898: Chain of Lies

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 59m
January 26th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir R Daniels

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Jamie, Sir Andrew Protector of the Bound Book, Baron Sir David Roberts Knight of the Yellow Rose with the protectorate state of Pennsylvania

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger

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Woodstock
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Alternate Universes
Maybe it's matter antimatter
a the march was just a test of zombie mobilization.
inauguration photo EXIF data fact check
alternative universe is do not exist in a tangible sense, because all universe lives with in your mind when I look at a chair I see a chair John may see the chair without exactly the same because we are in the same universe we agree it's a chair
Inauguration photo is psy-ops war blue dress silver dress.
Ministry of Truthiness
Media transfers. Megan Marie Fox is now openly democrat
Trump Transition
STORIES
Further investigation possible at MH17 crash site after Dutch journalist recovers passenger's bone '-- RT News
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:16
The Dutch Minister of Security and Justice announced that the Netherlands might conduct further investigation at the site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine after a Dutch journalist recovered some victims' remains from the site.
In January, Dutch journalist Michael Spekkers returned from a two-week stay in eastern Ukraine where he and his colleague, Stefan Beck, had been gathering first-hand accounts of the locals' attitudes toward Moscow and Kiev. On the last day of the trip, Spekkers went to the crash site of MH17, from where he said he retrieved parts of the wreckage as well as what was then established by Dutch prosecutors as human remains of one of the passengers of the downed Boeing.
Read more
Speaking to RT, Beck said that Spekkers ''was surprised'' to see numerous parts of the ill-fated plane still laying around. Upon arriving in the Netherlands, police confiscated all the findings of the reporter, as well as his and Beck's laptops and cellphones containing interviews with locals. In a recent statement, the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, Gerard Adriaan van der Steur, said police will look into the findings collected by Spekkers. ''At this time, police are examining where and when the discovery was made by journalist Michel Spekkers. This examination will reveal if more debris can be recovered from this site. If so, then the government is obviously willing to conduct further investigations,'' a statement by van der Steur said, suggesting that the Dutch investigators are willing to return to the crash site for more recovery work.
In the statement he spoke of ''the assistance of the OSCE to assess the security situation and the establishment of a possible mission.'' He also spoke of the importance to deliver all the human remains to the victims' relatives.
In September, the Dutch-led Joint-investigative Team (JIT) issued a preliminary report on the criminal investigation of the MH17 crash, saying it had enough evidence for a ''solid criminal file.''
It said that a BUK missile system, blamed for taking down the plane, was brought from Russia and then transported back. Yet, Moscow as well the Russian BUK producer (Almaz Antey) countered the paper, providing its own evidence and questioning numerous parts of the JIT report. The Dutch side also claimed that collecting more evidence on the ground was ''too dangerous.''
READ MORE: MH17 int'l probe's only sources are Ukrainian intel & internet - Russian MoD
However, in an interview to RT, Spekkers disagreed with the assessment.
Read more
''They [Dutch officials] tell the public here that they have all the evidence the needed to point the party who is responsible for downing the MH17,'' the journalist said.
''But it's crazy. When I walked around there and I saw all that debris, I was thinking to myself: how is it possible that two and a half years later the investigation team is still not there to have everything back where it is supposed to be, to do a thorough investigation.'' According to Spekkers, the Dutch side also claimed the crash site was ''a big area'' and that's why they could not all the pieces of the crashed aircraft.
''But a lot of the debris [pieces] I took with me back to the Netherlands, they were from storage units which they [Dutch investigators] used during the investigation, and even those storage units, they did not get to empty them,'' Spekkers said.
Schengen at an END: Border controls EXTENDED as Europe tackles migrant crisis | World | News | Daily Express
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:11
GETTY
Countries were forced to install temporary migration controlsThe European Commission granted the extension to Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway - which are all members of the visa-free and borderless zone.
Under the arrangement European citizens can travel without a visa through the designated zone, which covers most of the Brussels bloc.
Related articlesBut the Schengen agreement was almost destroyed last year as countries began blocking their borders to stop illegal immigration.
Several countries were forced to install temporary migration controls at their borders after the migrant crisis hit to prevent an influx of thousands of undocumented refugees from entering towns and cities undetected.
GETTY
Hungary even built a new wall to keep migrants outGETTY
Under the Schengen agreement, citizens can travel without a passportNow the passport-free zone faces a fresh dilema after the European Union commission confirmed an extension of border controls - despite hopes Schengen could be saved.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Significant progress has been made to lift internal border controls, but we need to solidify it further.
''This is why we recommend allowing the Member States concerned to maintain temporary border controls for a further three months."
GETTY
The commission stressed they had made moved to stabilise the situationThe commission stressed they had made moved to stabilise the situation, but the conditions needed to return to normal border procedures have not yet been met.
A report into the issue highlighted the significant numbers of migrants still in Greece - adding that ''the situation remains fragile on the Western Balkans route'' that connects Turkey to Europe.
The issue of new security challenges, as demonstrated by the recent terrorist attacks in a number of European countries, have also been taken into account into the recommendations.
Mon, January 23, 20171 of 25
Significant progress has been made to lift internal border controls, but we need to solidify it further.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans
But a document published in March 2016 earmarked last December as ''the target date for bringing to an end the exceptional safeguard measures taken'' - meaning the target was not met.
And suggestions the move was partly influenced by German elections, which are due to be held in September were rejected by Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration.
GETTY
Border controls aimed to stop an undocumented flow of migrantsHe said: ''Our decision is based on facts.''
The Commission said that the migration crisis calming down, and the implementation of a series of measures to better manage the EU's external borders '-- such as the launch of the European Border and Coast Guard last fall.
But it ''considers that the conditions of the 'Back to Schengen' roadmap '... have not yet been entirely fulfilled''.
Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizi¨re, however, says the extension should run until the end of 2017 as the three-month limit 'does not go far enough'.
The Federal Government claimed it necessary to carry out checks at the internal borders "probably beyond mid-2017".
Such an extension is necessary "regarding the overall situation", while Federal Police also stated "a persistently high migration pressure on Europe".
Related articles
Austin Becomes Ground Zero For Sanctuary City Battle As Texas Governor Vows To Cut State Funding | Zero Hedge
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:10
Late last week, according to the Austin American- Statesman, the newly elected sheriff of Travis County, Texas, Sally Hernandez, vowed to limit cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials saying that she would only honor immigration holds for suspects booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and "continuous smuggling of persons".
Traditionally, the county has honored nearly all requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold a suspect booked into jail when agents have wanted to investigate their status further.
However, effective Feb. 1, sheriff's officials will honor so-called immigration holds or "detainers" placed by federal authorities only when a suspect is booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and "continuous smuggling of persons."
Otherwise, federal agents must have a court order or arrest warrant signed by a judge for the jail to continue housing a person whose immigration status is in question, according to Hernandez's policy, which she released Friday.
"The public must be confident that local law enforcement is focused on local public safety, not on federal immigration enforcement. Our jail cannot be perceived as a holding tank for ICE or that Travis County deputies are ICE officers," Hernandez said in a video announcement.
Of course, the declaration from Hernandez drew an immediate reaction from Texas Governor Greg Abbott who promptly promised to cut state funding for the rogue Travis County and take steps to enact "stiffer penalties" as well.
According to Vocativ, the Travis County Police Department receives $1.8 million in annual grants from the state of Texas. That said, at roughly 1% of their overall police budget, we suspect the the funding shortfall won't be a sufficient deterrent for Travis County's defiant new Sheriff.
Abbott, a Republican, has threatened to withhold nearly $1.8 million in state law-enforcement grants following Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez's decision to buck state law and no longer honor all jail detainers sought by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A detainer is a request to state and local jails to notify federal agents when they are about to release an undocumented immigrant from custody.
''This is not a pronouncement of sound public policy; it is a dangerous game of political Russian roulette '-- with the lives of Texans at stake,'' Abbott wrote in a letter to Hernandez on Monday. ''Unless you reverse your policy'... your unilateral decision will cost the people of Travis County money that was meant to be used to protect them.''
Of course, Trump also repeatedly vowed during his campaign to cut federal funding for sanctuary cities, a move that he is expected to officially confirm later today, along with a series of other national security initiatives, during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security.
With that, it seems the time has come for many of America's liberal cities to: (a) get used to policing their streets with smaller budgets or (b) actually start enforcing laws.
Scientists' March on Washington: What is the Scientists' March on Washington
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:20
Welcome! We want to thank you all for your incredible outpouring of support for this march. We are working to schedule a March for Science on DC and across the United States. We have not settled on a date yet but will do so as quickly as possible and announce it here. Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics. Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is a non-partisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science.There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable. An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.Please bear with us as pull together our mission statement and further details. Many more updates to come on Monday.Twitter: @ScienceMarchDCFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1862739727343189/Reddit: /r/scientistsmarchGet Email UpdatesTo help: https://goo.gl/forms/zAdY02dBEz3Ykii42Contact: scientistsmarchonwashington@gmail.comWho can participate:Anyone who values empirical science. That's it. That's the only requirement.DiversityWe will both have a diversity committee and a diverse steering committee that represents people ofmany backgrounds and identities.Science is done by POC, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, indigenous people,people of all beliefs and non-belief. We hope that this diversity is reflected in both theleadership of the march and the march itself.
If you would like to participate in planning the march, pleasefill out this google form and we will get in touch! https://goo.gl/forms/zAdY02dBEz3Ykii42and please let us know how you can help.You can't, yet. We're working on figuring out a legal framework that will allow you to donate.When will it be?The date will be announced as soon as it is available.Isn't science apolitical?Yes.The march is non-partisan, but it is absolutely intended to have an impact on policy makers.Did you know that your mailchimp links back to the wrong page?No.Did you know that your logo has a grammatical error?Yes, graphic designers are now working on this. A new shinier website will be forthcoming.
LICENSING-Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest | Media | The Guardian
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:08
Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, said that he was detained for about 36 hours. Photograph: Handout
Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump's inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
Matt Hopard. Photograph: HandoutA documentary producer, a photojournalist, a live-streamer and a freelance reporter were each charged with the most serious level of offense under Washington DC's law against rioting, after being caught up in the police action against demonstrators.
The Guardian learned of their arrests after reporting on Monday that the journalists Evan Engel of Vocativ and Alex Rubinstein of RT America had also been arrested and charged with felonies while covering the same unrest on Friday morning.
All six were arraigned in superior court on Saturday and released to await further hearings in February and March, according to court filings. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said late on Tuesday that charges against journalists who were covering the protests should be dropped.
''These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests,'' said Carlos Laur­a, the CPJ's senior Americas program coordinator. ''We call on authorities in Washington to drop these charges immediately.''
Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, said he was charged and detained for about 36 hours after being kettled by police at 12th and L streets on Friday morning and arrested despite telling officers that he was covering the demonstrations as a journalist.
''The way we were treated was an absolute travesty,'' said Keller, whose cellphone has been kept by the authorities. Keller's editor, Annabel Park, said: ''It is a maddening and frustrating situation. These are people who were there observing and documenting.''
Matt Hopard, an independent journalist who was live-streaming the Friday protests, was arrested at the same site as Keller, Engel and Rubinstein, according to metropolitan police records. He said in a message that he denied the charge against him.
Protesters clash with police at inaugurationAlso arrested while covering the demonstrations at 12th and L streets and later charged were Shay Horse, an independent photojournalist and activist, and Aaron Cantº, a freelance journalist and activist, who has written for outlets including the Baffler, the Washington Spectator and the New Inquiry. Both deny wrongdoing.
In all, more than 200 people were arrested on Friday, after property was vandalized in the US capital in the hours around Trump's swearing-in as president. Police said that six officers suffered minor injuries.
The National Lawyers' Guild accused Washington DC's metropolitan police department of having ''indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone'' and said they unlawfully used teargas and other weapons.
''These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity,'' Maggie Ellinger-Locke, of the guild's DC branch, said in a statement.
None of the arrest reports for the six journalists makes any specific allegations about what any of them are supposed to have done wrong. Keller's report, which also covers the arrests of an unknown number of unidentified other people, includes a note that a police vehicle was vandalized. ''I had absolutely nothing to do with the vandalism,'' said Keller.
Shay Horse. Photograph: HandoutReports on the arrests of five of the six journalists contain identical language alleging that ''numerous crimes were occurring in police presence''. They state that windows were broken, fires were lit and vehicles were damaged. ''The crowd was observed enticing a riot by organizing, promoting, encouraging and participating in acts of violence in furtherance of the riot,'' the police reports said.
The US attorney's office for Washington DC, which is prosecuting those arrested, declined to comment on the journalists' specific cases but said it was continuing to review evidence from the day with the police.
''Based on the facts and circumstances, we determined that probable cause existed to support the filing of felony rioting charges,'' William Miller, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement. ''As in all of our cases, we are always willing to consider additional information that people bring forward.''
Preliminary hearings for Cantº, Hopard, Horse, and Keller were set for mid-March. Hearings for Engel and Rubinstein were scheduled for mid-February.
First Amendment Defense Act Would Be 'Devastating' for LGBTQ Americans - NBC News
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 13:27
Earlier this month, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson, told Buzzfeed they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President-elect Donald Trump.
Lucas Jackson / ReutersFADA would prohibit the federal government from taking "discriminatory action" against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: "(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."
Ironically, the language of the bill positions the right to discriminate against one class of Americans as a "first amendment" right, and bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination'--including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.
On December 9, Sen. Lee's spokesperson, Conn Carroll, told Buzzfeed the election of Trump had cleared a path for the passage of FADA.
"Hopefully November's results will give us the momentum we need to get this done next year," Carroll said. "We do plan to reintroduce FADA next Congress and we welcome Trump's positive words about the bill."
"During oral arguments in Obergfell, President Obama's solicitor general admitted that if a right to same-sex marriage were created, religious institutions, including many Catholic schools, could have their tax exempt status revoked by the IRS," Carroll told NBC Out on Wednesday. "The First Amendment Defense Act was created to make sure that does not happen."
But while Carroll claims "FADA in no way undermines federal or state civil rights laws," it would take away the government's recourse in terms of punishing businesses, institutions or individuals who break civil rights law by discriminating against LGBTQ people.
''If Congress were to pass the federal FADA as currently written, and the next president were to sign it into law, I'm confident heads would spin at how fast the constitutional challenges would fly into court.''Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, told NBC Out FADA "invites widespread, devastating discrimination against LGBT people" and is a deeply unconstitutional bill.
"This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others," Pizer said, "And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law."
Pizer warned that the bill's language also left room for individuals and businesses to discriminate against unwed heterosexual couples and single mothers, because of the clause stating that "sexual relations are properly reserved" to marriage between a man and a woman.
"There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together," Pizer said. "It's an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period."
RELATED: Opinion: First Amendment Defense Act Is Bad for Business
FADA was first filed in the House and Senate in 2015, but was met with protests from Democrats and resulted in just one House hearing amid concerns that Obama would veto the bill. It is currently co-sponsored by 171 House Republicans and just one Democrat (Daniel Lipinski of Illinois.)
State-level legislation similar to FADA has failed in recent years, usually resulting from lawsuits and nationwide boycotts. When Vice President-elect Mike Pence passed a "religious freedom" bill as governor of Indiana in March 2015, it was met with protests, financial losses from businesses that pulled operations from the state. It ultimately required an amendment issued in April to protect LGBTQ people from the bill's discrimination.
Mississippi's HB 1523 is nearly identical to FADA. The state law, passed in 2016 but quickly blocked by a judge, allows people and businesses in the state to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on three sets of religious beliefs: "Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth."
A lawsuit brought by Mississippi religious leaders alleges the state law actually violates religious freedom by determining that religious belief necessitates anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The group of ordained ministers suing the state said in the lawsuit, Barber v. Bryant, that Mississippi violates its right to freedom of religion "because persons who hold contrary religious beliefs are unprotected'--the State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others."
Barber v. Bryant is currently at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, after a federal trial court ruled HB 1523 violates the federal Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses. Pizer said the case stands as an example of the legal explosion that would occur in reaction to FADA.
"If Congress were to pass the federal FADA as currently written, and the next president were to sign it into law, I'm confident heads would spin at how fast the constitutional challenges would fly into court," Pizer said, adding "we're likely to have a great many allies because these attempts to misuse religion for discrimination offend enormous numbers of Americans who cherish both religious liberty and equality for all."
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EPA spokesman: No plan to take down climate webpages | TheHill
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 06:39
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesman said the Trump administration is not currently planning to take down website content regarding climate change.
Doug Ericksen, spokesman for the so-called beachhead team working to transition the agency to the Trump administration, said officials are reviewing all of the ''editorial'' parts of the EPA's website for possible changes.
But he pushed back against a Tuesday Reuters report that said the beachhead team had already instructed career officials at the EPA to remove climate change-related content.
''We're looking at scrubbing it up a bit, putting a little freshener on it, and getting it back up to the public,'' said Ericksen, who is currently a Republican state lawmaker in Washington.
''We're taking a look at everything on there,'' he said.
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The news reports come as President Trump orders federal agency to clamp down on public communications, prohibiting agency officials from most external communications, including with reporters and through social media. Agency leaders have also frozen most grant and contract payments, though some communication and payment restrictions are likely to be lifted in the coming days.Trump came into office last week amid promises to make significant changes at the EPA, including overturning former President Obama's entire climate change agenda and numerous other major rules, while ceding more power to states for environmental regulation and enforcement. Scott Pruitt, Trump's pick to run the agency, frequently clashed with the EPA as Oklahoma's attorney general.
Ericksen also pushed back against an InsideEPA report Wednesday that said the beachhead officials had canceled plans to take down the climate content while the EPA's Office of General Counsel reviews whether certain parts can be removed.
The general counsel is simply ''looking at any legal constraints regarding places where people do business on the web page,'' Ericksen said, adding that certain pages, like ones about obtaining permits, cannot come down.
The climate section of the EPA's website outlines Obama's various greenhouse gas regulations and other global warming action he had taken.
It also links to scientific data on climate change, including emissions data the agency gathers and temperature data from other federal agencies.
The pages are saved in multiple locations, such as the Internet Archive.
Presidential memoranda vs. executive orders. What's the difference?
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:59
President Trump has been taking action by issuing both executive orders and presidential memorandums. What's the difference? Matt Hoffman explains. Buzz60
WASHINGTON '-- President Trump signed three high-level presidential directives on Monday, but they weren't executive orders.
Instead, they were styled as presidential memoranda, an increasingly common but lesser known expression of presidential power that came to replace many executive orders under President Obama.
Presidential memoranda are "executive orders by another name, and yet unique," wrote presidential scholar Phillip Cooper on his book By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action.
Both forms of presidential action have the force of law on the executive branch, and sometimes they seem to be used interchangeably. Even presidents sometimes mix them up, referring to memoranda as executive orders, as President Trump did Monday on Facebook.
"Something that's in a presidential memorandum in one administration might be captured in an executive order in another," Jim Hemphill of the Office of the Federal Register told USA TODAY in 2014. "There's no guidance that says, 'Mr. President, here's what needs to be in an executive order.'"
So the differences can be subtle and subjective, but here are a few:
'–º Numbering: Executive orders are numbered. Trump's most recent order, titled, "Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal," is Executive Order 13765. Presidential memoranda are not numbered, which makes them more difficult to count.
'–º Prestige: An order sounds more assertive than a memo, and the numbering system gives executive orders an aura of power.
'–º Publication: Executive orders are required by law to be published in the Federal Register, which is sort of the executive counterpart to the Congressional Record. Presidential memoranda may be published or not, depending on the subject. But it's the publication of the memorandum that gives them "general applicability and legal effect."
'–º Precedence: Certain types of orders are given priority in publication in the Federal Register, and may take legal precedence. The hierarchy is: Proclamations, executive orders, presidential memoranda, presidential notices, and presidential determinations. Notices and determinations are usually required by Congress on specific issues.
'–º Authority: Under an executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy, an executive order must cite the authority the president has to issue it. That could be the constitution, or a specific statute. Presidential memoranda have no such requirement.
'–º Amendments: An executive order can only be amended or rescinded by another executive order. A presidential memorandum can be changed with another memorandum.
'–º Subjects: Executive orders are often organizational, used to create new executive branch committees, processes or lines of responsibility. They can impose economic sanctions on other countries, declare states of emergency, or give federal workers a day off. Presidential memoranda are used to delegate tasks and reports assigned by Congress to the president, start a regulatory process, or direct a specific department or agency to do something.
'–º Cost estimates: In 2014, fed up with Obama's executive orders, Congress required the White House Office of Management and Budget to begin reporting on the cost of executive orders. But Congress neglected to include presidential memoranda, and included them the next year '-- but only for a memorandum with an estimated regulatory cost of $100 million or more.
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'Resist': Activists Unfurl Massive Banner On Crane Behind White House : The Two-Way : NPR
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:22
Greenpeace protesters unfold a banner reading "Resist" from atop a construction crane on Wednesday behind the White House. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Imageshide caption
toggle captionSaul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesGreenpeace protesters unfold a banner reading "Resist" from atop a construction crane on Wednesday behind the White House.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesOn Wednesday morning, activists from Greenpeace unfurled a massive yellow and orange banner with the word "Resist" on a tall crane behind the White House.
"We climbed up the crane this morning, and occupied it and locked and chained ourselves in," the environmental group's board chairman Karen Topakian, 62, told The Two-Way.
We reached her as she was chained and locked high up on the construction crane with six other activists.
"I have a long, long history of fear of heights," she said. "As much as I have a fear of heights, I decided that I would do this because the risks are so great and so tremendous at this point with this administration."
Topakian, who lives in San Francisco, said the environmental group's protest aimed to send a message against Trump's plans and actions that he has already carried out. His positions on climate change, immigration and religious minorities motivated this protest, she said, among many other issues. She is lesbian and said she was also concerned about LGBT rights under the Trump administration.
Images of the Greenpeace protest were widely shared on social media. Topakian and the other activists had been up on the crane for at least nine hours, about three blocks from the White House.
A group of police were waiting below, she said, and the activists had agreed to "come down ourselves."
The D.C. Metropolitan Police department said they blocked several streets this morning because of the incident. "While we respect everyone's right to protest, today's actions are extremely dangerous and unlawful," it said in a statement.
A carpenter at the site, John Evans, said that the activists "must have arrived before workers showed up at 5 a.m," according to The Associated Press.
Evans told the wire service that the activists suspended high above appeared experienced: "Look how organized they are. They have the same equipment that I use every day ...They're professionals. Amateurs couldn't stay up there that long."
Dutch government to set up international abortion fund, to counteract Donald Trump's aid ban | The Independent
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:21
1/43The players of Chapecoense survivors of the accident Neto, Jackson Follmann, Alan Ruschel, receive the trophy of the South American Cup, just before the friendly match between Chapecoense and Palmeiras in Chapeco
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2/43Chapecoense (in green) and Palmeiras players pose before a charity match
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3/43Fans of Chapecoense pictured before a charity match between Chapecoense and Palmeiras. The banner reads: 'Thanks Palmeiras and Atletico de Medellin!'
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4/43The remains of a car are seen at the scene where a car bomb exploded late on Saturday close to the recently re-opened Italian embassy in Tripoli, Libya
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5/43People gather at the scene where a car bomb exploded late on Saturday close to the recently re-opened Italian embassy in Tripoli, Libya
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6/43Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh boards a private jet before departing Banjul airport, Gambia
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7/43ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) soldiers patrol in front of the Second Battalion Camp in Farafegny, Gambia
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8/43Burnt land is seen after forest fires in a town called Cauquenes in the Maule region, south of Chile
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9/43View of a forest fire in Pumanque, 140 km south of Santiago
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10/43The Chilean government declared a state of emergency in several central areas due to forest fires that have destroyed more than 35,000 hectares of woods so far
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11/43A general view of tulips on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. During National Tulip Day, the official opening of the tulip season, visitors can pick the flowers for free in a specially created garden
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12/43A general view of tulips on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. During National Tulip Day, the official opening of the tulip season, visitors can pick the flowers for free in a specially created garden.
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13/43People comfort each other in front of a school building in Budapest, Hungary
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14/43A black flag waves at the entrance of Szinyeri Merse Pal Grammar School in Budapest, Hungary
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15/43Candles and flowers are placed at the Szinyei Merse Pal High-school in Budapest, to commemorate the victims of a bus accident in Italy.
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16/43Survivors of the bus crash that killed 16 people stand outside a hotel, in Verona, Italy
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17/43A burned Hungarian bus after an accident at 'Verona Est' highway's exit in Verona, Italy. Italian police reported that at least 16 people died in the bus crash as Hungarian students were reportedly returning to Budapest from a school trip from France. According to reports, 55 people, 39 of whom were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, were on board the bus during the incident
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18/43A coach carrying Hungarian teenagers home from a school trip crashed and burst into flames on the motorway in northern Italy, killing 16 people, firefighters said. Some 39 injured were taken to hospital following the accident near Verona on Friday night, which occurred when the vehicle smashed into a bridge pillar
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19/43Protester carries an effigy of President Donald Trump during the Women's March in London, England
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21/43Protesters take part in the Women's March in Paris, France
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22/43Protesters attend a 'Berlin Women's March on Washington' demonstration in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
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23/43Demonstrators make their way from the Amsterdam statue in front of the Rijksmuseum towards US Consulate during the Women's March held at Museumplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands
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24/43Demonstrators arrive via public transportation to take part in a 'Women's March' to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th president of the United States in Washington DC
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25/43Demonstrators arrive via public transportation to take part in a 'Women's March' to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump
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26/43Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks to join the Women's March on Washington, after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump
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27/43Rescuers digging at the avalanche-hit Hotel Rigopiano, near the village of Farindola, on the eastern lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain. Italian rescuers pulled four survivors from the hotel and said they remained hopeful of finding alive at least some of the 23 people still trapped under the ruins
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28/43Farmers and consumers protest with a tractor convoy as part of 'Wir haben es satt' demonstrations against genetic engineering in Berlin, Germany
Reuters
29/43Pakistani security officals inspect the bomb explosion site at a vegetable market in Parachinar city, the capital of Kurram tribal district on the Afghan border. At least 20 people were killed and 40 wounded when a bomb exploded in a market in a mainly Shiite area of Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt
Getty Images
30/43People shift injured victims of a bomb blast from the scene, near the Afghan border in Parachinar, Kurram tribal agency, Pakistan. At least 20 people were killed and more than 50 injured when a powerful explosion ripped through a vegetable market in Parachinar
EPA
31/43President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the US Presidential Inauguration, Liberty Ball in Washington DC
Rex
32/43Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner wave as they take the dance floor during the Salute To Our Armed Services Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington
EPA
33/43President Donald Trump dances with Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Catherine Cartmell, from front left, first lady Melania Trump dances with Army Staff Sgt. Jose A. Medina, Vice President Mike Pence dances with Air Force Master Sgt. Tiffany Bradbury, and Karen Pence dances with Marine Sgt. Angel Rodriquez at The Salute To Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball in Washington
AP
34/43US President Donald Trump speaks during the Armed Services Ball
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35/43US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance with members of the Armed Forces during the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington
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36/43President-elect Donald J. Trump arrives his inauguration ceremony in Washington DC
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37/43President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama place their hands on their hearts during the national anthem on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol
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38/43Former President Obama waves from the helicopter he departs the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies in Washington DC
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39/43 12 January 2017A former Filipino comfort woman shouts slogans as she joins a protest rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines, ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official visit
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40/43 12 January 2017Supporters and family members of Filipina 'comfort women', who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II, display banners during a protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila, hours before the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
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41/43 12 January 2017Supporters and family members of Filipina 'comfort women', who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II, display banners during a protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila, hours before the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
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42/43 12 January 2017Polish Commander of the 11th Lubuska Armoured Cavalry Division from Zagan General Jaroslaw Mika gives a speech during the official welcome ceremony of the US troops convoy in Zagan, western Poland. The Armoured Brigade Combat Team comprises 3,500 soldiers, several dozen lorries and Humvee vehicles. The deployment is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve
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43/43 12 January 2017First U.S. troops arrived at the Zagan base in western Poland as part of a deterrence force of some 1,000 troops to be based here and reassure Poland about Russia's activities
AP
Queen's chaplain resigns over cathedral Koran reading row saying he has a 'duty' to defend Christianity
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:16
A chaplain to the Queen has resigned after publicly criticising a church that allowed a Koran reading during its service as part of an interfaith project.
The Rev Gavin Ashenden, who until this week was one of the 33 special chaplains to the Queen, said the reading was ''a fairly serious error'' and one which he had a duty to speak out about.
''There are things we should not tolerate because they are destructive,'' he told BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme.''I don't accept the rather feeble accusation that intolerance is a bad thing.''
During a service at St Mary's Episcopal in Glasgow earlier this month to mark the feast of the Epiphany, there was a reading of a passage from the Koran which said that Jesus was not the son of God.
The cathedral in Kelvinbridge had invited local Muslim worshippers to contribute to the service, which was aimed at improving relations between Christians and Muslims in Glasgow. But police were called after members of the church received "hate-filled messages" from far-right extremists after the service.
The Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, said that the Scottish Episcopal Church would review the work of St Mary's. He said the church was "deeply distressed at the offence which has been caused".
Dr Ashenden wrote a letter to The Times newspaper earlier this week, where he called on the church to apologise to Christians ''suffering dreadful persecution at the hands of Muslims'' and added that the denigration of Jesus in Christian worship would be called "blasphemy" by some.
To have a reading from the Koran at that point was a fairly serious error for the Christian worshipping communityThe Rev Gavin Ashenden
He told BBC Radio 4 on Sunday: "The problem with what happened in Glasgow was that although it was presented as a way of building bridges and a way of educating people it was done badly in the wrong way in the wrong place in the wrong context.
''It should not happen in the holy Eucharist and particularly a Eucharist whose main intention is to celebrate Christ the word made flesh come into the world.
''To have a reading from the Koran at that point was a fairly serious error for the Christian worshipping community, but to choose the reading they chose doubled the error. Of all passages you might have read likely to cause offence, that was one of the most problematic.''
He said that he had to make a choice between the ''important honour'' of continuing in the role of royal chaplain, and having the ability to speak out on matters he felt strongly about.
''I think it's clear to me that accepting the role of chaplain to the Queen does not give one a platform where one can speak controversially in the public space,'' he said.
''So in those circumstances I think one has to choose between whether one wants to accept an important honour or whether one chooses to continue a debate in the public space.
''I am fairly clear in my own mind that my duty to my conscience, to my order, to my understanding of Christianity and my vocation is that I am supposed to be speaking out in the public space on behalf of the Christ I serve.''
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "Dr. Gavin Ashenden has tendered his resignation from the honorary position of Chaplain to The Queen. The Royal Household has accepted the resignation with immediate effect."
The Netherlands 'counters' Trump with international abortion fund | SBS News
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:10
The Dutch government is leading the charge to counter the impact of America's plan to halt foreign aid to any organisations which support abortion in any way.
ByBen Winsor
25 Jan 2017 - 9:17 AM UPDATED YESTERDAY 6:47 PM
The Dutch Government is planning to launch an international fund to finance access to birth control and abortion in developing countries, in order to fill the gap left after the Trump administration announced it would no longer fund any overseas aid organisations which discussed abortion.
''Banning abortions does not result in fewer abortions,'' Dutch Trade and Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen said in a statement.
''It leads to more irresponsible practices in back rooms and more maternal deaths.''
The World Health Organisation estimates that 22 million women experience unsafe abortions every year, the vast majority of whom are in developing countries.
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A 2008 report from the organisation estimated that nearly 50,000 women die from complications in such procedures annually.
Minister Ploumen said that the Trump administration's decision risked undermining recent advances in women's health.
"We must not let this happen," she said.
"We need to compensate for this financial blow as much as possible, with a broad-based fund - which governments, businesses and civil society organisations can donate to - so that women can remain in control of their own bodies."
The Minister said her intention was to counter the impact of the funding ban on women and girls around the world.
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Asked whether the Australian government would contribute to such a fund, a spokesperson for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told SBS the government was committed to the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights.
"Access to sexual and reproductive health, particularly family planning, remains critical to women's empowerment, improving gender equality and reducing maternal and child mortality," the spokesperson said in a statement.
The minister's office declined to comment on the Trump administration's policy.
Known as the global gag rule, the funding ban was first instituted under the Reagan White House in 1984.
The ban applies to any organisation which provides abortion services, information, counseling or referrals '' even if those programs are funded by other donors.
President Bill Clinton rescinded the gag rule in 1993, President Bush reinstated it in 2001, and President Obama lifted it again in 2009.
During the election campaign, Mr Trump made no secret of his opposition to abortion.
President Trump pledged to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v Wade, the pro-choice judgment which legalised abortion in the United States in 1973.
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'Act normal or go away' Dutch PM tells immigrants
The Prime Minister's statement comes weeks ahead of national elections which show his party is behind in the polls against the far-right Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders.
Deep into the mind of a moderate Trump voter (and the Democrat who loves him)
''Luckily he proved to me that a person can support Trump and not act like him,'' said his girlfriend, an Obama supporter.
Armenia raises alarm as abortions of girls skew population
In ex-Soviet Armenia - where families traditionally prefer sons - women are often pressured to have sex-selective abortions to get rid of girl babies.
Walsh says Boston will use 'City Hall itself as a last resort' - The Boston Globe
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 02:45
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh during a press conference on immigration on Wednesday.
In some of his strongest comments yet, Mayor Martin J. Walsh lambasted President Donald Trump's threats to pull federal funding to sanctuary cities and pledged Wednesday to shelter undocumented immigrants at City Hall as a last resort.
''If people want to live here, they'll live here. They can use my office. They can use any office in this building,'' Walsh said at a Wednesday press conference at City Hall moments after Trump vowed to crack down on immigrants.
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In a show of defiance, Walsh '-- flanked by black, Latino, and Asian staff members and elected officials at the City Hall event '-- responded strongly following Trump's press conference in Washington, D.C., in which the president signed executive orders aimed to clamp down on illegal immigration.
''Washington is advancing the most destructive and un-American threat on America during the campaign,'' Walsh said. ''The latest executive orders and statements by the president are a direct attack on Boston's people, Boston's strength and Boston's values.''
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The mayor vowed to use all of his power within lawful means to protect Boston residents, even if that means using City Hall as a shelter.
Somerville risks losing at least $6 million as sanctuary cityMayor Joseph Curtatone said Somerville has been a sanctuary city since 1987, and he insisted it would remain so.
''We will not be intimidated by a threat to federal funding. . . we will not retreat one inch,'' Walsh said. ''To anyone who feels threatened or vulnerable, you are safe in Boston.''
Although Boston offers refuge to undocumented immigrants, it is not technically called a sanctuary city, a title used by other municipalities, including Somerville.
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Boston's version of the 2014 Trust Act assures undocumented immigrants that the city's police would not report them to federal authorities and is intended to keep local officers out of the business of deportation. Councilors have said the measure would ensure that immigrants see police as people who can help them and not as a threat.
At his press conference, the mayor repeated much of what he has previously said during the presidential campaign as Trump railed against unauthorized immigrants '' even under the threat of diminished federal funding.
Walsh vowed to fight for residents, ''whether immigrant or not'' and provide the best quality of life for all Bostonians.
Walsh lauded Boston and the nation as being built on immigrant contributions. Nearly a third of the city's residents are immigrants and nearly a half have at least one foreign-born parent, he added.
He also pulled out a letter that he said was from a 7-year-old boy that Walsh said he has been carrying around for two and a half months. The boy's mother is undocumented, and he expressed fear that under a Trump presidency she would be deported, Walsh said.
''Dear Mr. Walsh, I am thankful for you because you protect our city from a mad man and you would make me and my family feel safe,'' the mayor read.
City Councilor Tito Jackson '-- Walsh's top opponent so far in this year's mayoral race '-- also spoke out against Trump's actions, saying he categorically rejects that the President has the right to tell Boston how to treat and take care of its residents.
''It's very very unfortunate that we have a president who is not willing to lead on immigration but is focused on breaking up families and communities,'' said Jackson, whose district includes Roxbury. ''Boston is a sanctuary city and we will stay a sanctuary city. We will ensure our police are used to protect people and ensure our immigrant communities are safe.''
