946: High Falutin

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 48m
July 13th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Lt Col AJ Van Steenbergen, Jeffrey Gordon, Sir Dave O. Knight of the Travelling AV Techs, Sir Loin Knight of the New Smyrna Beach shark shallows and surrounding shorelines, Joseph Sorrentino

Associate Executive Producers: Terri Morgan, Dame Wendy Saint of the Lincoln Leiter Clan, Sir Chris Wilson, Chris Richardson, Rene Schwerin, Matthew Olmsted, Curt from Illinois,

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

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Here are 13 things the EU didn't tell us about 'roam like home' : DisruptiveViews
Thu, 13 Jul 2017 07:29
By Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com
Let us acknowledge that the EU is in the midst of an historic crisis and an increasing number of Europeans are skeptical about European integration and EU leadership in Brussels. Over recent years, panic has spread among politicians, especially among the most ardent EU supporters, who cannot relate to criticism of what is happening in the EU. Simply put, the EU system is desperate for stories and policies that will make the EU look good in Europeans' eyes. EU officials believe roaming will make the Union popular again, or at least remind voters that Brussels is good for something.
The project to offer ''Roam Like at Home'' from June 15 is probably the biggest media stunt in the history of the EU, and a risky gamble that may well backfire. This note describes how the EU system is not telling the truth about ''Roam Like at Home'' and its potential impact on 500 million Europeans. This note also documents how EU officials have imposed gag orders against mobile operators, industry experts, and the press on the information they can share with the public. Strand Consult's goal is to create full transparency for the public about what happens behind closed doors in the EU, including the correspondence, documents and notes received from EU officials.
Transparency is essential for democracy, and taxpayer-funded EU bureaucrats have a duty to answer questions about EU policy and decisions. Strand Consult insists that the material information about the extensive new roaming regulation '' the bad news, not just the good news pronouncements, needs to be revealed. The regulation will create real changes to the price of mobile communications as experienced by 500 million Europeans. In short, the new regulation is a gift for well-to-do Europeans on travel or holiday, an expense that will be borne by the poor single mother with three children who will experience a higher mobile bill.
Over the years Strand Consult has written a number of notes on the EU's roaming policy. We predicted what would happen by harmonising prices across the EU without accounting for that the underlying costs. While technology allows mobile service to feel seamless, mobile traffic and conditions vary considerably from country to country, as each nation is subject to its own set of laws, frequencies, contract life and conditions, operating costs etc. Moreover the profitability of operators varies, especially between mobile network operators and MNVOs.
The EU claims that the regulation will be ''cost-neutral''. This euphemism means that operators must ''suck it up'', that is they need to figure out how to cover the roaming cost of a new user on its network without adding a fee to said user. To comply with the regulation starting on 15 June, mobile operators will raise national prices, which is already underway in a number of countries.
13 things the EU forgot to say about ''Roam Like at Home'' to 500 million EuropeansStrand Consult has read both what the EU has published publicly about roaming and its private secret documents, and can describe what is going to happen and who the winners and losers will be.
To minimise the negative impact of the roaming price control, operators have started to offer two types of price plans, one with regulated EU roaming and one without. The non-roaming product can only be used in the country where it is sold, and the service shuts off upon leaving the country in which it is purchased. It will be called ''domestic only tariff plans'', the cheaper alternative, and denoted with the national flag. The roaming product will be sold with the EU flag (circle of stars on a blue background) and will be the more expensive product that complies with the EU ''Roam Like at Home'' regime. Consumers need to choose in advance whether they want service within their home country, or whether they want a plan with roaming. In practice, a lot of consumers will likely go for the cheaper service. The classic roaming ''pay as you go'' products which have become popular and largely obviated the need for EU's regulation, will disappear on June 15. Many Europeans are cost-conscious, have low-incomes, and travel little. With the popular classic ''pay as you go'' product going away, the new framework falls hardest on disadvantaged people, raising the price of roaming artificially. Strand Consult believes that over 100 million Europeans will lose the ability to roam on June 15 as the new packages will be above their budgets. Take Denmark as an example. Danes travel out of Denmark 12 days a year. Buying the new roaming product, one pays for roaming 365 days a year, despite the fact that she is in Denmark 353 days a year. In pursuit of making the EU more popular, the EU has shifted focus away from the traffic people spend 353 days a year and focus instead on the 12 days a year they travel. The EU has declared that the rules will be ''cost-neutral'' for operators and even developed financial projections to prove it. But Strand Consult has observed that the market behaviour in Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and England does not adhere to the EU models. Instead, prices have already increased in anticipation of the new regulation. In practice, customers who roam creates costs which the EU prohibits mobile operators from covering by a surcharge on the user. So to recover costs, operators will raise national prices across the board, meaning that even those who don't travel will now probably pay more. The regulation does allow operators to request permission from national regulators to charge roaming fees (essentially keeping the earlier regime to add a surcharge to the offnet traffic). Finnish operators have opted for this as should a number of MVNOs. There is no doubt that some Europeans will be better off, namely well-to-do professionals and EU bureaucrats who travel a lot. They may even find service less costly than before. Mobile operators do not discriminate against their customers based on gender, age, job and income, but the new regulation creates a de facto form of discrimination which inevitably hits people who don't travel much, typically the single mother with three children. The rules will be implemented differently across the EU. In some countries where there are relatively higher prices, they will be implemented as they EU hopes, and price differences might not seem so stark. However in countries with low national prices and large data packages (e.g. Denmark, Finland), implementation will mean rising national prices, all things being equal. In the long term, this will help to harmonise end-user prices, but it will have a negative impact on earnings in the industry. Consumers will quickly find out how to save money by choosing ''domestic only tariff plans'' where operators do not have a roaming risk. There is a difference between the terms and conditions for marketing and selling mobile telephony in the EU. Contract periods vary from 6 to 24 months. Six months is the maximum contract life in Denmark, but other countries have contracts lasting 24 months. The length of a contract can impact a mobile operator's profitability significantly. Contract life is just one of many parameters which drives an operator's profitability. However in the new roaming regime, the only parameter which operators can use to adjust the price is the level of subsidy for the handset. The EU has developed a complex price control model for the regulation which consists of annual wholesale price caps, the price of which falls each successive year, coupled with a rising ceiling for the amount of data in the package. In practice the amount that the wholesale price covers decreases as the amount of data increases, widening the gap each successive year. This dynamic is a ticking financial bomb for the industry. Moreover it appears that the EU has based its model only on network operators and has not accounted for MVNOs, which have entirely different cost and pricing models. The roaming regulation appears to be in conflict with the goals to promote service based competition by MVNOs. See Strand Consult's note here. Beginning in 2018, geoblocking restrictions will be removed from video content. Needless to say, if consumers can take their Netflix subscriptions with them on vacation, they will stream using the free roaming package even more. This is yet another feature which the EU has not accounted for and which will also negatively impact operators' business models. The new EU rules that remove geoblocking are yet another financial bomb planted in mobile operators' future and will likely explode when geoblocking is removed. As with many EU telecom regulations, Brussels makes the rules, but the national regulator implements them. In practice, national regulators will have to oversee a period of rising prices which may conflict with their respective national goals and objectives for making communications more efficient or less costly. Of course operators can simply keep prices the same and absorb the new costs while they experience a decrease in operating margin. National regulators understand that EU roaming rules can have a major impact on the mobile operators' earnings and thus their willingness to invest in 5G networks. Prior to the introduction of the new rules, consumers had three options '' to travel with their phone but not to use the services that consume roaming fees, to use the roaming feature that came with a surcharge, or to buy a ''pay as you go'' roaming package. After the new rules come into force, consumers will have two product choices, service with roaming or without. It's no longer possible to buy roaming as needed. In practice the EU has limited the opportunities EU citizens have and thus they have made the market less dynamic. EU Member of Parliament Jens Rohde, among other politicians, played a key role in advocating the regulation and pinned re-election hopes on to its passage and implementation. However these politicians find themselves in the crossfire of warnings and reports from mobile operators and consumer organisations of the coming price increases. Not only do these politicians know nothing of economics, their determination to deliver the roaming package, even when the numbers don't add up, display their recklessness and unscrupulous desire for power. The roaming regulation is a result of the EU government's panic and desperation to improve their miserable image. Following the Brexit vote, Strand Consult published this note, ''How will a BREXIT impact telecom regulation in Europe? '' which details how the UK's leaving the EU will impact the telecom industry.
The EU is fighting against Strand Consult's efforts to create transparencyStrand Consult is known for its efforts to create transparency about telecom policymakers. This comes in part from being based in Denmark, one of the world's least corrupt countries and where trust and transparency are the foundation of society. The EU does not have the same transparency standard as Denmark, especially when it comes to its roaming policy.
Over the last six weeks, there has been a fierce debate in the Danish media about the consequences of the roaming regulation for consumers. Strand Consult has participated actively in this debate and helped to create the transparency that the EU is fighting against.
Initially, Strand Consult sent a number of emails to EU officials with critical questions related to harms hidden within the roaming regulation, a regime that will impact 500 million Europeans. We learned that the EU would hold two private video conference meetings to discuss the regulation, one with industry and another for selected people from the press. The meetings were ''for background only'' and participants were not authorised to share information from the meetings. Attending the meetings required that participants keep a gentlemen's agreement on the ''gag order.'' This differs from an embargo, information which is shared in confidence, but which can be revealed after a certain date.
The meetings were conducted at the European Commission's office in Denmark and was hosted by the EU's press officer for Denmark Jens Ring and experts from Brussels assigned to the Digital Single Market portfolio. Strand Consult refused to agree to the gag order, and as such, was denied entrance to the meetings.
After massive press coverage of the negative consequences for Denmark, the EU experts in Brussels created two Word documents to explain why they believed the regulation would not harm Danish mobile operators and consumers. Strand Consult obtained these documents and reviewed them in detail. The calculations by the EU are based on erroneous assumptions and optimistic expectations. To obtain these documents, contact Strand Consult here .
John Strand, CEO of Strand Consult, spoke with EU press representatives Jens Ring in Copenhagen and Inga H¶glund in Brussels. Strand explained to H¶glund that his goal is to create transparency about what's happening in the EU and that he did not agree to uphold a gag order. He insisted that as an EU citizen he has the freedom to learn about the regulation's formulation and its potential impact on 500 million Europeans, as well as the freedom to share what he learns.
Inga H¶glund became angry that Strand insisted on getting the information without a gag order. She rejected his request to create transparency. Strand insisted that H¶glund, as a taxpayer-financed official, should support transparency. Their debate continued until H¶glund hung up the phone on Strand.
Shortly thereafter Strand received an email from Stina Soewarta , Head of European Commission, Representation in Denmark stating:
''I understand that you have called our colleagues in Brussels and have been very rude to her. As you know, we have offered you a video conference with the experts where you could ask your questions, but I understand that you are no longer interested because the conversation would be background. It is quite common for us to speak in to background in the Commission. These are the general rules, and it has nothing to do with freedom of expression.''
John Strand has repeatedly asked EU officials whether it is normal to couch important background information within gag orders. Strand Consult has also asked the officials to provide a copy of the ''general rules'' to which Soewarta says governs the communications between the EU, press, and industry. While one can understand that a private person or entity would not want to disclose certain information, there is a different standard for a public officials employed by the state, particularly for a policy that has an impact on 500 million Europeans. Strand Consult believes transparency is important. Gag orders do not belong in the conversation to launch extensive regulation that affects every European with a mobile phone.
ConclusionStrand Consult expects that the debate in Denmark over the last six weeks will spread to the rest of the EU as consumers realise the consequences of the new rules. EU officials have been harshly criticised and have not taken feedback well. That the EU decided to make gag order background sessions available is likely in response to the growing negative debate in Denmark.
Strand Consult hopes that the press will be critical of what is happening in the EU with regard to roaming and the way in which officials handle critical voices.
The fact is that the EU's new roaming rules are a very important element in improving the bad image that the EU has among many citizens. Seen from the perspective of an industry researcher, it is sad that the telecom industry has once again become the victims of the EU government's half-baked schemes to win votes.
Unfortunately roaming is indicative of the many flawed, feel good-look good policies that the EU employs along with net neutrality , WIFI4EU and the fight against consolidation . It is evident that EU is bankrupt of salient policy ideas and the courage to take difficult steps to exit a decade long financial crisis.
See Strand Consult's note, Europe is a Disconnected Continent: The next crisis hitting the EU will probably be digital and long and expensive for society .
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Tags:EU policy, featured, roam like home, Roaming
Mount Vesuvius on fire: People evacuated as smoke engulfs volcano, seen from Pompeii '-- RT News
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 22:16
Published time: 11 Jul, 2017 21:18 Edited time: 12 Jul, 2017 07:29
A huge blaze has broken out on the slopes of Italy's Mount Vesuvius and near the city of Naples, prompting an evacuation of tourists and local residents for the second time in a week.
The huge pillars of smoke from fires raging through the forests on the slopes of Vesuvius rose to more than 2 kilometers up in the air and were also 2 kilometers wide at the top, AP reports. Clearly visible from Naples, the smoke deceived some people into believing that the volcano was erupting.
The local weather channel 3B Meteo compared images of the fires with pictures of the volcano's most recent eruption in 1944, which destroyed three villages.
Many tourists, who were visiting the famous archeological site of the Ancient Roman city of Pompeii, not far from Naples, also witnessed huge clouds of smoke darkening the skies.
Some local residents turned to social media to say that ash from the fires fell in many neighboring towns.
According to some twitter posts, hundreds of people were evacuated from the area.
The Italian Civil Protection Agency called the fire outbreak in the Vesuvius National Park one of the ''most critical situations,'' as reported by the Local.
Fires broke out on the volcano's northeastern side, news agency Ansa reported, as well as in two locations on the southwest side, including Via Vesuvio in Herculaneum which was the scene of another blaze the previous week.
Some residents were evacuated from their homes on Monday, local media reported, adding that, on Tuesday, some restaurants, businesses and more homes were evacuated as a precaution.
Italy has faced a large number of fires, following months drought and heat, and the situation is most serious in the south.
More than 600 firefighters and Civil Protection workers were tackling at least 100 active fires in the Italian region of Campania, where Vesuvius is located, on Tuesday.
Sicily has also been particularly severely hit by fires in recent days, with two large blazes breaking out at Enna near the center of the island and Messina at its most northeastern point, the Local reports.
#Vesuvio #Napoli
A post shared by @vigili_del_fuoco on Jul 11, 2017 at 1:16pm PDT
Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr linked to investigation group behind salacious Steele Dossier | The Independent
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 21:15
1/75 11 July 2017Afghan policeman pour fuel over jerry cans containing confiscated acetic acid before setting it alight on the outskirts of Herat. Some 15,000 liters of acetic acid, often mixed with heroin, were destroyed by counter narcotics police
Hoshang Hashimi/AFP
2/75 11 July 2017Residents stand amid the debris of their homes which were torn down in the evicted area of the Bukit Duri neighbourhood located on the Ciliwung river banks in Jakarta
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3/75 11 July 2017Boys play cricket at a parking lot as it rains in Chandigarh, India
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4/75 10 July 2017Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Istanbul
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5/75 10 July 2017Police from the anti-terror squad participate in an anti-terror performance among Acehnese dancers during a ceremony to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Indonesian police corps in Banda Aceh
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6/75 10 July 2017New Mongolia's president Khaltmaa Battulga takes an oath during his inauguration ceremony in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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7/75 10 July 2017US army 1st Division, US air force, US Navy and US Marines, march down the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade
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8/75 9 July 2017Participants run ahead of Puerto de San Lorenzo's fighting bulls during the third bull run of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain. Each day at 8:00 am hundreds of people race with six bulls, charging along a winding, 848.6-metre (more than half a mile) course through narrow streets to the city's bull ring, where the animals are killed in a bullfight or corrida, during this festival, immortalised in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" and dating back to medieval times and also featuring religious processions, folk dancing, concerts and round-the-clock drinking.
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9/75 8 July 2017Iraqi women, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, cry as they stand in the city's western industrial district awaiting to be relocated
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10/75 8 July 2017US President Donald Trump arrives for another working session during the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany
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11/75 7 July 2017People climb up on a roof to get a view during riots in Hamburg, northern Germany, where leaders of the world's top economies gather for a G20 summit
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12/75 7 July 2017A military helicopter rescues people trapped on the roof of the Ministry of Finance by an intense fire in San Salvador
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13/75 6 July 2017Donald Trump arrives to deliver a speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland.
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14/75 6 July 2017A firefighter conducts rescue operations in an area damaged by heavy rain in Asakura, Japan.
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15/75 6 July 2017Anti-capitalism activists protest in Hamburg, where leaders of the world's top economies will gather for a G20 summit.
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16/75 6 July 2017Crowds gather for the start of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain.
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17/75 5 July 2017A member of the Iraqi security forces runs with his weapon during a fight between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq.
18/75 5 July 2017A U.S. MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired during the combined military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea against North Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea
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19/75 4 July 2017North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-14
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20/75 4 July 2017Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony following the talks at the Kremlin
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21/75 3 July 2017Belarussian servicemen march during a military parade as part of celebrations marking the Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus
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22/75 3 July 2017Ambulance cars and fire engines are seen near the site where a coach burst into flames after colliding with a lorry on a motorway near Muenchberg, Germany
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23/75 2 July 2017Protesters demonstrating against the upcoming G20 economic summit ride boats on Inner Alster lake during a protest march in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg will host the upcoming G20 summit and is expecting heavy protests throughout.
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24/75 1 July 2017Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong. Thousands joined an annual protest march in Hong Kong, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his visit to the city by warning against challenges to Beijing's sovereignty.
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25/75 30 June 2017Jockey Andrea Coghe of "Selva" (Forest) parish rides his horse during the first practice for the Palio Horse Race in Siena, Italy June 30, 2017
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26/75 30 June 2017A man takes pictures with a phone with a Union Flag casing after Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) inspected troops at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison as part of events marking the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China June 30, 2017
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27/75 29 June 2017A protester against U.S. President Donald Trump's limited travel ban, approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, holds a sign next to protesters supporting the ban, in New York City, U.S., June 29, 2017
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28/75 29 June 2017Israeli Air Force Efroni T-6 Texan II planes perform at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva
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29/75 28 June 2017A woman gestures next to people spraying insecticide on a vehicle during a mosquito-control operation led by Ivory Coast's National Public and Health Institute in Bingerville, near Abidjan where several cases of dengue fever were reported
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30/75 28 June 2017An aerial view shows women swimming in the Yenisei River on a hot summer day, with the air temperature at about 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), outside Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, June 28, 2017
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31/75 27 June 2017A Libyan coast guardsman watches over as illegal immigrants arrive to land in a dinghy during the rescue of 147 people who attempted to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017. More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours in difficult weather conditions, Italy's coastguard said on June 27, 2017
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32/75 27 June 2017Investigators work at the scene of a car bomb explosion which killed Maxim Shapoval, a high-ranking official involved in military intelligence, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017
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33/75 26 June 2017A man leaves after voting in the Mongolian presidential election at the Erdene Sum Ger (Yurt) polling station in Tuul Valley. Mongolians cast ballots on June 26 to choose between a horse breeder, a judoka and a feng shui master in a presidential election rife with corruption scandals and nationalist rhetoric
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34/75 26 June 2017People attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a play ground in the suburb of Sale, Morocco
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35/75 25 June 2017A plain-clothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activist as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a Gay Pride annual parade on 25 June 2017 in Istanbul, a day after it was banned by the city governor's office.
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36/75 25 June 2017Pakistan army soldiers stands guard while rescue workers examine the site of an oil tanker explosion at a highway near Bahawalpur, Pakistan. An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing more than one hundred people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, an official said.
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37/75 24 June 2017Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide that occurred in Xinmo Village, Mao County, Sichuan province, China
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38/75 23 June 2017Student activists shout anti martial law slogans during a protest in Manila on June 23, 2017
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39/75 23 June 2017A diver performs from the Pont Alexandre III bridge into the River Seine in Paris, France, June 23, 2017 as Paris transforms into a giant Olympic park to celebrate International Olympic Days with a variety of sporting events for the public across the city during two days as the city bids to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games
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40/75 23 June 2017Debris and smoke are seen after an OV-10 Bronco aircraft released a bomb, during an airstrike, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over parts of Marawi city, Philippines June 23, 2017
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41/75 22 June 2017Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) stands under pouring rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the Nazi German invasion, by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, on June 22, 2017
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42/75 22 June 2017Smoke rises following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, on June 22, 2017
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43/75 22 June 2017Iraqis flee from the Old City of Mosul on June 22, 2017, during the ongoing offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the last district still held by the Islamic State (IS) group
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44/75 21 June 2017Girls stand in monsoon rains beside an open laundry in New Delhi, India
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45/75 21 June 2017People take part in the 15th annual Times Square yoga event celebrating the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, during classes in the middle of Times Square in New York. The event marked the international day of yoga.
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46/75 20 June 2017Faroe Islanders turn the sea red after slaughtering hundreds of whales as part of annual tradition
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47/75 20 June 2017A firefighting plane tackles a blaze in Cadafaz, near Goes, Portugal
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48/75 15 June 2017A person participates in a journalists' protest asking for justice in recent attacks on journalists in Mexico City, Mexico, 15 June 2017
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49/75 11 June 2017Poland's Piotr Lobodzinski starts in front of the Messeturm, Fairground Tower, in Frankfurt Germany. More than 1,000 runners climbed the 1202 stairs, and 222 meters of height in the Frankfurt Messeturm skyscraper run
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50/75 11 June 2017A runner lies on the ground after arriving at the finish line in Frankfurt Germany. More than 1,000 runners climbed the 1202 stairs, and 222 meters of height in the Frankfurt Messeturm skyscraper run
AP
51/75 11 June 2017A troupe of Ukrainian dancers perform at Boryspil airport in Kiev, on the first day of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the European Union
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52/75 11 June 2017A troupe of Ukrainian dancers perform on the tarmac at Boryspil airport in Kiev, on the first day of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the European Union
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53/75 11 June 2017French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Trogneux cast their ballot at their polling station in the first round of the French legislatives elections in Le Touquet, northern France
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54/75 11 June 2017A Thai worker paints on a large statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as Guan Yin at a Chinese temple in Ratchaburi province, Thailand. Guan Yin is one of the most popular and well known Chinese Goddess in Asia and in the world. Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism and also worshiped by Taoist
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55/75 11 June 2017A Thai worker paints on a large statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as Guan Yin at a Chinese temple in Ratchaburi province, Thailand. Guan Yin is one of the most popular and well known Chinese Goddess in Asia and in the world. Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism and also worshiped by Taoists
EPA
56/75 10 June 2017Volunteers spread mozzarella cheese toppings on the Guinness World Record attempt for the Longest Pizza in Fontana, California, USA. The pizza was planned to be 7000 feet (2.13 km) to break the previous record of 6082 feet (1.8 km) set in Naples, Italy in 2016
EPA
57/75 10 June 2017Jamaica's Olympic champion Usain Bolt gestures after winning his final 100 metres sprint at the 2nd Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica
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58/75 10 June 2017Usain Bolt of Jamaica salutes the crowd after winning 100m 'Salute to a Legend' race during the Racers Grand Prix at the national stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. Bolt partied with his devoted fans in an emotional farewell at the National Stadium on June 10 as he ran his final race on Jamaican soil. Bolt is retiring in August following the London World Championships
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59/75 10 June 2017Usain Bolt of Jamaica salutes the crowd after winning 100m 'Salute to a Legend' race during the Racers Grand Prix at the national stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. Bolt partied with his devoted fans in an emotional farewell at the National Stadium on June 10 as he ran his final race on Jamaican soil. Bolt is retiring in August following the London World Championships
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60/75 10 June 2017Police officers investigate at the Amsterdam Centraal station in Amsterdam, Netherlands. A car ploughed into pedestrians and injured at least five people outside the station. The background of the incident was not immediately known, though police state they have 'no indication whatsoever' the incident was an attack
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61/75 10 June 2017Police officers investigate at the Amsterdam Centraal station in Amsterdam, Netherlands. A car ploughed into pedestrians and injured at least five people outside the station. The background of the incident was not immediately known, though police state they have 'no indication whatsoever' the incident was an attack
EPA
62/75 10 June 2017Protesters stand off before police during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in Al Hoseima, Morocco. The neglected Rif region has been rocked by social unrest since the death in October of a fishmonger. Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed in a rubbish truck as he protested against the seizure of swordfish caught out of season and his death has sparked fury and triggered nationwide protests
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63/75 9 June 2017A man looks on at a migrant and refugee makeshift camp set up under the highway near Porte de la Chapelle, northern Paris
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64/75 9 June 2017Damaged cars are seen stacked in the middle of a road in western Mosul's Zanjili neighbourhood during ongoing battles to try to take the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters
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65/75 9 June 2017Smoke billows following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa
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66/75 9 June 2017Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures next to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto during a welcome ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico
REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
67/75 9 June 2017Soldiers and residents carry the body of a Muslim boy who was hit by a stray bullet while praying inside a mosque, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who has taken over large parts of the Marawi City, Philippines
REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
68/75 8 June 2017Opposition demonstrators protest for the death on the eve of young activist Neomar Lander during clashes with riot police, in Caracas
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69/75 8 June 2017Neomar Lander, a 17-year-old boy was killed during a march in the Chacao district in eastern Caracas on Wednesday, taking the overall death toll since the beginning of April to 66, according to prosecutors
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70/75 8 June 2017Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
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71/75 8 June 2017Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
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72/75 8 June 2017Usain Bolt of Jamaica trains at the University of West Indies in Kingston. Bolt says he is looking forward to having a party as he launches his final season on June 10 with what will be his last race on Jamaican soil. The 30-year-old world's fasted man plans to retire from track and field after the 2017 London World Championships in August
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73/75 8 June 2017Acquanetta Warren, Mayor of Fontana, California, reacts after US President Donald Trump introduced himself before the Infrastructure Summit with Governors and Mayors at the White House in Washington, US
REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
74/75 8 June 2017Frenchman Alain Castany, sentenced to 20 years on charges of drug trafficking in the 'Air Cocaine' affair, leaves the prison in Santo Domingo, on his way to France, where he is being transferred for medical reason
Getty Images
75/75 8 June 2017A woman reacts at the place where 17-year-old demonstrator Neomar Lander died during riots at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, June 8, 2017. The sign reads: 'Neomar, entertainer for ever'
REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
President Trump sued for blocking people on Twitter - BBC News
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:45
Image copyright @realDonaldTrump/Handout via REUTERS Image caption The president's personal Twitter account has a huge 33.7 million followers President Donald Trump has been party to an eye-watering 4,000 lawsuits over the last 30 years, US media say.
And now the mogul turned commander-in-chief has attracted one more, after seven people sued him for blocking them on Twitter.
Mr Trump is an avid user of the social media forum, which he deploys to praise allies and lambast critics.
The lawsuit was filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute, a free speech group at Columbia University.
The seven Twitter users involved claim their accounts were blocked by the president, or his aides, after they replied to his tweets with mocking or critical comments.
People on Twitter are unable to see or respond to tweets from accounts that block them.
The legal complaint argues that by blocking these individuals, Mr Trump has barred them from joining the online conversation.
It calls the move an attempt to "suppress dissent" in a public forum - and a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the president's social media director Daniel Scavino are also named in the lawsuit.
Last month, Mr Spicer said Mr Trump's tweets were considered "official statements by the president of the United States".
The president's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has 33.7m followers, while the official @POTUS account has 19.3m.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Trump Twitter museum opens in New YorkJameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, said the president's love of Twitter means it has become "an important source of news and information about the government".
"The First Amendment applies to this digital forum in the same way it applies to town halls and open school board meetings," he said.
"The White House acts unlawfully when it excludes people from this forum simply because they've disagreed with the president."
According to the institute, the account's blocking habit should be a concern for everyone.
Why? Because even if they can read the president's tweets, what they see has been consciously cleansed of criticism.
Mr Trump resolved three lawsuits over the now-defunct Trump University, which centred on former students claiming they were charged tens of thousands of dollars for courses that promised to unlock the secrets of entrepreneurship - but didn't. Mr Trump had always denied the claims, but settled for $25m (£20m).In 2006, he filed a $5bn lawsuit against author Timothy O'Brien and his publisher, saying they had understated his wealth. In his book Trump Nation, Mr O'Brien wrote that three people close to the property magnate had put his worth at between $150m and $250m. Mr Trump argued it was between $4bn and $6bn - and said the low valuation had damaged his reputation. A judge disagreed, and his suit was dismissed. Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption US President Trump sued over business connectionsRepublican political strategist Cheryl Jacobus filed a $4m libel lawsuit against the president-to-be in 2016, claiming he had "destroyed her career" by calling her "a dummy" on Twitter. The suit was thrown out by a New York judge, who ruled that the slur did not qualify as defamatory.
