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Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 7m
July 27th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Janet of Brentwood, Caleb Hilley, Sir Brock FN Samson of the burning marsh, Dame Francine Hardaway

Associate Executive Producers: Nick Foster,

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With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:46
One of the most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country's most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current president.
A newly formed and, by all appearances, well-funded national security advocacy group, devoted to more hawkish U.S. policies toward Russia and other adversaries, provides the most vivid evidence yet of this alliance. Calling itself the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the group describes itself as ''a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative'' that ''will develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors' efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions,'' and also ''will work to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.''
It is, in fact, the ultimate union of mainstream Democratic foreign policy officials and the world's most militant, and militaristic, neocons. The group is led by two longtime Washington foreign policy hands, one from the establishment Democratic wing and the other a key figure among leading GOP neocons.
The Democrat, Laura Rosenberger, served as a foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and chief of staff to two Obama national security officials. The Republican is Jamie Fly, who spent the last four years as counselor for foreign and national security affairs to one of the Senate's most hawkish members, Marco Rubio; prior to that, he served in various capacities in the Bush Pentagon and National Security Council.
Fly's neocon pedigree is impressive indeed. During the Obama years, he wrote dozens of articles for the Weekly Standard '-- some co-authored with Bill Kristol himself '-- attacking Obama for insufficient belligerence toward Iran and terrorists generally, pronouncing Obama ''increasingly ill suited to the world he faces as president'' by virtue of his supposed refusal to use military force frequently enough (Obama bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries during his time in office, including an average of 72 bombs dropped per day in 2016 alone).
The Democrats' new partner Jamie Fly spent 2010 working in tandem with Bill Kristol urging military action '-- i.e., aggressive war '-- against Iran. In a 2010 Weekly Standard article co-written with Kristol, Fly argued that ''the key to changing [Iran's thinking about its nuclear program] is a serious debate about the military option,'' adding: ''It's time for Congress to seriously explore an Authorization of Military Force to halt Iran's nuclear program.''
Fly then went around the D.C. think tank circuit, under the guise of advocating ''debate,'' espousing the need to use military force against Iran, spouting standing neocon innuendo such as ''we need to be wary of the Obama administration's intentions'' toward Iran. He mocked Obama officials, and Bush officials before them, for their ''obsession with diplomatic options'' to resolve tensions with Iran short of war. The Kristol/Fly duo returned in 2012 to more explicitly argue: ''Isn't it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran's nuclear program?''
Beyond working as Rubio's foreign policy adviser, Fly was the executive director of ''the Foreign Policy Initiative,'' a group founded by Kristol along with two other leading neocons, Robert Kagan and Dan Senor, who was previously the chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. That group is devoted to standard neocon agitprop, demanding ''a renewed commitment to American leadership'' on the ground that ''the United States remains the world's indispensable nation.'' In sum, as Vox's Dylan Matthews put it during the 2016 campaign, ''If you want a foreign policy adviser with strong ties to the neocon world, it's hard to do better than Fly.''
When it comes to this new group, the alliance of Democrats with the most extreme neocon elements is visible beyond the group's staff leadership. Its board of advisers is composed of both leading Democratic foreign policy experts, along with the nation's most extremist neocons.
Thus, alongside Jake Sullivan (national security adviser to Joe Biden and the Clinton campaign), Mike Morrell (Obama's acting CIA director) and Mike McFaul (Obama's ambassador to Russia) sit leading neocons such as Mike Chertoff (Bush's homeland security secretary), Mike Rogers (the far-right, supremely hawkish former congressman who now hosts a right-wing radio show); and Bill Kristol himself.
In sum '-- just as was true of the first Cold War, when neocons made their home among the Cold Warriors of the Democratic Party '-- on the key foreign policy controversies, there is now little to no daylight between leading Democratic Party foreign policy gurus and the Bush-era neocons who had wallowed in disgrace following the debacle of Iraq and the broader abuses of the war on terror. That's why they are able so comfortably to unify this way in support of common foreign policy objectives and beliefs.
Democrats often justify this union as a mere marriage of convenience: a pragmatic, temporary alliance necessitated by the narrow goal of stopping Trump. But for many reasons, that is an obvious pretext, unpersuasive in the extreme. This Democrat/neocon reunion had been developing long before anyone believed Donald Trump could ascend to power, and this alliance extends to common perspectives, goals, and policies that have little to do with the current president.
It is true that neocons were among the earliest and most vocal GOP opponents of Trump. That was because they viewed him as an ideological threat to their orthodoxies (such as when he advocated for U.S. ''neutrality'' on the Israel/Palestine conflict and railed against the wisdom of the wars in Iraq and Libya), but they were also worried that his uncouth, offensive personality would embarrass the U.S. and thus weaken the ''soft power'' needed for imperial hegemony. Even if Trump could be brought into line on neocon orthodoxy '-- as has largely happened '-- his ineptitude and instability posed a threat to their agenda.
But Democrats and neocons share far more than revulsion toward Trump; particularly once Hillary Clinton became the party's standard-bearer, they share the same fundamental beliefs about the U.S. role in the world and how to assert U.S. power. In other words, this alliance is explained by far more than antipathy to Trump.
Indeed, the likelihood of a neocon/Democrat reunion long predates Trump. Back in the summer of 2014 '-- almost a year before Trump announced his intent to run for president '-- longtime neocon-watcher Jacob Heilbrunn, writing in the New York Times, predicted that ''the neocons may be preparing a more brazen feat: aligning themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her nascent presidential campaign, in a bid to return to the driver's seat of American foreign policy.''Noting the Democratic Party's decades-long embrace of the Cold War belligerence that neocons love most '-- from Truman and JFK to LBJ and Scoop Jackson '-- Heilbrunn documented the prominent neocons who, throughout Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, were heaping praise on her and moving to align with her. Heilbrunn explained the natural ideological affinity between neocons and establishment Democrats: ''And the thing is, these neocons have a point,'' he wrote. ''Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war; supported sending arms to Syrian rebels; likened Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, to Adolf Hitler; wholeheartedly backs Israel; and stresses the importance of promoting democracy.''
One finds evidence of this alliance long before the emergence of Trump. Victoria Nuland, for instance, served as one of Dick Cheney's top foreign policy advisers during the Bush years. Married to one of the most influential neocons, Robert Kagan, Nuland then seamlessly shifted into the Obama State Department and then became a top foreign policy adviser to the Clinton campaign.
As anti-war sentiment grew among some GOP precincts '-- as evidenced by the success of the Ron Paul candidacies of 2008 and 2012, and then Trump's early posturing as an opponent of U.S. interventions '-- neocons started to conclude that their agenda, which never changed, would be better advanced by realignment back into the Democratic Party. Writing in The Nation in early 2016, Matt Duss detailed how the neocon mentality was losing traction within the GOP, and predicted:
Yet another possibility is that the neocons will start to migrate back to the Democratic Party, which they exited in the 1970s in response to Vietnam-inspired anti-interventionism. That's what earned their faction the ''neo'' prefix in the first place. As Nation contributor James Carden recently observed, there are signs that prominent neocons have started gravitating toward Hillary Clinton's campaign. But the question is, Now that the neocons has been revealed as having no real grassroots to deliver, and that their actual constituency consists almost entirely of a handful of donors subsidizing a few dozen think tankers, journalists, and letterheads, why would Democrats want them back?
The answer to that question '-- ''why would Democrats want them back?'' '-- is clear: because, as this new group demonstrates, Democrats find large amounts of common cause with neocons when it comes to foreign policy.
The neocons may be migrating back to the Democratic Party and into the open embrace of its establishment, but their homecoming will not be a seamless affair: Duss, for instance, is now the top foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders. After spending little energy on foreign affairs as a candidate, Sanders's hiring of Duss is a sign that he sees a rejection of interventionism as ascendant with the populist element of the party.
He will have allies there from whatever is left of the faction within the Obama administration which willingly took so much heat from the foreign policy establishment for its insufficient aggression toward Russia or other perceived enemies; Sen. Chris Murphy, for instance, has been vocal in his opposition to arming the Saudis as they savage Yemen. But now that hawkish rhetoric and belligerent policies have subsumed the Democrats, it remains to be seen how much of that anti-interventionism survives.
For many years '-- long before the 2016 election '-- one of the leading neocon planks was that Russia and Putin pose a major threat to the west, and Obama was far too weak and deferential to stand up to this threat. From the start of the Obama presidency, the Weekly Standard warned that Obama failed to understand, and refused to confront, the dangersposed by Moscow. From Ukraine to Syria, neocons constantly attacked Obama for letting Putin walk all over him.
That Obama was weak on Russia, and failing to stand up to Putin, was a major attack theme for the most hawkish GOP senators such as Rubio and John McCain. Writing in National Review in 2015, Rubio warned that Putin was acting aggressively in multiple theaters, but ''as the evidence of failure grows, President Obama still can't seem to understand Vladimir Putin's goals.'' Rubio insisted that Obama (and Clinton's) failure to confront Putin was endangering the West:
In sum, we need to replace a policy of weakness with a policy of strength. We need to restore American leadership and make clear to our adversaries that they will pay a significant price for aggression. President Obama's policies of retreat and retrenchment are making the world a more dangerous place. The Obama-Clinton Russia policy has already undermined European security. We can't let Putin wreak even more havoc in the Middle East.
In 2015, Obama met with Putin at the U.N. General Assembly, and leading Republicans excoriated him for doing so. Obama ''has in fact strengthened Putin's hand,'' said Rubio. McCain issued a statement denouncing Obama for meeting with the Russian tyrant, accusing him of failing to stand up to Putin across the world:
That Putin was a grave threat, and Obama was too weak in the face of it, was also a primary theme of Jeb Bush's presidential campaign:
And even back in 2012, Mitt Romney repeatedly accused Obama of being insufficiently tough on Putin, prompting the now-infamous mockery by Obama and Democrats generally of Romney's Russiaphobia, which they ridiculed as an ancient relic of the Cold War. Indeed, before Trump's emergence, the hard-core pro-GOP neocons planned to run against Hillary Clinton by tying her to the Kremlin and warning that her victory would empower Moscow:
Even through the 2016 election, McCain and Rubio repeatedly attacked Obama for failing to take Russian hacking seriously enough and for failing to retaliate. And for years before that, Russia was a primary obsession for neocons, from the time it went to war with Georgia (at the time headed by a neocon-loved president) and even prior to that.
Thus, when it came time for Democrats to elevate Putin and Russia into a major theme of the 2016 campaign, and now that their hawkishness toward Moscow is their go-to weapon for attacking Trump, neocons have become their natural ideological allies.
The song Democrats are now singing about Russia and Putin is one the neocons wrote many years ago, and all of the accompanying rhetorical tactics '-- accusing those who seek better relations with Moscow of being Putin's stooges, unpatriotic, of suspect loyalties, etc. '-- are the ones that have defined the neocons smear campaigns for decades.
The union of Democrats and neocons is far more than a temporary marriage of convenience designed to bring down a common enemy. As this new policy group illustrates, the union is grounded in widespread ideological agreement on a broad array of foreign policy debates: from Israel to Syria to the Gulf States to Ukraine to Russia. And the narrow differences that exist between the two groups '-- on the wisdom of the Iran deal, the nobility of the Iraq War, the justifiability of torture '-- are more relics of past debates than current, live controversies. These two groups have found common cause because, with rare and limited exception, they share common policy beliefs and foreign policy mentalities.
The implications of this reunion are profound and long-term. Neocons have done far more damage to the U.S., and the world, than any other single group '-- by a good margin. They were the architects of the invasion of Iraq and the lies that accompanied it, the worldwide torture regime instituted after 9/11, and the general political climate that equated dissent with treason.
With the full-scale discrediting and collapse of the Bush presidency, these war-loving neocons found themselves marginalized, without any constituency in either party. They were radioactive, confined to speaking at extremist conferences and working with fringe organizations.
All of that has changed, thanks to the eagerness of Democrats to embrace them, form alliances with them, and thus rehabilitate their reputations and resurrect their power and influence. That leading Democratic Party foreign policy officials are willing to form new Beltway advocacy groups in collaboration with Bill Kristol, Mike Rogers, and Mike Chertoff, join arms with those who caused the invasion of Iraq and tried to launch a bombing campaign against Tehran, has repercussions that will easily survive the Trump presidency.
Perhaps the most notable fact about the current posture of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party is that one of their favorite, most beloved, and most cited pundits is the same neocon who wrote George W. Bush's oppressive, bullying and deceitful speeches in 2002 and 2003 about Iraq and the war on terror, and who has churned out some of the most hateful, inflammatory rhetoric over the last decade about Palestinians, immigrants, and Muslims. That Bush propagandist, David Frum, is regularly feted on MSNBC's liberal programs, has been hired by The Atlantic (where he writes warnings about authoritarianism even though he's only qualified to write manuals for its implementation), and is treated like a wise and honored statesman by leading Democratic Party organs.
One sees this same dynamic repeated with many other of the world's most militaristic, war-loving neocons. Particularly after his recent argument with Tucker Carlson over Russia, Democrats have practically canonized Max Boot, who has literally cheered for every possible war over the two past decades and, in 2013, wrote a column titled ''No Need to Repent for Support of Iraq War.'' It is now common to see Democratic pundits and office holders even favorably citing and praising Bill Kristol himself.
There's certainly nothing wrong with discrete agreement on a particular issue with someone of a different party or ideology; that's to be encouraged. But what's going on here goes far, far beyond that.
What we see instead are leading Democratic foreign policy experts joining hands with the world's worst neocons to form new, broad-based policy advocacy groups to re-shape U.S. foreign policy toward a more hostile, belligerent and hawkish posture. We see not isolated agreement with neocons in opposition to Trump or on single-issue debates, but a full-scale embrace of them that is rehabilitating their standing, empowering their worst elements, and reintegrating them back into the Democratic Party power structure.
If Bill Kristol and Mike Chertoff can now sit on boards with top Clinton and Obama policy advisers, as they're doing, that is reflective of much more than a marriage of convenience to stop an authoritarian, reckless president. It demonstrates widespread agreement on a broast range of issues and, more significantly, the return of neocons to full-scale D.C. respectability, riding all the way on the backs of eager, grateful establishment Democrats.
Top photo: William Kristol, right, answers a question as Leon Panetta and James Carville watch during a forum titled ''The Budget Blame Game'' at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif. on Monday May 6, 2013.
Advisory Council | The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:44
Nicole Wong served as deputy U.S. chief technology officer in the Obama administration, where she focused on internet, privacy, and innovation policy. Prior to her time in government, Nicole was Google's vice president and deputy general counsel, and Twitter's legal director for products. She frequently speaks on issues related to law and technology. Nicole chairs the board of Friends of Global Voices, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting citizen and online media projects globally. She also sits on the boards of WITNESS, an organization supporting the use of video to advance human rights, and the Mozilla Foundation, which promotes open internet. Nicole currently serves as an advisor to the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard Business School Digital Initiative, the Democratic National Committee Cybersecurity advisory board, Refactor Capital, and the Albright Stonebridge Group.
Hate Trumps Love
Trump boy scout Jamboree speech angers parents - BBC News
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:38
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Media caption Donald Trump delivered a speech to remember to the Boy Scouts of AmericaParents have expressed anger after President Donald Trump delivered a highly politicised speech to tens of thousands of boy scouts.
Mr Trump started by saying: "Who the hell wants to speak about politics?"
But his speech to the Jamboree in West Virginia railed against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the "cesspool" of politics, drawing whoops and cheers.
One parent wrote: "Done with scouts after you felt the need to have my kid listen to a liar stroke his ego."
The Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America is held every four years and drew about 35,000 scouts from the ages of 12 to 18 to the latest event, held in Beaver, West Virginia, on Monday evening.
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Media caption What made Trump roll his eyes?The Jamboree had issued a warning on its blog about being respectful.
It read: "Chants of certain phrases heard during the campaign (e.g. 'build the wall', 'lock her up') are considered divisive by many members of our audience, and may cause unnecessary friction."
But in a rambling 35-minute speech, Mr Trump whipped up a response of boos, cheers, chants and jeers as he lambasted fake news, Hillary Clinton's election campaign and President Obama's failure to address a Jamboree in person.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The whoops and hollers ran contrary to some parents' views of boy scout values Responding to the criticism of the speech, the Boy Scouts of America insisted it was "wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy".
It said the invitation to Mr Trump was a "long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies".
But the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page carried a number of angry posts.
Jude Nevans Cleaver wrote: "I am the proud mother of a former scout who was sheltered from that pack of lies speech at the Jamboree. Done with scouts after you felt the need to have my kid listen to a liar stroke his ego on our time."
Debbie S. Milligan said: "Wow, this is what you are teaching the Boy Scouts? To be disrespectful to a Past President. One that had been a Boy Scout, unlike the current President. Completely disrespectful!"
On Instagram, Pete Souza, the former chief official White House photographer, posted a picture of President Barack Obama meeting a scout.
"I can assure you, POTUS [president of the United States] was not telling this Cub Scout and the Boy Scouts who followed about his electoral college victory," Mr Souza wrote.
Many parents, lobbyists and politicians took to social media to cite the 107-year-old organisation's values, and to suggest Mr Trump had failed them.
Lobbyist for women's and LGBT rights Amy Siskind tweeted: "If the Boy Scouts organization has any decency, they'll come out with a statement tonight denouncing Trump, and giving instructions for all troop leaders to speak to these boys about what they just heard and why it was wrong."
But the tweets were not all anti-Trump, with some praising the scouts for their love of the president.
The size of the crowd
A familiar point of contention for the president, who was lambasted in the media over his estimation of the numbers at his inauguration address.
"Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it's about 200 people. (Draws laughter.) It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today."
"Fake media, fake media," he says, to boos and cheers.
Boy Scout credentials
Mr Trump says he has 10 ex-boy scouts in his cabinet and in the White House and turns on Barack Obama.
"By the way, just a question: did President Obama ever come to a Jamboree?" Mr Trump asks. The audience shouts "No!". Mr Obama did address the Jamboree by video link in 2010. He was also a former boy scout, unlike Mr Trump.
The election victory
Mr Trump decries the electoral college system but goes through his victories, mentioning state after state to various cheers. He then says he worked hard in Michigan, adding "my opponent didn't work hard there" which draws boos from the audience.
Obamacare and the veiled threat
The audience of youngsters is introduced to former boy scout Tom Price, the health secretary.
He tells Mr Price he had "better get senators to vote" when a showdown on healthcare comes up on Tuesday.
Mr Trump says: "He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better - otherwise, I'll say 'Tom, you're fired!' I'll get somebody". More applause.
The "sewer"
"You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians and I see the swamp and it's not a good place," says Mr Trump.
"In fact, today I said we ought to change it from the word 'swamp' to the word 'cesspool' or perhaps to the word 'sewer'."
Scout values
Mr Trump says: "As the scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal. We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that."
A nod, perhaps, to the James Comey affair. The sacked FBI chief claimed Mr Trump had demanded loyalty from him, something the president denies.
Donald Trump mistakes Boy Scout Jamboree for Trump Youth rally
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:13
Trump informed the scouts that it was secretary's duty to secure votes from senators.
By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I'll say, "Tom, you're fired." I'll get somebody.
Because that responsibility couldn't possibly fall on Trump. And within moments of telling Price he'd be fired if he couldn't produce, Trump made the one-directional nature of loyalty perfectly clear.
As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal -- we could use some more loyalty I will tell that you that.
Supporting Trump is loyalty. Trump supporting anyone else is '... ludicrous.
At that point, Trump went back to attacking the media, first treating the event as if it was a Trump Youth rally and complaining that it wouldn't get coverage.
I'm waving to people back there so small I can't even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible.
By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible massive crowd, record setting, is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?
The fake media will say, "President Trump spoke" -- you know what is -- "President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today." That's some -- that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.
Your government is a sewer. The free press is fake. Remember that, kids.
Trump then followed this with an unbelievably inspirational story'--of a real estate developer who sold his company for millions, bought a yacht, and spent a lot of time in the south of France. Then how this guy turned into a failure, and lost everything, but he met Donald Trump and recognized that Trump was even better than him. Of course, he was still a failure. Unlike Trump.
Seriously. That was Trump's inspirational story for the scouts. Selling a corporation, buying a yacht, doing a lot of ''stuff'' in the south of France, and having problems with a zoning ordinance. Plus ultimately being a failure.
Which was followed by Trump going into an extended bragging session about the election, encouraging the scouts to cheer for his election, more bragging about the election, and a valuable lesson in orienteering.
Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th where they said, these dishonest people, where they said, there is no path to victory for Donald Trump. They forgot about the forgotten people.
By the way, they're not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore. They're going crazy trying to figure it out, but I told them, far too late; it's far too late.
But you remember that incredible night with the maps, and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red it was unbelievable. And they didn't know what to say.
Trump then explained why winning the popular vote was easy, and the electoral vote was hard.
And, because he'd run through everything else, Donald Trump then went to '... the War on Christmas. No. Really.
And by the way, under the Trump administration you'll be saying "Merry Christmas" again when you go shopping, believe me.
Merry Christmas.
They've been downplaying that little beautiful phrase. You're going to be saying "Merry Christmas" again, folks.
Or else, dammit. Trump finished out by explaining to teenagers how great it was that he was spending billions more on military equipment'--because, after all, they will soon be the prime age to use that new gear.
The whole speech was monstrous enough that it drew massive complaints from those in attendance and scouts from across the nation. Enough so that the Boy Scouts of America felt compelled to make a little speech of their own.
H. RES. 456 (Introduced-in-House)
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:00
115 HRES 456 IH: Objecting to the conduct of the President of the United States. U.S. House of Representatives 2017-07-19 text/xml EN Pursuant to Title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code, this file is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain.
IV115th CONGRESS1st SessionH. RES. 456IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESJuly 19, 2017Mr. Cohen (for himself, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Ms. Lee, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Raskin, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Yarmuth, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Ms. Bass, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Guti(C)rrez, Ms. Fudge, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Pocan, Ms. Maxine Waters of California, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Jackson Lee, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Espaillat, Mr. Payne, Mr. Beyer, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, and Mr. Crdenas) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concernedRESOLUTIONObjecting to the conduct of the President of the United States.
