959: Stay Safe!

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 0m
August 27th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch, Dame Ashley Lady of the Lake

Associate Executive Producers: Joseph Jones, Brandan Shultze, Jonathan Rowley

Cover Artist: MartinJJ

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Shut Up Slave!
Lithium in GMT
Hello Mr Curry,
Over here in Gitmo Strip One (the You Kay), they're talking about adding lithium to the water supply to 'prevent dementia'...
Adding lithium to tap water could prevent thousands of dementia cases, new study suggests
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/08/23/adding-lithium-tap-water-could-prevent-thousands-dementia-cases/
Lithium in Our Tap Water Could Protect People From Dementia, New Study Suggests
https://www.sciencealert.com/lithium-in-our-tap-water-could-actually-protect-people-from-dementia-says-new-study
Could adding lithium to tap water reduce dementia levels?
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2017/08August/Pages/Could-adding-lithium-to-tap-water-reduce-dementia-levels.aspx
Lithium Side Effects
https://www.drugs.com/sfx/lithium-side-effects.html
“Confusion, poor memory, or lack of awareness”
- dementia, then…
Donald Trump eyes Afghanistan's $1 trillion mineral reserves to pay for reconstruction after 16 years of war
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/afghanistan-donald-trump-1-trillion-mineral-reserves-deposits-war-rebuilding-reconstruction-gold-a7904301.html
More American Troops to Afghanistan, To Keep the Chinese Out? Lithium and the Battle for Afghanistan’s Mineral Riches
http://www.globalresearch.ca/more-american-troops-to-afghanistan-to-keep-the-chinese-out-lithium-and-the-battle-for-afghanistans-mineral-riches/5605456
Also, you might like this little TedX ditty on 'identity' from the woman who suggested we take down Nelson's statue - Afua Hirsch - :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzhCpv9ynrM
--
phantomville
Adding lithium to tap water could prevent thousands of dementia cases, new study suggests
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:48
T housands of cases of dementia could be prevented by increasing levels of lithium in tap water, a major new study has suggested.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen compared dementia rates to the natural quantities of lithium in water for more than 800,000 people in Denmark, from areas occupied by nearly half of the population.
They found that in places where lithium was highest, the dementia rate fell by 17 per cent compared to those with the lowest levels.
Although researchers warn that the link could be due to other environmental factors, they say that it is worth investigating whether adding lithium to tap water could be a cheap way of protecting large numbers of people from dementia.
Lithium is a metallic element which is found in varying quantities in water in Britain, from around one migrograms per litre to around 21 micrograms per litre. The researchers found benefits after 15 micrograms per litre.
L ithium is known to have neuroprotective effects and is a standard treatment for bipolar disorder, and previous experiments on rats have shown it boosts memory. It is also known to reduce the activity of an enzyme called GSK-3, which scientists believe is involved in Alzheimer's disease.
A llan Young, Professor of Mood Disorders at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, said: "This study fits well with previous evidence which shows that environmental lithium may have health benefits and lithium may prevent dementia.
''At a population level the effects would be considerable as even if lithium only delayed the onset of dementia by months for each person, over the nation that would amount to a lot of healthier months.
''Although some may say that lithium should be 'added to the water' the first step might be to conduct clinical trials to examine the preventative effects of lithium first."
A round 800,000 people in Britain are living with dementia in Britain and the numbers diagnosed are expected to raise significantly in the next few decades as the population ages. However there is currently no cure for the condition.
Around 220,000 people are diagnosed with dementia each year and if 17 per cent of cases could be prevented, it could account for 37,400 fewer diagnoses, although it is not clear how many people already live in areas of high lithium.
However researchers noted that between 5.1 micrograms and 10 micrograms per litre, the dementia rate rose by 22 per cent, suggesting that there is a sweet spot.
B ritish expert Professor David Smith, a pharmacologist from Oxford University, said: "This is a high-quality study in a large population. The association between the levels of lithium in drinking water and a diagnosis of dementia was significant.
''However, it was not a linear relationship.We should not be adding lithium salts to our tap water because we would not know what amount to use."
D r James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society charity, said: "It's almost too good to be true that something as cheap and plentiful as lithium might have a role in future prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
"However, more research including clinical trials are needed, and until then we should not consider increasing lithium in drinking water.''
The research was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Lithium Side Effects in Detail - Drugs.com
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:49
For the ConsumerApplies to lithium: oral capsule, oral solution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release
In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by lithium. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.
Major Side EffectsYou should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking lithium:
Less common:Confusion, poor memory, or lack of awarenessfaintingfast or slow heartbeatfrequent urinationincreased thirstirregular pulsestiffness of the arms or legstroubled breathing (especially during hard work or exercise)unusual tiredness or weaknessweight gainRareBlue color and pain in the fingers and toescoldness of the arms and legsdizzinesseye painheadachenoise in the earsvision problemsIncidence not known:Dry, rough skinfast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulsehair losshoarsenesslightheadednessmental depressionsensitivity to coldshortness of breathswelling of the feet or lower legsswelling of the neckunusual excitementIf any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking lithium, get emergency help immediately:
Symptoms of overdose:Blurred visionclumsiness or unsteadinessconvulsions (seizures)diarrheadrowsinessincrease in the amount of urinelack of coordinationloss of appetitemuscle weaknessnausea or vomitingringing in the earsslurred speechtrembling (severe)Minor Side EffectsSome of the side effects that can occur with lithium may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:
Less common:Acne or skin rashbloated feeling or pressure in the stomachmuscle twitching (slight)For Healthcare ProfessionalsApplies to lithium: compounding powder, oral capsule, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release
Nervous systemFrequency not reported: Headache, drowsiness, lethargy, tendency to sleep, impaired consciousness, lack of coordination, ataxia, giddiness, fine hand tremor, tremor, coarse tremor of the extremities and lower jaw, dysarthria, myoclonus, clonic movements of whole limbs, choreoathetotic movements, hyperactive deep tendon reflexes, abnormal reflexes, hypertonicity, blackout spells, epileptiform seizures, convulsions, slurred speech/speech disorder, dizziness, vertigo, somnolence, metallic/salty taste, dysgeusia/taste distortion, peripheral neuropathy, psychomotor retardation, restlessness, stupor, coma, acute dystonia, extrapyramidal syndrome, cogwheel rigidity, downbeat nystagmus, tongue movements, poor memory, slowed intellectual functioning, startle response, benign intracranial hypertension, pseudotumor cerebri (increased intracranial pressure and papilledema), encephalopathy, transient electroencephalogram (EEG), diffuse slowing of EEG, widening of EEG frequency spectrum, potentiation and disorganization of EEG background rhythm[Ref]
Drowsiness and lack of coordination may be early signs of lithium toxicity, and may occur at lithium levels below 2 mEq/L.
Ataxia and giddiness occurred at levels above 2 mEq/L.
Fine hand tremor may occur during initial therapy for the acute manic phase, and may persist during therapy.
The development of transient EEG changes, headache, dysgeusia/taste distortion, and metallic taste were unrelated to dosage.
Peripheral neuropathy may occur in patients on long-term treatment, but is usually reversible after discontinuation of therapy.[Ref]
CardiovascularThe development of transient ECG changes, chest tightness, and edematous swelling of ankles/wrists were unrelated to dosage.
Painful discoloration of the fingers/toes and coldness of extremities (resembling Raynaud's syndrome) occurred within one day of initiation; the patient recovered after discontinuation. The exact mechanism for this side effect is unknown.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Cardiac arrhythmia, hypotension, peripheral circulatory collapse, sinus node dysfunction with severe bradycardia (may result in syncope), bradycardia, unmasking of Brugada syndrome, transient ECG changes, reversible flattening of ECG, isoelectricity of ECG, inversion of T-waves, QT prolongation, Raynaud's syndrome, chest tightness, atrioventricular block, cardiomyopathy, peripheral edema/edematous swelling of ankles or wrists[Ref]
GastrointestinalFrequency not reported: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, flatulence, constipation, indigestion, incontinence of feces, gastritis, salivary gland swelling, dry mouth, excessive salivation, abdominal pain/discomfort, swollen lips, dental caries[Ref]
Diarrhea and vomiting may be early signs of lithium toxicity, and may occur at lithium levels below 2 mEq/L.
Transient and mild nausea may occur within the first few days of therapy.
The development of metallic/salty taste, dental caries, and swollen lips were unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
DermatologicFrequency not reported: Drying and thinning of hair, anesthesia of skin, acne/acneform eruptions, chronic folliculitis, xerosis cutis, alopecia, psoriasis exacerbation, cutaneous ulcers, papular skin disorders, generalized pruritus with/without rash[Ref]
The development of generalized pruritus with/without rash and cutaneous ulcers were unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
EndocrineFrequency not reported: Euthyroid goiter, hypothyroidism (including myxedema), thyrotoxicosis, lower T3 and T4 levels, iodine 131 uptake increased, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, diffuse nontoxic goiter with/without hypothyroidism[Ref]
Hyperthyroidism has been rarely reported, and may persist after discontinuation of treatment.
Hyperparathyroidism may persist after discontinuation of treatment.
The development of diffuse nontoxic goiter with/without hypothyroidism and hyperparathyroidism were unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
MusculoskeletalMuscular weakness develops early in lithium toxicity, and may occur at lithium levels below 2 mEq/L.
Muscle hyperirritability includes fasciculations, twitching, clonic movements of whole limbs.
The development of swollen/painful joints and polyarthralgia were unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Muscular weakness, muscle hyperirritability, twitching, arthralgia/polyarthralgia, myalgia, myasthenia gravis, swollen/painful joints, rhabdomyolysis[Ref]
RenalFrequency not reported: Oliguria, glycosuria, decreased creatinine clearance, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, microcysts, nephrotic syndrome, histological renal changes with interstitial fibrosis[Ref]
Diabetes insipidus may persist after discontinuation of treatment.
Histological renal changes with interstitial fibrosis occurred in patients on prolonged treatment, and was usually reversible upon discontinuation. Long-term treatment may cause permanent kidney changes and impairment of renal function; high serum concentrations and/or acute lithium toxicity may worsen these changes.[Ref]
MetabolicFrequency not reported: Anorexia, dehydration, weight loss, transient hyperglycemia/hyperglycemia, hypercalcemia, hypermagnesemia, excessive weight gain[Ref]
The development of transient hyperglycemia, hypercalcemia, and excessive weight gain were unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
OtherTinnitus occurred at levels above 2 mEq/L.
Mild thirst may occur during initial therapy for the acute manic phase, and may persist during therapy; in some cases, thirst resembled diabetes insipidus. The development of thirst was unrelated to dosage.
General discomfort may also appear within the first few days of therapy.
The development of fever was unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Tinnitus, thirst, general discomfort, fasciculations, fatigue, feeling dazed, fever[Ref]
GenitourinaryFrequency not reported: Large output of dilute urine, polyuria, incontinence of urine, albuminuria, polyuria, impotence/sexual dysfunction[Ref]
At levels above 2 mEq/L, patients excreted a large output of dilute urine.
Polyuria may occur during initial therapy for the acute manic phase, and may persist during therapy; in some cases, polyuria resembled diabetes insipidus. The development of polyuria was unrelated to dosage.
The development of albuminuria was unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
PsychiatricFrequency not reported: Confusion, tics, hallucinations, delirium, worsening of organic brain syndromes[Ref]
The worsening of organic brain syndromes was unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
HypersensitivityFrequency not reported: Angioedema, allergic rashes[Ref]
OcularFrequency not reported: Blurred vision, transient scotomata/scotoma[Ref]
Blurred vision occurred at levels above 2 mEq/L.[Ref]
OncologicFrequency not reported: Oncocytoma, collecting duct renal carcinoma[Ref]
Collecting duct renal carcinoma occurred in patients on long-term therapy.[Ref]
HematologicFrequency not reported: Leukocytosis[Ref]
The development of leukocytosis was unrelated to dosage.[Ref]
References1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
2. "Product Information. Eskalith (lithium)." SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, PA.
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
4. "Product Information. Lithobid (lithium)." Ciba Pharmaceuticals, Summit, NJ.
Not all side effects for lithium may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
War on the 4th
H.J.Res.76 - Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact relating to the establishment of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/76/text
A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump—and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.
On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless. The title of the bill claims that its purpose is “Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact relating to the establishment of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.”
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-26/congress-quietly-passed-bill-allowing-warrantless-searches-homes-only-1-opposed-it
Congress Quietly Passed a Bill Allowing Warrantless Searches of Homes'--Only 1% Opposed It
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:21
A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump'--and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.
On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless. The title of the bill claims that its purpose is ''Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact relating to the establishment of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.''
''Whereas the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, an interstate compact agency of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland, provides transportation services to millions of people each year, the safety of whom is paramount; Whereas an effective and safe Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system is essential to the commerce and prosperity of the National Capital region; Whereas the Tri-State Oversight Committee, created by a memorandum of understanding amongst these 3 jurisdictions, has provided safety oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.''
The proposal for a safety commission to act as a wing of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority may sound logical, when its power includes thing such as the ability to ''Adopt, revise, and distribute a written State Safety Oversight Program'' and to ''Review, approve, oversee, and enforce the adoption and implementation of WMATA's Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.''
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However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of ''powers'' given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution.
''In performing its duties, the Commission, through its Board or designated employees or agents, may:Enter upon the WMATA Rail System and, upon reasonable notice and a finding by the chief executive officer that a need exists, upon any lands, waters, and premises adjacent to the WMATA Rail System, including, without limitation, property owned or occupied by the federal government, for the purpose of making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing as the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this MSC Compact, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass.''
The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System ''without limitation'' and without a warrant, for the purpose of ''making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.''
This clearly goes against the Fourth Amendment, which states that Americans' rights ''to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.''
When the bill was brought to a vote in the House of Representatives, there were only five Congressmen who voted against it: Representatives Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan; Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina; Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky; Alex Mooney, a Republican from West Virginia; and Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina.
READ MORE: From Rooftop Snipers to Inspiring Children - Take a Walk with Anonymous Through D.C.
Amash called out the hypocrisy surrounding the fact that even though this legislation is in clear violation of the Constitution, it was passed by Congress with overwhelming support. ''Only 5 of us voted against bill allowing govt to enter/search private property in parts of VA, MD & DC w/o warrant,'' He wrote on Twitter.
This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S., and it won't be the last. One of the most important things to remember about this legislation is that it was ignored by the media, and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.
Migrants
Forced eviction of migrants by police in Rome draws widespread condemnation - The Local
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:50
Relations between Rome's migrant community and the police hit a low this week after forced eviction and water cannons were used to empty a square of migrants protesting their accommodation options.
More than 800 people of mainly Ethiopian and Eritrean origin were forcibly removed from a building in Rome on Saturday, August 19th, leading to subsequent clashes between security forces and the evictees.
Four hundred of the tenants abandoned the squatted building while at least 100 set up tents in a square beside it and remained for five days, apparently to protest the lack of available accommodation alternatives.
On Thursday August 23rd, violent clashes ensued between police armed with riot gear and migrants, who threw stones and other objects '' according to Corriere della Sera '' when police cleared the square.
At least 13 of the evicted people, mainly women, were injured in the clashes, according to aid organization Doctors Without Borders, who reportedly treated the wounded.
(Tweet: "There wasn't a single ambulance in Piazza Indipendenza. Only the MSF team were treating the injured", Stefano, MSF doctor.)
The police's use of water cannons and other heavy-handed tactics in the incident has been met with widespread condemnation from a cross-section of Italian society. Repubblica reported that at least 35 children, as well as pregnant women and sick patients, were caught up in the violent clashes.
In one video, an officer is heard shouting "They need to disappear, it's their problem. If they throw anything, break their arms," as he chases people across a square.
UNICEF's Italy spokesman Andrea Iacomini said children remained "terrified" after the incident and condemned authorities in Rome for failing to offer an alternative for the 800 or so migrants, most of whom reportedly have the legal right to remain in Italy and are employed.
UNICEF'S Iacomini called the incident "a crisis of management, not a crisis linked to migration."
Eritrean activist and 2015 Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Mussie Zerai said the building had been occupied since 2013 by migrants who had found no alternative place to live after being granted legal documentation.
Zerai added that authorities had plenty of time to find alternative accommodation before throwing the 70 or so families into the street.
Activists like Zerai and Iacomini argued that such last-minute evacuations are endemic of a system that takes a short-term view to issues linked to migration without proposing "structural solutions."
UNICEF said the evictions would disrupt work and school for many families, a counter-productive move to integration, it argued.
Roberto Giordano, regional head of Italy's oldest and largest labour union, Cgil, said the evictions were a knee-jerk reaction, "an umpteenth intervention adopted more to respond to emotional solicitations than to a real project of relocation and inclusion," Giordano told media.
Protests for and against the evictions, ordered by a Rome court, have been held in recent years.
The head of Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi's Movimento 5 Stelle party, Luigi di Maio, justified the evictions in a TV interview, arguing that the migrants had been offered alternative accommodation, which they had refused.
Di Maio expressed sympathy for legitimate refugees and said adequate accommodation must be found, while stressing that his party would not tolerate any form of violence against security forces.
READ MORE: Roma evictions triple in Italian capital
El Salvadorans next to cross border? | The London Free Press
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:18
OTTAWA '-- Officials in Canada and the U.S. are concerned that the next wave of asylum seekers at the border could be a population far bigger than the Haitians crossing now.
More than 260,000 El Salvadorans are facing deportation from the United States if their temporary protected status there is lifted in March '-- four times the number of Haitians covered by the program.
A belief among Haitians that their status will end in January has sent thousands fleeing to Canada; they make up the majority of the nearly 7,000 people apprehended crossing at an unofficial border point in Quebec this summer.
Government officials on both sides of the border told The Canadian Press this week that whether El Salvadorans will follow in their footsteps is, for now, a scary unknown, given how much the current influx is already straining resources.
The officials were not authorized to speak publicly, but said they've seen no evidence so far of the same social media campaigns, for example, that have been pushing Haitians north with false promises of preferential treatment.
The most current data from the Immigration and Refugee Board shows in the first three months of 2017, 158 El Salvadorans filed claims for asylum here, compared with 244 in all of 2016. The acceptance rate last year was about 70 per cent.
The U.S. has not ended temporary protected status for either Haitians or El Salvadorans, but has signalled it may not be renewed when it expires. There are other nationalities whose protected status also expiring, among them Hondurans. About 86,000 would be affected.
Why officials are looking at El Salvadorans, though, is a partly a numbers game, given the sheer volume of people.
But there's also history.
Just as Haitians are familiar with the Haitian community that exists in Quebec, so, too, some El Salvadorans are aware of the underground and above ground railroads that were set up in the 1980s when the U.S. wasn't taking in El Salvadoran refugees but Canada was.
Angela Ventura, who runs an El Salvadoran community association in Windsor, Ont., said she has been fielding a steady stream of inquires from people in the U.S. exploring a move to Canada.
Ventura is El Salvadoran herself and said she's torn when people fearing for their futures in the U.S. ask her what to do.
''My Canadian training, I'm a paralegal, means I have to tell them that because of our immigration laws, they can't just show up at the border.''
Ventura was part of a wave of El Salvadorans who came to Canada in the 1980s fleeing civil war. She was sponsored by her sister, but over 10,000 came as refugees over a three-year period.
In 1985, the U.S. was granting asylum to only about three per cent of claims from El Salvador, while Canada's acceptance rate was 60 per cent, according to research compiled by Julie Young, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University.
She said when the U.S. administration began rolling out immigration policy changes back in February and at the same time dozens of people a day started showing up at the Canadian border, she began to notice the parallels to the situation 30 years ago.
''There are similarities in the policy context '-- people who were not being recognized as refugees in the U.S. but felt that they would be in Canada were coming over the border,'' she said.
''But the main difference is the Safe Third Country agreement because it changes the way the border works.''
In the 1980s, people were just showing up at official entry points and filing claims. But since the agreement came into force in 2004, they were no longer allowed to do so and that's what is prompting so many to enter through the illegal border points.
Ventura said that the people are considering coming illegally is a reflection of how much they fear deportation back to El Salvador.
But, unprompted, she pointed to something else '-- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's tweet in January where he responded to the Trump administration's immigration ban and said Canada would continue to welcome people fleeing persecution.
''When Mr. Trudeau said we welcome refugees and stuff like that, he didn't say you have to visit or embassies or consulates, you have to get a visa,'' she said.
''He missed that part.''