House Democrat files article of impeachment against Trump | TheHill
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:28
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday that accuses the president of obstructing justice during the federal investigation of Russia's 2016 election interference.
This is the first time a lawmaker has offered an impeachment article against Trump, and comes as Democrats have debated whether it is politically wise to press the case for impeachment at this time.
A majority vote in the House, currently controlled by Republicans, is required to impeach a president. Republicans have a 46-seat advantage.
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Sherman argues that Trump's abrupt firing of James Comey as FBI director in May amounts to obstructing justice and "high crimes and misdemeanors" amid the probes of whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government to swing the election.
He cites Comey's allegations that Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into ousted former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as Trump's shifting story on why he fired Comey.White House officials initially pointed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's memo criticizing Comey's handling of the FBI's investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDershowitz slams New York Times op-ed for broaching Trump Jr. treason chargeTrump: Putin preferred Clinton in the White HouseDems: Why did DOJ dismiss fraud case connected to Russian lawyer?MORE 's use of a private email server. But Trump later said in an NBC News interview the Russia probe was on his mind when deciding to fire Comey.
''In all of this, Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office,'' the article of impeachment states.
Sherman's article is unlikely to succeed in the GOP-controlled House.
However, Sherman said, he wants "to begin a long process to protect our country from abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and impulsive, ignorant incompetence."Introduction of the article of impeachment comes a day after Trump's eldest son, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDershowitz slams New York Times op-ed for broaching Trump Jr. treason chargeTrump: Putin preferred Clinton in the White HouseDems: Why did DOJ dismiss fraud case connected to Russian lawyer?MORE Jr., released a chain of emails showing his effort to meet with a Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Clinton during last year's campaign. Some critics charge that the emails are evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians.
''This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump,'' an intermediary working to set up the meeting wrote in an email.
Sherman so far has only one supporter on his article of impeachment: Rep. Al GreenAl GreenHouse Democrat files article of impeachment against TrumpHouse Democrat speaks at Trump impeachment march in Los AngelesThreats against lawmakers already higher than all of 2016MORE (D-Texas), who previously called for Trump's impeachment on the House floor.
Sherman drew ire from fellow House Democrats last month when he began circulating a draft article of impeachment and suggested he might force a floor vote on it.
Democratic leaders and most rank-and-file members aren't eager to aggressively push impeachment at this point. One leadership ally, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), stood up during a Democratic caucus meeting to say Sherman's effort could hurt the party.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) backed Capuano at the time, saying Democrats should focus on issues like healthcare repeal.Aides to Pelosi and Crowley didn't immediately offer comment on Wednesday.
Under House rules, any member can force a vote on what's known as a ''privileged'' resolution that argues an issue concerns the dignity and integrity of the institution.
House Republicans could easily reject the resolution, but it would put all members on record regarding Trump's impeachment.
Rank-and-file Democrats generally think it's premature to start talking about impeachment and don't want to take positions on it at this stage.
-Updated at 2:39 p.m.
Friend Nutrition: who to see, know, ignore... '-- LAURIE FRICK
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:26
I have a few people in my life who are a little 'toxic' -- what if I got a nudge to ignore them, or that lunch date we promised simply 'fell' off the calendar.
This is the future.
It's not about the data gathered about you, our next fixation will be the data gathered about the people around you. I predict who you hang out with will be like diet and exercise, we'll manipulate body chemistry with friends.
I'm dipping into 'art science' it's a near-future version of art-science-fiction. Here's my pitch.
OK, I'm joking when I say -disrupt- it's become a way to make fun of silicon valley startups, but.... if there is an inch to be found in anything that is random, disorganized or could be tweaked for advantage, the software world will find it.
Have you noticed how friends make you feel? Some kick you in the butt and you exercise more, dress better, eat fish, think of a new project, feel a new job is possible, start a business... and others do just the opposite? Friends really are the new family, in cities like Seattle and Denver 40% of adults live alone. In the last couple years, sociology of friends has exploded with new studies, friends of friends influence if you smoke, lose weight, how you vote. New research has measured stress, inflammation... all the things that affect how your body fights disease, the underpinnings of your immune system could be manipulated with the people around you. No FDA approval required.
Friends are huge.... the most powerful mechanism to influence how you feel, and it's left to chance?
My imagined software 'Friend Nutrition' gives you a nudge... the comments and posts you see in your social media, the messages that get priority and you see first. A toxic meeting? Boom - canceled. Who you run into in the real world, those serendipitous introductions, friend-of-friend meetings at somethingorother. Not so accidental, the mathematics of networks can connect you to situations and people that are part of a nutritious mix. Amid a day of too much to do and too few real friend encounters - Friend Nutrition is an invisible nudge.
Yeah, I made up the results...but I asked friends in the know and looked at tons of academic studies, the behavioral change is probably even higher, but I wanted it to look believable.
How would this software make money? At the same time it serves up visible connections, it reverse bills for product placement - there is a fancy bike in the image, a can of LaCroix water, the car in the background of the selfie ...those companies get microbilled for visible product placement.
How? It's machine learning for the complex interaction of friends. It doesn't actually understand HOW you make friends, it just watches your response to people. Your friend network is limited, with maybe 150 casual friends and about 15 intimate friends - so the actual numbers are pretty reasonable.
The best sensors will be tracking your voice from the microphone on your phone - the pitch, timing, language analysis all very indicative of how you are responding. Think I'm making this up, check out the Sociometer study from MIT, company is now called Humanzye.
This whole system of an unsupervised machine learning for friends would be like AlphaGo from the DeepMind team acquired by Google. It mastered the complex game of Go. The complex system of moves, countermoves, and how a friendship forms, shifts and responds is something like a game. The training dataset for billions of social interactions exists, WE are training the social media dataset - it's huge, 500,000 comments a minute. 2 billion users of facebook, 80% of US internet users. Yes, it's learning how we interact, better than we understand ourselves.
Friend Nutrition - like a balanced meal of who to see, know and ignore.
Hell, I wrote this post, cause I imagine an academic team is working on this, and could use some encouragement :-).
Italy's Renzi urges end to do gooder mentality on migrant influx | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:58
Fri Jul 7, 2017 | 2:41 PM EDT
By Crispian Balmer | ROME
ROME (Reuters) - Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the head of the ruling Democratic Party (PD), said on Friday Italy did not have any moral duty to take in migrants, sharply toughening his stance over surging numbers of asylum seekers.
Critics accused Renzi of adopting the language of rightist opponents less than a year before national elections, where the growing migration crisis is likely to dominate campaigning.
"We need to free ourselves from a sense of guilt. We do not have the moral duty to welcome into Italy people who are worse off than ourselves," Renzi wrote in new book, excerpts of which were released ahead of publication on the PD website.
"There has to be a fixed number of arrivals," he said, adding that Italy should help migrants in their home countries.
Underscoring the sensitivity of the issue, the comments were swiftly removed from the website, but not before they had generated a backlash among some PD supporters, and glee in the right-wing camp.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, posted the deleted text on his own Twitter account.
"Thanks for all the work. We will take it," Salvini wrote. "They (the PD) chatter and get embarrassed about it, while we can't wait to actually do it."
RISING NUMBERS
More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy over the past four years, the vast majority arriving by boat from Libya. About 85,000 have come ashore this year alone, roughly 20 percent up on the same period in 2016.
The upsurge in new arrivals, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, has unsettled the Italian government, which has urged greater help from European allies in resettling the refugees.
Its requests have fallen largely on deaf ears and Renzi warned on Friday that Rome would look to curb funding to EU nations that had refused to offer help. "They are shutting their doors. We will block their funds," he said.
Renzi's PD party fared badly in local elections last month, losing control of 30 municipalities, including the traditional leftist stronghold of Genoa in northern Italy, with the migrant crisis increasingly weighing on the government.
Former European Commissioner for humanitarian affairs, Emma Bonino, caused embarrassment in PD ranks this week when she said that Renzi's government had requested in 2014 that all the migrants leaving Libya be brought to Italy.
"At the beginning, we didn't realize that this was a structural problem and not a passing phase. We shot ourselves in the foot," said Bonino, a former Italian foreign minister.
Renzi denied her assertion on Friday, but said that in future, Italy should do more to encourage migrants to stay at home and develop their own economies. "We need to escape from our 'do gooder' mentality," he said.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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Dutch Senate votes in favor of dragnet surveillance powers '' Bits of Freedom
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:26
Disastrous resultWe're beyond disappointed that a bill has been passed that faced such overwhelming opposition from experts, civil society and citizens alike. Traditionally, Senate concerns itself with the quality of legislation, compliance with the constitution and international agreements, and the question whether citizens' rights are upheld. The dragnet surveillance bill fails on all counts.
George Soros and Google Lobbyists Planted John Oliver Net Neutrality Campaign
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:26
John Oliver frequently uses his HBO show ''Last Week Tonight'' to run impassioned segments on the topic of net neutrality. He calls on viewers to comment on the topic at the FCC's website during his 13-minute ''rants'' demanding the FCC commit to net neutrality, the Internet regulations enacted by Barack Obama. His viewers left many extremely racist comments against FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the first Indian-American to hold the post. John Oliver has not disavowed these racist attacks, despite repeated requests to do so.
Further, what John Oliver has not admitted is that his ''rants'' were planted by a lobbyist for Google named Marvin Ammori. Ammori is the founder of the Ammori Group, a law firm and public policy firm based in Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley, that lists Google as ''the largest and most established client we counsel.'' Ammori is also listed as president of the Fight For The Future Education Fund 501(c)3 board, which is a project of Hungarian billionaire George Soros.
Hungarian Billionaire George SorosAmmori himself admitted he planted the story with John Oliver at a SXSW event in 2015. While appearing on a panel, Ammori stated:
''I knew an entrepreneur in San Francisco, it was probably April or May and he e-mailed me and said, ''We've got to get John Oliver talking about this.'' And I was like, ''Why John Oliver? He's just on HBO, no one watches HBO.'' He had this new show, it wasn't all that popular. I was like, ''Look dude, you are this relentless entrepreneur who knows people in Hollywood. Just email everyone you know, do whatever you want and we'll see what happens.'' Then a few weeks later there was this John Oliver skit that was amazing.''
Google Lobbyist Marvin AmmoriInfowars recently reported that Google, Soros, and others have spent $72 million to influence public opinion through public relations to promote the idea that the internet should be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act as a public utility.
Since HBO is not a broadcast TV station it does not fall under the FCC's Payola Rules. The Payola Rules state: All sponsored material must be explicitly identified at the time of broadcast as paid for and by whom. Payola is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year or both.
What remains to be answered is if Soros or Google made financial contributions to Oliver in order for him to make his plea to his viewers.
Donald Trump Jr.'s Emails Sound Like the Steele Dossier '' Mother Jones
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 12:11
Donald Trump Jr. Saul Loeb/AP, Pool
Smoke, meet gun.
On Tuesday morning, there was a stunning development in the Trump-Russia scandal: Donald Trump Jr. confessed. In yet another bombshell story, the New York Times reported on emails showing that the president's oldest son had eagerly accepted an offer of help during the 2016 campaign from what he understood to be the Russian government. Trump Jr., the Times disclosed, had set up a meeting with a Russian attorney in the hopes of receiving derogatory information on Hillary Clinton straight from Putin's regime. As the Times was publishing this story, Trump Jr. tweeted out those same emails.
The emails reveal that top Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner attended the meeting and suggests that all three Trump advisers colluded in what seemed to be a Russian government-backed attempt to hurt Clinton in order to help Trump win the presidency. This new development contradicts the long series of denials from Trump defenders who have claimed that there was no collusion, that there was no evidence Russian leader Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to win, and that the Trump-Russia affair is merely a hoax perpetuated by loser Democrats and fake news outlets.
The Trump Jr. emails also provide partial support for some information within the Steele dossier.
The Steele memos, which Mother Jones first reported on a week before Election Day, were compiled during the campaign by a former British intelligence officer named Christopher David Steele, who was hired by a Washington, DC, research firm retained to unearth information on Trump. The documents contained troubling allegations about Trump and his connections to Russia and relayed unverified salacious information about the candidate. The first memo, dated June 20 and based on the former intelligence officer's conversations with Russian sources, stated, ''Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.'' It asserted that Russian intelligence had ''compromised'' Trump during his visits to Moscow and could ''blackmail him.''
Steele made the memos available to the FBI during the campaign, and the bureau investigated some of the information they contained.
The memos made headlines after the election, when CNN reported that Trump, as president-elect, and President Barack Obama had been told about their contents during briefings on the intelligence community's assessment that Putin had mounted a covert operation during the campaign to hack Democratic targets and disseminate stolen emails in order to benefit Trump.
Trump and his supporters have denounced the Steele memos as unsubstantiated trash, with some Trump backers concocting various conspiracy theories about them. Indeed, key pieces of the information within the memos have been challenged. But the memos were meant to be working documents produced by Steele'--full of investigative leads and tips to follow'--not finished reports, vetted and confirmed.
One interesting element of the Donald Trump Jr. emails now in the news is that they track with parts of the Steele memos.
In that first memo, dated June 20, Steele wrote that Trump ''and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.'' The Trump Jr. email chain began on June 3, 2016. This was shortly after Trump had secured the Republican presidential nomination. It was that day that Rob Goldstone, a talent manager for middling pop-star named Emin Agaralov, contacted Trump Jr. and said that Emin's father, Aras Agalarov, a Putin-friendly billionaire developer, had met with the ''crown prosecutor of Russia'' who offered to provide the Trump campaign with negative information on Clinton. The Agalarovs and Goldstone had a close relationship to the Trumps, because they all had worked together in 2013 to bring the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owned at the time, to Moscow. (Part of the deal was that Emin would get to perform two songs.) Following that event, both Trumps worked with both Agalarovs to develop a major project in Moscow. (It never happened.)
This email from Goldstone to Trump Jr. led to a meeting six days later, where a Kremlin-connected Russian attorney spoke to Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort about negative information on Clinton. In a statement, Trump Jr. says that what she offered was vague and meaningless, suggesting there was nothing to it. (But Trump Jr. has dissembled repeatedly about this meeting.)
Let's turn to Steele's June 20 memo. It stated:
Source A confided that the Kremlin had been feeding TRUMP and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, for several years'...This was confirmed by Source D, a close associate of TRUMP who had organized and managed his recent trips to Moscow, and who reported, also in June 2016, that this Russian intelligence had been ''very helpful''.
The memo also reported that there was anti-Clinton information that Putin was sitting on:
A dossier of compromising material on Hillary CLINTON has been collated by the Russian intelligence services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls rather than any embarrassing conduct. The dossier is controlled by Kremlin spokesman, PESKOV, directly on PUTIN's orders. However it has not as yet been distributed abroad, including to TRUMP. Russian intentions for its deployment still unclear.
There has been no confirmation that Putin steadily fed information to Trump's camp or that a Kremlin-controlled anti-Clinton dossier existed. But one of Steele's overarching points in this memo was that Putin's regime was funneling derogatory Clinton material to Trump. The Trump Jr. emails suggest that the Russian government was aiming to do that and that the Trump campaign was willing and eager to receive assistance from Putin. So Donald Trump Jr. has done what Steele could not: produce evidence that the Trump campaign was'--or wanted to be'--in cahoots with a foreign adversary to win the White House.
Get the scoop, straight from Mother Jones. Mother Jones is a nonprofit, and stories like this are made possible by readers like you. Donate or subscribe to help fund independent journalism.
Troy Hunt: Life Is About to Get a Whole Lot Harder for Websites Without HTTPS
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:14
In case you haven't noticed, we're on a rapid march towards a "secure by default" web when it comes to protecting traffic. For example, back in Feb this year, 20% of the Alexa Top 1 Million sites were forcing the secure scheme:
These figures are from Scott Helme's biannual report and we're looking at a 5-month-old number here. I had a quiet chat with him while writing this piece and apparently that number is now at 28% of the Top 1 Million. Even more impressive is the rate at which it's changing - the chart above shows that it's up 45% in only 6 months!
Perhaps even more impressive again is the near 60% of web requests Mozilla is seeing that are sent securely:
Now that's inevitably a lot of requests centred around the big players on the web who are doing HTTPS ubiquitously (think Gmail, Facebook, Twitter), but the trend is clear - HTTPS is being adopted at a fierce rate. Back in Jan I wrote about how we'd already reached the tipping point, in part because of browser measures like this:
The "shaming" of websites serving login or payment forms insecurely began with Chrome in January then Firefox shortly afterwards (occasionally with rather humorous consequences). And it worked too - soon after that tweet, Qantas did indeed properly secure their site. The indignity of visitors being told that a site is insecure inevitably helps force the hand of the site operator and HTTPS follows.
But per the title of this post, life is about to get a whole lot harder for sites that aren't already doing HTTPS across the board. Here's what you're going to see in only a few months' time:
Let's dissect what's going on here: at the time of writing, we're at Chrome 59 which behaves the same as Chrome 58 in the image above so non-secure sites have no visual indicator suggesting this (at least not unless they contain a login or payment form). However, once we hit version 62 all websites with form fields served over HTTP will show a "Not secure" warning to the user. Think about what that means - for example, this site will start to show a warning:
It has a search page therefore an input field. An insecure form means that the contents of the search may be intercepted and conceivably, that could contain data that the user would prefer didn't fall into the hands of someone listening in on the connection.
This site will also show warnings:
Yes, it's just an email field (no, not "eMail", that's fake spelling!) but again, when loaded insecurely it's open to interception.
And finally, this one will also cause browser warnings (sorry, I couldn't help myself):
Now you may not consider information you enter into a route planner to be particularly sensitive, but how does the browser know that? They're just text fields, anything could be going into them. Besides, this helps drive us forward to making everything eventually HTTPS which brings us to the other change in Chrome 62.
As indicated in their earlier graphic, all websites served insecurely whilst using incognito mode will show a warning. Chromium quite rightly explains that folks browsing incognito have a higher expectation of privacy so it makes sense to warn them when this is put at risk. But don't think that this will just remain the domain of incognito, this is going mainstream:
Eventually, we plan to show the ''Not secure'' warning for all HTTP pages, even outside Incognito mode
Here's an important observation on all this: at present, we know secure pages are secure because the browser tells us so. We know non-secure pages are not secure because the browser doesn't tell us that they're secure. Get it? It's the principle of being insecure by default and that's what we're increasingly moving away from. Remember also that this applies to any website the browser loads so merely being behind the firewall browsing the intranet won't keep the warnings away. If you're not serving all those internal business systems over HTTPS then your internal users are going to be told that they're "Not secure" too (and no, telling them to ignore warnings is not a behaviour you want to encourage).
The bottom line is this: if you're serving anything over an insecure connection you need to be planning how you're going to go HTTPS by default now. There's a great appetite to go secure by developers themselves too; a few months ago I published a new Pluralsight course on What Every Developer Must Know About HTTPS and it went straight up into the Top 10 in a library of more than 6,000 courses. If you're embarking on the journey to a secure transport layer, that's a great place to start.
It's taken us a while, but finally we're getting to a "secure by default" web!
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Troy HuntHi, I'm Troy Hunt, I write this blog, create courses for Pluralsight and am a Microsoft Regional Director and MVP who travels the world speaking at events and training technology professionals
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11 CFR 110.20 - Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510). | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 07:11
§ 110.20 Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510).(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Disbursement has the same meaning as in 11 CFR 300.2(d).
(2) Donation has the same meaning as in 11 CFR 300.2(e).
(3) Foreign national means -
(i) A foreign principal, as defined in 22 U.S.C. 611(b); or
(ii) An individual who is not a citizen of the United States and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20); however,
(iii) Foreign national shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States, or who is a national of the United States as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(22).
(4) Knowingly means that a person must:
(i) Have actual knowledge that the source of the funds solicited, accepted or received is a foreign national;
(ii) Be aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that there is a substantial probability that the source of the funds solicited, accepted or received is a foreign national; or
(iii) Be aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether the source of the funds solicited, accepted or received is a foreign national, but the person failed to conduct a reasonable inquiry.
(5) For purposes of paragraph (a)(4) of this section, pertinent facts include, but are not limited to:
(i) The contributor or donor uses a foreign passport or passport number for identification purposes;
(ii) The contributor or donor provides a foreign address;
(iii) The contributor or donor makes a contribution or donation by means of a check or other written instrument drawn on a foreign bank or by a wire transfer from a foreign bank; or
(iv) The contributor or donor resides abroad.
(6) Solicit has the same meaning as in 11 CFR 300.2(m).
(7) Safe Harbor. For purposes of paragraph (a)(4)(iii) of this section, a person shall be deemed to have conducted a reasonable inquiry if he or she seeks and obtains copies of current and valid U.S. passport papers for U.S. citizens who are contributors or donors described in paragraphs (a)(5)(i) through (iv) of this section. No person may rely on this safe harbor if he or she has actual knowledge that the source of the funds solicited, accepted, or received is a foreign national.
(b) Contributions and donations by foreign nationals in connection with elections. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.
(c) Contributions and donations by foreign nationals to political committees and organizations of political parties. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or donation to:
(1) A political committee of a political party, including a national party committee, a national congressional campaign committee, or a State, district, or local party committee, including a non-Federal account of a State, district, or local party committee, or
(2) An organization of a political party whether or not the organization is a political committee under 11 CFR 100.5.
(d) Contributions and donations by foreign nationals for office buildings. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party for the purchase or construction of an office building. See 11 CFR 300.10 and 300.35.
(e) Disbursements by foreign nationals for electioneering communications. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make any disbursement for an electioneering communication as defined in 11 CFR 100.29.
(f) Expenditures, independent expenditures, or disbursements by foreign nationals in connection with elections. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make any expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.
(g) Solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of contributions and donations from foreign nationals. No person shall knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.
(h) Providing substantial assistance.
(1) No person shall knowingly provide substantial assistance in the solicitation, making, acceptance, or receipt of a contribution or donation prohibited by paragraphs (b) through (d), and (g) of this section.
(2) No person shall knowingly provide substantial assistance in the making of an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement prohibited by paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section.
(i) Participation by foreign nationals in decisions involving election-related activities. A foreign national shall not direct, dictate, control, or directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of any person, such as a corporation, labor organization, political committee, or political organization with regard to such person's Federal or non-Federal election-related activities, such as decisions concerning the making of contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections for any Federal, State, or local office or decisions concerning the administration of a political committee.
(j) Donations by foreign nationals to inaugural committees. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a donation to an inaugural committee, as defined in 11 CFR 104.21(a)(1). No person shall knowingly accept from a foreign national any donation to an inaugural committee.
China sets up base in Djibouti - Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn|china|news|chinanews|ecns|cns
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 06:09
2017-07-12 08:26 Xinhua Editor: Mo Hong'e
Ships carrying Chinese military personnel depart Zhanjiang, south China's Guangdong Province, July 11, 2017. They are to set up a support base in Djibouti. (Xinhua/Wu Dengfeng)
Ships carrying Chinese military personnel departed Zhanjiang in southern China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday to set up a support base in Djibouti.
Shen Jinlong, commander of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, read an order on constructing the base in Djibouti, and conferred military flag on the fleets.
The establishment of the PLA Djibouti base was a decision made by the two countries after friendly negotiations, and accords with the common interest of the people from both sides, according to the PLA navy.
The base will ensure China's performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia.
The base will also be conducive to overseas tasks including military cooperation, joint exercises, evacuating and protecting overseas Chinese and emergency rescue, as well as jointly maintaining security of international strategic seaways.
BBC NEWS | UK | England | Manchester | Girl arrested in racism inquiry
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 05:54
Codie Stott was arrested for her comments
A 14-year-old girl has been arrested for allegedly making racist remarks at a school in Greater Manchester.Codie Stott said she asked to be moved from a science group where she was with five Asian pupils - only one of whom spoke English.
The 14-year-old was questioned in a juvenile unit before being released without charge.
Harrop Fold High School, in Worsley, is investigating before deciding on what action to take.
Racism complaint
Codie said: "I asked the teacher could I change groups because I didn't understand them and she said I was being racist and started shouting at me."
A complaint was made and she was taken to a police station.
Her mother said her Codie's jewellery and shoelaces were removed, her fingerprints and DNA samples were taken and she was put in a cell.
The school said it wanted to ensure it had a caring and tolerant attitude to pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and it did not stand for racism in any form.
Greater Manchester Police said it took hate crime reports very seriously and its treatment of the teenager was in line with normal procedure.
Gad Saad on Hysteria and ''Collective Munchausen'' around Donald Trump, Speaking Out as an Academic, and Evolutionary Psychology 101 '' Areo Magazine
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 01:07
| by Malhar Mali |
''As somebody who escaped Lebanon and actually hid under desks to avoid death squads, I don't take well to these idiots from Wellesley College who say, 'I'm scared to go and buy my hamburgers now that Trump won,' because it trivializes what true trauma is.'' '-- Gad Saad
G ad Saad (@GadSaad) is an outspoken social critic of the lunacies found in the extremes of both political sides. A controversial figure to some, his family fled the Lebanese civil war under threat of persecution for their Jewish religious heritage. He's a Professor of Marketing and holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption. Dr. Saad hosts a popular YouTube show called The Saad Truth, and has appeared on shows such as The Rubin Report, The Joe Rogan Experience, and the Adam Carolla Show. He writes a column for Psychology Today titled Homo Consumericus.
I spoke to him about the hysteria around a Donald Trump presidency, speaking out as an academic, and the field of evolutionary psychology and its detractors. The following is our conversation transcribed and edited for clarity.
[An audio version of this interview is above, courtesy of Gad Saad]
Malhar Mali: There seems to be an extreme strain of thought held by some that Trump's inauguration will signal the apocalypse and return of the third-reich, that people of color will be rounded up, women will be sexually assaulted en-masse, and LGBTQ citizens will be executed on sight. What are your thoughts on that?
Gad Saad: Early last year I introduced a theory to explain the mass hysteria associated with social justice warriors. I called it ''collective Munchausen'' syndrome. Munchausen disorder is when somebody feigns a medical illness or injury to garner sympathy and empathy. Munchausen syndrome by proxy is when you have somebody under your care '-- say your child '-- and you harm that third party to garner sympathy. ''Look, my child is hurt!'' So it's a really morbid, grotesque psychological desire to draw attention to yourself because you enjoy the sympathy you receive.
I took this psychiatric disorder that I'd written about in a medical journal and then I argued that the manner in which social justice warriors respond is really a manifestation of collective Munchausen. It's more than just mass hysteria '-- which is a known psychological mechanism. It has a specific goal which is to turn the attention inward to: ''Oh my god, we're such victims.'' So the faux-fear we're seeing now with all of these, for lack of a better term, schmucks is a form of collective Munchausen. It's: ''Oh my god, we're going to be gang-raped, the third-reich is coming for us.'' I put up a satirical video where I reported that the inauguration death patrols were coming for me whilst hiding under the table in my study.
The naturally lobotomized individuals do not understand the gist of my position: I do this not because it's not reasonable to have concerns about anything Trump may or not do. I could say, ''I really dislike his education cabinet for the following reasons.'' And that's reasonable. Any candidate you bring before me, I would have agreements and disagreements with.
The problem arises when you have a discourse fully detached from reality. It's beyond satirical and grotesque in how much stupidity is exhibited. A typical comment on my social feed might state something to the following effect, ''I'm a woman of color,'' she's attending some school in Maine and she's saying, ''I'm afraid. Can I still go to class?'' Just work it through. What's going to happen when Trump becomes president? He sets up roadblocks on every street corner whereby he whisks away all people of color to the designated gang-rape centers? What could explain that hysteria? The only thing that explains it is a departure from reality '-- and hence collective Munchausen syndrome.
MM: We value victims '-- which is a good thing '-- but there are groups popping up and individuals who seem to be vying for higher statuses of victimhood. You call this ''victimology poker''.
GS: Everyone who is suffering from collective Munchausen and mass hysteria are obviously of a particular political bent '-- the ultra-Left (who typically belong to the Democratic party). And these people have built their whole ethos, edifice, zeitgeist on Identity Politics. Identity Politics leads to victimology poker and the oppression olympics. These groups just end up competing to see who is more oppressed because it is the mechanism through which they attempt to solve problems. If you and I are having a genuine debate, I would present my evidence and you yours. The better evidence would win out.
