Art for episode 929

929: Sologamy

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 7m
May 14th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Grand Duke of the Pacific NW Dwayne Melancon, Scott Moore, Diane Holst

Associate Executive Producers: Ryan Caldarone

Cover Artist: The Trix Rabbit Of Thorium

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Hate Trumps Love
The Shifting Meaning of ‘Fulsome’
It has been a fulsome week on Capitol Hill.
On Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. “I intend my answers today to be as fulsome and comprehensive as possible while respecting my legal and ethical boundaries,” ran her opening statement.
Then on Tuesday evening, after news broke that President Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) released this statement: “It is essential that ongoing investigations are fulsome and free of political interference until their completion.”
The way that Ms. Yates and Mr. Corker used “fulsome,” to mean “very full” or “complete,” raised some eyebrows among usage sticklers, who have long decried what they see as improper applications of the word. When Ms. Yates said “fulsome,” Bryan Garner, editor of “Garner’s Modern English Usage,” responded on Twitter, “Oh dear.”
Mr. Garner recommends that “fulsome” only be used in its “traditional, disparaging sense,” meaning “excessively lavish” or “offensive to good taste.” Thus, “fulsome praise” should be understood as praise that is insincerely flattering, rather than simply abundant.
While what Mr. Garner calls the “loose usage” of “fulsome” has been on the increase in recent decades, it is in fact something of a revival of the word’s original meaning. When “fulsome” first entered the language in the 13th century, it meant “copious, plentiful,” etymologically linked to the word “full.”
But that positive meaning underwent a peculiar historical transformation. By around 1500, “fulsome” could mean “corpulent,” “obnoxious” or “tedious.” A century later, it continued its downward descent, into “sickening” or “excessively effusive.” And there things stood, until the meaning started moving back to neutral or positive senses in the 20th century, no doubt influenced by the resemblance of “fulsome” to “full.”
Linguists call a positive-to-negative semantic shift “pejoration,” and the reverse process is “melioration.” While many words have undergone such radical shifts (“nice” used to mean “stupid” or “timid,” for instance), “fulsome” is remarkable for its full pendulum swing from positive to negative and back again.
The dueling interpretations can lead to ambiguity: Is “fulsome praise” a good or bad thing? Usually context will clarify the situation. When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described a recent telephone call between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as “very fulsome,” we can assume he meant the conversation was very detailed and not full of insincere flattery (though perhaps it was both).
Mr. Garner puts “fulsome” in the category of “skunked terms”: words undergoing a shift in meaning. (Other examples include “effete,” “enormity,” “nonplused” and “bemused.”) When a word has become “skunked,” Mr. Garner advises, it is often best to avoid it, since either the old or the new usage is sure to bother someone.
But given its currency among the political class, the so-old-it’s-new meaning of “fulsome” will no doubt continue to flourish in abundance.
Fulsome | Definition of Fulsome by Merriam-Webster
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:19
The senses shown above are the chief living senses of fulsome. Sense 2, which was a generalized term of disparagement in the late 17th century, is the least common of these. Fulsome became a point of dispute when sense 1, thought to be obsolete in the 19th century, began to be revived in the 20th. The dispute was exacerbated by the fact that the large dictionaries of the first half of the century missed the beginnings of the revival. Sense 1 has not only been revived but has spread in its application and continues to do so. The chief danger for the user of fulsome is ambiguity. Unless the context is made very clear, the reader or hearer cannot be sure whether such an expression as ''fulsome praise'' is meant in sense 1b or in sense 4.
Hollywood Whackers
Despite High Ratings, ABC Cancels Trump-Friendly Sitcom 'Last Man Standing' | Daily Wire
Thu, 11 May 2017 20:39
Even though it had been dumped on Friday nights, the Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing enjoyed ratings that Deadlinedescribes as "very respectable for any night and especially Friday[.]" Every week, the half-hour comedy, one of the very few aimed to appeal to America's heartland, won its time-slot in the all-important demo, including 6.4 million overall same-day viewers. Deadline further adds that "[w]hile most returning shows were down year-to-year 20-30%, LMS was virtually flat, off just by 5% in total viewers and adults 18-49[.]"
Those are very impressive numbers for a show that has been around for six full seasons.
But that is not all!
Last Man Standing was ABC's Friday anchor, meaning a show that could not only be counted on to win the night but one that kept viewers tuned in to whatever shows came after. Anchors are also crucially important when it comes to launching new shows.
But that is not all!
The real money in the sitcom business comes from syndication rights, selling the reruns on a per episode basis to other networks. Last Man Standing is not only a syndication smash, a virtual cash cow, per Deadline it is the "rare off-network ratings success story these days."
When a show does this well in syndication, every episode becomes a bar of gold, a likely source of rolling revenue for years and years to come. Even aging sitcoms that lose their audience are sometimes renewed for an extra season because each of those episodes is worth a fortune in syndication.
So why was this popular and profitable sitcom abruptly canceled?
Well, this is where the byzantine world of television and politics and fascist corporations becomes as interesting as it is revealing and chilling.
After six seasons, the ABC broadcast network is contractually required to cover the cost of producing the show. Until now, Last Man Standing had been produced and paid for by 20th Century Fox TV before being licensed for broadcast to ABC.
To no one's surprise (explained below), and although 20th Century Fox had agreed to reduce its fees, without even bothering to negotiate something that would allow them to hold onto this hit show, ABC abruptly canceled it, using the fig leaf of cost, singling out Tim Allen's high salary.
The real reason ABC canceled "Last Man Standing" was almost certainly due to politics. Allen's character is, as described by Deadline, a '...
'... political conservative and devout Christian adhering to traditional American values, the blue-collar comedy appeals to viewers in the Heartland, a constituency that helped elect Donald Trump as president and has been energized post-election as evidenced by the ratings success of new USA drama Shooter.
Through his character, the politically conservative Allen has poked fun at Hillary Clinton, political correctness, and the Left at large. Worse still, he has created a popular, sympathetic and likable television personality who holds the beliefs and values our entertainment and media elites want to tell us can only belong to Nazis.
Moreover, the ABC television network is owned by Disney, a rabidly left-wing company run by Bob Iger, who, for years, has been a huge supporter of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. In order to protect the Clintons, Iger has gone so far as to eat $40 million. The Path to 9/11 was a popular 2006 miniseries that offered only light criticism of Bill Clinton's handling of Osama bin Laden. Although the original idea was to rerun the program every September 11, Iger has not only refused to rerun it even once (losing all that advertising revenue), he won't even release it on home video.
That kind of corporate fascism, Iger's willingness to shove a $40 million investment into a ditch, only helps us to make sense of ABC's strangling of a proven golden goose like Last Man Standing.
No one better understands the power of popular culture than those who work in it. They know that if even one is allowed to get through, a Path to 9/11, a Last Man Standing, a Duck Dynasty, a Passion of the Christ, a 13 Hours, a Fox News, that it must be crushed, toxified, or memory-holed out of the fear that those brainwashed by popular culture might discover another side to the story. And then there is the intolerable risk that a success might breed more of them.
No matter the financial cost, this cannot be allowed.
Oh, and if you buy ABC's excuse, riddle me this report that just so happened to be released within hours of the news that Last Man Standing had been canceled:
Reaching both agreements, especially a new license-fee pact with ABC, was not easy. Talks between the network and 20th TV started awhile ago. The studio originally sought a two-season renewal, which was met with resistance by the network at first until the two sides finally came to a deal. It followed an agreement in principle ABC and 20th TV reached at the end of February, which outlined what the license-fee structure should look like predicated on making new salary agreements with the actors.
Weird how ABC was totally comfortable doing for the left-wing Modern Family exactly what it wouldn't do for a show that appeals to the other half of the country.
Weird how ABC was totally comfortable doing for the left-wing Modern Family exactly what it wouldn't do for a show that appeals to the other half of the country.
P.S. Everyone should read Ben Shapiro's "Primetime Propaganda," a brilliant and detailed look at how the public airwaves have been high-jacked by left-wing propagandists, oftentimes at the expense of success and profit.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.
The "Last Man Standing" Has Fallen
Thu, 11 May 2017 20:35
LISTEN TO TLR'S LATEST PODCAST:By Paul Meekin
''Last Man Standing'' is reportedly on ABC's chopping block. The three camera sitcom focuses on a conservative business owner in a post-modern world, as he contends with new-age liberalism, politically correct politics, and the universal nature of being middle-aged as the whole wide world moves away from everything you thought to be true.
Reportedly hitting a ratings high in its sixth season (perhaps in correlation to the rise of President Donald Trump) it's odd such a successful'...and timely show would find itself on the chopping block. The show averages between 5-6 million viewers an episode, which is about on par with ''Law and Order: SVU,'' the current season of ''Modern Family,'' a little under ''Game of Thrones,'' and six times higher than Lena Dunham's recently ended 'Girls'.
But ratings can be misleading because it depends on who is watching. Demographics are important, especially in an age where terrestrial television ratings are an increasingly small part of a show's revenue stream. A show like ''Game of Thrones,'' or even ''Girls,'' appeals to young people who are prone to buy the episode on iTunes, subscribe to HBO GO, and are generally more likely to engage with the show on a variety of platforms. Considering ''Last Man Standing's'' target demo, my ageist postulation is that kind groundswell doesn't exist for a show not at all targeted toward young folks.
Of course, if you want to get snooty about it you could make a case that Tim Allen's comments on Jimmy Kimmel regarding being a conservative in Hollywood landed the show in hot water.
There's also the fact Tim Allen commands a hefty price-tag and as shows go on they become more expensive '' though rumor has it the show has been a success in syndication, which is where the 'real' money is when it comes to network television.
'...And the liberal arts education in me would be remiss if I didn't point out I had to scroll through like 9 white people to get to the singular black actor on the show.
Regardless, there is a silver lining here; Tim Allen is (somewhat) relevant again, and judging by his appearance on Kimmel, isn't afraid to speak his mind and voice unpopular opinions with a dose of humor and humility, which is how we come together as a society.
Allen was a stand-up comic first, actor second. These six years of his life have probably provided ammunition for a comedy special for the ages '' one steeped in the insanity of Hollywood, television, public opinion, and conservative thinking.
So while Last Man Standing may be falling with style, it looks like Tim Allen himself is prone to soar.
WATCH TLR'S LATEST VIDEO:conservativesJimmy Kimmellast man standingtim allen
About The Author
Steve Harvey Confirms Shocking Staff Memo, Doesn't Apologize | Hollywood Reporter
Fri, 12 May 2017 01:41
The fiery email he sent to staff reads: "Do not come to my dress room unless invited. Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED."
The Steve Harvey letter is real.
The veteran TV host admits in a new interview with ET's Kevin Frazier that he sent a tersely worded letter to his staff '-- one obtained and published by Chicago media writer Robert Feder '-- berating them for ambushing him on the set of his TV show, Steve Harvey. He also acknowledges that it, perhaps, could've been handled differently, while also expressing his surprise that its publication inspired so many headlines and so much negative reaction.
"I don't apologize about the letter, but it's kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man," the host, 60, who is in the process of moving his five-year-old show from Chicago to new headquarters in Los Angeles, told ET. "I just didn't want to be in this prison anymore where I had to be in this little room, scared to go out and take a breath of fresh air without somebody approaching me, so I wrote the letter."
The contents of the email were detailed in full in Feder's blog post Wednesday with the headline "So Long, Steve: Not Everyone's Sorry to See Harvey Leave Town." Apparently it was sent ahead of the current season, which wrapped on Thursday, crafted in an attempt to lay out specific rules for how and when to approach Harvey.
"There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE. Do not come to my dress room unless invited. Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED," it reads. "I have been taken advantage of by my lenient policy in the past. This ends now. NO MORE. '... I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day. '... Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment."
In his ET interview, Harvey said it was a request for his staff to honor and respect his privacy. "I could not find a way to walk from the stage to my dressing room, to sit in my makeup chair, to walk from my dressing room to the stage or to just sit and have lunch without somebody just walking in," he continued. "Look man, I'm in my makeup chair, they walk in the room. I'm having lunch, they walk in, they don't knock. I'm in the hallway, I'm getting ambushed by people with friends that come to the show and having me sign this and do this. I just said, 'Wait a minute.' And in hindsight, I probably should've handled it a little bit differently."
The full memo, as published on Feder's blog, is below.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome back.
I'd like you all to review and adhere to the following notes and rules for Season 5 of my talk show.
There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE.
Do not come to my dressing room unless invited.
Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED.
My security team will stop everyone from standing at my door who have the intent to see or speak to me.
I want all the ambushing to stop now. That includes TV staff.
You must schedule an appointment.
I have been taken advantage of by my lenient policy in the past. This ends now. NO MORE.
Do not approach me while I'm in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly. Either knock or use the doorbell.
I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day.
Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me. I hate being ambushed. Please make an appointment.
I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.
If you're reading this, yes, I mean you.
Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.
Thank you all,
Steve Harvey
CYBER!
Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool - NYTimes.com
Sat, 13 May 2017 14:04
SAN FRANCISCO '-- Hackers exploiting malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency executed damaging cyberattacks on Friday that hit dozens of countries worldwide, forcing Britain's public health system to send patients away, freezing computers at Russia's Interior Ministry and wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers elsewhere.
The attacks amounted to an audacious global blackmail attempt spread by the internet and underscored the vulnerabilities of the digital age.
Transmitted via email, the malicious software locked British hospitals out of their computer systems and demanded ransom before users could be let back in '-- with a threat that data would be destroyed if the demands were not met.
By late Friday the attacks had spread to more than 74 countries, according to security firms tracking the spread. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, said Russia was the worst-hit, followed by Ukraine, India and Taiwan. Reports of attacks also came from Latin America and Africa.
The attacks appeared to be the largest ransomware assault on record, but the scope of the damage was hard to measure. It was not clear if victims were paying the ransom, which began at about $300 to unlock individual computers, or even if those who did pay would regain access to their data.
Security experts described the attacks as the digital equivalent of a perfect storm. They began with a simple phishing email, similar to the one Russian hackers used in the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other targets last year. They then quickly spread through victims' systems using a hacking method that the N.S.A. is believed to have developed as part of its arsenal of cyberweapons. And finally they encrypted the computer systems of the victims, locking them out of critical data, including patient records in Britain.
The connection to the N.S.A. was particularly chilling. Starting last summer, a group calling itself the ''Shadow Brokers'' began to post software tools that came from the United States government's stockpile of hacking weapons.
The attacks on Friday appeared to be the first time a cyberweapon developed by the N.S.A., funded by American taxpayers and stolen by an adversary had been unleashed by cybercriminals against patients, hospitals, businesses, governments and ordinary citizens.
Something similar occurred with remnants of the ''Stuxnet'' worm that the United States and Israel used against Iran's nuclear program nearly seven years ago. Elements of those tools frequently appear in other, less ambitious attacks.
The United States has never confirmed that the tools posted by the Shadow Brokers belonged to the N.S.A. or other intelligence agencies, but former intelligence officials have said that the tools appeared to come from the N.S.A.'s ''Tailored Access Operations'' unit, which infiltrates foreign computer networks. (The unit has since been renamed.)
The attacks on Friday are likely to raise significant questions about whether the growing number of countries developing and stockpiling cyberweapons can avoid having those same tools purloined and turned against their own citizens.
They also showed how easily a cyberweapon can wreak havoc, even without shutting off a country's power grid or its cellphone network.
Graphic | Animated Map of How Tens of Thousands of Computers Were Infected With Ransomware A new strain of ransomware spread rapidly around the world on Friday.
In Britain, hospitals were locked out of their systems and doctors could not call up patient files. Emergency rooms were forced to divert people seeking urgent care.
In Russia, the country's powerful Interior Ministry, after denying reports that its computers had been targeted, confirmed in a statement that ''around 1,000 computers were infected,'' which it described as less than 1 percent of its total. The ministry, which oversees Russia's police forces, said technicians had contained the attack.
Some intelligence officials were dubious about that announcement because they suspect Russian involvement in the theft of the N.S.A. tools.
But James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said he suspected that criminals operating from Eastern Europe acting on their own were responsible. ''This doesn't look like state activity, given the targets that were hit,'' he said.
Those targets included corporate computer systems in many other countries '-- including FedEx in the United States, one of the world's leading international shippers, as well as Spain's Telef"nica and Russia's MegaFon telecom giant.
It could take months to find who was behind the attacks '-- a mystery that may go unsolved. But they alarmed cybersecurity experts everywhere, reflecting the enormous vulnerabilities to internet invasions faced by disjointed networks of computer systems.
There is no automatic way to ''patch'' their weaknesses around the world.
''When people ask what keeps you up at night, it's this,'' said Chris Camacho, the chief strategy officer at Flashpoint, a New York security firm tracking the attacks. Mr. Camacho said he was particularly disturbed at how the attacks spread like wildfire through corporate, hospital and government networks.
Another security expert, Rohyt Belani, the chief executive of PhishMe, an email security company, said the wormlike capability of the malware was a significant shift from previous ransom attacks. ''This is almost like the atom bomb of ransomware,'' Mr. Belani said, warning that the attack ''may be a sign of things to come.''
The hackers' weapon of choice on Friday was Wanna Decryptor, a new variant of the WannaCry ransomware, which encrypts victims' data, locks them out of their systems and demands ransoms.
Researchers said the impact and speed of Friday's attacks had not been seen in nearly a decade, when the Conficker computer worm infected millions of government, business and personal computers in more than 190 countries, threatening to overpower the computer networks that controlled health care, air traffic and banking systems over the course of several weeks.
One reason the ransomware on Friday was able to spread so quickly was that the stolen N.S.A. hacking tool, known as ''Eternal Blue,'' affected a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows servers.
Hours after the Shadow Brokers released the tool last month, Microsoft assured users that it had already included a patch for the underlying vulnerability in a software update in March.
The home page of the East and North Hertfordshire N.H.S. Trust website on Friday.
East And North Hertfordshire NHS / Press Association, via Associated Press
But Microsoft, which regularly credits researchers who discover holes in its products, curiously would not say who had tipped the company off to the issue. Many suspected that the United States government itself had told Microsoft, after the N.S.A. realized that its hacking method exploiting the vulnerability had been stolen.
Privacy activists said if that were the case, the government would be to blame for the fact that so many companies were left vulnerable to Friday's attacks. It takes time for companies to roll out systemwide patches, and by notifying Microsoft of the hole only after the N.S.A.'s hacking tool was stolen, activists say the government would have left many hospitals, businesses and governments susceptible.
''It would be deeply troubling if the N.S.A. knew about this vulnerability but failed to disclose it to Microsoft until after it was stolen,'' Patrick Toomey, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, said on Friday. ''These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and criminals around the world.''
During the Obama administration, the White House created a process to review software vulnerabilities discovered by intelligence agencies, and to determine which should be ''stockpiled'' for future offensive or defensive cyberoperations and which should be reported to the companies so that they could be fixed.
Last year the administration said that only a small fraction were retained by the government. But this vulnerability appeared to be one of them, and it was patched only recently, suggesting that the N.S.A. may have concluded the tool had been stolen and therefore warned Microsoft.
But that was clearly too little, and far too late.
On Friday, hackers took advantage of the fact that vulnerable targets '-- particularly hospitals '-- had yet to patch their systems, either because they had ignored advisories from Microsoft or because they were using outdated software that Microsoft no longer supports or updates.
The malware was circulated by email. Targets were sent an encrypted, compressed file that, once loaded, allowed the ransomware to infiltrate its targets. The fact that the files were encrypted ensured that the ransomware would not be detected by security systems until employees opened them, inadvertently allowing the ransomware to replicate across their employers' networks.
Employees at Britain's National Health Service had been warned about the ransomware threat earlier on Friday. But it was too late. As the disruptions rippled through at least 36 hospitals, doctors' offices and ambulance companies across Britain, the health service declared the attack a ''major incident,'' warning that local health services could be overwhelmed.
Britain's health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was briefed by cybersecurity experts, while Prime Minister Theresa May's office said on television that ''we're not aware of any evidence that patient data has been compromised.''
As the day wore on, dozens of companies across Europe, Asia and the United States discovered that they had been hit with the ransomware when they saw criminals' messages on their computer screens demanding $300 to unlock their data. But the criminals designed their ransomware to increase the ransom amount on a set schedule and threatened to erase the hostage data after a predetermined cutoff time, raising the urgency of the attack and increasing the likelihood that victims would pay.
Without the ability to decrypt their data on their own, security experts said that victims who had not backed up their data were faced with a choice: Either live without their data or pay. It was not clear how many victims ultimately paid.
Security experts advised companies to immediately update their systems with the Microsoft patch.
Until organizations use the Microsoft patch, Mr. Camacho said, they could continue to be hit '-- not just by ransomware, but by all kinds of malicious tools that can manipulate, steal or delete their data.
''There is going to be a lot more of these attacks,'' he said. ''We'll see copycats, and not just for ransomware, but other attacks.''
Nicole Perlroth reported from San Francisco and David E. Sanger from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Dan Bilefsky, Sewell Chan and Yonette Joseph from London, Ivan Nechepurenko from Moscow, Raphael Minder from Ftima, Portugal, and Rick Gladstone from New York.
Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure | whitehouse.gov
Thu, 11 May 2017 22:30
EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - -
STRENGTHENING THE CYBERSECURITY OF FEDERAL NETWORKS AND CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to protect American innovation and values, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Cybersecurity of Federal Networks.
(a) Policy. The executive branch operates its information technology (IT) on behalf of the American people. Its IT and data should be secured responsibly using all United States Government capabilities. The President will hold heads of executive departments and agencies (agency heads) accountable for managing cybersecurity risk to their enterprises. In addition, because risk management decisions made by agency heads can affect the risk to the executive branch as a whole, and to national security, it is also the policy of the United States to manage cybersecurity risk as an executive branch enterprise.
(b) Findings.
(i) Cybersecurity risk management comprises the full range of activities undertaken to protect IT and data from unauthorized access and other cyber threats, to maintain awareness of cyber threats, to detect anomalies and incidents adversely affecting IT and data, and to mitigate the impact of, respond to, and recover from incidents. Information sharing facilitates and supports all of these activities.
(ii) The executive branch has for too long accepted antiquated and difficult''to-defend IT.
(iii) Effective risk management involves more than just protecting IT and data currently in place. It also requires planning so that maintenance, improvements, and modernization occur in a coordinated way and with appropriate regularity.
(iv) Known but unmitigated vulnerabilities are among the highest cybersecurity risks faced by executive departments and agencies (agencies). Known vulnerabilities include using operating systems or hardware beyond the vendor's support lifecycle, declining to implement a vendor's security patch, or failing to execute security-specific configuration guidance.
(v) Effective risk management requires agency heads to lead integrated teams of senior executives with expertise in IT, security, budgeting, acquisition, law, privacy, and human resources.
(c) Risk Management.
(i) Agency heads will be held accountable by the President for implementing risk management measures commensurate with the risk and magnitude of the harm that would result from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of IT and data. They will also be held accountable by the President for ensuring that cybersecurity risk management processes are aligned with strategic, operational, and budgetary planning processes, in accordance with chapter 35, subchapter II of title 44, United States Code.
(ii) Effective immediately, each agency head shall use The Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (the Framework) developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or any successor document, to manage the agency's cybersecurity risk. Each agency head shall provide a risk management report to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 90 days of the date of this order. The risk management report shall:
(A) document the risk mitigation and acceptance choices made by each agency head as of the date of this order, including:
(1) the strategic, operational, and budgetary considerations that informed those choices; and
(2) any accepted risk, including from unmitigated vulnerabilities; and
(B) describe the agency's action plan to implement the Framework.
(iii) The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB, consistent with chapter 35, subchapter II of title 44, United States Code, shall jointly assess each agency's risk management report to determine whether the risk mitigation and acceptance choices set forth in the reports are appropriate and sufficient to manage the cybersecurity risk to the executive branch enterprise in the aggregate (the determination).