Whereas, on January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump swore to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.; Whereas the Constitution prohibits Federal office holders from accepting emoluments of any kind from a foreign state without the consent of Congress; Whereas President Trump has refused to divest, place into a blind trust, or otherwise give up his ownership interest in his worldwide business holdings since becoming President; Whereas President Trump has refused to release his tax returns, in a break from the practice of United States Presidents for more than 40 years; Whereas, on February 14, 2017, the Chinese Government registered a trademark to Donald John Trump for branded construction services, following a 10-year legal battle that turned in Donald John Trump's favor after he declared his candidacy for President of the United States; Whereas, on February 27, 2017, and March 6, 2017, the Chinese Government granted preliminary approval of 38 new trademarks to Donald John Trump and one of his companies, and the director of a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy said he had never seen so many applications approved so expeditiously, and the approvals closely followed President Trump's decision to honor the one-China policy, in contrast to his earlier statements; Whereas President Trump did not first seek or obtain the consent of Congress before accepting any of these trademark benefits from China; Whereas President Trump owns approximately 77 percent of the Trump Old Post Office LLC, which holds a lease from the General Services Administration to operate the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Whereas the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, has actively courted foreign diplomats for their business and, according to public reports since the November 2016 election, diplomats have made plans to stay at the hotel to curry favor with Donald John Trump and, whereas, some diplomats have said spending money at Trump's hotel is an easy, friendly gesture to the new President; Whereas, in late January 2017, a lobbying firm working for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid for a room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, after Inauguration Day as part of its effort to bring activists to Washington to urge Congress to repeal the law letting 9/11 victims' families sue the Kingdom; Whereas the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, has reportedly taken in $270,000 in payments tied to Saudi Arabia for expenses including lodging, catering, and parking expenses; Whereas, on February 22, 2017, the Embassy of Kuwait held its National Day Celebration at Trump International Hotel Washington, DC; Whereas, on or about April 6, 2017, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations stayed at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Whereas President Trump did not first seek or obtain the consent of Congress before accepting any of the benefits from foreign states derived from their patronage of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Whereas President Trump owns Trump Tower, a mixed-use skyscraper in New York City and at least two tenants of Trump Tower are entities owned by foreign states, including'-- (1)the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is owned by China; and (2)Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates; Whereas President Trump did not first seek or obtain the consent of Congress before accepting any of the benefits from foreign states derived from their patronage of the Trump Tower in New York City; Whereas President Trump owns Trump World Tower in New York City and whereas, in 2001, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased a floor of Trump World Tower and the floor currently belongs to the Saudi Mission to the United Nations; Whereas President Trump has not sought or obtained the consent of Congress for any benefits he has received, such as monthly assessments, from Saudi Arabia due to its use of Trump World Tower in New York City; Whereas President Trump is an executive producer of The Apprentice and the state-owned television station BBC One in the United Kingdom pays licensing fees to broadcast the show; Whereas President Trump has not sought or obtained the consent of Congress before accepting benefits from the United Kingdom, or any other foreign government, in the form of licensing fees for The Apprentice; Whereas President Trump's travel to resorts in which he has an ownership interest, such as Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, costs taxpayers millions of dollars while such resorts receive the benefit of publicity; Whereas President Trump appointed Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to serve as National Security Advisor; Whereas, on January 26, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that National Security Advisor Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and that, as a result, Flynn was at risk of being blackmailed by the Russians; Whereas Flynn was not asked to resign from the Administration until February 13, 2017; Whereas, on January 27, 2017, President Trump invited FBI Director James Comey to a one-on-one dinner at the White House, during which he told Director Comey he needed loyalty; Whereas, on February 14, 2017, President Trump told Director James Comey, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go, and, He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.; Whereas, on March 20, 2017, Director James Comey testified before Congress that the FBI was investigating Russian interference with the 2016 United States Presidential election and whether there was any collusion with the Trump campaign; Whereas, on May 9, 2017, while the FBI was investigating whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey; Whereas in his letter informing Director James Comey that he was being terminated, President Trump said, While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.; Whereas, on May 12, 2017, while speaking in a nationally televised interview about his decision to fire Director James Comey, President Trump said, And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.; Whereas, according to a published report, President Trump told Russian officials, I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job '... I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off.; Whereas, on May 12, 2017, President Trump tweeted, James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!; Whereas, on June 22, 2017, President Trump tweeted, With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea . . . whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings; Whereas, on March 4, 2017, President Trump tweeted, Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! and, How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!; Whereas, on March 20, 2017, at a hearing of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, both FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers both denied there was any information supporting President Trump's allegation that President Obama had wiretapped President Trump; Whereas, on May 10, 2017, while hosting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at the White House, President Trump revealed highly classified code-word level information to Ambassador Kislyak, concerning information from a United States intelligence partner; Whereas President Trump prohibited American press from witnessing his May 10, 2017, meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at the White House, but allowed a Russian photographer to have access; Whereas, on April 29, 2017, while speaking by telephone with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, President Trump revealed that the United States had two nuclear submarines near North Korea; Whereas, in February 2017, while President Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago Club, President Trump discussed a ballistic missile test by North Korea in an unsecured dining terrace in view of club dining patrons; Whereas President Trump has appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to serve as an envoy to foreign leaders, despite having no diplomatic experience; Whereas United States foreign policy has long been based on both our Nation's interest as well as our values, including democracy, freedom of the press, and promotion of human rights; Whereas, on April 3, 2017, when speaking about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President Trump said, We agreed on so many things. I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sisi. He's done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.; Whereas President al-Sisi rose to power in a coup, and in his country antigovernment protests have been banned, freedom of press and freedom of religion have been repressed, some independent human rights groups have been banned, and it has been estimated that 60,000 political prisoners have been detained; Whereas, on April 29, 2017, President Trump invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to visit him at the White House, despite the fact that Duterte has been accused of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects; Whereas, on March 17, 2017, President Trump refused to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand in an Oval Office meeting; Whereas, on May 25, 2017, President Trump pushed aside Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic in order to move to the front of a group of NATO leaders; Whereas President Trump has been slow to fill critical diplomatic posts including the United States Ambassadors to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and other State Department positions that are vital to our Nation's security; Whereas, on January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive order that banned nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, banned admission of all refugees for four months, indefinitely blocked refugees from Syria, and contained language prioritizing the admission of non-Muslims from majority Muslim nations; Whereas, on January 31, 2017, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said, This is not a travel ban '... This is not'--I repeat, not'--a ban on Muslims '...; Whereas, on January 31, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, First of all, it's not a travel ban.; Whereas, on February 3, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in the State of Washington blocked implementation of the travel ban nationwide; Whereas, on February 9, 2017, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against reinstating the travel ban; Whereas, on March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a revised Executive order that removed Iraq from the list of nations from which immigration would be temporarily banned, and no longer contained language indefinitely banning Syrian refugees or calling for prioritized admission for non-Muslims fleeing majority Muslim nations; Whereas, on March 15, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in the State of Hawaii blocked implementation of President Trump's revised Executive order, noting that when Mr. Trump was asked during the Presidential campaign if he was pulling back from a Muslim ban, Mr. Trump said, I don't think it's a rollback. In fact, you could say it's an expansion. I'm looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can't use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I'm okay with that, because I'm talking about territory instead of Muslim.; Whereas Judge Watson also noted that Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller had told Fox News that the revised Executive order would have the same basic policy outcome for the country, and that Rudolph Giuliani had explained the origin of the original Executive order by saying, When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said Muslim ban. He called me up. He said, Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.; Whereas, on May 25, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction blocking President Trump's revised Executive order, saying it drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.; Whereas, on June 5, 2017, President Trump tweeted, People, the lawyers and courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!; Whereas, on June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by the Trump administration to rulings blocking full implementation of the President's revised Executive order; Whereas, on June 29, 2017, President Trump tweeted, I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came '... to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!; Whereas, in a February 4, 2017, tweet, President Trump referred to a Federal judge with whom he disagreed as a so-called judge; Whereas, in a May 9, 2017, President Trump referred to the United States Senate Minority Leader as Cryin' Chuck Schumer in a tweet; Whereas, on April 28, 2017, President Trump referred to United States Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas in a speech to the National Rifle Association; Whereas President Trump has called press reports, fake news and in some instances his administration has prohibited video recordings of White House press briefings; Whereas President Trump used Twitter to circulate a video of him violently wrestling a man covered by a CNN logo, which, according to the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press, was a threat of physical violence against journalists '... [and] beneath the office of the presidency.; Whereas free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy; Whereas, on January 6, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailed Russian efforts to influence the 2016 Presidential election, stating, We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.; Whereas President Trump has refused to acknowledge, unequivocally, that Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential election, saying, instead, things like I think it very well could be Russia but I think it could very well have been other countries '... I think a lot of people interfere.; Whereas, on June 6, 2017, while on foreign soil, President Trump criticized former President Obama, saying, The thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama when he was President found out about this in terms of if it were Russia, found out about it in August, now the election was in November, that's a lot of time he did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA as I understand it . . . I think what happened was that he thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and he said let's not do anything about it.; Whereas President Obama issued repeated warnings to Russian officials, including a direct warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin, approved a cyberwarfare campaign against Russia, and expelled Russian diplomats from the United States; Whereas, on July 9, 2017, President Trump tweeted, Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded '...; Whereas President Trump has not empaneled a commission to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 United States Presidential election, but has empaneled a commission to investigate unfounded claims that there were as many as 5,000,000 fraudulent votes in the United States Presidential election, which President Trump has claimed cost him the popular vote; Whereas, on June 29, 2017, the United States Senate passed S. 722, the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which included sanctions on Russia, by a vote of 98''2; Whereas President Trump's administration has sought changes to S. 722 to make it more friendly to Russia; Whereas, on June 1, 2017, President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a historic pact among nearly 200 parties, including Russia and China, to reduce emissions that raise global temperatures, put lives and property at risk, and imperil the planet upon which we live, and, Syria and Nicaragua were the only nations that did not sign the Paris Agreement, and Nicaragua objected because it felt the agreement did not go far enough; Whereas 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activity has impacted climate change; Whereas, on May 28, 2017, after transatlantic meetings, German Chancellor Angela Merkel concluded that President Trump was not the kind of traditionally reliable partner for Germany and Europe on whom they have been able to depend in the past, saying that traditional alliances were no longer as steadfast. Merkel stated that Europe should, really take our fate into our own hands '... and said, The times in which we could rely fully on others'--they are somewhat over.; Whereas President Trump's opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement put the United States at odds on climate change with the rest of the G''20 at its July 2017 meeting in Hamburg, Germany; Whereas President Trump failed to secure an international agreement at the July 2017 G''20 meeting to counter the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea; Whereas President Trump's first cabinet appointments had the smallest percentage of women and nonwhites combined than any since President Reagan; Whereas the gender pay gap at President Trump's White House is more than double the national pay gap; Whereas, on January 21, 2017, President Trump's spokesperson said, Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular Tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall '... That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.; Whereas in support of his assertion about the inaugural crowd size, President Trump's spokesperson said, We know that 420,000 people used DC Metro public transit yesterday, which compares to 317,000 that it used for President Obama's last inaugural, but transit officials said that 570,557 riders used the transit system on January 20, 2017, as compared with 1.1 million trips the day of President Obama's first inauguration and 782,000 trips the day of President Obama's second inauguration; Whereas, on February 16, 2017, President Trump said his 2016 election victory was, the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan; Whereas Donald J. Trump received 304 electoral votes in 2016; Whereas Barrack Obama received 332 electoral votes in 2012, and 365 electoral votes in 2008; Whereas Bill Clinton received 379 electoral votes in 1996, and 370 electoral votes in 1992; Whereas George H. W. Bush received 426 electoral votes in 1988; and Whereas when President Trump was presented with facts about the size of his predecessors' electoral victory margins at a press conference on February 16, 2017, he responded, I don't know, I was given that information. I actually, I've seen that information around.: Now, therefore, be it That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that'-- (1)based on the conduct described in the preamble, the House of Representatives has no confidence that President Trump is faithfully executing the office of President of the United States; and (2)President Trump should'-- (A)release his tax returns; (B)place his private business assets in a blind trust or to divest from them; (C)donate to the United States Treasury, as he promised, any personal profit he has made from foreign patronage of hotels in which he has an ownership interest; (D)refrain from taking any action that results in taxpayer money being spent on goods or services from businesses in which he has an ownership interest, such as Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia; (E)seek congressional consent for any and all emoluments he has received from foreign countries; (F)refrain from using Twitter inappropriately, including refraining from posting comments that could adversely impact United States foreign policy; (G)support the First Amendment, support freedom of the press, refrain from calling reporting fake news, refrain from posting video of himself wrestling with a press logo, and stop limiting full electronic press access to White House press briefings; (H)promote democracy, freedom of the press, and human rights in foreign policy; (I)unequivocally acknowledge that Russia interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election, and work to protect our electoral process from any future foreign interference; (J)refuse any offer to form any kind of cybersecurity unit with the Russian Government to purportedly protect the United States from election hacking; (K)respect the independence of our Nation's judicial branch; (L)respect Members of Congress and refrain from using derogatory nicknames for them; and (M)conduct United States foreign policy in a manner that reflects the United States traditional role as leader of the free world.
115 HRES 456 IH: Objecting to the conduct of the President of the United States. U.S. House of Representatives 2017-07-19 text/xml EN Pursuant to Title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code, this file is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain.
IV115th CONGRESS1st SessionH. RES. 456IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESJuly 19, 2017Mr. Cohen (for himself, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Ms. Lee, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Raskin, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Yarmuth, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Ms. Bass, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Guti(C)rrez, Ms. Fudge, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Pocan, Ms. Maxine Waters of California, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Jackson Lee, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Espaillat, Mr. Payne, Mr. Beyer, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, and Mr. Crdenas) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concernedRESOLUTIONObjecting to the conduct of the President of the United States.
Whereas, on January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump swore to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.; Whereas the Constitution prohibits Federal office holders from accepting emoluments of any kind from a foreign state without the consent of Congress; Whereas President Trump has refused to divest, place into a blind trust, or otherwise give up his ownership interest in his worldwide business holdings since becoming President; Whereas President Trump has refused to release his tax returns, in a break from the practice of United States Presidents for more than 40 years; Whereas, on February 14, 2017, the Chinese Government registered a trademark to Donald John Trump for branded construction services, following a 10-year legal battle that turned in Donald John Trump's favor after he declared his candidacy for President of the United States; Whereas, on February 27, 2017, and March 6, 2017, the Chinese Government granted preliminary approval of 38 new trademarks to Donald John Trump and one of his companies, and the director of a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy said he had never seen so many applications approved so expeditiously, and the approvals closely followed President Trump's decision to honor the one-China policy, in contrast to his earlier statements; Whereas President Trump did not first seek or obtain the consent of Congress before accepting any of these trademark benefits from China; Whereas President Trump owns approximately 77 percent of the Trump Old Post Office LLC, which holds a lease from the General Services Administration to operate the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Whereas the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, has actively courted foreign diplomats for their business and, according to public reports since the November 2016 election, diplomats have made plans to stay at the hotel to curry favor with Donald John Trump and, whereas, some diplomats have said spending money at Trump's hotel is an easy, friendly gesture to the new President; Whereas, in late January 2017, a lobbying firm working for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid for a room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, after Inauguration Day as part of its effort to bring activists to Washington to urge Congress to repeal the law letting 9/11 victims' families sue the Kingdom; Whereas the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, has reportedly taken in $270,000 in payments tied to Saudi Arabia for expenses including lodging, catering, and parking expenses; Whereas, on February 22, 2017, the Embassy of Kuwait held its National Day Celebration at Trump International Hotel Washington, DC; Whereas, on or about April 6, 2017, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations stayed at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Whereas President Trump did not first seek or obtain the consent of Congress before accepting any of the benefits from foreign states derived from their patronage of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Whereas President Trump owns Trump Tower, a mixed-use skyscraper in New York City and at least two tenants of Trump Tower are entities owned by foreign states, including'-- (1)the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is owned by China; and (2)Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates; Whereas President Trump did not first seek or obtain the consent of Congress before accepting any of the benefits from foreign states derived from their patronage of the Trump Tower in New York City; Whereas President Trump owns Trump World Tower in New York City and whereas, in 2001, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased a floor of Trump World Tower and the floor currently belongs to the Saudi Mission to the United Nations; Whereas President Trump has not sought or obtained the consent of Congress for any benefits he has received, such as monthly assessments, from Saudi Arabia due to its use of Trump World Tower in New York City; Whereas President Trump is an executive producer of The Apprentice and the state-owned television station BBC One in the United Kingdom pays licensing fees to broadcast the show; Whereas President Trump has not sought or obtained the consent of Congress before accepting benefits from the United Kingdom, or any other foreign government, in the form of licensing fees for The Apprentice; Whereas President Trump's travel to resorts in which he has an ownership interest, such as Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, costs taxpayers millions of dollars while such resorts receive the benefit of publicity; Whereas President Trump appointed Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to serve as National Security Advisor; Whereas, on January 26, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that National Security Advisor Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and that, as a result, Flynn was at risk of being blackmailed by the Russians; Whereas Flynn was not asked to resign from the Administration until February 13, 2017; Whereas, on January 27, 2017, President Trump invited FBI Director James Comey to a one-on-one dinner at the White House, during which he told Director Comey he needed loyalty; Whereas, on February 14, 2017, President Trump told Director James Comey, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go, and, He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.; Whereas, on March 20, 2017, Director James Comey testified before Congress that the FBI was investigating Russian interference with the 2016 United States Presidential election and whether there was any collusion with the Trump campaign; Whereas, on May 9, 2017, while the FBI was investigating whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey; Whereas in his letter informing Director James Comey that he was being terminated, President Trump said, While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.; Whereas, on May 12, 2017, while speaking in a nationally televised interview about his decision to fire Director James Comey, President Trump said, And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.; Whereas, according to a published report, President Trump told Russian officials, I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job '... I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off.; Whereas, on May 12, 2017, President Trump tweeted, James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!; Whereas, on June 22, 2017, President Trump tweeted, With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea . . . whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings; Whereas, on March 4, 2017, President Trump tweeted, Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! and, How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!; Whereas, on March 20, 2017, at a hearing of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, both FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers both denied there was any information supporting President Trump's allegation that President Obama had wiretapped President Trump; Whereas, on May 10, 2017, while hosting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at the White House, President Trump revealed highly classified code-word level information to Ambassador Kislyak, concerning information from a United States intelligence partner; Whereas President Trump prohibited American press from witnessing his May 10, 2017, meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at the White House, but allowed a Russian photographer to have access; Whereas, on April 29, 2017, while speaking by telephone with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, President Trump revealed that the United States had two nuclear submarines near North Korea; Whereas, in February 2017, while President Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago Club, President Trump discussed a ballistic missile test by North Korea in an unsecured dining terrace in view of club dining patrons; Whereas President Trump has appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to serve as an envoy to foreign leaders, despite having no diplomatic experience; Whereas United States foreign policy has long been based on both our Nation's interest as well as our values, including democracy, freedom of the press, and promotion of human rights; Whereas, on April 3, 2017, when speaking about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President Trump said, We agreed on so many things. I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sisi. He's done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.; Whereas President al-Sisi rose to power in a coup, and in his country antigovernment protests have been banned, freedom of press and freedom of religion have been repressed, some independent human rights groups have been banned, and it has been estimated that 60,000 political prisoners have been detained; Whereas, on April 29, 2017, President Trump invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to visit him at the White House, despite the fact that Duterte has been accused of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects; Whereas, on March 17, 2017, President Trump refused to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand in an Oval Office meeting; Whereas, on May 25, 2017, President Trump pushed aside Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic in order to move to the front of a group of NATO leaders; Whereas President Trump has been slow to fill critical diplomatic posts including the United States Ambassadors to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and other State Department positions that are vital to our Nation's security; Whereas, on January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive order that banned nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, banned admission of all refugees for four months, indefinitely blocked refugees from Syria, and contained language prioritizing the admission of non-Muslims from majority Muslim nations; Whereas, on January 31, 2017, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said, This is not a travel ban '... This is not'--I repeat, not'--a ban on Muslims '...; Whereas, on January 31, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, First of all, it's not a travel ban.; Whereas, on February 3, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in the State of Washington blocked implementation of the travel ban nationwide; Whereas, on February 9, 2017, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against reinstating the travel ban; Whereas, on March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a revised Executive order that removed Iraq from the list of nations from which immigration would be temporarily banned, and no longer contained language indefinitely banning Syrian refugees or calling for prioritized admission for non-Muslims fleeing majority Muslim nations; Whereas, on March 15, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in the State of Hawaii blocked implementation of President Trump's revised Executive order, noting that when Mr. Trump was asked during the Presidential campaign if he was pulling back from a Muslim ban, Mr. Trump said, I don't think it's a rollback. In fact, you could say it's an expansion. I'm looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can't use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I'm okay with that, because I'm talking about territory instead of Muslim.; Whereas Judge Watson also noted that Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller had told Fox News that the revised Executive order would have the same basic policy outcome for the country, and that Rudolph Giuliani had explained the origin of the original Executive order by saying, When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said Muslim ban. He called me up. He said, Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.; Whereas, on May 25, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction blocking President Trump's revised Executive order, saying it drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.; Whereas, on June 5, 2017, President Trump tweeted, People, the lawyers and courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!; Whereas, on June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by the Trump administration to rulings blocking full implementation of the President's revised Executive order; Whereas, on June 29, 2017, President Trump tweeted, I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came '... to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!; Whereas, in a February 4, 2017, tweet, President Trump referred to a Federal judge with whom he disagreed as a so-called judge; Whereas, in a May 9, 2017, President Trump referred to the United States Senate Minority Leader as Cryin' Chuck Schumer in a tweet; Whereas, on April 28, 2017, President Trump referred to United States Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas in a speech to the National Rifle Association; Whereas President Trump has called press reports, fake news and in some instances his administration has prohibited video recordings of White House press briefings; Whereas President Trump used Twitter to circulate a video of him violently wrestling a man covered by a CNN logo, which, according to the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press, was a threat of physical violence against journalists '... [and] beneath the office of the presidency.; Whereas free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy; Whereas, on January 6, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailed Russian efforts to influence the 2016 Presidential election, stating, We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.; Whereas President Trump has refused to acknowledge, unequivocally, that Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential election, saying, instead, things like I think it very well could be Russia but I think it could very well have been other countries '... I think a lot of people interfere.; Whereas, on June 6, 2017, while on foreign soil, President Trump criticized former President Obama, saying, The thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama when he was President found out about this in terms of if it were Russia, found out about it in August, now the election was in November, that's a lot of time he did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA as I understand it . . . I think what happened was that he thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and he said let's not do anything about it.; Whereas President Obama issued repeated warnings to Russian officials, including a direct warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin, approved a cyberwarfare campaign against Russia, and expelled Russian diplomats from the United States; Whereas, on July 9, 2017, President Trump tweeted, Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded '...; Whereas President Trump has not empaneled a commission to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 United States Presidential election, but has empaneled a commission to investigate unfounded claims that there were as many as 5,000,000 fraudulent votes in the United States Presidential election, which President Trump has claimed cost him the popular vote; Whereas, on June 29, 2017, the United States Senate passed S. 722, the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which included sanctions on Russia, by a vote of 98''2; Whereas President Trump's administration has sought changes to S. 722 to make it more friendly to Russia; Whereas, on June 1, 2017, President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a historic pact among nearly 200 parties, including Russia and China, to reduce emissions that raise global temperatures, put lives and property at risk, and imperil the planet upon which we live, and, Syria and Nicaragua were the only nations that did not sign the Paris Agreement, and Nicaragua objected because it felt the agreement did not go far enough; Whereas 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activity has impacted climate change; Whereas, on May 28, 2017, after transatlantic meetings, German Chancellor Angela Merkel concluded that President Trump was not the kind of traditionally reliable partner for Germany and Europe on whom they have been able to depend in the past, saying that traditional alliances were no longer as steadfast. Merkel stated that Europe should, really take our fate into our own hands '... and said, The times in which we could rely fully on others'--they are somewhat over.; Whereas President Trump's opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement put the United States at odds on climate change with the rest of the G''20 at its July 2017 meeting in Hamburg, Germany; Whereas President Trump failed to secure an international agreement at the July 2017 G''20 meeting to counter the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea; Whereas President Trump's first cabinet appointments had the smallest percentage of women and nonwhites combined than any since President Reagan; Whereas the gender pay gap at President Trump's White House is more than double the national pay gap; Whereas, on January 21, 2017, President Trump's spokesperson said, Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular Tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall '... That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.; Whereas in support of his assertion about the inaugural crowd size, President Trump's spokesperson said, We know that 420,000 people used DC Metro public transit yesterday, which compares to 317,000 that it used for President Obama's last inaugural, but transit officials said that 570,557 riders used the transit system on January 20, 2017, as compared with 1.1 million trips the day of President Obama's first inauguration and 782,000 trips the day of President Obama's second inauguration; Whereas, on February 16, 2017, President Trump said his 2016 election victory was, the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan; Whereas Donald J. Trump received 304 electoral votes in 2016; Whereas Barrack Obama received 332 electoral votes in 2012, and 365 electoral votes in 2008; Whereas Bill Clinton received 379 electoral votes in 1996, and 370 electoral votes in 1992; Whereas George H. W. Bush received 426 electoral votes in 1988; and Whereas when President Trump was presented with facts about the size of his predecessors' electoral victory margins at a press conference on February 16, 2017, he responded, I don't know, I was given that information. I actually, I've seen that information around.: Now, therefore, be it That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that'-- (1)based on the conduct described in the preamble, the House of Representatives has no confidence that President Trump is faithfully executing the office of President of the United States; and (2)President Trump should'-- (A)release his tax returns; (B)place his private business assets in a blind trust or to divest from them; (C)donate to the United States Treasury, as he promised, any personal profit he has made from foreign patronage of hotels in which he has an ownership interest; (D)refrain from taking any action that results in taxpayer money being spent on goods or services from businesses in which he has an ownership interest, such as Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia; (E)seek congressional consent for any and all emoluments he has received from foreign countries; (F)refrain from using Twitter inappropriately, including refraining from posting comments that could adversely impact United States foreign policy; (G)support the First Amendment, support freedom of the press, refrain from calling reporting fake news, refrain from posting video of himself wrestling with a press logo, and stop limiting full electronic press access to White House press briefings; (H)promote democracy, freedom of the press, and human rights in foreign policy; (I)unequivocally acknowledge that Russia interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election, and work to protect our electoral process from any future foreign interference; (J)refuse any offer to form any kind of cybersecurity unit with the Russian Government to purportedly protect the United States from election hacking; (K)respect the independence of our Nation's judicial branch; (L)respect Members of Congress and refrain from using derogatory nicknames for them; and (M)conduct United States foreign policy in a manner that reflects the United States traditional role as leader of the free world.
Ministry of Truthiness
scaramucci - Google Search JERSEY SHORE
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 23:51
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They Are NOT Broke'--Snopes' GoFundMe Is a Scam To Fund a Dirty Divorce
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:17
Snopes is in trouble. According to a self-launched fundraiser, the ostensible fact-checking website, founded in 1994, is on the financial ropes and needs your support to stay open. A GoFundMe for the supposed hoax-debunking site has since been set up and is going viral. If it continues raising money at this current rate, it will easily surpass its goal of $500,000 by the end of the day.
While Twitter followers flock en masse to throw money at David Mikkelson, one of the controlling partners in the Snopes business, they'd do well to understand why it is he has no money.
Snopes, as a business, is not broke. David Mikkelson '-- who's been accused of defrauding the website to pay for prostitution '-- is broke.
Snopes' estimated value is in the tens of millions, with a daily revenue intake around five figures '-- a day. They are currently ranked in the top 2,600 websites globally as well as being in the top 700 domestically. The behemoth 'fact-checker' is nowhere near being broke.
However, thanks to a dirty divorce between David Mikkelson and his ex-wife Barbara Mikkelson, the company has turned into a glorious shit show.
If you read their GoFundMe page, David alleges the site is being ''held hostage'' by a ''vendor'' it contracted with in 2015 and ended its ties with this spring. He claims that the Snopes site and this ''vendor'' are engaged in a legal battle that could eliminate their ''financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile.''
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READ MORE: Snopes, the Supposed Arbiter of 'Fake News' -- Accused of 'Defrauding Own Site to Pay for Prostitutes'
However, as the Nieman Lab at Harvard University reports, that legal battle seems to be an argument between Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson and his ex-wife, Barbara Mikkelson, over control of the company.
The ''vendor'' mentioned in the GoFundMe is Proper Media, Barbara's side of the Snopes business venture she began after the divorce in 2015.
Essentially, David Mikkelson is begging for money to fight his ex-wife for control over their fact-checking empire. He even notes this on the GoFundMe page, ''(not to mention covering our legal fees).''
As Nieman Lab notes, Snopes parent company Bardav, Inc. and the vendor, Proper Media, filed complaints against each other over issues stemming from that contract termination. Snopes alleges that Proper Media continues to control the advertising on Snopes.com, and is withholding revenue from those ads from the Snopes team. Proper Media, meanwhile, alleges that David Mikkelson ''has engaged in a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits.''
''Mikkelson was unhappy that Barbara maintained ownership of half of what he always considered to be his company after the divorce,'' Proper Media's original complaint reads. ''Thus, after Proper Media's purchase of Barbara's share, Mikkelson sought to finally gain control of Bardav by aligning and conspiring with (Vincent) Green.''
Yes, this mudslinging conspiracy talk is actually coming from the people who claim to be the arbiters of online truth.
So, as their supports continue to throw money at the GoFundMe campaign '-- at the current rate of $30,000 per hour '-- the reality is, that their efforts are most likely in vain.
READ MORE: Snopes Conveniently Silent on WaPost's Dangerous Fake Story About Russia Hacking US Power Grid
As media analyst, Thomas Baekdal pointed out Monday in a series of Tweets, people should '-- like Snopes tells them to do '-- remain skeptical.
Nieman Lab reached out to both David Mikkelson's company and Barbara Mikkelson's company. However, they only received a reply from Proper Media, Barbara's venture.
''Proper Media suggests that the media conduct its own fact-check of the fundraising plea posted today on Snopes.com,'' Karl Kronenberger, counsel for Proper Media, wrote in an email response. ''In summary, today's post only confirms Proper Media's allegations that Mr. Mikkelson has drained the company's bank accounts and is unable to operate Snopes profitably without Proper Media's expertise and management.''
What these new revelations show us is that Snopes '-- a website that gained notoriety for debunking online myths '-- is a cluster fuck.