Jackson said the city will ensure that registries of immigrants do not go forward, young undocumented immigrants go to school, and victims of crime are able to call police without fear.
''That is who we are in this city,'' the councilor said.
Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.Cristela Guerra can be reached at cristela.guerra@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.
Meet the Nanny Tax Experts - myHomePay
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 21:36
We're very proud of the team at HomePay provided by Breedlove
We want your family to get the kind of knowledgeable, professional help that we'd want for our family. We hire only business school graduates, typically with a degree in accounting or finance. We screen for candidates who are conscientious, reliable, thorough, and personable.
The few who make the cut undergo a rigorous training program which covers all aspects of household employment tax and labor law '-- for the federal government as well as each of the individual states.
We're very proud of our team. Every year, families send several hundred thank you notes to our team members for the extraordinary service they receive. Those notes validate our commitment to maintaining the highest recruitment standards.
Meet the HomePay management team:Kerri SwopeSenior Director
Team member since 2004
Kerri oversees the operations of the firm. Famously hard-working, resourceful and organized, she gets things done quickly, efficiently and accurately. Having worked in the household employment industry for more than a decade, Kerri uses this experience to guide our company to serve clients in the most efficient and effective manner. Kerri graduated with honors in Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University and received her MBA from the University of Texas. When not at work guiding the HomePay team to new heights, Kerri can be found on the lake or attending one of the many local music and food festivals.
Tom BreedloveBusiness Development Director
Team member since 2005
Tom oversees marketing and strategic partnerships for the company. After a 20-year career in marketing and strategic planning, Tom joined the company to further our commitment to partnerships as well as education and outreach. A keen listener and communicator, Tom focuses on understanding and addressing the wants and needs of families as well as the staffing firms, accountants and advisors with whom they work. Tom graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Finance and a minor in Accounting. After hours, Tom enjoys sports, playing guitar and spending time with his three children and his wife, Marilyn.
Carolyn LivingstonDirector of New Employer Orientation
Team member since 2007
Carolyn heads up our team of New Employer specialists. Under her leadership, this team is responsible for providing personalized assistance to families who want/need some help understanding the tax and legal aspects of household employment. With her rare combination of expertise and friendliness, Carolyn seems to always find a way to exceed the expectations of our clientele. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Economics and Corporate Strategy. In her spare time, Carolyn likes to enjoy the outdoors with her husband, Jeff and their son and black lab.
Eva MacCleeryDirector of Client Consultation
Team member since 2003
Eva leads our Client Service team. The daughter of a Navy Seal commander, she is an outstanding problem-solver and communicator '' both in English and Spanish. Eva is a fanatic about customer service and constantly strives to improve the client experience for every HomePay family. She earned an International Business degree from the University of Texas and her MBA from Baylor University. In her spare time and on the weekends, Eva and her husband, Brian, enjoy the outdoors by day and live music by night.
Noah WebsterIT Director
Team member since 2009
Noah heads up our IT department, making sure our business systems and our web-based client service portal are up and running 24/7/365. An innovative problem-solver, Noah uses his technology expertise to find new ways to make life easier for our clients. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in Management and a Masters Degree in Management of Information Systems. Outside of work, Noah tends to his 35 acre farm.
Desiree LeungDirector of Finance
Team member since 2007
Desiree oversees the financial and systems aspects of the company. With her exceptional attention to detail and ability to solve problems, she ensures that all HomePay financial processes run smoothly. Desiree earned a degree in Business Economics from the University of Texas and received her MBA from Texas State University. When she's not inundated with digits, Desiree enjoys exploring the ever-changing food and wine scene in Central Texas with her husband, Seth.
Rachel SeatonDirector of Operations
Team member since 2007
Rachel leads our Operations team, the behind-the-scenes specialists who handle all of our clients' account details. Her team obtains tax IDs for our clients, sets up their payroll and ensures all tax preparation/filing/remittance processes run smoothly. Rachel is passionate about keeping every client that joins our service compliant with federal and state household employment laws. She earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and her MBA from the University of Texas. When she's not processing tax returns or researching new legislation, Rachel and her husband, Scott, enjoy spending time with family and friends and volunteering at the local animal shelter.
Care.com HomePay is a service provided by Breedlove & Associates, LLC, a Care.com company.
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2 big warnings from Gen. McChrystal: War in Europe is possible & we're going to have to give up rights for our security | Foreign Policy
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:13
In the new issue of Prism magazine, General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army (Ret.) offers two warnings. Both are kind of hair-raising.
First, he offers the thought that, ''A European war is not unthinkable.'' He goes on to explain that, ''People who want to believe that a war in Europe is not possible might be in for a surprise. We have to acknowledge great power politics; we can't pretend that they are gone.''
And if that whiff of August 1914 isn't enough, he goes on to speculate that technological progress is so empowering individuals that Americans will have to give up some of our civil rights. ''We are beginning an era in which our ability to leverage technology to track people and control populations is going to create a lot of tension; I think we are going to see a lot more population control measures. We are going to have to give up a lot more of our precious civil rights than most of us imagine because we want security.''
Photo credit: ResoluteSupportMedia/Wikimedia Commons
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Trump needs tech to achieve his vision. But Silicon Valley isn't having it | Technology | The Guardian
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:07
Californians protest about the inauguration of Donald Trump. The tech community, which skews liberal, has spoken out against proposals such as a Muslim registry. Photograph: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters
Last week, something unusual happened in Silicon Valley. Dozens of tech workers stood in the rain in downtown Palo Alto and staged a protest. They held signs and chanted slogans outside the headquarters of Palantir, the $20bn data-analytics company co-founded by Peter Thiel, one of Donald Trump's closest advisers.
Palantir builds software that helps various federal agencies track and deport Americans. It's poised to profit handily from the incoming administration, given Thiel's central role in the transition team and Trump's desire to create a Muslim registry and accelerate mass deportations. That rainy day in Palo Alto, the protesters made a simple demand: Palantir should refuse to help Trump enact his agenda.
They're not alone. The Palantir protest is part of a rising tide of resistance organized by tech workers in the weeks since the election. They represent a powerful weapon in the fight against Trump: a bloc with the economic power and technical expertise to disrupt the new president's long-promised campaign of domestic repression. They're determined to stop their companies from collaborating with the incoming administration '' and they might just transform the tech industry in the process.
Not long ago, the prospect of Silicon Valley teaming up with Trump seemed absurd. With the notable exception of Thiel, tech leaders overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton and blasted Trump as a dangerous bigot. After the election, however, they abruptly reversed course. Since 8 November, they've treated Trump to a constant stream of conciliation and flattery. When Trump seemed certain to lose, denouncing him carried no cost; now that he's in the White House, even mild criticism is evidently too risky. After all, antagonizing the most powerful man in America might be bad for business. It might even jeopardize the kind of lucrative government contracts that make Palantir's investors rich.
Donald Trump and Peter Thiel at a meeting of tech leaders at Trump Tower on 14 December. Photograph: Albin Lohr-Jones / POOL/EPAFortunately, tech workers don't share their bosses' politics. During the Democratic presidential primaries, while Silicon Valley CEOs were throwing $50,000-a-plate fundraisers for Clinton, their employees were pouring money into the Bernie Sanders campaign. Now, with tech leaders swiftly capitulating to Trump, tech workers are building a rank-and-file movement against Trumpism.
One of the loudest voices in this movement belongs to Maciej Ceglowski, a Polish-American developer and entrepreneur. Ceglowski has long enjoyed a loyal following for his sharp insider critiques of Silicon Valley. Since the election, he has emerged as a withering critic of the tech industry's rapid accommodation to the new administration. He is also the main force behind Tech Solidarity, a new group that has become the leading hub for tech organizing against Trump.
With tech leaders swiftly capitulating to Trump, tech workers are building a rank-and-file movement against Trumpism
The first meeting of Tech Solidarity took place in San Francisco on 28 November. Since then, they've expanded to Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and Washington DC. The meetings aren't entirely public '' to obtain an invitation, attendees must contact Ceglowski via email or the encrypted messaging service Signal. Crucially, participants are asked not to disclose the identity of anyone else in attendance. This promise of anonymity is indispensable for fostering candid conversations among tech workers, who tend to be heavily bound by nondisclosure agreements.
These gatherings are already proving to be important incubators for grassroots initiatives. The inaugural Tech Solidarity meeting in San Francisco helped produce the Never Again pledge, a public declaration by tech workers that they will refuse to build a database identifying people by race, religion, or national origin. The pledge went live on 13 December '' the day before Silicon Valley's top executives made the pilgrimage to Trump Tower to sit down for a summit with the president-elect.
The organizers of the pledge are keenly aware of their industry's history. The Never Again site refers to IBM's well-documented role in providing the punch-card machines that streamlined the Holocaust '' a history the company has never fully acknowledged or apologized for. Which makes it all the more chilling that IBM has gone out of its way to court Trump since his victory. Days after the election, IBM's CEO, Ginni Rometty, wrote a congratulatory letter to the president-elect personally offering her company's services to his administration.
Many tech workers are disgusted by such sycophancy '' and afraid of what it might lead to. To date, the Never Again pledge has gathered almost three thousand signatures, with employees from nearly every major tech company represented. It played a key role in forcing several big tech firms to finally promise not to build a Muslim registry, after weeks of silence and equivocation on the subject.
Ginni Rometty, chairman and CEO of IBM, wrote a letter to Trump after his victory offering her company's services. Photograph: Ruben Sprich/ReutersBut the word of a corporate spokesperson isn't worth much. And the pledge itself, while immensely valuable as an organizing tool, is hard to uphold in practice. An engineer can vow not to build tools for Trump, but making good on that promise will be difficult. She often won't know how the software she's writing will be used, much less whether it'll be used for purposes she disagrees with. And even if she does discover that she's coding some contrivance of Trumpist repression, she probably won't be able to stop its development. She can quit, or take the courageous step of becoming a whistleblower, but she has little chance of halting her company's collusion with the administration all by herself.
This is why collective action is critical. When I reached Ceglowski by email, he said building a tech workers' union is the next step. ''I'm focusing all my energy on unionizing right now,'' he wrote. A union might seem like an odd choice for tech workers, who already enjoy high salaries and good benefits. But it's precisely this leverage that would make a tech union so powerful. Unionized tech workers could flex their collective muscle in a way that, say, low-paid and precarious fast-food workers couldn't.
Moreover, tech workers may occupy a privileged position, but there's no guarantee they'll do so indefinitely. Now's the time to unionize, while they still have a good deal of bargaining power. Software engineers like to think of themselves as special, but they're subject to the same capitalist forces as nurses and auto workers.
If they unionize, tech workers could do more than protect their material interests. They could also determine the future of their industry. For too long, the Musks and Ellisons and Zuckerbergs have dominated the discourse and set the agenda. A unionized tech sector might push Silicon Valley in a different direction, with its workers standing up for the public interest on issues like surveillance, data monopolies, and the corporate domination of the digital sphere. If that happens, then the catastrophe of Trump's election will have yielded at least one good result '' and the tech executives who appeased him will have paid a heavy price.
Who Didn't Go to the Women's March Matters More Than Who Did - NYTimes.com
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:06
There's a photo making the rounds from the women's march in Washington of a black woman named Angela Peoples (taken by her friend Kevin Banatte) holding a sign that reads, ''Don't Forget: White Women Voted for Trump.'' In the photo, she stands nonchalantly, casually sucking on a lollipop with a jaded look in her eyes that suggests her familiarity with the ritual of protest, of demonstrating for civil liberties. Behind her stand three white women, all wearing the pink knitted ''pussyhats'' that the march made famous. Two are on their phones, pleased grins beaming from their faces. One appears to be taking a triumphant selfie.
A crowd scientist told The New York Times that half a million people came to Washington for the march, and a professor at the University of Connecticut calculated that across the United States, between 3.6 million and 4.6 million people demonstrated. International protests happened in cities like Nairobi, Oslo and Bangkok. The point is: A hell of a lot of women turned out to march. But the photo of Peoples captures the fracturing view of America, seen through the lens of civil rights and feminism, that was crystallized after Nov. 8, 2016.
By some descriptions, the turnouts were multigenerational and multiracial. And it's true that there were children everywhere, and their presence was one of the more hopeful notes of the day's events, suggesting a long future of activism. And it is also true that some of the most visible speakers at the marches in the United States were women of color (America Ferrera, the Honduran-American actress, gave a rousing speech in D.C., as did Janet Mock. Aisha Tyler and Jessica Williams spoke at the march in Utah, during Sundance), but that was not reflected in the majority of the crowds. Most of the slide shows from the marches show only the occasional black attendee (including Rihanna, who, according to Instagram, showed up to the New York march after the sun went down).
But that didn't prevent blackness from manifesting in the crowd. Popular signs infuriatingly lifted from moments in black culture, including ''It's Clit,'' a pun combining the popular slang ''lit'' with the reference to female anatomy, and several variations of ''We Shall Overcomb,'' which conflated the gospel hymn and anthem of the civil rights movement with a garish cartoon of Donald Trump's saffron-colored cloud of hair. There were other signs, too '-- largely held by white people, it's worth noting '-- that said, ''We love our Muslim, Immigrant, L.G.B.T.Q., Latin Brothers and Sisters,'' as well as Black Lives Matters posters. At one point during the march in Manhattan, which I observed for about an hour, an enormous photograph of Mahatma Gandhi floated by '-- an icon of nonviolence resistance, yes, but also someone who referred to African leaders more than once as savages and kaffirs, a South African derogatory slur. There were also many signs equating gender justice with racial justice. Vagina plushies abounded, as did drawings of vulva and birth canals, and legs spread exuberantly wide. As rallying cries, these were initially thrilling to see, but they began to feel exclusionary as the day wore on. Equating vaginas with feminism with gender equality felt outdated, given that there were a number of trans women who showed up to support the cause. Other photos were also emblematic of this divide '-- notably, a sign carried by Amir Talai, an actor and improv performer, that said, ''I'll See You Nice White Ladies at the Next #BlackLivesMatter March, Right?''
But it is the photo of Peoples that resonates the most for me. It felt indicative of the ways in which the day's events could be viewed as problematic: the notion that women's rights were suddenly the most important cause in our nation, or that there haven't been protests and activist movements worth attending until the election of Donald Trump. The photo of Peoples is certainly the image that was most shared among the black women I know and that surfaced in feeds from women who opted out of the march, who chose to spend time with their families or one another instead. Those who were criticized for not participating reminded their followers of the suffrage movement, when black women were increasingly marginalized in the fight for the right to vote, and highlighted the lack of policing at the women's march, a luxury never granted at Black Lives Matters demonstrations. And they reminded anyone who'd forgotten that 53 percent of all white women who voted voted for Trump, while 94 percent of black women voters cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton. They reminded people that it is very likely that the white women in the photograph probably know '-- or are related to '-- someone who voted for Trump. That photo cuts to a truth of the election: While black women show up for white women to advance causes that benefit entire movements, the reciprocity is rarely shown.
Every woman I spoke with who traveled to the D.C. march came back brimming with the energy of radicalism and the spirit of change. And it seems to have propelled people into action: Swingleft, which describes itself as an online network created to support progressive candidates in swing districts to ''take back the House in 2018,'' reported that it had signed up more than 100,000 people this weekend. The official women's-march site now features a guide to ''10 actions in 100 days'' that provides information for contacting senators to protest specific legislation. But here's something that has stayed with me: On Sunday night, I got a voice message from a rattled friend describing an incident at a D.C. restaurant after the march. She had been with other friends '-- brown and black, Muslim, speaking Arabic '-- all in town for a memorial service, having a quiet dinner afterward to help one another through their grief. A woman approached them and began asking invasive questions about Trump. The group initially complied, and tried to explain their fears when the situation escalated, culminating in the stranger's hurling words at them like ''ISIS'' and ''Taliban.'' Nearby sat a table of white women, still proudly donning their pussyhats. The women watched silently. None elected to intervene. ''Isn't this what you marched for?'' my friend said to them. ''Isn't this what today was about? Standing up for injustice? Yet when you see it happen in your face, you just enjoy your meal quietly?''
The nature of American activism '' and feminism '' is molting, fast. The coalitions that formed on Saturday will have bigger questions to organize around, questions that will prove more urgent in the years to come. For whom are they marching? Is it only for themselves?
NO REALLY. Trump Plagiarised The Bee Movie for Inaugural Speech
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:45
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Jim Henson Company to Sign Deal with CDC for Zika Cartoon, Starring Sid the Science Kid | TMZ.com
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:43
EXCLUSIVE
The Centers for Disease Control is negotiating a near-million dollar deal with The Jim Henson Company to produce a cartoon featuring Sid the Science Kid ... warning preschoolers about Zika.
The CDC has filed legal docs stating its intention to make a deal with the famous Muppet company to produce an educational cartoon that dishes mosquito bite prevention methods to kids and their families.
According to the docs -- obtained by TMZ -- the CDC makes it clear ... they want Sid to front the episode across PBS platforms.
There's a tiny road bump. Protocol requires the CDC to send the contract out for bidding, but realistically there's only one company that can fit the bill, because JHC owns Sid.
It's also apparent the CDC has pretty much negotiated the deal, because it states a very specific price for the episode -- $806,000.
Sources confirm with TMZ the CDC and JHC have been negotiating.
'1984' sales soar after Trump claims, 'alternative facts' - Chicago Tribune
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:02
After incorrect or unprovable statements made by Republican President Donald Trump and some White House aides, one truth is undeniable: Sales of George Orwell's "1984" are soaring.
First published in 1949, Orwell's classic dystopian tale of a society in which facts are distorted and suppressed in a cloud of "newspeak" topped the best-seller list of Amazon.com as of Tuesday evening. The sales bump comes after the Trump administration's assertions his inauguration had record attendance and his unfounded allegation that millions of illegal votes were cast against him last fall.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway coined an instant catchphrase Sunday when she called his claims about crowd size "alternative facts," bringing comparisons on social media to "1984."
Orwell's book isn't the only cautionary tale on the Amazon list. Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel about the election of an authoritarian president, "It Can't Happen Here," was at No. 46. Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" was at No. 71.
Sales also were up for Hannah Arendt's seminal nonfiction analysis "The Origins of Totalitarianism."
Associated Press
Frequently Asked Questions - RootsAction
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:50
How large is RootsAction.org?How do I join?Is my information private?How can I get in touch with the RootsAction team?Can I create a petition on your site?How is RootsAction funded?How do you use donations?Why don't you join with other great groups into one unified organization or alliance?I support your political critique and reform goals, BUT isn't it all hopeless?Can you point to any successes or worthwhile campaigns? Where are RootsAction's graphic logos?
How large is RootsAction.org?RootsAction started its online activism at the beginning of 2011, and has had continuous growth ever since. We grew to 100,000 people by the end of 2011, and 200,000 by the end of 2012, 500,000 by the end of 2014, and over 640,000 in 2015.
How do I join?It's as easy as providing your name, email address and zipcode here.
Is my information private?Yes. Here is our privacy policy.
How can I get in touch with the RootsAction team?Send us suggestions, questions and feedback here. Although our team is too small to respond to every communication sent in, we do read each and every one. Many are passed around to the entire RootsAction team and discussed '' and some ideas and suggestions have been implemented.
Can I create a petition on your site?Yes at http://DIY.rootsaction.org
How is RootsAction funded?As a nonprofit officially named ''Action for a Progressive Future,'' we rely on donations from members of the public. You can make a secure online donation to RootsAction.org here. Or feel free to send a check to: RootsAction.org PO Box 10931Murfreesboro, TN 37129
How do you use donations?Except where donations are sought for a specific campaign, your financial contributions to RootsAction help us cover our tech infrastructure and support, and an editorial team of two and ½ persons. Due to our low overhead, we can accomplish a lot with a little funding. Please support RootsAction.
Why don't you join with other great groups into one unified organization or alliance?RootsAction works as often as possible in coalition with other progressive groups, and some of our best successes have been accomplished in these alliances. Having said that, we also believe there are advantages to a pluralistic approach, where different groups are using different tactics and strategies toward social change. We are basically an online group, but we work closely with offline groups that are a critical part of the solutions we need.
I support your political critique and reform goals, BUT isn't it all hopeless?You don't really believe that or you wouldn't be pleading for someone to prove you wrong. We can't predict the future, but we believe we have a moral duty to work to make things better and to refrain from discouraging each other. If you need to see successes to keep your spirits up, RootsAction has won some victories (see next FAQ).
Can you point to any successes or worthwhile campaigns?Here are just a few positive developments that RootsAction contributed to in some way, large or small:
In January 2017, President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, as RootsAction, among many others, had requested.
In January 2017, President Barack Obama sent $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, as RootsAction and many allies had demanded.
In January 2017, a court ruling finally answered pressure from RootsAction and allies to cease the medical neglect of Mumia Abu Jamal and other prisoners in Pennsylvania suffering Hepatitis C. The federal court ordered that treatment be provided within 21 days.
In December 2016, President Barack Obama banned oil drilling in portions of the Arctic and Atlantic, something that RootsAction, among others, had pushed for.
In December 2016, RootsAction protested a survey the Trump transition team had sent to Department of Energy employees apparently seeking to learn who supported protecting the earth from climate change. Reportedly employees refused to respond to it. The Trump team disowned it.
In December 2016, after pressure from RootsAction and many others, President Obama finally blocked some but not all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
In December 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which RootsAction had helped oppose. We will continue to oppose it in any other location.
In November 2016, Congress dropped its efforts to compel young women to register with Selective Service for a military draft. That was the outcome that RootsAction had promoted, along with abolishing Selective Service for men -- a step yet to be worked for.
After one state created automatic voter registration, RootsAction began flooding state legislators and governors with emails advocating following suit. By November 2016 six states plus the District of Columbia had created automatic voter registration, and one more (Illinois) needed only a vote for a veto override to join the list. Numerous other states by this time had legislation in the works.
In November 2016, RootsAction helped pass California's Proposition 59 asking elected officials to overturn Citizens United.
In November 2016, President Barack Obama abandoned efforts to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, long opposed by RootsAction in coalition with many other groups.
In November 2016, RootsAction helped urge a yes vote on an initiative to create ranked-choice or instant runoff voting in Maine, and a similar initiative in Benton County, Oregon. The measures both passed.
In November 2016, the United States began allowing cancer vaccine from Cuba into the country, a move that RootsAction had pushed for.
In October 2016, a DIY RootsAction petition asked North Dakota to drop charges against journalists Amy Goodman and Deia Schlosberg. This was one part of a much wider outrcy over Goodman's indictment. The charges against her were dropped.
In September 2016 RootsAction pushed for the U.S. Congress to override the President's veto to pass a bill allowing 9/11 victims' families to sue Saudi Arabia. Congress did so.
In September 2016 pressure from a DIY RootsAction petition helped persuade the U.S. State Department to grant British whistleblower Craig Murray a visa to visit the United States to speak at a conference against war and to present an award to U.S. whistleblower John Kiriakou.
In September 2016 pressure from RootsAction and allies helped persuade the U.S. Army to cease violating *some* of whistleblower Chelsea Manning's basic rights. This struggle continues.
In July 2016, the U.S. government finally made public 28 previously censored pages of a Congressional report on 9/11 regarding evidence of Saudi Arabian ties to 9/11. RootsAction and allies had lobbied for that release.
In June 2016, RootsAction was part of a large coalition of groups that won improvements from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on mortgage loans in poor neighborhoods.
In April-May 2016, RootsAction petitioned the Prime Minister of Bosnia to cease retaliation against a whistleblowing company. The pressure was felt, and the government quickly allowed the company to resume operations and return its employees to work.
In March 2016, a DIY RootsAction petition urged Senator Bernie Sanders to refuse an invitation to speak at an AIPAC event. He did refuse.
In March 2016, RootsAction was part of a coalition effort that stopped legislation that would have privatized the Federal Aviation Administration.
In 2015, a DIY campaign to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County resulted in the School Board creating a new method for renaming schools. Part Two is an effort to rename the school for Thurgood Marshall.
In December 2015, a DIY petition urged the Congressional Research Service to resume reporting on international weapons sales after a three year period since it last did so. Within weeks, the CRS released a new report.
In November 2015, President Barack Obama abandoned plans for the construction of one fossil fuel pipeline, the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline. RootsAction had joined with many others in opposing it.
In November 2015, the U.S. government made the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) public. RootsAction and others had demanded that it be made public as a means to facilitate defeating it.
In September 2015, Shell abandoned its arctic drilling plans which RootsAction and many other groups had opposed.
In September 2015, after long and intense efforts by RootsAction and coalition partners and many others, enough U.S. senators committed to supporting a nuclear agreement with Iran for the agreement to survive efforts to undo it.
In August 2015, after hunger strikes by prisoners and petitioning by many groups, including RootsAction, California ended indefinite solitary confinement and brought thousands of prisoners out of isolation.
In August 2015, Chelsea Manning faced the possibility of indefinite solitary confinement for the offense of possessing certain publications including the Senate Torture Report and for possessing toothpaste that was past its expiration date. RootsAction collected over 30,000 -- and together with allies 100,000 -- signatures and delivered them to the U.S. Army, generating media attention. Manning said there was no doubt she would have been put in solitary confinement for at least some time without the petition. Instead, although found "guilty," she was sentenced to 3 weeks without access to the library, gym, or outdoors.
In August 2015, the White House further tightened, at least slightly, the military's unloading of military weaponry on local police departments.
In July 2015, the United States and other Western nations reached a final agreement with Iran. RootsAction had been helping to hold off Congressional moves to prevent such a deal for years. That struggle continues.
Few expected the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 12, 2015, to fail. That's why they held the vote! The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a job-killing, environment-destroying, 1% enriching, antidemocratic trade treaty, and briefly RootsAction and a great many allies slowed it down, raising awareness and building the movement to oppose it. President Obama made a trip to Capitol Hill on the day of the vote to pressure Democrats to vote for a measure that would have allowed "fast track" to proceed. Public pressure turned so many Democrats (and many Republicans) against this vote, that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi turned against it. They held the vote, and it failed to pass. Congress maneuvered to pass Fast Track the following week, but the struggle to prevent the TPP goes on.
In May 2015, the U.S. government agreed to allow testing for U.S. use of a Cuban vaccine for lung cancer, following pressure by RootsAction and allies to allow various Cuban medical advances to be used in the U.S.
In May 2015, the U.S. Congress allowed some of the most abusive and abused sections of the Patriot Act to expire after RootsAction and allies had demanded just that. Congress then passed the USA Freedom Act which imposed some restrictions but was at best a very limited victory.
In May 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama moved to reduce war weaponry flowing to domestic police departments in the United States, something that RootsAction and others had pushed for, for months.
In April 2015, the United States and Iran negotiated an agreement -- by many accounts avoiding a war. RootsAction had been one group among a great many supporting that effort and helping defeat moves to block it in recent years (see below).
In February 2015, after RootsAction and many other organizations had for months pressed the Federal Communications Commission to protect Internet Neutrality, it voted decisively to do so.
In February 2015, President Obama vetoed a bill to allow the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to be built -- a veto that RootsAction had advocated for, as had many, many, many other organizations.
In late 2014 and early 2015, RootsAction was part of stopping the creation of what would have been the biggest and dirtiest trash incinerator in the United States, in Baltimore.
In January 2015, after a DIY.RootsAction.org petition pushed the United States to negotiate with North Korea rather than rejecting its offer to halt nuclear tests, the U.S. did begin negotiating -- with outcome yet to be determined.
In January 2015, after RootsAction and many other organizations had for months pressed the Federal Communications Commission to protect Internet Neutrality, it moved to do so.
In December 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its threat to imprison author and journalist James Risen if he refused to reveal his source for the reporting he'd done on Operation Merlin, in which the CIA gave flawed blueprints for nuclear weapons to Iran. RootsAction had organized a coalition to demand just this outcome and had collected over 100,000 signatures on a petition to the President and the Attorney General.
In December 2014, RootsAction and other organizations pushed hard for the release of a 500-page summary of a U.S. Senate report on torture by the CIA, which was released on December 9th. Specifically, we lobbied outgoing Senator Mark Udall to release the report if the committee did not. Udall threatened to do so. And immediately after the report was released, he spoke on the Senate floor and revealed more information that had not been included.
In November 2014, RootsAction was one of many several groups that pressured the U.S. Senate to vote no on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The Senate did so by one vote.
In September 2014, the Governor of California signed four bills that RootsAction, among others, had urged him to sign:
SB 967: Requires colleges to adopt an affirmative consent standard for sexual assault (what matters is not whether a student says ''no'' to sex but whether he or she clearly indicates ''yes").AB 1014: Allows police officers or immediate family members to obtain restraining orders blocking mentally troubled people from owning a gun.SB 1010: Eliminates sentencing disparities for crack and powder cocaine.SB 270: Prohibits single-use plastic bags, allowing grocers to instead offer paper or reusable bags for a fee.In September 2014, Google said it would cease funding ALEC, as demanded by RootsAction and a huge coalition of groups and individuals.
In September 2014, a DIY petition posted at DIY.rootsaction.org by the War Resisters League helped a broad effort that resulted in Marriott Hotels and the City of Oakland, Calif., both committing to not hosting the Urban Shield event in the future -- an event that markets military weapons to police.
In September 2014, a coalition including RootsAction won from the U.S. Department of Justice a commitment to investigate police violence in Ferguson, Missouri. Clearly, this is a first step and an ongoing campaign.
In July 2014, after RootsAction and many, many other organizations pushed Congress to block a new war on Iraq, the House passed a measure denying the President any ability to begin a new U.S. war there without a Congressional authorization.
In July 2014, RootsAction was part of a coalition effort that halted, at least for now, the construction of what would have been the largest trash-burning incinerator in the nation, near a school in Baltimore.
In May 2014, RootsAction and Demand Progress sent over 90,000 emails to the Federal Communications Commission urging that it back off plans to destroy net neutrality. The Washington Post reported: "The FCC ... has been flooded with more than 100,000 e-mails and calls to commissioners' offices from consumers voicing concern about protecting the principle known as 'net neutrality,' which says that all content should be treated equally online." The FCC's final decision is not yet known.
In February 2014, a judge showed great leniency in sentencing three nonviolent protesters of nuclear weapons in Tennessee to sentences far below the federal guidelines, after their lawyer submitted 17,000 signatures and comments from a RootsAction.org petition.
In January 2014, a bill to create sanctions on Iran, effectively tear up a negotiated agreement with Iran on nuclear energy, and commit the U.S. to any war with Iran engaged in by Israel, looked likely to pass through the U.S. Senate. RootsAction helped, along with many, many other organizations to successfully stop that bill -- for now.
In December 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin said two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot would be freed -- and they were. Months earlier, RootsAction had been early to widely communicate opposition to their imprisonment.
In November 2013 we flooded Bath, Maine, city council with emails opposing corporate welfare for General Dynamics' weapons construction, as a minor assist to a local campaign. The victory was partial, with the city council reducing but still providing tax breaks.
In September 2013 we flooded President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani with emails urging them to speak with each other about peace. Days later, they did so in what amounted to the most serious meeting between U.S. and Iranian leaders in decades. We continued to press for more talks and an end to sanctions and threats of war.
In August 2013 we, along with many other groups and individuals, helped compel President Obama to seek Congressional authorization before attacking Syria, and continued to pressure Congress to reject that request. In September 2013 we helped compel both houses of Congress to make clear to the White House that they would reject an authorization of war on Syria. The missiles were not fired, and the decision clearly turned on the Congressional opposition.
In May 2013 we urged the Governor of Connecticut to sign a bill, also promoted by lots of groups in Connecticut, creating a commission to advance conversion from a war to a peace economy. He signed it. We hope to help spread that model to 49 other states and the District of Columbia.
In 2013, we helped stop the Koch brothers from taking over the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and six other newspapers.
Our petition to the U.S. and Yemeni governments was part of an effort that freed from prison on July 23, 2013, journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye.
We led some of the earliest online campaigning in support of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Our petition urging that military whistle-blower Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning receive the Nobel Peace Prize became an international phenomenon.
We've opposed the launching of U.S. wars in Iran or Syria, and we've pushed hard for an end to U.S. war-making in Afghanistan. The U.S. House of Representatives voted in June 2013 to require an end by December 2014.
In 2012, we flooded the government of Ecuador with requests for asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange '' which they noted, and which they granted.
We led a coalition in 2012 that successfully obtained a visa to visit the United States for an Afghan peace activist who otherwise was being blocked.
We supported a living wage campaign at the University of Virginia that has won wage increases.
Our opposition to increased interest rates on student loans has been part of efforts that have, thus far, resulted in a partial victory.
For years, we've campaigned for no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, and continuously demanded cuts to Pentagon spending as part of any budgetary discussions.
We have been supporting a youth-led effort in the United States to legally force the government to address climate change, and that effort has won a victory in Texas district court.
We helped lead the progressive opposition to Susan Rice's nomination for Secretary of State '' over her investments in corporations backing Keystone pipeline.
We've supported the movement to reject Citizens United, which has gained a great deal of attention, passing almost 300 local and several state resolutions.
On several issues, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, we've received a lot of emails from our members thanking us for educating them, which is a valuable end in itself.
We've helped push back, successfully so far, against attempts to eliminate Saturday mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.
In 2012, we sparked a large coalition around NBC's pro-war "reality" show, called "Stars Earn Stripes," which was canceled.
We opposed indefinite detention power even before President Obama signed it; a federal court later blocked it.
We've built a large coalition of groups gathering signatures against weaponized drones and, in 2013, had allies deliver the petition to officials in Pakistan.
In 2013, we built pressure that removed the most egregious language from a Senate resolution that, as originally written, would have effectively given Israel the power to launch a U.S. war on Iran.
In 2012, we came very close to winning a vote in the U.S. House to cut off military sponsorships of NASCAR and other sporting events; the Army announced it was ending NASCAR sponsorships.
We formed, in 2012, an international coalition of poets against a life sentence for a poet in Qatar (punishment for reading a poem). His sentence has been reduced to 15 years.
Where are RootsAction's graphic logos?
Large (2404x868) logo on white with black border (PNG).Large (2210x600) logo on transparent background (PNG).Large (2210x600) black on white logo (PNG).Large (2304x768) logo on white background (JPG).Small (300x81) logo on transparent background (PNG).Small (500x136) logo on white background (JPG).Small (300x81) black on white logo (PNG).Green square (166x166) logo (JPG).
Impeach Trump Now
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:45
From the moment he assumed the office, President Donald Trump has been in direct violation of the US Constitution. The President is not above the law. We will not allow President Trump to profit from the presidency at the expense of our democracy.
Add your name calling for the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump for violating the U.S. Constitution.
By signing you agree that you may receive emails from RootsAction.org and/or Free Speech For People. We will not share your information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
We are calling upon Congress to pass a resolution calling for the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States.
The nation is now witnessing a massive corruption of the presidency, far worse than Watergate. Indeed, Nixon White House Counsel John Dean has told reporters: ''I don't think Richard Nixon even comes close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.''[1] Given the opportunity of ten full weeks between the election and the inauguration to divest his business interests, Mr. Trump chose instead to announce, just nine days before inauguration, a wholly inadequate plan to step away from operations, but not ownership or income streams, of the Trump Organization. Instead, he has chosen to profit from the presidency at public expense, in violation of the United States Constitution. The violations, the corruption, and the threat to our republic are here now.
[1] McKay Coppins, ''He Is Going to Test Our Democracy as It Has Never Been Tested,'' The Atlantic, Jan. 17, 2017, http://theatln.tc/2iMNxjO.
