St. Lucie County has confirmed that in 2013, Mateen had threatened a court house deputy, saying that he could order al-Qaeda to kill his family. The FBI then set up an undercover informant scenario to "lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite."''It looks like it's pretty much standard operating procedure for preliminary inquiries to interview the subject or pitch the person to become an informant and/or plant an undercover or informant close by to see if the person bites on the suggestion,'' Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI's pre-9/11 failures, told AlterNet.
Alternet's article on the investigation strongly alludes to the likelihood that the FBI likely played a role in radicalizing Mateen.
''In the case of Mateen, since he already worked for a security contractor [G4S], he was either too savvy to bite on the pitch or he may have even become indignant that he was targeted in that fashion. These pitches and use of people can backfire,'' Rowley continued.
Mateen was working for the seven years up to the shooting as a security officer for G4S Secure Solutions '-- government contractors who have had several scandals involving their employees in the past.
On the other hand, many on both the right and the left have argued that the FBI did not do enough. They counter that Mateen, with his outrageous claims and perhaps loose grasp on religion, was a perfect recruit for radical terror groups '-- and that the FBI let him slip through their fingers due to tightening the limits on the agency.
Sputnik News spoke to former FBI informant and current Editor-In-Chief of Breitbart Texas, Brandon Darby, who explained that the role of an informant is to be no more and no less radical than the subject that they are investigating. He explained that they must maintain the same level as the person of interest as to not tip them off and blow the entire thing '-- a fact which makes it unlikely that the agency shaped his radicalization.
''No thinking person would jump to such a conclusion based upon the one comment allegedly made by a local law enforcement official. The only way such a conclusion could be reached is if the person asserting the absurd claim wanted something like that to be true. In my experiences, the FBI enters the scene when a radical extremist is wanting to hurt others. The FBI interferes with and stops such plans, they do not encourage radicalism,'' Darby explained.
(C) AFP 2016/ Gregg NEWTON
''Further, the Orlando shooter made clear it was the policies and actions of President Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton in the Middle East that angered him.''Darby also noted the fact that the article questioning FBI involvement was written by Max Blumenthal, whose family has a long history with the Clintons.
''The claim you asked me about was asserted by Max Blumenthal--the son of Clinton's long-time spin doctor, Sidney Blumenthal. The Blumenthals are clearly trying to divert attention from the failures of Clinton, just as the elder Blumenthal did through Bill Clinton's repeated sexual predator accusations,'' he continued.
The FBI and Department of Justice has confirmed that during the shooting, Mateen repeatedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State. The comments that prompted the FBI to send in an informant were regarding Al Qaeda.
''I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State,'' Mateen said in the 9-1-1 call that the Department of Justice first released in a censored transcript, but later reversed course and uncensored.
Some Thoughts about Lewandowski, Campaign Funding,... | Scott Adams Blog
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 23:20
Posted June 21st, 2016 @ 2:09pm in #Trump
Trump fired Corey Lewandowski yesterday. Is that bad or good?
Well, if you are on the Clinton team, you try to frame it as campaign chaos, and evidence that Trump doesn't hire the best people.
But let's look at the firing through a persuasion filter. If you are Paul Manafort, and you want to send a clear signal that the Trump campaign plans to do a post-convention pivot to a more presidential vibe, what's the best way to do that?
Answer: Fire Corey Lewandowski.
I assume there were some internal power struggles, which would be normal as new advisors join the team. But the timing of the firing cleverly turned it into a persuasion signal. Firing an advisor who is that close to you is a strong move. And it actually fits the story that Trump is good at hiring. Wait, what?
A very-rich entrepreneur recently told me that the secret of hiring a good team of people is being ruthless in firing your mistakes. Lewandowski was the right guy for the primaries '' evidently '' but perhaps not a good fit for the general. If Trump can fire a close advisor and personal friend in this situation, do you worry that he can do it while President?
Being good at hiring is only useful if you are good at firing. No one can hire perfect people who stay that way through all situations. When the situation changes, or the people change, you have to prune. Trump pruned Lewandowski at what appears to be the right time for the signal it sends.
The media is reporting that Clinton is massively funded compared to Trump. The implied assumption is that the funding gap will make a big difference to the final result.
You've seen enough political ads to know they don't attempt to be accurate. Political ads are designed to persuade, not inform. And those ads must work, because everyone says so. If you believe political ads change elections, that means you believe persuasion is sometimes more important than policy.
Persuasion is the only battlefield that matters. Facts and reason are not important to the outcome of this election, or any other.
Clinton will need every dollar she can get to match Trump's powers of persuasion. As the GOP nominee, Trump will get all the airtime he needs. And because he is interesting, he will get more attention than any other candidate in the same situation.
Also, social media is a far bigger deal today than in any prior presidential election. Most of my friends claim they don't watch television. And the few who admit to watching television record their shows and skip the commercials.
Jeb Bush's campaign funding didn't help him against Trump. So we have one data point telling us that political ads don't work in 2016, at least against Trump. One data point isn't a trend, and primaries aren't the general election. But if television ads are persuasive in 2016, would we have GOP nominee Trump? It seems unlikely to me.
The Clinton team is fighting the war of 2008, using the tools of that era. Trump is dominating social media and gobbling up free TV time. Those are the tools of 2016.
Do you know why you didn't realize TV ads are less effective these days? Because the only people who could tell you that rely on political ads for their profits. You won't hear anyone on CNN or FOX tell you that ad dollars are less useful than they were in the past.
That said, massive spending on TV ads will move the needle a little. But at the same time, if the funding difference persists, it paints Clinton as the big-money candidate who is owned by the donors. Persuasion-wise, that's suicide.
Oh, and the big Republican donors are moving their money to the down-ballot Republicans. So'...if political ads still matter when NOT running against Trump, you should see Republicans doing well this election even if there is some Trump-drag on their reputations. So that's a big deal.
I endorsed Hillary Clinton for my personal safety because I live in California. I write about Trump's powers of persuasion and it would not be safe to be mistaken for a Trump supporter in my zip code. Plus, I'm a top-one-percenter, so I don't want to rock the boat. Things are good for me right now. You folks might want some change, but not me.
Speaking of safety, do you think the mainstream media gave enough attention to the recent Trump assassination attempt? Ask yourself if that would have been a bigger story if a Trump supporter tried the same thing with Clinton.
I turned off the Disqus comments because the moderator tool doesn't work ''for me at least '' and there were too many racist/sexist trolls coming in from fake accounts just to cause trouble. I might turn on comments again after the election. Or sooner, if I get a better moderator tool, but frankly it is my lowest priority.
Feel free to comment on Twitter. I see all of those at @scottadamssays' and I block the racists when they get out of control.
If you miss the comments on this blog, you might like my book.
106-Year-old photo destroys another global warming argument - Ice Age Now
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 23:13
Latest Paris flood NOT caused by global warming
With parts of France under 18 feet of water, some have tried to blame global warming, but a French photographer has a picture that destroys those assertions.
Credit Julien KnezThis photo from Kristine Mitchell and Julien Knez shows that the 1910 flood '' long before global warming became an issue. '' was even worse than the latest flood.
When it comes to blaming modern climate change for the recent flooding in Paris, this picture says a thousand words
See several other comparison photos here:
Thanks to Harold Ambler and Ruth Longridge in South Africa for these links
Wendy Bell Sues TV Station, Says Firing Was 'Because of Her Race' - NBC News
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 23:11
Former WTAE anchor Wendy Bell in a video posted on Facebook. Facebook
"Had Ms. Bell written the same comments about white criminal suspects or had her race not have been white, Defendant would not have fired her, much less disciplined her," the lawsuit reads. "Ms. Bell's posting of concern for the African-American community stung by mass shooting was clearly and obviously not intended to be racially offensive."
A message left with station management was not immediately returned. Bell is seeking back pay, punitive damages and her old job.
In a Facebook post, Bell commented on the March 9 shooting of five black people in the poor Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg.
"You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts," Bell wrote March 21. "They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested."
No arrests have been made in the case.
Bell's comments sparked a backlash from some who saw her words as racist, but also drew defenders who found her post honest.
Wendy Bell's profile photo on Facebook via Wendy Bell Facebook
Bell was fired nine days later after WTAE determined her remarks violated the company's journalism and ethics standards.
In an interview with The Associated Press on the day she was fired, Bell said she did not get a "fair shake" from the station, and that the focus on her comments was a distraction from the issue of "African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans."
Bell joined WTAE in 1998 and has won 21 Emmy Awards.
The LGBT community feels the effects of 'straightwashing.' They're angry about it. - The Washington Post
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 23:00
''It makes me very sad and angry that our country can't seem to grasp the fact that we are all humans and only want to enjoy our freedom like everyone else without fear of death,'' Claudia Robbins, a 65-year-old lesbian, posted on Facebook. As I've talked and texted with dozens of LGBT people after last week's mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, I witnessed that only a portion of their rage is directed at the shooter. Much of it is focused elsewhere: on our politicians. The media. The gay-haters. Sometimes, even on our own well-intentioned friends, because they don't understand our fear, or what it means to be LGBT.
Here's some of what I've been told: ''I'm angry at all who were quick to offer 'thoughts and prayers' but who did nothing supportive for the victims while they were alive,'' Todd Brown, a gay man, posted on my page.
Steven Soto, a 21-year-old Latino college student, said, ''I'm angered by the narrative as it stands now. If you look at the New York Times, listen to people on the street, they're talking about the shooter, guns, [fear of Muslims], but not that Pulse is an LGBTQ place and these were queer people.'' Soto said he felt ''erased.''
[For LGBT community, Orlando shootings reinforce the fear that nowhere is safe]
Whatever the gains in ''acceptance'' over the past two decades, too many in the LGBT community '-- especially in places such as Orlando where sexual orientation and skin color both come into play'-- ''live in apprehension if not outright terror of straight people,'' one queer activist posted.
Indeed, in the aftermath of the shooting, it was hard for some to acknowledge that angle, or even use the word ''gay.'' The Republican National Committee issued a statement denouncing ''violence against any group of people simply for their lifestyle or orientation.'' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other politicians did not mention LGBT people in their comments. ''They ignore and reject the reality that LGBT are part of life in America today,'' Jimmy LaSalvia, a Republican strategist and founder of the defunct group GOProud, said to my colleague David Weigel last week.
[Chat: Steven Petrow answers your questions]
''The media are 'straightwashing' this attack '-- downplaying or even omitting the fact that the shooting was a crime of hatred against the LGBT community,'' said John Becker, an activist in Washington. People magazine doesn't mention LGBT people or people of color in its cover language: ''Mass Murder in Florida: Faces of Orlando.'' When asked to comment, editorial director Jess Cagle, who identifies as gay, emailed: ''On the cover, we really wanted to show the faces of dozens of victims, and in order to do so we had to keep verbiage to a minimum.''
Thankfully, there are those who used their position to buck this trend. Owen Jones, a gay columnist in the United Kingdom, walked off a live Sky News set after the host argued that the attack was not anti-gay and kept saying the massacre was ''carried out against human beings.'' Yes, they were human beings, as were the nine African Americans murdered in a Charleston, S.C., church a year ago, when the national conversation did not shy away from saying why those individuals were targeted. So, why the difficulty in calling this rampage an anti-LGBT attack? Before abruptly leaving the set, Jones said defiantly, ''You don't understand, because you're not gay, okay?''
And there it is: intolerance and hate around the globe. Gay people are thrown from buildings in the Middle East, gutted with machetes in Jamaica, and in the Unites States are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group.
Even our best allies don't always seem to understand this, as they celebrate our victories in civil marriage and the repeal of ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'' One of my closest friends, a strong LGBT ally, texted me last weekend that ''people lose sight of the fact that the dead are individuals first, before they are gays or Hispanics or any collective.'' No, I replied, ''These people were specifically targeted for who they were.'' My friend texted back: ''I'm sorry we live in a world where you live in fear because of who you are.''
Yes, we are still taunted, beaten and killed.
Still, sorrow, fear and even anger do not make a strategy for acceptance, for equality. ''We have to advocate for laws and policies that protect the most vulnerable who are often the targets of hate as well as legislation to end gun violence,'' explained Nancy Petty, a lesbian minister at Raleigh, N.C.'s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. Soto told me he will speak up even more in the future: ''I continue to be out, I continue to be visible, and I continue to live my life as best as I can.''
We need to tell our stories out loud so that no LGBT person has to say: ''You don't understand, because you're not gay.'' Our foes '-- and friends '-- need to hear us.
Join him for a chat online at washingtonpost.com on June 21.
New FAA commercial drone rules require ''pilot certificate'' | Ars Technica
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 22:57
A drone in flight during a race in the UK earlier this year.
Further ReadingOn Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration unveiled its long-anticipated rules for commercial use of small consumer drones. The rules call for a new "remote pilot certificate," a blanket ban on night flights, and a requirement that all flights remain below 400 feet or within 400 feet of a structure.Under the new operational rules, which take effect in August 2016, drone pilots must be at least 16 years old or be supervised by an adult with a remote pilot certificate. The pilot must also maintain "visual line of sight" with the drone at all times, among other requirements. (Personal, or hobbyist, use rules remain unchanged.)
"This is a huge day for the industry!" Lisa Ellman, a drone lawyer with Hogan Lovells, told Ars. "Long term, this is going to be seen as a watershed moment'--the flood gates will now be opened and drone use will be broadly authorized for commercial industry, so we can take advantage of all of their safety and efficiency benefits."
Notably, the new rules also require that any drone-related incident that results in at least $500 worth of damage or causes serious injury be reported to the FAA within 10 days. That likely would cover the handful of incidents that Ars has reported on where people have shot at drones.
Further ReadingMost of the new restrictions can be waived, however, but pilots will need to apply directly to the FAA for an exemption and/or a waiver.The FAA has been gradually ratcheting up regulations in recent years, requiring that all drones be registered online as of February of this year.
"With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA's mission to protect public safety," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement on Tuesday. "But this is just our first step. We're already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations."
The FAA notably does not address questions of potential privacy violations or aerial trespass'--an issue that remains unresolved under federal law.
In a press release, the agency wrote: "the FAA is acting to address privacy considerations in this area. The FAA strongly encourages all UAS pilots to check local and state laws before gathering information through remote sensing technology or photography."
"On balance, [the new regulations] are good for the industry, they are good for drone pilots," James Mackler, a Kentucky-based, drone-focused attorney with Frost Brown Todd, told Ars. "We'll have to see what the online test requires and how strict that is."
United Nations Forced To Investigate Democratic Election Fraud | Your News Wire
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 22:44
American citizens concerned about Democratic election fraud and voter suppression have launched a petition to the UN requesting emergency electoral monitoring and supervision for the remainder of the 2016 presidential election cycle.
A letter that will be delivered with the petition to the UN Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) says that the integrity of the electoral process in the US has been compromised in order to place an undemocratically chosen candidate in power, and points out the massive discrepancies between exit polls and official results '' more than enough to have foreign elections declared fraudulent.
Upon receipt of the petition, the EAD will be legally obliged to acknowledge and investigate the allegations. With lawsuits, university studies, hacked documents, and now the United Nations hounding Clinton, no wonder Bernie Sanders is quietly confident of winning the contested Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
The letter reads:
We the people of the United States of America are officially requesting the United Nations to monitor our remaining 2016 presidential election. So far we have seen evidence of massive election fraud all across the country, which gives us reason to believe that the fraud will continue. Our president Barack Obama and the U.S. State Department have done nothing about the obvious rigging of our elections, which gives us reasonable suspicion that our government and the integrity of our electoral process has been compromised in order to place their chosen candidate in power against the will of the American people.
The U.S. State Dept. says that a discrepancy in exit polls of more than 2% indicates fraud, we have had discrepancies outside of that margin in at least 16 of the state primaries all the way up to a discrepancy of 23%. These discrepancies have only happened in one of our political parties and they have all been in favor of one candidate. On top of the exit poll discrepancies there has been reports of ballots cast in the names of deceased citizens, patients of mental hospitals, and elderly people with dementia. There has been reports of registration purging, switching of party affiliations, vote flipping, and massive voter suppression. Not to mention the millions of voters who have not been allowed to vote because they do not claim any party affiliation. Multiple major universities have calculated that in order to get our current results without election fraud, the odds would be 1 in 70 billion.
This level of election fraud is usually only done covertly and in 3rd world countries, now it's being done openly and blatantly in the United States. Our democracy is being stolen and we very well maybe on the brink of a dictatorship, we can no longer trust our government and we need help from the outside. So we are respectively requesting the U.N. to step in and assess the integrity of our electoral process. We also request that you review the apparent fraud of our current results and ensure credibility and transparency moving forward. We feel that your help is imperative to avoid an inevitable major conflict in the U.S. due to corruption in our government.
According to the UN Electoral Assistance Division, the premise of their work is Article 21 (3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says: ''The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections.''
Is the will of the people forming the basis of the authority of government in the United States now?
The United Nations has provided several kinds of assistance to countries during elections:
technical assistanceelection monitoringorganisation and supervision of electionsDoes the Unites States need technical assistance, election monitoring and supervision of this election?
The petetion to the UN Electoral Assitance Division can be found here.
Baxter DmitryPassionate about motor sports, military history and the truth, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one.
Latest posts by Baxter Dmitry (see all)
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence '' Gun Law Information Experts
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 22:41
Background checks are designed to identify persons who are ineligible to purchase firearms under federal, state or local law, and prevent those persons from obtaining firearms. As described below, federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks on potential firearm purchasers. Since the federal background check requirement was adopted in 1994, over two million prohibited persons have been denied a firearm transfer or permit through the FBI's background check system. Federal law has several flaws, however, that allow ineligible individuals to obtain firearms.
1. Private Sales: The single largest gap in the federal background check requirement is that unlicensed, private sellers are not required to conduct background checks. As a result, convicted felons and other ineligible people are able to easily buy guns in most states nationwide. This issue is addressed in detail in our summary on Universal Background Checks & the Private Sale Loophole.
2. Default Proceeds: Though 91% of background checks conducted through NICS provide an answer within minutes about whether an individual is legally allowed to buy a gun, about 9% of cases require further investigation and review by FBI and ATF agents. However, due to federal law's ''default proceed'' rule, those agents only have 3 business days to conduct and finish their investigation. Under federal law, if a firearms dealer who has initiated a background check has not been notified within three business days that the sale would violate federal or state laws, the sale may proceed by default. This ''default proceed'' provision allowed 3,722 prohibited purchasers to buy guns in 2012 and over 2,500 in 2014. In each of these instances, ATF received a referral from the FBI requesting further review and possible retrieval of firearms that had been sold to an ineligible person by default. Many default proceed cases require extra time and attention precisely because the firearm purchaser has a long record of dangerous red flags; according to data compiled by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, default proceed sales are 8 times more likely to involve a prohibited purchaser than other background checks. In default proceed cases where the person's status was eventually resolved, the FBI has reported that nearly one quarter of the individuals investigated were determined to be legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. As a result, the FBI has recommended extending the three-day period to allow more agents more time to complete background check investigations and to reduce the number of prohibited purchasers who are able to purchase firearms by default. According to FBI data for 2,519 default-proceed transfers that resulting in a transfer to a prohibited person, an average of 25 business days elapsed between the initial NICS inquiry and the date the FBI determined that the purchase should have been denied. A January 2013 poll found that 76.3% of Americans '' including 67% of gun owners '' support giving law enforcement up to 5 business days, if needed, to complete a background check for gun buyers. Recognizing the irresponsibility of the default proceed rule, some gun dealers, including Walmart, refuse to engage in default proceed transactions, making it a matter of policy to only sell firearms when the individual affirmatively passes a background check.
3. State ''Points of Contact'': States have the option of requiring dealers to conduct background checks through state or local agencies, called ''Points Of Contact,'' or directly through the FBI. States that conduct their own background checks can search records and databases in addition to those that the federal law requires to be searched. State databases typically include information that is unavailable to the FBI, including outstanding felony warrants, mental health records, domestic violence restraining orders and final disposition records (those showing whether an arrest resulted in an acquittal or a conviction). Research has found that the practice of conducting firearm purchaser background checks through state or local agencies, as opposed to through the FBI, is associated with reduced firearm death rates, especially with respect to suicides.
4. Exemptions for Permit Holders: Federal law allows individuals who hold certain firearms-related permits issued by state or local governments (such as concealed weapons permits) to bypass the federally-required background check. This exemption '-- the so-called ''Brady exemption'' '-- allows some prohibited persons to acquire firearms when a state permit holder falls into a prohibited category after issuance of the state permit and the state fails to immediately revoke the permit.
5. Reporting of Records: Federal law cannot require states to make information identifying people ineligible to possess firearms available to the federal or state agencies that perform background checks, and many states fail to voluntarily report the necessary records to the proper databases. As a result, the information that is searched by law enforcement during a background check is often incomplete. This problem applies to every category of person prohibited from possessing firearms, including:
Criminal history records: A survey of the states conducted in December 2010 found that only twelve states reported that 80% or more of their felony charges had a final disposition recorded in their criminal history databases. Without a disposition record, law enforcement cannot immediately determine whether a person who was arrested for a crime was ultimately convicted of that crime and became prohibited from possessing firearms.Mental health records: States have also inconsistently reported records identifying people whose mental health histories prevent them from legally possessing firearms. For more information about this issue, see our summary on Mental Health Reporting.Drug abuse records: Federal law prohibits unlawful users and individuals addicted to illegal drugs from possessing firearms, and federal regulations define these terms to include any person found through a drug test within the preceding year to have used a controlled substance unlawfully. There are now hundreds of drug court programs across the country that require periodic drug testing as part of their programs, yet this positive test data is rarely available for firearm purchaser background checks. According to a November 2011 report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 44 states have submitted fewer than ten records to the controlled substance file of a centralized nationwide database, and 33 states have not submitted any records at all.Domestic violence records: Federal law prohibits firearm possession by individuals subject to a domestic violence protective order or who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. Yet, states have had difficulty identifying and reporting individuals who fall within these categories. For more information about this issue, see our summary on Domestic Violence and Firearms.In light of these significant reporting deficiencies, the FBI has encouraged states to provide more complete records.
6. Verifying Identification: While each gun purchaser must present proof of identity when applying to purchase a firearm, federal law does not provide a mechanism for dealers to ensure that these identification documents are valid. This gap in the federal background check system allows prohibited individuals to purchase firearms without effective background checks using fake or forged identification documents. As a result, researchers have suggested that all dealers should be linked to state motor vehicle databases so that they can verify the validity of driver's licenses offered by potential gun purchasers. A national poll conducted for Mayors Against Illegal Guns in April 2008 found that 83% of Americans would support a law requiring gun sellers to install machines that can verify the validity of a gun buyer's driver's license.
The Brady Act requires federally licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on prospective firearms purchasers to ensure that the firearm transfer would not violate federal, state or local law. Since 1998, the Brady Act has been implemented through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which was used to conduct 174,623,643 background checks between November 30, 1998 and August 31, 2013. Since the federal background check requirement was adopted in 1994, over two million prohibited persons have been denied a firearm transfer or permit through the FBI's background check system.
States have the option of designating a state or local agency as a Point of Contact (POC) and having that agency conduct NICS checks, or having those checks performed by the FBI. Gun dealers initiate a NICS check by contacting the FBI or state POC (typically by telephone or computer) after the prospective purchaser has provided a government-issued photo I.D. and completed a federal Firearms Transaction Record (also known as Form 4473). The FBI or POC must then conduct a name-based search of federal and state databases. FBI searches include four federal databases:
The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which includes records regarding wanted persons (fugitives) and persons subject to protective/restraining orders;The Interstate Identification Index, which contains state criminal history records;The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases, which contain records regarding non-U.S. citizens; andThe NICS Index, which contains records of other persons determined to be prohibited under federal or state law from receiving or possessing firearms. Notably, on April 16, 2012, the functionality of the NICS Index was expanded to include state-prohibiting records, thereby providing the NICS Section and state users with the ability to effectively and efficiently identify people prohibited from possessing guns by state, as well as federal, law through NICS, provided states have reported those records to the NICS Index.As noted above, a state POC search includes the four federal databases, and may include the state's independent criminal history database, mental health and other records.
Once the initial search is complete, the FBI or POC notifies the dealer that the sale: (1) may proceed; (2) may not proceed; or (3) is delayed pending further investigation. If the transaction may proceed, NICS provides the dealer with a unique identification number which the dealer must record on Form 4473. The NICS check is valid for a single transaction for up to 30 calendar days from the date NICS was initially contacted.
If the dealer has not been notified within three business days that the sale would violate federal or state laws, the sale may proceed by default. As noted above, many ineligible people obtain access to firearms because the FBI is not able to complete the background check within this time frame.
Brady Exemption: A person holding a state-issued permit allowing the person to acquire or possess firearms (e.g., a concealed weapons permit) is not required to undergo a background check if the permit was issued: (1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and (2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful. Permits issued after November 30, 1998 qualify as exempt only if the approval process included a NICS check. If the state-issued permit qualifies for the exemption, the permit-holder is not required by federal law to undergo a background check before purchasing a gun. As noted above, this exemption allows a prohibited person to acquire a firearm when the person falls into a prohibited category after issuance of the state permit and the state has not immediately revoked the permit.
NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007: In January 2008, President Bush signed into law the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, which, among other things, provided financial rewards and penalties to encourage states to provide to NICS information relevant to whether a person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. The Act also authorized the Attorney General to make grants to the states for use in establishing and upgrading the states' ability to report information to NICS and to perform background checks pursuant to the Brady Act.
According to the Government Accountability Office, 15 states received NICS Act grants during at least one fiscal year from 2009-2011.
The strongest state laws regarding background checks are those that apply to both licensed and unlicensed dealers. For information about such background check laws, see our summary on Universal Background Checks & the Private Sale Loophole. The summary that follows below describes how states have implemented the federal requirement that only applies when a licensed dealer sells or transfers a firearm.
As listed below, about half the states have a law governing the scope and procedure for a background check when a firearm is purchased from a licensed dealer, with 17 states applying these laws to sales of all types of firearms. An additional nine states address the background check for purchase of handgun, but not a long gun (rifle or shotgun), from a licensed dealer. Minnesota addresses the background check for purchase of a handgun or assault weapon from a licensed dealer. All but five of these laws (Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, and New Hampshire) impose requirements beyond the requirements of federal law, as described below.
AlabamaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIllinoisIndiana (handguns only)Iowa (handguns only)Maryland (handguns only) MassachusettsMichigan (handguns only)Minnesota (handguns and certain assault weapons only)Nebraska (handguns only)New Hampshire (handguns only)North Carolina (handguns only)OregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandTennesseeUtahVirginiaWashington (handguns only)Wisconsin (handguns only)
Description of State Laws Governing Background Checks
1. State Points of Contact: Background checks conducted by state or local authorities are more thorough than those performed by the FBI because states can access their independent own databases in addition to databases maintained by NICS. As noted above, states where state or local authorities conduct the background check are known as ''point of contact'' or ''POC'' states. Thirteen states use a state or local POC for all firearm transfers. Eight states use a state or local POC for handgun background checks only, using the FBI for background checks on long gun transfers. The remaining 29 states and the District of Columbia process all background checks through the FBI.
POC States for All FirearmsCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutFloridaHawaii (via a Brady exemption)*IllinoisNevadaNew Jersey' OregonPennsylvaniaTennesseeUtahVirginia
* Hawaii acts as a POC state for all firearm purchases because state law requires a gun dealer to ensure that the purchaser has the permit that state law requires for the purchase of any firearm, and which qualifies the purchaser for an exemption from the background check at the point of sale under federal law (a ''Brady exemption''). County police chiefs in Hawaii must conduct a background check, including a search of NICS, prior to issuing a permit. In the other states that act as POCs for all firearm purchases, the dealer must contact a state or local agency to conduct the background check when the sale occurs.
' Although no state statute explicitly requires New Jersey to act as a POC, New Jersey authorities have chosen to do so. In addition, New Jersey requires the purchaser of a firearm to obtain a permit prior to the purchase; a background check is conducted prior to issuance of a permit. However, unlike Hawaii's permit, New Jersey's permit does not exempt the holder from the federally required background check at the point of sale. As a result, a dealer in New Jersey must contact the Division of State Police, which conducts the federally-required NICS check when the sale is conducted, and must also ensure that the purchaser has the permit that is required under state law.
POC States for Handguns: The following five states act as POC states for handguns only, because dealers must contact a state or local agency at the time of sale of a handgun. The state or local agency conducts the background check, including a search of NICS. In these states, dealers who are transferring long guns must contact the FBI directly for a NICS check. In Nebraska, a background check is not required at the point of sale of a firearm if the purchaser has already obtained a transferee permit, after a background check. The transferee permit qualifies the holder for an exemption from the federal background check requirement.
POC States for Handguns via a Brady Exemption: The following three states act as POC states for all handgun sales because state law requires every handgun purchaser to obtain a permit from a state or local agency prior to purchasing a handgun. Under federal law, the permit qualifies the holder for an exemption from the federal background check at the point of sale, in part because the state or local agency conducts a background check, including a search of NICS, before issuing the permit. Permit holders in these three partial POC states, like all holders of a permit that exempts the person from the federal background check requirement, may buy both handguns and long guns without a background check at the point of sale.
2. States that Issue Permits that Qualify the Holder for an Exemption from a NICS Check: Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), twenty-two states issue permits or licenses that exempt the holder from the federal background check requirement at the point of sale.
States that Issue Permits or Licenses that Qualify the Holder for an Exemption from a NICS Check
Alaska (concealed weapons permits)Arizona (concealed weapons permits)Arkansas (concealed weapons permits)California (''entertainment firearms permits'' only)Georgia (concealed weapons permits)Hawaii (permits to acquire and licenses to carry)Idaho (concealed weapons permits)Iowa (permits to acquire a handgun and concealed weapons permits)Kansas (concealed weapons permits issued on or after 7/1/10)Kentucky (concealed weapons permits)Michigan (licenses to purchase a pistol and concealed pistol licenses)Mississippi (concealed weapons permits, but not security guard permits)Montana (concealed weapons permits)Nebraska (handgun purchase certificates and concealed handgun permits)Nevada (concealed weapons permits issued on or after 7/1/11)North Carolina (permits to purchase a handgun and concealed handgun permits)North Dakota (concealed weapons permits)South Carolina (concealed weapons permits)Texas (concealed weapons permits)Utah (concealed weapons permits)Washington (concealed weapons permits issued on or after 7/22/11)Wyoming (concealed weapons permits)
3. Laws Requiring or Authorizing the State to Act as a Point of Contact: Connecticut and Illinois have laws requiring the states to act as POCs. California, Colorado, New Hampshire have laws explicitly authorizing the state to act as a POC, although the New Hampshire state agency has chosen to act as a POC for handgun sales only. California law requires the state to act as a POC if funding is available, which it is. Indiana's law requires the state to act as a POC if federal funds are available to assist the state in participating in NICS. However, Indiana is not currently acting as a POC.
4. Laws Detailing the Procedure for a Background Check in POC States: Seventeen of the 21 POC states have laws explaining the procedure for the background check. These laws typically require the purchaser to fill out a firearm transfer application form (or an application for a Brady-exempt permit to purchase), present photo identification, and pay a fee. The dealer must then transmit the application to a state agency that conducts the background check. If the transfer is approved, the agency transmits an approval number to the dealer, who is prohibited from transferring the firearm until an approval number is received or the statutory time period has expired. Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and New Jersey are the only POC states without laws that describe the procedure in this manner.
In California, dealers must obtain the purchaser's name, date of birth, and driver's license or identification number electronically from the magnetic strip on the license or ID card. When a purchaser or transferee seeks to obtain a handgun, he or she must present additional documentation indicating California residency. Virginia also requires all firearm purchasers to present additional documentation establishing residency.
5. Background Check Laws in Non-POC states:
A. States That Incorporate the Federal Requirement: Four states (Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, and Indiana) that do not act as POCs nevertheless facilitate enforcement of the federal background check requirement through a state law that reiterates that requirement. Indiana law also spells out that the dealer and purchaser must use Form 4473, the purchaser must present documentation of Indiana residency, and the dealer must contact NICS directly. Indiana's law appears to apply only to handguns, although federal law requires that a similar procedure be used for long guns as well.
B. Independent State Background Check Requirements at the Point of Sale: Minnesota and Rhode Island do not function as POCs, but have their own independent background check requirements. In these states, the dealer must contact the FBI directly for the federally required background check, and must also contact a state or local agency for the background check required by the state. In Rhode Island, a firearm purchaser must fill out a state form, which the seller must forward to the local police authority. The local police authority must then conduct a background check on the purchaser. If the seller receives no disqualifying information from the local police authority within the state's seven-day waiting period, state law allows him or her to transfer the firearm.
In Minnesota, if a person wishes to acquire a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer but does not have a state-issued ''transferee permit'' or a permit to carry a handgun, Minnesota law requires the dealer to file a report with the local police chief or sheriff, who then performs a background check. Since Minnesota is not a POC state and no Minnesota-issued permit qualifies the holder for a Brady exemption, the federal law requiring the dealer to contact the FBI directly for a NICS check also applies.
C. State Background Checks Prior to Issuance of a Permit to Purchase: Massachusetts is not a POC state, and an administrative regulation confirms that dealers must contact NICS directly prior to sale of a firearm. However, Massachusetts requires a license for the purchase of any firearm, and requires dealers to verify the validity of a potential transferee's license prior to transferring a firearm through electronic contact with a state database. Similarly, the District of Columbia does not function as a POC, but firearm purchasers must first obtain a registration certificate, after an extensive background check. See our summary on Licensing Gun Owners & Purchasers for more information about licensing requirements.
6. State Laws Addressing the Problem of ''Default Proceeds'': As noted above, if an FFL has not been notified within three business days after initiating a background check that a sale would violate federal or state laws, the sale may proceed by default. These sales by default, known as ''default proceeds,'' allow many prohibited purchasers to buy guns. Several states have taken measures to extend the time allowed for completion of a background check, so that firearms cannot be transferred by default when a background check cannot be completed within three days.
A. Time for Background Check under State Background Check Laws: The background check laws in several POC states extend the time allowed for a background check. In California, all firearm transfers are subject to a 10-day waiting period. If the California Department of Justice (''DOJ'') cannot determine within the 10-day period whether the prospective purchaser is prohibited from possessing a firearm, DOJ may notify the dealer and prospective purchaser of this fact and obtain up to a total of 30 days to complete the background check.
Maryland gives the Secretary of State Police seven days in which to approve or disapprove the transfer of a handgun. Maryland also prohibits the transfer of a handgun if the application is placed on hold because of an open disposition of criminal proceedings.
Washington allows five days to complete a background check on prospective handgun purchasers. However, if records indicate that a prospective purchaser has an arrest for a potentially disqualifying offense, a hold may be placed on the transaction for up to 30 days, pending receipt of the disposition, or longer upon a judicial order for good cause.
In Tennessee, the Bureau of Investigation must deny a transfer if the background check reveals that the purchaser has been charged with a crime for which the purchaser, if convicted, would be prohibited from possessing a firearm, and either there has been no final disposition of the case, or the final disposition is not noted. However, the transfer may go forward if the Bureau receives written notice from the court indicating that no final disposition information is available.
Pennsylvania law allows the State Police to temporarily delay a firearm transfer to determine whether a misdemeanor conviction involved domestic violence that would disqualify the purchaser under federal law.
B. Time for a Background Check under Licensing Laws: State laws that require a person to obtain a license or certificate before purchasing a firearm can provide law enforcement with longer periods of time to conduct a background check on the applicant. In the District of Columbia, a dealer cannot deliver a firearm unless the buyer has obtained a registration certificate from the Chief of Police. The Chief has 60 days from the date the application is received to determine ''through inquiry, investigation, or otherwise,'' whether the applicant is entitled and qualified to receive a certificate. See our summary on Licensing Gun Owners & Purchasers for more information about licensing procedures.
7. The Scope of the Search: Certain states, such as Connecticut and Florida, require the agency conducting the background check to search any state or local records that are available. Other states are more specific about which records must be searched during a background check. Most state background check laws require a search of NICS and state criminal history records, as well as other records as described below.
A. Mental Health Records: Although persons who have been adjudicated as mental defectives or involuntarily committed to mental institutions are prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms, not all mental health records have been reported to NICS. Detailed discussion of state laws governing mental health reporting is contained in our summary on Mental Health Reporting. As a result of the inadequacy of the states' reporting of mental health records to NICS, seven states explicitly require a search of in-state mental health files as part of the background check process (California, Connecticut Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington). Three states (Hawaii, Minnesota, and New Jersey) require the purchaser to authorize a search of mental health files as part of the background check process. In Minnesota, the authorization also applies to certain alcohol and drug abuse records.
In Washington, a signed application to purchase a handgun constitutes ''a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the department of social and health services, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release, to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency, information relevant to the applicant's eligibility to purchase a pistol.'' This disclosure is mandatory.
B. Juvenile court records: As described in our summary on Categories of Prohibited People, a number of states prohibit firearm purchase or possession by individuals with certain juvenile convictions. In order to enforce these laws, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin explicitly require a search of juvenile court records as part of a firearm purchaser background check. Colorado authorizes, but does not require, the disclosure of juvenile delinquency records for this purpose. Other states may include juvenile records in their definition of ''criminal history records'' or a similar term.
C. Protective order and warrant information: Federal law and the laws in certain states prohibit firearm purchase or possession by individuals subject to domestic violence protective orders or for whom warrants have been issued. Wisconsin's law regarding the background check at the point of sale of a firearm and Massachusetts' law regarding the background check it conducts before issuing a firearms license both explicitly require a search for protective order records. The laws in Minnesota and Massachusetts also mention a search for outstanding warrants. Other states may conduct similar searches, although the laws are not explicit.
The features listed below are intended to provide a framework from which policy options may be considered. A jurisdiction considering new legislation should consult with counsel.
Universal background checks are required on all firearm purchasers (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, District of Columbia; Maryland and Pennsylvania require universal background checks only for purchases of handguns)State acts as a Point of Contact for all firearm transfers(13 states); if the state does not act as a Point of Contact for all firearm transfers, the state requires an independent background check, utilizing state's independent records (Minnesota (handguns and assault weapons), Rhode Island)If the state requires a permit or certificate for the purchase of a firearm, the permit or certificate does not exempt the holder from a background check at the point of sale (California (handguns), Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York (handguns))Transfer of any firearm is prohibited until the background check process has been completed (California)Background check process includes search of all relevant in-state criminal records, mental health records (seven states), juvenile delinquency records (Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin), warrants (Massachusetts, Minnesota) and protective order information (Massachusetts, Wisconsin)An applicant seeking to purchase a firearm must authorize disclosure of relevant mental files (Hawaii, New Jersey), including files related to drug and alcohol abuse (Minnesota)Mental health information and information about drug and alcohol abuse is reported to federal and state databases of prohibited purchasers ((Additional information on access to mental health records for firearm purchaser background checks is contained in our summary on Mental Health Reporting.))Criminal history information, including relevant juvenile delinquencies, warrants, and orders of protection, are reported to federal and state databases of prohibited purchasersFee for background check is set at least at a level sufficient to cover administrative costs associated with background check system
Austin loses out on $50 million Smart City bid | KXAN.com
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:21
Related CoverageAUSTIN (KXAN) '-- The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $40 million in Smart City grants to Columbus, Ohio. The city of Austin lobbied hard for the grant money, which would have funded innovative technology like self-driving cars and smart sensors into the city's transportation network.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday that federal officials will be in Ohio on Thursday to make the announcement.
The challenge was issued initially in December 2015 with Vulcan Inc. pledging an additional $10 million to the winning city.
Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was in Austin last month as the city made a final pitch for the grant money. Foxx cited Austin's significant population growth, the amount of semis driving along Interstate 35 and the need for alternate transportation as the main problems facing the city. Mayor Steve Adler has made several trips to Washington, D.C. to further the city's bid.
There was concern the May 9 departure of Uber and Lyft from Austin would hurt the city's chances, but Secretary Foxx told city leaders on May 17, ''I wouldn't be here if Austin weren't a strong contender in the challenge.''
In March, Austin was named as a finalist for the funding, along with six other U.S. cities.
A statement from the city of Austin is expected shortly.