Fraud, embezzlement, and using company funds to pay for prostitution are just a sampling of the accusations against the CEO of the fact-checking website.
As TFTP reported last year, in November, David remarried '-- his new wife is a former porn actress and escort '-- and is now one of the site's fact-checkers. As for these accusations, reports the Daily Mail,
READ MORE: Snopes Conveniently Silent on WaPost's Dangerous Fake Story About Russia Hacking US Power Grid
''They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of 'embezzlement' and suggesting he is attempting a 'boondoggle' to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.''
In a court document from last June, Barbara contended, ''He's been depleting the corporate account by spending monies from it on his personal expenses,'' such as purchasing his 'girlfriend's' ticket to Buenos Aires and $10,000 for a ''personal vacation'' to India.
As Claire Bernish so eloquently pointed out last year, one point incontestably underpinning the personal battle behind the scenes at the company demands an urgent question '-- with money as the seemingly only motivator, can the public ever be assured Snopes' checked facts are accurate at all?
Perhaps Snopes has finally been Snoped.
Snopes, in Heated Legal Battle, Asks Readers for Money to Survive - NYTimes.com
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:27
Snopes, the fact-checking website that once focused on debunking flimsy internet rumors but has expanded into a 16-person operation that calls out political leaders for dishonesty, is locked in a legal battle that it says has drained the money it needs to survive.
The site, which gets all of its revenue from advertising, created a crowdfunding page on Monday, raising $500,000 from readers in one day to remain operational indefinitely. It says that Proper Media, the vendor that runs its advertising services, has withheld the site's revenue and has refused to relinquish control of the site. That leaves Bardav '-- the company that owns and operates Snopes '-- with no way of moving the site to a new host or installing its own ads, said David Mikkelson, a founder of the site.
''We have had no income whatsoever for the last several months,'' Mr. Mikkelson said in an interview on Monday.
When asked how long the site could last without a successful fund-raising drive or legal victory, Mr. Mikkelson responded: ''Not a whole lot longer.''
Proper Media and its lawyers tell a starkly different story. They say that Snopes employees will continue to be paid from the advertising revenue, and that Mr. Mikkelson should be removed from the company because of wasteful spending.
The two sides, which have sued each other in separate claims, present entirely conflicting descriptions of who owns the company and what is being withheld from whom. The earliest chance for resolution appears to be a court hearing scheduled for next week.
Whether the squabbling will affect Snopes's ability to produce its popular mythbusting remains to be seen, but the disputes are unlikely to be settled until there is legal clarity on the underlying structure of the company.
Proper Media considers itself an owner of Bardav, not a vendor. As Proper Media tells it, Barbara Mikkelson, Mr. Mikkelson's ex-wife, sold her 50 percent share to Proper Media in 2016, but for tax purposes it was bought in the name of its individual members ''for the benefit of Proper Media.'' Two Proper Media officers, Drew Schoentrup and Christopher Richmond, would get 20 percent stakes in Bardav, while three others would own 3.33 percent stakes.
Proper Media said the deal included Mr. Schoentrup taking a seat on a two-person board alongside Mr. Mikkelson.
But Mr. Mikkelson, who owns the other 50 percent of the Bardav shares, said that Mr. Schoentrup does not sit on the board, and that the five shareholders should be viewed individually, as opposed to collectively, giving Proper Media equal ownership.
Mr. Schoentrup's on or off status on the board is crucial in Mr. Mikkelson's decision to cancel Bardav's contract with Proper Media, which handles many of the technological and advertising services for Snopes. In March, Bardav gave Proper Media a 60-day notice that it would be terminating the contract, effective May 8. Mr. Mikkelson said the contract was agreed to when Snopes was a much smaller company, but now it had its own business-focused employees and other services ''can be obtained much more cheaply from other vendors.''
Karl Kronenberger, a lawyer for Proper Media, said in an interview on Monday that Mr. Mikkelson cannot cancel the contract without calling a board meeting '-- which, in Proper Media's view, would include Mr. Schoentrup. The company has continued as if the contract remained valid.
Last week, a court ordered Proper Media, which cannot directly pay Snopes employees, to release $100,000 of the advertising revenues to Bardav, on the condition that the money be used for expenses and not be paid to Mr. Mikkelson, according to Mr. Kronenberger. Proper Media sued Mr. Mikkelson in May, accusing him of mismanaging the company's funds and abusing his position. (Mr. Mikkelson said he hadn't received money from the company this year aside from expenses and salary, which he said made him the lowest-paid employee at Snopes.)
Mr. Kronenberger said Mr. Mikkelson has locked Proper Media out of Bardav's bank accounts and ''key databases it needs to do its job,'' and he disputed that Proper Media had locked Bardav out from making technological changes.
''Mr. Mikkelson has absolute control of this domain name,'' Mr. Kronenberger said. ''He can move it within minutes.''
As for the advertising revenue, ''Our position is nothing is being wrongfully withheld,'' he said.
But on the crowdfunding page, Mr. Mikkelson wrote that ''although we maintain editorial control (for now), the vendor will not relinquish the site's hosting to our control, so we cannot modify the site, develop it, or '-- most crucially '-- place advertising on it.''
Both sides hope a court hearing scheduled for Aug. 4 will begin to bring some clarity. Proper Media hopes the judge will remove Mr. Mikkelson from the company, while Bardav is hoping the judge requires Proper Media to hand over the rest of the advertising revenue, including some money from before the contract termination took effect.
For more than 20 years, Snopes has been a destination for batting down the urban legends and viral misinformation all too commonly found on the internet, first in email forwards and later in popular but misleading articles. At first run entirely by David and Barbara Mikkelson, it developed a reputation as an authority on declaring simply whether such tidbits could be believed.
In recent years, the site added staff as it took increasing aim at the routine falsities of the political process. In December, Facebook made Snopes a key part of its efforts to combat fake news, including it in a group of fact-checkers that would be alerted if enough users flagged an article as fake.
On Monday, Snopes used its website and social media accounts to promote its crowdfunding effort. It reached its $500,000 in about one day.
''We're just trying to pick a number that we're sure we can continue operations for, let's say, through possibly the end of the year, or at least the next several months while all this is happening,'' Mr. Mikkelson said.
#SaveSnopes
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:23
Snopes.com in Danger of Shuttering
Snopes.com, which began as a small one-person effort in 1994 and has since become one of the Internet's oldest and most popular fact-checking sites, is in danger of closing its doors. So, for the first time in our history, we are turning to you, our readership, for help.
Since our inception, we have always been a self-sustaining site that provides a free service to the online world: we've had no sponsors, no outside investors or funding, and no source of revenue other than that provided by online advertising. Unfortunately, we have been cut off from our historic source of advertising income.
We had previously contracted with an outside vendor to provide certain services for Snopes.com. That contractual relationship ended earlier this year, but the vendor will not acknowledge the change in contractual status and continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage. Although we maintain editorial control (for now), the vendor will not relinquish the site's hosting to our control, so we cannot modify the site, develop it, or '-- most crucially '-- place advertising on it. The vendor continues to insert their own ads and has been withholding the advertising revenue from us.
Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile.
As misinformation has increasingly threatened democracies around the world (including our own), Snopes.com has stood in the forefront of fighting for truth and dispelling misinformation online. It is vital that these efforts continue, so we are asking the Snopes.com community to donate what they can. (Our suggested donation is $10, but if you can give more please consider doing so '-- every little bit helps.)
We need our community now more than ever, as it is only through your support that Snopes.com can remain the community and resource we all know and love.
Sincerely yours,
Team Snopes.
Please note that any amounts sent to Snopes.com through gofundme.com or otherwise are purely a donation, and this is not an offer to purchase securities or any other interest in Snopes.com(or its parent company). All donations are non-refundable, and you will own no equity, debt, or other interest in Snopes.com(or its parent company) as a result of your donation. Since Snopes.com(and its parent company) is not a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, donations are not tax-deductible as a charitable contribution but will be allocated in their entirety to operating expenses, legal fees, and the continuation of our overall mission to fight misinformation.
Snopes.com Implodes, Resorts To GoFundMe | Zero Hedge
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:25
Via StockBoardAsset.com,
Snopes.com is a liberal blog from 1994. The website claims to be the internet's oldest and most popular fact-checking site. Last year, Snopes Co-Founder was accused of embezzling company money, and spending it on prostitutes.
Now you can find the blog begging for $500k in funding via GoFundMe. So, far the campaign has raised $18,000 in 3 hours via 710 people...
Another victim of the fake news campaign backfiring on the left.
* * *
Some additional "color" from iBankCoin:
A key member of Facebook's ministry of truth, Snopes, has hit a major snag which may force them out of business. Apparently too cheap or stupid to run a contract for their primary source of income past an attorney, the 'arbiters of truth' appear to be in major financial trouble after claiming a vendor is holding ad revenues hostage, and have set up a gofundme page which has raised $130,000 of it's $500,000 goal within hours.
We had previously contracted with an outside vendor to provide certain services for Snopes.com. That contractual relationship ended earlier this year, but the vendor will not acknowledge the change in contractual status and continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage.
Unfortunately, we have been cut off from our historic source of advertising income. ''savesnopes.com
That outside vendor was none other than San Diego based Proper Media, which bought out Snopes co-founder Barbara Mikkelson's share in the company for $3.6 million following a nasty divorce.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune:
Established in 2003, Bardav, Inc. was the joint venture of Snopes creator David Mikkelson and his then-wife Barbara Mikkelson, who each owned one share and 50 percent of the company. The couple divorced in 2015. In July of 2016, Barbara sold her stake to Proper Media's five equity holders for $3.6 million.
Prior to the sale, Bardav had contracted Proper Media for web development and advertising services on Snopes.com, with the companies agreeing to split revenue earned from advertisements.
In May, Proper Media filed suit against Bardav and Mikkelson with the San Diego Superior Court of California over ownership of the site, alleging that Mikkelson attempted to gain control over the business and block Proper Media from its share of profits. Snopes counter sued, arguing that Proper Media has not paid Snopes its share of advertising revenue since March. Motions by both the plaintiffs and defendants are scheduled to be heard on Aug. 4.
Who could have imagined that the biased 'fact-checking' website run by militantly liberal rabid anti-Trumpers and co-founded by a cheating, whore mongering, cat-abandoning, embezzling degenerate would sign a sloppy contract?
The arrangement with Proper Media follows revelations that David Mikkelson secret PayPal account to allegedly funnel advertising revenue from Snopes into his personal accounts so that he could travel around the world banging whores behind his wife's back '' according to court documents obtained by Wesearcher / Gotnews.
As iBankCoin reported in December, while engaging in debauchery behind his wife's back, Mikkelson wrote off just about everything as a business expense, embezzling a reported $98,000. The Snopes co-founder has since settled down and married a [NSFW] part time porn actress, Snopes.com administrator (spicy!), and sex worker. As in, she has a website devoted to being a whore. Apparently she's a pretty good one despite being ''past her time as an adult model.''
In the same divorce papers, David Mikkelson fired back, claiming his ex-wife Barbara took millions from their joint account and bought property in Las Vegas.
No word on whatever happened to the cat'...
Things Just Went from BAD to WORSE for Debbie Wasserman Schulz! '' TruthFeed
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:27
Things Just Went from BAD to WORSE for Debbie Wasserman Schulz! The FBI has seized hard drives from the home of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's personal IT administrator.
Guess what? They have been SMASHED.
Guess what else? Smashing hard drives may not be enough to hide the evidence.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz may be in hot water.
Why did they smash them if they have nothing to hide?
From DailyCaller
FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's information technology (IT) administrator, according to an individual who was interviewed by Bureau investigators in the case.
Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group.
A high-level congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politicopreviously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into ''serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network'' by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.
Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.
Awan's younger brothers, Abid and Jamal, his wife, Hina Alvi, and Rao Abbas, Imran's best friend, are also under investigation. There have been no arrests in the case.
There is also evidence of financial schemes that extend beyond the Capitol Police's purview and may expand to Pakistan, where Imran spends significant portions of the year.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in March that the Capitol Police are ''getting the kind of technical assistance they need to do that. This is under an active criminal investigation, their capabilities are pretty strong but, they're also able to go and get the kind of help they need from other sources.''
The brothers' stepmother independently filed court documents in Virginia accusing the brothers of wiretapping and extorting her.
Soon after Imran began working for Wasserman Schultz in 2005, his two brothers and two of their wives '-- plus Abbas and another friend '-- began appearing as IT staffers on the payrolls of other House Democrats. Collectively, the Awan group has been paid $4 million since 2009.
Fellow IT staffers interviewed by TheDCNF said the Awans were often absent from weekly meetings and email exchanges. One of the fellow staffers said some of the computers the Awans managed were being used to transfer data to an off-site server.
Shortly after the criminal probe was revealed in February, Imran abruptly moved out of his longtime home on Hawkshead Drive in Lorton, Va., and listed it for rent on a website that connects landlords with military families.
One of new tenants '-- a Marine Corps veteran married to a female Navy Officer '-- said he found ''wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.''
MSNBC Makes History With Ratings Win
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:15
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MSNBC beat rival Fox News as the most-watched cable network during prime time (8-11 p.m.) last week, attracting the most total viewers during the week of July 17-21.
It was the first time in the network's history that MSNBC grabbed the weekday ratings crown, Nielsen indicated. The network has now beaten CNN among total primetime viewers 29 out of the last 30 weeks.
MSNBC averaged 2.34 million viewers in weekday primetime slots, which was slightly ahead of Fox News, which brought in an average of 2.25 million viewers.
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MSNBC's primetime lineup consists of hosts Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell.
''Year to-date, MSNBC is the fastest growing cable network in total viewers, adding 865,000 sets of eyeballs while CNN has lost 128,000 viewers over the same time period, according to Nielsen's weekday primetime data,'' The Wrap reported.
MSNBC also beat CNN for total daytime (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) viewers, as well as morning (6 a.m.-9 a.m.) viewers, thanks to Morning Joe.
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The morning news talk show has beaten CNN's New Day, which runs at the same time, for 30 weeks in a row.
RATINGS: @MSNBC most watched of all cable networks in weekday prime for 1st time in network history https://t.co/Behq60g8eapic.twitter.com/tdSvVLgRa2
'-- MSNBCPR (@MSNBCPR) July 24, 2017
The Hill columnist Joe Concha told The Wrap he believes MSNBC's success has stemmed from being more transparent in their coverage, in that they don't attempt to hide their progressive tilt.
He said having ''true opinion hosts'' during primetime slots ''allows MSNBC to be more provocative'' than networks like CNN. Trump's comments against CNN have also made it difficult for that network to keep up.
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''Trump's attacks on CNN impact it in the sense that no Trump supporter will watch the network now based on preconceived notions alone,'' Concha said.
''So, if liberals are watching MSNBC and conservatives and populists watch Fox News, there ain't much leftover for CNN,'' he added.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's program, The Rachel Maddow Show, was the highest-rated show out of the three major cable news networks, averaging 2.94 million total viewers in the 9-10 p.m. slot.What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.
LGTBQ
Jared Kushner Apparently Has 'Gay Voice' and It's a Punch Line | Advocate.com
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:46
In the age of Donald Trump, there are few people more powerful '-- or more mysterious '-- than the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Despite lacking any experience in or qualifications for government service, the 36-year-old real estate heir has been put in charge of an almost comically broad portfolio encompassing everything from negotiating peace in the Middle East to solving America's opioid crisis to completely overhauling the federal bureaucracy. But Kushner has largely remained in the shadows, declining interview requests and shunning social media. When his wife, Ivanka Trump, sat for an interview with CBS at the White House last month, he politely but firmly waved off the hosts' repeated invitations to join.
For the first months of his father-in-law's troubled administration, Kushner has been seen but not heard. But that changed Monday at an event for the newly created American Technology Council, where he spoke on camera about his alleged plans to modernize government computer systems and beef up cybersecurity. As soon as I heard Kushner's light, high tenor voice, I viscerally understood why he had stayed silent for so long '-- and I knew what was coming next.
The Internet quickly confirmed my worst fears. ''Gay as a tree full of chickadees,'' one Twitter user sneered. ''Jared Kushner sounds exactly like I expected him to sound '' super fucking gay,'' tweeted another. Still another mocked, ''Hearing his voice is a reminder that masculinity is dying. #CorruptAndEffeminate.'' Late-night comedian Seth Meyers even got in on the action, joking, ''[Kushner's] title says senior adviser to the president, but his voice says senior at Claremont High School.''
On and on they went. Some insulted Kushner's anatomy (''Dude is a eunuch. Somebody fucked up that circumcision''). Others attacked his masculinity (''Kushner is an important reminder that you can't buy puberty'') or his sexual prowess (''After hearing Jared Kushner's voice, I understand why Ivanka was staring at Justin Trudeau with those hungry eyes''). Many commenters questioned Kushner's sexual orientation (''Why Jared Kushner always seem like he low key looking at your dick from one urinal over[?]'') or his gender identity (''As expected, he sounds as if he's months into hormone replacement therapy for forthcoming sexual reassignment surgery'').
The reason I knew that these insults were coming '-- and the reason they stung so deeply, despite my strong personal distaste for Jared Kushner '-- is rhar they brought back painful childhood memories of being bullied and harassed relentlessly for having a lighter, higher voice that didn't neatly comport with our culture's rigid, arbitrary, and erroneous definitions of masculinity. I learned the meaning of the words ''sissy'' and ''faggot'' when they were thrown at me on the elementary school playground by classmates making fun of my voice.
I'm hardly alone in this. Filmmaker David Thorpe made an entire documentary (appropriately titled Do I Sound Gay?) devoted to exploring the conflicted relationships that many gay men have with their voices. As Thorpe points out, for many gay adolescents, their voice is their ''tell'' '' the thing that outs them to their peers and families and subjects them to the same kind of bullying and harassment I experienced as a child. Author and activist Dan Savage notes that this persecution, born out of a strong cultural bias against women and femininity, conditions young gay kids to police their voices and mannerisms for anything that might betray their sexuality and make them seem like ''less of a man.''
The consequences of voice shaming can persist well into adulthood. Some speech therapists and voice coaches have parlayed the stigma around high-pitched voices into lucrative careers ''butching up'' the voices and speech patterns of gay adults, especially actors and public figures. I know from personal experience that proponents of so-called conversion therapy '-- the dangerous, discredited, and barbaric practice that falsely claims to change people from gay to straight '-- will often expend a great deal of effort getting clients to change the pitch, timbre, and patterns of their voice in order to make them sound more stereotypically masculine and increase the chances that they'll pass for straight. And I can't tell you how many gay men '-- myself included '-- will confess to doing things like recording and re-recording their voice mail greetings in order to sound just a little less ''swishy.''
Jared Kushner may not be gay, but shaming him for having a high-pitched speaking voice reinforces toxic and outdated constructs of masculinity and taps right into the ugly undercurrents of homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny lurking just beneath the surface of our society. It's ugly as hell, and it's beneath the dignity of anyone who calls themselves an ally of the LGBTQ community. It's also completely unnecessary. There's plenty to criticize Kushner for without going for the homophobic smear '-- serving in the most corrupt and evil presidential administration in modern American history and lying about his meetings with Russians are good places to start.
JOHN BECKER is an LGBT activist, writer, and blogger and the social media coordinator of Gays Against Guns DC. He can be contacted on Twitter at @freedom2marry.
Here's How Many Trans People Serve in the U.S. Military
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 02:45
President Donald Trump's claim that the U.S. military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs" of transgender service members contradicts the findings of a recent report the Pentagon itself commissioned.
Care for transgender people in the military would add $8.4 million to the total medical costs of all active duty service members, according to an analysis last year by RAND Corp. That's a little more than 0.1 percent of what the military spends on medical care for all service members. To put that in perspective, it's about 0.0014 percent of Trump's total defense budget proposal.
The report was requested by the Department of Defense under President Obama. Trans people were only allowed to serve openly starting last year.
There is little concrete data on how many trans people serve in the military, and the Department of Defense didn't respond to a request for comment. Other recent attempts to figure out how many transgender people serve in the military have come to far larger estimates'--raising the possibility that Trump's decision to bar transgender people from serving in the military at all could eliminate the nation's single largest employer of transgender Americans.
A 2014 study estimated that 15,500 trans people were currently serving in the U.S. military. The Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA School of Law that researches gender identity, came to that figure using a 2011 survey of 6,546 transgender Americans. Around 20 percent of that survey's respondents said they had served in the armed forces. There are currently 1.3 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military and an additional 800,000 in reserves.
Using various extrapolations based on population estimates and rates of service for men and women, the Williams researchers concluded that 8,800 people were in active duty and another 6,700 were in the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. Trans people, the Williams report suggested, might even join the military at a higher rate than other groups.
"It's a consistent finding in studies that have been done across a variety of different data sources that trans people serve in the military at higher rates than the general population," said Jody L. Herman, a co-author of the Williams study. She cited academic interviews conducted with transgender servicemembers that underscored the appeal of the military's perceived hypermasculine environment.
But, as Herman added, "trans people want to serve in the military for the same reasons as everyone else wants to serve in the military."
Researchers from RAND used much lower numbers to estimate transgender-related health-care costs, putting the total ranks of active transgender service members between 1,300 and 6,600 and concluding that only about 130 might seek gender-related surgeries. But even if the number of transgender service members is closer to the Williams Institute's estimate, the cost for their medical care would be a negligible share of the military's total health budget.
The Veterans Health Administration pays for pre- and post-operative care for transgender service members but not for gender-confirmation surgery itself. The military began paying for that surgery last year through Tricare, the health plan for troops and their families. This month, Congress narrowly rejected p roposed legislation from Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican, that aimed to stop the military from providing transgender-related medical care.
Trump's declaration on Twitter doesn't stop it, either; it would take an executive order or some other official action to change the practice. " The tweet obviously is not policy," says Evan Young, president of the Transgender American Veterans Association and a retired Army major who served for 14 years and completed his transition after leaving the military. "It is the president tweeting whatever he feels like he wants to tweet."
Beyond the military, more health insurers are covering medical care related to gender transitions. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and over, refused to cover gender-confirmation procedures until the exclusion was struck down in 2014; coverage is now determined on a case-by-case basis. Medicaid programs in 12 states and Washington, D.C., must explicitly include gender transition care, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a research group that promotes equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. More private employers are expanding medical benefits to cover transition-related care as well.
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Some health economists have made the case that it's cost-effective, meaning the benefits to society outweigh the costs. If all insurers covered medically necessary services, including hormone replacement and surgery, it would add just 1.6 to the average monthly health insurance premium, according to an analysis published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine last year that modeled the potential costs and benefits of expanding such coverage.
Health care is not the only benefit that trans military personnel would lose if banned from service. There's also evidence that trans people are at a higher risk of poverty and unemployment than other Americans. As a group, trans workers aren't protected from job discrimination in many states. The same 2011 survey of trans Americans found unemployment rates at twice that of the population as a whole, and trans workers were nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000.
Medical Conditions That May Prevent You From Joining the Military | Military.com
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:13
Below you will find details from the Army's "Standards of Medical Fitness." These standards generally apply to all other branches as well. Remember that most of these conditions are NOT necessarily permanently disqualifying, but they are red flags!
If you have had a medical complication at any time in your life that is mentioned here, then you need to tell your recruiter. They will tell you whether your condition can be waivered, or if it is permanently disqualifying. Remember that if you do not get an official waiver and your condition is later discovered, you will most likely be dishonorably discharged for fraudulent enlistment. The choice is yours.
Abdominal Organs and Gastrointestinal SystemThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are an authenticated history of:
a. Esophagus. Ulceration, varices, fistula, achalasia, or other dismotility disorders; chronic or recurrent esophagitis if confirmed by appropriate x-ray or endoscopic examination.
b. Stomach and duodenum.
(1) Gastritis. Chronic hypertrophic, or severe.
(2) Active ulcer of the stomach or duodenum confirmed by x-ray or endoscopy.
(3) Congenital abnormalities of the stomach or duodenum causing symptoms or requiring surgical treatment, except a history of surgical correction of hypertrophic pyloric stenosis of infancy.
c. Small and large intestine.
(1) Inflammatory bowel disease. Regional enteritis, ulcerative colitis, ulcerative proctitis.
(2) Duodenal diverticula with symptoms or sequelae (hemorrhage, perforation, etc.).
(3) Intestinal malabsorption syndromes, including postsurgical and idiopathic.
(4) Congenital. Condition, to include Meckel's diverticulum or functional abnormalities, persisting or symptomatic within the past 2 years.
d. Gastrointestinal bleeding. History of, unless the cause has been corrected, and is not otherwise disqualifying.
e. Hepato-pancreatic-biliary tract.
(1) Viral hepatitis, or unspecified hepatitis, within the preceding 6 months or persistence of symptoms after 6 months, or objective evidence of impairment of liver function, chronic hepatitis, and hepatitis B carriers. (Individuals who are known to have tested positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection require confirmatory testing. If positive, individuals should be clinically evaluated for objective evidence of liver function impairment. If evaluation reveals no signs or symptoms of disease, the applicant meets the standards.)
(2) Cirrhosis, hepatic cysts and abscess, and sequelae of chronic liver disease.
(3) Cholecystitis, acute or chronic, with or without cholelithiasis, and other disorders of the gallbladder including post-cholecystectomy syndrome, and biliary system.
Note. Cholecystectomy is not disqualifying 60 days postsurgery (or 30 days post-laproscopic surgery), providing there are no disqualifying residuals from treatment.
(4) Pancreatitis. Acute and chronic.
f. Anorectal.
(1) Anal fissure if persistent, or anal fistula.
(2) Anal or rectal polyp, prolapse, stricture, or incontinence.
(3) Hemorrhoids, internal or external, when large, symptomatic, or history of bleeding.
g. Spleen.
(1) Splenomegaly, if persistent.
(2) Splenectomy, except when accomplished for trauma, or conditions unrelated to the spleen, or for hereditary spherocytosis.
h. Abdominal wall.
(1) Hernia, including inguinal, and other abdominal, except for small, asymptomatic umbilical or asymptomatic hiatal.
(2) History of abdominal surgery within the preceding 60 days, except that individuals post-laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be qualified after 30 days.
i. Other.
(1) Gastrointestinal bypass or stomach stapling for control of obesity.
(2) Persons with artificial openings.
Blood and blood-forming tissue diseasesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are an authenticated history of:
a. Anemia. Any hereditary acquired, aplastic, or unspecified anemia that has not permanently corrected with therapy.
b. Hemorrhagic disorders. Any congenital or acquired tendency to bleed due to a platelet or coagulation disorder.
c. Leukopenia. Chronic or recurrent, based upon available norms for ethnic background.
d. Immunodeficiency.