Forced eviction of migrants by police in Rome draws widespread condemnation - The Local
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:50
Relations between Rome's migrant community and the police hit a low this week after forced eviction and water cannons were used to empty a square of migrants protesting their accommodation options.
More than 800 people of mainly Ethiopian and Eritrean origin were forcibly removed from a building in Rome on Saturday, August 19th, leading to subsequent clashes between security forces and the evictees.
Four hundred of the tenants abandoned the squatted building while at least 100 set up tents in a square beside it and remained for five days, apparently to protest the lack of available accommodation alternatives.
On Thursday August 23rd, violent clashes ensued between police armed with riot gear and migrants, who threw stones and other objects '' according to Corriere della Sera '' when police cleared the square.
At least 13 of the evicted people, mainly women, were injured in the clashes, according to aid organization Doctors Without Borders, who reportedly treated the wounded.
(Tweet: "There wasn't a single ambulance in Piazza Indipendenza. Only the MSF team were treating the injured", Stefano, MSF doctor.)
The police's use of water cannons and other heavy-handed tactics in the incident has been met with widespread condemnation from a cross-section of Italian society. Repubblica reported that at least 35 children, as well as pregnant women and sick patients, were caught up in the violent clashes.
In one video, an officer is heard shouting "They need to disappear, it's their problem. If they throw anything, break their arms," as he chases people across a square.
UNICEF's Italy spokesman Andrea Iacomini said children remained "terrified" after the incident and condemned authorities in Rome for failing to offer an alternative for the 800 or so migrants, most of whom reportedly have the legal right to remain in Italy and are employed.
UNICEF'S Iacomini called the incident "a crisis of management, not a crisis linked to migration."
Eritrean activist and 2015 Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Mussie Zerai said the building had been occupied since 2013 by migrants who had found no alternative place to live after being granted legal documentation.
Zerai added that authorities had plenty of time to find alternative accommodation before throwing the 70 or so families into the street.
Activists like Zerai and Iacomini argued that such last-minute evacuations are endemic of a system that takes a short-term view to issues linked to migration without proposing "structural solutions."
UNICEF said the evictions would disrupt work and school for many families, a counter-productive move to integration, it argued.
Roberto Giordano, regional head of Italy's oldest and largest labour union, Cgil, said the evictions were a knee-jerk reaction, "an umpteenth intervention adopted more to respond to emotional solicitations than to a real project of relocation and inclusion," Giordano told media.
Protests for and against the evictions, ordered by a Rome court, have been held in recent years.
The head of Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi's Movimento 5 Stelle party, Luigi di Maio, justified the evictions in a TV interview, arguing that the migrants had been offered alternative accommodation, which they had refused.
Di Maio expressed sympathy for legitimate refugees and said adequate accommodation must be found, while stressing that his party would not tolerate any form of violence against security forces.
READ MORE: Roma evictions triple in Italian capital
Antifa!
Candanavia
Ya, they are here and they are violent in every way that they are in the US but one better. They have threatened to attack ALL journalists.
Here is a rundown of what has been going on in the last few weeks...
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/26/antifa-declares-it-will-attack-canadian-journalists-at-protests/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/21/antifa-attacked-global-news-cameraman-in-quebec/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/20/quebec-city-police-declare-protest-illegal-after-anti-fascists-set-fires-and-throw-bottles-at-cops/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/23/first-they-came-for-thongunderwearforguys-com-and-i-did-nothing/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/23/canadian-intelligence-monitoring-far-right-activities-after-charlottesville/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/22/anti-asylum-seeker-remigration-banners-appear-in-montreal/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/22/not-criminally-responsible-by-reason-of-islam/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/21/youre-all-infidels-i-do-not-pray-to-the-god-you-pray-says-death-cult-member/
https://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2017/08/15/the-invasion-of-canada/
Antifa Declares It Will Attack Canadian Journalists At Protests '' Blazing Cat Fur
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:11
The extremist Alt-Left group Antifa have threatened further violence against journalists in Canada after members of the group attacked a camera crew of one of the country's largest broadcasters in Quebec.
Last weekend anti-mass migration protestors marched against the current Canadian migrant crisis, which has seen thousands of mostly Haitian nationals penetrating the border from the United States.
The MSM will find a way to blame Trump.
.
Quebec City police declare protest illegal after ''anti-fascists'' set fires and throw bottles at cops '' Blazing Cat Fur
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:11
Police have declared a protest illegal in Quebec City due to ''violence and vandalism,'' after a group of anti-fascists opposed to a far-right gathering set fires and threw bottles at police.
CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie reports that far-right demonstrators were unable to go ahead with a planned protest against illegal immigration at 2 p.m., after hundreds of far-left anti-fascist demonstrators showed up to counter them.
Lurie reports that the anti-fascist group set off fireworks, lit a garbage can and a flag on fire, threw bottles at police and threw chairs. He said the far-right demonstrators, who had a permit for their rally, responded by heading into a government building.
Posted in Antifa, Batshit Crazy Homicidal Progressiveson August 20, 2017 by Blazingcatfur . 29 Comments
Protesters demand removal of monument to fascist Italo Balbo | News-Gazette.com
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:31
CHICAGO (AP) '-- A monument gifted to Chicago by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the name of aviator Italo Balbo has become the target of protesters who want it removed.
Protesters on Wednesday gathered around an ancient Roman column that sits atop a stone base. It reads in part: "Fascist Italy with the sponsorship of Benito Mussolini presents to Chicago" commemorating the flight by Balbo "in the 11th year of the Fascist Era."
Balbo in 1933 led an armada of Italian planes from Rome to Chicago for the Century of Progress World's Fair.
Protest leader John Beacham not only wants the monument's removal, but also the renaming of Balbo Drive after Ida B. Wells, a black suffragette and opponent of lynching.
Officials representing Italian-American associations in Chicago are against removal of the monument.
Edmonton Eskimos plan to stick with name despite calls to change it '' Edmonton Journal
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:45
Len Rhodes, Edmonton Eskimos president and CEO. Larry Wong / Edmonton Journal
The Edmonton Eskimos have had to defend more than their top spot in the Canadian Football League standings this year.
With their first 7-0 start to a season since 1961 dominating much of the early headlines in 2017, the national spotlight has been focused squarely on the club.
And whenever it's shining brightest on the Eskimos' on-field exploits, the team's nickname also seems to get brought into public conversation.
The latest instance saw Inuk singer Tanya Tagaq, from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, take to social media to post: ''What a glorious message would be sent to our country if the Edmonton Eskimos changed their name. It would set a new precedent of respect.''
Tanya Tagaq, an Inuk singer from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and winner of the Polaris prize, performs in St. Catharines, Ont., on May 4, 2017. Tagaq suggested in a tweet that now might be a good time to revisit the Edmonton Eskimos name. Julie Jocsak / Postmedia, file
It comes on the heels of Edmonton's 2015 Grey Cup run, when Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, an organization that represents 60,000 Canadian Inuit, said the Eskimos name should be changed and called it ''derogatory.''
While the ITK declined requests for an interview with Obed for this story, Eskimos president and chief executive officer Len Rhodes said he has met with Obed on three different occasions since, both in Edmonton and in Ottawa.
''We agreed to keep an ongoing dialogue and we continue to do so,'' Rhodes said. ''Our meetings have been very respectful, and it has allowed us to share our respective points of view.
''Our plan is to listen to what the community is saying. We encourage people to have a dialogue and we hope that it is a respectful conversation, regardless of what one's opinion is.''
What that plan doesn't include is changing the Eskimos' name.
Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, is shown in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Canada's national Inuit organization says the storied Edmonton Eskimos Canadian Football League franchise should change its name. Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS
''We are proud of our team's heritage,'' Rhodes said. ''We always use our name within an aura of respect for all members of our community. We do not believe that we do anything in a derogatory fashion as it relates to our name.
''We always keep it in a positive context. However, Natan Obed tells us that in his eyes, the name itself is derogatory. Obviously, these are two different perspectives.''
A name change would be no small decision.
''We have had our name since our inception,'' Rhodes said of the current club, founded in 1949, whose roots and name date back to the turn of the last century. ''There is a lot of history and tradition that comes with it.
We do not believe that we do anything in a derogatory fashion as it relates to our name.
Len Rhodes
''It is associated with one of the most successful franchises in all of pro sports.''
At the same time, the club doesn't shy away from joining the conversation.
''We receive feedback on many topics in any given year,'' Rhodes said. ''In terms of this topic, perhaps half a dozen per year, as far as formal feedback is concerned. However, the feedback is not all one-sided.
''We get opinions that range wildly. I assure you one thing and that is there is not a consensus on topics such as this one. We welcome all feedback on all topics. That's the beauty about living in a democratic society. As long as people feel they can share their opinions on a matter, it is a healthy situation.''
Timothy Gilmore-Bedard gets his picture taken with Edmonton Eskimos mascots Punter (left) and Nanook at the annual Eskimos' Fan Day on June 6, 2015. Mitch Goldenberg / Postmedia
Rhodes also said it wasn't surprising to see the topic arise at the same time the club was enjoying its most successful streak since winning 10 in a row on the way to hoisting Edmonton's last Grey Cup.
''The team at the top gets noticed more in general,'' he said. ''Teams that lead become the topic of conversation, both on and off the field.
''For some, it is an occasion to have a genuine dialogue. For others, it becomes a means to distract us from our objective of winning on the field.''
Maintaining that focus is left up to the football operations side: The management, coaches and players, who, in turn, are happy to leave any debate over the Eskimos' name to others.
''I know that it's always a contentious topic, our name,'' said head coach Jason Maas, who has been part of the Eskimos organization as either a coach or player for 11 seasons, on and off, since 2000. ''But I just choose to stay out of that and let other people deal with the politics of what our name is and what it's about.''
Email: gmoddejonge@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge
Christopher Columbus Statue in New York City Could Be Considered for Removal - NBC News
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:07
The statue of Christopher Columbus by Gaetano Russo stands in Columbus Circle in New York. Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images file
"I will wait for the commission, as I said Christopher Columbus is a controversial figure to many of us particularly in the Caribbean and I think that that has to be looked at, when you have to look at history we have to look at it thoroughly and clearly," she said.
"I know some people may take offense to that but for many of us that come from the Caribbean islands, we see him as a controversial figure," she added.
Her remarks came during a rally calling for the removal of another statue, that of J. Marion Sims, a surgeon heralded as some as father of modern gynecology '-- but whose breakthroughs came from experimenting on black slaves without anesthesia.
Related:
Toppling of Confederate Statues Fuels Opposition to Other MarkersEast Harlem residents and officials have advocated for the statue's removal in the past, but
calls have been renewed following Charlottesville.When asked if the Columbus statue should be reviewed, Blasio said in remarks Tuesday that "everyone should acknowledge these are complex issues and that's why it was important to put together a commission."
But de Blasio also stressed that he was not "going to editorialize on each and every name, and each and every monument."
"I think the important thing to do is let that commission get going, let them take every nomination '-- if you will '-- from everyday New Yorkers, from elected officials, activists, look at the whole picture and come back with a plan," he said.
He added that the commission was tasked with recommending a "universal set of standards that can governor how we deal with monuments of concern on City-owned lands and their specific proposals about specific monuments. And then I'll make decisions based from there."
A Republican challenger to de Blasio in the city's upcoming mayoral race, Nicole Malliotakis, said in remarks at a press conference Wednesday that the mayor had ''opened a can of worms" with his announced review.
''That's the problem with this mayor, is hes quick to send off a press release and now you have even Christopher Columbus, the founder of our nation, is under attack," she said.
(Historians don't believe Columbus ever actually set foot on mainland North America)
De Blasio was also asked Tuesday if the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant in the city should also be considered for removal, over claims of anti-Semitism for an order he gave during the American Civil War expelling Jewish people from the area of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Grant later apologized for the order.
The mayor said he was not "familiar with that history" but, "we don't tolerate anti-Semitism in New York City."
Related:
National Battle Over Confederate Monuments Renewed After Charlottesville Violence"We have to look at each one of these cases. We'll have a commission that does that," he added.
While Grant's memorial is in a city park, it is also a national monument and thus it was unclear what authority the city would have over changes to it.
Depending on the sites reviewed by the commission, de Blasio said he'll make the decision along with relevant agencies regarding statues under city control.
There is also a push by some
to rename streets in the city honoring Confederate leaders, such as General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Drive in Brooklyn.
BLM Protesters Disrupt Montreal Pride During Moment of Silence For AIDS and Hate Crime Victims
Thu, 24 Aug 2017 21:36
During the moment of silence to remember those in the LGBT community that have died of HIV /AIDS, hate crimes, and transphobic laws at Montreal's LGBT Pride parade on Sunday, about 30 members of Black Lives Matter Montreal and their allies set off smoke bombs and shouted Black Lives Matter demanding better representation and inclusive of QPOC in Pride Montreal disrupting the solemn event.
Lucas Charlie Rose, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Montreal, took a megaphone to talk about the Stonewall riots, stating that we can only have Pride as a result of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera's efforts during the police riots. While both are a major figures in LGBT history the roles that Johnson and Rivera both played at the Stonewall riots is a point of contention by many LGBT historians and Stonewall veterans.
Employees of Pride Montreal then broke the circle of protesters and took away Rose's megaphone. People in the crowd shouted at them to ''shut up during the moment of silence'' but the BLM protesters refused.
To make our voices heard we chose to do this during the moment of silence,'' said Brian*, a protester and member of Black Lives Matter Montreal. ''It wasn't disrespectful because the moment was meant to commemorate the people who died [of AIDS or homophobic and transphobic laws], and most of them are trans women of color so we reclaimed that moment.''
Pride Montreal was aware that Black Lives Matter would but did not have known what they were planning to do.
Montreal Pride vice president Jean-Sebastien Boudreault stated after the protest.
''We know that Pride started as a protest; it's important to be able to give political messages at events of Pride. We want to be a better voice to the LGBT community, especially trans people, transmigrant, people of color but we feel that the moment Black Lives Matter chose to intervene at the parade on Sunday was inappropriate.''
BLM protestors also criticized Pride for being overly capitalistic, and criticized a number of their sponsors they claim refuse to support and employ queer people of color.
''Now when you look at Pride all you see is TD, Pet Store, Starbucks, and Walmart and places that will never hire a Black trans person and to us that isn't acceptable,'' said Rose.
Information source: AfroPunk
The First Amendment Is for Neo-Nazis, Too - WSJ
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 01:25
New York
Unfazed by a stream of hustling residents, chatty doormen, leashed dogs and well-born children, Richard Epstein holds forth in the lobby of the building where he lives, just off Manhattan's Central Park. I worry about the background hubbub spoiling the recording of our conversation, but Mrs. Epstein'--with good reason'--has ruled their apartment out of bounds. She is packing and fussing for their son's wedding, to take place...
NYT Reports On Statue-Toppling Craze It Chided Trump For Predicting
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:52
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On the day after President Donald Trump suggested that taking down statues of Confederate heroes could lead to a domino effect of toppling monuments to other famous Americans, The New York Times responded with an editorial headlined, ''Mr. Trump Makes a Spectacle of Himself.''
In the editorial, Trump was chided because he ''took up many of the talking points of the white nationalists and far-right activists'' by claiming that statues such as those of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would fall once those of Confederates such as Robert E. Lee were toppled.
Things have changed, and quickly.
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Barely one week later, the same newspaper is chronicling the zest at which communities are now looking to bring down statues of everyone form 15th century explorers to 20th century politicians, noting that the wave of calls to demolish monuments has ''become to some an example of politically correct sentiments gone too far.''
New York City is leaving open the possibility of demolishing a massive statue of Christopher Columbus on the grounds that it marked the beginning of oppression of indigenous peoples. Philadelphia activists have former Mayor Frank Rizzo's statue in their sights.
Paul Begala, a Democrat strategist, said his party was ''driving straight into a trap Trump has set,'' saying that it makes the debate not about race but about history.
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''While I understand the pain those monuments cause, I just think it in some ways dishonors the debate to allow Trump to hijack it,'' said Begala, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.
One analyst drew a connection between the drive to demolish statues and other liberal actions.
''Yet denouncing America's Founders, defacing the Lincoln Memorial and taking a knee for The Star-Spangled Banner are not the kinds of behavior most Americans would consider patriotic. Democrats rush to embrace this movement at their political peril. All that soul searching about rebranding the party to bring back white working-class voters goes right out the window,'' wrote James S. Robbins in USA Today.
''Meanwhile, Trump is free to talk about infrastructure programs, border control, tax cuts, the war on terrorism and other policy issues that voters care about. And if it looks like Democrats aren't bursting with enough toxic anger, he can send radical left-wing mobs into the streets with a well-timed tweet,'' he wrote.
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''And they say Trump is becoming irrelevant? Irrelevant like a fox.''
Others said Trump got it right '-- that demolishing history should not be rushed.
''If we do this in some willy-nilly way, we will regret it,'' said Yale University historian David Blight. ''I am very wary of a rush to judgment about what we hate and what we love and what we despise and what we're offended by.''
''By taking monuments down or hiding them away, we facilitate forgetting,'' said Alfred Brophy, a law professor at the University of Alabama. ''It purchases absolution too inexpensively. There is a value in owning our history.''
''You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name,'' Trump said in a press conference that was widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike.
''George Washington was a slave owner,'' he continued. ''So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? Are we going to take down his statue because he was a major slave owner? Are we going to take down his statue?''
Apparently, for many on the left, the answer is ''yes,'' as even The New York Times has now been forced to admit.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.
Outrage as graves belonging to U.S. soldiers and even a child are dug up and spilled throughout Georgia cemetery | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:59
Historical cemetery dating back to 1758 holds graves of veterans from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World World IAmong those dug up was the grave of 14-month Emma Jane McElmurray who was buried in 1884By Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 23:08 EDT, 18 April 2013 | Updated: 06:40 EDT, 20 April 2013
Caretakers of one of Georgia's oldest cemeteries say the scene was heart-breaking: A toddler's bones were spilled on the ground. The uniform buried with a soldier in another plot was strewn on the ground.
Now, a reward of more than $2,000 is being offered for information on the desecration at the Old Church Cemetery, which dates to 1758 in the east Georgia countryside near Waynesboro.
Clothing buried with a soldier was removed, leaving his bones exposed, Burke County sheriff's Sgt. Sean Cochran said.
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Desecrated: A small cast iron casket that contained the remains of a 14-month-old girl is seen after being dug up and its contents spilled on the ground at the Old Church Cemetery near Waynesboro, Georgia
Vandalized: Caretakers at the Old Church Cemetery are offering a reward for information leading to the suspects who left bones exposed and the uniform of a buried soldier lying on the ground
Among the soldiers desecrated were those dating back to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War I, he said.
Relic hunting is a possible motive, he said, though authorities aren't certain what the motivation was.
'Most of the time when soldiers were buried, they were buried with their items to keep the enemy soldiers from getting them,' Cochran said.
Leroy Bell Jr., commander of the American Legion post that cares for the cemetery, discovered the damage on Saturday.
'Somebody is very sick to do something like this, to desecrate a grave,' Bell told WFXG.
A small cast iron casket containing remains of 14-month Emma Jane McElmurray, buried in 1884, was removed and its contents dumped out, Bell said.
Torn off: Clothes belonging to a soldier sit on the ground after being removed from a grave by vandals who allegedly stole its buttons
'They took it completely out and dumped everything out in the perimeter of the family plot,' Bell told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
'It was just total devastation,' he recalled.
'I thought "why in God's name could anybody do anything like this?"' he said. 'I just can't understand it, other than the fact they were wanting some kind of trinkets.'
Cochran said authorities don't know what items were buried with the bodies, so they're not sure what might have been stolen from the bodies and the graves.
History: The Old Church cemetery, as this plaque tells, was build during the Revolutionary War and has seen been maintained by the Leaders of American Legion Post 120
No honor: Among the soldiers desecrated were those dating back to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War I
Torn up: The site of where one of the graves was dug up, its marker knocked over, is seen here
All of the buttons had been removed from the military clothing left on the ground, which appeared to be a soldier's uniform coat, Bell said.
Leaders of American Legion Post 120 are planning to rededicate the soldiers' graves and restore the monuments that were damaged, Bell said.
'It's just going to take a little time because we're just a small American Legion here in Waynesboro and we don't have that many members,' he said.