(iv) The Director of OMB, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, with appropriate support from the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of General Services, and within 60 days of receipt of the agency risk management reports outlined in subsection (c)(ii) of this section, shall submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the following:
(A) the determination; and
(B) a plan to:
(1) adequately protect the executive branch enterprise, should the determination identify insufficiencies;
(2) address immediate unmet budgetary needs necessary to manage risk to the executive branch enterprise;
(3) establish a regular process for reassessing and, if appropriate, reissuing the determination, and addressing future, recurring unmet budgetary needs necessary to manage risk to the executive branch enterprise;
(4) clarify, reconcile, and reissue, as necessary and to the extent permitted by law, all policies, standards, and guidelines issued by any agency in furtherance of chapter 35, subchapter II of title 44, United States Code, and, as necessary and to the extent permitted by law, issue policies, standards, and guidelines in furtherance of this order; and
(5) align these policies, standards, and guidelines with the Framework.
(v) The agency risk management reports described in subsection (c)(ii) of this section and the determination and plan described in subsections (c)(iii) and (iv) of this section may be classified in full or in part, as appropriate.
(vi) Effective immediately, it is the policy of the executive branch to build and maintain a modern, secure, and more resilient executive branch IT architecture.
(A) Agency heads shall show preference in their procurement for shared IT services, to the extent permitted by law, including email, cloud, and cybersecurity services.
(B) The Director of the American Technology Council shall coordinate a report to the President from the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of OMB, and the Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, as appropriate, regarding modernization of Federal IT. The report shall:
(1) be completed within 90 days of the date of this order; and
(2) describe the legal, policy, and budgetary considerations relevant to -- as well as the technical feasibility and cost effectiveness, including timelines and milestones, of -- transitioning all agencies, or a subset of agencies, to:
(aa) one or more consolidated network architectures; and
(bb) shared IT services, including email, cloud, and cybersecurity services.
(C) The report described in subsection (c)(vi)(B) of this section shall assess the effects of transitioning all agencies, or a subset of agencies, to shared IT services with respect to cybersecurity, including by making recommendations to ensure consistency with section 227 of the Homeland Security Act (6 U.S.C. 148) and compliance with policies and practices issued in accordance with section 3553 of title 44, United States Code. All agency heads shall supply such information concerning their current IT architectures and plans as is necessary to complete this report on time.
(vii) For any National Security System, as defined in section 3552(b)(6) of title 44, United States Code, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, rather than the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB, shall implement this order to the maximum extent feasible and appropriate. The Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence shall provide a report to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism describing their implementation of subsection (c) of this section within 150 days of the date of this order. The report described in this subsection shall include a justification for any deviation from the requirements of subsection (c), and may be classified in full or in part, as appropriate.
Sec. 2. Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructure.
(a) Policy. It is the policy of the executive branch to use its authorities and capabilities to support the cybersecurity risk management efforts of the owners and operators of the Nation's critical infrastructure (as defined in section 5195c(e) of title 42, United States Code) (critical infrastructure entities), as appropriate.
(b) Support to Critical Infrastructure at Greatest Risk. The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the heads of appropriate sector-specific agencies, as defined in Presidential Policy Directive 21 of February 12, 2013 (Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience) (sector-specific agencies), and all other appropriate agency heads, as identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall:
(i) identify authorities and capabilities that agencies could employ to support the cybersecurity efforts of critical infrastructure entities identified pursuant to section 9 of Executive Order 13636 of February 12, 2013 (Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity), to be at greatest risk of attacks that could reasonably result in catastrophic regional or national effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security (section 9 entities);
(ii) engage section 9 entities and solicit input as appropriate to evaluate whether and how the authorities and capabilities identified pursuant to subsection (b)(i) of this section might be employed to support cybersecurity risk management efforts and any obstacles to doing so;
(iii) provide a report to the President, which may be classified in full or in part, as appropriate, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, within 180 days of the date of this order, that includes the following:
(A) the authorities and capabilities identified pursuant to subsection (b)(i) of this section;
(B) the results of the engagement and determination required pursuant to subsection (b)(ii) of this section; and
(C) findings and recommendations for better supporting the cybersecurity risk management efforts of section 9 entities; and
(iv) provide an updated report to the President on an annual basis thereafter.
(c) Supporting Transparency in the Marketplace. The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce, shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, that examines the sufficiency of existing Federal policies and practices to promote appropriate market transparency of cybersecurity risk management practices by critical infrastructure entities, with a focus on publicly traded critical infrastructure entities, within 90 days of the date of this order.
(d) Resilience Against Botnets and Other Automated, Distributed Threats. The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall jointly lead an open and transparent process to identify and promote action by appropriate stakeholders to improve the resilience of the internet and communications ecosystem and to encourage collaboration with the goal of dramatically reducing threats perpetrated by automated and distributed attacks (e.g., botnets). The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consult with the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the heads of sector-specific agencies, the Chairs of the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, other interested agency heads, and appropriate stakeholders in carrying out this subsection. Within 240 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall make publicly available a preliminary report on this effort. Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretaries shall submit a final version of this report to the President.
(e) Assessment of Electricity Disruption Incident Response Capabilities. The Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and with others as appropriate, shall jointly assess:
(i) the potential scope and duration of a prolonged power outage associated with a significant cyber incident, as defined in Presidential Policy Directive 41 of July 26, 2016 (United States Cyber Incident Coordination), against the United States electric subsector;
(ii) the readiness of the United States to manage the consequences of such an incident; and
(iii) any gaps or shortcomings in assets or capabilities required to mitigate the consequences of such an incident.
The assessment shall be provided to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, within 90 days of the date of this order, and may be classified in full or in part, as appropriate.
(f) Department of Defense Warfighting Capabilities and Industrial Base. Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on cybersecurity risks facing the defense industrial base, including its supply chain, and United States military platforms, systems, networks, and capabilities, and recommendations for mitigating these risks. The report may be classified in full or in part, as appropriate.
Sec. 3. Cybersecurity for the Nation.
(a) Policy. To ensure that the internet remains valuable for future generations, it is the policy of the executive branch to promote an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet that fosters efficiency, innovation, communication, and economic prosperity, while respecting privacy and guarding against disruption, fraud, and theft. Further, the United States seeks to support the growth and sustainment of a workforce that is skilled in cybersecurity and related fields as the foundation for achieving our objectives in cyberspace.
(b) Deterrence and Protection. Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the United States Trade Representative, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, shall jointly submit a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on the Nation's strategic options for deterring adversaries and better protecting the American people from cyber threats.
(c) International Cooperation. As a highly connected nation, the United States is especially dependent on a globally secure and resilient internet and must work with allies and other partners toward maintaining the policy set forth in this section. Within 45 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall submit reports to the President on their international cybersecurity priorities, including those concerning investigation, attribution, cyber threat information sharing, response, capacity building, and cooperation. Within 90 days of the submission of the reports, and in coordination with the agency heads listed in this subsection, and any other agency heads as appropriate, the Secretary of State shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, documenting an engagement strategy for international cooperation in cybersecurity.
(d) Workforce Development. In order to ensure that the United States maintains a long-term cybersecurity advantage:
(i) The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and other agencies identified jointly by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall:
(A) jointly assess the scope and sufficiency of efforts to educate and train the American cybersecurity workforce of the future, including cybersecurity-related education curricula, training, and apprenticeship programs, from primary through higher education; and
(B) within 120 days of the date of this order, provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, with findings and recommendations regarding how to support the growth and sustainment of the Nation's cybersecurity workforce in both the public and private sectors.
(ii) The Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the heads of other agencies identified by the Director of National Intelligence, shall:
(A) review the workforce development efforts of potential foreign cyber peers in order to help identify foreign workforce development practices likely to affect long-term United States cybersecurity competitiveness; and
(B) within 60 days of the date of this order, provide a report to the President through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism on the findings of the review carried out pursuant to subsection (d)(ii)(A) of this section.
(iii) The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence, shall:
(A) assess the scope and sufficiency of United States efforts to ensure that the United States maintains or increases its advantage in national-security-related cyber capabilities; and
(B) within 150 days of the date of this order, provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, with findings and recommendations on the assessment carried out pursuant to subsection (d)(iii)(A) of this section.
(iv) The reports described in this subsection may be classified in full or in part, as appropriate.
Sec. 4. Definitions. For the purposes of this order:
(a) The term "appropriate stakeholders" means any non-executive-branch person or entity that elects to participate in an open and transparent process established by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security under section 2(d) of this order.
(b) The term "information technology" (IT) has the meaning given to that term in section 11101(6) of title 40, United States Code, and further includes hardware and software systems of agencies that monitor and control physical equipment and processes.
(c) The term "IT architecture" refers to the integration and implementation of IT within an agency.
(d) The term "network architecture" refers to the elements of IT architecture that enable or facilitate communications between two or more IT assets.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) All actions taken pursuant to this order shall be consistent with requirements and authorities to protect intelligence and law enforcement sources and methods. Nothing in this order shall be construed to supersede measures established under authority of law to protect the security and integrity of specific activities and associations that are in direct support of intelligence or law enforcement operations.
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
May 11, 2017.
Cybersecurity Framework | NIST
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:18
Recognizing that the national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure
Latest UpdatesCybersecurity Framework Workshop on May 16-17, 2017 at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Space is limited; early registration is encouraged.; Registration
Submitted comments on proposed Cybersecurity Framework updates that were due April 10, 2017.Federal Register notice; Frequently Asked Questions
Video and downloadable presentations are now available: Cybersecurity Framework overview and proposed updates.The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program hosted a cybersecurity workshop to explain and use the Cybersecurity Excellence Builder on April 2, 2017 at the annual Quest for Excellence conference in Baltimore, Maryland.Cybersecurity professionals talk about what the Cybersecurity Framework means to their organizations. The Framework, which was created through collaboration between industry and government, consists of standards, guidelines, and practices to promote the protection of critical infrastructure. The prioritized, flexible, repeatable, and cost-effective approach of the Framework helps owners and operators of critical infrastructure to manage cybersecurity-related risk.
Above, you can also view a brief animated video, which features additional cybersecurity professionals talking about what the framework means to their organizations. These experts from Intel, Microsoft, Telos, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Restaurant Association worked with NIST, other agencies and industry and academia to develop the framework. Like the framework itself, the video is not only for those in the trenches of cybersecurity, but also those in the C-suite, who make funding and business decisions that affect cybersecurity.
F-Russia
Alleged hacker held in Prague at center of 'intense' US-Russia tug of war | Technology | The Guardian
Fri, 12 May 2017 20:13
Yevgeniy Nikulin was charged with offences relating to the hacking of computer networks belonging to LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring. Photograph: YouTube
An alleged computer hacker being held in the Czech Republic is at the centre of an international legal tussle between the United States and Russia amid lingering disquiet over Moscow's alleged interference in the recent US presidential election.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, faces extradition requests from both countries after being detained by Czech police on an Interpol arrest warrant issued by US authorities.
Nikulin, a Russian citizen, was arrested in a restaurant in Prague on 5 October shortly after arriving in the city during a holiday with his girlfriend.
A federal court in Oakland, California, followed up with an indictment charging him with offences relating to the hacking of computer networks belonging to LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring and formally requesting his extradition to the US.
He faces a maximum 30 years in prison and up to $1m in fines if convicted on charges including computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy, damaging computers and trafficking in illegal access devices.
There is no acknowledged link between Nikulin's alleged offences and the hacking of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, but his arrest came just three days before the Obama administration formally accused Russia of stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and disclosing them through WikiLeaks.
Formspring, one of the sites he allegedly hacked, was the platform used for sexting by Anthony Weiner, the former New York mayoral candidate and husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton's closest aide. The discovery of emails linked to Clinton on Weiner's laptop damaged her campaign in its final two weeks after the FBI director, James Comey, revealed their existence.
Meanwhile, Russia has responded to the American extradition request against Nikulin by tabling one of its own, demanding that he be returned to face allegations dating back to 2009 that he hacked another person's bank account and stole 111,000 roubles (£1,465).
''He was never formally accused at that time. I think the reason is that he was recruited [by the Russian security services],'' said Ondrej Kundra, political editor with the Czech weekly magazine Respekt, which has reported that the Russian services offer alleged offenders immunity from prosecution in exchange for collaboration.
One theory is Nikulin '' even if not personally involved in the election hacking '' may know other hackers who were. Photograph: Police of the Czech Republic''There's intense lobbying in this case. People from the US and Russian side are talking to the Czech authorities because both really want Nikulin in their countries.''
One theory is Nikulin '' even if not personally involved in the election hacking '' may know other hackers who were.
Fuelling speculation is the existence of sealed US court documents, tabled six days after the original indictment against Nikulin on 20 October but whose contents have not been revealed.
''A number of documents were filed under seal, which means you cannot talk about them,'' a US justice department spokesman told the Guardian.
Adam Kopecky, Nikulin's Czech lawyer, said his client denied both the US and Russian charges and suggested he had become a political pawn. ''My client and myself think it's a political affair,'' Kopecky said.
''Given the international situation, when one superpower accuses a citizen of the other of hacking their computers and then the other superpower accuses the same citizen of another crime, it's kind of strange.''
Nikulin has suffered health problems since his arrest, his lawyer said.
Kopecky lodged an official complaint after prison authorities put his client under high-level supervision that included monitoring his communications with the lawyer.
''He is unhappy about being detained for a long time in a foreign country and about the accusations against him. He wants to return to Russia '' but as a free man,'' Kopecky said.
Czech television has reported that FBI agents are to travel to Prague to question Nikulin in the presence of Czech authorities. An FBI spokesman refused to confirm that but said the bureau was ''aware of the situation''.
The case is currently in the hands of Prague's chief prosecutor, who is expected to issue a decision on the twin extradition requests at the end of this month or early in February, a spokeswoman for the city's municipal court said.
Russia's embassy in Prague declined to comment but cited a previous foreign ministry statement in which a spokeswoman compared the affair to other incidents and called it ''another proof that the US law enforcement agencies are hunting for Russian citizens across the world''.
A 32-year-old Russian computer programmer named only as Lisov was arrested by Spanish police at Barcelona airport this month on another US arrest warrant. Police in Spain said he was suspected of leading a financial fraud network and having designed and used software to steal account details from banks and individuals.
Another Russian citizen, Roman Valerevich Seleznev, was convicted last year of 38 hacking-related charges by a US court after he was arrested and extradited from Guam in 2014. Russia said Seleznev's arrest amounted to ''kidnapping''.
FBI Probe Into Clinton Emails Prompted Offer of Cash, Citizenship for Confession, Russian Hacker Claims
Fri, 12 May 2017 20:12
A Russian citizen accused of being a hacker by both Russia and the U.S. has claimed U.S. officials offered to cut him a deal if he admitted to interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, has found himself in the middle of an international dispute between Washington and Moscow, at the very center of which lies U.S. allegations that Russia sponsored a series of hacks targeting Democratic Party candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in favor of Republican candidate and current President Donald Trump. On October 5, 2016, days before U.S. intelligence publicly accused Russia of endorsing an infiltration of Democratic Party officials' emails, Nikulin was arrested in Prague at the request of the U.S. on separate hacking charges. Now, Nikulin claims U.S. authorities tried to pin the email scandal on him.
Related: How Russian State Media Got Exclusive Access to the Oval Office
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Nikulin was detained in the Czech Republic for allegedly hacking the servers of major sites LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring between 2012 and 2013. While awaiting trial, he claims in an undated letter reportedly given to U.S. Russian-language news site Nastoyashchoe Vremya by Nikulin's lawyer, Martin Sadilek, that the FBI visited him at least a couple of times, offering to drop the charges and grant him U.S. citizenship as well as cash and an apartment in the U.S. if the Russian national confessed to participating in the 2016 hacks of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta's emails in July.
People protest against then President-elect Donald Trump as electors gather to cast their votes for president at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. Trump initially dismissed allegations of Russian involvement in the election, but has since reversed his position, while denying any personal connection to the hacks. Moscow has vehemently denied interfering in the 2016 election. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
"[They told me:] you will have to confess to breaking into Clinton's inbox for [U.S. President Donald Trump] on behalf of [Russian President Vladimir Putin],'' Nikulin wrote, according to The Moscow Times.
Nikulin said he refused the deal, but U.S. officials threatened to return. He claims the visits occurred in mid-November 2016 and on February 7 of this year. Czech television has reported at least one FBI visit earlier this year, according to The Guardian, which cited an FBI spokesperson as saying the agency was "aware of the situation," but declining further comment. The FBI is seeking to extradite Nikulin to face trial in the U.S., something he and his lawyers are trying to fight.
While the U.S. has not publicly acknowledged any connection between Nikulin and the Russian election hacking controversy, Nikulin's arrest did attract the attention of Moscow. Nikulin is accused by Russia of hacking into and stealing from online WebMoney accounts. The Moscow-based online money transfer system claims 31 million users around the world and Nikulin is charged with stealing $3,450 in 2009, according to the state-owned Tass Russian News Agency. Moscow has also filed an extradition request.
Nikulin, a self-described used car salesman who claims he does not work with computers, denies the charges raised against him by both the U.S. and Moscow. His Czech lawyer, Adam Kopecky, said in January he and Nikulin believed the Russian national was being used as a "political pawn" amid an international feud between Washington and Moscow, according to The Guardian.
Nikulin was due in court Thursday, but the proceedings were interrupted when his defense lawyers indicated that their client had not received the proper Russian-language documents prior to appearing in court, the Associated Press reported. In an unusual move, the hearing was scheduled to be held in the confines of Prague's Pankrac prison over heightened security concerns. Proceedings were postponed to May 30, where he was due to appear again before Judge Jaroslav Pytloun.
BREAKING: Clinton Insiders Reveal 'Blame Russia' Plan Hatched 'Within 24 Hours' of Election Loss
Fri, 12 May 2017 20:11
Wikileaks' latest tweet has the potential to destroy the Democrat Party's narrative the election of 2016 was corrupted by Russian election meddling. The news agency detailed the contents of the book ''Shattered'' '-- written by Jonathan Allen '-- and it makes some damning accusations.
The work details former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential loss to billionaire Donald Trump. Allen, who was and is a correspondent for Bloomberg News, has also written extensively about Congress, national politics, and works as a political analyst on national television news programs.
Wikileaks uploaded a picture from a page of Allen's new book which destroys the Russian hacking narrative immediately. Wikileaks tweeted, ''New book by 'Shattered' by Clinton insiders reveals that ''blame Russia'' plan was hatched ''within twenty-four hours'' of the election loss.''
The page uploaded by Wikileaks explains how the Clinton spin machine was set in motion in the minutes following her loss to Trump. Allegedly, John Podesta (Clinton's campaign manager), collaborated with Robby Mook (fellow member of the Clinton campaign) to make the argument the election was rigged by the Russians '-- an argument which was put forward when it was revealed in early 2016 the Democratic National Committee's emails had been hacked.
Building on that narrative, the Clinton camp reportedly put out the notion to members of the media the election was anything but fair. The suggestion was apparently made that ''Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.''
The motivations for doing so are speculative at best. Was Clinton's team preparing a comeback in 2020? Was the effort done to cast the shadow of doubt over a Trump presidency? Or was the plan to implicate the Russians a way to rile up voters in an effort to somehow win the presidency when the official electoral votes were cast for the newly elected Trump?
Allen seemed to know, and his sources seemed to indicate the Clinton camp was not at all willing to concede without first doing damage to a Trump presidency. Immediately following the election, riots took place in the streets of several metropolitan areas, including Washington, D.C.
Our very own Claire Bernish took to the streets to document the uprising. With Allen's revelations and Wikileaks' charge, those same riots and school walkouts now appear to be a direct result of the Clinton campaign's spin tactics.
To this date, we've still yet to see a single shred of evidence that Russia hacked the US elections. In fact, the US is trying so hard to prove this nonexistent hacking they allegedly bribed a Russian man '-- offering him cash, citizenship, and an apartment '-- if he confessed to hacking Clinton's emails on behalf of Donald Trump. He refused.
The effects of those tactics, as well as the reportedly invented story of Russian meddling, culminated this week with the firing of FBI Director James Comey. His firing took place just as investigations into Russian election meddling were ramping up.
It remains to be seen if Trump's firing of Comey will quell the wildfire of controversy sparked by what appears to be one candidate's incessant desire to paint her opponent as nothing more than a pawn of the Russians, and painting herself as a hapless victim.
While there are plenty of reasons to stand against Donald Trump '-- war, flip-flopping on promises, increasing the police state, etc. '-- Russian hacking is not one of them.
As late as the first week in May, Clinton was still blaming the Russians among other things. According to the Associated Press, Clinton blamed misogyny (hatred of women), James Comey and the FBI, Russian meddling in the election, and even herself for her loss. Now, it seems, there's one less group to blame; The Russians.
If Allen is to be believed, it was all an apparent invention from her campaign team in an effort to control the narrative, and in some ways, control the man who beat her. The real question is who is behind these Deep State movements?
Who continues to control the mainstream media's relentless claims the Russians are to blame for a Trump presidency? Again, our readers should be reminded that not one iota of evidence exists that seem to indicate the Russians were involved at all in U.S. presidential election of 2016. Yet we've been told over and over again from talking heads in Washington the Russians did it. There simply is no proof they even attempted to interfere with the U.S. election of 2016.
Sex Pistols Were Financed by USSR to 'Destabilize Western World', Admits Ex-KGB Agent '' World News Daily Report
Tue, 09 May 2017 14:59
Alexandrei Varennikovic Voloshin, a retired KGB agent, has admitted this week on National Russian Television (NTV) that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ( USSR) was behind the creation of the 1970s punk scene and financed major punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones.
The USSR government at the time spent ''hundreds of millions of rubles'' on this covert operation destined to ''create utter chaos'' and ''pervert the Western youth to nihilist, anti-establishment and anti-american ideologies'' he explained in an hour long interview broadcast on national television.
Famous punk songs of the legendary punk band the Sex pistols were even scripted by a team of psychologists and war propagandists of the USSR. ''I am an anarchist'', ''God save the Queen the fascist regime'', ''No future'' and other nihilist and anti-establishment lyrics were intended to unleash a wave of cynicism towards authorities, promote the use of heavy drugs and entice the youth with revolutionary, counter establishment ideas.
The 1970s punk subculture movement was allegedly financed by the USSR, says ex-KGB agent, Alexandrei Varennikovic Voloshin
The retired KGB agent claims the maneuver was extremely successful.
''We understood at the time that music was a powerful means of propaganda to reach the youth'' explained the 77-year old man.
''Our mission was to use teenage angst to our advantage and turn the baby boomer generation of the West into a decadent, pro-drug and anti-establishment culture that would create uprisings and bring Western democracies into utter chaos. We even infiltrated mainstream radios to promote their music and reach millions of people everyday'' he admitted, visibly proud of the accomplishment.
''For many of us in the KGB, infiltrating the 1970s punk scene was one of the USSR's most successful experiments of propaganda to date'' he acknowledged during the interview.
Punks burning a U.S. flag in the early 1980s, influenced by the punk music scene which was allegedly financed by the USSR
Some experts openly admit Punk nihilism, which was expressed in the use of harder, more self-destructive drugs like heroin and methamphetamine, pushed United States President Richard Nixon into the War on Drugs, a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to define and reduce the illegal drug trade within America and around the world.