DentalThe causes for rejection are for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Diseases of the jaw or associated tissues which are not easily remediable, and will incapacitate the individual or otherwise prevent the satisfactory performance of duty. This includes temporomandibular disorders and/or myofascial pain dysfunction that is not easily corrected or has the potential for significant future problems with pain and function.
b. Severe malocclusion that interferes with normal mastication or requires early and protracted treatment; or relationship between mandible and maxilla that prevents satisfactory future prosthodontic replacement.
c. Insufficient natural healthy teeth or lack of a serviceable prosthesis, preventing adequate mastication and incision of a normal diet. This includes complex (multiple fixture) dental implant systems that have associated complications that severely limit assignments and adversely affect performance of world-wide duty. Dental implants systems must be successfully osseointegrated and completed.
d. Orthodontic appliances for continued treatment (attached or removable). Retainer appliances are permissible, provided all active orthodontic treatment has been satisfactorily completed.
EarsThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. External ear. Atresia or severe microtia, acquired stenosis, severe chronic or acute otitis externa, or severe traumatic deformity.
b. Mastoids. Mastoiditis, residual of mastoid operation with fistula, or marked external deformity that prevents or interferes with wearing a protective mask or helmet.
c. Meniere's Syndrome. Or other diseases of the vestibular system.
d. Middle and inner ear. Acute or chronic otitis media, cholesteatoma, or history of any inner or middle ear surgery excluding myringotomy or successful tympanoplasty.
e. Tympanic membrane. Any perforation of the tympanic membrane, or surgery to correct perforation within 120 days of examination.
HearingThe cause for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction is a hearing threshold level greater than that described in paragraph c below.
a. Audiometers, calibrated to standards of the International Standards Organization (ISO 1964) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI 1996), will be used to test the hearing of all applicants.
b. All audiometric tracings or audiometric readings recorded on reports of medical examination or other medical records will be clearly identified.
c. Acceptable audiometric hearing levels (both ears) are:
(1) Pure tone at 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles per second of not more than 30 decibels (dB) on the average (each ear), with no individual level greater than 35dB at these frequencies.
(2) Pure tone level not more than 45 dB at 3000 cycles per second each ear, and 55 dB at 4000 cycles per second each ear.
Endocrine and Metabolic DisordersThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are an authenticated history of:
a. Adrenal dysfunction of any degree.
b. Diabetes mellitus of any type.
c. Glycosuria. Persistent, when associated with impaired glucose tolerance or renal tubular defects.
d. Acromegaly. Gigantism or other disorder of pituitary function.
e. Gout.
f. Hyperinsulinism.
g. Hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism.
h. Thyroid disorders.
(1) Goiter, persistent or untreated.
(2) Hypothyroidism, uncontrolled by medication.
(3) Cretinism.
(4) Hyperthyroidism.
(5) Thyroiditis.
i. Nutritional deficiency diseases. Such diseases include beriberi, pellagra, and scurvy.
j. Other endocrine or metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, porphyria, and amyloidosis that obviously prevent satisfactory performance of duty or require frequent or prolonged treatment.
Upper extremitiesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Limitation of motion. An individual will be considered unacceptable if the joint ranges of motion are less than the measurements listed below.
(1) Shoulder:
(a) Forward elevation to 90 degrees.
(b) Abduction to 90 degrees.
(2) Elbow:
(a) Flexion to 100 degrees.
(b) Extension to 15 degrees.
(3) Wrist: a total range of 60 degrees (extension plus flexion) or radial and ulnar deviation combined arc 30 degrees.
(4) Hand:
(a) Pronation to 45 degrees.
(b) Supination to 45 degrees.
(5) Fingers and thumb: inability to clench fist, pick up a pin, grasp an object, or touch tips of at least three fingers with thumb.
b. Hand and fingers.
(1) Absence of the distal phalanx of either thumb.
(2) Absence of distal and middle phalanx of an index, middle, or ring finger of either hand, irrespective of the absence or loss of little finger.
(3) Absence of more than the distal phalanx of any two of the following fingers: index, middle finger, or ring finger of either hand.
(4) Absence of hand or any portion thereof except for fingers as noted above.
(5) Polydactyly.
(6) Scars and deformities of the fingers or hand that are symptomatic or that impair normal function to such a degree as to interfere with the satisfactory performance of military duty.
(7) Intrinsic paralysis or weakness, including nerve palsy sufficient to produce physical findings in the hand such as muscle atrophy or weakness.
(8) Wrist, forearm, elbow, arm, or shoulder. Recovery from disease or injury with residual weakness or symptoms such as to preclude satisfactory performance of duty, or grip strength of less than 75 percent of predicted normal when injured hand is compared with the normal hand (non-dominant is 80 percent of dominant grip).
Lower extremitiesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Limitation of motion. An individual will be considered unacceptable if the joint ranges of motion are less that the measurements listed below.
(1) Hip (due to disease, injury):
(a) Flexion to 90 degrees.
(b) No demonstrable flexion contracture.
(c) Extension to 10 degrees (beyond 0 degrees).
(d) Abduction to 45 degrees.
(e) Rotation of 60 degrees (internal and external combined).
(2) Knee (due to disease, injury):
(a) Full extension compared with contralateral.
(b) Flexion to 90 degrees.
(3) Ankle (due to disease, injury):
(a) Dorsiflexion to 10 degrees.
(b) Planter flexion to 30 degrees.
(4) Subtalar (due to disease or injury): eversion and inversion (total to 5 degrees).
b. Foot and ankle.
(1) Absences of one or more small toes if function of the foot is poor or running or jumping is prevented; absence of a foot or any portion thereof except for toes.
(2) Absence of great toe(s); loss of dorsal/plantar flexion if function of the foot is impaired.
(3) Deformities of the toes, either acquired or congenital, including polydactyly, that prevent wearing military footwear or impair walking, marching, running, or jumping. This includes hallux valgus.
(4) Clubfoot or Pes Cavus, if stiffness or deformity prevents foot function or wearing military footwear.
(5) Symptomatic pes planus, acquired or congenital or pronounced cases, with absence of subtalar motion.
(6) Ingrown toenails, if severe.
(7) Planter fascitis, persistent.
(8) Neuroma, confirmed condition and refractory to medical treatment or will impair function of the foot.
c. Leg, knee, thigh, and hip.
(1) Loose or foreign bodies within the knee joint.
(2) Physical findings of an unstable or internally deranged joint. History of uncorrected anterior or posterior cruciate ligament injury.
(3) Surgical correction of any knee ligaments if symptomatic or unstable.
(4) History of congenital dislocation of the hip, osteochondritis of the hip (Legg-Perthes disease), or slipped femoral epiphysis of the hip.
(5) Hip dislocation within 2 years before examination.
(6) Osteochondritis of the tibial tuberosity (Osgood-Schlatter disease), if symptomatic.
d. General.
(1) Deformities, disease or chronic pain of one or both lower extremities that have interfered with function to such a degree as to prevent the individual from following a physically active vocation in civilian life or that would interfere with walking, running, or weight bearing, or the satisfactory completion of prescribed training or military duty.
(2) Shortening of a lower extremity resulting in a noticeable limp or scoliosis.
You May Also Like: Prevent Running InjuriesMiscellaneous Conditions of the ExtremitiesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are an authenticated history of:
a. Arthritis.
(1) Active, subacute, or chronic arthritis.
(2) Chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis of isolated joints of more than a minimal degree, which has interfered with the following of a physically active vocation in civilian life or that prevents the satisfactory performance of military duty.
b. Chronic Retro Patellar Knee Pain Syndrome with or without confirmatory arthroscopic evaluation.
c. Dislocation if unreduced, or recurrent dislocations of any major joint such as shoulder, hip, elbow, or knee; or instability of any major joint such as shoulder, elbow, or hip.
d. Fractures.
(1) Malunion or non-union of any fracture, except ulnar styloid process.
(2) Orthopedic hardware, including plates, pins, rods, wires, or screws used for fixation and left in place; except that a pin, wire, or screw not subject to easy trauma is not disqualifying.
e. Injury of a bone or joint of more than a minor nature, with or without fracture or dislocation, that occurred within the preceding 6 weeks: upper extremity, lower extremity, ribs and clavicle.
f. Joint replacement.
g. Muscular paralysis, contracture, or atrophy, if progressive or of sufficient degree to interfere with military service and muscular dystrophies.
h. Osteochondritis dessicans.
i. Osteochondromatosis or Multiple Cartilaginous Exostoses.
j. Osteoporosis.
k. Osteomyelitis, active or recurrent.
l. Scars, extensive, deep, or adherent to the skin and soft tissues that interfere with muscular movements.
m. Implants, silastic or other devices implanted to correct orthopedic abnormalities.
EyesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Lids.
(1) Blepharitis, chronic, of more than mild degree.
(2) Blepharospasm.
(3) Dacryocystitis, acute or chronic.
(4) Deformity of the lids, complete or extensive, sufficient to interfere with vision or impair protection of the eye from exposure.
b. Conjunctiva.
(1) Conjunctivitis, chronic, including trachoma and allergic conjunctivitis.
(2) Pterygium, if encroaching on the cornea in excess of 3 millimeters (mm), interfering with vision, progressive, or recurring after two operative procedures.
(3) Xerophthalmia.
c. Cornea.
(1) Dystrophy, corneal, of any type, including keratoconus of any degree.
(2) Keratorefractive surgery, history of lamellar and/or penetrating keratoplasty. Laser surgery or appliance utilized to reconfigure the cornea is also disqualifying.
(3) Keratitis, acute or chronic, which includes recurrent corneal ulcers, erosions (abrasions), or herpetic ulcers.
(4) Vascularization or opacification of the cornea from any cause that is progressive or reduces vision below the standards prescribed below.
d. Uveitis or iridocyclitis.
(2) Chorioretinitis or inflammation of the retina, including histoplasmosis, toxoplasmosis, or vascular conditions of the eye to include Coats' disease, Eales' disease, and retinitis proliferans, unless a single episode of nown cause that has healed and does not interfere with vision.
(3) Congenital or degenerative changes of any part of the retina.
(4) Detachment of the retina, history of surgery for same, or peripheral retinal injury or degeneration that may cause retinal detachment.
f. Optic nerve.
(1) Optic neuritis, neuroretinitis, secondary optic atrophy, or documented history of attacks of retrobulbar neuritis.
(2) Optic atrophy, or cortical blindness.
(3) Papilledema.
g. Lens.
(1) Aphakia, lens implant, or dislocation of a lens.
(2) Opacities of the lens that interfere with vision or that are considered to be progressive.
h. Ocular mobility and motility.
(1) Diplopia, documented, constant or intermittent.
(2) Nystagmus.
(3) Strabismus, uncorrectable by lenses to less than 40 diopters or accompanied by diplopia.
(4) Strabismus, surgery for the correction of, within the preceding 6 months.
(5) For entrance into the USMA or ROTC programs, the following conditions are also disqualifying: esotropia of over 15 prism diopters; exotropia of over 10 prism diopters; hypertropia of over 5 prism diopters.
i. Miscellaneous defects and conditions.
(1) Abnormal visual fields due to disease of the eye or central nervous system, or trauma. Meridian-specific visual field minimums are as follows:
(a) Temporal, 85 degrees.
(b) Superior-temporal, 55 degrees.
(c) Superior, 45 degrees.
(d) Superior nasal, 55 degrees.
(e) Nasal, 60 degrees.
(f) Inferior nasal, 50 degrees.
(g) Inferior, 65 degrees.
(h) Inferior-temporal, 85 degrees.
(2) Absence of an eye, congenital or acquired.
(3) Asthenopia, severe.
(4) Exophthalmos, unilateral or bilateral, non-familial.
(5) Glaucoma, primary, or secondary, or pre-glaucoma as evidenced by intraocular pressure above 21 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), or the secondary changes in the optic disc or visual field loss associated with glaucoma.
(6) Loss of normal pupillary reflex reactions to accommodation or light, including Adie's syndrome.
(7) Night blindness.
(8) Retained intraocular foreign body.
(9) Growth or tumors of the eyelid, other than small basal cell tumors which can be cured by treatment, and small nonprogressive asymptomatic benign lesions.
(10) Any organic disease of the eye or adnexa not specified above, that threatens vision or visual function.
VisionThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Distant visual acuity of any degree that does not correct with spectacle lenses to at least one of the following:
(1) 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye.
(2) 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye.
(3) 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye. However, for entrance into USMA or ROTC, distant visual acuity that does not correct to 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other eye is disqualifying. For entrance into OCS, distant visual acuity that does not correct to 20/20 in one eye and 20/100 in the other eye is disqualifying.
b. Near visual acuity of any degree that does not correct to 20/40 in the better eye.
c. Refractive error (hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism), in any spherical equivalent of worse than -8.00 or +8.00 diopters; if ordinary spectacles cause discomfort by reason of ghost images or prismatic displacement; or if corrected by orthokeratology or keratorefractive surgery. However, for entrance into USMA or Army ROTC programs, the following conditions are disqualifying:
(1) Astigmatism, all types over 3 diopters.
(2) Hyperopia over 8.00 diopters spherical equivalent.
(3) Myopia over 8 diopters spherical equivalent.
(4) Refractive error corrected by orthokeratology or keratorefractive surgery.
d. Contact lenses. Complicated cases requiring contact lenses for adequate correction of vision, such as corneal scars and irregular astigmatism.
e. Color vision. Although there is no standard, color vision will be tested because adequate color vision is a prerequisite for entry into many military specialties. However, for entrance into the USMA or Army ROTC or OCS programs, the inability to distinguish and identify without confusion the color of an object, substance, material, or light that is uniformly colored a vivid red or vivid green is disqualifying.
GenitaliaThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Female genitalia.
(1) Abnormal uterine bleeding, including menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, or polymenorrhea.
(2) Amenorrhea, unexplained.
(3) Dysmenorrhea, incapacitating to a degree recurrently necessitating absences of more than a few hours from routine activities.
(4) Endometriosis.
(5) Hermaphroditism.
(6) Menopausal syndrome, if manifested by more than mild constitutional or mental symptoms, or artificial menopause if less than 1 year's duration.
(7) Ovarian cysts, persistent, clinically significant.
(8) Pelvic inflammatory disease, acute or chronic.
(9) Pregnancy.
(10) Uterus, congenital absence of, or enlargement due to any cause.
(11) Vulvar or vaginal ulceration, including herpes genitalia and condyloma acuminatum, acute or chronic, not amenable to treatment. Such treatment must be given and demonstrated effective prior to accession.
(12) Abnormal Pap smear graded LGSIL or higher severity, or any smear in which the descriptive terms carcinoma-in-situ, invasive cancer, condyloma acuminatum, human papilloma virus, or dysplasia are used.
(13) Major abnormalities and defects of the genitalia such as a change of sex. A history thereof, or dysfunctional residuals from surgical correction of these conditions.
b. Male genitalia.
(1) Absence of both testicles, either congenital, or acquired, or unexplained absence of a testicle.
(2) Epispadias or Hypospadias, when accompanied by evidence of infection of the urinary tract, or if clothing is soiled when voiding.
(3) Undiagnosed enlargement or mass of testicle or epididymis.
(4) Undescended testicle(s).
(5) Orchitis, acute or chronic epididymitis.
(6) Penis, amputation of, if the resulting stump is insufficient to permit normal micturition.
(7) Penile infectious lesions, including herpes genitalis and condyloma acuminata, acute or chronic, not amenable to treatment. Such treatment must be given and demonstrated effective prior to accession.
(8) Prostatitis, acute or chronic.
(9) Hydrocele. Left varicocele, if painful, or any right varicocele.
c. Major abnormalities and defects of the genitalia, such as a change of sex, a history thereof, or dysfunctional residuals from surgical correction of these conditions.
Urinary SystemThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Cystitis.
b. Urethritis.
c. Enuresis or incontinence of urine beyond age 12.
d. Hematuria, pyuria, or other findings indicative of renal tract disease.
e. Urethral stricture or fistula.
f. Kidney.
(1) Absence of one kidney, congenital or acquired.
(2) Infections, acute or chronic.
(3) Polycystic kidney, confirmed history of.
(4) Horseshoe kidney.
(5) Hydronephrosis.
(6) Nephritis, acute or chronic.
g. Proteinuria under normal activity (at least 48 hours after strenuous exercise) greater than 200 milligrams (mg)/24 hours, or a protein to creatinine ratio greater than 0.2 in a random urine sample, unless nephrologic consultation determines the condition to be benign orthostatic proteinuria.
h. Renal calculus within the previous 12 months, recurrent calculus, nephrocalcinosis, or bilateral renal calculi at any time.
HeadThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Injuries, including severe contusions and other wounds of the scalp and cerebral concussion, until a period of 3 months has elapsed.
b. Deformities of the skull, face, or jaw of a degree that would prevent the individual from wearing a protective mask or military headgear.
c. Defects, loss or congenital absence of the bony substance of the skull not successfully corrected by reconstructive materials, or leaving residual defect in excess of 1 square inch (6.45 centimeter (cm) 2 ) or the size of a 25 cent piece.
NeckThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Cervical ribs, if symptomatic or so obvious that they are found on routine physical examination. (Detection based primarily on x-rays is not considered to meet this criterion.)
b. Congenital cysts of branchial cleft origin or those developing from remnants of the thyroglossal duct, with or without fistulous tracts.
c. Contraction of the muscles of the neck, spastic or non-spastic, or cicatricial contracture of the neck to the extent that it interferes with wearing a uniform or military equipment or is so disfiguring as to impair military bearing.
HeartThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. All valvular heart diseases, congenital or acquired, including those improved by surgery except mitral valve prolapse and bicuspid aortic valve. These latter two conditions are not reasons for rejection unless there is associated tachyarrhythmia, mitral regurgitation, aortic stenosis, insufficiency, or cardiomegaly.
b. Coronary heart disease.
c. Symptomatic arrhythmia (or electrocardiographic evidence of arrhythmia), history of.
(1) Supraventricular tachycardia, or any dysrhythmia originating from the atrium or sinoatrial node, such as atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation, unless there has been no recurrence during the preceding 2 years while off all medications. Premature atrial or ventricular contractions are disqualifying when sufficiently symptomatic to require treatment or result in physical or psychological impairment.
(2) Ventricular arrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation, tachycardia, and multi focal premature ventricular contractions. Occasional asymptomatic premature ventricular contractions are not disqualifying.
(3) Ventricular conduction disorders, left bundle branch block, Mobitz type II second degree atrioventricular (AV) block, and third degree AV block. Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome and Lown-Ganong-Levine-Syndrome associated with an arrhythmia are also disqualifying.
(4) Conduction disturbances such as first degree AV block, left anterior hemiblock, right bundle branch block, or Mobitz type I second degree AV block are disqualifying when symptomatic or associated with underlying cardiovascular disease.
d. Hypertrophy or dilatation of the heart.
e. Cardiomyopathy, including myocarditis, or history of congestive heart failure even though currently compensated.
f. Pericarditis.
g. Persistent tachycardia (resting pulse rate of 100 or greater).
h. Congenital anomalies of heart and great vessels, except for corrected patent ductus arteriosus.
Vascular systemThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Abnormalities of the arteries and blood vessels, including aneurysms, even if repaired, atherosclerosis, or arteritis.
b. Hypertensive vascular disease, evidenced by the average of three consecutive diastolic blood pressure measurements greater than 90 mmHg or three consecutive systolic pressure measurements greater than 140 mmHg. High blood pressure requiring medication or a history of treatment including dietary restriction.
c. Pulmonary or systemic embolization.
d. Peripheral vascular disease, including Raynaud's phenomenon.
e. Vein diseases, recurrent thrombophlebitis, thrombophlebitis during the preceding year, or any evidence of venous incompetence, such as large or symptomatic varicose veins, edema, or skin ulceration.
You May Also Like: Reducing Your Blood PressureHeightThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Men: Height below 60 inches or over 80 inches.
b. Women: Height below 58 inches or over 80 inches.
Weighta. Applicants for initial appointment as commissioned officers (to include appointment as commissioned warrant officers) must meet the standards of AR 600-9 . Body fat composition is used as the final determinant in evaluating an applicant's acceptability when the weight exceeds the weight tables.
b. All other applicants must meet the standards of tables (see "Height and Weight" tables in this section). Body fat composition is used as the final determinant in evaluating an applicant's acceptability when the weight exceeds the weight tables.
Body buildThe cause for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction is deficient muscular development that would interfere with the completion of required training.
Lungs, Chest Wall, Pleura, and MediastinumThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Abnormal elevation of the diaphragm, either side.
b. Abscess of the lung.
c. Acute infectious processes of the lung, until cured.
d. Asthma, including reactive airway disease, exercise induced bronchospasm or asthmatic bronchitis, reliably diagnosed at any age. Reliable diagnostic criteria should consist of any of the following elements:
(1) Substantiated history of cough, wheeze, and/or dyspnea that persists or recurs over a prolonged period of time, generally more than 6 months.
(2) If the diagnosis of asthma is in doubt, a test for reversible airflow obstruction (greater than a 15 percent increase in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEVI) following administration of an inhaled bronchodilator) or airway hyperactivity (exaggerated decrease in airflow induced by standard bronchoprovocation challenge such as methacholine inhalation or a demonstration of exercise-induced bronchospasm) must be performed.
e. Bronchitis, chronic, symptoms over 3 months occurring at least twice a year.
f. Bronchiectasis.
g. Bronchopleural fistula.
h. Bullous or generalized pulmonary emphysema.
i. Chronic mycotic diseases of the lung including coccidioidomycosis.
j. Chest wall malformation or fracture that interferes with vigorous physical exertion.
k. Empyema, including residual pleural effusion or unhealed sinuses of chest wall.
l. Extensive pulmonary fibrosis.
m. Foreign body in lung, trachea, or bronchus.
n. Lobectomy, with residual pulmonary disease or removal of more than one lobe.
o. Pleurisy with effusion, within the previous 2 years if known or unknown origin.
p. Pneumothorax during the year preceding examination if due to a simple trauma or surgery; during the 3 years preceding examination from spontaneous origin. Recurrent spontaneous pneumothorax after surgical correction or pleural sclerosis.
q. Sarcoidosis.
r. Silicone breast implants, encapsulated if less than 9 months since surgery or with symptomatic complications.
s. Tuberculous lesions.
You May Also Like: Can You Quit Smoking?MouthThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Cleft lip or palate defects, unless satisfactorily repaired by surgery.
b. Leukoplakia.
Nose, Sinuses, and LarynxThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Allergic manifestations.
(1) Allergic or vasomotor rhinitis, if moderate or severe and not controlled by oral medications, desensitization, or topical corticosteroid medication.
(2) Atrophic rhinitis.
(3) Vocal cord paralysis, or symptomatic disease of the larynx.
b. Anosmia or parosmia.
c. Epistaxis, recurrent.
d. Nasal polyps, unless surgery was performed at least 1 year before examination.
e. Perforation of nasal septum, if symptomatic or progressive.
f. Sinusitis, acute.
g. Sinusitis, chronic, when evidenced by chronic purulent nasal discharge, hyperplastic changes of the nasal tissue, symptoms requiring frequent medical attention, or x-ray findings.
h. Larynx ulceration, polyps, granulated tissue, or chronic laryngitis.
i. Tracheostomy or tracheal fistula.
j. Deformities or conditions of the mouth, tongue, palate throat, pharynx, larynx, and nose that interfere with chewing, swallowing, speech, or breathing.
k. Pharyngitis and nasopharyngitis, chronic.
Neurological DisordersThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Cerebrovascular conditions, any history of subarachnoid or intracerebral hemorrhage, vascular insufficiency, aneurysm, or arteriovenous malformation.
b. Congenital malformations, if associated with neurological manifestations or if known to be progressive; meningocele, even if uncomplicated.
c. Degenerative and hereditodegenerative disorders affecting the cerebrum, basal ganglia, cerebellum, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, or muscles.
d. Recurrent headaches of all types if they are of sufficient severity or frequency to interfere with normal function within 3 years.
e. Head injury.
(1) Applicants with a history of head injury with -
(a) Late post-traumatic epilepsy (occurring more than l week after injury).
(b) Permanent motor or sensory deficits.
(c) Impairment of intellectual function.
(d) Alteration of personality.
(e) Central nervous system shunt.
(2) Applicants with a history of severe head injury are unfit for a period of at least 5 years, after which they may be considered fit if complete neurological and neurophysical evaluation shows no residual dysfunction or complications. Applicants with a history of severe penetrating head injury are unfit for a period of at least 10 years after the injury. After 10 years they may be considered fit if complete neurological and neuropsychological evaluation shows no residuals dysfunction or complications. Severe head injuries are defined by one or more of the following:
(a) Unconsciousness or amnesia, alone or in combination, of 24 hours duration or longer.
(b) Depressed skull fracture.
(c) Laceration or contusion of dura or brain.
(d) Epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, or intracerebral hematoma.
(e) Associated abscess or meningitis.
(f) Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea or otorrhea persisting more than 7 days.
(g) Focal neurologic signs.
(h) Radiographic evidence of retained metallic or bony fragments.
(i) Leptomeningeal cysts or arteriovenous fistula.
(j) Early post-traumatic seizure(s) occurring within 1 week of injury but more than 30 minutes after injury.
(3) Applicants with a history of moderate head injury are unfit for a period of at least 2 years after injury, after which they may be considered fit if complete neurological evaluation shows no residual dysfunction or complications. Moderate head injuries are defined by unconsciousness or amnesia, alone or in combination of 1 to 24 hours duration or linear skull fracture.
(4) Applicants with a history of mild head injury, as defined by a period of unconsciousness or amnesia, alone or in combination, of 1 hour or less, are unfit for at least 1 month after injury; after which they may be acceptable if neurological evaluation shows no residual dysfunction or complications.
(5) Persistent post-traumatic sequelae, as manifested by headache, vomiting, disorientation, spatial disequilibrium, personality changes, impaired memory, poor mental concentration, shortened attention span, dizziness, altered sleep patterns, or any findings consistent with organic brain syndrome are disqualifying until full recovery has been confirmed by complete neurological and neuropsychological evaluation.
f. Infectious diseases.
(1) Meningitis, encephalitis, or poliomyelitis within 1 year before examination, or if there are residual neurological defects.