They're currently accepting donations to make the reward larger.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
WFXG Fox54 Augusta-Your News One Hour Earlier
Taking Aim at the Confederate Monuments of Gettysburg - CityLab
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:28
A statue of Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Matt Rourke/AP Some of the monuments in this small Pennsylvania town aren't telling the truth about the battle that was fought here.
Almost every day, I ride my bicycle past some of the over 1,300 statues and monuments commemorating the Civil War in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I live. They are everywhere. None of them are of black people.
The Battle of Gettysburg, fought over three days in July of 1863, is often considered the turning point of a war fought over the fate of slavery in America. Black people ultimately were the reason why over 165,000 soldiers came to this Pennsylvania town in the first place. But on the battlefield, as far as the physical memorials, they disappear.
The Confederacy, on the other hand, is alive and everywhere in Gettysburg: Over the last 154 years, the South managed to win the battlefield, if not the battle itself.
I've lived in this town of 8,000 residents since 2001, when I started teaching at Gettysburg College. I'm fond of biking through the battlefield for its scenic value and to get my heart pumping, so I can maintain my diet of pastries and ice cream from the excellent local vendors. On one route, I start just below the Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, where Union General John Buford saw the sun shining off Confederate soldiers' guns from its cupola. I head south through rows of trees on West Confederate Avenue, past the North Carolina monument and then Tennessee's, up a hill past Virginia's Robert E. Lee monument. Then it's out of the woods into a peaceful little valley of fields, where red-tailed hawks sit atop dead trees. I glide by monuments to the soldiers of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas. I cross Steinwehr Avenue, the modest Texas monument on my right, and bank around the curve by a duo of bronze Alabamians before letting out a mental sigh, fly downhill into another copse of woods, over Plum Run creek, and climb up Big Round Top into Union territory.
All those Southern state monuments were put up in the 20th century. Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama went up between 1917 and 1933. The other eight were erected from 1961 to 1984'--during and just after the Civil Rights Movement.
That timing was no coincidence. Just as many white Southern survivors of the war and their descendants worked hard to make black Americans and their story disappear, the state monuments they erected continued that work.
After riding past the Pennsylvania monument and High Water Mark on the Union side, I come up on Abraham Brian's house. Brian was an American success story'--the son of slaves, he owned his own house and 12-acre farm. When the Confederates came, he fled the battle, no doubt for self-preservation but likely also because he, like other African Americans in Gettysburg, was aware of the Confederate Army's propensity to kidnap free black Northerners and sell them into slavery. After the battle, he returned, but was never able to rebuild his farm and eventually had to abandon his property. There's a sign for Brian, as the National Park Service has made sure to tell his story. But there is no monument. No statue.
In town, there are a few other signs recounting stories of African-American Gettysburgians, as well as the Lincoln Cemetery, where Abraham Brian is buried. Black Gettysburg hasn't disappeared entirely, thanks to the efforts of black activists and historians here in town who have tracked family genealogies, revived the upkeep of the previously neglected cemetery, and erected markers noting the history of black schools in Gettysburg. But you have to know where to look and who to talk to in order to find those stories. The beautiful lies of the Confederate state monuments, meanwhile, decorate main thoroughfares and are easily seen by the more than one million tourists who come through town each year.
It is time to consider how to make Gettysburg a space that teaches the values each side fought for.These are the same lies that the Unite the Right groups in Charlottesville tried to preserve last week. The effect of the City Council that voted for the removal of of that city's Lee statue, and the actions of all those who supported of that decision, was to uncover the lies that white supremacists have been telling for more than 150 years.
Are the statues on the Gettysburg National Military Park any different that the other Confederate monuments in cities nationwide that are now being removed, or shrouded, or otherwise ''recontextualized''? Is the park sacred ground? Most tourists probably see it that way. But when I see people who live here out walking or riding their bikes, or driving across battlefield roads because locals know they're often faster than town roads, well, it seems much more prosaic and a lot less sacred.
I can't speak for other black Gettysburgians, especially those born and raised here, and I wonder if some of those Americans who have expressed ambivalence about removing Confederate monuments in recent polls might feel differently if they knew when and why some of these monuments were put up. But as an American citizen, as a black man, as a historian, and as someone who sees these monuments almost every day, I see these battlefield markers as a constant reminder that the Confederacy keeps winning.
RecommendedIf this battlefield is indeed sacred space, that sanctity was disturbed in 1973, when Mississippi planted a state monument honoring those who ''fought for their righteous cause.'' W. E. B. DuBois summed up that cause in his assessment of Robert E. Lee: ''Either he knew what slavery meant when he helped maim and murder thousands in its defense, or he did not. If he did not he was a fool. If he did, Robert Lee was a traitor and a rebel'--not indeed to his country, but to humanity and humanity's God.''
Battlefields aren't untouchable; this one can and has changed over the years. It is time to consider how to make it a space that teaches the values each side fought for. That would mean that the battlefield, not just the museum, tells visitors why the Army of Northern Virginia came to Gettysburg'--to protect the provision of the Confederate Constitution that enshrined ''the institution of negro slavery.'' It means putting up new signs that tell us why those state monuments went up when they did'--either that, or put them in some museum. It means, perhaps, erecting a statue to Abraham Brian so visitors have a chance to see who and what this battle was about. That's a monument I'd like to ride by.
Lee and his cause weren't righteous in 1863, or 1973, or now. The cause of the Union, to preserve the United States, and eventually to end slavery, was righteous. The deaths of so many on both sides is tragic. But we best recognize tragedy and honor the dead by telling the truth. I hope one day, if I'm still here and still healthy, I can ride through a battlefield that doesn't lie, and where the Confederacy has, finally, lost.
About the AuthorScott HancockScott Hancock is an associate professor of History and Africana Studies at Gettysburg College.
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David Lepeska Aug 25, 2017
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POVIn Gettysburg, the Confederacy WonSome of the monuments in this small Pennsylvania town aren't telling the truth about the battle that was fought here.
Scott Hancock Aug 24, 2017 CityLab is committed to telling the story of the world's cities: how they work, the challenges they face, and the solutions they need.
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Chastised by E.U., a Resentful Greece Embraces China's Cash and Interests - NYTimes.com
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:07
ATHENS '-- After years of struggling under austerity imposed by European partners and a chilly shoulder from the United States, Greece has embraced the advances of China, its most ardent and geopolitically ambitious suitor.
While Europe was busy squeezing Greece, the Chinese swooped in with bucket-loads of investments that have begun to pay off, not only economically but also by apparently giving China a political foothold in Greece, and by extension, in Europe.
Last summer, Greece helped stop the European Union from issuing a unified statement against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. This June, Athens prevented the bloc from condemning China's human rights record. Days later it opposed tougher screening of Chinese investments in Europe.
Greece's diplomatic stance hardly went unnoticed by its European partners or by the United States, all of which had previously worried that the country's economic vulnerability might make it a ripe target for Russia, always eager to divide the bloc.
Instead, it is the Chinese who have become an increasingly powerful foreign player in Greece after years of assiduous courtship and checkbook diplomacy.
Among those initiatives, China plans to make the Greek port of Piraeus the ''dragon head'' of its vast ''One Belt, One Road'' project, a new Silk Road into Europe.
When Germany treated Greece as the eurozone's delinquent, China designated a recovery-hungry Greece its ''most reliable friend'' in Europe.
''While the Europeans are acting towards Greece like medieval leeches, the Chinese keep bringing money,'' said Costas Douzinas, the head of the Greek Parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee and a member of the governing Syriza party.
China has already used its economic muscle to stamp a major geopolitical footprint in Africa and South America as it scours the globe for natural resources to fuel its economy. If China was initially welcomed as a deep-pocketed investor '-- and an alternative to America '-- it has faced growing criticism that it is less an economic partner than a 21st-century incarnation of a colonialist power.
If not looking for natural resources in Europe, China has for years invested heavily across the bloc, its largest trading partner. Yet now concerns are rising that Beijing is using its economic clout for political leverage.
Mr. Douzinas said China had never explicitly asked Greece for support on the human rights vote or on other sensitive issues, though he and other Greek officials acknowledge that explicit requests are not necessary.
''If you're down and someone slaps you and someone else gives you an alm,'' Mr. Douzinas said, ''when you can do something in return, who will you help, the one who helped you or the one who slapped you?''
The Trump administration, recognizing it has a geopolitical and economic challenger, recently intervened to help lift an American deal over a Chinese competitor '-- and the Greeks seemed happy to play one power off the other.
E.U. officials are concerned that China is buying silence on human rights issues and undermining the bloc's ability to speak with one voice. Analysts say China targets smaller countries in need of cash, among them Spain, Portugal and others that suffered in the financial crisis. Hungary, where China is pledging to spend billions on a railway, also blocked the E.U. statement on the South China Sea.
Many analysts have noted that Greece's human rights veto came as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras returned from a summit meeting in Beijing in May, where he signed billions of euros' worth of new investment memorandums with Chinese companies.
Greek officials insisted that, despite all the Chinese investments, the country identified with, and was loyal to, the E.U. and did not do China's bidding. Some European officials are not so sure.
''The Greek government needs to choose where its alliances lie and realize the E.U. is not only a market, but first and foremost a community of values,'' said Marietje Schaake, a prominent member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands.
Over the summer, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany tightened rules to limit takeovers of German strategic assets, a move aimed at Chinese state-backed firms. As Ms. Merkel put it to a German newspaper after Greece's vote blocking the condemnation of Chinese human rights violations, Europe ''has to speak with China in one voice.''
She added that China's economic might allowed it to pressure weaker European nations. ''Seen from Beijing,'' she added, ''Europe is an Asian peninsula.''
A Gateway to EuropeIn January 2015, Greek voters shook Europe by electing the radical leftist Syriza party and its leader, Mr. Tsipras. He had campaigned to end the austerity measures of the E.U. and halt privatizations like the port of Piraeus. Boisterous protesters spilled into Athens, waving Syriza flags and denouncing the European power centers, Brussels and Berlin.
But it was Beijing that became quietly nervous. China's years of laborious and expensive spadework in Greece suddenly seemed imperiled, especially its investments in Piraeus.
Immediately after Mr. Tsipras took office, the Chinese ambassador, Zou Xiaoli, became the first foreign official to pay him a visit. Mr. Zou pressed Mr. Tsipras to honor the previous Greek government's commitments to privatize Piraeus, according to several people with knowledge of the meeting.
Back in Beijing, Chinese officials expressed displeasure, and the state-run news media ran articles questioning Greece's friendship with China. Less than a week later, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, telephoned Mr. Tsipras to make sure there were no more misunderstandings.
In response, Mr. Tsipras and his deputies announced an ''upgrading of relations between Greece and China.'' Within weeks, three Chinese frigates arrived in Piraeus port. At a ceremony, Mr. Tsipras affirmed Greece's intent to ''serve as China's gateway into Europe.''
Even as Berlin and Brussels grow wary of Chinese investment, Greece may not care, after suffering under German-enforced austerity attached to the international bailouts that have kept the country afloat since the 2010 debt crisis.
In 2010, as creditors demanded the gutting of pensions and sharp tax increases, the Chinese offered to buy toxic Greek government bonds. In 2013, as Greece became increasingly subject to creditor budget restrictions, the Chinese spent freely on Greek assets.
In turn, Greece has sometimes been a voice in the room at the E.U. for China on sensitive issues '-- although government officials insist Greece remains loyal to the bloc and to NATO, and is only seeking to strike a balance in a shifting world.
As for scuttling the E.U. statement on China's human rights violations '-- the first time in a decade the bloc was silenced '-- government officials said Greece viewed the E.U. approach as ''unproductive.'' After the vote, China's Foreign Ministry applauded ''the relevant E.U. country for sticking to the right position.''
'A Kind of Neocolonialism'Along more than 20 miles of coastline outside Athens, a forest of cranes at the Piraeus port load and unload thousands of containers from China and around the world. An ultramodern floating dock is scheduled for arrival in November from China. A planned new Chinese-financed passenger hub is also in the works.
China has transformed Piraeus into the Mediterranean's busiest port, investing nearly half a billion euros through the state-backed shipping conglomerate Cosco. It hopes to make Piraeus the entry point to Europe under its One Belt, One Road project.
Chinese goods would travel along a new network of railways and roads radiating up through Central European nations, with the prized destination being Germany, where China invested $12 billion last year alone.
In the middle of the port, Chinese, Greek and E.U. flags flutter in front of the headquarters of Cosco, which now controls the entire waterfront through its 67 percent stake in the port.
''It's a kind of neocolonialism without the gunboats,'' said Mr. Douzinas with a chuckle.
Greek officials note that, unlike democratic nations that change politicians every few years, the Chinese have a long and steady strategic view.
''They know what they want,'' said Stergios Pitsiorlas, the Greek deputy economics minister and one of the government's point men dealing with China.
Cosco has brought around 1,000 jobs to the area, but it has outfitted cargo docks with cranes made in China, not in Greece, and expanded the docks with building materials from China. And as Greece struggles through record joblessness, the company has used subcontractors to hire around 1,500 workers mostly on short-term contracts at wages far below what unionized Greek dockworkers are paid.
''There are more workers, but they earn less income,'' said Giorgos Gogos, the general secretary of the Piraeus dockworkers union.
Yet Greece needs any jobs, and leaders are counting on more Chinese investment. Fosun International Holdings, a Chinese conglomerate run by Guo Guangchang, often referred to as China's Warren Buffett, is spending billions of euros with a consortium with Greek and Arab investors to convert an abandoned former airport on the seaside outside Athens into a posh playground three times the size of Monaco for moneyed tourists. The project, Hellenikon, is part of a bigger plan to bring over 1.5 million Chinese tourists to Greece during the next five years.
Mr. Tsipras has swept aside regulatory hurdles, clearing two large refugee camps installed in the former airport, and quashing attempts by members of his own party to delay construction because of concerns the project might pave over ancient archaeological sites.
''That also has been unstuck,'' said Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, the Greek economy minister.
China vs. AmericaAfter World War II, the benefactor showering millions on Greece was the United States, courtesy of the Marshall Plan. America's role in Greece wasn't always popular '-- especially its support for the country's military dictatorship during the Cold War '-- but the United States was regarded as the gold standard for economic opportunity. Not so much anymore.
When former President Obama visited Greece last November on his final foreign trip, some Syriza officials, bitter that his administration had not intervened more forcefully during the financial crisis, mocked his speech as a funeral oration for his own legacy, worthy of Pericles.
Privately, Mr. Obama's advisers said the trip also served to demonstrate, somewhat belatedly, American engagement in Greece in the face of Russian meddling in the region.
But it was China that was most deeply entrenched. Eliot Engel, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described a ''free-for-all for rogue countries'' in Greece.
''We see it with Russia and we see it with China,'' he said as he attended a July 4 party at the United States ambassador's residence in Athens, part of a congressional delegation that had come to drum up business for American companies. ''That's why it's so important for America to be engaged in the world.''
Mr. Tsipras is trying to play both sides. Having traveled twice in a year to Beijing to meet the Chinese president and attend One Belt, One Road forums to draw investment, he has recently welcomed American businessmen and promoted Greece's recovery to American lawmakers.
In May, when Fosun and two other Chinese companies bid to take over a major Greek insurer, the United States commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross, intervened to help push the deal into the hands of Calamos Investments, a Greek-American consortium whose chief executive is a backer of President Trump. The Exin Group, a Dutch partnership with Calamos, eventually won the bid.
''He sent us a letter asking us to look at Calamos,'' said Mr. Papadimitriou, the economy minister. Any deal, Mr. Ross implied in the letter, ''could be the beginning of more investments in Greece,'' Mr. Papadimitriou recalled.
Some Greek government officials cited Fosun's defeat as evidence that Athens wasn't under China's sway.
''We are sensitive to being viewed as someone else's colony,'' said Panagiotis Kouroumblis, Greece's maritime minister. ''Nothing can move forward without the agreement of the Greek state.''
Correction: August 26, 2017
An earlier version of this article misstated the surname of the Chinese ambassador, Zou Xiaoli. He is Mr. Zou, not Mr. Xiaoli.
James Kanter contributed reporting from Brussels.
Macron Spent $30,000 On Makeup In Three Months | Zero Hedge
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:31
One year ago, when he was still president, Francois Hollande scandalized the establishment when it emerged that amid record unemployment, painful labor reforms, a sliding economy and the most serious social unrest in decades, the French president's personal hairdressed was getting paid a gross salary by the state of ~$11,000 per month (more than a European parliament member). As the media reported at the time, "the hairdresser, who the leaked contract names only as Oliver B, is set to earn half a million pounds over the course of Hollande's current premiership, in exchange for being available at every waking moment and signing a contract promising not to speak about his position."
The fact that this was probably not the best way to spend French taxpayers' money was confirmed this past summer, when Hollande's approval rating was so low, the socialist president did not even run for re-election: a first in French history. Sadly, this was lost on Hollande's former Minister of Economy - and current president - Emmanuel Macron who failed to learn from the mistakes of his former boss.
According to French magazine Le Point, French President Emmanuel Macron spent '‚¬26,000 - over $30,000 - on makeup in his first three months as leader of the country.
As Politico adds, "Macron's personal makeup artist put in two claims for payment, one for '‚¬10,000 and another for '‚¬16,000, for doing his makeup during his travels and ahead of press conferences."
When asked about this abuse of taxpayer funds, The Elysee Palace said in response: ''We called in a contractor as a matter of urgency.'' Still, aides said that spending on makeup would be ''significantly reduced'' in future, Le Point reported.
It gets better: according to the report, the amount spent was less than under Macron's predecessors. Francois Hollande, for example, was said to spend '‚¬30,000 per quarter on makeup, including the salary of a makeup artist. Which means that in addition to his hairdresser who ran just under '‚¬10,000, the former French president spent over quarter million dollars in taxpayer funds every year to look good. One almost wonders why he left the French political scene with an approval rating in the single digits. As for Hollande's arguably even more vain predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy spent slightly less on his makeup then Macron: '‚¬8,000 a month.
The news comes as Macron's popularity is plunging according to a new Harris Poll. Only 37% of voters approve of the job Macron is doing, down from a high of 57% after his election in May. Today's incident will not help his popularity.
Macron's popularity collapse means that his fall from grace was even faster than that of Trump, although oddly enough, one will not read much, if anything, about that particular collapse in the objective and unbiased western press. It could be a problem for France, however, during the next election when that one third of eligible voters who did not vote for either Macron or le Pen, finally decide to vote against the establishment cadidate.
Hate Trumps Love
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FB Jooo meme
Hi Adam and John, I'm listening to ep 957 and was going to just email you
about the whole "are Jews white or people of color?" question, but I just
heard Adam read that shameful screed from facebook shaming Jews who
support Trump. That was by far the most disgusting fb post I've read/heard
lately. It makes me ashamed to share a religion with that lying, hateful
writer.
*breathes*
In terms of the original issue, I learned several years ago that when Jews
were coming in to this country by the millions around the turn of the
century, they were actually considered "colored" along with Italians, the
Irish, and other immigrants. Only when Jews successfully assimilated into
American society by the mid-20th century did they start being seen as
"white" (I think...could be off on the timeline for that). My mom always
told me that it wasn't right to check off "white" on forms, because Jews
aren't white, but a whole other ethnicity. I don't think anyone has
answers as to whether Jewishness is an ethnicity or just a religion.
Obviously, Jews do tend to look a certain way (medium height, olive skin,
larger features, sometimes curly hair, etc) and thus don't look like
people from, say, the UK or Scandinavia.
Lately, I think many Jews in America have come up against a major problem.
The Democratic party that had sucked in nearly all non-Orthodox Jews
during the 20th century has turned into an anti-semitic political party.
Jews are regularly lambasted for the Israel-Palestine situation (with
Democrats calling the state of Israel an apartheid state, etc) and the
Jew-hating Keith Ellison coming so close to being elected head of the
Democratic party. I think some ultra-left and liberal Jews have been
trying lately to get back into the party's fold by identifying with people
of color, thereby regaining their political home and perhaps turning the
tide back toward favorability.
As a Jewish American woman who was taught by her parents to always think
for herself (and who used to listen to her mon arguing with *her* parents
who were die-hard FDR people and Democrats their whole lives), I am
ashamed that so many Jews are such lemmings when it comes to politics. We
should know that we can't rely on anyone or anything but ourselves if we
want to survive as a people. But hey, that sounds libertarian, doesn't it.