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ELIZA - Wikipedia - SELFIES MIRRORING YOURSELF
Sat, 13 May 2017 03:04
ELIZA is an early natural language processingcomputer program created from 1964 to 1966[1] at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum.[2] Created to demonstrate the superficiality of communication between man and machine, Eliza simulated conversation by using a 'pattern matching' and substitution methodology that gave users an illusion of understanding on the part of the program, but had no built in framework for contextualizing events.[3] Directives on how to interact were provided by 'scripts', written originally in MAD-Slip, which allowed ELIZA to process user inputs and engage in discourse following the rules and directions of the script. The most famous script, DOCTOR, simulated a Rogerian psychotherapist and used rules, dictated in the script, to respond with non-directional questions to user inputs. As such, ELIZA was one of the first chatterbots, but was also regarded as one of the first programs capable of passing the Turing Test.
ELIZA's creator, Weizenbaum regarded the program as a method to show the superficiality of communication between man and machine, but was surprised by the number of individuals who attributed human-like feelings to the computer program, including Weizenbaum's secretary.[2] Many academics believed that the program would be able to positively influence the lives of many people, particularly those suffering from psychological issues and that it could aid doctors working on such patients' treatment.[2][4] While ELIZA was capable of engaging in discourse, ELIZA could not converse with true understanding.[5] However, many early users were convinced of ELIZA's intelligence and understanding, despite Weizenbaum's insistence to the contrary.
Contents
Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA, running the DOCTOR script, was created to provide a 'parody' of ''the responses of a non-directional psychotherapist in an initial psychiatric interview''[6][not in citation given ] and to ''demonstrate that the communication between man and machine was superficial''.[7] While ELIZA is most well known for acting in the manner of a psychotherapist, this mannerism is due to the data and instructions supplied by the DOCTOR script.[8] ELIZA itself examined the text for keywords, applied values to said keywords, and transformed the input into an output; the script that ELIZA ran determined the keywords, set the values of keywords, and set the rules of transformation for the output.[6] Weizenbaum chose to make the DOCTOR script in the context of psychotherapy to ''sidestep the problem of giving the program a data base of real-world knowledge,''[2] as in a Rogerian therapeutic situation, the program had only to reflect back the patient's statements.[2] The algorithms of DOCTOR allowed for a deceptively intelligent response, that deceived many individuals when first using the program.[9]
Weizenbaum named his program ELIZA after Eliza Doolittle, a working-class character in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. According to Weizenbaum, ELIZA's ability to be ''incrementally improved'' by various users made it similar to Eliza Doolittle,[6] since Eliza Doolittle was taught to speak with an upper-classaccent in Shaw's play.[10] However, unlike in Shaw's play, ELIZA is incapable of learning new patterns of speech or new words through interaction alone. Edits must be made directly to ELIZA's active script in order to change the manner by which the program operates.
Weizenbaum first implemented ELIZA in his own SLIP list-processing language, where, depending upon the initial entries by the user, the illusion of human intelligence could appear, or be dispelled through several interchanges. Some of ELIZA's responses were so convincing that Weizenbaum and several others have anecdotes of users becoming emotionally attached to the program, occasionally forgetting that they were conversing with a computer.[2] Weizenbaum's own secretary reportedly asked Weizenbaum to leave the room so that she and ELIZA could have a real conversation. Weizenbaum was surprised by this, later writing, ''I had not realized'... that extremely short exposures to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusional thinking in quite normal people.''[11]
In 1966, interactive computing (via a teletype) was new. It was 15 years before the personal computer became familiar to the general public, and three decades before most people encountered attempts at natural language processing in Internet services like Ask.com or PC help systems such as Microsoft Office Clippy. Although those programs included years of research and work, ELIZA remains a milestone simply because it was the first time a programmer had attempted such a human-machine interaction with the goal of creating the illusion (however brief) of human-human interaction.[citation needed ]
At the ICCC 1972 ELIZA met another early artificial intelligence program named PARRY and had the first computer only conversation. While ELIZA was built to be a "Doctor" PARRY was intended to simulate a patient with schizophrenia.[12]
Weizenbaum originally wrote ELIZA in MAD-Slip for the IBM 7094, as a program to make natural language conversation possible with a computer. To accomplish this, Weizenbaum identified five ''fundamental technical problems'' for ELIZA to overcome: the identification of critical words, the discovery of a minimal context, the choice of appropriate transformations, the generation of responses appropriate to the transformation or in the absence of critical words and the provision of an ending capacity for ELIZA scripts.[6] Weizenbaum solved these problems in her ELIZA program and made ELIZA such that it had no built in contextual framework or universe of discourse.[8] However, this required ELIZA to have a script of instructions on how to respond to inputs from users.
ELIZA starts its process of responding to an input by a user by first examining the text input for a 'keyword'. A 'keyword' is a word designated as important by the acting ELIZA script, which assigns to each keyword a precedence number, or a RANK, designed by the programmer.[5] If such words are found, they are put into a 'keystack', with the keyword of the highest RANK at the top. The input sentence is then manipulated and transformed as the rule associated with the keyword of the highest RANK directs.[6] For example, when the DOCTOR script encounters words such as ''alike'' or ''same'', it would output a message pertaining to similarity, in this case ''In what way?'',[3] as these words had high precedence number. This also demonstrates how certain words, as dictated by the script, can be manipulated regardless of contextual considerations, such as switching first-person pronouns and second-person pronouns and vice versa, as these too had high precedence numbers. Such words with high precedence numbers are deemed superior to conversational patterns, and are treated independently of contextual patterns.
Following the first examination, the next step of the process is to apply an appropriate transformation rule, which includes two parts, the ''decomposition rule'' and the ''reassembly rule''.[6] First, the input is reviewed for syntactical patterns in order to establish the minimal context necessary to respond. Using the keywords and other nearby words from the input, different disassembly rules are tested until an appropriate pattern is found. Using the script's rules, the sentence is then 'dismantled' and arranged into sections of the component parts as the ''decomposition rule for the highest ranking keyword'' dictates. The example that Weizenbaum gives is the input ''I are very helpful'' (remembering that ''I'' is ''You'' transformed), which is broken into (1) empty (2) I (3) are (4) very helpful. The decomposition rule has broken the phrase into four small segments, that contain both the keywords and the information in the sentence.[6]
The decomposition rule then designates a particular reassembly rule, or set of reassembly rules, to follow when reconstructing the sentence. The reassembly rule then takes the fragments of the input that the decomposition rule had created, rearranges them, and adds in programmed words to create a response. Using Weizenbaum's example previously stated, such a reassembly rule would take the fragments and apply them to the phrase ''What makes you think I am (4)'' which would result in ''What makes you think I am very helpful''. This example is rather simple, since depending upon the disassembly rule, the output could be significantly more complex and use more of the input from the user. However, from this reassembly, ELIZA then sends the constructed sentence to the user in the form of text on the screen.[6]
These steps represent the bulk of the procedures which ELIZA follows in order to create a response from a typical input, though there are several specialized situations that ELIZA/DOCTOR can respond to. One Weizenbaum specifically wrote about was when there is not a keyword. One solution was to have ELIZA respond with a remark that lacked content, such as ''I see'' or ''Please go on.''.[6] The second method was to use a ''MEMORY'' structure, which recorded prior recent inputs, and would use these inputs to create a response referencing a part of the earlier conversation when encountered with no keywords.[9] This was possible due to Slip's ability to tag words for other usage, which simultaneously allowed ELIZA to examine, store and repurpose words for usage in outputs.[6]
While these functions were all framed in ELIZA's programming, the exact manner by which the program dismantled, examined, and reassembled inputs is determined by the operating script. However, the script is not static, and can be edited, or a new one created, as is necessary for the operation in the context needed (thus how ELIZA can ''learn'' new information). This also allows the program to be applied in multiple situations, including the well-known DOCTOR script, which simulates a Rogerian psychotherapist, but also a script called ''STUDENT'', which is capable of taking in logical analysis parameters and using it to give the answers to problems of related logic.[13]
Significant implementations Edit Weizenbaum's original MAD-SLIP implementation was re-written in Lisp by Bernie Cosell.[14][15] A BASIC version appeared in Creative Computing in 1977 (although it was written in 1973 by Jeff Shrager).[16] This version, which was ported to many of the earliest personal computers, appears to have been subsequently translated into many other versions in many other languages.
Another version of Eliza popular among software engineers is the version that comes with the default release of GNU Emacs, and which can be accessed by typing M-x doctor from most modern emacs implementations.
Lay responses to ELIZA were disturbing to Weizenbaum and motivated him to write his book Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation, in which he explains the limits of computers, as he wants to make clear in people's minds his opinion that the anthropomorphic views of computers are just a reduction of the human being and any life form for that matter. In the independent documentary film Plug & Pray (2010) Weizenbaum said that only people who misunderstood ELIZA called it a sensation.[17]
The Israeli poet David Avidan, who was fascinated with future technologies and their relation to art, desired to explore the use of computers for writing literature. He conducted several conversations with an APL implementation of ELIZA and published them '' in English, and in his own translation to Hebrew '' under the title My Electronic Psychiatrist '' Eight Authentic Talks with a Computer. In the foreword he presented it as a form of constrained writing.[18]
There are many programs based on ELIZA in different programming languages. In 1980 a company called "Don't Ask Software" created a version called "Abuse" for the Apple II, Atari, and Commodore 64 computers, which verbally abused the user based on the user's input.[19] Other versions adapted ELIZA around a religious theme, such as ones featuring Jesus (both serious and comedic) and another Apple II variant called I Am Buddha. The 1980 game The Prisoner incorporated ELIZA-style interaction within its gameplay. George Lucas and Walter Murch incorporated an Eliza-like dialogue interface in their screenplay for the feature film THX-1138 in 1969. Inhabitants of the underground future world of THX would retreat to "confession booths" when stressed, and initiate a one-sided Eliza-formula conversation with a Jesus-faced computer who claimed to be "Omm". In 1988 the British artist and friend of Weizenbaum Brian Reffin Smith created and showed at the exhibition 'Salamandre', in the Mus(C)e du Berry, Bourges, France, two art-oriented ELIZA-style programs written in BASIC, one called 'Critic' and the other 'Artist', running on two separate Amiga 1000 computers. The visitor was supposed to help them converse by typing in to 'Artist' what 'Critic' said, and vice versa. The secret was that the two programs were identical. GNU Emacs formerly had a psychoanalyze-pinheadcommand that simulates a session between ELIZA and Zippy the Pinhead.[20] The Zippyisms were removed due to copyright issues, but the DOCTOR program remains.
ELIZA has been referenced in popular culture and continues to be a source of inspiration for programmers and developers focused on Artificial Intelligence. It was also featured in a 2012 exhibit at Harvard University titled "Go Ask A.L.I.C.E", as part of a celebration of mathematician Alan Turing's 100th birthday. The exhibit explores Turing's lifelong fascination with the interaction between man and computer, pointing to ELIZA as one of the earliest realizations of Turing's ideas.[1]
Partial list of implementations Edit ^ ab "Alan Turing at 100". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 2016-02-22 . ^ abcdef Weizenbaum, Joseph (1976). Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. pp. 2,3,6,182,189. ISBN 0-7167-0464-1. ^ ab Norvig, Peter (1992). Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming. New York: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. pp. 151''154. ISBN 1-55860-191-0. ^ Colby, Kenneth Mark; Watt, James B.; Gilbert, John P. (1966). "A Computer Method of Psychotherapy". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 142 (2): 148''52. doi:10.1097/00005053-196602000-00005. PMID 5936301. ^ ab Shah, Huma; Warwick, Kevin; Vallverdº, Jordi; Wu, Defeng (2016). "Can machines talk? Comparison of Eliza with modern dialogue systems". Computers in Human Behavior. 58: 278''95. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.01.004. ^ abcdefghij Weizenbaum, Joseph (1966). "ELIZA'--a computer program for the study of natural language communication between man and machine". Communications of the ACM. 9: 36''45. doi:10.1145/365153.365168. ^ Epstein, J; Klinkenberg, W.D (2001). "From Eliza to Internet: A brief history of computerized assessment". Computers in Human Behavior. 17 (3): 295''314. doi:10.1016/S0747-5632(01)00004-8. ^ ab Wortzel, Adrianne (2007). "ELIZA REDUX: A Mutable Iteration". Leonardo. 40: 31''6. doi:10.1162/leon.2007.40.1.31. JSTOR 20206337. ^ ab Wardip-Fruin, Noah (1976). Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies. Cambridge: The MIT Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780262013437 '' via eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). ^ Markoff, John (2008-03-13), "Joseph Weizenbaum, Famed Programmer, Is Dead at 85", The New York Times, retrieved 2009-01-07 ^ Weizenbaum, Joseph (1976). Computer power and human reason: from judgment to calculation. W. H. Freeman. p. 7. ^ Megan, Garber (Jun 9, 2014). "When PARRY Met ELIZA: A Ridiculous Chatbot Conversation From 1972". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. Retrieved 19 January 2017 . ^ Weizenbaum, J. (1977). "A response to Donald Michie". International Journal of Man-Machine Studies. 9 (4): 503''5. doi:10.1016/S0020-7373(77)80016-3. ^ Coders at Work: Bernie Cosell ^ The Genealogy of Eliza ^ Big Computer Games: Eliza - Your own psychotherapist at www.atariarchives.org ^ Plug & Pray, documentary film featuring Joseph Weizenbaum and Ray Kurzweil ^ Avidan, David (2010), Collected Poems, 3, Jerusalem: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, OCLC 804664009 ^ Davidson, Steve (January 1983), "Abuse", Electronic Games, 1 (11) ^ "lol:> psychoanalyze-pinhead". ^ Trans-Tex Software ^ ELIS McCorduck, Pamela (2004), Machines Who Think (2nd ed.), Natick, MA: A. K. Peters, Ltd., ISBN 1-56881-205-1 Weizenbaum, Joseph (1976), Computer power and human reason: from judgment to calculation, W. H. Freeman and Company, ISBN 0-7167-0463-3 Whitby, Blay (1996), "The Turing Test: AI's Biggest Blind Alley?", in Millican, Peter; Clark, Andy, Machines and Thought: The Legacy of Alan Turing, 1, Oxford University Press, pp. 53''62, ISBN 0-19-823876-2 This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later. Norvig, Peter. Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming. (San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1992), 151-154, 159, 163-169, 175, 181. ISBN 1-55860-191-0.Wardip-Fruin, Noah. Expressing Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies. (Cumberland: MIT Press, 2014), 24-36. ISBN 9780262517539.
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Police give officers caps to attract transgender officers | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 11 May 2017 20:42
A British police force is replacing its traditional helmets with US-style baseball caps, which it says are cheaper, more comfortable and not 'gender-based'.
Northamptonshire Police says it is ditching the world-famous custodian helmet in a bid to encourage more transgender officers to join the force.
The so-called 'bump caps' will be issued to both men and women officers, completely replacing the old headgear by next month.
Officers in Northamptonshire will be issued with gender-neutral caps instead of helmets
The move, which will also affect PCSOs, is a bid to attract more transgender police officers
A spokesman for the force said: 'Not only will the new bump caps offer a better level of protection, the new headgear means that no longer will male and female officers be issued different headgear with varying safety ratings simply on the basis of gender.
'Engagement has also shown that having to choose gender-based headgear is a barrier to the non-binary transgender community joining the police service.
'By introducing this new hat we provide a single protective hat to all police officers, Special Constables and PCSOs for general duties.'
The force also gave the reason for the change as the new hats being lighter and more comfortable, as well as 'significantly cheaper'.
The statement added: 'Research showed the most popular headgear among male officers was the flat cap, but it offers no protection while the traditional custodian helmet is impractical for most duties and is only fully protective when the chin strap is used.
'This is also the case for the traditional bowler hat for female officers.'
The caps will replace the 'gender-based' helmets and bowler hats currently worn by officers
The caps will be used on the beat, with existing headgear remaining for ceremonial purposes
It comes after forces in Cheshire and Lancashire also adopted the 'unisex' hats.
Earlier this year, Dyfed Powys Police also announced it was scrapping different helmets, hats, ties and cravats in favour of matching 'gender neutral' outfits.
The Welsh force set up a 'Gender Identity Working Group' to make it more transgender friendly - with recommendations including making custody cells and toilets 'gender neutral' and ditching terms such as policeman and policewoman.
Police call handlers in the area will also be given language training so they do not offend people on the phone.
The custodian helmet was first used by the Metropolitan Police in 1863 and was based on the spiked helmet worn by the Prussian army.
The custodian helmet has been warn by police officers around the UK since the 19th century
DePaul forbids 'Gay Lives Matter' posters as students protest gay reporter's talk on radical Islam - The College Fix
Fri, 12 May 2017 01:54
DePaul forbids 'Gay Lives Matter' posters as students protest gay reporter's talk on radical Islam
DePaul University has prohibited the campus group Turning Point USA from displaying posters with the slogan ''Gay Lives Matter'' to advertise a presentation Wednesday by a gay reporter on radical Islam's discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
The decision to reject the posters was made as some students at the school protest the event, titled ''Dictatorships and Radical Islam: The Enemies of Gay Rights'' and to be given by journalist and foreign correspondent James Kirchick.
Kirchick has worked for numerous publications, foreign and domestic, and is considered a leading voice on American gay politics and international gay rights.
But DePaul Students for Justice in Palestine has indicated on Facebook that its members intend to protest the event. Students leading the charge against his talk appear to have left out any mention of the fact that Kirchick is gay as they sound the alarm on social media.
''Here's the call for protests of my talk tonight at @DePaulU ''Dictatorships and Radical Islam: Enemies of LGBTQ Rights.'' Notice missing word?'' Kirckich tweeted out early Wednesday.
He cites a Facebook post from a DePaul student affiliated with SJP who wrote that ''Turning point DePaul (check out that horror below, is bringing James Kirchick, a white, Zionist, neoliberal journalist, to speak on sh*t he knows nothing about.''
''We will be turning up to counter,'' the student continued, ''not in our f***ing name will you pretend to define our safety, and where danger comes from. Not in our f***ing name will you continue to demonize Islam and Muslims and ignore the radical Christian right.''
The talk is slated for 5:30 p.m. May 10.
As for the ''Gay Lives Matter'' posters, Amy Mynaugh, director of the Office of Student Involvement at the Catholic university, denied them on the grounds that ''using the same look/brand as BLM [Black Lives Matter] pits two marginalized groups against each other,'' according to an email she sent to Turning Point USA that was obtained by The College Fix.
''It doesn't appear that Turning Point has any connection to the Black Lives Matter movement and this seems to simply be co-opting another movement's approach,'' she added.
Turning Point USA's DePaul chapter had intended to use the posters to advertise the speech, a spokesman for the group told The College Fix. DePaul TPUSA president Jason Plotzke said via email that the poster effectively advertises the event and highlights its purpose.
''Frankly it makes no sense to have it not approved,'' Plotzke said. ''The statement is very simple and you could not market such an event any better and eye catching. When people see that statement, they will either agree or disagree, but the point is getting people to see the message, and we firmly believe that it would have been effective.''
Plotzke also disagrees with Mynaugh's reasoning for denying the poster.
''We do not see how the branding of Black Lives Matter is exclusive from all other lives and we cannot make a similar statement in a different movement,'' he said. ''Sure, it is related and based off the BLM slogan, but with no intent to undermine the movement. We are not even using the poster to push an entire movement, but rather a specific event. We, as students in an academic setting, should be allowed to market our events as we see fit.''
Matt Lamb, director of campus integrity at TPUSA, also expressed his dissatisfaction with DePaul's decision.
''This is a disappointing decision by the university to prohibit our poster,'' Lamb told The College Fix via email. ''The event by our DePaul chapter is calling attention to the harms that big government, authoritarian regimes pose to LGBT citizen's most basic human rights.''
Last fall, the university also refused to allow the DePaul College Republicans from posting ''Unborn Lives Matter'' posters as well. Lamb said he was aware the ''Gay Lives Matter'' posters might also be rejected by campus leaders, but that ''the school questioned why we were using the phrase when our event is clearly about the abuse towards LGBT people.''
Meanwhile, Students for Justice in Palestine distributed posters earlier this week, claiming that they ''say NO to Turning Point's nationalist agenda'' and that ''queer liberation is always anti-racist and anti-imperialist.''
DePaul university declined The Fix's request for comment about the posters or protest.
MORE: Students protest gay conservative speaker as he defends free speech at Portland State
MORE: Catholic university bans 'Unborn Lives Matter' posters
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About the Author
Kate Hardiman is a student at the University of Notre Dame majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies and minoring in the Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics (PPE) Program. She serves as campus editor of the Irish Rover and is a fellow of both the Constitutional Studies Department and Center for Ethics and Culture. She interned at The Hill in Washington D.C. for the summer of 2015 and has had articles published there, as well as on Minding the Campus.
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People are marrying themselves, it's called 'sologamy' | THV11.com
Sat, 13 May 2017 23:55
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BROOKLYN (CBS) - If the secret to a happy marriage is finding the right person, we can all stop looking. At least, according to "sologamists." They're part of a growing relationship trend, in which people are tying the knot to themselves.
Erika Anderson is one of them.
''I would describe it as women saying yes to themselves,'' Anderson said. ''It means that we are enough, even if we are not partnered with someone else."
In many ways, the 37-year-old bride looked like any other on her wedding day. She wore a white dress and had a bouquet. Anderson looked stunning with the Brooklyn bridge and New York City skyline behind her.
Except when she walked down the aisle, no one was waiting for her. That's just the way she wanted it.
PREVIOUS: Local Couple gets engaged and married on same day
Anderson said she grew tired of people asking why she was still single. So, in front of family and friends she married herself.
Self-marriage'--or sologamy'--is growing. Partly because it's popping up in pop culture, like when an episode of 'Sex and the City' floated the idea.
Now, the movement has gone global and companies are trying to capitalize.
''Marry Yourself'' in Canada offers consulting and wedding photography. There's also IMarriedMe.com, launched by San Francisco man Jeffrey Levin. His site offers sologamy ceremony kits, which includes a wedding band, daily affirmation cards and vows.
"I think it's increased over the years, and it's something that's becoming more understood and more accepted,'' Levin said.
PREVIOUS: Getting married? 5 things to consider when combining your finances
Anderson married herself to celebrate independence and believes others should, too.
"You're worth it!" Anderson exclaimed.
Anderson just celebrated her one-year anniversary with a solo trip to Mexico. She said even though she's married to herself, she's dating and open to marrying another person.
After all, in the eyes of the law, self-marriage is not a legally binding union.
(C) 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Bias Incident Reporting | The University of Arizona Dean of Students Office
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:37
Our CommitmentThe University of Arizona is committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community. We recognize that bias incidents which occur within our community impact how we learn, live, work, and play on campus. Because we are a community, each of us has responsibility for fostering a safe and inclusive environment, and we must take an active role in reporting incidents.
Bias IncidentPer the Clery Act, ''bias'' is a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or gender identity. http://www.cleryact.info/
Hate IncidentNot all expressions of hate or group bias rise to the level of a hate crime as defined in state and federal statute. Derogatory words or epithets directed against a member of a protected class, as listed above, if not accompanied by a threat of harm with the ability to carry it out, are considered protected speech and not a hate crime.
Hate CrimeThe Clery Act defines a hate crime as the commission of a criminal offense which was motivated by the offender's bias. If the facts of the case indicate that the offender was motivated to commit the offense because of his/her bias against the victim's perceived race; gender; gender identity; religion; sexual ori­entation; ethnicity; national origin or disability, the crime is classified as a hate crime. http://www.cleryact.info/
Response to Bias Incident ReportThe Dean of Students Office (DOS) receives reports of bias incidents, assesses the incidents and coordinates the response to the incidents for the University community. The response may include supporting those impacted, initiating training and education within specific communities, proceeding with a Student Code of Conduct investigation, and other appropriate actions.