(2) Neurosyphilis of any form, general paresis, tabes dorsalis meningovascular syphilis.
g. Narcolepsy, sleep apnea syndrome.
h. Paralysis, weakness, lack of coordination, pain, sensory disturbance.
i. Epilepsy, beyond the age of 5 unless the applicant has been free of seizures for a period of 5 years while taking no medication for seizure control, and has a normal electroencephalogram (EEG). All such applicants will have a current neurology consultation with current EEG results. EEG may be requested by the reviewing authority.
j. Chronic disorders such as myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis.
k. Central nervous system shunts of all kinds.
Disorders with Psychotic FeaturesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are disorders with psychotic features.
Neurotic, Anxiety, Mood, Somatoform, Dissociative, or Factitious DisordersThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are a history of such disorders resulting in any or all of the below:
a. Admission to a hospital or residential facility.
b. Care by a physician or other mental health professional for more than 6 months.
c. Symptoms or behavior of a repeated nature that impaired social, school, or work efficiency.
Personality, Conduct, and Behavior DisordersThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Personality, conduct, or behavior disorders as evidenced by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, antisocial attitudes or behavior, which, while not sufficient cause for administrative rejection, are tangible evidence of impaired capacity to adapt to military service.
b. Personality, conduct, or behavior disorders where it is evident by history, interview, or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness, or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Army as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and with other social groups.
c. Other behavior disorders including but not limited to conditions such as authenticated evidence of functional enuresis or encopresis, sleepwalking, or eating disorders that are habitual or persistent occurring beyond age 12, or stammering of such a degree that the individual is normally unable to express himself or herself clearly or to repeat commands.
d. Specific academic skills defects, chronic history of academic skills or perceptual defects, secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.
e. Suicide, history of attempted or suicidal behavior.
Psychosexual ConditionsThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are transsexualism, exhibitionism, transvestitism, voyeurism, and other paraphilias.
Skin and Cellular TissuesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Acne, severe, or when extensive involvement of the neck, shoulders, chest, or back would be aggravated by or interfere with the wearing of military equipment, and would not be amenable to treatment. Patients under treatment with isotretinoin (Accutane) are medically unacceptable until 8 weeks after completion of course of therapy.
b. Atopic dermatitis or eczema, with active or residual lesions in characteristic areas (face, neck, antecubital, and or/popliteal fossae, occasionally wrists and hands), or documented history thereof after the age of 8.
c. Contact dermatitis, especially involving rubber or other materials used in any type of required protective equipment.
d. Cysts.
(1) Cysts, other than pilonidal, of such a size or location as to interfere with the normal wearing of military equipment.
(2) Pilonidal cysts, if evidenced by the presence of a tumor mass or a discharging sinus. History of pilonidal cystectomy within 6 months before examination is disqualifying.
e. Dermatitis factitia.
f. Bullous dermatoses, such as Dermatitis Herpetiformis, pemphigus, and epidermolysis bullosa.
g. Chronic Lymphedema.
h. Fungus infections, systemic or superficial types, if extensive and not amenable to treatment.
i. Furunculosis, extensive recurrent, or chronic.
j. Hyperhidrosis of hands or feet, chronic or severe.
k. Ichthyosis, or other congenital or acquired anomalies of the skin such as nevi or vascular tumors that interfere with function or are exposed to constant irritation.
l. Keloid formation, if the tendency is marked or interferes with the wearing of military equipment.
m. Leprosy, any type.
n. Lichen planus.
o. Neurofibromatosis (von Recklinghausen's disease).
p. Photosensitivity, any primary sun-sensitive condition, such as polymorphous light eruption or solar urticaria; any dermatosis aggravated by sunlight such as lupus erythematosus.
q. Psoriasis, unless mild by degree, not involving nail pitting, and not interfering with wearing military equipment or clothing.
r. Radiodermatitis.
s. Scars that are so extensive, deep, or adherent that they may interfere with the wearing of military clothing or equipment, exhibit a tendency to ulcerate, or interfere with function. Includes scars at skin graft donor or recipient sites if the area is susceptible to trauma.
t. Scleroderma.
u. Tattoos that will significantly limit effective performance of military service or that are otherwise prohibited under AR 670-1 .
v. Urticaria, chronic.
w. Warts, plantar, symptomatic.
x. Xanthoma, if disabling or accompanied by hyperlipemia.
y. Any other chronic skin disorder of a degree or nature, such as Dysplastic Nevi Syndrome, which requires frequent outpatient treatment or hospitalization, or interferes with the satisfactory performance of duty.
Spine and Sacroiliac JointsThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Arthritis.
b. Complaint of a disease or injury of the spine or sacroiliac joints with or without objective signs that has prevented the individual from successfully following a physically active vocation in civilian life or that is associated with pain referred to the lower extremities, muscular spasm, postural deformities, or limitation of motion.
c. Deviation or curvature of spine from normal alignment, structure, or function if -
(1) It prevents the individual from following a physically active vocation in civilian life.
(2) It interferes with wearing a uniform or military equipment.
(3) It is symptomatic and associated with positive physical finding(s) and demonstrable by x-ray.
(4) There is lumbar scoliosis greater than 20 degrees, thoracic scoliosis greater than 30 degrees, and kyphosis or lordosis greater than 55 degrees when measured by the Cobb method.
d. Fusion, congenital, involving more than two vertebrae. Any surgical fusion is disqualifying.
e. Healed fractures or dislocations of the vertebrae. A compression fracture, involving less than 25 percent of a single vertebra is not disqualifying if the injury occurred more than 1 year before examination and the applicant is asymptomatic. A history of fractures of the transverse or spinous processes is not disqualifying if the applicant is asymptomatic.
f. Juvenile epiphysitis with any degree of residual change indicated by x-ray or kyphosis.
g. Ruptured nucleus pulposus, herniation of intervertebral disk or history of operation for this condition.
h. Spina bifida when symptomatic or if there is more than one vertebra involved, dimpling of the overlying skin, or a history of surgical repair.
i. Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis.
j. Weak or painful back requiring external support such as a corset or brace; recurrent sprains or strains requiring limitation of physical activity or frequent treatment.
Systemic DiseasesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Amyloidosis.
b. Ankylosing spondylitis.
c. Eosinophilic granuloma when occurring as a single localized bony lesion and not associated with soft tissue or other involvement should not be a cause for rejection once healing has occurred. All other forms of the Histiocytosis X spectrum should be rejected.
d. Lupus erythematosus and mixed connective tissue disease.
e. Polymyositis/dermatomyositis complex.
f. Progressive Systemic Sclerosis, including CRST (calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasis) variant. A single plaque of localized scleroderma (morphea) that has been stable for at least 2 years is not disqualifying.
g. Reiter's Disease.
h. Rheumatoid arthritis.
i. Rhabdomyolysis.
j. Sarcoidosis, unless there is substantiated evidence of a complete spontaneous remission of at least 2 years duration.
k. Sjogren's Syndrome.
l. Tuberculosis.
(1) Active tuberculosis in any form or location, or history of active tuberculosis within the previous 2 years.
(2) One or more reactivations.
(3) Residual physical or mental defects from past tuberculosis that would preclude the satisfactory performance of duty.
(4) Individuals with a past history of active tuberculosis MORE than 2 years prior to enlistment, induction and appointment are QUALIFIED IF they have received a complete course of standard chemotherapy for tuberculosis. In addition, individuals with a tuberculin reaction 10 mm or greater and without evidence of residual disease are qualified once they have been treated with chemoprophylaxis.
(5) Vasculitis such as Bechet's, Wegener's granulomatosis, polyarteritis nodosa.
General and Miscellaneous Conditions and DefectsThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Allergic manifestations. A reliable history of anaphylaxis to stinging insects. Reliable history of a moderate to severe reaction to common foods, spices, or food additives.
b. Any acute pathological condition, including acute communicable diseases, until recovery has occurred without sequelae.
c. Chronic metallic poisoning with lead, arsenic, or silver, or beryllium or manganese.
d. Cold injury, residuals of, such as: frostbite, chilblain, immersion foot, trench foot, deep-seated ache, paresthesia, hyperhidrosis, easily traumatized skin, cyanosis, amputation of any digit, or ankylosis.
e. Cold urticaria and angioedema, hereditary angioedema.
f. Filariasis, trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, uncinariasis, or other parasitic conditions, if symptomatic or carrier states.
g. Heat pyrexia, heatstroke, or sunstroke. Documented evidence of a predisposition (including disorders of sweat mechanism and a previous serious episode), recurrent episodes requiring medical attention, or residual injury (especially cardiac, cerebral, hepatic, and renal); malignant hyperthermia.
h. Industrial solvent and other chemical intoxication.
i. Motion sickness. An authenticated history of frequent incapacitating motion sickness after the 12th birthday.
j. Mycotic infection of internal organs.
k. Organ transplant recipient.
l. Presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-I) or antibody. Presence is confirmed by repeatedly reactive enzyme-linked immunoassay serological test and positive immunoelectrophoresis (Western Blot) test, or other DOD-approved confirmatory test.
m. Reactive tests for syphilis such as the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test or venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) followed by a reactive, confirmatory Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption (FTA-ABS) test unless there is a documented history of adequately treated syphilis. In the absence of clinical findings, the presence of reactive RPR or VDRL followed by a negative FTA-ABS test is not disqualifying if a cause for the false positive reaction can be identified and is not otherwise disqualifying.
n. Residual of tropical fevers, such as malaria and various parasitic or protozoal infestations that prevent the satisfactory performance of military duty.
o. Rheumatic fever during the previous 2 years, or any history of recurrent attacks; Sydenham's chorea at any age.
p. Sleep apnea.
Tumors and Malignant DiseasesThe causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction are:
a. Benign tumors (M8000) that interfere with function, prevent wearing the uniform or protective equipment, would require frequent specialized attention, or have a high malignant potential.
b. Malignant tumors (V10), exception for basal cell carcinoma, removed with no residual. In addition, the following cases should be qualified if on careful review they meet the following criteria: individuals who have a history of childhood cancer who have not received any surgical or medical cancer therapy for 5 years and are free of cancer; individuals with a history of Wilm's tumor and germ cell tumors of the testis treated surgically and/or with chemotherapy after a 2-year disease-free interval off all treatment; individuals with a history of Hodgkin's disease treated with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy and disease free off treatment for 5 years; individuals with a history of large cell lymphoma after a 2-year disease-free interval off all therapy.
MiscellaneousAny condition that in the opinion of the examining medical officer will significantly interfere with the successful performance of military duty or training may be a cause for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction.
Trans Navy SEAL Kristin Beck Responds To Trump's Transgender Ban
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 11:52
A retired Navy SEAL Team 6 hero who is transgender had a message for President Donald Trump after he announced the US military would bar transgender people from serving.
''Let's meet face to face and you tell me I'm not worthy,'' Kristin Beck, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, told Business Insider on Wednesday. ''Transgender doesn't matter. Do your service.''
Beck said Trump's abrupt change in policy could negatively affect many currently or wanting to serve in the military. The RAND Corporation estimated in 2016 that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people serving. Many of them just want to serve their country like everyone else, Beck said.
''Being transgender doesn't affect anyone else,'' Beck said of the transgender ban. ''We are liberty's light. If you can't defend that for everyone that's an American citizen, that's not right.''
Beck is not just your average service member. Born Christopher Beck, she served for 20 years in the Navy with SEAL Teams 1, 5, and, eventually, the elite 6. She deployed 13 times over two decades, including stints in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. She received the Bronze Star award for valor and the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.
''I was defending individual liberty,'' she said. ''I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.''
In a series of tweets, Trump said the decision was based on the costs of medical services that transgender service members could use. But ''the money is negligible,'' Beck said of the transgender ban. ''You're talking about .000001% of the military budget.
''They care more about the airplane or the tank than they care about people,'' Beck said. ''They don't care about people. They don't care about human beings.''
When asked about potential problems with unit cohesion or war fighting, Beck said those were not issues that would arise from transgender service members, but from leadership.
''A very professional unit with great leadership wouldn't have a problem,'' Beck said. ''I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we're not going to have a problem. It's a leadership issue, not a transgender issue.''
More from Business Insider:
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The Anwar Brothers
EXCLUSIVE: FBI Seized Smashed Hard Drives From Wasserman Schultz IT Aide's Home - The Daily Caller
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:04
Abid Awan, a House IT technician suspected in a security breach, leaves court after separately being accused of insurance fraud. DCNF photo
FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's information technology (IT) administrator, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, an individual whom FBI investigators interviewed in the case told The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group.
An additional source in Congress with direct knowledge of the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into ''serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network'' by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.
Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.
Awan's younger brothers, Abid and Jamal, his wife, Hina Alvi, and Rao Abbas, Imran's best friend, are also under investigation. There have been no arrests in the case.
There is also evidence of financial schemes that extend beyond the Capitol Police's purview and may expand to Pakistan, where Imran spends significant portions of the year.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in March that the Capitol Police are ''getting the kind of technical assistance they need to do that. This is under an active criminal investigation, their capabilities are pretty strong but, they're also able to go and get the kind of help they need from other sources.''
The brothers' stepmother independently filed court documents in Virginia accusing the brothers of wiretapping and extorting her.
Soon after Imran began working for Wasserman Schultz in 2005, his two brothers and two of their wives '-- plus Abbas and another friend '-- began appearing as IT staffers on the payrolls of other House Democrats. Collectively, the Awan group has been paid $4 million since 2009.
Fellow IT staffers TheDCNF interviewed said the Awans were often absent from weekly meetings and email exchanges. One of the fellow staffers said some of the computers the Awans managed were being used to transfer data to an off-site server.
Shortly after the criminal probe was revealed in February, Imran abruptly moved out of his longtime home on Hawkshead Drive in Lorton, Va., and listed it for rent on a website that connects landlords with military families.
One of the new tenants '-- a Marine Corps veteran married to a female Navy Officer '-- said he found ''wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.''
The tenants called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and, not long after, FBI agents arrived together with the Capitol Police to interview them and confiscate the equipment. The Marine spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his wife's naval career, saying she doesn't want to be associated with a national security incident.
''It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,'' the Marine said. ''It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.''
Wasserman Schultz resigned as DNC chief in July 2016 after the committee's IT system was hacked. She has since refused to fire Imran despite learning that he is a target of a criminal investigation.
The Marine said Imran wanted the hard drives back so desperately that he threatened to sue the renter for stealing them.
''It was unbelievable. I don't know where they get off thinking they're going to sue us for items we have no obligation to hold onto,'' he said.
Imran came to the house for the items ''three to four times,'' but the Marine wouldn't let him enter.
''Their lawyer contacted us today via email and said we owed $350 in late charges and the items he left in the house,'' the Marine said.
The Marine heard about the House investigation on the radio, and by that time, he had noticed other bizarre signs of desperation from his landlord.
''When we first moved in, a mailman came with certified mail from the House of Representatives. We were trying to be nice and signed for it. They lost their shit, saying 'why did you sign for it, this is illegal!' It was certified from the [Chief Administrative Officer of the House],'' he said.
''The postman came a second time with a certified letter and I called Imran on the spot, asking 'what do you want me to do.' He said 'just send him away, I'm homeless.' They refused to forward their mail.''
Imran's brother Abid has also been evasive about his location, failing to provide an accurate address for delivery of court materials in a lawsuit in which he is accused of defrauding the brothers' stepmother. Imran's wife, Hina, has traveled to Pakistan since the probe was revealed, according to neighbors.
Wasserman Schultz has demanded return of a laptop seized by the Capitol Police because it was purportedly used by Imran and was found hidden in a vacant office. The Florida Democrat used a Capitol Police budget hearing to threaten ''consequences'' for them if the laptop wasn't returned.
On Thursday it was reported that police have not examined its contents because of the invocation of the Constitution's ''Speech and Debate clause,'' and after months of refusal, her lawyer is now ''negotiating'' access to the data on yet-to-be-determined terms.
Members have been unusually mum about the apparent cybersecurity breach, especially given the pattern of cyberattacks on other government and political institutions.
The Marine expressed disgust with the muted reaction, saying ''I served in the Marine Corps for 14 years; if I downloaded files to an offsite server, I'm going to prison for a lot of years.''
He implied he's a Democrat but said when it comes to national security ''political ideology doesn't matter.''
He believes ''there's no way they could get this far without help'' from some of the Democratic members of Congress for whom the brothers worked. Other Democrats have ignored a major security breach because it could look like a ''black eye'' in that they failed to vet the Pakistanis, he said.
''He's dangerous. This is a crime syndicate that has successfully infiltrated Congress,'' he said.
''If Donald Trump and the Republicans had hired foreign nationals to be their top IT guys and somehow their congressional files had been compromised, this would have been all over the news,'' he continued.
A Bureau spokesman said the ''FBI does not have anything to provide on this and I will still have to refer you to [Capitol Police] for any public comment.''
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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.
EXCLUSIVE: FBI Says 'Awan Brothers' Hard Drives Were Smashed After Confiscated As Law Enforcement Evidence | True Pundit
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:47
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Reports of the FBI seizing computer hard drives form the home of the congressional IT director and aide of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz are accurate, according to FBI sources: with the exception of one major detail. The computer hard drives were not damaged when they were confiscated, FBI sources said.
The FBI, who is working in some capacity to assist with the Capitol Police on the Awan investigation, confirm the hard drives and other computer equipment have been damaged but are pointing the finger at the Capitol Police's chain of custody with the evidence. The FBI, they said, would not damage evidence and stressed if someone went to the trouble of destroying evidence before a seizure they normally would discard of it as well, federal sources said.
Capitol Police officials would not respond to requests for comment.
The computer drives and equipment are linked to the Awan Brothers and Wasserman herself, according to law enforcement sources and media reports.
From the Daily Caller:
Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman (Wasserman), has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group.
A high-level congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into ''serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network'' by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.
Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.
Awan's younger brothers, Abid and Jamal, his wife, Hina Alvi, and Rao Abbas, Imran's best friend, are also under investigation. There have been no arrests in the case.
Journalist George Webb reported several weeks ago the Wasserman-linked computer hard drives had been seized as part of the Awan investigation. But there was never any mention the drives were physically altered. That would give additional credence to the FBI's account that the drives were in good physical condition at the time of the seizure.
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Wasserman Schultz staffer arrested trying to leave the country | TheHill
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:12
A House IT aide working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, was arrested this week on bank fraud charges while trying to leave the country.
Fox News reported that Imran Awan was arrested Monday night at Dulles International Airport in Virginia about 30 miles outside Washington, D.C.
Feds/USCP bust Hse IT staffer Imran Awan & charge him with multiple counts of bank fraud as part of Hse IT procurement scandal
'-- Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 25, 2017Feds/USCP picked up Imran Awan at Dulles Aiport last night as he was "trying to leave the country." Has been arraigned. Surrendered passport
'-- Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 25, 2017 ADVERTISEMENT
Awan, an IT staffer who has worked for many House Democrats and was employed by Wasserman Schultz, was allegedly at the center of a scheme that involved double-charging the House for IT equipment, and may also have exposed House information online, according to Fox.
A spokesperson for Wasserman Schultz said that Awan had been fired on Tuesday.
''Mr. Awan previously served as an employee in our office, but his services have been terminated," Wasserman Schultz' spokesman David Damron said in a statement.
Awan and his family have reportedly worked for House Democrats for years. He declared bankruptcy in 2012, but has made millions of dollars on the House payroll over at least a decade of work for various members, according to a Politico report.
In March, a group of House Democrats fired Awan and one other staffer over their alleged involvement in the scheme and the looming criminal investigation. However, Fox News reported Tuesday that Wasserman Schultz still has Awan on her staff's payroll despite him being barred from accessing the House's computer system since February.
At the time, Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) both defended Awan.
''As of right now, I don't see a smoking gun,'' Meeks told Politico in March. ''I have seen no evidence that they were doing anything that was nefarious.''
''He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don't fire someone until you talk to them,'' Fudge added
A spokesman for Wasserman Schultz's office told Politico in March that Awan worked for the staff in an "advisory" role ''providing advice on technology issues.''
Updated: 8:49 p.m.
F-Russia
House Intelligence Committee met with Ben Rhodes: Report
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:04
The House Intelligence Committee met with former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, according to a report Tuesday.
It was already known that Jared Kushner, top adviser and son-in-law to President Trump, on Tuesday spoke with members of the panel, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. CNN's Manu Raju tweeted Tuesday evening that the network's chief political analyst Gloria Borger had learned that Rhodes also spoke to the committee.
The Intelligence Committee is also investigating intelligence leaks, and Rhodes has become a person of interest for certain Republicans as someone who may be playing a role in the leaking of classified information from the Trump administration to reporters.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who is not a member of the intelligence panel, has accused Rhodes of being a primary source of the leaks causing harm to the Trump administration and called on Trump to remove all Obama official holdovers from his administration. The Florida Republican said in an interview on MSNBC earlier this month that Rhodes may be in contact with Obama holdovers in the National Security Council, who are behind the "selective leaking" hurting Trump's ability to conduct foreign policy.
DeSantis admitted he's spoken to Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina about it. While DeSantis said would defer to Gowdy, a member of the intelligence panel, to identify people of interest, he did say the panel has brought in some "big names."
Daniel ChaitinBen RhodesCongressNewsPolitics
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Timmermans niet gerustgesteld: Polen krijgt nog een maand | NOS
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:43
De Europese Commissie wil dat Polen zo snel mogelijk twee wetten terugdraait die door de Commissie worden gezien als aanval op de rechtstaat. Eurocommissaris Frans Timmermans zegt dat de Commissie blij is met de beslissing van de Poolse president Duda om zijn veto uit te spreken tegen twee andere hervormingen van de rechterlijke macht, maar hij is niet gerustgesteld.
Met een van de wetsvoorstellen die Duda blokkeerde, zou het parlement de leden van de Raad voor de Rechtspraak gaan benoemen. Die raad gaat over de benoemingen van rechters bij onder meer het hooggerechtshof. De regerende PiS-partij, geleid door oud-premier Kaczynski, zegt dat de hervorming noodzakelijk is om de corruptie binnen de rechtspraak te bestrijden.
Voorzitter Jean-Claude Juncker van de Commissie zegt dat het voor de EU onacceptabel is als er een systeem komt waarbij rechters "naar believen" aan de kant kunnen worden geschoven. "Onafhankelijke gerechtshoven vormen het fundament van het wederzijdse vertrouwen tussen lidstaten en hun rechtssystemen."
Maand de tijdPolen krijgt een maand de tijd om de situatie te verbeteren, waarschuwt Timmermans. Als Warschau doorgaat op de ingeslagen weg wordt er een procedure gestart waarmee Polen uiteindelijk zijn stemrecht in de Europese Raad kan verliezen.
"Vorige week hebben we al gezegd dat we ons zorgen maken. We hebben nu een juridische analyse gedaan. Die bevestigt dat de vier wetten een heel slechte invloed hebben op de rule of law in Polen", zegt Timmermans. Hij waarschuwt dat de Commissie al binnen de gestelde maand in zal grijpen als de situatie in het land verslechtert.
De Eurocommissaris zegt Polen de hand te reiken en in overleg te willen gaan. De Commissie voelt zich gesteund door onder meer het Europees Parlement, mensenrechtenorganisaties en de VN, die de zorgen over de Poolse rechtsstaat onderschrijven.
ChantageDe Poolse regering zegt dat de manier waarop het land zijn rechtssysteem organiseert een zaak is van Polen. "We zijn het niet eens met chantage door de EU, in wat voor vorm dan ook." Het Poolse ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken noemt Europese zorgen over de hervormingen ongerechtvaardigd.
poland judges constitution - Google Search
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:51
On 11 January 2016, the Constitutional Court rejected a complaint by Civic Platform questioning the appointment of the five new judges by the new Parliament. Three of the Court's judges dissented, including Andrzej RzepliÅski.
Polish Constitutional Court crisis, 2015 - Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Constitutional_Court_crisis,_2015
Schulz Warning if Italy is Not Given Aid by the EU The Refugee Crisis Will Explode Again | Armstrong Economics
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:02
SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz has come out and warned that if Italy is not given support, then it will send the refugees to Germany which it can no longer afford to accept any more. Schulz is warning that the refugee crisis in Germany will explode, IF Italy is not provided support from the European Union. Schulz is saying that since 2015, over one million refugees had infiltrated Germany and it is just beyond control. The question becomes whether this will get much worse and disrupt the German elections in the come of September.
If the EU does not stop the refugee invasion, they are going to suffer a tremendous economic decline beyond imagination going into 2021.
SSRI's
The Batman Killer - a prescription for murder? - BBC News
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:55
Arlene and Bob Holmes sat through every day of their son's trial but rejected all approaches to talk in public about their son out of respect for the victims and their families.
However, a book that Arlene wrote, When the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes 2013-2014, gives an insight into her thoughts in the run-up to the trial in April 2015.
In one section, she describes the effects of taking the lowest dose of an SSRI antidepressant in March 2014:
She continues: ''I sit through church service and sift through the Bible, uninspired. I'm fuzzy. Weird dreams. Crying used to be a release. Now I cannot cry, or laugh. I hate this feeling.''
Arlene Holmes, a nurse, wrote that she stopped taking the pills before the trial, telling her doctor she wanted to be able to feel things and to cry if she wanted to.
If she had a bad experience with an SSRI antidepressant, what would she make of David Healy's view of her son's case?
I contacted the couple's lawyer explaining my own background in investigating antidepressants and suggesting that Arlene and Bob Holmes might hold information that could, ultimately, help prevent future tragedies.
A few weeks later an email from Arlene dropped into my inbox. Short and to the point, it requested more information and asked me not to share her contact details with anyone.
''Some people bear my family ill will,'' she wrote.
When we finally spoke on the phone, it became clear Arlene and Bob had never seriously considered the effect antidepressants might have had on their son's behaviour. In fact, they hadn't even known of David Healy's involvement as a pre-trial expert witness.
Persuaded that exploring their son's case in depth may ultimately help others, they reluctantly agreed to a filmed interview. It wouldn't help their son - they know he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
BBC, SSRIs and 'a Prescription for Murder': Experts Slam Panorama Documentary on Antidepressants
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:22
''Is it possible that a pill prescribed by your doctor can turn you into a killer?''
That is the premise of a BBC Panorama documentary examining a link between antidepressants and violent behavior'--including murder. The one-hour film, A Prescription for Murder, will be shown in the U.K. Wednesday and is being met with considerable backlash, with many calling the program irresponsible, verging on dangerous.