President Trump's personal and business holdings in the United States and abroad present unprecedented conflicts of interest. Indeed, President Trump has admitted he has conflicts of interest in some cases. For example, the Trump Organization has licensing deals with two Trump Towers in Istanbul, and has received up to $10 million from developers since 2014.[1] President Trump admitted recently that ''I have a little conflict of interest, because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.''[2]
Crucially, some of these business arrangements violate the U.S. Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause, which provides: ''[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.''[3] The purpose of this provision is to prevent foreign influence or corruption. ''Emoluments'' from foreign governments include ''any conferral of a benefit or advantage, whether through money, objects, titles, offices, or economically valuable waivers or relaxations of otherwise applicable requirements,'' even including ''ordinary, fair market value transactions that result in any economic profit or benefit to the federal officeholder.''[4]
Many of the Trump Organization's extensive business dealings with foreign governments, businesses owned by foreign governments, and other foreign leaders violate this ban. A recent legal analysis by Prof. Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, Ambassador (ret.) Norman Eisen (former chief ethics counsel to President Barack Obama), and Professor Richard Painter (former chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush) concluded that Mr. Trump would be violating the foreign emoluments ban from the moment he took office, due to ''a steady stream of monetary and other benefits from foreign powers and their agents'' deriving from his existing business arrangements.[5] As a result, since he did not divest his business operations before inauguration, he has been violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause since the moment he took office.[6]
Examples of existing business arrangements that constitute violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause include:
Trump's business partner in Trump Tower Century City (Manila, Philippines) is Century Properties. (Trump is not the developer; he has a brand licensing contract.) The head of Century Properties is Jose Antonio, who was just named special envoy to the United States by the president of the Philippines.[7] Payments from a company owned by a foreign government official are foreign emoluments. China's state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower. It is also a major lender to Trump.[8] Both its regular rent payments, and its ongoing extension of credit, are foreign emoluments. Foreign diplomats have already begun shifting their D.C. hotel and event reservations to Trump International Hotel, to curry favor or at least avoid insulting the president.[9] Indeed, the Embassy of Kuwait was reportedly pressured by the Trump Organization to change an existing reservation and reschedule the event at the Trump International.[10] Payments by foreign diplomats for lodging, meeting space, or food at the hotel are foreign emoluments.Similarly, the Constitution's Domestic Emoluments Clause (also known as the Presidential Compensation Clause) provides: ''The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.''[11] This provision, which is not waivable by Congress, is designed to prevent corruption, as Alexander Hamilton explained:
''Neither the Union, nor any of its members, will be at liberty to give, nor will he be at liberty to receive, any other emolument than that which may have been determined by the first act. He can, of course, have no pecuniary inducement to renounce or desert the independence intended for him by the Constitution.''[12]
President Trump has chosen to continue owning businesses that receive government subsidies and tax breaks in violation of this provision. For example, since 1980, Mr. Trump and his businesses have ''reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York.''[13] As President, federal and state subsidies and tax breaks violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause.
Furthermore, as noted above, ''emoluments'' are not limited to monetary payments; they also include economically valuable favorable regulatory actions. President Trump's control over the vast modern powers of the executive branch means that regulatory action affecting his businesses favorably constitutes an ''Emolument from the United States.'' For example, President Trump's ongoing lease of Washington, D.C.'s Old Post Office, in which the Trump International Hotel is located, violates an explicit clause in the General Services Administration lease contract providing: ''No . . . elected official of the Government of the United States . . . shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom . .. .''[14] In late November, members of Congress wrote the GSA requesting information about the ''imminent breach-of-lease and conflict of interest issues created by President-elect Donald Trump's lease with the U.S. Government for the Trump International Hotel building in Washington, D.C.''[15] The GSA responded in mid-December that it could not make a determination ''until the full circumstances surrounding the president-elect's business arrangements have been finalized and he has assumed office.''[16] His business arrangements have been announced (not including any divestment of the hotel) and he has assumed office, but the GSA is not pursuing any legal action to enforce the provision. That favorable regulatory treatment provides President Trump a significant financial benefit from the federal government above and beyond his federal salary.
Finally, the Committee should also investigate whether President Trump is violating the the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act). The STOCK Act is one of the few federal ethics statutes that specifically includes the President. Among other provisions, it prohibits the President from (1) using nonpublic information for private profit, and from (2) intentionally influencing an employment decision or practice of a private entity solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.[17]
[1] Drew Harwell & Anu Narayanswamy, A scramble to assess the dangers of President-elect Donald Trump's global business empire, Wash. Post, Nov. 20, 2016, http://wpo.st/KCmP2.
[2] Michael Keller et al., Tracking Trump's Web of Conflicts, Bloomberg, Dec. 13, 2016, http://bloom.bg/2jamDUu.
[3] U.S. Const., art. I, § 9, cl. 8. This ban is located within a clause addressing both titles of nobility and foreign payments, and is variously called the Titles of Nobility Clause, the Foreign Corruption Clause, or the Foreign Emoluments Clause.
[4] Norman L. Eisen, Richard Painter, & Laurence H. Tribe, Brookings Governance Studies, The Emoluments Clause: Its Text, Meaning, and Application to Donald J. Trump, http://brook.gs/2i1i3Ht (Dec. 16, 2016), at 2.
[5] Id.
[6] See Norman L. Eisen & Richard W. Painter, Trump Could Be in Violation of the Constitution His First Day in Office, The Atlantic, Dec. 7, 2016, http://theatln.tc/2i0ApY4; see also Richard W. Painter et al., Emoluments: Trump's Coming Ethics Trouble,The Atlantic, Jan. 18, 2017, http://theatln.tc/2jwtwNr.
[7] Libby Nelson, All of Donald Trump's known conflicts of interest in one place, Vox, http://bit.ly/2gJbaXa (last updated Jan. 3, 2017).
[8] Jonathan O'Connell & Mary Jordan, For foreign diplomats, Trump hotel is place to be, Wash. Post, Nov. 18, 2016,http://wpo.st/VemN2. The motivation is obvious: '''Why wouldn't I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ''I love your new hotel!'' Isn't it rude to come to his city and say, '''I am staying at your competitor?''' said one Asian diplomat.'' Id.
[9] See Judd Legum & Kira Lerner, Under political pressure, Kuwait cancels major event at Four Seasons, switches to Trump's D.C. hotel, Think Progress, Dec. 19, 2016, http://thkpr.gs/1f204315d513.
[10] See Richard C. Paddock et al., Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President, N.Y. Times, Nov. 26, 2016, http://nyti.ms/2jwr1L1.
[11] U.S. Const., art. II, § 1, cl. 7 (emphasis added).
[12] The Federalist No. 73 (Alexander Hamilton) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961 (emphasis added).
[13] Charles V. Bagli, A Trump Empire Built on Inside Connections and $885 Million in Tax Breaks, N.Y. Times, Sept. 17, 2016,http://nyti.ms/2cXa60i.
[14] Steven L. Schooner & Daniel I. Gordon, GSA's Trump Hotel Lease Debacle, Gov't Executive, Nov. 28, 2016,http://bit.ly/2k4VNcG.
[15] Letter from Hon. Elijah E. Cummings et al. (Nov. 30, 2016), available at http://bit.ly/2k56NqN.
[16] Allan Smith, Federal agency responds to letter from Democratic lawmakers claiming it said Trump must fully divest himself of his DC hotel, Business Insider, Dec. 14, 2016, http://read.bi/2k4WYZM.
[17] See Pub. Law 112''105 (2012), §§ 9(a), 18.
The U.S. Constitution vests the power to impeach in the House of Representatives, while charging the Senate with the power to try impeachments. The House votes whether to bring the charge, and the Senate tries the case. The House vote is by simple majority, but the Senate requires a two-thirds majority to convict.
The grounds for impeachment are: ''Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.''
To initiate the impeachment proceedings, a document or ''resolution calling for a committee investigation of charges against the officer in question'' must be referred to the House Committee on Rules, which may refer it to the Judiciary Committee for investigation. The Judiciary Committee may vote to try the case, and the Senate will proceed with a trial and a vote. In an alternate procedure, the resolution can directly call for impeachment, in which the resolution goes directly to the Judiciary Committee for review.
WikiLeaks calls for leak of Donald Trump's secret tax returns after US President fails to release them | The Independent
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:37
WikiLeaks has requested that someone send it Donald Trump's tax returns so they can finally be made public.
The call came soon after spokesperson for the Trump camp Kellyanne Conway appeared to suggest that the new president's tax history will never be released. Mr Trump had previously said that he could release the documents, but that he was waiting for them to be "audited".
Ms Conway's statement broke with a 40-year tradition and suggested that Mr Trump will continue to be far more opaque about his tax and business dealings than any US president before.
Kellyanne Conway says President Trump will not release his tax returns
The statement came after a petition asking that Mr Trump release his tax returns was signed by hundreds of thousands of people.
Breaking the promise to release the returns appears to have irritated WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, which had mostly released damaging information about Hillary Clinton throughout the electoral campaign. Now it has suggested that Mr Trump's lack of transparency about his tax returns is worse than the behaviour of Ms Clinton.
''Trump's breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts," the WikiLeaks account '' which is understood to be run primarily by Julian Assange '' tweeted.
It then tweeted again to ask someone to send the returns to it so that they could be published.
WikiLeaks posted a range of information throughout the election campaign, the most high-profile of which were emails sent by Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.
Mr Trump tweeted approvingly about Julian Assange after those releases, in what appeared to be an admission of warming relations between the two men.
Ms Conway said that the American public didn't care whether or not Mr Trump released his tax returns, despite numerous polls showing otherwise.
Every president since 1976 has released the information, but Ms Conway said she does not believe Americans care whether Mr Trump follows suit.
"He's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care," she said on ABC's This Week.
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Battle of the Hats | Scott Adams' Blog
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 07:06
Posted January 24th, 2017 @ 11:14am in #Trump#pinkhat#branding
When Donald Trump ran for president he put his clear, simple message on the front of bright red hats. The message was perfect. The choice of a hat instead of a t-shirt or other garment was perfect. The color red was perfect for his message '' bold, sexy, and important. The hats were a master class in branding and influence. Political historians will be referring to Trump's hats for ages.
Compare that to the Million Woman March. They chose pink because '' I assume '' it is a bit of an ironic color for women who are fighting for their rights. Women are ''owning'' pink to rob it of its power to brand them as the so-called weaker sex. At least that's why I assume they picked pink.
We've seen that kind of ownership-gambit work before. African-Americans successfully took over the N-word and robbed it of its historical power. Gays successfully turned the chant ''We're here, we're queer. Get over it'' into ownership of the Q-word.
We also saw Trump use a version of this ownership-gambit during the campaign. The media accused him of being a whiner and he responded by saying he was the loudest voice for change. Trump owned the accusation and weaponized it.
So we know this idea of embracing the insult and flipping it into a positive '' or at least a neutral '' is good persuasion. It works quite often. But let me tell about you one of the rare cases where you should NOT use that persuasion technique.
Don't use it to own pink.
Colors influence people directly and irrationally. Trump's red hats spoke of power and certainty and sex. That's what red gives you.
Pink gives you the opposite. Pink will lower aggression and make you want to cuddle with a kitten. That's what the studies say. So pink is not a fighting/protesting color if you want to keep the base energized.
I'm also having a hard time figuring out what the pink-hat people are protesting about that they don't already have. I understand that abortion is in the mix. But the hats seem to have some sort of generic anti-Trump message that to my mind is conflated with an anti-alpha-male vibe. It's a confusing message and not completely positive.
Compare that to Make America Great Again. Simple, universal, and memorable.
Now let's talk about the shape of the hats. I understand that the hats are supposed to evoke cat ears, as in pussycat, as in female genitalia. But it also looks exactly like the sort of hat this guy would wear:
That's not ideal.
If the movement was designed to generate sympathy, it worked. I feel sorry for the men marching in those hats. On a symbolic level, that's as close as you can get to eunuch status. The science would say that those men did not go home and have amazing sex that night. On average.
Philosophically, I'm in close agreement with the protestors in the pink hats. I like equal rights in all its forms and I think women should have the best healthcare they can get. I also think men should sideline themselves on questions of abortion and reproductive rights. Women take the major physical burden of reproduction and I think society is most stable when women take the lead in crafting those laws. I see my best role in society as agreeing with whatever women collectively want in the reproduction health realm. (As opposed to the money realm, which is separate.) My opinion would add no intelligence and no credibility to the outcome.
I mention all of that so you know my analysis of the hats is separate from my political preferences. On a persuasion level, Trump's hats were a base-clearing home run. But the pink hats are emasculating for men (literally and chemically) and that's not the unifying message that I assume the organizers planned.
The choice of pink hats predicts that the movement will fizzle out in time (probably months). The color alone is powerful enough to drain the movement of energy over time.
Color matters when it comes to branding. You already knew that. What you probably didn't know is how much it mattered. I'd put color toward the top of the persuasion stack because we are visual creatures and color is the main thing we see.
When Trump came up with his red hat idea he was operating in the persuasion and branding dimension. And he nailed it.
When the pink hat organizers decided on their branding, they appear to have been operating on what I call the word-thinking level. As I mentioned earlier, the hats are literally a pun about cats and vaginas. That's too conceptual to persuade. Just because the words fit together in a clever way, that doesn't make it persuasive. And if you plan to take ownership of an insult, make sure the insult is strong. The N-word was a strong insult. The Q-word was weapons-grade too. Trump turned ''whiner'' into the strongest voice for change, which is also strong. If your enemy has a strong weapon, it makes sense to grab that weapon and use it for defense.
But if someone associates you with a weak color, such as pink, and the science says the color influences people toward weakness, don't take that as your brand. Run away from pink unless you are trying to persuade people to drink some herbal tea and take a nap.
If you are the new President of the United States, and you see hundreds-of-thousands of protesters marching in the streets, what do you do? Well, in most cases you would treat that as the nation's top priority. You don't want it to escalate to social collapse. I can think of only one scenario in which such a large and vocal movement should be ignored until they run out of steam. That rare situation is when the protesters all wear pink hats. You can pretty much ignore that movement. It will fizzle out on its own. Unless they get better hats.
'--
You might want to try the WhenHub app or Studio because people keep telling me how much they love them.
Pompeo confirmed as CIA head, Hurd to HPSCI
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 06:59
Intelligence
Pompeo confirmed as CIA head, Hurd to HPSCIBy Sean D. CarberryJan 24, 2017 Former Kansas Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo (left) got the nod from the Senate to head the CIA and former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is taking the open slot on the House Intelligence Committee.
Despite withering criticism from one senator over his views on bulk data collection and torture, former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) is the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Senate confirmed Pompeo by a 66-32 vote after floor debate dominated by Sen. Ron Wyden, a vocal critic of government surveillance programs. Pompeo was sworn in to head the agency by Vice President Mike Pence shortly thereafter.
Wyden spent more than an hour arguing that Pompeo had not been fully vetted and had not clarified positions on data-collection policies and the use of torture in interrogations.
Pompeo co-authored a January 2016 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that argued the expiration of the Patriot Act and increased restrictions on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act weakened national security.
"Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database," wrote Pompeo.
Wyden and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) pressed Pompeo for clarification about that op-ed and other past comments regarding surveillance and torture in written questions submitted after Pompeo's confirmation hearing.
Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was one of several Democrats who voted to confirm Pompeo.
"While I do not agree with some of the views he has expressed, Congressman Pompeo has impressed me with his respect for the dedication and impartiality of the intelligence professionals at the CIA," Warner said in a press statement.
Warner also stated he had been reassured that Pompeo would comply with laws banning torture.
Pompeo's confirmation opened up his seat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which will be filled by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who survived a tough re-election battle in November.
The former CIA officer emerged as a leading expert on cyber and IT during his first term in office. He was recognized by FCW in the 2016 Federal 100 awards for his work as chairman of the IT subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
FCW commended Hurd's work on breach investigations, the encryption debate and IT and acquisition reform. Hurd made a push last year to get the Modernizing Government Technology Act passed, but the bill stalled in the Senate.
"Will is an obvious choice for this committee," said Speaker Paul Ryan in a press release lauding Hurd's appointment to the HPSCI.
"During his first term in Congress, he was a leader on national security and cybersecurity issues, drawing from his personal experience to help educate his colleagues and shape policy," continued Ryan.
"We are living in a dangerous time when our enemies' tactics, techniques, and procedures are continuously evolving," said Hurd in the same release. "I left an organization I love, and a career I loved and was good at because I believed I could help the intelligence community in a different way.
"It's exciting to be able to use my experience to develop recommendations with my colleagues on the Committee that will prevent terrorist attacks and keep Americans safe," said Hurd.
About the Author
Sean Carberry is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence. Prior to joining FCW, he was Kabul Correspondent for NPR, and also served as an international producer for NPR covering the war in Libya and the Arab Spring. He has reported from more than two-dozen countries including Iraq, Yemen, DRC, and South Sudan. In addition to numerous public radio programs, he has reported for Reuters, PBS NewsHour, The Diplomat, and The Atlantic.
Carberry earned a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and has a B.A. in Urban Studies from Lehigh University.
NASA : If The Trend Is Going The Wrong Way, Simply Change The Data
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 06:58
In 1999, NASA's James Hansen was troubled that his global warming theory was failing and the US was cooling.
Whither U.S. Climate?
By James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Jay Glascoe and Makiko Sato '-- August 1999
Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s ''Dust Bowl'' that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck's ''Grapes of Wrath''
in the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases '-- in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country
NASA GISS: Science Briefs: Whither U.S. Climate?
Troublesome data is no problem for NASA. They simply alter the data to produce the result they want, and then scream that they are being harassed when called out for their fraud.
2000 Version archived by John Daly 2017 Version
In cooperation with NOAA, NASA simply cooled the past to make the post-1930 cooling go away.
NOAA knows perfectly well that the US is not warming.
U.S. Data Since 1895 Fail To Show Warming Trend '' NYTimes.com
It is essential that the criminals behind this scam are called out and removed from government. This is the biggest fraud in science history.
Report: President Trump To Announce Border and Immigration Executive Actions Tomorrow'... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 06:43
According to several media reports (Fox News and Reuters) President Trump is starting tomorrow with executive action targeted toward the larger immigration policy initiatives discussed throughout the presidential campaign. Don McGahn is obviously a very busy man:
(Via Fox News) WASHINGTON '' President Donald Trump will begin rolling out executive actions on immigration Wednesday, beginning with steps to tighten border security '-- including his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border '-- and other domestic immigration enforcement measures, according to two administration officials.
Later in the week, the president is expected to take steps to restrict the flow of refugees to the United States. One official said the president was expected to roll out immigration measures over the next few days.
['...] While the specific of Trump's orders were unclear, both officials said Wednesday's actions would focus in part on the president's plans to construct a wall along the southern border with Mexico. He has insisted Mexico would pay for the wall, though the Mexican government has repeatedly said it would not.
Trump will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the White House next week. (read more)
Interestingly, yesterday Mexican President Nieto publicly outlined his top priorities for the meeting with President Donald Trump. Can you guess what the #1 priority is for Nieto?
['...] Pena Nieto gave a speech detailing what Mexico's baseline negotiating points would be, including economic integration, respect for the rights of migrants and the money they send home.
Those remittances amount to about $25 billion annually and have become a major source of foreign revenue for the country. Trump had originally suggested that the U.S. might retain some of that money to help pay for a wall between the countries, a project he says Mexico will pay for but which Mexico opposes. (link)
Can you spell L.E.V.E.R.A.G.E ?.
BREAKING: Trump to sign executive order tomorrow to direct federal funds towards the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border '' NYT
'-- BNO News (@BNONews) January 25, 2017
BREAKING: President Trump to order construction of a border wall between the US and Mexico on Wednesday, senior admin. official says.
'-- CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) January 25, 2017
Emily's List: A Case Study in Why the Democratic Party is Still So White
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 04:54
Often a single decision illuminates a much larger systemic societal problem. Yesterday progressive powerhouse political action committee Emily's List endorsed an inexperienced, but wealthy, white woman over a more experienced, popular and progressive Latina who had previously received the organization's unwavering support. This specific decision by Emily's List is both a cautionary tale and a case study. It illuminates why, in 2016, leadership in America, including within the progressive movement and Democratic Party, is still disproportionately and overwhelmingly white while the rapidly growing ranks of people of color are blocked from rising into positions of leadership.
White people, who make up 62% of the U.S. population, are grossly over-represented in nearly all positions of power and authority in America. In corporate America 96% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are white. In the entertainment industry 95% of the leading actors in television shows are white. In news media 85% of all editors are white. And in government and politics 90% of all elected officials are white. The problem in the political sphere transcends ideological boundaries as the leadership of the progressive movement and Democratic politics (a certain Commander in Chief aside) is also overwhelmingly white'Š'--'Šdespite the fact that 46% of Democratic voters in 2012 were people of color.
Why does this inequality exist and persist? Often those who make decisions about who to hire, fund or endorse, say, ''we couldn't find any qualified people of color,'' or ''they lack experience,'' or ''they don't step up and present themselves for leadership,'' or ''we have to do a better job improving education in our schools.'' Even if these excuses were valid (and, by and large they are not, but that's a topic for another column), they certainly don't apply in the case of Emily's List's decision to pick the less qualified white woman over the more experienced and well-known Latina.
In the current race for the congressional seat to represent Las Vegas, there are four Democratic candidates, two of whom are pro-choice women (electing pro-choice Democratic women is Emily's List's stated mission). Latina Lucy Flores is an attorney who served in the state legislature, ran as the Democratic Party's candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, and became a national face of the pro-choice movement when, in 2013, she bravely and emotionally shared her story publicly about having an abortion at a young age. (Full disclosure, as I have done with many candidates of color, I have enthusiastically supported Flores in this race and in her past races). Susie Lee, a white woman, is a wealthy philanthropist who has never held elective office, never run for office, and trails Flores in the polls by 20 points. Lee had originally planned to run in a neighboring district, but chose to enter the race where Flores was running because that district has more Democrats. The district has more Democrats because it has more people of color. Lee does have one thing that Flores doesn't'Š'--'Ša network of rich white friends. Nearly half of the money Lee raised in 2015 came from individuals who contributed the maximum amount allowed per person of $2700. That was on top of the $150k Lee gave to her own campaign.
This is where one decision becomes a case study for the entire progressive movement. Faced with a situation where a talented, experienced, promising Latina was poised for leadership, an organization like Emily's List could have done three things. They could have gone to their national network of 3 million members and helped Flores raise the kind of money that would have attracted additional donors and given her a leg up and meaningful momentum. That was, after all, the founding purpose of the organization, whose website says, ''The name 'EMILY's List' was an acronym for 'Early Money Is Like Yeast' (i.e., it makes the dough rise). The saying is a reference to a convention of political fundraising that receiving major donations early in a race is helpful in attracting other, later donors.''
The second course of action would have been to stay neutral and not engage in the race. If, for whatever reason, they found Flores' prospects discouraging, they could have just stayed out and let the best person win. The third option, the one they chose, was to tip the scales and throw their considerable weight behind the only white candidate in the race.
By choosing to abandon the person they had previously supported, stray from their founding principle of raising money for promising female candidates, and cast their lot with the inexperienced Caucasian candidate, Emily's List is not only undermining their own stated goal of elevating Latina leaders, but they are showing the entire country how to actively block the elevation of talented leaders of color. The dissonance of their decision is accentuated by the fact that just eight days before rejecting Flores, the organization announced, with great fanfare, an initiative ''to increase the number of Latinas in elected office.''
Unfortunately, Emily's List, whose leadership is overwhelmingly'Š'--'Šif not exclusively'Š'--'Šwhite, is not alone in standing in the way of electing talented Democrats of color. When Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski announced her retirement last year, two qualified congressmembers stepped forward to run for that seat'Š'--'ŠChris Van Hollen, a white man, and Donna Edwards, an African American woman (to its credit, Emily's List is strongly backing Edwards). In the entire history of this country, only one Black woman has served in the U.S. Senate (Carol Mosely Braun, elected in 1992). Maryland, where nearly 40% of the Democrats are African American, is one of the Blackest states in the country, and this race presents one of the best chance in decades (if not centuries) to elect another Black female senator. But rather than let that race take its course, or, better yet, get behind the African American candidate, the top Democrat in the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid, threw his support behind Van Hollen just hours after Mikulski's announcement. Again, presented with an opportunity to elevate and advance a highly qualified leader of color in a jurisdiction where the electoral prospects are promising for candidates of color, a powerful white Democratic leader placed an obstacle in the path of the candidate of color.
With progressive friends like these, racial justice and equality will be a long time coming in America.
Talk is cheap and change is hard. Overcoming centuries of discrimination and inequity requires fresh thinking, determination, commitment and putting one's money where one's mouth is. As the Flores and Edwards situations show, Democratic and other progressive leaders are still failing to embrace this nation's demographic revolution at the precise moment when they need to rise to the occasion and solidify the potential structural advantages presented by America's profound racial transformation. Opposing and blocking the rise of highly qualified leaders of color is absolutely the opposite of what Emily's List and others should be doing.
Steve Phillips is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.
Paul Krugman Just Said What We're All Thinking About Trump's Mental Health
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 04:12
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Since taking office, President Trump's behavior has become increasingly unhinged. Since ascending to the Oval Office, he has thrown a tantrum over the size of the Women's March following his inauguration because it dwarfed his pitiful turnout and insisted to multiple audiences that his inauguration was massive despite the obvious photographic evidence to the contrary. Aides report he grows furiously angry over angry Twitter messages and grows bored with his work, instead preferring to watch television.
The erratic temper of an old man? Or a sign of something else? New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is fed up with Trump's rage-and-pony show and told us all how he really feels in one sledgehammer of a tweet:
He's not the only one to suspect that Trump may be plagued by mental issues. Newsweek reported that even the Kremlin believed Trump was ''showing himself psychologically unfit to be president'' when he insulted the family of slain war hero Humayun Khan. Richard Green of the Huffington Post interviewed a host of mental health professionals, who all agreed the Trump shows classic signs of ''Narcissistic Personality Disorder,'' which you don't have to be a psychologist to recognize in our egomaniacal commander in chief. Unfortunately, we must live with the consequences of his mental instability with every day, until we can finally vote him out '' or he manages to get himself impeached, which is far more likely than you'd think.
'We the People' Demand Mr. Trump Release His Tax Returns - NYTimes.com
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 03:38
One of the features on the White House website that didn't vanish when President Trump took the oath of office on Friday is the ''We the People'' page, which allows ordinary Americans to petition their government to address an issue of importance to them. The Obama White House, which created the feature, responded to petitions that received at least 100,000 signatures within 30 days.
It should come as no surprise that that threshold was easily reached over the weekend after someone created a petition calling on Mr. Trump to release his tax returns. ''The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution,'' the petitioner, identified as A.D., wrote. The emoluments clause bars the president from receiving gifts and payments from foreign governments. The petition had garnered more than 310,000 signatures by late Tuesday afternoon.
The administration dismisses these pleas for honesty, arguing that only journalists care about Mr. Trump's tax returns and conflicts of interest '-- a claim that a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll disproved. It found that 74 percent of Americans, including 53 percent of Republicans, believe that Mr. Trump's tax returns should be made public.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Mr. Trump and his chief obfuscator, told ABC News on Sunday that ''he's not going to release his tax returns,'' adding that the election showed that ''people didn't care.'' On Monday, she pulled back a tad, tweeting that ''POTUS is under audit and will not release until that is completed.'' Of course, even that comment is a ruse. The Internal Revenue Service has made clear that being under audit wouldn't preclude Mr. Trump from making his returns public.
Yet, the Trump campaign used that excuse over and over, and now Mr. Trump has carried it into the White House. White House officials are probably hoping that the longer they stonewall, the more likely that public demands on this matter will be pushed aside as torrents of controversial policies and statements from Mr. Trump dominate the news cycle. Even so, voters and members of Congress who care about ethics in the nation's highest office should not let up.
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Releasing the returns would provide important insight into Mr. Trump's finances and businesses. They would reveal if he is as wealthy as he claims to be, what his effective income tax rate is (he said during the campaign that not paying taxes meant he was smart) and how much he gives to charity. The documents would also identify the sources of his income and debt, helping to answer questions about his links to businessmen, banks and governments in places like Russia and the Middle East, and putting a spotlight on potential conflicts of interest.
Presidential candidates have voluntarily disclosed their tax returns since the Watergate scandal ushered in an era of greater transparency. Mr. Trump, whose checkered past as a businessman includes a string of bankruptcies and a $25 million settlement compensating students who said they had been defrauded by Trump University, has chosen to buck this trend, perhaps because he has something to hide.
Congress can force his hand by supporting a bill that Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Chris Murphy of Connecticut introduced this month. It would require the current and all future presidents to release their tax returns. State lawmakers could also head off this problem in the future by forcing presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns to get on the ballot. There is one such bill pending in New York.
Mr. Trump's refusal to release his returns was deeply suspicious during the campaign, and it's indefensible now that he's in power. The only logical conclusion is that the candidate who pledged to clean up Washington is hiding damaging information about his past.
KARMA! Hollywood Picked a Fight with Trump... Now Donald Is Delivering Them BAD NEWS
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 03:22
Hollywood has not been very kind to Donald Trump.
In fact, they have been downright obnoxious.
I'm sure you remember Meryl Streep's embarrassing Golden Globes lecture.
Many celebrities have lashed out against Trump over the past year.
Maybe they should have thought that one through a little better'...
From BizPac Review:
While attending an inaugural ball on Friday celebrating the arts, celebrities lashed out at the new president for considering budget cuts that would eliminate art funding.
Trump's team has been looking at a proposal that would drastically cut federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, according to The Hill. On the cutting block would be the National Endowment for the Arts, which would be eliminated entirely.
The NEA was allotted $148 million from the federal government in 2016. And while the amount seems inconsequential in a nearly $4 trillion federal budget, it has been targeted as an example of wasteful federal spending.
But Hollywood stars are already fighting back, slamming Trump for considering the budget cuts that would affect the arts.
The move would be a ''huge mistake'' according to actor Tim Daly, who is also president of the Creative Coalition, which hosted the ball being dubbed ''the right to bear arts.''
Federal spending has to be cut.
It's not an option. It must be done.
Sometimes, you have to cut things that are tough.
That's life.
I hated this article. I'm a liberal.
It's Happening. Trump to Sign Temporary Immigration Ban Targeting Muslims, Blocking Refugees
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 03:19
If you thought, or perhaps just hoped, Donald Trump's gnarled nastiness on the campaign trail would be softened by hushed reverence of the White House, five days into real life under Trump it's pretty clear the scowl and the bark are here to stay. What's worse is that at every crossroads of the campaign Trump opted to delve deeper into the political darkness of division and now he's systematically enshrining our worst collective demons into law. Next up appears to be the Trump's call to block many Muslim immigrants and refugees from entering the country.
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign several executive orders on Wednesday restricting immigration from Syria and six other Middle Eastern or African countries, according to several congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter. In addition to Syria, Trump's orders are expected to temporarily restrict access to the United States for most refugees. Another order will block visas from being issued to Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified. Trump's restrictions on refugees are likely to include a multi-month ban on admissions from all countries until the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security can increase the intensity of the vetting process.
This is actually a scaled-back version of Trump's original, somehow more noxious plan in which he called for a ''total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States'' on the campaign trail in Dec. 2015.
Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson says father was murdered | Metro News
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 01:11
Paris Jackson has revealed she believes her father Michael Jackson was murdered (Pictures: Instagram/Getty)Paris Jackson has dropped a major bombshell by revealing she 'absolutely' thinks her father Michael Jackson was murdered.
Paris Jackson 'surprised' after Sky Arts drops controversial Michael Jackson episode in Urban MythsIn her first 'tell-all' interview with Rolling Stone, the 18-year-old first admitted that MJ being killed 'sounds like a total conspiracy theory' '-- before making it clear she firmly believes that happened.
Pop legend Michael died at the age of 50 of a massive overdose of the general anesthetic propofol in June 2009, with his personal doctor Conrad Murray later serving two years for involuntary manslaughter.
Asked if she believed Michael was killed Paris said: 'Absolutely. Because it's obvious. All arrows point to that.
Michael in 2005 during his child molestation trial (Picture: Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)'It sounds like a total conspiracy theory and it sounds like bullsh*t, but all real fans and everybody in the family knows it.
'It was a setup. It was bullsh*t.'
Jackson's personal doctor Conrad Murray walked free from prison in 2013, but Paris did not name anyone in relation to her fears about her father.
Debbie and Michael in the early 1990s (Picture: Getty)Paris' 58-year-old mother Debbie Rowie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, is such a private person that her view on how Michael died remains a mystery.
In the interview, Paris later went on to address the rumours that she is not biologically related to Jackson, while apparently giving 'fierce eye contact'.
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She told the interviewer: 'He is my father. He will always be my father. He never wasn't, and he never will not be.
'People that knew him really well say they see him in me, that it's almost scary. I consider myself black.'
Paris and her brother Michael in 2011 (Picture: Getty)Paris then said of her dad: '[He used to] look me in the eyes and he'd point his finger at me and he'd be like, ''You're black. Be proud of your roots.''
'And I'd be like, ''Okay, he's my dad, why would he lie to me?''. So I just believe what he told me. Because, to my knowledge, he's never lied to me.'
Michael has two other children with Debbie, 14-year-old Prince and 19-year-old Michael Jr.
Metro.co.uk received a 'no comment' response from Paris' rep, and we are awaiting comment from Michael's estate.
Want more of this lovely stuff? Like Metro Entertainment on Facebook!
MORE: Paris Jackson says Joseph Fiennes' portrayal of father Michael Jackson 'makes her want to vomit'
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Federal Register :: National Day of Patriotic Devotion
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 01:04
Proclamation 9570 of January 20, 2017A ProclamationA new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart. We are one people, united by a common destiny and a shared purpose.
Freedom is the birthright of all Americans, and to preserve that freedom we must maintain faith in our sacred values and heritage.
Our Constitution is written on parchment, but it lives in the hearts of the American people. There is no freedom where the people do not believe in it; no law where the people do not follow it; and no peace where the people do not pray for it.
There are no greater people than the American citizenry, and as long as we believe in ourselves, and our country, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2017, as National Day of Patriotic Devotion, in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country'--and to renew the duties of Government to the people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.
'ƒ Filed 1-23-17; 2:00 pm]
Federal Register :: Agencies - Executive Office of the President
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 01:01
Under authority of the Reorganization Act of 1939 (5 U.S.C. 133-133r, 133t note), various agencies were transferred to the Executive Office of the President by the President's Reorganization Plans I and II of 1939 (5 U.S.C. app.), effective July 1, 1939. Executive Order 8248 of September 8, 1939, established the divisions of the Executive Office and defined their functions. Subsequently, Presidents have used Executive orders, reorganization plans, and legislative initiatives to reorganize the Executive Office to make its composition compatible with the goals of their administrations.
Pharma companies disown Shkreli; Pissed, Shkreli airs their dirty laundry | Ars Technica
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 20:35
Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing, smirked his way through Thursday's Congressional hearing.
This week, a pharmaceutical trade group stepped up its efforts to distance itself from Martin Shkreli, the disgraced ex-CEO of several drug companies who gained notoriety for an eye-popping drug price increase and an indictment for securities fraud. The trade group even made a television ad to try to bolster its image and make clear that it is different'--better'--than the likes of Shkreli and his greedy ways.
Is it, though? If you ask Shkreli, it's not. And he's made a website to try to convince you.
On the bare-bones Pharmaskeletons.com, an angry and vengeful Shkreli lists instances of greed, criminal behavior, and other sleaziness of individual members of the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA. Not all his claims are backed up, explained, or accurate. But the site still offers an embarrassing catalogue of bad deeds, which Shkreli told STAT he would continually update.
So far, he's listed out 26 companies and provided a little dirt on almost all of them. For instance, he noted that in 2004, Abbot Laboratories hiked the price of an AIDS drug by 400 percent, sparking public backlash and a boycott by doctors.
Biogen, he wrote, has built a business around price hiking. Over a decade, the company used price increases to keep an unpopular multiple sclerosis drug profitable, raising the price 21 times and pocketing billions each year. Shkreli also mentions that the company's new drug, Spinraza, which treats a rare spine disorder called spinal muscular atrophy, has a list price of $750,000 for a year's worth of treatment. Each year after that only costs an easier $375,000.
On the website, Shkreli credits Ovation Pharmaceuticals for teaching him about price-hiking tactics. In 2008, the Federal Trade Commission sued Ovation for buying NeoProfen, a drug that treats a congenital heart defect in newborns. At the time, Ovation also owned the only other drug used to treat the condition, Indocin. The company then raised the price of both drugs by around 1,300 percent, going from around $36 a vial to $500. The founder of Ovation, Jeffrey Aronin, went on to be the CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals, which is now a member of PhRMA.
In addition to the list, Shkreli specifically calls out PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl, who recently targeted Shkreli in media interviews for essentially being the worst of the pharmaceutical industry.
''Stephen Ubl,'' Shkreli writes, ''don't you dare point your finger at me for the pharmaceutical industry's troubles. It turns out we've all made some unpopular moves.'' He ends with, ''Look in the mirror. This website took me half an hour to make'...''