Reporting to the Dean of Students Office may result in the following actions:
The convening of the DOS Leadership Team and/or Behavioral Intervention TeamInvestigation into the incidentAppropriate and strategized responseOutreach and support to impacted individuals/communitiesIf the report is not anonymous '' outreach and support to the reporterFormal recording of the incident for data reporting and analysisThe DOS reviews incident summaries to assess patterns of behavior (i.e., location, identity groups), and other trends to better understand the University's climate and identify opportunities for proactive anti-bias education. A summary of bias incidents is included in the Dean of Students Office annual report.
Reporting OptionsAnyone who directly witnesses a bias or hate incident, believes they are a victim of bias or hate activity, or becomes aware of an incident of bias or hate are encouraged to report the incident to the Dean of Students Office and/or UAPD. Reports may be made anonymously.
On-Line
Dean of Students Office Bias Incident Report Form
Telephone
Dean of Students Office
(520) 621-7057
Monday '' Thursday; 8:00 am '' 6:00 pm
Friday; 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
After Hours Dean On Call
https://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/emergency/need-help-now
In-Person
Dean of Students Office
Robert L. Nugent Building, Room 100
Monday '' Thursday; 8:00 am '' 6:00 pm
Friday; 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
UAPD
Emergency: Call 911!
Non-Emergency: Call (520) 621-8273
LiveSafe App
The LiveSafe app is an effective tool for reporting bias incidents even if you are not aware of the identity of the person(s) involved. LiveSafe enables direct and discreet two-way communication with University of Arizona Police Department officials (i.e., dispatchers) using text, photos, video, and audio. LiveSafe provides an option for anonymous reporting of a variety of issues, including harassment, suspicious activity, theft, accidents, and other issues on campus. The app also lets you virtually walk your friends and family home with SafeWalk.
University Pays Students To 'Report Bias Incidents' Of Peers | The Daily Caller
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:37
Are you a student looking for some extra cash to get you through the month? Well, at the University of Arizona, you can earn extra money for just spying on your peers and nagging them about their social responsibilities by being a ''social justice advocate.''
Never forgetting its own commitment to social justice, the university is paying well above the minimum wage for this task, offering $10 an hour.
As the university explains on its website, a social justice advocate (SJA) ''will be responsible for instituting monthly programmatic efforts within the residence halls that focus specifically on social justice issues.'' This translates into putting up a bulletin board in the campus hallways or being ready to lead ''social justice modules once a month'' for anyone with time on their hands.
Sounding a bit like a block leader in Soviet Russia, SJAs will ''openly lead conversations, discuss differences, and confront diversely insensitive behavior.'' When students are not complying with social justice standards, SJAs are encouraged to tattle on their peers, reveal the deviant actions to higher authorities and ''report any bias incidents or claims to appropriate Residence Life staff.''
Non-compliant students might achieve some degree of re-education through ''real talks'' that SJAs are expected to have with their fellow dorm students.
The university stresses that one should not take the duties of an SJA lightly. ''The position also aims to increase understanding of one's own self through critical reflection of power and privilege, identity and intersectionality, systems of socialization, cultural competency, and allyship as they pertain to the acknowledgement, understanding, and acceptance of differences,'' the online job description explains.
The position, first pointed out by Campus Reform, could well be the beginning of a student's self-actualization as the objective of the job is to ''increase a student staff member's ability to openly lead conversations, discuss differences, and confront diversely insensitive behavior.''
At $10 an hour and working about 15 hours a week, students can expect to bring in about $600 a month '-- all for enriching the lives of other students as they build ''inclusive communities through positive interactions.''
By hectoring their classmates on ideological purity, ''The Social Justice Advocates Position is one that is grounded in the multicultural competency framework and allows student staff to gain the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to work effectively with students and residents across cultures and identities,'' the university promises, cautioning that a successful applicant should also have an understanding of ''everyday life.''
The SJA initiative is another example of how the Social Justice Resource Centre at the university is ''fostering social justice through respect, equity and compassion.'' The center is already running a program entitled ''Advocates Coming Together'' for students who are keen to introduce social justice and change into other people's lives and want to ''educate'' others about the desired objective of inclusivity.
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Woman records confrontation with SE Portland store selling Confederate flag | KATU
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:52
Photo courtesy Heather Franklin
Protesters are planning to picket a Southeast Portland grocery on Thursday after a woman recorded a confrontation with employees over Confederate flag imagery for sale at the store.
"I think it's our duty to stand up when things are wrong, regardless if they're going to respond the way I want them to. I'm not going to not say something," said Heather Franklin, whose video has gone viral on Facebook.
The video, posted Wednesday morning, shows Franklin asking an employee at Everyday Deals Extreme Liquidators about a Confederate flag rug on a rack at the store.
''So you don't care about having hate flags on your wall?'' she asks a store employee.
He responds by saying, ''How is that a hate flag?''
In the video, Franklin was cursed at, and a different man is seen flipping off the camera.
"People complain about all kinds of things. You can complain about the music in the store or the lights in the store, you wouldn't expect people to attack you. But complaining about a symbol of hate in a store, the response is anger toward that person for even bringing it up," said Franklin.
Another video shows both men following Franklin outside the store to her car.
"It was very frightening. They were being very aggressive. Once I started my camera, they backed off a little bit, but I really believe that they would have assaulted me and the children if I hadn't brought out my camera and started screaming for people in the parking lot to intervene," Franklin said.
Now, store management is stepping in to condemn those employees' actions.
"They took it upon themselves. I think that was wrong. That's what management gets paid for is to take care of problems," said store manager Jack Fabel.
"These are two good employees who've been with the company a long time. And obviously they handled the situation very poorly this morning, and I'd like to talk to the woman myself. I've tried to reach out to her and let her know that I'd love to let her know that it wasn't handled correctly and I'm sorry that she had to experience that here," says Andrew Toolson, the store president.
"I would just like to say that we are definitely not a racist organization and have nothing to do with that and it was an oversight even to have those rugs up here," he said.
The group Direct Action Alliance has planned to protest the store Thursday afternoon and store management has said that they will support the rights of peaceful demonstrators.
Several people have taken to Yelp and Facebook to give the store negative reviews, citing the video interaction.
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The Troubling Trendiness Of Poverty Appropriation '' The Establishment
Mon, 08 May 2017 10:36
It's become trendy for those with money to appropriate the poverty lifestyle'Š'--'Šand it troubles me for one simple reason. Choice.
I grew up in the far-flung wiles of Blythe, California. Never heard of it? You're not alone.
Blythe has a population of just over 19,000, and at the time I lived there in the late '80s and '90s, it was one of Riverside County's poorest towns. The primary crop was cotton, the average income was $16,000 per year (for families with more than three members), and the composition was 83% non-white'Š'--'Šof those documented. The main profession was migrant work: day labor, cotton picking, crop dusting.
My family lived in Palo Verde Mobile Home Park, on the east side of town. The Colorado River and the border of Arizona were a stone's throw away. Our corrugated home was surrounded by irrigation canals, where my uncles often fished and caught dinner, and where one uncle, years later, was found bloated and floating, death unknown.
It wasn't what anyone would call a glamorous experience.
This background, this essential part of who I am, makes it particularly difficult to stomach the latest trend in ''simple'' living'Š'--'Špeople moving into tiny homes and trailers. How many folks, I wonder, who have engaged in the Tiny House Movement have ever actually lived in a tiny, mobile place? Because what those who can afford homes call ''living light,'' poor folks call ''gratitude for what we've got.''
And it's not just the Tiny House Movement that incites my discontent. From dumpster diving to trailer-themed bars to haute cuisine in the form of poor-household staples, it's become trendy for those with money to appropriate the poverty lifestyle'Š'--'Šand it troubles me for one simple reason. Choice.
The Tiny House Movement began in the '90s, but has only been rising in popularity since the recession. And to be fair, it's rooted in a very real problem: more and more people being displaced as a result of soaring housing costs, especially in tech-boom areas like the Bay Area.
''When you have lost decades of earning capacity you really need to rethink things,'' writes Andrew Martin for the alternative media, community, and production outlet Collective Evolution. Since the global financial crisis, he points out, the average price of a standard home or apartment has become close to or pushed through the million-dollar mark in many OECD cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, Vancouver, Auckland, London, and New York. ''Even in the far-flung outlying suburbs of large cities, properties can easily be priced from $500,000 upwards,'' he writes. ''Even if you are fortunate enough to have a well-paying job or business, mortgages can take anywhere between 20 to 40 years to repay.''
Tiny homes, which are typically sized at less than 500 square feet and cost an average of ''only'' $20,000 to $40,000, no doubt serve some people who truly need to spend less money on housing in a difficult economic environment. It's also commendable that the movement helps trim down on excess and reduce the environmental footprint.
And yet, I can't help but feel complicatedly about the waxing-ons of pastoral nostalgia; about the bright, glossy photos of tiny houses that promise a ''simpler life.'' In the same article, Martin writes:
''Living light gives people space to define their worlds and gain more control over how they live life, ultimately leading to greater happiness and satisfaction.''
This idea of ''returning'' to a ''simple life'' is one I struggle with. After all, there aren't any glossy photos of the Palo Verde Mobile Home Park where I grew up, enticing people to live more simply and own less furniture as a means to becoming happier.
This idea of 'returning' to a 'simple life' is one I struggle with.
It's likely, from where I sit, that this back-to-nature and boxed-up simplicity is not being marketed to people like me, who come from simplicity and heightened knowledge of poverty, but to people who have not wanted for creature comforts. For them to try on, glamorize, identify with.
Such appropriation isn't limited to the Tiny House trend, or even to the idea of simplicity. In major cities, people who come from high-income backgrounds flock to bars and restaurants that both appropriate, and mock, low-income communities. Perhaps the most egregious example is San Francisco's Butter Bar, a trendy outpost that prides itself on being a true-blue, trailer park-themed bar, serving up the best in ''trashy'' cuisine and cocktails. With tater tots, microwaved food, and deep-fried Twinkies on the menu, the bar also serves cocktails that contain cheap ingredients, such as Welch's grape soda. The bar has an actual trailer inside, and serves cans in paper bags, so that bar flies can have a paid-for experience of being what the owners of this bar think of when they think of trailer trash.
Butter Bar in San Francisco (Credit: Facebook)It's but one example of an entire hipster movement'Š'--'Šcan it be called a movement when it's a subculture rooted not in political consciousness, but in capitalism?'Š'--'Šthat has brought with it an ethos of poor-culture appropriation and the ''re-invention'' of things that have largely been tools of survival for poor, disabled, working class, and/or communities of color for decades.
Another example: when I lived in Utah, it was common for people (and specifically, white people from wealthy Mormon families) to want to take me along dumpster diving, or on Food Not Bombs drop-offs at the local anarchist house. At the time, I felt complicatedly about it'Š'--'ŠI still do'Š'--'Šmostly because I am a person who understands the complications of family relationships, and that coming from families that don't accept you (the reality for many queer folks in religious states) means that you may not have access to the resources you need to survive. But what became apparent to me in witnessing these dumpster excursions and FNB drop-offs is that the food was not going to any folks of color, despite the fact that I knew native folks in the community (who were queer and single parents to young children) who could barely scrape by on food stamps. The drop-offs were happening at a white anarchist collective filled with people who were choosing not to participate in the system of capitalism.
And I couldn't help but think: that must be nice. To have that choice.
A friend told me of a similar phenomenon in her city. ''They go on welfare, so they don't have to participate in capitalism,'' she said. ''Yet they participate in a culture that denounces people of color who go on welfare.'' She's right'Š'--'Šthe same people of color who may go on welfare out of necessity, out of the systemic oppression that makes it difficult for them to have the same access to upward mobility, are considered socially uncouth and lazy, while white anarchists (in this context) are praised for their radically subversive actions.
Also, food. Can we talk about food? I was raised poor as hell, mostly subsisting on frozen food and whatever was canned in the pantry. For years, I've hated rice, because its cheapness and starchiness made it such a staple in our meals. Rice for breakfast with milk. Rice with margarine. Rice with frozen vegetables and canned beans. As an adult, it's hard for me to eat rice unless I can pretend real hard that it's not rice. But I still have a bag of it in my cupboard, just in case.
That must be nice. To have that choice.
For other poor folks, it wasn't necessarily rice'Š'--'Šit was bones. Dried beans with a ham hock. Stewed greens. Meat and pickle plates. And now, these kinds of inexpensive, filling food items most commonly found in poverty-stricken households have become de rigeur at some of the hippest restaurants in the country: you can find meat and pickle plates being schlepped off in fancy restaurants as charcuterie, or bone marrow appetizers for $12 per plate at many of the new eateries popping up in affluent cities (or newly affluent, like Oakland).
In writing this, and making note of these circumstances, I'm not trying to penalize or call out radical communities of people who are looking for alternative means to capitalism'Š'--'Šcapitalism is oppressive as hell, and I am all about alternative means.
But I do think it's time to start having conversations about how alternative means aren't a choice for those who come from poverty. We must acknowledge what it means to make space for people who actually need free food or things out of dumpsters, who participate in capitalism because they've got a kid at home and they are the only provider. Additionally, we need to shed light on the fact that many people who grew up wanting for more space and access to foods that weren't available to them don't understand the glossy pamphlets offering a simpler life.
Because, let me tell you, there is nothing simple about being poor.
The Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages - The Atlantic
Tue, 09 May 2017 14:57
For most of human history, people were hunter-gatherers. They lived in large camps, depending on one another for food, childcare, and everything else'--all without walls, doors, or picket fences. In comparison, the number of people living in most households in today's developed countries is quite small. According to the Census Bureau, fewer than three people lived in the average American household in 2010. The members of most American households can be counted on one hand, or even, increasingly, one finger: Single-person households only made up about 13 percent of all American households in 1960. Now, that figure is about 28 percent.
Belonging to a relatively small household has become the norm even though it can make daily life more difficult in many ways. Privacy may be nice, but cooking and doing chores become much less time-consuming when shared with an additional person, or even several people. Water, electric, and internet bills also become more bearable when divided among multiple residents. There are social downsides to living alone, too. Many elderly people, young professionals, stay-at-home parents, and single people routinely spend long stretches of time at home alone, no matter how lonely they may feel; more distressingly, many single parents face the catch-22 of working and paying for childcare. Living in smaller numbers can be a drain on money, time, and feelings of community, and the rise of the two-parent dual-earning household only compounds the problems of being time-poor.
It wasn't always like this. Living arrangements have been changing for thousands of years, and the concept of the nuclear family originated relatively recently. Even as the economy has moved away from the sort of agricultural labor that would encourage large households, people still have just as much of a need for the support of friends, family, and neighbors. Perhaps that is why so many people today'--from young coders to lonely septuagenarians to families'--are experimenting with communal living, a way of life that, whether they know it or not, echoes how things worked for most of human history. This sort of experimentation is all too appropriate at a time when, for the typical American child, having two married parents is on the decline, and there is no longer a single dominant family structure as there was a half-century ago.
Tens of thousands of years ago, all living was communal. Being a hunter-gatherer meant being free of many of the distinctions that govern life today. ''There's no division between your social life and your private life,'' says Mark Dyble, a postdoctoral researcher at University College London who studies modern-day hunter-gatherers in the Philippines. ''Your whole life is open to other people. There's no way to be isolated.'' The hunter-gatherer camps Dyble studied, whose members change week by week, consist of anywhere from five to 18 deeply interdependent ''households,'' each usually made up of parents, their children, and perhaps another relative or two. These households are involved in virtually every aspect of each others' lives.
''Home was the place that sheltered you at the moment, not the one special place associated with childhood or family of origin.''While relatives often stick together, these families are anything but self-sufficient. ''A chimp mother is capable of feeding herself and her offspring. That's not the case with humans,'' Dyble says, pointing out that human children take a long time to mature and take care of themselves. ''By our biology, we are obliged to have support from others. You couldn't survive as a single-family household among hunter-gatherers.''
The Middle Ages, when homes were essentially gathering places for small groups of revolving residents, represent a conceptual midpoint between hunter-gatherers' living arrangements and those common today. As the historian John Gillis described in his 1997 book A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values, people in medieval Europe lived with a mix of friends and extended family. At that time, single-family households were uncommon in most of the world, and Western Europe became, around the 12th century, one of the first places where households were organized around monogamous couples and their children. But these households still didn't look much like today's nuclear families. In addition to parents and their children, medieval households frequently included various townspeople, poor married couples, other people's children, widows, orphans, unrelated elderly people, servants, boarders, long-term visitors, friends, and assorted relatives.
On top of that, people moved constantly among houses. ''Home was the place that sheltered you at the moment, not the one special place associated with childhood or family of origin,'' Gillis writes. Single people sometimes ran households, and marriage was not as narrowly defined as it is today. Most kids spent time living away from their families, especially as teenagers. Living with strangers was common, and locals would often treat houses like public property. ''People entered without knocking, even without acknowledgement,'' writes Gillis. ''It was often difficult to tell which family belonged where '... In big as well as little houses, the constant traffic of people precluded the cozy home life we imagine to have existed in the past.''
By the 1500s, the idea of a household as a father, a mother, and their biological children caught on among Europe's new urban middle class, at least as something to strive for. This ''godly household'' owes a lot to the Protestant Reformation, in which religious leaders started rejecting the Catholic Church as the center of life and replaced it with a domestic divine: the father as a stand-in for God, the mother for a priest, and the children for congregants. It's around this time that nativity scenes became popular, emphasizing Jesus's role as a member of a nuclear family rather than as a lone preacher.
For all its popularity as a comforting idea, the godly household was hardly common 500 years ago. It was completely unrealistic for most people to find the time, money, and resources to run a household on their own. Even those who did usually had big households full of unrelated people; they relied on the larger community far too much to survive as a single-family unit.
It wasn't until the 1800s that people began drawing a sharp distinction between family and friends when it came to who they lived with. So, during the latter half of the 19th century, the godly family started to take shape in reality. Industrialization made extended communities less vital for earning a living. When societies were mostly agricultural, production was centered near the home, and families needed all the labor they could get to run the farm during busy seasons. But as industrialization took hold, people started leaving home to go to work, commuting to factories and, later, offices. Something communal was lost, and by the early 20th century, industrial efficiency permitted a lifestyle of domestic privacy: Households shrank down to nuclear families, much more closed-off from relatives and neighbors than ever before.
* * *
Homeownership is still viewed as a central component of living out the American dream, but the ways that many present-day Americans are pushing back on modern living arrangements closely resemble what came centuries, even millennia, before in other parts of the world. Family members, relatives, neighbors, and strangers are coming together to live in groups that work for them'--a bit like medieval Europe. ''Today, all across the nation, Americans are living the new happily ever after,'' writes the social psychologist Bella DePaulo in her 2015 book How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century. ''The 'new' part is that people with whom they are sharing homes and lives are not just spouses or romantic partners.''
Instead of limiting their households to children, parents, and grandparents, plenty of people are going a step further, making homes with friends and even strangers. Cohousing, in which a large community lives together and shares household duties, is gaining popularity. In cohousing, individuals or families generally have their own houses, bedrooms, or apartments but share things like kitchens and community spaces. They'll commonly trade off on responsibilities like cooking and chores. Milagro Housing, for instance, is a cohousing community located in Arizona's Sonoran Desert. There, families, couples, and single people live in 28 homes in a tight-knit community that shares a kitchen, laundry room, library, meeting room, playroom, and storage rooms.
And Milagro Housing isn't all that unusual; the Fellowship for Intentional Community, an organization that champions communities "where people live together on the basis of explicit common values," lists 1,539 cohousing communities around the country, some already formed and others in the process of forming. That's likely a low estimate, since plenty of shared-living communities aren't reported to any national databases. While some residents hire developers to build cohousing villages from scratch, most have turned already-existing houses and apartments into shared communities.
Cohousing has shown itself to be a useful living arrangement for groups of people with all sorts of priorities. In Silicon Valley's hacker houses, dozens of computer programmers, most of them very young, bunk together while they work at start-ups or on their own projects. The website CoAbode links single mothers who want to live and raise children together. In Los Angeles, about a dozen young adults live together in one large house called Synchronicity LA. There, they make art together, hold salons, divide up chores, and trade off cooking communal meals four days a week. ''It really feels like living in a big family,'' Grant Hoffner, a longtime Synchronicity resident, told me.
Cohousing models can get pretty creative. In Hope Meadows, a neighborhood near Chicago that DePaulo describes in her book, retired people live together with at-risk foster kids. There, retired folks, many of whom used to describe their lives as boring and lonely, raise the kids together. And in Deventer, a town in the eastern region of the Netherlands, that model is flipped: Some college students there live in nursing homes alongside elderly people, who they socialize with and assist with various chores.
The modern cohousing movement began in Denmark in the 1970s, and there are now more than 700 ''living communities'' in Denmark alone, according to DePaulo. In each, dozens or even hundreds of Danish families live in homes built around shared spaces and common houses. ''The residents wanted to see each other over the course of their everyday lives, and be there for each other in ways large and small,'' writes DePaulo. The idea spread to several other countries, and Sweden even has a number of state-owned cohousing buildings, each populated by hundreds of residents. And that's just this particular brand of shared living; 120,000 Israelis live in communal villages called kibbutzim, which originated about 100 years ago.
Developers are starting to see how appealing cohousing is to some people. Commonspace, for instance, is a company that designs and runs apartments consisting of about 20 small units around a common area occupied mostly by young and single people, sort of like a dorm for adults. The first distinctive cohousing setup in the U.S. was built by developers 25 years ago, but the concept hasn't gained much traction, as there are now only 160 American cohousing communitiesbuilt from scratch. Perhaps that will change as developers court young people who envision a lifestyle different than the one they've inherited from the 20th century.
Among other things, many residents are drawn to the company that cohousing offers, which DePaulo says is the main reason people choose to live like this. Cohousing can feel a bit like summer camp, with people always around to talk to and spend time with. But it also provides deep support systems. ''If someone is hospitalized, cohousing friends are there to visit,'' writes DePaulo. ''When a cohouser is ailing at home, neighbors show up with chicken soup and the latest news from the community.''
It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes, and most modern-day parents could use the help.One anthropologist DePaulo interviewed decided to live with more people after being unhappy on her own, even though her boyfriend lived nearby and she had some friends in her building. ''I would come home and cry,'' Leanna Wolfe, the anthropologist, told DePaulo. ''I was just so lonely.'' She wasn't the only one: Americans have fewer close friends than they used to. Since 1985, the number of Americans who have no friends to confide in has tripled, reported a 2006American Sociological Reviewstudy.
In addition to the sense of community it builds, there's an obvious upside to shared living: saving time and money. In a typical American house or apartment, individuals or small families are in charge of each meal themselves. But cohousing communities can divide up cooking schedules. Many residents only cook once a week and come home to cooked meals everyday.
One of cohousing's biggest draws is that it eases the burdens of child-rearing. It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes, and most modern-day parents could use the help. Among the Efe, a group of hunter-gatherers in the Congo, some infants more than three weeks old spend 80 percent of their time with someone other than their mothers. By comparison, the majority of American communities are designed to keep people apart. ''I like to think of dwellings as people: If a group of people wanted to get to know each other, they would not line up facing each other in two straight, rigid rows, too far apart to really see anyone else clearly,'' writes DePaulo. ''That's how houses are arranged on many conventional streets.'' Under other housing models, a village really could raise a child.
DePaulo argues that it would be particularly helpful to integrate cohousing into public-housing policy. ''People who work on housing for the poor have to deal with people's whole lives,'' she argues in her book. ''They can't just give them a place to live and forget about them.'' Keeping rent affordable is the foremost concern for people in charge of managing public housing, but cohousing can fill in other difficulties of living without much money: Splitting cooking, childcare, and household expenses can save lots of time and money. For these reasons and others, Danish and Swedish governments have long supported cohousing. American governments (especially local ones) could do the same, perhaps by converting abandoned hotels into mixed-income cohousing, building affordable shared-living buildings, or even just by connecting interested locals and helping them refashion their neighborhoods into something that better fosters community.