I don't understand why more Jews aren't libertarian and distrustful of ALL
governments. American Jews could see how much Obama despised Netenyahu and
the contempt he had for Israel, but they didn't want to admit it, because
it went against the narrative. Hopefully more Jews (and Americans in
general) will wake the f up and start using their brains again, because
shit had gotten out of control.
Thank you again for this show.
Sorry for the novel!
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About Global Zero | Global Zero
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:12
Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Its members understand that the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat '' including proliferation, nuclear terrorism and humanitarian catastrophe '' is to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, secure all nuclear materials and eliminate all nuclear weapons: global zero. The movement combines cutting-edge policy development and direct dialogue with governments with public outreach, including media, online and grassroots initiatives to make the elimination of nuclear weapons an urgent global imperative.
Since its launch in Paris in December 2008, it has grown to include 300 world leaders and half a million citizens worldwide; hosted four Global Zero Summits and numerous regional conferences; built an international student movement with more than 175 campus chapters in 29 countries; produced an acclaimed documentary, Countdown to Zero, with the team behind An Inconvenient Truth; launched cutting-edge international campaigns in key countries; and produced compelling, high-production videos to reach millions of people worldwide with an empowering call to action.
We have also released bold, prominently covered policy reports from four ''blue-ribbon'' Global Zero commissions, including: (1) the Global Zero Action Plan[1] for the phased and verified elimination of nuclear weapons by 2030; (2) the World Spending on Nuclear Weapons Report,[2] a groundbreaking analysis of the $1 trillion per decade cost of nuclear weapons globally; (3) the NATO-Russia Commission Report,[3] outlining the process for the removal of all U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons from the European continent; and (4) the U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission Report,[4] calling for the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals 80% to 900 total weapons each and pave the way for the first-in-history multilateral nuclear arms negotiations.
Senior political leaders around the world have endorsed Global Zero, with President Barack Obama declaring, ''Global Zero will always have a partner in me and my administration.'' Leading newspapers '' including The New York Times, The Economist and the Financial Times '' have backed Global Zero's plan, the Financial Times concluding that, ''Global Zero's plan has shown the direction to be travelled; the world's leaders must now start moving.''
Global Zero's role as a global catalyst for bold leadership toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons has never been more important. That is what the entire international Global Zero movement is working for '' the leaders and experts, artists and cultural icons, as well as grassroots activists and student leaders who represent the world's first post-Cold War generation. It is imperative that we bring all of our assets to bear and exert the international support and pressure necessary to bring a world without nuclear weapons within reach.
Join the Movement | Global Zero
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:11
Country *
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A Pardon for Arpaio Would Put Trump in Uncharted Territory - NYTimes.com
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 05:10
CHICAGO '-- Note: Friday night, after this Op-Ed was published, it was announced that President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio.
At his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, President Trump strongly implied that he would pardon Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., who was found guilty in July of criminal contempt for defying a judge's order against prolonging traffic patrols targeting immigrants. This is not idle presidential chatter: On Thursday morning, CNN reported that the White House has prepared the necessary paperwork, along with talking points for its allies.
This is uncharted territory. Yes, on its face the Constitution's pardon power would seem unlimited. And past presidents have used it with varying degrees of wisdom, at times in ways that would seem to clash with the courts' ability to render justice. But the Arpaio case is different: The sheriff was convicted of violating constitutional rights, in defiance of a court order involving racial profiling. Should the president indicate that he does not think Mr. Arpaio should be punished for that, he would signal that governmental agents who violate judicial injunctions are likely to be pardoned, even though their behavior violated constitutional rights, when their illegal actions are consistent with presidential policies.
Many legal scholars argue that the only possible redress is impeachment '-- itself a politicized, drawn-out process. But there may be another route. If the pardon is challenged in court, we may discover that there are, in fact, limits to the president's pardon power after all.
The only effective means courts have to prevent or stop governmental violations of constitutional rights is through injunctions. But injunctions have teeth only when they have the potential of a contempt conviction behind them. In other words, in issuing an injunction, a court is saying, ''stop doing that or else.'' The ''or else'' is a criminal conviction for contempt, leading to a fine, imprisonment or both. Absent the ''or else,'' the injunction is all but meaningless.
But if the president signals to government agents that there exists the likelihood of a pardon when they violate a judicial injunction that blocks his policies, he can all too easily circumvent the only effective means of enforcing constitutional restrictions on his behavior. Indeed, the president could even secretly promise a pardon to agents if they undertake illegal activity he desires.
Interactive Feature | Sign Up for the Opinion Today Newsletter Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.
In American constitutional democracy, democratic choices are limited by restraints imposed by the Constitution. The due process clause of the Fifth Amendment dictates that neither life nor liberty nor property may be deprived absent ''due process,'' which the Supreme Court construes to require adjudication by a neutral judge.
In short, under the Constitution one cannot be deprived of liberty without a court ruling upon the legality of the detention. The power of courts to restrain government officers from depriving citizens of liberty absent judicial process is the only meaningful way courts have to enforce important constitutional protections. But if the president can employ the pardon power to circumvent constitutional protections of liberty, there is very little left of the constitutional checks on presidential power.
I am not suggesting that the pardon power itself provides for a due process exception. To the contrary, on its face the pardon power appears virtually unlimited. But as a principle of constitutional law, anything in the body of the Constitution inconsistent with the directive of an amendment is necessarily pre-empted or modified by that amendment. If a particular exercise of the pardon power leads to a violation of the due process clause, the pardon power must be construed to prevent such a violation.
I admit that this is a novel theory. There's no Supreme Court decision, at least that I know of, that deals specifically with the extent to which the president may employ his pardon power in this way.
But if the president can immunize his agents in this manner, the courts will effectively lose any meaningful authority to protect constitutional rights against invasion by the executive branch. This is surely not the result contemplated by those who drafted and ratified the Fifth Amendment, and surely not the result dictated by precepts of constitutional democracy. All that would remain to the courts by way of enforcement would be the possibility of civil damage awards, hardly an effective means of stopping or deterring invasions of the right to liberty.
Anyone who has read the Federalist Papers knows how obsessed the framers were with the need to prevent tyranny. They were all too aware of the sad fate of all the republics that had preceded ours '-- rapid degeneration into tyranny. One of the most effective means of preventing tyranny was the vesting of the power of judicial review in a court system insulated from direct political pressures. Subsequent enactment of the Bill of Rights, which included the Fifth Amendment and its due process clause, only strengthened the nation's resolve to prevent tyranny.
It has long been recognized that the greatest threat of tyranny derives from the executive branch, where the commander in chief sits, overseeing not just the military but a vast and growing network of law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Indeed, the Articles of Confederation didn't even provide for an executive, for fear of what dangerous power he might exercise.
While the Constitution, in contrast, recognizes the very practical need for an executive, that doesn't mean its framers feared the growth of tyranny any less. The Fifth Amendment's guarantee of neutral judicial process before deprivation of liberty cannot function with a weaponized pardon power that enables President Trump, or any president, to circumvent judicial protections of constitutional rights.
ACLU Comment on Trump Pardon of Joe Arpaio | American Civil Liberties Union
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 10:44
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK '-- President Trump has pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for deliberately violating a federal court order that prohibited illegal detentions based only on suspicions about immigration status.
The ruling stems from an initial lawsuit brought by Latino residents of Maricopa who successfully challenged Arpaio's policies of racial profiling and illegal detentions. The plaintiff class was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and partner organizations. Arpaio repeatedly flouted court orders in that civil rights case, leading to both civil and criminal contempt rulings against him.
ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang said:
''With his pardon of Arpaio, Trump has chosen lawlessness over justice, division over unity, hurt over healing. Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts. His pardon of Arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism."
This statement is at: https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-comment-trump-pardon-joe-arpaio-0
Joe Arpaio - Wikipedia
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 10:47
Arpaio was a controversial sheriff. His practices were criticized by government agencies such as the United States Department of Justice; United States District Courts; and organizations such as Amnesty International,[65] the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); the Arizona Ecumenical Council; the American Jewish Committee; [66] and the Arizona chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.[67] The editorial board of The New York Times called Arpaio "America's Worst Sheriff".[68] Controversies surrounding Arpaio included allegations of racial profiling, in which the ACLU sued the sheriff.[69][70]
Unconstitutional jail conditions Federal Judge Neil V. Wake ruled in 2008, and again in 2010, that the county jails violated the constitutional rights of inmates in medical and other care-related issues.[36][37] This ruling was a result of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU which alleged that "Arpaio routinely abused pre-trial detainees at Maricopa County Jail by feeding them moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food, housing them in cells so hot as to endanger their health, denying them care for serious medical and mental health needs, and keeping them packed as tightly as sardines in holding cells for days at a time during intake."[71]
In a ruling issued in October 2010, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Arpaio to follow Judge Wake's 2008 ruling, which required Arpaio to end the overcrowding and to ensure all detainees received necessary medical and mental health care; be given uninterrupted access to all medications prescribed by correctional medical staff; be given access to exercise and to sinks, toilets, toilet paper and soap; and be served food that met or exceeded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines.[72][73][74][75]
In the case of Braillard v. Maricopa County, the plaintiff's attorney cited numerous reports commissioned and paid for by Maricopa county, dating back as far as 1996, detailing a "culture of cruelty" where inmates were routinely denied humane healthcare at Maricopa County jails run by Arpaio. Testifying in this case, Arpaio stated he could not deny making the statement that even if he had a billion dollars he wouldn't change the way he runs his jails.[76]
Arpaio said his jails were meant as places for punishment, and that the inhabitants were all criminals, although in fact most inmates had not been convicted of a crime and were awaiting trial.[77]
Improper clearance of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office cases Under Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office may have improperly cleared (reported as solved) as many as 75% of cases without arrest or proper investigation.[78][79][80][81][82]
In 2000 it was claimed that the sheriff's office failed to properly investigate serious crimes, including the rape of a 14-year-old girl by classmates,[83][84] and the rape of a 15-year-old girl by two strangers.[85][86] These cases were reported as "exceptionally cleared" (solved) by the MCSO without investigation or, in one instance, without even identifying a suspect '' in contravention of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) standards for exceptional clearance.[85][87] In the case of the 15-year-old girl, the case was closed within one month and before DNA testing was even complete, a 13-year-old's because her mother did not want to "pursue this investigation," and the 14-year-old's because a suspect declined to appear for questioning.[83][85] In a statement to ABC15, the sheriff's office claimed "The Goldwater Institute's report cites the FBI's Uniform Code [sic] Reporting handbook, which is a voluntary crime-reporting program to compile statistical information and reports. The UCR is not intended for oversight on how law enforcement agencies clear cases... The Sheriff's Office has its own criteria for clearing cases."[84] The Arizona Department of Public Safety, which serves as the repository for Arizona case clearance statistics, told 12 News that the guidelines in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook are mandatory for all Arizona law enforcement agencies. Those guidelines specify that a case can be cleared by exception only when a perpetrator's identity and location is known and there is sufficient evidence to support prosecution, but, due to special circumstances (such as the suspect dying, or extradition not being possible), an arrest cannot be made.[78]
In an interview on the ABC's Nightline news program, when asked to explain why 82 percent of cases were declared cleared by exception, Arpaio said, "We do clear a higher percentage of that. I know that. We clear many, many cases '' not 18 percent." Nightline contacted the MCSO after the interview and was told that of 7,346 crimes, only 944, or 15%, had been cleared by arrest.[88]
Failure to investigate sex crimes During a three-year period ending in 2007, more than 400 sex crimes reported to Arpaio's office were inadequately investigated or not investigated at all. While providing police services for El Mirage, Arizona, the MCSO under Arpaio failed to follow through on at least 32 reported child molestations, even though the suspects were known in all but six cases. Many of the victims were children of illegal immigrants.[85][89]
13-year-old rape victim ignored In a controversial case, Arpaio's office was accused of ignoring Sabrina Morrison, a teenage girl suffering from a mental disability. On March 7, 2007, the 13-year-old was raped by her uncle, Patrick Morrison. She told her teacher the next day, and her teacher called the MCSO. A rape kit was taken, but the detective assigned to the case told Sabrina and her family that there were no obvious signs of sexual assault, no semen, or signs of trauma.[90]
As a result of the detective's statements, Sabrina was branded by her family as a liar. Her uncle continued to rape her repeatedly, saying he would kill her if she told anyone. She became pregnant by him, and had an abortion. The family did not know that the rape kit had been tested at the state lab and showed the presence of semen. The lab requested that the detective obtain a blood sample from the suspect, Patrick Morrison.[91] Instead of obtaining the blood sample, or making an arrest, the detective filed the crime-lab note and closed the case for four years.[91]
It was not until September 2011 that the sheriff's office finally obtained a blood sample from Patrick Morrison, which was a DNA match with the semen taken over four years earlier. It wasn't until February 29, 2012, that Patrick Morrison was arrested and charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor, at which point the MCSO closed the case. Only later was Sabrina's uncle charged with additional indictments based on information obtained from Sabrina by a victim's advocate, after the MCSO had closed the case. Patrick Morrison ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.[91]
In December 2011, responding to continuing media coverage of the controversy, and apparently unaware that there were hundreds of victims in these cases, Arpaio stated in a press conference, "If there were any victims, I apologize to those victims."[92]
In August 2012, Sabrina Morrison filed a $30-million notice of claim (a precursor to a lawsuit) against Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County for gross negligence, a claim which was eventually settled for $3.5 million.[93][94]
Justification for ignoring sex crimes An internal memo written by one of the detectives assigned to the Morrison case blamed a high case load, saying the special victims unit had gone from five detectives to just three, and the detectives left were often called off their cases to investigate special assignments. These included a credit card fraud case involving the Arizona Diamondbacks and a mortgage fraud case in Arpaio's home city of Fountain Hills.[95]
When county supervisors provided more than $600,000 to fund six additional detective positions to investigate child abuse in fiscal 2007, none were added to the sex-crimes squad. Sheriff's administrators concluded they had no idea where positions were added or what became of the money after it was added to the budget.[96]
Feuds with judges and County Supervisors Between 2008 and 2010, Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas together undertook a number of government-corruption investigations targeting political opponents, including judges, county supervisors and administrators, resulting in filing of criminal charges against several individuals, lawsuits against the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and a federal civil-racketeering suit against the supervisors, four judges, and attorneys who worked with the county.[97]
In early 2010, Arpaio and Thomas sought to have a grand jury indict a number of Maricopa County judges, Maricopa County supervisors, and employees of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The grand jury, in an unusual rebuke, ordered the investigation ended. This action has been described as meaning that "the case is so bad, there's no further evidence that could be brought" to substantiate it. Legal experts agreed this was a rare move.[98]
Arpaio and Thomas lost every case, either by ruling of the courts or by dropping the case.[99]
Arpaio's and Thomas' actions in these matters led to Thomas' disbarment by a disciplinary panel of the Arizona Supreme Court, which found that Thomas "outrageously exploited power, flagrantly fostered fear, and disgracefully misused the law" while serving as Maricopa County Attorney. The panel found "clear and convincing evidence" that Thomas brought unfounded and malicious criminal and civil charges against political opponents, including four state judges and the Arizona Attorney General.[100] "Were this a criminal case," the panel concluded, "we are confident that the evidence would establish this conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt."[101][102]
At least 11 individuals filed lawsuits or legal claims as a result of being targeted by Arpaio and Thomas. The county settled all 11 cases, at significant cost:[97][103]
Gary Donahoe, retired Superior Court judge: $1,275,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $767,127.Kenneth Fields, retired Superior Court judge: $100,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $81,040.Barbara Mundell, retired Superior Court judge: $500,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $134,273.Anna Baca, retired Superior Court judge: $100,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $112,588.Stephen Wetzel, former county technology director: $75,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $107,647.Sandi Wilson, deputy county manager and county budget director: $122,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $458,318.Don Stapley, former county supervisor: $3.5 million settlement. County legal expenses: $1,682,020.Mary Rose Wilcox, county supervisor: $975,000 settlement, plus 9,938 in court-ordered legal costs. County legal expenses to date: over $375,442.Susan Schuerman, Stapley's executive assistant: $500,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $200,201.Conley Wolfswinkel, Stapley's business associate: $1,400,000 settlement. County legal expenses: $1,586,152.Andy Kunasek, county supervisor: $123,110 settlement. County legal expenses: $1,150.As of June 2014, costs to Maricopa County taxpayers related to Arpaio's and Thomas's failed corruption investigations exceeded $45 million, not including staff time.[103][104]
Abuse of power In February 2010, Pima County Superior Court Judge John S. Leonardo found that Arpaio "misused the power of his office to target members of the Board of Supervisors for criminal investigation".[105]
In 2008, a federal grand jury began an inquiry of Arpaio for abuse of power in connection with an FBI investigation.[106][107] On August 31, 2012, the Arizona U.S. Attorney's office announced that it was "closing its investigation into allegations of criminal conduct" by Arpaio, without filing charges.[108]
Arpaio was investigated for politically motivated and "bogus" prosecutions, which a former U.S. Attorney called "utterly unacceptable".[106][107] Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called Arpaio's "long list" of questionable prosecutions "a reign of terror".[107]
The targets of Arpaio's alleged abuse of power included:
Phil Gordon, Phoenix Mayor[106]Dan Saban, Arpaio's 2004 and 2008 opponent for the office of Sheriff of Maricopa County[106]Terry Goddard, Arizona Attorney General[106]David Smith, Maricopa County Manager[106]The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors[106]Barbara Mundell, Maricopa Superior Court Presiding Judge[106]Anna Baca, former Maricopa Superior Court Presiding Judge[109]Gary Donahoe, Maricopa Superior Court Criminal Presiding Judge[106]Daniel Pochoda, ACLU attorney[106]Sandra Dowling, former Maricopa County School Superintendent[107]Mike Lacey, Editor, Phoenix New Times[107]As of July 2010, only Sandra Dowling had been successfully prosecuted.[107] Indicted on 25 felony counts, Dowling eventually pleaded guilty to patronage for giving a summer job to her daughter, a single class-2 misdemeanor which was not among the original counts, although as part of the plea bargain she also agreed to recuse herself from the Maricopa County Regional School District. Dowling later filed suit, alleging negligence, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and several constitutional violations, although Arpiao won summary judgment against her claims.[110]
Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, the founders and leaders of the Phoenix New Times, were arrested after publishing a news article on a grand jury investigation involving Arpaio's office. On the evening that the article was published, Lacey and Larkin were arrested by plainclothes sheriff's deputies, "handcuffed, put in dark SUVs with tinted windows and driven to jail."[111] Following a public uproar over the arrests, all charges were dropped against Lacey and Larkin.[111] Lacey and Larkin filed a federal Section 1983 lawsuit for the violations of their civil rights, and in 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that they could sue the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for the arrests.[112] In 2013, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to settle the suit for $3.75 million. Lacey and Larkin used the proceeds of the settlement to establish an endowed chair professorship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.[111]
Election law violation During the month of July 2010, a committee established by Arpaio, the Campaign to Re-Elect Joe Arpaio 2012, funded advertisements critical of Rick Romley, a candidate in the Republican primary for Maricopa County Attorney, and Arizona Attorney General candidate Tom Horne, despite the fact that Arpaio was not running for re-election at the time (his term did not expire until the end of 2012).[113]
An order issued on behalf of the Maricopa Elections Department on August 24, 2010, found that one of the advertisements, a direct mailer, advocated the defeat of Romley and was an in-kind contribution to Bill Montgomery (Romley's primary election opponent), in violation of Arizona election law. The order stated that the Campaign to Re-Elect Joe Arpaio 2012 would be fined three times the amount of money that was spent on the mailer.[114] In September 2010, Arpaio's campaign was fined $153,978 in this matter.[115] Montgomery ultimately defeated Romley in the primary election, with Romley stating Arpaio's ads "hurt" his results.[116]
Misuse of funds An analysis by the Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget, completed in April 2011, found that Arpaio had misspent almost $100 million over the previous 5 years.[117][118][119]
The analysis showed that money from a restricted detention fund which could legally be used only to pay for jail items, such as food, detention officers' salaries, and equipment, was used to pay employees to patrol Maricopa County.[117] The analysis also showed that many sheriff's office employees, whose salaries were paid from the restricted detention fund, were working job assignments different from those recorded in their personnel records. Arpaio's office kept a separate set of personnel books detailing actual work assignments, different from information kept in the county's official human resources records.[118]
Arpaio used the detention fund to pay for investigations of political rivals, as well as activities involving his human-smuggling unit.[117][118]
The analysis also showed a number of inappropriate spending items including a trip to Alaska where deputies stayed at a fishing resort, and trips to Disneyland.[118][120]
Separate investigations by The Arizona Republic uncovered widespread abuse of public funds and county policies by Arpaio's office, including high-ranking employees routinely charging expensive meals and stays at luxury hotels on their county credit cards.[121]
The Republic also found that a restricted jail-enhancement fund was improperly used to pay for out-of-state training, a staff party at a local amusement park, and a $456,000 bus which Arpaio purchased in violation of county procurement rules.[117][122]
Munnell memo In September 2010, a 63-page internal memo written by Maricopa Deputy Chief Frank Munnell, was made public. The memo alleged years of misconduct and mismanagement by Arpaio's second-in-command and other top MCSO officers, including the use of a public-corruption task force to conduct politically motivated probes into political opponents. The memo alleged that top officials in the MCSO "willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts by attempting to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, and destroy evidence."[123] Arpaio forwarded the memo to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, requesting they conduct an administrative investigation. Former top MCSO staffers claimed that Arpaio knew of the acts alleged in the Munnell memo, but took no action to stop them.[124] Arpaio has not commented publicly on the allegations.