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Clinton Foundation said to be breached by Russian hackers - Breaking911
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:20
The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation was among the organizations breached by suspected Russian hackers in a dragnet of the U.S. political apparatus ahead of the November election, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The attacks on the foundation's network, as well as those of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, compound concerns about her digital security even as the FBI continues to investigate her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.
A spokesman for the foundation, Brian Cookstra, said he wasn't aware of any breach. The compromise of the foundation's computers was first identified by government investigators as recently as last week, the people familiar with the matter said. Agents monitor servers used by hackers to communicate with their targets, giving them a back channel view of attacks, often even before the victims detect them.
Before the Democratic National Committee disclosed a major computer breach last week, U.S. officials informed both political parties and the presidential campaigns of Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders that sophisticated hackers were attempting to penetrate their computers, according to a person familiar with the government investigation into the attacks.
The hackers in fact sought data from at least 4,000 individuals associated with U.S. politics '-- party aides, advisers, lawyers and foundations '-- for about seven months through mid-May, according to another person familiar with the investigations.
The thefts set the stage for what could be a Washington remake of the public shaming that shook Sony in 2014, when thousands of inflammatory internal emails filled with gossip about world leaders and Hollywood stars were made public. Donor information and opposition research on Trump purportedly stolen from the Democratic Party has surfaced online, and the culprit has threatened to publish thousands more documents.
A hacker or group of hackers calling themselves Guccifer 2.0 posted another trove of documents purportedly from the DNC on Tuesday, including what they said was a list of donors who had made large contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
The Republican Party and the Trump campaign have been mostly silent on the computer attacks. In an earlier statement, Trump said the hack was a political ploy concocted by the Democrats.
Information about the scope of the attacks and the government warnings raises new questions about how long the campaigns have known about the threats and whether they have done enough to protect their systems.
The Clinton campaign was aware as early as April that it had been targeted by hackers with links to the Russian government on at least four recent occasions, according to a person familiar with the campaign's computer security.
The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency are all involved in the investigation of the theft of data from the political parties and individuals over the last several months, one of the people familiar with the investigation said. The agencies have made no public statements about their inquiry.
The FBI has been careful to keep that investigation separate from the review of Clinton's use of private email, using separate investigators, according to the person briefed on the matter. The agencies didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin said that he couldn't comment on government briefings about cyber security and that the campaign had no evidence that its systems were compromised.
''We routinely communicate and cooperate with government agencies on security-related matters,'' he said. ''What appears evident is that the Russian groups responsible for the DNC hack are intent on attempting to influence the outcome of this election.''
The DNC wouldn't directly address the attacks but said in a written statement that it believes the leaks are ''part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians.''
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks didn't respond to emails seeking comment about the government warnings. The Republican National Committee didn't respond to email messages. A Sanders spokesman, Michael Briggs, said he wasn't aware of the warnings.
The government's investigation is following a similar path as the DNC's, including trying to precisely identify the hackers and their possible motives, according to people familiar with the investigations. The hackers' link to the Russian government was first identified by CrowdStrike Inc., working for the Democratic Party.
A law firm reviewing the DNC's initial findings, Baker & McKenzie, has begun working with three additional security firms '-- FireEye Inc., Palo Alto Networks Inc. and Fidelis Cybersecurity '-- to confirm the link, according to two people familiar with the matter, underscoring Democrats' concerns that the stolen information could be used to try to influence the outcome of the November election.
A spokesman for Baker & McKenzie didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. DNC spokesman Luis Miranda said the party worked only with CrowdStrike.
If the Democrats can show the hidden hand of Russian intelligence agencies, they believe that voter outrage will probably outweigh any embarrassing revelations, a person familiar with the party's thinking said.
So far the released documents have revealed little that is new or explosive, but that could change. Guccifer 2.0 has threatened to eventually release thousands of internal memos and other documents.
Sensitive documents from the Clinton Foundation could have the most damaging potential. The Trump camp has said it plans to make the foundation's activities a subject of attacks against Clinton; the sort of confidential data contained in emails, databases and other digital archives could aid that effort.
An analysis by Fidelis confirmed that groups linked to Russian intelligence agencies were behind the DNC hack, according to a published report.
The government fills a crucial gap in flagging attacks that organizations can't detect themselves, said Tony Lawrence, a former U.S. Army cyber specialist and now chief executive officer of VOR Technology, a computer security company in Hanover, Maryland.
''These state actors spend billions of dollars on exploits to gather information on candidates, and nine times out of ten [victims] won't be able to identify or attribute them,'' he said.
Bloomberg News reported Friday that the hackers who hit the DNC and Clinton's campaign burrowed much further into the U.S. political system than initially thought, sweeping in law firms, lobbyists, consultants, foundations and policy groups in a campaign that targeted thousands of Google email accounts and lasted from October through mid-May.
Data from the attacks have led some security researchers to conclude that the hackers were linked to Russian intelligence services and were broadly successful in stealing reports, policy papers, correspondence and other information. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, denied that the Russian government was involved.
Russia uses sophisticated ''information operations'' to advance foreign policy, and the target audience for this kind of mission wouldn't be U.S. voters or even U.S. politicians, said Brendan Conlon, who once led a National Security Agency hacking unit.
''Why would Russia go to this trouble? Simple answer '-- because it met their foreign policy objectives, to weaken the U.S. in the eyes of our allies and adversaries,'' said Conlon, now CEO of Vahna Inc., a cyber security firm in Washington. Publishing the DNC report on Trump ''weakens both candidates '-- lists out all the weaknesses of Trump specifically while highlighting weaknesses of Clinton's security issues. The end result is a weaker president once elected.''
Russia has an expansive cyber force that it has deployed in complex disinformation campaigns throughout Europe, according to intelligence officials.
BfV, the German intelligence agency, has concluded that Russia was responsible for a 2015 hack against the Bundestag that forced shutdown of its computer systems for several days. Germany is under ''permanent threat'' from Russian hackers, said BfV chief Hans-Georeg Maassen.
Security software maker Trend Micro said in May that Russian hackers had been trying for several weeks to steal data from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, and that they also tried to hack the Dutch Safety Board computer systems to obtain an advance copy of a report on the downing of a Malaysian aircraft over Ukraine in July 2014. The report said the plane was brought down by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile.
The cyber attacks are part of a broader pattern of state-sponsored hacking by Russia focused on political targets, with a goal of giving Russia the upper hand in dealing with other governments, said Pasi Eronen, a Helsinki-based cyber warfare researcher who has advised Finland's Defense Ministry.
(c) 2016, Bloomberg · Michael Riley,Jordan Robertson
Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid | The Verge
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:19
Another day, another rumor that Apple is going to ditch the headphone jack on the next iPhone in favor of sending out audio over Lightning. Or another phone beats Apple to the punch by ditching the headphone jack in favor of passing out audio over USB-C. What exciting times for phones! We're so out of ideas that actively making them shittier and more user-hostile is the only innovation left.
ditching the headphone jack on phones makes them worseLook, I know you're going to tell me that the traditional TRS headphone jack is a billion years old and prone to failure and that life is about progress and whatever else you need to repeat deliriously into your bed of old HTC extUSB dongles and insane magnetic Palm adapters to sleep at night. But just face facts: ditching the headphone jack on phones makes them worse, in extremely obvious ways. Let's count them!
(Also, here is a list of reasons you might actually prefer Lightning headphones, by my friend Vlad Savov, but let's be clear that my list is the superior one.)
1. Digital audio means DRM audioOh look, I won this argument in one shot. For years the entertainment industry has decried what they call the "analog loophole" of headphone jacks, and now we're making their dreams come true by closing it.
Winter is comingRestricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms. We moved our video systems to HDMI and got HDCP, remember? Copyright enforcement technology never stops piracy and always hurts the people who most rely on legal fair use, but you can bet the music industry is going to start cracking down on "unauthorized" playback and recording devices anyway. We deal with DRM when it comes to video because we generally don't rewatch and take TV shows and movies with us, but you will rue the day Apple decided to make the iPhone another 1mm thinner the instant you get a "playback device not supported" message. Winter is coming.
2. Wireless headphones and speakers are fine, not greatI am surrounded by wireless speaker systems. (I work at The Verge, after all.) And while they mostly work fine, sometimes they crackle out and fail. It sucks to share a wireless speaker among multiple devices. Bluetooth headphones require me to charge yet another battery. You haven't known pain until you've chosen to use Bluetooth audio in a car instead of an aux jack.
Bluetooth: next year it'll work great.
3. Dongles are stupid, especially when they require other donglesShut up, you say. All of your complaints will be handled by this charming $29 dongle that converts digital audio to a standard headphone jack!
Have some dignityTo which I will respond: here is a photo of Dieter Bohn and his beloved single-port MacBook, living his fullest #donglelife during our WWDC liveblog:
Everything is going to be great when you want to use your expensive headphones and charge your phone at the same time. You are going to love everything about that situation. You are going to hold your 1mm thinner phone and sincerely believe that the small reduction in thickness is definitely worth carrying multiple additional dongles.
Also, they're called fucking dongles. Let's not do this to ourselves. Have some dignity.
4. Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibilityThe traditional headphone jack is a standard for a reason '-- it works. It works so well that an entire ecosystem of other kinds of devices has built up around it, and millions of people have access to compatible devices at every conceivable price point. The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone. And you don't need to get rid of the headphone jack to make a phone waterproof; plenty of waterproof phones have shipped with headphone jacks already.
5. Making Android and iPhone headphones incompatible is so incredibly arrogant and stupid there's not even explanatory text under this one6. No one is asking for thisRaise your hand if the thing you wanted most from your next phone was either fewer ports or more dongles.
I didn't think so. You wanted better battery life, didn't you? Everyone just wants better battery life.
Vote with your dollars.
High-end headphones for iPhone's lightning port
At the End of the Day | The Slog.
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:01
Are you a racist scumbigot Little Englander Islamophobic murderous bastard with the blood of Jo Cox on your hands?
If so, I have disappointing news for you: this is not a particularly exclusive Club. In fact, all you have to do is express an opinion in favour of immigration control, leaving the EU, condemning the illegally fascist federal bullying of the EC Troika '' or be suspicious of TTIP, or point out the infantile fear-mongering of Camerlot'....and you're in.
Two wrongs never make a right, but I offer you this harmless fantasy about how I'd like to retaliate and ridicule all those Camerlot and Labour bile-spitters.
Are you a globalist shit4brains fluffydupe International Socialist collaborating in the mass deception of ignorant sofa-melded slobs about the murder of Jo Cox and the misogynist nature of Islam?
It's like well fun an' that, this name-callin' shit innit? Next fing yer know, we'll be able to reinstate stonings. Greeeaaat. Then Murdoch can like, roit, monetize public capital punishment.
That Digger, eh '' he's 'avin' a laugh innee? Sky gets exclusive rights to all British-based Sharia stonings. Buy a Sky footie package, win a front-row stone-frowin' ticket. Issa f**kin' no brainer.
To all those people with whom I have Skype contact, I'd like to apologise tonight for Microsoft's bullying, Nazi apps recruitment methods. They want me to sign up for a Microsoft account, and I won't.
Now they seem to have recruited Skype'....well they would, wouldn't they? They own the f**king thing. That's why it's been so ineluctably crap ever since they bought it.
The page says ''We'd like to sign you up for the Skype Microsoft App'' and then gives me two options: 'continue' or 'cancel'.
Press cancel, and the screen goes briefly black before giving me the same 'choice'.
To the I'm-alright-Jack dickheads who keep on telling me to get a Mac, I say this: I can't afford a Mac, or indeed any of its horrendously overpriced peripherals. Buying your way out of the problem will not stop Microsoft preying on 95% of the world's population. The only way to stop Microsoft is to keep finding new ways to say no'....and ban their lobbyists from spraying Washington with money.
So I've wiped Skype from my HP notebook, and there may now be a gap until I can use my time-warped pc with unchanged Skype on it. It runs on Windows 7 and cannot force me to take apps.
It's been an uplifting few days here '' the temperature has risen, the rain has stopped, I've been up to Bordeaux to watch some footie, the cherries are ripe at last, and garden growth is exploding in all directions.
But beyond these climes, it's been deeply dispiriting. I despair of Blighty and its fractured culture of mutual hate alongside a revival of vituperative Class War.
Meanwhile, my Irish guest and I are about to consume some pasta with robust Cabernet Sauvignon wine, at the end of a wonderful evening of sensational light playing a symphony upon lush crops, primary colours and fading sky. We have been making the most of it, because we are both old and ugly enough to know that Homo sapiens is going to have another of its periodic brainstorms.
Scott Baio Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Thinks He's A Moron For Saying Obama Is A Secret Muslim | If You Only News
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 20:06
One-time relevant actor Scott Baio might just be Trump's number one fan, and his penchant for litigation goes a long way towards explaining why. The pair certainly share an interest in threatening frivolous lawsuits towards anyone who gets under their razor thin skin.
This week Baio went from obscure trivia answer to national laughing stock when he appeared on Fox Business to float the idea that President Obama is a secret Muslim whose ''end game'' is to ''totally eliminate the United States as it was created.'' Baio's evidence for these rather serious allegations: A few right-wing memes and the words of Donald Trump, who spent this week accusing Obama of cooperating with ISIS.
When one accuses the President of the United States of treason, he or she might expect a bit of push back. But when it came, Baio became unglued and has been threatening to sue those on Twitter who are currently having a blast mocking him.
Apple's Cook to host Paul Ryan fundraiser amid Trump woes - POLITICO
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 19:48
Apple CEO Tim Cook has courted Washington, unlike late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. | Getty
Apple is trying to court leaders of both parties, even at a time it is steering clear of Donald Trump.
By Tony Romm
06/20/16 03:21 PM EDT
Updated 06/20/16 09:59 PM EDT
Apple CEO Tim Cook will host a fundraiser with House Speaker Paul Ryan next week as the iPhone maker tries to strengthen its relationships with key Republicans '-- despite its decision to pull support for the GOP convention because of its distaste for Donald Trump.
Cook will help generate cash for Ryan at a private breakfast on June 28 in Menlo Park, Calif., along with Gary Wipfler, the company's treasurer, according to an invite obtained by POLITICO on Monday. The money benefits not only the speaker but a joint fundraising committee aimed at helping to elect other House Republicans.
Story Continued Below
Cook is hosting the fundraiser on his own accord, as Apple does not have a corporate political action committee like Facebook, Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley. Still, the move reflects Apple's desire to court Republican and Democratic officeholders alike, even at a time when it has serious reservations about Trump, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee.
Trump's incendiary remarks about women, immigrants and minorities led Apple to decide against donating cash and technology to the GOP's convention in Cleveland next month, according to two sources, who revealed the company's thinking to POLITICO on Saturday. Apple had provided such aid to Democratic and Republican nominating events in previous years.
A company spokesman declined to comment for this story.
The Trump campaign has not commented on Apple's convention decision, which marks a break with other tech giants, like Facebook and Google, which have said they will provide support to the Republican nominating event this year. Trump has taken repeated shots at Apple and Cook, even calling for a boycott of the company's products over its stance on encryption.
Trump aside, Cook long has sought to improve his company's relationships with Democrats and Republicans '-- a far different approach than that of Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, who disdained Washington.
Cook donated to Barack Obama during his first White House run. In 2015, he donated cash to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a vocal Apple ally during the company's fight with the government over the way it priced its e-books. That same year, the Apple CEO wrote a personal check to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who shares the iPhone maker's views on surveillance reform. And in 2016, Cook backed Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a leading tech policy advocate who represents a slice of the Bay Area.
On the Republican side, Cook has been just as active. When the Apple CEO visited Washington in May 2015, he huddled with leading Republicans, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), to talk patent reform and other issues. In August, Cook hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a major ally in the company's calls for tax reform, in Atherton, Calif., according to an invite obtained by POLITICO.
The House GOP's new 2016 policy agenda under Ryan makes a nod to consumer privacy and the need for encryption, one of Cook's priority issues.
"Tools like encryption are the bedrock of Internet security '-- without them, the web would be a far more dangerous place. We must work together in finding a path forward to keep our people '-- and our data '-- secure," the policy agenda says.
Asked about the Cook-hosted fundraiser, and the rest of Ryan's schedule when he's in California next week, a spokesman for the speaker's campaign effort did not provide further details.
"The 2016 election is a critical moment for the country with a lot at stake. It shouldn't be a surprise Paul Ryan is raising funds to defend and strengthen the House Republican majority," the aide said. "The speaker looks forward to visiting California to share the pro-growth policy agenda he and his colleagues are laying out in the House."
Federal Election Commission Home Page
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 19:39
Using the tools below, users may access campaign finance data, report filings, and summary information for 2016 presidential candidates.
The interactive Presidential Map displays summary financial information about presidential candidates. Users can highlight on the map the amount of money raised on a state-by-state basis. Users also have the option of viewing contributions to specific candidates, all candidates or all candidates from a political party. Users may select to view contributions in specific states. The map lists contributors by name, city, amounts of donations and dates within the first three digits of their zip code. These lists can be sorted and downloaded to a spreadsheet format.
These are excel and PDF files of summary figures from each report filed during the election year by the presidential candidates included on the presidential map.
This is a presentation of data from the campaign finance reports submitted by the presidential candidates listed on the presidential map. Reports may be amended multiple times but here you will see only the most recent version of each report. Along with the summary numbers from each report the contributions and disbursements are summed in several useful categories such as contributions by date or state or disbursements by date or payee. Reports are processed automatically on receipt and depending on size can appear here within a few minutes of receipt or a few hours for the largest reports.
This is a list of individuals who have filed a Statement of Candidacy (FEC Form 2) for President between 2008 and the present. Each individual who is a candidate for federal office must file an FEC Form 2 within 15 days of becoming a candidate. The candidate may file this form on paper or electronically. Paper filers may choose to send a letter that contains the information required on the FEC Form 2, in lieu of the form itself.
You will find here the threshold files for presidential candidates seeking matching funds. In addition to regular quarterly or monthly disclosure reports, presidential candidates who seek matching funds must submit information about "matchable" contributions to the FEC for review. Contributions from individuals where the aggregate amount contributed by the individual is $250 or less are eligible to be matched on a dollar for dollar basis from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. This Fund includes proceeds from the voluntary check-off of $3 per person from income tax returns of eligible taxpayers.
The Ethics in Government Act requires presidential candidates to file a Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e) with the FEC. Copies of these reports are available from the FEC's Public Records Office and, after certification, on the Office of Government Ethics Website.
Yep, Trump's Stone Broke
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 19:35
I confess even I'm surprised at what the overnight FEC filings revealed about the Trump campaign. Posting the 'Trump is Broke' column yesterday made me feel at least a touch exposed since I figured he'd add (either from his own money or fundraising) at least some additional funds to the paltry $2.4 million cash on hand in his previous filing. Appears not. Now on top of that it's revealed that he's been using his presidential campaign to funnel millions of dollars back into his own businesses. The new filing shows the campaign had only $1.3 million in cash on hand at the beginning of this month, in comparison to $42 million on hand for the Hillary campaign.
It's important to see those numbers in the proper perspective.
Yes, Clinton has massively more money than Trump. But that's about the amount of money she should have. This isn't to take away from the accomplishment. It's a lot of money and it came while she was still having to spend money on the on-going primaries. But it's in the range of what you would expect from a well-oiled team of professionals drawing on a robust fundraising apparatus. Trump's amount of cash wouldn't be terribly impressive for a competitive House race. His campaign is essentially broke. Which, as I noted yesterday, means Trump must be broke, too, or so cash poor as to amount to the same thing for the purposes of this campaign.
Even more revealing is the fact that Trump has been using a huge amount of campaign expenditures to cycle money back through his own businesses. According to an analysis by the AP, through the end of May Trump had plowed $6.2 million into various Trump companies, which is to say, back into his own pocket. That's roughly 10% of his campaign spending so far, which is almost entirely from the loan (which he can still repay to himself out of future fundraising) he made to his campaign. He kept up the pace in May, spending $6.7 million on his campaign and more than a million of that to various Trump enterprises.
What's notable about that roughly 10% of money back into his own pocket is that Trump only has businesses in so many sectors. He doesn't appear to have a company to make red trucker hats and he doesn't own radio and TV stations to run ads. So that 10% is basically as much as he could possibly run to own companies.
Perhaps the most revealing detail about the May filing is that Trump actually did loan his campaign additional funds - a bit over $2 million. But this shows more just how hard up Trump is. His campaign is in desperate need of funds. Like I said, $1.3 million cash on hand is stone broke for a summer presidential campaign. He clearly has no principled resistance to loaning his campaign more money. And he's in desperate need of a few tens of millions of dollars. Put this together with having to be shamed into coughing up the $1 million contribution to a vets organization and the implication is clear: Trump is very hard pressed to come up with even a few million dollars. And this from a man purportedly worth $10 billion.
Trump's promises of vast riches got the GOP into a bind relying on him to fund a general election on his own. But that was all a lie. He's broke or near broke. And the GOP is now facing mid-summer with a campaign that is broke, has no fundraising apparatus, no candidate with big bucks and no field operation. He's done the GOP worse than the most screwed over creditor he ever sharked.
Trump Campaign Cycles $6 Million Into Trump Companies
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 19:34
NEW ORLEANS (AP) '-- Donald Trump's campaign likes to keep it in the family.
When Trump flies, he uses his airplane. When he campaigns, he often chooses his properties or his own Trump Tower in New York City, which serves as headquarters. His campaign even buys Trump bottled water and Trump wine.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has been on the campaign trail for a year now, and federal finance reports detail a campaign unafraid to co-mingle political and business endeavors in an unprecedented way '-- even as he is making appeals for donations.
Through the end of May, Trump's campaign had plunged at least $6.2 million back into Trump corporate products and services, a review of Federal Election Commission filings shows. That's about 10 percent of his total campaign expenditures.
Unlike in the primary when Trump touted his ability to pay his own way, he has been on an urgent fundraising quest for more than a month. His campaign began June with $1.3 million in the bank, compared with the $42 million presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had amassed.
Wealthy political candidates in the past have walled off their business from their campaigns, but Trump embraces his companies. Public documents indicate his revenue has risen along with his presidential aspirations.
While Trump's controversial comments have cost his businesses money '-- for example, the PGA Tour recently announced it would move its World Golf Championship from a Trump course to one in Mexico City '-- Trump reported in documents filed in May with federal regulators that his revenue had increased by roughly $190 million over the previous 17 months.
Trump's campaign didn't respond to detailed questions about the intermingling of his businesses and campaign.
Trump isn't the first high-profile politician to run a campaign while managing large corporate assets. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presidential contender Steve Forbes both ran companies bearing their name.
Both took great care to carefully separate their businesses and their campaigns, their former aides said, citing the complex maze of campaign finance regulations about using corporate resources. For instance, federal rules require a company to charge their campaigns fair-market value.
The Trump campaign'-- funded during the primary contest mostly by loans Trump made'-- appears to be properly documenting its use of the businessman's assets in federal reports, leaving a record of his campaign's finances and their impact on his self-reported financial largesse.
Some of Trump's revenue bump appears to be directly traced to his campaign. TAG Air Inc., the holding company for his airplane, had $3.7 million in revenue in the most recent reporting period '-- an amount that came largely from the campaign.
Trump's relentless product branding while on the campaign trail might be helping, too. Trump Ice LLC, the bottled water company, brought in income of more than $413,000 in the most recent reporting period, up from $280,000.
In the beginning months of his presidential bid, Trump paid about $350,000 out of pocket to rent campaign space in his own building and to cover the salaries of some of the Trump Organization employees he'd moved onto his campaign staff. FEC reports show the campaign reimbursed him for those costs. In May, the campaign paid Trump an additional $45,000 for more rent and payroll.
Trump also lent his campaign more than $46 million over the past year '-- money he has largely not recouped, according to FEC reports.
The campaign has paid about $520,000 to Trump Tower Commercial LLC and the Trump Corporation for rent and utilities. The campaign also paid $423,000 to Trump's private Mar-a-Lago Club in south Florida for rent and catering and an additional $135,000 in rent and utilities to Trump Restaurants LLC.
The campaign paid out $26,000 in January to rent out a facility at Trump National Doral, his golf course in Miami. He'd held an event in the gold-accented ballroom there in late October. The campaign paid almost $11,000 to Trump's hotel in Chicago.
Even $4.7 million the campaign has spent on hats and T-shirts has a tie to Trump. The provider, Ace Specialties, is owned by a board member of son Eric Trump's charitable foundation.
Follow Julie Bykowicz and Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bykowicz and https://twitter.com/ChadSDay
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Instapundit >> Blog Archive >> UNEXPECTEDLY: DWI arrests are up 7.5% in Austin, Texas since the city banned Uber and Lyft. ðh'...
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 18:58
DWI arrests are up 7.5% in Austin, Texas since the city banned Uber and Lyft. ðhttps://t.co/iw6e3m5xU5
'-- Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) June 21, 2016
Apparently, saving lives and preventing needless arrests is less important to the Austin City Council than staying in bed with entrenched business and labor interests.
Posted by Stephen Green at 2:10 pm
I reported Omar Mateen to the FBI. Trump is wrong that Muslims don't do our part. - The Washington Post
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:14
People who knew Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen describe him as a man who had many demons and potentially led a double life. (Erin Patrick O'Connor,Jayne Orenstein,Thomas LeGro/The Washington Post)
Donald Trump believes American Muslims are hiding something. ''They know what's going on. They know that [Omar Mateen] was bad,'' he said after the Orlando massacre. ''They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad. '... But you know what? They didn't turn them in. And you know what? We had death and destruction.''
This is a common idea in the United States. It's also a lie. First, Muslims like me can't see into the hearts of other worshipers. (Do you know the hidden depths of everyone in your community?) Second, Trump is wrong that we don't speak up when we're able.
I know this firsthand: I was the one who told the FBI about Omar Mateen.
I met Omar for the first time in 2006 at an iftar meal at my brother-in-law's house. As the women, including his mother and sisters, chatted in the living room, I sat with the men on the patio and got to know him and his father. Omar broke his Ramadan fast with a protein shake. He was quiet '-- then and always '-- and let his dad do the talking.
[Rep. Jim Himes: Why I walked out of the House's moment of silence for Orlando.]
I'd seen them before at the oldest mosque in the area, the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. We have a lot of immigrants in our community. They grew up in other countries, often with different sensibilities. A few don't understand American culture, and they struggle to connect with their American-born or American-raised kids.
I came here from Pakistan in 1979 when I was 6 years old, grew up in Queens (like Omar) and Fort Lauderdale, went through the American education system, and assimilated well. So I was able to make better inroads with young people in our community, including that introverted teenager I met at the iftar. I tried to stay in touch with the younger generation, acting as a mentor when I could.
In his speech after the Orlando mass shooting, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that Muslims "have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad." (Reuters)
I saw Omar from time to time over the next decade, and we developed a relationship because most of the other Muslim kids in his age group went elsewhere for college, and he stayed behind. We mostly spoke over the phone or texted with one another a half-dozen times per year. We talked about the lack of social programs at the mosque, especially for teens and young adults like him. I often played pranks on him. Once, around 2009, I attached LED lights to the tires of his car, so when he drove the wheels glowed neon. He laughed when he figured it out a few days later.
Soon after Omar married and moved to his own home, he began to come to the mosque more often. Then he went on a religious trip to Saudi Arabia. There was nothing to indicate that he had a dark side, even when he and his first wife divorced.
But as news reports this week have made clear, Omar did have a dark outlook on life. Partly, he was upset at what he saw as racism in the United States '' against Muslims and others. When he worked as a security guard at the St. Lucie County Courthouse, he told me visitors often made nasty or bigoted remarks to him about Islam. He overheard people saying ugly things about African Americans, too. Since Sept. 11, I've thought the only way to answer Islamophobia was to be polite and kind; the best way to counter all the negativity people were seeing on TV about Islam was by showing them the opposite. I urged Omar to volunteer and help people in need '' Muslim or otherwise (charity is a pillar of Islam). He agreed, but was always very worked up about this injustice.
[Trump's new favorite slogan was invented for Nazi sympathizers.]
Then, during the summer of 2014, something traumatic happened for our community. A boy from our local mosque, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, was 22 when he became the first American-born suicide bomber, driving a truck full of explosives into a government office in Syria. He'd traveled there and joined a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the previous year. We had all known Moner; he was jovial and easygoing, the opposite of Omar. According to a posthumous video released that summer, he had clearly self-radicalized '' and had also done so by listening to the lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, the charismatic Yemen-based imam who helped radicalize several Muslims, including the Fort Hood shooter. Everyone in the area was shocked and upset. We hate violence and were horrified that one of our number could have killed so many. (After an earlier training mission to Syria, he'd tried to recruit a few Florida friends to the cause. They told the FBI about him.)
Immediately after Moner's attack, news reports said that American officials didn't know anything about him; I read that they were looking for people to give them some background. So I called the FBI and offered to tell investigators a bit about the young man. It wasn't much '' we hadn't been close '' but I'm an American Muslim, and I wanted to do my part. I didn't want another act like that to happen. I didn't want more innocent people to die. Agents asked me if there were any other local kids who might resort to violence in the name of Islam. No names sprang to mind.
After my talk with the FBI, I spoke to people in the Islamic community, including Omar, about Moner's attack. I wondered how he could have radicalized. Both Omar and I attended the same mosque as Moner, and the imam never taught hate or radicalism. That's when Omar told me he had been watching videos of Awlaki, too, which immediately raised red flags for me. He told me the videos were very powerful.
After speaking with Omar, I contacted the FBI again to let them know that Omar had been watching Awlaki's tapes. He hadn't committed any acts of violence and wasn't planning any, as far as I knew. And I thought he probably wouldn't, because he didn't fit the profile: He already had a second wife and a son. But it was something agents should keep their eyes on. I never heard from them about Omar again, but apparently they did their job: They looked into him and, finding nothing to go on, they closed the file.
[Glenn Greenwald: The FBI was right not to arrest Omar Mateen before the shooting.]
Omar and I continued to have infrequent conversations over the next few years. I last saw him at a dinner at his father's house in January. We talked about the presidential election and debated our views of the candidates that were running '' he liked Hillary Clinton and I liked Bernie Sanders. This banter continued through texts and phone calls for several months. My last conversation with Omar was by phone in mid-May. He called me while he was at the beach with his son to tell me about a vacation he'd taken with his father to Orlando the previous weekend. He'd been impressed by the local mosque.
What happened next is well-known. We're still in shock. We're totally against what he did, and we feel the deepest sadness for the victims and their families. If you don't agree with someone, you don't have the right to kill them. We are taught to be kind to all of God's creation. Islam is very strict about killing: Even in war '' to say nothing of peace '' you cannot harm women, children, the elderly, the sick, clergymen, or even plants. You can't mutilate dead bodies. You can't destroy buildings, especially churches or temples. You can't force anyone to accept Islam. ''If anyone slew one person, it would be as if he killed the whole of humanity,'' says the Koran.
I had told the FBI about Omar because my community, and Muslims generally, have nothing to hide. I love this country, like most Muslims that I know. I don't agree with every government policy (I think there's too much money in politics, for instance), but I'm proud to be an American. I vote. I volunteer. I teach my children to treat all people kindly. Our families came here because it is full of opportunity '' a place where getting a job is about what you know, not who you know. It's a better country to raise children than someplace where the electricity is out for 18 hours a day, where politicians are totally corrupt, or where the leader is a dictator.
But there's so much suspicion of Islam here. The local paper published an unsigned editorial called ''Leave our peaceful Muslim neighbors alone,'' and the comments were full of hateful lies '' that the Boston bombers had visited the area, that the Sept. 11 bombers came from here, that we were a hotbed of violent ideology. None of this is true. Donald Trump didn't create these attitudes, but he plays on them and amplifies them.
I am not the first American Muslim to report on someone; people who do that simply don't like to announce themselves in to the media. For my part, I'm not looking for personal accolades. I'm just tired of negative rhetoric and ignorant comments about my faith. Trump's assertions about our community '' that we have the ability to help our country but have simply declined to do so '' are tragic, ugly and wrong.
[Editor's note: A federal law enforcement official confirmed the author's cooperation to The Washington Post.]
Why did the White House just humiliate Loretta Lynch? | New York Post
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:59
Idiotic: That's the only word for the Obama administration's move to scrub references to Islam or ISIS from the transcripts of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen's calls.
Under an avalanche of ridicule, the Justice Department on Monday relented and released the full transcripts. But what was the point? Everyone already knew that he'd pledged allegiance to ISIS and its ''caliph.''
Fine: President Obama wants to make this about gun control, not terrorism '-- but ham-handed editing only calls attention to what you're deleting, and to Obama's peevish rules against uttering terms like ''radical Islam.''
Just look at the redactions:
Mateen: ''I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]. ''I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].''
All the omissions did was make Team Obama look determined to keep its head in the sand about the nature of the enemy.
Even the ''explanations'' sounded dumb. Here's Attorney General Loretta Lynch on ABC's ''This Week'': ''What we're not going to do is further proclaim this man's pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.''
Further his propaganda? Seriously? The answer to Islamist jihad is to black out the words?
Lynch never did anything this absurd in all her years as US attorney here in New York, so you know the order came down from above.
It's also idiocy d(C)j vu: Four years ago, Team Obama made then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice tour all the Sunday shows to blame the deadly Benghazi attack on an internet video, rather than on the terrorist plot they all knew it was. She looked a fool once the administration finally admitted the truth, just as Loretta Lynch does now.
It makes you wonder: Who at the White House feels compelled to send women of color out to humiliate themselves on national TV?
First experimental Zika vaccine gets nod from FDA, moves to human trials | Ars Technica
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 14:36
The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first human trial of an experimental Zika vaccine, according to a joint announcement by the two companies behind the new therapy.
The companies, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Pennsylvania, and GeneOne Life Science, Inc., based in South Korea, said that their DNA-based vaccine candidate, dubbed GLS-5700, will be given to 40 people in a phase I trial. The trial will start ''in the next weeks,'' the companies said, and could yield results later this year.
Inovio and GeneOne noted in their announcement that pre-clinical data from animal studies suggested that the vaccine could induce a strong immune response that might protect against mosquito-transmitted Zika. But, like all phase I trials, their upcoming human study will not test how effective the vaccine is at fighting off Zika virus but rather will test its safety and appropriate dosage levels. If the DNA-based vaccine is found to be safe, it will then move on to larger trials on efficacy that will take years to complete.
In general, DNA-based vaccines work by containing a snippet of genetic blueprints from the disease researchers are trying to protect against. In this case, the genetic material is from the Zika virus and codes for proteins that usually sit on the outside of the viral particle. Once the DNA is injected into a person, researchers can use electrical pulses to get human cells to take in the Zika DNA. Those cells can then read its code and start manufacturing proteins that resemble part of the virus. The Zika-like spare parts can prime the immune system to recognize and attack the virus if it ever invades.
For Zika, such a DNA-based vaccine may seem ideal over other vaccine strategies, such as vaccines that contain live but weakened viruses. Zika generally only causes mild illness in healthy adults, but it is known to cause birth defects in unborn fetuses. Thus pregnant women and women who might become pregnant are the key groups to vaccinate. And injecting those groups with a live virus may seem too risky.
Still, the Zika trials will have a lot to prove. Many companies have been working on DNA-based vaccines for years, trying to get them to work for a range of diseases. This includes Inovio and GeneOne, who had been working on DNA-based vaccines against several diseases, including HIV and some cancers, when Zika virus began rapidly spreading in South and Central America. But, so far, no DNA-based vaccine has ever been approved for use in the US.
Nevertheless, Inovio and GeneOne aren't the only ones holding out hope for getting the strategy to work for Zika. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has also cooked up a DNA-based vaccine and has promising animal results. And NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told STAT in an e-mail Monday that its vaccine is also close to human trials. ''We had projected that we would start our Phase 1 trial in September; it now looks like we may be able to start in mid-August,'' he wrote.
State Department reveals Hillary Clinton received $500K worth of jewelry from Saudi king - NY Daily News
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:41
State Department reveals Hillary Clinton received $500K worth of jewelry from Saudi king
Foreign diplomacy doesn't always resolve world-class problems, but it sure does rake in the swag.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given a half-million bucks worth of diamond and ruby jewelry by Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and received $58,000 worth of bling from Brunei.
The lavish gifts were among a treasure trove of keepsakes bestowed upon U.S. leaders in 2012, the State Department disclosed Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Clinton a $560 bottle of cognac, while President Obama received an autographed basketball from Chinese President Xi Jiping and a 41-inch saber from Mongolia.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden got a bare-breasted female bust from Liberia.
The Constitution prohibits U.S. government employees from keeping presents worth more than $350. But officials at the U.S. General Services Administration said the gifts were accepted to avoid awkward moments.
The GSA said some of the presents were donated and others were sold to the public.
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Austin goes undercover in sting operation targeting underground ridesharing | KEYE
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:40
The city's transportation department goes undercover to catch underground ridesharing drivers they say violate city code.
The sting targeted a group called Arcade City, which does not consider itself a transportation network company. It uses a Facebook page to connect riders and drivers and an app is in development. On Friday, June 17th, the Austin Transportation Ground Transportation Regulation Division conducted the operation. Four drivers were cited for operating without a valid operating authority and operating without a valid city chauffeur permit. Their vehicles were also impounded.
"They informed me it was an undercover sting," said driver Cheri Hawes.
Hawes is part of the Arcade City Facebook community page of drivers and riders in Austin. It has almost 40,000 members.
She was shocked when it cost her $220 in towing fees and several citations up to $500 each. "I really thought the city was kind of behind us. It's really helped so many people. For them to really have dedicated time to this I was really surprised," said Hawes.
The city started conducting undercover stings two years ago to catch illegal Uber drivers.
On Friday, the target was Arcade City and affiliated drivers.
"Arcade City did come in when there wasn't anybody else. Uber and Lyft didn't have to leave but they just dumped everybody. That was a lot of people out of work and a lot of people upset that they couldn't get to work," said Bruce Hawes.
His wife's sole income is driving. They both praise the management team at Arcade City for standing by the rideshare community in Austin. Bruce believes the sting on Friday was a waste of city resources. "To impound someone's car over something this small is really ridiculous," said Bruce.
Cheri says it won't stop the group that picks up where other companies left people stranded. "We're not going to stop. I don't see it deterring any of us," said Cheri.
According to its Facebook page, Arcade City is exploring its legal options against the city for the impoundment of the vehicles. Arcade City says only one of the cited drivers is affiliated with their group.
The city says it highly encourages users to look for services that fully vet their drivers and have safety measures in place for both riders and drivers and that it will continue to enforce the city code.
Uber and Lyft had until midnight Monday to submit data reports to the city or risk getting their operating authority revoked. Both companies halted operations in Austin already. The current TNCs that have operating authority include: Ztrip, FARE, Wingz, GetMe, Fasten, ReDriver Tech, ScoopMe, Tride and RideAustin.
Reporter Tries to Buy Gun, Fails Instant Background Check
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:04
Team CrowderMonday June 20 2016
Memo to leftist new's editors: those stories you keep writing where you send reporters to buy guns to prove'...I don't know, whatever you're trying to prove? You may want to run your own background check on the reporter first. You know, to avoid the inevitable surgical removal of your foot, lodged forcibly into your own mouth. Also to prevent ours from being lodged forcibly up your ass. ObamaCare probably won't cover that. Unless your a transgender something or other.
Just ask the Chicago Sun Times, who sent a reporter (who wrote this) to buy a gun, only to find out he wasn't allowed to:
In an attempt to show how easy it is to buy a modern sporting rifle, Neil Steinberg, of the Chicago Sun-Times, was denied by the store owner's because ''it was uncovered that Mr. Steinberg has an admitted history of alcohol abuse, and a charge for domestic battery involving his wife.''
Mr. Steinburg tried to allege that wasn't the real reason. According to him it was because, ''they knew I planned to immediately sell it back to them.''
He further complains that people who have yet to commit a crime, unlike him, are able to buy guns. ''Would-be terrorists can buy guns'...But reporters . . . that's a different story.''
Yeah, three things.
1. We don't think ''guns should be kept from people for the flimsiest reasons.'' But ten points for your use of ''flimsiest.'' You've probably only used that word to describe some of your appendages. FYI Neil, we're laughing at your expense because it's funny. There you were, trying to be all ''Look it how easy it is to buy a 'scary black rifle,''' only to have a background check disqualify you from purchasing said rifle. Some might call it ''irony.'' Others ''karma.'' Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe.