Humans have never lived the same way for long, and many people are finding today's urban and suburban neighborhoods, which are based on an idealized version of home that is by now hundreds of years old, to be lacking. Humans may never return to the days of having strangers and distant relatives dropping in to live for extended periods of time, but it's clear that a group of people are tapping into the past that John Gillis wrote about: ''Until well into the nineteenth century, heaven was represented not as a community of families but as one large community of friends.''
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10 Right Wing Companies That Every Progressive Should Boycott
Mon, 08 May 2017 19:29
Now that we are between elections we will have to wait a while to make our voices heard through the ballot box. But in the meantime there is actually a lot that we can still do to fight right wing extremism in our every day lives. One of the best ways to do that is by going after major right wing donors and their businesses and hitting them where it hurts'....in their wallets.
You can actually use your hard earned dollars to send a message that reflects OUR values and priorities. I've listed a few of the right wing companies that have historically been either major donors to extreme Conservative causes and candidates or that run their operations directly against core Progressive values. Now this is certainly not an exhaustive list, sadly there are many more, but this list of very common brands is certainly a good place to start. And of course another great thing you can do is to patronize Liberal businesses. But here's some that you should definitely avoid'....
1. Chick-fil-A
This one is likely no surprise to you because their anti-gay stance has been in the news quite a bit over the past couple years. But not only are they completely against gay marriage, they also are huge donors to extreme right wing candidates and causes.
2. Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby is another business that has gotten a lot of media attention because of their extreme Conservative views. Hobby Lobby is not only against a woman's right to choose, but they are also against birth control. After Obamacare was implemented they vehemently fought against the employer mandate for birth control to be included in their insurance policy. They actually took their fight all the way to the Supreme Court'....and won.
You know, the really ironic part of this story is that Hobby Lobby and Conservatives claim that they were fighting this mandate because they are so against abortion. But without affordable access to contraception, there will surely be more abortions. I'm not sure that they thought this one all the way through'.....
3. Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr. has been notorious for objectifying women in most of their highly sexual and controversial ads. But they also have been huge supporters of extreme anti-abortion causes. And if that's not enough reason to avoid this fast food restaurant, they are also totally against gay rights. As a matter of fact, gay rights groups actually started calling the food ''Bigot burgers'' after the company's founder, Carl Karcher, came out in support for a 1978 proposition which would have allowed school boards to fire any teacher for being gay or for advocating homosexuality. In addition Carl's Jr. is also a big time donor for Conservative Super PACs and the Republican Party.
4. Walmart
Over the past several years Walmart has consistently gotten into trouble for controversial practices. It is widely known that they pay their employees extremely low wages and are totally against any sort of raising of the national minimum wage. They are also famous for being anti-women. Many of their female employees have continually spoken out about wide-spread discrimination. In 2011 several female employees actually filed a class action law suit against Walmart and took it all the way to the Supreme Court.
5. Marriott Hotels
Marriott, along with their subsidiary Ritz-Carlton, has been a major donor to Conservative Super PACs and extreme right wing candidates. Their chairman, J.W. Marriott Jr., contributed more than a Million dollars to Mitt Romney's Super PAC, Restore Our Future.
6. Waffle House
Waffle House is another restaurant run by extreme Conservatives who are major donors to right wing causes and candidates. As a matter of fact, 100% of all of their donations went directly to Conservatives. Waffle House's CEO, Jim Rogers Jr., has been a big supporter of Republican causes for a very long time. In 2006 he joined the finance team for Mitt Romney's Super PAC, Common Wealth PAC.
7. Angel Soft, Brawny, and Dixie
Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, and Dixie cups are all subsidiaries of Koch Industries, headed by the Koch brothers. And they donate Millions of dollars every year to groups like The National Rifle Association, The National Right To Life Committee, and Grover Norquist.
8. Exxon
Exxon Mobil has a very long history of fighting against the LGBT community. As the Huffington Postreported in 2013, Exxon ''has been fighting for years against non-discrimination protection and equal benefits coverage for their employees.'' Moreover, as IdentitiesMic reports '' ''before Exxon acquired Mobil in 1999, Mobile had 'policies to protect discrimination against gay men and lesbians, and even offered benefits to same-sex couples,' but Exxon took that all away, according to LGBT news site the Dallas Voice.''
9. Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel is yet another company who has had a long history of racist and anti-gay practices. They have been known to fire employees who did not appropriately display heterosexual behaviors. In 2004, the U.S. Justice Department declared that the restaurant had discriminated against both employees and diners based on the color of their skin or sexual orientation.
10. Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters has a very well known reputation for being both anti-women and anti-gay. In 2008, the company's president and founder, Richard Haney, decided to back one of the Presidential nominees. And of all of the choices out there he felt he most aligned with the homophobic Rick Santorum. And in addition this company is also a major donor for extreme Conservative causes and candidates.
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"All White People are Racist... Being a Racist is Not An Option, it is a Condition" | Frontpage Mag
Tue, 09 May 2017 05:16
Anti-racism became racism a while back. But most lefties aren't as open in discussing the implications of that.
The outgoing chair of the University of Wisconsin-Madison student government ripped her college upon departure, saying it ''lacks the capacity, courage, and integrity to protect communities of color.''
"Racism is a system designed to disadvantage people of color and create inequalities in each pocket os society. All white people are racist. Not only by upholding a system of disadvantage but being born into a conditioned environment where you are many steps ahead. Being a racist is not an option, it is a condition."
Let's, as the social justice left likes to say, unpack that knapsack.
We think of racism as a hatred or bigotry that you feel toward people because they are different. However the left's contention is that racism, like class, is a function of society. You are "born" into a class or into a race. And if your race is white, you're a racist. Just as if you're born rich, you're a capitalist oppressor.
If you understand that, you understand why the left is so violently racist. Their talk of "white supremacy" is the new capitalism. White people have to be destroyed for a progressive utopia (or abandon their whiteness the way wealthy people had to redistribute their wealth) the way that capitalists had to be destroyed to smash capitalism.
Being racist is a "condition". It's what happens when you're white. It's not an option. It's a skin color.
This is the intersectional left's own total racism in a nutshell. It's the most pernicious racist ideology in this country in over a century. And it's backed by the full weight of academia, the media and the entertainment industry.
It is one of the left's assaults on America that we are fighting.
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Why Liberals Aren't as Tolerant as They Think - POLITICO Magazine
Tue, 09 May 2017 15:48
In March, students at Middlebury College disrupted a lecture by the conservative political scientist Charles Murray because they disagreed with some of his writings. Last month, the University of California, Berkeley, canceled a lecture by the conservative commentator Ann Coulter due to concerns for her safety'--just two months after uninviting the conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos due to violent protests. Media outlets on the right have played up the incidents as evidence of rising close-mindedness on the left.
For years, it's conservatives who have been branded as intolerant, often for good reason. But conservatives will tell you that liberals demonstrate their own intolerance, using the strictures of political correctness as a weapon of oppression. That became a familiar theme during the 2016 campaign. After the election, Sean McElwee, a policy analyst at the progressive group Demos Action, reported that Donald Trump had received his strongest support among Americans who felt that whites and Christians faced ''a great deal'' of discrimination. Spencer Greenberg, a mathematician who runs a website for improving decision-making, found that the biggest predictor of voting for Trump after party affiliation was the rejection of political correctness'--Trump's voters felt silenced.
Story Continued Below
So who's right? Are conservatives more prejudiced than liberals, or vice versa? Research over the years has shown that in industrialized nations, social conservatives and religious fundamentalists possess psychological traits, such as the valuing of conformity and the desire for certainty, that tend to predispose people toward prejudice. Meanwhile, liberals and the nonreligious tend to be more open to new experiences, a trait associated with lower prejudice. So one might expect that, whatever each group's own ideology, conservatives and Christians should be inherently more discriminatory on the whole.
But more recent psychological research, some of it presented in January at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), shows that it's not so simple. These findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are.
Political understanding might finally stand a chance if we could first put aside the argument over who has that bigger problem. The truth is that we all do.
***
When Mark Brandt, an American-trained psychologist now at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, first entered graduate school, he wondered why members of groups that espouse tolerance are so often intolerant. ''I realized that there was a potential contradiction in the literature,'' he told me. ''On the one hand, liberals have a variety of personality traits and moral values that should protect them from expressing prejudice. On the other hand, people tend to express prejudice against people who do not share their values.'' So, if you value open-mindedness, as liberals claim to do, and you see another group as prejudiced, might their perceived prejudice actually increase your prejudice against them?
Brandt approached this question with Geoffrey Wetherell and Christine Reyna in a 2013 paper published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. They asked a variety of Americans about their political ideologies; how much they valued traditionalism, egalitarianism and self-reliance; and their feelings toward eight groups of people, four of them liberal (feminists, atheists, leftist protesters and pro-choice people) and four of them conservative (supporters of the traditional family, religious fundamentalists, Tea Party protesters and pro-life people). Participants reported how much each group violated their ''core values and beliefs,'' and they assessed how much they supported discrimination toward that group, by rating their agreement with statements such as ''Feminists should not be allowed to make a speech in this city'' and ''Prolife people deserve any harassment they receive.''
As predicted, conservatives were more discriminatory than liberals toward liberal groups, and liberals were more discriminatory than conservatives toward conservative groups. Conservatives' discrimination was driven by their higher traditionalism and by liberal groups' apparent violation of their values. Liberals' discrimination was driven by their lower traditionalism and by conservative groups' apparent violation of their values. Complicating matters, conservatives highly valued self-reliance, which weakened their discrimination toward liberal groups, perhaps because self-reliance is associated with the freedom to believe or do what one wants. And liberals highly valued universalism, which weakened their discrimination toward conservative groups, likely because universalism espouses acceptance of all.
But these differences didn't affect the larger picture: Liberals were as discriminatory toward conservative groups as conservatives were toward liberal groups. And Brandt's findings have been echoed elsewhere: Independently and concurrently, the labs of John Chambers at St. Louis University and Jarret Crawford at The College of New Jersey have also found approximately equal prejudice among conservatives and liberals.
Newer research has rounded out the picture of two warring tribes with little tolerance toward one another. Not only are conservatives unfairly maligned as more prejudiced than liberals, but religious fundamentalists are to some degree unfairly maligned as more prejudiced than atheists, according to a paper Brandt and Daryl Van Tongeren published in January in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. To be sure, they found that people high in religious fundamentalism were more cold and dehumanizing toward people low in perceived fundamentalism (atheists, gay men and lesbians, liberals and feminists) than people low in fundamentalism were toward those high in perceived fundamentalism (Catholics, the Tea Party, conservatives and Christians). But this prejudice gap existed only if the strength of the perceiver's religious belief was also very high. Otherwise, each end of the fundamentalist spectrum looked equally askance at each other. And while liberals and the nonreligious sometimes defend themselves as being intolerant of intolerance, they can't claim this line as their own. In the study, bias on both ends was largely driven by seeing the opposing groups as limiting one's personal freedom.
Other researchers have come forward with similar findings. Filip Uzarevic, from the Catholic University of Louvain, in Beligium, has reported preliminary data showing that Christians were more biased against Chinese, Muslims and Buddhists than were atheists and agnostics, but they were less biased than atheists and agnostics against Catholics, anti-gay activists and religious fundamentalists (with atheists expressing colder feelings than agnostics). So, again, the religious and nonreligious have their own particular targets of prejudice. Perhaps more surprising, atheists and agnostics were less open to alternative opinions than Christians, and they reported more existential certainty. Uzarevic suggested to me after the SPSP conference that these results might be specific to the study's location, Western Europe, which is highly secularized and where the nonreligious, unlike Christians, ''do not have so many opportunities and motivations to integrate ideas challenging their own.''
If liberalism and secularism don't mute prejudice, you can guess what Brandt found about intelligence. In a study published last year in Social Psychological and Personality Science, he confirmed earlier findings linking low intelligence to prejudice, but showed it was only against particular groups. Low cognitive ability (as measured by a vocabulary test) correlated with bias against Hispanics, Asian Americans, atheists, gay men and lesbians, blacks, Muslims, illegal immigrants, liberals, whites, people on welfare and feminists. High cognitive ability correlated with bias against Christian fundamentalists, big business, Christians (in general), the Tea Party, the military, conservatives, Catholics, working-class people, rich people and middle-class people. But raw brainpower itself doesn't seem to be the deciding factor in who we hate: When Brandt controlled for participants' demographics and traditionalism (smart people were more supportive of ''newer lifestyles'' and less supportive of ''traditional family ties''), intelligence didn't correlate with overall levels of prejudice.
***
So what's at the root of our equal-opportunity prejudice? Conservatives are prejudiced against feminists and other left-aligned groups and liberals are prejudiced against fundamentalists and other right-aligned groups, but is it really for political reasons? Or is there something about specific social groups beyond their assumed political ideologies that leads liberals and conservatives to dislike them? Feminists and fundamentalists differ on many dimensions beyond pure politics: geography, demographics, social status, taste in music.
In a paper forthcoming in Psychological Science, Brandt sought to answer those questions by building prediction models to estimate not only whether someone's political views would increase positive or negative feelings about a target group, but also precisely how much, and which aspects of the group affected those feelings the most.
First, Brandt used surveys of Americans to assess the perceived traits of 42 social groups, including Democrats, Catholics, gays and lesbians and hipsters. How conservative, conventional and high-status were typical members of these groups? And how much choice did they have over their group membership? (Some things are seen as more genetic than others'--Lady Gaga's anthem ''Born This Way'' was adopted by homosexuals, not hipsters.) Then he looked at data from a national election survey that asked people their political orientation and how warm or cold their feelings were toward those 42 groups.
Conservative political views were correlated with coldness toward liberals, gays and lesbians, transgender people, feminists, atheists, people on welfare, illegal immigrants, blacks, scientists, Hispanics, labor unions, Buddhists, Muslims, hippies, hipsters, Democrats, goths, immigrants, lower-class people and nerds. Liberal political views, on the other hand, were correlated with coldness toward conservatives, Christian fundamentalists, rich people, the Tea Party, big business, Christians, Mormons, the military, Catholics, the police, men, whites, Republicans, religious people, Christians and upper-class people.
Brandt found that knowing only a target group's perceived political orientation (are goths seen as liberal or conservative?), you can predict fairly accurately whether liberals or conservatives will express more prejudice toward them, and how much. Social status (is the group respected by society?) and choice of group membership (were they born that way?) mattered little. It appears that conflicting political values really are what drive liberal and conservative prejudice toward these groups. Feminists and fundamentalists differ in many ways, but, as far as political prejudice is concerned, only one way really matters.
In another recent paper, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Crawford, Brandt and colleagues also found that people were especially biased against those who held opposing social, versus economic, political ideologies'--perhaps because cultural issues seem more visceral than those that involve spreadsheets.
None of this, of course, explains why liberals' open-mindedness doesn't better protect them against prejudice. One theory is that the effects of liberals' unique traits and worldviews on prejudice are swamped by a simple fact of humanity: We like people similar to us. There's a long line of research showing that we prefer members of our own group, even if the group is defined merely by randomly assigned shirt color, as one 2011 study found. Social identity is strong'--stronger than any inclination to seek or suppress novelty. As Brandt told me, ''The openness-related traits of liberals are not some sort of prejudice antidote.''
Brandt further speculates that one's tendency to be open- or closed-minded affects one's treatment of various groups mostly by acting as a group definition in itself'--are you an Open or a Closed? Supporting this idea, he and collaborators reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2015 that, although openness to new experiences correlated with lower prejudice against a wide collection of 16 social groups, it actually increased prejudice against the most closed-minded groups in the bunch. Open-minded people felt colder than closed-minded people toward ''conventional'' groups such as evangelical Christians, Republicans and supporters of the traditional family. And, unsurprisingly, closed-minded people were more biased than open-minded people against ''unconventional'' groups such as atheists, Democrats, poor people, and gays and lesbians. Research consistently shows that liberals are more open than conservatives, but in many cases what matters is: Open to what?
***
Knowing all this, can we change tolerance levels? You might think that the mind-expanding enterprise of education would reduce prejudice. But according to another presentation at the SPSP meeting, it does not. It does, however, teach people to cover it up. Maxine Najle, a researcher at the University of Kentucky, asked people if they would consider voting for a presidential candidate who was atheist, black, Catholic, gay, Muslim or a woman. When asked directly, participants with an education beyond high school reported a greater willingness to vote for these groups than did less-educated participants. But when asked in a more indirect way, with more anonymity, the two groups showed equal prejudice. ''So higher education seems to instill an understanding of the appropriate levels of intolerance to express,'' Najle told me, ''not necessarily higher tolerance.''
Education's suppression of expressed prejudice suggests a culture of political correctness in which people don't feel comfortable sharing their true feelings for fear of reprisal'--just the kind of intolerance conservatives complain about. And yet, as a society, we've agreed that certain kinds of speech, such as threats and hate speech, are to be scorned. There's an argument to be made that conservative intolerance does more harm than liberal intolerance, as it targets more vulnerable people. Consider the earlier list of groups maligned by liberals and conservatives. Rich people, Christians, men, whites and the police would generally seem to have more power today than immigrants, gays, blacks, poor people and goths. According to Brandt, ''We've understandably received a variety of pushback when we suggest that prejudice towards Christians and conservatives is prejudice.'' To many it's just standing up to bullies.
Conservatives, however, don't view it that way. ''Nowadays, as the right sees it, the left has won the culture war and controls the media, the universities, Hollywood and the education of everyone's children,'' says Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at New York University who studies politics and morality. ''Many of them think that they are the victims, they are fighting back against powerful and oppressive forces, and their animosities are related to that worldview.''
Robbie Sutton, a psychologist at the University of Kent in England, presented preliminary findings at SPSP that touch on the issue of which intolerance is more justifiable. He found that people who endorsed denialist conspiracy theories about climate change (e.g., '''Climate change' is a myth promoted by the government as an excuse to raise taxes and curb people's freedom'') were more likely than those who endorsed warmist conspiracy theories (e.g., ''Politicians and industry lobbyists are pressuring scientists to downplay the dangers of climate change'') to want to censor, surveil and punish climate scientists, whereas warmists were more likely than denialists to want to punish and surveil climate change skeptics. But are these sentiments equally harmful? Many people would say that's a subjective question, but it's hard to ignore the evidence, for instance, that Exxon has hidden its knowledge of climate change for years, and the fact that that the current Republican administration has placed new restrictions on Environmental Protection Agency scientists. Who is more vulnerable, and backed by scientific evidence: Exxon or environmental researchers?
Regardless of who has the more toxic intolerance, the fact remains that people have trouble getting along. What to do? ''One of the most consistent ways to increase tolerance is contact with the other side and sharing the experience of working toward a goal,'' Brandt says. He suggests starting with the person next door. ''Everyone benefits from safe neighborhoods, a stimulating cultural environment and reliable snow removal,'' he says. ''If liberal and conservative neighbors can find ways to work together on the local level to improve their neighborhoods and communities, it might help to increase tolerance in other domains.'' (If you can find a neighbor of the opposite party, that is.)
Progressives might see the conservatives trailing history as being on its wrong side, but conservatives might feel the same way about the progressives way ahead of the train. Getting everyone onboard simultaneously could well be impossible, but if we share a common vision, even partially, maybe we can at least stay on the tracks.
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Duke Divinity Professor Paul Griffiths quits after disciplinary actions over comments about diversity | News & Observer
Tue, 09 May 2017 18:10
A divinity professor at Duke University has apparently resigned following disciplinary actions against him, after he questioned the value of diversity training at the school.
Paul Griffiths, a professor of Catholic theology at the school, could not be reached for comment Tuesday about the flap. A colleague at the school says Griffiths, 61, has resigned, effective next year.
A string of emails, first published by The American Conservative website, revealed a chain of events that began with a February invitation to all divinity school faculty to participate in two full days of racial equity training in March.
''Those who have participated in the training have described it as transformative, powerful, and life-changing,'' wrote Anathea Portier-Young, an associate professor of Old Testament. ''We recognize that it is a significant commitment of time; we also believe it will have great dividends for our community.''
Griffiths responded the same day to Portier-Young, Feb. 6, copying all faculty on the email and calling the training a waste of time.
''I exhort you not to attend this training,'' he wrote, according to the published exchange. ''Don't lay waste your time by doing so. It'll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: there'll be bromides, clich(C)s, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty. When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show. Events of this sort are definitively anti-intellectual.''
That's when the trouble escalated.
Within hours the school's dean, Elaine Heath, emailed the faculty and without mentioning Griffiths specifically, wrote: ''It is inappropriate and unprofessional to use mass emails to make disparaging statements ''including arguments ad hominem '' in order to humiliate or undermine individual colleagues or groups of colleagues with whom we disagree. The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution.''
Heath asked to meet with Griffiths, according to the emails, but the professor and administrator couldn't agree on the conditions for the meeting, and it never happened.
Griffiths later emailed his colleagues with the subject line: ''intellectual freedom and institutional discipline'' at the school. He said he was now the target of two separate disciplinary proceedings, including a harassment complaint by Portier-Young, which was being handled by Duke's Office for Institutional Equity. The dean, he said, had banned him from faculty meetings and promised that he would not receive future funds for research and travel.
A copy of the dean's March 10 letter was posted on the American Conservative site. Heath cited Griffiths' refusal to meet and his ''inappropriate behavior in faculty meetings over the past two years.'' Heath did not elaborate on what she meant by inappropriate behavior.
Griffiths called the actions shameful ''reprisals,'' designed not to engage him on his views ''but rather to discipline me for having expressed them.''
''Duke Divinity is now a place in which too many thoughts can't be spoken and too many disagreements remain veiled because of fear,'' he wrote to the faculty. ''I commend a renunciation of fear-based discipline to those who deploy and advocate it, and its replacement with confidence in speech.''
Heath and Portier-Young could not be immediately reached for comment.
The divinity school at Duke University.
SHER STONEMAN N&O file photo
Audrey Ward, a Duke spokeswoman, said the divinity school was not able to comment about a personnel matter but issued a statement.
''Duke Divinity School is committed to scholarly excellence and academic freedom, which includes a commitment to diversity and inclusion,'' the statement said. ''We seek to foster an environment where diversity of opinions is respected and members of the community feel free to engage in a robust exchange of ideas on a range of issues and topics. We believe that all faculty have a right to speak out as members of a civil academic community, and if all voices are to be heard, diverse perspectives must be valued and protected. As part of an ongoing effort to foster and support such a community, we will continue to offer voluntary opportunities for faculty, staff and students to participate in diversity training.''
Thomas Pfau, a professor of English and German who also teaches in the divinity school, came to Griffiths' defense. He emailed his colleagues, saying Griffiths was questioning the fact that faculty were being asked to give up their time for training.
''Having reviewed Paul Griffiths' note several times, I find nothing in it that could even remotely be said to 'express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry,''' he wrote. ''To suggest anything of the sort strikes me as either gravely imperceptive or as intellectually dishonest.''
Reached Tuesday, Pfau said he was concerned that Griffiths' points were being misconstrued. ''I also felt that differences of opinion, however stark, ought to be respected and engaged, rather than being used for the purpose of public moral recrimination,'' he said in an email.
Born in England, Griffiths was educated at Oxford University and the University of Wisconsin, and has written, co-authored or edited 17 books. A biography on the Duke website lists his specialties as: post-1950 Catholic philosophical theology; the philosophical and political questions arising from religious diversity; fourth- and fifth-century African Christian thought; and Gupta-period Indian Buddhist thought. He has taught at Duke since 2008.
Pfau said as far as he knew, Griffiths decided to resign on his own, without any pressure from Duke.
''I profoundly regret his decision and, indeed, have conveyed to him that I regard it as a mistake,'' Pfau said. ''He is one of the preeminent theologians working in the United States today and a vital resource for students and colleagues engaged in rigorous theological reflection here at Duke.''