PhRMA did not respond to requests for comment.
What we actually lose when the USDA and EPA can't talk to the public | Popular Science
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 20:34
In the summer of 2015 a tropical storm slammed into the mountains of Myanmar and triggered one of the largest landslides not caused by an earthquake in a decade. We know this because of pictures'--stunning in their devastation'--taken with a satellite run by NASA. We know this because of government science.
On Monday, news broke that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now barred from communicating with the public. That means no press releases, blogs, messages, or social media postings.
And early this morning, Buzzfeed revealed that The US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its Agricultural Research Service division from sharing the results of its taxpayer-funded research with the broader public. The ARS is the main research agency of the USDA and is tasked with ''finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table.''
The memo outlining these new rules has not been made public, but the ban reportedly includes everything from summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets. Scientists are still able to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, but they are unable to talk about that research without prior consent from their agency.
This is not the first time that public science has been hamstrung by a gag order. To this day, the quantity of oil spewed into the ocean during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill remains something of a mystery. Many of the scientists who worked on the spill were hired by BP and barred from speaking on it. But gag orders'--while always troublesome'--have usually been limited to one specific issue. Right now, the EPA and USDA have been forbidden to speak about all of their scientific research. It means that many of the kinds of stories we now cover will never see the light of day.
To understand what that means in practice, it helps to look to Canada, where government scientists faced censure under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A study by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada found that, ''nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents had been directly asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons and that over one-third (37 percent) had been prevented in the past five years from responding to questions from the public and media.'' Scientific inquiry is meant to produce hard facts that the world can rely on. But the easiest way to make science lie is to keep the public from interrogating it.
The weather app on your phone that can sometimes tell you when it's going to rain with minute-by-minute precision'--or warn you about an impending tornado'--is underpinned by government science (in this case by the National Weather Service). You may roll your eyes at the importance of weather data that occasionally leaves you stuck in a downpour without an umbrella, but the predictions are right more often than not, and the information is incredibly important.
In 2008, Cyclone Nargis barreled down on Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta, where locals claim that they were given no notice. And it's not surprising that residents were caught unawares: Myanmar has no radar network to help predict the location and height of surging storm waters. When the storm brought flood waters 25 miles inland, 130,000 people were killed. As extreme weather eventsincreasingly ravage the United States, the incident is a chilling reminder of the devastation we might face should serious storms catch us off-guard.
The reach of government science isn't just limited to the weather, either. Government science is what determines which strain of flu should go into each year's flu vaccine. It's what helps us avert pandemics and helps farmers maximize yield of the foods that feed us all. The work of Cooperative Extension, which exists to improve the livelihood of farmers, is underpinned by government science. The research has value because of its dissemination to the public. When science isn't released and discussed, we can't make decisions based on it.
The government obviously isn't the only source of science. But industry-funded science comes with its own inherent biases, and academic research can be constrained by the wants of academia'--a push to publish. Publicly-funded research can act as a backstop, providing data that's important for the social welfare but can't easily be monetized. It's the third leg that stabilizes the stool, and it doesn't work without public critique and analysis.
Late Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once wrote that ''sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.'' Science will suffer without transparency'--and so will we.
Women's March 'Dangerous Space' With 'Oppressive Message'
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 20:07
Women's march 'dangerous space' with 'oppressive message' that 'having a vagina is essential to womanhood'
Women's March / AP
BY:Elizabeth HarringtonJanuary 23, 2017 4:10 pm
Transgender activists are upset that the women's march over the weekend was not inclusive to biological men who identify as women, as the protest presented an ''oppressive message'' that having a ''vagina is essential to womanhood.''
Saturday's event to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump was largely a ''white cis women march,'' with too many pictures of female reproductive organs and pink hats, according to trans women and ''nonbinary'' individuals interviewed by Mic.com.
A fight is brewing between ''trans-exclusionary radical feminists,'' or ''TERFs,'' and transwomen, according to the article, ''How the Women's March's 'genital-based' feminism isolated the transgender community.''
The women's march had an over-reliance on slogans and posters depicting gender norms, like using pink to represent women and girls, said some transgender activists who boycotted the march.
''The main reason I decided not to go was because of the pussy hats,'' said one transwoman from California. ''I get that they're a response to the 'grab them by the pussy' thing, but I think some people fixated on it the wrong way.''
''I believe there's a lot of inequality that has to do with genitals'--that's not something you can separate from the feminist movement,'' the transwoman added. ''But I feel like I've tried to get involved in feminism and there's always been a blockade there for trans women.''
The ''saturation of vagina-related messages and imagery,'' such as a giant hand-knit uterus, ''set the tone for a march that would focus acutely on genitalia at the expense of the transgender community,'' writes Mic.com staff writer Marie Solis.
The signs referencing Trump's infamous comments made on a hot mic during an Access Hollywood taping more than a decade ago were too heteronormative, trans activists said.
Signs that said ''Pussy grabs back,'' ''Resistance is Fertile,'' and ''Pussy Power'' sent a ''clear and oppressive message to trans women, especially: having a vagina is essential to womanhood.''
The article explained that transwomen are weary of ''trans-exclusionary radical feminists.'' ''TERFs'' are people who ''equate womanhood with having a vagina'' or feminists who ''argue trans women are actually men in disguise trying to infiltrate their spaces.''
Mic.com also quoted a ''nonbinary'' individual'--a person who does not identify with either male or female, has multiple gender identities, or a gender identity that changes over time, among other things'--whose girlfriend is still a biological male.
''For 20-year-old Sam Forrey, a nonbinary student in Ohio, and their girlfriend Lilian McDaniel, who is trans, there had been other warning signs that the Women's March might be a dangerous space for them,'' according to the article.
The couple was upset by the ''genital-based womanhood'' espoused by the women's march.
''Since legally McDaniel's sex is still male, she worried that if she were to be arrested she would be placed in a men's jail, a concern she said always lingers at the back of her mind,'' according to the article. ''McDaniel said she'd planned on attending the march despite these fears'--until she saw that people were using it as an excuse to invoke what she called 'genital-based' womanhood.''
''I think it ended up being a white cis women march,'' McDaniel said.
Forrey added that the march'--focusing too much on genitals'--represented a ''rigid, Western concept of gender.''
''This two-gender system, of course, is excluding of Forrey, too,'' Solis wrote.
Ethics Concerns At The Clinton $100,000 Per Night Hotel | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:09
Democrats are very angry that Trump is making money off his beautiful private hotel in Washington D.C. They say this is an ethics violation.
Twenty years ago their candidate Hillary Clinton was renting out the White House for $100,000 per night to any foreigner wanting to buy influence with the government. Democrats had no problem with this, or with Hillary Clinton becoming very rich by selling influence.
11 Jan 1997, Page 11 '' Philadelphia Daily News
Two years ago, Democrats said it was treason to defy and disrespect the president.
Democrats have no belief systems, ethics or standards. They simply trash around from one lie to another in an effort to keep power. We need to wipe them out completely in the 2018 election.
Why there was no Women's March in Russia | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 18:54
Women's March protests have been held in many countries following the inauguration of Donald Trump as the new U.S. president. To many, Trump is a symbol of sexism and xenophobia. A similar event had been planned for Russia, but it never happened.
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A woman wearing pink pussy protest hat poses for a photograph during the Women's March on Washington, following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, DC, U.S. ,Jan. 21, 2017. Source: Reuters
The world responded in its own way to the inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. president. The symbol of the global protest action, held simultaneously in 673 cities around the globe, became the pink woolen pussy-hat. The protesters promised to speak out ''loudly and proudly'', ''everywhere and anywhere for years to come''.
Thousands joined the demonstrations in support of women's rights and against sexism and xenophobia under the collective name Women's March in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Kenya, the Czech Republic, and many other countries. Organizers stressed that they were marching in support of equal rights for all genders and all social strata, rather than against Trump. The billionaire president was merely an antagonist symbol for them, owing to repeated insulting statements he made toward women during the course of his campaign.
It all started on Jan. 21 with a rally in Washington, whose key speakers included actress Scarlett Johansson and singer Madonna. Other cities and countries joined the pussy-hat protest, which was organized by feminist and rights movements.
In Russia, a Women's March had been planned for January 22. The timing, however, was confusing: Two o'clock in the morning on the banks of the Moscow River, as the announcement read. So Russian women simply didn't show up.
Time confusionOrganizer, Loretta Marie, told RBTH: ''I had the idea to set up a women's march in solidarity with women around the world. I knew this would be tricky in Moscow - I'm from Singapore and lived in Beijing, so I'm very aware of the restrictions on democratic demonstrations in certain countries [in fact, there are no restriction on protest actions in Russia, but you need to get the authorities' agreement beforehand - RBTH].''
Marie attempted to connect with people via social networks. She was not expecting a crowd: ''At most one of two people who might join''. The protest was not even to be held in the form of a march, but rather as a short walk across the city in solidarity, Marie explained.
She advertised it on her website: ''I had originally listed it as 10 am, I'm not sure how the time got changed. In the end, the women who had approached me decided not to join the march, so it remained a march of one, just me. I just went to walk along Vorobyovy Gory and then I took some photos.''
Social mediaOn social networks, the question of why there were no protest actions in Russia has come up. Replies tend to be very emotional, for various reasons.
''The [Women's March] aesthetics is totally foreign to me, I am a man of different values!'' Internet user Sergey Marchenko wrote on Facebook. The pussy-hat concept proved too bold a visualization for Russian society, some suggested. Others argued that during the 2011-12 protests in Moscow, some of the demonstrators were wearing all sorts of costumes, from an egg to a condom, so the visualization allegations were a little off target.
Nevertheless, Russian opposition figures ignored the international Women's Marches. The only reaction came from Alexey Navalny, who tweeted: ''A march of 500,000 thousand but not a single cop. In Moscow, any major rally effectively results in the introduction of martial law.''
Russian feminist activist Maria Arbatova told RBTH it was not really about pussy-hats: ''Our historical realities are different. In the U.S., the feminist movement has in the past worked with gay rights movements and those of colored migrants in the 1960s. In Russia, all these issues are considered separately. This is why there is no grassroots movement for these rights in Russia. No parallels at all can be drawn here. Besides, there is no consolidated women's movement in Russia.''
Arbatova added that the Russian opposition had never been concerned with either women's rights or gay rights.
Many of those who paid attention to the international protest action apparently wondered who had sponsored it. Internet user Mikhail Kalashnikov wrote: ''There have been rumors on the Internet that many small outlets catering to women, such as beauty parlors and yoga studios, were offering their patrons $35 and a free bus ride to the location for taking part.''
The most frequent questions from Russian Internet users were along the lines of: ''What has Trump done to women, particularly outside America?'' or: ''Why all these marches after the election, when nothing can be changed anyway?''
Read more: Why do most Russian women hate feminism?
Reporters tell me the truth off the record: the fake news business | Jon Rappoport's Blog
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:35
Reporters tell me the truth off the record: the fake news business
And it burns
by Jon Rappoport
January 23, 2017
During my 34 years of working as a reporter, I've had many informal conversations with mainstream journalists. They were illuminating.
Here, from my notes (1982-2011), taken after the conversations, are what these guardians on the watchtower revealed:
ONE: ''Investigative reporting has been dying. There's no money for it. If I work on a piece for three months, while my paper is paying me, suppose at the end I come up dry? It happens. I can't make my case. I've got nothing to show for it, and my paper is out whatever they've been paying me. They don't like that. The other thing is, investigative work makes my bosses nervous. They don't know where it'll lead. Worst case, I might come up with something that'll put the paper in a bad light. It's like an intelligence agent in the field who wanders off the reservation. He's got an assignment, but he sees something better, more important, and that's where he goes. He ends up finding out something about his own agency. Something bad. I've seen that happen. A reporter finds out his own paper has been covering up a heavy scandal. It's an intrinsic part of the story. What's he going to do now? Go to his editor and tell him what's going on? Chances are, his editor already knows. Now the reporter's jammed up. He's in a bad spot. A guy I know came to me with that exact problem. You know what I told him? Burn your notes. That's what I said.''
TWO: ''Most reporters who cover major issues are de facto intelligence assets. Some know it, most don't. They're all taking their information from controlled sources. It's like somebody giving you talking points as if they're the honest truth. In these talking points, you're told who the players are in a story and what they're doing. But they aren't the important players, and what they're doing is just a cover for what's really going on. It's all about misdirection. I've managed to get a few stories published about illusion vs. reality. But the thing is, no one follows up on that. It's in print, and then it dies. One night, I had a little heart to heart with my editor. I told him it would be a lot easier if I just had a desk at the CIA in Langley. He agreed. He said we could move the whole paper there. But then the spooks would realize they didn't need us at all. They could put out the paper themselves.''
THREE: ''We're in a business. We're selling a product. That's our role. If our bosses don't like what we're submitting to them, they let us know we're giving them the wrong product. Our company makes product A and we're giving them product B. Most reporters wouldn't even understand what I'm saying, because they're mentally in the camp of product A. That's where they live. So as far as they're concerned, they have lots of leeway. I don't like talking to those guys. They're dumb.''
FOUR: ''I can write an article that's critical of what a drug company is specifically doing, but I can't criticize the company. If I did, my editor would read me the riot act. He knows if he published that article, his boss would get a visit from the company. They would threaten to pull their advertising. Everybody would be in serious trouble. There is a fine line. Sometimes, the evidence against a drug company is huge, and we can get away with a critical article. But most of the time, it's a no-go area. I could lose my job. If I did, I would have a hell of a time trying to find another position on the same level. I might be subject to an industry-wide demotion.''
FIVE: ''I thought I could quit working for my paper and get hired by somebody else, who would give me more freedom to write the stories I wanted to. I made a few quiet inquiries. Turned out I was wrong. They're all pretty much the same. I could get hired by some small paper and write whatever I wanted to, but I would make very little money. I'd be screwed. They don't cover this in journalism school.''
SIX: ''Sometimes an order comes down. By the time I get it, it isn't sounding exactly like an order. It's more like 'this is what we're doing'. We need to go after a politician and bury him. That kind of thing. Nobody is complicit. You can't find somebody and blame him for issuing the order. It's vague enough that everyone escapes blame. And you don't want to talk to your colleagues too much about it. You don't want to be seen as making waves. It's sort of like a game plan in football. You're going to execute the plan. You're not going to start talking about what a lousy plan it is.''
SEVEN: ''I'm a guy who's expected to put out baloney for our audience. I can slice it a few different ways, but it's the same basic thing. After a few years, I can do it in my sleep. I know the routine.''
EIGHT: ''You talk about who's really running things behind the scene. I know something about that. But I can't write it in a story. That would be called original research. I'm not allowed to do that. I can only quote authorities on two sides of an issue. And the guy I quote first'--he carries the point of view of the story. The other guy is the doubter. I place him in the weaker position. I get to choose, but I already know what's needed and required.''
NINE: ''Reporters in my business have two choices. They can lower their IQs and become cynics, or they can maintain their intelligence and get booted out. That's what it comes down to. Anybody with an IQ over 90 can see we have agendas. The whole business is agenda-driven. The main job of a reporter who wants to keep working is developing a cover'--pretending he's speaking the truth. This is a cover for his real identity. A guy who pleases his bosses. Several of us had the whole Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky story before it was published. We wanted to go with it, but we were told to sit on it. So it was our job to agree with that assessment. We had to pretend we didn't have enough proof yet. We had the proof, but we had to make it seem like we were responsible journalists and needed more. That was a bunch of crap. The agenda was to protect ourselves from the wrath of the White House. That's what the editors and the publishers were talking about among themselves. Sure'--protect the president. But the real thing was the fear that he and his people would strike back at us and do us damage.''
TEN: ''My decision to get out of the news business was pretty easy. I wanted to write a story about the influence of the Council on Foreign Relations on government policy, since World War Two. The way I was told to forget about it was like a cop talking to a drug dealer. All of a sudden, I was the bad guy. I really got into it with my editor. I saw what a phony he was. The thing is, I knew he had a cozy thing going with the CIA. Several people knew it. In my years in the business, I got a first-hand education in what selling out means. I came pretty close to the edge. There's a weird adrenaline kick to it. You see your whole future laid out in front of you. It's very rewarding, in terms of money and status. If you just play ball, it'll be a smooth ride.''
ELEVEN: ''What the teachers told me in journalism school was a load. All I needed was one honest talk with a professor, and I never would have bothered with the whole thing. I was na¯ve. During my career, there were days I thought we were really on the right track. Somebody wrote a great piece, and it was published. But then we fell back. We put out provable lies. And they were big ones. It was like being psychologically whipsawed. A few great days, and a lot of bad ones. The worst thing for me was government sources. I was like a horse with a feed bag on, and they were filling it up with rotten food. They knew it, I knew it, and we just kept doing it.''
TWELVE: ''I saw what I called 'the inch-below' thing. An inch below what we were reporting was the real story. It was about power players and what they were doing to make profit for major corporations. It kept coming up. Crimes. People should have been arrested. I could have written great stories. But nobody wanted them. I would have proved intent. I'm talking about wars. Not little stuff. Whole wars, and the money. The profits. In court, a lawyer could have taken what I had and made a great circumstantial case. The jury would have been convinced. When you can't publish these stories, you sink into boredom after a while. Tremendous boredom. That's why some reporters become drunks.''
(To read about Jon's mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, click here.)
Jon Rappoport
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
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Donald Trump's Horrifying Signature Is a Cry for Help
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:51
After delivering a carnage-strewn speech that made the sermons of Jonathan Edwards sound like lullabies, Donald Trump retired to his lushly appointed new office to sign some ''very meaningful'' papers. Like the folders arrayed at his recent press conference, they looked very impressive, especially combined with the gleaming black pens that Trump passed out like party favors after each flourish of his wrist. Also impressive: the president's signature itself.
This is quite an autograph! It is less a sequence of letters than the impressionistic output of some rudimentary machine. Or perhaps Trump is facilitating Kellyanne Conway's injunction that we look at what lies within his heart by sharing his EKG results. (Or maybe, as Jean Grae on Twitter suggests, these lines are ''the sound wave of demons screaming.'') There are a lot of spikes. There are no spaces or curves. Most of the characters are indistinguishable from one another.
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Who is the man who made these strokes? Rather than a literate person, this signature conjures someone who would very much like to write in script one day. For now, he has learned to assiduously move his pen up and down while counting to three in his head.
Handwriting analysts have already made great hay from the presidential script. Politico interviewed an expert who detected in Trump's writing not grandstanding ignorance but evidence of ''bigheadedness, anger, and fear.'' ''The writer lacks empathy and craves power, prestige, and admiration,'' the expert said, before observing that Trump's oversize P'--as in, uh, president'--might be compensating for something.
My colleague Christina Cauterucci suggests that the signature could be an homage to the Neiman Marcus logo.
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Scrawled below this terrifyingly gloomy and menacing inauguration photo, it looks more like the skyline of an urban dystopia.
After staring at this accursed cursive for hours, I've come to the conclusion that this signature is a cry for help. Donald J. Trump is trying to tell us that he's not really Donald J. Trump. His real name is AuuuUUuuuuuA.
Establishment outraged as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard goes to Syria on fact-finding mission '-- RT America
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:30
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has stirred up the US foreign policy establishment by going on a private fact-finding mission to Syria. Gabbard has opposed the US policy of regime change in Syria and championed a bill to stop arming terrorists there.
Gabbard's trip to Syria and Lebanon was made public on Wednesday by Foreign Policy, a magazine close to the very interventionist establishment in Washington long criticized by the Hawaii Democrat.
A veteran of the Iraq War and major in the Hawaii National Guard, Gabbard ''has long been committed to peace and ending counterproductive, interventionist wars,'' her spokesperson Emily Latimer said in a statement Wednesday.
Gabbard has been a vocal critic of outgoing President Barack Obama's policy of demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad and blaming his government for the bloody war with Islamist rebels.
"As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, and as an individual committed to doing all she can to promote and work for peace, she felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders," Latimer said in a statement.
Middle East pundit Charles Lister, among others, dubbed Gabbard an ''Assad apologist,'' while Washington pundits wondered aloud if she met with the Syrian leader.
Latimer did not provide any details of Gabbard's itinerary to the media, citing security concerns.
One of the stops on the trip was Aleppo, AFP reported on Thursday, citing the Syrian daily Al-Watan.According to the paper, the US delegation that included Gabbard visited the historic citadel and eastern parts of the city that were held by Islamist rebels until December 22.
Read more
The surfing congresswoman famously resigned as the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee last year and endorsed Bernie Sanders for the party presidential nomination.
In November, she accepted an invitation from President-elect Donald Trump to discuss Syria and the US efforts to fight Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), sparking speculation that he might appoint her to a Cabinet post.
''Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement,'' she said at the time. ''However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives.''
On December 8, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit the US government from arming and funding ''Sunni militant groups working to overthrow the Assad regime, such as the Levant Front, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham [Al-Nusra Front], and al Qaeda,'' in the words of Foreign Policy.
In Trump's America, 'Felony Riot' Charges Against Inauguration Protesters Signal Dangerous Wave of Repression | Alternet
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 13:41
Photo Credit: Ryan Harvey
More than 200 people who were mass-arrested at the Washington, D.C. protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump have been hit with felony riot charges that are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Those picked up in the sweep'--including legal observers and journalists'--had their phones, cameras and other personal belongings confiscated as evidence, a lawyer confirmed to AlterNet.
Demonstrators warn that the crackdown signals a new wave of repression against the protesters, whose mass mobilization was met with riot police violence, National Guard and Department of Homeland Security deployments, heavy surveillance and law enforcement snipers positioned on rooftops.
''These charges are absolutely horrifying. They are just trying to stop any resistance to the Trump administration,'' Samantha Miller, an organizer with the Disrupt J20 Collective, told AlterNet. ''Many of these demonstrators were showing rage and fear of what's coming. It's going to take a lot more than asking nicely to create change and stop the threats from the Trump administration.''
The vast majority of the roughly 230 people who were kettled and mass-arrested at the anti-capitalist bloc during Friday's protests have been charged under the felony riot act, said Mark Goldstone, a National Lawyers Guild-affiliated attorney who has defended protesters in Washington, D.C. for more than 30 years. Washington, D.C. authorities put this number at 217. Goldstone confirmed to AlterNet that legal observers and journalists were among those detained in the sweep, explaining that, throughout his career in Washington, D.C., he has never seen mass charges of this kind.
Jeffrey Light, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who provided legal support to the Disrupt J20 Collective, agreed with this assessment. ''I have been representing protesters for 13 years now, and I have never seen felony rioting charges in Washington, D.C. It is not one of the standard laws that they tend to use. This is unusual. It is rare to use that charge.''
''Across the board, all phones and cameras are being held as evidence, and they are also detaining gloves and cell phone chargers as evidence,'' said Light. ''They are giving people their wallets back generally, but that's it. It is extremely troubling.''
According to a class-action lawsuit filed by Light on Friday, those picked up in the sweep and hit with felony riot charges already endured abuse at the hands of the police. ''Our class action lawsuit charges that the police were rounding up everyone on the street without warning and putting them under arrest and using excessive force,'' said Light. ''There were a number of weapons we haven't seen Washington, D.C. police use in recent memory, flash bang grenades and tear gas. In addition to chemical irritants, they were assaulting people with batons. They were beating people.''
Those kettled by police were forced to wait for hours in the street and on school buses, many of them going untreated for injuries, say supporters. ''They are trying to set a tone to chill further demos of this nature, and I don't think it's going to work,'' Bob Hayes, a Washington, D.C. resident who is helping coordinate legal support, told AlterNet. ''They are trying to put pressure on individuals to collaborate with the investigations.''
Light emphasized that, while the riot felony charges are new, the mass arrests are not. Acting DC Police Chief Peter Newsham, who oversaw this weekend's crackdown, was the assistant police chief who presided over another mass arrest more than a decade ago. In the fall of 2002, the Metropolitan police department mass arrested hundreds of people at a World Bank protest in Washington, D.C.'s Pershing Park and hogtied them for up to 24 hours while in detention, before dropping all charges. In a 2015 settlement, the city was forced to pay $2.2 million to nearly 400 protesters.
Newsham, who ordered the mass arrests in 2002, oversaw the police crackdown against inauguration protesters.
Friday's crackdown came as mass protests erupted across Washington, D.C. and the world, overshadowing the inauguration of Donald Trump, who rose to power on a tide of white nationalism and fascism. On Friday morning, social movements including the Movement for Black Lives and groups centering Muslim, Jewish and immigrant resistance, converged at 14 different "security" checkpoints, to shut down, slow and disrupt the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. ''We stand in solidarity with everyone who challenges oppression in all of its forms, everywhere around the world, in favor of dignity, self-determination, and defending our collective well-being,'' reads a statement from the anti-capitalist, anti-fascist bloc circulated ahead of Friday's protests.
Those arrested in Washington, D.C. faced an outpouring of public support. Ryan Harvey, an activist and musician with Firebrand Records, told AlterNet that hundreds gathered outside the jail on Saturday to show their support for those being released. ''Every time people came out, the crowd would cheer and chant,'' with the term ''anticapitalista'' an oft-repeated refrain. ''For many, it was like a surprise birthday party, and their faces lit up. Street medics were on-scene, and many supporters brought food, clothes, coffee, tea and water.''
Harvey emphasized that the support is important because it ''defends the rights of these people to fight against fascism" and ''combats the narrative that there is something more problematic about their protest than their is about the inauguration.''
Washington, D.C. residents say that the state violence on display this weekend extends far beyond the individuals hit with felony riot charges.
''A mother carrying her toddler was pepper sprayed in the face,'' said Miller. ''An elder from Standing Rock was sprayed in her face. A woman with crutches tried to intervene, and she was sprayed."
''We faced the Department of Homeland Security, the National Guard, riot police, surveillance, snipers on rooftops, and Trump supporters,'' Darakshan Raja, founder of the Muslim American Women's Policy Forum and co-director of the Washington Peace Center, told AlterNet. ''Just to walk around and see that, have them watch you as a target.''
''For weeks, the 'alt right' has been attacking us,'' Raja continued. ''They have sent death threats to the protesters of J20, attacked our organizations, reported us for false things to the city government, harassed all our partners, including the spaces we are housed. Their violence against us can't be lost in this moment.''
Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.
As Their Scam Comes To An End, Climate Scientists Return To Decades Old Lies
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:39
Fake climate scientists did extremely well under fake president Obama, but their scam is being terminated by President Trump. So they are ramping up their lies in a desperate attempt to keep funding, claiming 30 feet of sea level rise and 7C warming by the year 2100. They say New York is going to drown.
Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn | The Independent
Thirty years ago, the same climate fraudsters predicted eight degrees warming and 4.5 feet of sea level rise by the year 2030.
SWIFTER WARMING OF GLOBE FORESEEN '' NYTimes.com
Chicago Tribune Archive | March 16, 1986
Satellites show that Earth has cooled over the past 20 years.
Wood for Trees: Interactive Graphs
The one thing that has increased since the 1980's is the level of data tampering and fraud by climate scientists. They now show accelerating sea level rise after the 1930's
Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn | The Independent
This is the exact opposite of what the world's top climate alarmist showed 25 years ago. In 1982 NASA's James Hansen showed sea level going flat after the year 1950.
1982 version 2016 version
Despite his own data showing the exact opposite, in 1988 Hansen predicted Lower Manhattan would go underwater between the years 2008 and 2019.
Stormy weather '' Salon.com
Sea level has been falling at Manhattan for six years, and the average rate of sea level rise hasn't changed since the Civil War.
Sea Level Trends '' State Selection
Climate science is not a science. It is a scam intended to rip off the public and provide fake data for politicians who want to steal your money and freedom. It is essential that we expose all of these criminals during the early weeks of the Trump administration.
Een front tegen Poetin | Telegraaf.nl
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:11
dinsdag 24 januari 2017, 5:303500 Nederlandse militairen trotseren de Poolse vrieskou voor de grootste oefening voor onze krijgsmacht in 15 jaar: operatie Bison Drawsko.
Met Polen, Duitsers, Canadezen, Amerikanen, Esten en Belgen testen de militairen onder Nederlandse leiding hun kunnen. De oefening is een boodschap aan de Russische president Poetin. Blijf van Polen, Roemeni en de Baltische Staten af of je krijgt met ons te maken.
De NAVO laat zien dat er snel een troepenmacht aan de oostgrens kan staan. Van een nieuwe Koude Oorlog is volgens experts nu echter geen sprake.
Lees het hele verhaal: 'Nederland laat Poetin tanden zien' (Premium)
Meer artikelen in Nieuws
This '–'–'–'–'–'s for you: The CIA's classified beer of choice
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:44
January 23, 2017Name of foreign beer brand gifted to the Director is redacted on ''confidential source'' grounds
A file in the Central Intelligence Agency's CREST database entitled ''REPORT OF FOREIGN GIFT'' consists of a 1981 letter to an unidentified Ambassador from former CIA Director William Casey, thanking him for the surprise gift of two cases of beer. If you're wondering what kind of beer gets you on a spook's good side, keep wondering: the brand is redacted.
What exemption applies to decades-old, most-likely Soviet-bloc beer? According to the CIA that would be 25x1, a declassification exemption to protect confidential sources and intelligence methods.
Maybe they're worried about bribes?
The full letter is embedded below.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Don't Attack Nazis, and Don't Praise Those Who Do | Mediaite
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:30
I can't believe I have to write this column.
For those who missed it, white supremacist Richard Spencer was punched in the face Friday while counter-protesting at Trump's inauguration. This resulted in much jubilation, so much so that The New York Times ran a piece openly questioning if it was okay to punch Nazis. Here's a former top Obama staffer seemingly agreeing that it was.
Did I personally enjoy watching Spencer get hurt? Yes, just like I get perverse amusement from cop killers showing up in court with black eyes after they ''resisted arrest,'' child abusers getting abused in prison'' heck, even just people slipping on the ice and eating it. I am a man, and man is a sinful, violent animal with urges unconducive to civil society. That includes delighting in the pain of others, especially those I consider beneath me.
But a central tenant of civilization itself is that these evil urges are best suppressed by a set of legal and moral imperatives. For hundreds of years, American society has proudly embraced the conceit that other citizens can say things that shock us, disgust us, infuriate us, even say things that we believe are fundamentally dangerous, but we will not retaliate outside of the law. Crazier yet, those who most strongly believe in democracy have often gone out of their way to defend the rights of those who would dismantle it, having faith in the strength of their fellow citizens' convictions to prevent the unthinkable. Spencer had every right to spout his beliefs unmolested, no matter how evil or sick.
I made a miscalculation earlier today. I suspected that many of the people cheering Spencer's attack did so innocently, and by minimizing the assault'' that is, they think that's okay to hit him but not go much further than that. I made a pretty simple point on Twitter: even a single punch can disable or kill a man, and therefore Spencer's attacker conceivably could have killed him.
The tweet took off, and not in a good way. Literally hundreds of people responded, all saying that they would have loved if the attacker had killed Spencer. Some went further, calling for the extrajudicial killing of all Nazis.
I honestly don't have room for all the responses along these lines. These are also the polite responses, not the ones calling me a Nazi or calling for my death.
It was an eye-opening reaction. The reason I penned the tweet was because I thought the liberal consensus that serves as the bedrock of the American society was intact. I had this whole spiel planned about how if we as a society endorse violence against one Nazi, we're responsible if it leads to worse violence, maybe even murder, where do you draw the line, blah blah blah. I thought it was more or less self-evident that you don't murder people on the street for expressing views you don't like. I thought we were all the same page, and I was wrong.
What was most depressing is that the pro-violence responses came almost uniformly from liberals. I suppose that isn't that shocking: 51% of modern Democrats believe the government should ban hateful speech entirely. The more intelligent responses phrased it this way: Nazis are so violent, so dangerous, so outside the mainstream, they don't deserve the usual protections afforded to political speech, including protection from violence. Still, it is sad to see so many liberal Americans abandoning one of the founding suppositions of liberalism at the dawn of an administration where it will be more necessary than ever before.
The hypocrisy is blinding. Nazis, you see, are fascist, jackbooted thugs who suppress others' liberties and murder those they find despicable. To stop this threat, we must become fascist, jackbooted thugs who suppress others' liberties and murder those we find despicable. The cure isn't worse than the disease, it is the disease. (And yes, this all comes after Donald Trump was rightfully savaged by the same people for openly calling for violence against protesters)
Even if you buy the lesser notion that Nazis deserved to be punched in the face, who decides who the Nazis are? Spencer swears up and down that he's not a Nazi. That's obviously a questionable claim. But the number of people in American politics who are called Nazis or racists and protest that they aren't is'... well, everyone at this point.
Going by many people's judgment, Donald Trump is a Nazi. Before he was a Nazi, Obama and Bush were the Nazis, Reagan was a Nazi, William F. Buckley was a crypto-fascist as I recall. Today, dozens of people have called me a Nazi. And if we're talking about ideologies that led to the murder of millions in general: Obama was also supposedly a communist, as were Bill and Hillary Clinton, as was Bernie Sanders. Going by death toll we ought to punch communists twice as hard as Nazis, right?
I made a similar point when The New York Daily Newsopenly praised the assassination of an ambassador last month. The moment violence against ''Nazis'' becomes an acceptable response to discourse, everyone becomes a Nazi. How many times have you seen conservatives denounce liberals as ''the real racists,'' or alt-right Pepe accounts with ''white genocide'' in their Twitter handle? In their minds, normal political discourse is Nazism.
Now it doesn't matter whether Spencer is a ''Nazi,'' per se; he's still a racist man. Among criticisms of Spencer's white supremacist website are that it is ''a notoriously racist publication'... reminiscent of early Nazi propaganda with anti-Semitic illustrations of Jewish people.'' It ''has motivated others to participate in hate crimes against Muslims.'' It caters to ''already angry people who are trembling with xenophobia and paranoid discomfort that immigrants are coming to take over their way of life.''
Given all the above, is it okay to attack Spencer? Kill, even? Would you say he was asking for it?
Those raising your hands: what if I told you all the above quotes were actually criticisms of Charlie Hebdo?
The man who punched Spencer took the law into his own hands and appears to have unilaterally declared he was too dangerous to be allowed to speak. If we praise that man, we teach others to do the same so long as there are enough people to declare them heroes on social media. That includes the alt-right, that includes Islamists, that includes anyone with an ax to grind in today's hyperpartisan world. Wherever words have no effect, fists and baseball bats will become the substitute.
Embrace this man, renounce the classical liberal understanding of free speech, and you light a fuse. Don't act surprised when it blows up in your own face.
Maybe literally.
[Image via screengrab]
'--
>>Follow Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) on Twitter
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.
'Tampon tax' comes under fire | TheHill
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:17
Democrats may have found a new target in the culture wars: the ''tampon tax.''
Most states impose a sales tax on feminine hygiene products, which is beginning to draw criticism from political circles '-- including the White House.
ADVERTISEMENT
President Obama recently said it's ''sensible'' for women in states that tax feminine hygiene products to work to remove those sales taxes.In an interview with YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen earlier this month, Obama said he didn't understand why states impose a sales tax on an item that is a necessity for women to protect their health.
He said he suspected it was because ''men were making the laws when those tax[es] were passed.''
While Obama said it's up to governors and state lawmakers to exempt tampons from sales taxes, he said the issue ''raises a broader question that I've been working on since I came into office which was how do we make sure that everybody has decent healthcare, preventive care, and women in particular have the kind of healthcare that they need.''
The tax on tampons has gained national attention at a time when candidates running for president and other offices are reaching out to women voters.
While the presidential candidates have not spoken out about the issue, there have been discussions during the campaign on the Democratic side about other issues affecting women, such as equal pay and paid family leave.
Forty states have some type of sales tax that is imposed on feminine hygiene products, according to Fusion.
Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon don't have a state sales tax, meaning tampons are tax-free.
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the only states that specifically exempt tampons and certain other health-related products from the state sales tax.
A bipartisan pair of state lawmakers in California '-- both of whom are women '-- introduced legislation earlier this month to exempt feminine hygiene products from their state's sales taxes.
California women pay more than $20 million on taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins each year, while walkers, medical identification tags and prescription medications are exempt from sales tax in the state.