In October 2010, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona confirmed that the FBI and Department of Justice had received copies of the Munnell memo and were conducting criminal investigations into its allegations.[125]
Staged assassination plot In 1999, undercover MCSO deputies arrested James Saville, then 18 years old, and charged him with plotting to kill Arpaio with a pipe bomb. A local television station had been tipped off to the arrest by the MCSO, and broadcast footage of the arrest that evening. The MCSO held a news conference shortly after the arrest, and Arpaio appeared in interviews on local television stations, saying "If they think they are going to scare me away with bombs and everything else, it's not going to bother me."[126]
After spending four years in jail awaiting trial, Saville was about to sign a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for 20 years. Although he maintained his innocence, he was initially unwilling to take a chance on being given an even longer sentence if convicted. However, the former head of undercover investigations for the MCSO called Saville's legal team with a bombshell -- based on his review of the case, he felt that Saville had been entrapped. Although entrapment is all but impossible to prove in most jurisdictions,[citation needed ] Saville's attorneys eventually discovered that MCSO detectives had bought the bomb parts themselves, then convinced Saville to build it even though he was not predisposed to commit such a crime. On July 9, 2003, a Maricopa County Superior Court jury acquitted Saville, finding that the bomb plot was an elaborate publicity stunt to boost Arpaio's reelection bid.[127]
In 2004, Saville sued Arpaio and Maricopa County for wrongful arrest and entrapment, seeking $10 million in damages. In 2008, the suit was settled, with Maricopa County paying Saville $1.6 million.[128][129][130]
Federal grand jury abuse of power inquiry As of December 2011, a federal grand jury was investigating Arpaio's office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009 and was specifically examining the investigative work of the sheriff's anti-public corruption squad.[131]
On August 31, 2012, federal authorities announced they were terminating their abuse-of-power investigation into Arpaio in Arizona without filing charges against him.[132]
Immigration law enforcement In 2005, Arpaio began focusing on enforcing immigration laws, after Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas was elected with a campaign slogan of "Stop illegal immigration."[133] Arpaio stated that prior to 2005, he didn't view illegal immigration as a "serious legal issue."[134]
Starting in 2005, Arpaio regularly conducted saturation patrols and immigration sweeps, targeting Latino neighborhoods[135][136] and day laborers.[137] Arpaio also ran many operations targeting businesses employing Latinos, and arresting employees who were unauthorized immigrants for identity theft. According to Arpaio, 100% of the persons arrested for using stolen IDs in 57 raids conducted up until March 2012 were in the country illegally.[138] Until 2011, when a Federal District Court injunction halted the practice, Arpaio maintained an immigrant smuggling squad which illegally stopped cars with Latino drivers or passengers to check their immigration status.[139][140]
Arpaio has said of his immigration law enforcement efforts, "Ours is an operation where we want to go after illegals, not the crime first... It's a pure program. You go after them, and you lock them up."[141]
Racial profiling As of September 2012, Arpaio was a defendant in a federal class action suit and a United States Department of Justice suit, both of which alleged racial profiling.[142][143]
Arpaio repeatedly denied racial profiling, although the MCSO did not have a policy specifically barring the practice nor any reliable internal method of ensuring it was not taking place.[144][145]
Melendres v. Arpaio racial-profiling class-action lawsuit In 2007 Manuel De Jesus Ortega Melendres, a Mexican tourist who was a passenger in a car stopped in Cave Creek, Maricopa County, filed a lawsuit (Melendres v. Arpaio[142]) in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona against Sheriff Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and Maricopa County, claiming to have been detained unlawfully for nine hours as a result of racial profiling. The lawsuit was expanded when several individuals joined in with similar complaints.
The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and the law firm of Covington & Burling.
The lawsuit charged that Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) unlawfully instituted a pattern and practice of targeting Latino drivers and passengers in Maricopa County during traffic stops, and that MCSO's practices discriminated on the basis of race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and resulted in prolonged traffic stops and baseless extended detentions in violation of the Fourth Amendment.[146]
The case was initially assigned to U.S. District JudgeMary Murguia. In June 2009, in response to a motion filed by Arpaio's lawyers, she recused herself. The case was then assigned to U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow.
In his September 2009 deposition in the case, Arpaio testified he had never read the complaint in the case, was unfamiliar with the details of the allegations of racial profiling therein, didn't know the content of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and had never read the Department of Justice's guidelines concerning the use of race in investigations, which would have applied to his deputies in the field when they were still operating under a 287(g) program agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He insisted, however, that his deputies didn't profile based on ethnicity or race.[147]
In a December 2011 order, Judge Snow sanctioned Arpaio and the MCSO for acknowledged destruction of records in the case.[148][149][150] Judge Snow also stated:
"Sheriff Arpaio has made public statements that a fact finder could interpret as endorsing racial profiling, such as stating that, even lacking 287(g) authority, his officers can detain people based upon 'their speech, what they look like, if they look like they came from another country'... Moreover, he acknowledges that MCSO provides no training to reduce the risk of racial profiling, stating 'if we do not racial profile, why would I do a training program?'"[139] Judge Snow expanded the complaint into a class-action lawsuit, including all Latino drivers stopped by the Sheriff's Office since 2007, or who will be stopped in the future. He also enjoined the MCSO and all of its officers from "detaining any person based only on knowledge or reasonable belief, without more, that the person is unlawfully present within the United States, because as a matter of law such knowledge does not amount to a reasonable belief that the person either violated or conspired to violate the Arizona human smuggling statute, or any other state or federal criminal law." [139]On December 23, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow enjoined Arpaio and the MCSO from "detaining any person based only on knowledge or reasonable belief, without more, that the person is unlawfully present within the United States," halting anti-illegal immigration enforcement by MCSO in its current form.[151]
Arpaio filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The court upheld Judge Snow's injunction.[152]
Starting July 19, 2012, a six-day bench trial was held before Judge Snow.[153] On May 24, 2013, Judge Snow issued a decision finding the policies and practices of Arpaio and his office discriminatory, in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[154][155]
In June 2013, the DOJ filed a Statement of Interest in the case, recommending the appointment of an "independent monitor to assess and report on MCSO's compliance with the remedial measures ordered by the Court."[156] Adopting the DOJ's recommendation, in August 2013 Judge Snow stated in a court hearing that he would be assigning an independent monitor.[157]
In October 2013, Judge Snow issued a 59-page final order, giving the MCSO a list of reforms and requirements to institute and follow. In January 2014, Judge Snow appointed Robert Warshaw, former Rochester, New York, police chief, to act as monitor over the MCSO.[158]
Arpaio filed a limited appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, contesting the district court's order, insofar as it covered traffic stops outside of saturation patrols. The appeals court rejected this claim, upholding Judge Snow's inclusion of non-saturation patrols in his finding of racial profiling, and maintaining his rulings of corrective actions that included training and video recording of traffic stops. The appeals court did agree with Arpaio that the court-appointed monitor's oversight of internal investigations must only be related to the constitutional violations.[158][159]
Subsequent to Judge Snow's October 2013 order, Arpaio was videotaped during a training session for MCSO deputies, saying "we don't racially profile. I don't care what everybody says." As a result of this, and mischaracterizations of the court's order by MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Snow convened a hearing in March 2014 where he chastised Arpaio and Sheridan, saying they had "defied and even mocked his order to stop singling out Latinos during routine patrols, traffic stops and workplace raids."[160] He then ordered Arpaio's attorney to prepare a corrective letter setting the record straight, to be distributed to all MCSO deputies. Because of Arpaio's First Amendment free speech rights, the court did not require him to personally sign the corrective letter.[161]
Two days after the hearing, having just been rebuked for mocking the court's order, Arpaio sent out a fundraising letter complaining of "Rampant UNFOUNDED [sic] charges of racism and racial profiling in my office."[162] Judge Snow responded to this fundraising letter, stating:
"I want to be careful and say that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has used race '' has illegitimately used race as a factor, and to the extent that constitutes racial profiling, that's what it is and that's what I found and the sheriff is saying that people have wrongfully accused him of that as of last Wednesday, which was after the meeting in which he was here."So to the extent that I have a sheriff, who I'm not going to prohibit from mischaracterizing my order publicly, to the extent that I have an MCSO that is rife with a misunderstanding of my order and a mischaracterization of it when they are the people that have to understand it and implement it, I have grave concerns..."[163]On September 11, 2014, Judge Snow granted more than $4.4 million in attorney's fees to four legal organizations that litigated Melendres v. Arpaio. Attorney's fees were granted to the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, the ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF, and Covington & Burling.[164]
Investigation of Federal Judge and DOJ On June 4, 2014, the Phoenix New Times reported that Arpaio had initiated a criminal investigation of Judge Snow as well as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).[165]
The article quoted unnamed sources, including a former detective with the MCSO's Special Investigations Division, who claimed that the investigation was being run directly by Arpaio and was based on his belief that Judge Snow and the DOJ had engaged in a conspiracy against him.[165]
Arpaio neither confirmed nor denied the investigation to the Phoenix New Times.[165] However, in an April 2015 civil contempt hearing before Judge Snow, Arpaio testified that his attorney, Tim Casey, had hired a private investigator to investigate Judge Snow's wife, and that the MCSO had paid Dennis L. Montgomery to investigate whether the DOJ had been penetrating Arpaio's e-mails as well as those of local attorneys and judges, including Judge Snow. (This was called the "Seattle Operation.")[166][167] Subsequently, MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan testified that there was no investigation into Snow, his wife, or his family. As a result of the potential for ethical conflicts arising from Arpaio's and Sheridan's testimony, Casey withdrew as legal counsel for Arpaio and the MCSO.[168][169]
During a status conference on May 14, 2015, Judge Snow, reading from a prepared statement, said that documents unearthed from the "Seattle Operation" by the court-appointed monitor revealed "an attempt to construct a conspiracy involving this court" as well as other entities and individuals including the DOJ, former U.S. Attorney GeneralEric Holder, former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, and ex-MCSO Executive Chief Brian Sands, among others.[170] One week after this status conference, Arpaio's criminal defense attorney filed a motion to disqualify Judge Snow, claiming that he had moved from being an independent arbiter in the case into the role of investigating "issues involving his own family." Judge Snow temporarily halted further hearings in the case, but ultimately denied the motion and resumed holding hearings.[171][172][173][174][175] On August 7, 2015, Arpaio asked the Ninth Circuit to remove Judge Snow from the case.[176] On September 15, 2015, the Ninth Circuit denied Arpaio's request to remove Judge Snow, as well as Arpaio's related request to halt the lower court's proceedings.[177]
As part of the contempt proceedings, Judge Snow concluded Arpaio and others had made intentionally false statements about the efforts to investigate him.[178]
Justice Department investigation on racial profiling In June 2008, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division began an investigation of Arpaio amid accusations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures. The investigation was conducted under the authority of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination related to programs that receive federal funds.[179]
Lack of cooperation with Department of Justice On July 7, 2009, Arpaio held a press conference and announced that he would not cooperate with the investigation, either by providing documents or permitting interviews with personnel. On September 2, 2010, the Department of Justice filed suit against Arpaio[180] to compel his cooperation with the investigation. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department stated that it was unprecedented for an agency to refuse to cooperate with a Title VI investigation, and that this was the first time the Justice Department had sued to compel access to documents and facilities.[181][182][183] The suit was settled in June 2011, after Arpaio allowed federal officials to interview Sheriff's office employees and review hundreds of thousands of documents for the investigation.[184][185]
Findings of racial profiling On December 15, 2011, the Justice Department released their findings after a 3-year investigation of Arpaio's office amid complaints of racial profiling and a culture of bias at the agency's top level. The report stated that under Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has "a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos" that "reaches the highest levels of the agency."[186]
The Justice Department accused Arpaio of engaging in "unconstitutional policing" by unfairly targeting Latinos for detention and arrest, and retaliating against critics.[187] In the report, a Justice Department expert concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history.[188]
Loss of authority to identify illegal immigrants Based on the Justice Department report on discriminatory policing practices within the MCSO, on December 15, 2011, the United States Department of Homeland Security revoked the MCSO's federal authority to identify and detain illegal immigrants.[189]
United States v. Maricopa County, racial-profiling lawsuit On May 10, 2012, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in United States v. Maricopa County, et al (Case number 2:12-cv-981), filed suit against Arpaio, the MCSO, and Maricopa County, alleging that "The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio have engaged and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory police conduct directed at Latinos in Maricopa County and jail practices that unlawfully discriminate against Latino prisoners with limited English language skills."[143] The complaint included accusations that Arpaio and his staff forced women to sleep in their own menstrual blood, assaulted pregnant women, ignored rape, and criminalized being a Latino.[190]
The United States' claims in this suit encompassed, but were broader than, the unconstitutional discriminatory conduct that the Court in Melendres v. Arpaio found the MCSO to have engaged in concerning its immigration enforcement-related traffic stops.[156]
A DOJ representative said that the agency was left with no choice but to file suit after Arpaio's attorneys balked at a demand for a court-appointed monitor to ensure the sheriff's office complied with any settlement terms. Arpaio rejected the notion of a court-appointed monitor, and denied that the MCSO engaged in racial profiling.[191][192]
On June 15, 2015, Senior United States District JudgeRoslyn O. Silver of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona entered partial summary judgment for the DOJ, and against Arpaio, on the central racial-profiling allegations in the suit.[193] On July 15, Maricopa County's board of supervisors voted to settle the lawsuit.[194] The partial settlement, however, did not resolve the claims of discriminatory policing.[195]
Obama's birth certificate conspiracy theories On March 1, 2012, Arpaio and members of his Cold Case Posse held a news conference announcing their contention that President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate, released by the White House on April 27, 2011,[196] is a computer-generated forgery. Additionally, the Posse's six-month-long review included an examination of President Obama's Selective Service card and contended that it, also, is a forgery. Their claims were presented at that press conference and at a second press conference held on March 31, 2012.[197][198] The allegations regarding the birth certificate were repeated at a July 17, 2012, news conference, where Arpaio stated that his investigators are certain that Obama's long-form birth certificate is fraudulent.[199]
Some of the major claims presented by Arpaio at the July 17 news conference were subsequently shown to be false; specifically, the 1961 Vital Statistics Instruction Manual that Arpaio and his team claimed to possess contradicted what they claimed it said, and images shown by them, purportedly from that manual, were instead from computer specifications dated 1968 and 1969.[200]
In response to Arpaio's claims, Joshua A. Wisch, a special assistant to the Attorney General of Hawaii, said in a statement, "President Obama was born in Honolulu, and his birth certificate is valid. Regarding the latest allegations from a sheriff in Arizona, they are untrue, misinformed and misconstrue Hawaii law."[201] Arizona state officials, including Governor Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, also dismissed Arpaio's objections and accepted the validity of Obama's birth certificate.[202] Brewer also stated that Obama's mother's U.S. citizenship made him a citizen by jus sanguinis, regardless of where he was born.[203]
During September 2016, Arpaio claimed to be still investigating President Obama's birth certificate, stating, "We are looking at a forged document. Period."[204] On December 15, 2016, Arpaio held a news conference along with posse member Mike Zullo, detailing "9 points of forgery" supposedly found on the digital image of Obama's birth certificate.[205]
House Speaker Paul Ryan Stands Against Arpaio Pardon'...
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:14
Weasels gotta weasel. Jeff Flake, John McCain and now House Speaker Paul Ryan all stand in opposition to President Trump pardoning Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
More fuel for the Big Ugly:
Washington (CNN) '' House Speaker Paul Ryan disagrees with President Donald Trump's decision Friday to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his spokesman said Saturday.
''The Speaker does not agree with this decision,'' spokesman Doug Andres said in a statement. ''Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon.'' (read more)
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The political lynching of Sebastian Gorka
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:31
Friday marked Sebastian Gorka's last day at the White House. Democrats, progressives, and even many Republicans cheered. The Federalist published his resignation letter, although anonymous White House officials told the New York Times and Washington Post that he had been fired. The truth might lie in the middle: Chief of Staff John Kelly's reported decision to withdraw Gorka's clearance led Gorka to resign. Alas, few if any reporters were self-aware enough to recognize the cognitive dissonance: How could they have reported for months that Gorka lacked a clearance when, indeed, he had one all along?
Regardless, there was no shortage of criticism about Gorka. These centered on three broad themes:
Gorka was a right-wing extremist with ties to Neo-Nazi groups.
Gorka was not a real terrorism expert.
Gorka appeared on television too much.
Consider them in order:
First, the accusation that Gorka was a sympathizer with violent, fascist, Nazi-sympathizing groups in Hungary began when a left-wing blogger suggested that he wore a Vitezi Rend medal to the inaugural ball and that its display suggested ideological sympathy with neo-Nazis. Gorka responded to the accusation here. That the same blogger had earlier left the Center for American Progress under a cloud after Obama White House officials expressed concern at his and his colleagues' use of anti-Semitic dog whistles in targeting Jewish policymakers, again, was an irony lost on those who seized upon the story uncritically.
The story grew when The Forward, a Jewish website and publication with socialist roots, purported to uncover a video affirming Gorka's support for a Hungarian party subsequently accused of anti-Semitism. It subsequently emerged, however, that The Forward spliced the video to omit key portions in which Gorka warned against anti-Semitism or its flirting with anti-Semitic groups.
Here's the key point: While many progressives and opponents of the regime accept with certainty that Gorka is a Nazi, a white nationalist, or an extremist, they have not been able to find a single statement or essay by Gorka or account of his speeches or comments supporting such positions. Given the volume of his previous writing, that should have been a red flag. The Nazi accusation is about as logical as concluding that a picture of Gorka absent his glasses represents a secret endorsement of the Khmer Rouge.
The situation gets worse: Three Democratic senators '-- Richard Blumenthal, Dick Durban, and Ben Cardin '-- have seized upon the calumny to suggest the Justice Department consider whether Gorka should have his citizenship revoked.
This sets a dangerous precedent. Politics in Washington are poisonous, with extremists on both sides of debates losing civility and seeking to criminalize policy debate. Donald Trump was guilty of that as a candidate, and Mike Flynn's "lock her up" chants at the Republican National Convention were cringe-worthy, but threats to strip citizenship are a new low. Given the poison of dual loyalty accusations made by anti-Semites against Jews serving in public capacities, it is especially disturbing to hear Jewish-American senators seeming to use similar cards of insufficient loyalty to the United States against political opponents.
Second, what about the idea that Gorka was a non-expert? Long before Trump's surprise rise to the presidency, I had the privilege of hearing Gorka lecture at the Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany; to the FBI; at the U.S. Marine Corps University; and to U.S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg. To suggest that he was unknown is simply dishonest. Indeed, his lectures tended to receive rave reviews.
Here's what many proponents of the 'amateur' argument miss: The same charges many critics level at Gorka could just as easily apply to any other counter-terror specialist. Daniel Benjamin, who served as counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department during the Obama administration and worked on counter-terrorism during the Clinton administration at the National Security Council, got his start as a Time Magazine reporter. Francis Townsend, whom Condoleezza Rice picked as her terrorism advisor, got her start as a prosecutor focusing on organized crime.
Many of the academics who criticized Gorka as out of his depth at certain academic conferences would have or have had their theories ridiculed by practitioners such as the FBI and U.S Special Forces as out of touch with reality. There is also a touch of jealousy: Gorka has a New York Times best-selling book; they did not.