That's not what happens in an Identity Politics debate. My victimology card has to trump yours! (Laughter) therefore people have to come up with ever stronger cards and hands and end up falling into victim mindsets. This leads to people thinking absurd lines of thought like '-- and I'm being satirical here '-- : ''How will I go to the store and feel safe buying tomatoes once Trump is in office?'' or ''What will happen to my children? Will Trump cause us to cannibalize our children?'' ''Will sex still be permitted?'' When you're getting into that kind of delusional discourse it seems extraordinary that this is viewed as reasonable discourse. These are professors, these are colleagues of mine who feel perfectly comfortable departing from reality in this way.
Hate Trump as much as you want. Hate specific policies by him but don't engage in this grotesque discourse. Especially because it trivializes actual lived trauma. As somebody who escaped Lebanon and actually hid under desks to avoid death squads, I don't take well to these idiots from Wellesley College who say, ''I'm scared to go and buy my hamburgers now that Trump won,'' because it trivializes what true trauma is.
MM: What would you say to your critics who would claim that you unfairly focus on left-wing lunacy and give right-wing craziness a pass '-- thereby ''normalizing'' Donald Trump?
GS: I call that the, ''But what about Israel, bruh?'' position. So I can't talk about Islamic craziness unless I grant equal airtime to criticizing Israel? That's not how life works. We create a hierarchy of things that compel us. Some people fight for Tibetan freedom, others for Cypriot rights from Turkish occupation. So we don't have to grant equal time to different issues.
I inhabit the ecosystem of academia. The ecosystem of academia is not run by Right-wing craziness. The academic setting, media elite, and the Hollywood elite are all part of the Left-wing lunacy. So everyday I don't face the threat of the KKK or Right-wing fascism but I do see the extraordinary harm that is caused by what takes place in universities. That reality is caused by Left-wing lunacy. Hence as a person with a functioning brain I don't need to provide equal amounts of criticism '-- that doesn't mean I'm condoning Right-wing craziness. When I see some Republican senator who comes out with a position that is anti-science and evolution denying, I will be the first to typically criticize that. It's not as if I exist to pick on the Left and grant cover to the Right. The reality is, in my daily life, I see a lot more danger coming from the Left.
MM: You're one of the most outspoken academics who speaks about Islam and ''Social Justice Warriors''. Are your views rare in academia or do you think there are other academics who support your message but are afraid to voice it. What motivates you to be a part of this debate and speak out?
GS: Yes it's rare. If we were to estimate the number of people who hold positions similar to mine, it would be higher than those who are actually speaking out '-- because they're afraid of voicing their opinions. I get personal communiqu(C)s from academics where they say, ''I support what you're doing'' or ''I'm behind your message'' but they're not comfortable speaking out. But they're scared to even ''like'' one of my Facebook posts because someone would see it and that would mean they're supporting supposedly ''fascist'' ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, rights for Jews, and rights for gays. Those are supposedly all very ''controversial'' topics that they don't want people to know they support because those are all ''fascist'' opinions. People with a ''progressive'' mindset don't possess the correct moral compass in navigating these issues; they fear being accused of being a ''racist bigot'' for supporting freedom of speech and more generally foundational liberal values. It is astounding.
There is some change underway. Heterodox Academy is a collective organized by Jonathan Haidt precisely to recognize the fact we need to provide greater political diversity and more generally a greater diversity of opinions in academia.
Why do I do what I do? I think it's my personhood; my unique constellation of genes that make me very angry and offended by un-truths. I get genuinely angered at profound bullshit. I feel I must give my voice to contribute to the debate and if everybody had that bent, bad ideas would not have as much airtime.
I think the loftiest pursuit in life is that of truth and therefore I try to honor that ideal at every opportunity.
MM: Moving on, can you explain the field of evolutionary psychology for us? Particularly how it operates at the ultimate level as opposed to the proximate level of the social sciences?
GS: Evolutionary psychology is basically the framework that tries to apply evolutionary principles to the study of the human mind. That should not be contentious to anybody who, frankly, has a brain. In the same way that we can explain how all biological forms have evolved through evolution, that process doesn't suddenly cease to exist when we talk about human beings and their most important organ '-- the brain. Many people are perfectly comfortable using evolutionary theory to explain why we have opposable thumbs and why our liver functions in the manner that it does, but it's: ''don't you dare apply evolutionary theory to study the human mind.'' Somehow the human mind came to be through a magical process, or God, or culture, or socialization. An evolutionary psychologist argues that: ''No, of course the human mind is the product of the forces of evolution.'' That's, in a broad sense, what evolutionary psychology is.
Evolutionary psychologists argue that the human mind is made up of domain-specific computational systems. The best way to describe that is to use the metaphor of a Swiss army knife: each blade of the Swiss army knife serves different functions unlike a domain-general (regular) knife that could be used to turn a flathead screw or cut butter. A Swiss army knife is built with the understanding that each of its blades solves a specific function. Let's apply that to the human mind; evolutionary psychologists argue that our brain has evolved to solve specific adaptive problems: avoid predators, find a mate, retain that mate, build coalitions, invest in kin, and so on.
All of these problems would necessitate the human mind evolve specific computational systems to solve each of these problems '-- hence the human mind is an amalgamation of both domain general mechanisms, like general intelligence, and domain specific mechanisms. An example of domain specific would be the fact that a human child who's too young to be socialized will stare longer at a beautiful face as opposed to one that's not, This suggests that there is a innate mechanism already built into the brain.
Evolutionary psychologists operate at both the proximate and ultimate levels. Proximate explanations serve as the epistemological level where much of science operates at. Proximate explanations address the how and the what of a phenomenon. Ultimate explanations ask the Darwinian why. Why would that a trait, a behavior, or a morphological feature have evolved to be of that particular form (from an evolutionary perspective). Proximate and ultimate explanations do not compete with each other. You need both levels to fully understand the phenomenon in question.
MM: Can you provide us an example of an ultimate explanation and a proximate one?
GS: Pregnancy sickness is a very common universal reality that pregnant women experience whereby they are attracted to certain foods and repulsed by others. They feel the physiological symptoms of nausea; they vomit often. If you were to study this from a proximate level you might ask: How do the hormonal fluctuations of a woman affect the severity of her pregnancy sickness?
The ultimate explanation would ask: Why have women evolved this physiological reality? What adaptive problem is being solved? Well, we know that pregnancy sickness happens during a particular developmental time for the fetus. It's not random. It's as well timed as a Swiss clock. It happens during the first trimester during a period known as organogenesis, namely when the fetus' organs are forming. During that crucial developmental phase, it is imperative that the fetus be protected from harm. So what is the main threat? Food pathogens and teratogens constitute this threat. Therefore the foods that she craves and those that she avoids perfectly map onto that reality.
Pregnant women want pickles. Well, pickles are a food source that serves an anti-microbial function. During organogenesis, women avoid foods that, on average, might have a higher load of pathogens and crave foods that might help their body resolve the fact that they could have ingested some teratogens. Women throw up as a built-in mechanism to guard against the possibility of having been exposed to pathogens, and they do this (without any conscious volition) to protect the fetus.
By having this ultimate level explanation we have a fuller and better understanding of pregnancy sickness. You might say, ''So what? Who cares? What are some practical applications of this knowledge?''
Well, the more a woman experiences pregnancy sickness the higher her chances of having a successful pregnancy and avoiding miscarriage. Why? Because pregnancy sickness serves as a protective belt against these deleterious outcomes. So when a woman goes to see her OBGYN and says she needs a pill for pregnancy sickness, she's doing exactly the wrong thing. Of course it makes sense if she needs to avoid throwing up for the day because she's working etc. but from an evolutionary perspective, her reducing the symptoms is suboptimal.
MM: I see. So you're in a field of study that tries to get as close as possible to the truth in terms of explaining human nature. I'm imagining that you'd receive quite a bit of pushback from other fields? Which ones are they?
GS: This question defines my daily reality in academia. What evolution does '-- but evolutionary psychology more so '-- is that it confronts the ideological positions of a wide range of people.
If you're a postmodernist, who by definition is anti-science, you support ideas such as: ''Science must fall,'' ''who are we to use science as the sole privileged way of knowing?'' ''decolonize your mind,'' ''everything is relative, there are no universals.'' The whole enterprise of postmodernism is rooted in charlatanism and faux-intellectualism. The idiot who is a postmodernist gets on a plane to deliver a lecture of his ''work'' at a conference; the flight of the plane in question is not rooted in relativistic mumbo-jumbo but rather in scientific laws as uncovered by scientists. So the idea that all knowledge is relative amounts to a nonsensical starting point; Not surprisingly though, postmodernists hate evolutionary psychology because it's rooted in the fact that there are universal laws in general and human universals in particular.
Radical feminists hate evolutionary psychology because only ''Nazi bigots'' would argue that there are innate sex differences. But of course, the way Homo sapiens is defined as a species is that we are sexually dimorphic, namely that we possess evolutionary-based sex differences. Yet you can attend radical feminist seminars where people espouse the notion that only ''Nazi bigots and eugenicists'' believe in innate sex differences.
If you're a social constructivist '-- which is what most social scientists are '-- you believe that everything is a social construction; that we are born with empty minds (tabula rasa) and what makes us human are the socialization forces that mold us. So it becomes: ''Why do women prefer tall guys? Because they learn it via Hollywood images,'' or ''Why do men prefer shapely women? Well it's because of Nicki Minaj's music videos.'' If it weren't for her videos, men would apparently be mating with trees. Of course, evolutionary psychologists recognize the importance of socialization. However, socialization patterns exist in their particular forms because of biological realities. Hence, socialization is not contrary to biology. It exists to support biological imperatives.
Religious people also hate evolutionary psychology because it goes against their idea of God as the designer of all things including our exquisite human minds.
There are all sorts of folks who line up to detract against my field '-- seldom because of the science but nearly always because evolutionary psychology attacks their fundamental ideological position. They are all on the wrong side of history. To paraphrase Theodosius Dobzhansky, nothing about the human condition makes sense except in the light of evolutionary psychology.
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Malhar Mali writes about secularism, human rights, politics, and culture. He is the Editor at Areo. You can connect with him on Twitter @MalharMali
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Oxytocin improves social abilities in some kids with autism | News Center | Stanford Medicine
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:49
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by poor social ability and verbal communication skills, as well as restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Not all children with the disorder are equally affected; symptoms range in severity. In 2014, Parker and Hardan and their colleagues discovered that oxytocin levels vary greatly in children both with and without autism, and that those with low oxytocin have more social impairment regardless of whether they have autism.
That discovery made the researchers wonder if oxytocin's benefits as an autism therapy might be confined to kids whose levels were low to begin with. Other trials of oxytocin in autism have produced mixed results but did not take subjects' baseline levels into account.
The new study included 32 children with autism who were randomly assigned to receive an intranasal oxytocin spray or a placebo spray twice daily for four weeks. The children's blood oxytocin levels were measured before and after the four-week period. The children's behavior was assessed at the beginning and end of the trial using a standardized questionnaire completed by their parents. The hormone was found to be safe, with no adverse events reported.
Intriguing placebo effectAs in many trials, the researchers saw some improvement even in children given the placebo, though the effect was less pronounced than it was in the oxytocin group. Children who had low oxytocin at baseline received more benefit from placebo than those who began with high oxytocin '-- and their bodies' own production of the hormone rose modestly. This unexpected finding suggests a possible biological explanation for the placebo effect, which is common in studies of psychological and psychiatric treatments, Parker said. The idea that increases in natural oxytocin production might explain how patients benefit from a placebo merits future research, she added.
Hopefully, this is a first step to identifying the characteristics of people with autism who respond to specific treatments.
Among the children who got oxytocin, those with the lowest oxytocin levels at the beginning of the trial experienced the greatest improvements in social behavior. Oxytocin's effects were specific: the hormone did not change the frequency of repetitive behaviors, nor did it affect children's anxiety levels.
A large trial of oxytocin for children with autism is now underway at several institutions across the United States, and Hardan and Parker are curious about whether the bigger trial will replicate their findings. Hardan, who treats children with autism at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, is not advocating that physicians start prescribing oxytocin for their patients yet.
''If our findings are replicated in the large NIH-funded trial, then I might consider doing baseline oxytocin measurements as part of my clinical practice to try to determine if specific patients will respond,'' he said, noting that this could be difficult because, at present, blood oxytocin levels are not measured routinely in clinical labs. Oral or sublingual administration of oxytocin would not necessarily produce the same results as the intranasal oxytocin tested, he also cautioned.
''Hopefully, this is a first step to identifying the characteristics of people with autism who respond to specific treatments,'' Hardan said. ''Because of the heterogeneity of the disorder, we need to start doing clinical trials not to see if there will be a response, but more to see who will respond to possible treatments.''
The work is an example of Stanford Medicine's focus on precision health, the goal of which is to anticipate and prevent disease in the healthy and precisely diagnose and treat disease in the ill.
Other Stanford-affiliated authors of the paper are postdoctoral scholars Ozge Oztan, PhD, and Debra Karhson, PhD; medical student Jacqueline Summers; clinical research coordinator Robin Libove; undergraduate students Raena Sumiyoshi and Lisa Jackson; Kyle Hinman, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Kara Motonaga, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatric cardiology; Jennifer Phillips, PhD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; former postdoctoral scholar Dean Carson, PhD; and Joseph Garner, DPhil, associate professor of comparative medicine.
Parker, Hardan and Garner are members of Stanford's Child Health Research Institute.
The research was supported by grants from the Mosbacher Family Fund for Autism Research, Stanford's Child Health Research Institute, the Yani Calmidis Memorial Fund for Autism Research, Autism Speaks, a Stanford University School of Medicine Dean's Postdoctoral Fellowship and the National Institute of Mental Health (grant T3MH019908).
Stanford's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences also supported the work.
How We Are Ruining America - NYTimes.com
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:29
David Brooks
Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.
How they've managed to do the first task '-- giving their own children a leg up '-- is pretty obvious. It's the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.
Upper-middle-class moms have the means and the maternity leaves to breast-feed their babies at much higher rates than high school-educated moms, and for much longer periods.
Upper-middle-class parents have the means to spend two to three times more time with their preschool children than less affluent parents. Since 1996, education expenditures among the affluent have increased by almost 300 percent, while education spending among every other group is basically flat.
As life has gotten worse for the rest in the middle class, upper-middle-class parents have become fanatical about making sure their children never sink back to those levels, and of course there's nothing wrong in devoting yourself to your own progeny.
It's when we turn to the next task '-- excluding other people's children from the same opportunities '-- that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called ''Dream Hoarders'' detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.
The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.
These rules have a devastating effect on economic growth nationwide. Research by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti suggests that zoning restrictions in the nation's 220 top metro areas lowered aggregate U.S. growth by more than 50 percent from 1964 to 2009. The restrictions also have a crucial role in widening inequality. An analysis by Jonathan Rothwell finds that if the most restrictive cities became like the least restrictive, the inequality between different neighborhoods would be cut in half.
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Reeves's second structural barrier is the college admissions game. Educated parents live in neighborhoods with the best teachers, they top off their local public school budgets and they benefit from legacy admissions rules, from admissions criteria that reward kids who grow up with lots of enriching travel and from unpaid internships that lead to jobs.
It's no wonder that 70 percent of the students in the nation's 200 most competitive schools come from the top quarter of the income distribution. With their admissions criteria, America's elite colleges sit atop gigantic mountains of privilege, and then with their scholarship policies they salve their consciences by offering teeny step ladders for everybody else.
I was braced by Reeves's book, but after speaking with him a few times about it, I've come to think the structural barriers he emphasizes are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent.
Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named ''Padrino'' and ''Pomodoro'' and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.
American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, ''You are not welcome here.''
In her thorough book ''The Sum of Small Things,'' Elizabeth Currid-Halkett argues that the educated class establishes class barriers not through material consumption and wealth display but by establishing practices that can be accessed only by those who possess rarefied information.
To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you've got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.
The educated class has built an ever more intricate net to cradle us in and ease everyone else out. It's not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it's the cultural codes.
Status rules are partly about collusion, about attracting educated people to your circle, tightening the bonds between you and erecting shields against everybody else. We in the educated class have created barriers to mobility that are more devastating for being invisible. The rest of America can't name them, can't understand them. They just know they're there.
Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence - Bloomberg
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:22
Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab boasts 400 million users worldwide. As many as 200 million may not know it. The huge reach of Kaspersky's technology is partly the result of licensing agreements that allow customers to quietly embed the software in everything from firewalls to sensitive telecommunications equipment'--none of which carry the Kaspersky name.
That success is starting to worry U.S. national security officials concerned about the company's links to the Russian government. In early May six U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agency chiefs were asked in an open Senate hearing whether they'd let their networks use Kaspersky software, often found on Best Buy shelves. The answer was a unanimous and resounding no. The question, from Florida Republican Marco Rubio, came out of nowhere, often a sign a senator is trying to indirectly draw attention to something learned in classified briefings.
Eugene Kaspersky took to Reddit to respond. Claims about Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Kremlin are ''unfounded conspiracy theories'' and ''total BS,'' the company's boisterous, barrel-chested chief executive officer wrote. While the U.S. government hasn't disclosed any evidence of the ties, internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia's main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. It has developed security technology at the spy agency's behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public.
Most major cybersecurity companies maintain close ties to home governments, but the emails are at odds with Kaspersky Lab's carefully controlled image of being free from Moscow's influence. Kaspersky's work with Russian intelligence could scare off business in Western Europe and the U.S., where Russian cyber operations have grown increasingly aggressive, including attempts to influence elections. Western Europe and the U.S. accounted for $374 million of the company's $633 million in sales in 2016, according to researcher International Data Corp.
''When statements are taken out of context, anything can be manipulated to serve an agenda,'' the company said in a statement. ''Kaspersky Lab has always acknowledged that it provides appropriate products and services to governments around the world to protect those organizations from cyberthreats, but it does not have any unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russia.''
Antivirus companies are especially delicate because the products they make have access to every file on the computers they protect. The software also regularly communicates with the maker to receive updates, which security experts say could theoretically provide access to sensitive users such as government agencies, banks, and internet companies. Adding to the U.S. government's jitters, Kaspersky recently has developed products designed to help run critical infrastructure such as power grids.
The previously unreported emails, from October 2009, are from a thread between Eugene Kaspersky and senior staff. In Russian, Kaspersky outlines a project undertaken in secret a year earlier ''per a big request on the Lubyanka side,'' a reference to the FSB offices. Kaspersky Lab confirmed the emails are authentic.
Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky speaks at a plenary meeting titled ''Cybersecurity in the Face of New Challenges and Threats,'' part of the Finopolis 2016 forum of innovative financial technologies, in Kazan, Russia.
Photographer: Getty Images
The software that the CEO was referring to had the stated purpose of protecting clients, including the Russian government, from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, but its scope went further. Kaspersky Lab would also cooperate with internet hosting companies to locate bad actors and block their attacks, while assisting with ''active countermeasures,'' a capability so sensitive that Kaspersky advised his staff to keep it secret.
''The project includes both technology to protect against attacks (filters) as well as interaction with the hosters ('spreading' of sacrifice) and active countermeasures (about which, we keep quiet) and so on,'' Kaspersky wrote in one of the emails.
''Active countermeasures'' is a term of art among security professionals, often referring to hacking the hackers, or shutting down their computers with malware or other tricks. In this case, Kaspersky may have been referring to something even more rare in the security world. A person familiar with the company's anti-DDoS system says it's made up of two parts. The first consists of traditional defensive techniques, including rerouting malicious traffic to servers that can harmlessly absorb it. The second part is more unusual: Kaspersky provides the FSB with real-time intelligence on the hackers' location and sends experts to accompany the FSB and Russian police when they conduct raids. That's what Kaspersky was referring to in the emails, says the person familiar with the system. They weren't just hacking the hackers; they were banging down the doors.
The project lead was Kaspersky Lab's chief legal officer, Igor Chekunov, a former policeman and KGB officer. Chekunov is the point man for technical support to the FSB and other Russian agencies, say three people familiar with his role, and that includes gathering identifying data from customers' computers. One Kaspersky Lab employee who used to ride along with Russian agents on raids was Ruslan Stoyanov, whose technology underpinned the company's anti-DDoS efforts, says the person familiar with the program. Stoyanov previously worked in the Interior Ministry's cybercrime unit. In December he and a senior FSB cyber investigator were arrested on treason charges, adding a bizarre twist to the company's relationship to the government. Kaspersky Lab has said the case involved allegations of wrongdoing before Stoyanov worked for the company. Stoyanov couldn't be reached for comment.
In the emails, Kaspersky said the aim of the project for the FSB was to turn the anti-DDoS technology into a mass-market product for businesses. ''In the future the project may become one of the items on the list of services that we provide to corporate customers,'' he wrote. Kaspersky now sells its DDoS protection service to large companies, installing sensors directly inside customers' networks. The company's website contains a large red notice that it's not available in the U.S. or Canada.
The U.S. government hasn't identified any evidence connecting Kaspersky Lab to Russia's spy agencies, even as it continues to turn up the heat. In June, FBI agents visited a number of the company's U.S. employees at their homes, asking to whom they reported and how much guidance they received from Kaspersky's Moscow headquarters. And a bill was introduced in Congress that would ban the U.S. military from using any Kaspersky products, with one senator calling ties between the company and the Kremlin ''very alarming.'' Russia's communications minister promptly threatened sanctions if the measure passed.
Indeed, many in Russia see the anti-Kaspersky campaign as politics with a dash of protectionism. ''This is quite useless to find any real evidence, any real cases where Kaspersky Lab would violate their privacy policies and transfer some data from U.S. customers, from U.S. enterprise clients, to Russian intelligence or FSB,'' says Oleg Demidov, a consultant for researcher PIR Center in Moscow who studies Russian cyberattacks. ''There are no such cases. At least, they are not publicly discussed.''
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There's another possibility, given Kaspersky Lab's success at embedding its products in sensitive locations. Last year, Eugene Kaspersky announced the launch of the company's secure operating system, KasperskyOS, designed to run systems that control electrical grids, factories, pipelines, and other critical infrastructure. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency reportedly circulated a warning that the product could let Russian government hackers disable those systems, a claim Kaspersky denied.
Fourteen years in development, Kaspersky Lab's secure OS is designed to be easily adaptable for the internet of things, everything from web-connected cameras to cars. That could be a great business model for the Russian company. U.S. national security officials seem determined to make sure it isn't. '--With Carol Matlack
BOTTOM LINE - Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Russian government may threaten its business in the U.S. and Western Europe, which account for almost 60 percent of its sales.
Donald Trump Jr. may have crossed the legal line on collusion - The Washington Post
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:21
Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton during his father's presidential campaign, after being told the information was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." (Elyse Samuels,Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
This post has been updated with news and more legal opinions about Donald Trump Jr. sharing emails that appear to confirm he knew about Russia's intent to help his father win before he took a meeting with a Russian lawyer.
The New York Times reported '-- and Donald Trump Jr. appeared to confirm '-- that he agreed to a meeting with a Russian lawyer who had damaging information on Hillary Clinton after getting an email that the Russian government was trying to help his father win the election.
''It's as close as you can get to a smoking gun'' of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a white-collar lawyer who represented officials in the Clinton White House and now is with Arnall Golden Gregory. And it could mean Trump Jr. crossed the legal line on collusion with Russia.
First, a reframing of the way we think of collusion. Collusion actually is a political term; there's no line in the criminal code that says you go to jail for colluding with a foreign adversary.
But you can go to jail for conspiring with a foreign adversary to influence or undermine an election, and Jacobovitz thinks what Trump Jr. did, as documented by emails he himself shared on Twitter, could rise to that level.
''Absolutely,'' Jacobovitz replied when asked if these emails firm up evidence that Trump Jr. had intent to commit a crime by conspiring with the Russians. ''You may have crossed the line on conspiracy to commit election fraud or conspiracy to obtain information from a foreign adversary,'' he said. ''You cannot benefit from a foreign adversary in this kind of scenario.''
Other legal minds agree. "It's a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy," said Jens David Ohlin, associate dean of Cornell Law School, in a statement shared with The Post. "The conversation will now turn to whether President Trump was personally involved or not. But the question of the campaign's involvement appears settled now. The answer is yes."
In the emails, Trump Jr. associate Rob Goldstone tells Trump Jr. that Russian officials ''offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
What special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team of a dozen or so practiced investigators are probably looking for is evidence that the Trump campaign intended to illegally conspire with Russia to help its campaign or hurt Clinton's. (Russia is also known for tricking people into doing its bidding.)
The fact that Trump Jr. took this meeting while being told what the Russians were up to is as clear as intent can get, legal experts say.
''If he received an email in advance saying, 'This is coming from the Russian government,' he's certainly knowledgeable about where the information is coming from,'' Jacobovitz said. ''And he attempts to attend a meeting with the hope and intent to obtain inside dirt on Hillary Clinton. That would go a long way in trying to determine whether it's conspiracy. '... It's not as if he walks into the meeting and he's surprised by what he's hearing.''
[Timeline of a story about Donald Trump Jr. and Russia that keeps getting worse]
Another piece of evidence to stack up in the ''intent'' column: Why were two of Trump's top campaign aides also invited to the meeting? Trump Jr. says Trump's then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner would also be there to meet with the Russian lawyer. It suggests that the Trump campaign put a very high premium on the meeting.
And it raises the question, as asked by The Fix's Aaron Blake, of what President Trump himself knew about the meeting. (The White House says the president wasn't aware of this meeting and denies any collusion by anyone in his campaign.)
More legal questions: Was anything agreed to in this meeting by either side? We know from both sides that in addition to sitting down to talk dirt on Clinton, there was a discussion about American adoptions of Russian children and sanctions the Russian government opposes against suspects of human rights abuses.
A month after the June 2016 meeting, thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee were leaked on the eve of Democrats' convention, leading the DNC's chair to resign. Members of Congress with access to intelligence said Russians had already hacked into those emails by the time Trump Jr. met with the Russian lawyer.
Jacobovitz said Mueller and his team will certainly be investigating whether there was some kind of quid pro quo between the Trump campaign and Russia on sanctions vs. damaging emails to Clinton.
The emails also appear to confirm the version of events as told by the Russian lawyer in the meeting, who has ties to the Russian government, and is referred by Trump's associate as a Russian government attorney. In an interview with NBC's ''Today'' concerning why Trump Jr. wanted to take the meeting, the lawyer said he was ''longing'' for information on Clinton.
Trump Jr. originally told the Times this was about adoptions. But in the emails, he says in response to an offer to meet with a Russian with dirt on Clinton: ''If it's what you say I love it,''
Also worth noting: Trump himself has drawn a line in the sand of what collusion means to him, a definition he may come to regret. Essentially, the president has said, collusion is knowing about something going on illegally and not doing anything about it.
Under that definition, it appears the Trump campaign rocketed past its own definition. It's not normal, and it may not even be legal, to meet with a foreign adversary expecting dirt on your opponent.
Jacobovitz said conspiracy to commit election fraud is the big legal fish Mueller and his team may be trying to fry. But they're probably also looking at a whole host of laws that could have been broken under this scenario: quid pro quo with the Russians, bribery, potential perjury related to what members of the Trump campaign said under oath to Congress and failing to disclose these contacts in official security forms.
''This goes further than collusion,'' he said. Especially now that Trump Jr. appeared to provide proof to all of this.
This B.C. baby's ID says 'U' under gender. Here's why that's good, experts say | Toronto Star
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:10
Kori Doty, a B.C. parent who identifies as transgender and prefers the pronoun they, says it was a victory when their baby's ID arrived in the mail displaying a "U" to designate sex. (THE CANADIAN PRESS ) By Linda Givetash The Canadian Press
Sun., July 9, 2017
VANCOUVER'--A parent's request to exclude their child's sex on government-issued identification is pushing past the boundaries of gender stereotyping, experts say.
Kori Doty, a B.C. parent who identifies as transgender and prefers the pronoun they, refused to provide the sex of their child Searyl to the government when they were born in November.
Doty said it was a victory when Searyl's provincial health card arrived in the mail in April displaying a ''U'' instead of an ''M'' or ''F'' to designate the child's sex.
Vancouver-based lawyer barbara findlay, who advocates for gender-free identification, said race is no longer recorded on birth certificates or other identification because it's personal information and gender should be treated the same way.
