938: Humalgo

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 16m
June 15th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch, Keith Losset, Ralf Viscount of Neutral-Moresnet and Germany

Associate Executive Producers: Brian McVicker, Sir Chancey, Katlyn Williams, Bryan

Cover Artist: Gaston Garcia

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GOP Shooter
I want his amygdala tested!
Trolls Tricked Conservatives Into Holding A Massive Rally To Defend A Texas Monument
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 20:13
Several hundred people rallied in Houston, ready to battle and defend the Sam Houston monument. Turns out, they got hoaxed.
After weeks of planning, several hundred people from across Texas and from other Southern states converged in Houston on Saturday, prepped for battle and with a serious mission: Protect the Sam Houston Monument at all costs.
They swarmed Hermann Park early in the morning, decked in camo, leather vests, Infowars jackets, and Texas pride shirts, toting American, Texan, and "Don't Tread on Me" flags, "Stand With Sam" signs, and semi-automatic rifles and snipers.
A 40-person-deep security team patrolled the area, while the hydration team passed out water, waiting in the Texas summer heat for enemy leftist groups to arrive.
"We set up four-man teams in different sectors making sure the anti-fascists wouldn't infiltrate us or pick off one or two people by the bathrooms," Jeremy Alcede, head of security for the group This Is Texas, told BuzzFeed News. "We were told hundreds of [anti-fascists] were coming."
This Is Texas / Via Facebook The enemy never arrived '-- nor had they ever planned to.
Turns out that Sam Houston, a beloved state hero who served as the first president of the Republic of Texas after it seceded from Mexico, was never in trouble. There hasn't been any organized effort to remove the giant statue, which has stood erect in the park since 1925. Hearing of the drama, Houston's mayor emphatically stated that the monument was not being considered for removal.
And unlike other cities working to remove Confederate monuments, like New Orleans, Houston never actually joined the Confederacy.
But fueled by a May 19 Facebook post from a group called Texas Antifa, rumors swirled that leftist groups wanted the Sam Houston Monument to be next, sparking an intensive "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign.
"We're about to have a huge event in Houston June 10 with the combined forces of several large groups, perhaps our biggest ever. The Fascists better not show up or they will be limping home bruised, broken, hurt, and crying with their tails tucked between their legs," the group said, including maps of the park and directions.
"We will be freely heard without their attendance because they rarely counter against us since they don't have the support numbers and are few and far between, especially in Houston. Brothers go to our National Page for the event information."
However, Texas Antifa is not a real group. It claimed to represent the anti-fascist movement, part of a growing trend of fake Antifa accounts that are trolling people and spreading false information.
Shortly after the post, the Houston Chronicle and local NBC affiliate KPRC-TV published stories citing the group and detailing its efforts to rally in favor of eradicating the monument, despite the legitimate local anti-fascist group, Houston Antifa, flagging the group as an impostor and warning its members to steer clear of the rally.
The Chronicle issued a correction on June 1, acknowledging that the upcoming June 10 rally was based on "a fake announcement on Facebook...There is no such rally" and that Texas Antifa is an ''alt-right troll job.''
"Trolls are going to continue to use these nefarious tactics in attempts to misrepresent the purposes and ideologies of Antifa, to use hot button issues like statue removal, etc to mobilize and drum up ire from generica MAGAs / Conservatives," Houston Antifa told BuzzFeed News on Monday.
And while the group called Houston a "racist and slave owner that had a questionable history," it emphasized that "statue removal is not a current campaign that the Houston community is rallying around."
Unfortunately, the news that the anti-fascist group and its planned rally was all a hoax never reached Alcede and his ballooning army of nearly 4,000 This Is Texas Facebook group members.
Further incensed by Quanell X, the leader of the New Black Panther Party in Houston, citing and praising the fake Antifa's cry for removing the statue on a Fox News segment, the contingent of patriots mobilized and planned the rally days after the impostor Antifa account announced its rally.
"Their goal is to remove the Sam Houston statue. Many of these communist punks are embolden after they lay claim to a win in New Orleans by bringing down the Confederate monuments," This Is Texas wrote on May 22. "We invite all III%ers, Oath Keepers, Militias, Tea Partiers, Liberty Loving Texans, Liberty Loving Americans, Open Carry Organizations, and anyone who loves Texas & wants to protect our sovereign soil & history to join us."
Kyle Chapman '-- who became a renowned alt-right leader after violently beating a person in Berkeley '-- also cited the fake Antifa's mission and flew to Texas to fight against them, writing, in all caps, "ANTIFA, YOU'RE ABOUT TO GET THE MESSAGE EVERYONE ELSE IN AMERICA KNOWS BY HEART: DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!"
So they gathered, after weeks of meticulously preparing and spending thousands of dollars on supplies, shouting rallying cries of Texas pride and condemning the "snowflakes and libtards" who threatened their heroes.
Hours later, the group, and the hundreds of Houston police who were patrolling the park because of the rally, disbanded without having to fight anyone.
"In reality, we were duped," Alcede and one of the founders of This Is Texas, Brandon Burkhart, said Sunday night.
Exhausted, Alcede and Burkhart went live on Facebook Sunday night to relay the hoax to their members.
No one really seemed to care. In comments, people enthusiastically praised the efforts and called for a "This Is Texas militia" to travel to all future events to further drive home the message that "no one messes with Texas."
"We are working on this," Alcede replied. "We now have an organization we can copy and paste and we can mobilize at a moment's notice all over the state to protect our flag."
Several attendees reported seeing "Antifa" members in the bathroom, "but they must have run off because they saw our crowd size," Alcede chuckled to BuzzFeed News. "I still believe the threat was credible and we deterred them."
Houston Antifa emphasized that their members knew the rally was a hoax and did not attend, though it was possible some of the statue defenders had seen some demonstrators on their way to protest a nearby anti-Sharia event.
In another twist, a group claiming to be part of the hacking organization Anonymous claimed responsibility for the fake Antifa site as a way to rile up Texan conservatives to form a resistance and defend Sam Houston.
''It was always an Anonymous event to drive support and attention to an expired Texas law that protected its historical monuments,'' the group said in a video posted to the Texas Antifa YouTube channel on June 7.
Regardless, Alcede said that spirits are still high and his band of patriots "accomplished their mission," despite them being tricked.
"We were there to let people know that this is our history and we're now going to make this group official. We're trademarking the logo and going to continue fighting," Alcede said on Monday.
"It's the patriots against the snowflakes. That's what this is about."
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MSNBC Analyst Who Called for Terrorist Attack Now Bashing Guns for Today's Shooting
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:35
After journalists and celebrities gushed about gun control on Twitter after this morning's shooting of GOP Rep. Steve Scalise, some members of the media took their partisan advocacy on air. MSNBC's counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance admitted to anchor Brian Williams during the 11 am hour, that he cared less about the motives behind today's shooting than how the shooter obtained his gun.
Williams began by posing the question, ''What are you most curious about now?'' to Nance, who responded:
I'm most curious about whether the type of attack that he carried out whether it was focused on Steve Scalise. Was it a particular methodology that was leading up to an assassination attempt, or was it just a generically a political attack on people he saw as his opponents. The picture is getting a little clearer, but it doesn't matter, this was an attack on our representative democracy. It attacked our representative, whether Republican or Democrat. The most important thing we need to understand from this is this is what happens when you have an over proliferation of guns, and it is to be expected to a certain extent.
The impulse to blame guns and ignore all the other factors that go into an act of violence is typical for the left, but Nance isn't just any gun-grabbing liberal. In April, he ''nominated'' one of Trump's international buildings to be the target of ISIS's next suicide bombing:
He deleted the tweet a few hours later, but never acknowledged or apologized for advocating for terrorism. Yet today he has the audacity to blame guns for a radical liberal targeting and shooting a GOP Congressman.
In 2016, Nance also invoked ISIS when talking about Trump. Nance called Trump's anti-terrorism efforts ''laughable'' calling him the ''ISIS candidate.''
I will go so far as to say Donald Trump is the ISIS candidate. He inflames the passions of people in the West to perform Islamophobia, to draw recruits to them, to make them say 'This is what America is.
House hearing on gun legislation canceled after shooting - CNNPolitics.com
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 22:58
The House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee spokeswoman Molly Block confirmed the decision to CNN.
The panel had been due to debate the "Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act," which includes 18 provisions related to guns and hunting, as well as other recreational sporting and outdoors provisions.
The measure would make it easier to purchase silencers, transport guns across state lines and ease restrictions on armor-piercing bullets
The draft bill is sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina, who was at Wednesday's practice in Alexandria, Virginia, where Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others were shot.
The Natural Resources hearing is one of several events that have been canceled or postponed in the wake of the shooting.
A Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with the US Senate Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa scheduled for Wednesday morning has also been postponed, the committee said.
Democrats Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan postponed a news conference where they were set to discuss a lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
Not all events in the Capitol have been canceled. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are both still testifying at separate hearings on Wednesday.
Left or right-wing? Brain's disgust response tells all | New Scientist
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 13:24
Can that scowl say which way you tend to vote?Image: Ryan McVay/Getty
By Dan Jones
The way your brain reacts to a single disgusting image can be used to predict whether you lean to the left or the right politically.
A number of studies have probed the emotions of people along the political spectrum, and found that disgust in particular is tightly linked to political orientation. People who are highly sensitive to disgusting images '' of bodily waste, gore or animal remains '' are more likely to sit on the political right and show concern for what they see as bodily and spiritual purity, so tend to oppose abortion and gay marriage, for example.
A team led by Read Montague, a neuroscientist at Virginia Tech in Roanoke, recruited 83 volunteers and performed fMRI brain scans on them as they looked at a series of 80 images that were either pleasant, disgusting, threatening or neutral. Participants then rated the images for their emotional impact and completed a series of questionnaires that assessed whether they were liberal, moderate or conservative.
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The brain-imaging results were then fed to a learning algorithm which compared the whole-brain responses of liberals and conservatives when looking at disgusting images versus neutral ones.
For both political groups, the algorithm was able to pick out distinct patterns of brain activity triggered by the disgusting images. And even though liberals and conservatives consciously reported similar emotional reactions to the images, the specific brain regions involved and their patterns of activation differed consistently between the two groups '' so much so that they represented a neural signature of political leaning, the team concludes.
Conservatives showed increased activity in brain regions previously implicated in processing disgust, such as the basal ganglia and amygdala, but also in a wide range of regions involved in regulating emotion, attention and integrating information. In liberals the brain showed increased activity in different regions, but these were just as diverse.
The team found that these neural signatures of disgust can be used to predict political orientation. ''In fact, the responses in the brain are so strong that we can predict with 95 per cent accuracy where you'll fall on the liberal-conservative spectrum by showing you just one picture,'' says Montague. ''This was surprising as there are no other reports where people's response to just one stimulus predicts anything behaviourally interesting.''
Darren Schreiber of the University of Exeter, UK, who is also interested in the neuroscience of politics, says this approach is an advance on previous brain-imaging work that highlighted the importance of one or two isolated brain regions on political leaning, rather than entire networks.
And while this is not the first time differences have been found in the brains of liberals and conservatives, Schreiber says that the combination of whole-brain analysis with a sophisticated learning algorithm marks a step forward. ''It's not only a powerful replication and extension of previous work, but it's also incredibly accurate.''
Journal reference: Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.050
More on these topics:
Congressional Shooter Recently Wrote, "It's Time To Destroy Trump & Co." | The Smoking Gun
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:18
The gunman who opened fire this morning on Republican congressmen and staffers recently declared in a Facebook post that, ''It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co.''
The accused shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, posted a link to a Change.org petition in late-March that included the notation that, ''Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co.''
Hodgkinson's Facebook page includes numerous photos of Senator Bernie Sanders, whom Hodgkinson appears to have strongly supported during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. In posts last August, Hodgkinson wrote, ''I want Bernie to Win the White House'' and ''Bernie is a Progressive, while Hillary is Republican Lite.''
In a statement, Sanders said that he had been informed that Hodgkinson "apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign," adding that, "I am sickened by this despicable act...Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."
According to Hodgkinson's Facebook page, he is a member of numerous left-leaning online groups, including The Road To Hell Is Paved With Republicans; Rachel Maddow For President 2020; Sanders For President 2020; Terminate The Republican Party; and Donald Trump is not my President.
Hodgkinson, a Belleville, Illinois resident, has worked as a home inspector. According to his firm's Yelp page, Hodgkinson has operated JTH Inspections since 1994.
Congress Baseball Shooter Used Rifle Invented in 1940s During Shooting, Not AR-15 | Tribunist
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:46
News of mass shootings and terrorist attacks follow an almost typical pattern. As soon as the shock and horror begin to fade, the debate about means and motive take center stage. Those conversations, as they have in the case of the shooting at the GOP baseball practice early Wednesday morning, almost always include conversation about the AR-15. Not this time.
[Scroll Down for Video]
Actually, most media outlets are still reporting that James Hodgkinson used an AR-15 in the attack. This is the poster-gun, if you will, of the Democratic push for gun control. There's only one problem. Hodgkinson didn't use an AR-15.
Did I say one problem? There are clearly many problems that will come to light as we dig deeper into Hodgkinson's past, but the democrat who worked for the Bernie Sanders campaign doesn't fit the active-shooter-cliche.
The gun, if we are to believe CNN, was actually an SKS. This early predecessor to the AK-47 was built in Russia as World War II came to a close. It shoots a 7.62—39 cartridge, the same round that defined the iconic Kalashnikov rifles that would follow it.
There were millions of them made in Russia, and then later in China and other communist countries. These rifles are known for their unfailing ability to cycle ammunition, and can be easily customized. They are also readily available and cheap. As they're heavy, long, and not as easily reloaded as some modern semiautomatic rifles, they are only really prized by collectors and survivalists.
While this technicality may be trivial to most, it will serve as an important element in this discussion. The early reports from witnesses described a shotgun. Others said it was an M1A (another mid-century design, one that fires a much heavier .308 round). Later, a witness who worked at the YMCA nearby told FOX that the shooter had a Kalashnikov, and that was spun into a rumor that he was using an AK-47.
If the rifle he'd used had been an AK-47, or an AR-15 (both are exceptionally hard to come by in his native state of Illinois), the push against so-called ''assault weapons'' would have more ammunition.
Regardless, the Democrats are rightfully disavowing themselves from this incident. The Republican majority seems confident in the necessity of the Second Amendment. As not one of the politicians or aides present at the shooting this morning was armed, it was entirely up to the security detail that travels with Congressman Scalise to take the shooter down.
The shooter, even with his antique rifle, could have done a lot more damage if there wasn't a few good people with guns ready and willing to respond.
Here's the video of the witness, Owen Britton, setting the record straight on the gun conversation.
A Who's Who List of Agencies Guarding the Powerful - The New York Times
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:48
It may be easier to ask who in Washington does not have a protective detail. But it is possible, based on public records, news accounts and interviews with security officials, to sketch the rough outlines.
Photo A Secret Service agent at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Florida resort. The Secret Service protects the president and vice president and their families. It is responsible for the White House chief of staff, the president's national security adviser, the secretaries of Homeland Security and Treasury, former presidents and occasionally others. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times Here is what we found.
The Model of Them AllIf not all security details are created equal, most aim to imitate the Secret Service. Created in the 1860s to combat rampant currency counterfeiting, the agency has evolved into the government's best-known protective force, charged with safeguarding the White House and many of its occupants. So famous are the Secret Service's special agents that most other federal protection forces are confused for them.
But in reality, the agency protects only a small percentage of the government's very top officials. In addition to the president, vice president and their families, the agency is responsible for the White House chief of staff, the president's national security adviser, the secretaries of Homeland Security and Treasury, former presidents and occasionally others designated by the president.
The agency has been marred by several scandals in recent years and is struggling to keep up with a large and globe-trotting first family. But with a multibillion-dollar budget and thousands of agents and uniformed officers, it is still considered to be the model.
People with National Security SecretsFor most of the rest of the federal government, protection is usually an in-house affair. Over the years, most departments have either created special offices to handle the task or turned to existing ones that may already have law enforcement responsibilities.
Specially trained agents from the Justice Department's F.B.I. provide constant protection for Mr. Sessions and James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director. Mr. Sessions usually flies on a private government-provided plane as well.
At the C.I.A., highly trained and carefully selected agency officers protect its director with a constant presence, even setting up quarters within or near the director's home. Like the attorney general, the director travels on a government-provided jet.
And at the Defense Department, special agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command ensure that the secretary, Jim Mattis, is kept safe domestically and as he travels the world visiting bases and installations.
Matters of StateThe protective services budgets of even those agencies are tiny compared with that of the State Department, which must protect the country's diplomats.
That begins back home with the secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, who receives round-the-clock protection wherever he is by the department's Diplomatic Security Service, according to Aaron M. Testa, a State Department spokesman.
But the group's work goes well beyond the secretary. It also protects Nikki R. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, who is based in New York. Its almost 2,000 agents, who are members of the United States Foreign Service, also help provide protection for visiting foreign dignitaries. In 2015, the last year for which there are full records, it formed 195 such protective details, Mr. Testa said.
The service, which has officials in American embassies around the world, also plays a significant supporting role in protecting American officials when they travel. So-called regional security officers help the Secret Service and other protective teams with advance work for foreign travel.
Where Costs Are IncreasingIn February, in her first public outing as education secretary, protesters heckled Mrs. DeVos and tried to bar her entry to a Washington middle school. After that incident, and at Mr. Sessions's request, the Marshals Service assessed that there was a threat to her safety, according to Nikki Credic-Barrett, a spokeswoman. Mrs. DeVos was granted protection by the service, a Justice Department agency typically used, among myriad other duties, to protect Supreme Court justices traveling outside of Washington.
Photo A member of the United States Capitol Police force on Capitol Hill. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times The Education Department will pay the service up to $8 million through the end of September, Ms. Credic-Barrett said. The arrangement was first reported by The Washington Post.
Expanded security appears to be in the offing at the Environmental Protection Agency, as well, where administrators have traditionally received door-to-door security. In recent weeks, though, the agency has requested funds to add 10 full-time staff members to form a 24-hour security detail for its current administrator, Scott Pruitt, budget documents show.
Both Mrs. DeVos and Mr. Pruitt were subject to vocal and widespread protests during the nomination process. They are spending more on security despite their departments being targeted for some of the deepest cuts in Mr. Trump's first budget proposal.
Whether they are an exception, or part of a larger trend toward more protection across the board, is difficult to determine. Protection costs are often buried within departmental budget requests, making them hard to separate from other security costs.
But the last time the issue was studied by the Government Accountability Office, in 2000, it found that personnel from 27 different agencies were protecting 42 different positions, often with little coordination or standardized training.
Even the Agriculture DepartmentMany departments have offices more narrowly directed to handle security. Elaine L. Chao, the transportation secretary, is watched over by a special division of the department's Office of Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response. (Ms. Chao's husband, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, receives constant protection by the Capitol Police because he is the majority leader.) A protective detail for the agriculture secretary, who has yet to be confirmed, falls under the department's Office of the Secretary. And Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has a detail of department employees that accompanies him to events and on official travel.
Personnel from a special Department of Veterans Affairs office protect David J. Shulkin, its secretary, during travel, public events and visits, and also provide transportation to and from work. The size of the protective detail varies with perceived threats, but usually occupies two cars.
Others are more tight-lipped about their arrangements.
''Disparate resources are used to protect from the disruption an attack on government could cause,'' said John S. Czwartacki, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget. ''However, I won't reveal those protective measures here. Bad guys read The Times, too.''
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A version of this article appears in print on April 13, 2017, on Page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Earpieces and Dark Suits, and Not All of Them With the Secret Service.
Continue reading the main story
Shut Up Slave!
Germany's Merkel says digital world needs global rules | Reuters
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:48
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to people at a pavilion during an event of the Dual Year Germany-Mexico, at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City, Mexico June 10, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
By Andreas Rinke | MEXICO CITY MEXICO CITY German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the digital world needs regulations like those that exist for financial markets in the G20 and for trade under the World Trade Organization.
Global policymakers are facing uncharted territory as emerging technologies open new frontiers for regulation with the inter-networking of smart devices and trends in the automation of factories, dubbed Industry 4.0 by German politicians.
"We still have no international rules," Merkel said alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during a visit to Mexico City, stressing that there were important security concerns without common standards.
"Otherwise some provider could emerge ... that's an island, and from which things could be done, relevant to security, that could destroy an entire system. On this question of the rules-based handling of it, we're still right at the start."
Germany wants to use its presidency of the Group of 20 major economies to develop a concrete plan on digital policy at a summit in July. Merkel pointed to an agreement by G20 nations to fight cyber attacks on the global banking system.
Germany has said it wants to establish a common global plan to promote fast internet for all and agree on common technical standards at the G20 meeting in Hamburg next month.
Europe and the United States needed to work together on ensuring sensible rules because standards had been very erratically set so far, Merkel said.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Dave Graham; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Chizu Nomiyama)
Next In Technology News Western Digital to raise Toshiba chip offer in last-ditch bid: sourceTOKYO Western Digital Corp plans to raise its offer for Toshiba Corp's prized semiconductor unit to $18 billion or more, a person familiar with the matter said, in a last-ditch effort to clinch a deal both companies consider vital.
Costs of bank cyber thefts hit SWIFT profit last yearLONDON Dealing with cyber hacks on banks ate into profit last year at the SWIFT messaging system, which financial institutions use to move trillions of dollars each day.
German election director eyes possible quiet period before electionBERLIN Germany should consider imposing a "quiet period" immediately before the federal election in September, similar to a media policy in place in France, election director Dieter Sarreither said, amid concerns about possible meddling by Russia.
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War on Cash
New Bill in the US US Senate is Too Ridiculous to Believe | Privacy Blog
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 22:49
Recently a new bill was introduced on the floor of the US Senate entitled, pleasantly, Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017. The title sounds like a good thing but reading the contents of the bill will quickly change your mind. Sadly, it doesn't seem to do much to combat terrorism and does very little to combat money laundering or counterfeiting. Instead, it gives the government broad new powers to spy on your finances and even includes the authority for the government to seize not just any money you didn't report, but also ALL of your assets and bank accounts.
The crime? Owning too much cash.
Simon Black is a prolific blogger who often writes about government encroachment on personal liberties and privacy, amongst other topics. His latest blog entry describes an attempt to pass legislation that will penalize you failing to fill out a new form if you happen to be transporting more than $10,000 in cash or other 'monetary instruments' or if you purchase (unreported) cryptocurrency, prepaid credit cards, prepaid cell phones, prepaid retail gift cards, or prepaid coupons.
If found guilty of any of these ''crimes,'' you could be sentenced for up to TEN years in prison.
This bill also gives government agencies new authority to engage in surveillance and wiretapping (including phone, email, etc.) if they have even a hint of suspicion that you might be transporting excess 'monetary instruments'. While the proposed bill is entitled Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017, there seems to be nothing in this bill is about keeping people safe.
If this proposed legislation is passed, Big Brother will be watching you more than ever before.
You can read You won't believe this stupid new law against Cash and Bitcoin by Simon Black at: http://bit.ly/2rwzqAh.
The full text of the proposed legislation introduced by Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA] in the Congress.gov web site at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1241/text
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You won't believe this stupid new law against Cash and Bitcoin | Sovereign Man
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 22:50
This one is almost too ridiculous to believe.
Recently a new bill was introduced on the floor of the US Senate entitled, pleasantly,
''Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017.''
You can probably already guess its contents.
Cash is evil.
Bitcoin is evil.
Now they've gone so far to include prepaid mobile phones, retail gift vouchers, or even electronic coupons. Evil, evil, and evil.
These people are certifiably insane.
Among the bill's sweeping provisions, the government aims to greatly extend its authority to seize your assets through ''Civil Asset Forfeiture''.
Civil Asset Forfeiture rules allow the government to take whatever they want from you, without a trial or any due process.
This new bill adds a laundry list of offenses for which they can legally seize your assets'... all of which pertain to money laundering and other financial crimes.
Here's the thing, though: they've also vastly expanded on the definition of such 'financial crimes', including failure to fill out a form if you happen to be transporting more than $10,000 worth of 'monetary instruments'.
Have too much cash? You'd better tell the government.
If not, they're authorizing themselves in this bill to seize not just the money you didn't report, but ALL of your assets and bank accounts.
They even go so far as to specifically name ''safety deposit boxes'' among the various assets that they can seize if you don't fill out the form.
(Yet another reason to consider storing cash, gold, and silver in an overseas safety deposit box.)
This is unbelievable on so many levels.
It's crazy to begin with that these people are so consumed by the fact that someone has $10,000 in cash.
But it's even crazier that they're threatening to take EVERYTHING that you own merely for not filling out a piece of paper, without any due process whatsoever.
Oh, and on top of civil asset forfeiture penalties, there are also criminal penalties.
Right now according to current law they can imprison you for up to FIVE YEARS for not filling out the form. Five years.
But apparently that doesn't go far enough to protect us against evil men in caves.
So this bill aims to double the criminal penalty to TEN years in prison.
And if that weren't enough, this bill also gives them with new authority to engage in surveillance and wiretapping (including phone, email, etc.) if they have even a hint of suspicion that you might be transporting excess 'monetary instruments'.
Usually wiretapping authority is reserved for major crimes like kidnapping, human trafficking, felony fraud, etc.
Now we can add cash to that list.
It's not just government spy agencies to worry about, either.
Banks in the US are already unpaid government spies, required by law to fill out suspicious activity reports on their customers.
Then Congress started expanding those requirements to include other businesses and industries that might come into contact with cash.
Stock brokers. Casinos. Currency exchanges. Precious metals dealers. Pawnbrokers. The Post Office.
According to the law (section 5312 of US Code Title 31), those industries are also required to spy on their customers for the government.
But under this new bill, they want to forcibly recruit even more unpaid spies, including any business which issues or redeems ANYTHING that's prepaid.
Prepaid credit cards. Prepaid phones. Prepaid retail gift cards. Prepaid coupons.
So, Amazon.com, which issues and redeems prepaid gift cards, will be required under this bill to file reports to the government.
For that matter, TGI Fridays and Chuckee Cheese will also become unpaid government spies since they both issue and redeem prepaid vouchers.
Truly these Senators have figured out how to strike at the heart of ISIS.
Further, their bill wants to pull any business which ''issues'' cryptocurrency under the anti-money laundering regulatory umbrella.
Here's where these people demonstrate that they have no idea what they're talking about.
No one ''issues'' Bitcoin. There's no Bitcoin central bank. There's no Chairman of Bitcoin who decides on a whim to increase the supply.
Bitcoin is created automatically amounts that are pre-determined by its code. It's software.
So the Senate is essentially trying to force the Bitcoin core software to comply with money laundering regulations.
How pathetically clueless.
The bill also attempts to drop a major bomb on Bitcoin by including it in the list of monetary instruments that must be reported when entering or leaving the US.
So theoretically if you leave the US with more than $10,000 in Bitcoin or Ether, you'd have to confess this fact to the authorities or otherwise face the aforementioned penalties, i.e. prison time, civil asset forfeiture, etc.
HOORAY FREEDOM!
As you can see, this bill criminalizes or delegitimizes the most mundane and harmless financial activities, all under the guise of keeping us safe.
Of course nothing in this bill is about keeping people safe.
ISIS couldn't care less about forms and penalties.
This bill is nothing more than another weapon in their ongoing War on Cash'... and now cryptocurrency too.
Text - S.1241 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 22:56
S. 1241
To improve the prohibitions on money laundering, and for other purposes.
To improve the prohibitions on money laundering, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents . (a) Short title .'--This Act may be cited as the ''Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017''.
(b) Table of contents .'--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Transportation or transhipment of blank checks in bearer form.
Sec. 3. Bulk cash smuggling.
Sec. 4. Section 1957 violations involving commingled funds and aggregated transactions.
Sec. 5. Charging money laundering as a course of conduct.
Sec. 6. Illegal money services businesses.
Sec. 7. Concealment money laundering.
Sec. 8. Freezing bank accounts of persons arrested for offenses involving the movement of money across international borders.
Sec. 9. Prohibiting money laundering through hawalas, other informal value transfer systems, and closely related transactions.
Sec. 10. Technical amendment to restore wiretap authority for certain money laundering and counterfeiting offenses.
Sec. 11. Making the international money laundering statute apply to tax evasion.
Sec. 12. Conduct in aid of counterfeiting.
Sec. 13. Prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments.
Sec. 14. Administrative subpoenas for money laundering cases.
Sec. 15. Obtaining foreign bank records from banks with United States correspondent accounts.
Sec. 16. Danger pay allowance.
Sec. 17. Clarification of Secret Service authority to investigate money laundering.
Sec. 18. Prohibition on concealment of ownership of account.
Sec. 19. Prohibition on concealment of the source of assets in monetary transactions.
Sec. 20. Rule of construction.
SEC. 2. Transportation or transhipment of blank checks in bearer form . Section 5316 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''(e) Monetary instruments with amount left blank .'--For purposes of this section, a monetary instrument in bearer form that has the amount left blank, such that the amount could be filled in by the bearer, shall be considered to have a value of more than $10,000 if the instrument was drawn on an account that contained, or was intended to contain more than $10,000 at the time'--