2. A typical, white, leftist male who thinks domestically abusing their wife is a ''flimsy reason'' to not own a weapon? Okay, no. If you've been charged with a violent crime, maybe someone like, I don't know maybe I'm grasping at straws here, YOUR WIFE, wouldn't want you to have a weapon. Any kind of weapon. Even a scary black rifle. Maybe not even a baseball bat. Because domestic violence.
3. As to the bitch-fest about ''people who haven't yet committed a crime being able to purchase guns'... then commit a crime'...'' complaint. Right. Because Apple has yet to develop a crystal ball. No one can ever know if someone is going to be a would-be anything. There's no app for that. Ask your wife. She probably didn't know you were an abusive super-douche. Yet no one stopped her from marrying you. Because no one can time-travel.
But right, it's fecalpatties like this reporter who want to keep the majority of responsible people from owning guns. Doesn't that just give you the warm and fuzzies? And if you're a woman'... maybe a black eye?
Also, about that ''gunshow loophole'' myth'...
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After Orlando: The Politics Of The Terrorist Watch List
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:52
In the aftermath of the massacre at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando by Omar Mateen, a conversation has erupted around expanding the terrorism watch list.
Gadeir Abbas, an attorney who has litigated cases on behalf of individuals placed on the watch list, recently wrote a piece for Shadowproof examining a part of the discussion. He also called attention to how the terrorism watch list is being internationalized, with India now a partner.
I interviewed Abbas about the politics of watch-listing. The video interview was recorded the day after a 15-hour filibuster, in which Senate Democrats and a few Senate Republicans supported expanding the terrorism watch list to enforce gun control.
During our conversation, we dig into the secret watch-listing process of the federal government, what Abbas describes as a ''diabolical'' system. Abbas not only raises concern about using this secret list, which violates due process rights, for gun control, but he also concludes from experience that the entire watch-listing system should be dismantled.
Below is a full transcript of the interview with attorney Gadeir Abbas, with some parts edited for clarity:GOSZTOLA: What's your assessment of the conversation as you're hearing people talk about what should be done with the terrorism watch list?
ABBAS: It's really a nauseating conversation. As an attorney, I've represented dozens of people that are on these watch lists, probably more than 50 at this point. And, generally speaking, as almost to a person, these people are on these watch lists are not charged with a crime ever. So, they're innocent, and that's infuriating that the discussion is around expanding this thing called the terrorist watch list that doesn't include any actual terrorists.
The watch-listing system has really been a debacle from the very beginning. The government has always maintained a watch list for one reason or another, but after George W. Bush issued an executive order in 2003, the federal government chose to consolidate all its watch-listing in a single place. And what it chose to do is to set the standard for watch-listing at a really, really low level, at a really unprecedentedly low level.
The standard for being on the watch list is not you're currently engaged in criminal activity. No, that's not the standard. The standard is you pose a threat of committing of a terrorist act, and there's a big difference between posing a threat of doing something and actually doing something. The federal government's ability to predict the future about who among the innocent will later become a terrorist is essentially zero.
As part of a few cases, I've looked over the people who have actually committed acts of terrorism inside the United States, and I haven't found a single person, who has committed an act of terrorism inside the United States, that was on a watch list at the time they committed their act of terrorism. And that means that the watch list is not a terrorist watch list. It's an innocent people watch list.
GOSZTOLA: It's possible you may be reacting to this quote for the first time. But there is a quote about the watch list that has gone viral, with Senator Joe Manchin talking about ''due process.'' So, I just want to get this full quote in here, and he basically said, ''The problem we have and really the firewall we have right now is due process. It's all due process. So, we can all say we want the same thing, but how do we get there?'' He continued on, and this was during an appearance on MSNBC's ''Morning Joe'':
''If a person is on the terrorist watch list like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando, twice by the FBI, we were briefed yesterday about what happened but that man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do but there was no way to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun buy list. There was no way to do that. So can't we say that if a person under suspicion, there should be a five-year period of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits, maybe we could come to that type of an agreement. But due process is what's killing us right now.''
ABBAS: The first thing to note is the fact that Omar Mateen was visited by the FBI twice is completely unremarkable because the FBI maintains a network of more than 10,000 informants that saturate the Muslim community across the country. I've had people in my family that have been visited by the FBI. I've had people in my wife's family be visited by the FBI. I have friends that have been visited by the FBI. Everybody in the Muslim community knows someone or has themselves been visited by the FBI, regardless of the their race, their ethnicity, their social status.
So, the FBI and this representative's thought that because the FBI visited this killer is some indication that that person is going to be a future terrorist is not indicative. I bet with the number of visits and the number of assessments that the FBI conducts that you're just as likely to find a terrorist that hasn't been approached by the FBI as you are to find a terrorist that has previously been approached by the FBI.
Second of all, every single there is an act of terrorism and that person is not on a watch list, no one ever asks the question, well, why didn't you watch list the person in the first place? And really it's an indictment of the watch-listing system itself. The government cannot predict the future, and in fact, the many studies that have been done trying to correlations between the specific behavior, the specific backgrounds, and future propensity to commit acts of terrorism have found that they're really aren't any predictors of terrorism.
If we do want to latch on to a predictor of terrorism, probably the best one is people who commit domestic violence. There is a New York Times article that said ten to fifteen percent of all people, who commit acts of terrorism, have some domestic violence in their background. So, if we're going to be watch-listing, let's just put all of the people that are convicted of domestic violence on the watch list.
But that ultimately does not make any sense because when you're trying to predict an extraordinarily rare event, you're unable to do so. It's in the nature of very large numbers, for instance, where lightning strikes. You cannot predict with any meaningful certainty where a tornado land. Those types of things, because of the nature of the thing that you're predicting, evade the ability of the federal government to predict the future. So, what you end up constructing is an unprecedentedly large diabolical'--really'--system that accords people systematically second-class citizen status.
GOSZTOLA: Before we go further, I just want to establish that whatever we say from this point forward'--I'm not, and I'll let you speak for yourself, suggesting that what Republicans are going to be doing with the terrorism watch list is anything less than political opportunism because the gun issue plays well with their constituents. But I do want to get into a conversation about the nature of the terrorism watch list [as it relates to gun control] so I'll pause there.
Is there anything you want to add, given the fact that there is tremendous ignorance from both major political parties when it comes to how the terrorism watch list impact American Muslims?
ABBAS: Sure. And I fall into that category as well. I've been litigating these cases for six years now, and when I first started litigating these cases, it occurred to me that there probably is some role for the watch list to play in national security. But after six years of seeing how the federal government uses the watch list, there is no role. There is no appropriate way that the federal government should have the authority to watch list people. Because, one, the government can't predict the future, and two, the most effective way of countering acts of terrorism is by investigating people and arresting them if they're terrorists.
GOSZTOLA: Ok, so I wonder if you a reaction to the fact that this is something the government wants to possibly use in order to enforce gun control. Given the cases you've litigated, what comes to your mind as the problems? Peeling aside the partisan politics of whether people should have Second Amendment rights or no Second Amendment rights, whether they should have what gun or which gun, I mean, assuming we all want to prevent the worst types of gun violence, what are the problems with using this terrorism watch list to enforce gun control?
ABBAS: First off, the American people that would be predominantly affected, if we're using the watch-listing system as gun control'--We're only talking about several thousand people out of a country of more than 300 million. When we reduce gun control down to the few thousand Americans that are on this watch list, we're probably not accomplishing anything in a best case scenario anyways.
What's most fascinating to me is that the Republicans are just better on this issue, and they're better on this issue because they view guns as a sacrosanct right, whereas the Democrats do not view the right of innocent people to move as sacrosanct. Because they understand that when we're talking about watch-listing, we're really only going to be affecting the Muslim community and no one else.
Furthermore, the incidents of mass violence perpetrated by people with guns has not overwhelmingly been by people who are Muslim. We know that the watch lists disproportionately affect the Muslim community. It is extraordinarily to find anybody on a watch list that is not Muslim.
GOSZTOLA: Judging the record of the government, judging the stigma attached to going after non-Muslim people are suspected of being involved in terrorism activities, what do you have as a concern for how, if this were to pass, it would disproportionately just be targeted toward Muslim communities?
ABBAS: Ultimately, the people that are on the terrorist watch list understand they're being surveilled in some capacity by the federal government. So, these people aren't trying to buy guns anyways. I think there was a government report a few years ago that said there was 80 or 90, less than a 100 instances, where a person on a watch list actually tried to buy a gun. And so, we're not actually talking about a large number of folks.
Again, one of the issues with the watch-listing system is that first you have to put the people that will be dangerous in the future on the watch list. You have to predict the future, which the government cannot do. But, second, you have to make sure the point of purchase, wherever the matching between the person and watch list is occurring, you have to make sure that happens accurately and well. At this point, no one's talking about a watch-listing application at gun shows. Even that people that want a gun and are on a watch list could just go to a gun show. Or, they could buy a black market gun. That's very easy to do.
I think the case of Faisal Shahzad really illuminates this very well. He was known to the government before he tried to detonate a bomb in Times Square, but they didn't put him on a list. Soon after, he detonated his device, and they put him on the No Fly list. He was still able to board a plane, even though he was on the No Fly List, because the mechanism of distributing of the No Fly List and these watch lists is clunky.
Whenever you're trying to create an information system that has hundreds of thousands of entries into it, that changes more than a hundred times each day, you're going to have issues with disseminating that information. The watch-listing system fails on every level that the watch-listing system is supposed to be successful.
Ultimately, this is really an exercise in futility. For some people, it's going to make some folks feel better that the so-called terror gap, as people are calling it, is going to be closed. For others, the gun lobby, they're going to be very happy that the only thing there is conceding in the gun debate is that a few thousand Muslimss that are probably not trying to buy guns anyways, won't be able to buy guns. At the end of the day, in the midst of mass shooting after mass shooting, I bet the NRA lobby is happy to make this concession because ultimately it's a meaningless form of gun control.
GOSZTOLA: It's remarkable to me because, following the NRA, they seem to be taking the civil libertarian line for instituting due process. So, I want to detach ourselves from the times for just a moment and add some context to our conversation before we wrap up the interview. But I do think it is important to bring in this aspect of what is happening.
FBI Director James Comey is apparently concerned about maybe bringing in this terrorism watch list and using it in the way that it would be used. Apparently, they have tools outside of using the terrorism watch list right now. They can tell when people buy guns, who are suspicious. Usually, we would be able to use those tools to go after those people.
I think we should bring into the conversation'--There are very real ways that this is used in a punitive sense against people to control them or to discourage certain behaviors within communities. Could you talk about?
ABBAS: Absolutely. The watch-listing system is primarily punitive. The FBI agents that are placing on these watch lists don't take them seriously. They understand it's a form of CYA, cover your ass. If you end an investigation and you don't know what to do or where to take things, just throw them on a watch list'--98.96 percent nominations, as of 2014, get accepted. So, the FBI agent makes a nomination. The Terrorist Screening Center essentially always accepts the nomination.
For folks that are engaged in political activity, for folks that have been engaged in relief efforts in Middle Eastern countries, as a result of the Arab Spring, people who went to Libya to help with relief work or anti-Gaddafi activity, people who are working to bring relief and aid to Syria, those are the folks that end up on the terrorism watch list. People who refuse to sit down with FBI agents without an attorney, those people end up on a watch list.
And what's remarkable to me is whenever it's been the case that a substantial amount of attention gets brought to a particular case, after a lawsuit gets filed, that all of a sudden a person who spent years unable to fly or years being brutalized by secondary screening and humiliated in front of friends of family'--those people are just taken off the watch list without a moment's notice.
I had a case last year, where I represent a guy named Yasin Kadura. He was on the No Fly List. He was born in the U.S. He went to Libya to do Arab-English translation for a lot of journalists, who were coming to cover the revolution before it was clear where it was going. He played a big part of organizing a journalism center in Benghazi. And when he came back, there was a Homeland Security agent that told him we don't think you're a dangerous guy, but we're going to put you on this list and you're not going to be able to fly unless you work with us.
He didn't want to take their money. He didn't want to be a spy for the FBI, as is a very reasonable decision to me. As a result of making that choice, the FBI punished him. They put him on the No Fly List for several years. We filed suit, and after we filed suit, the government just via email. They didn't get any additional information about Yasin. They just took him off the No Fly List, and they took him off the No Fly List as a litigation tactic.
The Congress unfortunately has next to no promise to reform this watch-listing system that's run amok. All that's left is the courts, and this really is the prerogative of the courts to defend the rights of a very, very unpopular minority, Muslims. And not only Muslims, Muslims that have been accused of being terrorists by the federal government. That's probably the least popular group in America right now, and if the courts don't step in and constrain the government's watch-listing authority, we're going to see people in the coming decades from the federal highway system or from Amtrak as a result of this watch-listing system.
GOSZTOLA: So, last question. I think this is probably a good note to end on. When you hear someone like Senator Joe Manchin say due process is what's killing us now'--It's a Sisyphean task to bring due process to the terrorism watch list. People have been trying to do that for a decade plus now. And I'd like you to talk briefly about what that has been like, because you've been doing work to bring some semblance of due process to the watch list.
ABBAS: It's been enormously frustrating. My impression of the watch list in 2010 was that it was much more reasonable than what it turned out to be. Everything that we learn about the watch list reminds just how dumb it is, and how poorly'--This isn't a problem of implementation. The problem is inherent in the idea that we're going to assign a federal agency in Vienna, Virginia, we're going to assign them the authority to predict the future and to punish people based on their predictions of the future.
The passage of time has shown us that the government is terrible at predicting the future. So, this isn't about changing things on the margins. There are still cases that I work on, arguments about due process and getting process after the fact. But really the thing I've taken away from doing this work for six years now is really we don't need more due process. We need an entire end to the watch-listing system. That is the goal of various cases that I am involved with. I think that's the only solution for the debacle of the federal watch-listing system.
Manchin: Due process is 'killing us right now' in gun debate - POLITICO
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:44
Sen. Joe Manchin speaks during a Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaign stop in Charleston, W.Va., Tuesday, May 3. | AP Photo
By Nick Gass
06/16/16 10:42 AM EDT
Updated 06/16/16 02:08 PM EDT
The main sticking point to resolving congressional disputes over gun control is balancing the constitutional right to due process with the urgency to prevent future terrorist shootings like the one that claimed the lives of 49 people, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday.
"The problem we have, and really the firewall we have right now is due process. It's all due process," Manchin said during a discussion on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "So we can all say we want the same thing, but how do we get there?"
Story Continued Below
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn's (R-Texas) proposal would allow the attorney general to delay the purchase of a gun for up to three days, while Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation that would require the attorney general to submit terror watch lists to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as a check on power.
"If a person is on the terrorist watch list like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando, twice by the FBI, we were briefed yesterday about what happened but that man was brought in twice. They did everything they could," Manchin said. "The FBI did everything they were supposed to do but there was no way to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun buy list. There was no way to do that. So can't we say that if a person under suspicion, there should be a five-year period of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits, maybe we could come to that type of an agreement. But due process is what's killing us right now."
The National Rifle Association responded to Manchin's comments later Thursday.
"No one believes terrorists should have guns. But we can fight terrorism and protect law-abiding Americans' [Fifth Amendment] rights," the group tweeted on its official account.
Senate Democrats, led by Chris Murphy of Connecticut, filibustered for nearly 15 hours until early Thursday morning to urge a vote on two separate proposals, one to ensure that people on watch lists are not able to obtain guns and another mandating background checks for purchases on the Internet and at gun shows.
Project for a new American security PDF overview
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:34
EXTENDING AMERICAN POWERStrategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World OrderPaper Signatories Kurt Campbell, Eric Edelman, Mich¨le Flournoy, Richard Fontaine, Stephen J. Hadley, Robert Kagan (Co-chairman), James P. Rubin (Co-chairman), Julianne Smith, James Steinberg, and Robert Zoellick MAY 2016
Paper Signatories The Hon. Kurt Campbell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Asia Group, LLC; Co-Founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, Center for a New American Security The Hon. Eric Edelman, Counselor, Center for Strategic and Budgetary AssessmentsThe Hon. Mich¨le Flournoy, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Center for a New American SecurityMr. Richard Fontaine, President, Center for a New American SecurityThe Hon. Stephen J. Hadley, Principal, RiceHadleyGates, former National Security AdvisorDr. Robert Kagan, (Co-chairman), Senior Fellow, Project on International Order and Strategy, The Brookings InstitutionCover PhotoGoing forward, American leadership will be needed more than ever to ensure the continued strength and stability of the global order. (Jake Ingle/Unsplash)The Hon. James P. Rubin, (Co-chairman), Former Assistant Secretary of State and Chief Spokesman during the Clinton Administration; Senior Advisor to CNAS from 2015 to 2016; and regular Columnist for the Sunday Times in London Ms. Julianne Smith, Senior Fellow and Director, Strategy and Statecraft Program, Center for a New American SecurityThe Hon. James Steinberg, Dean and Professor of Social Science, International Affairs, and Law, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse UniversityThe Hon. Robert Zoellick, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard UniversityAbout the ''Extending American Power'' ProjectOver the course of the last year, a group of current and former government officials, strategists, and scholars spanning the political spectrum met for a monthly dinner series through the Center for a New American Security's ''Extending American Power'' project, co-chaired by Dr. Robert Kagan and the Hon. James P. Rubin. The goal of the series was to bring together a bipartisan group to help shape the national conversation on America's role in the world during the run-up to the presidential election in November 2016. The group convened multiple times to discuss a range of regional and functional issues from the Middle East to Asia to the international economy. At a time when partisanship in the American political establishment has reached unprecedented heights, CNAS believes it is more important than ever to rebuild the national consensus on America's role in the world. This project promotes the idea that American leadership is critical to preserving and strengthening the bedrock of today's international order, which is being shaken by a variety of forces. The final report comes at a critical time, as U.S. allies are calling for increased U.S. engagement, and the American public is debating a greater international role.
1ver the past year, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) brought together an extraor-dinary group of scholars, practitioners, and journalists to consider how a new administration should respond to the complex challenges confronting the United States and the established international order. With a mandate to examine the degree to which the United States can and should play a leadership role internationally, and with an eye toward policymaking in a new administration, the ''Extending American Power'' (EAP) working group met formally over a series of six working dinners. At the first session, University of Virginia Professor Melvyn Leffler, a diplomatic historian, and Columbia University Professor Stephen Sestanovich analyzed the recurring swings from retrenchment to activism and back again that has marked the U.S. approach to inter -national leadership since the end of World War II. In addition to a look back, the EAP series also examined: international economic policy, developments in Europe and Russia, the consequences of a rising China for U.S. policy toward East Asia, and U.S. defense policy. A full list of each session's speakers, including administra-tion officials and outside experts, is contained in the report's appendix. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the presen-tations were of the highest caliber possible at each session. For instance, the discussion of the Iran agree -ment and the conflicts raging across the Greater Middle East began with reflections from Dennis Ross, special envoy to the region for three presidents; Elliot Abrams, Deputy National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush; renowned Middle East scholar Dr. Vali Nasr; and Martin Indyk, a top diplomat to the region for more than twenty years. As co-chairs of the series, we are particularly delighted that eight of our colleagues '' Kurt Campbell, Eric Edelman, Mich¨le Flournoy, Richard Fontaine, Steve Hadley, Julianne Smith, James Steinberg, and Robert Zoellick '' have agreed to endorse this report. We can only hope that the spirit of collegiality, determination, and bipartisanship they have demonstrated will carry forward into relations between Congress and the presi -dent after this November's elections. Finally, we are indebted to CNAS and its Chief Executive Officer, Mich¨le Flournoy; its Chair of the Board of Directors, Kurt Campbell; Program Director and Senior Fellow, Julianne Smith; and former Bacevich Fellow, Jacob Stokes for all their work and leadership over the past year. Foreword Robert Kagan and James P. RubinORobert Kagan and James P. Rubin are Chairmen of the Extending American Power Working Group.@CNASDC
2IntroductionThe world order created in the aftermath of World War II has produced immense benefits for peoples across the planet. The past 70 years have seen an unprece-dented growth in global prosperity, lifting billions out of poverty. Democratic government, once rare, has spread to over 100 nations. Above all, for 70 years there have been no cataclysmic wars among great powers of the kind that devastated Europe and Asia in the first half of the 20th century. It is easy for Americans to take the benefits of this international order for granted without fully appreci -ating the critical leadership role the U.S. government has played in creating and sustaining this economic, polit -ical, and security system. American military power, the dynamism of the U.S. economy, and the great number of close alliances and friendships the United States enjoys with other powers and peoples have provided the critical architecture in which this liberal order has flourished. To preserve and strengthen this order will require a renewal of American leadership in the interna-tional system. Today, the very bedrock of this order is being shaken by a variety of forces '' powerful and ambitious authoritarian governments like Russia and China, radical Islamic terrorist movements, long-term shifts in the global economy, the rise of non-state actors, the challenges of cyberspace, and changes in our physical environment.Many around the world who once decried American overseas involvement as ''hegemonic'' now seek greater American engagement in international affairs and worry more about American retrenchment. This view is espe -cially strongly held in the three regions where the United States has carried the main burden of providing security since World War II: East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In all three, as well as in Latin America and Africa, American allies and partners seek more involvement by the United States not less. The greatest challenge to the preservation of this order today may be here in the United States. The bipartisan consensus that has long supported America's engage -ment with the world is under attack by detractors in both parties. Responsible political leaders need to explain to a new generation of Americans how important this world order is to their well-being and how vital America's role is in sustaining it. Fashioning a Bipartisan Consensus on Core PrinciplesAmericans have always supported U.S. leadership when there was bipartisan consensus on theneed for such a role. Bipartisanship in foreign policy is more often praised than practiced. But in recent years, an especially bitter partisanship has often stood in the way of effective policymaking. We believe that may now be changing as the chal-lenges faced by the United States and the world order it supports grow more and more obvious, as do the require -ments of meeting those challenges. The EAP working group '' a bipartisan group of former government officials, strategists, and scholars '' met over the last year to examine different strategies Washington may adopt in response to the competitive and increas -ingly unstable order a new administration coming into office in January 2017 is likely to face. What follows is the product of those discussions. It is necessarily an amalgam of differing views, requiring significant compromises on the part of all participants. Not all members of the group would adhere to every formulation or argument. However, every member of the group does agree emphat -ically with the core principles informing this report. In particular, we all agree that a new U.S. approach should be based on the following fundamental assumptions:1. The best way to ensure the longevity of a rules-based international system favorable to U.S. interests is not to retreat behind two oceans, lower American standards, or raise the tolerance level for risk. The proper course is to extend American power and U.S. leadership in Asia, Europe, and the Greater Middle East '' regions where threats to the international order are greatest and where either new approaches or more consis-tent application of time-honored approaches are most urgently needed.2. Achieving this critical objective will require strengthening all the elements of American power: It is easy for Americans to take the benefits of this international order for granted without fully appreciating the critical leadership role the U.S. government has played in creating and sustaining this economic, political, and security system.Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
3diplomatic, economic, and military. An urgent first step is to significantly increase U.S. national security and defense spending and eliminate the budgetary strait-jacket of the Budget Control Act. A second and related step is to formulate policies that take advantage of the substantial military, economic, and diplomatic power Washington has available but has been reluctant to deploy in recent years.3. Despite all the predictions of decline in the West and the rise of the rest, America's economy has proven to be the most dynamic and the most resilient in the face of financial and other recent shocks. As a result, a sub -stantial increase in spending on military, international economic, and diplomatic capabilities is well within our means.4. All of which provides the basis for our strong belief that the United States still has the military, economic, and political power to play the leading role in pro -tecting a stable rules-based international order. For the next president then, the question is not whether America has the wherewithal to provide more active international leadership, but whether America's gov -ernment has the will. And if it does have the power and the will to lead, the relevant question for the United States is how to do so in a manner that reflects reason-able ambitions as well as necessary limits? It should be noted that this report is not intended to be a comprehensive look at all the challenges facing U.S. policymakers. On the contrary, the group only examined in depth three key regions '' Asia, Europe, and the Greater Middle East. Consideration of U.S. policy toward these three regions did, however, benefit from extraor -dinary presentations by outside experts and scholars regarding broader trends in international economics and national defense, and a look back at the historic decisions taken by the Truman administration. In light of this regional focus, it is worth pointing out that judgments regarding key transnational threats and challenges, for example, the important issue of climate change, are beyond the scope of this report. Nonetheless, the work of this group shows that broad areas of agreement can be achieved across political and ideological lines. What follows is a rough blueprint for several crucial aspects of American foreign policy, which we believe the next occupant of the White House should adopt no matter what party he or she represents, and which we are convinced can receive bipartisan support. It should be noted again that while all of us support and endorse the report's recommendations in broad terms, the language of the report does not necessarily reflect the precise views of every single member of the group. The foundation of the international order created after World War II is being shaken by a number of forces, from Russia and China to radical Islam and shifts in the global economy. Preserving this order requires a renewal of American leadership. (Gabby Orcutt/Unsplash)@CNASDC
4A Look BackThe EAP group began with a look at President Truman's administration, often heralded as the golden age of U.S. leadership. The years between 1946 and 1949 saw the creation of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance, and the reintegration and reconstruction of Germany and Japan. Today, few appreciate the hurdles the Truman admin-istration faced. Not only was the domestic political climate hostile '' the president's approval ratings hovered around 30 percent '' but questions of international affairs barely registered as the American public turned its atten -tion from war to the home front. Foreign policy didn't feature prominently on the broader political agenda, and the American people, after a costly world war, were in no mood to continue sacrificing precious lives and resources on overseas commitments. Although little remembered now, Truman's achieve -ments were the fulfillment of a grand strategy based on the idea that no adversary should be allowed to gain control of the preponderant resources of Europe or Asia in peacetime or wartime. Following through on this goal meant accepting key tradeoffs. For example, the economic reconstruction of Germany and Western Europe would antagonize the Soviet Union, thus foregoing the possibility of negotiating a near-term set-tlement with Moscow and leading to a divided Europe. All of which meant that despite the prevailing political winds, the United States had to accept the burden of guaranteeing the security of Western Europe. The administration's historic achievements also required hard work across party lines and willingness to compromise. At the time, the Republican Party had just won control of the House and Senate for the first time in two decades, and it was much more interested in domestic matters. Truman compromised on several aspects of his program to gain their support and spent countless hours building personal relationships. The president did the same with important U.S. allies who were essential to the formation of a liberal core of the new international order. Important lessons from the Truman era have rele -vance in our time. Then, too, the American people had to overcome a natural yearning for retrenchment and accept their role as upholder and defender of the liberal world order. Then, as now, success is more likely to come if the president and the cabinet develop and articulate a strategy, outline priorities, accept tradeoffs, work to build wide support, and remain sensitive to partners' concerns.The Truman administration's achievements required bipartisanship, willingness to compromise, and hard work across party lines. In this photograph, Harry S . Truman takes the oath of office as president of the United States in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Presidential Libraries/Abbie Rowe)Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
5Economics and EnergyAmerica became the central hub of economic and financial power in the world starting in the early 20th century when it produced and financed the war mat(C)riel for Britain and France as they fought in World War I. Created in the aftermath of World War II, the Bretton Woods system and the Marshall Plan then reaffirmed and institutionalized that power, which has lasted to the present day. But growing challenges to U.S. economic and financial power will make exercising that power more difficult in the years ahead.The United States may be the only nation in history whose core strategy since World War II has been to build up successful economic competitors as a way of strengthening the foundations of the liberal economic order from which the American people so greatly benefit. And this strategy has succeeded. Decades of U.S. policies intended to promote a stable, open economic order have indeed fostered the rise of alternative economic powers. America helped Europe rebuild from the rubble of World War II into the present-day European Union; it fostered the rise of China's economy; and it facilitated growth in other developing economies such as Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, and India. While the growth of these economies has provided major benefits to the United States, it has also bred a desire among newly wealthy powers for greater say in international economic governance. Moreover, the worldwide financial crisis in 2008, which began in the United States, and the subsequent great recession, emboldened advocates for alternative growth models. Calls to move away from the Anglo-American ''Washington Consensus'' toward systems with greater state influence have since grown louder. Some competitors, like Russia, seek to dilute U.S. influ-ence over the global financial system. China, meanwhile, aims to build alternative institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and has sought to internationalize its currency. While still at an early stage, such initiatives are picking up momentum, with the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) recently deciding to include the Renminbi as a reserve currency. Washington's response to such challenges has ranged from constructive to ambivalent to counterproduc -tive. The United States negotiated a much-needed reform package for the IMF to give rising powers like China a greater role, and after a lengthy and embar -rassing delay, we are pleased that Congress has now approved the reform package. However, yearly threats to shut down the U.S. gov -ernment and default on American debt have needlessly eroded confidence in U.S. economic stewardship. One bright spot is that the current administration has com-pleted negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and is working toward the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), both of which are sure to generate significant controversy. In that regard, we urge Congress to take up, consider, and approve the TPP as soon as possible. And while the 2015 debt package offers reason for optimism, much work remains to be done to achieve a comprehensive accord on the budget. Worldwide energy markets are changing dramati -cally as well. The energy revolution in the United States brought about by the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas has altered the funda-mental dynamics of the industry. Whereas energy had previously been a strategic liability for the United States since the early 1970s, today, increasingly, energy consti-tutes an area of strategic advantage. Additional supply allows the United States to act as a swing producer (and if permitted, an exporter too) when global supplies are tight. Cheaper gas supplies fuel industry and reduce carbon emissions compared to coal. All in all, these changes in energy markets offer significant strategic advantage that can help extend American power. International economic trends are, of course, inex -tricably linked to the U.S. domestic economy. Herein lies one of America's greatest strengths. The adapt -ability, resilience, and innovation of the U.S. economic system are not only crucial in their own right (the United States bounced back from the financial crisis much more quickly than others), but they are also a source of strength and influence because other nations respect this inherent dynamism. Shared prosperity at Worldwide energy markets have dramatically evolved over the last decade. A large driver behind that change has been the energy revolution within the United States, facilitated by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. In this Kern County, California, field, pumpjacks extract oil. (Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)@CNASDC
6home also increases political support for engagement overseas. History has shown the U.S. public's willing-ness to support robust global engagement rises during times of economic growth. It is no accident that the post-World War II consensus on internationalism happened at the same as time as the American economy grew at breakneck speed and the benefits spread to every level of society. An additional benefit of a growing economy, of course, is the availability of additional resources to strengthen America's military, economic, and diplomatic capabilities.The U.S. economy has some significant and enduring advantages '' in particular deep financial markets, an innovative technology sector, and world-class universi-ties. But remaining the world's leading economy requires dealing with areas where progress has lagged. An agenda for shoring up the U.S. domestic economy includes improving primary and secondary education, rebuilding aging infrastructure, balancing taxes and entitlements to put U.S. debt on a more sustainable trajectory, and fixing a broken immigration system to ensure, among other things, that the United States continues to attract innovative, creative talent from around the world. There is much to be said for leaders explaining to the American people the importance of U.S. global engage -ment '' a task that is and will continue to be essential. But ensuring that the domestic economy is lifting up the average American is still the best way to ensure support for global engagement and also contribute to a stronger, more influential America. The interplay between security and prosperity at home and abroad has never been more relevant. An agenda for American leadership on issues of trade, finance, eco -nomics, and energy must, therefore, be part of a program to enhance U.S. international leadership. AsiaWith its growing population, expanding economic power, and dynamic geopolitical challenges, Asia is destined to take up an ever-larger share of American foreign policy attention in the years ahead. Fortunately, as a consequence of the region's unique receptiveness to America and American leadership, U.S. engagement not only ensures continued stability but also advances democratic values and growing prosperity. Therefore, we believe the comprehensive set of diplomatic, economic, and security initiatives designed to reflect this new Asian ascendance '' known as the ''rebalance'' or ''pivot'' '' should be extended for the foreseeable future. U.S. leadership has been indispensable in ensuring a stable balance of power in Asia the past 70 years. Washington's unprecedented alliances with Japan and South Korea, its demonstrated commitment to main-taining open sea lanes, open trade, state sovereignty and freedom of navigation, and its other regional alliances and relationships, have together made possible genera-tions of historic peace and prosperity. More recently, the rise of India and the U.S. outreach to the world's largest democracy has led to a strategic partnership of significant benefit to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. With steady statecraft in Washington and New Delhi, remaining historical, cultural, and geographic differences can and should be overcome. This will allow for more effective great-power diplomacy, enhanced security cooperation, and a deeper sense of common purpose. Such steps will put the United States and India in a far better position to work together to confront and resolve future conflicts in the region and broader international challenges. Since China's spectacular economic growth and its increased military spending will have a profound impact on the Asian region, there is no doubt that the management of the U.S.-China relationship is the single most consequential challenge for U.S. foreign policy. The stakes have been raised further by the emergence of President Xi JinPing, Beijing's most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping, and Xi's increasingly asser -tive approach to international affairs, especially his claim that security in Asia is a matter for Asians, i.e., not the United States. Both China's breakneck island construction in the South China Sea and its declaration of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea undermine long-standing principles of freedom of navigation. Along with China's surging military spending on capabilities directed squarely against American power projec -tion platforms and its persistent cyber attacks on U.S. Ensuring that the domestic economy is lifting up the average American is still the best way to ensure support for global engagement and also contribute to a stronger, more influential America.Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
7government and private sector systems, these provoca-tive moves represent a significant threat to the regional security that U.S. power has underwritten for decades.But the China challenge is not limited to the security field. With its successful establishment of a new AIIB, Beijing has shown that in the absence of careful U.S. diplomacy, it can muster economic and diplomatic strength to create China-centric institutions that parallel existing forums. Washington's response was a classic example of how a leading nation should not respond. Not only was U.S. opposition to the bank perceived by Beijing as confirmation that Washington has adopted a policy of containment, but the fact that U.S. diplomacy failed so spectacularly was regarded as a sign of weakness in China and proof of poor judgment by U.S. friends and allies in Asia. That is one reason approval of the TPP is so important. Whatever compromises may have been made on specific issues with other nations, passage of the agreement by Congress will signal renewed American resolve to remain engaged in East Asia, politically, strategically, and economically. The flip-side is also true: Failure to pass the TPP will send a message to Asia and the world that the United States is simply too internally divided and inward looking to appreciate the value of such a vast regional trade arrangement. In the case of failure, China would also have a much freer hand in writing economic rules of the road in Asia. Over the longer term, a successful the TPP will serve as a standard-setter to encourage reform throughout the region. In general, the United States should do more to leverage its dramatic advantage in allies and regional security relationships. In that regard, a new diplomatic strategy of coordinating Asia policies with long-standing U.S. allies in Europe should be instituted. Such an approach plays to U.S. strengths and will add to percep -tions of U.S. power. Recent talk of a ''Thucydides trap,'' i.e., the inevitable clash between a rising power and the established leading power, is overblown. Conflict between the two powers can be avoided if Washington strengthens its military deterrent and deepens and broadens its growing array of regional alliances and security partnerships. History suggests that rising powers challenge the status quo militarily when they believe the odds of victory are rea-sonably good. Precisely how much U.S. military power and resolve will be necessary to deter a more confident and capable China must still be calculated. Suffice it Going forward, the Asia-Pacific region will continue to garner increased attention from the United States. Here, the U.S . Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier the USS George Washington (CVN 73) prepares to anchor in Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. (U.S . Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik)@CNASDC
8to say that the Xi era has ushered in a more assertive China with greater military capability. Therefore, the United States must increase its capabilities and extend its military posture accordingly, for that is the best way to demonstrate its determination to continue enforcing a rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific region. More broadly, there is no reason for a fundamental adjustment in the approach the last eight administra-tions '' Republican and Democratic '' have taken to China. Promoting the peaceful rise of a China that is increasingly integrated into the rules and traditions of the liberal international order remains a sound strategy for the United States. The near-term challenge lies in the South China Sea, where the current policy of demanding that Beijing halt its construction of islands is failing. It may be wiser to impose regional costs for Chinese actions. These costs could include new defense partnerships with the Philippines or Vietnam aimed at strengthening regional security, consistent region-wide condemnation of Chinese actions, and commensurate economic penalties to slow Chinese dominance of the regional economy.But even as the United States strengthens its capabil-ities and resolve in the security sphere, it makes sense to facilitate China's continued integration with the international economy so as to blunt its historical fears of ''containment.'' For example, reforms in the invest -ment and capital market sectors (where U.S. expertise is unique) could be made a priority in bilateral discussions. The United States surely has the capabilities '' military, economic, and diplomatic '' to respond to the new and unprecedented challenge from a rising increasingly assertive China. But Asian allies and friends worry Washington does not have the will. That must now be demonstrated anew.EuropeEven in a world of shifting economic and political power, the transatlantic community remains both the foundation and the core of the liberal world order. This remains true even as Asia rises in strategic significance. Historically, most major U.S. foreign policy achieve -ments have been pursued in partnership with our closest allies in Europe. Many policymakers tend to forget the centrality of the transatlantic world, strategically, politically, and economically, because for so long the story in Europe had been one of remarkable success. Through the Cold War and then in the two decades that followed the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Europe has been a region of expanding peace and security, growing prosperity, and increasing democracy. To a greater extent than many realize, this success is being threatened now. Strategically it is threatened by growing Russian ambition and willingness to use force, including the invasion of neighboring countries. It is also threatened by British strategic retrenchment, French economic weakness, and historic German strategic ambivalence in the security sphere. Germany's emergence as primus inter pares in Europe offers both opportunities and challenges. Chancellor Angela Merkel should be applauded for her leadership in dealing with the migration crisis and the question of Greece's financial system, and also for helping to hold together the European sanctions regime in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, Germany has in recent years been less willing to engage in military operations, even those, such as Libya, which have been approved by the U.N. Security Council. The Germans have continued to play some role in Afghanistan and Iraq, holdovers from an earlier phase of greater German par -ticipation. But, the political consensus in Germany has shifted in ways that raise questions about the future. Politically, there has been backsliding on democratic values and the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. The Syrian refugee crisis has put unprecedented pressure on European institutions, and this, combined with further terrorist attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other radical Islamic groups, has strengthened right-wing parties across the continent, many of them funded by Russia. Add the danger of British departure from the European Union (EU) and the migration crisis and one can imagine significant ruptures in Europe that would have a very severe effect on the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the transatlantic community. The terrorist assault on Paris this past November and on Brussels in March were stark and painful reminders of Even as the United States strengthens its capabilities and resolve in the security sphere, it makes sense to facilitate China's continued integration with the international economy so as to blunt its historical fears of 'containment.'Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
9the many ways instability in the Greater Middle East can come home to countries in Europe. The mass shooting in California in early December 2015 also demonstrates why ISIS potentially poses a greater threat to the United States and its allies and partners than al Qaeda. With so many ISIS-inspired terrorists holding Western pass-ports, counterterrorism has become significantly more difficult. Nor can one discount the possibility that just as ISIS has emerged to compete with al Qaeda for lead-ership of the jihadi forces, there will be other groups seeking to take the mantle. All these factors will require a significant re-engage -ment by the United States to prevent further erosion and begin to reverse the present trends. The United States should prioritize the following key components of this re-engagement strategy: Act together with Europe to address the crisis in Syria and destroy ISIS and other dangerous groups. Europe has been shaken by the crisis that has spilled over from Syria and the Greater Middle East. No strength-ening of Europe, and of the transatlantic relationship, can occur if these problems are not addressed. This topic is covered in the Middle East section in greater detail. However, these crises have posed a key test of the cohesion and durability of the alliance that has long been the core of the liberal world order. Failure to meet these crises in a cooperative fashion could have a significant deleterious effect on the health and stability of that order.In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, Sinai, and San Bernadino, Europe and the United States will have to strengthen their counterterrorism cooperation. The two sides of the Atlantic have significantly enhanced their work in this area since 9/11, but work remains. They need to strengthen their law enforcement cooperation, enhance intelligence sharing, address border security issues, and come to grips with the roots of radicalization. Stabilize Ukraine and anchor it in Europe. The United States must provide Ukrainian armed forces with the training and equipment necessary to resist Russian-backed forces and Russian forces operating on Ukrainian territory. (That is not to suggest that Ukraine will ever be able to stand up to the full Russian military.) Just as critically, the United States and the EU need to provide sufficient economic assistance, both directly and through international lending institutions, to keep the Ukrainian economy afloat while simultaneously pressing the gov -ernment to reduce corruption and waste. Putin's strategy is to keep Ukraine in a constant state of instability in Over the past year, the European continent has faced a migration crisis unseen since World War II. In this photo, Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive by boat to the Greek island of Lesbos after a dangerous trek across the Mediterranean Sea. (Wikimedia Commons/Georgios Giannopoulos)@CNASDC