Even during the Obama administration, counter-terror practitioners reached out to Gorka. True, Gorka does not speak Arabic. Then again, some of the key go-to academics for those on the Left do not speak Arabic, either. Many CIA and State Department specialists have not mastered the language either. Gorka does have some experience in the Arab world, however, and especially in Egypt, its largest country. True, Gorka's Ph.D. came from a Hungarian university that may have lacked the rigor of the University of Chicago, Princeton, or Harvard but, here's an open secret about Washington, D.C.: Many policymakers pursue British Ph.Ds simply because the programs are short and less rigorous than American programs.
But, was Gorka inexpert? The "terrorism studies" field is young and amorphous. For any academic to try to constrain the bounds of debate will only relegate the field to irrelevancy. But, regardless, the sum of Gorka's experience compares well to those who preceded him, many of whom gained the expertise for which they are known today on the job.
Third, what about the notion that Gorka appeared too often on television and was too bellicose in his defense of the Trump administration? Gorka did appear in the media frequently, but he apparently did so with the permission and support of the president. Trump, for better or worse, has embraced a communications strategy radically different than those before him. The merits of Trump's twitter feed or the bellicosity of his surrogates toward the media has been well-covered.
The difference between Gorka and some other Trump administration officials appearing on television was that, like the policies or hate them, Gorka was effective. That some frequent talking heads criticized Gorka for the frequency of his appearances displayed a lack of self-awareness on their part. Still, it is true that Gorka's presence on television combined with his effectiveness transformed him into a lightning rod for so many opponents of Trump's policies.
It is possible to debate with Gorka with regard to political Islam and the ideological components of terrorism. It is also possible to disagree on the balance the Trump administration (like administrations before it) seeks between security and human rights.
These are the stuff of active policy debate. As for me, I am a "Never Trumper" and unrepentantly so. I continue to question Trump's character and, unlike many others who signed letters condemning Trump during the campaign, I never sought any position in his administration. Such political disagreement with the president, however, should never be a reason to amplify falsehood for the sake of gratuitous personal destruction. When senators seek to strip a loyal American of his citizenship or when celebrities such as Alyssa Milano use their platform to call Gorka an "unrepentant racist and nationalist," they appear to affirm in themselves many of the same personality traits they find most egregious in Trump.
Gorka, agree or disagree with him, was treated unfairly. He has become an example of how fringe bloggers and political hacks can advance falsehoods knowing that partisan blinders will prevent any critical assessment of their charges, no matter how bizarre.
Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.
Sebastian GorkaBlog ContributorsNazisJudaismDonald TrumpWhite HouseOpinionBeltway Confidential
Breaking: Sebastian Gorka Resigns From Trump Administration
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 06:39
Sebastian Gorka is resigning his post as Deputy Assistant to President Trump, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told The Federalist.
In a blunt resignation letter, the national security and counterterrorism expert expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the Trump administration. ''[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are '' for now '' ascendant within the White House,'' Gorka wrote. ''As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People's House.''
Gorka's letter expressed unhappiness with the direction the Trump administration's foreign policy has taken, as signaled by the president's recent speech on Afghanistan:
''Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will 'Make America Great Again,' have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week'...
''The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost'...
''Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.''
During his time in the Trump administration, Gorka focused on issues such as countering the Muslim Brotherhood, the crisis in Qatar, supporting efforts to draft a new long-term national security strategy, and combatting China's economic warfare. Before coming to the White House, Gorka was the Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair at Marine Corps University and also contributed to Breitbart News.
Gorka's tenure at the White House was marked by unusually vociferous attacks against him and his family by left-leaning media organizations and the Democratic Party. This includes personal attacks against his wife, mother, and son.
A source close to the White House said of his decision, ''This was more or less going to be a done deal when Bannon submitted his resignation. Not because he didn't have a protector, but because there is no point in having your life ruined every day if you're not going to get much accomplished.'' The same source said that what did change after Bannon left was that anti-Bannon factions began erecting bureaucratic road blocks to undermine Gorka internally.
The Forward has written dozens of attack pieces against Gorka, including several attempting to align him with Nazism. Most recently that publication retracted a story about his son's schoolwork. Gorka strenuously objected to allegations he had ties to Nazi groups in his family's home country of Hungary, where he had previously been involved in national politics. Even detractors eventually acknowledged the Nazi accusations were unfair smears.
In his letter, Gorka made clear that he believes in the promise of the Trump presidency despite being concerned about its present direction.
''Your presidency will prove to be one of the most significant events in modern American politics. November the 8th was the result of decades during which the political and media elites felt that they knew better than the people who elect them into office. They do not, and the MAGA platform allowed their voices to be heard,'' he wrote, adding, ''Millions of people believe in, and have chosen, you and your vision of Making America Great Again. They will help eventually rebalance this temporary reality.''
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The nuclear football is a lot like a Denny's menu
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:07
(CNN) Following President Donald Trump's speech in Arizona on Tuesday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on CNN voiced concerns about Trump's mental stability, particularly in relation to his access to the US nuclear arsenal. "The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary," Clapper said. "So there's very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary."
Wondering whether Clapper was exaggerating (or not), I reached out to an expert: Garrett Graff. Graff, a CNN contributor, is the author of "Raven Rock: The Inside Story of the US Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself -- While the Rest of Us Die." Our conversation, conducted via email and lightly edited for flow, is below.
Cillizza: Clapper said that he worries that "in a fit of pique, [Trump] decides to do something about Kim Jong Un, there's actually very little to stop him." How accurate is that?
Graff: It's entirely accurate -- at least once a launch order is given.
Obviously, the aides around the President could try to talk him out of it, if they disagreed with it, but our entire system is geared towards establishing whether a launch order is "valid" only insofar as whether it's actually coming from the President of the United States. There's a classified system of code words that communicate between the President and the person executing the launch order -- either at the Pentagon or the mountain bunker in Pennsylvania, Raven Rock, that serves as the alternate Pentagon -- that the person on the other end of the phone is the actual legitimate commander in chief. But, there's no check or balance in the system about whether it's "valid" to start a nuclear war. There's no second voice, like the defense secretary or chairman of Joint Chiefs, that has to OK a launch.
As bonkers as that may seem, it's a procedure that dates back to the Cold War, when we faced the Soviet Union with tens of thousands of nuclear warheads on hair-trigger alert. A president would have only about 15 minutes to respond to an attack -- perhaps even less -- so we devoted literally billions of dollars to building a system that could transmit a launch order as quickly as possible.
From the time that a president orders a launch, the first ICBMs would leave their silos about four minutes later.
Cillizza: Let's talk nuclear Football. Who carries it? How is that person chosen? What does it look like? What does it contain?
Graff: The Football -- the nickname comes from the first nuclear war plan, code-named DROPKICK -- is a black briefcase carried by a rotating series of military aides who are never more than a few steps from the President. It's easy to forget it's there, except when you see a guest at Mar-a-Lago snap a selfie with the military aide -- but that aide is always present. When the President gets on an elevator, so does the Football. When you see the President driving his golf cart around his club, there's a golf cart right behind him with the military aide and the Football. During Jimmy Carter's presidency, when he went rafting out west, the Football was in a raft right behind him on the river.
But contrary to popular culture, the Football doesn't have some fancy retina scanner or big red button -- the only red button in Trump's life is the one on his Oval Office desk that orders a Diet Coke from the White House Mess. The Football is actually full of binders and plans for war, so that a President can flip through it and decide what kind of nuclear war he wants to launch -- then he communicates that order to the Pentagon or Raven Rock, where it's promptly executed. There's a visual guide as part of the Football that one military aide referred to as the "Denny's Menu" of nuclear war. But other aides have darkly joked there are really just three options: Rare, Medium and Well-Done.
Cillizza: Can the holder of the Football refuse to turn it over to the president? Can anyone in the chain of command do that?
Graff: Sure, he could try, but it'd be both illegal and go against all the traditions of the US military. The entire launch system is geared towards executing a unilateral launch order as quickly as possible. And the president could instantly fire and remove anyone in the chain of the command who tried to block, slow or countermand his order -- up to and including the defense secretary.
That said, we do know of one instance where this happened: During the final days of Richard Nixon's presidency, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger quietly tried to trim the presidential launch authority. Aides were worried that Nixon was drinking heavily and (was) despondent, and they feared what he might do. He even threatened a group of congressmen that he might launch a nuclear war.
So Schlesinger later said -- and we only have his word to go on for this story -- that he told the Pentagon to double-check with him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger first if they received a presidential launch order. Then, in the literal final hours [of Nixon's presidency], the White House actually took the Football away from Nixon. It didn't travel aboard Air Force One as Nixon began to fly home and stayed instead with the incoming commander in chief, Gerald Ford. But all of that was entirely extralegal, and there's no technical process to execute such a move.
Cillizza: How -- and could -- the protocol around the use of the nuclear codes be changed?
Graff: There's actually legislation pending on Capitol Hill right now to insert a check on the presidential launch authority. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced legislation in January that would prohibit a president from launching a first strike without a congressional declaration of war.
What's strange too about the nuclear launch procedures is that at all other levels, there's the "two-man rule." Launching nuclear weapons in a missile silo, aboard a bomber, or aboard a submarine always requires both the commander and the number two to concur that a launch order is valid (e.g., that the code to launch is correct and authorized).
Working around nuclear weapons are always considered "No Lone Zones," where people have to work in teams of two to ensure that one person is never alone with a bomb. It seems strange that there's no similar "two-man rule" for the actual launch order. Even if you didn't want to include Congress, it would make sense for a defense secretary, vice president or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to have to concur that a president had a good reason to launch an attack.
Cillizza: Finish this sentence: "The most likely outcome if Trump called for a nuclear response to North Korea would be ________." Now, explain.
Graff: The most likely outcome if Trump called for a nuclear response to North Korea would be that nuclear missiles launched, and likely very quickly. As much as you may want to believe that (Secretary of Defense) Jim Mattis, (White House Chief of Staff) John Kelly or (National Security Adviser) H.R. McMaster has some secret plan to stop an ill-conceived strike, it's unlikely under our current system that the military chain of command would do anything other than execute the launch order as quickly as possible.
North Korea is only ever about 30 minutes away from nuclear destruction -- which, you could say, is precisely why North Korea is trying hard to rapidly build its own capability and ensure that it could deter such an attack by threatening the United States. That's the theory, after all, that kept nuclear war at bay throughout the Cold War.
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Taibbi: Blame Media for Creating World Dumb Enough for Trump - Rolling Stone
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:40
The craziest part of Donald Trump's 77-minute loon-a-thon in Phoenix earlier this week came when he rehashed his shtick about the networks turning off live coverage of his speech. Trump seemed to really believe they were shutting the cameras off because "the very dishonest media" was so terrified of his powerful words.
"They're turning those lights off so fast!" he said. "CNN doesn't want its failing viewership to see this!"
Trump is wrong about a lot of things, but it's hard to be more wrong about any one thing than he was about this particular point.
No news director would turn off the feed in the middle of a Trump-meltdown. This presidency has become the ultimate ratings bonanza. Trump couldn't do better numbers if he jumped off Mount Kilimanjaro carrying a Kardashian.
This was confirmed this week by yet another shruggingly honest TV executive '' in this case Tony Maddox, head of CNN International. Maddox said CNN is doing business at "record levels." He hinted also that the monster ratings they're getting have taken the sting out of being accused of promoting fake news.
"[Trump] is good for business," Maddox said. "It's a glib thing to say. But our performance has been enhanced during this news period." Maddox, speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, added that most of the outlets that have been singled out by Trump are doing a swimming business. "If you look at the groups that Trump has primarily targeted: CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Saturday Night Live, Stephen Colbert," he said, "every single one of those has seen a quite remarkable growth in their viewing figures, in their sales figures."
Everyone hisses whenever they hear quotes like these. They recall the infamous line from last year by CBS chief Les Moonves, about how Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damn good for CBS." Moonves was even cheekier than Maddox. He laughed and added, "The money's rolling in, and this is fun. They're not even talking about issues, they're throwing bombs at each other, and I think the advertising reflects that."
For more than two years now, it's been obvious that Donald Trump is a disaster on almost every level except one '' he's great for the media business. Most of us who do this work have already gone through the process of working out just how guilty we should or should not feel about this.
Many execs and editors '' and Maddox seems to fall into this category '' have convinced themselves that the ratings and the money are a kind of cosmic reward for covering Trump responsibly. But deep down, most of us know that's a lie. Donald Trump gets awesome ratings for the same reason Fear Factor made money feeding people rat-hair tortilla chips: nothing sells like a freak show. If a meteor crashes into jello night at the Playboy mansion, it doesn't matter if you send Edward R. Murrow to do the standup. Some things sell themselves.
The Trump presidency is like a diabolical combination of every schlock eyeball-grabbing formula the networks have ever deployed. It's Battle of the Network Stars meets Wrestlemania meets Survivor meets the Kursk disaster. It's got the immediacy of a breaking news crash, with themes of impending doom, conflict, celebrity meltdown, anger, racism, gender war, everything.
Trump even sells on the level of those Outbrain click-addicting photos of plastic surgery failures. With his mystery comb-over and his great rolls of restrained blubber and the infamous tales of violent fights with his ex over a failed scalp-reduction procedure, Trump on top of being Hitler and Hulk Hogan from a ratings perspective is also a physical monster, the world's very own bearded-lady tent.
Trump's monstrousness is ironic, since the image of Trump as the media's very own Frankenstein's monster has been used and re-used in the last years. Many in the business are of the opinion that, having created Trump and let him loose in the village, we in the press now have a responsibility to hunt him down with aggressive investigative reporting, to make the world safe again.
That might indeed be a good idea. But that take also implies that slaying the monster will fix the problem. Are we sure that's true?
Reporters seem to think so, and keep trying to find the magic formula. Just this week, staffers at the Wall Street Journal rebelled against editor-in-chief Gerard Baker. Baker, who has long been accused of being too soft on Trump, blasted his people for going too negative on the president in their coverage of the Arizona speech. He sent around a letter asking staff to "stick to reporting what [Trump] said," rather than "packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism."
Reporters fought back by (apparently) leaking the memo to the rival New York Times. This followed an incident in which a transcript of Baker's recent interview with Trump was leaked to Politico earlier this month. In it, Baker mentions being glad to have seen Ivanka Trump in Southampton, and small-talks with Trump about travel and golf. The implication here is that it's improper or unseemly for a newspaper editor to have a chummy relationship with this kind of a president.
And it is, sometimes. Reporters who should be challenging presidents and candidates are pretty much always cheating the public when they turn interviews into mutual back rub sessions.
But these intramural ethical wars within our business may just be deflections that keep us from facing bigger problems '' like, for instance, the fact that we have been systematically making the entire country more stupid for decades.
We learned long ago in this business that dumber and more alarmist always beats complex and nuanced. Big headlines, cartoonish morality, scary criminals at home and foreign menaces abroad, they all sell. We decimated attention spans, rewarded hot-takers over thinkers, and created in audiences powerful addictions to conflict, vitriol, fear, self-righteousness, and race and gender resentment.
There isn't a news executive alive low enough to deny that we use xenophobia and racism to sell ads. Black people on TV for decades were almost always shirtless and chased by cops, and the "rock-throwing Arab" photo was a staple of international news sections even before 9/11. And when all else fails in the media world, just show more cleavage somewhere, and ratings go up, every time.
Donald Trump didn't just take advantage of these conditions. He was created in part by them. What's left of Trump's mind is like a parody of the average American media consumer: credulous, self-centered, manic, sex-obsessed, unfocused, and glued to stories that appeal to his sense of outrage and victimhood.
We've created a generation of people like this: anger addicts who can't read past the first page of a book. This is why the howls of outrage from within the ranks of the news media about Trump's election ring a little bit false. What the hell did we expect would happen? Who did we think would rise to prominence in our rage-filled, hyper-stimulated media environment? Sensitive geniuses?
We spent years selling the lowest common denominator. Now the lowest common denominator is president. How can it be anything but self-deception to pretend this is an innocent coincidence?
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NWO
U.S. votes against anti-Nazi resolution at U.N. - CBS News
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:01
UNITED NATIONS -- The United States says it was one of three countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism over freedom of speech issues and concerns that Russia was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors.
The resolution entitled "Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," was approved by the U.N.'s human rights committee on Friday with 131 in favor, 3 against with 48 abstentions.
Ukraine and Palau were the other no votes.
"We condemn without reservation all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance or hatred at home and around the world," said Deputy U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council Stefanie Amadeo, explaining the U.S. vote.
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"However, due to this resolution's overly narrow scope and politicized nature, and because it calls for unacceptable limits on the fundamental freedom of expression, the United States cannot support it," Amadeo said.
She said the U.S. also disagrees with the resolution's willing to curb freedom of expression even while sharing its concerns about the rise of hate speech around the world.
"This resolution's recommendations to limit freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to peaceful assembly contravene the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and must be opposed," Amadeo said.
Unlike resolutions in the Security Council, resolutions in General Assembly committees are not considered legally binding.
(C) 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Civil War
Abraham Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:27
Horace Greeley
Library of Congress
Written during the heart of the Civil War, this is one of Abraham Lincoln's most famous letters. Greeley, editor of the influential New York Tribune, had just addressed an editorial to Lincoln called "The Prayer of Twenty Millions," making demands and implying that Lincoln's administration lacked direction and resolve.President Lincoln wrote his reply when a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation already lay in his desk drawer. His response revealed his concentration on preserving the Union. The letter, which received acclaim in the North, stands as a classic statement of Lincoln's constitutional responsibilities. A few years after the president's death, Greeley wrote an assessment of Lincoln. He stated that Lincoln did not actually respond to his editorial but used it instead as a platform to prepare the public for his "altered position" on emancipation.
Executive Mansion,
Washington, August 22, 1862.
Hon. Horace Greeley:
Dear Sir.
I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.
Yours,
A. Lincoln.
Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler et al.
25 fo 45
Psychiatrists tell Congress Donald Trump is 'a clear and present danger' to the world
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 15:32
A group of psychiatrists has written to Congress to warn Donald Trump poses a "clear and present danger" to the world.
Among them is Dr Bandy Lee, of Yale University, who is also reportedly consulting with Democratic members of Congress on setting up an expert panel to give advice on the President's mental health.
She is concerned by Mr Trump's "dangerousness", Dr Lee told USA Today.
The group's letter, sent to members of both parties, said: "It no longer takes a psychiatrist to recognise the alarming patterns of impulsive, reckless, and narcissistic behaviour '-- regardless of diagnosis '-- that, in the person of President Trump, put the world at risk.
"We now find ourselves in a clear and present danger, especially concerning North Korea and the President's command of the US nuclear arsenal."
It comes after Democrats proposed creating an 11-member, cross-party Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity which would be responsible for examining the US president's mental and physical health.
First tabled by Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin, and now backed by more than two dozen members of the House, the bill would see Mr Trump or any other US president forced from the Oval Office is he or she is deemed to be mentally or physically unfit for the role.
Discussion of Mr Trump's fitness to lead has intensified in the days since his extraordinary address to supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.
The President blasted "damned dishonest" journalists and took aim at both the state's Republican senators in a rambling speech, having abandoned his teleprompters.
He also revisited his various statements in the wake of far-right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, reading portions to prove he had condemned white supremacists and had been misrepresented by the media.
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Ministry of Truthiness
Dress more provocatively, newswomen are often told
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 14:01
Should a TV anchorwoman be required to dress for work in a cocktail dress? Or stilettos? What about body-hugging tops?
The always-simmering wardrobe issue flared recently when Heather Unruh, the longtime WCVB-TV anchor who abruptly resigned last fall, told New England Living TV that ''Women are 'encouraged' to dress more provocatively than I feel is appropriate for delivering news.''
It is no revelation that TV news personalities work in a field where looks and appearance matter, but many woman in broadcasting say that pressures to dress sexier for the camera have been ratcheting up for at least a decade and have come to a point that they can seem pervasive.
One broadcaster in Boston, who spoke to the Globe on the condition of anonymity for fear of damaging her career, said management at her station has told women to wear ''tighter, smaller, shorter, more revealing clothes.''
''What you don't see on TV is that many times women have clothespins in the back to make [their clothes] tighter.''
Asked who is behind the pinning, she described it as a ''self-reinforcing situation,'' in which less prominent anchors, hoping to move up, emulate provocatively dressed anchors. ''It's a way of getting attention,'' she said.