''(1) the instrument was transported; or
''(2) the instrument was negotiated or was intended to be negotiated.''.
SEC. 3. Bulk cash smuggling . Section 5332(b) of title 31, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking ''5 years'' and inserting ''10 years'';
(2) by redesignating paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), as paragraphs (3), (4), and (5), respectively;
(3) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
''(2) F INE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--Whoever violates this section shall be fined under title 18.
''(B) E NHANCED FINE FOR AGGRAVATED CASES .'--Whoever violates this section while violating another law of the United States, other than section 5316 or 5324(c) of this title, or as a part of a pattern of any unlawful activity, including a violation of section 5316 or 5324(c) of this title, shall be fined double the amount provided in subsection (b)(3) or (c)(3) of section 3571 of title 18.''; and
(4) in paragraph (5), as redesignated, by striking ''paragraph (2)'' and inserting ''paragraph (3)''.
SEC. 4. Section 1957 violations involving commingled funds and aggregated transactions . Section 1957 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''(g) In a prosecution for an offense under this section, the Government may satisfy the $10,000 monetary transaction value requirement under subsection (a) by showing that'--
''(1) the monetary transaction involved the transfer, withdrawal, encumbrance, or other disposition of more than $10,000 from an account in which more than $10,000 in proceeds of specified unlawful activity was commingled with other funds; or
''(2) the defendant conducted a series of monetary transactions in amounts of not more than $10,000 that'--
''(A) exceeded $10,000 in the aggregate; and
''(B) were closely related to each other as demonstrated by factors such as'--
''(i) the time period between the transactions;
''(ii) the identity of the parties involved;
''(iii) the nature or purpose of the transactions; and
''(iv) the manner in which the transactions were conducted.''.
SEC. 5. Charging money laundering as a course of conduct . Section 1956 of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in subsection (h), by striking ''or section 1957'' and inserting '', section 1957, or section 1960''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
''(j) Multiple violations .'--Multiple violations of this section that are part of the same scheme or continuing course of conduct may be charged, at the election of the Government, in a single count in an indictment or information.''.
SEC. 6. Illegal money services businesses . (a) In general .'--Section 1960 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking subsections (a) and (b) and inserting the following:
''(a) Offense .'--Whoever knowingly conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of a covered money services business that'--
''(1) is operated without an appropriate license in a State where such operation is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony under State law, whether or not the person knows that the operation is required to be licensed or that the operation is so punishable;
''(2) fails to comply with the money services business registration requirements under section 5330 of title 31, or regulations prescribed under that section, whether or not the person knows that the operation is required to comply with those registration requirements; or
''(3) otherwise engages in a transaction involving funds that the person knows have been derived from a criminal offense or are intended to be used to promote or support unlawful activity,
shall be punished as provided in subsection (b). ''(b) Criminal penalty .'--Any person who violates'--
''(1) subsection (a) shall be fined in accordance with this title, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both; and
''(2) subsection (a) by conducting, controlling, managing, supervising, directing, or owning all or part of a covered money services business that engaged in activity as a covered money services business involving more than $1,000,000 during a 12-month period, or by engaging in a transaction or transactions involving more than $1,000,000 during a 12-month period, shall be fined double the amount provided in subsection (b)(3) or (c)(3) (as applicable) of section 3571, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.
''(c) Definitions .'--In this section'--
''(1) the term 'covered money services business' means a money services business, as defined in section 5330 of title 31 or any regulations prescribed under that section, that'--
''(A) operates on behalf of the public; and
''(B) affects interstate or foreign commerce in any manner or degree; and
''(2) the term 'State' means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.''.
(b) Technical and conforming amendments .'--
(1) S ECTION 1960 OF TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE .'--
(A) S ECTION HEADING .'--Section 1960 of title 18, United States Code, is amended in the section heading'--
(i) by striking ''unlicensed '' and inserting ''illegal ''; and
(ii) by striking ''transmitting '' and inserting ''services ''.
(B) T ABLE OF SECTIONS .'--The table of sections for chapter 95 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 1960 and inserting the following:
''1960. Prohibition of illegal money services businesses.''.
(2) S ECTION 5330 OF TITLE 31, UNITED STATES CODE .'--
(A) H EADINGS .'--Section 5330 of title 31, United States Code, is amended'--
(i) in the section heading, by striking ''transmitting '' and inserting ''services '';
(ii) in subsection (c)'--
(I) in the subsection heading, by striking ''transmitting '' and inserting ''services '';
(II) in paragraph (1), in the paragraph heading, by striking ''transmitting '' and inserting ''services ''; and
(III) in paragraph (2), in the paragraph heading, by striking ''transmitting '' and inserting ''services ''; and
(iii) in subsection (d)(1), in the paragraph heading, by striking ''transmitting '' and inserting ''services ''.
(B) T EXT .'--Section 5330 of title 31, United States Code, is amended'--
(i) by striking ''money transmitting business'' each place that term appears and inserting ''money services business''; and
(ii) in subsection (a)(3), by striking ''money transmitting businesses'' and inserting ''a money services business''.
(C) T ABLE OF SECTIONS .'--The table of sections for subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 5330 and inserting the following:
''5330. Registration of money services businesses.''.
SEC. 7. Concealment money laundering . Section 1956(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1)(B), by striking ''knowing that'' and all that follows through ''Federal law,'' and inserting the following:
''(B) knowing that the transaction'--
''(i) conceals or disguises, or is intended to conceal or disguise, the nature, source, location, ownership, or control of the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity; or
''(ii) avoids, or is intended to avoid, a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law,''; and
(2) in paragraph (2)(B), by striking ''knowing that'' and all that follows through ''Federal law,'' and inserting the following:
''(B) knowing that'--
''(i) the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or transfer represent the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity; and
''(ii) the transportation, transmission, or transfer'--
''(I) conceals or disguises, or is intended to conceal or disguise, the nature, source, location, ownership, or control of the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity; or
''(II) avoids, or is intended to avoid, a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law,''.
SEC. 8. Freezing bank accounts of persons arrested for offenses involving the movement of money across international borders . Section 981(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''(5)(A) If a person is arrested or charged in connection with an offense described in subparagraph (C) involving the movement of funds into or out of the United States, the Attorney General may apply to any Federal judge or magistrate judge in the district in which the arrest is made or the charges are filed for an ex parte order restraining any account held by the person arrested or charged for not more than 30 days, except that such 30-day time period may be extended for good cause shown at a hearing conducted in the manner provided in Rule 43(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court may receive and consider evidence and information submitted by the Government that would be inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.
''(B) The application for the restraining order referred to in subparagraph (A) shall'--
''(i) identify the offense for which the person has been arrested or charged;
''(ii) identify the location and description of the accounts to be restrained; and
''(iii) state that the restraining order is needed to prevent the removal of the funds in the account by the person arrested or charged, or by other persons associated with that person, during the time needed by the Government to conduct such investigation as may be necessary to establish whether there is probable cause to believe that the funds in the accounts are subject to forfeiture in connection with the commission of any criminal offense.
''(C) A restraining order may be issued under subparagraph (A) if a person is arrested or charged with any offense for which forfeiture is authorized under'--
''(i) this title;
''(ii) title 31; or
''(iii) the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.).
''(D) For purposes of this paragraph'--
''(i) the term 'account' includes any safe deposit box and any account (as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 5318A(e) of title 31) at any financial institution; and
''(ii) the term 'account held by the person arrested or charged' includes an account held in the name of that person, and any account over which that person has effective control as a signatory or otherwise.
''(E) Restraint under this paragraph shall not be deemed a seizure for purposes of section 983(a).
''(F) A restraining order issued under this paragraph may be executed in any district in which the subject account is found, or transmitted to the central authority of any foreign State for service in accordance with any treaty or other international agreement.''.
SEC. 9. Prohibiting money laundering through hawalas, other informal value transfer systems, and closely related transactions . The matter following section 1956(a)(1)(B)(ii) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ''For purposes of this paragraph, a financial transaction'' and inserting ''For purposes of this paragraph and section 1957, a financial transaction or a monetary transaction, as applicable,''.
SEC. 10. Technical amendment to restore wiretap authority for certain money laundering and counterfeiting offenses . (a) Currency reporting offenses .'--Section 2516(1)(g) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ''or section 5324 of title 31, United States Code (relating to structuring transactions to evade reporting requirement prohibited)'' and inserting ''or section 5324, 5331, or 5332 of that title (relating to evasion of Federal transaction reporting requirements)''.
(b) Money laundering .'--Section 2516(1)(c) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting ''section 1960 (relating to illegal money services businesses),'' before ''section 659''.
(c) Counterfeiting .'--Section 2516(1)(d) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ''or 473'' and inserting ''473, 474, or 474A''.
SEC. 11. Making the international money laundering statute apply to tax evasion . Section 1956(a)(2)(A) of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by inserting ''(i)'' before ''with the intent to promote''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
''(ii) with the intent to engage in conduct constituting a violation of section 7201 or 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or''.
SEC. 12. Conduct in aid of counterfeiting . (a) In general .'--Section 474(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the paragraph beginning ''Whoever has in his control, custody, or possession any plate'' the following:
'' Whoever, with intent to defraud, has custody, control, or possession of any material, tool, machinery, or other equipment that can be used to make, alter, forge, or counterfeit any obligation or other security of the United States or any part of such obligation or security, except under the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury; or''.
(b) Foreign obligations and securities .'--Section 481 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the paragraph beginning ''Whoever, with intent to defraud'' the following:
'' Whoever, with intent to defraud, has custody, control, or possession of any material, tool, machinery, or other equipment that can be used to make, alter, forge, or counterfeit any obligation or other security of any foreign government, bank, or corporation; or''.
(c) Counterfeit acts .'--Section 470 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ''or 474'' and inserting ''474, or 474A''.
(d) Strengthening deterrents to counterfeiting .'--Section 474A of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in subsection (a), by inserting '', custody,'' after ''control'';
(2) in subsection (b)'--
(A) by inserting '', custody,'' after ''control''; and
(B) by striking ''any essentially identical feature or device adapted to the making of any such obligation or security,'' and inserting ''any material or other thing made after or in similitude of any such deterrent,''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
''(d) Whoever has in his control, custody, or possession any obligation or security of the United States or any foreign government from which the ink or other distinctive counterfeit deterrent has been completely or partially removed, except under the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, is guilty of a class B felony.''.
SEC. 13. Prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments . (a) In general .'--Section 5312(a) of title 31, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (2)(K)'--
(A) by inserting ''prepaid access devices, digital currency,'' after ''money orders,''; and
(B) by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: '', or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency'';
(2) in paragraph (3)(B), by inserting ''prepaid access devices,'' after ''delivery,''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
''(7) 'prepaid access device' means an electronic device or vehicle, such as a card, plate, code, number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other instrument, that provides a portal to funds or the value of funds that have been paid in advance and can be retrievable and transferable at some point in the future.''.
(b) GAO report .'--Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on'--
(1) the impact the amendments made by subsection (a) have had on law enforcement, the prepaid access industry, and consumers; and
(2) the implementation and enforcement of the final rule entitled ''Bank Secrecy Act Regulations'--Definitions and Other Regulations Relating to Prepaid Access'' (76 Fed. Reg. 45403 (July 19, 2011)) by the Department of the Treasury.
(c) Customs and border protection strategy for prepaid access devices .'--Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shall submit to Congress a report'--
(1) detailing a strategy to interdict and detect prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments, at border crossings and other ports of entry for the United States; and
(2) that includes an assessment of infrastructure needed to carry out the strategy detailed in paragraph (1).
SEC. 14. Administrative subpoenas for money laundering cases . Section 3486(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1)(A)'--
(A) in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking ''of'' and inserting ''relating to'';
(B) in clause (ii), by striking ''or'';
(C) in clause (iii)'--
(i) by striking ''section 3056'' and inserting ''section 3056(a)''; and
(ii) by striking ''the Treasury,'' and inserting ''Homeland Security; or''; and
(D) by inserting after clause (iii) the following:
''(iv) an offense under section 1956, 1957, or 1960 of this title, or section 5313, 5316, 5324, 5331, or 5332 of title 31, or an offense against a foreign nation constituting specified unlawful activity under section 1956 of this title, or a criminal or civil forfeiture based upon an offense enumerated in this subparagraph or for which enforcement could be brought under section 2467 of title 28, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Secretary of the Treasury,''; and
(2) in paragraph (6)(B)'--
(A) in clause (iii), by striking ''or'' at the end;
(B) in clause (iv), by striking the period and inserting ''; or''; and
(C) by adding at the end following:
''(v) dissipation, destruction, removal, transfer, damage, encumbrance, or other unavailability of property that may become subject to forfeiture or an enforcement action under 2467 of title 28.''.
SEC. 15. Obtaining foreign bank records from banks with United States correspondent accounts . (a) Grand jury and trial subpoenas .'--Section 5318(k) of title 31, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1)'--
(A) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C); and
(B) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following:
''(B) C OVERED FINANCIAL INSTITUTION .'--The term 'covered financial institution' means an institution referred to in subsection (j)(1).''; and
(2) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:
''(3) F OREIGN BANK RECORDS .'--
''(A) S UBPOENA OF RECORDS .'--
''(i) I N GENERAL .'--Notwithstanding subsection (b), the Secretary of the Treasury or the Attorney General may issue a subpoena to any foreign bank that maintains a correspondent account in the United States and request any records relating to the correspondent account or any account at the foreign bank, including records maintained outside of the United States, that are the subject of any'--
''(I) investigation of a violation of a criminal law of the United States; or
''(II) civil forfeiture action.
''(ii) P RODUCTION OF RECORDS .'--The foreign bank on which a subpoena described in clause (i) is served shall produce all requested records and authenticate all requested records with testimony in the manner described in'--
''(I) rule 902(12) of the Federal Rules of Evidence; or
''(II) section 3505 of title 18.
''(iii) I SSUANCE AND SERVICE OF SUBPOENA .'--A subpoena described in clause (i)'--
''(I) shall designate'--
''(aa) a return date; and
''(bb) the judicial district in which the related investigation is proceeding; and
''(II) may be served'--
''(aa) in person;
''(bb) by mail or fax in the United States if the foreign bank has a representative in the United States; or
''(cc) in a foreign country under any mutual legal assistance treaty, multilateral agreement, or other request for international legal or law enforcement assistance.
''(iv) R ELIEF FROM SUBPOENA .'--
''(I) I N GENERAL .'--At any time before the return date of the subpoena described in clause (i), the foreign bank on which the subpoena is served may petition the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the related investigation is proceeding, as designated in the subpoena, to modify or quash'--
''(aa) the subpoena; or
''(bb) the prohibition against disclosure described in subparagraph (C).
''(II) C ONFLICT WITH FOREIGN SECRECY OR CONFIDENTIALITY .'--An assertion that compliance with the subpoena would conflict with a provision of foreign secrecy or confidentiality law shall not be a basis for quashing or modifying the subpoena.
''(B) A CCEPTANCE OF SERVICE .'--
''(i) M AINTAINING RECORDS IN THE UNITED STATES .'--Any covered financial institution that maintains a correspondent account in the United States for a foreign bank shall maintain records in the United States identifying'--
''(I) the owners of such foreign bank; and
''(II) the name and address of a person who'--
''(aa) resides in the United States; and
''(bb) is authorized to accept service of legal process for records covered under this subsection.
''(ii) L AW ENFORCEMENT REQUEST .'--Upon receipt of a written request from a Federal law enforcement officer for information required to be maintained under this paragraph, a covered financial institution shall provide the information to the requesting officer not later than 7 days after receipt of the request.
''(C) N ONDISCLOSURE OF SUBPOENA .'--
''(i) I N GENERAL .'--No officer, director, partner, employee, or shareholder of, or agent or attorney for, a foreign bank on which a subpoena is served under this paragraph shall, directly or indirectly, notify any account holder involved or any person named in the subpoena issued under subparagraph (A)(i) and served on such an institution about the existence or contents of such subpoena.
''(ii) D AMAGES .'--Upon application by the Attorney General for a violation of this subparagraph, a foreign bank on which a subpoena is served under this paragraph shall be liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty in an amount equal to'--
''(I) double the amount of the suspected criminal proceeds sent through the correspondent account of the foreign bank in the related investigation; or
''(II) if no such proceeds can be identified, $250,000.
''(D) E NFORCEMENT .'--
''(i) I N GENERAL .'--If a foreign bank fails to obey a subpoena issued under subparagraph (A)(i), the Attorney General may invoke the aid of the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the investigation or related proceeding is occurring to compel compliance with the subpoena.
''(ii) C OURT ORDERS AND CONTEMPT OF COURT .'--The court may'--
''(I) issue an order requiring the foreign bank to appear before the Secretary of the Treasury or the Attorney General to produce'--
''(aa) certified records, in accordance with'--
''(AA) rule 902(12) of the Federal Rules of Evidence; or
''(BB) section 3505 of title 18; or
''(bb) testimony regarding the production of such records; and
''(II) punish any failure to obey an order issued under subclause (I) as contempt of court.
''(iii) S ERVICE OF PROCESS .'--All process in a case under this subparagraph shall be served on the foreign bank in the same manner as described in subparagraph (A)(iii).
''(E) T ERMINATION OF CORRESPONDENT RELATIONSHIP .'--
''(i) T ERMINATION UPON RECEIPT OF NOTICE .'--A covered financial institution shall terminate any correspondent relationship with a foreign bank not later than 10 business days after the date on which the covered financial institution receives written notice from the Secretary of the Treasury or the Attorney General if, after consultation with the other, the Secretary of the Treasury or Attorney General, as applicable, determines that the foreign bank has failed'--
''(I) to comply with a subpoena issued under subparagraph (A)(i); or
''(II) to prevail in proceedings before'--
''(aa) the appropriate district court of the United States after challenging such a subpoena under subparagraph (A)(iv)(I); or
''(bb) a court of appeals of the United States after appealing a decision of a district court of the United States under item (aa).
''(ii) L IMITATION ON LIABILITY .'--A covered financial institution shall not be liable to any person in any court or arbitration proceeding for terminating a correspondent relationship under this subparagraph or complying with a nondisclosure order under subparagraph (C).
''(iii) F AILURE TO TERMINATE RELATIONSHIP .'--A covered financial institution that fails to terminate a correspondent relationship under clause (i) shall be liable, for a civil penalty in an amount that is not more than $10,000 for each day that the covered financial institution fails to terminate the relationship.
''(F) E NFORCEMENT OF CIVIL PENALTIES .'--Upon application by the United States, any funds held in the correspondent account of a foreign bank that is maintained in the United States with a covered financial institution may be seized by the United States to satisfy any civil penalties that are imposed'--
''(i) under subparagraph (C)(ii); or
''(ii) by the court for contempt under subparagraph (D).''.
(b) Fair credit reporting act amendment .'--Section 604(a)(1) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681b(a)(1)) is amended'--
(1) by striking '', or a'' and inserting '', a''; and
(2) by inserting '', or a subpoena issued in accordance with section 5318 of title 31, United States Code, or section 3486 of title 18, United States Code'' after ''grand jury''.
(c) Obstruction of justice .'--Section 1510(b)(3)(B) of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking ''or a Department of Justice subpoena (issued under section 3486 of title 18)'' and inserting '', a subpoena issued under section 3486 of this title, or an order or subpoena issued in accordance with section 3512 of this title, section 5318 of title 31, or section 1782 of title 28,''; and
(2) in clause (i) by inserting '', 1960, or an offense against a foreign nation constituting specified unlawful activity under section 1956, or a foreign offense for which enforcement of a foreign forfeiture judgment could be brought under section 2467 of title 28'' after ''1957''.
(d) Right to financial privacy act .'--Section 1120(b)(1)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3420(b)(1)(A)) is amended'--
(1) by striking ''or 1957'' and inserting '', 1957, or 1960''; and
(2) by striking ''and 5324'' and inserting '', 5322, 5324, 5331, and 5332''.
SEC. 16. Danger pay allowance . Section 151 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 (5 U.S.C. 5928 note) is amended by striking ''Drug Enforcement Administration or Federal Bureau of Investigation'' and inserting ''Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or the United States Secret Service''.
SEC. 17. Clarification of Secret Service authority to investigate money laundering . Section 3056(b)(3) of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by inserting ''money laundering, structured transactions,'' after ''documents or devices,''; and
(2) by striking ''federally insured''.
SEC. 18. Prohibition on concealment of ownership of account . (a) In general .'--Subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''§ 5333. Prohibition on concealment of ownership of account
''(a) In general .'--No person shall knowingly conceal, falsify, or misrepresent, or attempt to conceal, falsify, or misrepresent, from or to a financial institution, a material fact concerning the ownership or control of an account or assets held in an account with a financial institution.
''(b) Penalties .'--A person convicted of an offense under subsection (a), or a conspiracy to commit such offense, shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years, fined not more than $1,000,000, or both.
''(c) Forfeiture .'--
''(1) C RIMINAL FORFEITURE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--The court, in imposing penalties under subsection (b), shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States any property involved in the offense, or a conspiracy to commit such offense, and any property traceable thereto.
''(B) P ROCEDURE .'--Section 413 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 853) shall govern the seizure, restraint, and forfeiture of property under this paragraph.
''(2) C IVIL FORFEITURE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--Any property involved in a violation of subsection (a), or a conspiracy to commit such violation, and any property traceable thereto may be seized and forfeited to the United States.
''(B) P ROCEDURE .'--Seizures and forfeitures under this paragraph shall be governed by the provisions of chapter 46 of title 18 relating to civil forfeitures, except that such duties, under customs laws described in section 981(d) of title 18, given to the Secretary of the Treasury shall be performed by such officers, agents, and other persons as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General.
''(3) T REATMENT OF CERTAIN PROPERTY AS INVOLVED IN THE OFFENSE .'--In this subsection, the term 'property involved in' includes any assets credited to, attempted to be credited to, or contained in the account.
''(d) Financial Institution .'--In this section, the term 'financial institution' means any entity defined under section 5312(a)(2), or the regulations promulgated under this title, that is required to'--
''(1) implement a customer identification program under this title, or the regulations promulgated under this title; or
''(2) conduct customer due diligence under this title, or the regulations promulgated under this title.''.
(b) Table of sections .'--The table of sections for subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''5333. Prohibition on concealment of ownership of account.''.
SEC. 19. Prohibition on concealment of the source of assets in monetary transactions . (a) In general .'--Subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, as amended by section 18 of this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''§ 5334. Prohibition on concealment of the source of assets in monetary transactions
''(a) In general .'--No person shall knowingly conceal, falsify, or misrepresent, or attempt to conceal, falsify, or misrepresent, from or to a financial institution, a material fact concerning the ownership or control of assets involved in a monetary transaction if'--
''(1) the person or entity who owns or controls such assets is a senior foreign political figure, or any immediate family member or close associate of a senior foreign political figure, as set forth in this title or the regulations promulgated under this title; and
''(2) the aggregate value of the assets involved in one or more such transactions is not less than $1,000,000.
''(b) Source of funds .'--No person shall knowingly conceal, falsify, or misrepresent, or attempt to conceal, falsify, or misrepresent, from or to a financial institution, a material fact concerning the source of funds in a monetary transaction that'--
''(1) involves an entity found to be a primary money laundering concern under section 5318A or the regulations promulgated under this title; and
''(2) violates the prohibitions or conditions prescribed under section 5318A(b)(5) of this title or the regulations promulgated under this title.
''(c) Penalties .'--A person convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (b), or a conspiracy to commit such offense, shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years, fined not more than $1,000,000, or both.
''(d) Forfeiture .'--
''(1) C RIMINAL FORFEITURE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--The court, in imposing sentence under subsection (c), shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States any property involved in the offense and any property traceable thereto.
''(B) P ROCEDURE .'--The seizure, restraint, and forfeiture of property under this paragraph shall be governed by section 413 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 853).
''(2) C IVIL FORFEITURE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--Any property involved in a violation of subsection (a) or (b), or a conspiracy to commit such violation, and any property traceable thereto may be seized and forfeited to the United States.
''(B) P ROCEDURE .'--Seizures and forfeitures under this paragraph shall be governed by the provisions of chapter 46 of title 18, relating to civil forfeitures, except that such duties, under the customs laws described in section 981(d) of title 18 given to the Secretary of the Treasury shall be performed by such officers, agents, and other persons as may be designated for that purpose by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General.
''(e) Definitions .'--In this section'--
''(1) the term 'financial institution' has the meaning given the term in section 5312(a)(2) of this title; and
''(2) the term 'monetary transaction' means the deposit, withdrawal, transfer, or exchange, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of funds or a monetary instrument (as defined in section 1956(c)(5) of title 18) by, through, or to a financial institution (as defined in section 1956 of title 18)'--
''(A) including any transaction that would be a financial transaction under section 1956(c)(4)(B) of title 18; and
''(B) not including any transaction necessary to preserve a person's right to representation as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.''.
(b) Table of sections .'--The table of sections for subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, as amended by section 18 of this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''5334. Prohibition on concealment of the source of assets in monetary transactions.''.
SEC. 20. Rule of construction . Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to apply to the authorized law enforcement, protective, or intelligence activities of the United States or of an intelligence agency of the United States.
Poppies!
From Average Joe
Listening to last Thursday's show where you discuss drug addiction. Just had another human resource and my wife had to have a C-section. My wife had several vaginal births before this but this was our first C-section. The nurses started asking my wife everytime they saw her if she needed the opiod that was allowed to her. My wife started freaking out thinking something must be coming like a late pain or something wearing off.
She asked her OB when he came by if she should get it and why the nurses keep pushing the drugs. He is actually part of a group the goes to DC to talk about drug use. He points out that early 2000s, 2002?, there was a federal law that created the fifth vital, pain. So if the hospital doesn't manage your pain will enough they have federal funding restricted. So they are incentivized to drug you up. He points out that opiod addiction blew up shortly after this happened and goes to Congress to testify about this. He thinks they are stupid not to see the connection. I wondered if some were aware of the connection because they created it intentionally or were compensated to not see the connection.
Thought you would find it interesting.
-Average Random Joe
The Addicts Next Door - The New Yorker
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:43
Michael Barrett and Jenna Mulligan, emergency paramedics in Berkeley County, West Virginia, recently got a call that sent them to the youth softball field in a tiny town called Hedgesville. It was the first practice of the season for the girls' Little League team, and dusk was descending. Barrett and Mulligan drove past a clubhouse with a blue-and-yellow sign that read ''Home of the Lady Eagles,'' and stopped near a scrubby set of bleachers, where parents had gathered to watch their daughters bat and field.
Two of the parents were lying on the ground, unconscious, several yards apart. As Barrett later recalled, the couple's thirteen-year-old daughter was sitting behind a chain-link backstop with her teammates, who were hugging her and comforting her. The couple's younger children, aged ten and seven, were running back and forth between their parents, screaming, ''Wake up! Wake up!'' When Barrett and Mulligan knelt down to administer Narcan, a drug that reverses heroin overdoses, some of the other parents got angry. ''You know, saying, 'This is bullcrap,' '' Barrett told me. '' 'Why's my kid gotta see this? Just let 'em lay there.' '' After a few minutes, the couple began to groan as they revived. Adults ushered the younger kids away. From the other side of the backstop, the older kids asked Barrett if the parents had overdosed. ''I was, like, 'I'm not gonna say.' The kids aren't stupid. They know people don't just pass out for no reason.'' During the chaos, someone made a call to Child Protective Services.
At this stage of the American opioid epidemic, many addicts are collapsing in public'--in gas stations, in restaurant bathrooms, in the aisles of big-box stores. Brian Costello, a former Army medic who is the director of the Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services, believes that more overdoses are occurring in this way because users figure that somebody will find them before they die. ''To people who don't have that addiction, that sounds crazy,'' he said. ''But, from a health-care provider's standpoint, you say to yourself, 'No, this is survival to them.' They're struggling with using but not wanting to die.''
A month after the incident, the couple from the softball field, Angel Dawn Holt, who is thirty-five, and her boyfriend, Christopher Schildt, who is thirty-three, were arraigned on felony charges of child neglect. (Schildt is not the biological father of Holt's kids.) A local newspaper, the Martinsburg Journal, ran an article about the charges, noting that the couple's children, who had been ''crying when law enforcement arrived,'' had been ''turned over to their grandfather.''
West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the country, and heroin has devastated the state's Eastern Panhandle, which includes Hedgesville and the larger town of Martinsburg. Like the vast majority of residents there, nearly all the addicts are white, were born in the area, and have modest incomes. Because they can't be dismissed as outsiders, some locals view them with empathy. Other residents regard addicts as community embarrassments. Many people in the Panhandle have embraced the idea of addiction as a disease, but a vocal cohort dismisses this as a fantasy disseminated by urban liberals.
These tensions were aired in online comments that amassed beneath the Journal article. A waitress named Sandy wrote, ''Omgsh, How sad!! Shouldnt be able to have there kids back! Seems the heroin was more important to them, than watchn there kids have fun play ball, and have there parents proud of them!!'' A poster named Valerie wrote, ''Stop giving them Narcan! At the tax payers expense.'' Such views were countered by a reader named Diana: ''I'm sure the parents didn't get up that morning and say hey let's scar the kids for life. I'm sure they wished they could sit through the kids practice without having to get high. The only way to understand it is to have lived it. The children need to be in a safe home and the adults need help. They are sick, i know from the outside it looks like a choice but its not. Shaming and judging will not help anyone.''
One day, Angel Holt started posting comments. ''I don't neglect,'' she wrote. ''Had a bad judgment I love my kids and my kids love me there honor roll students my oldest son is about to graduate they play sports and have a ruff over there head that I own and food, and things they just want I messed up give me a chance to prove my self I don't have to prove shit to none of u just my children n they know who I am and who I'm not.''