10the hopes that it will eventually fall under Russia's sway once more. The strategy of the United States and Europe must be to help Ukraine achieve political and economic stability, anchored in the West. Firmness and resolve on Ukraine will have the added benefit of deterring Russia from aggressive actions against other European nations, including those with which the United States has Article 5 commitments.Underwrite credible security guarantees to NATO allies on the frontlines with Russia. Given recent Russian behavior, it is no longer possible to ignore the possible challenge to NATO countries that border Russia. The Baltics in particular are vulnerable to both direct attack and the more complicated ''hybrid'' warfare that Russia has displayed in Ukraine. To provide reassurance to U.S. allies and also to deter Russian efforts to desta-bilize these nations, it is necessary to build upon the European Reassurance Initiative and establish a more robust U.S. force presence in appropriate central and eastern Europe countries, which should include a mix of permanently stationed forces, rotationally deployed forces, prepositioned equipment, access arrangements and a more robust schedule of military training and exercises. Such measures should not be seen as inconsis-tent with international law. On the contrary, they should be regarded as a fully justified, appropriate, and pro -portionate response to Russia's violation of the purpose of the NATO-Russia Founding Act. The United States should also work with both NATO and the EU to counter Russian influence-peddling and subversion using corrup -tion and illegal financial manipulation. Strengthen and modernize economic and resource cooperation. For all of Europe, west, east, and south, it is essential to pursue greater transatlantic economic integration and cooperation. Europe's continuing energy dependence on Russia is a particular vulnerability. It will take time to reduce that independence, but that is all the more reason serious efforts should begin now. With this in mind, it is essential that the TTIP be successfully negotiated and approved both by the U.S. Congress and by the European Union. Right now, progress toward an agreement has stalled. The next president, rather than regarding TTIP as one of the ''hard'' issues that might be best put off, needs to make it a top executive and congressional priority from the outset. In addition, both the United States and Europe need to build the necessary infrastructure to supply Europe with access to growing American liquefied natural gas supplies and oil. Meanwhile, it is necessary to move forward with and complete the non-Russian gas and oil pipelines (from Bulgaria to Greece, etc.). Restore capacity for European strategic leadership and cooperation. Europe has always functioned best when the three or four leading European powers worked together cooperatively, in partnership with the United States. In recent years, the traditional ''troika'' of Great Britain, Germany, and France has weakened consider -ably. British foreign and defense policies have weakened its leadership role in Europe and the world more gener -ally. Germany has been left in the uncomfortable position of providing not only economic but also political and strategic leadership in Europe. The United States should work to pull this ''troika'' back together, with the addition of Poland (assuming of course that its government demonstrates respect for the highest standards of demo -cratic governance), to provide strategic leadership within the European Union. For all that institution's shortcom-ings, the United States has an interest in the preservation and health of the EU. A strong and united Europe remains just as important today as it was in the aftermath of World War II when Dean Acheson worked so brilliantly to bring the European countries together. The United States has a particular interest in Britain remaining a strong and active player within the EU. A British departure would weaken Britain, Europe, and the transatlantic commu-nity. Among Britain's strengths, and one aspect of its value as an ally, has been its ability to play a leadership role in Europe, providing a transatlantic perspective that can sometimes be absent from European councils. A strong Britain in a strong Europe is a key American interest. American diplomacy must strive to do the hard work of maintaining not only an alliance but a vibrant, cohesive, and powerful transatlantic commu -nity. That means increasing the level and frequency of U.S. participation in high-level meetings even when a crisis does not exist. Such increased transatlantic dialogue should encom-pass the whole range of global strategic challenges. Whether or not Europe has a critical role to play or is threatened by every global crisis, it will help all of us if Europe and the United States share perspectives, knowledge, and consideration of the moral and strategic challenges they face around the world. If the two sides of the Atlantic hope to share responsibility for defending the liberal world order, they ought to have, as much as possible, a common understanding of what that entails. Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
11The Greater Middle EastDespite recent American misjudgments and failures in the Middle East, for which all recent administrations, including the present one, bear some responsibility, and despite the apparent intractability of many of the problems in the region, the United States has no choice but to engage itself fully in a determined, multi-year effort to find an acceptable resolution to the many crises tearing the region apart. The key point is that the dangers emanating from the Middle East, including both terrorism and the massive flow of refugees, are not containable. They must be addressed at the source, over many years, using a combination of local actors and American power and influence. ISISWith the attack on Paris, the Islamic State has now proven both its desire and its capability to carry out a large and complex terrorist attack in a major Western city, in a nation with one of the world's best police and counter-terror organizations. The idea that a dozen or more major American cities, as well as other European cities, can be protected simply by good intelligence and policing, without putting substantial additional pressure on ISIS and taking away the territory it controls, strains credulity. Despite well more than a year of coalition military efforts against ISIS, that terrorist organization still holds sway over substantial regions of Iraq and Syria, where the perpetrators of the Paris attacks were evidently trained and further radicalized. It has also established new footholds in a number of other countries, most significantly in Libya. We strongly believe that there is no alternative but to deny ISIS a safe sanctuary from which to operate.It is imperative, therefore, that the international effort against ISIS is scaled up substantially. The United States should be prepared to lead such an effort, the aim of which should be to uproot ISIS from its sanctuary. The anti-ISIS alliance should have a global strategy that synchronizes military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and diplomatic operations. It should involve other major powers from around the world, and as many local and regional forces on the ground as possible. The United States should show a new resolve by increasing significantly its military contribution across the board, including providing more unique air assets, additional intelligence assets and a larger contingent of special operation forces capable of identifying and destroying high value and other critical ISIS targets. SyriaThe crisis in Syria, which has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, is now spilling over that country's borders in a dramatic way, destabilizing neighboring countries in the Middle East and threatening the security and stability of Europe. The massive flows of refugees, measured in the millions, will become even more unmanageable if a political solution to the civil war ravaging Syria is not found sometime soon. Any such political solution must include the departure of Bashar al-Assad (but not necessarily all members of the ruling regime), since it is Assad's brutal repression of Syria's majority Sunni population that has created both the massive exodus and the increase in support for jihadist groups like ISIS. In our view, there can be no political solution to the Syrian civil war so long as the military balance continues to convince Assad he can remain in power. And as a result of Iran's shock troops and military equipment deployed to Syria, and the modern aircraft and other conventional forces Russia has now deployed, the military balance tilts heavily in favor of the Assad regime. Recent successes by the Southern Front along the Jordanian border and with Kurdish and Arab partners along the northern border with Turkey, while encouraging, do not change the overall picture. Indeed, Syrian government forces have regained considerable territory and momentum especially in and around Aleppo, primarily as a result of coordinated Russian-Syrian-Iranian operations backed by heavy and often indiscriminate Russian bombard-ment from the air. At a minimum, the inadequate efforts hitherto to arm, train, and protect a substantial Syrian opposition force must be completely overhauled and made a much higher priority. In the meantime, and in light of this grim reality, the United States, together with France and other allies, must employ the necessary military power, including an appropriately designed no-fly zone, to create a safe space in which Syrians can relocate without fear of being killed by Assad's forces and where moderate opposition It is imperative that the international effort against ISIS is scaled up substantially. The United States should be prepared to lead such an effort, the aim of which should be to uproot ISIS from its sanctuary.@CNASDC
12militias can arm, train, and organize. The United States can spearhead the necessary assistance and protection for this safe space in much the same way that it did for the Kurds in Northern Iraq after the first Gulf War. To complement these and other efforts, it is also essential to assist in the formation of a Sunni alternative to ISIS and the Assad regime.Taken together, some or all of these steps should make it possible over time to establish a more stable military balance, which in turn will enhance the prospect for diplomatic progress as well as improve EU security by stemming the exodus of refugees. Iran and Security in the Persian GulfImplementation of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States, the European Union, Russia, and China has started. Past disagreements notwithstanding, the wisest course is to adopt a hard-nosed enforcement strategy to ensure the maximum benefit possible from the agreement and to minimize any shortcomings. Such a strategy should combine rigorous enforcement of the nuclear accord with stronger efforts to counter Iran's destabilizing activities throughout the region, from its support to terrorist groups like Hezbollah to its efforts to sow instability in the Sunni Arab states. As a starting point, Iran's continued effort to mod-ernize its ballistic missile capabilities should not proceed without consequences. Existing law calls for sanctioning those responsible for modernization activities specif -ically prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions. The administration should demonstrate its resolve by continuing to impose such sanctions as necessary regard-less of Iranian threats to unravel the nuclear accord. In recent years, Iran, working with local Shiite allies, has gained significant influence in several Middle East countries. It is the primary backer of Bashar Assad in Syria, where it now deploys substantial military forces; it maintains strong ties with the Shiite-led government in Iraq; it provides weapons and support to Houthi rebels in Yemen; and it exercises substantial power in Lebanon through Hezbollah. With Russia's recent military inter -vention alongside Iran in support of the Assad regime in Damascus, Tehran's power has only increased further. In light of these destabilizing developments, the United States must adopt as a matter of policy the goal of defeating Iran's determined effort to dominate the Greater Middle East. To respond to this regional chal -lenge and to ensure an effective enforcement strategy for the nuclear agreement, the United States must strengthen its policy in several respects.Over the last five years, the crisis in Syria has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. The war has spilled over Syria's borders causing increased instability in the Greater Middle East. In October 2014 , a coalition airstrike targets ISIS forces in the Syrian city of Kobane. (Orlok / Shutterstock.com)Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
13First, Tehran should understand that Washington is not expecting the nuclear agreement to lead to a changed relationship with the government of Iran. The nuclear agreement should not be linked to Tehran's expecta-tion of some kind of d(C)tente or broader opening to the United States. If Iran chooses to change its dangerous policies toward the region, Washington will welcome such changes. But that is not part of the accord, and the prospect of such change will not affect U.S. determi-nation to guard against any violation of the agreement, large or small. Second, Washington's declaratory policy should reflect the fact that the United States is now, and will always be, determined to deter Iran from becoming a full-fledged nuclear weapon state. This is not a partisan matter. Whether Republican or Democrat, the next pres-ident of the United States will not hesitate to respond with military power should Iran attempt to obtain a nuclear weapon. Third, the United States should adopt a comprehen-sive strategy, employing an appropriate mix of military, economic, and diplomatic resources, to undermine and defeat Iran's hegemonic ambitions in the Greater Middle East. Whether in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, or Bahrain, Tehran's advances and longer-term ambitions should be regarded as a threat to stability that it is in the U.S. interest to counter and deter. The next administration must make abundantly clear that it has no interest in pursuing an off-shore balancing strategy, such as the ''new equilibrium'' some have suggested, which envisages a significant U.S. military drawdown from the region. On the contrary, the Persian Gulf should be deemed a region of vital interest to the security of the United States. As such, U.S. military forces in the region should be sufficient to ensure the security of Gulf allies and the Strait of Hormuz against potential Iranian aggression. At the same time, Gulf allies should have access to sufficient defense articles and services to deter Tehran even if U.S. forces are not present or imme -diately available to assist. We also reject Iran's attempt to blame others for regional tensions it is aggravating, as well as its public campaign to demonize the government of Saudi Arabia. That is not to excuse past activities of key allies like Saudi Arabia that have facilitated the rise of jihadi terrorist organizations and their supporters. On the contrary, as a consequence of their financing of efforts to spread Wahhabism to mosques and madrassas all over the Islamic world, Saudi elites, official and private, bear much responsibility for the growth of extremist ideol-ogies that promote intolerance and Jihadi terrorism. While we applaud the Saudi law enforcement and intelligence work that has been directed against ISIS, al Qaeda, and others in recent years, the Saudi leader-ship should nevertheless devote equivalent efforts and resources to counter all the groups its support helped to radicalize in the first place. Fourth, it is important for a new administration to make absolutely clear that the U.S. commitment to the security of the State of Israel is unshakeable now and in the future. In light of Iran's growing influence and the increase in regional tensions, it is necessary and appropriate to support the most modern ballistic missile defense systems for Israel as well as to provide other defense and intelligence capabilities to ensure Israel's qualitative edge in conventional arms. With respect to U.S. diplomatic efforts, we continue to believe that a two-state solution remains the best and safest outcome for both Israelis and Palestinians '' and also the best hope for greater stability in the region. The United States can play an important role in assisting the two parties to move forward toward such an agree -ment, but only when both sides are ready, willing, and able to negotiate in good faith and to make and abide by the necessary compromises. Fifth, several of the major Arab nations are suffering crises of governance and legitimacy. The Egyptian government's broad crackdown on all opponents, jour -nalists, and dissenting voices is a recipe for significant instability and violence. Its failure to open and liberalize the economy only compounds the risk. Other mostly Sunni Muslim states in the region are also showing an inability to adjust to a new reality in which individuals, increasingly connected with each other and with the wider world, are demanding greater respect for their autonomy and dignity. The forces that generated the Arab Awakening are still churning. Whether those forces are channeled into the healthy and productive growth of freer societies or into rising radicalism and violence depends in large part on the effectiveness and openness of governance. Therefore, the United States must do more to encourage the governments in the region to respect their people, including in particular the rights of women, and to provide the basic foundations for more open economies that offer hope and opportunity.@CNASDC
14The Military, National Security, and Defense Spending The U.S. military provides the strategic foundation of the international order, preserving peace, keeping inter-national waterways and trade routes open, defending international rules on the use of and access to space, and deterring aggression. The United States remains the primary provider of security in three regions of the world, Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, and this is not going to change. Therefore, the resources we devote to the nation's defense must be sufficient to meet these requirements. If there are better and cheaper ways to accomplish these objectives, we should adapt. But even if we were able to implement the most far-reaching defense reforms that have been proposed, we are not likely to free up sufficient resources within current budget proposals to meet the challenges we face. Nor should the United States solve the resource challenges by moving to a strategy of ''off-shore balancing,'' as some suggest. That is a recipe for uncertainty, miscalculation and ultimately more conflict and considerably more expense. Although the U.S. military has no peer in the world today, a number of pressing challenges threaten America's ability to maintain its military superiority in the future. Funding uncertainty rooted in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resulted in defense spending caps and an over-reliance on continuing resolutions to fund the Department of Defense, has been a focal point of defense debates for the last several years. At times, the outcry about austerity has eclipsed the need for a rational conversation about how to deal with its impli-cations. Still, it remains essential to strike a bipartisan budget deal that permanently removes the sequester mechanism, provides predictability and a return to the normal budget process, and a substantially higher budget top-line that is moving in the direction of the recom-mendations contained in the 2014 bipartisan National Defense Panel report. Bipartisan budget agreements in 2013 and 2015 have provided some breathing room as well as the hope of returning to a more normal budgeting process. It is possible, but by no means guaranteed, that the overall size of the budget could begin to grow modestly in the next administration. However, budgetary fixes alone cannot ensure that the U.S. military remains the best fighting force in the world '' policymakers must also address a number of other challenges whether or not the budget grows. Above all, the United States needs to ensure that it can deter and fight the wars of today and tomorrow. From a resurgent Russia to a rising China that is challenging the rules-based international order to chaos and the struggle for power in the Middle East, the United States needs a force that can flex across several different mission sets and prevail. U.S. partners and allies around the world are also seeking reassurance, often in the form of military engagement and assistance. Again, addressing budget challenges is key. But the military must also explore new ideas for overseas posture, rotational deployments, and basing to deploy existing forces more effectively and sustain them for longer. Working with allied and partner nations to improve their militaries and enable them to shoulder a greater portion of the burden, while hardly a panacea, should also be a key part of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with shared security challenges.The proliferation of advanced technologies and anti-access, area denial (A2/AD) strategies, combined with a willingness to utilize ''gray zone'' and hybrid tactics, enables China and Russia to pose increasingly potent challenges to U.S. security interests. The defense budgets of both nations are significantly smaller than America's. But U.S. interests require the American military to be deployed globally rather than generally concentrated in one region like the militaries of China and Russia. The adversary's job of countering interven-tion is also easier than the U.S. task of projecting power half a world away. Maintaining the U.S. advantage over peer adversaries will require innovative approaches to defense strategy and disciplined execution of the defense program. The goal should be a balanced force capable of operating decisively across all domains: land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. The Department of Defense's third offset strategy may provide some answers, but greater clarity for how those plans and investments translate into reality is needed. DoD needs to prioritize investments today Addressing budget challenges is key. But the military must also explore new ideas for overseas posture, rotational deployments, and basing to deploy existing forces more effectively and sustain them for longer.Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
15that can deliver cutting-edge technologies a decade from now. DoD must also reform the procurement process so that new technologies can be bought in the numbers and at the speed required to meet contingen-cies across the globe '' in short, quality must be balanced with quantity. Meeting the security challenge from advanced military opponents will also require innova-tion in operational concepts and tactical approaches. Institutional momentum alone will not be enough to generate a future force capable of defeating adversaries whose strategies seek to undermine U.S. strengths and exploit current weaknesses.People are the U.S. military's greatest asset, and building a force ready to fight the wars of today and tomorrow will require revamping a personnel system that in many ways remains locked in a bygone era. Changes to the personnel system should create com-pensation and retirement packages that reward talent while also providing additional flexibility beyond the current ''20-years-or-nothing'' retirement system for military personnel. In addition to retaining talent while reforming ballooning personnel costs, new career paths and professional development opportunities should ensure the military can recruit and retain service members with the skills necessary for a technologically advanced fighting force. Building a DoD and military services that can meet these challenges cannot be done without fundamen-tally reforming the defense enterprise. This reality applies even if budget caps are lifted or eliminated and defense spending grows. Slimming headquarters and overhead, reforming acquisition processes, and adopting cutting-edge business practices will allow for more effective support to the warfighter. It will also rebalance the ''tooth-to-tail'' ratio. Undertaking these reforms could free up several billion dollars. And it will slow the cost growth in areas that are currently con-suming funds urgently needed elsewhere. Business as usual will mean the buying power of defense dollars will continue to erode rapidly. Forging a common vision for the role the U.S. military plays today, and the role it will need to play in the future, will be essential to bolstering American power in the years ahead. The foundation for that vision should be a recognition that the military tool has many uses '' not only kinetic actions such as conducting airstrikes, but also activities and deployments calcu-lated to bolster deterrence, signal resolve, or otherwise underwrite U.S. diplomacy. The use of force by the United States since the Cold War, largely unchallenged by near-peer competitor states, has allowed our familiarity with signaling and deterrence to atrophy. Force does not replace diplomacy, but can usefully supplement it. Another foundational notion is the need to nest the military among all the tools of American power along with diplomacy, development, intelligence, economics, and soft power. These tools have suffered from inadequate resources, too. Their cost is comparably minimal while the benefits they bring are often significant. A strong military, combined with these other tools, cannot solve international problems in isola-tion, but it remains the sine qua non if the United States is to play its vital role in supporting and furthering the present liberal international order.Improving the Efficiency of the Foreign Policy Apparatus for a Complex WorldAs the recommendations of this group demonstrate, the modern world has generated a set of demands for stepped-up U.S. involvement in a large number of urgent crises, many of which will require Washington to take on an indispensable, leading role if success is to be assured. Similarly, a successful strategy to preserve and strengthen the liberal international order will also entail subtle management of critical relation-ships with a rising and increasingly influential China, as well as historic allies in Asia and Europe, and other key international partners. The EAP working group consists of former officials from Republican and Democratic administrations, all of whom are struck by the rising demands on Washington's foreign policy apparatus. To implement even a few of the elements of this report will only increase such pressures. Unfortunately, the tendency of recent administrations to concentrate decisionmaking authority in fewer and fewer hands, and increasingly in the White House and away from the major foreign policy agencies, has made this problem especially acute. Ever since President John F. Kennedy first elevated and empowered the assistant for national security affairs with the appointment of McGeorge Bundy in 1961, most presidents have delegated a larger and larger share of decisionmaking power to their White House staff. In recent years, the size and importance of the National Security Council staff have grown to the point that the recommendations of this report would founder on the altar of White House time pressure long before the policies were tested internationally. As long as power continues to be centralized in this way, an across-the-board strategy of extending @CNASDC
16American power to Europe, Asia, and the Greater Middle East along the lines suggested in this report will be extremely difficult to achieve, especially as new crises and unexpected events are sure to arise. Managing a more assertive China, strengthening deterrence in Europe, and formulating and executing an enforcement strategy for the nuclear deal with Iran, while simulta-neously working to defeat Tehran's regional ambitions, just to name a few of the necessary tasks, is beyond the capabilities of any small number of men and women, no matter how capable.To address this bureaucratic ''bandwidth'' problem, the next president should work with his or her national security advisor to distribute power and responsibility to the agencies charged with carrying out foreign and defense policy. He or she must choose for secretaries of state, treasury and defense people he or she trusts to make and execute policies. Within these departments, moreover, policymakers at the appropriate levels below the secretary must be empowered to formulate and carry out policies under the overall guidance of the president and his or her cabinet officers. At the State Department, in particular, the regional assistant secretaries of state need to be given the power and authority necessary so that when they travel overseas they are regarded as the key administration pol-icymakers and spokespeople for their regions. This will help address the problem that has become acute in recent years, namely the demand in all three major regions of the world, as well as in Latin America and Africa, for more ''face time'' with U.S. officials. Neither the president nor the secretaries of state and defense can be in four places at once, attending all the many diplomatic and security meetings held every year in Asia, for instance, while also maintaining the ongoing critical relationships with allies in Europe and the Middle East and elsewhere.Bipartisanship: Present and FutureThe recent bipartisan agreement to reform the International Financial Institutions and to re-autho -rize the Export-Import Bank provides encouraging evidence that the executive branch and Congress, even if led by different political parties, can agree on actions to extend America's power and advance widely shared foreign policy goals. Indeed, when Congress, in partic -ular the leadership of key congressional committees (Intelligence, Foreign Relations, and Armed Services), chooses to work together, the overall effect is a markedly stronger America on the international stage. The perception of a united American leadership also serves as a powerful deterrent to U.S. adversaries and a source of assurance and admiration to friends and allies. This broader effect should not be underestimated, and one can only hope for more such bipartisan moments in the coming years, once the presidential election is behind us. Despite the difficulty and the likelihood of substantive disagreements between the branches, it is worthwhile and wise for the executive branch to seek bipartisan compromises reflecting the will of Congress on major policy issues. In that regard, one important area of U.S. foreign policy in which bipartisanship has been the rule, rather than the exception, is the strategic outreach toward India following the Cold War, which has yielded a growing and valuable partnership. That effort, begun by President George H. W. Bush, expanded by President Bill Clinton, extended further by President George W. Bush, and con-tinued to the present day by President Barack Obama, is noteworthy not only for the bipartisanship it entails but for the benefits it has accrued to American security inter -ests in South Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Another strategy with the potential for sustained bipartisan support lies in North America. As articulated by Robert Zoellick and General David Petraeus in a 2014 Foreign Affairs article, the three democracies that make up North America should be seen as a ''continental base'' whose strengthening would be beneficial in its own right and also enable a significant extension of American power around the world. We see substantial merit in their suggested approach, which would tap into the demographic, geo-economic and geo-strategic advantages of a more formal arrange -ment between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In particular, the proposed strategic investments in North American energy, infrastructure, and border controls would appear to be highly beneficial.The modern world has generated a set of demands for stepped-up U.S. involvement in a large number of urgent crises, many of which will require Washington to take on an indispensable, leading role if success is to be assured.Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
17Policymakers have spent much of the last 10 years understandably focused on the conflicts and challenges arising out of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although we have no doubt that greater efforts are needed to ensure the security and stability of both Iraq and Afghanistan, we have chosen to focus on other high priority areas that have not been given as much attention in recent times. In addition, and despite the manifest importance to the United States of continued stability, prosperity, and democracy in Latin America and the recent explosion of economic and political opportunity in Africa, this report's recommendations are directed toward other urgent policy challenges. Specifically, we are convinced that an opportunity exists for building bipartisan support for new, more effective and comprehensive approaches to U.S. policy in Asia, Europe, and the Greater Middle East. As former government officials from both parties, we are aware that achieving success in foreign policy is no easy task. The historical record, for the United States as for all great powers, has included many failures, and even the successes are often only partial. This is the nature of international affairs. Not only are solutions to problems elusive, but solving one set of problems generally leads to a new set of problems. Even the great victory in World War II led to the division of Europe and four decades of Cold War. The peaceful end of the Cold War, which brought an end to international communism and gave new life to democracies, has now given birth in turn to a new era of geopolitical competition and the rise of inter -national terrorism. There has been a recurrent tendency among Americans, including American political leaders and policymakers, to believe that the end of a crisis or a war or the solution of some international problem ought to bring an end to the need for extensive engagement by the United States. On the contrary, the task of pre -serving a world order is both difficult and never-ending. Success, when it comes, is rarely permanent but must be reinforced and built upon. Failures will be frequent, but the right response is not to retreat. Instead, we should learn, retool, and prepare to do a better job with the next challenge. To engage in foreign policymaking is to learn to exercise humility.But there is also much for Americans to be proud of. For all the failures, partial successes, uncertain outcomes, and mixed results, the overall accomplishments of American foreign policy these past seven decades have been remarkable. That is why the United States must now again summon the will to lead, to extend American power with ambition tempered by the wisdom of experi-ence and the limits of our resources. The international order the United States played the leading role in creating has been, for all its flaws, without parallel in the history of humankind. The great task of our time is therefore to preserve, adapt and extend that order as best we can, taking account of the limits to our resources and our wisdom, but above all, understanding the high price we will all pay if we fail to sustain a leading role in this enduring struggle.The United States must now again summon the will to lead, to extend American power with ambition tempered by the wisdom of experience and the limits of our resources.In today's complex security environment, U.S . citizens are debating American engagement and leadership overseas. Here, audience members wave flags from the National Mall during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington on January 21, 2013 . (U.S . Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Mark Fayloga)@CNASDC
18Appendix DINNER ONE , HISTORY, JANUARY 13, 2015 Melvyn Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of History, University of Virginia Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Relations, Council on Foreign Relations DINNER TWO, EUROPE , MARCH 2 , 2015 Constanze Stelzenm¼ller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution Craig Kennedy, Former President, German Marshall Fund of the United States Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State DINNER THREE , ASIA , APRIL 27, 2015Robert Zoellick, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard UniversityKurt Campbell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Asia Group, LLC; Co-Founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, Center for a New American SecurityEly Ratner, Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Office of the Vice President'* DINNER FOUR, INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY, MAY 15, 2015Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia GroupLael Brainard, Member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve SystemCaroline Atkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, National Security Council'*DINNER FIVE , MIDDLE EAST, JULY 20, 2015Martin Indyk, Executive Vice President, The Brookings Institution Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign RelationsVali Nasr, Dean, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins UniversityDennis Ross, Counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East PolicyDINNER SIX, DEFENSE POLICY, OCTOBER 26, 2015Eric Edelman, Counselor, Center for Strategic and Budgetary AssessmentsAdmiral James ''Sandy'' Winnefeld, Jr., USN (Ret.), Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Department of DefenseMich¨le Flournoy, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Center for a New American SecurityChris Brose, Staff Director, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee '*'Reflects this individual's title and affiliation at the time of the dinner.Extending American Power | May 2016 Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order
About the CTpreand the public with innoelethe naCNAKCNAnon-partisan. CNAall viet\251 20All rights r115t. 20 | f20 | inf | cnas.
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Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:29
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Hillary Clinton Confronted On Regime Change At Town Hall
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:27
Last night, at yet another presidential town hall for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was confronted by MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on her foreign policy record and ideology.
Using Clinton's record of voting for the Iraq War and leading the charge for US intervention in Libya, Matthews asked Clinton why she was such a strong supporter of regime change.
Clinton responded by dishonestly claiming that Senator Bernie Sanders had supported regime change in Iraq by voting for a resolution in Congress condemning the Hussein government years prior to the war '' a new and thoroughly desperate attempt to create a false equivalence between the two candidates. Clinton tried something similar with Libya.
Former Secretary Clinton also claimed her mistake with the Iraq War had been trusting President George W. Bush, saying ''I believed President George W. Bush when he said 'We are going to let the inspectors finish the job.''' According to her, that trust was the result of Bush supporting Clinton's efforts to rebuild New York after 9/11.
Matthews, likely channeling the audience, pushed past the smoke screen and asked Clinton why she was so in favor of regime change as a policy given that it has historically backfired on the US:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: We do you keep wanting to do these things of regime change? What's in your thinking that says 'The United States government has some right and duty to go to the Middle Eastern countries and knock-off their leadership'? I think you are more aggressive on knocking-off [Syrian President] Bashar Al-Assad too.
CLINTON: Well, let me tell you what I believe and then people can make their own judgement. I've said Iraq was a mistake. I've said what I thought the strategy was, which was to let the inspectors finish and find out, and put a different kind of pressure on Saddam Hussein, was not allowed to go forward. That we known.
Libya was very different. I think conflating the two does a disservice completely.
MATTHEWS: The principle of regime change '' what do you make of it? Constantly trying to knock-off their leaders.
CLINTON: No, that is just an overstatement that doesn't really reflect the situation.
MATTHEWS: Don't you support knocking-off Assad, Bashar Assad?
CLINTON: I think given the blood he has spilled that would be a good outcome but Americans aren't going to do it. That's not us doing it. In Libya you had a dictator, who had American blood on his hands, remember Reagan tried to knock him off.
Clinton went on to explain that Libya was as personal to America's European and Middle East allies as Afghanistan was to the US and claimed that the US provided support and let the Europeans run the war. Clinton then tried to spin Libya into a partial success story, saying the country conducted two ''free and fair'' elections, where people voted for ''moderates.'' She argued the US had to continue to ''support the Libyan people'' in developing a democracy and, furthermore, that the US ''did not lose a single person'' in the fighting.
In other words, Clinton offered a near-identical rhetorical justification for regime change and nation building in Libya as was offered for Iraq. She has learned nothing.
Matthews responded by trying to broaden the question in hopes of finally getting an answer. He asked what Clinton thought of the history of US-backed regime change. Matthews cited US-backed overthrows in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Congo, Dominican Republic, and South Vietnam, and asked Clinton, ''Should we be doing that kind of thing, knocking off leaders?''
HILLARY CLINTON: In the vast majority of cases the answer is no, but there is always these historical games you can play. Somebody could have assassinated Hitler before he took over Germany, would that have been a good thing or not? You can not paint with a broad brush. Individual situations, and most of the ones you named, are ones that I think in retrospect did not have a very defensible kind of calculation behind them.
But I think it's a mistake to say you can't ever prevent war. You can't ever save people. You know if there had been a way to go after the leaders of the massacres in Rwanda to stop that before 800,000 people were killed. We do, target terrorists. We target them because we believe they are plotting against us.
While the conflation of terrorists with heads of state (including democratically-elected ones) is problematic, this exchange does give a rather detailed view of Hillary Clinton's foreign policy views. She is, to the core, a liberal imperialist well in-line with the neoconservative agenda''which is why many neoconservatives are backing her.
A vote for Hillary Clinton is now, without a doubt, a vote for more wars.
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Hillary Clinton's Project For A New American Century
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:25
Here we go again. Earlier this year, some were surprised to see Project For The New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and longtime DC fixture Robert Kagan endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.
They shouldn't have been. As is now clear from a policy paper [PDF] published last month, the neoconservatives are going all-in on Hillary Clinton being the best vessel for American power in the years ahead.
The paper, titled ''Expanding American Power,'' was published by the Center for a New American Security, a Democratic Party-friendly think tank co-founded and led by former Undersecretary of Defense Mich¨le Flournoy. Flournoy served in the Obama Administration under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the next secretary of defense, should Hillary Clinton become president.
The introduction to Expanding American Power is written by the aforementioned Robert Kagan and former Clinton Administration State Department official James Rubin. The paper itself was prepared in consultation with various defense and national security intellectuals over the course of six dinners. Among the officials includes those who signed on to PNAC letters calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, such as Elliot Abrams, Robert Zoellick, Craig Kennedy, Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross, and Flournoy herself, who signed on to a PNAC letter in 2005 calling for more ground troops in Iraq.
The substance of the document is about what one would expect from an iteration of PNAC. The paper cites a highly revisionist history of post-World War II American policymaking, complete with a celebration of America's selfless motives for every action. Left out is any mention of overthrowing democratically elected and popular governments for US business, or the subsequent blowback for such actions in Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
For the neocons and liberal interventionists at the Center for a New American Security, the United States has always acted for the benefit of all.
The paper primarily focuses on the economy and defense budget, and American security interests in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Supporting the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are considered the highest priority, as they will bind the main drivers of the US-led ''liberal world order'''--the US and Europe'--closer together.
According to the paper, ''Even in a world of shifting economic and political power, the transatlantic community remains both the foundation and the core of the liberal world order.'' In other words, the West must maintain control of the planet, for the good of all, of course.
Part of the European concerns are a rise in nationalist sentiment in eastern Europe and the United Kingdom, for which the paper blames Russia, even bizarrely claiming that Russian funding is the cause of the disunity within the European Union'--a claim without foundation, especially in the UK's case.
The revisionist history continues, as the paper makes an astonishingly absurd claim on the US role in Asia, stating, ''U.S. leadership has been indispensable in ensuring a stable balance of power in Asia the past 70 years.'' No mention of the calamitous US war in Vietnam or its reciprocal effects in the killing fields of Cambodia. Nor is the US role in the genocide in East Timor dispensed with anywhere.
Then we come to the Middle East, where things really get slippery. The paper breezes past the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a sorry, not sorry statement: ''Despite recent American misjudgments and failures in the Middle East, for which all recent administrations, including the present one, bear some responsibility, and despite the apparent intractability of many of the problems in the region, the United States has no choice but to engage itself fully in a determined, multi-year effort to find an acceptable resolution to the many crises tearing the region apart.''
And with that, the paper demands regime change in Syria and that ''Any such political solution must include the departure of Bashar al-Assad (but not necessarily all members of the ruling regime), since it is Assad's brutal repression of Syria's majority Sunni population that has created both the massive exodus and the increase in support for jihadist groups like ISIS.'' Left out is the US role in destabilizing Iraq and arming jihadist rebels in Syria.
The paper goes on to regurgitate alarmingly facile claims about regional tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia that could have been written by the government of Saudi Arabia itself, such as, ''We also reject Iran's attempt to blame others for regional tensions it is aggravating, as well as its public campaign to demonize the government of Saudi Arabia.'' It also states that ''the United States must adopt as a matter of policy the goal of defeating Iran's determined effort to dominate the Greater Middle East.''
If that appears like a commitment to more reckless regime change in the Middle East, that's because it is.
But the overriding concern of the entire paper, with all its declarations about bipartisanship and universal altruism, is a concern with the American people being increasingly apprehensive towards the empire, and that concern leading to further defense budget cuts and unwillingness to support adventurism abroad.
The authors of the paper hope an improved economy can help change the current situation. ''Ensuring that the domestic economy is lifting up the average American is still the best way to ensure support for global engagement and also contribute to a stronger, more influential America,'' they write, though they see no end in sight, regardless of public support, claiming, ''the task of preserving a world order is both difficult and never-ending.''
That this is what a think tank closely associated with Hillary Clinton is openly claiming should be concerning to all. While such analysis and declarations no doubt please the Center for a New American Security's defense contractor donors, the American people are less-than-enthused with perpetual war for perpetual peace.
Former Secretary Clinton already affirmed her belief in regime change during the campaign, but now it looks like those waiting in the wings to staff her government are anxious to wet their bayonets.
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Hillary's State Dept. Blocked Investigation into Orlando Killer's Mosque >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:17
Hillary Clinton's State Dept. shut down an investigation into the mosque Orlando killer Omar Mir Siddique Mateen attended because it ''unfairly singled out Muslims.''
The Fort Pierce Islamic Center, where Mateen worshipped several times a week, was under investigation by both the FBI and DHS as early as 2011 for ties to a worldwide Islamic movement known as Tablighi Jamaal which was linked to several terrorist organizations.
But the investigation was shut down under pressure from the Clinton-ran State Dept. and DHS's Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office out of fear of offending Muslims, according to recently retired DHS agent Philip Haney.
''The FBI had opened cases twice on him, and yet they found no evidence to charge him; it means they didn't go through the same basic, analytical process that I went through over a three- or four-hour period in which I was able to link the mosque to my previous cases,'' he told WND on Sunday.
In other words, the FBI had limited options at stopping Mateen because it was ordered to back off its investigation into his mosque.
Both Clinton and the Obama administration have a history of enabling Islamic terrorism.
In 2012, Clinton's State Dept. was backing al-Qaeda in Iraq, which morphed into ISIS, and other Islamic extremist groups as a proxy army to topple Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.
''The Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,'' a leaked memo between her State Dept. and the Pentagon stated. ''The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support [this] opposition, while Russia, China and Iran 'support the [Assad] regime.'''
This secret document confirms that Clinton's State Dept. '' and the Obama administration in general '' were directly responsible for the rise of ISIS, which is now targeting the West.
The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, confirmed the document's importance.
''I don't know that [the Obama administration] turned a blind eye [to ISIS], I think it was a decision; I think it was a willful decision,'' he said.
Clinton even admitted some responsibility.
'''...The United States had '' to be fair '' we had helped create the problem we're now fighting,'' she said in an interview with Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren. ''When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, we had this brilliant idea we were going to come to Pakistan and create a force on Mujahideen, equip them with Stinger missiles and everything else to go after the Soviets inside Afghanistan.''
''Now you look back [and] the people we're fighting today, we were supporting in the fight against the Soviets.''
Additionally, on Oct. 1 President Obama authorized a shipment of guns to ISIS-linked militants in Syria '' the exact same day he demanded more gun control in response to Umpqua Community College shooting in Ore.
''The approval came at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday,'' CNN reported at the time. '''...The President also emphasized to his team that the U.S. would continue to support the Syrian opposition as Russia enters the war-torn country.''
But as his administration admitted in the 2012 leaked memo, the ''Syrian opposition'' is predominantly jihadist militants '' just like the Orlando killer.
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Hillary Clinton's State Department Armed Saudi Arabia to the Teeth - FPIF
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:14
While Saudi Arabia and Boeing poured cash into the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton's State Department approved enormous sales of Boeing fighter jets to the kingdom.
(Image courtesy of CodePink)
As Hillary Clinton emerges as the front-runner for the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, she's receiving increased scrutiny for her years as secretary of state '-- and in particular her hawkish foreign policy. Many critics are focusing especially on her long relationship with Saudi Arabia.
On Christmas Eve in 2011, Hillary Clinton and her closest aides celebrated a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighter jets, manufactured by U.S.-based Boeing Corporation, to Saudi Arabia. In a chain of enthusiastic emails, an aide exclaimed that it was ''not a bad Christmas present.''
These are the very fighter jets the Saudis have been using to bomb Yemen since March 2015. A year later, at least 2,800 Yemeni civilians have been killed, mostly by airstrikes '-- and there's no end in sight.
The indiscriminate Saudi strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers. They've hit the Chamber of Commerce, facilities supported by M(C)decins Sans Fronti¨res (also known as Doctors Without Borders), a wedding hall, and a center for the blind. The attacks have also targeted ancient heritage sites in Yemen. International human rights organizations are saying that the Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes.
During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton made weapons transfers to the Saudi government a ''top priority,'' according to a new report published in The Intercept. And even while Clinton's State Department was deeply invested in getting weapons to Saudi Arabia, the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the weapons manufacturer Boeing. Christmas presents were being gifted all around.
Despite the brutal attacks on Yemen and its egregious domestic human rights violations, Saudi Arabia remains the number one U.S. ally in the Arab world. While the original U.S. interest was to secure Saudi's vast oil reserves, today only 10 percent of oil used in the United States comes from the kingdom. Instead, U.S. dependence on Saudi oil has been superseded by U.S. dependence on weapons sales.