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, a Democratic sponsor of the bill, said in a news release that it is particularly unfair that women have to pay taxes on feminine hygiene products because women make less money than men.
''Women have no choice but to buy these products, so the economic effect is only felt by woman and women of color are particularly hard hit by this tax,'' Garcia said.
Similar bills to the California measure were introduced last year by lawmakers in New York and Ohio.
Several states have carved out exceptions from their sales taxes for other products.
New York already exempts drugs and medications that are considered to be necessities from sales taxes, as well as items such as sunscreen, lip balm and acne treatments.
Ohio exempts prescription drugs and food that is to be eaten off the premises where it is sold from the sales tax.
But both states impose the sales tax on tampons.
Legislation to exempt tampons from taxes could come up in several states.
A Wisconsin state lawmaker told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee that she would be interested in taking up legislation on the issue in the next legislative session.
Meanwhile, a petition on change.org calling for state legislators to exempt menstural products from sales taxes, which was started by Cosmopolitan Magazine and writer and advocate Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, has won more than 42,000 signatures.
'Tampon tax' comes under fire | TheHill
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:09
Democrats may have found a new target in the culture wars: the ''tampon tax.''
Most states impose a sales tax on feminine hygiene products, which is beginning to draw criticism from political circles '-- including the White House.
ADVERTISEMENT
President Obama recently said it's ''sensible'' for women in states that tax feminine hygiene products to work to remove those sales taxes.In an interview with YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen earlier this month, Obama said he didn't understand why states impose a sales tax on an item that is a necessity for women to protect their health.
He said he suspected it was because ''men were making the laws when those tax[es] were passed.''
While Obama said it's up to governors and state lawmakers to exempt tampons from sales taxes, he said the issue ''raises a broader question that I've been working on since I came into office which was how do we make sure that everybody has decent healthcare, preventive care, and women in particular have the kind of healthcare that they need.''
The tax on tampons has gained national attention at a time when candidates running for president and other offices are reaching out to women voters.
While the presidential candidates have not spoken out about the issue, there have been discussions during the campaign on the Democratic side about other issues affecting women, such as equal pay and paid family leave.
Forty states have some type of sales tax that is imposed on feminine hygiene products, according to Fusion.
Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon don't have a state sales tax, meaning tampons are tax-free.
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the only states that specifically exempt tampons and certain other health-related products from the state sales tax.
A bipartisan pair of state lawmakers in California '-- both of whom are women '-- introduced legislation earlier this month to exempt feminine hygiene products from their state's sales taxes.
California women pay more than $20 million on taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins each year, while walkers, medical identification tags and prescription medications are exempt from sales tax in the state.
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, a Democratic sponsor of the bill, said in a news release that it is particularly unfair that women have to pay taxes on feminine hygiene products because women make less money than men.
''Women have no choice but to buy these products, so the economic effect is only felt by woman and women of color are particularly hard hit by this tax,'' Garcia said.
Similar bills to the California measure were introduced last year by lawmakers in New York and Ohio.
Several states have carved out exceptions from their sales taxes for other products.
New York already exempts drugs and medications that are considered to be necessities from sales taxes, as well as items such as sunscreen, lip balm and acne treatments.
Ohio exempts prescription drugs and food that is to be eaten off the premises where it is sold from the sales tax.
But both states impose the sales tax on tampons.
Legislation to exempt tampons from taxes could come up in several states.
A Wisconsin state lawmaker told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee that she would be interested in taking up legislation on the issue in the next legislative session.
Meanwhile, a petition on change.org calling for state legislators to exempt menstural products from sales taxes, which was started by Cosmopolitan Magazine and writer and advocate Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, has won more than 42,000 signatures.
Theresa May cannot trigger Brexit without parliamentary permission, UK Supreme Court rules '-- RT UK
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:07
Britain's Supreme Court has ruled Parliament has the right to vote on Article 50 before it is triggered by the prime minister. The decision marks a serious blow for the Conservative government, which had sought to bypass the legislature.
The most powerful court in the land has upheld a High Court decision that ruled it unconstitutional for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to formally trigger the process of leaving the EU without first consulting MPs.
Eleven Supreme Court Justices delivered the ruling on Tuesday morning, following a four-day hearing last December.
Now that the government has been denied the use of royal prerogative to invoke Article 50, the matter will be put before the House of Commons, where MPs are expected to debate a one-line bill on the issue.
Given the majority of MPs are in favor of EU membership, the process of actually triggering Article 50 could become drawn out, as lawmakers seek to delay the Bill by tabling amendments.
In a statement, Downing Street said it respects the ruling.
''The British people voted to leave the EU, and the government will deliver on their verdict '' triggering Article 50, as planned, by the end of March. Today's ruling does nothing to change that,'' a spokesperson said.
''It's important to remember that Parliament backed the referendum by a margin of six to one and has already indicated its support for getting on with the process of exit to the timetable we have set out.
''We respect the Supreme Court's decision, and will set out our next steps to Parliament shortly.''
Speaking outside the Supreme Court, UK Attorney General Jeremy Wright said: ''Of course the government is disappointed with the outcome, but we have the good fortune to live in a country where everyone '... even government is subject to the rule of law, so the government will comply with the judgement of the court and do everything it can to implement it.''
''My client is delighted by today's judgement,'' said David Green, lawyer for Deir Dos Santos, a pro-Brexit hairdresser who brought the case to court alongside businesswoman Gina Miller.
''This has been a unique and difficult fight where the legal issues were often clouded by a polarized and politically charged backdrop. Yet as has been made clear by the Supreme Court, and the division of court, this is not a case about whether we will withdraw from the European Union, but about the domestic constitution of the UK and the relationship between parliament and government.
''The result is a reassertion by the court that we live in a parliamentary democracy in which, having been elected, our MPs in parliament have the sovereign power to grant rights and remove them.''
A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party will not ''frustrate'' the process of triggering Article 50, but will seek oversight.
''Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50,'' a spokesman said in a statement.
However, he said the party would seek to amend the Article 50 bill as it goes through Parliament.
''Labour is demanding a plan from the government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given parliamentary approval.
New York Times Apologizes For Much-Ridiculed Story About Fathers | The Huffington Post
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:31
The reporter and editor responsible for publishing a much-derided New York Times story about fathers are sorry for running the article, they told The Huffington Post Monday morning.
''It was a bad idea from the get-go,'' said Wendell Jamieson, the editor who oversees the Times' Metro section, where the story appeared on Sunday. ''It was conceived with the best intentions, but it fell flat. And I regret it.''
Filip Bondy, the freelancer who wrote the story, said, ''Sorry, sorry, sorry.''
The Times story, ''How Vital Are Women? This Town Found Out as They Left to March,'' ran the day after millions of women took to the streets around the world to stand up for their rights. The article, however, wasn't about women or the extraordinary political challenges they're likely to face under President Donald Trump. Rather, it focused on upper-class suburban dads in the liberal enclave of Montclair, New Jersey, who on Saturday had to '• gasp! '• look after their own children while their wives marched for equality.
''Routines were radically altered,'' Bondy noted in the story, explaining that fathers had to bring kids to play dates and sports events. They also apparently had to feed the children: ''Growling stomachs required filling on a regular basis.''
Breaking news: Fathers care for their kids!
The piece seemed to reinforce three old-fashioned tropes about gender and parenting: Men can't handle parenting tasks; men who manage to handle the basics of parenting are exceptional and worthy of a news story; and parenting is fundamentally the work of women.
By treating ''men perform parental duties'' as headline news, the Times' story came across as an artifact from some earlier era '• maybe 1983, when the Michael Keaton comedy ''Mr. Mom'' presented a dad taking care of his own children as a wacky, topsy-turvy scenario.
Bondy, a 65-year-old freelancer and former sportswriter for the Daily News, read the critical tweets on Sunday while he was babysitting for his 5-year-old granddaughter at home. His daughter-in-law was traveling back from the Washington march.
''I deserved it,'' he said of the response to his story.
Bondy '• who, like many journalists, including a number of New York Times staffers, lives in Montclair '• said he should have known better. He did a lot of parenting work when he was raising his children along with his wife '• both of them working full-time, he said.
''It was a piece about the women go off to war and what happens back home,'' he said. ''You know, more conventionally the men go off to war and the women stay home.'' It was pointed out to Bondy that these days women go to war, too.
The piece was meant to be lighthearted, he said. ''But these are not light times.''
Bondy said he chose Montclair as the setting for his piece because its residents voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton.
That made the article's misfire seem all the more poignant. ''We all voted for Hillary, but don't get it twisted. The division of labor in our homes is straight-up 19th century,'' tweeted Heather Havrilesky of New York magazine. (Havrilesky lives in California.)
Jamieson told HuffPost that the story was conceived by men at the Times who thought it would be a ''fun look'' at what happens in a town when all the women are away. Jamieson noted that female editors on the Metro desk did look at the piece.
Nevertheless, ''we blew it,'' he told HuffPost.
While some critics on Twitter suggested the article is an example of what happens when newsrooms skew male, Jamieson disagreed. ''Metro is a very gender-diverse department,'' he said.
The deputy editor of the Times' Metro section, Dean Chang, also tweeted a mea culpa.
''The tone was tricky, and we didn't end up in the right place,'' Chang wrote Sunday on Twitter. ''But [Bondy] is a... fine man and a fine writer. I'll take the blame.''
Why Trump's Staff Is Lying - Bloomberg View
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:28
One of the most striking features of the early Trump administration has been its political uses of lying. The big weekend story was the obviously false claim of Donald Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, that Trump pulled in the largest inauguration crowds in American history. This raises the question of why a leader might find it advantageous to promote such lies from his subordinates.
First and most obviously, the leader wishes to mislead the public, and wants to have subordinates doing so, in part because many citizens won't pursue fact-checking. But that's the obvious explanation, and the truth runs much deeper.
By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates and expects to continue to distrust them in the future.
Another reason for promoting lying is what economists sometimes call loyalty filters. If you want to ascertain if someone is truly loyal to you, ask them to do something outrageous or stupid. If they balk, then you know right away they aren't fully with you. That too is a sign of incipient mistrust within the ruling clique, and it is part of the same worldview that leads Trump to rely so heavily on family members.
In this view, loyalty tests are especially frequent for new hires and at the beginning of new regimes, when the least is known about the propensities of subordinates. You don't have to view President Trump as necessarily making a lot of complicated calculations, rather he may simply be replicating tactics that he found useful in his earlier business and media careers.
Trump's supporters are indeed correct to point out that previous administrations also told many lies, albeit of a different sort. Imagine, for instance, that mistruths come in different forms: higher-status mistruths and lower-status mistruths. The high-status mistruths are like those we associate with ambassadors and diplomats. The ambassador is reluctant to tell a refutable, flat-out lie of the sort that could cause embarrassment, but if all you ever heard were the proclamations of the ambassador, you wouldn't have a good grasp of the realities of the situation. Ambassadors typically are speaking to more than one audience at once, a lot of context is required to glean the actual meaning, and if they are interpreted in a strictly literal manner (a mistake) it is easy enough to find lots of misdirection in their words. Most of all, ambassadors just won't voice a lot of sensitive truths.
Arguably those diplomatic proclamations are not lies, but they do bear quite an indirect relationship to the blunt, bare truth. Ambassadors and diplomats behave this way because they seek maximum flexibility in maintaining delicate coalitions of support over the longer run. And indeed it is correct to think of every incoming (and ongoing) administration of doing lots of ''lying'' -- if that is the right word -- of this sort.
These higher-status lies are not Trump's style, and thus many of his supporters, with some justification, see him as a man willing to voice important truths. If Trump's opponents don't understand that reality, and the sociological differences between various kinds of misdirection, they are going to underestimate his appeal and self-righteously underestimate how much they are themselves mistrusted by the public.
Trump specializes in lower-status lies, typically more of the bald-faced sort, namely stating ''x'' when obviously ''not x'' is the case. They are proclamations of power, and signals that the opinions of mainstream media and political opponents will be disregarded. The lie needs to be understood as more than just the lie. For one thing, a lot of Americans, especially many Trump supporters, are more comfortable with that style than with the ''fancier'' lies they believe they are hearing from the establishment. For another, joining the Trump coalition has been made costlier for marginal outsiders and ignoring the Trump coalition is now less likely for committed opponents. In other words, the Trump administration is itself sending loyalty signals to its supporters by burning its bridges with other groups.
These lower-status lies are also a short-run strategy. They represent a belief that a lot can be pushed through fairly quickly, bundled with some obfuscation of the truth, and that long-term credibility does not need to be maintained. Once we get past blaming Trump for various misdeeds, it's worth taking a moment to admit we should be scared he might be right about that.
So the overall picture is this: The Trump administration trusts neither its own appointees nor its own supporters, and is creating a situation where that lack of trust is reciprocal. That is of all things a strategy for getting things done, and these first one hundred days are going to be a doozy.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story:Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:Stacey Shick at sshick@bloomberg.net
No White House Leaks Like This ... Until Now
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:14
The Trump White House not only leaks like crazy. It casually leaks the most intimate and humiliating details about the President - hurt feelings, ego injury, childlike behavior, self-destructive rages over tweets, media failure to credit his own grandiosity. We have simply never seen this level of leaking, with this little respect for the President's dignity or reputation, this early.
A few examples. From the Times ...
Mr. Trump grew increasingly angry on Inauguration Day after reading a series of Twitter messages pointing out that the size of his inaugural crowd did not rival that of Mr. Obama's in 2009. But he spent his Friday night in a whirlwind of celebration and affirmation. When he awoke on Saturday morning, after his first night in the Executive Mansion, the glow was gone, several people close to him said, and the new president was filled anew with a sense of injury.
From The Post ...
Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media's failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public's perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment.
From Politico ...
One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.
There is, to put it mildly, a rather clearly recurring theme: a torqued up man-child, alternatively rageful and fragile, both grandiose and profoundly insecure. To a degree it is difficult to maintain perspective since the contrast between the departed and incoming Presidents could simply not be any greater - either in the composure and steadiness of the man in question or in his associates' willingness to share his secrets with the press. Would it even be possible to mount a leak investigation when everyone seems to be leaking?
It is a bracing picture, chilling and hilarious. But don't lose the point: no White House leaks like this, leaks this much or leaks this casually about the President's emotional weakness.
Former State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf joins Fox News | Washington Examiner
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 23:07
Marie Harf, a deputy spokeswoman for the State Department under the Obama administration, is joining Fox News as a contributor.
Fox News announced Monday that Harf, a Democrat, "will offer national security and political analysis" and that she will begin appearing on air Monday.
Harf was often a subject of ridicule, mostly by conservatives, for comments she made at the State Department during her tenure.
In early 2015, she memorably argued that to effectively fight the Islamic State, "we need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's a lack of opportunity for jobs."
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He first called on the New York Post. Then, the Christian Broadcasting Network.
'01/23/17 2:47 PM
SNL writer suspended for Barron Trump tweet, writes apology: 'It was inexcusable' - The Washington Post
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 22:42
Twitter lit up with off-color jokes and memes during inauguration weekend, but there was one topic that really sent social media into a frenzy: Barron Trump.
President Trump's 10-year-old son attracted a lot of attention Friday when he appeared on TV, frequently captured on camera as he sat behind his father at the inauguration ceremony at the U.S Capitol. Some Twitter users placed him in unflattering memes; other users immediately took such jokes to task, considering they involved a kid who didn't ask to be in the spotlight, and children in the first family are supposed to be off-limits.
[In SNL's first post-inauguration episode, Putin roasts Trump on crowd sizes]
There was a particularly harsh reaction toward those in the entertainment industry. On Friday afternoon, ''Saturday Night Live'' writer Katie Rich tweeted that ''Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter.'' It immediately triggered a flood of angry tweets. Rich, an improv comedian who has written for NBC's SNL since December 2013 when she was hired to work on ''Weekend Update,'' deleted her account in the wake of the backlash. Nearly 79,000 people signed a Change.org petition for her to be fired.
President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and the rest of the family wave to supporters during their inauguration parade. (The Washington Post)
Rich has been suspended indefinitely from SNL in the wake of the tweet, according to a person familiar with the situation. Monday afternoon, Rich restored her Twitter account and tweeted an apology, though all of her other tweets have been deleted. ''I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I'm so sorry,'' she wrote.
SNL, of course, has a complicated relationship with Trump. Although creator Lorne Michaels invited him to host last year, the show has devoted many, many sketches to ridiculing Trump's controversies during the campaign and after he was elected, and delivered serious takedowns, as well. In response, Trump frequently tweets about how he finds the sketch show '-- and Alec Baldwin's impression of him '-- decidedly unfunny.
''Modern Family'' star Julie Bowen (who appeared in Hillary Clinton's ''Fight Song'' video last year) also received criticism Friday when she posted a series of Instagram photos poking fun at Barron's expressions during the inauguration.
[Donald Trump confirms that wife Melania and son Barron will stay in New York after the presidential inauguration]
Hundreds of comments rolled in on Bowen's Instagram photos, many of them slamming the actress for mentioning Barron at all. Bowen tweeted a defense: ''I love that Barron is a kid being a kid. My kids would be a horror show at a public event!'' she wrote. ''Just trying to keep it light.''
Meanwhile, Chelsea Clinton, speaking from experience as a former first offspring, weighed in on Facebook: ''Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid,'' she wrote. ''Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids.''
(This post has been updated.)
Read more:
Which Washington area school will Barron Trump attend?
What's it like to be a kid in the White House? These 10-year-olds have a lot of ideas.
Trump isn't the first president 'Saturday Night Live' has skewered. But this feud stands out.
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Why LinkedIn was banned in Russia
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 22:40
On Nov. 17, 2016, Roskomnadzor (the Russian data protection authority) included LinkedIn to the database on the Register of Personal Data Infringers as the violator of data subjects' rights, and sent an order to telecommunications companies to block access to LinkedIn within Russia. The order (in Russian) was issued according to a Moscow District Court decision (in Russian) from August, 4 2016, to block LinkedIn, along with the formal opinion of Moscow City Court from November 10 to uphold that decision.
The dispute appears to be the first major test of the law, which passed in 2014 and came into effect on Sept. 1, 2015. LinkedIn was found to be in violation of the data localization requirement as well as a number of other requirements such as collecting personal data from non-users without their consent before they complete the registration process.
Below are several highlights from the court opinion on the case that affect the understanding of the Russian privacy regulations.
Personal data. According to the court decision, if the company collects data from unregistered users, such as IP address, device model number and cookie files, this data is considered to be personal data in Russia.
LinkedIn did not get an explicit written consent from users to process their personal data, and, therefore, their rights were violated. According to the law, foreign countries are formally divided into two groups: those that provide ''adequate protection of a personal data'' (mainly, parties to the ETS Convention 108, such as Germany, or countries with an omnibus approach, e.g., Canada or Israel) and those, that do not provide such protection '' the most relevant example is the U.S.
In addition, Roskomnadzor has adopted the official list (in Russian) of countries (including Australia, Argentina, Mexico and New Zealand) that may provide the adequate protection level for the purposes of cross-border transfers of personal data. The level of adequate protection has been measured by two factors '' national legislation regarding privacy with core principles and adequate procedural/enforcement mechanism to protect privacy rights.
The U.S. was not included in the list of such countries. Thus, if a company wishes to transfer personal data to the U.S., the company must obtain written consent from the data subject. An individual's written consent is required either in a form of a whitepaper hardcopy or in electronic format with a valid e-signature. LinkedIn's argument that users' gave their voluntary consent by using the website was found insufficient.
Localization. The Court concluded that LinkedIn's servers are located only in the U.S. based on publicly available data from the WHOIS database. Therefore, LinkedIn is in non-compliance with the requirement to transfer Russian user data to servers located in Russia. According to the law, personal data from Russian users should be collected and processed in Russia, any change or amendment to such data should be always collected, stored and further processed in Russia, and any subsequent processing abroad should be exactly the same as the processing already done in Russia.
Investigation Procedure. The Court agreed with Roskomnadzor that an inspection of a platform and review of publicly available documents without even the investigation of registration procedure are sufficient evidence of social media platform functionality without a need for a detailed investigation.
Poor Communication. LinkedIn did not take all efforts to communicate with Roskomnadzor properly. The agency warned the company before bringing the case to the court, but the company did not reply. LinkedIn's representatives did not attend the first hearing of the court, despite the fact that the company was well informed (according to the court perspective) before the hearing and that LinkedIn should have received the notice.
Scope of Application. The Court defined that LinkedIn platform is subject to Russian law because it offered a Russian-language version that is available by default for users accessing the website from within Russia, and ads on the website were provided in Russian. Thus, it targeted the Russian Federation market after Sept. 1, 2015, and should comply with the Russian Data Localization Law.
Conclusion For now LinkedIn can file a cassation within the six-month period to the Moscow City Court and then an appeal to the Supreme Court of Russia, but that does not change the fact that the decision has come into force. For now LinkedIn has not announced their intentions on whether they are going to appeal further.
At the same time, LinkedIn may choose to start working on the program to get into compliance with the ruling and transfer Russian user data to servers located in the country. For example, Microsoft Corp. went through a Roskomnadzor inspection in 2016 and the agency affirmed (in Russian) that Microsoft complies with the Russian Data Localization Law. The inspection was conducted according to the list of the planned audits for 2016. Thus, there is the evidence that it's possible to create a program to comply with the Law.
It's fair to mention that LinkedIn was not on the list for the inspections in 2016, and there are no claims from users about their rights violation. The agency decided to inspect LinkedIn after the analysis of the market and the information about a data breach happened in 2012.
In mid-December, Roskomnadzor had uploaded their 2017 plan for conducting inspections of local companies' compliance with Russia's data localization requirements. The good news is, there are no U.S. multi-national companies on the list. However, it would be a good idea to check it to determine whether members of your industry will be subject to audits in the upcoming year.
Overall, it is not yet clear how often Roskomnadzor is going to enforce the data localization requirements using just analysis from public sources, but for now it's clear that Roskomnadzor has enough power to block websites in Russia. Moreover, the fines for non-compliance according to Russian State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament) information (in Russian) would be increased. The draft amendment was adopted in the second reading on Jan. 11, 2017. Therefore, U.S. companies should take steps to examine their compliance with Russian data localization requirements if they plan to target the Russian market.
photo credit: Russia | Kremlin via photopin(license)M/p>
HR555 Ham Radio Act
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 22:31
I 115THCONGRESS 1STSESSION H. R. 555 To direct the Federal Communications Commission to amend its rules so as to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land use restrictions, and for other purposes. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JANUARY13, 2017 Mr. KINZINGER(for himself, Mr. COURTNEY, and Mr. WALDEN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce A BILL To direct the Federal Communications Commission to amend its rules so as to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land use restrictions, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 1tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 2SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. 3This Act may be cited as the ''Amateur Radio Parity 4Act of 2017''. 5SEC. 2. FINDINGS. 6Congress finds the following: 7VerDate Sep 11 2014 20:29 Jan 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H555.IH H555srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
2 'HR 555 IH(1) More than 730,000 radio amateurs in the 1United States are licensed by the Federal Commu- 2nications Commission in the amateur radio services. 3(2) Amateur radio, at no cost to taxpayers, pro- 4vides a fertile ground for technical self-training in 5modern telecommunications, electronics technology, 6and emergency communications techniques and pro- 7tocols. 8(3) There is a strong Federal interest in the ef- 9fective performance of amateur stations established 10at the residences of licensees. Such stations have 11been shown to be frequently and increasingly pre- 12cluded by unreasonable private land use restrictions, 13including restrictive covenants. 14(4) Federal Communications Commission regu- 15lations have for three decades prohibited the applica- 16tion to stations in the amateur service of State and 17local regulations that preclude or fail to reasonably 18accommodate amateur service communications, or 19that do not constitute the minimum practicable reg- 20ulation to accomplish a legitimate State or local pur- 21pose. Commission policy has been and is to require 22States and localities to permit erection of a station 23antenna structure at heights and dimensions suffi- 24VerDate Sep 11 2014 20:29 Jan 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H555.IH H555srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
3 'HR 555 IHcient to accommodate amateur service communica- 1tions. 2(5) The Commission has sought guidance and 3direction from Congress with respect to the applica- 4tion of the Commission's limited preemption policy 5regarding amateur service communications to private 6land use restrictions, including restrictive covenants. 7(6) There are aesthetic and common property 8considerations that are uniquely applicable to private 9land use regulations and the community associations 10obligated to enforce covenants, conditions, and re- 11strictions in deed-restricted communities. These con- 12siderations are dissimilar to those applicable to State 13law and local ordinances regulating the same resi- 14dential amateur radio facilities. 15(7) In recognition of these considerations, a 16separate Federal policy than exists at section 1797.15(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, is 18warranted concerning amateur service communica- 19tions in deed-restricted communities. 20(8) Community associations should fairly ad- 21minister private land use regulations in the interest 22of their communities, while nevertheless permitting 23the installation and maintenance of effective outdoor 24amateur radio antennas. There exist antenna de- 25VerDate Sep 11 2014 20:29 Jan 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H555.IH H555srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
4 'HR 555 IHsigns and installations that can be consistent with 1the aesthetics and physical characteristics of land 2and structures in community associations while ac- 3commodating communications in the amateur radio 4services. 5SEC. 3. APPLICATION OF PRIVATE LAND USE RESTRIC-6TIONS TO AMATEUR STATIONS. 7(a) AMENDMENT OFFCC RULES.'--Not later than 8120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 9Federal Communications Commission shall amend section 1097.15 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, by adding 11a new paragraph that prohibits the application to amateur 12stations of any private land use restriction, including a 13restrictive covenant, that'-- 14(1) on its face or as applied, precludes commu- 15nications in an amateur radio service; 16(2) fails to permit a licensee in an amateur 17radio service to install and maintain an effective out- 18door antenna on property under the exclusive use or 19control of the licensee; or 20(3) does not constitute the minimum practicable 21restriction on such communications to accomplish 22the lawful purposes of a community association seek- 23ing to enforce such restriction. 24VerDate Sep 11 2014 20:29 Jan 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H555.IH H555srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
5 'HR 555 IH(b) ADDITIONALREQUIREMENTS.'--In amending its 1rules as required by subsection (a), the Commission 2shall'-- 3(1) require any licensee in an amateur radio 4service to notify and obtain prior approval from a 5community association concerning installation of an 6outdoor antenna; 7(2) permit a community association to prohibit 8installation of any antenna or antenna support 9structure by a licensee in an amateur radio service 10on common property not under the exclusive use or 11control of the licensee; and 12(3) subject to the standards specified in para- 13graphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a), permit a com- 14munity association to establish reasonable written 15rules concerning height, location, size, and aesthetic 16impact of, and installation requirements for, outdoor 17antennas and support structures for the purpose of 18conducting communications in the amateur radio 19services. 20SEC. 4. AFFIRMATION OF LIMITED PREEMPTION OF STATE 21AND LOCAL LAND USE REGULATION. 22The Federal Communications Commission may not 23change section 97.15(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regu- 24VerDate Sep 11 2014 20:29 Jan 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H555.IH H555srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
6 'HR 555 IHlations, which shall remain applicable to State and local 1land use regulation of amateur service communications. 2SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS. 3In this Act: 4(1) COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION.'--The term 5''community association'' means any non-profit man- 6datory membership organization composed of owners 7of real estate described in a declaration of covenants 8or created pursuant to a covenant or other applica- 9ble law with respect to which a person, by virtue of 10the person's ownership of or interest in a unit or 11parcel, is obligated to pay for a share of real estate 12taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, improve- 13ment, services, or other expenses related to common 14elements, other units, or any other real estate other 15than the unit or parcel described in the declaration. 16(2) TERMS DEFINED IN REGULATIONS.'--The 17terms ''amateur radio services'', ''amateur service'', 18and ''amateur station'' have the meanings given 19such terms in section 97.3 of title 47, Code of Fed- 20eral Regulations. 21† VerDate Sep 11 2014 20:29 Jan 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6301 E:\BILLS\H555.IH H555srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
Assault on Europe: Donald Trump and the New World Order - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:39
January 20, 2017 06:01 PMWhen trying to answer the question as to who has the say in the European Union, it's easy to get confused. The European Council, the European Commission, the member states: Even those who know the EU well don't often know who has the last word in Brussels disputes. The confusion isn't new. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously wondered: "Who do I call if I want to call Europe?"
Today, a new president is moving into the White House and one thing is already clear: Telephone calls between Washington and Brussels won't get any easier. "I spoke to the head of the European Union, very fine gentleman called me up," Donald Trump said this week in a joint interview with the German tabloid Bild and the Times of London. When asked if it was Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, Trump responded: "Yes, ah, to congratulate me on what happened with respect to the election."
Except, the fine gentleman Mr. Juncker wasn't the fine gentleman Mr. Juncker. It was Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, the powerful body representing the leaders of the EU member states. A former Polish prime minister, Tusk chatted with the future U.S. president for about 10 minutes, but Trump was apparently able to remember neither his name nor his arguments. The European Union, he said in the interview, is "basically a vehicle for Germany," adding that "I believe others will leave," as Britain plans to do.
For more than 60 years, the U.S. has promoted European unity. The country introduced the Marshall Plan, it supported the single European market and backed Europe's eastward expansion following the collapse of the Iron Curtain. But now, a man is entering the White House who is counting on the disintegration of the EU. He would rather negotiate with each country individually, believing that will be more beneficial for America.
A real estate magnate is now the most powerful man in the world and it looks as though he plans to run his administration as though the U.S. were a vast real estate conglomerate. He is after lucrative deals, and those who can't keep up in the competition for the most profitable contracts will be left behind.
Concepts like human rights and the protection of minorities are not part of his vocabulary. His only goal is America's profitability, particularly in global trade, which he sees as a brutal fight for survival and not, as had been normal for his Republican Party, as a peaceful exchange with benefits for both sides. The concept of "win-win" is not one his team adheres to.
The situation could hardly be worse for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Soon, the EU will be forced to make do without the United Kingdom, the bloc's second-largest economy; right-wing populists are on the advance in Europe; and now Trump is at the helm in the U.S., a man who said in his interview this week that the German chancellor had "made a catastrophic mistake." It would be difficult to formulate a challenge more directly than that.
Can Merkel's Europe now hold together? Can she become a worthy adversary to Trump in the approaching conflicts over trade regulations, international agreements and the liberal legal and economic order that has been so important to the United States for the last six decades?
That which had seemed inconceivable just a short time ago now appears to be a foregone conclusion: A new era is beginning, one in which the certainties that have held true for decades are suddenly no longer valued. They are suddenly vulnerable.
For the most part, that is because the 45th president of the United States of America is simply not interested in the world order that has developed since 1945. He is just as disinterested in the trans-Atlantic partnership and the long-cultivated alliances with Western allies.
An Epochal Shift
For Trump, there is no such thing as friendships and alliances. He is not focused on morals; he is not concerned with dividing the world into good and evil; he does not see the use in unselfishly providing protection to allies, as the U.S. has done for decades with it soldiers stationed in Europe.
"America first" is his slogan, one which helped him win the election. It is the same promise British Prime Minister Theresa May has made to her voters: "Britain first." And Marine Le Pen, head of the French right-wing populist party Front National, is using a similar slogan in that country's ongoing presidential election campaign: "La France d'abord." What, though, will the world look like when there are no longer any grand, binding values and goals? A world in which each country is only looking out for itself?
Most dangerous, it seems, is Donald Trump's deep ignorance of the Western community of values that has developed since World War II. History is not something that concerns him. As such, he feels no obligation to it. NATO? Obsolete. The World Trade Organization? "A disaster."
The new president feels absolutely no sentimentality when it comes to the alliances that arose out of the rubble of World War II. Like no other president before him, he is prepared to call them into question and even, apparently, to bring them to an end. Plus, Trump has no taboos. On the contrary: He loves to break them, he loves to provoke.´
The result is that Europe finds itself on the eve of an epochal shift of the kind it hasn't seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Is this the end of the West as we know it, as former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned a month ago? U.S. historian Anne Applebaum told SPIEGEL in an interview this week that she expects a historical change of course. "The world order that we've known since the end of the Cold War has been radically transformed," she says.
Russia's annexation of Crimea was the first indication that the global order that we had enjoyed for 25 years was under threat -- and the world simply stood by and watched. Apart from a couple of sanctions, U.S. President Barack Obama left the problem to the Europeans. Even then, America was no longer interested in overseas autocrats like Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin.
Europe's Loss, Russia's and China's Gain
The new president will likely continue the process that began under his predecessor: America's withdrawal from global politics. Just that the incoming president is expected to formulate that withdrawal more clearly than Obama did. Trump has pledged to carry out a relentless fight against Islamic State, but otherwise he is an avowed isolationist, intending to stay out of other global conflicts.
In the fight against terrorism, the new president would seem to be leaning toward a close alliance with Russia. A weak, perhaps disintegrating Europe wedged in between the two great powers U.S.A. and Russia, whose presidents get along better than most of their predecessors: For Europe, such a scenario would be the largest foreign and security policy challenge since World War II. For the last 70 years, Europe could depend on having America at its side. Now, this is no longer a certainty.
The power vacuum that America's withdrawal is creating is particularly welcome to two countries: China and Russia. For the leadership in Beijing, the collapse of the old world order is akin to an act of God: America, China's last rival on its path to becoming a superpower, is pulling back. Never before have the prospects been as good for the realization of the "Chinese Dream," which Xi Jinping has made the slogan of his presidency.
Xi spoke of his global vision this week in Davos, at the annual gathering of the world's economic and financial elite. The rules of international cooperation, he said, must be changed. Beijing isn't happy with Western dominance of global organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. China, with its population of 1.3 billion and significant economic strength, sees itself as an alternative. Beijing, Xi said, is prepared to take on more responsibility: "History is created by the brave."
Are we headed for a world in which China -- an authoritarian state in which the Communist Party leadership has a firm grip over the economy, controls the media and censors the internet -- dominates the new global order? Will the 21st century see the realization of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" or George Orwell's "1984," the most dystopian visions of the 20th century?
Might Makes Right
For the moment, that seems farfetched. But from Moscow's perspective, new commonalities with the U.S. are emerging. Even before his inauguration, Donald Trump presented the Russian leadership with a significant gift: He branded NATO obsolete and called into question the alliance's principle of collective defense. Things could hardly be going better for Moscow. Maintaining control over Russia's immediate vicinity is one of the country's core interests while NATO's eastward expansion is seen as a traumatic infringement of that claim. Putin has finally found an ally, in Washington of all places, in his battle against a world order that he has long attacked as being unipolar and unjust. Like Trump, Putin would like a world free of the West's constant moralizing, a world in which might makes right.
The two leaders are also bound by their skepticism of the EU. But there is one significant difference: In contrast to Trump, Moscow would like to keep the United Nations as a foundation of global order. UN headquarters in New York is one of the few places where Russia, thanks to its permanent Security Council seat and accompanying veto, can negotiate at eye level with the West and block important decisions, as it did most recently in the Syrian conflict. Everything else can more or less be negotiated with Donald Trump, from Russia's interests in Crimea to America's interests in Syria.
Still, Russia has no illusions: Trump will not determine the direction of U.S. foreign policy on his own. He requires Congressional approval. And Putin's experience with Trump's two predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have shown him that initial amicability can soon turn frosty.
As such, the world is left trying to figure out how power will be divvied up in the Trump administration. Will he leave foreign policy to the diplomatic establishment of the Republican Party? Will he be able to count on Congressional support?
A Foreign World
In an effort to find out, emissaries from the government in Berlin began trying to establish initial contacts with the Trump team not long ago. It was like a trip to a foreign world.
Peter Wittig is one of Germany's most experienced diplomats, having served in the country's Foreign Ministry for the last 35 years. He has served as Germany's ambassador in Lebanon and Cyprus and has sat down across from myriad negotiating partners. But the diplomat has seldom experienced the kind of overblown self-confidence that he has seen in recent months.
He has held several meetings with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, both before and after the election. At their first encounter in spring 2015, it was the Germans who wanted to know more about Trump's plans, with a friendly and reserved Kushner taking careful notes.
But the more often the two met, the more demanding Kushner became, say Berlin diplomatic sources who have read Wittig's meeting reports. The last meeting in New York in December culminated in Kushner's curt question: "What can you do for us?"