A few weeks later, I spoke to Holt on the phone. ''Where it happened was really horrible,'' she said. ''I can't sit here and say different.'' But, she said, it had been almost impossible to find help for her addiction. On the day of the softball practice, she ingested a small portion of a package of heroin that she and Schildt had just bought, figuring that she'd be able to keep it together at the field; she had promised her daughter that she'd be there. But the heroin had a strange purple tint'--it must have been cut with something nasty. She started feeling weird, and passed out. She knew that she shouldn't have touched heroin that was so obviously adulterated. But, she added, ''if you're an addict, and if you have the stuff, you do it.''
''Just imagine the hole is world peace and the sand traps are nuclear Armageddon and the club is your ability to deal calmly and rationally with complex situations.'' In Berkeley County, which has a population of a hundred and fourteen thousand, when someone under sixty dies, and the cause of death isn't mentioned in the paper, locals assume that it was an overdose. It's becoming the default explanation when an ambulance stops outside a neighbor's house, and the best guess for why someone is sitting in his car on the side of the road in the middle of the afternoon. On January 18th, county officials started using a new app to record overdoses. According to this data, during the next two and a half months emergency medical personnel responded to a hundred and forty-five overdoses, eighteen of which were fatal. This underestimates the scale of the epidemic, because many overdoses do not prompt 911 calls. Last year, the county's annual budget for emergency medication was twenty-seven thousand dollars. Narcan, which costs fifty dollars a dose, consumed two-thirds of that allotment. The medication was administered two hundred and twenty-three times in 2014, and four hundred and three times in 2016.
One Thursday in March, a few weeks before Michael Barrett responded to Angel Holt's overdose, I rode with him in his paramedic vehicle, a specially equipped S.U.V. He started his day as he often does, with bacon and eggs at the Olde Country Diner, in Martinsburg. Barrett, who is thirty-three, with a russet-colored beard and mustache, works two twenty-four-hour shifts a week, starting at 7 a.m. The diner shares a strip mall with the E.M.T. station, and, if he has to leave on a call before he can finish eating, the servers will box up his food in a hurry. Barrett's father and his uncles were volunteer firemen in the area, and, growing up, he often accompanied them in the fire truck. As they'd pull people from crumpled cars or burning buildings, he'd say to himself, ''Man, they doing stuff'--they're awesome.'' When Barrett became a paramedic, in his twenties, he knew that he could make a lot more money ''going down the road,'' as people around here say, referring to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. But he liked it when older colleagues told him, ''I used to hold you at the fire department when you were a baby.''
Barrett's first overdose call of the day came at 8 a.m., for a twenty-year-old woman. Several family members were present at the home, and while Barrett and his colleagues worked on her they cried and blamed one another, and themselves, for not watching her more closely. The woman was given Narcan, but she was too far gone; she died after arriving at the hospital.
We stopped by a local fire station, where the men and women on duty talked about all the O.D. calls they took each week. Sometimes they knew the person from high school, or were related to the person. Barrett said that in such cases you tended ''to get more angry at them'--you're, like, 'Man, you got a kid, what the hell's wrong with you?' ''
Barrett sometimes had to return several times in one day to the same house'--once, a father, a mother, and a teen-age daughter overdosed on heroin in succession. Such stories seemed like twisted variations on the small-town generational solidarity he admired; as Barrett put it, even if one family member wanted to get clean, it would be next to impossible unless the others did, too. He was used to O.D. calls by now, except for the ones in which kids were around. He once arrived at a home to find a seven-year-old and a five-year-old following the instructions of a 911 operator and performing C.P.R. on their parents. (They survived.)
Around three o'clock, the dispatcher reported that a man in Hedgesville was slumped over the steering wheel of a jeep. By the time we got there, the man, who appeared to be in his early thirties, had been helped out of his vehicle and into an ambulance. A skinny young sheriff's deputy on the scene showed us a half-filled syringe: the contents resembled clean sand, which suggested pure heroin. That was a good thing'--these days, the narcotic is often cut with synthetic painkillers such as fentanyl, which is fifty times as powerful as heroin.
The man had floppy brown hair and a handsome face; he was wearing jeans, work boots, and a black windbreaker. He'd been revived with oxygen'--he hadn't needed Narcan'--but as he sat in the ambulance his eyes were only partly opened, and his pupils, when I could catch a glimpse of them, were constricted to pinpoints. Barrett asked him, ''Did you take a half syringe? 'Cause there's half a syringe left.'' The man looked up briefly and said, ''Yeah? I was trying to take it all.'' He said that he was sorry'--he'd been clean for a month. Then he mumbled something about having a headache. ''Well, sure you do,'' another paramedic said. ''You weren't breathing there for a while. Your brain didn't have any oxygen.''
The man's jeep sat, dead still, in the middle of a street that sloped sharply downhill. A woman introduced herself to me as Ethel. She had been driving behind the man when he lost consciousness. ''I just rolled up, saw he was slumped over the wheel,'' she said. ''I knew what it was right away.'' She beeped her horn, but he didn't move. She called 911 and stayed until the first responders showed up, ''in case he started to roll forward, and maybe I could stop traffic'--and to make sure he was O.K.'' I asked if the man's jeep had been running during this time. ''Oh, yeah,'' she said. ''He just happened to stop with his foot on the brake.'' Barrett shared some protocol: whenever he came across people passed out in a car, he put the transmission in park and took their keys, in case they abruptly revived. He'd heard of people driving off with E.M.T. personnel halfway inside.
The sky was a dazzling blue, with fluffy white clouds scudding overhead. The man took a sobriety test, wobbling across the neat lawn of a Methodist church. ''That guy's still high as a kite,'' somebody said.
Tara Mayson, Tina Stride, and Lisa Melcher run the Hope Dealer Project, which helps addicts find a spot in rehab. Photograph by Eugene Richards for The New Yorker We were driving away from Hedgesville when the third overdose call of the day came, for a twenty-nine-year-old male. Inside a nicely kept house in a modern subdivision, the man was lying unconscious on the bathroom floor, taking intermittent gasps. He was pale, though not yet the blue-tinged gray that people turn when they've been breathing poorly for a while. Opioid overdoses usually kill people by inhibiting respiration: breathing slows and starts to sound labored, then stops altogether. Barrett began preparing a Narcan dose. Generally, the goal was to get people breathing well again, not necessarily to wake them completely. A full dose of Narcan is two milligrams, and in Berkeley County the medics administer 0.4 milligrams at a time, so as not to snatch patients' high away too abruptly: you didn't want them to go into instant withdrawal, feel terribly sick, and become belligerent. Barrett crouched next to the man and started an I.V. A minute later, the man sat up, looking bewildered and resentful. He threw up. Barrett said, ''Couple more minutes and you would have died, buddy.''
''Thank you,'' the man said.
''You're welcome'--but now you need to go to the hospital.''
The man's girlfriend was standing nearby, her hair in a loose bun. She responded calmly to questions: ''Yeah, he does heroin''; ''Yeah, he just ate.'' The family dog was snuffling at the front door, and one of the sheriff's deputies asked if he could let it outside. The girlfriend said, ''Sure.'' Brian Costello had told me that family members had grown oddly comfortable with E.M.T. visits: ''That's the scary part'--that it's becoming the norm.'' The man stood up, and then, swaying in the doorway, vomited a second time.
''We're gonna take him to the hospital,'' Barrett told the girlfriend. ''He could stop breathing again.''
As we drove away, Barrett predicted that the man would check himself out of the hospital as soon as he could; most O.D. patients refused further treatment. Even a brush with death was rarely a turning point for an addict. ''It's kind of hard to feel good about it,'' Barrett said of the intervention. ''Though he did say, 'Thanks for waking me up.' Well, that's our job. But do you feel like you're really making a difference? Ninety-nine per cent of the time, no.'' The next week, Barrett's crew was called back to the same house repeatedly. The man overdosed three times; his girlfriend, once.
It was getting dark, and Barrett stopped at a convenience store for a snack'--chocolate milk and a beef stick. That evening, he dealt with one more O.D. A young woman had passed out in her car in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, with her little girl squirming in a car seat. An older woman who happened on the scene had taken the girl, a four-year-old, into the store and bought her some hot chocolate and Skittles. After the young woman received Narcan, Barrett told her that she could have killed her daughter, and she started sobbing hysterically. Meanwhile, several guys in the parking lot were becoming agitated. They had given the woman C.P.R., but someone had called 911 and suggested that they had supplied her with the heroin. The men were black and everybody else'--the overdosing woman, the older woman, the cops, the ambulance crew'--was white. The men were told to remain at the scene while the cops did background checks. Barrett attempted to defuse the tension by saying, ''Hey, you guys gave her C.P.R.? Thanks. We really appreciate that.'' The criminal checks turned up nothing; there was no reason to suspect that the men were anything but Good Samaritans. The cops let the men go, the young woman went to the E.R., and the little girl was retrieved by her father.
Heroin is an alluringly cheap alternative to prescription pain medication. In 1996, Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin, marketing it as a safer form of opiate'--the class of painkillers derived from the poppy plant. (The term ''opioids'' encompasses synthetic versions of opiates as well.) Opiates such as morphine block pain but also produce a dreamy euphoria, and over time they cause physical cravings. OxyContin was sold in time-release capsules that levelled out the high and, supposedly, diminished the risk of addiction, but people soon discovered that the capsules could be crushed into powder and then injected or snorted. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of overdose deaths in the United States jumped by a hundred and thirty-seven per cent.
Some states became inundated with opiates. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, between 2007 and 2012 drug wholesalers shipped to West Virginia seven hundred and eighty million pills of hydrocodone (the generic name for Vicodin) and oxycodone (the generic name for OxyContin). That was enough to give each resident four hundred and thirty-three pills. The state has a disproportionate number of people who have jobs that cause physical pain, such as coal mining. It also has high levels of poverty and joblessness, which cause psychic pain. Mental-health services, meanwhile, are scant. Chess Yellott, a retired family practitioner in Martinsburg, told me that many West Virginians self-medicate to mute depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress from sexual assault or childhood abuse. ''Those things are treatable, and upper-middle-class parents generally get their kids treated,'' he said. ''But, in families with a lot of chaos and money problems, kids don't get help.''
In 2010, Purdue introduced a reformulated capsule that is harder to crush or dissolve. The Centers for Disease Control subsequently issued new guidelines stipulating that doctors should not routinely treat chronic pain with opioids, and instead should try approaches such as exercise and behavioral therapy. The number of prescriptions for opioids began to drop.
But when prescription opioids became scarcer their street price went up. Drug cartels sensed an opportunity, and began flooding rural America with heroin. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor at the U.C.-San Francisco School of Medicine, studies the heroin market. He said of the cartels, ''They're multinational, savvy, borderless entities. They worked very hard to move high-quality heroin into places like rural Vermont.'' They also kept the price low. In West Virginia, many addicts told me, an oxycodone pill now sells for about eighty dollars; a dose of heroin can be bought for about ten.
A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes, ''Following the OxyContin reformulation in 2010, abuse of prescription opioid medications and overdose deaths decreased for the first time since 1990. However, this drop coincided with an unprecedented rise in heroin overdoses.'' According to the Centers for Disease Control, three out of four new heroin users report having first abused opioids.
''The Changing Face of Heroin Use in the United States,'' a 2014 study led by Theodore Cicero, of Washington University in St. Louis, looked at some three thousand heroin addicts in substance-abuse programs. Half of those who began using heroin before 1980 were white; nearly ninety per cent of those who began using in the past decade were white. This demographic shift may be connected to prescribing patterns. A 2012 study by a University of Pennsylvania researcher found that black patients were thirty-four per cent less likely than white patients to be prescribed opioids for such chronic conditions as back pain and migraines, and fourteen per cent less likely to receive such prescriptions after surgery or traumatic injury.
But a larger factor, it seems, was the despair of white people in struggling small towns. Judith Feinberg, a professor at West Virginia University who studies drug addiction, described opioids as ''the ultimate escape drugs.'' She told me, ''Boredom and a sense of uselessness and inadequacy'--these are human failings that lead you to just want to withdraw. On heroin, you curl up in a corner and blank out the world. It's an extremely seductive drug for dead-end towns, because it makes the world's problems go away. Much more so than coke or meth, where you want to run around and do things'--you get aggressive, razzed and jazzed.''
Peter Callahan, a psychotherapist in Martinsburg, said that heroin ''is a very tough drug to get off of, because, while it was meant to numb physical pain, it numbs emotional pain as well'--quickly and intensely.'' In tight-knit Appalachian towns, heroin has become a social contagion. Nearly everyone I met in Martinsburg has ties to someone'--a child, a sibling, a girlfriend, an in-law, an old high-school coach'--who has struggled with opioids. As Callahan put it, ''If the lady next door is using, and so are other neighbors, and people in your family are, too, the odds are good that you're going to join in.''
In 2015, Berkeley County created a new position, recovery-services co¶rdinator, to connect residents with rehab. Yet there is a chronic shortage of beds in the state for addicts who want help. Kevin Knowles, who was appointed to the job, told me, ''If they have private insurance, I can hook them right up. If they're on Medicaid'--and ninety-five per cent of the people I work with are'--it's going to be a long wait for them. Weeks, months.'' He said, ''The number of beds would have to increase by a factor of three or four to make any impact.''
West Virginia has an overdose death rate of 41.5 per hundred thousand people. (New Hampshire has the second-highest rate: 34.3 per hundred thousand.) This year, for the sixth straight year, West Virginia's indigent burial fund, which helps families who can't afford a funeral pay for one, ran out of money. Fred Kitchen, the president of the West Virginia Funeral Directors Association, told me that, in the funeral business, ''we know the reason for that was the increase in overdose deaths.'' He added, ''Families take out second mortgages, cash in 401(k)s, and go broke to try and save a son or daughter, who then overdoses and dies.'' Without the help of the burial fund, funeral directors must either give away caskets, plots, and cremation services'--and risk going out of business'--or, Kitchen said, look ''mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, and children in the eye while they're saying, 'You have nothing to help us?' ''
Martinsburg, which has a population of seventeen thousand, is a hilly town filled with brick and clapboard row houses. It was founded in 1778, by Adam Stephen, a Revolutionary War general. The town became a depot for the B. & O. Railroad and grew into an industrial center dominated by woollen mills. Interwoven, established in the eighteen-nineties, was the first electric-powered textile plant in the U.S. The company became the largest men's-sock manufacturer in the world, and at its height, in the nineteen-fifties, it employed three thousand people in Martinsburg. The Interwoven factory whistle could be heard all over town, summoning workers every morning at a quarter to seven. In 1971, when the mill closed, an editorial in the Martinsburg Journal mourned the passing of ''what was once this community's greatest pride.'' In 2004, the last woollen mill in town, Royce Hosiery, ceased operations.
It's simplistic to trace the town's opioid epidemic directly to the loss of industrial jobs. Nevertheless, many residents I met brought up this history, as part of a larger story of lost purpose that has made the town vulnerable to the opioid onslaught. In 2012, Macy's opened a distribution center in the Martinsburg area, but, Knowles said, the company has found it difficult to hire longtime residents, because so many fail the required drug test. (The void has been filled, only partially, by people from neighboring states.) Knowles wonders if Procter & Gamble, which is opening a manufacturing plant in the area this fall, will have a similar problem.
The Eastern Panhandle is one of the wealthier parts of a poor state. (The most destitute counties depend on coal mining.) Berkeley County is close enough to D.C. and Baltimore that many residents commute for work. Nevertheless, Martinsburg feels isolated. Several people I met there expressed surprise, or sympathy, when I told them that I live in D.C., or politely said that they'd like to visit the capital one of these days. Like every other county in West Virginia, Berkeley County voted for Donald Trump.
The Interwoven mill, derelict and grand, dominates the center of Martinsburg. A local police officer has proposed turning most of the mill into a rehab facility. Photograph by Eugene Richards for The New Yorker Michael Chalmers is the publisher of an Eastern Panhandle newspaper, the Observer. It is based in Shepherdstown, a picturesque college town near the Maryland border which has not succumbed to heroin. Chalmers, who is forty-two, grew up in Martinsburg, and in 2014 he lost his younger brother, Jason, to an overdose. I asked him why he thought that Martinsburg was struggling so much with drugs. ''In my opinion, the desperation in the Panhandle, and places like it, is a social vacancy,'' he said. ''People don't feel they have a purpose.'' There was a ''shame element in small-town culture.'' Many drug addicts, he explained, are ''trying to escape the reality that this place doesn't give them anything.'' He added, ''That's really hard to live with'--when you look around and you see that seven out of ten of your friends from high school are still here, and nobody makes more than thirty-six thousand a year, and everybody's just bitching about bills and watching these crazy shows on reality TV and not doing anything.''
The Interwoven mill, derelict and grand, still dominates the center of Martinsburg. One corner of it has been turned into a restaurant, but the rest sits empty. Lately, there's been talk of an ambitious renovation. A police officer named Andrew Garcia has a plan, called Martinsburg Renew, which would turn most of the mill into a rehab facility. Todd Funkhouser, who runs the Berkeley County Historical Society, showed me around one day. ''Martinsburg is an industrial town,'' he said. ''That's its identity. But what's the industry now? Maybe it will be drug rehab.''
In the past several months, I have returned to Martinsburg many times, and spoken with many addicts there. I learned the most about the crisis, however, from residents who weren't drug users, but whose lives had been irrevocably altered by others' addiction.
Lori Swadley is a portrait and wedding photographer in Martinsburg. When I looked at her Web site, she seemed to be in demand all over the area, and her photographs were lovely: her brides glowed in afternoon light, her high-school seniors looked polished and confident. But what drew me to her was a side project she had been pursuing, called 52 Addicts'--a series of portraits that called attention to the drug epidemic in and around Martinsburg. It was clear that Swadley had a full life: her husband, Jon, worked with her in the photography business, and they had three small children, Juniper, Bastian, and Bodhi. Her Web site noted that she loved fashion and gardening, and included this declaration: ''I'm happy that you've stumbled upon our little slice of heaven!'' The 52 Addicts series seemed like a surprising project for someone so busy and cheerful.
We met one day at Mugs & Muffins, a cozy coffee shop on Queen Street. Swadley is thirty-nine, tall and slender, and she looked elegant in jeans, a charcoal-colored turtleneck, and high boots. She and her husband had moved to Martinsburg in 2010, she told me, looking for an affordable place to raise children close to where she had grown up, in the Shenandoah Valley. Soon after they arrived, they settled into a subdivision outside town, and Swadley started reading the Martinsburg Journal online. She told me, ''I'd see these stories about addiction'--whether it was somebody who'd passed away, and the family wanted to tell their story, or it was the overdose statistics, or whatever.'' Many of the stories were written by the same reporter, Jenni Vincent. ''She was very persistent, and'--I don't know what the word for it is'--very in your face,'' Swadley said. ''You could tell she wanted the problem to be known. Because at that time it seemed like everybody else wanted to hide it. And, to me, that seemed like the worst thing you could do.''
It turned out that thirteen of Swadley's friends had died of opioid overdoses. I said that it seemed like an extraordinarily high number, especially for someone who was not an addict. She agreed, but there it was. All thirteen were young men'--Swadley had met most of them when she was in her early twenties, and she had been a tomboy back then. The first time she heard that a friend had died, she had been photographing a wedding for some mutual friends. They were sitting around a bonfire at the end of the day. When Swadley spoke of a crazy horror film that she and a guy named Jeremy had made in high school, somebody mentioned that he had recently died, from a heroin overdose. Swadley felt like she'd been punched in the gut. She threw up, and wrecked her car on the way home.
At the time, Swadley was hanging out with her old crowd in bars and restaurants every weekend. One by one, the group dwindled. Many of them'--''the preppy boys, the hippie boys'''--got into heroin eventually, she said. They tried to help one another, but ''we were in our twenties'--we had no clue.'' She'd call rehab places on friends' behalf and have to tell them that the price was staggering, and that in any case it might be six months before they could be admitted. As the overdoses piled up, she was appalled to find that sometimes she had trouble keeping track of which friends were dead.
The funerals had a peculiar aspect. ''The parents didn't want anyone to know how it had happened, and they tried to keep the friends out,'' she said. At the services for one friend'--a sweet, goofy guy with shaggy blond hair'--Swadley and her friends got close enough to the casket to see that his hair had been shorn, so that ''he looked clean-cut.'' She went on, ''It was clear that his mother didn't want us there. It was understandable'--she didn't know if any of us had been supplying him.''
One day, Swadley decided that she needed to write down all thirteen names, before she forgot one. In January, 2016, she started photographing addicts in recovery. In her introduction to the series, on Instagram, she wrote about her friends who had died and about Martinsburg's lack of rehab centers. She found the town's culture of denial enraging.
For the first few portraits, Swadley reached out to her subjects, but soon people started coming to her. She took their pictures, asked them about their lives, and told their stories in a paragraph or so. There are now two dozen images in the series.
''You're the first person I've met who didn't become a pastry chef after suffering a nervous breakdown working in a corporate job.'' In one of the portraits, an E.R. nurse hugs her daughter, Hope, from whom she'd been estranged. They had reconnected at the hospital, when the nurse saw Hope's name listed as a patient in the emergency room. Swadley photographed a Martinsburg woman named Crystal, who'd been hit by a car one night when she was walking to her dealer's house; Crystal was now clean, but she was confined to a wheelchair. A woman named Tiffany posed holding a snapshot of her younger sister, Tabby. Both women had started off on pills'--Tabby had developed a problem after a gallbladder operation left her with a thirty-day supply of meds'--and then became heroin addicts. Tiffany had received treatment, but Tabby had fatally overdosed while she was waiting for a rehab bed. Swadley took the portrait in a park where Tiffany had once begged Tabby to stop using. When I called Tiffany, she told me that she had recently lost a second sister to heroin.
Swadley hopes that her photographs will someday be displayed all around town'--in coffee shops, restaurants, perhaps the library. She wants a public reckoning with the stories she's collected. ''The whole point of this project is to show naysayers out there that people do recover,'' she said. ''They are good people. I want to show people they deserve a chance. I want it in people's faces, so they see that it could be their neighbor, or their best friend.''
One day, Swadley told me about a local effort against heroin addiction, called the Hope Dealer Project. It was run by three women: Tina Stride, who had a twenty-six-year-old son in recovery; Tara Mayson, whose close friend had gone through periods of addiction; and Lisa Melcher, whose son-in-law had died of an overdose, and whose thirty-two-year-old daughter, Christina, was struggling to overcome heroin addiction. All three had known addicts who wanted to get clean but had no place to go. Last fall, like car-pool moms with a harrowing new mission, they had begun driving people to detox facilities all over the state'--any place that could take them, sometimes as far as five hours away. The few with private insurance could get rehab anywhere in the country, and the Hope Dealer women were prepared to suggest options. But most people in town had Medicaid or no insurance at all, and such addicts had to receive treatment somewhere in the state. Currently, the detox facility closest to Martinsburg is about two hours away.
Stride works full time at the General Services Administration, in Washington, but spends up to twenty-four hours a week giving rides to drug users. The other two focus on reaching out to addicts and families. Stride noted, ''I have to talk to the addict, or the client'--that's what we try to call them'--all the way to that detox center. Because they're sick. And we pass hospitals all the way, and they're begging, 'Just take me there'--they can help me!' But they really can't, the hospitals.''
When Stride and her client arrive at a detox facility, nurses are waiting at the door. At that point, Stride said, ''they're, like, 'What do you mean, you're leaving me?' '' She went on, ''They're scared, because now it's reality. They know they're not going to get their dope or their pills. For them to walk in those doors, that takes a lot. They're heroes to me.''
After five to ten days in detox, patients are released. ''When our clients get clean and the drugs are out of their system, they believe they're O.K.,'' Stride said. ''And they're not. That's just getting the poison out of their bodies. So we try to explain to them, 'No, you need to go through rehab, and learn why you are using, and learn how to fight it.' Some will do it. Some won't. And then our issue becomes how we're going to find them a bed in rehab. If beds are all full, a lot of times they come back here to Martinsburg, because they have nowhere else to go.'' Stride tries to keep those clients under constant watch. ''That addict brain is telling them, 'You know what you need, and it's right here'--go get it.' ''
Stride usually drives clients to a detox center immediately after picking them up. But once she had to keep a woman overnight at her home, because a bed wasn't available until the morning. She told me, ''All I said was 'Please, don't rob me. I'm here to help you. But I guess if you are gonna rob me there's not a whole lot I can do about it.' This young lady had to go through the night'--she was so sick, she didn't sleep. I tried to stay up, but I knew I had to drive four hours to the detox place, and four hours back. So I slept some. We were up at 4 a.m., and at the detox place at eight. And she's doing good now'--she calls me to touch base sometimes.''
The Hope Dealer women and I met near an apartment complex that Melcher manages, and drank mochas that she had bought at McDonald's. Melcher, who is fifty-three, with abundant blond ringlets and a warm, husky voice, told me that she loved flower arranging and refinishing old furniture'--activities that would be occupying her days more often if there weren't a heroin crisis. Stride, who is forty-seven, wore her hair in a ponytail and had curly bangs; Mayson, who is forty-six, had long, sparkly nails.
At one point, Stride said, ''Please don't think I'm rude,'' as she picked up her phone to read a text.
''He's in!'' she cried. ''He made it!''
The women cheered.
They had spent the previous day working on behalf of a woman and her twenty-one-year-old son, a heroin addict. He had private insurance, so they had signed him up for rehab in New Hampshire. ''We had a plane ticket ready, and they were ready to go to the airport,'' Stride said. ''I left them, and then the mother called me and said, 'My son's lips are blue'--he's overdosed. What do I do?' '' Stride became teary. ''And I said, 'Call 911. I'm coming right back over.' ''
Samantha Engelhardt (right), a recovering addict, shows her newborn baby to the photographer Lori Swadley, who has been documenting the opioid epidemic in the Martinsburg area. Photograph by Eugene Richards for The New Yorker Stride went on, ''So he was in the hospital, and then his mom reached out to me late last night and said, 'He's been released.' First question I asked is 'Where is he?,' because we're afraid he's going to run. And she said, 'Instead of putting him on a plane, can we drive him? Because I want to know he makes it.' And I said, 'Yes, you can.' So they are driving eight hours to take him to his detox. Detox was good to go'--so we know for the next seven to ten days he's safe.'' After that, the man was set to go to Florida, to attend a thirty-day program that Stride respected.
Melcher said, ''Praise God, he made it,'' and the women all nodded.
Mayson, who works at the Department of Veterans Affairs and has two adult children, said that the Hope Dealer women had become like sisters. When one of them has a hard day, she can count on one of the others to tell her to rest and recharge'--or, as Melcher often says, to ''breeeathe.''
As mothers, they felt that they had a particular ability to communicate with women who needed help with their addicted children. Stride said, ''I remember when I first found out my son was an addict. I was devastated. I didn't know who to turn to, who I could trust. And I worked and worked to find my son a place, and that's rough. Hearing 'No' or 'We can't take him today, but we can take him a week from today.' 'No, you need to take him now. My son's gonna die.' So now, when moms reach out to us, we're, like, 'We've got this.' ''
Melcher said, ''When you're in that space? Oh, my gosh, you can hardly breathe, you're a cryin' mess.''
Stride nodded and said, ''So when we come in and say, 'Mom, we're gonna take care of your child,' I don't care if that child is fifty years old'--you see a relief.''
On May 21st, I received an e-mail from Melcher, informing me that Christina, her daughter, had fatally overdosed on heroin. Christina, she said, had completed rehab several times, and had been clean for ninety days before relapsing. Melcher refused to hide the fact that Christina had ''lost her battle with addiction,'' but added, ''When a child passes away, the last thing a mother wants to say is that the child was an addict.'' Melcher plans to continue her volunteer work, in honor of Christina's ''beautiful but tortured life.''
John Aldis doesn't look like a maverick. He's seventy-one, white-haired and pink-cheeked, with a neat mustache, half-rimmed spectacles, and a penchant for sweater vests and bow ties. You could imagine him being cast as the Stage Manager in a production of ''Our Town.'' But two years ago Aldis became the first doctor in West Virginia to offer free public classes to teach anybody'--not just first responders and health professionals'--how to reverse overdoses with Narcan.
Aldis is a family practitioner with a background in public health and tropical medicine. His mother taught nursing, and his father was an obstetrician. ''We never made it through the second feature at the drive-in,'' Aldis recalled. ''He would always be summoned over the loudspeaker to attend a birth.'' There was no question in Aldis's mind that he would become a doctor, too. He spent most of his career in Asia and Africa, as a U.S. Navy physician and as a medical officer with the State Department. He retired in 2001. He and his wife, Pheny, a medical technologist, bought the house where he'd lived as a small child, in Shepherdstown. They filled it with art and antiques, acquired two Jack Russell terriers, and prepared for a quiet life filled with visits from their two daughters and the grandkids.
But Aldis soon became aware of the opioid epidemic in the Eastern Panhandle'--several people he'd hired to work on his house were ''good fellows'' who were also addicts. ''When I started to see it, I could not look away,'' he told me. He took a job at the New Life Clinic, in Martinsburg, where he could prescribe Suboxone, one of the long-term treatments for opioid addiction. He found it enormously frustrating that addicts were often urged to quit heroin cold turkey or to stop taking Suboxone (or methadone or naltrexone, the other drugs used to treat addiction and counteract withdrawal symptoms). In his view, this was wholly unrealistic. Most addicts needed what is known as medication-assisted treatment for a long time, if not the rest of their lives. He found the work at the clinic the most satisfying he'd done since graduating from medical school, forty-six years earlier. Patients struggled, and many of them failed, but when one of them told him, ''Doc, I talked to my mom for the first time in three years yesterday,'' that was, Aldis said, ''just the greatest thing.''
Aldis is generally a forbearing man, but he can be dismissive of people who don't share his sense of urgency. As he wrote to me in an e-mail, ''The lack of understanding of medication-assisted treatment among otherwise reasonably intelligent people at all levels of our community is astounding and (for me) completely unacceptable.''
In 2015, West Virginia University's Injury Control Research Center, along with several state and county agencies, started investigating ways to make naloxone'--the generic name for Narcan'--more widely available, in the hope of saving people in the throes of an overdose. Aldis attended a talk on the subject by the center's deputy director, Herb Linn, and afterward he told him, ''Let's not study this anymore. Let's just start a program.'' Linn recalls, ''I told him, 'Just do it! You could actually prescribe it to your patients.' ''
Aldis taught his first class on administering Narcan on September 3, 2015, at the New Life Clinic. Nine days later, a woman who'd attended the class used Narcan to revive a pregnant woman who had overdosed at a motel where they were both staying. During the next few weeks, Aldis heard of five more lives saved by people who'd attended the class.
''Before you say anything, let me tell you which TV shows I don't want spoilers on.'' In his seminars, Aldis addresses why addicts' lives are worth saving. That might seem self-evident, but at this point in the opioid epidemic many West Virginians feel too exhausted and resentful to help. People like Lori Swadley and the Hope Dealer women and John Aldis must combat a widespread attitude of ''Leave 'em lie, let 'em die.'' A community sucked dry by addiction becomes understandably wary of coddling users, and some locals worry that making Narcan easily available could foster complacency about overdoses.
William Poe, a paramedic, told me, ''The thing about Narcan is that it kind of makes it O.K. to overdose, because then you can keep it in your house and keep it private. And a lot of times we're the wake-up call. I remember one time, we had a kid who had O.D.'d, and we had him in the ambulance. A call came over the radio'--someone about his age had just died from an overdose. And the kid was, like, 'I'm so glad you guys brought me back.' '' It was humiliating when an ambulance showed up at your house and carted you out, pale and retching, but it also might push you to change. Then again, Poe mused, when most of your neighbors'--not to mention your mom and your grandma'--already knew that you used heroin, shaming might have little effect.