The most recent Saudi weapons deal was made in November 2015, a sale worth $1.29 billion that included 22,000 smart and general purpose bombs, and over 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits to convert older bombs into precision-guided weapons using GPS signals. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency justified the sales, saying they helped ''sustain strong military-to-military relationships between the United States and Saudi Arabia.''
It's hard to exaggerate the enormity and high-tech nature of Saudi weapons purchases. Indeed, the deals this decade constitute the most enormous military sales in history.
According to a White House press release in 2014, ''The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest U.S. Foreign Military Sales customer, with active and open cases valued at approximately $97 billion, as Saudi forces build capabilities across the full spectrum of regional challenges.'' The weapons include F-15 bombers, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, missile defense systems, missiles, bombs, armored vehicles, and related equipment and services. Weapons manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and McDonnell Douglas have been unapologetically pushing these sales to offset military spending cuts in the United States and Europe.
While the U.S. government continues to provide massive amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia, on February 25 the European Union took the extraordinary step of voting for an EU-wide arms embargo to Saudi Arabia. While non-binding, it's a powerful statement that will put pressure on all European governments.
Already, government committees in the United Kingdom have urged Prime Minister David Cameron to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia; Germany has pledged to review all future arms sales to the kingdom; and in Belgium the government has denied an export license to ship weapons to the country. Canadian activists are also pressuring their government in light of Canada's $15 billion transaction with Riyadh for weaponized armored vehicles, the biggest manufacturing export deal ever struck in Canada.
U.S. activists must follow the example of our European allies and demand that our government stop supplying the Saudi rulers with weapons to bomb civilians in Yemen and repress its own citizens.
Jordan says hack led to posting of 'false news' that Saudi funds Clinton | Middle East Eye
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:10
This story was corrected on Tuesday 14 June to reflect a statement from the Petra News Agency that said it did not delete a posting on its website that quoted Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as having said Saudi Arabia has been a major funder of Hillary Clinton.
Jordan's official news agency said on Tuesday that it was hacked when, over the weekend, a story briefly appeared on its website that said Saudi Arabia is a major funder of Hillary Clinton's campaign to become the next president of the United States.
On Sunday a report appeared on the Petra News Agency website that included what were described as exclusive comments from Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The comments included a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate's campaign.
The report did not remain on the website for long, although the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs later re-published an Arabic version of it, which quoted Prince Mohammed as having said Saudi Arabia had provided with ''full enthusiasm'' an undisclosed amount of money to Clinton.
''Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both Republican and Democratic Party of America and in America current election also provide with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton's election even though some events in the country don't have a positive look to support the king of a woman (sic) for presidency,'' the report quoted Prince Mohammed as having said.
On Monday a spokesperson for American public relations firm the Podesta Group contacted MEE to say that they work with the Saudi Royal Court and to request a correction to our earlier story that said the Jordanian news agency had deleted the quotes from Prince Mohammed.
Senior global communications specialist Will Bohlen - who, prior to joining Podesta, was chief researcher for a best-selling history of Bill Clinton's presidency - sent a link to a clarification issued by the Petra News Agency which said it was "totally false and untrue" that they had published then deleted the quotes from Prince Mohammed about funding the Clinton campaign.
"A technical failure on Petra 's website occurred for a few minutes on Sunday evening, 12 June 2016," the Jordanian news agency said. "Protection systems at the agency as well as the technical department noticed that and therefore, they suspended the transmission system and the electronic site and moved to the alternative website.
"Later, it became clear that the technical failure that occurred was an attempt to hack the agency's transmission system and its website. The agency was surprised to see some media outlets as well as the social media publishing false news that were attributed to Petra. They said that Petra transmitted a news item related to the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and later deleted this news item. This is totally false and untrue."
It is illegal in the United States for foreign countries to try and influence the outcome of elections by funding candidates.
Bohlen said he could confirm that Saudi Arabia has provided no funding to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Links between Saudi Arabia and the Clinton family are well reported.
The Podesta Group was initially contracted last year by the Centre for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court to be paid $200,000 a month to provide ''public relations services'' to Riyadh.
The Podesta Group was founded in 1988 by brothers John and Tony Podesta. John Podesta is the chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign to become the next US president.
Saudi Arabia has donated millions to the Clinton family charity. In 2008, it was revealed that the Gulf kingdom had donated between $10m and $25m to the Clinton Foundation, a charity set up by Hillary's husband and former US President Bill Clinton.
Hillary Clinton's campaign did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
The alleged hacking of the Petra News Agency website took place on the eve of Prince Mohammed making an official visit to the United States.
The Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday that the senior royal was due to fly to Washington where he will meet officials to discuss US-Saudi ties.
He will remain in the American capital until 16 June, when he will travel to New York for meetings with financial companies, the Saudi Gazette reported.
Prince Mohammed is to discuss regional issues with American officials, and he will hold talks with the financial companies about his vision for diversifying Saudi Arabia's economy away from oil dependency.
Saudi Arabia Has Funded 20% Of Hillary's Presidential Campaign, Saudi Crown Prince Claims | Zero Hedge
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:07
In what may be the pinnacle of hypocrisy, moments ago Hillary Clinton, while speaking live on national security and addressing the Orlando shooting took some time from her constant bashing of the Second Amendment and calling for a ban on assault rifles, to say some less than kind words about Saudi Arabia whom it accused of supporting radical organizations. This is what she said:
The third area that demands attention is preventing radicalization and countering efforts by ISIS and other international terrorist networks to recruit in the United States and Europe. For starters, it is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations. And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism. We also have to use all our capabilities to counter jihadist propaganda online. This is something that I spend a lot of time on at the State Department.
There is nothing wrong with that statement, as it is the whole truth - Saudi Arabia's involvement in supporting terrorism stretches from Sept 11 all the way through to ISIS - however, where there is a big, and potentially law-breaking, problem is what Jordan's official news agency, Petra News Agency, reported on Sunday citing the Saudi crown price, namely that Saudi Arabia is a major funder of Hillary Clinton's campaign to become the next president of the United States.
As MEE notes, the Petra News Agency published on Sunday what it described as exclusive comments from Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman which included a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate's campaign.
The report was later deleted and the news agency has not responded to requests for comment from Middle East Eye. However, the deletion took place too late, as the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs managed to capture the report and has re-published the original Arabic Petra report, which quoted Prince Mohammed as having said Saudi Arabia had provided with ''full enthusiasm'' an undisclosed amount of money to Clinton.
The pdf of the report is shown below:
Below is a screenshot of the English report published, and then quickly deleted, by the Petra News Agency:
As a reminder, It is illegal in the United States for foreign countries to try to influence the outcome of elections by funding candidates. That appears not to have stopped the Saudis, however.
''Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both Republican and Democratic Party of America and in America current election also provide with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton's election even though some events in the country don't have a positive look to support the king of a woman (sic) for presidency,'' the report quoted Prince Mohammed as having said.
According to the US Federal Election commission, over the past two years Clinton has raised a little more than $211.8 million. 20% of this sum is $42.4 million.
The report was published (and then mysteriously deleted) on the eve of Prince Mohammed making an official visit to the United States. The Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday that the senior royal was due to fly to Washington where he will meet officials to discuss US-Saudi ties.
He will remain in the American capital until 16 June, when he will travel to New York for meetings with financial companies, the Saudi Gazette reported.
Prince Mohammed will discuss regional issues with American officials, and he will hold talks with the financial companies about his vision for diversifying Saudi Arabia's economy away from oil dependency.
Links between Saudi Arabia and the Clinton family, including with Hillary's campaign, are well reported. In 2008, it was revealed that the Gulf kingdom had donated between $10m and $25m to the Clinton Foundation, a charity set up by Hillary's husband and former US President Bill Clinton.
Last year the Centre for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court paid public relations firm the Podesta Group $200,000 for a month-long project to provide ''public relations services''.
The Podesta Group was founded in 1988 by brothers John and Tony Podesta. John Podesta is the chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign to become the next US president.
Finally, in connection to the Orlando shooting, the WSJ reported that according to a spokesman for Saudi Arabia's interior ministry, the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen visited the kingdom twice on pilgrimage.
Mateen visited Saudi Arabia in 2011 and again in 2012 to perform umrah, a religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. The trips lasted eight and 10 days each.
U.S. and Saudi officials aren't sure yet who Mr. Mateen met with during his visits or whether the trips were connected to the shooting.
Hillary Clinton's campaign did not respond to MEE's request for comment at the time of publication. Considering Hillary hasn't given a full press interview in over 7 months, we doubt this will change.
Lame Cherry: The End of Hillary Clinton 2016 in Analgate
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:53
Editor's Note: The following is so important that this is a stand alone post.As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
If you will review the search results below, you will discover that the Lame Cherry has been the only media outlet exposing the crimes of the Obama Clinton machinations in the Mideast, which readers would have heard under names like Benghazi to ISIS being a creation of the Obama regime, trained by the CIA and armed with Libyan weapons.
Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi attempting to buy back these weapons from the Obama terrorists, but was murdered with other Americans, by terrorists imported to Libya from Afghanistan and flown into Egypt for transport to Libya.This is why the Obama regime paid Egypt off with hundreds of millions of dollars and weapons to silence the Egyptians.
The Lame Cherry will remind readers that only here in exclusive matter anti matter posts concerning Secretary Hillary Clinton's email server scandal, that it was here, reported exclusively that Mrs. Clinton set this server up in order to provide a trojan door into the US government's computer network in a quid pro quo.
The following in a real world, would end Hillary Clinton's presidential run, put her into Leavenworth and if justice were something America was governed by, she would not just face life in prison, but the full penalty for treason and murder.
For background on what was part of Hillary Clinton setting up a Trojan server to allow hackers entry into the United States regime computer network, it begins with her lesbian sex partner and assistant, Huma Abedin, wife of Ashkenaz pervert, Anthony Wiener.
When (Huma) Abedin was two years old, the family moved to Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where, with the backing of Abdullah Omar Nasseef, then the president of King Abdulaziz University, her father founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think tank, and became the first editor of its Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, which stated its mission as ''shedding light'' on minority Muslim communities around the world in the hope of ''securing the legitimate rights of these communities.'''...It turns out the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is an Abedin family business. Huma was an assistant editor there between 1996 and 2008. Her brother, Hassan, 45, is a book-review editor at the Journal and was a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, where Nasseef is chairman of the board of trustees. Huma's sister, Heba, 26, is an assistant editor at the Journal.
To explain the above, Abdullah Omar Nasseef, is Mr. Muslim International:
Abdullah Omar Nasseef (Arabic: Ø¹Ø¨Ø¯Ø§ÙÙÙ Ø¹Ù
Ø± ÙØµÙÙ'') (born 5 July 1939 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) is a Saudi chemist and geologist.Nasseef has a Ph.D degree from Leeds University in the United Kingdom.He is a professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, and serves as Chief Scout of the Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association, which he joined in 1956.He is chairman of the World Muslim Congress, chairman of the founding board of Sahm Al-Nour Trust, and Former Secretary General of Muslim World League.In 1983, Nasseef was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting.
He is the direct conduit into the Saudi Royal family Wahhabist funding of fascist Islam. When Huma Abedin's father was chosen for employment, and founding a "think tank", that came with the Saudi Royal Family's blessing, power, intelligence and financing.Muslim Minority Affairs is the action wing of the Diasopra Islam in America, and both of Huma Abedin's parents are part and parcel directly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.
One more piece of information to this, and the dots will be connected.
... enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of HillaryClinton's ... million. 20% of this sum is $42.4 million. ... SaudiArabia and the Clinton ...Former Secretary of State HillaryClinton was given a half-million bucks ... Former Secretary of State HillaryClinton received expensive jewelry from SaudiArabia ...These are the facts and they begin with the strange positioning of the body of Vince Foster in Fort Marcy Park, across from the Saudi Arabian Embassy. Foster's body was placed there by intimates who wanted a link to be discovered between Vince Foster, money laundering, Saudi Arabia and Bill & Hillary Clinton.In 1996, the Clinton's had tapped into Indonesian, Riyadhi family money in a quid pro quo of shutting down a huge hard coal deposit in Utah which was competing with Indonesia, adoptive nativity of illegal immigrant, Barack Hussein Obama.Beyond the Riyadhi family, the Clintons were taking in illegal money from the Chicoms, who were given access then to the American Wall Street, which in part originated again in Obama's Hawaii in teacher union funds from that State.
The Clinton Foundation became a conduit for campaign donations for Hillary 2016 AD. Connected to Russian uranium interests, it was one aspect in the murder of LaVoy Finicum in Oregon, over the mineral deposits there.There is though in this, the matter of the Saudi Royal Family, which controls part of the Federal Reserve, which controls Bank of America, which has part of Goldman Sachs, which in turn in the Obama years, has been funding the Obama wars in the Mideast, and the oil war against Russia, which in turn shattered the American Frac market, so Saudi Arabia is gaining control over American oil reserves from Americans, is one of the parties who was privy to the Hillary Clinton trojan door into the American regime's computer network.
In this quid pro quo, Saudi Arabia then funded the Hillary Clinton campaign illegally, along with ISIS which is nothing more than a Kurdish merchant group stealing oil, laundering it through Turkey and providing American political parties with kickbacks, as it was all set up by Hillary Clinton, image Obama and John McCain as a "salaried alternative" to al Qaeda. That is why image Obama brings up these salary cuts of ISIS.Seriously, have you ever heard of terrorists in your life, being on the clock and earning a salary?
Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, John McCain with ISISStay with this, as the punch line is coming.
Return again to the night of Benghazi. The Lame Cherry informed all of you that this was supposed to be a kidnapping of Chris Stevens, so Obama could send in the rescue ops, undo the Jimmy Carter failed hostage rescue and slam dunk Mitt Romney to political oblivion, all on the anniversary of 9 11.
Chris Stevens was an intimate of John McCain, and was attempting to undo the Obama Clinton damage of all the weapons flowing to Obama terrorists in Syria. Recall now that the murderers of Chris Stevens, knew he was going to be there negotiating a deal to buy back those arms.Stevens murderers though had been transported out of Afghanistan as Obama's good terrorists, and into Egypt where they were deployed to Libya for this operation.The Libyans were supposed to capture Stevens, but this other group anal raped Chris Stevens death, because they were getting direct intelligence concerning all the sodomite activities of Stevens and the fact that Obama was going to shoot those terrorists in a rescue in a few days to be hero.
The Lame Cherry reminds you that a combination CIA and DELTA FORCE was sent in immediately to Libya to execute those in Libya who had sold out the plan with extreme prejudice.
This returns again to the Obama regime bribing the Egyptians to silence in these terrorists channeled through Egypt, and how Egypt which was all Muslim Brotherhood, threw these terrorists out and gained control of Egypt again from these community organized communists of Obama.
How did the terrorists know about Chris Stevens? Hillary Clinton's server.
How did the terrorists know that they were being set up by the Obama 2012 campaign? Hillary Clinton's server.
Who obtained and alerted the terrorists to the Obama kidnap scheme and the terrorists to be executed? Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Russia had just witnessed the betrayal of their ally Col. Khadaffi, who had called Obama his "Muslim son" in the Colonel's murder, and now were witnessing the genocide of Syrians, in the Obama regime opening a Russian front for Muslim terrorism into Russia again based in Syria.Saudi Arabia in being allied to this Obama terror network, could not afford to have it's terror network, turning on the Kingdom and taking off their heads.
This is one of the more heinous hidden links to Hillary Clinton's email server. It is about Muslim terror oil money flowing into the Clintons coffers, the management of Saudi terrorists out of 1600 Penn Avenue, and why "someone" was floating the link to 9 11, in order to gain blackmail leverage in this criminal enterprise.
It is about the direct link of Hillary Clinton's Saudi asset, Huma Abedin, with Saudi intelligence and Russian oligarchs, given access to Hillary Clinton's server for espionage against the Americans, which caused the murder of 4 Americans in Benghazi, in operations the Obama regime was assisting in against Nationalist Islam for these community organized Islam which have murdered hundreds of thousands in the Mideast.
........and it all transfers into the Muslim invasion of the West in this quid pro quo genocide of Christians, all bathed in the blood of Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Now you should comprehend why Hillary Clinton's Emailgate is being covered up and the FBI stymied, because this is equal to Marc Rich laundering Saddam Hussein money to the Clintons and other elite leftists on the blood of CIA assets, and the same reason Vince Foster's sanctioning was covered up, because it all runs in the same syndicate.
Once again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Search ResultsLame Cherry: Analgate: The Final Hours of Chris Stevenslamecherry.blogspot.com/2012/10/analgate-final-hours-of-chris-stevens.htmlOct 28, 2012 - Analgate: The Final Hours of Chris Stevens. Another in a continuing series of Lame Cherry matter anti matter exclusives......... It began around ...Dec 6, 2012 - There is a reality my children that the Obama regime is in criminal trouble over ANALGATE when the New York Times has confirmed the major ...Sep 28, 2012 - Just call this Barack Obama's ANALGATE. nuff said.....except the cherry was broken here once again. agtG 331YYY. Posted by Lame Cherry at ...Oct 30, 2012 - Package three contains the Benghazi revelations of ANALGATE in this was a Barack Obama initiated campaign event for a hostage rescue.Nov 5, 2012 -ANALGATE was broken here with details which are now proving out as the tourists arrive, but in plagiarism never bothering to note who ...Lame Cherry: Analgate: Tax Breaks for Terroristslamecherry.blogspot.com/2012/11/analgate-tax-breaks-for-terrorists.htmlNov 24, 2012 - If you want to really know the root of ANALGATE in the murder of Americans by Obama terrorists in Libya, the answer is Barack Obama ...Oct 15, 2012 - In the spider trends it is a shift in the leads to the ANALGATE, European intrigue, with keeping Obama is like a sexual disease, dead Pope ...Jan 14, 2013 - I have decided I'm incensed about the tourists attempting to co op my 21st century exclusive on Benghazi AKA ANALGATE and now trying to ...Nov 3, 2012 - Another Lame Cherry matter anti matter exclusive on this blog's exclusive of ANALGATE......... This is a tale of the military part in Benghazi in ...Aug 1, 2013 - Tapping ANALGATE: Lame Cherry Proven Right by CNN now. As Mark Levin grapples with the CNN exclusive of reporting with Jake Tapper ...agtG 279
Michael Steven Sandford: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know | Heavy.com
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:46
The crowd at Donald Trump's Las Vegas rally on June 18, where Michael Steven Sandford was arrested. (Getty)
A 19-year-old British man drove from California to Las Vegas to attempt to kill Donald Trump at a rally at the Treasure Island Casino on June 18, the Secret Service says.
Michael Steven Sandford tried to take a gun from a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer to assassinate the Republican candidate, but failed in his attempt, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District of Nevada court.
Sandford told a Secret Service agent he tried to grab the officer's gun to ''shoot and kill Trump.'' He told the agent he thought he could fire one or two rounds before he would be killed by law enforcement, according to court documents.
He is accused of committing an act of violence on restricted grounds, according to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's office.
Here's what we know about Sandford so far. This is a breaking story and we will add more information as it comes in.
1. He Had Been Planning the Assassination Attempt for More Than a Year, the Feds SayMichael Sandford told authorities he drove from California with intent to harm Trump, said Secret Service Special Agent Joseph Hall wrote in the criminal complaint. He arrived in Las Vegas on June 16 and went to the Battlefield Vegas gun range to learn how to use a gun the day before the rally, the complaint said. He said he fired a 9mm Glock, which was the first time he had shot a gun, according to the complaint. He fired about 20 rounds during the training.
Sandford also told Secret Service Special Agent Jason Swierkowski that he had been planning to kill Trump for a year ''but decided to act on this occasion because he finally felt confident about trying it,'' court documents state. He added that he would try it again if he could. In fact, he told the agents reserved a ticket for Trump's Phoenix rally later the same day.
You can read the full criminal complaint below:
The complaint says Sandford had a U.K. driver's license. He only moved to the U.S. a year and a half ago and first lived in Hoboken, New Jersey before moving to the Ontario/San Bernardino, California area. He said he drove across the country from Hoboken to California in his 2007 black BMW 328i, but the complaint does not specify how long he was living on the West Coast.
Las Vegas Now reports that Sandford is in the country illegally and overstayed his visa. That status was revealed at his U.S. District Court arraignment.
2. Sandford Told a Police Officer He Wanted Trump's Autograph & Then Tried to Grab His Gun, Police SayDonald Trump in Las Vegas (Getty)
Sandford struck up a conversation with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Ameel Jacob, claiming that he wanted to get an autograph from Trump, according to court documents. He then reached towards the officer's weapon to pull it out of the holster, which was not locked, the Secret Service says. Sandford was then arrested. He was dragged out of the event by police.
According to court documents, Sandford grabbed the holster and the handle of the firearm with both hands.
Sandford told the Secret Service he thought taking the firearm from an officer would be the easiest way to acquire a gun to shoot Trump, according to court documents. He also said he targeted Jacob because he thought he saw the officer's holster in an unlocked position.
''The officers assigned to the event were able to quickly take Sandford into custody with little further disruption at the venue,'' the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told The Las Vegas Review Journal. ''Custody of Sandford has since been handed over to the United States Secret Service, where he will face formal charges.''
3. Sandford Is Facing Up to 10 Years in Prison if He Is Found GuiltySupporters cheer as they wait for US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak at a rally at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas. (Getty)
Authorities charged Sandford with trying to commit an act of violence against a person in a restricted area. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
In addition to a statement from Sandford himself, police said that security footage from Treasure Island showed Sandford leave his seat and approach the officer to grab his weapon. Police also spoke with an employee at the Battlefield Vegas gun range to confirm that he went there.
Sandford remains in federal custody after appearing in court for the first time on June 20. During the brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr., he was appointed a federal public defender, Heather Fraley, and was advised of his rights and the charges.
According to court records, the U.S. Attorney's office will notify the British consulate of Sandford's arrest.
His public defender, Fraley, could not be reached for comment. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Grimmer.
Sandford will be back in court on July 5 at 4 p.m. for a preliminary examination.
WATCH: Gunman Arrested at Donald Trump RallyA gunman was arrested at Donald Trump's rally in Houston. Find out more about the man and see a video of his arrest.
Click here to read more4. An Ohio College Student Was Arrested After Charging the Stage During a Trump Rally in MarchDonald Trump at a Dallas rally (Getty)
This is hardly the first time a person has been arrested at a Trump rally. Just last week, a man was arrested at his rally in Houston with a gun and was wearing a ''Donald Trump'' t-shirt.
In March, Thomas Dimassimo was arrested while storming the stage during a Trump rally in Dayton, Ohio.
Trump later accused Dimassimo of being a member of ISIS, which turned out to not be true, according to federal authorities. Dimassimo was arrested and is facing both state and federal charges in Ohio.
Also in March, John McGraw was caught punching a black man at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Thomas Dimassimo: 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowThomas Dimassimo was arrested after rushing the stage while Donald Trump spoke during a rally in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, police say.
Click here to read more5. Trump Has a 'Mercenary' Security Force Along With Secret Service ProtectionDonald Trump speaks following his win in the Nevada caucus. (Getty)
Although Donald Trump is protected by the Secret Service, Politico reports that Trump has his own ''mercenary force'' that has employed aggressive tactics to stop protesters during his rallies. These private security officers have been seen wearing street clothes, just keeping an eye out for protesters.
There were around 1,500 people at the Las Vegas rally, according to the Associated Press. Every one of them had to go through metal detectors overseen by the Secret Service and local authorities.
There were also signs posted designating that anyone in the area would be subject to search, which the Secret Service said in court documents made it a ''restricted'' area under the protection of the agency.
Hailey Suder: 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowAn 18-year-old high school cheerleader has been charged in connection to the murder of a 50-year-old homeless man in Santee, California, police say.
Click here to read more
Russian footballers to wear mourning armbands during game at UEFA Euro 2016
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:32
The Russian national football team members will wear black armbands during their 2016 UEFA Euro game against Wales on Monday evening, June 20, in mourning for the children who died in a storm in Karelia, the Russian Football Union press service reported.
"Toulouse will host the European championship's final group stage game between Russia and Wales on Monday. The Russian team players will appear at the game with black mourning armbands in commemoration of the children who died in a horrible tragedy in Karelia," the union said in a statement.
According to information possessed by investigators, people from the children's camp Park-Hotel Syamozero ran into a storm while boating on Syamozero Lake in the Pryazhinsky district of Karelia on June 19. There were 47 children and four adult instructors in three boats. The boats overturned and sank in the storm. As a result, 13 people were killed. One of the victims was not registered at the camp; a search operation for him is ongoing.
Children rescued in Syamozero in Karelia return to Moscow>>>
Russian players win NBA title for first time
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:32
Timofey Mozgov and Alexander Kaun, together with LeBron James, celebrated their championship victory in the NBA finals, as the Cleveland Cavaliers saved a seemingly hopeless series against the Golden State Warriors.
Cleveland Cavaliers players and staff celebrate after Game 7 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 19, 2016. The Cavaliers won 93-89. Source: AP
The Cleveland Cavaliers' centers, Timofey Mozgov and Alexander Kaun, are the first Russian NBA champions. On June 19, Cleveland beat the Golden State Warriors 93-89, winning the last and decisive seventh game of the final championship series, and grabbing the team's first title.
Mozgov was playing in his second NBA final in a row. Last year the Cavaliers were also in the finals against the team from Oakland, but Golden State carried the day, winning the series 4-2. This year, Mozgov spent an average of five minutes on the floor, scoring 1.4 points per game.
Cleveland's other Russian player, Alexander Kaun, made his NBA debut this year and played in 25 regular season games, but never in the playoffs.
"This is a super success for Cleveland, which managed to turn the series around in the seventh game and did something that no one had done before - winning the NBA championship despite being down in the series, 1-3,'' said the president of the Russian Basketball Federation, Andrei Kirilenko, who used to play for the Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets, reported the TASS news agency. ``I am particularly proud that we now have our own NBA champions, Tim Mozgov and Sasha Kaun. I am incredibly happy for them.''
Read more: How one man's vision is restoring Russia's basketball federation>>>
Leaked Guide Shows Clinton Staffers How to Solicit for Super PAC Without Breaking Pesky Rules
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:24
Let's say you're running a huge campaign to elect Hillary Clinton president. Citizens United made it possible for Super PACs to raise unlimited amounts of money from incredibly rich people. You want them to give as much money as possible to Priorities USA, the main Super PAC supporting Clinton.
Sadly, however, there are still rules forbidding campaign staffers from explicitly asking the incredibly rich to give more than $5,000 to Super PACs like Priorities USA. They are loose rules, and rarely enforced rules, but they are rules nonetheless.
So what can you, a Clinton operative with a Cleveland Park mortgage and irritatingly expensive children, do to avoid paying defense lawyers half a million dollars in the very unlikely event that the Federal Election Commission decides to open an investigation into what you did?
Fortunately, a 2015 memo evidently written by Marc Elias, now general counsel for the Clinton campaign, explains it all. Very precisely.
The memo, found among the trove of documents from the Democratic National Committee apparently stolen by the hacker who goes by the name Guccifer 2.0, includes rules and sample statements that will keep you on the right side of America's barely existing campaign finance laws.
All the rules quoted below are taken directly from that memo. The sample statements are an artistic extrapolation.
Rule: ''All conversations that refer to a Preferred Super PAC should include a hard ask for $5,000.''
Statement: ''The law allows us to ask our supporters to give $5,000 to the Priorities USA Super PAC. I legally cannot ask you to give more than that, even though, given your enormous fortune, you could easily afford it. You are very handsome and/or pretty.''
Rule: ''Do not specifically earmark the funds for [Hillary Clinton]'s election.''
Statement: ''We do not control how Priorities USA spends its money. Anything is possible! Anything at all! All the people making the decisions have been employed by Bill and Hillary Clinton since 1995.''
Rule: ''As long as a hard money solicitation is made, you may speak freely about the campaign's support for that Super PAC's work.''
Statement: ''We hope you will give $5,000 to Priorities USA! We can't win this election without them! Of course, we are not asking you to give them more than $5,000! That would be a violation of obscure campaign finance regulations and we care about upholding those far more than winning even though if we lose to Trump the earth will be covered in a pestilential darkness!''
Rule: ''You may make the hard money solicitation after the statement(s) of support. '... If you inadvertently forget before hanging up, you should call the campaign donor immediately and make the hard money solicitation.''
Statement: ''We just want to emphasize that Priorities USA is fantastic and the only thing that can stop Trump from feeding your kids to his herd of giant man-eating hogs.'' [HANG UP, CALL BACK] ''Sorry, I forgot to mention that we are only asking you to give $5,000 to Priorities USA and not some greater amount reflecting the value you place on your children's lives.'' [MAKE OINKING SOUNDS]
Rule: ''If a donor provides you with an amount of money that s/he wants to give and asks where it should go, you should reply with a hard money ask. If a donor says to you, ''I have $1 million I want to spend on this election'' and asks where it should go, you should reply with a hard money ask.''
Statement: ''I want the first $5,400 to go to the campaign. The next $33,400 should go [to] the DNC's main account. The next $70,000 should go to the following seven state party federal accounts (then list them). The next $100,200 should go to the DNC's building fund account. Finally, you should support [Preferred Super PAC A] and [Preferred Super PAC B]. We cannot win without them. The law allows us to ask our supporters for $5,000 each for [Preferred Super PAC A and B]. That is what we are doing.''
(OK, that one was actually word-for-word from the memo.)
Rule: ''You may provide contact information of Super PAC personnel, but you may not lean on the donor to take a call or meeting from Super PAC personnel.''
Statement: ''You can contact the president of Priorities USA to learn more. Here is his work phone, cellphone, home phone, email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Instagram, mailing address and he just texted me that he is standing outside your front door right now dressed as George Washington. But no pressure.''
Here's the memo:
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:23
Just listened to an interview with the NRA chief Wayne LaPierre on Face The Nation. Trump was on before him, talking about how you shouldn't be politically correct, all the while refusing to say anything specific about what he would do to combat the terrorism he says is so rampant. In other words Trump has become politically correct, perfectly so. A real slippery politician. LaPierre says we're about to be overwhelmed by ISIS. Problem is a lot of people listening to him believe that kind of bullshit.
Another popular bullshit line asks why should we bother passing laws -- since the "bad guys" don't bother with laws anyway. This sounds really savvy until you start to dig in. By that logic we shouldn't outlaw murder either, because murderers don't follow the law, right? But if it weren't illegal, then we wouldn't be able to put someone in jail for murdering someone. Right? And if we make owning automatic weapons illegal, we don't have to wait until we catch you killing 49 people in a night club on a Saturday night. We can arrest you as soon as we see that you have in your possession a gun whose only use is to mow down dozens of people. This would of course prevent some number of murders by automatic weapon.
Basically yes, we should outlaw things like owning guns that can only be used for mass murder. And yes, if we did so, it likely would result in fewer deaths. It certainly would not result in more! How's that for a little common sense, non-politically correct talk.
LaPierre is the worst kind of person. I wish we could outlaw being that kind of person, but this is America and that's a line we won't cross. Though of course his candidate Trump doesn't live by that rule.
Billion-dollar brain training industry a sham'--nothing but placebo, study suggests | Ars Technica
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 01:49
Who wouldn't want to be smarter? After all, high intelligence can help you get better grades in school, more promotions at work, fatter pay checks through your career, and a cushier life overall. Those are pretty good outcomes by any measure.
For years, scientific studies suggested that smarts were mostly heritable and fixed through young adulthood'--nothing one could willfully boost. But some recent studies hint that a segment of smarts, called fluid intelligence'--where you use logic and patterns, rather than knowledge, to analyze and solve novel problems'--can improve slightly with memory exercises. The alluring finding quickly gave life to a $1 billion brain training industry. This industry, including companies such as Lumosity, Cogmed, and NeuroNation, has since promised everything from higher IQs to the ability to stay sharp through aging. The industry even boasts that it can help users overcome mental impairments from health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), traumatic brain injury, and the side effects of chemotherapy.
Those claims are clearly overblown and have been roundly criticized by scientists, the media, and federal regulators. Earlier this year, Lumosity agreed to pay $2 million to the Federal Trade Commission over claims of deceptive advertising. The FTC said Lumosity ''preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline.'' In the settlement, the FTC forbid the company from making any such claims that the training could sharpen consumers' minds in life-altering ways.
But what of the initial research that suggested slight positive effects of such brain training? While brain training companies have publicly taken heat for their hyped-up claims, recent scientific reviews of the literature have largely upheld the initial findings. In fact, a 2015 meta-analysis concluded that the training could increase IQ scores by three to four points.
With a new report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that research might be nearing a blistering rebuff of its own.
In a study designed to assess the experimental methods of earlier brain-training studies, researchers found that sampling bias and the placebo effect explained the positive results seen in the past. ''Indeed, to our knowledge, the rigor of double-blind randomized clinical trials is nonexistent in this research area,'' the authors report. They even suggest that the overblown claims from brain training companies may have created a positive feedback loop, convincing people that brain training works and biasing follow-up research on the topic.
''The specter of a placebo may arise in any intervention when the desired outcome is known to the participant'--an intervention like cognitive training,'' the authors note. Coupled with evidence that ''people tend to hold strong implicit beliefs regarding whether or not intelligence is malleable'' and that those beliefs may skew research findings, the authors conclude that past research is basically bunk.
In their study, the authors'--psychologists at George Mason University'--recruited 50 participants using two different posters put up around campus. One poster advertised the study using the specific terms ''brain training'' and ''cognitive enhancement'' and then stated that previous research has shown brain training to be effective. ''Participate in a study today!'' the poster concluded. The second poster was visually similar to the first but merely encouraged viewers to participate in a study in order to earn credits.
The 25 recruits lured by the first poster were considered a ''placebo'' group, as the authors called it, while the 25 brought in with the second, boring poster acted as controls.
The researchers set up the study this way for a couple of reasons. First, when the researchers looked back at the 19 studies included in the 2015 meta analysis, they found that 17 of them used such ''overt'' recruitment strategies. Second, they picked two groups of 25 because most of those studies also included groups of 25 participants or less and because that number is big enough to statistically show large effects.
All 50 participants were first given standardized tests to measure their fluid intelligence. Participants were then allowed to play a brain training game for an hour and then had their fluid intelligence retested. After just an hour of training, the placebo group scored better on the fluid intelligence test, with improvements equivalent to about five to ten IQ points. The control group saw no such improvement.
When the researchers surveyed the recruits on their beliefs about intelligence, those in the placebo group had the highest confidence that intelligence is malleable.
Together, the researchers conclude, the findings suggest that recruitment methods used in past studies created a self-selected groups of participants that believed the training would improve cognition and thus were susceptible to the placebo effect.
Such a placebo effect isn't worthless, the authors caution. It may be useful for future studies to assess how far the placebo effect could get brain training-believers. But to truly assess effects of the training, researchers need to turn to trials where participants don't self-select their group or know the point of the study'--randomized, controlled studies. ''By using such methods, we can begin to understand whether true training effects exist and are generalizable to samples (and perhaps populations) beyond those who expect to improve,'' the authors argue.
In the meantime, brain training companies should ''temper their claims,'' the authors suggest.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1601243113 (About DOIs).
Kickstarter Just Did Something Tech Startups Never Do: It Paid a Dividend - Bloomberg
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 23:16
In early March, Kickstarter quietly sent shareholders a dividend. In the wider world of business, such an action would be unremarkable. More than 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 pay dividends, and many smaller companies do, too. But divvying up quarterly profits with shareholders is unheard of among tech startups. People who follow the venture capital industry were hard-pressed to come up with a single example of a VC-backed startup that has ever paid regular dividends. Doing so would be a rejection of the industry's basic math. VCs bet that they can find the few companies that will generate enormous payouts by going public or getting acquired; the rest fail. There's not supposed to be anything in between. "It sounds strange for a VC-backed company as it means they're taking out and distributing money versus investing it in the business," said Anand Sanwal, the chief executive officer of research firm CB Insights.
Paying a dividend, which the company didn't make public, is just the latest example of Kickstarter's heterodoxy. Last year, the company became a public benefit corporation, officially making the greater good part of its mission. Kickstarter has promised to allocate five percent of profits to charitable ventures and pledged not to use loopholes or other legal strategies to reduce its tax burden. Furthermore, the founders say they have no intention of taking the company public. ''More and more voices are rejecting business as usual, and the pursuit of profit above all,'' they wrote in a blog post at the time.
Kickstarter has shunned the IPO or acquisition path from the get-go. That didn't stop Union Square Ventures managing partner Fred Wilson from backing the company when it was a fledgling operation with about half-a-dozen employees. Still, he had a question or two for Perry Chen, one of the founders. ''I said, 'You know, we're investors, so at some point we're going to need to make a return on our investment, and how might you imagine that happening,''' Wilson recalls. Chen floated the idea of a dividend. ''I did the math, and I thought about it, and I concluded that there was going to be a lot of cash flow, potentially, to dividend out,'' Wilson says. He talked to his investors and convinced them to accept the unorthodox arrangement. Chen and other Kickstarter executives declined to comment.
When a Union Square Ventures investment succeeds, it tends to pay off suddenly and spectacularly. The check the VC received in March'--Wilson wouldn't divulge the sum'--is the first in what should be a steady drip of income. Wilson says he can't determine how long it will take to recoup the investment because it's unclear how much future dividends will be worth. ''It's still speculative, still early days to know how this is going to play out,'' he says. ''Come back to me in five to 10 years.'' But clearly he can't wait forever. Like most venture funds, Union Square's is set up to operate for a decade. It will have to sell its Kickstarter stake eventually.
The ticking clock is one reason why other venture investors are skeptical of the Kickstarter model. Seth Levine, a managing director at the Foundry Group, says that any company asking for money from his firm must have the potential to return at least three times the initial investment. Levine is comfortable pushing against the standard model; his firm just became a public benefit corporation itself. But that doesn't exempt it from basic economics. ''Can they get their investors four, five, six times their money back with dividends over a relatively short period of time?'' he wonders.
Pressure from VCs often prompt startups to swing for the fences'--prioritizing high-risk, high-reward moves over dull sustainability. Kickstarter feels no such burden. The company has been profitable since its second year. Quick profits may sound good to people outside the startup world, but venture investors may see them as a dereliction of duty. A dollar taken as profit is a dollar not being dedicated to exponential growth. Kickstarter's growth is slowing, both in terms of the number of projects that get funded and the total amount of money flowing through the system. The money dedicated to successful projects doubled in 2013, compared to the year before. Last year it increased less than 1.5 times. By Silicon Valley standards, that's a worrisome trend.
And what about Kickstarter employees? One great attraction of joining a tech startup is getting an equity stake that can become astronomically valuable if the company goes public or gets bought. But such promises are seen as increasingly unrealistic. The dream fades each time the value of a billion-dollar company dwindles, and with each revelation that those equity shares aren't worth as much as they once seemed. Kickstarter's decision to never IPO means the people who work there must satisfy themselves with small dividend checks. Perhaps that's better than waiting for a hypothetical payday that never materializes.
Kickstarter isn't the only place pushing at the edges of the standard venture capital model. One VC firm called Indie.vc funds companies without taking an ownership stake. Instead, it buys an option to convert its investment into an ownership stake if a company goes public. Companies that stay private pay the firm cash, allowing it to recoup up to five times the initial investment. (Wilson is an Indie.vc backer.) Other startups trying to avoid venture capitalists have used a financial instrument known as redeemable preference shares, which the company sells to investors with an agreement to pay a set return after a set period.
This is fringe stuff, and Wilson predicts it stays that way. ''It may be a growing piece of the mix, but I don't think it will be how all companies will operate in five or ten years,'' he says. ''99 percent of entrepreneurs are quite happy with the system as it is now. And, frankly, so are we.''