''One's sex, one's gender identity is as personal a piece of information as how you identify your race and it shouldn't be on ID documents,'' said findlay, whose legal name is not capitalized.
Historically, the government used information about gender to distinguish who '-- specifically men '-- could own property or vote, findlay said. Since those barriers no longer exist, she said it's unnecessary to continue displaying gender on ID documents.
Aaron Devor, chair in transgender studies at the University of Victoria, said an infant's gender identity may not develop as expected. Assigning gender may also force intersex babies into a category in which they don't belong.
There shouldn't be a need to identify someone by gender on their ID at all because discrimination is prohibited, he said.
People also shouldn't be ''labelled and pigeonholed'' to a particular stereotypical set of gender expectations, Devor said.
Stereotyping is especially damaging to people who are transgender and whose identity cards don't match the gender in which they present.
''They're subject to any number of unpleasant circumstance, which could range simply from being looked at funny to being denied service that they require to being abused verbally or even physically,'' he said.
It's because of those restrictive stereotypes that Doty didn't want to prescribe a gender to Searyl. Instead, Searyl can determine their own gender identity when the time comes and not be limited by societal expectations of how boys and girls should be, Doty said.
''I'm not imposing a non-binary gender identity on my kid, I'm just holding the space for them to figure out who they are without the application of a rigid assumption,'' Doty said.
Jen Marchbank, a professor of gender, sexuality and women's studies at Simon Fraser University, said studies have shown that infants are treated differently when labelled a boy or girl with babies dressed in blue getting played with more than those dressed in pink.
Raising a child without an assigned gender could help avoid people imposing their biases, Marchbank said, adding it would be impossible to avoid stereotypes entirely.
''Even if it's not being imposed on them, they will witness my friend Patsy, who is a girl, is treated this way and my friend Bobby, who is a boy, is treated that way,'' Marchbank said.
Efforts to do away with the male-female binary would benefit everyone, but simply offering a third option isn't the solution. Marchbank said she knows many people who feel their gender is fluid, rather than permanently fixed as male or female, and a third option wouldn't necessarily represent them.
A third option displayed on government ID would unnecessarily ''out'' someone as being either transgender or intersex, putting them at risk of discrimination, said Marchbank, who works with transgender youth in Vancouver.
In Ontario, gender was removed from health cards in June 2016 while driver's licences have ''X'' as an option.
It's a move Doty and other advocates for gender-free ID want to see implemented for all government documents.
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How To Stay Sane If Trump Is Driving You Insane: Advice From A Therapist.
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:02
''I feel like I've lost faith in humanity, in our country, in myself,'' a client told me recently. ''Is this depression, or is this the election?''
''Good question,'' I replied. The truth is, individual psychology is hugely influenced by political realities. Many of us feel insane right now because our world is not sane. Current events are very much at odds with our natural optimism, and our belief in human goodness and progress.
What made us so optimistic in the first place? Our nation was founded on idealistic, positive principles: human worth and dignity, the inevitability of progress, and the goodness of the human collective. Alex de Tocqueville in the early 19th century described Americans' remarkable optimism with interest. As an article in the Atlantic described in 2015, Americans have maintained our unusually sunny outlook even through our darkest hours. If we have a national ideology, it could be encapsulated in Obama's farewell address, with the assertion, ''I truly believe we are going to be okay.''
From such elevated hope has come a long, hard fall. We find ourselves in a darkening political climate in which corruption, hatred, exclusion, and paranoia are prominent. Many are experiencing despair and anxiety like never before, judging by the increase in calls to suicide and crisis hotlines, and anecdotal reports from therapists. A national trauma, just like a personal one, is as disorienting as it is terrifying. It makes us question everything we thought we knew. Two questions must be answered in order to heal:
How can we integrate this crisis into our understanding of the world?What do we do now?Our anxious minds are caught in the dissonance between our belief in progress and our current political hellscape. We must understand that the belief in human progress is a myth, with historical and religious context, and it is no longer serving us. Its roots trace back to Enlightenment philosophy, whose major thinkers believed civilization would progress toward perfection if humans were free to use their reason.
Optimism is also a coping mechanism. It can buoy us from the dark waters of suffering. When harsh reality is too much to take, clinging to a better future can help us carry on.
Our American brand of Christianity has adopted this narrative as well. Many grow up hearing statements like, ''People are inherently good.'' ''Everything happens for a reason.'' ''Do the right thing, and everything will work out.'' ''God has a plan. I can leave everything in God's hands.''
Such statements are offered as a salve for life's inevitable pain, but they have downsides. How many of us have wanted to punch a wall after a statement like, ''He's in a better place''? Positive thinking, when misplaced, is infuriating and unhelpful. Believing that ''everything will be okay'' sets us up for despair, because each new time things are not okay, we feel beaten down again. Optimism is not always healthy. It can make us complacent, fatigued, and detached from whole of our psyches.
There are times when optimism is not appropriate or possible, and this is one of those times. Our President is delusional, lying, or ignorant; disastrous climate change and war with North Korea loom; marginalized people in our society are suffering. Faced with these calamities, catastrophic thinking is a rational response. History teaches us that many arcs of history did not ''bend toward justice.'' The 65 million people currently displaced worldwide are tragic examples. We need only speak to a Native American to understand that collapse is entirely possible.
Instead of blind faith in progress, I offer a specific, practical system useful for maintaining mental health in a paranoid, post-positive world.
STEP 1: RADICAL ACCEPTANCE AND DIALECTICAL THINKING
''The path out of hell is through misery. By refusing to accept the misery that is part of climbing out of hell, you fall back into hell.'''Š'--'ŠMarsha Linehan, founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
Radical acceptance, as understood in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), distinguishes between pain and suffering. Pain cannot be avoided. Fighting against pain, however, is what drives the majority of our suffering. Painful reality can be fully (i.e. ''radically''), non-judgmentally accepted. When something terrible happens, our natural reaction is to fight against it: ''This should not have happened! I can't believe it! I would do anything to go back in time.'' Fighting our agony won't change it, however. We are better served by accepting what happened, allowing it to change us, and working with what is left.
In response to our current nightmare, we can wish it were different and stay miserable, or we can accept our new world. To be clear, this does not mean condoning what happened. It simply means coming to terms with what is, and with what we cannot control.
Of course, some circumstances can be changed with the right tools. There is much we cannot change, however. We cannot change that Donald Trump was elected. We cannot change that he is (very likely) pathologically narcissistic. We cannot change that many Americans are loyal to him in spite of his hatred, or even because of it. We see more clearly the greed rampant in the GOP establishment. We do well to accept these truths so that we can move forward, rather than paralyzing ourselves with shock and outrage.
You might be wondering, ''How can I just accept these things? They are not okay!'' Remember that acceptance is not condoning. To accept is not to say, ''This is okay.'' It is to say, ''This is what is.'' Notably, radical acceptance often drops us into a state of grief, as we come to terms with hard realities. We may find ourselves in a place of deep sadness. If so, allow time to feel and honor it.
We do well to accept that Trump is as bad as we think. He consistently demonstrates mental instability, greed, and aggression. I continue to hear responses to his policies such as, ''How could he do this? I can't believe it.'' Interviewers continue their efforts to get him to say rational things. His Tweets are re-Tweeted with rebuttals and indignation. This is energy wasted.
Don't allow his Tweets to play over and over in your mind. If you read them, register them as insane, and move on to the next moment. Even better, pay little attention to his stunts. Don't waste your energy getting riled up. Once we fully accept that Trump does evil, unhinged things (strategic lying, degrading/exploiting people) because he is evil and unhinged, we can get beyond his antics, anticipate them, and have a clear mind to plan our next move.
Acknowledge that greed and racism are part of our nation's fabric. We cannot wish them away. We cannot choose blindness disguised as positive bias; giving Republican politicians the ''benefit of the doubt'' has allowed them to get away with murder. Expect to find white rage in any discussion about immigration or discrimination, for example. Anticipating it will help us stay calm and focused. Once we accept that, we sharpen our focus to guard against their insidious infections. We focus on the work of fighting for human rights and accountability.
How do we do this, practically? The ''dialectic'' piece of DBT can help us get there.
Three truths of dialectical thinking:
People are complex webs of goodness, love, selfishness, and aggression. Allowing the co-existence of opposites is the essence of dialectic. Individuals are not selfless or selfish; they are selfless and selfish. Our political terrain includes progression and regression. DBT maintains that mental health requires a paradox of acceptance and change. We accept what is and we work toward change, in a dynamic, continually evolving process. Embracing ambivalence, paradox, and shades of gray promotes a sense of wholeness and flexibility. We become less outraged when circumstances don't fit within our rigid expectations.We do good things because they are good, but results are not guaranteed. Sometimes circumstances work out as we hope, sometimes they do not; most often they are too complicated to understand fully. This mindset lets go of cause-effect thinking: ''If I do x, then y should happen,'' which sets us up for frustration when results don't turn out as planned.We are responsible for our world. Believing in some mysterious force called ''progress'' absolves individuals of responsibility. Similarly, faith that ''God has a plan'' can promote complacency. Compassion, love, and affirming values exist because people intentionally work toward them. Claiming responsibility focuses our attention on what we can do to improve our world.STEP 2: ATTENTION IS EVERYTHINGMindfulness '--essentially, the art of shifting attention'Š'--'Šis revolutionizing mental health care. Current research in mental health demonstrates enormous benefits to mindfulness practice. In order to promote well being, we can learn to practice mindful attention both to the present moment and to the good as we understand it. Faced with a frequently depressing, maddening world, this can mean focusing intently on the inspiring work going on around us in a multitude of spheres. Each time you feel hopelessness creep in, focus your attention on the kindness, generosity, and good will around you. We are witnessing an unprecedented blossoming of activism. If our eyes are tuned to the light, we will find the light'Š'--'Šin the surge of donations to ACLU, in churches offering sanctuary to immigrants, in town hall meetings packed with civically engaged citizens'Š'--'Ševerywhere.
Each time the tapes of despair and anger play in your mind, doggedly shift your focus. The mind will wander, again and again. Each time it happens, we notice the anxious thoughts, and shift our focus back. The anxious mind will scream, ''How could our President cut Meals on Wheels? What a monster! Those poor people!'' Then, shift focus back to the good, ''The program has seen a500% increase in volunteerssince the cuts were proposed. Maybe I could get involved!''
You may object, ''But I can't just forget all the terrible things going on!'' You are right. Mindfulness is not about forgetting. It is about shifting focus to what is most immediate and most helpful. We help no one by staying in our anguish for long. Bernie Sanders said it best: ''Despair is not an option.''
THE SYSTEM AT WORKHere is how this could play out in our minds, using an example from my life recently.
Anxious mind: *reads news about the travel ban* No! Our leaders are disgusting! *imagines crying children separated from their mothers* I can't believe this. *pit in stomach*
Radical acceptance:Yes. This is our reality now. Our nation is rife with corruption and people are hurting. My heart goes out to all those in pain. *pit in stomach softens, feels heavier*
Grief that follows:I need to grieve this. The pain is real. *deep breath, moment of silence*
Mindful attention to the good:How can I support Muslim people in my community? *searches online* There is an Islamic Society nearby. I will contact them. *calls and emails*
I received an email in response, indicating that many others had reached out as well. ''Greetings of peace to all of you. I have been overwhelmed with your kindness in my reading of each of your emails and letters. '...In an effort to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, I would love to extend a humble invitation to each of you on behalf of the Islamic Society.'' The Society hosted an event to bring us together in dialogue, and it was one of the most heart-warming, inspiring experiences I have had all year. I learned more about Islam and visited a mosque for the first time. I looked in people's eyes and asked them questions and felt something sacred among us.
Despair shouts back:But this is a drop in the bucket compared to what our government is doing! What if it's all useless?
Pessimism is not helpful either. Both optimism and pessimism require future-oriented thinking. They exist in the hypothetical, the imaginary. Mindfulness involves shifting our attention'Š'--'Šrepeatedly, resolutely'Š'--'Šback to the present moment. We do not know the future. We cannot fully know the impact of any particular action. We must focus on what we can do, right here and right now. Bring the mind back from its runaway worries and future predictions. Focus that energy on concrete action, and the rewards will feed your soul.
We are traveling a long road toward change. At times, the pain will be so intense that these skills may not serve us fully. In those moments, allow yourself breaks. Care for yourself. If you find you are struggling to function normally, you may be experiencing more serious depression, anxiety, or trauma symptoms. Reaching out to a professional can help. When I need strength, I re-read the note from the Islamic Society: ''Many thanks for your support, encouragement, and efforts done to assist our community during this difficult time.'' I remember the humility and kindness in that room. No one, not even Donald Trump, can take that away.
BBC to cut journalists' pay perks as it looks to save £80m from news budget | Media | The Guardian
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:00
Andrew Marr said the BBC's decision to disclose the remuneration of employees with salaries in excess of £150,000 would be 'uncomfortable for all of us'. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
The BBC is considering the removal of a variety of pay perks from its journalists' contracts in a move that threatens to spark a new row between the workforce and senior management.
The corporation has made series of proposals to staff about changing their terms and conditions as it looks to cut £80m from its news budget.
Allowances under threat include that paid to staff working unpredictable hours, which would be frozen for existing employees and scrapped for new starters. The BBC also wants to cut overtime payments in favour of giving lieu days.
Employees who get taxis due to very early or late starts will be asked to get public transport if it is available. There will also be cuts to so-called ''acting up'' pay for staff asked to fill a role senior to their usual pay grade.
The review of terms and conditions could represent a significant change for staff. They do not apply to senior managers, which has further frustrated the workforce.
Sources in the BBC have told the Guardian they expect the proposals to be rejected in a ballot set to take place in August.
The proposals have been made as the BBC prepares to reveal how much it pays its top earners, including stars such as Graham Norton Gary Lineker. Under the new royal charter, the BBC must disclose the remuneration of employees with a salary of more than £150,000. Andrew Marr, the political journalist, said the pay disclosure will be ''uncomfortable for all of us''.
How much the BBC pays its top talent will be revealed alongside the corporation's annual report, which is due to be published later this month. It is likely to spark a new backlash about how much the BBC is spending on its top names.
Sir David Clementi, the chairman of the BBC, told the Financial Times in an interview this week that the corporation ''would have preferred a different outcome'' to publishing the pay of its stars, but insisted they were not overpaid.
In a separate plan to the proposed changes to terms and conditions, BBC News is looking to reduce the amount it spends on presenters, editors and correspondents by 10% over the next five years.
The BBC is understood to have ruled out the idea of pay cap. Instead it is looking to introduce pay bands for on-air news talent '' similar to what exists in other parts of the BBC '' depending on their experience and other factors. However, the presenters and journalists would still be free to earn extra money for their work for the BBC outside news.
The BBC expects to finalise these proposals later this year and has said it wants to establish a ''clear and fair structure'' for on-air talent.
The BBC employs about 19,000 full-time staff in public service broadcasting with approximately 7,000 in news, including the World Service.
A BBC source said the proposed changes to terms and conditions had been made after months of talks with trade unions. They are expected to be cost neutral over two years.
A spokesperson for the BBC said: ''These new proposals set out a simpler and fairer way of working which recognise the demands of a modern broadcasting organisation. The proposals include support for the lowest paid employees and would ensure we have support in place for those who need it, while also ending complexities and outdated allowances so we operate more efficiently.''
' This article was amended on 10 July 2017 to clarify that the BBC is attempting to cut £80m from its news budget, but that is separate to the consultation on terms and conditions.
Alexa calls cops on man allegedly beating his girlfriend | New York Post
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 23:15
A New Mexico man was arrested for allegedly beating his girlfriend and threatening to kill her '-- after Amazon's Alexa called police, authorities said.
Eduardo Barros, 28, became angered with his unidentified girlfriend while house-sitting in Tijeras, about 15 miles east of Albuquerque, and the dispute suddenly turned physical on July 2, authorities said.
During the assault, Barros waved a gun and threatened to kill the woman before he allegedly asked: ''Did you call the sheriffs?''
The question was inadvertently picked up by the smart speaker and the voice-powered virtual assistant recognized the phrase as a command '-- prompting it to call 911, Bernallillo County Sheriff's Department Deputy Felicia Romero confirmed to The Post on Monday.
It's unclear whether the speaker was connected to an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot device, but the Alexa virtual assistant was connected to a landline in the home, Romero said.
The violent ordeal unfolded after Barros allegedly got upset over a text message the woman received and accused her of cheating on him, KRQE reported.
''Barros told her she was not going anywhere and he was going to kill her,'' according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Post. ''When 911 called her phone, Barros saw the caller ID and threw [her] to the floor. Barros then kicked her while on the ground at least 10 times in the face and stomach. Barros told [the victim] he could not believe the cops had been called and he was not going back to prison and that she knew he was a felon. [The victim] stated she thought she was going to be killed or shot.''
Eduardo Barros Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office Responding deputies managed to remove the woman and her unidentified daughter from the home. She received minor injuries during the incident, but was not hospitalized. Her daughter was not harmed, Romero told ABC News.
Barros, a convicted felon, was later taken into custody after a crisis negotiation team and a SWAT team were called to the residence. He was ordered held without bail on charges that include possession of a firearm, aggravated battery and false imprisonment.
''The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,'' Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III told ABC News. ''This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation.''
Russia scandal also may touch Democrats - Washington Times
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 13:00
ANALYSIS/OPINION:
Washington and the national media are all about double standards. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the sort of Russian ''ties'' used to condemn Republicans as possible agents of Moscow are dismissed as irrelevant when Democrats are revealed to have deeper, stronger and far more remunerative connections to Russian banks, oligarchs and institutions than any Republican currently being banished to the outer darkness by Democratic ''progressives.''
During the 2016 campaign, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton's foundation had taken more than $100 million in contributions from a firm heavily backed by Moscow seeking control of as much as 20 percent of this country's uranium reserves, that the deal required a sign-off from the State Department headed at the time by Mrs. Clinton, and that her husband had traveled to Russia, according The New York Times, given a speech and received a half-million-dollar honorarium from the Moscow bank funding the effort. When conservatives expressed concerns about all this, suggesting that perhaps there had been something resembling a ''quid pro quo'' involved, liberals were outraged, fact checkers leaped into action and the very suspicion was roundly condemned as wild and irresponsible conspiracy-mongering by out-of-control wing nuts.
We were told that there was no reason to be suspicious because Mrs. Clinton was only one of several Obama administration officials who had to give permission for the deal; she didn't personally attend the crucial meeting, but instead sent one of her lower-level State Department officials and that, besides, the timing was wrong. Many of the contributions came in before an actual request for approval was tendered and we all therefore had to assume the contributions were made to promote the wonderful work of the Clinton Foundation rather than to buy or even seek favorable consideration from the woman who was then in a position to torpedo the company's plans.
Later, when emails released by WikiLeaks suggested that Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, had received tens of thousands of shares of stock while sitting on the board of a company heavily dependent on Russian financing and didn't list all this on his disclosure forms when he went into the Obama White House, we were assured by one and all that he had divested himself of any interest in the Russian-financed firm by leaving its board and turning his shares over to his ''adult children'' in an arm's-length transaction.
It has since turned out, thanks to investigative work by the Daily Caller and others that Mr. Podesta paid to have Leonidio Holdings, the ''independent'' firm to which he transferred his stock, set up its business address in his daughter's home and that in hiding the details of the transactions involved, he may well have violated the spirit and letter of the government's disclosure laws. Whether anyone does anything about all this is doubtful, but contrast Mr. Podesta's claim that he had satisfied White House ethics requirements by transferring the stock to his ''adult children'' with the outcry over the fact that President Trump's adult children will be running his businesses while he serves as president.
It is just as clear that John Podesta and his adult children are not the only members of this influential Democratic family to have profited from their Moscow connections. John's brother Tony runs the Podesta Group, which is what the media like to describe as a ''high-powered and well-connected Washington lobbying firm.'' The Podesta Group during the 2016 campaign received $170,000 from Russia's largest bank to lobby against the sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration and Congress; the very sanctions Mr. Trump's first national security adviser was fired for ''mentioning'' to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before he entered the government.
Republicans associated with Mr. Trump, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, find themselves in hot water with the media and the Washington establishment for running into the Russian ambassador at public meetings, but Democrats from Mrs. Clinton, her husband, campaign manager and friends raise nary an eyebrow for feathering their already-opulent nests with boatloads of rubles from Russian oligarchs, banks and investors.
All of this was known before Election Day, but the media accepted the line from political strategists like Mr. Podesta who. while benefiting from his Russian ties, that Republicans were somehow being influenced by Moscow. Congress can do much to end the double standard by calling the recipients of all this Russian largesse to explain just what they did or were expected to do in return for it.
' David A. Keene is Opinion editor at The Washington Times.
Trump Is Already Guilty of Aiding Putin's Attack on America '' Mother Jones
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:52
The Trump-Russia scandal is the subject of multiple investigations that may or may not unearth new revelations, but this much is already certain: Donald Trump is guilty.
We don't need additional information about the Russian covert scheme to undermine the 2016 campaign, or about the curious interactions between Team Trump and Russia, or about Trump pressuring and then firing FBI Director James Comey, to reach the judgment that the president of the United States engaged in wrongdoing.
From the start, Trump and his crew have claimed they had nothing to do with the hack-and-leak operation mounted by Russian intelligence to help Trump nab the presidency. They have dismissed the matter as fake news, and they have insisted there is no issue because there has been no proof that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. In May, for instance, Trump proclaimed, ''Believe me, there's no collusion.'' Nothing to see; move along.
Explicit collusion may yet be proved by the FBI investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller or by other ongoing probes. But even if it is not, a harsh verdict can be pronounced: Trump actively and enthusiastically aided and abetted Russian President Vladimir Putin's plot against America. This is the scandal. It already exists'--in plain sight.
As soon as the news broke a year ago that the Russians had penetrated the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, Trump launched a campaign of denial and distraction. For months, he refused to acknowledge the Kremlin's role. He questioned expert and government findings that pinned the blame on Moscow. He refused to condemn Putin. Far from treating these acts of information warfare seriously, he attempted to politicize and delegitimize the evidence. Meanwhile, he and his supporters encouraged more Russian hacking. All told, Trump provided cover for a foreign government's attempt to undermine American democracy. Through a propaganda campaign of his own, he helped Russia get away with it. As James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, testified to Congress this spring, Trump ''helps the Russians by obfuscating who was actually responsible.''
On June 15, 2016, the day after the Washington Post reported that the DNC had been hacked and that cybersecurity experts had identified two groups linked to the Russian government as the perps, Trump's campaign issued a statement blaming the victim: ''We believe it was the DNC that did the 'hacking' as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.'' The intent was obvious: to impede somber consideration of the Russian intervention, to have voters and reporters see it as just another silly political hullabaloo.
Help us dig deep on Trump's ties to Russia. Make a tax-deductible monthly orone-time donation to Mother Jones today.
In the following weeks, Trump continued to claim the Russia story was fiction. After WikiLeaks dumped nearly 20,000 DNC emails'--a move that nearly blew up the Democratic convention'--Trump tweeted, ''The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.'' Two days later, he proclaimed at a news conference, ''Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.'' Trump supporters including Rep. Mike Pompeo, who would become Trump's CIA director, and Roger Stone, the longtime political dirty trickster, cheered on WikiLeaks.
What could be better for Putin? The US government had called him out'--yet Trump was discrediting this conclusion.
By midsummer, numerous cyber experts had bolstered the conclusion that Russia was behind the hacks. And President Barack Obama echoed those findings. So anyone paying attention to the facts'--say, a presidential candidate and his advisers'--would have been aware of this fundamental point. Indeed, in August, during his first intelligence briefing as the Republican presidential nominee, Trump was reportedly told that there were direct links between the hacks and the Russian government.
Still, he didn't change his tune. During a September 8 interview with RT, the Kremlin-controlled broadcaster that has been accused of disseminating fake news and propaganda, Trump discounted the Russian connection: ''I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows, but I think it's pretty unlikely.'' (Yes, he did this on RT.) He repeated a similar line at the first presidential debate at the end of that month, with his famous reference to how the DNC hacker ''could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?''
Private experts and US intelligence had already determined that Russia had pulled off this caper. Trump had been told this. Yet he continued to deny Russia's culpability, actively protecting Moscow.
Many Republicans followed his lead. Trump's stance'--treating a widely shared conclusion as controversial speculation'--essentially foreclosed a vigorous and bipartisan response to the Moscow intervention. It is hard to imagine how this did not embolden Russian intelligence and reinforce Putin's belief that he had backed the right horse.
On October 7, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence blew the whistle on Moscow, issuing a statement that the DNC hack and related cyberattacks had been authorized by ''Russia's senior-most officials.'' Yet Trump remained on the side of the enemy. That same day, the now notorious grab-them-by-the-pussy video surfaced'--and less than an hour after that story broke, WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of stolen emails from John Podesta, the Clinton campaign's chairman. Trump's response, at the second presidential debate: ''I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say 'the Russians.' Well, [Hillary Clinton] doesn't know if it's the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking.'' The next day at a campaign rally, Trump, citing some of the Podesta emails, exclaimed, ''I love WikiLeaks!''
Trump continued calling the Russia story a hoax, asserting that the hacks might have been waged by China or others. And he still showed no signs of confronting Putin.
What could be better for Putin? The US government had called him out, yet the GOP presidential candidate was discrediting this conclusion. Trump made it tougher for Obama and the White House to denounce Putin publicly'--to do so, they feared, would give Trump cause to argue they were trying to rig the election against him.
At the final debate, Clinton accurately summed up Trump's position: ''It's pretty clear you won't admit that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people.'' Trump replied, ''Our country has no idea'' who pulled off the hacks.
After the election, he maintained this stance. ''It's time for the country to move on,'' he said in December. Two weeks later, after the US intelligence establishment released a report concluding Putin had implemented this covert op to install Trump in the White House, the president-elect compared the intelligence community to Nazi Germany. Though he did at one point concede Russia was the culprit, Trump continued calling the Russia story a hoax whipped up by Democrats and eventually reverted to form, asserting that the hacks might have been waged by China or others. And he still showed no signs of confronting Putin. At the Russian leader's request, he jovially hosted the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office'--and then disclosed top-secret information to them. Moreover, he did this the day after brazenly ousting Comey, who was overseeing the bureau's probe of Moscow's meddling and links between Trump associates and Russia.
It's been common for political observers to say the Trump-Russia controversy has generated a great deal of smoke, but the amount of fire is yet to be determined. It's true that the various links tying Trump and his associates to Russia have yet to be fully explained. Many questions remain: Was there any specific coordination? If not, did the Trump camp privately signal to Moscow that Russia would get a better deal if Trump were elected? That alone would have provided encouragement for Putin to attack.
This country needs a thorough and public investigation to sort out how the Russian operation worked, how US intelligence and the Obama administration responded, and how Trump and his associates interacted with Russia and WikiLeaks. But whatever happened out of public view, the existing record is already conclusively shameful. Trump and his crew were active enablers of Putin's operation to subvert an American election. That is fire, not smoke. That is scandal enough.
See our entire updated Trump-Russia timeline dating back to the 1980s.
F.C.C. Likely to Open New Airwaves to Wireless - NYTimes.com
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:35
WASHINGTON '-- When the Federal Communications Commission first approved the use of unlicensed bands of the airwaves decades ago, it began a revolution in consumer electronics '-- first in television remote controls and garage door openers, then in baby monitors and cordless phones, and most recently in wireless computer networks.
This month, the F.C.C. is likely to approve what could be an even bigger expansion of the unlicensed airwaves, opening the door to supercharged Wi-Fi networks that will do away with the need to find a wireless hot spot and will provide the scaffolding for new applications that are not yet imagined.
''We know what the first kind of deployments will be,'' Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the F.C.C., said in an interview, citing wireless broadband networks that can cover entire university or corporate campuses, for example '-- what is referred to in the industry as ''Wi-Fi on steroids.''
The stronger, faster networks will extend broadband signals to bypassed rural areas and allow for smart electric grids, remote health monitoring and, for consumers, wireless Internet without those annoying dead zones.
''But this will also be a platform for innovators and entrepreneurs,'' Mr. Genachowski said. ''There is every chance of this leading to the development of one or more billion-dollar industries.''
Just as broadband-ready smartphones could hardly be imagined in 1938, when the F.C.C. first approved the use of unlicensed radio waves, or even in 1985, when it issued the rules that led to Wi-Fi, the eventual consumer products that will use the new airwaves are all but unknown.