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Comey
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange threatens to sue Mike Rogers on 'day one' if he's picked to lead FBI
Thu, 11 May 2017 22:35
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday threatened to sue former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., on "day one" if he is chosen to replace James Comey as director of the FBI.
There were multiple reports Thursday saying Rogers, a former FBI official and former head of the House Intelligence Committee, is in consideration to be chosen as the Trump administration's nominee to head the FBI.
Assange responded to a tweet from WikiLeaks, which links to an article about a January interview Rogers gave on CNN in which he said Assange is "wanted for the rape of a minor." WikiLeaks said that Rogers "slandered" Assange.
During that interview, Rogers said in response to then-President-elect Trump's support of WikiLeaks that he needs "someone to explain to him who Julian Assange is."
According to the CNN transcript, he then said:
"I understand that. I'm not sure how well briefed he is. Somebody needs to march into his office and explain to him who Julian Assange is. By that tweet, I don't think he knows. I think if he knew all of the details '-- this person is wanted for rape of a minor. He is hiding in the basement of an embassy because he is a fugitive from justice, number one. Number two, he has released information harmful to the United States that I do believe jeopardize soldiers in the field.
Rogers made the comment the same day former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd said Assange was a "pedophile" on CNN's "New Day." WikiLeaks then threatened to sue CNN for defamation for the comment is said referred to allegations that Assange molested an eight-year-old girl in the Bahamas '-- something which Bahaman police say they had received a tip about but never identified a possible victim. "New Day" later pulled the clip, saying it regrets the "pedophile" assertion which lacked any evidence.
Assange has resided in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. He is wanted in Sweden on separate sexual allegations. Assange maintains that he is innocent but has expressed fear that he could be extradited to the United States for espionage should he leave the embassy.
WikiLeaks, which published stolen documents during the 2016 election from Democratic officials, including from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta, has been tied to the Russian government by the U.S. intelligence community. The Washington Post reported in April that the Justice Department is on the verge of filing criminal charges against WikiLeaks and Assange.
After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Assange tweeted that WikiLeaks would be "happy" to hire him.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to better explain the context of Rogers' comment in January on how Julian Assange was "wanted for rape of a minor."
James ComeyDaniel ChaitinJulian AssangeMike RogersDonald TrumpWikiLeaksNational SecurityFBINewsPolitics
Poppie$tan
82nd Airborne already on way to Afghanistan as Trump mulls more deployments | Fox News
Sat, 13 May 2017 01:47
If the Trump administration sends thousands more American troops to Afghanistan to counter the growing insurgency, the soldiers will find the ''devils in baggy pants'' waiting for them.
The Army has already announced that 1,500 men and women from a key brigade in the vaunted 82nd Airborne Division, whose Luciferian moniker owes to their battle dress and demeanor, will be sent to the war torn nation this summer. It's an ''advise and assist'' mission, but if things go south, the 82nd is rough and ready.
''The 'Devils in Baggy Pants' are well-trained, well-equipped, and ready to assist our Afghan partners as part of the Resolute Support mission," said Col. Toby Magsig, commander of the division's 1st Brigade Combat Team. ''Since spearheading allied assaults in Sicily and Anzio in 1943 the Devil Brigade has accomplished its missions through disciplined initiative."
''The 'Devils in Baggy Pants' are well-trained, well-equipped, and ready to assist our Afghan partners as part of the Resolute Support mission."
- Col. Toby Magsig The Trump Administration is currently reviewing a proposal which calls for thousands more U.S. troops to counter a gathering Taliban threat. U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan peaked in 2011 at 100,000 and decreased each year since, down to 8,400 American men and women in 2017. Trump has not yet signed off on a new strategy, but if more aggressive measures are taken in Afghanistan, the 82nd Airborne Division could play a key part in achieving success.
Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne told Fox News the Combat Brigade's deployment was not a ramping up of U.S. military in Afghanistan.
''This is not a change to the mission there and this is not an increase in forces,'' said Buccino, saying it was there on an advise-and-assist mission in support of Afghan forces. ''This deployment represents the normal flow-of-forces into Afghanistan."
The mission of the 82nd Airborne Division is to, ''within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests.''
The Division was constituted in the National Army on Aug. 5, 1917, to support the United States' entry into World War I and was organized three weeks later at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia. Initially an infantry division, as there was no airborne capability in the U.S. Army at the time, it became an airborne division in 1942.
The 82nd went on to conduct occupation duty in Berlin in 1945, where Gen. George Patton bestowed upon it the title ''America's Guard of Honor.''
The 82nd Airborne Division has more than 17,500 paratroopers in six brigade sized units, around 15,000 enlisted soldiers, 500 warrant officers and 2,000 officers.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team is the largest of all, composed of 4,300 paratroopers. More than 300 are currently deployed to Afghanistan, while 1,500 will be heading there this summer.
"In Afghanistan, we're up against a determined enemy," Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis told reporters on Tuesday. "When the government wins the affection, the respect and the support of their people, then no enemy can stand against them.''
According to the Division's War Memorial Museum, the 82nd is the nation's Global Response Force, which ''trains for airborne assault operations into enemy-denied areas, with a specialization in airfield seizure.''
More than 2,000 of the 4,200 soldiers assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team are currently deployed to Iraq. 1st Lieutenant Weston Lee, a paratrooper assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, was killed by an improvised explosive device last week outside of Mosul.
Additional reporting provided by the Fox News Brainroom
Agenda 2030
France's Bordeaux wine industry predicts a '‚¬2 billion loss this year due to massive frost damage - Business Insider
Tue, 09 May 2017 18:05
Water-covered vineyards are seen early in morning as water is sprayed to protect them frost damage outside Chablis. Thomson Reuters
BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - Bordeaux vineyards in southwest France could lose about half of their harvest this year after two nights of frost damaged the crop at the end of April, a wine industry official said on Saturday.
Wines from the Cognac, Bergerac, and Lot-et-Garonne regions had also been affected, Bernard Farges, head of the Syndicat des vins Bordeaux et Bordeaux Sup(C)rieur, told Reuters.
"For Bordeaux wines...we estimate that the impact will be a loss of about 50 percent, depend on how many buds can regrow," he said.
Including lost earnings at wine industry subcontrators, the total damage is estimated at one to two billion euros ($1.1- $2.2 billion), with wine production set to fall by about 350 million bottles.
Frost damage varied widely depending on the precise area, with some owners expected to lose only 15 to 30 percent of their grape harvest, but others at risk of seeing their entire production wiped out.
Growers have resorted to using candles, heaters and even the down-draught from helicopters to try to save crops.
France's total wine output fell 10 percent last year due to adverse weather conditions. Champagne was the worst hit, with the harvest down more than 20 percent on the previous year due to spring frosts followed by other problems such as mildew.
($1 = 0.9096 euros)'‚¬
(Reporting by Claude Canellas; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Keith Weir)
Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2017. Follow Reuters on Twitter.
Wadden Sea tidal flats could be gone by end of century: report - DutchNews.nl
Thu, 11 May 2017 13:15
Photo: Mark Plomp Stichting Natuurbeelden via Wikimedia Commons
The tidal flats of the Dutch Wadden Sea run a very real risk of becoming permanently submerged because of sea level rises and subsidence caused by gas and salt extraction, a report by the region's lobby group Waddenvereniging shows.
It is unlikely that the process of sedimentation '' or bringing in new sand and mud '' will keep up with the rising sea levels and the Wadden Sea eco system may be a thing of the past by the end of this century, the report says.
The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder to Denmark and is a Unesco world heritage site. The area is an important breeding and overwintering ground for birds and has a rich fauna and flora while the Wadden Sea islands are popular Dutch holiday destinations.
The report says the only chance for the system to survive more or less intact is if the consequences of climate change are not as bad as projected and the extraction of minerals from under the tidal flats stops.
Global warming
'If, added to that, global warming can be limited to two degrees, the Wadden Sea has a realistic chance of surviving into the next century,' science journalist and writer of the report, Rolf Schuttenhelm told Trouw.
According to estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sea levels around the world will increase by 44 to 74 centimetres by the end of this century. Dutch weather bureau KNMI predicted last month that sea levels along the Dutch coast may rise by as much as three metres by 2100, the paper said.
'We think we can protect the Wadden Sea by monitoring it, Schuttenhelm said. 'But that is misleading. Halfway into this century we will know by how much sea level rise will accelerate. Almost all scenarios point to a loss of the tidal flats. The Wadden Sea eco system can only survive if all the circumstances are right and extraction stops.'
Earth's forests grew 9% in a new satellite survey | Science | AAAS
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:30
mihtlander/iStock
By Patrick MonahanMay. 11, 2017 , 2:00 PM
The Age of Exploration may be long past, but even in the 21st century, our maps can still get a major update. Using satellite imagery, a new study has found hidden forests all over the world'--almost enough for a second Amazon'--in areas with little moisture known as drylands. Past estimates of how much of the world's drylands are covered in forests have run into lots of problems: For instance, the satellite images used to measure them are often so low-resolution that it's hard to figure out the difference between a tree, a shadow, or even a patch of dirt. To correct for that, an international team of researchers performed the first global study using a new set of ultra''high-resolution Google Earth images'--in which each pixel represents a patch of ground less than a meter wide, as opposed to tens of meters. Hundreds of scientists and students then combed through 210,000 images and found that the world's drylands host 40% more forests than thought, the team writes today in Science. That's more than a 9% bump in total global forest coverage, or two-thirds the size of the Amazon.
A new study using high-definition satellite images has found 378 million additional hectares of forest around the globe'--almost enough for a second Amazon.
Sexton et al. (2013) Global Drylands Assessment (2016) 300 600 900 1200 1500 Africa Asia Europe N. America Oceania S. America Total 0 Millions of hectaresData: Bastin et al. 2017, Science
The study will help researchers figure out how best to conserve and restore these forested areas. It will also help scientists make more accurate estimates of how much carbon dioxide Earth's trees are sucking out of the atmosphere'--and how much of our fossil fuel emissions they'll be able to handle in the future.
Silk Road & Belt
China pledges $124 billion for new Silk Road as champion of globalization | Reuters
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:23
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $124 billion on Sunday for his new Silk Road plan to forge a path of peace, inclusiveness and free trade, and called for the abandonment of old models based on rivalry and diplomatic power games.
Xi used a summit on the initiative, attended by leaders and top officials from around the world, to bolster China's global leadership ambitions as U.S. President Donald Trump promotes "America First" and questions existing global free trade deals.
"We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy," Xi told the opening of the two-day gathering in Beijing.
China has touted what it formally calls the Belt and Road initiative as a new way to boost global development since Xi unveiled the plan in 2013, aiming to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
Xi said the world must create conditions that promote open development and encourage the building of systems of "fair, reasonable and transparent global trade and investment rules".
Hours before the summit opened, North Korea launched another ballistic missile, further testing the patience of China, its chief ally. The United States had complained to China on Friday over the inclusion of a North Korean delegation at the event.
MASSIVE FUNDING BOOST
Xi pledged a major funding boost to the new Silk Road, including an extra 100 billion yuan ($14.50 billion) into the existing Silk Road Fund, 380 billion yuan in loans from two policy banks and 60 billion yuan in aid to developing countries and international bodies in countries along the new trade routes.
In addition, Xi said China would encourage financial institutions to expand their overseas yuan fund businesses to the tune of 300 billion yuan.
Xi did not give a time frame for the new loans, aid and funding pledged on Sunday.
Leaders from 29 countries attended the forum, as well as the heads of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Britain's finance minister told the summit his country was a "natural partner" in the new Silk Road, while the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, a close Chinese ally, praised China's "vision and ingenuity".
"Such a broad sweep and scale of interlocking economic partnerships and investments is unprecedented in history," Sharif said.
White House adviser Matt Pottinger said the United States welcomed efforts by China to promote infrastructure connectivity as part of its Belt and Road initiative, and U.S. companies could offer top value services.
India refused to send an official delegation to Beijing, reflecting displeasure with China for developing a $57 billion trade corridor through Pakistan that also crosses the disputed territory of Kashmir.
"No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay, adding that there were concerns about host countries taking on "unsustainable debt."
China plans to import $2 trillion of products from countries participating in its Belt and Road initiative over the next five years, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said.
UNEASE OVER SUMMIT
But some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. They are also concerned about transparency and access for foreign firms to the scheme.
Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Canberra was receptive to exploring commercial opportunities China's new Silk Road presented, but any decisions would remain incumbent on national interest.
"China is willing to share its development experience with all countries," Xi said. "We will not interfere in other countries' internal affairs. We will not export our system of society and development model, and even more will not impose our views on others."
"In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not re-tread the old path of games between foes. Instead we will create a new model of cooperation and mutual benefit," Xi said.
North Korea, which considers China its sole major diplomatic ally and economic benefactor, raised eyebrows when it decided to send a delegation to the summit.
The North Korean delegation largely kept a low profile at the summit, and there was no evidence that its presence had affected participation despite U.S. misgivings.
FINANCIAL INCLUSIVENESS
Xi said the new Silk Road would be open to all, including Africa and the Americas, which are not situated on the traditional Silk Road.
"No matter if they are from Asia and Europe, or Africa or the Americas, they are all cooperative partners in building the Belt and Road."
The idea of cooperation and inclusiveness extends to funding projects and investments along the new trade routes, which are being developed both on land and at sea.
"We need joint effort among Belt and Road countries to boost financing cooperation," Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, said.
To sustain the projects, Belt and Road nations should allow companies to play a key role, as government resources are limited, Zhou said.
The active use of local currencies will also help to mobilize local savings, lower remittance and exchange costs, and safeguard financial stability, he said.
At the forum, finance ministries from 27 countries, including China, approved a set of principles that will guide project financing along the new Silk Road.
Germany, which was not among the countries that approved the financing guidelines, said its firms were willing to support the Belt and Road initiative, but more transparency was needed.
Some of China's close allies and partners were at the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
There were also several European leaders attending, including the prime ministers of Spain, Italy, Greece and Hungary.
Chinese state-run media has spared no effort in its coverage of the summit, including broadcasting an awkwardly-named English-language music video "The Belt and Road is How" sung by children from countries on the new Silk Road.
($1 = 6.8972 Chinese yuan)
(Additional reporting by Elias Glenn, Kevin Yao, Thomas Peter, Michael Martina and Sue-Lin Wong; Writing by Ben Blanchard and Ryan Woo; Editing by Randy Fabi and Jane Merriman)
Next In Business News Technicals stand out amid a quiet marketNEW YORK As the strongest earnings season since 2011 draws to a close, and with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hovering near record highs, the biggest concern for some market analysts is, well, the lack of concern.
G7 financial leaders reiterate FX pledges, vow more cyber cooperationBUSBARI, Italy Financial leaders of seven leading world economies pledged stronger cooperation against cyber crime on Saturday and not to use foreign exchange to gain competitive advantage, but stuck to their cautious wording on trade, their final communique showed.
U.S. fails to reassure Europe, Japan over 'Trumponomics'BARI, Italy The United States said on Saturday the world's other rich economies were getting used to the policy plans of President Donald Trump, but Europe and Japan showed they remained worried about Washington's shift.
Bank$ters
PwC settles $3B lawsuit with MF Global over collapse | New York Post
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:30
A Manhattan federal jury has been robbed of its chance to decide whether the collapse of financial firm MF Global was the fault of its CEO Jon Corzine or his accounting firm.
MF Global, which was seeking to pin the blame for the firm's stunning 2011 demise on PriceWaterHouseCoopers, settled the case mid-trial, sources said.
The parties reached an agreement on Wednesday and notified the judge Thursday morning, a source said. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
MF Global took PwC to trial in an effort to prove it was responsible for the $2 billion firm's epic collapse because it approved of ''risky accounting'' methods that kept billions of dollars in dubious bond bets off the books.
Corzine, who ran the firm after losing the NJ's governor's mansion to Chris Christie, took the stand in the case '-- marking his first public appearance on the matter since he testified before Congress about MF Global's bankruptcy in 2011.
Corzine said MF Global's bankruptcy had nothing to do with $6.3 billion in European bonds investments he approved of, which spooked investors leading up to the firm's collapse.
''I thought they were relatively low risk,'' the former Goldman Sachs chief insisted.
The company's spectacular downfall '-- and revelations that more than $1.6 billion in customers' funds had gone missing in the process '-- proved a drag on Corzine's illustrious four-decade career.
The former US Senator agreed earlier this year to pay a $5 million penalty over the improper use of customers funds as MF Global struggled to stay afloat. He also agreed to a lifetime ban from leading another futures brokerage or registering with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
A spokesman for Corzine declined to comment.
Elite$
Chelsea Clinton To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award | The Daily Caller
Tue, 09 May 2017 19:30
Chelsea Clinton is set to receive a Lifetime Impact award from Variety magazine and Lifetime next month, though it is unclear why.
The former first daughter will be honored at a ''Power of Women'' luncheon on April 21, Variety announced. Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, Blake Lively, Audra McDonald and Shari Redstone will also receive the awards.
Clinton, a 37-year-old mother of two, is receiving the award ''for her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits,'' Variety says in a statement.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which helps fight childhood obesity, is affiliated with the Clinton Foundation, where Clinton serves as vice chair.
Clinton's other achievements include being born to one of the most skilled politicians in American history, growing up in the White House, landing a $600,000 contract with MSNBC, marrying a hedge fund millionaire, and tweeting constantly about President Trump.
Correction: This article initially referred to Clinton's award as a lifetime achievement award. Instead, it is a Lifetime Impact award issued by Variety and Lifetime, the cable television channel. The headline and article have been edited for accuracy.
[h/t The Hill]
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Ministry of Truthiness
Bana Alabed: Seven year-old Aleppo survivor writes book on her experiences of war-torn Syria and life in Turkey | The Independent
Sun, 14 May 2017 11:34
Bana Alabed, the seven-year-old Syrian refugee girl, who captured the world's attention for tweeting the horrors of Aleppo, is writing a book about her harrowing experience of the war.
She announced the news on her Twitter account and said: ''I am happy to announce my book will be published by Simon & schuster. The world must end all the wars now in every part of the world.''
Her memoir, Dead World, will also tell the story of how she and her family escaped the war in Syria and are rebuilding their lives, away from their homeland.
Excited at the prospect of her book, Bana said: ''I am so happy to have this opportunity to tell my story and the story of what has happened in Aleppo to the world.
''I hope my book will make the world do something for the children and people of Syria and bring peace to children all over the world who are living in war.''
Dead World is expected to be published in the autumn of 2017 by international publisher Simon & Schuster and a young reader's edition by imprint Salaam Reads will follow shortly after and will be made available as an audio book on Simon & Schuster Audio.
Bana has been documented the air strikes over Aleppo since last September after her mother Fatemeh, who teaches her daughter English, helped her set up the Twitter account.
In December, Bana and her family were evacuated from war-torn East Aleppo to Turkey after the city fell back under the control of the Syrian government.
Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster, Christine Pride, said she was ''captivated'' by Bana's tweets from Syria.
''Recalling iconic young heroines such as Malala Yousafzai, Bana's experiences and message transcend the headlines and pierce through the political noise and debates to remind us of the human cost of war and displacement,'' she said.
But diplomatic tensions over the Syrian conflict continue to escalate after Russia vetoed a UN resolution condemning Bashar al-Assad's government for its reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and urging a speedy investigation.
The majority of the international community has blamed the attack in Idlib province, which killed 87 people including many children, on President Assad.
The Syrian government has meanwhile denied involvement in the toxic attack, blaming rebel groups.
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EuroLand
European court aide rules Uber is a transport company - BBC News
Thu, 11 May 2017 11:48
Image copyright AFP Image caption Uber has provoked protests from established taxi drivers in many nations Uber is a transport firm that requires a licence to operate, a senior member of European Union's top court has said.
The decision is a set-back for Uber, which had argued it only provided technology to help drivers find passengers.
If the ruling is enforced across Europe, it might mean Uber has to operate under the same conditions and safety rules as established taxi firms.
Uber said the decision did little to change the way it was regulated.
Maciej Szpunar, advocate general at the Court of Justice of the European Union, made the decision while considering a case brought by an association of taxi drivers from Barcelona.
They said Uber was competing unfairly in the city by using unlicensed drivers for its service.
Mr Szpunar said that although Uber was "innovative", the way it operated still fell within the realm of transport rather than information services.
Uber was not merely a middleman, he said, but was essential to the way the ride-sharing system worked.
"Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licences and authorisations under national law," said Mr Szpunar.
The decision is not binding, but in the past judges ruling on cases before the court have generally followed the advocate's lead.
For Uber, the decision might mean it has to take more care of its drivers and ensure they are properly trained.
The decision could also have implications for other tech companies, such as Airbnb and Deliveroo, that maintain a "hands-off" relationship with people who provide their services.
In response, Uber said it was already regulated as a transport operator in many European countries so the ruling would have little impact.
But it added that if the court backed the ruling it would "undermine the much needed reform of outdated laws which prevent millions of Europeans from accessing a reliable ride at the tap of a button".
Nog bijna hele jaar controles aan Europese binnengrenzen | NOS
Thu, 11 May 2017 11:50
Grenscontrole in Denemarken (archief) AFP Oostenrijk, Duitsland, Denemarken, Zweden en Noorwegen mogen nog een half jaar blijven controleren aan de grenzen met andere Schengenlanden. Daar hebben vertegenwoordigers van de EU-lidstaten mee ingestemd. De landen houden sinds 2015 grenscontroles aan de Europese binnengrenzen om de vluchtelingenstroom in te dammen.
De Europese Commissie zegt dat het de laatste keer is dat er een uitzondering op het vrij verkeer van personen in het Schengengebied wordt gemaakt. Normaal gesproken kunnen mensen in Schengengebied zonder controles binnen het hele gebied reizen, maar de EU maakte een uitzondering omdat er 2015 een vluchtelingencrisis ontstond, waarbij honderdduizenden vluchtelingen vanuit het zuiden doorreisden naar vooral Oostenrijk, Duitsland en de Scandinavische landen.
Die landen mogen nu tot november de grenzen blijven controleren, omdat er nog altijd "een ernstige bedreiging van de openbare orde en veiligheid"is. De Europese Commissie is van mening dat politiecontroles in grensregio's, cameratoezicht en patrouilles in internationale treinen effectiever zijn.
Niet alle landen stemden voor een verlenging van de controles. Hongarije, Griekenland, Sloveni, Kroati en Slowakije stemden tegen de verlenging. Cyprus, Polen en Bulgarije onthielden zich van stemming.
(2) Swiss police can't ban radicals who recruit to fight in Iraq & Syria due to religious freedom rights - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:42
AHCA
Donald Trump Thinks Health Insurance Costs $15 a Month - Tonic
Sun, 14 May 2017 05:01
Donald Trump, the President of these United States of America, either believes that health insurance currently costs $15 a month or he believes that's how much it should cost. This is according to an interview he did with The Economist on May 4, the same day the American Health Care Act passed the House. A transcript of the interview was published yesterday.
The interview was about economic policy, but they also discussed healthcare and the AHCA. One of the Economist editors pointed out that "some people will look at this bill and say, 'hang on, a lot of people are going to lose their coverage.'" In Trump's response, he said [emphasis added]:
You're going to have absolute guaranteed coverage. You're going to have it if you're a person going in'...don't forget, this was not supposed to be the way insurance works. Insurance is, you're 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you're 70, and you really need it, you're still paying the same amount and that's really insurance.
But I believe it's very important to have this. Because one thing Obamacare did, is it gave that and it was a concept that people hadn't heard of. And now I don't want to end it. I don't want to end it for somebody that...first of all I don't want to end it for the people that already have it. And I don't want to end it for somebody that hasn't been buying insurance for all of his life where he has a guarantee that for all of his life he's been buying the insurance and he can buy it inexpensively when he turns 65 or 70 years old. So we put in a tremendous amount and we're...you know, for the pre-existing conditions. We are going to have a great pool for pre-existing conditions.