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.LEARN MORE
The FBI tried to 'lure' Omar Mateen into a terror plot before he committed mass murder in Orlando
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 23:05
What nobody's mentioned about Corey Lewandowski's firing '-- it was about Trump's VP pick
'God will finish the job': Texas pastor prays for injured Orlando survivors to die
Ohio girl wins statewide masonry contest '-- but third-place boy will take her place in national event
Catholic Leaguer gloats over killing anti-child abuse bill: It was an attempted 'rape' of the church
Trump-loving ex-cop recruits 'lone wolf patriots' to open fire on black protesters at GOP convention
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Major Wall Street Donors Threaten to Pull Support for Clinton if Warren Is Named VP | Alternet
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 21:17
Looks like some of Hillary's donors are playing hardball.
Photo Credit: FlickR/Edward Kimmel
A new report by Politico's Ben White reveals major donors to Hillary Clinton's campaign may revoke their support of the candidate if she chooses Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as her running mate for the general election.
Several donors, interviewed under the condition of anonymity, told Politico that Clinton's Wall Street base would ''leave her'' if she picks Warren. ''They would literally just say, 'We have no qualms with you moving left, we understand all the things you've had to do because of Bernie Sanders, but if you are going there with Warren, we just can't trust you, you've killed it,''' one donor said.
Another Democratic donor with ties to the banking industry said Clinton will face a massive division in the government, and Wall Street donors need ''a vice president is someone who can negotiate for you on the Hill, someone like Joe Biden. And that is not a Warren strength.''
Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said the ''volatile'' state of politics means ''all it can take is pissing off one billionaire on Wall Street to make it difficult.''
''And you don't run national campaigns for as many years as Clinton has without some serious support from Wall Street, they are just too much of a heavy hitter,'' Krumholz added.
Too true. According to the CRP, securities and investments industry has donated $28 million to Clinton's 2016 election campaign. And tapping Warren, who's one of the most aggressive Wall Street regulators on the Hill, would be a gamble for the presumptive Democratic nominee.
''It's very clear that Wall Street guys don't like her because she has been a lot more effective than most in communicating an anti-Wall Street message that has been part of the Democratic Party for 80 years, since the 1930s,'' Wall Street historian Charles Geisst told White. ''It's not so much that Wall Street doesn't like her personally, most of them don't even know her, but they don't like anyone that espouses that particular ideology.''
One Wall Street executive close to Clinton said choosing Warren would indicate Clinton is worried she can't unite the party and pull Bernie Sanders supporters behind her. ''Picking Warren would indicate weakness and panic for no reason and make them look like they are running scared of Trump,'' the executive said. ''There will be plenty of time to galvanize the left and get them to come out. And Warren would be a nightmare to try and manage.''
Still, Warren's recent battles with Republican nominee Donald Trump prove the Massachusetts Senator is an effective attack dog for the Clinton campaign. ''Elizabeth Warren very effectively called out Donald Trump for cheering the Wall Street collapse because it would make him money,'' co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee Stephanie Taylor said. ''And that moment reminded Democrats how powerful Warren's megaphone can be.''
Elizabeth Preza is an AlterNet staff writer focusing on politics, media and cultural criticism. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.
Man at Vegas Rally Said He Wanted to Kill Trump, Feds Say - NBC News
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 21:03
Las Vegas police lead a protester from Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 18. David Becker / Reuters
A complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nevada charges Michael Steven Sandford with an act of violence on restricted grounds.
It cites a report by Special Agent Swierkowski, whose first name was not included, saying Sandford told officers he drove from California to kill Trump and went to a Las Vegas gun range, the day before the Saturday rally, to learn to shoot.
Sandford later went to a Trump rally at the Treasure Island Casino and approached a Las Vegas police officer to say he wanted an autograph from Trump.
The report says Sandford was arrested after grabbing the handle of an officer's gun in an attempt to remove it.
It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney. Las Vegas police say Sandford is 19.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas on June 18, 2016. JOHN GURZINSKI / AFP - Getty Images
This is a developing story
Orlando Gunman Told Police That U.S. Should 'Stop Bombing' Syria and Iraq - NYTimes.com
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:15
WASHINGTON '-- Omar Mateen, the gunman in this month's massacre in an Orlando nightclub, told a crisis negotiator less than an hour after the attack began that the United States needed to ''stop bombing Syria and Iraq'' and he threatened more attacks in the coming days, according to a partial F.B.I. account released Monday morning.
He warned '-- falsely, it turned out '-- that there were bombs in a car outside Pulse nightclub and explosives inside it, and that ''you people are gonna get it, and I'm gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.'' In a series of calls between 2:35 a.m. and 3:24 a.m. on June 12, during a standoff with the police, Mr. Mateen also spoke in Arabic and claimed responsibility ''in the name of God the merciful,'' and linked his attack to the terrorist attacks last year in and around Paris.
At a news conference in Orlando, Ronald Hopper, an assistant agent in charge of the bureau's Tampa Division, said the gunman made 911 calls during the shooting in a ''chilling, calm and deliberate manner.''
Negotiators spoke to him for a total of 28 minutes over three calls, the F.B.I. said.
The F.B.I.'s account of the emergency calls included no mention by Mr. Mateen of any hatred of gays or a desire to attack a gay nightclub in particular; the bureau has been investigating the attack as a possible anti-gay hate crime, but the material released on Monday offers nothing to back up that theory.
John Mina, Orlando's police chief, addressed a question about whether any of the victims were hit by police bullets in the initial shootout with officers shortly after 2 a.m. The police have said that most of the 49 people killed and 53 wounded were shot in the first minutes of the rampage before Mr. Mateen holed up in a bathroom with hostages.
''That's part of the investigation, but here's what I will tell you: Those killings are on the suspect,'' Chief Mina said.
It was the first time that the chief had answered the question in a way that left open the possibility that officers could have killed club patrons by accident.
In an interview, the SWAT commander, Mark Canty, said he doubted any fatalities resulted from police bullets.
''I know my guys did the best they could,'' he said. ''They are trained to kind of identify the targets.''
The medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Stephany, said the autopsies did not make any determination as to who killed whom.
A nearly three-hour standoff followed the shootout, which ended when law enforcement agencies stormed the building, killed the gunman and freed the hostages.
Document | Timeline and Transcript of Calls During Orlando Shootings The F.B.I. on Monday released the timeline and a partial transcript of the hostage negotiation calls between the Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, and the authorities.
The F.B.I. released a timeline Monday that showed a half-hour passed from when Mr. Mateen warned of explosives to when the police stormed the building.
Mr. Canty said he arrived at about 2:45. ''There was a lot of officers, a lot of chaos, the lights are out in the club, water on the floor,'' he said.
According to the timeline, the first negotiation with the gunman began at 2:48 a.m. and lasted nine minutes. The second call, at 3:03 a.m., lasted 16 minutes; the third, at 3:24 a.m., three minutes. Mr. Canty said the police used the lull to assess the situation and save hostages.
At 4:21 a.m., according to the timeline, police officers pulled an air-conditioning unit out of a dressing room wall to save eight people.
Eight minues later, some victims relayed that Mr. Mateen was threatening to strap bombs to the hostages. About 32 minutes later, the SWAT team and the sheriff's office bomb squad tried to break in. The chief said it took officers time to assemble the explosives to do so.
At 5:14 a.m., officers breached the outer wall as shots were fired. Mr. Mateen stuck his head out of the breach and started firing, according to Mayor Buddy Dyer. Suddenly, Mr. Mateen fell backward in a hallway between the two bathrooms, he said. At 5:15 a.m.: Mr. Mateen was reported down.
''You saw the gunfire back and forth,'' Mr. Dyer said. ''You're hearing 'shooters' down' or something like that.''
Chief Mina and other officials vigorously defended the handling of the siege from criticism that they waited too long to go in, noting that throughout the lull, officers put themselves at great risk by going into the club to rescue people.
''I think there was this misconception that we didn't do anything for three hours, and that's absolutely not true,'' he said.
The mayor added that protocol called for the officers to retreat 1,000 feet because of the possible presence of explosives, but none did.
The chief said that no shots were fired from the time Mr. Mateen retreated to a bathroom until the police began their assault. People who were trapped in that bathroom have said that the killer did shoot a few people after officers began using explosives and an armored vehicle to breach the outer wall of the building.
The F.B.I. made public only partial transcripts of Mr. Mateen's calls on Monday, and none of the audio recordings. Though officials and shooting survivors have said publicly that in the calls, the gunman pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and its leader, the F.B.I. redacted those statements from the transcript, along with parts of the conversation in which Mr. Mateen voiced support for other extremist ideologies.
Graphic | How Terrorism Suspects Buy Guns '-- and How They Still Could, Even With a Ban Senate Democrats are hoping to resurrect legislation to prevent those on the government's terrorist watchlist from purchasing guns.
But that decision opens up department officials to charges that they are playing down elements of radical Islamist beliefs in the attack '-- a politically charged issue that Donald J. Trump and other Republicans have seized upon.
''Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous,'' House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said in a statement. ''We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS. We also know he intentionally targeted the L.G.B.T. community. The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why.''
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican who has frequently criticized the Obama administration, said on Fox News that the limited release ''doesn't make any sense to me.''
''This is another example of not focusing on the evil here,'' Mr. Scott added.
Agent Hopper said: ''Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who've done terrorist acts in the past. We're not going to propagate their rhetoric, their violent rhetoric, and we see no value in putting those individuals' names back out there.''
Justice Department officials said that they feared survivors could be harmed if they had to hear Mr. Mateen's rants anew.
Agent Hopper said the F.B.I. would not release recordings of 911 calls from terrified people inside the club, including some who had been seriously wounded. ''To expose that now would be excruciatingly painful to exploit them in that way,'' he said.
The partial transcript adds another layer of detail to the horrific events of that morning, as F.B.I. counterterrorism investigators and the local authorities in Orlando continue to try to piece together the gunman's motivations and examine any help he may have received.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch will visit Orlando on Tuesday to meet with the investigators.
The F.B.I. has interviewed Mr. Mateen's wife, Noor Zahi Salman, at length to determine whether she will face charges in the case. She has acknowledged that she suspected her husband might be planning an attack and was with him when he went to buy ammunition and visited the Pulse nightclub beforehand, but she has insisted to investigators that she tried to talk him out of doing anything, officials said.
Investigators continue to believe that Mr. Mateen was a ''lone wolf'' attacker who was apparently inspired by the ideologies of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups but was not directly in contact with any of them.
''We currently have no evidence that he was connected to an Islamic terrorist group, but radicalized domestically,'' Agent Hopper said at the news conference.
He appealed for patience with an investigation so complex that agents still have not finished processing the crime scene. They have collected more than 600 pieces of evidence, conducted more than 500 interviews, and received thousands of tips about Mr. Mateen, he said. The medical examiner said Monday that it had released Mr. Mateen's body, but offered not other details.
''This investigation is one week and one day old,'' Agent Hopper said, ''and it may last months and even years.''
Correction: June 20, 2016
An earlier version of this article, because of a misspelling in the transcripts released by the F.B.I., misquotes the gunman in the Orlando shooting massacre. He warned that there were bombs in a car outside Pulse nightclub and explosives inside it, and that ''you people are gonna get it, and I'm gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.'' He did not say, ''you people are gonna get it, and I'm gonna ignore it if they try to do anything stupid.''
UPDATED: Comparing Death Rates from Mass Public Shootings and Mass Public Violence in the US and Europe - Crime Prevention Research CenterCrime Prevention Research Center
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:10
1) In his address to the nation after the Charleston attack, Obama claimed: ''we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of ore ass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency.''
Senator Harry Reid made a similar statement on June 23rd: ''The United States is the only advanced country where this type of mass violence occurs. Let's do something. We can expand, for example, background checks. '... We should support not giving guns to people who are mentally ill and felons.''
We prefer not to make purely cross-sectional comparisons, but this claim is simply not true. The daWe prefer not to make purely cross-sectional comparisons, but this claim is simply not true. The data below looks at the period of time from the beginning of the Obama administration in January 2009 until the end of 2015. Mass public shootings '' defined as four or more people killed in a public place, and not in the course of committing another crime, and not involving struggles over sovereignty. The focus on excluding shootings that do not involve other crimes (e.g., gang fights or robberies) has been used from the original research by Lott and Landes to more recently the FBI) from 2009 to the Charleston massacre (this matches the starting period for another recent study we did on US shootings and we chose that because that was the starting point that Bloomberg's group had picked). The cases were complied doing a news search. The starting year was picked simply because it was the beginning of the Obama administration and it matched the time frame of a recent Bloomberg report (a report that we evaluated here). A comparison across the entire world is available here.
Some people have defended President Obama's statement by pointing to the word ''frequency.'' But, even if one puts it in terms of frequency, the president's statement is still false, with the US ranking 12th compared to European countries.
Click on Tables to Enlarge
There were 55% more casualties per capita from mass public shootings in EU than US from 2009-15
The CPRC has also collected data on the worst mass public shootings, those cases where at least 15 people were killed in the attack.
There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed. Out of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
But the U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany's and five times the U.K.'s, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison '-- actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher.
Small countries such as Norway, Israel and Australia may have only one major attack each, one-fourth of what the U.S. has suffered, but the US population is vastly greater. If they suffered attacks at a rate adjusted for their population, Norway, Israel and Australia would have had attacks that were respectively 16, 11, and 3 times greater than the US.
There is also the issue of what President Obama meant by ''mass violence.'' If you include bombings, many countries face many more bombings than the US does. On March 22nd, 2016, Belgium had a bombing attacks at an airport and subway that killed 31 people and wounded 180. That is worse than any mass public shooting in the US in terms of fatalities and woundings. Or take just the bombing cases in Russia. Russia had few mass public shootings, but it suffered from numerous bomb attacks, with 1.31 mass bombing murders per million people.
Regarding worldwide terrorism rates, the US State Department has these number for 2007 to 2011. Click on figure to enlarge.
2) From Post on June 23, 2015: Last Friday, Obama said: ''If congress had passed some common sense gun reforms after Newtown, after a group of children had been gunned down in their own classroom. Reforms that 90% of the American people supported, we wouldn't have prevented every act of violence, or even most, we don't know if it would have prevented what would have happened in Charleston, but we might still have some more Americans with us.''
'-- There is no evidence that 90% of Americans supported the reforms that Obama was pushing. It is true that 80% to 90% of Americans say that they support background checks on ''all gun buyers'' (see also here and here), but that is not the same as saying that they supported universal background checks and it is not the same thing as them saying that they supported the law that Obama wanted. When asked this question people may be thinking of guns being purchased at a store and possibly a gun show, but it isn't at all clear that they are talking about a transfer between friends (either a gift or a sale) and it is very doubtful that they are referring to transfers between family members. Surveys that specifically address the background check bill before the Senate in 2013 do not show overwhelming support. The most support that I can find for such a bill was in Washington State where initiative 594 was passed with 59% support, not 90%, and it had spending that out did the initiative's opponents by about 33-to-1.
'-- None of the laws that Obama has put forward would have had any impact on either Newtown or Charleston. The Charleston killer apparently did pass a background check, and, in any case, he obtained his gun by stealing it from his Mom.
On Monday, June 22nd, President Obama made similar comments and also added: ''And one of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic commonsense gun safety laws that, by the way, the majority of gun owners support.'' This claim has the same problem that Obama's other statement has.
3) From Post on June 23, 2015: Here is another claim by Obama from last Friday: ''You don't see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth.''
Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post has this useful discussion on an earlier similar claim by Obama.
The best proxy for ''industrialized countries'' is the membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. There are currently 34 countries in the OECD, but the agency also includes Brazil and Russia in its statistical data. (The two countries have been negotiating for membership but talks have been suspended with Russia because of the Crimea crisis.)
The OECD says the average homicide rate among the 36 countries is 4.1 per 100,000 people.
According to the 2014 data, at the top of the list is Brazil, with a homicide rate 25.5, or six times the average. Next on the list is Mexico, with a homicide rate of 23.4, followed by Russia at 12.8.
Then comes a tie for fourth place'--Chile and the United States both have a homicide rate of 5.2. Estonia follows close behind with a homicide rate of 4.7. . . .
The bigger question is the one of causation that President Obama keeps pushing and the evidence on that can be found here and here. His claim on that is also clearly wrong.
UPDATE: Politifact has discussion on fatality rates from mass public shootings, where they rank the US as the fourth highest country. Their analysis looks at data from 2000 to 2014, but it is clear that their analysis is flawed. They have a much broader definition of these attacks where they included cases where no one was killed. Still they are missing a large number of cases in foreign countries, even when one is looking cases where 4 or more people were killed.
For example for France, they claim that from 2000 to 2014 there is only one such shooting and eight people were killed in that case. They missed at least 16 deaths in just cases where four or more people have been killed. We have also added in a few cases prior to 2000. However, we do not believe that we have obtained more than a fraction of the mass public shootings in Europe prior to 2009.
Paris, France, August 9, 1982: 6 killed and 22 wounded in an attack at a Jewish Restaurant by the Abu Nidal Organization .Bayonne, France, September 25, 1985: 4 killed and one wounded A terrorist attack at the Monbar Hotel where four Basques were killed by the group GAL (''Antiterrorist Liberation Groups'').Cuers, France, September 24, 1995: ric Borel shot to death 12 people and wounded 4 others while walking down a street in the town of Cuers. He has killed three members of his family the previous day.Tours, France, Oct. 29, 2001: Four people were killed and ten wounded when a French railway worker started shooting at a busy intersection
There are also other attacks in France that met their criteria, but we would not normally collectFor Finland
Berlin, Germany, September 17, 1992: 4 killed, one wounded. Masked gunmen burst into a Berlin restaurant late on a Thursday night and killed four men, including a leading Kurdish politician from Iran.Sittensen, Germany, February 4, 2007: Six people killed
Zug, Switzerland, Sept. 27, 2001: A man whose lawsuits had been denied murdered 14 members of a cantonal parliament.
Zarautz, Spain, November 3, 1980: 5 killed and 5 wounded. Base separatists killed traffic department workers who were drinking at a bar in the town. Arguably shouldn't be included because it may be involving struggles over sovereignty.Tatarstan, hunting camp, April 26, 1992: 9 killed and 1 wounded. The 1992 Tatarstan shooting was a mass murder. On 26 April 1992, 23-year-old Andrey Shpagonov, former huntsman went to a hunting camp. He went to steal firearms.Yaroslavsky, Primorsky Krai, August 25, 2002: 5 killed and 10 wounded. The Yaroslavsky shooting was a mass murder that occurred in Yaroslavsky, Primorsky Krai, Russia on August 25, 2002, when 40-year-old police captain Sergey Semidovskiy (Russian: ÐÐµÑÐ"ÐµÐ¹ ÐÐµÐ¼Ð¸Ð´Ð¾Ð²ÑÐºÐ¸Ð¹) killed five people and wounded ten others in and outside a bar with a Saiga carbine, after an argument with several customers.For Bosnia
Lipnaca, Bosnia-Herzegovina, May 29, 2008: six killed and one wounded
Jabukovac, Serbia, July 27, 2007: Nine killed and three wounded
Jammu, India, July 22, 2002: Islamic militants killed 27 Hindus and injured at least 30 others, some criticallyGujarat, India, September 24 and 25 2002: To terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple complex and killed 31 people and wounded 80 others by using automatic weapons and hand grenades
Punjab, India, July 23, 2015: Islamic terrorists killed 7 people and wounded at least 15 others. Other Indian cases may be found here.For Nigeria
Osun State, Nigeria, Saturday, July 10, 1999: The Black Axe Confraternity attacked students at the Obafemi Awolowo University and killing five people and injuring of eleven.
Mamudo, Yobe State, Nigeria, July 6, 2013: Islamic group Boko Haram killed 42 children and teachers at a boarding school.
Gujba, Yobe State, Nigeria, September 29, 2013: gunmen from the Islamic group Boko Haram entered the male dormitory in the College of Agriculture and killed ''as many as 50 dead.'' Most of the dead were Muslim college students.
Borno massacre, in Konduga, Borno State, on February 14, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed at least 121 Christian villagers.
Izghe, Borno State, February 15, 2014: Islamic group Boko Haram killed 105 men and 1 elderly woman
Yobe State, Nigeria, February 25, 2014: 59 boys were killed at the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi. The boys were separated from the girls and the young girls were told to get married at a very early age.
Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State, Nigeria, May 5 and 6, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed more than 300 residents.
Borno massacre, in Konduga, Borno State, on May 7, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed at least 200 Christian villagers. Several others were injured.
Manila, Philippines, December 20, 2013: Philippines mayor and 3 others killed in shooting at Manila airport. ''[D]ead include Ukol Talumpa, the mayor of Labangan, a town in the southern Philippines, and his wife and 28-year-old niece, said Supt. Jose Erwin Villacorte, director of the Manila region's Southern Police District.''
Kawit, Cavite, Philippines, January 4, 2013: Ronald Baquiran Bae shot to death 8 people and wounded 12 others. ''On Jan. 4, a failed local candidate opened fire on his village neighbors, killing 8 people '-- including a pregnant woman and child '-- and wounding 10.''
Ipil, Philippines, April 3, 1995: The Islamic Command Council fired on residents and took hostages. 53 civilians killed. Not clear that this should be classified with the other cases because much of the attack involved robbing of eight banks.
Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines, November 23, 2009: Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and his clan (a ''leading Muslim political clan'') attacked Esmael Mangudadatu's family members and supporters, and accompanying journalists. 57 killed (34 were journalists) and at least 4 wounded. The victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and killed.
Digos, Davao Del Sur, Philippines, June 25, 1989: 39 people, many of them children, were mercilessly gunned-down by the communist New People's Army (CPP-NPA) rebels while they were attending a Sunday mass. This appears to be a battle over sovereignty.
Baku, Azerbaijan, April 30, 2009: Farda Gadirov shot to death 12 people (students and staff) at the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 7, 2011: Wellington Menezes de Oliveira shot to death 12 children between the ages of 12 and 14 at the Tasso da Silveira Municipal School
Tel Aviv, Israel, June 7, 2016: Two attackers were both dressed as Orthodox Jews started shooting at around 10 p.m. local time in an upscale area of cafes and restaurants near the central military headquarters and Defense Ministry compound. At least 4 died.
UPDATE: Politifact references an email that John Lott sent them about their claim that Obama's claims on mass public shootings were ''mostly false.'' Their discussion is available here.CPRC original research, mass public killings non-shootings, mass public shootings
Joint Statement From Justice Department and FBI Regarding Transcript Related to the Orlando Terror Attack | OPA | Department of Justice
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 19:59
The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued the following statement regarding the FBI's release of the transcript related to the Orlando shooting:
''The purpose of releasing the partial transcript of the shooter's interaction with 911 operators was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation. We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda. Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime. As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.''
Transcript of Orlando Police Department 911 Calls, June 12, 2016
2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:
(OD) Orlando Police Dispatcher
(OM) Omar Mateen
OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficent [Arabic]
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [Arabic]. I wanna let you know, I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What's your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.
OD: Ok, What's your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]
Three High-Ranking NYPD Officers Arrested On Bribery Charges : Gothamist
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 15:13
Three high-ranking NYPD officers were arrested early Monday morning'--two over their alleged quid-pro-quo relationship with prominent businessmen, and a third for close ties with a volunteer officer for the Orthodox Jewish Borough Park Shomrim, a community-based policing force. The officers have been accused of accepting prostitutes, expensive vacations, cash, jewelry and other perks in exchange for NYPD escorts, gun licenses and other favors.Brooklyn consultant Jeremy Reichberg, who served on de Blasio's inaugural advisory committee, was also arrested Monday morning. He is one of two businessmen at the center of a federal corruption probe into Mayor de Blasio's fundraising efforts that's already prompted numerous NYPD demotions and, most recently, the arrest of correction officers union head Norman Seabrook. Upper West Side businessman Jona Rechnitz, Reichberg's alleged co-conspirator, recently pleaded guilty to corruption charges. He cooperated with the feds on the Seabrook arrest.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, 50; Deputy Inspector James Grant, 43; and Sergeant David Villanueva, 42, have all been arrested and charged with various counts of bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara will detail the charges at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Deputy Chief Harrington served as Inspector for Brooklyn North from fall 2012 to mid-2013, before being promoted to second-in-command at the Chief of Department's Office at NYPD headquarters. From 2014 until this spring, he served as Deputy Chief of the NYPD's Housing Bureau overseeing NYCHA properties.
Deputy Inspector Grant served as commanding officer of both the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park and the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side. Both Harrington and Grant were placed on modified duty in April, when bribery allegations surfaced.
Reichberg has been accused of bribing Harrington and Grant over the course of several years, lubricating close relationships in order to keep the officers "on call," according to court papers. Bribes included jewelry, business cards, and expensive meals. In exchange, the officers allegedly carried out favors for Reichberg and members of his Borough Park community. Reichberg and his friends allegedly obtained security at religious events, got out of parking tickets, and used their NYPD connections to settle, rather ominously, "private disputes."
Together with the other unnamed businessman (listed in the complaint as a cooperating co-conspirator, likely Rechnitz according to the NY Times), Reichberg allegedly bought flights, prostitutes, sports tickets, and hotel rooms for Grant, Harrington and other officers. In February 2013, Reichberg and the unnamed businessman allegedly flew with Grant and another detective to Las Vagas for Super Bowl weekend. A prostitute flew with the group on a private jet and allegedly stayed in Grant's room.
The businessmen also allegedly bought expensive jewelry for Grant's wife, and a video game system for his children. The NYPD Patrol Guide explicitly prohibits accepting any gift in exchange for any service connected with official officer duties.
Sergeant Villanueva was assigned to the NYPD Licensing division for more than a decade, where his responsibilities included approving applications for gun licenses. He was reportedly placed on modified duty in April following the arrest of Alex "Shaya" Lichtenstein, 44, a volunteer officer with the Orthodox Jewish Borough Park Shomrim. Lichtenstein was accused of bribing NYPD officials with cash and gifts for expedited gun licenses.
Villanueva, in turn, has been accused of lax background checks. At least one of the applications associated with Lichtenstein is for an unnamed gun license holder who had been listed in at least four domestic violence complaints and had allegedly threatened to kill someone.
According to court papers unsealed Monday, Lichtenstein allegedly bribed Villanueva with thousands of dollars, as well as liquor and limousine rides, including a limousine tour of wineries. In turn, Villanueva allegedly approved between 100 and 150 licenses.
An unnamed co-conspirator who reported to Villanueva between 2009 and 2016 and reaped some of the bribery money has already pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, and is now cooperating with investigators. Police Officer Richard Ochetal of the Licensing Division was also arrested Monday.
The Police Department has a history of granting favors to ultra-Orthodox Jews in Borough Park who make up an influential voting bloc. The Post has reported that Grant doled out hundreds of police captains' union cards with the message "Please extend all courtesy to the holder of this card" when he served as commander of the 77th.
Today's charges are based on phone conversations recorded via wiretap, as well as reviews of personal e-mails and extensive interviews with the unnamed businessman. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton predicted that arrests were imminent back in May, after one detective was fired for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury and Inspector Michael Ameri, head of the Highway Patrol, killed himself as the federal investigation reportedly delved into records related to escorts provided by his unit.
"Some of this will probably result in criminal indictment," he said on AM970, of Grant's alleged Las Vegas trip.
Russia bans the sale of Durex: Reactions on social networks
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 13:35
Russian users react angrily to the ban on the popular condoms.
Durex condoms are banned in Russia on June 16. Source: Natalia Garnelis/TASS
On June 16 Russian state health monitor Roszdravnadzor banned the sale of British Durex condoms. At the time Durex was the second most popular condom brand in Russia, after Contex.
In the words of Roszdravnadzor chief Mikhail Murashko, the prophylactics were banned because Durex had been registered in the wrong way. "Medical products must go through technical and toxicological testing, and all this needs to be inspected by Roszdravnadzor," TASS news agency quoted Murashko as saying.
RBC Daily writes that Durex's problems began when the company was registering its products and did not mention all the different condom names (Classic, Real Feel, Extra Safe, etc.). This prompted the ban. The Durex brand itself is still permitted but all 11 types of condoms are banned.
Market reboundBut Durex has not disappeared in Russia for good. The producer has already filed the necessary documents with Roszdravnadzor and if the body does not find any problems, the company's prophylactics will return to the shelves. It is not clear, however, how long the re-registration will take. For now Durex can only sell lubricants and gels in Russia. These products are not banned.
Murashko noted that Russia will not remain "unprotected," since more than 60 condom brands are registered in the country.
Social media reactionRussians concerned about the ban on Durex have poured out their feelings on social networks.
The sympathizers immediately expressed their condolences with a popular idiom: "Je suis Durex"
Lovers of conspiracy theories searched for a secret plot:
"There are rumors that the ban on Durex in Russia had been lobbied by the Fruto Nanya Company (the largest producer of baby food)"
Analysts, remembering Russia's experience with import substitution in the last couple of years, also offered some brave conjectures:
"To substitute Durex prophylactics the government will improve domestic production at the Yaroslavl tire plant"
Some recalled recent incidents of the destruction of sanctioned products:
"Putin: 'You mixed it all up! It is the tomatoes that must be squashed. Condoms must be pricked."
Pessimists offered a sad conclusion to the story:
"Russians have begun washing used Durex condoms after every use"
The entrepreneurial types think that the ban on Durex is a good opportunity to make money:
"Selling Durex in good condition, without mileage"
Photoshop wizards quickly imagined how the condoms would be sold illegally:
"Psst!... Want some Durex?"
And philosophers recalled eternal values:
"Who needs these Durex while there's still no ban on Doshirak [a kind of Russian pot noodle] and vodka that costs 190 rubles [$2.80]?
Read more: Beating the border guards: 5 classic contraband cases from Russia>>>
2013: Orlando Jihad Murderer Threatened To Kill Fla. Sheriff And His Family, FBI DISMISSED THREAT | Pamela Geller
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 12:56
Massive. Intel. Failure. Pulse nightclub revelers were murdered as much by sharia compliance as they were by Jihadi Omar Mateen.He had been ululating jihad for years. But thanks to Obama's sharia-compliant policies and terror-tied groups like CAIR dictating counter-terror policies, law enforcement did nothing and Americans are dead, with more attacks in our future.
There were innumerable red flags. But if you see something and say something, you will be smeared as an islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigot.
Besides this threat, Mateen made many inflammatory comments in 2013, including a statement that Fort Hood, Texas, jihad mass murderer Nidal Hasan was justified in fatally shooting 13 people and injuring more than 30 others in 2009, the deadliest post-9/11 attack on American soil until Orlando. In addition to commenting about Fort Hood, Mateen made derogatory remarks about women and Jews, the sheriff said. Hateful statements about women and Jews, just like Muhammad, the ''perfect example.''
Obama covered for Islam after the Fort Hood slaughter, calling it ''workplace violence.''
''2013: Orlando Terrorist Threatened To Kill Fla. Sheriff And His Family, FBI Dismissed Threat,'' by Christian Datoc, Daily Caller, June 17, 2016:
In 2013, Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen allegedly threatened to kill a Fla. sheriff's deputy and his family, yet the FBI did not act upon the threat once it had been reported by the sheriff's office.
According to the Treasure Coast Palm, the incident occurred while Mateen '-- a licensed security professional with G4S Security '-- was hired as an extra patrolman at the St. Lucie County Courthouse.
The deputy in question allegedly made a comment about the Middle East which infuriated Mateen, reports St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.
''Omar became very agitated and made a comment that he could have Al Qaeda kill my employee and his family,'' he told the TC Palm Wednesday. ''If that wasn't bad enough, he followed it up with very disturbing comments about women and followed it up with very disturbing comments about Jews and then went on to say that the Fort Hood shooter was justified in his actions.''
Mascara stated the Sheriff's Office requested Mateen be removed from his post and reported the threat to the FBI, who eventually concluded that ''Mateen was not a threat.'''...
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A mathematician may have uncovered widespread election fraud, and Kansas is trying to silence her - AMERICAblog News
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 23:48
Kansas loves them some voter fraud hysteria. From going to the Supreme Court to try and make doubly-sure that non-citizens can't vote in their elections to setting up a voter fraud website where citizens can report every kind of voter fraud except the kinds that have actually happened in the state, Kansas is on the forefront of voter fraud readiness and protection.
Except, perhaps, when it comes to the machines they use to record their votes.
According to the Wichita Eagle, Wichita State mathematician Beth Clarkson has found irregularities in election returns from Sedgwick County, along with other counties throughout the United States, but has faced stiff opposition from the state in trying to confirm whether the irregularities are fraud or other, less-nefarious anomalies.
Analyzing election returns at a precinct level, Clarkson found that candidate support was correlated, to a statistically significant degree, with the size of the precinct. In Republican primaries, the bias has been toward the establishment candidates over tea partiers. In general elections, it has favored Republican candidates over Democrats, even when the demographics of the precincts in question suggested that the opposite should have been true.
Clarkson's interest in election returns was piqued by a 2012 paper released by analysts Francois Choquette and James Johnson showing the same pattern of election returns, which favor establishment Republican candidates in primaries and general elections. The irregularities are isolated to precincts that use ''Central Tabulator'' voting machines '-- machines that have previously been shown to be vulnerable to hacking. The effects are significant and widespread: According to their analysis, Mitt Romney could have received over a million extra votes in the 2012 Republican primary, mostly coming at the expense of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. President Obama also ceded significant votes to John McCain due to this irregularity, as well.
You can read the paper in full here.
While Clarkson has found the same statistical irregularity in a number of localities, her efforts to confirm whether they amount to fraud have been centered on Sedgwick County, Kansas, due to the locality's use of Real Time Voting Machine Paper Tapes, which provide a paper trail that other localities don't have. However, her efforts to verify Sedgwick County's election returns have been repeatedly shut down.
She first requested a recount of the 2013 election, but the timeframe in which a recount could have been requested had passed. She then requested the machines' computer records from the Sedgwick County registrar, which told her to kindly shove off and sue Secretary of State Kris Kobach if she wanted the records so badly.
When Clarkson initially filed her lawsuit requesting the paper records from the voting machines, her suit was denied because a judge ruled that the paper records constituted ballots, shielding them from the state's open records law. This ruling is suspect at best, given that the paper records do not have voters' names assigned to them; they only record when and how a ballot was cast for recount purposes.
She then sought a court order giving her access to a sample of voting records in order to check voting machines' error rates. This order was ignored by the Secretary of State's office, despite their being legally required to respond to her within 30 days. The office later said that they didn't realize they had received her request.
Given Kansas's professed diehard commitment to combatting election fraud, one would think that they would be all for analysis into whether the integrity of their elections have been compromised. Apparently you'd be wrong.
(h/t Occupy Democrats)
Correction: The original title of this post referred to the bias in election returns as ''voter fraud.'' As the allegation of fraud is not against individual voters, but rather administrators of elections, ''election fraud'' is correct. This change has been made where appropriate.
The subprime ad crisis is here'--commentary
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 21:41
This commentary was originally published on Medium.
In the film adaptation of Michael Lewis's book "The Big Short," Mark Baum (played by Steve Carell) explains the short-sighted thinking that led to the subprime mortgage meltdown:
"We live in an era of fraud in America. Not just in banking, but in government, education, religion, food, even baseball'... What bothers me isn't that fraud is not nice. Or that fraud is mean. For fifteen thousand years, fraud and short-sighted thinking have never, ever worked. Not once. Eventually you get caught, things go south. When the hell did we forget all that? I thought we were better than this, I really did."
The advertising and media world have likewise wrongly been focused on short-term outcomes, and via disjointed incentives have either perpetrated outright fraud on their customers and/or the public, or have stood by while other companies they've trusted have done so.
1. Lying to, and trading against, your customers. Investment banks lied to, and have traded ahead of ("front-run"), their customers over the years. In this regard, Goldman Sachs in 2016 agreed to pay a $5 billion settlement, for issues stemming from the 2008 mortgage crisis. The subprime advertising equivalent: The Association of National Advertisers released a report claiming that advertising agencies defrauded their own customers by failing to disclose rebates they received from vendors, and also routinely act as principals in buying ad impressions and then reselling them to clients at 30 percent to 90 percent markups.
2. Low quality + high quality = high quality(?). Mortgages were bundled together into tranches by quality, but the poor quality tranches didn't actually diminish the credit rating of the overall product even as they were failing at higher-than-expected rates. The failure of these poor quality mortgages in many cases caused the entire mortgage-backed security to default. Online, (as highlighted in this 'Clickbait & traffic laundering' report by Kalkis Research) aggregators like Taboola, Outbrain and RevContent help publishers launder suspect or Not Safe For Work (NSFW) traffic, and in so doing. let them buy extra impressions they need to fulfill their highest CPM ad campaigns. This is something called "sourced traffic" and the majority of advertisers have no idea this is happening.
3. Big sales commissions could mean lower standards. You didn't need a college education to make $250,000 a year as a mortgage broker back in 2004''2006, the go-go days of "poor credit? accepted!" adjustable-rate mortgages. Subprime mortgages paid the banks more and they, in turn, gave sales bigger "rips": Salespeople focused on getting those generous commissions worked extra hard to make sure almost anyone could qualify for a mortgage, and, fueled by online refinance leads, they bought from companies like NexTag, LowerMyBills and LendingTree, and did just that. In online advertising, ad networks and their salespeople have continually lowered their standards to allow almost anyone to run an ad campaign with just an email address and a valid credit card. White Ops has shown at a security conference how a hacker could theoretically distribute malware to user's machines thanks to lax online ad policies. And don't kid yourselves''--'malware ad campaigns show up
. 4. You and your data are being resold. Mortgages are packaged up and resold, with the entity that you initially did business with often having no stake in your financial product in future. Similarly, your personal information is being resold by the sites you visit, via third-party data brokers, ending up who-knows-where. This creates incentives for data collection for entities with no concern for the consumer, since the collector doesn't have to deal with any of the downstream consequences.
5. Regulatory entities paid by the firms they regulate. The major ratings agencies like S&P and Moody's failed to sound the alarm about potentially toxic CDOs and mortgage-backed securities from 2006''2008, and, at the same time, were paid by the banks whose products they are regulating. A comparison could be made to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which takes a great deal of money from ad-technology companies and ad networks, even as it supposedly tries to set standards and lobbies to retain self-regulation for the online ad industry. The loser ends up being the consumer.
6. Trying too hard to make something a commodity. The fundamental premise behind creating these toxic mortgage and debt securities was that you could take dissimilar things (a $120,000 loan to an insurance salesman in Naples, Florida, and a $400,000 loan made to a BART driver and his wife in Alameda, Calif., for example) and find enough similarities to turn them into a tradable commodity for Wall Street. Over time, these representations become more and more disconnected from reality as the fundamental characteristics of the underlying data/items change, and the nuances are ignored. Ad exchanges and "programmatic ad buying" have also perpetrated this fiction by letting ad buyers "trade" online ad impressions, and buy user-data segments like "auto intenders-last 14 days." The more this is done, the easier it is for bad actors to game the system, such as introducing bot-impressions into this commodity mix, bundling lower-quality impressions (e.g. the 7th ad on a single page), stretch the definition of these categories (reading a motorsport article is kind of like intending to buy a minivan, right?) and worse.
7. Nobody knows who is actually paying the bills. Wall Street built proprietary trading operations where (in many cases) a group of 100 or fewer professionals could be making more profit than the other 10,000 employees of the company. I don't believe that journalists understand how their salaries are paid, and do not have a notion of which ads are making the most money for their employers (and troublingly, the extent to which these ads and offers are outright fraudulent). I've yet to see any journalist from a major publication address this in an article.
8. Buying stuff you can't afford. There is recent evidence that celebrities hired by big food companies appear in food ads aimed at children that are helping to make our kids fat. Too many financial institutions relaxed their standards and pushed unsuitable mortgage products (no-interest periods, and/or negative-amortization loans) on consumers, putting them into homes and loans they couldn't afford. Ads with false claims (with a bit of help from our overconfident human nature) help us convince ourselves we need things we really don't need.
9. Taking advantage of the weakest among us. As Professor Scott Galloway of NYU says, "Advertising is increasingly a tax that poor people or the technologically unsophisticated pay,"''--'if you've ever signed a mortgage agreement, you've agreed to lots of fine print spread across hundreds of pages. Hidden in these pages may be hidden time bombs like adjustable "teaser" rates (which were heavily advertised by those aforementioned companies in online ads) that are going to disappear quickly, and could leave the consumer with monthly payments that double or triple. I've spoken to consumers who clicked on online ads on major websites, signed up for a free trial of weight loss pills and who ended up being charged hundreds of dollars and/or wasting their time in disputes with credit-card companies. While you and I *might* pride ourselves on never clicking on these ads and not being fooled, those that do are the people paying for the news content that we consume.