This past winter, I watched Aldis teach two classes in Berkeley Springs, an Eastern Panhandle town, at a storefront church between a convenience store and a pawnshop. The bare trees on the ridge above us were outlined like black lace against the twilight. Inside, a few dozen people, mostly women, sipped coffee from Styrofoam cups in an unadorned room with a low ceiling, tan carpeting, and rows of tan chairs.
Aldis touched briefly on what an overdose looks like, but acknowledged that the attendees probably already knew. (''Oh, Lord, yes,'' a woman behind me said.) He demonstrated how to spray Narcan up a patient's nose'--take-home kits come in atomizer form'--and announced that at the end of class he'd be writing prescriptions, which those in attendance could get filled at a pharmacy. If they had Medicaid or private insurance, the kit would cost only a few dollars; if they didn't, it could cost anywhere from a hundred and twenty-five to three hundred dollars. At the first meeting I attended, in November, a few women began to cry when they heard that. At the second, in January, Aldis had some good news: the state had agreed to provide a hundred and eighty free kits.
Aldis told me that he'd like to see Narcan ''inundating the community.'' It carried no potential for abuse, and couldn't harm you if someone gave it to you mistaking some other medical emergency for an overdose. ''They ought to be selling this stuff next to the peanut butter in the Walmart,'' he liked to say. And free supplies of Narcan should be everywhere, like fire extinguishers: ''kitchen cabinets, your purse, schools, gyms, shopping malls, motels.''
Aldis had been invited to Berkeley Springs by Melody Stotler, who ran a local organization for recovering addicts. She said to the class, ''Unfortunately, there are people in this community who don't understand addiction, who don't think Narcan should be out there.''
''They say we're enablers,'' Aldis put in. ''Somebody who has a heart attack'--are we enabling them by giving them C.P.R.? 'But their cholesterol's too high! We shouldn't have saved his life!' '' People laughed ruefully.
Aldis introduced Kathy Williams, a former patient of his and the mother of two little girls. She had twice saved people with Narcan. One time, while she was driving, she spotted a car on the side of the road, and a man lying on his back next to it. The other time, a neighbor in her apartment complex knocked on her door and said that a guy was overdosing in the parking lot. ''So I grabbed my Narcan kit, and I ran out there,'' she recalled. She saw a woman tending to a man. ''What had happened was that these two had stopped at Kmart. She went in to pick up her layaways, and when she came out he had just done shooting up, and said, 'Please take me home.' Well, he was overdosing from Kmart all the way. By the time I got there, he was in the back of the car, completely blue, and I had another guy help me pull him out'--a neighbor, 'cause where I live, I been there almost thirty years now, and I know everybody. A couple people saw me running, and they started running, too, because they said, 'Kathy's running'--something must be going on.' We gave him two doses of Narcan, and by the time the E.M.T. got there his eyes were just starting to flicker, and I really thought we were too late.'' The man began to stir.
A woman named Tara, who was at the January meeting with her teen-age stepdaughter, told me that she had revived a guy who lived in the trailer park where she did some babysitting. He'd refused to go to the hospital, even though he was ''puking like he was possessed.'' I asked Tara'--who was thirty, and had a soft, kind face'--if the man had said anything to her after she saved him. ''Every day, the next four days after that, he thanked me every time,'' she told me. ''He also said it was stupid and he'd never do that again, which wasn't true, because he was arrested for driving under the influence of heroin a few weeks ago. Nodded out in the McDonald's parking lot. Someone called the police.''
Tara wasn't judging. She was a recovering addict herself'--seven years now. She was studying to be a medical assistant.
Dr. John Aldis, at his home office in Shepherdstown. In 2015, he became the first doctor in West Virginia to offer free public classes to teach anybody'--not just first responders and health professionals'--how to reverse opioid overdoses with the drug Narcan. Photograph by Eugene Richards for The New Yorker Jason Chalmers loved his children, that was for sure. He crawled around on all fours, pretending to be a pony, to amuse his daughter, Jacey, and her younger brother, Liam. He submitted to Jacey whenever she wanted to cover his face with makeup. When Jacey was six months old, Jason wrote a letter to his grandparents in which he described the ''absolute, overwhelming'' love that he felt for his daughter. ''It's not for or about me any more,'' he wrote. ''That's probably for the best because I never did well with myself. She deserves a father who's going to love her unconditionally and so help me God, I'm going to do it. Maybe she's the answer to why I'm still here.''
Liam was born in 2009. His mother, Angie, had struggled with an opioid problem, and had taken Suboxone to combat it during her pregnancy. She told me that she also ''might have used'' heroin ''a couple of times.'' At the hospital, Jason felt that something was amiss with his son. His mother, Christine Chalmers, recalled, ''He says, 'Mom, this baby is in withdrawal. They can't release him'--he's in terrible pain. If we take him home, he's going to scream and scream and scream, and we won't have anything to help him.' '' (Suboxone can cause withdrawal.) ''So we called the doctor and, by golly, they checked him over, and he was in total withdrawal. He was on morphine for two solid weeks in the hospital.''
Jason, who grew up in Martinsburg, was a heroin addict for most of his life, a fact that puzzled his family almost as deeply as it saddened them. He grew up in an attractive, wooded development on a country road, with horses and dogs, and a kindhearted mother. His grandparents lived in the development, too, and Jason and his two siblings waited for the school bus together on a wooden bench that a neighbor had carved for them.
There were glimmers of an explanation here and there. Jason's parents had divorced when he was eight, and he was a shy, anxious kid; when he was twenty-five, he was given a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. His older brother, Michael'--the publisher of the Shepherdstown Observer'--told me, ''If you gave us a bag of Reese's peanut-butter cups when we were kids, Jason would eat fifty of them. I'd eat five. I would've liked to eat fifty, but I was, like, 'Nah, I'll eat five.' '' Maybe, Michael suggested, this was evidence that Jason had a genetic predisposition for addiction. But who knew, really?
In high school, Jason was ''smart, good-looking, and athletic,'' Michael recalled, but he became the ''king of the stoners.'' He barely got his diploma. It was the beginning of a self-destructive pattern. Jason did things while he was on drugs, or trying to get drugs, that filled him with shame; to blot out those feelings, he'd get high again. He got into using heroin, then into selling it. A friend's father was a dealer, and Jason went to work for him, driving up to New York to procure drugs and driving back to Martinsburg to sell them. He introduced heroin to a girlfriend'--a good student who had a scholarship to an excellent university. She dropped out, overdosed, and died. He got a tattoo of the girlfriend's initials next to a dove, and a tattoo of Jesus, and a tattoo that represented his addiction: a desperate-looking demon with a gaping mouth. He went to jail dozens of times (drug possession, credit-card theft) and had a series of nearly fatal overdoses. In 2002, he stole his grandfather's checkbook and emptied his bank account. Christine urged her father to press charges, both because she felt that Jason had to be held responsible and because she felt safest'--and could actually sleep at night'--when he was behind bars. He lied to her, and stole from her, and after using heroin he would pass out on her deck, in her garage, at the end of her driveway.
Jason did not go to college, and he could not keep a job for long; he worked for a few weeks at a mini-mart, but got fired when his background check came in. He'd get clean in jail, and write contrite letters to his family. Then he'd return to Martinsburg and start hanging out again with his addict friends. Michael moved to Chicago to start a career as an advertising copywriter, and their sister, Antonia, went to work for the school system. Jason, now in his thirties, was stuck'--walking everywhere because he couldn't get a driver's license, and showing up at his mother's house in the middle of the night to beg for milk and cereal.
In 2008, Jason wrote to his grandparents, ''If I was a gambling man, which if you look at my track record my whole life has been a gamble, I'd have to say there's not enough time left in the world to make good on the pain I've caused.'' He observed, ''Damaged people can be dangerous because they know they can survive, but for some reason they don't know quite how to live.''
Christine Chalmers had struggled financially to raise three children as a single mother. But in 2002, when Jason was twenty-six, she was doing well as a real-estate agent, and she sent Jason to a monthlong rehab program in Colorado that cost ten thousand dollars. She recalled, ''I went after a couple of weeks, for parents' weekend, and you know what? It was so worth it. He'd been on heroin for ten years at this point, and it was the first time in all that time I saw him like my boy. He says, 'It's like a new world, Mom'--I can see things, I can smell things, I can feel things.' '' She paused. ''I thought, You know what? If I never have anything else, he had a month, and I had a weekend, and he was my boy.''
On April 28, 2014, Jason fatally overdosed. He was thirty-seven. His death did not come as a surprise: he had started telling Christine that the worst part of overdosing was waking up.
''Take heed! For your journey is filled with long delays and unexpected service changes!'' After an overdose death, an autopsy is usually performed. Because of the epidemic, coroners in West Virginia are often backed up. It took two weeks before Jason's body was returned to the Chalmers family. Afterward, Christine thought about how consumed she had been by her attempts to save Jason and, later, to protect his children from him. One day, Michael and Antonia had been cleaning up Jason's apartment, and they brought over to Christine the contents of his kitchen cabinet. Christine told me, ''There were a couple of cans of peas, and I had never served peas'--I didn't like them. And I said, 'I didn't know Jason liked peas!' There's your boy, your baby, and you never knew he liked peas. Such a simple thing. But I started crying, because I thought, What did we know about him as a person?''
When the man who sold Jason his final dose of heroin went on trial, Christine testified. ''But, you know, from that point on I have felt terrible about it,'' she said. ''The guy got ten years. And in some sense his life was saved, because he would have ended up the same as Jase. But when I look at him I know he'd just done the same things Jason did. I mean, who knows who Jase sold to? Who knows who lived or died because he sold to them?''
Christine, who is now sixty-four, and works full time as a secretary in the Berkeley County government, has found herself raising Jacey, who is in the third grade. (Liam lives with his mother, in another state.) One of the biggest collateral effects of the opioid crisis is the growing number of children being raised by people other than their parents, or being placed in foster care. In West Virginia, the number of children removed from parental care because of drug abuse rose from nine hundred and seventy in 2006 to two thousand one hundred and seventy-one in 2016. Shawn Valentine, a program director for a nonprofit that helps children navigate foster care , says that although the goal is to reunite children with their parents, this happens in ''less than twenty-five per cent of the cases we are involved in.'' A major reason is that parents often can't get access to recovery programs or medication-assisted treatment, because of waiting lists and financial obstacles.
Valentine said, ''I had a six-year-old once tell me that he had to hold the stretchy thing on his mom's arm. What would happen if he just didn't want to do that? He told me, 'Well, she would smack my head down, so that powdery stuff got all over my face.' ''
Christine and Jacey live in Martinsburg, in a pretty bungalow with a porch swing and a glider, and a front door with bright-yellow trim. Down the street, there's a couple with five adopted children whose parents were addicts. Across the street, a woman named Melissa lives with her elderly father and her youngest sister's two little boys. Their mother was a heroin addict, and lost custody of the kids two years ago. At the time, Melissa, who is a medical technician at a nursing home, was working and living in Maryland'--she is divorced, and her own children are grown. She rushed home to Martinsburg to care for her nephews, whom I'll call Cody and Aiden.
One afternoon, I sat talking with Melissa and Christine on Christine's front porch, while Jacey and the boys ran around in a ragged, laughing pack. Christine served some brownies that she had baked. Melissa recalled that, when her sister lost custody, her nephews' caseworker told her that Aiden, who was then a toddler, would be quickly adopted, but that eight-year-old Cody, who bore more obvious signs of trauma, would probably languish in foster care. Melissa said that she couldn't stand to see them separated. ''I was, like, 'What choice do I have?' '' she said.
Christine patted her on the knee. ''Good girl,'' she said.
Jacey kept a close eye on Aiden, who kept wandering over to the neighbor's yard, where there was a new Chihuahua puppy.
Christine said, ''The sad thing about it is there are so many of these kids.''
''Yes!'' Melissa said. ''Aiden's pre-K teacher told me forty per cent of the kids in her class are being raised by somebody other than a parent.''
''That means forty per cent have been found out,'' Christine said. ''Who knows what's going on with the other parents?''
Jacey is a bright, curious kid, with pearly pink glasses and a sprinkling of freckles. The first time I met her, she catalogued her accomplishments in gymnastics. ''I can do a handstand, a round-off, I'm working on my back handspring,'' she said. ''I can do a front flip. I want to try a back flip, but it's kinda hard. I still have a lot more ahead of me.''
Christine has been honest with Jacey about Jason's addiction, in the hope that it will keep her from ending up on a similar path. But it would be hard to keep the truth from Jacey: she remembers finding her father's needles, and she remembers him getting high. He often dropped into a state of suspended animation'--still standing, bent over at the waist, head dangling near his knees. Jacey told me that she and Liam used to think it was a game: ''It was, like, he's dead, but he's also alive. You could tap on him and talk to him'--he'd just be snoring there. But you could also feel that he was breathing. We would put our hands up to his nose and we could feel the air coming in and out.''
Last fall, Jacey won a statewide poster-making contest, called ''Kids Kick Opioids,'' that was sponsored by the West Virginia attorney general's office. Jacey's poster'--one of two thousand entries'--included a photograph of Jason, in a backward baseball cap and baggy shorts, holding a grinning Liam on one hip and Jacey on the other. She had written a little passage about how much she missed him after he'd ''died from taking drugs,'' and how she wanted to ''hug and kiss him every day.'' She wrote, ''It is very sad when kids don't have their daddy to play with.''
Christine said of the poster, ''I think Jason would have wanted it. Jason wanted so badly for people not to follow him.''
At one point, Jacey was lying on the porch floor, drawing a rainbow with some colored pencils, when Christine said she thought that it was wrong to send opioid addicts to prison.
Jacey piped up. ''Yeah, but they should take them away from their home town. Also, get them help.''
''Yes,'' Christine said. ''Long-term help. A month is not enough.''
''But take them away from, say, Martinsburg,'' Jacey said, looking down at her rainbow. ''Maybe take them across the world.''
Recently, Martinsburg has begun to treat the heroin crisis more openly as a public-health problem. The police chief, a Chicago transplant named Maurice Richards, had devised a progressive-sounding plan called the Martinsburg Initiative, which would direct support services toward children who appeared to be at risk for addiction, because their families were struggling socially or emotionally. In December, Tina Stride and several other local citizens stood up at a zoning meeting to proclaim the need for a detox center. They countered several residents who testified that such a center would bring more addicts, and more heroin, to their neighborhoods. ''I'm here to say that's already here,'' a woman in favor of the proposal said. ''It's in your neighbor's house, in the bathroom at Wendy's, in our schools.'' She added, ''We're talking about making America great again? Well, it starts here.''
That night, the Board of Zoning Appeals voted to allow a detox center, run by Peter Callahan, the psychotherapist, to occupy an unused commercial building in town. People in the hearing room cheered and cried and hugged one another. The facility will have only sixteen beds and won't be ready for patients until December, but the Hope Dealer women were thrilled about it. Now they wouldn't have to drive halfway across the state every time an addict called them up.
John Aldis, who was sitting next to me during the vote, breathed a sigh of relief. He said later, ''It's like that Winston Churchill quote: 'This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.' ''
This spring, Berkeley County started its first needle-exchange program, and other efforts are being made to help addicts survive. The new app that first responders are using to document overdoses allows them to input how many times a patient is given Narcan; when multiple doses are required, the heroin tends to be adulterated with strong synthetics. Such data can help the health department and law enforcement track dangerous batches of drugs, and help warn addicts.
Some Martinsburg residents who had been skeptical of medication-assisted treatment told me that they were coming around to the idea. A few cited the Surgeon General's report on substance abuse, released in November, which encouraged the expansion of such treatment, noting that studies have repeatedly demonstrated its efficacy in ''reducing illicit drug use and overdose deaths.'' In Berkeley County, it felt like a turning point, though the Trump Administration was likely to resist such approaches. Tom Price, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, has dismissed medication-assisted treatment as ''substituting one opioid for another.'' It was also unclear how most addicts would pay for treatment if the Affordable Care Act was repealed.
Martinsburg residents, meanwhile, tried to take heart from small breakthroughs. Angel Holt, the mother who'd overdosed at the softball practice, told me that she and her boyfriend had stayed clean since that day, and she was hoping to regain custody of her children. She'd been helped by the kindness of an older couple, Karen and Ed Schildt, who lived in Thurmont, Maryland. A year earlier, the Schildts had lost their twenty-five-year-old son, Chris, to a heroin overdose. They were deeply religious, and when they heard what happened to Angel Holt and Christopher Schildt they decided to reach out to them. The fact that their son had the same name as Holt's boyfriend surely meant that God had put the couple in their path. Karen texted Holt words of encouragement almost daily.
In February, I spent an afternoon with Shawn Valentine, the nonprofit program director , who introduced me to Shelby, her twenty-five-year-old daughter. Shelby had become addicted to opioids at twenty-one, when she was depressed and waitressing at a Waffle House. Her co-workers always seemed to know how to get their hands on pills. When the meds got too expensive, Shelby turned to heroin.
Shelby, Valentine, and I were sitting in Valentine's kitchen, along with Shelby's sweet fifteen-year-old brother, Patrick. Shelby said, ''People don't realize what the brain goes through when you're addicted'--it's like a mental shutdown. Everything is gray. You have these blinders on.'' As she described it, the constant hunt for heroin imposed a kind of order on life's confounding open-endedness. Addiction told you what every day was for, when otherwise you might not have known.
For close to a year, Shelby had been in a program in which she put a dissolvable strip of Suboxone on her tongue every day, and attended group and individual therapy. (The word ''assisted'' in ''medication-assisted treatment'' indicates the primacy of the need for recovering addicts to figure out why they are drawn to opioids.) Shelby said that Suboxone helped curb her craving for heroin, without sedating her. ''There are triggers,'' she said. ''But the urge to run a hundred yards down the street and try to find my ex-dealer and pay him, then shove a used rig in my arm real quick? That's gone.''
She can now be trusted not to sell treasured things for drug money: her little brother's video-game console, her mom's four-leaf-clover necklace. Her long auburn hair, which she used to wash and comb so seldom that her mother once spent four hours trying to untangle it, is now silky and soft.
In tight-knit Appalachian towns, heroin has become a social contagion. Peter Callahan, a psychotherapist in Martinsburg, said, ''If the lady next door is using, and so are other neighbors, and people in your family are, too, the odds are good that you're going to join in.'' Photograph by Eugene Richards for The New Yorker Valentine told me that, if Shelby had to be on Suboxone all her life, ''I'm absolutely on board with that.'' She turned to Shelby. ''Whatever it takes for you to be a healthy, productive human being.''
Recently, Shelby's mother told her, ''O.K., I'll let you take the truck without me, to take your brother to the movies.'' Shelby recalled, ''I was almost, like, 'Pinch me, wake me up'--this can't be true.' Because without her truck there's no working. That's how she makes her living. She said, 'Here's a piece of trust. Don't throw it away.' ''
Shelby and her brother drove to the mall and saw a horror movie. It was not a very good one, they agreed, but it didn't matter. They headed home in the dark, and the moment they got there Shelby placed the keys to the truck in her mother's hand. '...
Shawn Valentine's title has been updated to clarify her role in the foster-care sector.
Submitting . . .
A single paragraph published nearly 40 years ago contributed to the opioid epidemic. What can we learn from this? - HealthNewsReview.org
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:39
''Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv'd, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect'...'' Jonathan Swift, The Examiner, 1710
A very short letter published on January 10th, 1980, in The New England Journal of Medicine may be one of the main tributaries to what is now a flood: North America's current opioid epidemic. Titled ''Addiction Rare in Patients Treated with Narcotics,'' the five-sentence letter by Dr. Hershel Jick was '' heavily and uncritically cited as evidence that addiction was rare with long-term opioid therapy,'' according to a recent bibliographic analysis by Toronto pharmacologist Dr. David Juurlink.
As Juurlink wrote in NEJM last week, the 1980 letter was cited in other medical journal articles over 600 times, contributing to a narrative that '' allayed prescribers' concerns about the risk of addiction associated with long-term opioid therapy.''
This new finding of the letter being repeatedly''and misleadingly''cited as evidence was covered by several news outlets, including Stat News, Voice of America, Associated Press, and HealthDay, among others. But the very fact that this one small letter spun so far out of control made me wonder: Where were the journalists when this misinformation was being spread, over and over, by medical researchers?
Juurlink is with the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, knows a thing or two about opioids. The last time we discussed opioids, Juurlink laid out a few essential points for journalists to keep in mind''in particular, the commonly addictive nature of opioids and the danger of using high-dose opioids, and yet also how the crisis is resulting in the medical community finally starting to respond in positive ways to treat it.
'The need for diligence' The letter's use of the word ''rare'' to describe the rate of addiction was referring to a hospital setting of 11,000+ patients where only four cases of opioid addiction were seen. The problem is that while the letter was cited over 600 times as proof of the safety of opioids, few writers and researchers citing it went back to see what it said in its proper context: That the letter's authors were referring to patients treated in a hospital under the supervision of physicians''and given short-term therapy''for acute-care situations, like surgery.
This is a far cry from community-based settings (where the majority of opioids are prescribed) where patients with lower back pain or sprained joints may be given a long-term opioid prescription that could result in a potential addiction.
Still, the letter was frequently cited as proof that opiods weren't addictive. It was even used in a promotional video produced by the pharmaceutical manufacturer indicating how safe the opioids were:
Fear of undertreating pain may have fueled misinformation''Our findings highlight the potential consequences of inaccurate citation and underscore the need for diligence when citing previously published studies,'' Juurlink wrote.
For some context to this rethink of the dangers of opioid addiction, I spoke to Dr. Michael Bierer, an addictions specialist from Boston who's also a regular HealthNewsReview.org contributor. He told me that when he was in medical school in the early 1980s there was an undercurrent that physicians needed to do a better job managing patients' pain.
''There was this sense of the undertreatment of pain and a fear of using opioids,'' Bierer said. The NEJM letter ''satisfied a need in people justifying the lowering of the threshold,'' for treating pain. Having said that, what surprises him most is the impact of the letter and how broadly it was cited.
''People seemed to accept this reference without looking at what it said. As well, letters are not peer-reviewed and aren't given the same scrutiny as a research article,'' he noted.
Lessons to be learned Perhaps we can use this as a cautionary tale for how any of us should check any citations or claims ''cited'' from prestigious journals. Here are some things to consider:
What kind of citation is it? A letter published in a medical journal is as far from a double-blind randomized control trial as to be in a different galaxy''and thus they should never exert the same sort of strength of gravitational pull.
What is the context? As many as 80% of the citations didn't note that the ''rare'' addiction seen in Jick's patient set may have been largely due to the fact they were in hospitals, a different sort of patient altogether than would be seen in the community.
Does the pedigree really matter? When you cite a ''study in the New England Journal of Medicine'' this could be misleading on a number of levels. We humans rely on shorthand heuristics to help guide us through complicated matters. An article in the NEJM or The Lancet may give the high-level imprimatur of the subject being reliable and valid, and so we may not look any further. But even prestigious journals can be fallible, and their studies can be misquoted or inappropriately cited. (Remember vaccines and autism?) Be sure to carefully vet what you're citing.
Even the work of independent 'experts' can be misconstrued. Jick and his graduate student co-author were not on the payroll of the drug companies ''I'm essentially mortified that that letter to the editor was used as an excuse to do what these drug companies did,'' said the author of the letter, Dr. Jick, a drug specialist at Boston University Medical Center, to the the Associated Press.
The note to file here: Even if the ''experts'' being cited are independent, it doesn't mean their words can't be twisted out of context and used to support a marketing message. As Jick said, the drug companies ''used this letter to spread the word that these drugs were not very addictive.''
More resources:You might also likeThe following guest post is by Maia Szalavitz, a journalist and author who writes frequently'...
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War on Weed
Sessions Asks Congress to End Medical Cannabis Protections | Leafly
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:25
When President Donald Trump signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill last month, he seemed to scoff at a provision that prevents the Justice Department from prosecuting state-legal medical cannabis. Now his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, wants to do away with the protection completely.
In a May 1 letter to congressional leaders, Sessions urged federal lawmakers to oppose the provision, known as the Rohrabacher''Blumenauer amendment. It's yet another sign that, despite the president's past support of medical marijuana, his administration appears to be planning a crackdown on state-legal cannabis.
''I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,'' Sessions wrote in the letter.
RELATED STORY
Justice Department Turns Attention to Cannabis Enforcement
''The Department,'' he continued, ''must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.''
The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi., was obtained by cannabis reporter and legalization advocate Tom Angell.
To justify his request, Sessions trots out a parade of prohibitionist talking points. He references the ongoing opioid epidemic, for example, but fails to note that states with legalized medical cannabis have seen opioid deaths decline by an average of 25%. He wrings his hands over ''transnational drug organizations and dangerous traffickers,'' but omits the fact that the Rohrabacher''Blumenauer amendment protects only state-legal cannabis actors.
RELATED STORY
Here's What the National Academy's Medical Cannabis Report Actually Says
And, for good measure, he notes that the DEA ''concluded that 'marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision''''--despite the growing body of research that suggests cannabis is safer and more effective than many Food and Drug Administration-approved pharmaceuticals.
The Rohrabacher''Farr amendment, last renewed in April, is set to expire in September if not renewed by Congress.
Sessions's full letter is available at MassRoots.
EQ Machine
Turkish mayor claims mystery foreign power responsible for Aegean quake '-- RT Viral
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:19
Published time: 12 Jun, 2017 22:13 Edited time: 12 Jun, 2017 22:16
Ankara Mayor Melih G¶k§ek has called for an immediate investigation into "seismic research vessels" in the Aegean Sea following Monday's 6.3 magnitude earthquake which claimed one life.
''Now I think that this might be an artificial earthquake. I do not say it is certain but it is a very serious possibility,'' G¶k§ek tweeted. ''I say that it should definitely be investigated. Was there any seismic research ship sailing near the epicenter? If so, which country does it belong to?''
For perspective, G¶k§ek has been mayor of Ankara for 20 years, having been reelected five times in a row.
He also posted several videos in Turkish which discuss the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) developed by the US Air Force, Navy and DARPA '' which has been the source of wild conspiracy theories that claim it is a weather control device.
This is not the first time he has made such outrageous claims about man-made earthquakes.
In February, he made similar comments after a series of tremors in the western Turkish province of ‡anakkale, Hurriet Daily News reported. He alleged that the quakes were a coordinated effort by foreign powers to destroy Turkey's economy.
''Today a serious earthquake occurred in ‡anakkale. I have investigated and there is a ship conducting seismic research nearby,'' he said. ''What this ship is researching and which country it belongs to should be solved urgently. I worry about a potential earthquake that could be triggered artificially. This should definitely be investigated and announced to the public.''
READ MORE: 6.3 earthquake strikes Aegean Sea, 1 person killed on Lesbos (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Honderden mensen dakloos op Lesbos, noodtoestand uitgeroepen | NOS
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:28
Zware verwoestingen op Lesbos EPA
De Griekse autoriteiten hebben de noodtoestand op het eiland Lesbos uitgeroepen. Dat werd gisteren getroffen door een aardbeving met een kracht van 6.3, waarbij zeker (C)(C)n persoon om het leven is gekomen. Meer dan 800 mensen zijn dakloos geraakt.
Volgens overheidsfunctionarissen zijn huizen in 12 dorpen op het zuidelijk deel van het eiland ernstig beschadigd geraakt of zelfs verwoest. De inwoners, veelal oudere mensen, zijn opgevangen bij familie, in hotels of in tenten van het Griekse leger.
Lesbos heeft het de laatste jaren niet makkelijk. Er kwamen honderdduizenden migranten en vluchtelingen naar het eiland toe. Velen van hen kwamen uit Irak en Syri.
Qatar
Qatar gaat melktekort te lijf en laat 4000 koeien invliegen | NOS
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:28
Qatar neemt een rigoureuze stap om het tekort aan melkproducten in het land op te lossen. Een zakenman laat 4000 koeien invliegen naar de woestijnstaat. "Noem het de grootste runder-luchtbrug in de geschiedenis", schrijft persbureau Bloomberg.
De 4000 Holstein-Friesian koeien zouden eigenlijk pas later dit jaar per schip naar Qatar gaan. De levering is vervroegd nu Qatar door verschillende landen in de regio wordt geboycot.
Saudi-Arabi, Egypte, Bahrein en de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten hebben sinds 5 juni al het contact met Qatar verbroken. Hierbij sloten Jemen, de regering in het oosten van Libi en de Malediven zich later aan. Volgens de landen steunt Qatar terroristen, al kan de boycot ook te maken hebben met berichtgeving van nieuwszender Al Jazeera; deze opereert vanuit Qatar.
Voedseltekorten
De gevolgen van de boycot voor Qatar zijn groot. Qatari's moeten de eerder genoemde landen verlaten en voedsel mag de grens niet meer over. Hierdoor zijn in het land tekorten ontstaan. Iran heeft hulp in de vorm van havens en voedsel aangeboden.
De koeien-luchtbrug moet het tekort aan melk gedeeltelijk gaan oplossen en voor een derde van Qatars melkbehoefte gaan voorzien. Om de 4000 koeien in het land te krijgen zijn 60 vluchten nodig, deze kosten bij elkaar 7 miljoen euro.
De koeien zijn gekocht in Australi en de Verenigde Staten en komen te staan in twee schuren op een boerderij ter grootte van 70 voetbalvelden ten noorden van de hoofdstad Doha.
Migrants
Efforts to Rescue Migrants Caused Deadly, Unexpected Consequences - The New York Times
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 21:49
Strategies to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and disrupt smuggling networks have had deadly, unexpected consequences, according to aid groups monitoring the crisis.
It is part of a wrenching Catch-22: Any effort to lessen the migrant crisis can backfire as smuggling networks devise even more dangerous strategies in response. Here is how those strategies have pushed desperate migrants into even more desperate situations.
Smugglers Respond to Rescue Efforts
The bodies of 10 migrants were recovered and at least 100 more migrants were missing on Saturday off the coast of Libya. Eight of the bodies were found on an inflatable boat in the Mediterranean Sea, in a treacherous area between Libya and Italy known as the Central Mediterranean route. Each year, aid groups patrol the area and rescue thousands of migrants at risk of drowning.
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Before 2014, rescues took place closer to Italy, with migrant boats traveling as far as Italian waters. By 2014, many rescues were occurring farther south in the Mediterranean.
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Rescuing migrants closer to the Libyan coast saved hundreds of people at sea. But critics said it introduced a deadly incentive for more migrants to risk the journey and for smugglers to launch more boats.
''Migrants and refugees '' encouraged by the stories of those who had successfully made it in the past '' attempt the dangerous crossing since they are aware of and rely on humanitarian assistance to reach the E.U.,'' said a risk analysis by Frontex, the European Union border and coast guard agency.
An Italian Coast Guard vessel rescued 177 migrants off the coast of Siracusa, Sicily, in October 2013. Bryan Denton for The New York Times
Smugglers use flimsy boats and provide just enough fuel to reach the edge of Libyan waters. Drivers can remove the engine and head back to Libya on another boat, leaving the migrants adrift until help arrives.
Groups monitoring the crisis expect the death toll to surpass last year's figures. And it has done so for every month this year, until recently: A series of drownings over three days killed 700 people in May 2016.
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Note: Totals are cumulative estimates as of June 11, 2017 | Sources: International Organization for Migration (deaths); Italian Interior Ministry (arrivals)
Joel Millman, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, cautioned against concluding that the situation had improved.
''It's much more piecemeal,'' he said, referring to the slower but steadier pace of drownings. ''It's much more dangerous. They're putting people in much smaller boats and in greater numbers.''
While dire conditions in Libya and other African countries have played a larger role in motivating migrants to flee, aid groups have recognized how their efforts have bolstered the smuggling business model.
''We know that what we do is not the solution,'' said Stefano Argenziano, operation coordinator on migration for Doctors Without Borders, which has rescued migrants near the Libyan coast since 2015. ''It's not the source of the problem, it's not the solution to the problem. It's the sheer necessity of saving lives now, when lives are in danger.''