Government officials in Berlin speak of an "astounding mixture of arrogance and naivet(C)" when discussing the conversations they have had with counterparts in the incoming administration. Shortly before Christmas, Merkel's foreign policy adviser Christoph Heusgen traveled to the U.S. for talks with Michael Flynn, tapped by Trump as national security adviser. Around one year ago, Flynn was a paid speaker at an anniversary party for RT, the Russian propaganda broadcaster.
Heusgen's first impression of Flynn was sobering. At a conference of conservative parliamentarians in Berlin on Wednesday, Heusgen said that some members of the incoming administration "don't have an exhaustive understanding" regarding "certain problems facing the EU and their backgrounds." In other words: The new president's team doesn't have a clue about Europe.
Berlin diplomats still hope that the level-headed foreign policy espoused by cabinet appointees such as future defense secretary James Mattis and future secretary of state Rex Tillerson will hold sway. But nobody thinks that Trump will transform into a passionate defender of the Western alliance. In the campaign, the new U.S. president claimed that he was a "fan" of NATO. But at the same time, he warned Germany that European alliance members would have to increase their financial contributions. At Davos this week, Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci said that the postwar world order was no longer suitable for the challenges of the 21st century.
America's Greatest Adversaries: Japan and West Germany
That is particularly true when it comes to trade policy, which Trump has for decades seen as a conspiracy against America. For the past several weeks, a March 1990 issue of Playboy magazine has been making the rounds in Merkel's Chancellery. The cover shows a long-haired brunette covered in a black tuxedo jacket next to a slim 40-something: Donald Trump. Inside is a long interview with Trump, in which he talks about what he sees as America's most dangerous adversaries. He doesn't mention Russia or Red China, but Japan and West Germany, countries that he said had robbed the U.S. of its self-esteem. "Their products are better because they have so much subsidy," he said, while America is ensuring that those countries aren't "wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes." He concludes his point by saying: "Our 'allies' are making billions screwing us."
Playboy
The March 1990 issue of Playboy featuring Trump on its cover.
Merkel's staff is convinced that his views haven't changed. Trump's newly formed National Trade Council is to be led by economist Peter Navarro, an avowed opponent of Beijing's "stranglehold" -- which he illustrated in his documentary film "Death by China" with an animation of a Chinese knife being stabbed into a map of the United States. Robert Lighthizer, Trump's designated trade representative, has long been known in Washington circles as a passionate protectionist who misses no opportunity to insist that World Trade Organization rules are "not religious obligations."
Trump adviser Kushner is likewise consumed by the issue of imports to the U.S. and the consequences for American jobs. In a meeting with the German emissary Wittig, he said that the Trump team looked at statistics showing which countries export more to the U.S. than they import. In first place is China, followed by Japan and then Germany. Kushner's message was clear: The situation must change.
Merkel's staff has become certain that conflicts with the new U.S. administration will primarily be focused on two policy areas: foreign trade and relations with Russia. The decisive question is: Can Merkel rely on European backing?
Giuliani and top Trump White House officials hacked, passwords leaked | OpSec Monkey
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:08
The Trump Presidency's new cyber tsar, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has had his passwords leaked online along with a whole host of top officials.
Trump's proposed 'cyber tsar' and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been hacked. A Channel 4 Investigation has revealed that the passwords of Trump's cyber-security adviser and 13 prospective government officials, including cabinet members, have ''been leaked in mass hacks''.
The investigation discovered the passwords of those 14 top officials as well as those of their aides, publiclly available online.
Giuliani announced that he would become the new regime's cyber tsar last week on Fox News morning talk show, Fox & Friends. A statement from Trump's organisation gave a broad approximation as to what role a cyber tsar might have. Giuliani will apparently be ''sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend concerning private sector cyber-security problems and emerging solutions developing in the private sector''. Last year Giuliani assumed the chair of 'the cyber-security, privacy and risk management practice' at law firm Greenberg Traurig.
Rudy Giuliani was far from the only prospective government official who was caught in these hacks. According to Channel 4, a number of others were also affected who expected to take office tomorrow as Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States. Affected individuals include the prospective secretary for the interior Ryan Zinke, secretary for labour Andy Putzer, press secretary Sean Spicer, director of the Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg, director of the National Trade Council Peter Navarro, head of social media Dan Scavino, chief trade negotiator Jason Greenblatt and director of Oval Office operations Kevin Schiller, among others.
Nor was this the first time that hacking has characterised a moment in Donald Trump's ascent to the presidency. Throughout the election season, several incidents of high profile breaches on the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign lay open questions that are still being hotly debated to this day.
All 17 of the US intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the election.
Despite that legacy, it appears as though those close to the election have not learnt their lessons. Lee Munson, security researcher at Comparitech.com told SC that, apparently, ''many of Trump's staff have reportedly been using the same password across a number of different accounts''.
''While such behaviour is, alas, common among the entire internet population, senior White House personnel and cyber tsars really ought to know better.''
Munson added, ''Not only that, the fact that some of the passwords appear to have come from sites such as MySpace may suggest that dormant, no longer wanted accounts have been allowed to remain active which, itself, is also something of a security howler from people who should know better.''
Source: SC Magazine
French Outsider Takes Lead Over Ex-PM in Socialist 1st Round
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:51
Valls' rivals accused him of betraying leftist ideals by forcing through labor market reforms.
Outsider Benoit Hamon will fight former prime minister Manuel Valls for the French Socialist party presidential nomination after both made it through the first round of the primary Sunday, partial results showed.
ANALYSIS:Could the French Left Play Spoiler to Far Right Ascension?
Hamon, former education minister, scored just over 35 percent to 31 percent for Valls as ex-economy minister Arnaud Montebourg was eliminated with 18 percent, according to results from one-third of polling stations.
Whoever wins next Sunday's runoff faces long odds as polls currently show the presidential election in April and May shaping up as a three-way contest between conservative ex-premier Francois Fillon, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, the former economy minister and former bank executive at Rothschild.
Valls, who was slapped this week by a protester, appears to have paid the price for his neoliberal policies as the Socialist government's prime minister and has struggled at times in a campaign he was expected to dominate. His rivals accused him of betraying leftist ideals by forcing through labor market reforms.
Following his elimination, Montebourg immediately threw his weight behind his former cabinet colleague Hamon, both of whom represent the Socialists' left flank.
"We left the government together, we fought together. Next Sunday I'll be voting Hamon," Montebourg said.
WATCH: Where is France going?
Hamon performed strongly in three TV debates packed into a short campaign, attracting attention with his proposal to pay the poor and 18- to 25-year-olds a "universal income" rising from 600 euros to 750 euros (US$640 to US$800) a month.
Turnout for the Socialist primary was around half of that of the center-right Republicans primary in November. Between 1.7 million and 1.9 million voted, according to an estimate by the Elabe polling group, compared with four million who took part in the first round of the rightwing primary.
Some Socialist heavyweights have hinted they could support neoliberal social-democrat Macron over their party's nominee, arguing he may have a better chance of reaching the second round of the presidential election against Le Pen.
Macron himself has ruled out a pact with the Socialists, announcing Thursday that his En Marche movement would field hundreds of candidates in parliamentary elections in June.
Communist-backed firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, who like Macron is polling in double digits in his campaign as an independent, also risks splitting the left-wing vote. commenting on the results, he said the Socialist nominee chosen during the run-off vote next Sunday will likely withdraw in favor of Macron or himself, in order to avoid divisions within the left.
*Updated* '' CTH Post Inauguration Suggested Media Guidelines for White House'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:50
With a citizen-led executive administration, it is time to apply a commonly accepted set of standards for media conduct as customary within private sector:'... Request White House Correspondent's Association (WHCA) voluntarily register as corporate lobbyists under the name of their ''for profit'' parent corporation; and also conform to the same rules, guidelines and standard restrictions upon all corporate lobbyists. Registration would not be required for ''non profit'' media.
'... Drug test anyone who requests credentials for White House press credentials; and retest randomly throughout tenure. Conduct background checks, criminal checks and credit checks via a third party security vendor. Dismiss any applicant who does not pass a strict background check.
'... Keep using twitter and facebook daily, or as determined to send direct messaging to a news-consuming public. Keep using social media, and/or any alternate communications platforms to communicate directly with the American People.
'... Establish a strict dress code for credentialed media. No casual days, ever. 100% business professional, 100% of the time. The workspace is the White House, our house. No business casual, ever.
'... Discontinue the live-feed broadcast of the Daily White House briefing. Stop allowing a press briefing to be the daily news lede 'in-and-unto-itself'. Only conduct the WH press briefing when POTUS is actually in the White House.
'... Set an earlier time for the press briefing '' ex. 7:30am daily, for a set amount of time, ex. 1hr. Deliver the day's bullet-pointed news as it pertains to the White House and current events, answer questions and be done.
'... During Q&A require each questioner to stand up, speak their full name clearly and identify their media organization, prior to stating their question.
'... Draw a distinction between ''interviews'' and ''press conferences''. Pressers should be short question and answer sessions; eliminate long-winded background set-ups for questions in press conferences. Background expository prior to a question is an interview technique during an interview, not a press conference.
'... Eliminate ''exclusive interviews'', which are notorious for editing and disinformation. When granting interviews bring in two media entities to conduct an interview; one each from either side of the political continuum, they can interview together '' taking turns on the questions.
'... Ten hour work days. 7am to 5pm. Use TWO continuous, alternating, Press Secretaries, not just one. Focused intensity and urgency.
'... Have a quarterly lottery for White House press briefing room media attendees who pass the background check and application process. Equal opportunity participation. Seating = first come first seated, general seating, every day. Doors close promptly 6:55am, late = shut out.
'... Drop the traveling Presidential press pool completely. Give the press a daily schedule, and then make media use their own resources to cover the events therein as they deem needed including air travel. Equal access without preferential treatment. This also includes foreign travel. The ''credentialed press pool'' only applies to White House pressers.
'... When POTUS, V-POTUS, or cabinet officials travel, give first preference to local media, not national. Reserve first row, or prime location, within any off-site press conference for local reporters. Allow local reporters to ask questions pertaining to their community perspective on the event or engagement.
'... Drop the insufferable White House Correspondent's Association dinner fiasco. It's a ridiculous and vulgar display; a bubble event, with no inherent value for the country. It is also a grotesque exhibition of disconnected indulgence. There's too much work to be done, just go about doing it.
'... Engage the corporate media as a communications unit. Deliver the Trump message as a communications unit. Have a self-broadcasted roundtable meeting of communications officials with a rotating group of media invited to attend. Maybe every other Sunday etc.
'... Have POTUS give monthly EVENING press conferences; with part of the presser containing an ongoing and established outline to share progress on agenda. Perhaps half for ongoing efforts, half for current events.
'... Re-establish a media work ethic by setting high standards, high expectations and a zero tolerance for laziness. Make the media rise to the level of professionalism required by never letting circumstances dictate your standards.
'... Engage in a standard practice of removing/suspending reporters for gross errors in ideological pool reporting (ex. MLK Bust removal). One week suspension for any grossly deficient infraction which also includes their employer news agency. If AP reporter, suspend all AP credentialed reporters for a week (or period you determine).
'... Set an example with the recent display of CNN's Jim Acosta. He can either write a public apology outlining his rude recent behavior, or he can lose/serve a suspension of his White House credentials.
'... Most importantly, make shame a great motivator again.
White Supremacist Set Tone for Trump's Inaugural Speech | News | teleSUR English
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:46
The great German corporations, too, were said to be expressions of ''the people,'' Cole argued in his critique of the controversial speech.
Not only did U.S. President Donald Trump lie about writing his inauguration speech but he also handed over the responsibility of setting the tone for his reign to his chief advisor and white supremacist Steve Bannon, as it has been revealed that he and Stephen Miller, Trump's top policy advisor, wrote the president's first speech.
RELATED:Trump Replaces White House Civil Rights Site With Cop Support
''Much of the speech was written by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, two of Mr. Trump's top advisers,'' the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing a White House official.
One of the most troubling aspects of the speech was when Trump said that ''America First'' is the ''new vision (that) will govern the land.''
The phrase ''America First'' was a slogan used by the 1930s America First Committee which was has been labeled an isolationist, anti-Semitic group that opposed called for negotiating with Hitler instead of joining Europe's war against the fascist regime.
''Donald Trump's inaugural speech, like the candidate himself, was a chain of falsehoods, saber-rattling and scary Neofascist uber-nationalism,'' Juan Cole wrote for his website Informed Comment Sunday.
Slamming the phrase as ''ugly,'' Cole touched on another part of the speech where Trump, who has packed his administration with billionaires, spoke of transferring the power from Washington to ''the people.''
Cole noted parallels between Trump's speech and speeches from right-wing Germans in the 1930s where the German phrase ''Das Volk'' or ''the people'' was used as a reference for unity between white German peasants and the landlords in an attempt to alienate the intellectuals and those who sought to bring about progress.
''It comprised the German people as an organic whole, uniting great landlord and lowly peasant. The great German corporations, too, were said to be expressions of ''the people,'' Cole argued in his critique of the controversial speech.
OPINION:Trump's Plan to 'Make America Great Again' Is Ethnic Cleansing
''The phrase comes into focus if you understand ''the people'' as ''white Protestants and some lately admitted ethnic Catholics'' who are united across social class (though of course led by their billionaire betters), and who stand in contrast to the cosmopolitans, the mixed-race people, infiltrating minorities, the socialists and others bent on diluting ''the people'' and subverting its prosperity and power by kowtowing to foreigners.''
Cole and many others argued that speech sounded more like a campaign speech than one appropriate for an elected president.
Instead of attempting to unite the people he now rules, whether supporters or opponents, his speech was full of hostility towards those who did not agree with him and his policies. ''This American carnage,'' President Trump stressed, ''stops right here and stops right now.''
The 100 Most Challenging Places to Live with Allergies
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:30
If you're one of the millions of Americans sneezing your way through fall, the 2016 Fall Allergy CapitalsTM is your guide to the 100 cities where your allergy symptoms and quality of life may be most challenging.
The report identifies the 100 most challenging places to live with fall allergies in the U.S. AAFA has published this annual guide since 2003, to raise awareness about the impact of fall allergies, and to help improve the quality of life for the people who experience them. The report was developed to help people recognize, prevent, and manage allergy symptoms, and to help communities meet the needs of their residents with allergic diseases.
Fall Allergies by the NumbersNasal allergies affect more than 50 million Americans.1Doctor visits, allergy medicine and other factors contribute to more than $18 billion in health costs.2Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.3According to the CDC, 8.4% of U.S. children suffer from hay fever, and 10% have respiratory allergies.4Our Fall Allergy CapitalsTM report looks at:
Pollen scores (grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)Number of allergy medicines each patient usesNumber of allergy doctors per patientThe five most challenging cities to live in with fall allergies this year are:
Jackson, MississippiMemphis, TennesseeMcAllen, TexasLouisville, KentuckySyracuse, New York2016 Regional Rankings of most challenging cities*:
Midwest '' Dayton, Ohio
Northeast '' Syracuse, New York
South '' Jackson, Mississippi
West '' Fresno, California
This year's report named Jackson, Mississippi, as the top Fall Allergy Capital. It has:
Higher than average pollenHigher than average medicine useWhere Can I Get More Information About the Fall 2016 Rankings?2016 Fall Allergy Capitals' '' 100 Metro Areas and Regional Rankings
Press Release
Talk to your doctor about your allergies. Discuss changes in your allergy plan.
AcknowledgementsAAFA's 2016 Fall Allergy CapitalsTM Report was supported in part by pollen.com (QuintilesIMS).
*The following states comprise the four regions:
Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, WisconsinNortheast: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode IslandSouth: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C.West: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington1http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/EntertainmentEd/Tips/Allergies.html2 Id.3 Id.4 National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey, 2015. Table C-2a. Age-adjusted percentages (with standard errors) of hay fever, respiratory allergies, food allergies, and skin allergies in the past 12 months for children under age 18 years, by selected characteristics: United States, 2015. https://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/NHIS/SHS/2015_SHS_Table_C-2.pdf
Hemp Carbon Makes Supercapacitors Superfast
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:12
Most people don't understand the truly diverse value of hemp (Cannabis sativa). Cultures have depended on this hardy plant for centuries for clothing, fabric, and paper. Today, it is also used for food, fuel, medicine, building materials, and plastics. Now the energy storage industry is starting to take notice, thanks to new Canadian research that shows supercapacitors with electrodes made from hemp-based carbon nanosheets outperform standard supercapacitors by nearly 200%.
Graphene, a carbon nanomaterial, is considered to be one of the best materials for supercapicitor electrodes. Graphene is, however, expensive to manufacture, costing as much as $2,000 per gram. Looking for a less-costly solution, researchers at the University of Alberta/National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) NRC, and Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures, led by chemical and materials engineering Professor David Mitlin, developed a process for converting fibrous hemp waste into a unique graphene-like nanomaterial that outperforms graphene. What's more, it can be manufactured for less than $500 per ton.
''Our work actually opens up a very cheap and mass-producible manufacturing method for graphene-quality material'--something that has never been achieved before,'' says Mitlin.
Hemp bast fiber is a low-cost graphene-like nanomaterial. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Why Hemp?Activated carbons, templated carbons, carbon nanofibers, carbon nanotubes, and graphene have all been intensively studied as materials for supercapacitor electrodes. High manufacturing costs is one issue'--another is that the power characteristics of many of these carbons are limited. This is a result of high microporosity, which increases ion transport limitations.
''It is becoming well understood that the key to achieving high power in porous electrodes is to reduce the ion transport limitations'' says Mitlin. ''Nanomaterials based on graphene and their hybrids have emerged as a new class of promising high-rate electrode candidates'--they are, however, too expensive to manufacture compared to activated carbons derived from pyrolysis of agricultural wastes, or from the coking operations.''
Biomass, which mainly contains cellulose and lignin by-products, is widely utilized as a feedstock for producing activated carbons. Mitlin decided to test hemp bast fiber's unique cellular structure to see if it could produce graphene-like carbon nanosheets.
Hemp fiber waste was pressure-cooked (hydrothermal synthesis) at 180 °C for 24 hours. The resulting carbonized material was treated with potassium hydroxide and then heated to temperatures as high as 800 °C, resulting in the formation of uniquely structured nanosheets. Testing of this material revealed that it discharged 49 kW of power per kg of material'--nearly triple what standard commercial electrodes supply, 17 kW/kg.
Promising ResultsMitlin and his team successfully synthesized two-dimensional, yet interconnected, carbon nanosheets with superior electrochemical storage properties comparable to those of state-of-the-art graphene-based electrodes. ''We were able to achieve this by employing a biomass precursor with a unique structure'--hemp bast fiber,'' says Mitlin. ''The resultant graphene-like nanosheets possess fundamentally different properties'--such as pore size distribution, physical interconnectedness, and electrical conductivity'--as compared to conventional biomass-derived activated carbons.''
The nanosheets ranged in thickness from 10 to 30 nm with high specific surface area (> 2200 m2 g-1) significant mesoporosity (up to 58 percent), and good electrical conductivity (211-226 S m-1). Mitlin indicates the nanosheets are compatible for various ionic liquid-based supercapacitor applications from about 0-100° C.
''At 0° C and a current density of 10 A g-1, the electrode maintains a remarkable capacitance of 106 F g-1,'' notes Mitlin. ''At 20, 60, and 100° C and an extreme current density of 100 A g-1, there is excellent capacitance retention (72%-92%). These characteristics favorably place the material among the best power-energy characteristics ever reported for an electrochemical capacitor. At a very high power density of 20 kW kg-1 and 20, 60, and 100° C, the energy densities are 19, 34, and 40 Wh kg-1, respectively.''
Moreover, adds Mitlin, the assembled supercapacitor device yielded a maximum energy density of 12 Wh kg-1'--significantly higher than those for commercially available supercapacitors. By taking advantage of the complex multilayered structure of a hemp bast fiber precursor, these high-performing carbons were created by simple hydrothermal carbonization combined with activation.
''We were delighted at how well this material performed as supercapacitor electrodes,'' says Mitlin. ''This novel precursor-synthesis route presents a great potential for facile large-scale production of high-performance carbons for a variety of diverse applications including energy storage, portable electronics, uninterruptable power sources, medical devices, load leveling, and hybrid electric vehicles.''
Mark Crawford is an independent writer.
These characteristics favorably place the new material among the best power-energy characteristics ever reported for an electrochemical capacitor.
Prof. David Mitlin, University of Alberta
getmedia/3dbc2461-3ef3-4c33-aa44-9a68f6b538be/Hemp-Carbon-Makes-Supercapacitors-Superfast_thumb.jpg.aspx?width=60&height=60&ext=.jpg
This is Psychological Warfare '' Medium
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 07:54
''But reporters were clapping and laughing, they loved it.'''Š'--'Ša commenter defending Trump's first press conference.
''But members of the CIA were clearly laughing at his jokes and clapping, so what he was saying couldn't have been inappropriate.'''Š'--'ŠCNN pundit defending Trump's CIA speech where he talked about his war with the media, in front of a memorial to men and women who lost their lives in actual wars.
The clapping and laughing you hear in both instances are Trump's own people. They are sycophants who he brings to cheer him on and make it seem like what he's saying is being well-received. And it's working.
The laugh track was invented to cue the audience to the jokes and encourage laughter in response. But it has another effect: if you hear people laughing and you're not, you start to question if maybe there's something wrong with you for not getting it.
It happened to me during that press conference and during that CIA speech. What he was saying wasn't as surprising as the fact that the response wasn't dead silence or audible fucking gasps.
How does the President say, ''We should have taken the oil in Iraq'' and ''Maybe we'll get another chance'' to a crowd roaring with laugher?
It made me wonder'Š'--'Šwait, am I the crazy one?
I'm not. Like everything with Trump it's made up, it's put on, it's a fucking illusion.
From Newsweek:
But Trump's seemingly warm reception might have been manufactured, according to The Washington Post's lead fact-checker, Glenn Kessler. ''The pool reports indicate the cheering and clapping was not from the CIA staffers but people who accompanied Trump,'' Kessler tweeted.
Brennan also deplored the rally-style event, according to his former deputy chief of staff Nick Shapiro. Brennan ''is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes,'' Shapiro said in a statement provided to Newsweek. ''Trump should be ashamed of himself.''
This is how he's going to chip away at our understanding of what's right and what's wrong, what's real and what's not. This is even stronger, more powerful gas lighting'Š'--'Šmaking us question our own instincts and even start doing things because we want to fit in with ''everyone else'' who from what we know, seem to think this is all fine.
Trump wants a cheering section at all his press conferences and if you don't realize that those are not the reporters clapping, it will seriously fuck with you.
The media needs to take a cue from one of Trump's own complaints during the campaign: show us the crowd. Let us see who is clapping, and who is not. Otherwise we're all going to start feeling like we're going crazy, even more so than we already are.
Secret Service Reportedly Will Investigate Madonna After Saying She Wants To 'BLOW UP The White House' In Expletive-Filled Rant - Fox Nation
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 04:18
Published January 22, 2017
By Anna Hopkins and Anneta Konstantinides, Daily Mail
The Secret Service has reportedly said it will open an investigation into Madonna after the singer told the Women's March on Washington that she had thought about 'blowing up the White House'.
Donning a black p***yhat, the music icon caused controversy by dropping the F-bomb four times, sparking a slew of apologies from broadcasters airing the protest live.
H.R.193 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:20
Tracker:
This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
IntroducedArray ( [actionDate] => 2017-01-03 [displayText] => Introduced in House [externalActionCode] => 1000 [description] => Introduced )
Passed House
Passed Senate
To President
Became Law
Shown Here:Introduced in House (01/03/2017)
American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017
This bill repeals the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 and other specified related laws.
The bill requires: (1) the President to terminate U.S. membership in the United Nations (U.N.), including any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body; and (2) closure of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
The bill prohibits: (1) the authorization of funds for the U.S. assessed or voluntary contribution to the U.N., (2) the authorization of funds for any U.S. contribution to any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, (3) the expenditure of funds to support the participation of U.S. Armed Forces as part of any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, (4) U.S. Armed Forces from serving under U.N. command, and (5) diplomatic immunity for U.N. officers or employees.
Senior Secret Service agent suggests she wouldn't take 'a bullet' for Trump | Washington Examiner
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 20:23
A senior U.S. Secret Service agent posted Facebook condemnations of President Trump during the past seven months, including one in which she said she wouldn't want to "take a bullet" for him.
She explained herself saying she viewed his presidential candidacy as a "disaster" for the country, and especially for women and minorities.
Kerry O'Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Denver district, oversees coordination with Washington-based advance teams for all presidential candidate and presidential trips to the area, including all upcoming or future trips by the president, vice president or Trump administration officials.
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Despite her senior security role, she has made her disdain for Trump and his incoming administration clear to her Facebook followers, who included current and former Secret Service agents and other people who were employees at the time of the posts. O'Grady's posts triggered at least one complaint to the office that oversees investigations into Secret Service misbehavior, two knowledgeable sources told the Washington Examiner.
In one Facebook post O'Grady wrote at 11:07 p.m. on a Sunday in October, she endorsed Hillary Clinton and said she would endure "jail time" rather than "taking a bullet" for what she regarded as a "disaster" for America.
The post didn't mention Trump by name but clearly referred to him.
In the same post, she mentioned the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch staff, except the president, vice president and some other senior executive officials, from engaging in certain political activities.
"As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median," she wrote. "To do otherwise can be a criminal offense for those in my position. Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides.
Also from the Washington Examiner
Sen. Ron Wyden said he was disappointed that HHS nominee wouldn't commit to ensuring everyone has insurance.
'01/24/17 3:09 PM
"But this world has changed and I have changed. And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here. Hatch Act be damned. I am with Her."
Secret Service employees are among those federal employees subject to enhanced Hatch Act restrictions, including these two rules:
May not post a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.May not use any email account or social media to distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.Asked for comment, the U.S. Secret Service responded: "The USSS is aware of the postings and we are looking into the matter."
Also from the Washington Examiner
One appeals court rules police need to establish evidence of danger to frisk someone, another says they don't.
'01/24/17 3:02 PM
In a lengthy interview with the Examiner Monday, O'Grady said she took down the post after two to three days of greater reflection and wasn't trying to imply she wouldn't take a bullet for Trump or any officials in the Trump administration.
"It was an internal struggle for me but as soon as I put it up, I thought it was not the sentiment that I needed to share because I care very deeply about the mission," she said.
O'Grady repeatedly stressed that she would in no way shirk her duties to protect the president because of her opposition to Trump's candidacy and support for Clinton.
"No, not at all. I firmly believe in this job. I'm proud to do it and we serve the office of the president," she said.
At the time of the posting, she said she was reacting to news about Trump sexually assaulting women. O'Grady's Facebook post came in the wake of the release of a video in which Trump and "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush engaged in a lewd conversation about women in which Trump bragged about being able to grab women by their genitals.
O'Grady said she had experienced sexual assault in college and "there was a very emotional reaction to what was said."
"But I recognize that the agency is the most important thing to me. My government is the most important thing to me," she said. "I serve at the pleasure of the president, but I still have the First Amendment right to say things."
O'Grady's negative stance regarding Trump did not end when he became president.
O'Grady posted the logo for the Women's March on Denver as her Facebook cover backdrop on Inauguration Day, Friday, Jan. 21 at 12:25 p.m.
When one of her Facebook followers commented that "none of these women represent me #justsayin," O'Grady countered that "all of these women represent me! Proud to say it! #nasty." That back and forth, captured in a screengrab of the post, no longer appears on O'Grady's Facebook page.
Women anti-Trump activists have taken on the label of "nasty woman" to demonstrate their opposition to him. The phrase is a reference to Trump's remark calling Clinton "such a nasty woman" in the final moments of the presidential debate in late October.
At 11:23 p.m. on Inauguration Day, she updated her profile picture to an artist's rendering of Princess Leia with the words, "A woman's place is in the resistance." "The resistance," with its allusion to the rebels in the "Star Wars" movies, has become a moniker for those opposing Trump's presidency.
Those posts remained on O'Grady's Facebook page as of Monday afternoon. She took the posts down after her interview with the Examiner and replaced them with a backdrop of a snowy scene and a smiling photo of herself sporting ski gear.
The Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General, which investigates agency complaints of misbehavior, received a complaint about O'Grady's Facebook posts on Oct. 11, a source said.
It's unclear whether the Secret Service explicitly bans agents and other employees from engaging in political speech on social media or has written rules prohibiting it.
But in operational security training, instructors have long warned agents or would-be agents against the use of social media because it can make them vulnerable to threats by exposing their personal information and their movements, according to two knowledgeable sources.
In another pre-election post that no longer appears on her Facebook page, O'Grady shared a Huffington Post story with the headline: "Scott Baio Defends Trump's Sexism with More Sexism." She accompanied her Facebook post of the story with the words: "One word: douche. How do you like them apples?!"
In a post in late November, O'Grady shared Facebook remarks from the liberal news outlet Vox, which carried a photo of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and a story with the headline, "Donald Trump nominates Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general." The Vox Facebook post commented, "Just a few years ago, this would have been unimaginable."
O'Grady added her own comment on the post: "We are moving our civil rights into a period of bigotry, misogyny and racism that this country has not tolerated for decades. Dark ages. I am horrified and dismayed beyond words."
O'Grady appears to have removed the pre-election posts after fellow and former Secret Service agents complained to her supervisors and the Office of the Inspector General, according to two sources familiar with the timing of the posts' removal.
At publishing time, O'Grady released the following statement:
"I serve this country with pride and I proudly diligently and fiercely protect and support the institutions and pillars of our republic established by the very same document that allows my free expression. I do so with every fiber of my being for the very reason that those institutions are in place to guarantee my right and the rights of all our citizens to voice and express our opinions and beliefs even when and especially when those values may be contrary to those of the party in power. My devotion to mission and country is only strengthened by the fact that the founders recognize the value of dissent and the freedom to assemble and voice those opposing convictions.
"They enshrine those rights for future generations so we avoid the path of authoritarian regimes that shackle their people with fear."
In response to whether her expression of her opposition to Trump would affect her ability to do her job, she said:
"I hope you understand that's an emphatic no and I need to make sure that's resoundingly clear and just reinforces that this job needs to done well."
Top Story
The billionaire political activists won in most of the D.A. races he spent money on, but not here.
By Todd Shepherd
'01/24/17 12:01 AM
CLIPS AND DOCS
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Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:05
VIDEO - EPIC: Tulsi Gabbard Calls Adam Kinzinger, John McCain and Evan McMullin Terrorist Enablers'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 06:58
This is beyond epic. Representative Tulsi Gabbard visited Syria and delivers big and bold truth to CNN upon her return interview.
Gabbard deconstructs the false narrative sold by the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama administration, John McCain, Adam Kinzinger and Evan McMullin -all of whom supported the various terrorist factions within Syria- and sets the record straight:
The ''Rebels'' in Syria are extremist terrorists.
CNN host Jake Tapper just didn't know what to do with himself as Gabbard deconstructed his ideological, and brutally wrong, talking points. Tapper left staring at the camera with that doofy expression, puzzled and wrinkled brow: ''huh''? Watch:
To further support what Tulsi Gabbard is explaining, previously we shared:
Were it not for an fortuitous, albeit innocuous, picture spotted today '' a connection would never have been possible. As such please consider this outline an important addendum to The Benghazi Brief'.... and bear with me as we attempt to outline something quite remarkable as it relates to the 2016 campaign against Donald Trump.
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Senator John McCain, candidate Evan McMullin
What you are about to read is specifically how the Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS, connect to those outlined above '' and how their individual behaviors within the 2016 election begin to make sense. Perhaps, like us, you will have an ah-ha moment.
The ''Never Trump'' coalition has always consisted of a few noisy and indecent politicians within Washington DC. Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Adam Kinzinger the most noteworthy and vitriolic.
Whenever CNN, or for that matter any media, want a republican voice to argue against Donald Trump, in the ''current days' outrage du jour'', they call upon Kinzinger first and foremost. He seemingly loves the spotlight as much as he enjoys promoting himself on social media. In essence, he's a proud #NeverTrumper.
We'll come back to Kinzinger and McMullin in a moment. But first we must place the second set of puzzle pieces on the table.
When we did all the exhaustive research into the Benghazi Brief three years ago, one of the pictures that continued to draw our interest was this one:
The picture above was taken during a time when Senator John McCain visited Syria, and the Western media were proclaiming there were ''moderates'' in the opposition to Bashir Assad. Senator McCain proclaimed this 2012 visit to be meeting with the ''Free Syrian Army''. [Coincidentally, this was on the same trip where he met Ambassador Chris Stevens at the Benghazi courthouse in Libya for the last time].
However, at the same time McCain was trying to convince the world of moderate Syrian resistance, multiple voices within non-traditional journalism, and a large number of people doing independent research, reached the conclusion that al-qaeda and al-Nusra extremists had completely infiltrated the Syrian resistance groups, and a new militant Islamic network was forming.
''2012 NO ISLAM WITHOUT JIHAD'' '' members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba'a, or ''strangers'', after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden's time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.They try to hide their presence. ''Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,'' said Abu Khuder. ''They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?'' But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs.
That network ultimately evidenced and defined itself as the Islamic State, or ISIS.In 2013 and 2014, even though ISIS initially did not have a name, as the hardline extremists in Syria became more openly visible, eventually the western media accepted Raqqa and Aleppo had become the de-facto center of Syrian ISIS operations. In August of 2014 President Obama finally admitted the problem and stated his administration was caught off guard and did not have a strategy to combat them.
Back To The Photograph '' The importance of the McCain photograph became increasingly interesting because ISIS as an extremist force became increasingly visible. As a direct consequence we were able to identify the ideology of the people in the picture:
There has been some skepticism as to #2 being al-Baghdadi himself, and Senator John McCain has strongly refuted this claim. However, there is more evidence to prove it is Baghdadi than to refute it's not Baghdadi. Person #2 looks just like him:
In addition, one of the important bits of evidence to prove #2 is indeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is actually found in #1 Abu Mosa (ISIS Press Officer).
There is absolutely no doubt that #1 is the (now dead) Islamic State Press Officer Abu Mosa.
Abu Mosa was killed in August 2014. In 2012, during organization, Baghdadi would have a man with this level of importance to the Islamic State around him at the time this picture was taken.
However, lets look at #5 '' ''Mouaz Moustafa'', because he is the current person that should be of interest to everyone in the 2016 presidential discussion. Moustafa is the connective tissue per se'. In the photograph, he's also Senator McCain's intermediary:
Fast forward two intense years later and look where #5, Mouaz Moustafa shows up in 2014. And more specifically the two faces that show up with him:
Well lookie there. During a trip to Turkey in 2014 to discuss arming Syrian rebel groups, under the auspices of fighting ISIS, you see Representative Adam Kinzinger appear. Oh yeah, and who's that other fellow circled in the meeting? '....why that's our anti-Trump candidate Evan McMullin.
Huh, fancy that.
Spotting Evan McMullin conspicuously standing there in the picture made us want to go back to the CNN file footage from the time and see if he was actually visible in the report they filed from Turkey. Yup, he's there alright.
Watch and spot him in the background during quite a bit of the footage:
Long before anyone heard about Evan McMullin running for President, there he is paling around with #NeverTrump Adam Kinzinger in Turkey chatting with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates (guise SETF) who are essentially the political arm of ISIS under a differing name.
The declared purpose of the meeting was to discuss who and how to arm the entities within Syria. However, just like in 2012/2013 these same Brotherhood voices in 2014 are simply trying to present themselves as one thing, only to gain the goal of another. That's ultimately the story behind the arms deals within The Benghazi Brief. That's the lesson that should have been learned if the truth contained within the brief were ever to have larger public interest.
Additionally, all that said '' it's connections like these that make other things, like the opposition to Donald Trump, make much more sense.
Yup, ''things that help make other things make much more sense'''....
VIDEO - President Donald Trump says he believes waterboarding works - BBC News
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 06:38
Media captionDonald Trump tells ABC News that "torture works"US President Donald Trump has said he believes waterboarding works, saying "we have to fight fire with fire".
Mr Trump told ABC News he would consult Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA director Mike Pompeo about what could be done legally to combat radicalism.
The president said while radical groups beheaded people in the Middle East "we're not playing on an even field".
However, ex-CIA director Leon Panetta said it would be a "serious mistake to take a backward step" on torture.