''I'm absolutely confident that there will be a huge range of applications that we cannot yet predict,'' said Dan Reed, corporate vice president for technology policy and strategy at Microsoft, which, alongside Google and Dell, has pushed hard for the F.C.C. to approve the new rules.
Anyone who has wandered through a hotel conference center waving a laptop and hoping for a signal knows that wireless broadband connections have their limitations.
The expanded access to airwaves offers a solution. The unused bands of spectrum were generated by the conversion of television signals from analog to digital. Because digital transmission uses a smaller slice of spectrum, more ''white space'' was freed up around each broadcast signal. It is those white spaces that the F.C.C. is now seeking to put to use.
The new airwaves are particularly attractive because television signals are low-frequency waves, meaning they can travel farther, go more easily through walls, trees and other obstructions, and provide more reliable connections.
As with any developing technology, uncertainties remain. Urban areas, which have the most demand for the new airwaves, have less of them available because more local television stations are using available bands. Also, by making the airwaves available free, the F.C.C. is bypassing the possibility of using them to generate revenue, either through auctions or user fees.
The F.C.C. is virtually certain to approve the new rules at its Sept. 23 meeting, because it already has approved a similar set of rules, in November 2008. Those rules have never been in effect, however, because both supporters and opponents of the concept objected to some of the details.
Supporters challenged the F.C.C.'s decision to require new devices to include a feature that conducts an electronic search for airwaves that are not occupied, as well as to rely on a database of unused airwaves in choosing a frequency on which to transmit its signal. That belt-and-suspenders approach would have made devices more expensive because of the complicated engineering required.
The use of the white spaces was more generally opposed by a coalition of industries that included broadcasters, who feared that the new signals would interfere with their transmissions, and theater owners, sports arenas and churches, which make extensive use of wireless microphones that they, too, feared would be subject to interference.
Exactly how the F.C.C. has addressed those objections will not be known until the new rules are released at the Sept. 23 meeting. But people in the telecommunications industry who keep close tabs on the agency say they expect that the searching requirement will be abandoned, and that wireless microphones will be given certain transmission priorities.
Wireless networks that use the white-space signals are already being tested in several locations. Microsoft uses the signals in a wireless network that stretches over its corporate campus in Redmond, Wash.
The city of Wilmington, N.C., and the surrounding New Hanover County has a trial network used by several government entities. The transportation department connects wirelessly to remote cameras that help it monitor traffic congestion. The parks department similarly monitors remote wetland areas and uses the signals to transmit environmental data that is required by federal regulators '-- saving the cost of sending an employee to scattered locations.
Some new devices undoubtedly will serve health care applications, allowing hospitals to move equipment easily without rewiring or allowing them to monitor patients in remote settings. And so-called smart grids '-- systems that allow a power company to track consumption and generation more closely or to control appliances from a central location '-- are also likely.
Blair Levin, a fellow at the Aspen Institute and a former F.C.C. official, said that although there was no guarantee that the new airwaves would produce the technological gold rush that some supporters have expected, ''anything that is put to use that is now lying fallow is good for the economy.''
The fact that new applications can use unlicensed airwaves is important as an economic development tool, said Rebecca Arbogast, a managing director and telecommunications analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. Few companies have the billions of dollars required to buy spectrum that is periodically auctioned off by the F.C.C., she said, but unlicensed spectrum can attract cash-poor, start-up companies.
The deployment of television-band white spaces represents a rarely used model for the F.C.C., which historically has operated under more of a command-and-control model, in which it tells licensees what they can use their spectrum for.
''The last time we did this, no one knew what would happen,'' Mr. Genachowski said. But the result '-- wireless computer networking and other consumer applications '-- has transformed the economy.
While issues of interference and other conflicts inevitably will arise and will be have to be addressed by the commission, he said, ''we are confident that the benefits of moving forward are so significant that we should act now.''
Spotify denies it's playlisting fake artists. So why are all these fake artists on its playlists? - Music Business Worldwide
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:47
Well'... this is awkward.
Last summer, MBW ran a widely-read story which blew the lid off the fact that Spotify's platform was being deliberately clogged up with music by 'fake' artists.
We were told that Daniel Ek's company was encouraging and even paying producers to create tracks under untraceable pseudonyms '' within specific musical guidelines '' which were then being drafted into key first-party playlists.
After some consideration, Spotify declined to comment.
On Friday (July 7), nearly a year after our article appeared, Spotify issued a fierce denial of such accusations.
''We do not and have never created 'fake' artists and put them on Spotify playlists. Categorically untrue, full stop,'' said a spokeperson in response to a Vulture article which cited MBW's story.
''We pay royalties -sound and publishing '' for all tracks on Spotify, and for everything we playlist.
''We do not own rights, we're not a label, all our music is licensed from rights-holders and we pay them '' we don't pay ourselves.''
What's essential to remember here: amongst Spotify's indignant yet carefully-worded statement, you might have missed the bit where they deny that their service is littered with fake artists.
That's because they can't.
And, to prove the point, we're about to reveal the names of 50 of them.
Here's where this story veers somewhere towards scandal.
These non-existent acts are deliberately being chosen for inclusion, time and time again, on first-party playlists with millions of followers at the expense of label-signed music.
You've got to ask yourself why.
Does their music, as MBW is told, come with a more favorable royalty pricetag than tracks from traditional independent and major rights-holders?
We have a slight conundrum here, in that it's difficult to now defend the veracity of our original story without breaking the confidence of our informants.
But we can say this much: last year, we learned about a producer in Europe who claimed that he'd done a deal with Spotify to create songs under 'fake' artist names.
''We do not and have never created 'fake' artists and put them on Spotify playlists. Categorically untrue, full stop.''
Spotify spokesperson
These tracks were then included by Spotify on key genre-based playlists.
To further corroborate this information, we were handed the names of his Spotify pseudonyms. They all existed, and they all boasted tracks with 500,000+ streams.
Other senior sources in the industry weren't shocked '' telling us that 'fake' artists appearing on first-party Spotify playlists was now common practice, and was indeed a bid by the platform to drive down its licensing costs.
These playlists included, amongst others, Peaceful Piano, Piano In The Background, Deep Focus, Sleep, Ambient Chill and Music For Concentration.
So how do you know if an artist on Spotify is definitely fake?
You don't. Not for sure.
Put it this way: if an act on Spotify has millions of streams from just a couple of tracks, but no other internet presence whatsoever, wouldn't that strike you as odd?
No Facebook, no Twitter, no ReverbNation page, no homepage, no SoundCloud?
What about if they had no manager/lawyer and no industry relationships? And seemingly, according to their Spotify credits, personally owned all of their own rights?
''We've been told that third-parties are involved, and at least some of the people behind the fake artists agree to insanely low margins, which obviously has a financial benefit to Spotify.''
Senior music business executive speaking under condition of anonymity
What if their music then only appeared on Spotify '' and was nowhere to be seen on YouTube, Apple Music etc.?
That would be weird, right? That would make no sense.
In total, tracks by the 50 'fake' artists we've rumbled below amount to over 520m Spotify streams.
By traditional rights-holder payout metrics, that's worth more than $3m in royalty payouts.
And this is just what MBW knows about '' almost certainly the tip of the iceberg.
Here's an idea. If any of the individuals mentioned in MBW's list below are not completely and utterly fictional, please contact us.
We're pretty sure A&R teams from across the globe would love to hear about artists with no online presence who have managed to rack up millions of Spotify plays with their first few tracks.
The big time beckons! We could change your life!
''this strategy is designed to lower the share of music on playlists from legitimate labels '' major and indie '' that are investing substantial resources to develop quality artists and music, so that Spotify can lower its content costs and lessen the influence of the labels.''
Senior music business executive speaking under condition of anonymity
We don't expect any of you to get in touch, of course.
Because you're fake. Lifeless. Non-existent.
This is basically the equivalent of shouting motivational phrases to a warehouse full of mannequins.
Creepy.
Where were we, again? Right.
After Spotify's no-way-never-not-in-a-million-years denial on Friday, MBW felt a bit hurt.
Last year, proper sources with proper verified industry credentials told us that Spotify had commissioned individuals to create music under fake names, before deliberately selecting these tracks for its playlists.
And here's Spotify saying it's all nonsense.
So rather than making sweeping statements, let's just ask some questions. Logical, obvious questions.
Here's what we know for sure: there are a plethora of made-up artists on Spotify, being created under anonymity by producers, racking up millions of streams, being picked to appear on key first-party playlists.
It already sounds a bit dodgy, right?
So here's what we want to know:
Question 1: Who is recommending and/or commissioning these people to create these tracks?Question 2: If, as Spotify says, these producers are not selling their masters off as production music, what royalty rate are they getting compared to real artists and labels? Is it 0%?Question 3: The vital question. Why is Spotify picking these tracks to appear on its own playlists with such volume and regularity, and ahead of recordings from major and independent labels?We haven't just posed these questions to a metaphorical roomful of mannequins.
Yesterday, we asked Spotify.
Guess what? They declined to comment.
Oh, actually, we didn't just ask Spotify.
We also asked very senior figures in the music business '' including those working at the top table of major and independent labels '' who are familiar with Spotify's practices.
Here's what some of these people (anonymized) have told us in the past 24 hours.
''We've been very aware of these artists. Some of the acoustic covers playlists contain 'artists' owned by a third-party indie production company that's been doing cheap covers for years. We're confident that the acoustic piano stuff is owned by Spotify under assumed names.''''This has been going on for a long time. We've been told that third-parties are involved, and at least some of the people behind the fake artists agree to insanely low margins, which obviously has a financial benefit to Spotify. The labels hate it.''''What we can be sure of is that this strategy is designed to lower the share of music on playlists from legitimate labels '' major and indie '' that are investing substantial resources to develop quality artists and music, so that Spotify can lower its content costs and lessen the influence of the labels.''Once again, to be clear, Spotify has denied any ownership of master rights, and claims: ''We pay royalties '' sound and publishing '' for all tracks on Spotify, and for everything we playlist.''
And again, it adds: ''We do not and have never created 'fake' artists and put them on Spotify playlists.''
Spotify remains in negotiations with Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to renew long-term global licensing deals.
Spotify's fake artists: MBW's big list (total streams)Amity Cadet (9.2m)Gabriel Parker (24.9m)Charlie Key (23.6m)Ana Olgica (23.5m)Lo Mimieux (22.3m)Mbo Mentho (10.3m)Benny Treskow (14.9m)Greg Barley (21.4m)Relajar (13.4m)Jeff Bright Jr (15.8m)Mayhem (10.2m)Novo Talos (17.2m)Advaitas (7.4m)Clay Edwards (4.7m)Benny Bernstein (9.6m)Enno Aare (17.1m)Amy Yeager (5.7m)Otto Wahl (27m)Piotr Miteska (26.7m)Leon Noel (2.7m)Giuseppe Galvetti (2.7m)Caro Utobarto (1.2m)Risto Carto (1.7m)Karin Borg (24.2m)Hultana (3.2m)Hiroshi Yamazaki (8.6m)Milos Stavos (7.1m)Allysa Nelson (4.3m)They Dream By Day (16.2m)Evelyn Stein (14.3m)J"zef Gatysik (10.4m)Jonathan Coffey (480k)Pernilla Mayer (4.2m)Hermann (11.8m)Aaron Lansing (11.3m)Dylan Francis (6.5m)Christopher Colman (509k)Sam Eber (1.6m)Fellows (3.3m)Martin Fox (2.5m)Deep Watch (4.8m)The 2 Inversions (10.3m)Bon Vie (4.7m)Wilma Harrods (5.3m)Antologie (5.8m)Heinz Goldblatt (513k)Charles Bolt (32.4m)Samuel Lindon (11.8m)Tony Lieberman (2.5m)Mia Strass (8.9m)Music Business Worldwide
Professor Stephen Cohen Intellectually Destroys Russophobia - YouTube
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 07:45
FROM BAD TO WORSE: After Caving to Black Lives Matter, Mizzou Closes Seven Dorms, Cuts 400 Jobs | Daily Wire
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 03:21
After it was reported at the end of June that the University of Missouri, crippled by a plunge in enrollment after its debacle over charges of racism in 2015, was attempting to recoup its losses by renting dorm rooms to football weekend visitors, there is now this: The New York Timesreports that the university is temporarily closing seven dormitories and cutting over 400 positions, including those of some non-tenured faculty members.
You might expect that the decline in enrollment occurred primarily among whites, after the flimsily-supported racism charges of 2015 resulted in the resignation of the university's president; The Daily Wire reported, ''Many parents and alumni responded by refusing to contribute money to the public university. For example, donations to its athletics department dropped 72% last year.''
But here's the big surprise: as the Times notes: ''Students of all races have shunned Missouri, but the drop in freshman enrollment last fall was strikingly higher among blacks, at 42%, than among whites, at 21%.''
Mun Choi, the new University of Missouri System president, told the Times, ''The general consensus was that it was because of the aftermath of what happened in November 2015. There were students from both in-state and out-of-state that just did not apply, or those who did apply but decided not to attend.''
Things have gotten so precarious that the library is asking for donations to buy 400 books.
Umbrella-sharing startup loses nearly all of its 300,000 umbrellas in a matter of weeks: Shanghaiist
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 03:17
With bike-sharing companies like Mobike becoming incredibly successful in Chinese cities, a few startups have decided to mimic the concept with shareable umbrellas. The only problem: most of the umbrellas have gone missing.
Only a few weeks after starting up operations in 11 cities across China, Sharing E Umbrella announced that it had lost almost all of its 300,000 umbrellas.
The Shenzhen-based company was launched with a 10 million yuan investment. The concept was similar to those that bike-sharing startups have used to (mostly) great success. Customers use an app on their smartphone to pay a 19 yuan deposit fee for an umbrella, which costs just 50 jiao for every half hour of use.
According to the South China Morning Post, company CEO Zhao Shuping said that the idea came to him after watching bike-sharing schemes take off across China, making him realize that "everything on the street can now be shared."
A host of different companies have been able to take advantage of China's sharing economy craze. Foreign enterprises like Uber and Airbnb both managed to make inroads in the Middle Kingdom, but their Chinese rivals (Didi Chuxing and Tujia, respectively) have fared even better.
With the help of mobile wallets and barcode scanners, Chinese residents can now rent anything from bikes to basketballs to cell phone chargers. Naturally, this has attracted many tech startups to experiment in Chinese urban centers; however, some ideas have turned out better than others.
While Sharing E Umbrella gave out their umbrellas at train and bus stops, they soon realized that getting users to return the umbrellas would be a problem. "Umbrellas are different from bicycles," Zhao said. "Bikes can be parked anywhere, but with an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on."
The SCMP reports that Zhao concluded that the safest place for an umbrella would be at the customer's home, where it would be safe and undamaged. But, apparently, customers have skipped the final step of then returning the umbrellas, simply keeping them for themselves.
Each lost umbrella costs the company 60 yuan to replace, but Zhao has not yet given up hope. He reportedly plans to release another 30 million umbrellas by the end of the year. If at first you don't succeed...
Sixth Tone points out that Sharing E Umbrella, along with its 14 other competitors in the umbrella-sharing industry, might face even more problems as the weeks turn into months.
For a business that depends on rain, finding a steady profit might prove challenging. China receives the most rain in the summertime, leaving little interest in the business during drier months. What's worse, in regions with frequent rain, people are more likely to just buy their own umbrellas.
Umbrella renting schemes aren't the only sharing businesses suffering from problems with theft in China. Last month, shared-bike startup Wukong Bicycles went out of business in Chongqing after nearly all of its bikes were stolen following just six months of operation. Shortly afterward, Beijing-based 3Vbike followed suit.
So even though it would be nice to grab an umbrella when walking home in a downpour, one thing seems clear: if sharing economy companies don't change the way that they keep track of their products, they won't stick around long -- whether it rains or not.
By Caroline Roy
CNN hired top al-Qaeda propagandist for award-winning Syria documentary and wants to cover its tracks - Salon.com
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 02:50
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
On June 16, an American media activist living in rebel-held Syrian territory sat down before a camera to vent his frustration with a former employer. Bilal Abdul Kareem described how he and his online outlet, On the Ground News, had been contracted by CNN to film the documentary Undercover in Syria.
''This was with CNN and their correspondent Clarissa Ward, which I have big-time respect for, big-time respect as a journalist, as a person,'' Abdul Kareem remarked.
With a sardonic grin, Abdul Kareem described how he was slighted: ''This Undercover in Syria, you can Google it '-- it won the prestigious Peabody Award, and it won the prestigious Overseas Press Club Award, which are basically the highest awards in journalism for international reporting. Now, [CNN] barely mentioned my name! I'm telling you, somehow CNN must have forgotten that I was the one that filmed it, I guess they forgot that.''
Indeed, Abdul Kareem's name was a mere footnote in the Peabody Awards press release on its honoring of CNN. The organization praised Clarissa Ward for ''[going] undercover into northern Syria to document Russian influence on the fighting and to navigate the ongoing devastation,'' but credited Abdul Kareem only in small print, despite the fact that he was responsible for providing CNN with its on-the-ground footage.
At the April 2017 ceremony where the network's Undercover in Syria won the Overseas Press Club Award, CNN president Jeff Zucker was on hand to deliver the keynote address. CNN later touted the award in a press release that celebrated the access Ward was granted to eastern Aleppo by the Islamist insurgents that had controlled it. The network noted that her work resulted in her being invited to testify before the United Nations Security Council. But CNN made no mention of Abdul Kareem's role in the special.
Contrary to Abdul Kareem's claim that CNN had simply ''forgotten'' him, the network may have had reason to airbrush him out of its public relations material. The man Ward contracted to take her into rebel-controlled territory was well established as one of the top English-language propagandists for al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, along with other extremist groups fighting the Syrian government.
In fact, the Saudi Arabian news outlet Al Arabiya reported on June 7 that Abdul Kareem officially joined al-Nusra in 2012.
Abdul Kareem denied this accusation in a Facebook video response. ''I am not, nor have I ever been, nor do I need to be a part of al-Qaeda. I don't have any need for that,'' he said, noting that he is considering legal action against Al Arabiya for its report.
However, one of Abdul Kareem's closest colleagues has also been accused of membership in Syria's al-Qaeda franchise. Akif Razaq, an employee of Abdul Kareem's online media group, On the Ground News, was recently stripped of British citizenship for his alleged involvement with al-Nusra. A notice presented by British authorities to Razaq's family in Birmingham accused him of being ''aligned with an al-Qaeda affiliated group'' and declared that he ''presents a threat to the national security of the United Kingdom.''
During Abdul Kareem's Facebook video response to the Al Arabiya report, he was seated beside Razap. Razaq has also co-hosted On the Ground News segments with him.
While Abdul Kareem insisted there was ''no proof'' of his membership in the Salafi-jihadist organization, rebels inside Syria tell a different story.
Journalist or jihadist videographer?
AlterNet contacted Abdullah Abu Azzam, an activist affiliated with the rebel group Kataib Thawar al-Sham. Abu Azzam, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym out of fear of retaliation by al-Nusra, is one of many opposition activists who have come into contact with Abdul Kareem and his colleagues. Speaking to AlterNet by Whatsapp, he said Abdul Kareem was not only a propagandist for al-Nusra, but well known as a member of the group.
Fighters in Thawar al-Sham, according to Abu Azzam, refer to Abdul Kareem as the ''American mujahid'' (mujahid is Arabic for jihadist).
Abu Azzam claimed Abdul Kareem had applied his videography skills to make a series of YouTube videos for the official account of Jaish al-Fatah, the Salafi-jihadist fighting coalition led by al-Nusra. He added that Abdul Kareem worked directly with the late public relations director for Jaish al-Fateh, Ammar Abu al-Majid. For these videos, he said Abdul Kareem used the alias, Abu Osama.
According to Abu Azzam, Abdul Kareem collaborated directly with Salafi cleric Abdul Razzaq al-Mahdi, a key ideological leader of extremist rebels in Syria. Al-Mahdi, one of the most popular guests on Abdul Kareem's programs, was a co-founder of Syrian al-Qaeda's most recent rebranding as Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham. He later defected to the competing Salafist militia Ahrar al-Sham.
One of the videos Abdul Kareem made, Abu Azzam said, was a segment for the Salafi-jihadist propaganda channel Knowledge Is Key, titled ''Islamic Fatwas from the Scholars of Syria.'' The video featured Ammar Abu al-Majid as its host.
When asked how he knows Abdul Kareem made the video, Abu Azzam replied, ''I was in photography with Ammar.''
AlterNet contacted the senior press manager for CNN International, along with CNN's Middle East press officer and public relations coordinator, to request comment on Abdul Kareem's relationship to the network. We asked for details about Abdul Kareem's contractual obligations with CNN and whether the network felt his well-documented relationship with al-Qaeda compromised the reporting it carried out in Syria.
CNN did not respond.
'An American in Syria who is with the rebels and mujahideen'
Bilal Abdul Kareem is one of the most remarkable characters to emerge from Syria's six-year civil war. An erstwhile comedian and theater actor from New York City, he has softened his image with a self-effacing charm and friendly temperament that recalls the style of a children's television show host.
Abdul Kareem arrived in Syria in 2012 after a stint promoting the NATO-backed Islamist rebels in Libya. With his On the Ground News, he quickly established himself as the leading English-language reporter on Salafi groups in Syria, and the only American media figure welcomed as a long-term resident in al-Nusra-controlled territory.
Dozens of other journalists have been kidnapped and even killed in these extremist-held areas. When asked why he had not faced the same dangers from al-Qaeda, Abdul Kareem said in his Facebook video response to Al Arabiya, ''I don't feel threatened by them because I think there's a mutual respect.''
Abdul Kareem demonstrated his influence '-- and mutual respect '-- when a British woman named Shukee Begum traveled to ISIS-controlled territory to reunite with her jihadist husband, Jamal al-Harith, who had been released from Guantanamo Bay after intensive lobbying by the British government. When Begum decided she wanted to escape from ISIS, Abdul Kareem stepped in to facilitate her release to al Qaeda-controlled territory in northern Syria.
Last December, AlterNet's Grayzone Project exposed Bilal Abdul Kareem's involvement with some of Syria's most notorious jihadist figures and his open propagation of their sectarian ideology. Most prominent among the clerics granted a friendly audience by Abdul Kareem was Abdullah al-Muhaysini, the Saudi Arabian hate preacher and warlord praised by Abdul Kareem as ''probably the most loved cleric in the Syrian territories today.''
Muhaysini is indeed popular among the Al Qaeda-allied rebels of Syria, and holds considerable sway over the entire region of Idlib. He has appeared in refugee camps to recruit child soldiers, raised millions of dollars for jihadist offensives and granted his blessing to the mass executions of captured Syrian soldiers on the grounds that the captives were kuffar, or blasphemers. The cleric's goal, like that of ISIS, has been to establish an exclusively Sunni state purged of Shia, Druze and Christian citizens of Syria, and run according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
This June, Abdul Kareem appeared as a guest on a special Ramadan program on Muhaysini's Jihad's Callers Center. Introduced by co-host Khattab al-Otaibi as ''an American in Syria who is with the rebels and mujahideen,'' Abdul Kareem was welcomed by Muhaysini. ''Greetings to our media man, the great innovator, Bilal Abdul Kareem!'' the rotund cleric said with a grin.
Clearly pleased with the promotion he was granted, Muhaysini has promoted his interviews with Abdul Kareem to followers of his WhatsApp channel.
Today, Salafi-jihadist leaders refer to Abdul Kareem as their ''media man.'' But there also was a time when Abdul Kareem was CNN's media man, as well. It was when Clarissa Ward, the network's Middle East correspondent, contracted Abdul Kareem to help lead her and her crew into eastern Aleppo and Idlib, both areas under the control of al-Nusra and extremist groups like Ahrar al-Sham that have been responsible for well-documented atrocities. She was on her way to meet the rebels she would later describe as ''heroes on the ground.''
Promoting the armed opposition
When Ward first entered Syria, it was the early stage of the revolt against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. She had posed as a tourist to enter the country.
''Then, I sort of slipped off into an alleyway in the old city, put a headscarf on, and went and lived with some activists for a week,'' Ward recalled. She returned from her journey into rebel-held territory with what amounted to a commercial for the Free Syrian Army, a now-defunct collection of CIA-backed militias, who in her words, ''pledge to defend the Syrian people against the Assad regime.''
It was the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with the Syrian opposition as it evolved into an armed insurgency led by al-Qaeda's local franchise.
Ward had been aware of Abdul Kareem's presence in the rebel bases of power since at least 2014, soon after he emerged seemingly out of the blue through On the Ground News. Ward promoted Bilal Abdul Kareem's ''must read'' work on her Twitter account and praised him for ''extraordinary brave reporting.''
She was hardly alone among her colleagues in paying tribute to Abdul Kareem, as AlterNet previously documented. Besides working with CNN, he has produced reports in cooperation with the U.K.'s Channel 4, the BBC and Sky News. He has been praised by CNN's Hala Gorani, who branded him as an ''independent journalist,'' and was named Al Jazeera's ''Personality of the Week.''
The New York Times' Ben Hubbard published a sympathetic profile of Abdul Kareem, summarizing him euphemistically as ''an American with a point of view and a message.'' For an accompanying photo, the Times chose a screenshot from a video in which Abdul Kareem rationalized suicide bombing. The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain likewise offered a similarly fawning portrait of Abdul Kareem, complimenting him for providing ''a unique perspective on the conflict in Syria'' and portraying him as a target of U.S.-led coalition drones.
It remains unclear if members of the foreign press were apprised of Abdul Kareem's close affiliation with al-Nusra, the local al-Qaeda affiliate, or if they even cared. After all, Abdul Kareem was a valuable asset: an American embedded in the heart of rebel-controlled areas who was eager to assist a cast of Western correspondents parachuting in to ingratiate themselves with the armed opposition.
Abdul Kareem never attempted to conceal his sectarian agenda. As AlterNet documented, he once praised the late al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and openly questioned whether Shia are actually Muslim. In his friendly sit-down with Abdul Razzaq al-Mahdi, Abdul Kareem introduced the extremist preacher who has called for the genocide of Syria's minority sects as a religious expert who ''specializes in understanding the Shia ideology.''
Special guest of al-Nusra
Ward's coverage for the Undercover in Syria CNN special took place in rebel-held eastern Aleppo and Idlib. In these areas, she appeared in a full black niqab to comport with the dress code imposed by al-Nusra, whose legal apparatus had forbidden the wearing of colorful hijab and even outlawed smoking cigarettes and playing music.
Working alongside Abdul Kareem, Ward documented the aftermath of bombings by the Syrian and Russian militaries and the cruelty they visited on the civilian population. She framed the Syrian government's battle to oust the jihadist-led rebels from eastern Aleppo as ''a war on normalcy.''
At the time, Ward was possibly the only Western reporter welcomed into al-Nusra-controlled territory. Kidnappings and the gruesome killing of journalists like James Foley had become the order of the day in areas of Syria controlled by rebel militias and ISIS. Lindsey Snell, one of the last Western journalists to report from Idlib, reported on her kidnapping by al-Nusra. ''The group fully acknowledged that I'd been granted permission to report,'' Snell wrote, ''but said they suspected me of being a spy, an accusation they've made against every journalist they've kidnapped in Syria.''
Ward had no such problems in the area, and that may have been thanks to Abdul Kareem and the cozy relationship he enjoyed with the Salafi-jihadist militias that dominated eastern Aleppo and Idlib.
Her safety was also ensured by ''Abu Youssef,'' the bodyguard CNN hired to protect Ward and her producer. It is unclear if he was from a rebel group.
Ward closed an Undercover in Syria report with a bittersweet reflection on her bodyguard:
We hand over a bag full of British chocolates to our security guards. Abu Youssef thanks us and quietly hands each of us a folded piece of white paper with our initials on it.
''Promise me you won't read these until you get back home to London,'' he says.
Two flights and 72 hours later, we open the letters.
''I hope you have a good idea of us,'' they read. ''Please tell the world the truth about Syria.''
The ''heroes on the ground'...are the Islamist factions''
Six months later, in August 2016, Ward appeared at the United Nations Security Council to testify to her version of the truth. She was there as a guest of then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, who was described by the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg as ''the most dispositionally interventionist among Obama's senior advisers.'' The U.N. session Power arranged appeared to be consistent with her interventionist crusade.