Despite the criticism, there is no evidence that reducing rescue efforts would reduce fatalities. After the European Union stopped funding the Italian patrol and rescue program Mare Nostrum in 2014, a record number of people attempted the journey, and a record number of people drowned. The United Nations also supported increasing rescue efforts, saying the death toll would be higher without them.
Smugglers Downgrade as Boats Are Destroyed
Officials started destroying wooden boats used by smugglers, hoping this would disrupt the criminal networks. But this had an unintended effect: Smugglers increasingly used cheaper rubber dinghies.
A rubber dinghy was burned in April this year, part of anti-smuggling operations in the region. Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
The European Council started sinking boats in 2015 and has destroyed more than 400 boats since then.
''The onset of anti-smuggling operations has accelerated the pace of the degradation'' in quality and safety, Mr. Argenziano said.
The cheaper 30-foot dinghies are blamed for increasing the number of deaths at sea because they are unfit for long travel and prone to punctures and capsizing, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Wooden boat from 2011
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Rubber dinghy from 2016
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Roughly the size of two sedans, the vessels were designed to carry about 60 passengers. But Frontex has seen more than 150 people on any given craft. Those numbers have increased since 2015, according to Europol.
''If you have a dinghy with 170 people on board, these boats can capsize in seconds,'' said Izabella Cooper, a spokeswoman for Frontex. ''And it really takes seconds for people to drown. Many people who are coming from Africa have never seen the sea in their lives before.''
More than 100 migrants aboard a rubber dinghy were rescued on the Mediterranean Sea. Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
All sides agree the solution ultimately lies in Libya and deeper within Africa, where improving conditions and opportunities could prevent people from boarding boats and making the deadly journey.
Governments have considered strategies that could discourage migrants from boarding boats at all, like an Italian agreement to train the Libyan Coast Guard so it can intercept and rescue migrants before they reach international waters.
''There's no doubt that the situation in Libya is bad enough for thousands and thousands of foreigners and migrants'' to flee, said Federico Soda, the director of the Coordination Office for the Mediterranean with the International Organization for Migration.
''It's really time to start looking at some of the long-term policies,'' he added. ''Africa and Europe are always going to be neighbors. Movement of people between the two is just a reality of the coming decade.''
A sailboat dragged a lifeboat carrying the bodies of 29 migrants who died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in October 2016 on a rubber boat north of Libya. Aris Messinisaris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images
Deep State
In Showdowns With The US President, The FBI Is 4-0
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:53
Tim Weiner, Pulitzer-prize winning author of ''Legacy of Ashes'' and a longtime chronicler of US intelligence agencies, sat down for an interview with Bloomberg's Tobin Harshaw to discuss how the FBI has handled previous investigations involving the White House.
The feud between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey is hardly unprecedented in modern US history. As Weiner explains, there have been four instances during the past 45 years '' excluding the present day - where the FBI has confronted a sitting president. And up until now, the bureau has prevailed every time.
Here's Weiner:
''Five times in the last 45 years the bureau has gone up against the White House. With all due respect to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, it was the FBI that brought down Richard Nixon. Twelve years later it was the FBI that served search warrants and subpoenas on members of Ronald Reagan's National Security Council after the Iran-Contra imbroglio. Agents recovered 5,000 documents from their computers - a forensic feat unprecedented in technological virtuosity. That led to the indictments of a dozen of Reagan's national security aids.
A decade later, it was the FBI, in the form of a subpoena to the White House physician who drew blood from the arm of President Bill Clinton for DNA evidence to match the famous blue dress of Monica Lewinsky, that proved he committed perjury and led to his impeachment in the House.
In 2004, then-director Robert Mueller, along with Comey, who was acting attorney general, directly confronted the George W. Bush administration over the unconstitutional and illegal effects of the eavesdropping program Stellar Wind. Bush later wrote in his memoirs that the two men threatened to resign, and that visions of the Saturday Night Massacre flashed before his eyes. The president backed down.''
The role of the FBI, and its director, has changed dramatically since the bureau was created by President Teddy Roosevelt and then-Attorney General Charles Bonaparte (a great-nephew of the French emperor) in 1908. Then known as the Bureau of Investigations, its primary duty was rooting out organized criminals and other ''malefactors of great wealth," though it was also tasked with investigating corruption in Congress.
But the bureau's focus shifted away from this original intent after J Edgar Hoover became director in 1924, Weiner said. Hoover, remembered for his crackdowns on political radicals and civil rights activists, ran the agency for decades, until his death in 1972. Afterward, Congress tried to impose statutory limits on his former post to make it expressly apolitical, eventually imposing a term limit of 10 years.
But Congress was unsuccessful. If the tensions between Comey and his old boss, the Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have taught us anything, it's that it's impossible for the FBI director to be 100% free from political considerations, Harshaw said.
Weiner agreed.
''Statutorily, the FBI is part of DOJ. But there is a reason its DC headquarters is located equidistant between the White House and the Capitol. The director has to answer to both the executive and legislative branches,'' Weiner said.
Moving on from the Trump investigation, Harshaw asked Weiner about the so-called ''Comey effect'' '' the idea that Comey cost Hillary Clinton the election by deciding to reopen the FBI's investigation into her mishandling of classified information a week before the vote.
Weiner said this explanation for why Clinton lost is a ''false assumption," and far down the list of reasons why Clinton lost.
''It's a false assumption. I know Hillary disagrees, but I think the Comey effect, knowing what we now know about Russian meddling in the election, is farther down the Top 10 list of why she lost.''
Weiner closed the interview by drawing one more comparison between Nixon and Trump '' an apparent reference to the fact that Congressional investigators have subpoenaed any tapes Trump might have of his conversations with Comey.
''Let's not forget what the smoking gun tape of Nixon was: an attempt to get the FBI to stop the Watergate investigation dead in its tracks. Once it was revealed by order of the Supreme Court, Nixon was finished. He resigned two days later.''
We can't help but believe that by the end of President Trump's term (whenever that is), The FBI will be leading 5-0 in this epic Deep State vs Democracy battle.
Trump partner said in running to build FBI headquarters
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:35
NEW YORK (AP) '-- A company that owns buildings with Donald Trump and the family of Jared Kushner is a finalist for a $1.7 billion contract to build the FBI's new headquarters.
Vornado Realty Trust is one of three finalists to build a replacement for the bureau's current headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., the massive J. Edgar Hoover Building, according to Garth Beall, manager of Renard Development. Renard is hoping the federal agency running the bidding process, the General Services Administration, will choose a Renard site in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the new headquarters.
Vornado is a partial owner with the Trump Organization in two buildings, one each in New York and San Francisco. It is also a major investor in 666 Fifth Ave., the flagship skyscraper of the Kushner Cos.
Virginia Congressman Gerald Connolly said the White House ties to Vornado create a conflict of interest.
Since Trump hasn't divested from his company, "that shifts the ethical burden to his business partners," Connolly said. "We're in a position where once again he shrugged off his responsibilities and sloughed it off to someone else."
Connolly, who represents an area in Virginia vying for the new headquarters, called on Vornado to drop out of the bidding.
The choice of Vornado as a finalist was earlier reported by ABC News.
Requests for comment from Vornado, and its partner in the FBI bid, JBG Cos., were not immediately returned. A spokesman for the General Services Administration said the agency doesn't comment on projects in "active procurement."
"Jared takes the ethics rules very seriously and would never compromise himself or the administration," the White House said in a statement. There was no immediate response from the White House about the president's potential conflicts stemming from the FBI building bid.
Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser to the president, sold his personal interest in 666 Fifth Ave. earlier this year.
The Kushner Cos. declined to comment.
Vornado is run by Steven Roth, who has been advising Donald Trump on his plans to revamp the nation's infrastructure. He also is consulting with the White House Office of American Innovation, which is being led by Kushner.
Steven Schooner, a professor of government procurement law at George Washington University, said the relationship between Vornado and the White House makes any government deal with the real estate company suspect.
"This would absolutely pose an apparent, and, potentially, an actual conflict of interest," Schooner said in an email. "I cannot imagine any modern-era precedent for the president (and his advisor and son-in-law) not recognizing that this is a problem and shutting this down before it gets any worse."
Renard's Beall indicated he isn't as worried. He said the bidding process is unlikely to be tainted.
"Typically the president doesn't get involved in GSA solicitations," he said. "It's pretty easy for the president to recuse himself."
Vornado is a partial owner with the Trump Organization in 1290 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and 555 California St. in San Francisco.
The Kushner building owned with Vornado, 666 Fifth Ave., has been at the center of a conflicts of interest debate before. A Chinese insurer considering investing in the skyscraper had to pull out of negotiations with the Kushners after news reports highlighted the insurer's close ties to the Beijing government.
The skyscraper was bought by the Kushner Cos. for record $1.8 billion before the 2008 financial crisis, and soon ran into financial trouble. Vornado came to the rescue a few years later, buying a big stake in the building at a discount.
The GSA ruled in March that the Trump Organization can keep using a government-owned building in Washington for its new hotel, the Trump International Hotel, a favorite of diplomats and lobbyists. That decision drew criticism from good-government groups and Democrats. They note the contract the president's company signed forbids government officials from being a party to or benefiting from the building.
The GSA said Trump was in "full compliance" because profits from the hotel won't go directly to Trump while he's president.
The agency has said the winning bidder for the FBI building will have to construct in one of three locations in the Washington, D.C., area. The bidder will also get to take over the old FBI headquarters building to convert to other uses.
___
AP reporter Matthew Barakat contributed from McLean, Virginia.
EuroLand
FOK.nl / Nieuws / EU-hof zet streep door verkoop 'sojamelk'
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:19
Sojamelk, tofoeboter of vegakaas mogen niet onder die naam worden verkocht. Zuiver plantaardige producten mogen in principe niet op de markt worden gezet met woorden als melk, room, boter, kaas of yoghurt op het label.
Dergelijke benamingen zijn volgens het Europees recht uitsluitend bedoeld voor producten van dierlijke oorsprong, oordeelde het Europees Hof van Justitie woensdag.
In Duitsland was een zaak aangespannen tegen TofuTown, dat vegetarische en veganistische producten maakt met woorden als boter en kaas in de naam, zoals 'Tofubutter', 'Pflanzenk¤se. Een rechter in Trier had het EU-hof om uitleg van de regels.
Hoewel het bedrijf de producten een naam geeft waaruit de plantaardige oorsprong blijkt, oordeelt het EU-hof dat daarin geen zuivelproducten mogen staan. De rechters wijzen onder meer op "verwarringsgevaar bij de consument", zelfs als er een verduidelijkende tekst op het label staat.
Wel is er een lijst met uitzonderingen, waarin onder meer het Franse 'cr¨me de riz' is opgenomen. Soja en tofoe staan niet op die lijst.
EU-hof zet streep door verkoop 'sojamelk' (Foto: ANP)
Help ons; deel dit item als je het leuk vond
ADA
Judge Backs Making Consumer Websites Accessible to Blind - WSJ
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 17:10
A federal judge in Florida ruled Tuesday that grocery chain Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. must make its website accessible to the blind, following an unprecedented trial over a gray area of accessibility law.
The decision adds momentum to a push by plaintiffs' lawyers and disability-rights groups to make all consumer websites accessible to the blind and hearing-impaired. Uncertainty in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and a lack...
Fen Fen
Anonymous Fire Captain
Dear Guardians of Reality,
I would prefer to remain anonymous if you use this information on the show. I don’t know if this will be beneficial for you. I just received this on my work email and read it. I thought it might interest you to help with any more deconstruction.
An interesting thing to note, these illicit made fentanyl’s are being substituted on black market for forms of xanax, and the like. I personally have run calls on people who have over dosed on black market prescription drugs. I would imagine this is part of the problem. The other interesting thing is the amount needed to kill a person. I am referencing the penny pincher. Lastly, due to the potency, you need a TON of narcan (trade name most commonly used for naloxone). In fact, most responding units won’t have enough narcan on their units to save a person who has overdosed.
If you have a questions, please ask. By the way, as qualification of who I am… I've been a fire fighter paramedic for 17 years.
Boots on the Ground
US Special Forces Helping Philippines Military Pound ISIS | True Pundit
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:51
SecurityWorldFOLLOW US!
U.S. special forces are now assisting the Philippines military in the battle against Islamic State fighters after militants seized the city of Marawi.
These forces have been deployed at the request of the Philippine government to help take Marawi back, to prevent the terror group from gaining a hold in the country. However, the U.S. will refrain from ground fighting, Reuters reports.
U.S. forces are limited to technical support at this time and surveillance aircraft, particularly the P-3C Orion and RQ-20 Puma Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
So far, dozens of government troops and ISIS militants have died fighting for control over Marawi. Thirteen Philippines Marines died in combat Friday. When ISIS-loyal militants from terror groups Abu Sayyaf and Maute seized Marawi in May, they burned down churches, schools and butchered Christians. They then released a shocking image of the executions.
Despite airstrikes, the Philippines military is finding it difficult to rout out the ISIS militants, as these fighters make use of anti-tank weapons and take shelter in bomb-proof tunnels. They also use human shields, a tactic commonly used by ISIS troops facing heavy assault in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon told CNN that special forces have operated in the Philippines for years, and at any time, there are 50-100 troops on the ground.
Although the U.S. is providing military support, the long-standing alliance between the U.S. and the Philippines has been on somewhat shaky ground as of late because of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's loud remarks about pivoting to China and Russia. In a recent interview with RT in May, Duterte stated he wanted a closer relationship with China and Russia, as the Western world engages in ''double talk.''
''I have nothing against America, [US President Donald] Trump is my friend,'' Duterte said. ''But my foreign policy has shifted. I want to deal with China and Russia. Because in Western world, it's double talk.''
''You treat me as if I'm your colony still. You must be kidding! We're an independent country. I want my country to be treated with dignity,'' Duterte added.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] .
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Progaganda
Hungary approves strict regulations on foreign-funded NGOs - BBC News
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 13:15
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Activists have held protests in Hungary against the law Hungary's parliament has approved a law imposing strict regulations on foreign-funded non-government organisations.
The new rules increase reporting requirements for the groups, which risk closure for non-compliance.
Critics say the move is a crackdown on independent voices and an attempt to stigmatise the organisations.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has accused foreign-funded NGOs, in particular those supported by American billionaire George Soros, of domestic interference.
Groups receiving more than '‚¬24,000 ($26,000; £21,000) will have to register as "foreign-supported organisation".
Mr Orban's government says the measures aim at improving transparency and fighting money laundering and terrorism funding.
But the rules are seen as targeting Hungarian-born Mr Soros, who for decades has given away billions of dollars to promote a liberal, "open society" culture, and has founded the prestigious Central European University.
Mr Soros is seen by Mr Orban as an ideological enemy.
The law, passed by 130 votes to 44, resembles legislation introduced in Russia in 2012 requiring NGOs to call themselves "foreign agents" if they get any foreign funding, which led to a ban on Soros foundations.
Human rights group Amnesty International said the Hungarian law was a "vicious and calculated assault on civil society", while Human Rights Watch considered it an attempt of "silencing critical voices in society".
Ministry of Truth
Syrian Accused of Working for ISIS News Agency Is Arrested in Germany - NYTimes.com
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:42
LONDON '-- The authorities in Germany announced on Thursday that they had arrested a 23-year-old Syrian who is suspected of working for the Islamic State's news agency, which announces claims of responsibility for the group's attacks, including the most recent ones in London and Tehran.
According to a statement from the federal prosecutor's office, the Syrian '-- a man identified only as Mohammed G., who was arrested on Wednesday '-- arrived in Germany in September 2015. ''Once he arrived, he acted as a contact person between the news agency Amaq, which is considered part of Islamic State, and possible assailants of the terror organization,'' the statement said.
If proved, the presence of a member of Amaq in Western Europe would help answer a riddle: How is it that the Islamic State has continued to run a media empire, one that rapidly turns to social media to issue claims of responsibility for attacks, despite its losses of territory in Iraq and Syria?
Analysts had long suspected that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had media operatives on different continents and across time zones, both because of the rapid response of its statements and because its claims are frequently translated into numerous languages, including German.
''There was an assumption all along that at least a small chunk of ISIS media is run by people in the West,'' said Amarnath Amarasingam, senior research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. ''This is an interesting confirmation of something people always suspected. So it's quite important.''
Experts on terrorism first noticed Amaq in 2014, during the drawn-out battle for the town ofKobani in Syria, a prolonged confrontation that dragged out over months. They began by posting small updates on battlefield skirmishes. But they soon became the go-to outlet for the terrorist group's claims of responsibility, posting their ''bulletins'' across a distinctive blue electronic backdrop, which are then uploaded to their chat rooms, or channels, on the messaging app Telegram.
It was on Amaq that ISIS first claimed a couple's shooting rampagein San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015, and the deaths of 49 people at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub in 2016. In the last week it claimed a terrorist attack in London; a hostage-taking in Melbourne, Australia; and a pair of deadly assaults in Tehran.
The arrest in Germany could also shed light on another little-understood aspect of the news media arm of ISIS.
In most of its claims of responsibility, Amaq attributes the information to ''a security source.'' For example, after three Islamic State followers carried out a van and knife attack in London on Saturday night, Amaq sent out this statement a little more than 24 hours later: ''Security source to the Amaq Agency: A detachment of Islamic State fighters carried out the London attack yesterday.''
Analysts have been puzzled by this reference to so-called sources, with many casting doubt that the terrorist group's media operatives had any actual contacts, and suspected that Amaq was instead waiting for the mainstream new media to announce whether the assailant was Muslim.
The statement from the prosecutor explains that Mohammad G. had been communicating via social media with a man who went on to carry out a 2016 arson in Sweden.
Mohammad G. contacted his source after the attack to confirm details of what had happened, according to the statement. ''One day after this attack, the accused demanded from his contact person (in Sweden) a personal claim of this deed,'' the prosecutor's office said. ''The background was that Amaq did not want to issue a report about the attack without such a claim.''
The statement continued: ''After that, IS claimed the attack in the al-Naba newspaper which it publishes,'' referring to the group's weekly newsletter, which occasionally claims attacks ahead of Amaq.
The attack in question occurred in October 2016 in Malmo, Sweden, when a 30-year-old Syrian man threw a Molotov cocktail at a community center.
According to an English-language news organization, The Local, investigators found an image of the Islamic State flag, videos showing ISIS members killing people and instructions on how to make a detonator on the man's computer. The events led to a debate, with one district court judge initially dismissing the violence as arson and not terrorism. Many in Sweden and beyond used social media to say that ISIS's assertion of responsibility showed that ''they claim anything.''
In fact, the German statement gives an indication of the fact-checking process that was carried out in at least one case before ISIS makes a claim.
''We've all assumed that they are reading news reports, and then saying, 'Our guy did this.' But this is interesting because this does show that they clearly have someone, who is one of their guys, and who is getting verification and confirming that this attack was in our name,'' said Shiraz Maher, the deputy director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College, London, cautioning that the news release mentioned only a single example.
Despite a widespread view that the Islamic State opportunistically claims attacks with which it has little genuine connection, its track record '-- minus a handful of exceptions '-- suggests a more rigorous protocol.
At times, the Islamic State has gotten details wrong, or inflated casualty figures, but the gist of its claims is typically correct. The group has made it clear that it considers itself responsible both for acts carried out by its own personnel, as well as acts carried out by people who lack direct ties to the group but were inspired by its propaganda.
In several instances, moreover, the Islamic State has claimed attacks before the identities of the killers were known.
For example, it was not until Monday evening '-- one day after ISIS claimed the London attack '-- that police identified two of the three attackers, and it was only on Tuesday that the name emerged of the third attacker, who had been stopped at an Italian airport in possession of ISIS propaganda.
Similarly, Amaq claimed the shooting in the Orlando nightclub before police released the transcript of the 911 tape, which showed that the gunman, Omar Mateen, had repeatedly told the phone dispatcher and later a police negotiator that he was carrying out the violence in the name of the Islamic State.
''Much like with any media, or journalist, they thrive on credibility,'' said Mr. Amarasingam. ''It doesn't make any sense that they would just go out and claim every garbage can that gets kicked over. It doesn't work that way.''
Correction: June 8, 2017
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the date when a Syrian man threw a Molotov cocktail at a community center in Malmo, Sweden. It was in October 2016, not in March.
WTC 7
London fire: What we know so far about Grenfell Tower - BBC News
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:24
Image caption Grenfell Tower is reported to contain 120 flats Six people have died and 20 people are in critical care after a huge fire engulfed a west London tower block on Tuesday night.
The building is still on fire and many people are unaccounted for.
What happened?The fire was reported at the 24-storey block, Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, 00:54 BST.
It is believed to have started on the fourth floor and spread incredibly quickly.
Forty fire engines and around 200 firefighters went to tackle the blaze.
How many victims are there?Six people have died, according to police, with the number expected to rise.
Seventy-four people have been treated in hospital, according to the London Ambulance Service. Six hospitals - St Mary's, Chelsea and Westminster, Royal Free, St Thomas', Charing Cross Hospital and King's College Hospital - have received patients.
St Mary's said it is treating 16 patients, three of whom are critical. Charing Cross Hospital is treating four patients, but none are critical. St Thomas' Hospital has confirmed that four patients have been treated. Chelsea and Westminster, Royal Free and Kings College Hospital have treated 25, 13 and 12 patients respectively.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Footage shows the extent of damageEyewitnesses have said some people may be trapped in the building, which contains about 120 flats.
Notting Dale ward councillor Judith Blakeman, who lives across the road from the block, said between 400 and 600 people live in the building.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said fire crews only managed to reach the 12th floor at the height of the fire.
The Met Police has set up an emergency number on 0800 0961 233 for anyone concerned about friends or family.
People who live in the block, but have left, are being urged to make themselves known to the authorities so that they know they are safe.
Baby 'dropped to safety from tower fire'
What caused the fire?It is not yet known what caused the fire.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said "a full investigation will need to be undertaken at the first possible opportunity".
How are fires fought in high-rise blocks?
Where is the tower block? Grenfell Tower is on Latimer Road, in west London.
It's part of the Lancaster West Estate, a social housing complex of nearly 1,000 homes, in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The tower block is near Westfield shopping centre in White City and the A40 - a major route for traffic entering and leaving the west of London.
What do we know about Grenfell Tower?Image copyright Reuters Image caption Smoke could be seen from miles away Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.
A two-year £10m refurbishment - which was part of a wider transformation of the estate - was completed by Rydon Construction last year. Work included new exterior cladding, replacement windows and a communal heating system.
There was also extensive remodelling of the bottom four floors, creating nine additional homes, and improvements to communal facilities.
Rydon said it was "shocked to hear of the devastating fire" adding that the work "met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards".
The tower is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the council.
The BBC has been unable to contact the property's management company since the fire.
How safe was the tower block?The local Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during the refurbishment, the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was "severely restricted".
In February 2013 residents warned fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, had not been tested for 12 months.
The tower block was given a medium fire risk rating - defined as a normal fire risk - in 2016 following completion of the refurbishment by the London Fire Brigade and Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.
The council insists the block has been regularly inspected, but the London Mayor said safety and maintenance issues would have to be looked at.
Concerns raised about Grenfell Tower 'for years'
Geoff Wilkinson, a fire and building inspector, told the BBC that the Grenfell Tower block "didn't perform in the way you'd expect a building to perform" once it caught fire as "you'd expect it to be contained to an individual apartment".
"Something has gone dramatically wrong here," he said.
What are eyewitnesses saying?Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption London fire: Families threw children out of Grenfell Tower to safetyEyewitnesses said they saw people trapped inside the burning building screaming for help, and shouting for their children to be saved.
Some said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows - some holding children.
Eyewitness Jody Martin said: "I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window... hearing screams.
"I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying 'We can't leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors.'"
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Resident: 'It was like a horror movie'Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape, but said he was alerted to the fire not by fire alarms but by people on the street below, shouting "don't jump, don't jump".
Michael Paramasivan, who lives on the seventh floor with his girlfriend and young daughter, said he ignored official advice to stay in your home.
"If we had stayed in that flat, we would've perished. My gut instinct told me just to get the girls out. I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out."
Another resident, Zoe, who lives on the fourth floor, said she was woken by a neighbour banging on her door.
"The whole landing was thick with smoke. The smoke alarms weren't going off but the way it spread so quickly from the fourth floor, all the way up to the 23rd floor was scary."
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption David Benjamin says he was woken by a neighbour banging on the doorThe BBC's Andy Moore, who was at the scene, described watching debris falling from the building, and hearing explosions and breaking glass.
"The police keep pushing back their cordons, pushing back members of the public for fear the building might collapse," he said.
Grenfall Tower witnesses recall harrowing night
How can you help?Image copyright PA St Clement's Church has been collecting clothes, food and water for those affected - many of whom had been forced to escape the building in their night clothes. They now only want baby clothes and nappies, and say they will work out what else they need later.
An emergency rest centre has been opened for those now homeless at the Harrow Centre, in Freston Road. Local football clubs Queens Park Rangers (QPR) and Fulham have offered their help to those left homeless by the blaze.
The Rugby Portobello Trust is also acting as a rest centre, but only for evacuated people. Friends and families are asked not to go there.
A number of individuals have also reached out via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to offer accommodation and transport help.
Several crowdfunding pages have been set up for those affected by the blaze, with one raising more than £20,000 within hours.
This is what you can do to help
What other disruption is there?The A40 - part of which is known as the Westway - is closed between Northern Roundabout and Marylebone Road.
London Underground has closed the Circle line and the Hammersmith & City line between Hammersmith and Edgware Road.
Kensington Aldridge Academy, the secondary school next to Grenfell Tower, is closed for the day.
People are being advised by police to stay away from the area, where roads are closed.
NHS England is asking Londoners to use its services "wisely" and, if they need medical attention, to "seek advice from NHS 111 in the first instance".
St Mary's Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital have asked people to only go to their A&E departments in an emergency.
Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning
Are you in the area? Did you witness the events? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories. Do not endanger yourself.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:
WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Upload your pictures / video hereTweet: @BBC_HaveYourSaySend an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100
Grenfell Action Group | Working to defend and serve the Lancaster West community
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:17
Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.
Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.
ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who own this property and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council's behalf:
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/more-on-fire-safety/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/another-fire-safety-scandal/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/kctmo-feeling-the-heat/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/why-are-we-waiting/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/grenfell-tower-from-bad-to-worse/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/more-trouble-at-grenfell-tower/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-disempowered-of-grenfell-tower/
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/tmo-still-asleep-at-the-wheel
Caliphate!
GeenStijl: Amsterdam CS crash: getuigen weerspreken politie
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:44
HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:44:52 GMT Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Transfer-Encoding: chunked Connection: keep-alive Set-Cookie: __cfduid=df7475491e7d388ae87325cf639673eaf1497249892; expires=Tue, 12-Jun-18 06:44:52 GMT; path=/; domain=.kudtkoekiewet.nl; HttpOnly Server: cloudflare-nginx CF-RAY: 36dad811f46918a0-EWR Content-Encoding: gzip
We weten ook niet hoe het hier terecht is gekomen, vermoedelijk heeft iemand zijn auto­radio­hand­leid­ing hier laten slingeren. Excuses voor het ongemak, maar scroll vooral even door.
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Hieronder staat het, nog even doorscrollen.
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Cookies voor Website-analyse aka de Kenneth-Perez-cookiesMeten is weten. En leren is leuk. Om onze bezoekersstatistieken bij te houden maken we gebruik van Google Analytics. Dit systeem houdt bij welke pagina's onze bezoekers bekijken, waar zij vandaan komen en op klikken, welke browser en schermresolutie ze gebruiken en nog veel meer. Deze informatie gebruiken we om een beter beeld te krijgen van onze bezoekers en om onze site hierop te optimaliseren. Zo worden onze websites nog veel superduper leuker om aan te klikken dan voorheen. Google, die deze dienst levert, gebruikt de informatie om een relevant, anoniem advertentieprofiel op te bouwen waarmee men gerichter advertenties kan aanbieden.
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Cookies van overige externe partijen aka de restNaast bovenstaande zijn er meer onderdelen die een cookie kunnen opleveren. Veelal worden deze gebruikt door de content-partners om te analyseren op welke sites hun gebruikers actief zijn en hoe hun diensten presteren. Denk hierbij aan filmpjes van bijvoorbeeld YouTube, foto's van diensten als Imgur, Tumblr of picasa, en 'like' knoppen van sociale mediasites als Twitter en Facebook
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Wil je nou echt nog meer weten? Kijk dan hier.
2017 Terrorist Attacks
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:47
A Story Mapî î ‚ î  î ‚
ABOUT THIS MAP— ListMapAbout
Clinton HitList
Harvard Analyst Accuses The Clintons of 'Largest Charity Fraud in History' | Neon Nettle
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:57
on 12th June 2017 @ 6.55pm
(C) press An investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton reveals charity fraud An investigation into The Clinton Foundation by a financial analyst from Harvard University has revealed fraud on a "monumental scale", according to reports.Charles Ortel claims to have evidence that Bill and Hillary Clinton have committed the largest case of charity fraud in American history.
Ortel, one of the world's leading financial experts, claims that the Clintons are also part of a global fraud networks that have acquired billions in fraudulent profits.
Wall St On Parade reports: In a 9-page letter dated yesterday and posted on his blog, Ortel calls the Clintons' charity the "largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted," adding for good measure that the Clinton Foundation is part of an "international charity fraud network whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion, measured from 1997 forward."
Ortel lists 40 potential areas of fraud or wrongdoing that he plans to expose.