Mr Trump said he wanted to "keep our country safe".
"When they're shooting, when they're chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they're chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?" he said.
"I have spoken with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question 'Does it work? Does torture work?' and the answer was 'Yes, absolutely'.
He continued: "They chop them off and they put them on camera and send them all over the world. So we have that and we're not allowed to do anything?
"I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group and if they don't want to do it that's fine. If they do want to do then I will work toward that end.
"I want to do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally but do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works."
Media captionEx-CIA director Leon Panetta condemned Trump on tortureMr Trump indicated in a TV debate during the Republican presidential race that he might order troops to carry out waterboarding "and tougher" on terrorism suspects.
But he later softened his stance, saying he would not order the military to break international law.
Waterboarding is the practice of pouring water over someone's face to mimic drowning as an interrogation tactic.
It is widely considered as a form of torture and has been banned by the US.
Mr Panetta told the 100 Days programme on BBC World News: "The reality is we really don't need to use enhanced interrogation in order to get the information that is required.
"General Mattis believes that, others in the intelligence business believe that, and the FBI believes that, so I think it would be a mistake to go back to that.
"I think it could be damaging in terms of our image to the rest of the world."
VIDEO - Brian Greene: A Physicist Explains 'The Hidden Reality' Of Parallel Universes : NPR
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 05:12
The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the CosmosBy Brian GreeneHardcover, 384 pagesKnopfList price: $29.95
EXCERPT
Chapter 1
The Bounds of Reality
On Parallel Worlds
If, when I was growing up, my room had been adorned with only a single mirror, my childhood daydreams might have been very different. But it had two. And each morning when I opened the closet to get my clothes, the one built into its door aligned with the one on the wall, creating a seemingly endless series of reflections of anything situated between them. It was mesmerizing. I delighted in seeing image after image populating the parallel glass planes, extending back as far as the eye could discern. All the reflections seemed to move in unison '-- but that, I knew, was a mere limitation of human perception; at a young age I had learned of light's finite speed. So in my mind's eye, I would watch the light's round-trip journeys. The bob of my head, the sweep of my arm silently echoed between the mirrors, each reflected image nudging the next. Sometimes I would imagine an irreverent me way down the line who refused to fall into place, disrupting the steady progression and creating a new reality that informed the ones that followed. During lulls at school, I would sometimes think about the light I had shed that morning, still endlessly bouncing between the mirrors, and I'd join one of my reflected selves, entering an imaginary parallel world constructed of light and driven by fantasy. It was a safe way to break the rules.
To be sure, reflected images don't have minds of their own. But these youthful flights of fancy, with their imagined parallel realities, resonate with an increasingly prominent theme in modern science '-- the possibility of worlds lying beyond the one we know. This book is an exploration of such possibilities, a considered journey through the science of parallel universes.
Universe and Universes
There was a time when "universe" meant "all there is." Everything. The whole shebang. The notion of more than one universe, more than one everything, would seemingly be a contradiction in terms. Yet a range of theoretical developments has gradually qualified the interpretation of "universe." To a physicist, the word's meaning now largely depends on context. Sometimes "universe" still connotes absolutely everything. Sometimes it refers only to those parts of everything that someone such as you or I could, in principle, have access to. Sometimes it's applied to separate realms, ones that are partly or fully, temporarily or permanently, inaccessible to us; in this sense, the word relegates ours to membership in a large, perhaps infinitely large, collection.
With its hegemony diminished, "universe" has given way to other terms introduced to capture the wider canvas on which the totality of reality may be painted. Parallel worlds or parallel universes or multiple universes or alternate universes or the metaverse, megaverse, or multiverse '-- they're all synonymous and they're all among the words used to embrace not just our universe but a spectrum of others that may be out there.
You'll notice that the terms are somewhat vague. What exactly constitutes a world or a universe? What criteria distinguish realms that are distinct parts of a single universe from those classified as universes of their own? Perhaps someday our understanding of multiple universes will mature sufficiently for us to have precise answers to these questions. For now, we'll use the approach famously applied by Justice Potter Stewart in attempting to define pornography. While the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled mightily to delineate a standard, Stewart declared simply and forthrightly, "I know it when I see it."
In the end, labeling one realm or another a parallel universe is merely a question of language. What matters, what's at the heart of the subject, is whether there exist realms that challenge convention by suggesting that what we've long thought to be the universe is only one component of a far grander, perhaps far stranger, and mostly hidden reality.
During the last half century, science has provided ample ways in which this possibility might be realized.
Varieties of Parallel Universes
A striking fact (it's in part what propelled me to write this book) is that many of the major developments in fundamental theoretical physics '-- relativistic physics, quantum physics, cosmological physics, unified physics, computational physics '-- have led us to consider one or another variety of parallel universe. Indeed, the chapters that follow trace a narrative arc through nine variations on the multiverse theme. Each envisions our universe as part of an unexpectedly larger whole, but the complexion of that whole and the nature of the member universes differ sharply among them. In some, the parallel universes are separated from us by enormous stretches of space or time; in others, they're hovering millimeters away; in others still, the very notion of their location proves parochial, devoid of meaning. A similar range of possibility is manifest in the laws governing the parallel universes. In some, the laws are the same as in ours; in others, they appear different but have shared a heritage; in others still, the laws are of a form and structure unlike anything we've ever encountered. It's at once humbling and stirring to imagine just how expansive reality may be.
Some of the earliest scientific forays into parallel worlds were initiated in the 1950s by researchers puzzling over aspects of quantum mechanics, a theory developed to explain phenomena taking place in the microscopic realm of atoms and subatomic particles. Quantum mechanics broke the mold of the previous framework, classical mechanics, by establishing that the predictions of science are necessarily probabilistic. We can predict the odds of attaining one outcome, we can predict the odds of another, but we generally can't predict which will actually happen. This well-known departure from hundreds of years of scientific thought is surprising enough. But there's a more confounding aspect of quantum theory that receives less attention. After decades of closely studying quantum mechanics, and after having accumulated a wealth of data confirming its probabilistic predictions, no one has been able to explain why only one of the many possible outcomes in any given situation actually happens. When we do experiments, when we examine the world, we all agree that we encounter a single definite reality. Yet, more than a century after the quantum revolution began, there is no consensus among the world's physicists as to how this basic fact is compatible with the theory's mathematical expression.
Excerpted from The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene Copyright 2011 by Brian Greene. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Many-worlds interpretation - Wikipedia
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 05:05
The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual "world" (or "universe"). In layman's terms, the hypothesis states there is a very large'--perhaps infinite[2]'--number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes. The theory is also referred to as MWI, the relative state formulation, the Everett interpretation, the theory of the universal wavefunction, many-universes interpretation, or just many-worlds.
The original relative state formulation is due to Hugh Everett in 1957.[3][4] Later, this formulation was popularized and renamed many-worlds by Bryce Seligman DeWitt in the 1960s and 1970s.[1][5][6][7] The decoherence approaches to interpreting quantum theory have been further explored and developed,[8][9][10] becoming quite popular. MWI is one of many multiverse hypotheses in physics and philosophy. It is currently considered a mainstream interpretation along with the other decoherence interpretations, collapse theories (including the historical Copenhagen interpretation),[11] and hidden variable theories such as the Bohmian mechanics.
Before many-worlds, reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history. Many-worlds, however, views reality as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome is realised.[12] Many-worlds reconciles the observation of non-deterministic events, such as random radioactive decay, with the fully deterministic equations of quantum physics.
In many-worlds, the subjective appearance of wavefunction collapse is explained by the mechanism of quantum decoherence, and this is supposed to resolve all of the correlation paradoxes of quantum theory, such as the EPR paradox[13][14] and Schr¶dinger's cat,[1] since every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own "history" or "world".
In Dublin in 1952 Erwin Schr¶dinger gave a lecture in which at one point he jocularly warned his audience that what he was about to say might "seem lunatic". He went on to assert that when his Nobel equations seem to be describing several different histories, they are "not alternatives but all really happen simultaneously". This is the earliest known reference to the many-worlds.[15][16]
Outline[edit]Although several versions of many-worlds have been proposed since Hugh Everett's original work,[4] they all contain one key idea: the equations of physics that model the time evolution of systems without embedded observers are sufficient for modelling systems which do contain observers; in particular there is no observation-triggered wave function collapse which the Copenhagen interpretation proposes. Provided the theory is linear with respect to the wavefunction, the exact form of the quantum dynamics modelled, be it the non-relativistic Schr¶dinger equation, relativistic quantum field theory or some form of quantum gravity or string theory, does not alter the validity of MWI since MWI is a metatheory applicable to all linear quantum theories, and there is no experimental evidence for any non-linearity of the wavefunction in physics.[17][18] MWI's main conclusion is that the universe (or multiverse in this context) is composed of a quantum superposition of very many, possibly even non-denumerablyinfinitely[2] many, increasingly divergent, non-communicating parallel universes or quantum worlds.[7]
The idea of MWI originated in Everett's PrincetonPh.D. thesis "The Theory of the Universal Wavefunction",[7] developed under his thesis advisor John Archibald Wheeler, a shorter summary of which was published in 1957 entitled "Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics" (Wheeler contributed the title "relative state";[19] Everett originally called his approach the "Correlation Interpretation", where "correlation" refers to quantum entanglement). The phrase "many-worlds" is due to Bryce DeWitt,[7] who was responsible for the wider popularisation of Everett's theory, which had been largely ignored for the first decade after publication. DeWitt's phrase "many-worlds" has become so much more popular than Everett's "Universal Wavefunction" or Everett''Wheeler's "Relative State Formulation" that many forget that this is only a difference of terminology; the content of both of Everett's papers and DeWitt's popular article is the same.
The many-worlds interpretation shares many similarities with later, other "post-Everett" interpretations of quantum mechanics which also use decoherence to explain the process of measurement or wavefunction collapse. MWI treats the other histories or worlds as real since it regards the universal wavefunction as the "basic physical entity"[20] or "the fundamental entity, obeying at all times a deterministic wave equation".[21] The other decoherent interpretations, such as consistent histories, the Existential Interpretation etc., either regard the extra quantum worlds as metaphorical in some sense, or are agnostic about their reality; it is sometimes hard to distinguish between the different varieties. MWI is distinguished by two qualities: it assumes realism,[20][21] which it assigns to the wavefunction, and it has the minimal formal structure possible, rejecting any hidden variables, quantum potential, any form of a collapse postulate (i.e., Copenhagenism) or mental postulates (such as the many-minds interpretation makes).
Decoherent interpretations of many-worlds using einselection to explain how a small number of classical pointer states can emerge from the enormous Hilbert space of superpositions have been proposed by Wojciech H. Zurek. "Under scrutiny of the environment, only pointer states remain unchanged. Other states decohere into mixtures of stable pointer states that can persist, and, in this sense, exist: They are einselected."[22] These ideas complement MWI and bring the interpretation in line with our perception of reality.
Many-worlds is often referred to as a theory, rather than just an interpretation, by those who propose that many-worlds can make testable predictions (such as David Deutsch) or is falsifiable (such as Everett) or by those who propose that all the other, non-MW interpretations, are inconsistent, illogical or unscientific in their handling of measurements; Hugh Everett argued that his formulation was a metatheory, since it made statements about other interpretations of quantum theory; that it was the "only completely coherent approach to explaining both the contents of quantum mechanics and the appearance of the world."[23] Deutsch is dismissive that many-worlds is an "interpretation", saying that calling it an interpretation "is like talking about dinosaurs as an 'interpretation' of fossil records."[24]
Interpreting wavefunction collapse[edit]As with the other interpretations of quantum mechanics, the many-worlds interpretation is motivated by behavior that can be illustrated by the double-slit experiment. When particles of light (or anything else) are passed through the double slit, a calculation assuming wave-like behavior of light can be used to identify where the particles are likely to be observed. Yet when the particles are observed in this experiment, they appear as particles (i.e., at definite places) and not as non-localized waves.
Some versions of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics proposed a process of "collapse" in which an indeterminate quantum system would probabilistically collapse down onto, or select, just one determinate outcome to "explain" this phenomenon of observation. Wavefunction collapse was widely regarded as artificial and ad hoc[citation needed], so an alternative interpretation in which the behavior of measurement could be understood from more fundamental physical principles was considered desirable.
Everett's Ph.D. work provided such an alternative interpretation. Everett stated that for a composite system '' for example a subject (the "observer" or measuring apparatus) observing an object (the "observed" system, such as a particle) '' the statement that either the observer or the observed has a well-defined state is meaningless; in modern parlance, the observer and the observed have become entangled; we can only specify the state of one relative to the other, i.e., the state of the observer and the observed are correlated after the observation is made. This led Everett to derive from the unitary, deterministic dynamics alone (i.e., without assuming wavefunction collapse) the notion of a relativity of states.
Everett noticed that the unitary, deterministic dynamics alone decreed that after an observation is made each element of the quantum superposition of the combined subject''object wavefunction contains two "relative states": a "collapsed" object state and an associated observer who has observed the same collapsed outcome; what the observer sees and the state of the object have become correlated by the act of measurement or observation. The subsequent evolution of each pair of relative subject''object states proceeds with complete indifference as to the presence or absence of the other elements, as if wavefunction collapse has occurred, which has the consequence that later observations are always consistent with the earlier observations. Thus the appearance of the object's wavefunction's collapse has emerged from the unitary, deterministic theory itself. (This answered Einstein's early criticism of quantum theory, that the theory should define what is observed, not for the observables to define the theory).[25] Since the wavefunction merely appears to have collapsed then, Everett reasoned, there was no need to actually assume that it had collapsed. And so, invoking Occam's razor, he removed the postulate of wavefunction collapse from the theory.
Probability[edit]Attempts have been made, by many-world advocates and others, over the years to derive the Born rule, rather than just conventionally assume it, so as to reproduce all the required statistical behaviour associated with quantum mechanics. There is no consensus on whether this has been successful.[26][27][28]
Frequency-based approaches[edit]Everett (1957) briefly derived the Born rule by showing that the Born rule was the only possible rule, and that its derivation was as justified as the procedure for defining probability in classical mechanics. Everett stopped doing research in theoretical physics shortly after obtaining his Ph.D., but his work on probability has been extended by a number of people. Andrew Gleason (1957) and James Hartle (1965) independently reproduced Everett's work[29] which was later extended.[30][31] These results are closely related to Gleason's theorem, a mathematical result according to which the Born probability measure is the only one on Hilbert space that can be constructed purely from the quantum state vector.[32]
Bryce DeWitt and his doctoral student R. Neill Graham later provided alternative (and longer) derivations to Everett's derivation of the Born rule.[7] They demonstrated that the norm of the worlds where the usual statistical rules of quantum theory broke down vanished, in the limit where the number of measurements went to infinity.
Decision theory[edit]A decision-theoretic derivation of the Born rule from Everettarian assumptions, was produced by David Deutsch (1999)[33] and refined by Wallace (2002''2009)[34][35][36][37] and Saunders (2004).[38][39] Deutsch's derivation is a two-stage proof: first he shows that the number of orthonormal Everett-worlds after a branching is proportional to the conventional probability density. Then he uses game theory to show that these are all equally likely to be observed. The last step in particular has been criticised for circularity.[40][41] Some other reviews have been positive, although the status of these arguments remains highly controversial; some theoretical physicists have taken them as supporting the case for parallel universes.[42] In the New Scientist article, reviewing their presentation at a September 2007 conference,[43][44] Andy Albrecht, a physicist at the University of California at Davis, is quoted as saying "This work will go down as one of the most important developments in the history of science."[42]
The Born rule and the collapse of the wave function have been obtained in the framework of the relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics by Armando V.D.B. Assis. He has proved that the Born rule and the collapse of the wave function follow from a game-theoretical strategy, namely the Nash equilibrium within a von Neumann zero-sum game between nature and observer.[45]
Symmetries and invariance[edit]Wojciech H. Zurek (2005)[46] has produced a derivation of the Born rule, where decoherence has replaced Deutsch's informatic assumptions.[47] Lutz Polley (2000) has produced Born rule derivations where the informatic assumptions are replaced by symmetry arguments.[48][49]
Charles Sebens and Sean M. Carroll, building on work by Lev Vaidman,[50] proposed a similar approach based on self-locating uncertainty.[51] In this approach, decoherence creates multiple identical copies of observers, who can assign credences to being on different branches using the Born rule.
Brief overview[edit]In Everett's formulation, a measuring apparatus M and an object system S form a composite system, each of which prior to measurement exists in well-defined (but time-dependent) states. Measurement is regarded as causing M and S to interact. After S interacts with M, it is no longer possible to describe either system by an independent state. According to Everett, the only meaningful descriptions of each system are relative states: for example the relative state of S given the state of M or the relative state of M given the state of S. In DeWitt's formulation, the state of S after a sequence of measurements is given by a quantum superposition of states, each one corresponding to an alternative measurement history of S.
For example, consider the smallest possible truly quantum system S, as shown in the illustration. This describes for instance, the spin-state of an electron. Considering a specific axis (say the z-axis) the north pole represents spin "up" and the south pole, spin "down". The superposition states of the system are described by (the surface of) a sphere called the Bloch sphere. To perform a measurement on S, it is made to interact with another similar system M. After the interaction, the combined system is described by a state that ranges over a six-dimensional space (the reason for the number six is explained in the article on the Bloch sphere). This six-dimensional object can also be regarded as a quantum superposition of two "alternative histories" of the original system S, one in which "up" was observed and the other in which "down" was observed. Each subsequent binary measurement (that is interaction with a system M) causes a similar split in the history tree. Thus after three measurements, the system can be regarded as a quantum superposition of 8 = 2 — 2 — 2 copies of the original system S.
The accepted terminology is somewhat misleading because it is incorrect to regard the universe as splitting at certain times; at any given instant there is one state in one universe.
Relative state[edit]In his 1957 doctoral dissertation, Everett proposed that rather than modeling an isolated quantum system subject to external observation, one could mathematically model an object as well as its observers as purely physical systems within the mathematical framework developed by Paul Dirac, von Neumann and others, discarding altogether the ad hoc mechanism of wave function collapse. Since Everett's original work, there have appeared a number of similar formalisms in the literature. One such idea is discussed in the next section.
The relative state formulation makes two assumptions. The first is that the wavefunction is not simply a description of the object's state, but that it actually is entirely equivalent to the object, a claim it has in common with some other interpretations. The second is that observation or measurement has no special laws or mechanics, unlike in the Copenhagen interpretation which considers the wavefunction collapse as a special kind of event which occurs as a result of observation. Instead, measurement in the relative state formulation is the consequence of a configuration change in the memory of an observer described by the same basic wave physics as the object being modeled.
The many-worlds interpretation is DeWitt's popularisation of Everett's work, who had referred to the combined observer''object system as being split by an observation, each split corresponding to the different or multiple possible outcomes of an observation. These splits generate a possible tree as shown in the graphic below. Subsequently, DeWitt introduced the term "world" to describe a complete measurement history of an observer, which corresponds roughly to a single branch of that tree. Note that "splitting" in this sense, is hardly new or even quantum mechanical. The idea of a space of complete alternative histories had already been used in the theory of probability since the mid-1930s for instance to model Brownian motion.
Under the many-worlds interpretation, the Schr¶dinger equation, or relativistic analog, holds all the time everywhere. An observation or measurement of an object by an observer is modeled by applying the wave equation to the entire system comprising the observer and the object. One consequence is that every observation can be thought of as causing the combined observer''object's wavefunction to change into a quantum superposition of two or more non-interacting branches, or split into many "worlds". Since many observation-like events have happened, and are constantly happening, there are an enormous and growing number of simultaneously existing states.
If a system is composed of two or more subsystems, the system's state will be a superposition of products of the subsystems' states. Once the subsystems interact, their states are no longer independent. Each product of subsystem states in the overall superposition evolves over time independently of other products. The subsystems states have become correlated or entangled and it is no longer possible to consider them independent of one another. In Everett's terminology each subsystem state was now correlated with its relative state, since each subsystem must now be considered relative to the other subsystems with which it has interacted.
Properties of the theory[edit]MWI removes the observer-dependent role in the quantum measurement process by replacing wavefunction collapse with quantum decoherence. Since the role of the observer lies at the heart of most if not all "quantum paradoxes," this automatically resolves a number of problems; see for example Schr¶dinger's catthought experiment, the EPR paradox, von Neumann's "boundary problem" and even wave-particle duality. Quantum cosmology also becomes intelligible, since there is no need anymore for an observer outside of the universe.[citation needed]
MWI is a realist, deterministic, local theory, akin to classical physics (including the theory of relativity), at the expense of losing counterfactual definiteness. MWI achieves this by removing wavefunction collapse, which is indeterministic and non-local, from the deterministic and local equations of quantum theory.[52]
MWI (or other, broader multiverse considerations) provides a context for the anthropic principle which may provide an explanation for the fine-tuned universe.[53][54]
MWI, being a decoherent formulation, is axiomatically more streamlined than the Copenhagen and other collapse interpretations; and thus favoured under certain interpretations of Occam's razor.[55][unreliable source?] Of course there are other decoherent interpretations that also possess this advantage with respect to the collapse interpretations.
Comparative properties and possible experimental tests[edit]One of the salient properties of the many-worlds interpretation is that it does not require an exceptional method of wave function collapse to explain it. "It seems that there is no experiment distinguishing the MWI from other no-collapse theories such as Bohmian mechanics or other variants of MWI... In most no-collapse interpretations, the evolution of the quantum state of the Universe is the same. Still, one might imagine that there is an experiment distinguishing the MWI from another no-collapse interpretation based on the difference in the correspondence between the formalism and the experience (the results of experiments)."[56]
However, in 1985, David Deutsch published three related thought experiments which could test the theory vs the Copenhagen interpretation.[57] The experiments require macroscopic quantum state preparation and quantum erasure by a hypothetical quantum computer which is currently outside experimental possibility. Since then Lockwood (1989), Vaidman and others have made similar proposals.[56] These proposals also require an advanced technology which is able to place a macroscopic object in a coherent superposition, another task which it is uncertain will ever be possible to perform. Many other controversial ideas have been put forward though, such as a recent claim that cosmological observations could test the theory,[58] and another claim by Rainer Plaga (1997), published in Foundations of Physics, that communication might be possible between worlds.[59]
Copenhagen interpretation[edit]In the Copenhagen interpretation, the mathematics of quantum mechanics allows one to predict probabilities for the occurrence of various events. When an event occurs, it becomes part of the definite reality, and alternative possibilities do not. There is no necessity to say anything definite about what is not observed.
The universe decaying to a new vacuum state[edit]Any event that changes the number of observers in the universe may have experimental consequences.[60]Quantum tunnelling to a new vacuum state would reduce the number of observers to zero (i.e., kill all life).[citation needed] Some cosmologists[citation needed] argue that the universe is in a false vacuum state and that consequently the universe should have already experienced quantum tunnelling to a true vacuum state. This has not happened and is cited as evidence in favor of many-worlds. In some worlds, quantum tunnelling to a true vacuum state has happened but most other worlds escape this tunneling and remain viable. This can be thought of as a variation on quantum suicide.
Many-minds[edit]The many-minds interpretation is a multi-world interpretation that defines the splitting of reality on the level of the observers' minds. In this, it differs from Everett's many-worlds interpretation, in which there is no special role for the observer's mind.[59]
Common objections[edit]The many-worlds interpretation is very vague about the ways to determine when splitting happens, and nowadays usually the criterion is that the two branches have decohered. However, present day understanding of decoherence does not allow a completely precise, self-contained way to say when the two branches have decohered/"do not interact", and hence many-worlds interpretation remains arbitrary. This objection is saying that it is not clear what is precisely meant by branching, and point to the lack of self-contained criteria specifying branching.
MWI response: the decoherence or "splitting" or "branching" is complete when the measurement is complete. In Dirac notation a measurement is complete when: 'Ÿ¨ O i | O j 'Ÿ(C) = δ i j {\displaystyle \langle O_{i}|O_{j}\rangle =\delta _{ij}}[61]where O i {\displaystyle O_{i}} represents the observer having detected the object system in the ith state. Before the measurement has started the observer states are identical; after the measurement is complete the observer states are orthonormal.[4][7] Thus a measurement defines the branching process: the branching is as well- or ill-defined as the measurement is; the branching is as complete as the measurement is complete '' which is to say that the delta function above represents an idealised measurement. Although true "for all practical purposes" in reality the measurement, and hence the branching, is never fully complete, since delta functions are unphysical,[62]Since the role of the observer and measurement per se plays no special role in MWI (measurements are handled as all other interactions are) there is no need for a precise definition of what an observer or a measurement is '-- just as in Newtonian physics no precise definition of either an observer or a measurement was required or expected. In all circumstances the universal wavefunction is still available to give a complete description of reality.Also, it is a common misconception to think that branches are completely separate. In Everett's formulation, they may in principle quantum interfere (i.e., "merge" instead of "splitting") with each other in the future,[63] although this requires all "memory" of the earlier branching event to be lost, so no observer ever sees two branches of reality.[64][65]MWI states that there is no special role, or need for precise definition of measurement in MWI, yet Everett uses the word "measurement" repeatedly throughout its exposition.
MWI response: "measurements" are treated as a subclass of interactions, which induce subject''object correlations in the combined wavefunction. There is nothing special about measurements (such as the ability to trigger a wave function collapse), that cannot be dealt with by the usual unitary time development process.[3] This is why there is no precise definition of measurement in Everett's formulation, although some other formulations emphasize that measurements must be effectively irreversible or create classical information.The splitting of worlds forward in time, but not backwards in time (i.e., merging worlds), is time asymmetric and incompatible with the time symmetric nature of Schr¶dinger's equation, or CPT invariance in general.[66]
MWI response: The splitting is time asymmetric; this observed temporal asymmetry is due to the boundary conditions imposed by the Big Bang[67]There is circularity in Everett's measurement theory. Under the assumptions made by Everett, there are no 'good observations' as defined by him, and since his analysis of the observational process depends on the latter, it is void of any meaning. The concept of a 'good observation' is the projection postulate in disguise and Everett's analysis simply derives this postulate by having assumed it, without any discussion.[68][unreliable source?]
MWI response: Everett's treatment of observations / measurements covers both idealised good measurements and the more general bad or approximate cases.[69] Thus it is legitimate to analyse probability in terms of measurement; no circularity is present.Talk of probability in Everett presumes the existence of a preferred basis to identify measurement outcomes for the probabilities to range over. But the existence of a preferred basis can only be established by the process of decoherence, which is itself probabilistic[40] or arbitrary.[70]
MWI response: Everett analysed branching using what we now call the "measurement basis". It is fundamental theorem of quantum theory that nothing measurable or empirical is changed by adopting a different basis. Everett was therefore free to choose whatever basis he liked. The measurement basis was simply the simplest basis in which to analyse the measurement process.[71][72]We cannot be sure that the universe is a quantum multiverse until we have a theory of everything and, in particular, a successful theory of quantum gravity.[73] If the final theory of everything is non-linear with respect to wavefunctions then many-worlds would be invalid.[1][4][5][6][7]
MWI response: All accepted quantum theories of fundamental physics are linear with respect to the wavefunction. While quantum gravity or string theory may be non-linear in this respect there is no evidence to indicate this at the moment.[17][18]Conservation of energy is grossly violated if at every instant near-infinite amounts of new matter are generated to create the new universes.
MWI response: There are two responses to this objection. First, the law of conservation of energy says that energy is conserved within each universe. Hence, even if "new matter" were being generated to create new universes, this would not violate conservation of energy. Second, conservation of energy is not violated since the energy of each branch has to be weighted by its probability, according to the standard formula for the conservation of energy in quantum theory. This results in the total energy of the multiverse being conserved.[74][unreliable source?]Occam's Razor rules against a plethora of unobservable universes '' Occam would prefer just one universe; i.e., any non-MWI.
MWI response: Occam's razor actually is a constraint on the complexity of physical theory, not on the number of universes. MWI is a simpler theory since it has fewer postulates.[55][unreliable source?] Occams's razor is often cited by MWI adherents as an advantage of MWI.Unphysical universes: If a state is a superposition of two states Ψ A {\displaystyle \Psi _{A}} and Ψ B {\displaystyle \Psi _{B}}, i.e., Ψ = ( a Ψ A + b Ψ B ) {\displaystyle \Psi =(a\Psi _{A}+b\Psi _{B})}, i.e., weighted by coefficients a and b, then if b '‰ª a {\displaystyle b\ll a}, what principle allows a universe with vanishingly small probability b to be instantiated on an equal footing with the much more probable one with probability a? This seems to throw away the information in the probability amplitudes.
MWI response: The magnitude of the coefficients provides the weighting that makes the branches or universes "unequal", as Everett and others have shown, leading the emergence of the conventional probabilistic rules.[1][4][5][6][7][75][unreliable source?]Violation of the principle of locality, which contradicts special relativity: MWI splitting is instant and total: this may conflict with relativity, since an alien in the Andromeda galaxy can't know I collapse an electron over here before she collapses hers there: the relativity of simultaneity says we can't say which electron collapsed first '' so which one splits off another universe first? This leads to a hopeless muddle with everyone splitting differently. Note: EPR is not a get-out here, as the alien's and my electrons need never have been part of the same quantum, i.e., entangled.
MWI response: the splitting can be regarded as causal, local and relativistic, spreading at, or below, the speed of light (e.g., we are not split by Schr¶dinger's cat until we look in the box).[76][unreliable source?] For spacelike separated splitting you can't say which occurred first '-- but this is true of all spacelike separated events, simultaneity is not defined for them. Splitting is no exception; many-worlds is a local theory.[52]Reception[edit]There is a wide range of claims that are considered "many-worlds" interpretations. It was often claimed by those who do not believe in MWI[77] that Everett himself was not entirely clear[78] as to what he believed; however, MWI adherents (such as DeWitt, Tegmark, Deutsch and others) believe they fully understand Everett's meaning as implying the literal existence of the other worlds. Additionally, recent biographical sources make it clear that Everett believed in the literal reality of the other quantum worlds.[24] Everett's son reported that Hugh Everett "never wavered in his belief over his many-worlds theory".[79] Also Everett was reported to believe "his many-worlds theory guaranteed him immortality".[80]
One of MWI's strongest advocates is David Deutsch.[81] According to Deutsch, the single photon interference pattern observed in the double slit experiment can be explained by interference of photons in multiple universes. Viewed in this way, the single photon interference experiment is indistinguishable from the multiple photon interference experiment. In a more practical vein, in one of the earliest papers on quantum computing,[82] he suggested that parallelism that results from the validity of MWI could lead to "a method by which certain probabilistic tasks can be performed faster by a universal quantum computer than by any classical restriction of it". Deutsch has also proposed that when reversible computers become conscious that MWI will be testable (at least against "naive" Copenhagenism) via the reversible observation of spin.[64]
Asher Peres was an outspoken critic of MWI. For example, a section in his 1993 textbook had the title Everett's interpretation and other bizarre theories. Peres not only questioned whether MWI is really an "interpretation", but rather, if any interpretations of quantum mechanics are needed at all. An interpretation can be regarded as a purely formal transformation, which adds nothing to the rules of the quantum mechanics.[citation needed] Peres seems to suggest[according to whom?] that positing the existence of an infinite number of non-communicating parallel universes is highly suspect per those[who?] who interpret it as a violation of Occam's razor, i.e., that it does not minimize the number of hypothesized entities. However, it is understood[by whom?] that the number of elementary particles are not a gross violation of Occam's Razor, one counts the types, not the tokens. Max Tegmark remarks[where?] that the alternative to many-worlds is "many words", an allusion to the complexity of von Neumann's collapse postulate. On the other hand, the same derogatory qualification "many words" is often applied to MWI by its critics[who?] who see it as a word game which obfuscates rather than clarifies by confounding the von Neumann branching of possible worlds with the Schr¶dinger parallelism of many worlds in superposition.[citation needed]
MWI is considered by some[who?] to be unfalsifiable and hence unscientific because the multiple parallel universes are non-communicating, in the sense that no information can be passed between them. Others[64] claim MWI is directly testable. Everett regarded MWI as falsifiable since any test that falsifies conventional quantum theory would also falsify MWI.[23]
According to Martin Gardner, the "other" worlds of MWI have two different interpretations: real or unreal; he claims that Stephen Hawking and Steven Weinberg both favour the unreal interpretation.[83] Gardner also claims that the nonreal interpretation is favoured by the majority of physicists, whereas the "realist" view is only supported by MWI experts such as Deutsch and Bryce DeWitt. Hawking has said that "according to Feynman's idea", all the other histories are as "equally real" as our own,[84] and Martin Gardner reports Hawking saying that MWI is "trivially true".[85] In a 1983 interview, Hawking also said he regarded the MWI as "self-evidently correct" but was dismissive towards questions about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, saying, "When I hear of Schr¶dinger's cat, I reach for my gun." In the same interview, he also said, "But, look: All that one does, really, is to calculate conditional probabilities'--in other words, the probability of A happening, given B. I think that that's all the many worlds interpretation is. Some people overlay it with a lot of mysticism about the wave function splitting into different parts. But all that you're calculating is conditional probabilities."[86] Elsewhere Hawking contrasted his attitude towards the "reality" of physical theories with that of his colleague Roger Penrose, saying, "He's a Platonist and I'm a positivist. He's worried that Schr¶dinger's cat is in a quantum state, where it is half alive and half dead. He feels that can't correspond to reality. But that doesn't bother me. I don't demand that a theory correspond to reality because I don't know what it is. Reality is not a quality you can test with litmus paper. All I'm concerned with is that the theory should predict the results of measurements. Quantum theory does this very successfully."[87] For his own part, Penrose agrees with Hawking that QM applied to the universe implies MW, although he considers the current lack of a successful theory of quantum gravity negates the claimed universality of conventional QM.[73]
Polls[edit]Advocates of MWI often cite a poll of 72 "leading cosmologists and other quantum field theorists"[88] conducted by the American political scientist David Raub in 1995 showing 58% agreement with "Yes, I think MWI is true".[89]
The poll is controversial: for example, Victor J. Stenger remarks that Murray Gell-Mann's published work explicitly rejects the existence of simultaneous parallel universes. Collaborating with James Hartle, Gell-Mann is working toward the development a more "palatable" post-Everett quantum mechanics. Stenger thinks it's fair to say that most physicists dismiss the many-world interpretation as too extreme, while noting it "has merit in finding a place for the observer inside the system being analyzed and doing away with the troublesome notion of wave function collapse".[90]
Max Tegmark also reports the result of a "highly unscientific" poll taken at a 1997 quantum mechanics workshop.[91] According to Tegmark, "The many worlds interpretation (MWI) scored second, comfortably ahead of the consistent histories and Bohm interpretations." Such polls have been taken at other conferences, for example, in response to Sean Carroll's observation, "As crazy as it sounds, most working physicists buy into the many-worlds theory"[92]Michael Nielsen counters: "at a quantum computing conference at Cambridge in 1998, a many-worlder surveyed the audience of approximately 200 people... Many-worlds did just fine, garnering support on a level comparable to, but somewhat below, Copenhagen and decoherence." However, Nielsen notes that it seemed most attendees found it to be a waste of time: Asher Peres "got a huge and sustained round of applause'... when he got up at the end of the polling and asked 'And who here believes the laws of physics are decided by a democratic vote?'"[93]
A 2005 poll of fewer than 40 students and researchers taken after a course on the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics at the Institute for Quantum Computing University of Waterloo found "Many Worlds (and decoherence)" to be the least favored.[94]
A 2011 poll of 33 participants at an Austrian conference found 6 endorsed MWI, 8 "Information-based/information-theoretical", and 14 Copenhagen;[95] the authors remark that the results are similar to Tegmark's 1998 poll.
Speculative implications[edit]Speculative physics deals with questions which are also discussed in science fiction.