Besides Ward, Power had solicited testimony from Zaher Sahloul and Samer Attar, the directors of the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS assistance coordination units have set up hospitals in refugee camps and within Syrian territories exclusively held by Syria's rebels, including in al-Qaeda-run Idlib. From 2013 to 2015, SAMS received over $5.8 million in support for its activities from the U.S. Agency for Aid and International Development (USAID). In 2015, according to the Washington Post, Chase Bank closed SAMS' bank account without explanation.
Sahloul, for his part, is the American ringleader of the Syrian opposition. After unsuccessfully lobbying Barack Obama for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone over opposition-held areas of Syria, Sahloul accused the president of having ''allowed a genocide in Syria.''
On Sept. 20, 2016, Sahloul was a participant in a rally in New York dedicated to ramping up conflict with Iran. The rally was organized by the exiled Iranian People's MEK, a militant cult of personality dedicated to regime change in Iran that has paid handsome fees to prominent former U.S. officials to shill on its behalf. After the rally, the neoconservative columnist Eli Lake hailed Sahloul and his colleagues as ''Syrian-Americans who stood up to Iran.''
At the U.N., Ward was seated beside Sahloul and Attar, and repeatedly heaped praise on the two opposition activists. She lashed out at the ''international community'' for ''wringing their hands on the sidelines while homes, hospitals and bakeries and schools were bombed,'' an apparent plea for military intervention against the Syrian government.
Her jeremiad might have been straightforward advocacy, but its content was well in line with her network's editorial agenda, which has encouraged primetime personalities like Jake Tapper and Arwa Damon to also make the case for attacking Syria.
Ward's speech crested with a tribute to Salafi-jihadist insurgent groups like al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.
''The only ones who have emerged as heroes on the ground, along with brave doctors like Dr. Sahloul and Dr. Attar, alongside the White Helmets,'' Ward declared, ''are the Islamist factions '-- even to those who hate fundamentalists. Even to those who see that the rebels themselves are carrying out atrocities, and not because the people there are all terrorists, but because the Islamists are the ones who have stepped in to fill the void.''
Whitewashing rebel atrocities, attacking critics
During her U.N. testimony, Ward slipped in a bizarre reference to the rebels who had been transferred by bus from territory they lost to other zones of opposition control in accordance with internationally brokered agreements.
''Many of them are loaded onto buses and never see the light of day again,'' she claimed, falsely suggesting that the so-called ''green buses'' common to such transfer deals were a one-way ticket to slaughter.
There was, in fact, one incident where such a gruesome scenario took place during a population transfer agreement. But it did not fit the regime change narrative propagated by CNN, so Ward and her colleagues did their best to gloss over it.
On April 15, a suicide bomber affiliated with the armed opposition attacked a convoy of buses evacuating civilians from Shia-majority villages that had been besieged for years by rebels led by al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. When the bomber arrived, he had reportedly dangled bags of potato chips from his truck to lure hungry children toward him. Over 100 evacuees were killed in the blast, including 80 children.
The massacre in Rashidin was one of the most obscene atrocities of the Syrian civil war. But Assad and his forces were not responsible. Indeed, the killers were the very men Ward had celebrated before the U.N. as ''heroes on the ground.''
CNN covered the incident in a single brief report, with correspondent Nick Patton Walsh downplaying the atrocity as a ''hiccup.''
Ward, meanwhile, was preparing a special episode on the chemical attack that took place earlier that month in al-Nusra-controlled Idlib. Titled, ''Gasping for life: Syria's merciless war on its children,'' the CNN special consisted of footage of child casualties of the alleged sarin gas attack filmed by rebel-affiliated organizations like SAMS and the White Helmets. (Ward's special aired during CNN host Jake Tapper's ''The Lead.'')
More than 30 people were killed in that attack under circumstances that were shrouded in mystery and which remain hotly debated and subject to critical reporting. The U.S. government's official narrative holds the Syrian government responsible for the chemical attack, but concrete proof has been hard to come by.
Ward dispensed with skepticism in her special and cranked up the regime change rhetoric for maximum emotional potency. Of the high-definition footage of children gasping for breath, she commented, ''When you watch these children choking on what were likely their last breaths, you understand what evil is.''
Days after the special aired, Max Abrahms, a national security researcher and professor at Northeastern University, took to Twitter to criticize the flagrant inconsistency between CNN's coverage of the bus bombing and the chemical attack. His comments sent Ward into a frenzy, prompting her to accuse him of being ''way out of line.''
''Show us the special of the bloodier opposition attack,'' Abrams countered. ''We saw your special on the less lethal Assad attack. CNN should do specials on both.''
''We covered it,'' Ward shot back, clearly flustered by the challenge. ''I'm going to block you now because I have just spent 20 mins arguing about Syria w/someone who's never even been to Syria.''
In a previous exchange, Ward had attempted to deflect Abrahms' criticism of her work by accusing him of ''encourag[ing] the death threats.''
Selective listening
During her acceptance of the International Center for Journalists' Excellence in International Reporting Award, Ward boasted of the sensitivity she displayed during interviews with jihadists who had infiltrated Syria to join ISIS.
''I don't think we can be selective in who we listen to,'' Ward proclaimed. ''I don't think we can be selective in who we try to understand. I fundamentally believe we can't afford to dismiss people. That's not our job.''
But Ward has not followed her own advice where the majority of Syria's population is concerned. Her coverage has tuned out the voices of the 18 million people who live under government control in order to propagate a one-sided narrative aimed at generating public support for regime change. Since the beginning of Syria's civil war, CNN has virtually ignored the experiences of those who live in constant fear of the U.S. and Gulf-backed rebels that Ward branded as ''heroes.''
In her apparent zeal for access, Clarissa Ward solicited a working partnership with one of al-Qaeda's top propagandists in Syria, Bilal Abdul Kareem. Having reaped the benefits of its star correspondent's partnership with a jihadist ''media man,'' CNN now seeks to erase their affiliation altogether.
McCain Claims U.S 'Losing' In Afghanistan Due To Lack Of Strategy | TOLOnews
Mon, 10 Jul 2017 19:34
According to the senator, the lack of order within the White House is slowing down the release of the new war strategy.
U.S Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain has criticized President Donald Trump's Administration for delaying the announcement of America's new war strategy in Afghanistan.
He said that continued disarray within the White House is behind the delay in announcing and rolling out a new strategy.
''And, you know, we all know what the problem is. It's in the White House. They've got to get their act together, announce a strategy. That has to be done by the president, by the way.''
"We've got to win there. Don't forget 9/11. And here is what we need to do to get there '... Unfortunately, there is so much disarray within the White House. But I am confident the United States of America, the best and strongest nation on earth, can do it,'' he said.
He warned that the U.S was losing the war in Afghanistan and casualties among Afghan forces was high.
''We have no strategy. And we are losing. When you're not winning, you're losing. And the ANA, the Afghan National Army, is taking unacceptable losses. And we are going to have a new strategy. You know, they're coming to us and asking for additional funds, for additional people, and additional missions,'' McCain told CBS news.
According to him, the lack of order within the White House has resulted in the delay of rolling out its new strategy.
''We won't do anything unless they give us a strategy. I've been asking General [James] Mattis, who I'm a great admirer of, General [H.R] McMaster, I'm a great admirer of, 'Where is the strategy? Where is the strategy?' Then we can have a policy. Then we authorize funding, and troops, and tanks, and guns,'' added McCain.
But, the Afghan government said on Monday that insurgents have failed to achieve their goals in the war.
'''... remember the armed opponents failed to reach to their objectives especially in Kunduz. The enemy, despite having support from inside and outside the country, has faced devastating consequences in Kunduz,'' said General Murad Ali Murad, deputy minister of interior for security.
McCain's remarks come amid growing speculation that the White House will share details of the new Afghan war strategy within a week.
Ius soli: ''Nein zur Einb¼rgerung von fast einer Million Migranten'' '' S¼dtirol News
Mon, 10 Jul 2017 16:47
Donnerstag, 06. Juli 2017 | 12:29 Uhr
Bozen '' Die S¼d-Tiroler Freiheit spricht sich entschieden gegen das neue Einb¼rgerungsgesetz der italienischen Regierung aus. Mit der Umstellung vom sogenannten 'žIus sanguinis'' (Abstammungsprinzip) auf das 'žIus soli'' (Territorialprinzip) w¼rden ¼ber 800.000 Kinder von Migranten sofort die italienische Staatsb¼rgerschaft bekommen. 'žDurch das neue Gesetz werden unn¶tig Anreize geschaffen nach Italien ¼berzusetzen'', kritisiert Stefan Zelger, Mitglied der Landesleitung der S¼d-Tiroler Freiheit.
'žItalien will zurzeit sch¤rfere Regeln f¼r Hilfsorganisationen auf dem Mittelmeer erlassen. Ziel ist es, den Schleppern ihre kriminellen Machenschaften zu erschweren und den Migranten Anreize f¼r die 'berfahrt zu nehmen. Mit der Einf¼hrung des Abstammungsprinzips wird aber gleichzeitig ein weiterer Ansporn f¼r die 'bersetzung nach Italien gegeben. Italien untergr¤bt im selben Moment seine eigenen MaŸnahmen'', kritisiert Zelger.
Die S¼d-Tiroler Freiheit warnt in diesem Zusammenhang erneut davor, dass die Zuwanderung das Gleichgewicht der Sprachgruppen in S¼dtirol st¶ren kann: 'žDie Ausl¤nder in S¼dtirol leben haupts¤chlich in den St¤dten und dementsprechend gehen ihre Kinder in die italienischen Schulen. Sie werden zu Italienern und mit dem neuen Einb¼rgerungsgesetz noch schneller als zuvor. Diese Entwicklung wird sich negativ auf wichtige Bereiche der Autonomie, wie z.B. den Proporz, auswirken.''
''Die allermeisten der europ¤ischen Staaten, bislang auch Italien, erkennen von Migranten geborene Kinder nicht sofort als Staatsb¼rger an. Kinder von Ausl¤ndern k¶nnen bisher erst mit der Vollj¤hrigkeit die italienische Staatsb¼rgerschaft erlangen, vorausgesetzt sie lebten ununterbrochen und legal im Staat. Das neue Einb¼rgerungsgesetz kann nicht im Interesse S¼dtirols sein. Die SVP wird aber voraussichtlich auch hier zustimmen. Die Nibelungentreue zum PD hat bei der SVP l¤ngst zu masochistischen Z¼gen gef¼hrt'', betont Zelger abschlieŸend.
Von: luk
Massive Int'l Network of 87,000 Pedophiles Dismantled '-- American Mass Media Silent >> The Event Chronicle
Mon, 10 Jul 2017 16:46
By Jay Syrmopoulos
Berlin '-- The largely unrecognized global pandemic of child pornography has once again been thrust into the glare of the public spotlight after a massive child porn network with over 87,000 members was dismantled by German police.
A web platform called ''Elysium'' was utilized by the pedophile network, which existed since the end of 2016 and was accessible only through the Darknet, a hidden part of the Internet uncatalogued by search engines. The site was used to facilitate the exchange of videos and images of children, as young as toddler age, being physically and sexually abused.
According to German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle:
''Investigators said the site had been in operation since the end of 2016 and that it was accessible only via the darknet, a part of the World Wide Web that cannot be found using conventional search engines but requires the use of encrypting software.''
According to the authorities in Frankfurt, there were also recordings of ''the most serious sexual abuse of children'', such as violence against children and abuse of ''the youngest.''. The platform was also used to schedule appointments to exploit and abuse children.
Most of the suspects were arrested in the countries of Germany and Austria.
A German police spokesman said that Dutch authorities were also involved in the case:
''We are certainly expecting things that are important to the Netherlands, but at the moment it is not yet possible to indicate to what extent.''
Surprisingly, the network of nearly 90,000 individuals is not the largest bust in history, as another online Darknet pedophile platform called Playpen was dismantled earlier this year, and 58-year-old American Steven Chase sentenced to 30-years in federal prison. Chase was held responsible for the existence of Playpen, a child pornography network established in 2014, which had 150,000 active pedophiles on the site.
The Playpen case was extremely controversial, as the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledged in court filings that the FBI actually operated the site, themselves, from Feb. 20 to March 4, 2015.
Moreover, in a move that left many in dismay, the Department of Justice filed a motion in Washington State federal court to dismiss an indictment against the child porn site.
According to a report in Wired:
It wasn't for lack of evidence; it was because the FBI didn't want to disclose details of a hacking tool to the defense as part of discovery. Evidence in United States v. Jay Michaud hinged at least in part on information federal investigators had gathered by exploiting a vulnerability in the Tor anonymity network.
''Because the government remains unwilling to disclose certain discovery related to the FBI's deployment of a 'Network Investigative Technique' ('NIT') as part of its investigation into the Playpen child pornography site, the government has no choice but to seek dismissal of the indictment,'' federal prosecutor Annette Hayes wrote in the court filing on Friday.
The federal prosecutor pointed out that the DoJ's work to resist disclosing the NIT was part of ''an effort to balance the many competing interests that are at play when sensitive law enforcement technology becomes the subject of a request for criminal discovery.''
To make a long story short, the feds decided to let an alleged child pornographer go to keep secret, and illegal, the methods they use to catch criminals on the dark web.
In regard to the ''Elysium'' network, public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt said that the suspected operator of the site, a 39-year-old man from the central German state of Hesse, had already been arrested on June 12.
The suspected operator of the platform was arrested after his apartment was searched and the server seized, according to DW. Numerous other suspects have also been arrested, according to police officials.
German and Austrian police said they will hold a press conference on Friday to provide further details about the investigation.
This article (Massive Int'l Network of 87,000 Pedophiles Dismantled '-- American Mass Media Silent) was originally published on The Free Thought Project and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.
MSNBC's Joy Reid Obsessively Tweets Fake News About Julian Assange. Then Blocks Him For 'Stalking' - Counter Propa
Mon, 10 Jul 2017 00:16
Joy Reid recently blocked Julian Assange on Twitter for ''stalking,'' however it's Ms. Reid who Tweeted about Assange over 10 times in the past year. From stating Assange was charged with a crime (BBC writes ''Mr Assange has not been formally charged with any offence''), to trying to paint WikiLeaks as part of a dastardly Russian plot to defeat Hillary Clinton, Joy Reid has continuously mentioned Assange's name on Twitter. Ironically, she's also constantly complained about intimidation, while simultaneously disparaging WikiLeaks numerous times.
For a person complaining about stalking, it seems MSNBC's Reid has done some social media stalking of her own, in addition to spreading fake news. Reid's obsession with claiming Assange to be a rapist, even though he was never charged with a crime, can be seen in the following Tweets.
First, Assange was never charged with a crime and the United Nations has ruled that he's being unlawfully detained:
Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN expert panel finds
GENEVA (5 February 2016) '' WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom since his arrest in London on 7 December 2010, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said today.
In a public statement, the expert panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Mr. Assange's deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation (Check the statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=17012&LangID=E)
Mr. Assange, detained first in prison then under house arrest, took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 after losing his appeal to the UK's Supreme Court against extradition to Sweden, where a judicial investigation was initiated against him in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct. However, he was not formally charged.
''The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,'' said Seong-Phil Hong, who currently heads the expert panel.
''The Working Group maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation,'' Mr. Hong added.
In its official Opinion, the Working Group considered that Mr. Assange had been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth Prison in London, followed by house arrest and then confinement at the Ecuadorean Embassy.
The experts also found that the detention was arbitrary because Mr. Assange was held in isolation at Wandsworth Prison, and because a lack of diligence by the Swedish Prosecutor's Office in its investigations resulted in his lengthy loss of liberty.
The Working Group established that this detention violates Articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and Articles 7, 9(1), 9(3), 9(4), 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Not only is Julian Assange owed compensation, but also freedom to address any accuser without risk of extradition.
Second, Sweden already dropped it's investigation regarding Julian Assange.
Joy Reid can Tweet from now until the end of time and Assange won't be charged with the crime she's desperately tried to label Assange of perpetrating; in numerous Tweets.
In addition to the fake news about a rape charge, Reid repeated a fabricated story about WikiLeaks doxing Turkish women:
Then the continued obsession with correlating WikiLeaks to Russia, despite the fact zero evidence exists of such a correlation:
We've already addressed the fake news claim of nonexistent rape charges, but Reid also adds the Russian hacking myth in this Tweet. Unlike Reid, James Clapper has stated no direct evidence exists of Trump working with Russia:
If Joy Reid doesn't believe Clapper, she might believe fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein:
As for DNC servers and ''Russian hackers,'' Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson stated he had no evidence of Trump working with Russia and admitted DNC servers were never seen by anyone in the U.S. government:
Thus, it's a bit difficult to rely on the ''moderate confidence'' assessment of the NSA regarding servers that have never been looked at by the NSA, FBI, or CIA. The FBI and CIA are only ''highly confident,'' not certain. Nobody in the U.S. government is certain of anything regarding the Russian hacking story. By the way, The New York Times and AP just retracted the now debunked claim that 17 intelligence agencies believe Russia ''hacked'' the election.
However, Reid has continued with the Trump/Russia/WikiLeaks/Assange fake news allegations since 2016:
Then there's the argument Reid would never level against Clinton, who's admits taking money from some of the worlds greatest human rights violators:
And then there are the segments attacking WikiLeaks on her show:
There are likely more examples of Joy Reid obsessing over Assange, but like the Democratic Party, Reid has accused her political rival of something she's engaged in; over 10 Tweets could be defined as social media stalking.
For an amazing recap of Reid's latest interaction with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, watch the Tim Black segment that was recently Re-tweeted by Julian Assange:
For my humble take on Joy Reid's penchant for spreading fake news about Assange and WikiLeaks, here's a segment on H. A. Goodman YouTube:
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Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian Accused of Stealing Ideas from Indie Black Designers | Teen Vogue
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 23:35
In this scorched-earth op-ed, Shammara Lawrence explores why the Kardashian-Jenners continue to build their empires on the backs of black creatives.
Since hit E! television show Keeping Up With The Kardashians first graced our screens in 2007, the Kardashian-Jenner family have become mainstays in American pop culture. Throughout the years, they've gained notoriety for multiple controversies surrounding their show, love interests, family dynamics and apparent obsession with black designers and influencers. The latter of which has recently put two of the sisters in hot water.
Last month, sisters Khlo(C) Kardashian and Kylie Jenner came under fire for their respective fashion lines. Independent black lingerie and bodysuit designer, Destiney Bleu, publicly called Khlo(C) out on Twitter for purportedly ripping off her designs and using them for her denim label Good American. Two days later, Khlo(C)'s legal team issued Destiny a cease and desist letter claiming her designs were ''inspired by the 1990's [sic] and are evocative of clothing worn by Cher and others at the time,'' Refinery29 reports. Khloe then went on to say that both she and her team were unfamiliar with Destiny's designs and had never heard of her.
Unfortunately for Khlo(C)'s team, though, in the digital age, it's easier than ever to provide evidence (AKA receipts) to back up your claims. Making her case, the designer provided Refinery29 with a copy of her detailed correspondence with the Good American design team, dating all the way back to November 2016. Tellingly, some of the emails were between her and Khlo(C)'s then-stylist, Monica Rose, who had previously borrowed clothes which Destiny claimed were later copied by the brand.
If that entire debacle wasn't bad enough, in her typical fashion, Kylie one-upped her older sister with a controversy of her own when she released a line of camo-printed items to The Kylie Shop. Not soon after their release, people started noticing how offensively similar the pieces were to the designs from independent black-owned brand Plugged NYC. As word got out, the designer behind the brand, Tizita Balemlay, took to their Instagram account and posted photographic comparisons and screenshots of her emails showing Jenner had previously ordered clothes from the site.
While co-opting or flat out stealing designs is unfortunately commonplace in the fashion industry '-- especially given the nebulous intellectual property laws surrounding clothing and accessories in the U.S. '-- it's more of an insult when you consider who Khloe and Kylie are allegedly stealing from: independent black designers. It's been said time and time again that the entire family are prototypical culture vultures, and these reported incidents only drive the point home.
Since the Kardashians-Jenners rose to fame, they've been lauded as revolutionary for embracing looks black women have been overlooked or outright degraded for.
Since the Kardashians-Jenners first rose to fame, they've been lauded left and right as revolutionary for embracing looks black women have been overlooked or outright degraded for '-- looks that run the gamut from cornrows to full lips. Now Khlo(C) and Kylie are allegedly taking their design ideas straight from black creatives to turn a profit. It's one thing to be inspired or moved by someone's work, and another to steal it and claim it as your own '-- all while being labeled by mainstream media as a trendsetter. Sure, the idea of camo isn't novel or unique, but those specific looks by Plugged NYC certainly were.
What's particularly offensive about these alleged incidents of thievery is how brazen they are. Both indie brands posted evidence showing that Khloe or Kylie either purchased or borrowed items from these brands, only to reportedly turn around, rip off their style and subsequently sell their own versions to a larger, impressionable audience.
It's a known fact that knockoffs undermine the original designer's livelihood and artistry, committing a gross injustice that consumers shouldn't tolerate. It's ultimately up to us to keep calling out incidents when we see them and give credit where credit is due.
Related:7 Times Celebrities Were SLAMMED for Cultural Appropriation
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Hillary Clinton looks for her role in midterms | TheHill
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 23:32
Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonNYT: Trump son met Russian lawyer after promise of damaging info on ClintonWikiLeaks proposes Assange to lead Trump's US-Russia cyber security unitDemocratic strategist: De Blasio's trip to Germany 'unbelievable'MORE wants to play a role in next year's midterm elections. It's just not clear yet what that role will be.
Clinton has already launched a PAC aimed at helping congressional Democratic candidates in 2018, signaling the former first lady, senator and secretary of State is ready to help her party with fundraising.
She also is looking at the House districts she won in last year's presidential contest against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Trump son met Russian lawyer after promise of damaging info on ClintonTrump touts Syrian ceasefire agreementTrump pushes GOP for ObamaCare repeal and replaceMORE as part of an autopsy of her failed campaign, according to two sources who have spoken to the former secretary of State.
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It's at least possible she'll lend a hand on the campaign trail '-- particularly in the 23 districts held by Republicans where voters preferred her over Donald Trump for the White House. ''She's very well aware of how she performed in those districts,'' said one longtime Clinton confidant who has spoken to the former Democratic nominee.
''She knows she won Darrell Issa's district by 8,'' the confidant said, referring to the California Republican who is a top Democratic target. ''She knows she came close in about a handful of others. She has studied this stuff thoroughly.''
Democrats are focused on the Golden State as they seek to win back the House majority.
Ellen Tauscher '-- a Clinton ally and former California congresswoman '-- along with a longtime aide Katie Merrill, have started a super PAC focused on seven of the so-called ''split districts'' in that state that voted for Clinton but backed a Republican candidate for the House.
Democrats are still mapping out a game plan for 2018 along with a message for their rudderless party. But another Clinton confidant said part of the plan might be to have Clinton campaign for candidates in the places where she won.
''No one can argue that Clinton helping in those areas wouldn't be helpful,'' the confidant said. ''That is a priority for her.''
If Clinton hits the campaign trail, Republicans are ready to pounce. They say they would welcome Clinton's presence on the stump because it would help GOP candidates.
"For 30 years, Hillary Clinton has essentially been Old Faithful for Republican candidates," said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist. "Her continued prominence only helps GOP candidates with an electorate that historically is more favorable than what they faced in the last presidential election.
"The more Clinton weighs in and tries to tell voters 'I'm baaaack,' the more Republicans will tell her to keep on trucking," Heye continued.
Still, Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, added that Clinton, ''could have a real voice in these places, absolutely.''
''She can go into those districts and make a case that there is an opportunity to do a course correction and do it in a fairly compelling way,'' Lehane said, particularly if Democrats strengthen their message and give voters a reason to vote for them.
In May, during a question and answer session at the Code Conference, an event focused on tech, media and politics, Clinton indicated her focus is on winning those House seats for her party.
''Everything will change if we win in 2018,'' she said at the conference. ''We have to flip 24 seats. I won 23 districts that have a Republican Congress member, seven of them are in California.
''If we can flip those, if we can go deeper into where I did well, where we can get good candidates, I think flipping the House is certainly realistic. It's a goal that we can set for ourselves,'' she continued.
Republican-held House seats in districts Clinton won
MemberDistrictClintonTrumpMargin of VictoryDavid ReichertWash.-0847.744.73Barbara ComstockVa.-1052.242.210Pete SessionsTexas-3248.546.61.9Will HurdTexas-2349.846.43.4John CulbersonTexas-0748.547.11.4Pat MeehanPa.-0749.3472.3Ryan CostelloPa.-0648.247.60.6John KatkoN.Y.-2448.946.33.6Leonard LanceN.J.-0748.647.51.1Erik PaulsenMinn.-0350.841.49.4Kevin YoderKevin YoderHillary Clinton looks for her role in midtermsLawmakers propose .5 million increase in Capitol Police funding after shootingTop Dem campaign official: House is in play for 2018MORE Kan.-0347.2461.2Peter RoskamIll.-0650.243.27Carlos CurbeloFla.-2656.740.616.1 Ileana Ros-LehtinenFla.-2758.638.919.7Mark CoffmanColo.-0650.241.38.9Darrell IssaCalif.-4950.743.27.5Dana RohrabacherCalif.-4847.946.21.7Mimi WaltersCalif.-4549.844.45.4Ed RoyceCalif.-3951.542.98.6Steve KnightCalif.-2550.343.66.7David ValadeoCalif.-2155.239.715.5Jeff DenhamCalif.-1048.545.53Martha McSallyAriz.0249.644.74.9Source: Daily KosEven staunch Clinton supporters say that while there is room for her to play a role, she also needs to leave room for new leaders to emerge.
Garry Mauro, a longtime friend of the Clintons who led Bill ClintonBill ClintonHillary Clinton looks for her role in midtermsTrump lawyers push dismissal of sexual harassment lawsuitCNN's Gergen praises Trump on Putin meeting: 'This was big-league stuff'MORE 's 1992 campaign effort in Texas, thinks the House can be won with the help of the Longhorn state, where there are three ''split'' districts.
But he doesn't want Clinton to be front and center.
''Would she be well received? Of course, she would be. But we're not going to win these races because Barack ObamaBarack ObamaLewandowski: Russian election meddling 'issue is officially dead'Trump says Indonesia is 'a place I'd like to go'Merkel defends Ivanka Trump sitting in at G-20 meetingMORE , Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaPoll: Melania Trump's approval rises as people get to know first ladyHillary Clinton looks for her role in midtermsHouse dress code debate reignites amid hot D.C. summerMORE , Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi comes to the state and campaigns,'' Mauro said. ''We're going to win it because we represent new leadership and new ideas.
''I think Secretary Clinton has got to define her role in American politics and she can play a real role in helping the Democratic Party but '... we need new leadership,'' Mauro added. ''She can play a heck of a role. She just can't play the dominant role.''
Republicans have signaled they intend to link every Democrat running for the House next year to longtime Democratic leader and former Speaker Pelosi (Calif.), arguing a vote for the local Democrat would put Pelosi in charge.
It's an argument many Democrats are wary of, as it was used successfully against Jon Ossoff '-- the promising Democratic candidate who lost a special election in Georgia last month.
Merrill, who started ''Fight Back California'' together with Tauscher, said there is a role Clinton can play when it comes to driving turnout among Democrats and the ability to raise money for Democratic candidates.
''Midterm elections are notorious for low turnout and the ability to raise money '-- those are the two places Democrats will have trouble in the midterms,'' Merrill said, adding that Clinton could contribute by doing digital ads and social media outreach along with tapping into her vast Rolodex of donors.
But Merrill said the California races in particular are going to be ''won on local issues'' by talking to the voters about the records of the incumbents.
''I think it would be a mistake for any campaign to nationalize these elections,'' she added. ''It can't be about Trump or the 2016 election. It's gotta be about these local issues.''
Merrill said she expects Clinton to remain ''an active part'' of the Democratic Party.
''I imagine she'll only continue that level of activity,'' she said.
Study: No, Young Kids Don't Need a Father | 700WLW
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 23:31
Ladies considering becoming single mothers may get a confidence boost from a new study out of the Netherlands, which has found no difference in the well-being of young children raised by women who chose to become pregnant without a partner and those from more traditional households. With fertility treatments for single women becoming increasingly common, Mathilde Brewaeys of the VU University Medical Center chose to study how children raised by 69 single mothers "by choice" differed from those raised by 59 mothers in heterosexual partnerships.