10. Gone before the music stops. Sadly, shady ad networks, agency- and ad tech execs alike have more in common with investment bankers and mortgage brokers than they'd like to admit. Everyone wants to collect their bonuses and cash out before the music stops. Look at that ad sales guy's laptop while they're camped out at Starbucks (hoping to "run into" the agency media buyer who sometimes stops in there); I bet you $5 they're running an ad blocker. They know the risks.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Debbie Wasserman Schultz can't explain Democrats' gun control strategy beyond sit-in - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:27
VIDEO-ABC compares Democratic sit-in to college protesters having 'rowdy slumber party' - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:23
VIDEO-Luke Russert really impressed that Kim Kardashian was tweeting about Democratic gun sit-in - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:18
VIDEO-House Republican Post-Adjournment Action | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:07
House Republican Post-Adjournment Action Edward Epstein talked about House Republicans' refusal to adjourn after the dismissal for the August break.'The Republicans wanted a'... read more
House Republican Post-Adjournment Action Edward Epstein talked about House Republicans' refusal to adjourn after the dismissal for the August break.'The Republicans wanted a vote on offshore drilling and increasing domestic oil supplies.'
On-screen identification of affiliation was incorrect. close
VIDEO-Transcript of interview with man who claims to be former lover of Orlando gunman - Univision
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:48
Maria Elena Salinas: Why is the FBI interrogating you?
Miguel: The FBI [is] interrogating me because they start to put the post in the news about they looking for information about gay people who have intercourse with Omar over gay apps like Grindr and Jack'd and the other one is Adam4Adam. So I can tell you I got freaked out, I got very paranoid, so I speak to my therapist and my social workers, I [was] crying a lot, and I decide before they show up at my house -- because they're going to find me sooner or later -- I decide to approach the office, I identify myself and I tell them, who I am.
MES: You had a relationship with Omar Mateen?
Miguel: Yes, I had a relationship with Omar Mateen.
MES: Did you have sex with him?
Miguel: Yes I do.
MES: Did you have a long relationship with him?
Miguel: I [do] not consider [it] long because [it] was only two months. But yes, we were "friends with benefits."
MES: Did you ever detect any kind of violence actions or violent attitudes from him?
Miguel: Not at all. I never detected anything. He was a very sweet guy, very cuddly. He loved to be cuddled. That's one of the things I start to see from him. He [was] looking for love. To be embraced.
MARRIAGE AND RELIGION
MES:Did he ever talk about his religion?
Miguel: Yes, I ask him about his religions.
MES: And what did he say?
Miguel: I ask him about the Muslim religion and he say Muslim religion is a beautiful, spiritual religion. It's a religion where everything's about love, where everybody's welcome '' gay, trans, bisexual, hetero, everybody.
MES: Did you ever talk about his family?
Miguel: Yes, I asked him, well not directly. But one of those days he approached to my hotel room we had [a] conversation. He said he had to talk to me about something. That's when I asked him, I'm looking for someone I can have sex [with]. Be a friend with benefits. He told me he had to confess something: I have a wife and I have a son.
MES: He told you he was married and that he had a son?
MES:And you continued the relationship?
Miguel: The day he told me that, I got mad, I [said] why don't you come '... he walk away'... but later he contact me. He apologized, I remember about that. He told me. I ask him. Your wife knows about this? And he says, ''My wife knows everything.''
MES: His wife knew he was gay?
Miguel: Yes, his wife knew he was gay. She accepted it. For him, being married was because his father forced him to marry. They [weren't] married [because they were in love]. No. It was a convenience '' an [arranged] marriage.
MES: Did his father know he was gay?
Miguel: You know what, after all this, sometimes I think he [did]. But he [could not] accept that.
MES: Why do you think Omar Mateen went into Pulse on that Saturday night and killed 49 people?
Miguel: To tell you the truth, after we had the conversation about the two Puerto Rican[s] who he have the threesome and then one of the Puerto Ricans told him 'I'm HIV positive and I'm sorry I don't say nothing'. Plus, all the rejections he got. I believe, I really think all his anger '' he [hated] gay Puerto Ricans for all the bad thing[s] they [did] to him. This will sound bad and I know a lot of people going to get a lot of pain for what I'm going to say. But I believe this crazy horrible thing he did '' that was a revenge.
MES: You think this was not terrorism.
Miguel: Not at all. Like I told to the FBI if you are a terrorist and you really wanna kill a lot of people you don't go to Pulse. Pulse is nothing compared to Parliament. Parliament is a disco, a hotel and a bar. And [a lot of people go there].
MES:Parliament is a bar and a nightclub where you would meet with him?
Miguel: That's where we met, yeah.
MES:And you would go to your hotel?
Miguel: From the second time we met that's when he would go with me to the hotel.
MES:How many times did he go with you to the hotel?
Miguel: At least, between 15 and 20 times'... in the same room.
MES: What hotel is this?
Miguel: The Ambassador Hotel. West Orlando, west Colonial. That's the Ambassador.
MES: How do I know if what you're telling me is true?
Miguel: Well, if [the] FBI contacts the hotel '' they told me they tried to request all the videos '' they can see me [going] in and out and they can see Omar walking through, to go to my room, or any rooms '' that's the thing, the lobby has double doors on both sides, you don't have to go through the lobby to go to any rooms, you can walk in through the two big gates they have. And the area, it's not the best area, that's [a] very bad area in Orlando. So you can walk around and I know they have video cameras because I see the video cameras. They can see me and Omar, alone, maybe they can find one time he walked [out] with me but he stayed almost to the front of the hotel and I cross the street to buy a pizza. But that's the place where most of the time I used to buy food, the 7-11 across the street from the hotel.
MES: What was the time span of your relationship?
Miguel: One day he spent the whole night, one day. But the other days, I think he had to go to work, I never asked really, he spend time maybe 10 oclock he comes early.
HOWTHE RELATIONSHIP BEGAN
MES:When did this relationship begin?
Miguel: This relationship began when we met on Grindr.
MES: What date?
Miguel: I say. I remember, election day, I remember that because that's the day we started to chat. I remember that, I was in my fitness. He [texted] me.
Miguel: The last days [of] October '' days before Halloween. He say hi by Grindr. I [had seen] him before.
He had an account on JackD and Adam4Adam. But I never contacted him before.
MES: That's when everything started?
MES: And then he met with you?
MES:And then you had this relationship?
MES: For how long was the relationship?
Miguel: The relationship was between the whole November and actually the whole December. Two months.
MES:So during that time there would be proof between security videos, surveillance videos, that there was several encounters between you and Omar Mateen in the Ambassador.
Miguel: Yes. Also from Parliament. If they pull the video from Parliament, they can see when we met over there. I [was] walking with him. And he got a drink. Nighttime. And he offered me. I told him I don't drink alcohol. I ask him for cranberry juice, that's my favorite juice.
FEAR AND A DISGUISE
MES: We've altered your appearance. Why is important for you not to show your face?
Miguel: It's important for me because I don't know what kind of reaction his father can have. Also I don't know what kind of reaction this organization ISIS can have too. I know by the news, as soon he did what he did, ISIS say we did it.
MES: You fear for your life?
Miguel: Yes, a lot. A lot. And I feel bad for what happened. But in the same time I feel it's my responsibility as a citizen of the United States and a gay man '' they can't even think this was a terrorist. They need to go something. By today, it's too many questions that have to be answered.
WAS IT TERRORISM?
MES: Even though Omar Mateen said to the police on 911 calls he was doing this in the name of ISIS?
Miguel: I believe they not terrorists.
MES:Why would you say that?
Miguel: Maybe he wanted to die as a hero for something horrible he [did]. He think he probably'... He was in huge argument, fight with his father, the way his father think about Islam is not the way Omar always think.
MES: What was the difference?
Miguel: The difference. When I ask him about the Muslim religion, Omar tell me '' Islam, the Muslim, is about love. Spiritual. Everybody's welcome, everybody's accepted. But his father [said] no '' gay people is the most denigrated person we can have on this earth. Gay people is the devil and gay people have to die.
MES:That's what his father would tell him?
Miguel: Yes. He told me: If my father find out I'm gay, [he's] not going to kill me'... And I say why? And he say, He's going to kill you'... because he probably want to forgive me but in order to get his forgiveness I have to honor him. And the only way I can honor him is to kill you.
MES: He told you that?
Miguel: I told him your father [is] crazy.
MES: You weren't scared to continue the relationship with him?
Miguel: After that I '... I go to the shower. And he [said] he had to go. But he left. And like 2, 3 days later that's when he contact[ed] me and come back. And I told him I'm still thinking about what you told me about your father. He told me don't worry.
Orlando massacre was "revenge," not terrorism, says man who claims he was gunman's lover
Transcrip of interview with Miguel in Spanish
Entrevista exclusiva: presunto amante de Omar Mateen dice que la masacre en Orlando fue una venganza relacionada con su sexualidad
VIDEO-Democrats continue gun control sit-in after House adjourns
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:38
Democratic lawmakers hoped to force a vote on gun legislature by occupying the House floor Wednesday.
This photo provided by Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, shows Democrat members of Congress, including, front row, from left, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., during the sit-down protest seeking a vote on gun control measures.(Photo: Rep. Chellie Pingree via AP)
WASHINGTON '-- More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers continued their extraordinary protest on the House floor Thursday, more than 20 hours after a sit-in brought legislative business to a halt and triggered a chaotic, late-night showdown as they demanded a vote on gun control legislation.
Republicans adjourned the House at 3 a.m. following a 239-171 vote to approve $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was among Democrats who continued the protest.
"The House did not adjourn without a message being delivered," Rep. Sten Hoyer, D-Md., said. "That there is an epidemic of gun violence in America and that we need to pass legislation to make America and Americans safer."
It was unclear what House Democrats intend to do next but Hoyer said they planned to discuss it during a whip meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Led by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who had called the dramatic protest simply a "publicity stunt," Republicans took back control of the floor at 10 p.m. amid Democrat chants, nearly 11 hours after the sit-in began. Democrats shouted "Shame! Shame!" as House business proceeded and members cast votes on measures unrelated to guns.
Scores of House lawmakers took to the House floor before noon Wednesday and refused to let Republicans resume regular business until the House voted on gun control. They took turns for hours talking about gun violence, ticking off mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., Charleston, S.C., San Bernardino, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., where Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people and injured 53 others June 12.
''What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?" exclaimed Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who kicked off the sit-in. "We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more."
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, attempted to gavel the House into order at noon, but when the Democrats refused to quiet, he gaveled the House into recess instead. When Ryan took to the podium later, he brought the House back into session and proceeded to votes. Republicans remained mostly stone-faced throughout the rowdy Democratic spectacle.
After the votes, the House recessed again, and Democrats returned to their protest speeches on the floor.
Ryan said earlier on CNN that he would not schedule a vote on gun bills that have already been defeated in the Senate. "This is a publicity stunt," Ryan said. "This isn't trying to come up with a solution to a problem. This is trying to get attention."
Senate blocks gun measures offered in wake of Orlando shooting
Senators on Monday voted down four partisan gun measures and were trying to craft a compromise Wednesday that would make it harder for people on terrorist watch lists to get guns.
Other House Republicans were less restrained in their response. They have opposed legislation toughening gun laws because they say the measures would infringe on Americans' rights to bear arms and to due process.
"Calling this a sit-in is a disgrace to Woolworth's. They sat-in for rights," Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., tweeted in a reference to black civil rights activists who refused to leave the store's lunch counter when they had been refused service in 1960. "Dems are 'sitting-in' to strip them away."
This screen shot from C-SPAN video shows Democrats sitting on the chamber floor just before the session was gaveled to a close and the cameras were turned off. (Photo: Screenshot)
Most of the House demonstration, unlike last week's filibuster in the Senate that led to the votes Monday, was not broadcast on C-SPAN. The network carries feeds from cameras belonging to the House, which are controlled by the majority party and turned off when the House is not in session. Instead, C-SPAN aired video feeds being posted by Democrats from the floor via their social media accounts.
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., accused Republican leadership of not allowing the broadcast, although it is longstanding policy not to show the House floor when the chamber is in recess.
''The fact is they can cut off the mics, they can cut off the cameras, they will not silence our voice,'' he said as the sit-in approached four hours.
How C-SPAN is skirting the House TV blackout on Democrats' sit-in
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California went to the floor and called for a moment of silence. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., led a prayer. No one appeared ready to give up anytime soon.
''I am prepared to stay here until hell freezes over,'' Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said. ''We're here because we can't take it anymore '... We can't take burying our young people."
Rep, G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Republicans calling the demonstration a stunt, "is really an insult.''
''Write this date down '-- June 22. It's the beginning of a movement," he said. "This is just the beginning.''
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, who led the nearly 15-hour filibuster in the Senate, went over to the House floor to show his support.
''This is an extraordinary tactic,'' he said as he headed into the chamber shortly after noon. But, he added, ''This is an exceptional time.''
The sit-in was extraordinary, but it was not the first time lawmakers had staged a protest after the cameras were turned off. In 2008, Republicans demanded a vote on oil drilling, but the Democratic majority under then-speaker Pelosi voted to adjourn and turned off the lights. Republicans came to the empty House chamber for days to make speeches about oil production and rail against what they said was unfair treatment by Democrats.
Over at the White House on Wednesday, press secretary Josh Earnest said House Democrats are ''are showing the kind of frustration and even anger that people around the country have.''
''What Democrats are asking for is neither radical nor controversial,'' he said, citing polls showing that expanded background checks are favored by large majorities of people, including gun owners.
President Obama tweeted thanks to Lewis for "leading on gun violence where we need it most."
"We need more than moments of silence. We need action. And that's what's going on in the House now," he added later, including a link to CSPAN.
Contributing: Gregory Korte and Erin Kelly
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/28NOG4L
VIDEO-Lynch: Transcripts of Mateen's calls to law enforcement will omit references to Islamic terrorism - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:23
VIDEO-MSNBC host grows angry after being schooled on guns by Larry Pratt - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:18
VIDEO-Ash Carter lays out direct connection between ISIS and Orlando nightclub massacre - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:08
VIDEO-Joe Biden mistakes Bashar al-Assad for Saddam Hussein - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:04
VIDEO-AG Loretta Lynch: The best response to terror is compassion and love - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:02
VIDEO-NBC: Amazing How Close Trump Is to Clinton in Battleground States, Despite Campaign Woes - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:57
VIDEO-Trump calls Hillary Clinton a 'world-class liar,' compares her to Brian Williams - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:54
VIDEO-Your Daily Reminder that Ron Paul is an Insane Person - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:47
VIDEO-ABC Downplays Censorship of Terrorist's 911 Call | MRCTV
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:41
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
In the aftermath of the most devastating mass shooting in US history, another controversy loomed as the transcripts from the 911 phone call between Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and emergency dispatchers were initially redacted, only to later be released in full after pressure from Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and eventually some journalists. The redactions included any mention of Mateen's connections and pledges to the Islamic State. StartingMonday evening and continuing into Tuesday morning, NBC and CBS noticed the brewing scandal and the Obama administration's reversal on the issue. However, ABC only referred to the contentious topic with vague single-sentence mentions.
VIDEO-Has US Ever Before Allowed the Sale of Aircraft to State-Sponsors of Terror? State Dep't Doesn't Think So | MRCTV
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:29
The State Department on Tuesday welcomed Boeing's announcement of a deal to sell aircraft to Iran, but spokesman John Kirby seemed uncomfortable at the suggestion this marked the first time a U.S. aircraft manufacturer has been given a license to sell planes to a state-sponsor of terrorism.
VIDEO-CBS Touts Celebrity Musicians Whining About Property Rights, Skips Their Liberal Hypocrisy | MRCTV
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:16
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
While reporting on Taylor Swift's open letter to Congress regarding a drastic reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, CBS This Morning focused the story primarily on how Swift, along with many other high-profile entertainers such as Paul McCartney and Trent Reznor, felt YouTube was exploiting the artists' music by not taking a more proactive role in targeting and removing videos and other content that play licensed music without explicit permission from the artist or their record company.
VIDEO-RELIGION IS NOT RACE-Trump says US should consider racial profiling to fight crime | euronews, world news
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:06
Donald Trump has said the US should consider racial profiling to combat crime.
The presumptive Republican presidential candidate made the comments when asked if he backed the profiling of Muslims, after last week's shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
''I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country, Trump said.
The billionaire businessman said while he hated the concept of profiling he claimed it wasn't the worst thing to do.
VIDEO-TIMING IS EVRYTHING-EU releases Greek bailout funds as Juncker praises Athens' reforms | euronews, world news
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:59
"I came to bring a message of hope, at least that is what I believe, that Greece has overcome a significant hurdle and can now go down the right road"
Greece has received more than seven billion euros in bailout funds after a review of the country's progress in implementing reforms.
It comes amid the European Commission president's visit to Athens '' almost a year after a massive standoff which saw emergency funding ended and Greek voters reject EU bailout terms.
''The visit of the president of the European commission to Greece coincided with the release of a 7.5 billion euros bailout tranche. But in spite of praise for the progress made on structural reforms Mr Juncker's presence in Athens also served as a reminder that the effort to put the country's ailing economy back on track should not by any means slow down,'' Euronews correspondent Stamatis Giannisis reported from Athens.
Most of the new bailout money will be used to pay debts to the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, with the rest going towards paying off state arrears.
Greece's largest creditor the European Stability Mechanism will now continue to loan Athens money under favourable conditions.
Jean-Claude Juncker '' who met the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras '' said the country had taken an important step towards getting through the crisis.
He cited reforms to pensions, the tax system, and the launch of a large privatisation programme.
''I came to bring a message of hope, at least that is what I believe, that Greece has overcome a significant hurdle and can now go down the right road. All the way along this path everybody at the European Commission will alongside Greece,'' the Commission president told reporters.
Tsipras once led the anti-austerity protests himself. Now his Syriza-led coalition government is the target of the people's fury '' for bowing to the demands of international lenders in exchange for bailout funds.
Last week thousands demonstrated against the latest measures which include pension reforms and tax rises.
VIDEO-'Out is out': Europe issues a stark warning to the UK ahead of the Brexit referendum | euronews, world news
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:48
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has issued a stark warning to the United Kingdom on the eve of the referendum on its EU membership.
Whatever the outcome of the vote, the UK has received the most it ever will from the 28-member bloc, he advised.
''There will be no kind of'... any renegotiation. We have concluded the deal with the prime minister. He got the maximum he could receive and we gave the maximum we could give, so there will be no kind of renegotiation. Out is out.''
It came as British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would push for more reforms on freedom of movement.
French President Fran§ois Hollande was equally firm on his country's stance on a UK departure from the Union.
''If the outcome is to leave the EU, France's position in the aftermath of this referendum would be to draw the right conclusion and to consider this vote as the departure of the UK from the EU. And that would be irreversible.''
He announced he would be in Berlin on Wednesday (June 29), whatever the result, to work on rebuilding Europe.
Turkey, meanwhile, has protested about being repeatedly referred to in the referendum campaigns.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was wrong to use the country's status as a candidate for EU membership as an argument in the run-up to the vote.
''Turkey has never been a burden on the EU,'' he told a press conference in Ankara.
Cavusoglu used the occasion to push for the UK to remain in the EU, saying Turkey believed the bloc would be stronger in that case.
VIDEO-Russia must be ready to respond to NATO's 'aggressive actions', says Putin | euronews, world news
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:43
President Vladimir Putin has said Russia must boost its combat readiness in response to NATO's ''aggressive actions'' near its borders.
Addressing the Russian parliament Putin also criticised the West for its reluctance to build a collective security system with Russia.
''NATO is strengthening its aggressive rhetoric and its aggressive actions near our borders. In these conditions, we are duty-bound to pay special attention to solving the task of strengthening the combat defences of our country,'' he declared.
Last month, Moscow announced plans to create three new divisions to meet what it described as a dangerous military build-up on its borders.
NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg urged dialogue.
''The important thing is that we need the NATO/Russia Council to have a chance of political dialogue open with Russia and especially when tensions are high. It is important that we talk, that we meet and that we do whatever we can to prevent misunderstandings, miscalculations, and try to reduce tensions,'' Stoltenberg said.
NATO is also set to send four battalions to Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in an attempt to prevent a repeat of Russian actions, such as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
VIDEO-Germany says Turkey is blocking plans for Incirlik visit | euronews, world news
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:38
Germany's Defence Ministry says Ankara is blocking plans for a senior official to visit the country's 250 personnel stationed at Incirlik air base.
As yet, there has been no official response from Turkish officials.
Six German reconnaissance jets and a refuelling plane are stationed at Incirlik.
They are part of a US-led air campaign against ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria.
Relations between Germany and Turkey have been strained recently.
The German parliament recently adopted a resolution declaring the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a genocide.
Ankara strongly rejects the definition.
Germany's public broadcaster says a Turkish channel has pulled broadcasts of a children's news programme it produces.
ZDF says Turkey's Kanal D cited ''numerous complaints'' following the June 2 vote in the Bundestag.
VIDEO-Meet the FBI Informant Who Organized Neo-Nazi Gathering Attended by Jo Cox Murder Suspect in 2000
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 01:54
AMYGOODMAN: We move on to our next segment now, the story of the assassination of a British Labour leader. Juan?
JUAN GONZLEZ: Well, we turn now to Britain, which is continuing to mourn last week's murder of parliamentarian Jo Cox. She was stabbed and shot last week in her district after meeting with constituents. Her murderer, Thomas Mair, reportedly yelled out "Britain First" during the attack'--a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant political party of the same name which is pushing for Britain to leave the EU in tomorrow's Brexit referendum. Cox was a vocal advocate for Britain to remain in the European Union.
More information is coming to light about Mair's ties to neo-Nazi groups in the United States and Britain. The Southern Poverty Law Center here in the U.S. has revealed Mair is a longtime supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Documents released by the center show Mair has spent over $500 buying periodicals and other items from the group, including a manual that contained information on how to build a pistol. In addition, The Daily Telegraph is reporting Mair subscribed to S.A. Patriot, a South African magazine published by White Rhino Club, a pro-apartheid group.
AMYGOODMAN: Meanwhile, a former paid FBI informant named Todd Blodgett has revealed he met Thomas Mair at a neo-Nazi gathering that the informant set up in London in 2000. Beginning in the mid-'90s, Blodgett worked with several leaders of the far right, including Willis Carto, who founded the Liberty Lobby, and William Pierce, leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Blodgett was also a co-owner of Resistance Records, the world's largest neo-Nazi music label. Todd Blodgett is joining us now from his home in Iowa.
Todd Blodgett, welcome to Democracy Now! Tell us what you know about this man, Thomas Mair, who killed Jo Cox.
TODDBLODGETT: Yes, thank you. I met Tommy'--he was known as Tommy when I met him in about May of 2000. I had just begun working as a paid FBI informant in March of that year. William Pierce, who was the main guy with Resistance Records, but also my co-owner, wanted to convene a meeting in London, because there was a Leeds chapter and another chapter of the National Alliance. And the purpose of the meeting was to promote Resistance Records, let people know that William Pierce was the'--was the new owner of it'--he bought it from Willis Carto'--and also to gain readerdom, gain more customers and get distributors for Resistance Records. And Mair was one of the people invited to the meeting. There were about maybe 17 or 18 people at that meeting. And it took place just off of the Strand in London in the spring of 2000. And as I said, he attended the meeting along with Stevie Cartwright, Richard Barnbrook, Nick Griffin, who was sort of like the David Duke of England at that time, and several other people who were either members of the National Alliance or supporters of the NA.
JUAN GONZLEZ: Now, why were you at that meeting representing Mr. Pierce?
TODDBLODGETT: Well, of course, Pierce did not know that I had agreed to work for the bureau at that point. And he wanted to go over to England'--
AMYGOODMAN: For the FBI.
TODDBLODGETT: For'--yeah, for the FBI, that's correct. He, himself, wanted to go, but he was precluded by law from being able to go there, due to the fact that he couldn't get in. I mean, his views kept him out of'--out of England, so he sent me in his stead, because he and I were the co-owners of Resistance Records at that time. And when I began with the FBI, I told them about what Pierce wanted to do. And right away, they said, "Well, we're going to accompany you." So, the day before I arrived in London, two FBI agents, an IRS agent and a JTTF agent'--that would be the Joint Terrorism Task Force'--flew in ahead of me, and they had me meet with the two people, two guys, from the MI5. They gave me a cellphone to use when I was there and that kind of thing. So, that's how it all worked out.
AMYGOODMAN: Why did you decide to work for the FBI? I mean, were you a neo-Nazi true believer?
TODDBLODGETT: I was never a true believer. I was never a Holocaust denier. I'm not a bigot or a racist or anything. I was basically'--I guess the best way to say it is I was'--I was greedy. I was an opportunistic profiteer. I didn't look at the consequences to myself or to others of what I was doing. And I never wanted to be a Resistance Records shareholder, but Willis Carto of Liberty Lobby owed me money. And when he went bankrupt, he'--when Liberty Lobby went bankrupt, they gave me stock in Resistance Records in lieu of that, and that's how I became a co-owner.
What had happened with regard to Pierce was, is that after the deal was signed with Pierce and he gave me a consulting contract he insisted I take as part of my stock sale'--he wouldn't buy the shares without it'--we went to a place called the University Club of D.C. The Washington Post got a hold of the article, and it caused a big uproar there, and I was expelled from the club. I was given the option to resign or be expelled. I was expelled. And basically, that's when the FBI caught notice of this, and the agents came to my office in downtown D.C., and they said, "Look, we're not after you, but we know you've worked with all these people'--Willis Carto, Pierce, David Duke'--all the head honchos among the racist right, as a profiteer. Will you help us?" And that's when I agreed to'--I agreed to go on as a paid informant.
JUAN GONZLEZ: Now, this meeting that occurred in 2000 in'--I think it was in Leeds in England, these were some of the top neo-Nazi or white supremacist leaders in England. What kind of interaction did you have with Thomas Mair? And what impression did you take away from him at that meeting?
TODDBLODGETT: Well, first of all, the meeting was actually in downtown London, not Leeds, but there were several people from the Leeds chapter at this meeting. And I'--as far as Thomas Mair, I would say that most people describe him'--he was kind of like a working-class guy, but very well read. I mean, he was discussing a book or two that he had read by David Irving, the Holocaust-denying pseudohistorian, who I also monitored. He would probably'--I guess the best way to describe him is just nondescript, well mannered. When you go to a meeting like this, any kind of gathering, the guys'--they're always all guys'--there's a lot of bravado, a lot of macho, a lot of braggadocio going on. People talk about who they beat up last week and how they took on six guys and kicked their butt. They brag about their womanizing. Mair was none of those. He didn't do any of that. He got'--he came by himself. He actually left by himself. As he got there, he was respected by the people that were there. He knew some. They knew him by name. He was not an outgoing guy. If you were to ask me at the end of that meeting, say, a wall of guys there, who would have been the least likely to even start a fistfight, I would have said Tommy Mair.
AMYGOODMAN: According to British media reports, Thomas Mair, or Tommy Mair, as you call him, was a subscriber to the pro-apartheid magazine, South African Patriot in Exile.
TODDBLODGETT: I read that.
AMYGOODMAN: This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center published two letters that Mair wrote to editors of the magazine. In 1999, Thomas Mair wrote, quote, "I was glad you strongly condemned 'collaborators' in the White South African population. In my opinion the greatest enemy of the old Apartheid system was not the African National Congress and the Black masses but White liberals and traitors." And then, in a 1991 letter to the publication, Mair wrote, quote, "The nationalist movement in the U.K. also continues to fight on against the odds. ... Despite everything I still have faith that the White Race will prevail, both in Britain and in South Africa, but I fear that it's going to be a very long and very bloody struggle." Those the words of Thomas Mair. Todd Blodgett, what was your reaction when you heard who was the man who murdered the Labour MP, Jo Cox?
TODDBLODGETT: When I first saw his picture, and I recognized him right off, when I first heard his name, I remembered it, you know, my first reaction was, gosh, I mean, this is'--aside from the fact it's a horrible thing, I thought, you know, this wasn't the kind of guy I would have picked out to do that. I would have thought someone like Stevie Cartwright or someone would be more likely to do that. They were the more'--you know, the more brutal types. But then I realized a lot of people that I monitored, which included a guy named Wade Page, who did a similar thing'--he went into a'--I think it was a Hindu temple in Wisconsin, and killed a bunch of people about three years ago'--sometimes it's those very kind of guys that are the most lethal, which is why Tommy Mair and people like him represent such a huge challenge to MI5 and the FBI and other law enforcement, because they can be dormant for many years. They can be on the radar, then they go off the radar. They're the kind that'--you know, they're not the kind that'--Tommy Mair was not the kind of guy you'd pick out to start a fight in a bar. He was not like a tough kind of guy. He didn't pose as a tough guy. He just basically was a nondescript kind of guy. And I thought, you know, obviously he is not'--his hatred has not changed. He just found an outlet for it, and he finally decided to try to go out in a blaze of glory. And that's'--that was my reaction.
JUAN GONZLEZ: And, Todd Blodgett, you did this undercover work for the FBI, but yet you've also been public since then about your activities. Are there any concerns on your part of your own personal safety as a result of the work you did to uncover the activities of some of thes white supremacist groups?
TODDBLODGETT: There are'--I do have some concerns. I live in Texas, as well as in Iowa. And I've had strangers walk up to me in bars in Texas and call me'--I won't say this name, these words, on the air, but, you know, they'll use the N-word, they'll use derogatory names for Jewish people, and they'll say I'm a blankety-blank lover or a race traitor, that kind of thing. So there's always that concern. But I will say this'--I want to get this out: I have a concealed-carry permit that's good in 37 states, and I can legally'--I am legally armed. I'm armed right now. And so, if they want to try to make a fight with me, they might take me out, but I'm going to take them with me.
AMYGOODMAN: The presidential election right now, the support that Donald Trump has gotten from, for example, David Duke'--right?'--the former Klan leader'--
AMYGOODMAN: '--white supremacist, your thoughts on white supremacists in this country, Klan support of Donald Trump?
TODDBLODGETT: I think it's very tragic. I mean, anyone has a right to support who they want to. But I worked for Reagan for many years, and when Reagan was endorsed by the KKK in the fall of 1980, his response was a great response. He said, "Look, just because they like my philosophy doesn't mean I buy theirs." Trump kind of stumbled over that thing. I don't think Donald Trump is a white supremacist, but I'm very disturbed by the fact that he's got support from them, and I'm also disturbed by the comment he made about the judge. I can't think of'--Judge Curiel, I think his name is. But he made a'--he made a stupid reference to the fact that he's of Hispanic descent, which is totally irrelevant to the case. I worked with David Duke. I monitored him for the FBI. I've done'--you know, I monitored all these people. They're, without exception, a bunch of sociopaths. They're just bad people. And most of their supporters tend to be bad people, too. So I don't want to see that kind of thing being any part of the Republican Party. I'm still a Republican. I was for Jeb Bush for the nomination; before that, for Dr. Carson. But I don't want to see that part'--I want this flushed out of the party.
AMYGOODMAN: What is it about Donald Trump, you think, that attracts white supremacists, neo-Nazis?
TODDBLODGETT: I think it is because they recognize, in their world, to their way of thinking, demographics are destiny. That was one thing that William Pierce always said. Carto said that. Dr. Ed Fields said that. They believe that demographics is destiny. And I think they feel that a Donald Trump presidency would be conducive to not only stemming that, the demographic changes, but to reversing them, if Trump, you know, could actually do what he claims he wants to do. That's their attraction to him.
AMYGOODMAN: On Tuesday, Jo Cox's husband Brendan said his late wife worried about the direction of global politics.
BRENDANCOX: I think she worried that we were entering an age that we haven't seen, maybe since the 1930s, of people'--people feeling insecure for lots of different reasons, for economic reasons or security reasons, and then populist politicians, whether that's Trump in the U.S. or whoever else, exploiting that and driving communities to hate each other, saying that the reason that you don't have a job or the reason that you're feeling insecure is because of this powerless person, not because of, you know, choices that we're making or'--and that that was driving people, it was creating an atmosphere of hatred.
JUAN GONZLEZ: That was Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox, who was murdered by Thomas Mair. Your response, Todd Blodgett?
TODDBLODGETT: I think he makes a very valid point. I feel terrible about what happened to his wife, who, by the way, today was her birthday. Today would have been Jo Cox's 42nd birthday. I think he makes a very valid point. I know a lot of people in Iowa and Texas, and people I met when I was infiltrating these people. They basically'--I'm talking about white people here. They blame almost all their problems on minorities. They blame all their problems on'--some of them, the white supremacists, tend to blame their problems on Jewish people. They seem to find a scapegoat for everything. They seem to scapegoat such people for all their problems. They say, "Hey, this is why I can't get a job and hold it. This is why my girlfriend dropped me. This is why I'm addicted to crystal meth." Everything that goes wrong, they blame other'--these people for. And it's a very disturbing trend. There's no question about it.
AMYGOODMAN: Todd Blodgett, we want to thank you for being with us. Todd Blodgett, conservative Republican political writer, former co-owner of Resistance Records, the world's largest neo-Nazi music label. From 2000 to 2002, he was a paid FBI informant who worked undercover within white supremacist organizations, helped to set up a white supremacist meeting in London that Thomas Mair attended, the man who murdered the Labour member of Parliament in Britain last week, Jo Cox. Today she would have turned 42 years old. She leaves her husband, her constituents and her two little children.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. When we come back, what happens to an old nuclear power plant when environmentalists get involved? What happens to the site? Stay with us.
VIDEO-TUCKER ON TV AD BUYS-4-30-START-How will Trump's fundraising woes affect his campaign? - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 21:29
VIDEO-World renowned pianist Ludovico Einaudi plays concert on Arctic Ocean
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:37
Italian pianist and composer, Ludovico Einaudi, performed one of his own compositions, Elegy for the Arctic, on a floating platform in the Arctic Ocean, against the backdrop of the Wahlenbergbreen glacier. The message is powerful and beautiful.
Video credit: GreenpeaceRussia
The Svalbard islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. On Spitsbergen, one of the islands, locates the Russian mining community of Barentsburg.
Through his music Einaudi has added his voice to those of eight million people from across the world demanding protection for the Arctic.
''Being here has been a great experience. I could see the purity and fragility of this area with my own eyes and interpret a song I wrote to be played upon the best stage in the world. It is important that we understand the importance of the Arctic, stop the process of destruction and protect it," he says.
The musician, known for his composition for the film, ''Black Swan'' and the television serial, ''Doctor Zhivago'', travelled onboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise on the eve of the week-long meeting of the OSPAR Commission, which could secure the first protected area in Arctic international waters.
VIDEO-Coca-Cola Rainbow Nation --20 years of democracy in South Africa - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:03
VIDEO-G¼len Movement under Fire in Germany | All media content | DW.COM | 27.02.2014
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:17
People and PoliticsFethullah G¼len is a Turkish-born preacher who lives in the US and is an activist for Islam. His movement runs various schools and other educational facilities in Germany and elsewhere. Critics claim the network has a conservative if not Islamist agenda. Anti-G¼len sentiment is getting louder.
VIDEO-TURKEY: Customers Patron Music Store. Anti-Music Muslims Vi
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:52
Team CrowderWednesday June 22 2016
Islam is the Religion of Peace (TM). Remember that next time you're outside (or inside), enjoying your favorite music. You need to remember this especially if you haven't heard of these nifty inventions called ''headphones.'' Now in Western civilization, if you're listening to your music a bit too loudly, worst thing that might happen is you get a snarky lecture about keeping your tunes to yourself. In Turkey, some Radiohead fans got a beat down courtesy of their ''friendly'' neighborhood Muslims.
A group of Radiohead fans has been attacked by a mob of men carrying sticks and bottles as they held a listening party of the band's music in Istanbul.
The incident, which was largely captured on video, occurred on Friday night at the Velvet Indieground record store '' a popular destination for Turkish and foreign music fans in the Istanbul district of Cihangir. There was at least one injury, with a picture of a person with a bloodied shirt, purportedly from the attack, posted on Twitter.
The video shows a visibly angry man storming into the record store as employees and customers listen to Radiohead's new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. Most of the people in the store hastily leave. A waiting mob then reportedly attacked the group and the door of the record store was smashed, although there were no reported serious injuries from the assault.
The reason? They were enjoying music and alcohol during Ramadan. If you're waiting for the punchline, don't. That's it. Muslims were upset people were enjoying music and alcohol during Ramadan.
But Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of peace. Say it like a mantra. SAY IT you intolerant racist!
Folks, this is your religion of peace. The same religion of peace that assaulted a waitress just for serving alcohol, and who planned a genocide at a gay pride parade. It's the same religion of peace which inspired an American-born man to shoot up a gay bar.
This same religion of peace is infiltrating Western countries, including our own, at alarming rates. It's shifting the demographic of nations. It's altering native cultures. It has the left completely cowed into surrendering whatever it takes to appease them. Even though nothing but full conversion to Islam and obeying of Sharia law will do.
Islam. Violence is what it is. Intolerance is its main tenet. Be you a Christian, a Jew, a woman, a gay person, a transgender person, matters not. In Islam, you must be silenced, you must convert, or you must die. Yes, even you Radiohead fans.
Islam isn't peaceful. Get the facts, watch this video:
NOT SUBSCRIBED TO THE PODCAST? FIX THAT! IT'S COMPLETELY FREE ON BOTH ITUNES HERE AND SOUNDCLOUD HERE.
VIDEO-Full transcript: Donald Trump NYC speech on Hillary Clinton (text, video) - POLITICO
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:41
Remarks as prepared for delivery.
Today I'd like to share my thoughts about the stakes in this election.
Story Continued Below
People have asked me why I am running for President.
I have built an amazing business that I love and I get to work side-by-side with my children every day.
We come to work together and turn visions into reality.
We think big, and then we make it happen.
I love what I do, and I am grateful beyond words to the nation that has allowed me to do it.
So when people ask me why I am running, I quickly answer: I am running to give back to this country which has been so good to me.
When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports, or the factories moving overseas to Mexico, or to other countries, I know these problems can all be fixed, but not by Hillary Clinton '' only by me.
The fact is, we can come back bigger and better and stronger than ever before --Jobs, jobs, jobs!
Everywhere I look, I see the possibilities of what our country could be. But we can't solve any of these problems by relying on the politicians who created them.
We will never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the same people who rigged it in the first place.
The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money.
That's why we're asking Bernie Sanders' voters to join our movement: so together we can fix the system for ALL Americans. Importantly, this includes fixing all of our many disastrous trade deals.
Because it's not just the political system that's rigged. It's the whole economy.
It's rigged by big donors who want to keep down wages.
It's rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers, and sell their products back into the U.S. with absolutely no consequences for them.
It's rigged by bureaucrats who are trapping kids in failing schools.
It's rigged against you, the American people.
Hillary Clinton who, as most people know, is a world class liar ''
just look at her pathetic email and server statements, or her phony landing in Bosnia where she said she was under attack but the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers, a total self-serving lie.
Brian Williams' career was destroyed for saying far less.
Yesterday, she even tried to attack me and my many businesses. But here is the bottom line: I started off in Brooklyn New York, not so long ago, with a small loan and built a business worth over 10 billion dollars. I have always had a talent for building businesses and, importantly, creating jobs. That is a talent our country desperately needs.
I am running for President to end the unfairness and to put you, the American worker, first.
We are going to put America First, and we are going to Make America Great again.
This election will decide whether we are ruled by the people, or by the politicians.
Here is my promise to the American voter:
If I am elected President, I will end the special interest monopoly in Washington, D.C.
The other candidate in this race has spent her entire life making money for special interests '' and taking money from special interests.
Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft.
She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund '' doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.
Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests '' in less than 2 years '' secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public.
Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001.
They totally own her, and that will never change.
The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control.
Those are the stakes.
Hillary Clinton wants to be President. But she doesn't have the temperament, or, as Bernie Sanders' said, the judgement, to be president.
She believes she is entitled to the office.
Her campaign slogan is ''I'm with her.''
You know what my response to that is? I'm with you: the American people.