Almost no one in the business wants to go on the record to discuss what form the encouragement takes. They're afraid of losing their jobs or ruining professional relationships.
But off the record, current and former female broadcasters in Boston tell stories about wardrobe consultants hired by station management pushing clothing that some on-air talent don't want to wear; women crying in the makeup room because they feel pressured to dress a certain way; a modestly dressed anchor being asked to dress like a sexier new colleague who wore her skirts short and her tops unbuttoned.
One former local on-air personality told the Globe she was once called into her news director's office and told the blazer she had worn the day before wasn't shapely enough. ''He said it was 'too boxy,' '' she said.
The journalist said she shot back, letting him know his critique was inappropriate and offensive but didn't report the incident.
''Honestly, I didn't feel the culture would support me complaining, so I didn't go beyond him,'' she said.
Much of what goes on is more subtle, she said. ''It's not like there's a casting couch. No one would put up with that. This is so murky, because appearance is part of your job. They can be very subjective about how you move up and down the ladder.''
Another local journalist was told to lose weight and wear Spanx, a modern girdle. ''And I wasn't the only one,'' she said.
In an interview with the Globe, Unruh emphasized that her remarks were about industry trends and that she was not singling out her former station, WCVB.
For their part, the local stations e-mailed the Globe with essentially the same message: We want our journalists to dress professionally.
WCVB-TV: ''Nobody has ever been asked to dress prov­ocatively. Our journalists . . . make their own wardrobe choices. . . . ''
Fox 25: ''We encourage all our anchors and reporters to always have a professionally tailored look. . . . We want our viewers to pay attention to the stories they report on and not the way that they dress. . . . ''
WHDH-TV: ''We have contemporary anchors who pick their own wardrobes. We feel all of them are appropriately dressed at all times.''
WBZ-TV: ''Our focus is delivering the most accurate, reliable, and compelling local newscast in the market.''
Terry Ann Knopf, author of ''The Golden Age of Boston Television,'' and a former TV critic, blames the alluring outfits in part on male executives who are playing the ''sex'' card in competitive times.
''It's what's called 'the male gaze,' in which on-air women continued to be sexualized,'' she said. ''It has become a new sexism which, in many ways, is not all that different from the old sexism.''
Andrea Kremer, a multiple Emmy Award-winning journalist, recalled that old sexism and how it played out for her on a 103-degree day in Chicago in 1989 while covering a breaking story.
Seeking feedback after a great day of reporting, she asked her boss how she did. ''You wore a sleeveless dress,'' he said. In those days, it was a bad thing.
Fast-forward almost 30 years, and it's still all about the arms, only now they're supposed to be on display.
''The problem is that if the people who run your network want you to dress a certain way, you may not have a choice,'' said Kremer, who teaches a course on interviewing at Boston University.
''Until we have women in the position to hire, you will get men who want to hire women they couldn't get dates with in high school,'' she said.
Lawsuits alleging gender-related discrimination or sexual harassment in the TV workplace have been piling up at media outlets ranging from The Weather Channel to Fox News, where they led to the toppling of chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes.
As blatant as the sexism seems on TV news, where men simply wear suits, Deborah Pine, executive director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University, says wardrobe problems are ''rampant'' in other industries, too, if not as visible.
''Are you familiar with the London case of the receptionist who was sent home for not wearing high heels?'' she asked.
(She was referring to the 2015 case of Nicola Thorp, a British woman who fought back with a petition calling for a law that would make it illegal for firms to require women to wear heels. She gathered more than 150,000 signatures, but ultimately no law was passed.)
''What concerns me,'' Pine said, ''is the underlying message telling women and young girls that appearance is more important than experience and skills or thoughts or voice.
''It can have a significant impact on how a woman views her own qualities and career prospects,'' she said. ''It's one of many micro-aggressions women face.''
As hard as it is to imagine in today's TV news, where reporters wear dangling earrings or nightclub-style makeup, it wasn't always this way.
Tory Ryden, an anchor at Fox 25 from 1996 to 2002, and now the host of the ''Positively Maine'' radio show, recalled the message from a wardrobe consultant hired by her former station who emphasized the importance of dressing well but not in a distracting manner.
''You are delivering the news,'' she told us. ''The idea is not for you to compete with the news.''
Beth Teitell can be reached at beth.teitell@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethteitell.
DPRK
'Safer than London!' North Korea opens door to Russian tourists | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:50
Thu Aug 24, 2017 / 10:23 AM EDT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - North Korea has opened its doors to Russian tourists, issuing a license for the first travel agency in Moscow to promise clients "full immersion" in the nation's culture and enjoyment "safer than an evening walk in London".
NKOREAN.RU, a Russian company licensed by North Korea's government, offers organized tours for groups of up to 10 people or individuals "to show the travelers the multi-faceted life of this most closed of countries".
Guests to North Korea must necessarily be "checked" before their trip and will always be accompanied by a guide who will monitor the "adequate behavior of the tourist and guarantee his safety." Pictures of strategic and military facilities are banned and long talks with locals "are not recommended".
North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and dozens of missile tests since the beginning of last year, significantly raising tension on the heavily militarized Korean peninsula and in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Two tests of inter-continental ballistic missiles in July triggered a new round of tougher global sanctions. Faced with economic problems made harder by multiple sanctions, the Pyongyang government is keen to develop tourism to earn cash.
The most pricey tour, 15 days "full immersion in the culture of North Korea" costing 118,090 rubles ($1,997), includes visits to a farm, a mineral water factory, a Buddhist temple, walks in the mountains and an introduction to national cuisine. Visits to numerous museums to founding leader Kim Il-Sung are also on offer.
Other less demanding tours include relaxation on a beach, an aviation show and even a beer festival.
It is unclear how popular these trips will be among Russians who have already developed a fondness for visiting Europe and the affordable resorts of Turkey and Thailand.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Ralph Boulton)
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2TTH
Jay Thomas Dead: 'Murphy Brown,' 'Cheers' Actor Was 69 | Hollywood Reporter
Thu, 24 Aug 2017 21:34
Jay Thomas, the good-natured comic actor who starred on the sitcoms Murphy Brown and Cheers, has died. He was 69.
Don Buchwald, his longtime agent and friend, reported his death due to cancer to The New York Daily News. His publicist, Tom Estey, would not divulge when or where Thomas died when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.
Thomas played the obnoxious TV talk-show host Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen's on-again, off-again boyfriend) on CBS' Murphy Brown from 1989-98 '-- winning a pair of Emmys '-- after his stint as Rhea Perlman's husband Eddie LeBec, a player with the Boston Bruins, on NBC's Cheers. On the latter, his character winds up appearing in an ice show and gets killed by a Zamboni.
Thomas also starred on his own sitcom, playing an egotistical sportswriter opposite Susan Dey and then Annie Potts on CBS' Love and War, a 1992-95 series created by Murphy Brown's Diane English.
Thomas often played loud, sleazy types: He recurred on Showtime's Ray Donovan as Marty Grossman, the operator of a salacious TMZ-like website.
For years, Thomas appeared on David Letterman's late-night talk show during Christmas season and told an entertaining, never-gets-old story centered on Clayton Moore, star of TV's The Lone Ranger. He and Letterman also took turns throwing a football, trying to dislodge a meatball from the top of a Christmas tree.
On the big screen, Thomas played the Easter Bunny in the Santa Clause movies released in 2002 and 2006 and appeared in such films as Legal Eagles (1986), Straight Talk (1992), A Smile Like Yours (1997), Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) '-- as football coach Bill Meister '-- Dragonfly (2002) and Labor Pains (2009).
A native of Kermit, Texas, who was raised in New Orleans, Thomas got his start in radio as a high school football announcer for the Rutherford High Rams in Panama City, Fla.
He worked at stations in Panama City; Pensacola, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Nashville; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Charlotte, N.C., where he earned nicknames like "The Mouth of the South," "The Scorpion" and "The Prince of Darkness."
Thomas moved to New York for a job at the FM station 99X and then did stand-up comedy at the Improv and acted in off-Broadway plays. He got his start on television in 1979 as Remo DaVinci, the co-owner of a New York deli, on ABC's Mork & Mindy. He also hosted a radio show in Los Angeles and, most recently, had a daily gig with SiriusXM.
Appearing as an annual Christmas guest alongside Letterman "has been fun," he said in 2014. "I've always wanted to be one of those guys on late-night talk shows who everybody wants to see. Like on Carson, when [Don] Rickles would come out. I became that guy. And I love football, so my two big dreams were totally realized."
Thomas first picked off the meatball in 1998 when then-New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde tried the stunt but failed.
About that Lone Ranger story: Thomas was a radio host with big hair in Charlotte in the early '70s, and he and his producer offered to give Moore '-- wearing his crime-fighter costume and mask for an appearance at a car dealership '-- a ride to the airport. Thomas and the producer had just gotten stoned, he said.
On the way, a car backed into their Volvo during a traffic jam and fled. Thomas chased the vehicle, then confronted the other driver '-- who denied anything had happened '-- and told him he was going to call the cops.
The guy took one look at Thomas and his producer and said, "Oh really, who do you think they are going to believe, you two hippie freaks or me?" At this point, Moore emerged from the backseat and said, "They'll believe me, citizen."
Survivors include his wife Sally and sons Sam, Max and J.T.
Agenda 2030
Here's what you need to know about Hurricane Harvey | The Texas Tribune
Thu, 24 Aug 2017 22:09
As Hurricane Harvey barrels toward the Texas coast, Texans are bracing for extreme flooding and potential damage to their communities. Harvey is currently a Category 1 hurricane, with winds around 80 miles per hour '-- but it could become nearly a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 125 miles per hour, by the time it makes landfall this weekend.
A hurricane hasn't hit Texas soil since 2008, and the coastal region's surging population and booming oil industry '-- coupled with past weather events '-- are raising concerns that the state is unprepared. Here's what you need to know:
What's happened so far
Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for 30 Texas counties and has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety's State Operations Center to up its readiness level before Harvey hits. Abbott has also announced he's getting briefed on the hurricane at the center on Friday morning.
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Some Texans along the coast have been asked to move inland or seek higher ground ahead of this weekend; on South Padre Island, people are loading up on water and filling sandbags to protect vulnerable homes and businesses.
The city of Port Aransas issued a mandatory evacuation Thursday, and so did Calhoun County '-- a strip of land along the coast that more than 20,000 people call home. Brazoria County, which has a population of around 340,000 residents, has ordered a mandatory evacuation as well '-- but only for people living on the Gulf side of the Intracoastal Canal. The cities of Galveston and Corpus Christi called for voluntary evacuations Thursday afternoon.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi issued one of its own on Wednesday, and the University of Houston has announced it's closing campus for the weekend. School districts in Houston are considering canceling the first day of classes Monday, and New Braunfels ISD just announced it was delaying its first day of school due to Harvey.
Some are already comparing Harvey to Allison, a 2001 tropical storm whose heavy and prolonged rainfall made for one of the most expensive and deadly weather events in recent Southeast Texas history.
Is the Texas coast ready?
The Texas Tribune and ProPublica asked this same question for a major investigative project last year '-- and found some uncomfortable answers. Houston, the largest city in the state, is seriously ill-prepared.
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If a hurricane hits the thousands of storage tanks '-- ones that hold the world's largest concentrations of oil, gases and chemicals '-- that line the Houston Ship Channel just right, more than 25 feet of water could shoot up the channel. And if even one tank ruptured because of it, hundreds of thousands of people could be impacted.
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, gushing floods caused one Houston Ship Channel refinery's oil tank to rupture '-- and sent oil into more than 1,700 homes a mile away. The Houston area has schools and neighborhoods that are less than a mile from large refineries and oil storage terminals.
On top of those Ship Channel fears, unchecked development has continued in Houston, creating economic success for some '-- but upping the flood risk for everyone.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bushasked local and state leaders in June to urge the Trump administration to fund a coastal barrier system for Texas. Protecting the state's coast was his agency's no. 1 priority this year, he said, adding, ''We are just as vulnerable to a major storm today as we were in 2008 '-- and that's bad news.''
With voluntary evacuations beginning, traffic could be a nightmare
Southeast Texas' booming population, paired with mandatory evacuations, could bring the state back to the Hurricane Rita and Ike days, when traffic jams filled some of Texas' busiest highways as people sought safer ground. It's possible that another traffic nightmare could precede what's in store this weekend, especially as people along the coast head up to Dallas, Austin or San Antonio.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Texas Department of Transportation said it hadn't yet turned some highways in the state into one-way roads to speed evacuations . The agency will only do so once there are mandatory evacuations.
''The time to leave is during voluntary evacuations because once it becomes mandatory, there's going to be a lot of traffic,'' said TxDOT spokeswoman Veronica Beyer. ''If it does get to the point where we are having mandatory evacuations and we have to implement contraflow, it is going to take a good length of time.''
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Officials were encouraging people to fill up gas tanks in case local officials began mandatory clearings. The transportation agency plans to end all ferry service to and from Port Aransas on Friday morning.
''You've got until tomorrow late morning to use the ferries,'' Beyer said.
How Texans are reacting so far
Some of you have shared your experience with past hurricanes and tropical storms on Twitter. @cottagelmagin said, "I remember Alicia... no power for 2 weeks, massive tree cleanup and miserable humidity." Another user, @Comeonpurpletx, said, "Alicia destroyed my house; Ike flooded family's; worried about flooding here in Clear Lake w/ Harvey." @TheMermaidAg: "Ike hit 2 weeks into my freshman year at A&M Galveston. We evacuated and spent the semester in College Station during recovery." And state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, weighed in, too: "I remember 1 hurricane when we opened the school gym 4 pple to stay in. My dad was principal & the school was all there was."
Tweet us your experiences and tell us how you're preparing for Harvey this weekend with #MyTexasTake. Stay safe this weekend.
Take this information with you into the weekend
Brandon Formby and Shannon Najmabadi contributed to this report.
Read related Tribune coverage:
Houston is the nation's fourth-largest city and home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the United States. But many worry it's a sitting duck when the next big hurricane comes. This multimedia project, done in partnership with ProPublica, looks at the dangers for the region. [Full story]
Rapid development continues in Houston, creating some economic gains but also contributing to flood risks. This project, done in partnership with ProPublica, looks at those risks and the debate over what to do. [Full story]
Check out our seven-part series done in partnership with The Texas Tribune and the Beaumont Enterprise on the "Road From Rita." [Full story]
The death of the internal combustion engine
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:14
''HUMAN inventiveness'...has still not found a mechanical process to replace horses as the propulsion for vehicles,'' lamented Le Petit Journal, a French newspaper, in December 1893. Its answer was to organise the Paris-Rouen race for horseless carriages, held the following July. The 102 entrants included vehicles powered by steam, petrol, electricity, compressed air and hydraulics. Only 21 qualified for the 126km (78-mile) race, which attracted huge crowds. The clear winner was the internal combustion engine. Over the next century it would go on to power industry and change the world.
The big end
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But its days are numbered. Rapid gains in battery technology favour electric motors instead (see Briefing). In Paris in 1894 not a single electric car made it to the starting line, partly because they needed battery-replacement stations every 30km or so. Today's electric cars, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can do much better. The Chevy Bolt has a range of 383km; Tesla fans recently drove a Model S more than 1,000km on a single charge. UBS, a bank, reckons the ''total cost of ownership'' of an electric car will reach parity with a petrol one next year'--albeit at a loss to its manufacturer. It optimistically predicts electric vehicles will make up 14% of global car sales by 2025, up from 1% today. Others have more modest forecasts, but are hurriedly revising them upwards as batteries get cheaper and better'--the cost per kilowatt-hour has fallen from $1,000 in 2010 to $130-200 today. Regulations are tightening, too. Last month Britain joined a lengthening list of electric-only countries, saying that all new cars must be zero-emission by 2050.
The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long. The first death rattles of the internal combustion engine are already reverberating around the world'--and many of the consequences will be welcome.
To gauge what lies ahead, think how the internal combustion engine has shaped modern life. The rich world was rebuilt for motor vehicles, with huge investments in road networks and the invention of suburbia, along with shopping malls and drive-through restaurants. Roughly 85% of American workers commute by car. Carmaking was also a generator of economic development and the expansion of the middle class, in post-war America and elsewhere. There are now about 1bn cars on the road, almost all powered by fossil fuels. Though most of them sit idle, America's car and lorry engines can produce ten times as much energy as its power stations. The internal combustion engine is the mightiest motor in history.
But electrification has thrown the car industry into turmoil. Its best brands are founded on their engineering heritage'--especially in Germany. Compared with existing vehicles, electric cars are much simpler and have fewer parts; they are more like computers on wheels. That means they need fewer people to assemble them and fewer subsidiary systems from specialist suppliers. Carworkers at factories that do not make electric cars are worried that they could be for the chop. With less to go wrong, the market for maintenance and spare parts will shrink. While today's carmakers grapple with their costly legacy of old factories and swollen workforces, new entrants will be unencumbered. Premium brands may be able to stand out through styling and handling, but low-margin, mass-market carmakers will have to compete chiefly on cost.
Assuming, of course, that people want to own cars at all. Electric propulsion, along with ride-hailing and self-driving technology, could mean that ownership is largely replaced by ''transport as a service'', in which fleets of cars offer rides on demand. On the most extreme estimates, that could shrink the industry by as much as 90%. Lots of shared, self-driving electric cars would let cities replace car parks (up to 24% of the area in some places) with new housing, and let people commute from far away as they sleep'--suburbanisation in reverse.
Even without a shift to safe, self-driving vehicles, electric propulsion will offer enormous environmental and health benefits. Charging car batteries from central power stations is more efficient than burning fuel in separate engines. Existing electric cars reduce carbon emissions by 54% compared with petrol-powered ones, according to America's National Resources Defence Council. That figure will rise as electric cars become more efficient and grid-generation becomes greener. Local air pollution will fall, too. The World Health Organisation says that it is the single largest environmental health risk, with outdoor air pollution contributing to 3.7m deaths a year. One study found that car emissions kill 53,000 Americans each year, against 34,000 who die in traffic accidents.
Autos and autocracies
And then there is oil. Roughly two-thirds of oil consumption in America is on the roads, and a fair amount of the rest uses up the by-products of refining crude oil to make petrol and diesel. The oil industry is divided about when to expect peak demand; Royal Dutch Shell says that it could be little more than a decade away. The prospect will weigh on prices long before then. Because nobody wants to be left with useless oil in the ground, there will be a dearth of new investment, especially in new, high-cost areas such as the Arctic. By contrast, producers such as Saudi Arabia, with vast reserves that can be tapped cheaply, will be under pressure to get pumping before it is too late: the Middle East will still matter, but a lot less than it did. Although there will still be a market for natural gas, which will help generate power for all those electric cars, volatile oil prices will strain countries that depend on hydrocarbon revenues to fill the national coffers. When volumes fall, the adjustment will be fraught, particularly where the struggle for power has long been about controlling oil wealth. In countries such as Angola and Nigeria where oil has often been a curse, the diffusion of economic clout may bring immense benefits.
Meanwhile, a scramble for lithium is under way. The price of lithium carbonate has risen from $4,000 a tonne in 2011 to more than $14,000. Demand for cobalt and rare-earth elements for electric motors is also soaring. Lithium is used not just to power cars: utilities want giant batteries to store energy when demand is slack and release it as it peaks. Will all this make lithium-rich Chile the new Saudi Arabia? Not exactly, because electric cars do not consume it; old lithium-ion batteries from cars can be reused in power grids, and then recycled.
The internal combustion engine has had a good run'--and could still dominate shipping and aviation for decades to come. But on land electric motors will soon offer freedom and convenience more cheaply and cleanly. As the switch to electric cars reverses the trend in the rich world towards falling electricity consumption, policymakers will need to help, by ensuring that there is enough generating capacity'--in spite of many countries' broken system of regulation. They may need to be the midwives to new rules and standards for public recharging stations, and the recycling of batteries, rare-earth motors and other components in ''urban mines''. And they will have to cope with the turmoil as old factory jobs disappear.
Driverless electric cars in the 21st century are likely to improve the world in profound and unexpected ways, just as vehicles powered by internal combustion engines did in the 20th. But it will be a bumpy road. Buckle up.
This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline "Roadkill"
Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row - Telegraph
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:00
Mr Holland, of Northampton, complained to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) last week after the leaked emails included several Freedom of Information requests he had submitted to the CRU, and scientists' private responses to them.