Like Markopolos, Ortel has an impressive resume. Ortel's LinkedIn profile shows that he received his B.A. from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
He previously worked as a Managing Director at investment bank Dillon Read and later as a Managing Director at the financial research firm, Newport Value Partners.
In more recent years, Ortel has been a contributor to a number of news outlets including the Washington Times and TheStreet.com.
The charges being made by Ortel are difficult to dismiss as a flight of fancy because mainstream media has tinkered around the edges of precisely what Ortel is now calling out in copious detail.
In a 2013 New York Times article, ''Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions,'' reporters Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick hint that Hillary Clinton's political operatives are occupying offices at the Clinton Foundation headquarters, writing that they ''will work on organizing Mrs. Clinton's packed schedule of paid speeches to trade groups and awards ceremonies and assist in the research and writing of Mrs. Clinton's memoir about her time at the State Department, to be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.''
A June 2015 article in the Wall Street Journal by Kimberley Strassel stopped hinting and spelled it out boldly, calling the Clinton Foundation a ''Hillary superPac that throws in the occasional good deed.'' Strassel explained:
''The media's focus is on Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, and whether she took official actions to benefit her family's global charity. But the mistake is starting from the premise that the Clinton Foundation is a 'charity.' What's clear by now is that this family enterprise was set up as a global shakedown operation, designed to finance and nurture the Clintons' continued political ambitions. It's a Hillary super PAC that throws in the occasional good deed.''
Strassel goes on to provide the specific names of staffers who are deeply conflicted in their political work for Hillary Clinton's ambitions and their ties to the charity.
An article by James Grimaldi in the Wall Street Journal on May 12 of last year charges that a ''$2 million commitment arranged by the nonprofit Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 went to a for-profit company part-owned by friends of the Clintons.'' The Clinton Global Initiative is a program associated with the Clinton Foundation.
One notable thing that Charles Ortel is pounding away at is, why, with all of these media red flags for years, the Clintons have been allowed by state charity regulators in multiple states in which they solicit donations as well as their Federal regulator, the IRS, to continue business as usual.
Are we looking at the Madoff-effect where regulators are afraid to take on powerful figures?
We think that's a very good question to which the American public deserves a credible answer.
Agenda 2030
Global Warming Bombshell - MIT Technology Review
Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:58
Progress in science is sometimes made by great discoveries. But science also advances when we learn that something we believed to be true isnt. When solving a jigsaw puzzle, the solution can sometimes be stymied by the fact that a wrong piece has been wedged in a key place.
In the scientific and political debate over global warming, the latest wrong piece may be the hockey stick, the famous plot (shown below), published by University of Massachusetts geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues. This plot purports to show that we are now experiencing the warmest climate in a millennium, and that the earth, after remaining cool for centuries during the medieval era, suddenly began to heat up about 100 years ago''just at the time that the burning of coal and oil led to an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.
I talked about this at length in my December 2003 column. Unfortunately, discussion of this plot has been so polluted by political and activist frenzy that it is hard to dig into it to reach the science. My earlier column was largely a plea to let science proceed unmolested. Unfortunately, the very importance of the issue has made careful science difficult to pursue.
But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records.
But it wasnt so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.
Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called Monte Carlo analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!
That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. How could it happen? What is going on? Let me digress into a short technical discussion of how this incredible error took place.
In PCA and similar techniques, each of the (in this case, typically 70) different data sets have their averages subtracted (so they have a mean of zero), and then are multiplied by a number to make their average variation around that mean to be equal to one; in technical jargon, we say that each data set is normalized to zero mean and unit variance. In standard PCA, each data set is normalized over its complete data period; for key climate data sets that Mann used to create his hockey stick graph, this was the interval 1400-1980. But the computer program Mann used did not do that. Instead, it forced each data set to have zero mean for the time period 1902-1980, and to match the historical records for this interval. This is the time when the historical temperature is well known, so this procedure does guarantee the most accurate temperature scale. But it completely screws up PCA. PCA is mostly concerned with the data sets that have high variance, and the Mann normalization procedure tends to give very high variance to any data set with a hockey stick shape. (Such data sets have zero mean only over the 1902-1980 period, not over the longer 1400-1980 period.)
The net result: the principal component will have a hockey stick shape even if most of the data do not.
McIntyre and McKitrick sent their detailed analysis to Nature magazine for publication, and it was extensively refereed. But their paper was finally rejected. In frustration, McIntyre and McKitrick put the entire record of their submission and the referee reports on a Web page for all to see. If you look, youll see that McIntyre and McKitrick have found numerous other problems with the Mann analysis. I emphasize the bug in their PCA program simply because it is so blatant and so easy to understand. Apparently, Mann and his colleagues never tested their program with the standard Monte Carlo approach, or they would have discovered the error themselves. Other and different criticisms of the hockey stick are emerging (see, for example, the paper by Hans von Storch and colleagues in the September 30 issue of Science).
Some people may complain that McIntyre and McKitrick did not publish their results in a refereed journal. That is true''but not for lack of trying. Moreover, the paper was refereed''and even better, the referee reports are there for us to read. McIntyre and McKitricks only failure was in not convincing Nature that the paper was important enough to publish.
How does this bombshell affect what we think about global warming?
It certainly does not negate the threat of a long-term global temperature increase. In fact, McIntyre and McKitrick are careful to point out that it is hard to draw conclusions from these data, even with their corrections. Did medieval global warming take place? Last month the consensus was that it did not; now the correct answer is that nobody really knows. Uncovering errors in the Mann analysis doesnt settle the debate; it just reopens it. We now know less about the history of climate, and its natural fluctuations over century-scale time frames, than we thought we knew.
If you are concerned about global warming (as I am) and think that human-created carbon dioxide may contribute (as I do), then you still should agree that we are much better off having broken the hockey stick. Misinformation can do real harm, because it distorts predictions. Suppose, for example, that future measurements in the years 2005-2015 show a clear and distinct global cooling trend. (It could happen.) If we mistakenly took the hockey stick seriously''that is, if we believed that natural fluctuations in climate are small''then we might conclude (mistakenly) that the cooling could not be just a random fluctuation on top of a long-term warming trend, since according to the hockey stick, such fluctuations are negligible. And that might lead in turn to the mistaken conclusion that global warming predictions are a lot of hooey. If, on the other hand, we reject the hockey stick, and recognize that natural fluctuations can be large, then we will not be misled by a few years of random cooling.
A phony hockey stick is more dangerous than a broken one''if we know it is broken. It is our responsibility as scientists to look at the data in an unbiased way, and draw whatever conclusions follow. When we discover a mistake, we admit it, learn from it, and perhaps discover once again the value of caution.
Watch Live Tonight! NASA Rocket Launch to Create Glowing Clouds @ 9:04 pm ET
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:10
Update for June 13, 7 a.m. ET: Launch Tonight
NASA will try again to launch a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket tonight, June 13, at 9:04 p.m. EDT (0104 GMT) after a series of delays due to cloudy weather and stray boats offshore. NASA's webcast begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT). The launch may also be visible to observers along the U.S. East Coast from New York to North Carolina, and as far inland as Charlottesville, Virginia, NASA officials have said. You can also watch the liftoff, which will take place from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, at the Wallops Ustream site: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops.
The rocket will launch to test a canister deployment system designed to eject ampoules containing gas that can create glowing artificial clouds in the night sky. Clear weather is vital for mission scientists in order to record the cloud deployment using ground-based cameras at the launch site - NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, and in Duck, North Carolina. The mission has launch opportunities each night this week through June 18.
If you live near the Wallops Island area in Virginia and would like to watch the sounding rocket launch in person, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility Visitors Center will open to the public at 8 p.m. EDT. Because the launch is weather dependent, local spectactors and online viewers can recieve the latest updates from NASA via the Wallops center Facebook and Twitter sites.
Editor's note: If you capture an amazing image of the sounding rocket launch or the colorful artificial clouds that you would like to share with Space.com and its news partners for a story or photo gallery, send photos and comments to: spacephotos@space.com.
Artificial clouds should be visible shortly after 9 p.m. EDT on June 11 from New York to North Carolina if a NASA sounding rocket launches on time from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Credit: NASAFrom NASA:
"The window for a NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket launch to test a new ampoule ejection system designed to support studies of the ionosphere and aurora opens June 11 and runs through June 18. Lift-off for a June 11 launch is scheduled between 9:04 and 9:19 p.m. EDT.
"NASA has two ground stations '-- at Wallops and Duck, N.C. '-- to view blue-green and red artificial clouds that will be produced as part of the test. Clear skies are required at one of the two ground stations for this test.
"The multi-canister ampoule ejection system flying on this mission will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously able. Canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch releasing blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space.
"The clouds may be visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from New York to North Carolina.
"The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 8 p.m. on launch day for viewing the flight.
"Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. on the Wallops Ustream site. Launch updates also are available via the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites."
DELINGPOLE: Global Warming Study Cancelled Because of 'Unprecedented' Ice
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 17:12
Naturally, the scientist in charge has blamed it on 'climate change.'
According to Vice:
The study, entitled BaySys, is a $17-million four-year-long program headed by the University of Manitoba. It was planning to conduct the third leg of its research by sending 40 scientists from five Canadian universities out into the Bay on the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen to study ''contributions of climate change and regulation on the Hudson Bay system.''
But it had to be cancelled because the scientists' icebreaker was required by the Canadian Coast Guard for a rather more urgent purpose '' rescuing fishing boats and supply ships which had got stuck in the ''unprecedented ice conditions''.
''It became clear to me very quickly that these weren't just heavy ice conditions, these were unprecedented ice conditions,'' Dr. David Barber, the lead scientist on the study, told VICE. ''We were finding thick multi-year sea ice floes which on level ice were five metres thick'... it was much, much thicker and much, much heavier than anything you would expect at that latitude and at that time of year.''
Clearly not one to let a crisis go to waste, Barber seized the opportunity to perform the usual alarmist clown dance for the media, explaining why this incident definitely shows that global warming is a major problem and deserving of our urgent attention.
He told Vice:
''It was clear it was from the Arctic, I just needed to be among the ice to see it,'' said Dr. Barber. ''What was also clear to me was that climate change has caused this event to happen.''
[Don't you just love that ''I just needed to be among the ice''? I think what he's trying in his subtle way to tell us is: ''Not all superheroes wear capes'']
Warming to his theme, he told Global News:
''This is climate change fully in action '' affecting our ability to make use of marine resources and transport things.''
and
''This is a wake-up call for all of us in the country.''
Of course it is. Now Barber has the perfect excuse to share his war stories with all the other global warming experts who have had their research expeditions/publicity stunts stymied by unseasonal bouts of global warming.
There was the Ship of Fools expedition in which an Australian climate researcher called Chris Turkey had to call an expedition to the melting Antarctic after his ship got stuck in the ice.
The Caitlin Expedition '' supported by the Prince of Wales '' in which Pen Haddow and his team had to abandon their trip to the North Pole because it was colder than they'd expected.
Most recently there was Ship of Fools II, in which a global warming research voyage by David Hempleman Adams had to be curtailed because of unexpected ice.
What on earth can Mother Gaia be trying to tell them?
Possibly the same message she's trying to send out to the Greenies in California with this unexpected fall of white global warming.
A rare winter-like storm brought more snow to the Sierra Nevada on Monday, giving skiers the opportunity to enjoy the slopes as summer gets underway.
At Squaw Valley, the storm dropped four inches of snow at the upper elevations and two inches at the base, delighting skiers and snowboarders who will be on the slopes past the Fourth of July for a first time in history.
''It's definitely unique,'' Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows resort spokesman Sam Kieckhefer said. ''We are seeing bathing suits and costumes on the slopes. The skiing has definitely been extremely festive.''
Apparently, she didn't get the famous memo from the Independent a few years back.
Why, if you didn't know better you'd almost think unseasonal bouts of snow and ice were nothing to do with ''global warming'' but were a natural phenomenon which had been with us since time immemorial'....
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Vaccine$
Fever in pregnancy tied to higher risk of autism - Medical News Today
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:13
Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK.
(C) 2004-2017 All rights reserved. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
Shocker: Study Unwittingly Links Vaccines to Autism >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:13
Start with this:
A new study links fever in pregnant women to an increased risk of autism in their babies.
MedicalNewsToday (6/13/17): ''A study of a large group of children found a link between raised risk of autism spectrum disorder and their mothers reporting fever during pregnancy. The link was strongest with fevers reported during the second trimester.''
''The study '' led by the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, NY '' also found that the risk of autism increased in line with the number of fevers reported after 12 weeks of gestation '' rising to 300 percent higher risk [of autism] with reports of three or more fevers.''
Next, here is a one-word item from the World Health Organization web page, Vaccine Safety Basics. The item comes under the heading of ''minor vaccine reactions,'' and applies to every vaccine: the reaction is FEVER.
Pregnant woman gets vaccines. Vaccines cause fevers. Fevers are linked to autistic babies.
Here is a CDC list of vaccines given to pregnant women, under various conditions: HepA, HepB, Flu, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), meningococcal, polio, Rabies. Fever, as a typical and minor adverse effect, would be expected and ignored for ANY AND ALL of these vaccines.
Accepting the finding of the new study, cited above'--routine vaccination for pregnant women is linked to an increased risk of autism in their babies.
That's it in a nutshell.
No doubt if you pointed out the inevitable conclusion to a doctor or a researcher, they would try to worm out of it. They would say, ''Well, we're not talking about fever resulting from vaccines. We're talking about fever coming from an infection in the pregnant woman.'' Really? Why don't you think the vaccine is producing fever? It's causing an infection, and the immune system is reacting. Fever is an entirely expected consequence.
Note: I'm not saying the creation of fever is the only reason vaccines cause autism and various types of neurological damage. I'm saying here is a new connection.
And mainstream medicine and the mainstream press will ignore it completely.
This article first appeared at NoMoreFakeNews.com.
Big Oil
The Lonely Drifting Oil Tanker That Signals OPEC's Struggle - Bloomberg
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:17
If a single ship can capture the current state of the global oil market, it's the supertanker Saiq, floating idly about 850 kilometers (530 miles) south of the Canary Islands.
Until a few days ago, the 330-meter-long tanker, chartered by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, was steaming at 13 knots toward the Chinese port of Tianjin after loading a 2-million-barrel cargo of North Sea oil at the Hound Point terminal near Edinburgh. Then, it suddenly stopped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
Its problem: China isn't buying much crude right now, leaving the tanker searching for a customer. While the vessel was floating near Africa last week, Shell offered to sell the cargo in a ship-to-ship transfer all the way back in Scotland. There weren't any takers.
Across the world, the plight of the Saiq, now idling off the coast of Mauritania, reflects a broader trend in the physical oil market. After six months of oil-production cuts from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and 11 non-OPEC nations led by Russia, crude supply is surprisingly still plentiful, according to traders.
"It's a buyer's market," said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Swiss-based consultant Petromatrix GmbH, echoing a widely held view in the physical market.
On paper, global supply and demand balances from the likes of the International Energy Agency say the market should be reducing stockpiles. Oil prices, however, suggest that any inventory reduction remains minimal. The headline price for Brent crude, the global benchmark, is below $50 a barrel, indicating buyers are on the sidelines.
Time spreads, the price difference between contracts for different months, have widened considerably in June, with key measures at levels last seen in November, when OPEC announced its output cuts. Signs have emerged that traders are resorting to turning tankers into floating storage due to a lack of buyers.
Atlantic GlutThe oversupply is particularly acute in the so-called Atlantic basin, where high quality light, sweet crude is abundant due to a combination of factors. They include the return of some Nigerian production, stronger output from Libya, robust North Sea supplies and record-high U.S. oil exports.
"Recovering output from Nigeria and Libya '-- which has unexpectedly sustained so far '-- is worsening the imbalance of light crudes in the market and effectively halving the OPEC cuts," said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. "If OPEC does nothing to compensate for their recovery, light crude prices will remain low," she added.
Nigerian production is recovering after Shell last week lifted restrictions on exports of Forcados crude oil, a key grade, following a disruption that lasted 472 days. The move may add as much as 250,000 barrels a day of high quality, light and sweet crude into the Atlantic. While Shell subsequently placed limits on shipments of Nigeria's Bonny Light crude, the return of Forcados occurs just as regional refiners are awash with similar grades from the U.S., North Sea and Africa.
In Libya, output is near its highest in three years following last week's restart of the Sharara oil field, the nation's largest, adding an extra 250,000 barrels a day.
The glut in the Atlantic has been exacerbated by lackluster buying from China, in part because the country's independent refiners, known as ''teapots,'' embarked on a buying spree earlier this year. Still, China's presence in the market could increase. The supertanker Saiq is now signaling another Chinese port as its final destination, though throughout the day Tuesday it appeared to be drifting off the African coast. A Shell spokeswoman declined to comment on cargo movements.
Seasonal DemandThe weakness in the Atlantic basin is visible in the widening price difference between Brent crude for delivery in December 2017 and December 2018 -- a popular trade often seen as a signal of whether the market is drawing down stocks. The more negative the spread, the larger the oversupply. The spread fell to a six-month intraday low of minus $1.49 a barrel on June 9, down from plus $1 a barrel two weeks ago. It is now at about minus $1 a barrel.
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Other signals point to an oversupply, despite the fact the Atlantic market is entering its strongest season as refiners ramp up crude processing to meet summer gasoline demand in the U.S. For example, in the North Sea oil traders have turned seven laden tankers into floating storage facilities while they wait for customers. Sellers in the region have taken to offering crude for ship-to-ship transfer, typically seen as a sign of a bloated market.
In the world of contracts for difference, which allow traders to insure price exposure for their North Sea crude shipments week-by-week, the nearest contract plunged to minus $1.14 a barrel on Tuesday, down from minus 94 cents at the end of May. In the physical market, prices remained at discounts to the Dated Brent price marker as offers for cargoes outstripped bids.
"This should be the tightest season of the year,'' said Petromatrix's Jakob. ''But if you look at physical oil differentials and Brent spreads, it's signaling a crude overhang in the Atlantic."
Elektrische auto's laten rijken lachend rijden - FTM
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:37
Onafhankelijk analist Roel Gooskens verbaast zich al een tijdje over de maatschappelijke stimuleringsmaatregelen die elektrisch rijden moeten aanmoedigen. Verbazing leidt tot onderzoek, onderzoek tot inzichten. Een van die inzichten: het zijn de mensen met hoge inkomens die profiteren van de stimuleringsmaatregelen en de de-nivellering die zij veroorzaken [Update].
Elektrisch autorijden is een feest en in Nederland behoren we al jaren tot de wereldtop van feestvierders. Alleen in Noorwegen rijden per hoofd van de bevolking meer stekkerauto's rond. De gelukzalige ervaringen van de vele mensen die ik de afgelopen jaren in de media en mijn eigen omgeving waarnam, onderstrepen het plezier. Ik gun dat al die mensen van harte, maar waar er gefeest wordt, heb ik sterk de neiging om de ingredinten van de festiviteiten eens nader onder de loep te nemen. Zo zit ik als oud financieel analist nu eenmaal in elkaar.
Eerder dit jaar ploos ik op aangeven van een lezer van Follow the Money het veel in de pers bejubelde bedrijf Fastned uit. Die onderneming is bezig om een Europees netwerk van snellaadpalen op te zetten. Mijn bevindingen: Fastned schetste een veel te rooskleurig beeld van de elektrische automarkt in Nederland en de aandelen van het bedrijf werden zwaar overgewaardeerd.
Bij sommige lezers kan de inhoud mogelijk een kleine schok teweegbrengen
Ik nam me destijds voor om ook eens dieper in de wereld van het elektrische rijden te duiken. Welnu, dat heb ik gedaan; bij deze presenteer ik u mijn tien bevindingen. Ik waarschuw u van te voren wel even: bij sommige lezers kan de inhoud mogelijk een kleine schok teweegbrengen.
1. De stekker-ambitie In het kader van het terugdringen van de CO2-uitstoot en het verduurzamen van ons autopark stimuleren overheden in vele landen '-- en zeker ook in Nederland '-- de overgang van auto's die rijden op fossiele brandstoffen naar auto's die elektrisch rijden.
Onlangs verscheen een uitgebreide studie van het International Energy Agency (IEA) over de wereldwijde ontwikkelingen op het gebied van elektrisch rijden. De Nederlandse overheid heeft als concrete doelstelling dat in 2020 10 procent van de nieuw verkochte personenauto's is voorzien van een elektrische aandrijflijn en stekker. In 2025 moet de helft van de nieuw verkochte personenauto's voorzien zijn van een elektrische aandrijflijn en stekker. Daarvan moet minimaal 30 procent '-- oftewel 15 procent van het geheel '-- volledig elektrisch zijn.
De huidige stekker-ambitie wordt "f breed gedragen, "f geen strobreed in de weg gelegd door bijna alle politieke partijen in Den Haag met uitzondering van de PVV. Deze partij wil een halvering van de motorrijtuigenbelasting voor iedereen. Marianne Thieme van de Partij voor de Dieren trok bij de laatste verkiezingen zelfs door het land met een door een Tesla getrokken caravan.
"Vanaf 2017 is de verkoop van hybride elektrische auto's in Nederland bijna volledig ingestort"
Staatssecretaris Eric Wiebes van Financin liet zich weliswaar kritisch uit over de subsidie op hybride auto's (en heeft deze dan ook teruggedraaid), maar de staatssecretaris heeft de voordelen voor volledig elektrisch rijden en met name voor Tesla's wel degelijk in stand gehouden. De aftopping van de de voordelen tot 50.000 euro werd door Wiebes uitgesteld tot 2019.
2. De rooskleurige toekomstDe overheid, wetenschap en de media schetsen een nogal positief toekomstbeeld voor de ontwikkeling van elektrisch autorijden op de korte- en middellange termijn. En ook in de media wordt veelal zeer positief gesproken en geschreven over deze noodzakelijk geachte transitie. Op dat nabije toekomstbeeld valt het nodige af te dingen.
In het eerder genoemde IEA-rapport komt Nederland wereldwijd op de tweede plaats wat betreft het aandeel van elektrische (hybride en volledig elektrische) autoverkopen van 6,4 procent binnen de totale Nederlandse autoverkopen. Deze klassering is gebaseerd op de autoverkopen van 2016. Vanaf 2017 worden in Nederland hybride elektrische auto's echter bijna niet meer gesubsidieerd, waardoor hun verkoop bijna volledig is ingestort. Over de eerste 4 maanden van dit jaar betreft nog maar zo'n 1,3 procent van de Nederlandse autoverkopen een elektrische auto, waarmee Nederland haar bejubelde voortrekkersrol weer kwijt is.
De overheid heeft als doelstelling dat in 2020 10 procent van de verkochte auto's is voorzien van een stekker. Als we er vanuitgaan dat er in Nederland jaarlijks zo'n 450.000 auto's worden aangeschaft, dan zal het aantal verkochte elektrische auto's over de komende 3 jaar dus rap moeten stijgen: werden er in 2016 nog 3.737 elektrische auto's verkocht en worden dat er in 2017 wellicht zo'n 7.000 (1,5% van de totale verwachte autoverkopen), in 2020 zal dat aantal tegen de 45.000 aan moeten liggen.
Autofabrikanten hebben nog geen elektrische auto's ontwikkeld voor lagere inkomensklassen
Als we dit als samenleving echt willen bereiken, dan zal het stimuleringsbeleid breder gemaakt moeten worden. Ook de particulier moet dan subsidie kunnen krijgen voor de aanschaf van een elektrische auto. Daar wringt gelijk de schoen, want de autofabrikanten hebben (nog) geen elektrische auto's ontwikkeld die voor lagere inkomensklassen betaalbaar zijn. Daarmee blijft een grote ommekeer in de markt vooralsnog uit.
3. Elektrisch rijden is niet geheel groen Je zou kunnen beargumenteren dat iedere investering in elektrische voertuigen een goede is, aangezien het hoe dan ook een winst oplevert voor het milieu. Maar over 2016 werd slechts 13 procent van onze elektriciteit duurzaam opgewekt met behulp van windmolens, zonnepanelen en biomassa gestookte centrales. 87 procent van de benodigde elektriciteit wordt opgewekt met het verbranden van fossiele brandstoffen of door kernenergie.
Volledige elektrische auto's zijn dus eigenlijk ook hybride auto's: soms rijden ze op duurzame stroom, maar meestal niet. Dat elektrische auto's alleen maar goed zijn voor het milieu is momenteel dus nog zeker niet het geval.
Misschien moeten we dus vaststellen dat de huidige subsidies voor elektrische auto's niet alleen investeringen zijn om het milieu te verbeteren, maar ook een krampachtige manier vormen om een achterhaalde doelstelling, dat 10 procent van de in 2020 verkochte auto's van een stekker moeten zijn voorzien, overeind te houden. Bij de lopende formatiebesprekingen voor een nieuwe regering zou dit als onderhandelingsonderwerp kunnen worden meegenomen.
4. Elektrisch rijden is rijden op subsidieEind 2016 liep de stimuleringsmaatregel voor hybride elektrische auto's (ook wel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, PHEV) af. Zoals vermeld worden nieuw aangeschafte hybrides sinds 1 januari 2017 fiscaal bijna hetzelfde behandeld als gewone benzineauto's. De verkoop van hybride auto's daalde daardoor met bijna 100 procent sinds 1 januari 2017. Met andere woorden: niemand wil zonder subsidie een hybride auto aanschaffen. De onderstaande cijfers van het RVO tonen dit duidelijk aan:
Over de eerste 4 maanden van 2017 bestond nog maar 0,1 procent van de autoverkopen uit hybrides, ten opzichte van 9,2 procent in 2015 en 5,4 procent in 2016. De hybride elektrische auto's zullen over de komende jaren uit het straatbeeld verdwijnen. Na afloop van de lease-periode (en met name in 2017/18, omdat de piek van hybride verkopen in 2013 lag) verdwijnen onze tweedehands hybride auto's over de grens, naar landen die het rijden van hybride auto's door particulieren stimuleren. Denk hierbij aan Jordani, Rusland, Polen en Letland.
Duidelijker kan het niet: de (hybride) elektrische auto's reden op subsidie.
5. Elektrisch rijden is zakelijk rijdenDe stimuleringsmaatregelen op volledig elektrische auto's (BEV, voor Battery Electric Vehicle) bleven in 2017 onveranderd. Deze auto's betalen geen BPM, geen motorrijtuigenbelasting, hebben recht op milieu-investeringsaftrek en zakelijke rijders hoeven slechts 4 procent van de cataloguswaarde op te tellen bij hun inkomen.
Taxiondernemers kunnen daarnaast nog aanspraak maken op lokale subsidies voor elektrische auto's. Doordat deze stimuleringsmaatregelen een fiscale achtergrond hebben, zijn elektrische auto's alleen interessant voor de zakelijke rijder. Onder gewone consumenten zijn de wagens vanwege hun hoge aanschafprijs alleen voor de hogere inkomensgroepen haalbaar. De goedkoopste elektrische auto (Renault Zoe of een Nissan Leaf) kost ruim 30.000 euro, terwijl de goedkoopste benzine auto nog geen 10.000 euro kost.
6. De wetenschapper als pleitbezorgerIemand die geldt als een absolute autoriteit op het gebied van elektrische voertuigen is Professor Maarten Steinbuch van de TU Eindhoven. In heel veel artikelen over elektrisch rijden wordt Steinbuch als expert aangehaald; daarnaast schrijft hij al geruime tijd over de auto's op zijn eigen blog.
Steinbuch is een grote fan van elektrisch autorijden; hij voorziet een exponentile groei in de verkoop van elektrische auto's. Hij bezit zelf ook een Tesla.
Steinbuch is naast hoogleraar een serial entrepreneur. Hij bezit belangen in meer dan tien bedrijven op het gebied van mobiliteit en robotica. Uit zijn profiel op de website van de TU/E blijkt daarnaast dat Steinbuch toestemming heeft verkregen voor 30(!) nevenfuncties. Steinbuch is naast wetenschapper en ondernemer namelijk ook een consultant en lobbyist voor de (elektrische) autoproducenten. Hoeveel inkomen hij verkrijgt uit zijn relaties met de automobielsector is niet bekend.
De uitspraken en voorspellingen van Steinbuch worden mogelijk gekleurd door zijn financile betrokkenheid bij het onderwerp. 'Wiens brood men eet, wiens woord men spreekt,' luidt het gezegde immers.
7. Een Tesla kost de samenleving jaarlijks ruim 19.000 euroIn Nederland rijden momenteel ruim 8 miljoen auto's. Daarvan zijn er 15.000 die volledig op elektriciteit rijden. Ongeveer de helft van die 15.000 volledig elektrische auto's zijn van het merk Tesla.
"De 7500 Tesla's die momenteel rondrijden kosten de maatschappij minimaal 145 miljoen euro per jaar"
De Tesla Model S kost minimaal 82.500 euro, terwijl de Tesla Model X begint bij 98.450 euro. Dit is voor de instapmodellen. Met allerlei accessoires kunnen de prijzen oplopen tot 200.000 euro. Als we uitgaan van een Tesla met een aanschafprijs van ongeveer 100.000 euro, dan loopt de overheid de volgende bedragen mis:
De bijtelling op een Tesla voor een zakelijke rijder bedraagt slechts 4 procent, ten opzichte van 22 procent voor een traditionele auto. Hierdoor mist de overheid 9.360 euro aan belastinginkomsten (18 procent maal 52 procent inkomstenbelasting, maal 100.000 euro);De gemiste Belasting van Personenauto's en Motorrijwielen (BPM) van 36.000 euro, rekening houdend met een afschrijving van de BPM over 5 jaar tot 5.000 euro, kost de overheid jaarlijks netto 2.976 euro (31.000/5 jaar maal 48 procent);De bijtelling op de gemiste BPM had 4.118 euro extra in het laatje gebracht van de overheid (22 procent van 36.000 euro maal 52 procent);De milieu-investeringsaftrek kost de overheid jaarlijks 1.872 euro netto (36 procent van 50.000 euro, maal 52 procent, gedeeld door vijf jaar);De gemiste accijnzen op benzine en motorrijtuigenbelasting kosten de overheid gezamenlijk ruim 1000 euro netto per jaar;Alles bij elkaar telt dit op tot 19.326 euro per jaar per Tesla.Nu lijkt dit een zeer hoog bedrag, maar het komt overeen met het kostenverschil dat Maarten Steinbuch op zijn blog berekent tussen een Tesla S van iets meer dan 100.000 euro en een BMW M5 van 140.000 euro (inclusief 36.000 euro BPM). Het door hem becijferde voordeel voor de Teslarijder wordt bijna volledig gedragen door de Nederlandse belastingdienst.
Afhankelijk van de fiscale status van de Teslarijder kunnen de berekeningen iets anders uitpakken. In mijn berekening ben ik uitgegaan van een Tesla S van 100.000 euro. Dit is de onderkant van de Tesla-prijslijst. De benadeling van de fiscus zal dus hoogstwaarschijnlijk nog hoger uitvallen.
De benadeling van de fiscus zal hoogstwaarschijnlijk nog hoger uitvallen
De ongeveer 7.500 Tesla's die momenteel rondrijden kosten de maatschappij minimaal 145 miljoen euro per jaar. De 7500 elektrische auto's van andere merken die in Nederland rondrijden, kosten door hun lagere aanschafprijs (geschat op gemiddeld 40.000 euro) de overheid zo'n 8.346 euro per auto per jaar; in totaal 63 miljoen euro.
Vanaf 2019 geldt het 4 procent bijtellingsvoordeel nog maar voor de eerste 50.000 euro van de aanschafprijs. Dit heeft momenteel alleen invloed op de toekomstige verkopen van Tesla's Model S en Model X; Teslarijders zien minimaal 5.000 euro netto voordeel per jaar verdwijnen.
De beperking van de 'Tesla-subsidie' vanaf 2019 zal een grote invloed hebben op de verkopen van Tesla vanaf dat jaar. Zoals we bij de hybride markt hebben gezien, reageert de autokoper onmiddellijk op benedenwaartse aanpassingen van subsidies. In 2019 gaat de markt voor elektrische auto´s dus hoogstwaarschijnlijk last krijgen van een Tesla-dip.Omdat de twee Tesla-modellen momenteel de helft van de elektrische autoverkopen beslaan en omdat er nog geen voor de massa aantrekkelijke elektrische auto's zijn aangekondigd, lijkt het behalen van de target in 2020 van 10 procent stekkerauto's schier onmogelijk.
8. Gewone auto's komen verder dan elektrischeElektrische auto's hebben nog ander belangrijk nadeel: de actieradius van met name de goedkopere elektrische auto's is zeer beperkt. Bij de Renault Zo(C) en de Nissan Leaf is sprake van een actieradius van 150 tot 200 kilometer. Bij koud weer kan dat zelfs nog minder zijn.
Elektrische auto's waren 130 procent duurder in aanschaf dan de gemiddelde auto
Het volledig opladen van een elektrische auto bij een snellaadpaal (van bijvoorbeeld Fastned of binnenkort ook Shell) duurt al gauw een uur. Consumenten laden het liefst hun auto thuis op, maar om thuis te laden moet je een publieke laadpaal in de buurt hebben of een particuliere parkeergelegenheid bezitten. Dit alles wordt bevestigd in de eerder genoemde IEA-studie, die meldt dat er zelfs in de meest ontwikkelde elektrische automarkt van de wereld (Noorwegen) een enorme voorkeur is om de auto thuis op te laden. De elektrische auto's zijn gezien bovenstaande dus een stuk minder geschikt voor lange reizen zoals vakanties. Zij zijn ook minder geschikt voor mensen die geen particuliere parkeergelegenheid hebben.
9. Voor gewone mensen zijn elektrische auto's te duurOver 2016 bedroeg de gemiddelde aanschafprijs van een auto ruim 30.000 euro, zo blijkt uit de cijfers die door de Rijwiel & Automobiel Industrie (RAI) worden verzameld. Voor de particuliere markt (ruim 50 procent van de verkopen) was dit bedrag eerder 25.000 euro, terwijl voor de zakelijke markt eerder een prijs gold van ongeveer 35.000 euro.