Before we even talk about the $15 figure, it bears repeating that the AHCA guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions in name only, not in practice: The version that passed the House said people couldn't be denied coverage but that states could choose to let insurers charge people more if they have pre-existing conditions. It would also let insurers charge older people up to five times more than younger people (the current limit is three times more). Trump and other Republicans swear up and down that additional money for high-risk pools will prevent people from being priced out, but multiple think tanks say it's not nearlyenough money.
Now, back to premiums. Trying to decipher exactly what Trump means is often a fool's errand, but this response seems to have several possible interpretations. Is Trump confusing health insurance with life insurance, which could cost a healthy, 20-something person about $15 a month, according to Mother Jones? Possibly.
Or maybe he thinks people pay $15 a month for health insurance right now, but that is demonstrably false. The average monthly premium for people buying their own insurance was $235.27 in 2013, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and many people's premiums have increased since then. But if it is $15 then why would premiums need to be lower, a point he's been hammering since the start of his campaign? He even parroted that line later in his response to the question about people losing coverage, saying: "We're going to have much lower premiums and we're going to have much lower deductibles."
Yet another possibility is that this is how much he thinks health insurance premiums should cost, as Sarah Kliff argues at Vox. Fifteen-dollar-premiums would certainly be much lower than what people are paying now, but it's totally unrealistic and suggests he has no idea what he's talking about. Unless, of course, he wants to bring something like Australia's universal healthcare system to the US. After all, he told the Australian prime minister that it's better than what we have.
Read This Next:
Trains Good/Planes Bad
U.S. to Ban Laptops in All Cabins of Flights From Europe, Officials Say
Thu, 11 May 2017 12:35
The Department of Homeland Security plans to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States, European security officials told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday.
Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The ban was based on U.S. fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane. It is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.
DHS said in a statement to The Daily Beast: ''No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.''
However, this move is increasing fears in the aviation industry that as well as guarding against bombs this ban could actually endanger flights. Laptops and tablets denied access to the cabin and added to checked baggage means that devices with a history of lithium-ion battery fires could set off a deadly conflagration in a cargo hold '-- where no one can put out the fires.
The FAA recorded 33 incidents in 2016 of personal electronic devices carried into cabins by passengers causing fire emergencies during flights, according to an FAA document reviewed by The Daily Beast. Of these, three were in laptops and two in tablets.
Two of the most serious were on Delta flights and both involved laptops.
On January 15, 2016 on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta fire broke out in a bag in an overhead bin shortly before landing. The smoke in the cabin became so overwhelming that when the flight reached the gate, passengers opened emergency exits over the wings and staff on the ramp helped them escape directly from the wings.
Flight attendants used halon fire suppressant extinguishers and water extinguishers to put out the fire, which had originated in two laptops.
On December 3, 2016 fire broke out in an overhead bin on a flight from Honolulu to Atlanta. Cabin crew needed three halon extinguishers and two water extinguishers to put out a fire originating in a laptop. For the rest of the flight the laptop was placed in a cooler with ice and monitored.
The FAA stressed that the 33 incidents are only ones that they are aware of. ''This should not be considered as a complete listing of all such incidents'...nor do they include all investigative and enforcement actions taken,'' the documented stated.
Tests carried in 2015 by the FAA's Fire Safety Branch have shown that halon gas is ineffective against fires originating in the kind of lithium-ion batteries used in laptops and tablets.
Even more to the point, these tests have revealed that the quantity of halon gas used in the automatic fire suppression systems of airplane cargo holds had no effect on a fire that begins as what is called a thermal runaway in a lithium-ion battery. Panels in the cargo hold designed to contain a fire were actually blown out in the tests, creating an explosion that would destroy an airplane.
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Commenting on these tests, the Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations, IFALPA, representing airline pilots worldwide, said, ''In fact, the fire proceeded is if the halon were not present.''
Some Middle East airlines complained to the International Civil Aviation Organization that they had been unduly penalized by the original 10-country ban. In response, the ICAO said that it accepted that improvised explosive devices in electronic devices have been ''the greatest security risk to commercial aircraft for some years.''
At the same time, they said, they have asked experts to examine the safety risk of a sudden influx of electronic devices in cargo holds. And Patrick Ky, a European safety regulator, told Reuters that his agency wants airlines to avoid placing all the electronic devices in checked baggage being in the same container in the cargo hold.
At London's Heathrow Airport, where 17 percent of all flights to the U.S. originate, is adding an extra layer of security screening for those flights at the gates.
As The Daily Beast reported in March, the original ban placed on the 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East followed intelligence gathered during a raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. Bomb makers had managed to insert into batteries an explosive device powerful enough to bring down an airplane.
First indications of this came in 2016 when a hole was blown in the fuselage of an Airbus A320 as it was on its ascent from Mogadishu, Somalia. The airplane was able to make an emergency landing. The insurgent group Al-Shababb claimed that it had equipped a passenger with a laptop rigged as a bomb.
Shut Up Slave!
Geen ontkomen meer aan: iedere Belg moet vingerafdruk geven - Het Nieuwsblad Mobile
Sat, 13 May 2017 16:16
Premier Charles Michel (MR) heeft zijn eerste trofee voor de superministerraad van zondag al op zak. Zowel Open VLD als N-VA doet water bij de wijn om de vingerafdrukken voor de identiteitskaarten in te voeren. De definitieve beslissing valt pas morgen, maar de concrete afspraken rond de gevoelige maatregel liggen nu al vast.
Waarom heeft de regering onze vingerafdrukken nodig?
De regering ziet de vinger­afdrukken vooral als een beveiligingsmaatregel om fraude met identiteitskaarten tegen te gaan. Ze komen dus gewoon als extra controle op de chip van onze identiteitskaart. ''Een beetje zoals sommige smartphones nu al vinger­afdrukken gebruiken als identificatiemiddel'', klinkt het. Onder meer voor efficintere grenscontroles is dat een belangrijke stap in de goede richting. Iets minder gezellig, maar wel praktisch: ook voor een snellere identificatie van stoffelijke overschotten kunnen vinger­afdrukken handig zijn.
Waarvoor zullen de vingerafdrukken niet gebruikt worden?
Het is geen geheim dat ­minister van Binnenlandse Zaken Jan Jambon (N-VA) nog een stap verder wil gaan en alle vingerafdrukken in een grote database wil bundelen. Voor de speurders van de ­politie zou zo'n databank een goudmijn zijn, in de strijd tegen terreur. ''Mensen die niets verkeerds doen, moeten toch geen schrik hebben dat hun vingerafdruk in een systeem zit?'', zei Jambon daar al over. Na forse tegenwind van Open VLD komt die databank er niet. N-VA laat het idee nog niet los, ''maar we zetten toch al hele stap vooruit''.
Waarom lag dit zo gevoelig bij Open VLD?
''Een disproportionele maatregel, of zijn we plots ­allemaal terreurverdachten geworden?'', ging Open VLD-vicepremier Alexander De Croo enkele maanden geleden nog tekeer tegen de maatregel. Vooral de bezwaren rond privacy waren voor de partij doorslaggevend om de beslissing van tafel te vegen. Nu gaat Open VLD dus toch deels overstag onder de strikte garantie dat er ''geen algemene databank van 12 miljoen Belgische vingerafdrukken'' komt. De partij wijst er wel op dat ook deze beslissing nog de toets van de Privacycommissie moet doorstaan. En die was in het verleden al bijzonder streng.
Waarom is deze beslissing zo belangrijk voor premier Michel?
In de aanloop naar de speciale ­ministerraad van zondag is het een belangrijk signaal dat de coalitiepartners weer bereid zijn om ­elkaar wat successen te gunnen. Na een periode vol interne relletjes moeten drie thematische ''superministerraden'' '' al wil de premier die zelf niet zo ­noemen '' de regering nieuw ­leven inblazen. Zondag staan behalve de vingerafdrukken nog talloze voorstellen rond het thema ''veiligheid'' op de agenda. ''Het bewijst toch dat de methode al zijn nut heeft ­bewezen'', klinkt het binnen de regering. ''De premier heeft een momentum gecreerd.''
Moeten we nu allemaal meteen naar het gemeentehuis?
Nee, de regering gaat de maatregel geleidelijk invoeren bij de nieuwe identiteitskaarten. Wie dus nog maar net een nieuwe identiteitskaart kreeg, moet zich de komende tien jaar nog geen zorgen maken.
Article 25
Members of Congress 'holding secret conversations about removing Donald Trump from office' | The Independent
Mon, 08 May 2017 11:03
Members of the US Congress are holding ''private conversations'' about whether Donald Trump should be removed from office, reports suggest.
After a difficult first 100 days that have seen the US President mired in a string of scandals and mishaps, senators and congressmen are said to be considering whether he will last a full term.
The New Yorker this week published a lengthy analysis of the two ways the Republican could be removed from office: either through impeachment by Congress or via the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for a president to be removed if he is considered to be mentally unfit.
Evan Osnos, the author of the article, said he had been told that members of Congress were already holding conversations on the issue.
''This is a conversation that people are having around the dinner table, it's one people have at the office, members of Congress are talking about it in private and the question is very simple: is this a president who is able to do the job and is able to go the distance?'' he told MSNBC's The Last Word.
''This is a president who is beset by doubts of a completely different order of any president we've seen as long as we've been looking at this question.
''The truth is that there are people having an active conversation about whether or not he'll last.''
Mr Osnos also claimed Mr Trump could cause a ''constitutional crisis'' if he chooses not to co-operate with congressional investigations into his alleged links with Russia '' something he said some members of Congress expect to happen.
William Kristol, who worked as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle under the presidency of George H W Bush, told the magazine there was a reasonable change of Mr Trump being removed.
''It's somewhere in the big middle ground between a 1 per cent [chance] and 50'', he said. ''It's some per cent. It's not nothing."
The 25th Amendment, added in 1967, allows a president to be removed if they are deemed to be ''unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office''. That judgement can be made either by the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet, or by a separate body, such as a panel of medical experts, appointed by Congress.
If the president objects, a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress is needed to remove him or her.
''I believe that invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment is no fantasy but an entirely plausible tool - not immediately, but well before 2020,'' Laurence Tribe, a prominent US law professor who works at Harvard University, told The New Yorker.
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Zika
Doctors Name Monsanto's Larvicide As Cause of Brazilian Microcephaly Outbreak - Healthy Natural Cures
Tue, 09 May 2017 19:25
A report from the Argentine doctors' organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.
The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese ''strategic partner'' of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.
The Physicians commented: ''Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.''
They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.
Larvicide the most likely culprit in birth defects
Pyriproxyfen is a relatively new introduction to the Brazilian environment; the microcephaly increase is a relatively new phenomenon. So the larvicide seems a plausible causative factor in microcephaly '' far more so than GM mosquitoes, which some have blamed for the Zika epidemic and thus for the birth defects. There is no sound evidence to support the notion promoted by some sources that GM mosquitoes can cause Zika, which in turn can cause microcephaly. In fact, out of 404 confirmed microcephaly cases in Brazil, only 17 (4.2%) tested positive for the Zika virus.
Brazilian health experts agree Pyriproxyfen is chief suspect
The Argentine Physicians' report, which also addresses the Dengue fever epidemic in Brazil, concurs with the findings of a separate report on the Zika outbreak by the Brazilian doctors' and public health researchers' organisation, Abrasco.
Abrasco also names Pyriproxyfen as a likely cause of the microcephaly. It condemns the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, which it says is contaminating the environment as well as people and is not decreasing the numbers of mosquitoes. Abrasco suggests that this strategy is in fact driven by the commercial interests of the chemical industry, which it says is deeply integrated into the Latin American ministries of health, as well as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation.
Abrasco names the British GM insect company Oxitec as part of the corporate lobby that is distorting the facts about Zika to suit its own profit-making agenda. Oxitec sells GM mosquitoes engineered for sterility and markets them as a disease-combatting product '' a strategy condemned by the Argentine Physicians as ''a total failure, except for the company supplying mosquitoes''.
Ebola
Ebola: WHO declares outbreak in DR Congo - BBC News
Sat, 13 May 2017 11:46
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The world's deadliest Ebola outbreak hit West Africa in 2014-2015 The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At least one person has died after contracting the virus in the country's north-east, the WHO says.
The Congolese health ministry had notified the WHO of a "lab-confirmed case" of Ebola, it added on Twitter.
More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The last outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo was in 2014 and killed more than 40 people.
Of the nine people suspected to have contracted the deadly virus, three died, with one case of Ebola confirmed through tests at the national laboratory in the capital Kinshasa, WHO Congo representative Allarangar Yokouide said in a statement.
People began to get sick on or after 22 April in Bas-Uele province in the country's far north, he added.
The region affected lies 1,300km (800 miles) north-east of Kinshasa, close to the border with the Central African Republic.
"It is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. But we always take this very seriously," WHO Congo spokesman Eric Kabambi told Reuters news agency.
The WHO described the outbreak as "a public health crisis of international importance".
It said the first teams of experts, including epidemiologists, biologists and hygiene specialists had been dispatched and were due to arrive in the affected region by Friday or Saturday.
While this outbreak will be extremely worrying for communities in this remote part of northern DR Congo, it is important to remember that the country has stamped out more Ebola outbreaks than any other place on earth. It is well practiced in fighting the deadly virus.
Ebola was first identified in DR Congo (then Zaire) in 1976. Since then, there have been at least nine outbreaks in the country. The last was in 2014, when - at the same time - parts of West Africa were fighting a separate outbreak, the worst in history.
DR Congo was able to bring an end to its epidemic within four months. In West Africa, which had never experienced an Ebola outbreak before, it took two years.
Authorities in the DR Congo will need to act quickly to contain the virus, and ensure it doesn't spread to more populated areas.
This time, for the first time, health officials have another weapon they can use. The world has an experimental vaccine that could be deployed if needed.
Bank$ters
ICELAND, DEBT JUBILEE, AND MEDIA BLACKOUTS
Wed, 10 May 2017 21:16
When was the last time you heard about Iceland?
Remember them? The people in the small country on a large volcanic rock in the northern Atlantic Ocean that rounded up their bankers, through them in jail, and declared a debt jubilee?
I have to admit, that I haven't heard about them recently either, until Mr. B.H. sent along the following article, and there are a couple of things that caught my eye and fuel my imagination. As always, my approach here is "assume this story is true" for the sake of some high octane speculation of the day:
All Debts Of Island's Population Are Forgiven By The Government
Now, of course, the first thing that caught my eye was the fact that, apparently, there's almost a complete news media blackout in the USSA by the corporate controlled media, and of course by implication, the major search engines:
As good as an approach that this is it is now being alleged that the US Rothschild Controlled Media has apparently completely blacked out any news involving Iceland's debt forgiveness. Attempting to search Iceland's mortgage debt forgiveness only leads to about 359,000 search results with none of them being from the United States. Neither major or minor news outlets mention a single word about Iceland's decision.
Now, of course, we don't know for certain how much, if any, debt the Rottenchild network held in Iceland, but we take the point: someone somewhere doesn't want anyone looking at Iceland. We all know why, for I suspect few readers of this website would contemplate the picture of a Darth Soros, or a Rockefailure, or a Rottenchild behind bars with anything less than a smile on their face. The same, I suspect, holds true for the current crop of "associates", the Geitners, Yellens, and Draghis of the world. Probably, someone, somewhere, is leaning over a table with their beer or coffee talking to someone else and wondering how these people can be Dominique Strauss-Kahned.
The idea of a debt jubilee itself is slowly and steadily gaining strength. And it's an idea worth considering, for recall, its origins stem from Mesopotamia(as I outlined in Babylon's Banksters), when private debts grew to the point that they could not be repaid. This led to the jubilee year and the ceremony of the "Breaking of the Tablets", when the king would ceremonially break the tablets containing contracts and debts. The reason? When debts could no longer be repaid, people simply left the country to start over somewhere else. Now, however, in the wake of the bubble-bailout cycle that culminated in 2008, we're told that the derivatives alone represented over 14-17 quadrillion dollars, several times more than the domestic product of the entire planet. It's a nice way for the Rockefailures Soroses and Rottenchilds to enslave several generations.
But there was another statement toward the end of the article that caught my eye, and that fuels today's high octane speculation. It was this:
The US government apparently owns 96% of bad loans, while major banking only owns about 3% of bad loans. This poor allocation leads to US government guaranteeing to collapse, while big banks stay rich and do not have to worry about ever foreclosing on themselves.
I couldn't help but think of former Housing and Urban Development assistant secretary Catherine Austin Fitts' model of rolling out the new financial system, which she has described as the "financial coup d'etat," wherein all the liabilities were moved off the books of the banks, and into the public(government) sector, while all the assets were moved from the latter to the former.
Nifty, huh?
Ok, so what? Where's the high octane speculation in this? Well, try this on for size: imagine you want to sell the idea of a completely cashless society (which of course, really isn't cashless, it's merely a way of protecting your currency issuance central banking cartel). How would one sell the idea? Through a debt jubilee: use our system of blockchain or virtual currency, and all your debts are forgiven. Only those continuing to use cash will have their debts retained. The "reset jubilee" button coupled to cashlessness... really, if one thinks about it, it's an interesting way to get rid of all that "bad paper" on the ledgers, and I wouldn't put it past them.
See you on the flip side...
Did You Read: CENTRAL BANKS HACKED, BUT WHAT AREN'T THEY SAYING?
Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".
Bugs
Forget Lab-Grown Meat, Eating Insects Is Best For The Planet | IFLScience
Thu, 11 May 2017 20:52
Put down that burger and pick up a mealworm, because switching beef for insects could play a huge role in the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have found that replacing half of the world's meat with the likes of crickets and mealworms could cut farmland currently used for livestock by a third. In turn, that would considerably reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Even a small increase in eating insects could also be massively beneficial to the planet, the researchers added.
''A mix of small changes in consumer behaviour, such as replacing beef with chicken, reducing food waste and potentially introducing insects more commonly into diets, would help achieve land savings and a more sustainable food system,'' Dr Peter Alexander, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences and Scotland's Rural College, said in a statement.
The research, published in the journal Global Food Security, is the first study to compare conventional meat production with alternative sources of food, such as insects, meat alternatives like tofu, and lab-grown meat.
Insects and meat-alternatives were by far the most sustainable as they require the least energy and least land to produce. Beef was the least sustainable by a long shot. Livestock emissions account for a large portion of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, and cattle represents about 65 percent of that, according to the United Nations.
Lab-grown meat also came up short in this research. They found it was no more sustainable than chicken or eggs, requiring about the same area of land but using more energy in production. Lab-grown meat, or ''cultured'' meat, is often lauded as the next big thing for the meat industry and the environment alike. However, this study suggests ''the benefits claimed for cultured meat may not be justified.'' The whole process '' from the laboratory setting to the processing of the product using sterilization and hydrolysis '' ends up being no more efficient than poultry farming. It's also pretty expensive at the current time.
Further research needs to be carried out on large-scale insect production. However, it seems like the real challenge will be convincing consumers to ditch their steaks and turn to mealworms.
NA-Tech News
Home Monitors Are Getting Smarter (and Creepier) - MIT Technology Review
Sat, 13 May 2017 11:47
A new smart-home assistant and security monitor can tell the difference between specific adults and spot kids and pets, and send you smartphone alerts about what they're up to.
Lighthouse went on sale on Thursday, though it won't ship to customers until September. A single Lighthouse device plus a year of service runs $399, and it will cost $10 per month after that. (By comparison, a Nest camera and its service, which together have some similar features, would cost $299 for a camera and a year of service, and $10 per month thereafter.)
The device was created by Alex Teichman and Hendrik Dahlkamp, who have backgrounds in computer vision and self-driving cars. So far, the company has raised $17 million from investors, including Android cofounder Andy Rubin.
Lighthouse uses several cameras, including a 3-D time-of-flight one that can see how far away an object is and determine objects in the foreground versus those in the background, Teichman says. If the device finds something that may be interesting'--say, your kids walking into the living room at 11 p.m.'--it will send that to a remote server, which analyzes the data and works with a Lighthouse app running on your smartphone to figure out what to do with it (perhaps send you a notification if you'd told the app to let you know about the kids being in there after 8).
Lighthouse can do things like send you an alert when a specific person gets home (which could be helpful or creepy, depending on your perspective), ping you if a specific person doesn't arrive in a certain time frame on a certain day, or let you know when an unknown person is in the house (you can then sound an alarm from the app if you choose).
''You tell it what you care about, and it tells you when these things happen,'' Teichman says.
Lighthouse's software can discern specific people via face recognition once you let it know, via the app, who that person is, Teichman says. It can also keep track of people coming and going by the presence of their smartphones, Teichman says, using a combination of things like geofencing and Bluetooth.
In a demo, Lighthouse's app seemed to understand queries asked by Lighthouse chief marketing officer Jessica Gilmartin, like ''Who walked the dog yesterday when I wasn't there?'' or ''What did the kids do this morning before 7 a.m.?'' or, more simply, ''Kids running on Sunday.'' In response, the app quickly pulled up video clips of a dog walker bringing a dog into the home, Gilmartin's young children walking down the stairs at 6 and 6:35 a.m., and her kids and one of their friends running around the house.
The Lighthouse service stores video data for 30 days, and only keeps video that includes something moving, Teichman says. He adds that only Lighthouse users can see their data, unless they choose to share it with the company.
Lighthouse may face an uphill battle with consumers. There are plenty of other smart cameras on the market, after all, some of them with object-recognition capabilities and many of them cheaper.
Teichman hopes, however, that its 3-D sensing and ability to spot certain activities like waving, running, or jumping up on things will help it stand apart.
Spotify, valued at $13 billion, to launch direct listing on NYSE: sources | Reuters
Sat, 13 May 2017 12:30
Fri May 12, 2017 | 4:07 PM EDT
By Lauren Hirsch and Pallavi Dewan
Music streaming service Spotify, most recently valued at $13 billion, will be the first major company to carry out a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange when it goes public later this year or early next year, two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.
The move would be the biggest test yet for the direct listing process, which for companies willing to list shares without raising capital eliminates the need for a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite an initial public offering (IPO) along with many associated fees.
If successful, it could change the way companies approach selling shares to the public.
The Swedish technology firm is working with investment banks Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Allen & Co to advise them on the process, the sources said.
Spotify, the New York Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley and Goldman declined comment. Allen & Co did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a traditional IPO, investment bank underwriters sell new shares of a company to the public at a price they determine based on investor feedback. The underwriters leading this process are backed by an IPO syndicate, sometimes comprising more than a dozen banks, which share the responsibility of selling and allocating shares to investors.
In a direct listing, a company does not raise money by offering new shares for sale, but instead makes existing shares immediately available to the public, meaning employees and investors can buy and sell as they wish. That dispenses with the need for banks to market and sell the company's shares.
Spotify's decision to side-step underwriters could be a hit to investment banks that rely on fees from marquee listings.
Proceeds from IPOs fell 40 percent last year from 2015. Technology IPOs, often a large chunk of the market, were down 56 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Last year Spotify raised $1 billion in convertible debt from private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP and hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group. The round came with a provision allowing TPG and Dragoneer to convert their debt into equity at a discount of 20 percent or more to the offering share price of an IPO, depending on when the company goes public.
It was unclear how that stipulation would be handled in a direct listing.
RISKS, VOLATILITY
Direct listings are not without risk. Investment banks seek to set an IPO price that fits demand while leaving room for the company's shares to rise further in the market. Without this guidance, a company's stock price is more exposed to gyrations.
There is also no "lock-up" period to prevent early-stage investors and employees from selling shares in the months following a listing. Without that, a stock could experience heavy turnover and price fluctuations just as the company is getting its public market footing.