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According to a description of the program on the BBC website, the documentary examines SSRIs'-- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors'--a class of drugs that used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. In the U.S., it is estimated one in 10 people take antidepressants, and SSRIs are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs.
Most people will only experience mild side effects from SSRIs, and these normally include things like nausea, feeling agitated, indigestion, sleep problems, headaches and a reduced sex drive. More extreme, rare side effects include suicidal thoughts and the desire to self harm.
But in A Prescription for Murder?, filmmakers look at the potential for SSRIs to cause ''psychosis, violence, possibly even murder.'' They cite the case of James Holmes, who killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a screening of Batman in Aurora, Colorado, in July, 2012. ''Did the SSRI anti-depressant he had been prescribed play a part in the killings?,'' the BBC asks.
Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. Holmes killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater during the midnight screening of Batman. REUTERS/RJ Sangosti/Pool
It claims to have uncovered other cases of murder and violence linked to SSRIs and says not enough is known about the ''rare side effect'' of the drugs and ''if doctors are unwittingly prescribing what could be a prescription for murder.''
In response, experts have widely condemned the documentary. There have also been concerns raised that people may stop taking their medication as a result of the film.
In a statement emailed to Newsweek, Wendy Burns, president of the U.K.'s Royal College of Psychiatrists, says the organization is ''disappointed'' in the recent coverage of antidepressants.
''For many milder episodes of depression talking therapies will be recommended as the first line of treatment,'' she explains. ''For moderate to severe depression, antidepressants are an evidence based treatment. Their prescription should be reviewed regularly in line with clear national guidance. We know that more of the people living with mental illness now seek medical advice and we believe this explains the increase in the number of people being prescribed antidepressants. For many, these drugs have had a beneficial effect on mood and have helped reduce suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
''In all treatments'--from cancer to heart disease'--medicines which do good can also do harm. This applies in psychiatry. Current evidence from large scale studies continues to show that for antidepressants the benefits outweigh the risks.
''Any patient who is unsettled by this media coverage, or feels pressurised to stop taking an antidepressant drug, should not abruptly discontinue their prescribed treatment. Instead, they should make an appointment with their family doctor or mental health professional to discuss any concerns they might have. They should together make a joint decision about whether to continue antidepressant treatment.''
Seroxat pills. Seroxat is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Bogdan Cristel/Reuters
Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry, King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, also condemned the premise of the documentary. ''There is no good evidence that antidepressants increase the risk of violent behaviour, and the extremely rare (and tragic) cases that are cited in support of this theory could be explained by chance: antidepressants are prescribed relatively widely, and so by chance someone on antidepressants will commit a violent act. Moreover, people on antidepressants may be suffering from some forms of mental disorder or distress that may, albeit very occasionally, increase the risk of reacting impulsively or violently.''
He said that with 11 percent of the U.S population currently taking antidepressants, ''we would have clearly seen an increased risk of violence if there was one.''
''In contrast, we know very well that every time an alarm reduces the rates of prescription for antidepressants, suicide rates increase, including in adolescent and young adults. The risk of suicide attempt in patients treated with the commonly use SSRI antidepressants is approximately one-third that of patients who are not treated with an SSRI. And this is without even considering the life-saving effects that these medications have on patients' recovery from their mental health problems.''
Allan Young, Professor of Mood Disorders, King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, and Seena Fazel, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, both pointed to the lack of evidence showing a link between antidepressant use and violence.
Young said they must be extremely careful to make sure any claims made are backed up by strong evidence, and if serious side effects are found, then they ''should about them'' because they want to help patients.
"If there was good evidence of antidepressants turning people into murderers then we would certainly be looking into that,'' he said. ''It is an extremely strong claim and therefore needs to be backed by strong evidence. So many people take antidepressants that we will always be able to find some coincidences, but it takes a lot more evidence to mean it's more than that."
In a statement emailed to Newsweek, the BBC said people should wait to see the documentary before commenting on it. ''People have not yet seen the program and should judge it once it broadcasts. It is in the public interest for the BBC to investigate the possible adverse side effects of SSRIs that could potentially affect a minority of people. The program is a serious and considered work, which includes a range of voices in Psychiatry in both the US and the UK. It is stressed throughout the program that these drugs are safe for the majority of users and people should not change or stop taking medication without seeking medical advice first."
DPRK
State Department Bans Travel to North Korea'...
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:22
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced a revised set of travel restrictions for U.S. citizens considering travel to the DPRK.
Once in full effect there will be a travel ban in place restricting all travel using U.S. passports. U.S. humanitarian groups and entities requesting travel to the DPRK will need to request a specific passport from the State Department.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) '' The U.S. government on Friday said it will bar Americans from traveling to North Korea due to the risk of ''long-term detention'' in the country, where a U.S. student was jailed while on a tour last year and later died.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has authorized a ''Geographical Travel Restriction'' on Americans to forbid them from entering North Korea, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
''Once in effect, U.S. passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea,'' Nauert said.
The move was due to ''mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea's system of law enforcement,'' she said. (read more)
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North Korea: Time for Talks Says U.S. Expert Don Gregg | Time.com
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:04
North Korea is ''The longest running failure in the history of American espionage.''
That's the assessment of Donald P. Gregg, arguably, the man who knows more about North Korea than any living American.
Gregg, 89, is a retired State Department and CIA veteran, a North Asia specialist, and a recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. He says the absence of direct dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea has to change. ''We can't deal with them if we don't understand them, and we won't understand them if we aren't talking to each other,'' he says.
Although Gregg's thinking may be out of sync with much of what's coming out of the Trump White House and the Congress '-- both are pushing for more sanctions in response to North Korea's recent ICBM launch and its continued efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal '-- he has found an ally in South Korea's new President, Moon Jae-in, who called for new talks with North Korea last week.
The two sides haven't spoken since 2015 and the U.S. has shown little interest in negotiating with North Korea since President George W. Bush branded North Korea, along with Iraq and Iran, the ''Axis of Evil'' in his 2002 State of the Union speech.
Gregg, who has been to North Korea six times, rejects the prevailing view in Washington that meeting with North Korea rewards bad behavior. Instead, he says talks are necessary to ''keep a dangerous situation from becoming worse.'' He also opposes sanctions, saying they haven't worked and they only serve to make North Korea more intransigent.
Read more:South Korea's President Moon Jae-in: The Negotiator
In an interview at his Armonk, New York, home, Gregg is quick to acknowledge that dealing with North Korea can be difficult and frustrating. He dismisses the country's bombastic threats to annihilate the U.S., South Korea and other perceived adversaries. ''The North Koreans aren't suicidal. They don't want a war,'' he says. Despite the rhetoric and the propaganda, he says the that North Korea's leaders are ''thoughtful, well-educated pragmatists.''
I first met Don Gregg 43 years ago in Seoul, where he was the Central Intelligence Agency station chief while I was the North Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. The American Embassy was full of savvy Korea hands, including career diplomats Ambassador Phil Habib and political counselor Paul Cleveland. North Korea was a source of tension and so too was South Korea under its authoritarian leader, Park Chung Hee. Gregg, who had come to Korea after nearly a decade with CIA in Japan, was a lousy source, remote and taciturn. But when he spoke, it was clear he had an encyclopedic knowledge of North Asian geopolitics.
Gregg returned to Washington in 1975 where he continued to work for the CIA, until, after 31 years with the agency, he resigned in 1982 to become Vice President George H.W. Bush's National Security Advisor. When Bush became President, he named Gregg Ambassador to South Korea, a position he held for four years.
Gregg then became Chairman of the Korea Society, a New York-based nonprofit known for its thoughtful essays about the Korean Peninsula, until 2009. During his years as the Society's head, he went to North Korea five times. He last visited North Korea in 2014 and he remains in touch with North Korean diplomats at the United Nations and elsewhere.
Gregg supports Moon's overture to North Korea, saying it is reminiscent of former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung's ''Sunshine Policy'' which led to a softening of relations between the two Koreas. Kim, who was South Korea's President from 1998 through 2003 and who had close ties to Gregg, advocated greater contact with North Korea, coupled with substantial economic investment. He went to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, in 2000 for a summit meeting with Kim Jong Il, then North Korea's leader (and the father of Kim Jong Un, the country's current leader.) The Sunshine policy remained in effect until 2008 when one of his successors took a harder line against North Korea.
Read more:Five Questions About North Korea's Missile Tests You Were Afraid to Ask
Gregg says that Kim Jong Un, North Korea's current leader, is ''smart, tough, and a risk taker'' who sees his nuclear arsenal as protection against a U.S. attack. Although he doesn't see North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons and its missiles, Gregg says that nuclear proliferation is a bigger problem than just North Korea, and that he is personally more worried about Pakistan's nuclear weapons and war engulfing the Middle East than he is about North Korea.
Gregg also says the U.S. is na¯ve in thinking China will try to curb North Korea's militaristic ambitions. ''China's bigger concern is a reunited Korea,'' he says, and it has been consistent in opposing the continued presence of U.S. troops nearby in South Korea. ''The Chinese aren't going to carry water for us,'' he says.
After each of his trips, Gregg says that he wrote or met with White House and State Department officials, urging talks. He says his efforts have been consistently rejected or ignored.
He has also urged negotiation of a peace treaty to replace the Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War. That agreement was signed by the U.S., China, and North Korea in 1953.
Gregg laments that ''it is very hard to find anyone in Washington with experience, knowledge, and an open mind when it comes to dealing with North Korea. Everyone knows malnutrition is a problem, but people are shocked when I tell them Pyongyang is an attractive, functioning city,'' he says.
There is no guarantee that talks will make a difference. As B.R. Myers has written in a thoughtful book, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves '-- And Why It Matters, the north's leaders use ''race-based nationalism'' to control their people. Myers writes that Pyongyang would appear weak to its own people if it renounced its nuclear ambitions. Myers also writes that South Korea's Sunshine Policy ''failed to generate even a modicum of good will from the North.''
Those arguments notwithstanding, it is hard to argue against increasing our diplomatic efforts with North Korea. While U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis may be right in saying we would win a war with North Korea, he is also right in saying that any war would be ''catastrophic'' '-- to our allies and most probably to ourselves.
President Trump has made contradictory statements about North Korea. Along with his increasingly belligerent threats, Trump, while campaigning for the Presidency and in an interview with Bloomberg News in May, said that he would be willing to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, ''under the right circumstances.'' Those circumstances weren't defined.
Don Gregg is right in thinking talks should begin without preconditions. Now is the time to do so.
SJW BLM LGBBTQQIAAP
Princeton's new 'men's engagement manager' to combat aggressive masculinity on campus - The College Fix
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:08
Princeton's new 'men's engagement manager' to combat aggressive masculinity on campus
Are young men at Princeton University violent, aggressive, hyper-masculine, stalkers, or rapists?
A new position at the Ivy League institution indicates campus officials apparently think enough of its male students grapple with such problems that it warrants hiring a certified clinician dedicated to combating them.
The university is in the process of hiring an ''Interpersonal Violence Clinician and Men's Engagement Manager'' who will work with a campus office called SHARE that's dedicated to ''survivors'' of sexual harassment, assault, dating violence and stalking.
According to SHARE, one in four female undergrads experienced such misconduct during the 2015-16 school year.
The men's manager will also launch initiatives to challenge ''gender stereotypes,'' and expand the school's Men's Allied Voices for a Respectful and Inclusive Community, a self-described ''violence prevention program'' at Princeton that often bemoans ''toxic masculinity'' on its Facebook page.
According to the job description, the men's manager will develop educational programs targeting the apparent ''high-risk campus-based populations for primary prevention of interpersonal violence, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking.''
The job posting implicitly refers to men as perpetrators and women as victims.
The position may also implement a mandatory ''accountability program for students accused of sexual misconduct under Title IX,'' it adds.
Princeton University's communications office defended the position in an emailed statement last week to The College Fix. The school confirmed it is still working to select a person to fill the position, first advertised in late May.
''Princeton's program is similar to programs at other colleges and universities and is consistent with established best practices that encourage both men and women to create and foster a culture in which there is no place for interpersonal violence and where safe and healthy interpersonal relationships are the norm,'' the statement read.
Founded in 2013, Men's Allied Voices for a Respectful and Inclusive Community program seeks to ''promote healthy masculinity'' through workshops and other educational programming on campus. The program also fights ''toxic masculinity,'' according to numerous Facebook posts, and subscribes to the feminist theory of ''fragile masculinity,'' which denigrates men for subscribing to traditional gender norms.
The successful candidate will also recruit and train students to ''serve as role models for men-identified students related to the development of healthy relationships and healthy masculinity,'' the job description states.
The successful candidate must have a masters or doctorate in a field related to social work or women's studies, it adds.
The College Fix was unable to identify a corresponding clinician targeted toward women.
''The position you reference seeks to strengthen Princeton's efforts to prevent violence among all campus populations, with a focus on how we can best engage men as agents of positive change,'' Princeton's communications office stated.
''The person hired for this position will support an existing initiative '' Men's Allied Voices for a Respectful and Inclusive Community '' and will provide mentoring and guidance to help men serve as effective advocates for the prevention of violence and connect those affected by violence with the services and supports they need. We have seen increased demand by men on our campus to play a more active role in preventing interpersonal violence, and we are pleased to support this growing interest.''
MORE '-- TRENDING: Universities work to purge male students of their 'toxic' masculinity
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About the Author
Toni Airaksinen is a junior at Barnard College in New York City. She also contributes to USA Today College, Red Alert Politics and Quillette Magazine. She formerly held a post with The Columbia Spectator. Her writing is regularly featured on Fox News and Drudge Report, among other websites. Her interests include free speech, due process and men's issues.
Ambtenaren A'dam krijgen 'Regenboogtaaltips': liever niet 'dames en heren' | NOS
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:51
Amsterdam wil in de communicatie meer rekening houden met mensen die zichzelf als man noch als vrouw beschouwen. In een gids met zogenoemde regenboogtaaltips roept de afdeling diversiteit van de gemeente ambtenaren op om rekening te houden met mensen die zich niet herkennen in de aanspreekvorm 'man' of 'vrouw'.
Als alternatief voor "dames en heren" wordt geadviseerd om bijvoorbeeld "geachte aanwezigen" of "beste aanwezigen" te gebruiken. De gemeente wil zo op een respectvolle manier praten en schrijven over seksuele- en genderidentiteit.
"Als stad en als werkgever willen we inclusief zijn. Daarom is het streven dat onze aanspreekvormen daarbij aansluiten", zegt de gemeente. Amsterdam volgt daarmee het voorbeeld van Londen, waar "ladies and gentlemen" bij aankondigingen in de metro onlangs werd verruild voor een genderneutraal "hello everyone".
Volgens een woordvoerder van de gemeente gaat het om tips en en zijn de ambtenaren niet verplicht om het advies te volgen. "We gaan niets verbieden, maar willen wel dat ambtenaren zich bewust zijn van hun taalgebruik."
De gids met regenboogtaaltips komt enkele dagen voor de Pride Amsterdam, die vanaf zaterdag wordt gehouden in de stad.
Bygdala
What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Weaker | Psychology Today
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:31
Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, famously said: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." This notion found life beyond Nietzsche's--which is ironic, his having been rather short and miserable--and it continues to resonate within American culture.
One reason is that suffering, as Freud famously recognized, is an inevitable part of life. Thus we have developed many ways to try to ease it--one of which is bestowing upon it transformative powers (another is by believing in an afterlife, of which Freud disapproved; still another is cocaine, of which he was, for a time, a fan).
Another reason is that American culture, born of trauma and imbued with a hopeful can-do ethos, wants to believe this idea, finding it self-affirming. Once we have acquired a certain belief we tend to see, remember, and report mostly instances and events that support it. This is called confirmation bias.
Another reason we think trauma may be transformative is that we see variants of this process around us. Bacteria that are not killed entirely by an antibiotic will mutate and become resistant to it. People who go through the hardship of training tend to improve their performance. But human beings are not bacteria, and good training is not a traumatic event.
Now it is true that, in an evolutionary sense, those who survive a calamity are by definition the fittest. But it is not the calamity that made them so. For our minds, however, the leap is short between seeing the strong emerge from a calamity and concluding that they are strong because of the calamity.
Our brain is a meaning-making machine, designed to sort vast and varied sensory information into coherent, orderly perception, organized primarily in the form of narrative: this happened, which led to that, which ended up so. When two things happen together, we assume they are meaningfully linked, and then we rush to bind them in a quite unholy cause-and-effect matrimony.
This tendency to infer causality from co-occurrence is not limited to humans; caged pigeons, receiving food at random intervals not related to their behavior, will nevertheless repeat any movement they happened to be doing before food appeared. The pigeons become, in a sense, superstitious.
As do we. In humans, many common beliefs are based on this error. Some are trivial, like a fan's belief that wearing his lucky jersey helps his team win. But others are weightier. Because parenting behaviors co-occur with children's developing personalities, many parents assume that their behaviors actually shape their children's personalities. The evidence from developmental research overwhelmingly shows that they don't. In fact, the causality is often reversed, as temperamentally-easy children enable their parents to feel competent. Good children often create good parents.
Our eagerness to ease the pain of suffering by rationalizing it, along with our tendency to look for information supportive of our preexisting beliefs and see meaning and causality in co-occurrence, all help explain how we arrive at our belief in the school of hard knocks.
But the bulk of psychological research on the topic shows that, as a rule, if you are stronger after hardship, it is probably despite, not because of the hardship. The school of hard knocks does little more than knock you down, hard. Nietzschian--and country song--wisdom notwithstanding, we are not stronger in the broken places. What doesn't kill us in fact makes us weaker.
Developmental research has shown convincingly that traumatized children are more, not less, likely to be traumatized again. Kids who grow up in a tough neighborhood become weaker, not stronger. They are more, not less likely to struggle in the world.
And the effect on adults is generally similar. For example, in one recent study, healthy adults viewed fearful and calm faces while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure activity in the amygdale, the part of the brain that forms and stores emotional memories. Half of the participants were within 1.5 miles of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the other half lived at least 200 miles away. Participants who were near the World Trade Center on 9/11 had significantly higher amygdale activity when looking at the fearful faces compared to those who were living more than 200 miles away. "Our findings suggest that there may be long-term neurobiological correlates of trauma exposure, even in people who appear resilient," said Dr. Barbara Ganzel, the lead researcher, "We have known for a long time that trauma exposure can lead to subsequent vulnerability to mental health disorders years after the trauma. This research is giving us clues about the biology underlying that vulnerability." When trauma and hardship do leave a mark, it is usually a bruise under the skin, not a notch on the belt.
Years ago, during my mandatory army service in Israel, I took part in anti-terrorist training that involved working with the K9 unit. I asked the unit commander where he found those vicious attack dogs of his. Most people, he said, believe that wild street dogs make the best anti-terrorist dogs, having survived the, well, dog-eat-dog world of the mean streets. But the truth is just the opposite. Street dogs are useless for this--or any other--work because they are unpredictable and not trainable. Dogs that have been well cared for, loved, and protected all their lives--those are the best anti-terrorist dog candidates.
And this is true for humans as well. Mayhem and chaos don't toughen you up, and they don't prepare you well to deal with the terror of this world. Tender love and care toughen you up, because they nurture and strengthen your capacity to learn and adapt, including learning how to fight, and adapting to later hardship.
Poppie$
Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals - The New York Times
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:17
The lure of Afghanistan as a war-torn Klondike is well established: In 2006, the George W. Bush administration conducted aerial surveys of the country to map its mineral resources. Under President Barack Obama, the Pentagon set up a task force to try to build a mining industry in Afghanistan '-- a challenge that was stymied by rampant corruption, as well as security problems and the lack of roads, bridges or railroads.
None of these hurdles has been removed in the last eight years, according to former officials, and some have worsened. They warn that the Trump administration is fooling itself if it believes that extracting minerals is a panacea for Afghanistan's myriad ills.
''It would be dangerous to use the potential for resource exploitation as a selling point for military engagement,'' said Laurel Miller, a senior analyst at RAND who served until last month as the State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. ''The barriers to entry are really quite considerable, and that kind of argument could fuel suspicion about America's real intentions in Afghanistan.''
But for Mr. Trump, as a businessman, it is arguably the only appealing thing about Afghanistan. Officials said he viewed mining as a ''win-win'' that could boost that country's economy, generate jobs for Americans and give the United States a valuable new beachhead in the market for rare-earth minerals, which has been all but monopolized by China.
China already has a $3 billion contract to develop a copper mine about 25 miles southeast of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Officials said Mr. Trump was determined not to spend American lives and treasure in Afghanistan only to watch China lock up its rare-earth deposits, which are used to make products from wind turbines to computer chips.
Mr. Silver, the chemical executive, may head an effort to maximize the rights for American companies to extract these minerals, according to a senior official.
Mr. Trump's interest also reflects how his military advisers have struggled to present him with other persuasive reasons to send troops to the country, where the United States has been at war since 2001.
Photo Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, and the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, have led a review of Afghanistan policy. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times The White House's review of Afghanistan policy '-- led by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster '-- was supposed to be finished by the middle of July. Instead, it bogged down after Mr. Trump expressed displeasure with a proposal from General McMaster for a modest troop increase and a multiyear commitment to the country.
Policy meetings have become increasingly heated, officials said, as Mr. Trump and his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, have squared off against General McMaster. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is also said to be unhappy with the current proposals.
Vice President Mike Pence, not General McMaster, will lead a meeting Wednesday of National Security Council principals on Afghanistan. Some officials said that reflected General McMaster's isolation; others said that the general welcomed Mr. Pence's involvement and that the two were closely aligned on the policy.
But Mr. Trump, it is clear, is not. In June, he grudgingly agreed to give Mr. Mattis the authority to send additional troops '-- a number believed to be about 4,000 '-- as a stopgap measure to stabilize security in Afghanistan. But Mr. Mattis has not yet used his authority, perhaps reflecting his recognition that the commander in chief is uncomfortable with it.
When reporters last week asked Mr. Trump at a meeting at the Pentagon whether he planned to send more troops, he answered, ''We'll see,'' and added, ''ISIS is falling fast,'' suggesting he viewed the counterterrorism threat in Afghanistan as declining.
Worried that Mr. Trump will be locked into policies that did not work for the last two presidents, Mr. Bannon and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have brought in outside voices, including Mr. Feinberg and Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater International. Both have urged using more private contractors and giving the C.I.A. an oversight role in the conflict.
In addition, Mr. Feinberg has reached out to people involved in the Obama administration's effort to build Afghanistan's mining industry. Some warned him that the prospects for a profitable business are worse now than in 2009, given the decline in commodities prices and the deteriorating security in areas where the deposits are believed to lie.
Afghanistan's deposits of copper and iron ore are trading at about a third of their 2010 prices. Most of the undiscovered deposits of rare-earth minerals are believed to be in Helmand Province, large parts of which are controlled by the Taliban.
''There are undoubtedly minerals to be exploited in Afghanistan, which could help provide economic stability to the country in the future,'' said Daniel F. Feldman, a former special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. ''But given all the obstacles, it could be many years before mining yields dividends for the Afghan people.''
One advantage is that the Trump administration would have a willing partner in the Afghan government. During the Obama administration, President Ghani resisted the rapid development of the mining industry, largely because he worried about the threat of widespread corruption that would come with it.
But as soon as Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Ghani reversed his position, contacting the Trump team and promoting Afghanistan's mineral wealth. He realized that Mr. Trump would be intrigued by the commercial possibilities, officials said.
Mr. Trump has said little publicly about Afghanistan since being elected. But his thinking about what the United States should reap for its military efforts was made clear in another context soon after his inauguration. Speaking to employees of the C.I.A., the president said the United States had erred in withdrawing troops from Iraq without holding on to its oil.
''The old expression 'To the victor belong the spoils,''' Mr. Trump declared. ''You remember?''
Get politics and Washington news updates via Facebook, Twitter and the Morning Briefing newsletter.
A version of this article appears in print on July 26, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Mineral Wealth In Afghanistan Tempts Trump.
Continue reading the main story
Agenda 2030
Scientists dim sunlight, suck up carbon dioxide to cool planet
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:21
OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists are sucking carbon dioxide from the air with giant fans and preparing to release chemicals from a balloon to dim the sun's rays as part of a climate engineering push to cool the planet.
Backers say the risky, often expensive projects are urgently needed to find ways of meeting the goals of the Paris climate deal to curb global warming that researchers blame for causing more heatwaves, downpours and rising sea levels.
The United Nations says the targets are way off track and will not be met simply by reducing emissions for example from factories or cars - particularly after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 2015 pact.
They are pushing for other ways to keep temperatures down.
In the countryside near Zurich, Swiss company Climeworks began to suck greenhouse gases from thin air in May with giant fans and filters in a $23 million project that it calls the world's first "commercial carbon dioxide capture plant".
Worldwide, "direct air capture" research by a handful of companies such as Climeworks has gained tens of millions of dollars in recent years from sources including governments, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the European Space Agency.
If buried underground, vast amounts of greenhouse gases extracted from the air would help reduce global temperatures, a radical step beyond cuts in emissions that are the main focus of the Paris Agreement.
Climeworks reckons it now costs about $600 to extract a tonne of carbon dioxide from the air and the plant's full capacity due by the end of 2017 is only 900 tonnes a year. That's equivalent to the annual emissions of only 45 Americans.
And Climeworks sells the gas, at a loss, to nearby greenhouses as a fertilizer to grow tomatoes and cucumbers and has a partnership with carmaker Audi, which hopes to use carbon in greener fuels.
Jan Wurzbacher, director and founder of Climeworks, says the company has planet-altering ambitions by cutting costs to about $100 a tonne and capturing one percent of global man-made carbon emissions a year by 2025.
"Since the Paris Agreement, the business substantially changed," he said, with a shift in investor and shareholder interest away from industrial uses of carbon to curbing climate change.
But penalties for factories, power plants and cars to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are low or non-existent. It costs 5 euros ($5.82) a tonne in the European Union.
And isolating carbon dioxide is complex because the gas makes up just 0.04 percent of the air. Pure carbon dioxide delivered by trucks, for use in greenhouses or to make drinks fizzy, costs up to about $300 a tonne in Switzerland.
Other companies involved in direct air capture include Carbon Engineering in Canada, Global Thermostat in the United States and Skytree in the Netherlands, a spinoff of the European Space Agency originally set up to find ways to filter out carbon dioxide breathed out by astronauts in spacecrafts.