Quantum suicide thought experiment[edit]Quantum suicide, as a thought experiment, was published independently by Hans Moravec in 1987[96][97] and Bruno Marchal in 1988[98][99] and was independently developed further by Max Tegmark in 1998.[100] It attempts to distinguish between the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and the Everett many-worlds interpretation by means of a variation of the Schr¶dinger's catthought experiment, from the cat's point of view. Quantum immortality refers to the subjective experience of surviving quantum suicide regardless of the odds.[101]
Weak coupling[edit]Another speculation is that the separate worlds remain weakly coupled (e.g., by gravity) permitting "communication between parallel universes". A possible test of this using quantum-optical equipment is described in a 1997 Foundations of Physics article by Rainer Plaga.[59] It involves an isolated ion in an ion trap, a quantum measurement that would yield two parallel worlds (their difference just being in the detection of a single photon), and the excitation of the ion from only one of these worlds. If the excited ion can be detected from the other parallel universe, then this would constitute direct evidence in support of the many-worlds interpretation and would automatically exclude the orthodox, "logical", and "many-histories" interpretations. The reason the ion is isolated is to make it not participate immediately in the decoherence which insulates the parallel world branches, therefore allowing it to act as a gateway between the two worlds, and if the measure apparatus could perform the measurements quickly enough before the gateway ion is decoupled then the test would succeed (with electronic computers the necessary time window between the two worlds would be in a time scale of milliseconds or nanoseconds, and if the measurements are taken by humans then a few seconds would still be enough). R. Plaga shows that macroscopic decoherence timescales are a possibility. The proposed test is based on technical equipment described in a 1993 Physical Review article by Itano et al.[102] and R. Plaga says that this level of technology is enough to realize the proposed inter-world communication experiment. The necessary technology for precision measurements of single ions already exists since the 1970s, and the ion recommended for excitation is 199Hg+. The excitation methodology is described by Itano et al. and the time needed for it is given by the Rabi flopping formula[103]
Such a test as described by R. Plaga would mean that energy transfer is possible between parallel worlds. This does not violate the fundamental principles of physics because these require energy conservation only for the whole universe and not for the single parallel branches.[59] Neither the excitation of the single ion (which is a degree of freedom of the proposed system) leads to decoherence, something which is proven by Welcher Weg detectors which can excite atoms without momentum transfer (which causes the loss of coherence).[104]
The proposed test would allow for low-bandwidth inter-world communication, the limiting factors of bandwidth and time being dependent on the technology of the equipment. Because of the time needed to determine the state of the partially decohered isolated excited ion based on Itano et al.'s methodology, the ion would decohere by the time its state is determined during the experiment, so Plaga's proposal would pass just enough information between the two worlds to confirm their parallel existence and nothing more. The author contemplates that with increased bandwidth, one could even transfer television imagery across the parallel worlds.[59] For example, Itano et al.'s methodology could be improved (by lowering the time needed for state determination of the excited ion) if a more efficient process were found for the detection of fluorescence radiation using 194 nm photons.[59]
A 1991 article by J.Polchinski also supports the view that inter-world communication is a theoretical possibility.[105] Other authors in a 1994 preprint article also contemplated similar ideas.[106]
The reason inter-world communication seems like a possibility is because decoherence which separates the parallel worlds is never fully complete,[107][108] therefore weak influences from one parallel world to another can still pass between them,[107][109] and these should be measurable with advanced technology. Deutsch proposed such an experiment in a 1985 International Journal of Theoretical Physics article,[110] but the technology it requires involves human-level artificial intelligence.[59]
Similarity to modal realism[edit]The many-worlds interpretation has some similarity to modal realism in philosophy, which is the view that the possible worlds used to interpret modal claims exist and are of a kind with the actual world. Unlike the possible worlds of philosophy, however, in quantum mechanics counterfactual alternatives can influence the results of experiments, as in the Elitzur''Vaidman bomb-testing problem or the Quantum Zeno effect. Also, while the worlds of the many-worlds interpretation all share the same physical laws, modal realism postulates a world for every way things could conceivably have been.
Time travel[edit]The many-worlds interpretation could be one possible way to resolve the paradoxes[81] that one would expect to arise iftime travel turns out to be permitted by physics (permitting closed timelike curves and thus violating causality). Entering the past would itself be a quantum event causing branching, and therefore the timeline accessed by the time traveller simply would be another timeline of many. In that sense, it would make the Novikov self-consistency principle unnecessary.
Many-worlds in literature and science fiction[edit]The many-worlds interpretation (and the somewhat related concept of possible worlds) has been associated to numerous themes in literature, art and science fiction.
Some of these stories or films violate fundamental principles of causality and relativity, since the information-theoretic structure of the path space of multiple universes (that is, information flow between different paths) is very likely complex.
Another kind of popular illustration of many-worlds splittings, which does not involve information flow between paths, or information flow backwards in time considers alternate outcomes of historical events. According to the many-worlds interpretation, all of the historical speculations entertained within the alternate history genre are realized in parallel universes.[1]
The many-worlds interpretation of reality was anticipated with remarkable fidelity in Olaf Stapledon's 1937 science fiction novel Star Maker, in a paragraph describing one of the many universes created by the Star Maker god of the title. "In one inconceivably complex cosmos, whenever a creature was faced with several possible courses of action, it took them all, thereby creating many distinct temporal dimensions and distinct histories of the cosmos. Since in every evolutionary sequence of the cosmos there were very many creatures, and each was constantly faced with many possible courses, and the combinations of all their courses were innumerable, an infinity of distinct universes exfoliated from every moment of every temporal sequence in this cosmos."
See also[edit]^ abcdefgBryce Seligman DeWitt, Quantum Mechanics and Reality: Could the solution to the dilemma of indeterminism be a universe in which all possible outcomes of an experiment actually occur?, Physics Today, 23(9) pp 30''40 (September 1970) "every quantum transition taking place on every star, in every galaxy, in every remote corner of the universe is splitting our local world on earth into myriads of copies of itself." See also Physics Today, letters followup, 24(4), (April 1971), pp 38''44^ abOsnaghi, Stefano; Freitas, Fabio; Olival Freire, Jr (2009). "The Origin of the Everettian Heresy"(PDF). Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. 40: 97''123. doi:10.1016/j.shpsb.2008.10.002. ^ abHugh EverettTheory of the Universal Wavefunction, Thesis, Princeton University, (1956, 1973), pp 1''140^ abcdeEverett, Hugh (1957). "Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics". Reviews of Modern Physics. 29: 454''462. Bibcode:1957RvMP...29..454E. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.29.454. ^ abcCecile M. DeWitt, John A. Wheeler eds, The Everett''Wheeler Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Battelle Rencontres: 1967 Lectures in Mathematics and Physics (1968)^ abcBryce Seligman DeWitt, The Many-Universes Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Proceedings of the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi" Course IL: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Academic Press (1972)^ abcdefghBryce Seligman DeWitt, R. Neill Graham, eds, The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton Series in Physics, Princeton University Press (1973), ISBN 0-691-08131-X Contains Everett's thesis: The Theory of the Universal Wavefunction, pp 3''140.^H. Dieter Zeh, On the Interpretation of Measurement in Quantum Theory, Foundation of Physics, vol. 1, pp. 69''76, (1970).^Wojciech Hubert Zurek, Decoherence and the transition from quantum to classical, Physics Today, vol. 44, issue 10, pp. 36''44, (1991).^Wojciech Hubert Zurek, Decoherence, einselection, and the quantum origins of the classical, Reviews of Modern Physics, 75, pp 715''775, (2003)^The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics^David Deutsch argues that a great deal of fiction is close to a fact somewhere in the so called multiverse, Beginning of Infinity, p. 294^Bryce Seligman DeWitt, R. 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Bibcode:2005FoPh...35..197S. doi:10.1007/s10701-004-1941-6. ^Lutz Polley, Position eigenstates and the statistical axiom of quantum mechanics, contribution to conference Foundations of Probability and Physics, Vaxjo, Nov 27 '' Dec 1, 2000^Lutz Polley, Quantum-mechanical probability from the symmetries of two-state systems^Vaidman, L. "Probability in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics." In: Ben-Menahem, Y., & Hemmo, M. (eds), The Probable and the Improbable: Understanding Probability in Physics, Essays in Memory of Itamar Pitowsky. Springer.^Sebens, C.T. and Carroll, S.M., Self-Locating Uncertainty and the Origin of Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.^ abMark A. Rubin, Locality in the Everett Interpretation of Heisenberg-Picture Quantum Mechanics, Foundations of Physics Letters, 14, (2001) , pp. 301''322, arXiv:quant-ph/0103079^Paul C.W. Davies, Other Worlds, chapters 8 & 9 The Anthropic Principle & Is the Universe an accident?, (1980) ISBN 0-460-04400-1^Paul C.W. Davies, The Accidental Universe, (1982) ISBN 0-521-28692-1^ abEverett FAQ "Does many-worlds violate Ockham's Razor?"^ abVaidman, Lev. "Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ^Deutsch, D., (1986) 'Three experimental implications of the Everett interpretation', in R. Penrose and C.J. Isham (eds.), Quantum Concepts of Space and Time, Oxford: The Clarendon Press, pp. 204''214.^Page, D., (2000) 'Can Quantum Cosmology Give Observational Consequences of Many-Worlds Quantum Theory?'^ abcdefgPlaga, R. (1997). "On a possibility to find experimental evidence for the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics". Foundations of Physics. 27: 559''577. arXiv:quant-ph/9510007. Bibcode:1997FoPh...27..559P. doi:10.1007/BF02550677. ^Page, Don N. (2000). "Can Quantum Cosmology Give Observational Consequences of Many-Worlds Quantum Theory?". arXiv:gr-qc/0001001. doi:10.1063/1.1301589. ^Bryce Seligman DeWitt, Quantum Mechanics and Reality: Could the solution to the dilemma of indeterminism be a universe in which all possible outcomes of an experiment actually occur?, Physics Today, 23(9) pp 30''40 (September 1970); see equation 10^Penrose, R. The Road to Reality, §21.11^Tegmark, Max The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Many Worlds or Many Words?, 1998. To quote: "What Everett does NOT postulate: "At certain magic instances, the world undergoes some sort of metaphysical 'split' into two branches that subsequently never interact." This is not only a misrepresentation of the MWI, but also inconsistent with the Everett postulate, since the subsequent time evolution could in principle make the two terms...interfere. According to the MWI, there is, was and always will be only one wavefunction, and only decoherence calculations, not postulates, can tell us when it is a good approximation to treat two terms as non-interacting."^ abcPaul C.W. Davies, J.R. Brown, The Ghost in the Atom (1986) ISBN 0-521-31316-3, pp. 34''38: "The Many-Universes Interpretation", pp 83''105 for David Deutsch's test of MWI and reversible quantum memories^Christoph Simon, 2009, Conscious observers clarify many worlds^Joseph Gerver, The past as backward movies of the future, Physics Today, letters followup, 24(4), (April 1971), pp 46''7^Bryce Seligman DeWitt, Physics Today,letters followup, 24(4), (April 1971), pp 43^Arnold Neumaier's comments on the Everett FAQ, 1999 & 2003^Everett [1956] 1973, "Theory of the Universal Wavefunction", chapter V, section 4 "Approximate Measurements", pp. 100''103 (e)^Stapp, Henry (2002). "The basis problem in many-world theories"(PDF). Canadian Journal of Physics. 80: 1043''1052. arXiv:quant-ph/0110148. Bibcode:2002CaJPh..80.1043S. doi:10.1139/p02-068. ^Brown, Harvey R; Wallace, David (2005). "Solving the measurement problem: de Broglie''Bohm loses out to Everett"(PDF). Foundations of Physics. 35: 517''540. arXiv:quant-ph/0403094. Bibcode:2005FoPh...35..517B. doi:10.1007/s10701-004-2009-3. ^Mark A Rubin (2005), There Is No Basis Ambiguity in Everett Quantum Mechanics, Foundations of Physics Letters, Volume 17, Number 4 / August, 2004, pp 323''341^ abPenrose, Roger (August 1991). "Roger Penrose Looks Beyond the Classic-Quantum Dichotomy". Sciencewatch. Retrieved 2007-10-21. ^Everett FAQ "Does many-worlds violate conservation of energy?"^Everett FAQ "How do probabilities emerge within many-worlds?"^Everett FAQ "When does Schrodinger's cat split?"^Jeffrey A. Barrett, The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds, Oxford University Press, 1999. According to Barrett (loc. cit. Chapter 6) "There are many many-worlds interpretations."^Barrett, Jeffrey A. (2010). Zalta, Edward N., ed. "Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics" (Fall 2010 ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Again, according to Barrett "It is... unclear precisely how this was supposed to work."^Aldhous, Peter (2007-11-24). "Parallel lives can never touch". New Scientist (2631). Retrieved 2007-11-21. ^Eugene Shikhovtsev's Biography of Everett, in particular see "Keith Lynch remembers 1979''1980"^ abDavid Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes And Its Implications, Penguin Books (1998), ISBN 0-14-027541-X^Deutsch, David (1985). "Quantum theory, the Church''Turing principle and the universal quantum computer". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A. 400: 97''117. Bibcode:1985RSPSA.400...97D. doi:10.1098/rspa.1985.0070. ^A response to Bryce DeWitt[dead link], Martin Gardner, May 2002^Award winning 1995 Channel 4 documentary "Reality on the rocks: Beyond our Ken" [2] where, in response to Ken Campbell's question "all these trillions of Universes of the Multiverse, are they as real as this one seems to be to me?" Hawking states, "Yes.... According to Feynman's idea, every possible history (of Ken) is equally real."^Gardner, Martin (2003). Are universes thicker than blackberries?. W.W. Norton. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-393-05742-3. ^Ferris, Timothy (1997). The Whole Shebang. Simon & Schuster. pp. 345. ISBN 978-0-684-81020-1. ^Hawking, Stephen; Roger Penrose (1996). The Nature of Space and Time. Princeton University Press. pp. 121. ISBN 978-0-691-03791-2. ^Elvridge., Jim (2008-01-02). The Universe '' Solved!. pp. 35''36. ISBN 978-1-4243-3626-5. OCLC 247614399. 58% believed that the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) was true, including Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman ^Bruce., Alexandra. "How does reality work?". Beyond the bleep : the definitive unauthorized guide to What the bleep do we know!?. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-932857-22-1. [the poll was] published in the French periodical Sciences et Avenir in January 1998 ^Stenger, V.J. (1995). The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology. Prometheus Books. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-57392-022-3. LCCN lc95032599. Gell-Mann and collaborator James Hartle, along with a score of others, have been working to develop a more palatable interpretation of quantum mechanics that is free of the problems that plague all the interpretations we have considered so far. This new interpretation is called, in its various incarnations, post-Everett quantum mechanics, alternate histories, consistent histories, or decoherent histories. I will not be overly concerned with the detailed differences between these characterizations and will use the terms more or less interchangeably. ^Max Tegmark on many-worlds (contains MWI poll)^Caroll, Sean (1 April 2004). "Preposterous Universe". Archived from the original on 8 September 2004. ^Nielsen, Michael (3 April 2004). "Michael Nielsen: The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics". Archived from the original on 20 May 2004. ^Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics class survey^"A Snapshot of Foundational Attitudes Toward Quantum Mechanics", Schlosshauer et al 2013^"The Many Minds Approach". 25 October 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010. This idea was first proposed by Austrian mathematician Hans Moravec in 1987... ^Moravec, Hans (1988). "The Doomsday Device". Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence. Harvard: Harvard University Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-674-57618-6. (If MWI is true, apocalyptic particle accelerators won't function as advertised).^Marchal, Bruno (1988). "Informatique th(C)orique et philosophie de l'esprit" [Theoretical Computer Science and Philosophy of Mind]. Acte du 3¨me colloque international Cognition et Connaissance [Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference Cognition and Knowledge]. Toulouse: 193''227. ^Marchal, Bruno (1991). De Glas, M.; Gabbay, D., eds. "Mechanism and personal identity"(PDF). Proceedings of WOCFAI 91. Paris. Angkor.: 335''345. ^Tegmark, Max The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Many Worlds or Many Words?, 1998^Tegmark, Max (November 1998). "Quantum immortality". Retrieved 25 October 2010. ^W.M.Itano et al., Phys.Rev. A47,3354 (1993).^M.SargentIII,M.O.Scully and W.E.Lamb, Laser physics (Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1974), p.27.^M.O.Scully and H.Walther, Phys.Rev. A39,5229 (1989).^J.Polchinski, Phys.Rev.Lett. 66,397 (1991).^M.Gell-Mann and J.B.Hartle, Equivalent Sets of Histories and Multiple Quasiclassical Domains, preprint University of California at Santa Barbara UCSBTH-94-09 (1994).^ abH.D.Zeh, Found.Phys. 3,109 (1973).^H.D.Zeh, Phys.Lett.A 172,189 (1993).^A.Albrecht, Phys.Rev. D48,3768 (1993).^D.Deutsch, Int.J.theor.Phys. 24,1 (1985).Further reading[edit]Jeffrey A. Barrett, The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999.Peter Byrne, The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family, Oxford University Press, 2010.Jeffrey A. Barrett and Peter Byrne, eds., "The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Collected Works 1955''1980 with Commentary", Princeton University Press, 2012.Julian Brown, Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse, Simon & Schuster, 2000, ISBN 0-684-81481-1Paul C.W. Davies, Other Worlds, (1980) ISBN 0-460-04400-1James P. Hogan, The Proteus Operation (science fiction involving the many-worlds interpretation, time travel and World War 2 history), Baen, Reissue edition (August 1, 1996) ISBN 0-671-87757-7Adrian Kent, One world versus many: the inadequacy of Everettian accounts of evolution, probability, and scientific confirmationAndrei Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin, How Many Universes are in the Multiverse?Osnaghi, Stefano; Freitas, Fabio; Olival Freire, Jr (2009). "The Origin of the Everettian Heresy"(PDF). Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. 40: 97''123. doi:10.1016/j.shpsb.2008.10.002. A study of the painful three-way relationship between Hugh Everett, John A Wheeler and Niels Bohr and how this affected the early development of the many-worlds theory.Asher Peres, Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1993.Mark A. Rubin, Locality in the Everett Interpretation of Heisenberg-Picture Quantum Mechanics, Foundations of Physics Letters, 14, (2001), pp. 301''322, arXiv:quant-ph/0103079David Wallace, Harvey R. Brown, Solving the measurement problem: de Broglie''Bohm loses out to Everett, Foundations of Physics, arXiv:quant-ph/0403094David Wallace, Worlds in the Everett Interpretation, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 33, (2002), pp. 637''661, arXiv:quant-ph/0103092John A. Wheeler and Wojciech Hubert Zurek (eds), Quantum Theory and Measurement, Princeton University Press, (1983), ISBN 0-691-08316-9Sean M. Carroll, Charles T. Sebens, Many Worlds, the Born Rule, and Self-Locating Uncertainty, arXiv:1405.7907External links[edit]
VIDEO - German Government Warns Public Of Terrorist Chemical Attacks! - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:38
VIDEO - Glenn Greenwald "A LOT Of People In The Intelligence Community Signaling Trump They Can Harm Him!" - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:32
VIDEO - "THAT'S BOGUS!" Ray McGovern PWNS Congressman Schiff On Russian Hacking Fairy Tale - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:28
VIDEO - "My Job is to Shut Other White People Down" - DNC Chair Candidate goes on Tirade against Whites - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:24
VIDEO - Andrea Mitchell Agrees Pro-Life Policy Will Send 'Many Women' to 'Early Death' | MRCTV
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:08
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, anchor Andrea Mitchell teed up former Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman to denounce President Trump for reinstating the Mexico City policy banning U.S. foreign aide from funding abortions. In addition, Mitchell agreed with a stunning accusation hurled by the Obama administration official.
Mitchell fretted that the pro-life policy was being ''expanded...beyond what George W. Bush and previous Republican administrations have done, and to basically say that these international agencies cannot use their own funding for such work.'' Sherman replied: ''Indeed....this reinstatement of the global gag rule, which was created in Mexico City in 1984, says that you cannot provide counseling, you cannot provide information, you cannot send someone to another provider, and you have to literally sign a pledge that you won't or you get no U.S. funding.''
VIDEO - Matthews Compares Trump to Kim Jong-un; Resurrects Joke He'll Murder Son-in-Law Like Mussolini
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:05
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Continuing on the theme of comparing President Trump to the infamous world dictators, Hardball host Chris Matthews likened Trump on Tuesday to North Korea's Kim Jong-un and resurrected a tasteless joke from Inauguration Day about Trump channeling Mussolini if he executed son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The MSNBC personality's latest correlation for the President came just over 10 minutes into the program, after an aside about how he'd keep track of who'd stand up for then-President Bill Clinton and lie concerning his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
VIDEO - CBS Hypes Environmentalists Scrambling to Save EPA Data from Trump | MRCTV
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:03
One of the most frightening unknowns for the liberal media is how President Donald Trump plans to rein in the rampaging Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration recently banned the agency from using its social media accounts until further notice. This apparently spooked CBS Tuesday, because on Evening News they glorified the efforts of environmentalists who are trying desperately to save EPA's research data out of an irrational fear Trump will lock it up.
''Environmental professors like Bethany Wiggin listened carefully to candidate Trump talk about climate change,'' reported CBS's Jim Axelrod as he played video of Trump calling climate change a hoax, ''Which is why she, her colleagues and her students are now racing to back up on other server's information available on government websites.''
Axelrod said that clamping down on the agency's use of social media ''stoked their fears the administration will limit access to data as it rolls back environmental protections.'' This comes from the ridiculous notion that conservatives want to let loss and destroy the planet with pollution.
''I'm really worried the facts might become more difficult to access, so there is a kind of vulnerability of internet materials already,'' Wiggin told him, ''They become more vulnerable still when controlled by an administration who finds them inconvenient.''
CBS continued to smear Trump's nominee to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, by pointing out his views on climate change. ''Just last May, Pruitt wrote, 'Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged,''' Axelrod quoted.
The CBS reporter leaned on the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to attack Pruitt. ''What we heard at the hearings was a dangerous new form of climate denial,'' argued Rachel Cleetus, a member of the organization. ''Cleetus says with data showing 2016 as the hottest year on record and sea levels rising at alarming rates that could trigger massive flooding by the end of the century, limiting regulations on energy production could be catastrophic,'' Axelrod added.
What Axelrod failed to mention is the organization's radical nature in trying to shut up and remove any debate about climate change from the public square. Scientists who disagree with them are labeled ''contrarians'' and smeared. According to the Media Research Center's CNSNews, UCS has a long history dating back to the 1970s of entangling themselves in predominantly far left causes, even those that are not connected to scientific studies such as the deployment of a missile defense shield.
CBS's hyping of such negative attitudes towards the Trump administration is exactly what Press Secretary Sean Spicer complained about on Monday. During a press conference, he said it was demoralizing to turn on the TV and see the constant negativity. Spicer is right, the liberal media automatically starts with the opinion that bad things are going to occur when it's a Republican in power.
VIDEO - CNN Boasts of '1984' Book Sales Thanks to Fears of Trump; Only Footnotes Previous Spike | MRCTV
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:43
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Following the lead of CNN's Brian Stelter, Thursday's Situation Room touted the spike of sales in the book 1984 and strongly hinted that Americans view the Trump administration as the real-life version of Big Brother portrayed in George Orwell's classic.
Host Wolf Blitzer and correspondent Brian Todd also buried opposing viewpoints that the idea of government surveillance has been the case for multiple administrations with one book sales spike coming after Edward Snowden went public in 2013.
VIDEO - Glenn Greenwald "A LOT Of People In The Intelligence Community Signaling Trump They Can Harm Him!" - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:29
VIDEO - The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words - YouTube
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 18:34
VIDEO - Hannity Interview with Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer 1/24/17 HD 1080p - YouTube
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:56
VIDEO - Meet the 'Western chauvinist' frat partying its way through Trump's inauguration - POLITICO
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:43
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VIDEO - WATCH: Cotton Confronts Schumer for 'Obstructing' CIA Director Confirmation | Fox News Insider
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:05
On Monday, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) was confirmed by the Senate to be the CIA director, but the perceived delay in the vote by the body's Democratic leader led to a tense confrontation on the floor the night it was originally going to take place.
A behind-the-scenes struggle in the Senate to get Pompeo confirmed in short order came into the public eye on Friday evening, Ed Henry reported Monday.
A number of Republicans said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) effectively lied to them when he promised to add Pompeo's name to a list of key national security team members up for a vote last Friday, Henry said.
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However, on Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called for a delay in that vote, but Republicans demanded that Schumer keep his word and allow Pompeo to be confirmed Friday.
The Inauguration Day vote never materialized and Sen.Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) confronted Schumer on the Senate floor that day over the delay.
The two men can be seen pointing fingers at each other, and Henry said Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked where the Arkansan was "eight years ago" when then-President Obama's nominee did not receive an immediate confirmation vote.
(Strong Language Warning)
An irate Cotton responded that "eight years ago, I was getting my a[**] shot at in Afghanistan, so don't talk to me about where I was."
Schumer explained that his promise was given by him alone and not as a guarantee on behalf of the members of his caucus.
Cotton later released a statement, saying Schumer and the Democrats were "obstructing" Pompeo's nomination.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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VIDEO - Sean Spicer White House Press Briefing '' January 24th (Video)'... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 07:01
Tuesday January 24th White House Press Secretary full briefing:
Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino, Sean Spicer
VIDEO - President Trump Meets With Major U.S. Automakers'... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 05:14
Operation Bigly continues '' President Trump met early this morning with key U.S. auto manufacturers. One of the key issues discussed was regulation and eliminating bureaucracy. The tectonic shift within the discussion as framed by GM CEO Mary Barra, was a president asking industry: what can I do to assist your growth?
President Trump opened the meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the White House by saying he wants to see new auto plants built in the United States. (Story Here)
The new Republican president vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States. He promised frequently during his election campaign to be a job-creating president and stressed that message in his inaugural speech last Friday. (link)
At the conclusion of the meeting the CEO's came forward to the media to discuss their perspectives:
.
VIDEO - Review finds no wrongdoing in Flynn's talks with Russian ambassador | Fox News
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 04:02
Federal investigators have found no evidence of any impropriety in a series of intercepted communications between President Donald Trump's national security adviser and the Russian ambassador to the U.S., a senior law enforcement source told Fox News Tuesday.
The findings related to the messages between Gen. Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were first reported by the Washington Post.
The conversations between Flynn and Kislyak took place in late December, around the time that then-President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia and expelled 35 diplomats in response to Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Flynn had been investigated for the past five months as part of a broader probe of Russia's ties to the Trump campaign, which is ongoing.
That investigation was initiated last spring and involves an interagency task force that includes representatives from the FBI, CIA, NSA and Treasury Department. At least three members of the Trump campaign were the focus of the investigation.
At one point in the larger investigation, the FBI requested four warrants from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, commonly known as the FISA court. At least one of the warrants was granted and at least one other was not. It is not known whether any of the warrants specifically dealt with Flynn's contacts with Russian officials, which escalated after the November elections.
On Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that the administration had not been informed of any particular investigation and would not interfere with any probe. Spicer added that Flynn told him Sunday night that Flynn and Kislyak spoke twice in late December.
During the course of those conversations, Flynn said the men exchanged Christmas greetings and discussed a Dec. 25 plane crash that killed members of a Russian military choir, peace talks in Syria and plans for a post-inauguration phone call between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Matthew Dean is Fox News Channel's Department of Justice & Federal Law Enforcement producer. Follow him on Twitter @MattFirewall.
Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.
VIDEO - Government loses Brexit vote appeal - BBC News
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 03:20
Government loses Brexit vote appeal - BBC News ]]>
]]> Supreme Court rules against governmentParliament must vote to trigger BrexitSupreme Court decision was by 8 to 3Ministers insist no delay to BrexitBill to be published 'within days'Devolved administrations lose their cases
VIDEO - Steve King Says 'I Ran The Numbers', Found 2.4M 'Illegal Votes' Against Trump | Crooks and Liars
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 01:24
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said on Tuesday that he had personally done an "extrapolation calculation" from two Virginia counties and determined that President Donald Trump had likely lost the popular vote due to 2.4 million "illegal" voters.
During an interview with King on MSNBC, host Hallie Jackson noted that Trump told congressional leaders on Monday that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, causing him to lose the popular vote.
"Let's be clear, that's not true," Jackson pointed out. "There's no evidence that exists."
"I hadn't heard the 3 to 5 [million], I heard the 3 million," King said. "There is data out there that is sample data from certain counties -- two counties in Virginia, for example, and other counties scattered around the country. And I took that article when I first saw it come out a couple of three months ago and did an extrapolation calculation on how many illegals could have or could be voting in the United States."
"The number I came up with off of that extrapolation was 2.4 million," the congressman continued. "So, it's plausible. The number of 3 million sounds like it's a plausible number to me."
"The fact checkers have knocked that down," Jackson observed.
"Well, sometimes the fact checkers have a political agenda," King insisted. "And I don't want to have a whole [conversation] about alternative facts. But I read those facts from those sample counties and I thought, 'Huh, I wonder what that could mean for America?' Got out my calculator, ran the numbers, I came to 2.4 [million]."
King, however, argued that he was not questioning the legitimacy of Trump's win.
"If there were illegal votes that were cast -- and I'm convinced that there were but I don't know the magnitude -- he overcame that," he opined. "We don't really care about the popular vote. It doesn't matter."
"There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, there just simply isn't," the MSNBC host countered. "Is it dangerous for you as an elected member of Congress who represents constituents in Iowa to be talking about this and to be pushing this kind of rhetoric? What does that do to our democracy?"
'†' Story continues below '†'
King disagreed: "I know these circumstances exist but we haven't been able to quantify it adequately."
"We're finding lots of illegals on the voter rolls when we call them to jury duty," he added. "So they're out there and we know they are voting but we don't know the numbers yet."
VIDEO - Kellyanne Conway does standup comedy and sings - YouTube
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 22:38
VIDEO - Video - Man op fiets brengt Women's March sneeuwvlokjes tot zwijgen met ratio en argumenten | ThePostOnline
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 18:41
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Nieuws overzicht18:35Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA) neemt het op tegen Donald Trump (Amerika)
16:49Video '' Geert Wilders: De PVV sluit de VVD niet uit
16:40Deze Amerikaan blijft in Syri: 'Ik wil hier sterven'
16:20Shia LaBeouf reageert grandioos op neonazi
15:41Schiphol verlost van taxironselaars
15:35Minister Ard van der Steur (VVD): Kamerlid Ard van der Steur (VVD) heeft niet geschrapt in Kamerbrief Teevendeal
15:31Anonieme auteur website 'verschillige' NPO vergelijkt De Balie met 'Beierse bierhal jaren dertig'
VIDEO - Springsteen
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:59
Mike KaufmanJust three comments in and there is the obligatory 'keep you political opinions to yourself'. This is Bruce Springsteen's own timeline so if you don't like it unfollow and, much as I don't want to spoil your illusion, Bruce has never shied away from political opinion in his work so perhaps he's not the artist for you? Maybe pop over to AC/DC's page who are less known for their politics? I suggest you also avoid Guns N' Roses who also showed their support for the march. Politics and art have always walked hand in hand and now is no time to stop.Jim WelshPlease. Now more than ever we need your voice, Bruce.
James SchapiroI love all these people, "keep your political opinions to yourself, I'm no longer a fan, blah blah blah..."He's Bruce Springsteen. He can do whatever the fuck he wants, including express his political views, which are the right ones. He can do this because - as I believe I mentioned - he's Bruce Fucking Springsteen, and he cares not a whit whether conservative lunatics don't like what he says.
Keep it up, boss.
Alexander JohnsonYall realize that Bruce has ALWAYS been political, right? Listen to the "Nebraska" album and "Born in the USA."He's always been political. If you're unaware, maybe you're not really a fan of Springsteen then.
Olav van der VeenFor all the haters. Go listen to Ted Nugent or Kid Rock if you don't like what he believes.Have fun with that.
Rocco HagenBruce is an inspiration. Always empathetic, and on the forward-thinkin g side of history for 40+ years. A true American treasure.
Harriet Thomas IvyI marched in Atlanta because this is so true: So listen up, my sonny boy, be ready for when they comeFor they'll be returning sure as the rising sunNow get yourself a song to sing and sing it 'til you're doneYeah, sing it hard and sing it wellSend the robber barons straight to hellThe greedy thieves who came aroundAnd ate the flesh of everything they foundWhose crimes have gone unpunished nowWho walk the streets as free men now
Denise DeanI love you Bruce, but do you mean rallied by smashing windows, hitting people with bricks and bottles, burning trash in the streets, fighting with anyone who disagreed with them..... if that's tolerance, inclusion, equality, no thanks! Give peace a chance.
Pam PrichardKeep speaking out, Bruce! We need your voice! Thanks E Street Band. We love you!
Erik SchepersWait a darn tootin' minute. Are people really so dim that only now they have realised Bruce is a progressive fellow? Boggles the mind, doesn't it?
VIDEO - DNC Chair Candidates Bash White People in Racially-Charged Forum :: Grabien News
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:23
Candidates aspiring to take over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee met Monday night to discuss what went wrong in 2016 and how to get the party back on track.
Early into the event the candidates gravitated toward a particular scapegoat for the party's poor showing in November: Political consultancies owned by white people.
''We have to stop, particularly with the consultants,'' said the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Jaime Harrison. ''You cannot come to the DNC and get a contract and the only minority face you have is the person answering the phone.''
Minority consultants ''need to get the same resources that the white consultants have gotten,'' said a Fox News analyst and candidate for the chairmanship, Jehmu Greene. "The DNC did a piss poor, pathetic job" attracting minorities, she said.
Democrats must provide ''training'' that focuses in part on teaching Americans ''how to be sensitive and how to shut their mouths if they are white,'' urged the executive director of Idaho's Democratic Party, Sally Boynton Brown, who is white.
The event's moderator, MSNBC's Joy Ann Reid, asked the candidates how the party should handle the Black Lives Now movement.
The candidates uniformly emphasized that the party must embrace the activists unreservedly.
''It makes me sad that we're even having that conversation and that tells me that white leaders in our party have failed,'' Brown said. ''I'm a white woman, I don't get it. '... My job is to listen and be a voice and shut other white people down when they want to interrupt.''
''This is life and death'' she emphasized. ''I am a human being trying to do good work and I can't do it without y'all. So please, please, please, get ahold of me. Sally at we-the-dnc.org. I need schooling so I can go school the other white people.''
Another candidate said black Americans are now living with ''justified fear'' of being killed after Donald Trump was elected president.
Raymond Buckley, the chairman for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, told a story about how, in the midst of ''grieving'' on Election Day, he received a call from his black niece, who feared for her life after Trump's victory.
''It's not just certain parts of the country,'' he said. ''That fear is all across the country. It's even in rural new Hampshire. So when people say black lives matter, you are damn right they matter.''
Asked whether they would agree to work with President Trump, the candidates agreed they would never do so, which drew some applause from the otherwise quiet crowd at George Washington University.
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Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:08
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Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:09
VIDEO - Corey Lewandowski Discusses Media with Howard Kurtz'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:06
Corey Lewandowski discusses how the incoming Trump administration is perceived as an existential threat by the professional media apparatus.
VIDEO - Nigel Farage and UK Prime Minister Theresa May Discuss President Trump'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:52
Two interviews from British politicians provide a great juxtaposition to reveal how post-Brexit Britain is reflecting upon President Donald Trump's ''America First'' economic agenda. The first interview is with Nigel Farage and was conducted by the primary stealth agent for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Neil Cavuto.
For those who don't follow multinational corporatist politics closely, Neil Cavuto is Rupert Murdoch's male version of Megyn Kelly on the business side. Simultaneously, Cavuto is the primary cocktail party host for all of Tom Donohue (U.S. CoC) events.
In an effort to avoid the backlash and brutal sunlight felt by Ms. Kelly, Cavuto monitors his own propaganda distribution much closer now than he did previously. Cavuto, Murdoch and Donohue, all birds of the same feather '' having lost hundreds of millions- walk a more careful tight-wire because Trump has cut holes in their safety nets. Watch:
The next interview is with Prime Minister Theresa May and BBC. If you think U.S. media are good at gaslighting and propaganda distribution to create false narratives, the BBC does it one better with the flair of their elitist pinkies high in the air.
The BBC interviewer transparently determined to protect elite globalism by getting Prime Minister May to say she will scold President Trump and dress him down publicly when she arrives in the U.S.
The peasants are once again simply too revolting'.... which seems a little odd coming from all the pontificating nasal squeaks who can't be bothered to brush their teeth. [It's no wonder Gwyneth Paltrow loves London.]
This visual will become infinitely more apropos as the era of Trump continues.

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