Direct listings also do not eliminate all Wall Street costs. Investment banks still advise companies on how to get their financials in order and articulate why they are a good investment, even if they do not get involved in building materials to show investors at so-called roadshows.
Examples of companies of Spotify's size that have directly listed are scant, though Freddie Mac did so in 1989.
A direct listing for a large company such as Spotify may be hard to replicate, industry sources said. Companies less well-known would likely need bankers to market shares, while Spotify can rely on consumer familiarity and media exposure.
Spotify, which has yet to post a profit as it expands in markets worldwide and builds new offices in New York, lost 173 million euros ($189 million) in 2015, according to the latest figures disclosed by its Luxembourg-based holding company.
In recent months, it has sought to build up its service by striking deals with music labels. In April, it announced a licensing deal with Universal Music Group Inc that could make the streaming platform more attractive to its top-selling artists, including Taylor Swift, Adele, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Kanye West, by letting them release albums exclusively to premium users.
Spotify hopes to strike deals with Warner Music Group and Sony Music in the run-up to the IPO, one of the sources said.
($1 = 0.9160 euros)
(Reporting by Pallavi Dewan in Bengaluru and Lauren Hirsch in New York; Additional reporting by Liana Baker in New York and Sophie Sassard in London.; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar, Bill Rigby and Meredith Mazzilli)
Ghostscript lawsuit: Federal court rules in Artifex vs. Hancom that an open-source license is an enforceable contract '-- Quartz
Sat, 13 May 2017 12:36
When the South Korean developer of a suite of productivity apps called Hancom Office incorporated an open-source PDF interpreter called Ghostscript into its word-processing software, it was supposed to do one of two things.
To use Ghostscript for free, Hancom would have to adhere to its open-source license, the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GNU GPL requires that when you use GPL-licensed software to make some other software, the resulting software also has to be open-sourced with the same license if it's released to the public. That means Hancom would have to open-source its entire suite of apps.
Alternatively, Hancom could pay a licensing fee to Artifex, the developer of Ghostscript. Artifex allows developers of commercial or otherwise closed-source software to forego the strict open-source terms of the GNU GPL if they're willing to pay for it.
But after it began using Ghostscript in its software in 2013, Hancom did neither: it did not open-source its software, and it did not pay Artifex a licensing fee.
At the end of 2016, Artifex filed a lawsuit against Hancom in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
''Upon discovering Hancom's abuse of the GNU GPL and infringement of Artifex's valuable copyright in Ghostscript, Artifex demanded that Hancom cease its infringement and remit to Artifex a reasonable royalty for Hancom's years of unlicensed use of Ghostscript,'' the company said in its complaint. ''Rebuffed by Hancom, Artifex turns to this Court to enjoin Hancom from further infringement and to seek relief and recovery for Hancom's abuse of Artifex's open source license.''
Artifex also said in its complaint that Hancom reported $86.3 million in revenue in 2015.
The enforceability of open source licenses like the GNU GPL has long been an open legal question. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held in a 2006 case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, that violations of open source licenses could be treated like copyright claims. But whether they could legally considered breaches of contract had yet to be determined, until the issue came up in Artifex v. Hancom.
That happened when Hancom issued a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the company didn't sign anything, so the license wasn't a real contract.
''Not so,'' said Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in her order on the motion on April 25. Corley said the GNU GPL ''provides that the Ghostscript user agrees to its terms if the user does not obtain a commercial license. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant used Ghostscript, did not obtain a commercial license, and represented publicly that its use of Ghostscript was licensed under the [GNU GPL]. These allegations sufficiently plead the existence of a contract.''
Corley denied the motion, and in doing so, set the precedent that licenses like the GNU GPL can be treated like legal contracts, and developers can legitimately sue when those contracts are breached. It's an important win for the open-source community. Of course, whether Artifex will actually win the case it's now allowed to pursue is another question altogether.
War on Drugs
President Trump Signals: War on Drugs Back on in the USA - Live Trading News
Sat, 13 May 2017 13:51
National
Last Friday, President Trump threatened to ignore congressional protections for medical marijuana. Congress moved to protect medical marijuana by including in its stopgap federal spending bill a provision barring the Justice Department from using federal funds to go after the drug in states where medical marijuana is legal, but now, President Trump says that does not=t matter. Even though President Trump signed the spending bill into law last Friday, he included a signing statement objecting to numerous provisions in the bill including the ban on funds to block the implementation of medical marijuana laws in those states. The president seemed to imply that he could ignore the provision and go after the 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico where medical marijuana use is allowed. ''Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories,'' Trump noted in the signing statement. ''I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.''
Thursday US AG Jeff Sessions signaled that the DOJ will enforce the laws and seek maximum sentences for drug law violators, The Drug War looks like it is back on.
Colorado
Last Monday, the legislature approved adding PTSD as a qualifying condition. A bill to ''Allow Medical Marijuana Use for Stress Disorders,'' Senate Bill 17, was sent to the governor's desk after the Senate last week approved a final concurrence vote to amendments accepted in the House. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is expected to sign it.
Florida
Last Thursday, the Senate approved an amended House medical marijuana bill. The Senate gave its okay to a heavily-amended House Bill 1397, sending the measure back to the House for final approval. Senate bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming) offered and the Senate approved a ''delete all'' amendment basically replacing the House text. Among the changes: limiting growers to five retail facilities, allowing the Health Department to grant 10 new licenses this year, and a provision to add five more licenses for every 75,000 patients. The legislative session ends on Monday, so the House must act quickly.
On Monday, the legislature adjourned with no medical marijuana bill approved. Legislators were unable to agree on how to regulate the state's nascent medical marijuana industry, with the Senate refusing to hear a new proposal from the House on the last day of the legislative sessions, effectively killing the bill. That means it will now be up to the state Department of Health to craft rules and regulations for the industry. It also means that any rules '-- such as a proposed ban on smoking medical marijuana '-- will be easier to challenge in court than if they had been passed by the legislature.
Georgia
On Tuesday, the governor signed a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed into law Senate Bill 16, which expands the number of qualifying conditions for the use of low-THC cannabis oil and allows patients in hospice care to possess it. The new qualifying conditions are AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette's syndrome.
New York
Last Tuesday, the Assembly approved adding PTSD as a qualifying condition. The Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve Assembly Bill 7006, sponsored by Health Committee Chairman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan), which would add PTSD to the state's list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The bill now heads to the Senate.
South Carolina
On Monday, medical marijuana bills died. Bills allowing for medical marijuana are dead this session. Identical bills filed in the House and Senate went basically nowhere, with the House version stuck in the Medical Committee and the Senate version still stuck in a subcommittee.
Texas
Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill advanced. Last Friday, the House Committee on Public Health approved a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 2107. The bill expands a 2015 law by increasing the number of medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use. The bill now goes to the Calendars Committee, which will decide whether to take it to a House floor vote. Bills must pass the House by this Thursday or they're dead.
On Tuesday, the medical marijuana bill died. Despite the strongest support yet in Austin, the fight to pass a medical marijuana bill is over. House Bill 2107 is dead, killed by the House Calendars Committee, which failed to take action on it before a Thursday deadline.
[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - Sally Yates: Searches for Fulsome Definition Spike Online | Time.com
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:16
Searches for the definition of the word "fulsome" spiked after Sally Yates used the adjective on Monday during her opening statement at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee about Russian interference with the 2016 election.
As she delivered her opening statement Monday, the former acting Attorney General said she planned to be as "fulsome and comprehensive as possible" within ethical and legal boundaries when she testified in front of the committee about investigating possible Russian hacking during the presidential election.
Merriam Webster reported that searches for the word, which can mean "generous or abundant," surged more than 4,700% than the online dictionary's hourly average.
The reference noted that although the meaning of the word "fulsome" is muddled and context is key, it can "indicate abundance, but it can also express disapproval of excessive flattery."
Yates said she warned the White House, under President Donald Trump, that Michael Flynn was "compromised" and "essentially could be blackmailed by Russians." Trump fired Flynn earlier this year for misleading the Vice President Mike Pence about Flynn's communications with Russia.
Her testimony Monday was the first time Yates spoke publicly about her concerns.
VIDEO - (2) Rep. Adam Schiff: Authoritarianism vs. Democracy | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:42
VIDEO - (2) Mika Brzezinski to Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "You're actually not telling the truth right now!" - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:27
VIDEO - (2) The Strongest Media Reactions to Trump's Firing of James Comey | SUPERcuts! #471 - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:25
VIDEO - (2) Warren: No Doubt a Cover Up After Comey's Firing - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:23
VIDEO - (2) Kellyanne Conway calls Anderson Cooper's eyeroll at her "sexism" - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:19
VIDEO - (2) Harris Refuses To Back Down From Tweet That Was Rated Four Pinnochios - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:16
VIDEO - (2) Attorney General Sessions Orders Prosecutors To Go After Drug USERS With The Harshest Punishments! - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:07
VIDEO - (2) European Airlines Terrified Trump Will Expand "Laptop Ban" To Europe! - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 13:04
VIDEO - (2) New South Korean President Says He Is Considering Removing US Missile Defense System! - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:53
VIDEO - (2) INFORMATION USED TO PULL OFF MASSIVE RANSOMWARE ATTACK "ALLEGEDLY STOLEN FROM NSA"!!! - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:45
VIDEO - (2) "For Centuries Tea Has Brought Cultures Communities And People Together" IMF President Lagarde - YouTube
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:40
VIDEO - NBC Joins Watergate Hysteria: 'History Repeating Itself' With Comey Firing? | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:32
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
After initially refraining from making irresponsible comparisons between President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey to the Watergate scandal, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News and Thursday's Today, the network could no longer resist its liberal instincts, joining ABC and CBS in labeling Trump the new Richard Nixon.
During a report on Nightly News, correspondent Hallie Jackson featured a soundbite of former Nixon White House Counsel and liberal commentator John Dean, who proclaimed: ''These are the kind of mistakes that were made during Watergate. They are careless. They are thoughtless. They're not well-planned.''
VIDEO - Rand Paul Schools 'Left-Wing Media' Parroting Dem Talking Points on Comey | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:26
[See NewsBusters for more.] Republican Senator Rand Paul nailed the liberal spin coming from CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Thursday, hammering the hypocrisy on the firing of James Comey. After King, who is also a Democratic donor, questioned the way in which Comey was fired, Paul fired back: ''I think if they summarily dismissed Comey earlier on without going through that process, you know all the left-wing media would have been up in arms with that too.'' Ouch. The Senator lectured, ''The left has wanted to get rid of [Comey] for six months. We finally do what the left wants and they can only complain and make up stories about how it means, 'Oh, the end of the Republic.'''
VIDEO - MSNBC Freak Out: Trump Is 'Over,' Guilty of 'Cover-Up' | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:05
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
The journalists at MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday were in full freak out mode over the firing of James Comey. Guest John Heilemann declared, ''I personally think it's over. I don't think there's anything that can be done that can stop this at this point.'' He later judged Donald Trump guilty of a "cover-up."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski further lamented, ''This cacophony, this gushing of lies, problems, questions, chaos that will stop this presidency in its tracks because they won't be able to get anything else done and tomorrow there will be something new. And tomorrow there will be something new. There was always more chaos on the horizon.''
VIDEO - What Did Trump Give Lester Holt During That Interview? | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:03
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
On Friday's Today show, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt revealed the contents of a piece of paper President Trump handed to him at the beginning of their exclusive sit-down interview on Thursday. The document provided inconvenient facts that the liberal media have been trying desperately to ignore.
After re-airing a lengthy portion of Trump interview at the top of the morning show, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered what the President had handed to Holt at the start of the exchange: ''There's a shot of you when you first walk in and it seems the President hands you a piece of paper. And of course the eagle-eyed viewer wants to know, what was that paper?''
VIDEO - What??? Bob Schieffer Sees 'Parallels' to 'Kennedy Assassination' in Comey Firing | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 12:01
[See NewsBusters for more.] If comparing the James Comey firing to Watergate isn't enough, why not move on to the Kennedy assassination? That's apparently the thinking of 80-year-old journalist Bob Schieffer on Friday. Appearing on CBS This Morning to bash Donald Trump as like ''something out of a Godfather movie,'' he first connected the President's actions in the Russia investigation to the murder of JFK. Schieffer bewildered his audience by suggesting, ''There are many parallels to Watergate. But I have to tell you, I think all the way back to the Kennedy assassination, to draw parallels.'' The veteran journalist stretched, ''I was there, as you know. I have always felt that if Lee Harvey Oswald had been put on trial, a lot of these conspiracy theories that are still circulating today would have been put at rest then.''
VIDEO - Stay Classy! CNN Panel: Trump Running 'Banana Republican' in Need of 'A Pacifier and a Rattle' | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 11:59
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
When they go low, we go....lower? Apparently, that was the way things went in one CNN panel Friday morning as former FBI agent Philip Mudd suggested that President Trump deserves ''a pacifier and a rattle'' and placed ''in the crib'' while CNN historian Tim Neftali expressed dismay at the United States having become a ''20th century banana republic.''
Of course, these new liberal media meltdowns were a result of the President's tweets threatening to cancel White House press briefings, denouncing the allegations of Russian collusion, and suggesting that conversations with now-fired FBI Director Jim Comey were recorded.
VIDEO - CBS Crew Mock Trump as a Fatty Over Ice Cream Taste: 'He's a Very Big Guy' | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 11:55
[See NewsBusters for more.] Proving there is absolutely nothing journalists won't savage Donald Trump over, the co-hosts of CBS This Morning on Friday called the President fat. In the wake of a snide Time magazine story claiming that he has two scoops of ice cream for dessert, Norah O'Donnell insisted that ''everybody else just got one scoop of ice cream.'' Co-host Gayle King judged, ''It says to me that he likes ice cream and he's a big guy.'' Charlie Rose said the real issue is ''how much more he's eating than other people.'' King mocked, ''He's very big. He's a very big guy.''
VIDEO - WH: Trump's Tweet on Comey Taping Their Conversation 'Not a Threat' | MRCTV
Sun, 14 May 2017 11:53
The White House on Friday commented on President Donald Trump's tweet that the FBI director ''better hope'' there were no tapes of their conversation, saying Trump's words were ''not a threat'' and that he was stating a fact. Read Full Story
VIDEO - WATCH: Explosive Dutch documentary says Trump has deep ties to Russia's mafia underworld
Sat, 13 May 2017 15:09
WATCH: Explosive Dutch documentary says Trump has deep ties to Russia's mafia underworld
Frustrated with Sean Spicer's press office, Trump considering bringing in Fox News producers: report
Pence conspired in 'near secrecy' with Trump to oust Comey: NY Times
'The graft goes through the kids': Maher compares Ivanka Trump to palace-dwelling sons of Saddam Hussein
'It isn't a game': Fox's Chris Wallace and Shep Smith tear into Trump's 'troubling' actions
Adam Schiff to Maher: GOP lining their pockets before Trump's 'wheels come completely off the wagon'
Study finds link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism
WATCH LIVE: President Donald Trump delivers commencement address at Liberty University
Don't get too distracted by the Comey Scandal '-- Trump is still moving forward with his slow-motion coup
BUSTED: Trump's expected pick for top USDA scientist is not a scientist
VIDEO - GOP's choice: Love America or back Trump (Opinion) - CNN.com
Sat, 13 May 2017 13:25
But it is not too soon to wonder aloud if the Republican Party really loves America.
Consider recent reports about what's been happening to this country at the highest levels of power:
' Trump kept Michael Flynn on for 18 days as his national security adviser after being repeatedly warned he was susceptible to Russian blackmail.' Trump repeatedly asked the FBI director about an investigation in which he and his associates are potentially suspects.' The firing came shortly after the FBI director made it known the investigation was being expanded and heating up.' The President's communications team -- and Vice President Mike Pence -- repeatedly told the America public that James Comey was fired because of recommendations from the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, but Trump admitted in a TV interview that he planned to fire Comey regardless of the recommendations he received from Justice Department officials.' The attorney general had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of questionable testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing, then recommended that the man leading that investigation should be fired.
As if to underscore his contempt for our democratic norms, Trump threatened the now former FBI director in a tweet Friday morning, writing, "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"An NFL quarterback was deemed un-American and said to have disrespected the American flag because he silently kneeled in protest during the playing of the national anthem to highlight ongoing injustices, and much of that criticism was coming from Republicans.Some of those same Republicans called the Black Lives Matter movement a domestic hate group because it dared to hold police to account for brutality and questionable shootings.
And yet they are either sitting on their hands or deflecting while the President of the United States openly admits to committing actions any one of which should elicit strong censure, if not something far worse.
Trump is President because the GOP walked away from its supposed principles. The party of "family values" chose a man who bragged about his adultery. The GOP stood by a man who was caught on video bragging about being able to get away with casually sexually assaulting women because he was famous.
Its nominee had risen to political prominence on the back of open bigotry, kicked off his campaign by calling most Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers and then proposed a complete ban on Muslim immigration. That doesn't include his history of support for the railroading of five black and brown young men in New York into a conviction for a rape they did not commit and his company's history of racial discrimination that dates back decades. Republicans did not care that he refused to release his tax returns like every major party nominee had done since at least the 1970s. They don't care how the Trump family is monetizing the White House.Still, the GOP was willing to abandon its faith, its respect for women and any claims it had to actually believing in racial justice, all for Trump.
Despite that, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the GOP would shed its love of country for him, too. Given the silence -- the cowardice -- of so many Republicans, what else am I to think? If any of these events had happened under President Barack Obama, the Republicans would be screaming for impeachment hearings.
The United States made a huge mistake when it elected a man who had no moral compass. It made a bigger one when it gave Republicans the privilege -- and responsibility -- to check his power.
VIDEO - Roger Stone Invites Joy Behar Back To His Place On 'The View' | The Daily Caller
Sat, 13 May 2017 13:19
Roger Stone Invites Joy Behar Back To His Place On 'The View' | The Daily Caller
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Friday's episode of ''The View'' brought on political consultant, Trump ally and self-described ''dirty trickster'' Roger Stone to discuss his new documentary, ''Get Me Roger Stone,'' which chronicles his role as an adviser to the Trump campaign and personal friendship with the 45th president.
The conversation came around to the Roger's Stone's giant back tattoo of Nixon's face:
''But I happen to know that Nixon is a really your favorite of all [the presidents] because of you have a tattoo of him on your back,'' remarked co-host Joy Behar.
''He is,'' confirmed Stone.
''I've been trying to get him to disrobe, but he won't,'' Behar joked.
This is when right-wing Roger Stone decided to flirt with left-wing Joy Behar, big-league. ''I'll tell you what, Joy. Come back to meet at my place later and I'll show you.''
The audience and her fellow co-hosts went wild, but Behar decided to leave Stone with a broken heart. She took off her glasses so she could ''give a big eye roll to that one.''
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Fri, 12 May 2017 20:05
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VIDEO - WARNING: Authorities say 'Gray Death' made its way to Indiana ea - WDRB 41 Louisville News
Fri, 12 May 2017 12:46
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is warning Hoosiers about a dangerous new drug that made its way to Indiana earlier this week.
It's called Gray Death -- and officials say it doesn't just kill drug users on minimal contact, but also first responders arriving at scenes contaminated by the drug.
It's described as, "a particularly dangerous mixture of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other synthetic opiods."
Carfentanil is said to be a particularly dangerous ingredient to the drug, because it's used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals, and is, "10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl." It is a severe threat to first responders, because it can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled through the air.
Officials say an overdose from the Gray Death was reported in central Indiana earlier this week.
"When approaching an emergency, you never know where extreme danger may lurk, so every precaution must be taken," State Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger said in a statement. "That's definitely true for any drug-related scene, where even a tiny amount of the wrong substance can be deadly."
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter also weighed in:
"Here's the bottom line. Many people become addicted to opiods from what originally started as a legitimately prescribed use, while others became addicted as a result of illicit use ... But addiction is addiction, regardless of the path and this is not a problem we can -- or should try -- to arrest our way out of. And equally as troubling is the threat these substances are posing to the health and safety of public safety officials. ... We in law enforcement will continue to direct our resources toward arresting the traffickers of these illegal substances and working with prosecutors to build the strongest case possible to make the price of conviction higher than the profit from peddling death and destruction."
When responding to an overdose scene, first responders are urged to:
Exercise extreme caution with any suspected opioid delivery method. Specifically, they are urged to wear gloves and masks and cover as much skin as possible.Be aware of and recognize any signs of exposure.Seek immediate medical attention, when necessary.Refrain from touching any potential drug materials or paraphernalia.Be ready to manage the victim's airway in the event of exposure.Related:
WARNING: New street drug dubbed 'gray death' can kill with one dose
Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.
VIDEO - The White House Lied About the Comey Firing, According to Acting FBI Director | Mother Jones
Fri, 12 May 2017 12:44
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe Jacquelyn Martin/AP
The White House has offered shifting justifications for President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. White House officials initially insisted that the Department of Justice initiated the firing in response to Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, a story that soon fell apart. Trump, in a brief statement, said that Comey "was not doing a good job"'--without further explanation. The administration has denied the dismissal had anything to do with the FBI's investigation of the Russian cyberattack on the 2016 campaign to help Trump, or with the bureau's inquiry into interactions between Trump associates and Russians.
One key item the White House has cited as a reason Trump booted Comey was that Comey had lost the trust and confidence of the bureau's own agents and employees. Yet on Thursday morning, Comey's successor, Acting Director Andrew McCabe, gave testimony suggesting that on this point the White House was lying.
"That is not accurate. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day."
At Wednesday's daily White House briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Trump spokesperson, had the task of defending the firing of Comey. She said Trump had lost confidence in Comey over the past several months (despite all the positive statements he had made about Comey), and she claimed members of Congress had also soured on Comey. Then she added that, worst of all, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director. Pressed by a reporter about that particular and stinging claim'--the reporter cited an FBI source who had told him that "the vast majority of the bureau is in favor of Director Comey"'--Sanders stuck to this line: "Look, we've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things."
Was that true? Countless members of the FBI had turned on Comey? At a hearing held by the Senate Intelligence Committee the following day, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) asked McCabe whether Sanders' assertion about the FBI rank and file's attitude toward Comey was a fair and accurate assessment.
McCabe minced no words: "That is not accurate. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day. We are a large organization. We are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. We have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority, the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey." McCabe added that it had been a great honor and privilege to work with Comey.
So was the White House making stuff up to rationalize Trump's dumping of Comey? McCabe didn't go further. But there has been no reporting in the past few days to suggest this White House talking point is not a fabrication. The Washington Post on Wednesday quoted Thomas O'Connor, who heads the FBI Agents Association, as saying that Comey's termination was "a gut punch. We didn't see it coming, and we don't think Director Comey did anything that would lead to this."
McCabe's testimony also suggested that Sanders had not told the truth in another regard. At her Wednesday briefing, Sanders said the FBI "is doing a whole lot more than the Russia investigation," and that even though the media "would like to think that's the FBI's sole responsibility'...that's probably one of the smallest things that they've got going on their plate."
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked McCabe if the Russia probe is indeed one of the "smallest things" the FBI was handling. McCabe didn't miss a beat: "Sir, we consider it to be a highly significant investigation."
King wanted to drive home this point. "So you would not characterize it as one of the smallest things you're engaged in?" he asked.
"I would not," McCabe replied.
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Comey

Bob Schieffer Sees ‘Parallels’ to ‘Kennedy Assassination’ in Comey Firing.mp3
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Mika & MSNBC Freak Out- Trump Is ‘Over,’ Guilty of ‘Cover-Up’.mp3
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CYBER!

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DPRK

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EuroLand

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F-Russia

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JCD Clips

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Poppie$tan

SJW BLM LGBBTQQIAAP

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Trains Good/Planes Bad

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