Not Science FictionThe Paris Agreement seeks to limit a rise in world temperatures this century to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial times.
But U.N. data show that current plans for cuts in emissions will be insufficient, especially without the United States, and that the world will have to switch to net "negative emissions" this century by extracting carbon from nature.
Riskier "geo-engineering" solutions could be a backstop, such as dimming the world's sunshine, dumping iron into the oceans to soak up carbon, or trying to create clouds.
Among new university research, a Harvard geo-engineering project into dimming sunlight to cool the planet set up in 2016 has raised $7.5 million from private donors. It plans a first outdoor experiment in 2018 above Arizona.
"If you want to be confident to get to 1.5 degrees you need to have solar geo-engineering," said David Keith, of Harvard.
A facility for capturing CO2 from air of Swiss Climeworks AG is placed on the roof of a waste incinerating plant in Hinwil, Switzerland July 18, 2017. Arnd Wiegmann Keith's team aims to release about 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of sun dimming material, perhaps calcium carbonate, from a high-altitude balloon above Arizona next year in a tiny experiment to see how it affects the microphysics of the stratosphere.
"I don't think it's science fiction ... to me it's normal atmospheric science," he said.
Some research has suggested that geo-engineering with sun-dimming chemicals, for instance, could affect global weather patterns and disrupt vital Monsoons.
And many experts fear that pinning hopes on any technology to fix climate change is a distraction from cuts in emissions blamed for heating the planet.
"Relying on big future deployments of carbon removal technologies is like eating lots of dessert today, with great hopes for liposuction tomorrow," Christopher Field, a Stanford University professor of climate change, wrote in May.
Jim Thomas of ETC Group in Canada, which opposes climate engineering, said direct air capture could create "the illusion of a fix that can be used cynically or naively to entertain policy ideas such as 'overshoot'" of the Paris goals.
But governments face a dilemma. Average surface temperatures are already about 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels and hit record highs last year.
"We're in trouble," said Janos Pasztor, head of the new Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Project. "The question is not whether or not there will be an overshoot but by how many degrees and for how many decades."
Faced with hard choices, many experts say that extracting carbon from the atmosphere is among the less risky options. Leaders of major economies, except Trump, said at a summit in Germany this month that the Paris accord was "irreversible."
"Barking MadRaymond Pierrehumbert, a professor of physics at Oxford University, said solar geo-engineering projects seemed "barking mad".
By contrast, he said "carbon dioxide removal is challenging technologically, but deserves investment and trial."
The most natural way to extract carbon from the air is to plant forests that absorb the gas as they grow, but that would divert vast tracts of land from farming. Another option is to build power plants that burn wood and bury the carbon dioxide released.
Carbon Engineering, set up in 2009 with support from Gates and Murray Edwards, chairman of oil and gas group Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, has raised about $40 million and extracts about a tonne of carbon dioxide a day with turbines and filters.
"We're mainly looking to synthesize fuels" for markets such as California with high carbon prices, said Geoffrey Holmes, business development manager at Carbon Engineering.
But he added that "the Paris Agreement helps" with longer-term options of sucking large amounts from the air.
Among other possible geo-engineering techniques are to create clouds that reflect sunlight back into space, perhaps by using a mist of sea spray.
That might be used locally, for instance, to protect the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, said Kelly Wanser, principal director of the U.S.-based Marine Cloud Brightening Project.
Among new ideas, Wurzbacher at Climeworks is sounding out investors on what he says is the first offer to capture and bury 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air, for $500 a tonne.
That might appeal to a company wanting to be on forefront of a new green technology, he said, even though it makes no apparent economic sense.
Bill Nye Says Old People Must Die For Climate Science To Progress
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:52
LISTEN TO TLR'S LATEST PODCAST:By Chris White
Comedian Bill Nye ''The Science Guy'' said Wednesday that the climate change movement can only move forward once the older generation begins to die off.
''Climate change deniers, by way of example, are older. It's generational,'' Nye told the Los Angeles Times in an interview. Nye added that he shouldn't be too hard on older citizens, however, because he is ''now one of them.''
''We're just going to have to wait for those people to 'age out,' as they say,'' Nye said, adding that ''age out'' is a euphemism for dying. ''But it'll happen, I guarantee you '-- that'll happen.''
Nye used the interview to pitch his newest book, ''Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem,'' which lengthily discusses climate change, among other issues.
The former children's show host has also received plaudits from Hollywood for his newest television show, ''Bill Nye Saves The World.''
The Television Academy Awards nominated the show's writers earlier this month for an episode suggesting that sexuality exists on a spectrum. The episode raised concern from conservatives and YouTube denizens alike, many of which mocked the show for awkwardly associating social sciences with physical sciences.
The nominated episode contains the music video, ''My Sex Junk,'' which aired in April on Netflix, featuring actress Rachel Bloom singing a song about transgenders, gay sex and how sexuality is a fluid concept. Bloom's song appears to lament the fact that humans are relegated to living lives as strictly male or female.
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Why Conservative White Males Are More Likely to Be Climate Skeptics - Scientific American
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:01
When it comes to climate change denial, not all human beings are created equal. As a recent study shows, conservative white males are less likely to believe in climate change.
"It's not surprising," said Aaron McCright, sociology professor at Michigan State University, who is a white male himself. But anecdotal evidence is not scientific, he said. "You really don't know what's going on until you crunch the numbers and find out."
Besides the trend amongst skeptics, the study also found that conservative white men who self-report a high understanding of global warming -- dubbed "confident" conservative males -- are even more likely to express climate change denial.
McCright's study, "Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States," was published online in July and printed in the October 2011 issue of Global Environmental Change, which ranks first out of 77 journals on environmental studies.
The study has created somewhat of a buzz, said Riley Dunlap, co-author and professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University. The paper was well received in academic circles, but he admitted he was concerned about a backlash from the conservative movement. While there have not been any major outcries, the study appears to have raised a few temperatures in Chicago.
"This paper is a transparent effort to take the focus off the actual scientific debate and instead engage in race baiting, class baiting and other sociological devices to win a science argument," said James Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Chicago-based Heartland Institute.
But from McCright's perspective it was important to find out to what extent the sharp debate over climate change at the elite level had trickled down into the general public in recent decades. "Within the ranks of elites, climate change denialists are overwhelmingly conservative white males," reads the report, pointing to figures like talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Marshall Institute CEO, William O'Keefe. "Does a similar pattern exist in the American public?"
'Cool Dudes,' a bloc that stands out in the crowd
McCright and Dunlap's analysis used polling data on climate change denial from 10 Gallup surveys from 2001 to 2010. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 72.4 percent of the American population reported as white in 2010, and 77.1 percent in the year 2000. This majority made it difficult to draw conclusions about the relationship between other races and climate change, said McCright, because the Gallup survey sample size was so small.
To test for the trend amongst conservative white males, the researchers compared the demographic to "all other adults." Results showed, for instance, that 29.6 percent of conservative white males believe the effects of global warming will never happen, versus 7.4 percent of other adults. In holding for "confident" conservative white males, the study showed 48.4 percent believe global warming won't happen, versus 8.6 percent of other adults.
As a point of comparison, McCright also tested the beliefs of conservative white females. He found 14.9 percent believe the effects of global warming will never happen to 29.6 percent of their male counterparts. McCright said the finding is due more to the women's political stance than their gender or race. The data on conservative white females was not published in the "Cool dudes" study.
To understand why there is a trend amongst conservative white males, the Gallup data was cross-examined with research about the "white male effect" -- the idea that white males were either more accepting of risk or less risk averse than the rest of the public.
The white male effect could stem from the notion that, historically, white males have faced fewer obstacles in life, said McCright. But another school of thought sees the adoption of risk tied to personal values. "It has to do with their identity as an in-group," he said. "Something that would challenge the status quo is something [conservative white males] want to shun."
Climate change, a challenge to identity?
According to the literature on "identity protective cognition," people believe messages coming from the people they identify with most and ignore messages that are contrarian, Dunlap said. While all groups have a tendency to do this, he said, in the case the climate change, conservative white males are especially likely to exhibit this self-protecting characteristic.
McCright says, up to 40 percent of all white males in the study sample believe in hierarchy, are more trusting of authority and are more conservative. Conservative white males' motivation to ignore a certain risk -- the risk of climate change in this case -- therefore, has to do with defending the status of their identity tied to the white male establishment.
This result is bolstered by the Yale University "Global Warming's Six Americas" report for May. The study found that none of the "dismissive" group -- those who don't think the climate is changing or want legislation -- believe global warming will harm the United States in 50 years. The dismissive group also skews male and conservative, said "Six Americas" co-author, Edward Maibach, director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
But for Donald Braman, associate professor of law at George Washington University, who works on risk perception studies, the focus on white males and climate change could be somewhat misleading. "My worry is that [McCright's paper] might suggest to people that there is something distinctive about the way conservatives and officially, conservative white men, deal with new information," he said. "The truth is that those same cognitive mechanisms push all of our buttons."
Braman says a similar effect reveals itself amongst progressives when it comes to concerns about nuclear power, for instance. In the Yale Law School "Second National Risk & Culture Study" researchers found that despite expert opinions espousing the relative safety of certain forms of nuclear energy, progressives are still concerned about it, Braman said.
Values shape factual beliefs across an array of phenomenon, he said. "If it's conservative white males on global warming, pick a different issue and you'll find another group that has trouble thinking in a way that agrees with experts."
'A very receptive audience'
The political divide on climate change was concentrated in the run-up to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, McCright said. At that time most global warming skepticism came from public figures, he said. But in 2000, climate change beliefs held predominantly by conservative white elites started to spread.
"Conservative think tanks, conservative media, corporations, and industry associations (especially for the fossil fuels industry) -- domains dominated by conservative white males -- have spearheaded the attacks on climate science and policy from the late 1980s to the present," McCright and Dunlap concluded in their study. "The results presented here show that conservative white males in the general public have become a very receptive audience for these efforts."
But Taylor of the Heartland Institute said it should not come as a surprise that the subject of human induced global warming would become more contested as it moved out of the realm of pure science into the realm of policy. The proposed solutions to climate change will "in very substantial ways rearrange our economy and the structure of our society. Of course this is going to capture the attention of interested citizens beyond the mere elites," said Taylor.
Taylor also argues that the paper's claim that "the most prominent denialists are conservative white males," overlooks the other side of the political equation. "Here's a news flash: The most prominent alarmists are liberal white males. So clearly race and gender has nothing to do with prominent alarmism or skepticism," he said.
Know thy enemy
McCright actually agrees that the study reveals more about politics than any other personal attributes. "It's not a biological or gender thing," he said. "It's a political thing." Liberal white males are more accepting of government regulations and challenges to the status quo because it fits in their political ideology, he said.
"When you start talking about climate change and the need for major changes, carbon taxes and lifestyle changes, [conservatives] see this as a threat to capitalism and future prosperity," said McCright. "So conservatives tend to be very negative towards climate change."
So what does McCright and Dunlap's research mean for climate regulation? Climate change denial has increased across all sectors of the American general public over the last decade, write the authors. And as they conclude in another recent study on the politicization of climate change published earlier this year in the journal Sociology Quarterly, "we expect that the political divide within the general public may further inhibit the creation of effective climate policy."
Perhaps, like the trend of denial among conservative white males, there is nothing too surprising about that conclusion. But for Maibach of George Mason University, McCright and Dunlap's findings do bring something new to the bargaining table.
"If you are advocating for climate legislation is helps to understand your opponents. Or if you have opponents, it's good to understand them to effectively engage with them," he said. "One [approach] is more combative, the other is more about conflict resolution. In either case it helps to know who you're dealing with."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500
New diesel and petrol cars banned from UK roads by 2040
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:57
D iesel drivers on congested roads in towns and cities across the UK face new pollution taxes under Government plans which will ultimately herald the end of the traditional car.
Ministers have identified 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where urgent action is required because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, putting people's health at risk.
The Government will also commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.
The air quality strategy urges local authorities to first try to reduce emissions by retrofitting the most polluting diesel vehicles, changing road layouts and removing speed humps.
However it concedes that as a last resort councils will be allowed to impose tough restrictions on the most polluting diesel vehicles as soon as 2020 to bring down the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions.
T he strategy stops short of meeting the demands of motoring groups for a diesel scrappage scheme, under which diesel drivers would receive compensation for trading in their polluting vehicles.
It instead says that the Government will hold a consultation on a "possible" scrappage scheme in the autumn, which sources have suggested is likely to be "very, very targeted".
T he Government will also commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is expected to warn local authorities against "unfairly penalising" drivers by imposing pollution taxes and other restrictions on diesel drivers.
M r Gove suggested on Wednesday morning that more wind farms may be needed to meet the Government's ambition.
Asked if there was no alternative to more wind farms and nuclear power energy stations, Mr Gove told the BBC Radio 4's Today: "There is no alternative to embracing new technology."
Told the Conservatives had a manifesto promise against more wind farms, Mr Gove said: "The Conservatives had a manifesto promise to ensure by 2050 there would be no diesel or petrol vehicles on our roads."
The Government is concerned that motorists were encouraged to buy diesel vehicles under Labour more than a decade ago because of concerns at the time over carbon emissions.
Mr Gove has significantly stripped back previous plans which could have seen restrictions on diesel cars across entire city and town centres. He instead wants councils to focus on reducing emissions on specific roads.
A new analysis found that 48 of the most polluted roads are in London. Others have been identified in Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, Bristol, Bolton, Manchester, Bury, Coventry, Newcastle, Sheffield, Belfast, Cardiff and Middlesborough.
T he pollution hotspots are predominantly on A-roads but also include stretches of two motorways - the M4 near London and the M32 in Bristol.
T he strategy will insist that any restrictions on diesel cars must be "time limited" and lifted as soon as air pollution levels fall within legal limits.
A Government spokesman said: ''Our plan to deal with dirty diesels will help councils clean up emissions hotspots '' often a single road - through common sense measures which do not unfairly penalise ordinary working people.
''Diesel drivers are not to blame and to help them switch to cleaner vehicles the government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme - one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans.
''Overall we are investing £3bn to tackle the effects of roadside pollution and supporting greener transport initiatives.''
T he Government has been forced to come up with tougher measures to target diesel drivers after losing a case against environmental campaigners ClientEarth over breaches of EU emissions standards.
Instead of pollution taxes, councils will be urged to improve the flow of traffic with measures such as removing speed humps to prevent cars repeatedly slowing down and speeding up, which almost doubles the amount of harmful gasses they pump out.
O ther options which are expected to be put forward include better sequencing of traffic lights to ensure that drivers will keep arriving at green lights rather than red ones if they drive within the speed limit.
Ministers will provide an extra £255million to help councils implement their plans, which could come into force as soon as 2020.
T he number of diesel vehicles on Britain's roads has risen from 3.2 million in 2000 to more than 10 million today after the Labour Government slashed fuel duty on diesel cars in a drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
It has since emerged that diesel vehicles emit harmful nitrogen dioxide, which can raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks and asthma attacks.
Senior Labour figures including Sir David King, who served as Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, have since admitted that they were "wrong" to promote diesel cars.
Other proposals are expected to include "real driving emissions" vehicle tests in the wake of the Volkswagen emission scandal and encouraging the public sector to buy cleaner vehicles.
Ministers also want to crackdown on parents who leave their engine running during the school run. Councils have introduced on the spot fines of up to £80 in a bid to crackdown on the practice.
Extinction Symbol
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:11
Extinction SymbolThe symbol above represents extinction. The circle signifies the planet, while the hourglass inside serves as a warning that time is rapidly running out for many species. The world is currently undergoing a mass extinction event, and this symbol is intended to help raise awareness of the urgent need for change in order to address this crisis. Estimates are that somewhere between 30,000 and 140,000 species are becoming extinct every year in what scientists have named the Holocene, or Sixth Mass Extinction. This ongoing process of destruction is being caused by the impact of human activity. Within the next few decades approximately 50% of all species that now exist will have become extinct. Such a catastrophic loss of biodiversity is highly likely to cause widespread ecosystem collapse and consequently render the planet uninhabitable for humans.
In order to spread the message as widely as possible, please create this symbol in any location you feel able to. Thank you. Large symbol to download and use freely for non-commercial purposes - Symbol
Stencil template of the symbol to download and use freely for non-commercial purposes - Stencil
Join the flickr group and post examples of the symbol that you've created - flickr group
Follow on twitter - https://twitter.com/extinctsymbol
Direct link to this page, please disseminate - www.extinctionsymbol.info
More information on the mass extinction currently taking place - http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/
Please note: In response to several companies attempting to use the symbol on their mass-produced clothing/giftware products, the following clarification is now made: The extinction symbol is a not-for-profit participatory project. The creation and free use of the extinction symbol by individuals in their personal artwork or other forms of expression is strongly welcomed and encouraged, but any form of commercial use of the symbol is completely against its ethos and should therefore be refrained from.Thank you.
Net Neutrality
House panel wants Google, Facebook CEOs to testify on Internet rules - CNET
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:09
The CEOs of several leading tech companies have been invited to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the future of net neutrality rules.
"A strong consensus is forming across party lines and across industries that it's time for Congress to call a halt on the back-and-forth and set clear net neutrality ground rules for the internet," said Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden in a statement.
Included in the invitation are Google parent Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Charter Communications. The official topic is "Ground Rules for the Internet Ecosystem," and the hearing will be held on Thursday, September 7 at 10 a.m.
Zion
45 US Senators Support Bill that Makes It A Crime to Boycott Israel
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:56
US: A bill that would criminalize boycotts against Israel has been signed by 45 US senators and 237 congressmen. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) says that violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. Additionally, they say that the bill would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies in direct violation of the First Amendment.
The criminalization of
political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as ''the Palestine Exception'' to free speech.
But now, a group of 43 senators '-- 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats '-- wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country's decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.
The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill ''was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.'' Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:
The bill's co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate's more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
[Update '' July 20, 2017: Glen Caplin, senior advisor to Gillibrand, sends along the following statement: ''We have a different read of the specific bill language, however, due to the ACLU's concerns, the Senator has extended an invitation to them to meet with her and discuss their concerns.'']A similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It has already amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members '-- Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King '-- along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.
Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.
Last night, the ACLU posted a letter it sent to all members of the Senate urging them to oppose this bill. Warning that ''proponents of the bill are seeking additional co-sponsors,'' the civil liberties group explained that ''it would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs.'' The letter detailed what makes this bill so particularly threatening to basic civic freedoms:
It is no small thing for the ACLU to insert itself into this controversy. One of the most traumatic events in the organization's history was when it lost large numbers of donors and supporters in the late 1970s after it defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois, a town with a large community of Holocaust survivors.
Even the bravest of organizations often steadfastly avoid any controversies relating to Israel. Yet here, while appropriately pointing out that the ACLU ''takes no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country,'' the group categorically denounces this AIPAC-sponsored proposal for what it is: a bill that ''seeks only to punish the exercise of constitutional rights.''
The ACLU has similarly opposed bipartisan efforts at the state level to punish businesses that participate in the boycott, pointing out that ''boycotts to achieve political goals are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendment's protections of freedom of speech, assembly, and petition,'' and that such bills ''place unconstitutional conditions on the exercise of constitutional rights.'' The bill now co-sponsored in Congress by more than half of the House and close to half of the Senate is far more extreme than those.
Thus far, not a single member of Congress has joined the ACLU in denouncing this bill. The Intercept this morning sent inquiries to numerous non-committed members of the Senate and House who have yet to speak on this bill. We also sent inquiries to several co-sponsors of the bill '-- such as Rep. Lieu '-- who have positioned themselves as civil liberties champions and opponents of authoritarianism, asking:
Congressman Lieu: Last night, the ACLU vehemently denounced a bill that you are co-sponsoring '-- to criminalize support for a boycott of Israel '-- as a grave attack on free speech. Do you have any comment on the ACLU's denunciation? You've been an outspoken champion for civil liberties; how can you reconcile that record with an effort to make it a felony for Americans to engage in activism that protests a foreign government's actions? We're writing about this today; any statement would be appreciated.
This morning, Lieu responded: ''Thank you for sharing the letter. The bill has been around since March and this is the first time I have seen this issue raised. We will look into it.'' (The Intercept will post any response from Rep. Lieu, or any late responses from others, as soon as they are received.)
Sen. Cantwell told The Intercept she is ''a strong supporter of free speech rights'' and will be reviewing the bill for First Amendment concerns in light of the ACLU statement.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, when asked by The Intercept about the ACLU's warning that the bill he is co-sponsoring criminalizes free speech, affirmed his support for the bill by responding: ''I continue to support a strong U.S./Israel relationship.''
Meanwhile, some co-sponsors seemed not to have any idea what they co-sponsored '-- almost as though they reflexively sign whatever comes from AIPAC without having any idea what's in it. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, for instance, seemed genuinely bewildered when told of the ACLU's letter, saying, ''What's the Act? You'll have to get back to me on that.''
A similar exchange took place with another co-sponsor, one of AIPAC's most reliable allies, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who said: ''I'd want to read it. '... I'd really have to look at it.''
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a co-sponsor, said she hadn't seen the ACLU letter but would give it a look. ''I certainly will take their position into consideration, just like I take everybody's position into consideration,'' she said.
Gillibrand, the only senator in the 2020 presidential mix to co-sponsor the bill, told The Intercept she would have a statement to provide, which we'll add as soon as it's provided.
Perhaps most stunning is our interview with the primary sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin, who seemed to have no idea what was in his bill, particularly insisting that it contains no criminal penalties.
But as the ACLU put it, ''Violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.''
That's because, as Josh Ruebner expertly detailed when the bill was first unveiled, ''the bill seeks to amend two laws '-- the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945,'' and ''the potential penalties for violating this bill are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment, as stipulated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.''
Indeed, to see how serious the penalties are, and how clear it is that those penalties are imposed by this bill, one can just compare the bill's text in Section 8(a), which provides that violators will be ''fined in accordance with Section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1705),'' to the penalty provisions of that law, which state:
That the bill refers to the fine, but not the prison sentence, is not enough to prevent a judge from applying the statute's prison term, because the bill brings the statute into play, said Faiz Shakir, the ACLU's political director, who authored the letter to the Senate. ''The referral to the statute keeps criminal penalties in play, regardless of what their preference for punishment might be,'' said Shakir.
The bill also extends the current prohibition on participating in boycotts sponsored by foreign governments to cover boycotts from international organizations such as the U.N. and the European Union. It also explicitly extends the boycott ban from Israel generally to any parts of Israel, including the settlements. For that reason, Ruebner explains, the bill '-- by design '-- would outlaw ''campaigns by the Palestine solidarity movement to pressure corporations to cut ties to Israel or even with Israeli settlements.''
Read full article here'...
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Elite$
The Sport Of Psychopaths - Does Cheney Hunt Human Beings? -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:46
Today Sott editors came across a short entry on Boingboing.net featuring a photograph of Dick Cheney posted on the "Outdoors" section of the official US government Whitehouse.gov website.The photograph is captioned "Vice President Dick Cheney spends an afternoon fly-fishing on the Snake River in Idaho."
See for yourself:
(C)WhiteHouse.govAnd a close up:
(C)Whitehouse.govThe poster on Boingboing.net suggested that the reflection in Cheney's glasses bears a resemblance to a naked human being, which brings to mind that story of Cheney shooting his "friend" in the face. The explanation that Cheney shot Whittington "by accident" being something of a joke. It is clear to the careful observer that the reflection really is just Cheney's hand, however, since the topic has been raised, we simply could not, in all conscience, turn down the opportunity to point out Dave McGowan's article from The Center for an Informed America, where he muses on the idea that perhaps Cheney really does enjoy playing "The Most Dangerous Game" from time to time.
Now some people will claim that this is evidence of Sott.net having a rabidly anti-US Government agenda and that we jump at any chance to condemn the US political elite. Of course, we stand guilty as charged on this one, but make no apologies whatsoever. The reason for this, as many already know, is that Cheney is very likely a psychopath and certainly a war criminal, having presided over the murder of over 1 million Iraqi civilians in the last 5 years, to mention but one of his crimes. To date however, Cheney and Co. have not been indicted on any charges and are free to continue their murderous campaigns around the world. Assuming that we will not see any of the psychopaths in power appear before any US or international court in the near future, readers will excuse if we seek alternative ways to redress this glaring imbalance. If that means using every opportunity to highlight the evil that these people represent, then so be it.
Here's Dave McGowan on Cheney as the great white (human) hunter:
[...] A story that has been circulating in the conspiracy community for quite some time now holds that our back-up quarterback, Dick Cheney, has a fondness for playing "The Most Dangerous Game." In other words, he allegedly likes to, quite literally, hunt humans. Preferably young, naked, female humans. For sport.
I know what you're thinking, so let me just say that I don't make this stuff up. Nor do I vouch for its veracity. All that I am saying is that these claims have been made - albeit not, to my knowledge, by the most credible of sources. Nevertheless, what is being claimed is not beyond the realm of possibility. After all, what we are talking about here, on the one hand, is abhorrent and psychopathic behavior. And on the other hand, we are talking about Dick Cheney. These two things are not, quite obviously, mutually exclusive.
... Consider the following report from the venerable Los Angeles Times:
"Two Black Hawk helicopters were brought in and hovered nearby as Cheney and Scalia were whisked away in a heavily guarded motorcade to a secluded, private hunting camp owned by an oil industry businessman [identified as Wallace Carline, the head of Diamond Services Corp.] ... the Cheney-Scalia trip drew the attention of local officials because of the unusual security precautions ... on the morning of Jan. 5, a large security contingent was in place -- two Black Hawk air combat rescue helicopters, a line of armored sport utility vehicles and a ring of federal agents and sheriff's deputies who set up a security perimeter. The area was declared a no-fly zone for other aircraft ... Perry [Ken Perry, of the Perry Flying Center at the Harry P. Williams Airport] said Cheney was among the first to deplane, followed by Scalia and a young woman who was identified to Perry as one of the justice's daughters.