De gemiddelde verkoopprijs van een elektrische auto bedroeg over 2016 volgens mijn schatting ongeveer 70.000 euro, waarbij de Tesla's (50 procent van de verkopen) ruim 100.000 euro kostten en de overige elektrische auto's 40.000 euro. Deze prijzen worden nog gedrukt door het feit dat volledig elektrische auto's zijn vrijgesteld van BPM. Daarmee waren elektrische auto's dus 130 procent duurder in aanschaf dan de gemiddelde auto. Met andere woorden: voor de gemiddelde consument is een elektrische auto gewoon te duur.
De belangrijkste nieuw aangekondigde elektrische auto's voor 2018/19 zijn de Tesla Model 3 en de Opel Ampera. De Opel Ampera gaat tenminste 40.000 euro kosten, terwijl de Tesla 3 een prijskaartje krijgt van tussen de 41.000 en 116.000 euro, aldus Steinbuch. Vooralsnog is er geen zicht op een elektrische auto voor de massamarkt.
De subsidies voor elektrisch rijden komen met name ten goede aan rijke ondernemers
10. Lachende ondernemersVoor de zakelijke markt kan een elektrische auto echter w(C)l interessant zijn als gevolg van fiscale stimuleringsmaatregelen. Maarten Steinbuch berekent op zijn blog dat een zakelijke rijder voor een Tesla S van ruim 100.000 euro slechts 874 euro netto per maand kwijt is als gevolg van alle fiscale stimulering. Voor een volgens Steinbuch vergelijkbare BMW M5 zou dezelfde zakelijke rijder 2684 euro netto kwijt zijn.
De Nederlandse overheid subsidieert de onderneming Tesla van de immens populaire Amerikaanse ondernemer Elon Musk bovengemiddeld, met een zeer ruimhartig fiscaal stimuleringspakket. Tesla slurpt in de praktijk indirect jaarlijks ruim 145 miljoen euro subsidie op om momenteel 7500 elektrische auto's in Nederland te kunnen laten rondrijden. Zonder deze stimulering zou Tesla in Nederland vrijwel geen enkele auto kunnen slijten.
En laat die kortingen nu net ten goede komen aan rijke goedverdienende ondernemers die 82.500 tot 168.800 euro hebben liggen om de aanschaf van een Model S of Model X (zonder accessoires) te financieren '-- of aan zij die genoeg winst maken om een Tesla te kunnen leasen. Met andere woorden: de rijkste ondernemers rijden lachend rond in zwaar gesubsidieerde wagens. Er is dus veel ruimte voor verbetering in het huidige overheidsbeleid, want door de huidige stekker-ambities de-nivelleert het inkomen.
Omdat de aanschaf van elektrische auto's door de hoge prijs en de fiscale stimulering alleen aantrekkelijk is voor rijke ondernemers met een particuliere parkeergelegenheid (al of niet gratis door de gemeente aangeboden), staat het vast dat het huidige stimuleringsbeleid de ongelijkheid vergroot. In simpel Nederlands: wij betalen met zijn allen voor de stekkerambitie en daarmee voor de kosten van de stimulering. De voordelen vallen bij hen die het meest verdienen.
Wordt vast vervolgd.
[Naschrift]
Wetenschapper Maarten Steinbuch reageerde op zijn blog op het artikel van Roel Gooskens. Steinbuch meent dat Gooskens enkele vergissingen begaat. Hij en zijn vrouw bezitten onder andere slechts 1 Tesla en niet 2 zoals Gooskens schreef. Steinbuch stelt ook dat hij geen wetenschapper is die als 'klapvee' mag worden gezien en deed een suggestie voor een andere kop. Lees hier de blog van Maarten Steinbuch.
De reactie van Gooskens:
'Beste Maarten,
Sorry dat ik je zomaar twee Tesla's heb toegedicht maar dit is te verklaren uit een zin in een interview met Het Financieele Dagblad waarin jij opmerkt dat jij en je vrouw een Model S hebben en twee Tesla model 3 hebben besteld. Dat heb ik dus verkeerd geinterpreteerd. De correctie breng ik aan en de kopsuggestie neem ik ook van je over.
Ik ben zo vrij om nog een kanttekening te maken. Dat je slechts twee (onbezoldigde) nevenfuncties op het gebied van elektrische auto's zegt te hebben, lijkt mij niet het hele verhaal. Je hebt namelijk ook (mogelijk onbetaalde functies) bij Rijkswaterstaat, Eneco, Viricity, Het Nederlands Centrum voor Laadinfrastructuur en Urban Mobility BV. Jouw eigen organisatie en adviesbureau Steinbuch in Motion (100 procent jouw eigendom), heeft klanten op het gebied van robotics en (elektrische) auto's. Dit bedrijf had eind 2015 een eigen vermogen van 126.000 euro en een vermogenstoename (winst?) van 65.000 euro. Er wordt door jou dus echt wel geld verdiend met je werkzaamheden buiten de universiteit. Ik beaam trouwens dat je zeer transparant bent over je activiteiten en daar spreek ik bij deze mijn waardering voor uit. Misschien dat je ons ook nog kunt voorzien van de jaarcijfers 2016 voorzien van een uitsplitsing naar klantencategorie?
Groet,
Roel Gooskens
PS Ik ben helemaal geen tegenstander van een mogelijke transitie naar elektrisch rijden. Ik kijk nu eenmaal graag naar cijfers en het viel me onder andere op dat een kleine groep van toch al bevoordeelde zakelijke rijders kan (kon) profiteren van de stimuleringsmaatregelen.'
Over de auteur Roel GooskensRoel Gooskens is onafhankelijk analist. Voor FTM schreef hij o.a. een reeks spraakmakende stukken over beursfonds Value8.
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Ottomania
Turkey Sentences UN Court Judge to 7 Years in Jail Over Failed Coup Attempt
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:23
Europe00:51 15.06.2017(updated 01:18 15.06.2017) Get short URL
Aydin Sefa Akay, a top judge attached to the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, was arrested in September at his family home and charged with terrorism over alleged membership in the faith-based movement of Fethullah Gulen. Ankara blames Gulen for masterminding the July 2016 military putsch attempt in Turkey, but the cleric, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in the US, has repeatedly denied the accusations.The court found Akay, one of the highest-profile suspects arrested in the relentless post-coup crackdown against alleged Gulen adherents, guilty of holding conversations via Bylock, a special smartphone application Ankara claims Gulen supporters use to stay in touch.
In his initial testimony, Akay admitted to installing Bylock but claimed that he had not used any password to access the system, local media reported.
In the final hearing of Akay's trial, the court decided to release the retired ambassador under judicial supervision, pending confirmation of the verdict by Turkey's supreme appeals court, the Yargitay. A date for that ruling is yet unknown. If the the sentence is upheld, Akay will be sent back behind bars.
Akay had been working with the UN international court, trying suspects over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and his detention has frozen proceedings into an appeal hearing of former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware.
The military coup attempt that took place in Turkey in July was quickly suppressed by government forces. More than 240 people were killed and an estimated 2,000 were wounded during the uprising. Since then, Turkey has arrested thousands of military personnel, activists and journalists on suspicion of links with Fethullah Gulen.
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Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:56
VIDEO - Katy Perry Dragged off Stage as Monarch Mind Control Meltdown Goes Viral | Neon Nettle
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:39
on 13th June 2017 @ 9.42am
(C) YouTube Katy Perry collapses amid mind control breakdown As footage emerges of Katy Perry being dragged off stage after collapsing following an incoherent rant, rumors begin swirling of Monarch mind control failure.During a live performance of one of her hits, her eyes begin to roll back in her head and she makes strange grunting sounds before collapsing in a heap and being dragged off by a security guard.
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Video of the pop star's breakdown has also gone viral on social media in which she displays signs of a split personality and describes how she cut her hair off so she "doesn't look like Katy Perry anymore".
During an interview, Perry, real name Katheryn Hudson, breaks down describing an internal conflict between her Katy Perry and Katheryn Hudson personalities who appear to be battling for dominance.
Katy Perry has often been accused of using Illuminati symbolism and brainwashing techniques through her music and videos, which some of her songs even reciting Satanic verses when played in reverse.
Many stars have been suspected to be part of a Monarch mind control program under MK-Ultra which is used as a propaganda tool to influence people through mass media using hypnosis and subliminal messaging.
One of the side effects of these programs is an eventual meltdown in which the which the subject appears to have a cognitive implosion.
Other stars that have suffered similar side effects in recent years are Britney Spears, who suffered a huge breakdown in 2007 - also cutting her hair off - and Kanye West who claims to have his mind erased after showing public support for Donald Trump.
After being hospitalized, West even claimed he was an alien that had been sent to Earth to save humanity.
It's believed that the public displays are part of the programming as a way of discrediting them in case they start to reveal the agenda behind their mind control.
According to Vice, Monarch mind control, an Illuminati practice widely used by the Walt Disney Corporation and Teen Nick to monetise and sexualise young starlets.
Supposedly developed in its current form by the C.l.A. to subdue American citizens, Monarch mind control is being used by the Hollywood industrial complex to micro-manage child stars. The monarch mind control victims are called
The Monarch mind control victims are called kittens and the executives and managers that control them are known as handlers.
Supposedly, the handlers take a precocious kitten, such as an All That era Amanda Bynes, and subject her to mental and sexual abuse until her personality fractures and separates like a Horcrux, making her unquestioning and compliant.
The handlers then conclude the abuse with a weird Adams Family Values summer camp punishment, where the kitten watches The Wizard of Oz over and over again till submitting to her handlers gives her true happiness.
After she turns 18, the handlers repeat these steps to transform her from a manageable performer into a highly profitable object of fantasy.
Usually '' and rather shockingly '' this goes off without a hitch. But in some cases, the young performer can't stand the confusing transition from tween star to men's magazine cover girl and starts to malfunction like the robot she has essentially become.
This, of course, resembles the 2007 meltdown of Britney Spears.
VIDEO - BREAKING: IS THIS WHY REP. STEVE SCALISE WAS SHOT TODAY? - YouTube
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:15
VIDEO - Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say - The Washington Post
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 03:14
The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.
The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump's conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.
[Here's what we know so far about Team Trump's ties to Russian interests]
Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey's firing.
Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers's recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller's investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.
A guide to the five major investigations of the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia The NSA said in a statement that it will ''fully cooperate with the special counsel'' and declined to comment further. The office of the director of national intelligence and Ledgett declined to comment.
The White House now refers all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz.
''The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,'' said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.
The officials said Coats, Rogers and Ledgett would appear voluntarily, though it remains unclear whether they will describe in full their conversations with Trump and other top officials or will be directed by the White House to invoke executive privilege. It is doubtful that the White House could ultimately use executive privilege to try to block them from speaking to Mueller's investigators. Experts point out that the Supreme Court ruled during the Watergate scandal that officials cannot use privilege to withhold evidence in criminal prosecutions.
The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller's office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.
[Inside Trump's anger and impatience '-- and his sudden decision to fire Comey]
The interviews suggest that Mueller sees the question of attempted obstruction of justice as more than just a ''he said, he said'' dispute between the president and the fired FBI director, an official said.
(Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
Investigating Trump for possible crimes is a complicated affair, even if convincing evidence of a crime were found. The Justice Department has long held that it would not be appropriate to indict a sitting president. Instead, experts say, the onus would be on Congress to review any findings of criminal misconduct and then decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings.
Comey confirmed publicly in congressional testimony on March 20 that the bureau was investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Comey's statement before the House Intelligence Committee upset Trump, who has repeatedly denied that any coordination with the Russians took place. Trump had wanted Comey to disclose publicly that he was not personally under investigation, but the FBI director refused to do so.
Soon after, Trump spoke to Coats and Rogers about the Russia investigation.
Officials said one of the exchanges of potential interest to Mueller took place on March 22, less than a week after Coats was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the nation's top intelligence official.
Coats was attending a briefing at the White House with officials from several other government agencies. When the briefing ended, as The Washington Post previously reported, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Coats told associates that Trump had asked him whether Coats could intervene with Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials. Coats later told lawmakers that he never felt pressured to intervene.
A day or two after the March 22 meeting, Trump telephoned Coats and Rogers to separately ask them to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.
Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the president's requests, officials said.
It is unclear whether Ledgett had direct contact with Trump or other top officials about the Russia probe, but he wrote an internal NSA memo documenting the president's phone call with Rogers, according to officials.
As part of the probe, the special counsel has also gathered Comey's written accounts of his conversations with Trump. The president has accused Comey of lying about those encounters.
Mueller is overseeing a host of investigations involving people who are or were in Trump's orbit, people familiar with the probe said. The investigation is examining possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals.
Last week, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had informed Trump that there was no investigation of the president's personal conduct, at least while he was leading the FBI.
Comey's carefully worded comments, and those of Andrew McCabe, who took over as acting FBI director, suggested to some officials that an investigation of Trump for attempted obstruction may have been launched after Comey's departure, particularly in light of Trump's alleged statements regarding Flynn.
''I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards, to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense,'' Comey testified last week.
Mueller has not publicly discussed his work, and a spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
Accounts by Comey and other officials of their conversations with the president could become central pieces of evidence if Mueller decides to pursue an obstruction case.
Investigators will also look for any statements the president may have made publicly and privately to people outside the government about his reasons for firing Comey and his concerns about the Russia probe and other related investigations, people familiar with the matter said.
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he was certain his firing was due to the president's concerns about the Russia probe, rather than over his handling of a now-closed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state, as the White House had initially asserted. ''It's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,'' Comey said. ''I was fired, in some way, to change '-- or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.''
The fired FBI director said ultimately it was up to Mueller to make a determination whether the president crossed a legal line.
In addition to describing his interactions with the president, Comey told the Intelligence Committee that while he was FBI director he told Trump on three occasions that he was not under investigation as part of a counterintelligence probe looking at Russian meddling in the election.
Republican lawmakers seized on Comey's testimony to point out that Trump was not in the FBI's crosshairs when Comey led the bureau.
After Comey's testimony, in which he acknowledged telling Trump that he was not under investigation, Trump tweeted that he felt ''total and complete vindication.'' It is unclear whether McCabe, Comey's successor, has informed Trump of the change in the scope of the probe.
Read more:
'I expect loyalty,' Trump told Comey, according to written testimony
Top intelligence official told associates Trump asked him if he could intervene with Comey on FBI Russia probe
VIDEO - palin targets - Google Search
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:08
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Mark Kelly on Sarah Palin's target - YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K3RkxFFrrE
Nov 23, 2011 - Uploaded by CNN
Gabby Giffords' husband Mark Kelly talks about Sarah Palin and the target she placed on Giffords' district.
VIDEO - The moment a gunman opened fire on GOP baseball team | New York Post
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:04
Dramatic video from the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, captured some of the chaos that ensued when a 66-year-old left-wing zealot opened fire on the GOP congressional baseball team.
More than 25 bullets can be heard ripping through the air in the footage, which was captured by witness Noah Nathan close to the field at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park.
At one point, a man can be seen lying in the middle of the field.
VIDEO - Why Didn't the Grenfell Towers Collapse After Burning for Over 12 Hours? - YouTube
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 15:44
VIDEO - NTR - De neven van Eus - De neven van Eus
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 23:47
NTR - De neven van Eus - De neven van Eus
zondag 11 juni 2017 | Speelduur: 40 minuten In Antalya aan de Turkse Rivi¨ra draait alles om toerisme. Ook veel Turken gaan ernaar toe vanwege het internationale, liberale karakter van de stad. Schrijver –zcan Akyol merkt dat zijn familie, werkzaam in de vele hotels en restaurants, de gevolgen ondervindt van de politieke koers van het land. Eerst bleven de Russen weg, nu ook veel Nederlanders.
VIDEO - Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known - Bloomberg
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 20:14
Russia's cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump's election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.
In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.
Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. election extended to 39 states. Bloomberg's Jordan Robertson reports.
Source: Bloomberg
The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step -- complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day ''red phone.'' In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia's role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.
Unwinding the Twists, Turns in Trump-Russia Probe: QuickTake Q&A
The new details, buttressed by a classified National Security Agency document recently disclosed by the Intercept, show the scope of alleged hacking that federal investigators are scrutinizing as they look into whether Trump campaign officials may have colluded in the efforts. But they also paint a worrisome picture for future elections: The newest portrayal of potentially deep vulnerabilities in the U.S.'s patchwork of voting technologies comes less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey warned Congress that Moscow isn't done meddling.
''They're coming after America,'' Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the election. ''They will be back.''
A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington declined to comment on the agency's probe.
Kremlin DenialsRussian officials have publicly denied any role in cyber attacks connected to the U.S. elections, including a massive ''spear phishing'' effort that compromised Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, among hundreds of other groups. President Vladimir Putin said in recent comments to reporters that criminals inside the country could have been involved without having been sanctioned by the Russian government.
How to See If Russia Meddled With Your Vote
One of the mysteries about the 2016 presidential election is why Russian intelligence, after gaining access to state and local systems, didn't try to disrupt the vote. One possibility is that the American warning was effective. Another former senior U.S. official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the classified U.S. probe into pre-election hacking, said a more likely explanation is that several months of hacking failed to give the attackers the access they needed to master America's disparate voting systems spread across more than 7,000 local jurisdictions.
Such operations need not change votes to be effective. In fact, the Obama administration believed that the Russians were possibly preparing to delete voter registration information or slow vote tallying in order to undermine confidence in the election. That effort went far beyond the carefully timed release of private communications by individuals and parties.
One former senior U.S. official expressed concern that the Russians now have three years to build on their knowledge of U.S. voting systems before the next presidential election, and there is every reason to believe they will use what they have learned in future attacks.
Secure ChannelAs the first test of a communication system designed to de-escalate cyber conflict between the two countries, the cyber ''red phone'' -- not a phone, in fact, but a secure messaging channel for sending urgent messages and documents -- didn't quite work as the White House had hoped. NBC News first reported that use of the red phone by the White House last December.
The White House provided evidence gathered on Russia's hacking efforts and reasons why the U.S. considered it dangerously aggressive. Russia responded by asking for more information and providing assurances that it would look into the matter even as the hacking continued, according to the two people familiar with the response.
''Last year, as we detected intrusions into websites managed by election officials around the country, the administration worked relentlessly to protect our election infrastructure,'' said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for former President Barack Obama. ''Given that our election systems are so decentralized, that effort meant working with Democratic and Republican election administrators from all across the country to bolster their cyber defenses.''
Illinois DatabaseIllinois, which was among the states that gave the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security almost full access to investigate its systems, provides a window into the hackers' successes and failures.
In early July 2016, a contractor who works two or three days a week at the state board of elections detected unauthorized data leaving the network, according to Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois board of elections. The hackers had gained access to the state's voter database, which contained information such as names, dates of birth, genders, driver's licenses and partial Social Security numbers on 15 million people, half of whom were active voters. As many as 90,000 records were ultimately compromised.
But even if the entire database had been deleted, it might not have affected the election, according to Menzel. Counties upload records to the state, not the other way around, and no data moves from the database back to the counties, which run the elections. The hackers had no way of knowing that when they attacked the state database, Menzel said.
The state does, however, process online voter registration applications that are sent to the counties for approval, Menzel said. When voters are added to the county rolls, that information is then sent back to the state and added to the central database. This process, which is common across states, does present an opportunity for attackers to manipulate records at their inception.
Patient ZeroIllinois became Patient Zero in the government's probe, eventually leading investigators to a hacking pandemic that touched four out of every five U.S. states.
Using evidence from the Illinois computer banks, federal agents were able to develop digital ''signatures'' -- among them, Internet Protocol addresses used by the attackers -- to spot the hackers at work.
The signatures were then sent through Homeland Security alerts and other means to every state. Thirty-seven states reported finding traces of the hackers in various systems, according to one of the people familiar with the probe. In two others -- Florida and California -- those traces were found in systems run by a private contractor managing critical election systems.
(An NSA document reportedly leaked by Reality Winner, the 25-year-old government contract worker arrested last week, identifies the Florida contractor as VR Systems, which makes an electronic voter identification system used by poll workers.)
In Illinois, investigators also found evidence that the hackers tried but failed to alter or delete some information in the database, an attempt that wasn't previously reported. That suggested more than a mere spying mission and potentially a test run for a disruptive attack, according to the people familiar with the continuing U.S. counterintelligence inquiry.
States' ResponseThat idea would obsess the Obama White House throughout the summer and fall of 2016, outweighing worries over the DNC hack and private Democratic campaign emails given to Wikileaks and other outlets, according to one of the people familiar with those conversations. The Homeland Security Department dispatched special teams to help states strengthen their cyber defenses, and some states hired private security companies to augment those efforts.
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In many states, the extent of the Russian infiltration remains unclear. The federal government had no direct authority over state election systems, and some states offered limited cooperation. When then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said last August that the department wanted to declare the systems as national critical infrastructure -- a designation that gives the federal government broader powers to intervene -- Republicans balked. Only after the election did the two sides eventually reach a deal to make the designation.
Relations with Russia remain strained. The cyber red phone was announced in 2011 as a provision in the countries' Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers to allow urgent communication to defuse a possible cyber conflict. In 2008, what started during the Cold War as a teletype messaging system became a secure system for transferring messages and documents over fiber-optic lines.
After the Obama administration transmitted its documents and Russia asked for more information, the hackers' work continued. According to the leaked NSA document, hackers working for Russian military intelligence were trying to take over the computers of 122 local election officials just days before the Nov. 8 election.
For more on Russia's cyber attacks, check out the Decrypted podcast:While some inside the Obama administration pressed at the time to make the full scope of the Russian activity public, the White House was ultimately unwilling to risk public confidence in the election's integrity, people familiar with those discussions said.
VIDEO - (1) The Evolution of Bacteria on a ''Mega-Plate'' Petri Dish (Kishony Lab) - YouTube
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:21
VIDEO - Dianne Feinstein: Congress needs to investigate whether Loretta Lynch covered for Clinton campaign
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 17:32
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday Congress needs to investigate whether former Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave cover to Hillary Clinton's campaign when she told former FBI Director James Comey to call the probe into Clinton's emails "a matter" instead of "an investigation."
"I think we need to know more about that," Feinstein said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And there's only one way to know about it, and that's to have the judiciary committee take a look at that."
Comey testified Thursday to Congress that Lynch's request made him feel "queasy."
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, said she would have had "a queasy feeling, too."
Caitlin YilekJames ComeyLoretta LynchSenate Intelligence CommitteeDianne FeinsteinHillary ClintonSenate Judiciary CommitteeSenateCongressNewsPolitics
VIDEO - (1) Kirsten Gillibrand Drops F-Bomb at NYU Forum: 'Go The F*ck Home' - YouTube
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:55
VIDEO - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand drops f-bomb during speech - CNNPolitics.com
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:53
In an out-of-character move, the New York senator dropped the f-bomb a handful of times during a speech at the Personal Democracy Forum at New York University, which explores technology's impact on politics, government and society.
Speaking about President Donald Trump's accomplishments in the White House, Gillibrand said, "Has he kept his promises? No. F--- no."
This is not the first time that Gillibrand has used the four-letter word. She also uttered it during an interview with New York Magazine in March, saying of her push to pass legislation to protect seniors against fraud, "We're here to help people, and if we're not helping people, we should go the f-- home."When asked if Gillibrand considered it acceptable to use such language publicly, a spokesperson for her office said: "I think it's appropriate for a senator to be exactly who they are -- Kirsten is going to continue to be exactly who she is and always has been."
The spokesperson additionally emphasized that Gillibrand's change of tone is not part of a bigger image shift, despite the buzz that the senator might consider a White House run in 2020. He pointed to Gillibrand's 2014 book "Off the Sidelines" as an example of the senator using similarly colorful language.Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez used similarly spicy language during the party's recent "unity tour" -- some of which he was heavily criticized for.With children on stage behind him, Perez told an audience in Las Vegas in April that Trump "doesn't give a shit about health care."
Perez, President Barack Obama's former labor secretary, made similar comments earlier this year.
"They call it a skinny budget, I call it a shitty budget," Perez said in Portland, Maine.
The swearing follows a campaign in which Trump, known for his blunt talk and his love of bashing political correctness, made swearing a part of his stump speech.
Trump regularly said he would "bomb the shit out of ISIS," and labeled an instance of his opponents' cooperating as "political bullshit."
CORRECTION: This story was updated to clarify that the Personal Democracy Forum took place at New York University.
VIDEO - Dropbox - TPP_1-6-17.mp3
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 07:58
VIDEO - Video: Transgender Antifa Talks, Behaves Like Man Until Victim Throws Counter Punch '' MILO NEWS
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 07:28
A viral video making the rounds online shows what appears to a transgender Antifa member attacking a conservative videographer. The Gateway Pundit identifies the Antifa member as ''well known Portland area protester and transgender female'' Lucy Elizabeth Smith and the videographer as Demetrius Cooper, who runs the YouTube channel 'Airliner World & More.'
In the clip, Smith can be seen marching up to Cooper and shouting, ''we got nothing to f*cking say to you. We got no use for you. Get the f*ck away from our march. You don't want me to make you! Trust me!''
''Make me,'' Cooper responds. ''I dare you to make me move. ''What the f*ck are you gonna do? You guys talk so much sh*t about me online, you ain't done sh*t yet.''
Smith, spotting YouTuber Leo Stratton with his camera out, states, ''if that camera wasn't there, I'd be knocking your a** the f*ck out!''
The two exchange a few more words before Smith throws a punch that accomplishes absolutely nothing.
''Is that the best you got?'' Cooper retorts, launching a punch of his own that catches Smith square in the face.
Cooper proceeds to take Smith down, pounding ''her'' UFC-style as ''her'' Antifa associates pry him off.
One can be heard shouting, ''get off her!''
See the clip for yourself below. White Antifa Tranny Punches Black Man & Then Loses Fight. ''Š pic.twitter.com/Sjv897Rx4F
'-- Beverly Hills Antifa (@BevHillsAntifa) June 11, 2017
According to Oregon Live, a woman by the name of Lucy Elizabeth Smith was previously arrested in Portland while disrupting traffic during a protest of police. ''She'' faced a second-degree disorderly conduct charge in connection with the incident.
In another incident, a ''woman'' resembling Smith can be seen putting a man in a choke hold while a fellow Antifa steals his glasses.
Brief altercation. Pushing and shoving. pic.twitter.com/XspLESodTz
'-- Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) March 29, 2017
Cooper and Stratton are no stranger to protests themselves; their YouTube channels reveal a number of videos highlighting Antifa violence at Portland rallies.
Here's a clip from Stratton showing an Antifa member wearing a Pokemon costume uttering death threats.
VIDEO - Everybody Lies | Video | C-SPAN.org
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 07:03
May 16, 2017 Everybody Lies Seth Stephens-Davidowitz talked about his book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Reveals About Who We Really Are,'... read more
Everybody Lies Seth Stephens-Davidowitz talked about his book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Reveals About Who We Really Are, in which he uses data to explore economics, ethics, and more. In his book, he argues that internet data can reveal who people truly are without inhibitions. close
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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December 6, 2016 Enhanced InterrogationJames Mitchell talked about his book, Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying'...
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VIDEO - Former CIA Director, James Woolsey 'Stunned' Comey Leaked Private Discussions With President to Press
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:49
Content originally published at iBankCoin.com
Former CIA Director under Bill Clinton, James Woolsey, is 'stunned' that former FBI Directors, James Comey leaked notes of private conversations with the President of the United States to his friend and then the press.
The CNN host, Fareed Zakaria, attempted to advocate on Comey's behalf, suggesting that since Comey was a 'private citizen' he had the right to leak his notes. Woolsey was having none of that horseshit and said it was 'stunning' that 'he would give up the secrecy of a conversation with the President of the United States.'
In the land of snitches, everyone is a leaker.
VIDEO - Wierd peilt de stemming: 'Klimaatverandering is een religie' | Binnenland | AD.nl
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:40
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VIDEO - Shocking: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher Suggests Tehran ISIS Attack Was "Positive" - YouTube
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:40
VIDEO - Van Jones Rips into Clinton: 'They took a billion dollars and lit it on fire' - YouTube
Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:29
VIDEO - Video: Black Conservative Goes Ballistic After White Antifa Woman Calls Him A Race Traitor '' MILO NEWS
Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:06
Footage from today's Manchester March Against Hate shows a black conservative unleashing hell on a white Antifa woman who calls him a race traitor. The footage shows the man involved in a heated discussion with the woman and several others.
''You're not racist,'' the woman '' wearing a Jeremy Corbyn shirt '' declares.
''I'm not, right,'' comes the man's response.
''You're not, right?'' the woman pipes. ''You're a traitor to your own. God help you.''
At this, the man appears visibly upset.
''Hold on, hold on,'' he interjects as the woman continues rambling. ''You see what color I am '' don't you dare try and put it on my toes.''
As one of the woman's fellow SJWs attempts to interrupt, the black conservative cuts him off, saying, ''let me explain.''
''When you break down what [the anti-terror protesters] are actually trying to say, it's actually common sense,'' he continues.
''When you look at it, you're the guys that are causing the problem here,'' he states, pointing off in the distance.
''All you are dressed in black with your fookin' balaclavas'... calling everyone a Nazi.''
As the Antifa interjects some unidentifiable word sludge to the effect of ''they are Nazis,'' the man demands, ''so I'm a Nazi?''
''You must be,'' she responds.
''You silly woman,'' he continues. ''Don't you dare.''
''People there have got a legitimate reason to say what they're saying,'' he says, referring to the anti-terror protesters. ''People like you'... through political correctness, people cannot speak in this country.''
The Antifa woman ends up calling the black conservative a dickhead and storms off.
''There you go, there's your debate right out the window,'' he continues.
See the exchange for yourself below.
VIDEO - This Week in Stupid (11/06/2017) - YouTube
Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:20
VIDEO - Brolf NOT evil
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:00