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But while there is an "assumption that growing up in a family without a father is not good for the child," Brewaeys found no evidence that is the case, according to a release.
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Stephen Hawking: Trump Pushing Earth's Climate 'Over The Brink' : The Two-Way : NPR
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 22:31
Britain's Professor Stephen Hawking delivers a keynote speech as he receives the Honorary Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony at the Guildhall in the City of London, March 6, 2017. Matt Dunham/APhide caption
toggle captionMatt Dunham/AP Britain's Professor Stephen Hawking delivers a keynote speech as he receives the Honorary Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony at the Guildhall in the City of London, March 6, 2017.
Matt Dunham/AP The world's best-known living physicist, Stephen Hawking, says that President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord could lead humanity to a tipping point, "turning the Earth into Venus."
The Cambridge professor and renowned cosmologist made the remarks in an interview with the BBC that aired Sunday.
"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible," Hawking told the BBC. "Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid."
Hawking, who is best known for his discoveries about black holes, called climate change "one of the great dangers we face, and it's one we can prevent if we act now.
"By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children," Hawking told the BBC.
It's not the first time that Hawking has blurred the lines between science and politics in his public pronouncements. In December, for example, he wrote in an editorial in The Guardian newspaper that Brexit and the election of Donald Trump were "a cry of anger" aimed at the elites, such as himself, in both America and Britain. He said that we are "at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity."
Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi - Wikipedia
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 14:54
Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi[1] (November 16, 1894 '' July 27, 1972) was an Austrian-Japanesepolitician, philosopher, and Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi. The pioneer of European integration, he served as the founding president of the Paneuropean Union for 49 years which would be the preliminary ideological foundation of the European Union.[2][3] His parents were Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi, an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, and Mitsuko Aoyama, the daughter of an oil merchant, antiques-dealer, and major landowner in Tokyo.[4] His childhood name in Japan was Aoyama Eijiro. He became a Czechoslovak citizen in 1919 and then took French nationality from 1939 until his death.
His first book, Pan-Europa, was published in 1923, and contained a membership form for the Pan-Europa movement which held its first Congress in Vienna in 1926. In 1927, Aristide Briand was elected honorary president of the Pan-Europa movement. Public figures who attended Pan-Europa congresses included Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Sigmund Freud.[5]
Coudenhove-Kalergi was the first recipient of the Charlemagne Prize in 1950. The 1972''1973 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour. Coudenhove-Kalergi proposed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the music for the European Anthem. He also proposed a Europe Day, European postage stamp[6] and many artefacts for the movement (e.g. badges and pennants).[7]
Family roots [ edit] Coudenhove-Kalergi was the second son of Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi (1859''1906), an Austro-Hungarian count and diplomat of mixed European origin, and Mitsuko Aoyama (1874''1941). His father, who spoke sixteen languages and embraced travel as the only means of prolonging life, yet died in his forties, had prematurely abandoned a career in the Austrian diplomatic service that took him to Athens, Constantinople, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo, to devote himself to study and writing.
Coudenhove-Kalergi's parents met when his mother helped the Austro-Hungarian diplomat after he fell off a horse while riding in Japan. In commenting on their union, Whittaker Chambers described the future originator of Pan-Europe as "practically a Pan-European organization himself." He elaborated: "The Coudenhoves were a wealthy Flemish family that fled to Austria during the French Revolution. The Kalergis were a wealthy Greek family from Crete. The line has been further crossed with Poles, Norwegians, Balts, French and Germans, but since the families were selective as well as cosmopolitan, the hybridization has been consistently successful."[8] The Kalergis family roots trace to Byzantine royalty via Venetian aristocracy, connecting with the Phokas imperial dynasty. In 1300, Coudenhove-Kalergi's ancestor Alexios Phokas-Kalergis signed the treaty that made Crete a dominion of Venice.
During his childhood, Coudenhove-Kalergi's mother had read aloud to him Momotarō and other Japanese fairy tales.[9]
Youth and education [ edit] The Ronsperg castle, his childhood home. Damaged during the Second World War, the repairs were overseen by a German from Japan Masumi Schmidt-Muraki.Coudenhove-Kalergi spent his adolescence on Bohemian family estates in Ronsperg, known today as Poběžovice. His father personally taught his two sons Russian and Hungarian and toughened them both physically and morally. He took them on long walks in all weather, made them sleep on straw mattresses and take cold showers, and taught them to shoot and fence so well that no one would ever dare challenge them. He also took them to Mass every Sunday. On every Good Friday, as the liturgy came to the exhortation "oremus et pro perfidis Judaeis" ("Let us also pray for the faithless Jews"), the old count allegedly rose and walked out of the church in a protest against this supposed expression of antisemitism.[8]
Coudenhove-Kalergi studied at the Augustiner-Gymnasium in Brixen before attending the Theresianische Akademie in Vienna from 1908 until 1913. He obtained his doctorate in philosophy with a thesis on Die Objectivit¤t als Grundprinzip der Moral (Objectivity as the Fundamental Principle of Morals) in 1917 from the University of Vienna.
During his student years, Coudenhove-Kalergi married the famous Viennese actress Ida Roland in April 1915. His marriage to a divorc(C)e thirteen years his senior, and a commoner, caused a temporary split with his family. His mother Mitsuko did not accept Ida, considering her a "beggar living in the riverbank,"[10] a traditional Japanese point of view against actors and performers. His mother, as head of the family, banned him from the family temporarily, but retracted when Coudenhove-Kalergi became renowned for his pan-European concept.
Personal philosophy [ edit] Aristocratic in his origins and elitist in his ideas, Coudenhove-Kalergi identified and collaborated with such politicians as Engelbert Dollfuss, Kurt Schuschnigg, Otto von Habsburg, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle.[11] His ideal political constituent was a gentleman who must respect and protect ladies, a person adhering to honesty, fair play, courtesy, and rational discourse.[12][13] He strove to replace the nationalist German ideal of racial community with the goal of an ethnically heterogeneous and inclusive European nation based on a commonality of culture[citation needed ], a nation whose geniuses were the "great Europeans" such as abb(C) de Saint-Pierre, Kant, Napoleon, Giuseppe Mazzini, Victor Hugo, and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Pan-European political activist [ edit] Ida Roland-Coudenhove-Kalergi and Thomas Mann in the second Pan-European Congress in Sing-Akademie zu Berlin on May 17, 1930.Coudenhove-Kalergi is recognized as the founder of the first popular movement for a united Europe. His intellectual influences ranged from Immanuel Kant, Rudolf Kjell(C)n and Oswald Spengler to Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. In politics, he was an enthusiastic supporter of "fourteen points" made by Woodrow Wilson on 8 January 1918 and pacifist initiatives of Kurt Hiller. In December 1921, he joined the Masonic lodge "Humanitas" in Vienna.[14] In 1922, he co-founded[citation needed ] the Pan-European Union (PEU) with Archduke Otto von Habsburg, as "the only way of guarding against an eventual world hegemony by Russia."[15] In 1923, he published a manifesto entitled Pan-Europa, each copy containing a membership form which invited the reader to become a member of the Pan-Europa movement. He favored social democracy as an improvement on "the feudal aristocracy of the sword" but his ambition was to create a conservative society that superseded democracy with "the social aristocracy of the spirit."[16] European freemason lodges supported his movement, including the lodge Humanitas.[17]Pan-Europa was translated into the languages of European countries (not total; Italian edition was not published at that time[18]), Japanese, Chinese and so on (not even into Russian[18]).
According to his autobiography, at the beginning of 1924 his friend Baron Louis de Rothschild introduced him to Max Warburg who offered to finance his movement for the next 3 years by giving him 60,000 gold marks. Warburg remained sincerely interested in the movement for the remainder of his life and served as an intermediate for Coudenhove-Kalergi with influential Americans such as banker Paul Warburg and financier Bernard Baruch. In April 1924, Coudenhove-Kalergi founded the journal Paneuropa (1924''1938) of which he was editor and principal author. The next year he started publishing his main work, the Kampf um Paneuropa (The fight for Paneuropa, 1925''1928, three volumes). In 1926, the first Congress of the Pan-European Union was held in Vienna and the 2,000 delegates elected Coudenhove-Kalergi as president of the Central Council, a position he held until his death in 1972.
His original vision was for a world divided into only five states: a United States of Europe that would link continental countries with French and Italian possessions in Africa; a Pan-American Union encompassing North and South Americas; the British Commonwealth circling the globe; the USSR spanning Eurasia; and a Pan-Asian Union whereby Japan and China would control most of the Pacific. To him, the only hope for a Europe devastated by war was to federate along lines that the Hungarian-born Romanian Aurel Popovici and others had proposed for the dissolved multinational Empire of Austria-Hungary. According to Coudenhove-Kalergi, Pan-Europe would encompass and extend a more flexible and more competitive Austria-Hungary, with English serving as the world language, spoken by everyone in addition to their native tongue. He believed that individualism and socialism would learn to cooperate instead of compete, and urged that capitalism and communism cross-fertilise each other just as the Protestant Reformation had spurred the Catholic Church to regenerate itself.[19]
Coudenhove-Kalergi attempted to enlist prominent European politicians in his pan-European cause. He offered the presidency of the Austrian branch of the Pan-European Union to Ignaz Seipel, who accepted the offer unhesitatingly and rewarded his beneficiary with an office in the old Imperial palace in Vienna. Coudenhove-Kalergi had less success with TomÅ Masaryk, who referred him to his uncooperative Prime Minister Edvard BeneÅ. However, the idea of pan-Europe elicited support from politicians as diverse as the Italian anti-Fascist politician Carlo Sforza and the German President of the Reichsbank under HitlerHjalmar Schacht. Although Coudenhove-Kalergi found himself unable to sway Benito Mussolini, his ideas influenced Aristide Briand through his inspired speech in favour of a European Union in the League of Nations on 8 September 1929, as well as his famous 1930 "Memorandum on the Organisation of a Regime of European Federal Union."[20]
Coudenhove-Kalergi proposed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the Anthem of Europe in 1929,[6] which he later proposed in 1955 as Anthem for the European Union. In 1930, he proposed a Europe Day in May[6] and in 1932 he proposed to celebrate every 17th of May, the anniversary of Aristide Briand's "Memorandum" being published in 1930.[21] However, his Pan-Europeanism earned vivid loathing from Adolf Hitler, who excoriated its pacifism and mechanical economism and belittled its founder as "a bastard."[22][23] Hitler's view of Coudenhove-Kalergi was that the "rootless, cosmopolitan, and elitist half-breed" was going to repeat the historical mistakes of Coudenhove ancestors who had served the House of Habsburg.[24] In 1928, Hitler wrote about his political opponent in his Zweites Buch, describing him as "Allerweltsbastarden Coudenhove ",[25][26].
Hitler did not share the ideas of his Austrian compatriot. He argued in his 1928 Secret Book that they are unfit for the future defense of Europe against America. As America fills its North American lebensraum, ''the natural activist urge that is peculiar to young nations will turn outward.'' But then ''a pacifist-democratic Pan-European hodgepodge state'' would not be able to oppose the United States, as it is ''according to the conception of that everybody's bastard, Coudenhove-Kalergi'...''[27]
Nazis considered the Pan-European Union to be under the control of freemasonry.[28] In 1938, a Nazi propaganda book Die Freimaurerei: Weltanschauung, Organisation und Politik was released in German.[29] It revealed Coudenhove-Kalergi's membership of freemasonry, the organization suppressed by Nazis.[30] On the other hand, his name was not to be found in masonic directories 10,000 Famous Freemasons published in 1957''1960 by the United States' freemasons.[31] He had already left the Viennese freemason's lodge in 1926 to avoid the criticism that had occurred at that time against the relationship between the Pan-European movement and freemasonry. He wrote about his masonic membership in Ein Leben f¼r Europa (A Life for Europe) published in 1966.[32] In fact, its Nazi propaganda book also described his action in 1924''1925 only. However, this propaganda also stated that "The Grand Lodge of Wien went enthusiastically to work for the Pan European Union in a call to all Masonic chief authorities. Even the Masonic newspaper The Beacon enthused about the thoughts of the higher degree Freemason Coudenhove-Kalergi, and stated in March, 1925: "Freemasonry, especially Austrian Freemasonry, may be eminently satisfied to have Coudenhove-Kalergi among its members. Austrian Freemasonry can rightly report that Brother Coudenhove-Kalergi fights for his Pan European beliefs: political honesty, social insight, the struggle against lies, striving for the recognition and cooperation of all those of good will. In this higher sense, Brother Coudenhove-Kalergi's program is a Masonic work of the highest order, and to be able to work on it together is a lofty task for all brother Masons.""[33]
Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo in the cinematic trailer of Casablanca.After the annexation of Austria by the Third Reich in 1938, Coudenhove-Kalergi fled to Czechoslovakia, and thence to France. As France fell to Germany in 1940, he escaped to the United States by way of Switzerland and Portugal. When he passed a few days after the successful escape to the United States, he listened to the radio saying the possibility of his death.[34] During the World War II, he continued his call for the unification of Europe along the Paris-London axis. His wartime politics and adventures served as the real life basis for fictional Resistance hero Victor Laszlo, the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca. He published his work Crusade for Paneurope in 1944. His appeal for the unification of Europe enjoyed some support from Winston Churchill, Allen Dulles, and "Wild Bill" Donovan.[35] After the announcement of the Atlantic Charter on 14 August 1941, he composed a memorandum entitled "Austria's Independence in the light of the Atlantic Charter" and sent it to Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In his position statement, Coudenhove-Kalergi took up the goals of the charter and recommended himself as head of government in exile. Both Churchill and Roosevelt distanced themselves from this document. From 1942 until his return to France in 1946, he taught at the New York University, which appointed him professor of history in 1944. At the same university Professor Ludwig von Mises studied currency problems for Coudenhove-Kalergi's movement.[36]
On 22 July 1943, Nazis deprived him of his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Vienna, 1943 with the racist argument, that he as a "Jew" was not considered dignified an academic degree of a German university ("eines akademischen Grades einer deutschen Hochschule unw¼rdig") - even though he was not Jewish nor was his family Jewish.[37] His doctorate degree was only regranted on 15 May 1955 - a very long time after the end of Nazism.[37]
The end of the World War II inaugurated a revival of pan-European hopes. In the winter of 1946, Harry S. Truman read an article in the December issue of Collier's magazine that Coudenhove-Kalergi posted about the integration of Europe. His article impressed Truman, and it was adopted to the United States' official policy.[38] Winston Churchill's celebrated speech of 19 September 1946 to the Academic Youth in Zurich commended "the exertions of the Pan-European Union which owes so much to Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and which commanded the services of the famous French patriot and statesman Aristide Briand."[39] In November 1946 and the spring of 1947, Coudenhove-Kalergi circulated an enquiry addressed to members of European parliaments. This enquiry resulted in the founding of the European Parliamentary Union (EPU), a nominally private organization that held its preliminary conference on 4''5 July at Gstaad, Switzerland, and followed it with its first full conference from 8 to 12 September. Speaking at the first EPU conference, Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that the constitution of a wide market with a stable currency was the vehicle for Europe to reconstruct its potential and take the place it deserves within the concert of Nations. On less guarded occasions he was heard to advocate a revival of Charlemagne's empire.[40] In 1950 he received the first annual Karlspreis (Charlemagne Award), given by the German city of Aachen to people who contributed to the European idea and European peace. In Japan, a politician Ichirō Hatoyama was influenced by Coudenhove-Kalergi's fraternity in his book The Totalitarian State Against Man. It was translated into Japanese by Hatoyama and published in 1952. Coudenhove-Kalergi was appointed the honorary chairman of the fraternal youth association that Hatoyama, with the influence of his book, had established in 1953.
In 1955, he proposed the Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the music for the European Anthem,[41] a suggestion that the Council of Europe took up 16 years later.
In the 1960s, Coudenhove-Kalergi urged Austria to pursue "an active policy of peace", as a "fight against the Cold War and its continuation, the atomic war". He advocated Austrian involvement in world politics in order to keep the peace, as "active neutrality". He continued his advocacy of European unification in memoranda circulated to the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. He recommended negotiations between the European Community and the European Free Trade Association towards forming a "European customs union" that would be free of political and military connections, but would eventually adopt a monetary union.
Views on race and religion [ edit] In his attitudes towards race and religion, Coudenhove-Kalergi continued the work of his father. In his youth, the elder Coudenhove-Kalergi was an antisemite. He had expected to confirm his antipathy towards the Jews when he started working on his treatise Das Wesen des Antisemitismus (The Essence of Antisemitism); but, Coudenhove-Kalergi came to a different conclusion by the time he published his book in 1901. Following an ironic critique of the new racial theories, he declared that the essence of antisemitism amounted to nothing more credible than fanatical religious hatred. He traced that fanaticism to religious bigotry that originated in the promulgation of Torah under Ezra. According to the elder Coudenhove-Kalergi, Jewish religious bigotry provoked opposition from the relatively tolerant Greco-Roman polytheists, eliciting their anti-Judaic reaction. Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi credited the Jews with originating religious intolerance, and condemned it as a violation of genuine religious principles. He branded every sort of anti-Judaism unchristian. He further urged liberal Christians and Jews to ally in protecting both of their religions, and religion as such, against the emerging menace of secularism.[42]
Despite his opposition to simplistic racial theory, Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi agreed that Jews are racially distinct. Although he pointed out that there is no Semitic race, because Semitic is a language family, he equivocated by also remarking that the charges that Semites were uncreative were belied by civilizations formed by the Assyrians and Babylonians, who spoke Semitic languages. He further sought to defend the Jews against charges of parasitic greed and cowardice with anecdotal counterexamples of Jewish industriousness and martial courage.[43]
In an interview in the first Pan-European Congress in 1926, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi expressed the support of Jews by the Pan-European movement and the benefits to Jews with the elimination of racial hatred and economic rivalry brought by the United States of Europe.[44]
In 1932 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi composed a preface for a new edition of his father's condemnation of antisemitism, reissued by his own publishing house. In 1933 he responded to the ascendance of National Socialism by collaborating with Heinrich Mann, Arthur Holitscher, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Max Brod in writing and publishing the pamphlet Gegen die Phrase vom j¼dischen Sch¤dling (Against the Phrase 'Jewish Parasite').
In his book Praktischer Idealismus (Practical Idealism), written in 1925, he describes the future of Jews in Europe and of European racial composition with the following words:[45]
The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today's races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice. The Eurasian-Negroidrace of the future, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals. [...]
Instead of destroying European Jewry, Europe, against its own will, refined and educated this people into a future leader-nation through this artificial selection process. No wonder that this people, that escaped Ghetto-Prison, developed into a spiritual nobility of Europe. Therefore a gracious Providence provided Europe with a new race of nobility by the Grace of Spirit. This happened at the moment when Europe's feudal aristocracy became dilapidated, and thanks to Jewish emancipation.
Journeys to Japan [ edit] First return to Japan [ edit] The Pan-European idea influenced a young Japanese diplomat '' in the future, the president of Kajima Corporation '' Morinosuke Kajima during his residence in Berlin in 1922.[46] Coudenhove-Kalergi formed a friendship with Kajima and then asked him to translate the book Pan-Europa into Japanese.[46] He proposed Pan-Asia to Kajima and promised to give Dutch East Indies as their friendship after the realization of the task to establish Pan-Asia.[46] Kajima published Pan-Europa in Japanese in 1927. In 1930 Kajima retired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become MP. His ambition to become an MP was due to Coudenhove-Kalergi's influence.[47] In 1970''1971 he published the complete works of Coudenhove-Kalergi from Kajima Institute Publishing that was established by Morinosuke Kajima. He respected Coudenhove-Kalergi over a lifetime, dreaming of the realization of Pan-Asia.[46]
In Japan, the Pan-European idea also influenced a journalist Yoshinori Maeda, the president of NHK. He became a pioneer of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union with the image of Pan-Europa that he read in his student days.[48]
In 1953 Ichirō Hatoyama established Yuai Youth Association (later Yuai Association), the fraternal association as the successor of fraternity that Coudenhove-Kalergi mentioned in The Totalitarian State Against Man. The Japanese word yÅai(å‹æ› ) has several meanings but especially the word used by Hatoyama means fraternity and in German br¼derlichkeit.[49] It can also be considered equivalent to "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" (Brotherhood), the motto of the French Republic. An educator Kaoru Hatoyama became the second president of the association after her husband Ichirō, the first president, died in 1959.
In 1967 Coudenhove-Kalergi was awarded the Kajima Peace Award, and was invited to Japan by:: Morinosuke Kajima as the president of Kajima Institute of International Peace, Yoshinori Maeda as the president of NHK, and Kaoru Hatoyama as the president of Yuai Youth Association. Together with his second wife Alexandra in a wheelchair,[50] Coudenhove-Kalergi stayed in Japan from 26 October to 8 November. He was also accompanied by his young brother Gerolf's daughter Barbara.[51] Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi was also awarded First Order of the Sacred Treasure of Japan. He was granted an audience with the Emperor Hirohito, Empress Kōjun, their son Crown Prince Akihito to whom he had presented his book in 1953 in Switzerland, and Crown Princess Michiko. This time, he had returned to Japan for the first time since his childhood 71 years earlier. He gave several lectures and met various leaders. Coudenhove-Kalergi spent 2 weeks in Japan as a guest of Japanese TV, radio, newspaper, magazines and other media.[52] While in Japan, Coudenhove-Kalergi specifically asked for a meeting with the president of Soka Gakkai, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, as Coudenhove-Kalergi had been interested in Ikeda's work for many years. After their first meeting in October 1967, Coudenhove-Kalergi described Ikeda as "very energetic, life-loving, honorable, friendly and intelligent."[53]
Soka Gakkai invitation [ edit] Coudenhove-Kalergi visited Japan again at the invitation of the Soka Gakkai in October 1970.[54] During his stay, he and Daisaku Ikeda conducted a formal dialogue over the course of several days, a total of more than 12 hours of which was recorded for posterity.[55] He also visited the campus of Soka University in Tokyo, which was under construction at that time.[54]
Two decades later, in 1990, Ikeda proposed that Coudenhove-Kalergi's favorite song, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," be regularly performed at major Soka Gakkai meetings. It was reported in Japan that this was one cause of the split between the Soka Gakkai and Soka Gakkai International (SGI) from Nichiren Shoshu in 1991, as the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood objected to the song's "Christian origins."
According to a masonic report, Coudenhove-Kalergi died of a stroke.[56] His secretary, however, indicated that Coudenhove-Kalergi possibly committed suicide. In the memoir his secretary wrote, she said his death was kept secret so as not to disappoint those who considered him to be the great visionary of European integration.[57] Coudenhove-Kalergi was the head of the Pan-European Union until his death. The presidency was succeeded by Otto von Habsburg.
Coudenhove-Kalergi is buried at Gruben near Gstaad.[58] His grave, covered with wild grapes, is located in a Japanese rock garden in the Swiss Alps. The grave is unpretentious and upon it is the French epitaph "Pionnier des ‰tats-Unis d'Europe " (Pioneer of the United States of Europe), with none of the other great titles that many supporters believe he had earned.[59]
Coudenhove-Kalergi was married three times: to Ida Roland (1887''1951), to Alexandra Gr¤fin von Tiele-Winkler (1896''1968), and to Melanie Benatzky-Hoffmann (1909''1983). His known children were Ida's daughter Erika and Alexandra's son Alexander, both of whom were his step-children.[60]
Jedes groŸe historische Geschehen begann als Utopie und endete als Realit¤t.
(Translation:) Every great historical event began as a utopia and ended as a reality.
'--'‰Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Pan-Europa (Pan-Europe)[61][62]We are experiencing the most dangerous revolution in world history: the revolution of the State against man. We are experiencing the worst idolatry of all time: the deification of the state.