Both Perry and Naquin [David Naquin, the local sheriff] said there were orders prohibiting photographs of those who exited the planes and climbed into the motorcade. But two days later, Cheney returned to the airport without Scalia, and photographs were allowed ... Scalia stayed on to hunt a few more days, the sheriff said, but local officials said it was unclear how he returned to Washington." [David G. Savage and Richard A. Serrano "Scalia Was Cheney Hunt Trip Guest," Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2004]
Uhmm, would it be considered rude to ask what happened to Scalia's 'daughter'? Why is there no mention of how she returned to Washington? And would Scalia really have brought his daughter along on such an outing? Since it wasn't a big secret that Scalia and Cheney were there, doesn't it seem reasonable to conclude that the ban on photographs was intended to protect the young woman's identity? And did Scalia really hang around to hunt for a few more days, despite the fact that, according to Sheriff Naquin, the hunting "was terrible. There were very few ducks killed."?Is it possible that Scalia and Cheney opted to leave separately so as not to highlight the fact that someone in their party had gone missing? Since no one saw Scalia leave, then it follows that no one can confirm whether his 'daughter' left with him. And even if she did, doesn't this story, at the very least, have the makings of a good sex scandal? I mean, when two older guys and a young woman go duck hunting for a couple of days and no one brings back any ducks, people are going to talk. And if the two guys come back without ducks or the girl, then I think we could have a serious problem.
That secretive, high-security hunting outing was the first indication that maybe those hushed rumors about Cheney weren't so crazy after all. The second clue surfaced in September of 2004, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel inadvertently published a rather, uhhh, revealing photograph of our illustrious vice president. But before discussing that further, I have to note here, for the uninformed, that the same women who have accused Cheney of having a fondness for hunting humans have also claimed that he is an unusually well-endowed man. Yes, that's right: Cheney not only is a big dick, he also allegedly has a big dick - which seems to be on display in the Sentinel photo (below).
Of course, there are other explanations. Some have suggested that Big Dick was wearing a colostomy bag. Or maybe he had just taken a large dump in his shorts. Maybe he smuggles ferrets in his pants. Maybe he has a partially developed conjoined twin growing out of his left thigh. Or maybe, as his accusers have claimed, he really is packing a schlong that would make even Milton Berle and Tommy Lee feel inadequate.
According to an article that appeared in Milwaukee Magazine, what you see in the photo is exactly what it appears to be: "Guldan [the photographer who captured the image of Cheney on a campaign stop in Wisconsin] got a call from a reader the next day. 'Did you notice anything unusual about that picture?' the reader asked. Upon closer inspection, it seems the vice president's smile was not his biggest, ahem, asset. Is that what we think it is? 'You're not imagining it,' Guldan says of the unintentionally revealing photo. Let's just say the snugness of Cheney's pants left little to the imagination, and we're not talking about his waistline."
The Journal Sentinel, by the way, has opted to deny all requests to reprint the copyrighted photo. Unauthorized scans of the newsprint version, however, have been known to circulate around the cyber world.
But what are we to make of them? Do they validate the women's stories? If the alleged witnesses are right about Cheney's, uhmm, endowments, then are they right about other things as well? Is there some other way they could have learned of Cheney's unusual assets? I don't claim to have the answers to those questions. All I'm saying is that maybe Cheney's curious duck hunting trip, and his even more curious quail hunting trip, provide disturbing clues to the nature of the world we live in. [...]
Read more hereThe bottom line is this: while SOTT cannot determine in any way if these rumors about Dick Cheney are true, we would be remiss in our mandate to report on what may be indicative of the true nature of the "Man Behind the Curtain" by not bringing this most interesting suggestion and odd events to our reader's attention.
As always, where Big Dick is concerned, Caveat Lector.
War on Men
Sperm counts have declined by more than half for Western men, study finds - Health - CBC News
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:52
Sperm counts for men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have declined by more than 50 per cent in the last four decades, a large research review has found.
"That's very worrisome," said the study's lead author, Dr. Hagai Levine, who works at the Hebrew University's Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem.
Levine and his global team of researchers found no significant sperm count decline among men in South America, Asia and Africa, although they acknowledge far less information was available for those continents.
Dr. Hagai Levine, of the Hebrew University's Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, is the lead author of the study. Levine says he wanted to get a definite answer to the question of whether or not sperm counts have declined. (Hebrew University )
The findings were published Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction Update. They not only suggest a problem with male fertility in Western countries, Levine said, but also signal that men's health could be at risk, since previous research has shown that sperm count can be a predictor of wellness.
Although past research has also shown that sperm counts are decreasing, not everyone in the scientific community has taken the reports seriously because of concerns about their limitations and methodology, the authors say.
"I felt that this question of male fertility is a neglected question," Levine told CBC News on Tuesday, noting he wanted to use improved methods and "statistical power" to get a definite answer to the question of whether sperm counts have declined.
Environmental factors blamedLevine and seven other researchers from Israel, the U.S., Denmark, Spain and Brazil performed a comprehensive review of more than 7,500 studies on human sperm count, eliminating those that didn't meet stringent criteria to ensure data consistency. With the 185 studies left, they did a meta-regression analysis '-- a method of making sense of multiple studies by accounting for variables to maximize the accuracy of the results.
In the end, their conclusions were based on sperm samples collected from 42,935 men around the world between 1973 and 2011. They found that over those 38 years, sperm concentration declined by 52 per cent, while total sperm count decreased by almost 60 per cent among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
The study did not delve into what's causing declining sperm counts in Western countries, and more specific research is needed, Levine said. But he said past studies have shown environmental factors play a role.
"Even though we did not study the causes, it's clearly not genetic causes," Levine said. "It must be the change in the modern lifestyle and the environment that we live."
That theory rings true for Dr. Keith Jarvi, chief of urology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and a male fertility expert. Jarvi was not associated with Levine's study. After reviewing it, Jarvi told CBC News he believes the findings are sound and raise important questions.
The black lines in this graphic from the study show the decline in sperm concentration and total sperm count among men in Western countries between 1973 and 2011. Researchers say there is no indication that the decrease has levelled off. (Hagai Levine et al/Human Reproduction Update)
"You have to ask why is this happening on a society level? Is this a reflection of something else that's happening, and this is just basically a marker for some other health concern that's going on with men?" Jarvi said.
There are a few likely lifestyle and environmental factors, he said.
"On average, men's weight is going up, so there's higher rates of obesity, and we also know that obese men have lower sperm counts," Jarvi said. "So you can start to correlate weight and reduction in sperm counts."
Environmental exposure to "estrogenics" '-- including female hormone compounds '-- can also reduce sperm counts, he said, noting that plastics are among the sources of estrogenics in the environment.
'Canary in the coal mine'Both Jarvi and Levine say there are steps men can take individually to improve their fertility, including stopping smoking, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.
But the study shows the need to deal with declining sperm count on a societal level, they say.
"It's costing money, because more and more people are needing IVF [in-vitro fertilization], so there's a fertility cost," Jarvi said. "You really got to wonder why this is happening."
Investment by governments and funding agencies into understanding the causes of low sperm count '-- and then preventing it '-- is critical, Levine said.
"We call it the canary in the coal mine," he said. "If the canary dies, the solution is not to replace the canary, you know, to get a sperm donor. That's not the solution. We need to see why this is happening and to solve it."
NA-Tech News
New Dating App For Verified Twitter Users | The Daily Caller
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:34
A dating app service announced Tuesday that it is introducing a new version in which only verified Twitter users are allowed.
After several years of availability, Loveflutter decided to adapt its platform so it can be exclusive to what it calls the ''blue tick community.'' Twitter users apply for official verification in order to appear as a special member of society.
''An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest,'' Twitter writes on one of its support pages. ''Typically this includes accounts maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.'' (RELATED: Man Creates Dating App That Tricks Tons Of Women Into Thinking He's The Only Match)
The social media company will only grant users the subjectively esteemed blue verified badge, denoted by a checkmark, after a seemingly thorough review.
Loveflutter is harnessing the selectiveness of Twitter's blue checkmark community, which reportedly has nearly 200,000 accounts. Its new premium version called BLUE will feature ''the most happening singles on Twitter nearby'' so elite users can ''date discreetly and know who you're matching with is interesting and real.'' People's profiles will feature some of their most interesting tweets as a source of personal information. (RELATED: Dating App To Use Trump Immigration Order To Set Up Matches)
If someone doesn't have a blue check mark, then they can use the basic version for free.
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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] .
Roombas have been busy mapping our homes, and now that data could be up for sale | The Verge
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:27
Over the past couple of years, Roombas haven't just been picking up dust and chauffeuring cats around, they've also been mapping the layout of your home. Now, Colin Angle, the chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot, has said he wants to sell the data from these maps in order to improve the future of smart home technology.
In 2015, iRobot introduced the Roomba 980, its first Wi-Fi-connected model. This meant that while a Roomba was quietly whirring around your floors, it was also collecting spatial data using visual localization, sensors, and more. This data helps the Roomba figure out how your home is laid out and adjust cleaning patterns on-the-fly to deal with things like moved furniture. But Angle thinks it could be put to use by more devices.
"There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared," Angle told Reuters. Angle says that this data won't be sold without permission, but Reuters says he thinks ''most would give their consent in order to access the smart home functions.''
iRobot's CEO thinks ''most would give their consent in order to access the smart home functions''According to Reuters, iRobot hopes to reach a deal to sell these maps to Google, Apple, or Amazon within the next couple of years. Roomba is already compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home '-- Apple's HomePod speaker is also on the way '-- and all could greatly benefit from the data within these home maps as they vie to offer the smart home assistant of choice.
Roomba owners can opt out of cloud-sharing functions within the iRobot Home app, but technically, the iRobot terms of service and privacy policy say they have the right to share your personal information. The information is buried, laden in legal language, and, as Gizmodo points out, includes this clause which could allow iRobot to sell the information without consent:
[We may share your personal information with] other parties in connection with any company transaction, such as a merger, sale of all or a portion of company assets or shares, reorganization, financing, change of control or acquisition of all or a portion of our business by another company or third party or in the event of bankruptcy or related or similar proceeding.
Most don't thoroughly comb over entire terms of service agreements and privacy policies before agreeing to use apps and products. While blame could easily be placed on the user, the power dynamic between service and consumer gives tech companies leverage to exploit their customers. This was recently demonstrated when the CEO of email service Unroll.me said he was ''heartbroken'' that users were upset it sold their data to Uber for an undisclosed fee. ''Sure we have a Terms of Service Agreement and a plain-English Privacy Policy,'' said the CEO in the apology post, ''but the reality is most of us '-- myself included '-- don't take the time to thoroughly review them.''
Will people buy into iRobot's vision of a smart home utopia and give up data maps of their home? Will that data actually be used to make home assistants work smarter for you, or just give them more advanced and targeted ways to sell you things? Perhaps the most important question is: do we ultimately value utility over privacy? It seems iRobot and its CEO are betting the answer to that is yes.
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2TTH
Breitbart Killed by Podesta, Real PizzaGate & Marfa Texas
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:36
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Pedobear
Open letter to Los Angeles Music Industry and Law Enforcement Agencies #ItEndsNow #Swordfish - The_Donald
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:34
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - Fmr CIA Director John Brennan Calls For Coup If Trump Fires Robert Mueller
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:47
Brennan appeared alongside his former colleague, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and both men who served in the Obama administration, told Blitzer they have total confidence in Mueller. "Absolutely. It was an inspired choice- they don't come any better, " Brennan said adding that "If Mueller is fired, I hope our elected reps will stand up and say enough is enough." Some have responded with questions where Brennan's devotion to the Constitution was in the aftermath of the events in Benghazi.
Falling back on his neocon roots, James Clapper, who has waged a long-running vendetta with Trump, once again warned about Russian interference in US affairs. When asked about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer and others, he responded: "I'm an old school, Cold War warrior and all that - so I have, there's truth in advertising, great suspicions about the Russians and what they do. A lot of this to me had kind of the standard textbook tradecraft long deployed by Russians. It would have been a really good idea maybe to have vetted whoever they were meeting with."
Clapper was also asked about Trump's comparison of the intelligence community to Nazi Germany. Clapper said he called the President-elect nine days before he left the Obama administration saying he "couldn't let that reference pass" and it was an insult to him, CIA Director John Brennan and the workforce. "That was a terrible, insulting affront, not just to me or John, we get paid the big bucks, but I'm talking about the rank and file, men and women, patriots and intelligence community -- that was completely inappropriate and over the top - I had to do something about it."
And so he did: on the call Clapper said Trump asked him to "to put out a statement rebutting the contents of the dossier which I couldn't and wouldn't do. It was kind of transactional" referring to a dossier that alleged ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. It was not clear if he wouldn't and couldn't do it because the contents were legitimate, in his view, or because the dossier is what started the whole "Russian collusion" narrative in the first place. Curiously, Clapper saw it as a favor to Trump not to issue a statement: Clapper was asked by Blitzer why he didn't put out a statement replying: "The whole point of the dossier by the way was we felt an obligation to warn him to alert him to the fact it was out there. That was the whole point."
It was not clear if James Comey, whose subsequent leak to the NYT led to the appointment of Mueller, would have applied the same reasoning when asked by Trump to rebut the dossier's contents.
He answered truthfully that he had.
That apparently wasn't enough to disqualify him from joining the CIA, and Obama chose him in 2013 to head the agency during his presidency.
Now, once again, he's dedicating himself to overthrowing our democratically elected president and is using his deep state connections to make it a reality.
Trump should absolutely fire Robert Mueller and have Comey, Brennan, Clapper and Mueller investigated for trying to foment an insurrection.
VIDEO - Liberals, Media Members Pan Democrats for 'Better Deal' Slogan
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:42
BY: David Rutz
July 26, 2017 5:00 am
The new economic slogan for Democrats is not getting rave reviews from progressives and members of the media; in fact, it's receiving outright mocking in some corners.
Entitled "A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages," the economic agenda was rolled out Monday by top Democrats in Virginia as they plot a way back to power in Washington.
Former Barack Obama speechwriters Jon Lovett and Jon Favreau both criticized the new slogan on their podcast "Pod Save America," with Lovett saying he thought it was "garbage" upon first hearing of it.
MSNBC host and former Republican Joe Scarborough called the slogan "so bland" and "so terrible," and liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said it lacked emotional heft.
"There's nothing there that sort of punches you in the gut, that tears at your heart, that involves you emotionally," he said.
Former Democratic congressman Harold Ford Jr. added on "Morning Joe" that the slogan "misses the point."
MSNBC host Chris Jansing noted the derisive comparisons on social media to the Papa John's slogan, "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." She said it didn't exactly roll off the tongue.
Progressive commentator David Pakman referred to "A Better Deal" as "flaccid," and former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean said Sunday, "Do I think it's the best slogan I ever heard? No, but it's a start."
While interviewing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) on Tuesday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked him for his take on the "stirring" new slogan for the Democrats, adding she was speaking ironically.
"A better deal?" she asked skeptically.
VIDEO - Roland Martin on MSNBC: Trump a 'Crackhead When it Comes to Large Crowds'
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:35
Appearing on MSNBC's 11 a.m. ET hour on Tuesday, NewsOne Now host Roland Martin said something so offensive about President Trump that even liberal anchor Stephanie Ruhle had to object. Discussing the President giving an unusually political speech to the Boy Scouts on Monday, Martin launched into a tirade: ''Here's the deal, large rallies for Donald Trump '' that's his crack. He is addicted to it. He is a crackhead when it comes to large crowds.''
Ruhle was forced to interrupt her guest and scold him for his nasty attack: ''Hold on. Roland '' Roland, hold on a second. Hold on '' we're talking about being respectful. This is the president '' '' Martin insisted: ''No, no, no, follow me here....follow me, Stephanie '' '' Ruhle continued to admonish him: ''Hold on a second, no. This is the President of the United States. If you want to say he's an adrenaline addict, if you want to say this fires him up, fine. You're not going to say it's his crack.''
Adjusting his language slightly, Martin ranted: ''That's his fix....When he gets in front of a large crowd, he loses it.'' The left-wing commentator proclaimed: ''He's gonna keep doing this, and you sat there and listened to it, and it was horrible....I'm sorry, that was despicable and I would like to respect the President, but can he please respect the office?''
After first lecturing Martin, Ruhle then joined in the harsh criticism: ''I'll tell you, my mother, who voted for President Trump, she herself was disgusted by last night's speech.'' She then noted that the President would be ''giving another rally tonight to a huge crowd in Ohio.'' Co-anchor Ali Velshi remarked: ''He's going to get a fix tonight.'' Ruhle agreed: ''He's certainly going to get a fix.''
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VIDEO - Chemical Used To Kill Weeds Has Been Detected In Some Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - YouTube
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:34
VIDEO - EU gives Poland ultimatum over judicial reform | Euronews
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:15
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VIDEO - UK to ban new diesel and petrol car sales by 2040 | Euronews
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:05
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VIDEO - French wildfires rage for third day | Euronews
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:04
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VIDEO - Senators caught on hot mic: 'Donald Trump is crazy. I'm worried' | The Independent
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:09
At the end of a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday morning, Chairman Susan Collins, Republican-Maine, didn't switch off her microphone. Apparently speaking to Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat of the committee, Collins discussed the federal budget - and President Donald Trump's lack of familiarity with the details of governing.
After Reed praises Collins' handling of the hearing, held by the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she laments the administration's handling of spending.
''I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was 'grant,' they just X it out,'' Collins says. ''With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It's just incredibly irresponsible.''
''Yes,'' Reed replies. ''I think - I think he's crazy,'' apparently referring to the president. ''I mean, I don't say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.''
''I'm worried,'' Collins replies.
''Oof,'' Reed continues. ''You know, this thing - if we don't get a budget deal, we're going to be paralysed.''
''I know,'' Collins replies.
''[Department of Defence] is going to be paralysed, everybody is going to be paralysed,'' Reed says.
''I don't think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything,'' Collins says, referring to a 2011 law that defines the budget process.
''He was down at the Ford commissioning,'' Reed says, referring to President Trump's weekend event launching a new aircraft carrier, ''saying, 'I want them to pass my budget.' Okay, so we give him $54 billion and then we take it away across the board which would cause chaos.''
''Right,'' Collins replies.
''It's just - and he hasn't - not one word about the budget. Not one word about the debt ceiling,'' Reed says.
''Good point,'' Collins replies.
''You've got [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney saying we're going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you've got [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin saying it's got to be clean,'' Reed continues. ''We're going to be back in September, and, you know, you're going to have crazy people in the House.''
In a more salacious part of what was recorded, Collins then addressed a radio interview in which Representative Blake Farenthold, Republican-Texas, suggested that if Collins were a man, he'd have challenged her to a duel for opposing the Senate Republicans' Obamacare overhaul bill.
''Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?'' Collins asks.
''I know,'' Reed replies. ''Trust me. Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? 'Cause you could beat the s- out of him.''
''Well, he's huge,'' Collins replies. ''And he - I don't mean to be unkind, but he's so unattractive it's unbelievable.''
''Did you see the picture of him in his pyjamas next to this Playboy bunny?'' she continues, referring to an infamous photo of Farenthold.
At that point, the mic went dead.
The Washington Post
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VIDEO Wasserman Schultz's IT aide arrested as he tried to leave the US '-- RT America
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:02
A House IT aide who had access to emails and files from dozens of lawmakers has been arrested on bank fraud charges while attempting to leave the country. The FBI also reportedly found smashed hard drives in his home.
Imran Awan, 37, an information technology aide who worked for dozens of lawmakers in the House, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was arrested for bank fraud as he was boarding a plane on Tuesday at Dulles International Airport, according to Fox News.
The criminal complaint, obtained by Politico, states that Awan was arrested Monday night while trying to board a flight to Lahore, Pakistan. He had a return ticket dated January 2018.
FBI agent Brandon Merriman, the special agent who wrote the complaint, said there was probable cause that Awan attempted to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union (CFCU) by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a property that he rented out in violation of the credit union's policies.
The money was later allegedly included as part of a wire transfer to two unnamed individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, told the Daily Caller that Awan ''was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.''
Read more
Miller went on to say that Awan did not plead guilty and was released ''pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program,'' which requires Awan to wear a GPS monitor, remain confined to a 50-mile radius around his home, abide by a curfew, and surrender all of his passports.
Awan is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on August 21. The charge he was arrested for carries a fine of up to $1 million or a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
Collectively, Awan, his wife, and four of his relatives reportedly made $4 million working for more than two dozen House Democrats since 2009, according to the Daily Caller. However, they were later banned from the Capitol network in February after becoming suspects in a criminal investigation into theft and IT abuses.
After the criminal probe was revealed, Awan moved out of the house involved in the fraud charges. The new tenants said they found ''wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner,'' in the house, according to the Daily Caller.
''It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,'' the tenant said. ''It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.''
The tenant said that Awan came by the house multiple times, asking him for the hard drives, even threatening to sue the renters for stealing them.
''It was unbelievable. I don't know where they get off thinking they're going to sue us for items we have no obligation to hold onto,'' the tenant said.
In March, Awan's wife, Hina Alvi, and their three children were stopped at Dulles International Airport as they were boarding a flight to Lahore, Pakistan. The criminal complaint states that the children had been ''abruptly taken out of school'' without notifying the county school system. US Customs and Border Protection conducted a search of Alvi's ''numerous pieces of luggage,'' and found she was carrying $12,400 in cash.
Alvi and her children were all permitted to board the plane. Federal agents said that while his wife has a return ticket for September, they do not believe she has any intention of returning to the US.
Wasserman Schultz kept Awan on staff and blocked the Capitol Police from searching a laptop that had been confiscated in connection with their probe into Awan, according to the Daily Caller. On Tuesday, a David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz said Awan had been fired after being arrested.
"Mr. Awan previously served as a part-time employee but his services have been terminated. No charges, evidence or findings from the investigation have been formally shared with our office, so we cannot comment on them,'' Damron said, according to Fox News.
VIDEO Susan Collins Mocks Blake Farenthold on Hot Mic | Time.com
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:42
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was accidentally recorded talking about President Donald Trump and the Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold during a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.
According to a spokesperson for Sen. Collins, someone sitting near her didn't turn off the microphone. It's currently unclear whose microphone was left on.
At the start of the recording, Collins speaks to Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who is the ranking Democrat of the subcommittee. The two discussed Trump's federal budget, calling his administration's handling of the budget "irresponsible," according to the Washington Post.
''I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was 'grant,' they just X it out,'' Collins said, according to the Post. ''With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It's just incredibly irresponsible.''
''Yes,'' Reed replied. ''I think '-- I think he's crazy,'' he said, referring to the president, according the Post. ''I mean, I don't say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.''
''I'm worried,'' Collins added.
The two continue to speak about the budget. But in a more crude portion of their unintentionally recorded chat, Collins addresses Rep. Blake Farenthold's (R-Tex.) recent radio interview where he blamed "some female senators from the Northeast" for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Collins has consistently opposed the GOP's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and appeared to be the target of Farenthold's criticism. During his interview, he said that if Collins were a man, he would challenge her to an "Aaron Burr-style" duel.
''Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?'' Collins asked.
''I know,'' Reed said. ''Trust me. Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? 'Cause you could beat the s--t out of him.''
''Well, he's huge,'' Collins replied. ''And he '-- I don't mean to be unkind, but he's so unattractive it's unbelievable.''
''Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?'' she continued, referring to the picture of Farenthold that can be seen below.
The mic went dead shortly after, according to the Post.
In a statement to TIME, Sen. Collins said that ''Neither weapons nor inappropriate words are the right way to resolve legislative disputes. I received a handwritten apology from Rep. Farenthold late this morning. I accept his apology, and I offer him mine.''
VIDEO Microsoft to keep Paint program after 'outpouring of support' from fans - ABC News
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:53
Microsoft said it would keep developing its Paint program on Monday amid fears that the 32-year-old application might be killed off in the next Windows 10 update.
Last week, the tech firm placed Paint on a list of "deprecated" applications, meaning it was no longer "in active development and might be removed'' from future versions of its flagship Windows 10 operating system.
Fans of the iconic app were outraged and took to social media to voice their anguish.
But Microsoft downplayed the concerns in a statement late Monday, noting that the component would not be removed completely.
"Today, we've seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. If there's anything we learned, it's that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans," Megan Saunders, Microsoft's general manager of the 3D for Everyone initiative, wrote in a blog post Monday. ''It's been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app.''
The company said Paint will no longer be a default part of Windows going forward, but it will make it available for free on its app store.
But that means some office workers might have to go through their system administrators gain access to the app.
"Amidst today's commentary around MS Paint we wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight, clear up some confusion and share some good news," Saunders wrote. "MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free."
VIDEO Hot Mic: Jack Reed Tells Susan Collins She Can Beat the Shit Out of GOP Congressman
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:13
VIDEO McDonald's shares hit record as premium sales sizzle
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:07
Breakingviews TV: M&A for books - 03:33
Prospect of Trump tariff looms over U.S. solar industry - 02:32
Greece ventures back into bond market - 01:29
New sandwiches fuel McDonald's sales - 01:09
Akzo chairman to leave after opposing PPG deal - 01:01
Tesco ramps up same day grocery delivery - 01:31
Kors tries Choo for size in $1.2 bln deal - 01:49
BoE warns banks as consumer debt spirals - 01:33
German Ifo business morale hits new record - 01:33
Toyota charging up for electric race? - 01:28
Washington is not behind the stock market rally, says Ken Kamen - 05:32
VIDEO Protesters yell "kill the bill, don't kill us" before vote on moving forward with health care bill
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:06
VIDEO John McCain gets standing ovation from Senate on return, votes aye on health care debate
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:31
VIDEO Pres. Trump Just Cursed In Front Of 40,000 Boy Scout Children In Unhinged Speech
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:58
The President of the United States can't even be trusted to speak to a group of children and their parents without making a fool of himself.
Within minutes of beginning his speech in front of the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in West Virginia, Trump had boasted about how large the crowd present was, began attacking the ''fake news'' media and threw out a curse word sure to anger his evangelical supporters.
Thirty seconds after saying he wouldn't get into politics, Trump got into politics, ripping into Republicans like Sen. Capito (R-WV) for wavering on the Trumpcare vote and then threatening to fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who was standing right next to him.
Trump then got the crowd booing President Obama, attacking him for never attending a Boy Scout jamboree (President Obama was unable to attend in 2010 and recorded a video message).
After that, the speech went promptly off the rails, as he flitted from a long story about New York businessmen who bought yachts before switching in to full on political rally mode.
Trump's speech ended on a hypernationalist note, with President Trump going on about the wonders of our military and how strong we were, to never forget our history and never forget our fallen warriors.
This was an appalling show by the President and a humiliation for our nation.
Add your name to millions demanding that Congress take action on the President's crimes. IMPEACH DONALD TRUMP!
VIDEO - Seriously: Watch the Trailer for Charlie Sheen's '9/11' Movie | The Reel Word
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:59
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VIDEO - 80s Micro Machines Commerical - YouTube
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:00
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