She thinks it's all about her.
I know it's all about you '' I know it's all about making America Great Again for All Americans.
Our country lost its way when we stopped putting the American people first.
We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism '' focusing on what's good for America's middle class '' to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy.
We reward companies for offshoring, and we punish companies for doing business in America and keeping our workers employed.
This is not a rising tide that lifts all boats.
This is a wave of globalization that wipes out our middle class and our jobs.
We need to reform our economic system so that, once again, we can all succeed together, and America can become rich again.
That's what we mean by America First.
Our country will be better off when we start making our own products again, bringing our once great manufacturing capabilities back to our shores.
Our Founders understood this.
One of the first major bills signed by George Washington called for ''the encouragement and protection of manufactur[ing]'' in America.
Our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned us by saying:
''The abandonment of the protective policy by the American government will produce want and ruin among our people.''
I have visited the cities and towns across America and seen the devastation caused by the trade policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton supported Bill Clinton's disastrous NAFTA, just like she supported China's entrance into the World Trade Organization.
We've lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements were signed.
Our trade deficit with China soared 40% during Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State -- a disgraceful performance for which she should not be congratulated, but rather scorned.
Then she let China steal hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property '' a crime which is continuing to this day.
Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs, and effectively let China completely rebuild itself.
In return, Hillary Clinton got rich!
The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family at America's expense.
She gets rich making you poor.
Here is a quote from the book: ''At the center of US policy toward China was Hillary Clinton'...at this critical time for US-china relations, Bill Clinton gave a number of speeches that were underwritten by the Chinese government and its supporters.''
These funds were paid to the Clinton bank account while Hillary was negotiating with China on behalf of the United States.
She sold out our workers, and our country, for Beijing.
Hillary Clinton has also been the biggest promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will ship millions more of our jobs overseas '' and give up Congressional power to an international foreign commission.
Now, because I have pointed out why it would be such a disastrous deal, she is pretending that she is against it. She has even deleted this record of total support from her book '' deletion is something she is very good at -- (at least 30,000 emails are missing.)
But this latest Clinton cover-up doesn't change anything: if she is elected president, she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and we will lose millions of jobs and our economic independence for good. She will do this, just as she has betrayed the American worker on trade at every single stage of her career '' and it will be even worse than the Clintons' NAFTA deal.
I want trade deals, but they have to be great for the United States and our workers.
We don't make great deals anymore, but we will once I become president.
It's not just our economy that's been corrupted, but our foreign policy too.
The Hillary Clinton foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars '' and unleashed ISIS across the world.
No Secretary of State has been more wrong, more often, and in more places than Hillary Clinton.
Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched.
Among the victims is our late Ambassador, Chris Stevens. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed -- that's right, when the phone rang at
3 o'clock in the morning, she was sleeping.
Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds of requests for security.
Hillary Clinton's State Department refused them all.
She started the war that put him in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die.
To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about a video being the cause of his death.
Here is what one of the victim's mothers had to say:
''I want the whole world to know it: she lied to my face, and you don't want this person to be president.''
In 2009, before Hillary Clinton was sworn in, it was a different world.
Libya was cooperating.
Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence.
Syria was under control.
Iran was being choked by sanctions.
Egypt was governed by a friendly regime that honored its peace treaty with Israel.
ISIS wasn't even on the map.
Fast forward to 2013: In just four years, Secretary Clinton managed
to almost single-handedly destabilize the entire Middle East.
Her invasion of Libya handed the country over to the ISIS barbarians.
Thanks to Hillary Clinton, Iran is now the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East, and on the road to nuclear weapons.
Hillary Clinton's support for violent regime change in Syria has thrown the country into one of the bloodiest civil wars anyone has ever seen '' while giving ISIS a launching pad for terrorism against the West.
She helped force out a friendly regime in Egypt and replace it with the radical Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian military has retaken control, but Clinton has opened the Pandora's box of radical Islam.
Then, there was the disastrous strategy of announcing our departure date from Iraq, handing large parts of the country over to ISIS killers.
ISIS threatens us today because of the decisions Hillary Clinton has made.
ISIS also threatens peaceful Muslims across the Middle East, and peaceful Muslims across the world, who have been terribly victimized by horrible brutality '' and who only want to raise their kids in peace and safety.
In short, Hillary Clinton's tryout for the presidency has produced one deadly foreign policy disaster after another.
It all started with her bad judgment in supporting the War in Iraq in the first place.
Though I was not in government service, I was among the earliest to criticize
the rush to war, and yes, even before the war ever started.
But Hillary Clinton learned nothing from Iraq, because when she got into power,
she couldn't wait to rush us off to war in Libya.
She lacks the temperament, the judgment and the competence to lead.
In the words of a Secret Service agent posted outside the Oval Office:
''She simply lacks the integrity and temperament to serve
in the office'...from the bottom of my soul, I know this to be true'...Her leadership style '' volcanic, impulsive'...disdainful of the rules set for everyone else '' hasn't changed a bit.''
Perhaps the most terrifying thing about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy is that she refuses to acknowledge the threat posed by Radical Islam.
In fact, Hillary Clinton supports a radical 550% increase in Syrian refugees coming into the United States, and that's an increase over President Obama's already very high number.
Under her plan, we would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth '' with no way to screen who they are or what they believe.
Already, hundreds of recent immigrants and their children have been convicted of terrorist activity inside the U.S.
The father of the Orlando shooter was a Taliban supporter from Afghanistan, one of the
most repressive anti-gay and anti-women regimes on Earth.
I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people.
Hillary Clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved
and gays put to death.
Maybe her motivation lies among the more than 1,000 foreign donations Hillary failed to disclose while at the State Department.
Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.
Here is some more of what we learned from the book,
A foreign telecom giant faced possible State Department sanctions for providing technology to Iran, and other oppressive regimes. So what did this company do? For the first time ever, they decided to pay Bill Clinton $750,000 for a single speech. The Clintons got their cash, the telecom company escaped sanctions.
Hillary Clinton's State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America's uranium holdings to Russia, while 9 investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Hillary Clinton appointed a top donor to a national security board with top secret access '' even though he had no national security credentials.
Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was Secretary of State '' plus millions more for her foundation. The Sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law, including the punishment of death by stoning for being gay. The government of Brunei also stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Hillary's Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she would absolutely approve if given the chance.
Hillary Clinton took up to $25 million from Saudi Arabia, where being gay is also punishable by death.
Hillary took millions from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and many other countries that horribly abuse women and LGBT citizens.
To cover-up her corrupt dealings, Hillary Clinton illegally stashed her State Department emails on a private server.
Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments '' perhaps even by her financial backers in Communist China '' putting all of America in danger.
Then there are the 33,000 emails she deleted.
While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably do.
So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States.
This fact alone disqualifies her from the Presidency.
We can't hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies.
National security is also immigration security ''
and Hillary wants neither.
Hillary Clinton has put forward the most radical immigration platform in the history of the United States.
She has pledged to grant mass amnesty and in her first 100 days, end virtually all immigration enforcement, and thus create totally open borders in the United States
The first victims of her radical policies will be poor African-American and Hispanic workers who need jobs. They are the ones she will hurt the most.
Let me share with you a letter our campaign received from Mary Ann Mendoza.
She lost her amazing son, Police Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, after he was killed by an illegal immigrant because of the open borders policies supported by Hillary Clinton.
Sadly, the Mendoza family is just one of thousands who have suffered the same fate.
Here is an excerpt from Mrs. Mendoza's letter:
''Hillary Clinton, who already has the blood of so many on her hands, is now announcing that she is willing to put each and every one of our lives in harms' way '' an open door policy to criminals and terrorists to enter our country. Hillary is not concerned about you or I, she is only concerned about the power the presidency would bring to her. She needs to go to prison to pay for the crimes she has already committed against this country.''
Hillary also wants to spend hundreds of billions to resettle Middle Eastern refugees in the United States, on top of the current record level of immigration.
For the amount of money Hillary Clinton would like to spend on refugees, we could rebuild every inner city in America.
Hillary's Wall Street immigration agenda will keep immigrant communities poor, and unemployed Americans out of work. She can't claim to care about African-American and Hispanic workers when she wants to bring in millions of new low-wage workers
to compete against them.
Here are a few things a Trump Administration will do for America in the first 100 days:
Appoint judges who will uphold the Constitution. Hillary Clinton's radical judges will virtually abolish the 2nd amendment.
Change immigration rules to give unemployed Americans an opportunity to fill good-paying jobs
Stand up to countries that cheat on trade, of which there are many
Cancel rules and regulations that send jobs overseas
Lift restrictions on energy production
Repeal and replace job-killing Obamacare -- it is a disaster.
Pass massive tax reform to create millions of new jobs.
Impose tough new ethics rules to restore dignity to the Office of Secretary of State.
There is one common theme in all of these reforms.
It's going to be America First.
This is why the stakes in November are so great.
On election day, the politicians stand trial before the people.
The voters are the jury. Their ballots are the verdict. We don't need or want another Clinton or Obama.
Come November, the American people will have a chance to issue a verdict on the politicians that have sacrificed their security, betrayed their prosperity, and sold out
They will have a chance to vote for a new agenda with big dreams, bold ideas and enormous possibilities for the American people.
Hillary Clinton's message is old and tired. Her message is that can't change.
My message is that things have to change '' and this is our one chance do it. This is our last chance to do it.
Americans are the people that tamed the West, that dug out the Panama Canal, that sent satellites across the solar system, that built the great dams, and so much more.
Then we started thinking small.
We stopped believing in what America could do, and became reliant on other countries, other people, and other institutions.
We lost our sense of purpose, and daring.
But that's not who we are.
Come this November, we can bring America back '' bigger and better, and stronger than ever.
We will build the greatest infrastructure on the planet earth '' the roads and railways and airports of tomorrow.
Our military will have the best technology and finest equipment '' we will bring it back all the way.
Massive new factories will come roaring into our country '' breathing life and hope into our communities.
Inner cities, which have been horribly abused by Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party, will finally be rebuilt.
Construction is what I know -- nobody knows it better.
The real wages for our workers have not been raised for 18 years -- but these wages will start going up, along with the new jobs. Hillary's massive taxation, regulation and open borders will destroy jobs and drive down wages for everyone.
We are also going to be supporting our police and law enforcement -- we can never forget the great job they do.
I am also going to appoint great Supreme Court Justices.
Our country is going to start working again.
People are going to start working again.
Parents are going to start dreaming big for their children again '' including parents in our inner cities.
Americans are going to start believing in the future or our country.
We are going to make America rich again.
We are going to make America safe again.
We are going to make America Great Again '' and Great Again For EVERYONE.
VIDEO-Brexit - Nige Farage - I love this man, tells it like it is! - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:37
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Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:52
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VIDEO-"Whiteness Is Defined As:" - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:48
VIDEO-EPA chief: 'Get out of that telephone booth where... climate deniers hang out' - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:24
VIDEO-AG Lynch Admits the FBI Has Lost Track of Omar Mateen's Wife :: Grabien News
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:49
AG Lynch Admits the FBI Has Lost Track of Omar Mateen's Wife
'I believe she was going to travel but I do not know exactly her location now'
Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitted today that the FBI is unaware of the whereabouts of Omar Mateen's wife, Noor Salman.
Salman has indicated she suspected Mateen was about to commit a terrorist attack, and even accompanied him to buy the weaponry he used to carry out the massacre. She insists, however, that as he left she tried to hold onto his arm so he wouldn't leave.
If the FBI believes she was aware of the impending attack, she could be prosecuted.
"Has the shooter's wife left the state of Florida?" a reporter asked Lynch during her press conference Tuesday.
"Right now, I don't know exactly the answer to that," Lynch candidly replied. "I believe she was going to travel but I do not know exactly her location now."
VIDEO-AG Loretta Lynch: The best response to terror is compassion and love - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:42
VIDEO-TRUMP HAS NULLIFIED WP-The entire rationale for Donald Trump's presidential candidacy is crumbling - The Washington Post
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:38
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign raised just $3.1 million in May, while Democratic rival Hillary Clinton brought in $27 million. Here's a breakdown of the two campaigns' finances. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
I didn't wake up Monday morning intending for this to be ''The Trump Campaign Is a Rolling Dumpster Fire Week'' here at The Plum Line, but we follow where the news leads us. And the news for Donald Trump has transitioned from a series of stories about appalling things he has said to a series of stories about what a disaster his campaign is, at least for the moment. Today's news comes in the form of a shocking Federal Election Commission report that was released last night. I'll let Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy explain:
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump loaned his campaign $2.2 million in May and collected $3.1 million in donations, ending the month with less than $1.3 million in bank, according to new campaign finance filings.
The real estate mogul's meager cash flow spotlighted the urgent need for him to dramatically ramp up the fundraising he's doing in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, a task he has fitfully embraced.
Trump's small haul came as presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton continued to stockpile money: she raised more than $28 million in May and started June with $42 million in cash.
For the presumptive nominee of a major party to have only $1.3 million in the bank isn't just unusual, it's positively stunning. That figure is what you expect from someone running for a House seat, not someone faced with mounting a national campaign whose costs could approach a billion dollars. And this is a story about much more than money.
Let's remember what the entire basis of the Trump candidacy is. Trump argues that he can fix America's problems and make us great again. Why him? Because he's rich, that's why. That spectacular, tremendous, mind-boggling wealth is supposed to be proof of Trump's innate brilliance, his superhuman negotiating skills, his unearthly management expertise. He might not be able to tell you the difference between Medicare and Medicaid or between the deficit and the debt, but he gets things done. If you doubt, just look at the size of his plane.
And now, piece by piece, that image is crumbling.
Trump spent decades working to build a brand that would be synonymous with success (which just happens to be the name of his cologne), and that's what his supporters so often cite as one of the main reasons they're attracted to him: He made all that money, he's such a terrific businessman, so surely he can clean up Washington and do a great job on the economy. But now that he has come under more scrutiny than he ever faced before, the picture of Trump as a high-class magnate is being replaced with a different picture, one of a grifter always dancing one step ahead of bankruptcy court and concocting one failed scheme after another to separate people from their money.
And while we sometimes overstate the degree to which the management of a campaign is a test of how a candidate would run the country, in Trump's case it's an unavoidable analogy. With his lack of experience in politics, people might not have expected Trump to devise the best voter contact strategy or delegate management operation. But if nothing else, at least he should have been able to assemble and oversee a well-run organization and raise a lot of money. Instead, he's failing at exactly the things he's supposed to be so good at.
What are the practical effects of the financial advantage Clinton now enjoys? It may be a while before we know for sure. This FEC report only includes figures up until the end of May, so it's possible Trump's fundraising in June is going gangbusters and he'll be in fine financial shape before you know it. He has also loaned his campaign $45 million so far, money he may not ever get back. Even now he protests that if he wants to, he can finance the whole thing, which may or may not be true (since he shrouds his personal finances in mystery, it's hard to know).
But raising money isn't going to get much easier. Think about how you'd feel if you were a big Republican donor considering whether to donate to Trump. You probably didn't want him to be the party's nominee in the first place. His campaign looks like a disaster. And yet he's constantly saying he doesn't need anyone's money. So why would you break out your checkbook?
Trump is still counting on the media to save him. He doesn't need as much money as a traditional candidate would, he believes, because of his unmatched ability to seize the attention of the media, leaving the Trump name on the lips of every TV watcher, radio listener and newspaper reader.
The problem with that strategy is that these days, media coverage of Trump consists largely of 1) him saying appalling things that turn off key segments of the electorate; 2) people criticizing him, even members of his own party; and 3) reports on more alarming stories from his past. And if you think we've seen the last of those, think again. At some point, there will be a reason for reporters to take a new look at things like the Trump Network (his vitamin-selling pyramid scheme), and it won't be pretty.
One should never assume that the way things are in June is the way they're going to stay until November. This may be just a period of bad news Trump will get past, then regain his footing. But when the entire rationale for your campaign rests on your ability to obtain and manage money, stories like the ones we're now seeing about Trump are likely to stick in people's minds.
VIDEO-Man who claims he had sexual relations with Orlando gunman tells Univision it was "revenge," not terrorism - Univision
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:14
Mateen was "very sweet" and liked to be "cuddled," the man told Univision. But he harbored a grudge against gays.
Man who claims he had sexual relations with Orlando gunman tells Univision it was "revenge," not terrorism/Univision
Omar Mateen, the Muslim gunman who committed the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, was a confused, gay man who drank heavily and bore a grudge against Latino men he met at Pulse because he felt used by them, according to a man who says he was his lover for two months.
''I've cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn't do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,'' he told Univision Noticias anchor Maria Elena Salinas in an exclusive interview in English and Spanish on Tuesday.
He said Mateen was angry and upset after a man he had sex with later revealed he was infected with the HIV virus.
Asked why he decided to come forward with his story, he said: ''It's my responsibility as a citizen of the United States and a gay man.''
Miguel said he had approached the FBI and been interviewed three times in person by agents.
Univision was unable to independently verify his account. The FBI confirmed to Univision that it had met with him.
The man, who did not want his true identity revealed, agreed to an interview wearing a disguise and calling himself Miguel. Speaking in fluent Spanish and accented English, he said he met Mateen last year through a gay dating site and began a relationship soon after. He and Mateen were "friends with benefits," he said.
He described Mateen as ''a very sweet guy" who never showed a violent side. He loved to be cuddled. "He was looking for love," he said.
When Miguel heard about the massacre on the news he said he was stunned. ''My reaction was that can't be the man I know. It's impossible that the man I know could do that,'' he said.
Mateen opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in Pulse in the early hours of June 12, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more. He was killed in a shootout with police hours later.
Investigators are still looking into the motives for his rampage.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters on Tuesday that investigators may never be able to pinpoint a single motive and have not ruled out witness reports suggesting Mateen might have had gay interests. "While we know a lot more about him in terms of who he was and what he did, I do not want to definitively rule out any particular motivation here," she said.
In a 911 call from the club, Mateen pledged solidarity with the Islamic State group, and officials say he had explored websites of armed Islamic extremists.
Miguel recalled on one occasion Mateen expressed his criticism of the U.S. war on terrorism and the killing of innocent women and children. "'I told him, you're totally right,'" said Miguel.
Mateen never revealed his name to him, saying only that he was 35 years old and married with a son, Miguel told Univision. He said they met 15-20 times, the last occasion in late December. He said he believed Mateen's second wife knew he frequented gay bars and that his marriage was a smoke screen to hide that he was "100 percent" gay.
''He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin '' but he felt rejected. He felt used by them '' there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,'' Miguel said. "I believe this crazy horrible thing he did '' that was revenge."
Mateen expressed frustration over his father's extreme views on homosexuality, which included a belief that "gay people [are] the devil and gay people have to die," Miguel said.
Mateen was especially upset after a sexual encounter with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom later revealed he was HIV positive, he added.
"He [Omar] was terrified that he was infected," he said. "I asked him, 'Did you do a test?' Yes. He went to the pharmacy and did the test '... it came out negative but it doesn't come out right away. It takes 4, 5 months."
"When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was 'I'm going to make them pay for what they did to me.'"
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article
VIDEO-Proof Taylor approved Kanye's song
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 01:45
Kim Kardashian out Taylor Swift claiming she lied about now knowing Kanye West was planning to use his now infamous lyrics about her so she could "play the victim." Well Taylor swift has shot back that KIM is the one lying now!
Kanye West accepts the Video Vanguard Award from recording artist Taylor Swift onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
IT is the biggest showbiz spat of the year '-- and now Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's feud with Taylor Swift is about to go to the next level.
After Taylor denied ever approving Kanye's song Famous, in which the lyrics brand her a ''b****'', Kim claimed that the phone call where she did so was recorded on film.
NowThe Sun can confirm the tape DOES exist, having seen the legal letter in which Taylor's lawyers order Kanye to destroy it.
Friends of Kanye believe it shows that Taylor has something to hide and that she has not been truthful about her part in the controversial song.
A source close to the rapper said: ''Taylor got her lawyers to threaten Kanye and demanded that the recording was killed.
''They stressed the phone call was confidential and that publishing it would violate her rights.
''It validates that a taped conversation where Taylor was on board with the song does exist, and just shows how worried she is about the truth coming out.''
In an explosive interview last week, Kim said: ''I swear, my husband gets so much sh*t for things when he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved.''
But an angry Taylor hit back straight away with a powerful statement.
Her rep said: ''Taylor does not hold anything against Kim Kardashian as she recognises the pressure Kim must be under and that she is only repeating what she has been told by Kanye West.
''However, that does not change the fact that much of what Kim is saying is incorrect.
''Kanye West and Taylor only spoke once on the phone while she was on vacation with her family in January of 2016 and they have never spoken since.
''Taylor has never denied that conversation took place. It was on that phone call that Kanye West also asked her to release the song on her Twitter account, which she declined to do.
''Kanye West never told Taylor he was going to use the term, 'that bitch' in referencing her.
''A song cannot be approved if it was never heard. Kanye West never played the song for Taylor Swift.
''Taylor heard it for the first time when everyone else did and was humiliated.
''Kim Kardashian's claim that Taylor and her team were aware of Famous being recorded is not true, and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.''
That's definitely not going to happen.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.
Everyone remembers the row over Kanye West's lyrics about Taylor Swift he claimed she pre-approved. Well Kim Kardashian is speaking out finally to defend her man!
Exploring her dedication to the song writing process, her influences and inspiration, Taylor Swift Superstar captures the essence of the creative persona of one of the world's most popular performers, winner of 7 Grammy Awards, who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.
VIDEO-US election: Arrested Briton 'wanted to shoot Donald Trump' - BBC News
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:56
Media captionThe man was detained by police at the Trump rallyA Briton who tried to grab a police officer's gun at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas said he wanted to shoot the US candidate, court papers say.
Michael Steven Sandford, 20, did not enter a plea when he appeared before a judge in Nevada and was remanded in custody until a hearing on 5 July.
He is charged with an act of violence in a restricted area.
He had reportedly tried to seize the gun after saying he wanted Mr Trump's autograph at Saturday's rally.
He said he had been planning to try to shoot Mr Trump for about a year but had decided to act now because he finally felt confident enough to do so, court papers say.
Gun suspect 'a bit of a strange one'
Mr Sandford is reported to be from Dorking, in Surrey.
He had originally travelled to the US to see a girlfriend, the Evening Standard reports, citing a friend of his mother.
A federal judge found Mr Sandford, who reportedly appeared in court in shackles, to be a danger and risk of non-appearance, and he was ordered detained pending his preliminary hearing.
When asked about the arrest of Michael Sandford, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing assistance following an arrest of a British national in Las Vegas."
Image copyright@BBCRajiniVImage caption BBC North America correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan tweeted excerpts of the court papers The charge relates specifically to breaches of an area where someone protected by the Secret Service is visiting,
Earlier on Monday, Mr Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who oversaw his triumph in the primary contests.
Dark memories of 1968: James Cook, North America correspondent, BBC NewsImage copyrightAPImage caption A Trump rally in Ohio in March also saw a security scare The US presidential election campaign of 2016 has been fringed with violence. Almost everywhere Donald Trump goes he attracts protests.
The tycoon often mocks the demonstrators and there have been clashes with his supporters, both inside and outside of his packed, emotionally charged rallies. For some, the violence has stirred dark memories of 1968 when Democratic presidential contender Robert Kennedy was assassinated and riots broke out at the party's convention in Chicago.
This year events have not descended to those awful depths but still, the country feels edgy and the Secret Service, which guards candidates as well as presidents, has been on high alert.
In March in Ohio agents swarmed around Mr Trump after a man apparently attempted to climb on to the stage where he was speaking. Other events have been cancelled because of security concerns. With five months to go, many Americans are worried about where this election is heading.
'Expected to be killed'According to the court papers, Mr Sandford said he had never fired a gun before but went to a range in Las Vegas on 17 June to learn how to shoot.
At Saturday's rally at the Treasure Island Casino, he allegedly tried to grab the officer's weapon because it was in an unlocked position and therefore, he said, the easiest way to get a gun to shoot Mr Trump.
Court documents say Mr Sandford acknowledged he knew he would only be able to fire one or two rounds, and expected to be killed during an attempt on Mr Trump's life.
Image copyrightAPImage caption People attending the rally in Las Vegas on Saturday had to pass through metal detectors manned by police and casino security officials He told police if he had not tried to kill Mr Trump at this rally he would have tried again at a rally in Phoenix, for which he had already booked tickets, the papers say.
He told investigators he had been in the US for one and a half years and drove to Las Vegas from California specifically to kill Mr Trump, the court papers say.
Court research showed he was unemployed, living out of his car and in the US illegally, the Associated Press news agency reports.
A federal public defender said he had autism and had attempted suicide, the agency adds.
Funding woesRecent opinion polls suggest Mr Trump is trailing his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.
US media focused on the Republican candidate's fundraising woes over the weekend. The Trump campaign had just $1.3m in cash at the start of June, compared with Mrs Clinton's $42 million.
Clinton outpaces Trump in fund-raising
She also has nearly ten times more staff, the New York Times reports.
Mr Trump's former campaign manager says he still supports his candidacy, despite being sacked.
Corey Lewandowski said the billionaire businessman had changed the way American politics was viewed for the better.
Media captionBarbara Plett-Usher reports: Corey Lewandowski's "aggressive style sometimes got him in trouble"Reports in American media say he clashed with the more traditional strategists Mr Trump has hired recently to try to reshape his operation for the November election.
Mr Trump is facing strong resistance from senior members of his own party over his strident tone, hard-line immigration policy and falling poll numbers.
Americans go to the polls on 8 November to elect a president to succeed Democrat Barack Obama, who is stepping down after two terms in office, which have seen the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress.
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton burying Donald Trump: $42M to $1.3M - CNNPolitics.com
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:54
Clinton's campaign had $42 million in the bank as of May 31, according to its report filed with the Federal Election Commission Monday. Her super PAC Priorities USA has $52 million.
Trump's campaign has $1.3 million.
The gulf emerges as Democrats lay out plans to spend that cash on an onslaught of television advertising that Trump has shown no urgency in matching. Clinton and her allied groups are planning to spend $117 million between Tuesday and Election Day on television -- much of it anti-Trump television -- while Trump and his groups have $700,000 in time awaiting him thus far.
Trump, who just began actively fundraising last month with a $3.1 million haul, also has a super PAC benefiting him -- but it has only $500,000 in the bank. Two other big-money groups will not be required to disclose their fundraising position until next month.
The New York billionaire can presumably close the money gap with one check, but hasn't indicated he will do so. The candidate and his allies have consistently emphasized the ability to run a leaner campaign than Clinton's.
On Tuesday, Trump appeared to dismiss the fundraising issue, telling NBC's "Today," he's willing to "do what i did in the primaries."
"I spent $55 million of my own money to win the primaries. 55, that's a lot of money by even any standard," Trump said. "I may do that again in the general election."
Trump added that he had "a lot of cash" but added that "it would be nice to have some help from the party."
There is good reason to think the May gap will close substantially: The two remaining pro-Trump groups are expected to announce big hauls next month, and Trump in June launched an aggressive fundraising swing with 10 events in nine days that raised more than $8 million, according to one source. And his joint fundraising agreement with the RNC -- which allows for checks at $450,000 at a time -- was only born in the final days of May.Yet Trump is attempting to raise $500 million even as he essentially builds a money network from scratch. And questions persist about whether he will even hit that low target.
That has spawned a new round of frustration from Republican elites and donors, which spilled out Monday with the firing of Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Some Republicans have begun to wonder whether they can depose Trump at the convention, with anti-Trump delegates and supporters beginning to publicly organize their efforts.RNC suffering as well
Yet even more dire is the position of the party: Trump last month began raising money for the Republican National Committee through a joint fundraising agreement.
But despite Trump's promises that money is pouring into the GOP central office, the RNC had only about $20 million cash-on-hand at the end of the month -- $40 million less than the RNC did as of May 2012, when Mitt Romney, a prolific fundraiser, was topping the ticket. And it raised about $20 million less in May 2016 as it did in May 2012.
The RNC got about $3 million in the first days from the joint Trump Victory account, but much of that cash is earmarked for things like building funds and convention services and cannot be used on Trump's general election campaign. Several prominent Trump allies, including Los Angeles investor Tom Barrack and casino magnate Phil Ruffin, cut six-figure checks to the RNC.
The RNC explained its cash position by pointing to their plans to invest cash early into their ground game, rather than hoarding it for television ads late in the campaign. And the RNC was still in better fundraising shape than the Democratic National Committee, which raised about $12 million last month and had about $9 million on hand.
Several other conservative groups that historically have spent on behalf of the Republican presidential nominee appeared well-funded in Monday's reports, but have said they are not yet comfortable spending their war chest on Trump's campaign and will instead spend down-ballot.
Trump's main group so far, Great America PAC, raised $1.4 million in May, records show. By comparison, Clinton's super PAC, Priorities USA, raised about $12 million, more than it has in any other month. One pro-Trump group that is expected to be the main big-money vehicle though, Rebuilding America Now, has said that it has amassed $32 million in pledges, a sum that would begin to shrink the gap between the two camps.
CNN's David Wright contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Man accused of wanting to kill Trump in country illegally - Story
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:47
The man facing charges for attempting to grab a police officer's gun, so he could allegedly shoot presidential candidate Donald Trump is in the United States illegally.
He had overstayed his visa from the United Kingdom.
That information came during his arraignment in U.S. District Court Monday afternoon.
Michael Sandford, 20, is charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds. He was arrested Saturday during Trump's campaign rally in Las Vegas. Police said he grabbed the handle of an officer's gun in an attempt to remove it.
According to the complaint, Sandford told police he drove from California to Las Vegas to kill Trump.
During the arraignment, information surfaced that Sandford is unemployed, was living in his car, and that he has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. His mother was reportedly sending him money and told prosecutors he is a flight risk if he makes bail.
The prosecutor in the case told the judge Sandford has not been diagnosed with a mental illness, but has attempted suicide in the past. He has also been treated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia.
He does not have a criminal record. His court-appointed attorney told the judge Sandford has an expired passport, preventing him from leaving the country. The public defender requested her client be released to a halfway house.
The judge, however, ordered him to remain in custody, pointing to the allegations in a five-page federal complaint that details Sandford's alleged plan to "shoot and kill" Trump.
The report says Sandford acknowledged, "He would be killed by law enforcement during his attempt on Trump's life."
He also told investigators he visited the Battlefield Vegas gun range the day before the rally, where he "fired 20 rounds," according to the complaint. Battlefield Vegas declined to comment for this story.
Sandford's next court date is a preliminary hearing set for July 5.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
VIDEO-Remarks With Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie Pitt
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 02:32
SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. It's my enormous pleasure to welcome UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, and I am really pleased to be able to introduce her today on World Refugee Day. Angelina has traveled countless miles throughout the world representing the United States, but more importantly, representing the cause of refugees on a global basis.
And as she well knows and people who are involved with refugees know, we are facing a world with about 65 million refugees today. That is more than at any time in our history. And with conflicts raging in places like Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya '' countless conflicts and countless challenges of poverty '' there are more people seeking refuge, seeking shelter, seeking a future. The United States is particularly proud that we have been deeply engaged for many, many years in providing that opportunity to people.
And we're living in a contentious time when some try to make a negative out of being a refugee or somehow turn people who are refugees into threats. But we have just met together with a group of people who are working at the United States State Department, each of them contributing enormously to the work of this department, to the fiber of our country, and most importantly, all of them working with refugees themselves. They are American; they're as American as anybody; and they have a story to tell about how America keeps faith with people's dreams and hopes and aspirations.
So I'm very, very grateful to Angelina for her personal leadership, for her commitment to this issue. She's been working at this for years. This is not a passing fancy for her at all; it is a lifetime commitment. And it's my pleasure to introduce her as well as to thank her for all that she is doing to help us with this extraordinarily important cause.
MS. JOLIE PITT: Thank you so much. Thank you, Secretary Kerry. As UNHCR special envoy and as an American citizen, I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here and to meet with you today.
As the Secretary said, today is World Refugee Day. If I ask people for anything on this day, it is to take a moment and to truly grasp what a refugee crisis of today's magnitude means for peace and security of the world. I ask people to understand that with 65 million people displaced by conflict, we are facing a world of wars we cannot ignore or turn our backs on. To do that would be naive, irresponsible, and dangerous.
We face a very clear choice: to continue as we are and see displacement and insecurity grow, or to come together with other nations and find a new approach, one that does not focus solely on aid and resettlement but on solution, stability, and returns.
Today, partly in response to this crisis, we are seeing rising intolerance and xenophobia. But strength lies in mastering and channeling our emotions so that we pursue policies that reduce '' not inflame '' threats to our security. We need leadership. We need solutions. So that is my ask and my focus today, and I look forward to speaking with you. My hope is that we can use the months before the very welcome summit on refugees hosted by President Obama in September to make progress and not to wait for that to act.
So I know Secretary Kerry is working tirelessly on these issues. I am very grateful for all that you do, all that you continue to do, all you've done, and I am very grateful that you would shine a light on this today and allow me to be here and speak. Thank you so much.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you so much. And no questions? All right, thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Thanks.
VIDEO-White House Briefing | Video | C-SPAN.org
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:08
June 20, 2016White House Press Briefing
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
June 15, 2016White House Daily BriefingJosh Earnest responded to reporters' questions on a variety of topics, including President Obama's plans to visit'...
June 14, 2016White House Daily BriefingJosh Earnest briefed reporters and responded to their questions on the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida,'...
June 13, 2016White House Daily BriefingJosh Earnest briefed reporters and responded to their questions on the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida,'...
June 12, 2016President Obama Statement on Shooting in OrlandoPresident Obama spoke about the shooting at an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub in which least 50 people died and 53'...
VIDEO-Are German Rappers Predicting Global Terror Attacks and Celebrity Deaths? >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:02
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VIDEO-DHS Whistleblower Phil Haney exposes Obama administration during Press Conference - YouTube
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 03:11
VIDEO-Homeland Security report calls for rejecting terms 'jihad,' 'sharia' | Fox News
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 23:51
A new Department of Homeland Security report urges rejecting use of Islamic terms such as ''jihad'' and ''sharia'' in programs aimed at countering terrorist radicalization among American youth.
The Homeland Security Advisory Council report recommends that the department focus on American milliennials by allocating up to $100 million in new funding. It also urges greater private sector cooperation, including with Muslim communities, to counter what is described as a ''new generation of threats to the Homeland related to the threat of violent extremism.''
The funds would be used for hiring experts and new social media programs and technology to influence young people not to join terror groups.
''The department's CVE efforts are an attempt to protect our nation's young people from extremists who prey upon the Millennial generation,'' the report says.
''The department must reframe the conversation to reflect this reality and design a robust program around the protection of our youth, which must include predator awareness and an understanding of radicalization. In doing so, our citizens will be better equipped for this threat.''
Under the section on terminology, the report calls for rejecting use of an ''us versus them'' mentality by shunning Islamic language in ''Countering Violent Extremism'' programs, or CVE, the Obama administration's euphemism that seeks to avoid references to Islam.
Under a section on recommended actions on terminology, the report says DHS should ''reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.''
Government agencies should employ ''American English instead of religious, legal and cultural terms like 'jihad,' 'sharia,' 'takfir' or 'umma,''' states the June 2016 report by the Council's countering violent extremism subcommittee.
Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon.
VIDEO-'They're coming': NRA's Wayne LaPierre responds to Orlando shooting with unhinged fearmongering
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 23:46
Orlando shooter's wife was 'special education' student '-- had 'difficulty' understanding things
Orlando shooting survivor harassed by online conspiracy kooks as a 'crisis actor' in a staged event
Carl Bernstein: Donald Trump is a 'pathological liar' and America's first 'neofascist' nominee
Fox host: Anderson Cooper choked up after Orlando shooting because 'gay journalists' are biased
Ted Nugent brags about 'sexy gals' at concert so poorly-attended that tickets dropped from $67 to $5
Trump lashes out at GOP '-- threatens to stop fundraising if they don't rally around him
RNC's Hispanic spokeswoman refuses to say if defending Trump's policies is difficult
'They're coming': NRA's Wayne LaPierre responds to Orlando shooting with unhinged fearmongering
'Star Trek' actor Anton Yelchin dies in freak traffic accident
Chuck Todd exposes Paul Ryan's Trump support: 'You made a case for party over country'
VIDEO-Sick ISIS video claiming credit for Orlando shooting uses slick James Bond-style opening sequence - Mirror Online
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 22:04
An ISIS propaganda video praising Orlando shooting killer Omar Mateen has disturbing similarities to the opening sequence of a James Bond film.
The slickly-produced video features an animation of a handgun fire a bullet, which then flies into a sentence stating: "Homosexuals nightclub, Orlando, Florida."
It then pans to a bloodstain with the message "more than 50 dead" and then to the outline of a body on the ground.
The video features the chilling message: "Omar Mateen One of Islamic State's lions, set out to restore the glory of the Ummah and avenge the death of Muslims.
"He shook the head of kufr (unbeliever) America, terrorised it and shed its blood."
The video uses a James Bond-style opening sequence
Red graphics symbolise blood from a gunshot wound
However, the video may prove to be an embarrassment to the terror group as evidence emerges that he may himself have been gay - which ISIS despises.
The video features images of Omar Mateen
49 people were killed in the nightclub atrocity
The murderer visited the LGBT nightclub on several occasions and also used a gay dating app, claim witnesses.
The clip also features images of US President Barack Obama
The video releases threats to Americans
A regular Pulse club-goer said the gunman had been messaging him on and off for a year on gay dating app Jack'd.
Images of American warplanes are flashed up on screen
ISIS have claimed credit for the nightclub shooting
Kevin West told the Orlando Sentinel that he recognised Mateen when he saw him outside the club around an hour before the shooting took place.
Read more:Orlando nightclub gunman's wife could be charged today
"He walked directly past me. I said, 'Hey,' and he turned and said, 'Hey,''' Mr West explained.
''I could tell by the eyes.''
VIDEO-Lynch: "Partial Transcript" Of Orlando 911 Calls Will Have References To Islamic Terrorism Removed | Video | RealClearPolitics
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 21:34
In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that on Monday, the FBI will release edited transcripts of the 911 calls made by the Orlando nightclub shooter to the police during his rampage.
"What we're not going to do is further proclaim this man's pledges of alleigance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda," Lynch said. "We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to the Islamic State]."
The Washington Postreported last week that the gunman made multiple phone calls while holding hostages: "The gunman who opened fire inside a nightclub here said he carried out the attack because he wanted 'Americans to stop bombing his country,' according to a witness who survived the rampage."
Salonreported that: ''Everybody who was in the bathroom who survived could hear him talking to 911, saying the reason why he's doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country."
The Washington Postalso noted that during his 911 call from the club, the gunman referenced the Boston Marathon bombers and claimed "that he carried out the shooting to prevent bombings, [echoing] a message the younger Boston attacker had scrawled in a note before he was taken into custody by police."
FBI Director James Comey said at a press conference that the shooter's past comments about Islamist groups were "inflammatory and contradictory."
"We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally," the president added. "It does appear that at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL. But there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by ISIL, and at this stage there's no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot." ISIL is another name for ISIS, or the Islamic State.
Loretta Lynch says the FBI will release: "A printed transcript [that] will begin to capture the back and forth between him and the negotiators."
"We're trying to get as much information about this investigation out as possible," she said.
LORETTA LYNCH: What we're announcing tomorrow is that the FBI is releasing a partial transcript of the killer's calls with law enforcement, from inside the club. These are the calls with the Orlando PD negotiating team, who he was, where he was... that will be coming out tomorrow and I'll be headed to Orlando on Tuesday.
CHUCK TODD: Including the hostage negotiation part of this?
LYNCH: Yes, it will be primarily a partial transcript of his calls with the hostage negotiators.
CHUCK TODD: You say partial, what's being left out?
LYNCH: What we're not going to do is further proclaim this man's pledges of alleigance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.
CHUCK TODD: We're not going to hear him talk about those things?
LYNCH: We will hear him talk about some of those things, but we are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance and that. It will not be audio, it will be a printed transcript. But it will begin to capture the back and forth between him and the negotiators, we're trying to get as much information about this investigation out as possible. As you know, because the killer is dead, we have a bit more leeway there and we will be producing that information tomorrow.