'--'‰Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Totaler Staat '' Totaler Mensch (Total State - Total Man)
Publications [ edit] Adel (1922)Ethik und Hyperethik (1922); H(C)ros ou Saint (1929), the Cahiers Internationaux series of the publisher Les Editions Rieder, 7, Place Saint-Sulpice, Paris, translated from German into French by Marcel BeaufilsPan-Europa (1923), Paneuropa Verlag; Pan-Europe (1926), Knopf, with an introduction by Nicholas Murray Butler, and with omitting the inconvenient parts about the economic threat of USAKrise der Weltanschauung (1923)Pazifismus (1924)Deutschlands Europ¤ische Sendung. Ein Gespr¤ch (1924)Praktischer Idealismus (1925)Kampf um Paneuropa (3 Volumes, 1925''28)Held oder Heiliger (1927)Br¼ning '' Hitler: Revision der B¼ndnispolitik (1931), Paneuropa-VerlagStalin & Co. (1931)Gebote des Lebens (1931)Los vom Materialismus! (1931)La lutte pour l'Europe (1931)Revolution durch Technik (1932)Gegen die Phrase vom j¼dischen Sch¤dling (1933), co-authored with Heinrich Mann, Arthur Holitscher, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Max BrodEuropa erwacht! (1934)JudenhaŸ von heute: Graf H. Coudenhofe-Kalergi. Das Wesen des Antisemitismus (1935)Europa ohne Elend: Ausgew¤hlte Reden (1936)JudenhaŸ! (1937)Totaler Staat '' Totaler Mensch (1937), Paneuropa Verlag; Totaler Mensch '' Totaler Staat (1939), Herold Verlag; Totaler Mensch '' Totaler Staat (1965), Herold VerlagThe Totalitarian State Against Man, with an introduction by Wickham Steed, translated by Sir Andrew Mc Fadyean (1938), London, Frederick Muller Ltd.Europe Must Unite, translated by Sir Andrew Mc Fadyean (1939)Die europ¤ische Mission der Frau (1940)Kampf um Europa (1949)Ida Roland: In Memoriam (1951)Die Europ¤ische Nation (1953)Der Gentleman (1953)An Idea Conquers the World, with a preface by Winston S. Churchill (1953)Vom Ewigen Krieg zum GroŸen Frieden (1956)Eine Idee erobert Europa (1958)From War to Peace (1959)Ein Leben f¼r Europa (1966)F¼r die Revolution der Br¼derlichkeit (1968), Zurich, Verlag Die WaageBi no Kuni '' Nihon heno Kikyou(美の国 '' 日æ'¬ã¸ã®å¸°éƒ· ) , translated into Japanese by Morinosuke Kajima (1968), Tokyo, Kajima Institute PublishingWeltmacht Europa (1971)Bunmei '' Nishi to Higashi(æ–‡æŽ '' è¥ã¨æ'± ), interview collection with Daisaku Ikeda (1972), Tokyo, publication branch of Sankei Shimbun Co., Ltd. Awards and honors [ edit] See also [ edit] References [ edit] Notes [ edit] ^ German: Richard Nikolaus Eijiro Graf von Coudenhove-Kalergi (Regarding personal names: Until 1919, Graf was a title, translated as Count, not a first or middle name. The female form is Gr¤fin . In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names.). Japanese: リãƒ'ャãƒãƒãƒ>>ニã‚"ãƒ(C)ã‚...スãƒ>>æ æ¬éƒŽãƒ>>クーデãƒ"ホーフ¼'ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ä¼¯çµ (Rihyaruto Nikorausu Eijirō KÅdenhōfu-KarerugÄ Hakushaku) .^ https://books.google.com/books?id=OW5FAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA34&lpg=PA34&dq=kalergi+european+integration&source=bl&ots=L9ciH4dL6H&sig=Dlo96WF7HBDy05q9NTkAnYs5APQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYp5rtverPAhUGrD4KHQxjBxY4ChDoAQhKMAg#v=onepage&q=kalergi%20european%20integration&f=false ^ https://www.rienner.com/uploads/53aae65db9769.pdf ^ Tozawa 2013a, chpt. (1) ^ Oca±a, Juan Carlos. "Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi". Spartacus Educational. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2014 . ^ abc "Richard N. de Coudenhove-Kalergi" (in French). Paneurope Suisse on Suisse magazine. Retrieved 31 October 2014 . ^ Persson & Str¥th 2007, p. 99 ^ ab Chambers 1944 ^ NAITO, Tetsuo (2006-03-31). "ç --ç(C)¶ãƒŽãƒ¼ãƒ : 欧州統åã®æå--±è…ãã‚¯ãƒ¼ãƒ‡ãƒ"ホーフãƒ>>ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ã®æ'æƒ"とèŒå‹• An Advocate of the European Integration, Coudenhove-Kalergi's Original Idea and Activities"(PDF) (in Japanese). Saitama United Cyber Repository of Academic Resources (SUCRA). p. 169. Retrieved 22 October 2013 . 幼き日ãæ¯è...ªãæ—¥æ'¬ã®ç¥è(C)±ãä¾‹ãã°ãŒæƒå¤ªéƒŽãã‚'読ã‚'でもらったとの彼の回æƒ"がある ^ Tozawa 2013a, chpt. (3): "æ²"原乞食 " ^ Gehler, p. 186 ^ Hilton, Ronald (2004-11-19). "Democracy and the concept of gentleman: Coudenhove-Kalergi". World Association of International Studies (WAIS) at Stanford University. Retrieved 31 October 2014 . for Coudenhove-Kalergi it meant adherence to the ideals [ . . . ]: honesty, fair play, courtesy, rational discourse. ^ "" Yuai" for Understanding". Yuai Association. Retrieved 4 February 2016 . ... the word Gentleman as he used referred to British type Gentleman in the chivalric medieval Europe, who may be characterized by such attributes as elegant, well-educated, polite, honest, humorous, cleanly, etc. ... Gentleman, however, must bear the moral responsibility to respect and protect Lady ... ^ Jajeśniak-Quast 2010, p. 131 ^ Dorril 2000, p. 165 ^ Rosamond 2000, pp. 21''22 ^ Ziegerhofer 2004, chpt. '…¤ '' 3 ^ ab Hewitson & D'Auria 2012, p. 107 ^ Lipgens 1984, p. 712; Johnston 1983, pp. 320''321 ^ Weigall & Stirk 1992, pp. 11''15 ^ Guieu & Le Dr(C)au 2009, p. 176: " il a propos(C) d¨s 1932 une journ(C)e de l'Europe qui serait c(C)l(C)br(C)e chaque 17 mai, jour de la publication du M(C)morandum Briand. " ^ Burleigh 2001, p. 426; Lipgens 1984, p. 37; Coudenhove-Kalergi once again approached Mussolini on 10 May 1933 in a futile attempt to form a union of Latin nations against the Third Reich. (Lipgens 1984, pp. 180''184) ^ Persson & Str¥th 2007, p. 114 ^ Mazower 2013, p. 691 ^ Hitler, Adolf (1928). Zweites Buch (in German). Dieses Paneuropa nach Auffassung des Allerweltsbastarden Coudenhove w¼rde der amerikanischen Union oder einem national erwachten China gegen¼ber einst dieselbe Rolle spielen wie der alt¶sterreichische Staat gegen¼ber Deutschland oder RuŸland. ^ Ziegerhofer 2004, p. 425 ^ Hitler's Secret Book, 1928, (tr. Attanasio, Salvator, New York: Grove Press, 1962), p 107. ^ Levy 2007, p. 394 ^ The book had English edition as Freemasonry: Its World View, Organization and Policies. (English full text: http://der-stuermer.org/freemasonryen.htm) ^ Schwarz 1938, p. 22: "der freimaurer Coudenhove-Kalergi " ^ Denslow 1957''1960 ^ Jajeśniak-Quast 2010, pp. 131''132; Ziegerhofer 2004, p. 57 ^ Web.archive.org ^ Coudenhove-Kalergi 1953, p. 234 (Roy Publishers) ^ Dorril 2000, pp. 166''167 ^ Coudenhove-Kalergi 1953, p. 247 (Hutchinson) ^ ab "Richard Nikolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi". University of Vienna. 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-27 . ^ Tozawa 2013b, chpt. (3) ^ Lipgens & Loth 1988, p. 664; Churchill 2003, pp. 427''430 ^ Lipgens & Loth 1988, p. 537 ^ "Union Paneurop(C)enne"(PDF) (in French). August 3, 1955. Archived from the original(PDF) on November 8, 2008. (digital document by CVCE) ^ Langmuir, pp. 22''24; Johnston 1983, pp. 320''321 ^ Robertson 1999, pp. 198''199 ^ Jews Participate in Pan-europe Congress Sessions in Vienna, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 5 October 1926, retrieved 5 November 2014 ^ Coudenhove-Kalergi 1925, pp. 20, 23, 50 ^ abcd Hirakawa 2011, pp. 40''42 ^ Tozawa 2013c, chpt. (3) ^ Tozawa 2013c, chpt. (2) ^ Pempel & Lee 2012, p. 137 ^ Tozawa, Hidenori (2013). クーデãƒ"ホーフãƒ>>ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ã¨æ—¥æ'¬ã®é–ä‚ (in Japanese). Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi Forum (School of Law, Tohoku University). Retrieved 17 November 2014 . ^ Tozawa 2013c, chpt. (5) ^ ab Kajima MONTHLY REPORT DIGEST 2005 ^ Tozawa 2013d, chpt. (1) ^ ab Tozawa 2013d, chpt. (2) ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (1978-11-19). ç'°åƒå ±å‘Šæ›¸2012: ç'°åƒå•éŒã¯å…¨äººéžçšãªèª²éŒ (in Japanese). SEIKYO online (Seikyo Shimbun). Retrieved 17 November 2014 . ^ Zuber 1995 ^ Huseynov, Hasan (2001-11-27). Пан-евÑоÐейское движение: документы (in Russian). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 31 October 2014 . ^ Jilek, p. 208 ^ Aizpurvit, Katerina (June 2011). "COUNT COUDENHOVE-KALERGI: SWITZERLAND AS THE MODEL OF EUROPEAN UNITY". Business Mir. Retrieved 31 October 2014 . ^ Pernhorst 2008, p. 38 ^ Coudenhove-Kalergi, Richard Nikolaus (1923). Pan-Europe (in German). Pan-Europa-Verlag. Jedes groŸe historische Geschehen begann als Utopie und endete als Realit¤t. ^ Coudenhove-Kalergi, Richard Nikolaus (1926). Pan-Europe. A. A. Knopf (Google Books). Every great political happening began as a Utopia and ended as a Reality. (Knopf's other version in 1926 on Google Books) ^ ab Kosch 2003, p. 374 ^ "Tabellarischer Lebenslauf: Richard Nikolaus Graf Coudenhove-Kalergi" (in German). Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Retrieved 2015-01-27 . ^ "Coudenhove-Kalergi, Richard Nikolaus Graf" (in German). Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Retrieved 2015-01-27 . ^ Duchhardt 2005, p. 306 ^ "Count Richard Nicolas Coudenhove-Kalergi". Official web site of the Nobel Prize. Retrieved 2015-01-27 . Sources [ edit] Tozawa, Hidenori (2013a). ミãƒã‚"ãƒ>>クーデãƒ"ホーフãƒ>>ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ (é''山光子) (in Japanese). Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi Forum (School of Law, Tohoku University). Retrieved 31 October 2014 . Tozawa, Hidenori (2013b). リãƒ'ャãƒãƒãƒ>>クーデãƒ"ホーフãƒ>>ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ (in Japanese). Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi Forum (School of Law, Tohoku University). Retrieved 4 November 2014 . Tozawa, Hidenori (2013c). クーデãƒ"ホーフãƒ>>ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ã¨é¹å"¶å®ä¹‹åŠ(C) (in Japanese). Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi Forum (School of Law, Tohoku University). Retrieved 17 November 2014 . Tozawa, Hidenori (2013d). クーデãƒ"ホーフãƒ>>ã‚レãƒã‚®ãƒ¼ã¨å‰µä¾å­...会 (in Japanese). Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi Forum (School of Law, Tohoku University). Retrieved 17 November 2014 . 第3è(C)±'‚é¹å"¶å¹"å'Œè"žæŽè"žã®èžå°. Kajima MONTHLY REPORT DIGEST (in Japanese). Kajima Corporation. April 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2014 . Hirakawa, Hitoshi (2011). "English Edition: Dr. Morinosuke Kajima and Pan-Asianism"(PDF) . SGRA Report No. 58. Atsumi International Scholarship Foundation (AISF) / Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA). pp. 37''77. Retrieved 17 November 2014 . Chambers, Whittaker (January 1944), Historian and History Maker, The American Mercury Gehler, Michael. "A Visionary proved Himself to be a Realist: Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Austria, and the "United States of Europe", 1923''2003"(PDF) . Europe on its Way to Unity. From Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi's Pan-European Vision to the Treaty of Athens. Tokai University Human Security review [2004/2005], No. 9. pp. 171''186. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2014-11-04 . Jilek, Lubor. "Pan-Europe de Coudenhove-Kalergi: l'homme, le projet et le mouvement paneurop(C)en"(PDF) (in French). Tokai University Human Security review [2004/2005], No. 9. pp. 205''209. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2014-11-04 . Dorril, Stephen (2000), MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Free Press Rosamond, Ben (2000), Theories of European Integration, Palgrave Macmillan Hewitson, Mark; D'Auria, Matthew, eds. (2012), Europe in Crisis: Intellectuals and the European Idea, 1917''1957, Berghahn Books, ISBN 9780857457288 Ziegerhofer, Anita (2004). Botschafter Europas: Richard Nikolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi und die Paneuropa-Bewegung in den zwanziger und dreissiger Jahren (in German). Wien: B¶hlau Verlag. ISBN 9783205772170. Lipgens, Walter, ed. (1984), Documents on the History of European Integration, Volume 1: Continental Plans for European Union 1939''1946, Walter de Gruyter Lipgens, Walter; Loth, Wilfried, eds. (1988), Documents on the History of European Integration, Volume 3: The Struggle for European Union by Political Parties and Pressure Groups in Western European Countries 1946''1950, Walter de Gruyter Johnston, William M. (1983), The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848''1938, University of California Press Weigall, David; Stirk, Peter M. R., eds. (1992), The Origins and Development of the European Community, Leicester: Leicester University Press Guieu, Jean-Michel; Le Dr(C)au, Christophe (2009). Le " Congr¨s de l'Europe " La Haye (1948''2008). Euroclio series (in French). 49. Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang. ISBN 9789052015736. Burleigh, Michael (2001), The Third Reich: A New History, Hill and Wang Mazower, Mark (2013), Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe, Penguin UK, ISBN 9780141917504 Schwarz, Dieter (1938). Die Freimaurerei: Weltanschauung, Organisation und Politik. Berlin: Franz Eher Nachfolger GmbH. (with an introduction by Reinhard Heydrich)Denslow, William R. (1957). 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Richmond, Virginia: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Inc. (with an introduction by Harry S. Truman)Jajeśniak-Quast, Dagmara (2010), "Polish Economic Circles and the Question of the Common European Market after World War I", Einzelver¶ffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts Warschau Bd. 23, Fibre-Verlag, ISBN 9783938400586 Levy, Jonathan (2007). The Intermarium: Wilson, Madison, and East Central European Federalismahren. Universal-Publishers. ISBN 9781581123692. The role of Count Coudenhove-Kalergi in east central European federalism is reexamined.Churchill, Winston S. (2003), Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches, Hyperion Langmuir, Gavin I., History, Religion, and Antisemitism Robertson, Ritchie (1999), The "Jewish Question" in German Literature, 1749''1939: Emancipation and Its Discontents, Oxford University Press Pempel, T.J.; Lee, Chung-Min (2012), Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Architecture and Beyond, Routledge, ISBN 9781136309847 Zuber, Otto (1995). "RICHARD NIKOLAUS Graf COUDENHOVE-KALERGI als Freimaurer". Jahrbuch der Forschungsloge Quatuor Coronati (in German). 32. Bayreuth: Forschungsloge Quatuor Coronati. Pernhorst, Christian (2008). Das paneurop¤ische Verfassungsmodell des Grafen Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi (in German). Nomos Verlag. ISBN 9783832932022. Kosch, Wilhelm, ed. (2003). Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon. das 20. Jahrhundert'‚Band 5: Butensch¶n '' Dedo (in German). Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110961119. Duchhardt, Heinz (2005). Option Europa: deutsche, polnische und ungarische Europapl¤ne des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts Band 2 (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 9783525362877. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Richard Nikolaus (1925). Praktischer Idealismus [Practical Idealism] (in German). Wien-Leipzig: Pan-Europa-Verlag. UBR069031840355. Retrieved 2014-11-07 . Coudenhove-Kalergi, Richard Nikolaus (1953). An Idea Conquers the World. London: Hutchinson. (New York: Roy Publishers)External links [ edit] Media related to Count Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi (category) at Wikimedia Commons
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - How Mark Zuckerberg has used Instagram to crush Evan Spiegel's Snap
Thu, 13 Jul 2017 06:40
Instagram's growth has accelerated markedly in the last year.
Last month, the number of people who use Instagram Stories every day reached 250 million, up from 200 million in April. That's a growth rate of 25 percent in just one quarter.
It's also well ahead of Snap, which reported 166 million average daily users in the first quarter of 2017, for a year-over-year growth rate of 36 percent.
Apart from Stories, the overall Instagram service also has been growing fast. In April, Instagram said it had 700 million users, up from 500 million in June 2016. That's an addition of 200 million in 10 months.
For most of 2014 and all of 2015, Instagram had been adding roughly 100 million every nine months.
"There was a major push within Facebook to get more users on Instagram," said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, an industry analyst firm.
Facebook did so by sending messages to users telling them which of their friends were already on Instagram.
"It was the right strategy and it worked," Moorhead told CNBC.
Now even Morgan Stanley, which was one of the investment banks that helped underwrite Snap's IPO, is admitting in a note this week that "Instagram is likely to be more disruptive than previously expected" to Snapchat's prospects.
The stock downgrade and revenue-estimate cut was a rare move on Wall Street given that the giant investment bank helped sell Snap's IPO just four months ago.
And Facebook will keep turning up the heat on its smaller rival.
Some Instagram advertisers are now getting for free a type of sponsorship that they have to pay for on Snapchat, according to the Morgan Stanley note.
"It's going to be hard for Snap to become more than a niche player" in the online ad market, Pierpont said.
Disclosure: CNBC parent company NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap.
VIDEO - Charles Krauthammer Destroys Donald Trump Jr.'s Defense Of Russia Meeting
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 23:35
Donald Trump Jr. has defended his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer by saying he didn't get anything out of it, but Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer isn't buying it.
More Donald Trump Jr. has defended his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer by saying he didn't get anything out of it, but Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer isn't buying it.
''It's a hell of a defense to say your collusion might be incompetent,'' he told Fox News' Martha MacCallum.
''If you get a call to go to a certain place in the middle of the night to pick up stolen goods and it turns out the stolen goods don't show up but the cops show up,'' he added, ''I think you're going to have a very weak story saying, 'Well, I got swindled here.'''
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
Trump, the eldest son of President Donald Trump, admitted on Tuesday that he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on the pretense he'd be receiving damning information about Hillary Clinton, his father's presidential election opponent. Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who set up the meeting, told Trump Jr. in an email that the meeting was part of Russia's attempts to help his father win the election.
''I love it,'' Trump Jr. told Goldstone in emails he posted to Twitter late Tuesday morning. He later told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the meeting was ''such a nothing'' because Veselnitskaya didn't end up disclosing anything useful.
Others in the Trump inner circle have used the same defense.
''It was a nothing meeting,'' the president's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said on Sunday.
Trump Jr. also defended the meeting as typical ''opposition research.'' But Krauthammer, who has in the past dismissed claims the Trumps colluded with Russia, called that excuse ''weak.''
''This is not just opposition,'' he said. ''This is not someone coming out of the woodwork in Indiana with a story about the Clintons. This is a foreign power, and not just any foreign power, an adversary foreign power.''
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
VIDEO - Sebastian Gorka SAVAGES CNN's Alisyn Camerota: 'More People Watching Nick at Night Than CNN' - YouTube
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 23:26
VIDEO - Joan Walsh: Ivanka Can't Be A Feminist Wearing Such A 'Girlie' Dress At G20 Summit | Mediaite
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 22:37
MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh appeared on MSNBC Live on Sunday and attacked Ivanka Trump for not only briefly sitting in for her father at a G20 summit meeting, but for wearing a ''girlie'' dress while doing so.
The author of the book, ''What's the Matter with White People?'', believes that Ivanka's ''ornamental'' dress was symbolic of ''patriarchal, authoritarian societies'' where daughters are ''property''.
Walsh sai ''I don't mean to sound sexist'' just prior to making comments that would likely have been condemned as sexist had they been directed at many women other than the President's daughter.
''Right. With big bows on her sleeve. I mean, I don't mean to sound sexist '-- it can be dangerous to comment on what women wear '-- but the fact that she sat in for her father in a dress that was so incredibly ornamental was such a contradiction in terms'', Walsh said. ''And I think that what we see is that in patriarchal, authoritarian societies, daughters have great value '-- they are property. And the message that she is sending about her own value, about her place in the White House, and about the place of women in this administration, I think, are really frightening.''
Even host Thomas Roberts seemed concerned that Walsh might be opening herself up to backlash following the comments.
''Do you think you're opening yourself up about the bows? Are you ready?'', asked Roberts.
Walsh continued to slam Ivanka's choice in attire as being to ''girlie'' to take seriously, going as far as to say she can't be fighting for equality for women while wearing a dress like that.
''That's not a dress that's made for work. That's not a dress that's made to go out in the world and make a difference. That is a dress that is designed to show off your girlieness, and, you know, God bless her, show it off, but don't then tell us that you're crusading for an equal place for women at the table because you're not.''
''So you can't be a feminist and be girlie at the same time?'', Roberts asked.
''You can be a feminist and be girlie, replied Walsh. ''We all have our girlie days, but I think showing up, taking your fathers's seat in a pink dress with big bows on the sleeves is really an interesting message. I also don't know why H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson didn't quit on the spot, that they wouldn't sit in, that she would get to sit there. I mean, they're playing '-- there's some head games going on here, and I'm just gonna break it down. I know Twitter's waiting for me, Thomas, but I'm giving you my unfiltered reaction.''
Watch above via MSNBC
[image via screengrab]
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VIDEO - Republican threatens to re-open investigation for Hillary's emails if media keeps reporting on Russia
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 21:25
'Take off the f*cking burka': Oregon man nailed for hate crime cries in court after threatening Muslim couple
WATCH: Al Franken uses FBI hearing to destroy conservatives' latest defense of Trump Jr
US intel agents heard Russian officials discussing Trump associates as early as Spring 2015: report
Huckabee Sanders pushes made-up 'DNC colluded with Ukraine' scandal '-- just like Rachel Maddow predicted
Trump tells Pat Robertson that Putin favored Hillary and her passive military stance in election
Congressmen officially file articles of impeachment against Donald Trump '-- and say 'Republicans will join'
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Republican threatens to re-open investigation for Hillary's emails if media keeps reporting on Russia
Maine Democratic lawmaker blasted for threatening post about Trump
Pro-Trump activist caught trying to frame net neutrality supporters as Satanic porn purveyors
VIDEO - Lindsey graham cut off by cnn
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:24
VIDEO - CONFUSION: Nancy Pelosi calls Trump 'President Bush' for fifth time - The American MirrorThe American Mirror
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:07
Never mind President Trump has been in office for six months '-- Nancy Pelosi still thinks George W. Bush is president.
During an interview with KTVU, Pelosi once again referred to Trump as ''President Bush.''
''Everything we have seen so far with the president has been about tax cuts for the rich,'' she told the news station.
''In fact, affecting California very directly, is the Affordable Care Act. President, uh, uh, Bush has come out against that as you know,'' she said, not correcting herself.
During a weekly press conference in June, the House Minority Leader referred to President Trump as ''President Bush'' yet again.
Explaining what she sees a Trump's method for handling people, Pelosi said, ''New Yorkers have said to me, those who have had business dealings with him, he operates this way:
''First he tries to charm you. President Bush tries to charm you. If that doesn't work'...''
''Trump,'' a reporter interjected, trying to cover for Pelosi's latest flub.
'''...he tries to bully you,'' she continued, not picking up the reporter's lifeline.
''If that doesn't work, he walks away from the deal. And if that doesn't work, he sues you,'' Pelosi said.
Pelosi declared the president ''needs work and he needs sleep.''
Several minutes later, an aide slipped Pelosi a piece of paper and she corrected herself.
At the end of May, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi referred to Bush as the current president.
Talking about her battles with Republicans over abortion, Pelosi said, ''For decades I've served in Congress and for decades I've had to fight the Republicans' opposition to birth control, contraception and family planning.
''They do not believe in it,'' Pelosi declared at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. ''And a lot of those people voted for George'-- for, what's his name?'' she asked, apparently struggling to remember President Trump's name.
''The president of the United States,'' she said. ''I'll honor the position.''
During an April appearance on ''This Week'' today, Pelosi mistakenly called President Trump ''President Bush.''
''I'm so sorry, President Bush,'' Pelosi said, correcting herself, and looking to the sky. ''I never thought I would pray for the day that you were president again.''
During a press conference in February, Nancy Pelosi again thought George W. Bush was still the president.
''We've seen nothing where we can where '-- where I can work with President Bush on'...'' Pelosi said as Maxine Waters' face dropped and she muttered to her colleagues.
''I'm disappointed because I thought there might be some interest because of what he said in the campaign.
''It turned out to be not true, a hoax and really dangerous to economic stability of America's working families,'' Pelosi said.
That time, Pelosi didn't correct herself.
VIDEO - Retired Army Colonel calls Evan McMillan a loser - True statement 7-11-17 - YouTube
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 23:58
VIDEO - ''You've Destroyed The Black Community'' '' Woman Roasts Maxine Waters '' MILO NEWS
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 10:05
A video making the rounds on social media shows a very upset black woman screaming at Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif) through a megaphone, berating her divisive identity politics. ''We are sick and tired with your hate and your racism,'' the woman screams in the clip. ''All of the jobs went to illegal immigrants. You have destroyed the black community. You are a blind racist. You gave our jobs to illegals. We want you out.''
''We have a right to work in our own country,'' the woman continues later on in the clip, now speaking through a microphone someone has handed her.
''She's paid with taxpayer's money to discriminate against American citizens and we're not going to have it. She's been in office too long doing nothing.''
As the woman rants, people can be seen around her carrying pro-Trump signs, anti-Democrat posters and American flags.
See the video in the tweet below. Black Trump supporter screams at Maxine Waters "you have destroyed the black community"! pic.twitter.com/2emvFO61hp
'-- "Gitmo" Bama (@President1Trump) July 10, 2017
According to The L.A. Times, the woman seen in that clip goes by the name of Chanell Temple. The outlet states that Temple lost her job years ago and hasn't been able to find another one, which she blames on the fact that she doesn't speak Spanish.
Temple was one of several anti-Waters protesters who turned out at a town hall held by the notoriously crazy Democrat in late June.
While people like Chanell protested outside the town hall, Maxine Waters led a protest of her own inside, leading a crowd in a chant of ''Impeach 45'' that ended with her stating, ''stay woke.''
VIDEO - Norm Macdonald Calls Bill Clinton A Murderer Live On The View (11-16-2000) - YouTube
Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:25
VIDEO - Don't be fooled - Elon Musk's electric cars aren't about to save the planet
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 23:27
As Elon Musk presented the new Tesla 3, a fawning press announced that the ''world-changing car'' could ''dominate'' the market. Within days, 276,000 people had put down $1,000 to pre-order the car.
B ut the Model 3 doesn't exist yet. There is no final production version, much less any production. Musk is ''fairly confident'' that deliveries could start by the end of 2017. But running on schedule isn't Tesla's strong suit. Meanwhile, Tesla's current best-seller has been plagued by quality problems.
All of this might just be another iPhone vs Galaxy conversation '' except that these vehicles are hailed as green saviours and so are subsidised to the tune of billions of pounds.
Before unveiling the car, Musk sanctimoniously declared that Tesla exists to give the planet a sustainable future. He pointed to rising CO'‚‚ levels. He lamented that 53,000 people die from air pollution from transportation. Tesla, the story goes, is a lifesaver. Like other electric cars, it has ''zero emissions'' of air pollution and CO'‚‚.
B ut this is only true of the car itself; the electricity powering it is often produced with coal, which means that the clean car is responsible for heavy air pollution. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, ''electric cars are coal-powered cars''.
If the USA had 10 per cent more petrol cars by 2020, air pollution would claim 870 more lives. A similar increase in electric ones would cause 1,617 more deaths a year, mostly because of the coal burned.
If we were to scale this to the UK, electric cars would cause the same or more air pollution-related deaths than petrol-powered cars. In China, because their coal power plants are so dirty, electric cars make local air much worse: in Shanghai, pollution from more electric-powered cars would be nearly three-times as deadly as more petrol-powered ones.
M oreover, while electric cars typically emit less CO'‚‚, the savings are smaller than most imagine. Over a 150,000 km lifetime, the top-line Tesla S will emit about 13 tonnes of CO'‚‚. But the production of its batteries alone will emit 14 tonnes, along with seven more from the rest of its production and eventual decommissioning.
Compare this with the diesel-powered, but similarly performing, Audi A7 Sportback, which uses about seven litres per 100km, so about 10,500 litres over its lifetime. This makes 26 tonnes of CO'‚‚. The Audi will also emit slightly more than 7 tons in production and end-of-life. In total, the Tesla will emit 34 tonnes and the Audi 35. So over a decade, the Tesla will save the world 1.2 tonnes of CO'‚‚.
Reducing 1.2 tonnes of CO'‚‚ on the EU emissions trading system costs £5; but instead, the UK Government subsidises each car with £4,500. All of the world's electric cars sold so far have soaked up £9 billion in subsidies, yet will only save 3.3 million tonnes of CO'‚‚. This will reduce world temperatures by 0.00001°C in 2100 '' the equivalent of postponing global warming by about 30 minutes at the end of the century. Electric cars will be a good idea, once they can compete '' which will probably be by 2032. But it is daft to waste billions of pounds of public money on rich people's playthings that kill more people through air pollution while barely affecting carbon emissions. The Tesla 3 is indeed a ''zero emissions'' marvel '' but that is only because it does not yet exist.
VIDEO - Hawking says Trump's climate stance could damage Earth - BBC News
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 22:32
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Media caption Stephen Hawking spoke to the BBC about climate change and Donald TrumpStephen Hawking says that US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement could lead to irreversible climate change.
Prof Hawking said the action could put Earth onto a path that turns it into a hothouse planet like Venus.
He also feared aggression was "inbuilt" in humans and that our best hope of survival was to live on other planets.
The Cambridge professor spoke exclusively to BBC News to coincide with his 75th birthday celebrations.
Arguably the world's most famous scientist, Prof Hawking has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life. It has impaired his movement and ability to speak.
Yet through it all, he emerged as one of the greatest minds of our time. His theories on black holes and the origin of the Universe have transformed our understanding of the cosmos.
Prof Hawking has also inspired generations to study science. But through his media appearances what has been most impressive of all has been his humanity.
His main concern during his latest interview was the future of our species. A particular worry was President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement to reduce CO2 levels.
What is climate change?
What is in the Paris climate agreement?
"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid," he told BBC News.
"Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it's one we can prevent if we act now. By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children."
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also highlights the potential risk of hitting climate tipping points as temperatures increase - though there are gaps in our knowledge of this topic.
In its Fifth Assessment Report, the IPCC authors wrote: "The precise levels of climate change sufficient to trigger tipping points (thresholds for abrupt and irreversible change) remain uncertain, but the risk associated with crossing multiple tipping points in the Earth system or in interlinked human and natural systems increases with rising temperature."
When asked whether he felt we would ever solve our environmental problems and resolve human conflicts, Prof Hawking was pessimistic, saying that he thought our days on Earth were numbered.
"I fear evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome. There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarised technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous. The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space."
And on Brexit, he feared UK research would be irreparably damaged.
"Science is a cooperative effort, so the impact will be wholly bad, and will leave British science isolated and inward looking".
I asked him what he would like his legacy to be.
"I never expected to reach 75, so I feel very fortunate to be able to reflect on my legacy. I think my greatest achievement, will be my discovery that black holes are not entirely black."
"Quantum effects cause them to glow like hot bodies with a temperature that is lower, the larger the black hole. This result was completely unexpected, and showed there is a deep relationship between gravity and thermodynamics. I think this will be key, to understanding how paradoxes between quantum mechanics and general relativity can be resolved."
When asked if money or practicality were no object, what his dream present would be, he said it would be a cure for motor neurone disease - or at least a treatment that halted its progression.
"When I was diagnosed at 21, I was told it would kill me in two or three years. Now, 54 years later, albeit weaker and in a wheelchair, I'm still working and producing scientific papers. But it's been a great struggle, which I have got through only with a lot of help from my family, colleagues, and friends."
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VIDEO - Nuking transparency: Pentagon hides nuclear weapons inspections reports - YouTube
Sun, 09 Jul 2017 14:40

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