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Comey

CBS Examines Legality of Comey Leaking Memo to Press.mp3
Comey-JINGLE_MattOnAir_mx.wav
Dianne Feinstein- Congress needs to investigate whether Loretta Lynch covered for Clinton campaign.mp3
Former CIA Director James Woolsey ‘Stunned’ Comey Leaked Private Discussions With President to Press-Fareehd Zakaria.mp3
Sessions- ‘Pretty Stunning Thing’- ‘Appears’ Comey Announced Clinton Findings Without Lynch’s Approval.mp3

False Flag

GOP Shooter

Brolf again trying to play down the Repub shooter.mp3
Brolf Republican Shooter is NOT evil.mp3
Brolf’s guest-he’s a robot-MKUltra!.m4a
CBS- Trump-Killing Play Simply ‘Echoing the Political Environment’.mp3
Gingrich- Violent Media Portrayals Are Signs of 'Increasing Intensity of Hostility on the Left' .mp3
Jan 2011-Sarah Palin's 'Crosshairs' Ad Dominates Gabrielle Giffords Debate.mp3
Malcolm Nance MSNBC Analyst Who Called for Terrorist Attack Now Bashing Guns for Today’s Shooting.mp3
Pizzagaters-Is This Why Rep. Steve Scalise Was Shot Today?.mp3
VA Gov Inappropriately Calls For Gun Control, Wrongly Says 93m DIE Each Day.mp3

Hate Trumps Love

Joy Behar cracks a pair of gay jokes about Trump administration.mp3
Mika Brzezinski Snobbishly Declares- 'No Real Men In White House'.mp3
Pelosi still baiting evangelicals 'I Pray for Donald Trump'.mp3
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Drops F-Bomb at NYU Forum- ‘Go The Fuck Home’.mp3
Whoopi with Newt - Claims Trump Had Enormously High Positive Media Coverage - Heads explode.mp3

Hillary's Hitlist

JCD Clips

Brooke Baldwin mumble mixed metaphor cadence.mp3
CBS and the cause of the shooting.mp3
colbert at the tonys.mp3
Congressman gets misdemeaner.mp3
gitmo lawsuit and Poland.mp3
global warming report snow.mp3
iso of the day so.mp3
iso of ther day google self driving car.mp3
mike morrell on extra troops in syria.mp3
mueller lookinginto trump MSNBC weird story.mp3
senate pushes more sanctions.mp3
sessions recusal rational CSPAN.mp3
shooteer bckgrounder CBS.mp3
shooter CBS little needle on trump when introed.mp3
two team managers lament shooting.mp3
UPS shootup new term wtf.mp3
weyden versus sessions one stonewalled.mp3
weyden versus sessions two.mp3

LGBTI

Ministry of Truth

ABC on Trump “friend’.mp3
NBC on Trump “friend’ - and he says NO.mp3

Meuller

PUTIN!

Bloomberg-Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known.mp3
Putin don't worry be happy-Greg Davies-song.mp3

Sessions

SJW BLM LGBBTQQIAAP

Katy Perry Apologizes for Cultural Appropriation of her Hair.mp3
Mark Ruffalo Blasts ‘White Conservative Hiring Spree’...at MSNBC - Pirate Ship Wars?.mp3

Wapo to the rescue!

Words Do Matter

MU736 - Engine failure from Sidney- Fooked.mp3
TNT_Stutter.mp3

WTC7

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