Within hours, a senior complaints officer in the ICO wrote back by email: "I have started to examine the issues that you have raised in your letter and I am currently liaising with colleagues in our Enforcement and Data Protection teams as to what steps to take next."
The official also promised to investigate other universities linked to the CRU, which is one of the world's leading authorities on temperature levels and has helped to prove that man-made global warming not only exists but will have catastrophic consequences if not tackled urgently. Mr Holland is convinced the threat has been greatly exaggerated.
In one email dated May 28, 2008, one academic writes to a colleague having received Mr Holland's request: "Oh MAN! Will this crap ever end??"
Mr Holland, who graduated with an external degree in electrical engineering from London University in 1966 before going on to run his own businesses, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's like David versus Goliath. Thanks to these leaked emails a lot of little people can begin to make some impact on this monolithic entity that is the climate change lobby."
He added: "These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna. It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering. I could be wrong on global warming '' I know that '' but the guys on the other side don't believe they can ever be wrong."
Professor Trevor Davies, the university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement, said yesterday: "CRU's full data will be published in the interests of research transparency when we have the necessary agreements. It is worth reiterating that our conclusions correlate well to those of other scientists based on the separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
"We are grateful for the necessary support of the Met Office in requesting the permissions for releasing the information but understand that responses may take several months and that some countries may refuse permission due to the economic value of the data."
Among the leaked emails disclosed last week were an alleged note from Professor Phil Jones, 57, the director of the CRU and a leading target of climate change sceptics, to an American colleague describing the death of a sceptic as "cheering news"; and a suggestion from Prof Jones that a "trick" is used to "hide the decline" in temperature.
They even include threats of violence. One American academic wrote to Prof Jones: "Next time I see Pat Michaels [a climate sceptic] at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted."
Dr Michaels, tracked down by this newspaper to the Cato Institute in Washington DC where he is a senior fellow in environmental studies, said last night: "There were a lot of people who thought I was exaggerating when I kept insisting terrible things are going on here.
"This is business as usual for them. The world might be surprised but I am not. These guys have an attitude."
Prof Jones, who has refused to quit despite calls even from within the green movement, said last week in a statement issued through University of East Anglia, "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues."
He suggested the theft of emails and publication first on a Russian server was "a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks".
He added: "Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them."
August 27, 1893 Hurricane Killed More Than 1,000 People
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:16
On August 27, 1893 Charleston, South Carolina was hit by the first of two major hurricanes that year. More than 1,000 people were killed in the storm surge.
30 Aug 1893, Page 1 '' Decatur Daily Republican
Trump Accused Of Using Hurricane Harvey As Distraction
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:41
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As Hurricane Harvey bore down on the Texas coat Friday night, President Donald Trump's news hurricane struck as well, leading to condemnation from Democrats but praise form Fox News panelists.
On Friday night, Trump announce the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, made official his ban on transgender recruits in the military, and parted ways with aide Sebastian Gorka, whose exit was part of a general housecleaning that has been taking place since the arrival of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer expressed outrage at the timing.
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''As millions of people in TX and LA are prepping for the hurricane, the President is using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court's order to stop discriminating against Latinos and ban courageous transgender men and women from serving our nation's Armed Forces,'' he posted on Twitter. ''So sad, so weak.''
On the Fox News show The Five, co-host Juan Williams pondered the ''politically explosive'' actions, wondering whether Trump was ''trying to distract from something else.''
But host Ed Henry read a text he received from a Trump adviser.
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''Who says the president doesn't know what he's doing? He pardons Arpaio and bans transgenders in the military in the middle of a hurricane,'' Henry read.
''That sounds to me like people around this president get what they're doing,'' Henry said. ''This is a news dump. There's no other way of saying it.''
''Technically, I kinda admire it,'' said Dana Perino, who was White House press secretary under former President George W. Bush.
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''The president is doing this on purpose,'' said co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle. ''We knew he was going to do with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he said it the other night during the rally in Arizona, so he's gonna give his followers what he's promised them '... and you have North Korea going on, you've got Venezuela sanctions, you've got all of these things at once.''
''It's seems to me like it was a good strategy, you know politically, to do this on a Friday night in the middle of Harvey,'' she continued.
Henry chimed in to say this ''has been one of the great fears'' heard from Democrats that Trump knows what he's doing as he gets ''very effective at overturning Obama regulations, rules and all of the rest.''
Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former aide to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that it was an unorthodox move by an unorthodox president.
''It was very risky because if the hurricane is as bad as the experts were predicting then he's opening himself up to a lot of potential criticism,'' he said. ''But very little that Trump does surprises me any longer. He's proven to be very unpredictable and to not act within the norms of other politicians.''
Conant also admitted that Trump may have timed it just right.
''The president has great political instincts '-- he can read the temperature of the public better than almost anyone else,'' he explained. ''He is very well aware that his base is shrinking and in a way that explains almost everything he's done over the last month.''
In its reporting on the blizzard of news, The Washington Post said the presence of Gen. John Kelly as Trump's new chief of staff should be factored into the equation
''Kelly is really strong right now,'' said a source described by The Post as a Republican close to the White House. ''He gives his best advice but he wasn't going to stop the Sheriff Joe thing.
''Everything else was textbook '-- what a really good chief of staff would do: Dump a whole bunch of stuff when there's a hurricane coming.''
Do you think this was a smart move by President Trump? Scroll down to comment below.
Directed Energy Weapons
Botched surveillance job may have led to strange injuries at US embassy in Cuba | World news | The Guardian
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:06
A classic car passes in front of the US embassy in Havana, Cuba, 16 June 2017, where diplomats suffered hearing loss and other symptoms Photograph: Alejandro Ernesto/EPA
An outbreak of hearing loss and other health problems affecting at least 16 employees at the US embassy in Havana could have been caused by an electronic surveillance operation that went wrong, former intelligence officials said on Friday.
The state department said it was investigating the outbreak, and that some of the worst affected diplomats had been evacuated to Miami for examination and treatment.
''This is something that we have not experienced in the past,'' Heather Nauert, the department's spokeswoman, said. ''We are working very hard to try to take care of our folks who are there on official duty '' and trying to provide them all the care and the treatment and the support that they would need.''
''Why do it when you want things to go well, and why the Canadians? Nobody dislikes the Canadians!''
James LewisEarlier this months, US officials had said the symptoms appeared to have resulted from a covert sonic device. But Nauert said on Thursday no device nor any perpetrator had yet been found and that Cuba was cooperating with the US investigation.
The US asked two Cuban diplomats to leave in May, after American embassy officials were forced to leave Cuba because of serious symptoms. But the Cuban diplomats were not banned from returning, as normally happens in expulsions linked to espionage, and the US has so far not explicitly blamed the Castro government.
Two former US officials with a background in intelligence and surveillance said they had doubts that the health problems were the result of a deliberate attack with a sonic weapon. They pointed out that the symptoms were first noticed in late 2016, when US-Cuban relations were the best they had been in decades, following the visit of Barack Obama to Havana.
CNN quoted a US official saying Washington was investigating whether a third country was involved as ''payback'' for actions the US has taken elsewhere and to ''drive a wedge between the US and Cuba''. However, at least one Canadian diplomat is also said to have been affected, suggesting whatever happened did not exclusively target the US embassy.
''You can't rule out harassment, but why do it when you want things to go well, and why the Canadians? Nobody dislikes the Canadians!'' said James Lewis, a former state department official and US military adviser with expertise in intelligence and spy technology.
Lewis said it was much more likely that a sonic surveillance device, designed to remotely pick up the vibrations caused by speech, could have been wrongly configured and emitted harmful sound waves as a result.
''We know with 100% certainly that the embassies are under surveillance, and the technology being used could just be crude and over-powered,'' he added. Although Nauert had said the Cuban incidents was unprecedented, Lewis pointed to a wave of health problems at the US embassy in Moscow in the 1970s thought to be linked to the use of microwave surveillance devices.
John Sipher, who spent 28 years in the CIA's National Clandestine Service, argued that while direct targeting of US diplomats is rare, unintended harm caused by surveillance efforts that go wrong are much more common.
''These efforts, while designed to further surveillance and eavesdropping and not to cause malicious damage, nevertheless risked or resulted in residual physical harm to US diplomats,'' Sipher said in a commentary on the Just Security website.
Sonic weapons are being developed by security forces around the world. The Israeli defence forces have a vehicle-mounted blaster called The Scream, while cruise ships have adopted a military grade ''sound cannons'' to project deafening noise over 300 metres to defend against possible pirate attacks.
However, such weapons have an immediate, crippling effect. Whatever has happened in Havana appears to have crept up on its victims more gradually and subtly.
BTC
Is Bitcoin Really Anonymous? IRS Moves To Track Cryptocurrencies With New Chain Analysis Tools
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:36
Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,
Last month Alt-Market.com founder Brandon Smith warned that Bitcoin may not be all that it's cracked up to be in terms of its purported anonymity:
For years, one of the major original selling points of bitcoin was that it was ''anonymous.'' It always surprised me that so many people in the liberty movement bought into this scam.
Surely after the revelations exposed by Edward Snowden and organizations like Wikileaks, it is utterly foolish to believe that anything in the digital world is truly ''anonymous.''
The feds have been proving there is no anonymity, even in bitcoin, for some time, as multiple arrests using bitcoin tracking have indeed occurred when the FBI decided it was in their interest. Meaning, when the feds want to track bitcoin transactions, they can, and it does not matter how well the people involved covered their actions.
Because every transaction exists on a public blockchain ledger, an enterprising organization '' say like the NSA or IRS '' could conceivably implement blockchain analysis tools to track down Bitcoin fund transfers around the globe. These days most bitcoin transactions are originated on ''trusted'' exchanges that exist in Western nations, where governments have always found new and innovative ways to ensure citizens have no privacy whatsoever, especially when it comes to personal finances. This means that there is more than likely a record of your original Bitcoin transaction, perhaps involving a credit card or bank transfer, and if regulators ask an exchange to turn over the information you can bet they'll do so in order to avoid unwanted government scrutiny. Moreover, most exchanges now require a driver's license, passport and even a phone number in order to approve your account for trading.
The point is, for government investigators with a bone to pick, your crypto currency activities online may not be as anonymous and private as you may think.
In fact, so exposed is the blockchain to Big Brother monitoring and interference, that the Internal Revenue Service has now implemented blockchain analysis tools to help them track down individuals who are profiting off the crypto currency and not declaring these profits on their tax returns.
Via Bitcoin.com:
According to a contract recently obtained by the Daily Beast, the IRS can now track bitcoin and other cryptocurrency addresses. They can do this to route out potential tax evaders. They purchased software from the blockchain analysis group Chainalysis.
The document details that ''criminals'' have used digital currencies to launder money, deal drugs, and commit other unlawful behavior. However, criminals have also been using digital currencies to ignore tax liabilities and evade responsibility. The Daily Beast article elaborated:
The document highlights how law enforcement isn't only concerned with criminals accumulating bitcoin from selling drugs or hacking targets, but also those who use the currency to hide wealth or avoid paying taxes.
Reason for IRS Crackdown; Tracking Bitcoiners
The reason the IRS is cracking down on digital currencies appears to be because only 802 people declared bitcoin profits or losses in 2015. The Daily Beast article suggests that many people may have not expected the IRS to collect on digital currencies. Others may have just thought they could easily sidestep this alleged obligation.
As a result of this failure to pay taxes, the IRS consulted with Chainalysis.
They are now providing the IRS with tools to track bitcoin addresses through the blockchain and centralized exchanges. A Fortune article captured a screen shot of the letter:
The tool that Chainaylsis gave the IRS is called a refactor tool. It visualizes, tracks, and analysis transactions on the blockchain. Agencies from law enforcement, IRS, and banks will be able to use the tool , according to sources.
To date, records show the IRS has paid Chainaylsis $88,700 since 2015 for its services.
Full article at bitcoin.com
Prepare for a full-out onslaught against the government's newest enemy: crypto terrorists.
That means YOU, if you happen to own any Bitcoin.
Because as we highlighted in 2014, under new directives passed by the Obama Administration, concrete facts are not necessary for you to be put on any number of government watch lists:
The recently declassified Watchlisting Guidance rule book issued in 2013 and developed by members of 19 law enforcement agencies that include the FBI, NSA, CIA, and NSA, outlines the rules for placing individuals, including American citizens, on the various watch lists currently in use. As noted by The Intercept, the rules, much like America's secretive anti-terrorism laws, are vague and often contradict each other.
It reveals a confounding and convoluted system filled with exceptions to its own rules, and it relies on the elastic concept of ''reasonable suspicion'' as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat.
Because the government tracks ''suspected terrorists'' as well as ''known terrorists,'' individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.
''Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,'' says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU's National Security Project. ''On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven't carried out.''
The guidelines for who is or is not a terrorist are now so vague that any American could potentially be added to a list for something as menial as knowing someone who has committed an activity deemed to be of terrorist nature. And as has been highlighted previously, those activities could range from making a hand gesture that looks like a gun or manufacturing your own gold and silver coins.
And now, of course, trading or owning Bitcoin.
CYBER!
FBI Arrests GoldSun, Linked To OPM Breach | The Daily Caller
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:22
The FBI arrested a Chinese citizen in the U.S. Wednesday who allegedly created malware that is linked to the 2015 hacking of the Office of Personnel Management.
Yu Pingan, a 36-year-old from Shanghai, China, was detained after entering the U.S., according to CNN. He is accused of participation in the cyber breaches of several companies by employing Sakula malware (infected software), the very same kind that many believe was used to complete the massive OPM breach.
Court documents say Yu and co-conspirators would ''establish an infrastructure of domain names, IP addresses, accounts with Internet service providers, and web site to facilitate hacks.'' By using this infrastructure they would ''surreptitiously install or attempt to install files and programs on the computer networks of companies in the United States and elsewhere.''
Also known as GoldSun to authorities, Yu is being charged with conspiring to commit fraud against the U.S.
The OPM breach is believed to be the largest ever for a federal agency. OPM originally claimed that hackers accessed 4.2 million employee records. Later, the FBI estimated it was actually around 18 million. U.S. officials then disclosed that more than 21 million people likely had their sensitive information exposed from the massive hack, more than five times the original reported amount. (RELATED: 21 Million People Hacked, Blame Goes To Outdated Gov't Technology)
Several months after the breach was discovered, the Chinese government said it arrested a handful of hackers ostensibly connected to the OPM infiltration. If Yu was complicit in that attack could become more clear now that he is being indicted for other incidents.
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CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - Refugee claimants found in possession of child porn at Quebec border | Globalnews.ca
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 13:14
Multiple refugee claimants have been found in possession of child pornography at or near the Quebec border crossing where an influx of hundreds of asylum seekers crossing from New York state has led the Canadian government to set up a border camp, Global News has learned.
In a memorandum to officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency this week, acting CBSA assistant director Daniel St-Arnaud outlines a set of guidelines for officers at and near the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle crossing to deal with the illicit material. The guidelines will ''come into effect immediately'' and remain until national guidelines are put in place.
READ MORE: Ipsos poll says more than half of Canadians think Ottawa isn't in control of refugee issue in Quebec
According to a source, officials in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle have in recent months found ''four or five'' refugee claimants from Haiti in possession of child pornography, which prompted the memorandum.
A spokesperson for Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Ralph Goodale confirmed two cases have resulted in criminal proceedings. ''We can confirm that, following an investigation, two people have been charged by the Quebec Direction des Poursuites Criminelles et P(C)nales with possession and importation of child pornography,'' said Dan Brien. ''The matter remains under adjudication.''
Brien said the CBSA maintains ''rigorous security measures,'' and said of the charges, ''This is an indication of the security system that is in place and that it is working well.''
Last week, the Canadian government deployed soldiers to set up tents near St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which sits across the border from Champlain, New York, in order to temporarily house hundreds of asylum seekers, most of which are Haitians who fear deportation by the United States government. The city of Montreal, which is 60 kilometres from the border point, last week said it is receiving between 250 and 300 asylum claimants who crossed the Canada-U.S. border every day '-- the number is up from 50 per day in the first half of July.
Global News Morning MontrealRed Cross assists asylum seekers in LacolleGlobal News at 5:30 MontrealCanadian Army welcome asylum seekers at Lacolle borderGlobal News at 5:30 MontrealAsylum seekers waiting at Lacolle borderGlobal News at 5:30 MontrealTemporary border set up at LacolleThe CBSA document advises officers at legal border crossings that ''if child pornography or any other prohibited material is found'' to notify the CBSA's Intelligence Division, which will contact either the CBSA Criminal Investigation unit or Quebec's provincial police force, the S>>ret(C) du Qu(C)bec, ''to assess whether there are sufficient grounds to initiate an investigation.''
An investigation by the CBSA or SQ could determine there are grounds to lay criminal charges, which would also result in a refugee claimant's file to be put on hold for the duration of criminal proceedings.
Earlier this year, in February, New York police arrested Benz K. Benoit, a 36-year old Haitian national, after the CBSA held him in custody on suspicions he was in possession of child pornography. After being returned to U.S. authorities, he was charged with one count of promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child and one count of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child.
READ MORE: Would-be refugees fleeing Donald Trump policy may not fare better in Canada
In cases where child pornography is found in the possession of claimants who cross illegally between border points, the CBSA document says the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has jurisdiction to investigate, or to transfer the case to the SQ, both of which could also lead to criminal charges and the claimant's asylum file being put on hold during criminal proceedings.
However, according to the document, in cases where the RCMP seizes child pornography from an asylum keeper but decides not to lay charges ''the CBSA must accept that decision'' and process their claim.
''The fact that this document leaves some ambiguity as to what happens to an asylum claim if the RCMP seizes child pornography but doesn't press forward with an investigation is something I think a lot of Canadians would take issue with,'' said Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel, in an interview with Global News.
Rempel said the border arrests comprised one part of broader concerns that the opposition has about the government's management of Canada's refugee system. Earlier this month, Global News reported on a CBSA document which suggested that Somalis with criminal records, who fear being deported by the US, have been crossing illegally into Canada near the Emerson, Manitoba border.
''This is a troubling pattern where we're seeing people with criminal records or involved in criminal activity come across the border,'' added Rempel. ''I think that Justin Trudeau has been irresponsible in his language around how Canada's asylum system should be accessed. I think he needs to be much more clear that you shouldn't be entering Canada illegally and he should be more clear about the expectations that our system has in terms of legitimate claims so that our asylum system can be focused on helping the world's most vulnerable.''
sean.craig@globalnews.ca
(C) 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
VIDEO - Scott Galloway: This Technology Kills Brands - YouTube
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:54
VIDEO - Jordan Peterson - The Illuminati - YouTube
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VIDEO - Hours After Being Pardoned, Joe Arpaio Promises New Revelations To Come
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:55
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Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump Friday evening.
The 85-year-old held his first interview with Fox News Host Sean Hannity just hours after being let off the hook. He said he loved the current president and would have continued to support him, pardon or not.
But the crux of the interview was Arpaio saying he would be holding a news conference to expose corruption that took place under President Barack Obama's Department of Justice.
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You can hear the interview here:
''I'm going to have a news conference early next week to get to the bottom of this, to show the expose abuse of the judicial system and politics,'' Arpaio said.
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''I'm not going down without trying to defend myself,'' he added. ''I think people will be shocked the news media were trying to destroy me for all of these years.''
When Hannity brought up ''the abuse of the judiciary,'' Arpaio said some people in Obama's DOJ were eager to get rid of him. But he promised to bring that all to light next week, as he was in the middle of celebrating his wife's birthday.
The official statement from the White House:
White House statement regarding President Donald Trump's pardon of former MCSO Sheriff Joe Arpaio. DETAILS: https://t.co/iOkCxTkNpO#abc15pic.twitter.com/1qS6ZNYyOz
'-- ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) August 26, 2017
Arpaio was convicted in July of criminal contempt by a judge in Arizona for disobeying a federal order that prevented him from detaining people on the suspicion they might have been in the United States illegally. Arpaio could have faced up to six months in prison.
However, Trump hinted at pardoning Arpaio just days earlier during a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.
''I think he'll be just fine, OK?'' the president said.
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Arpaio thanked Trump on Twitter Friday evening, saying he looked forward to ''putting this chapter behind him'' and helping Trump accomplish his presidential goals.
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!
'-- Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
Arpaio also thanked his loyal supporters ''who stood shoulder to shoulder'' with him throughout the years.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.
VIDEO - UPDATED WITH FULL INTERVIEW - at ABC only Same Sex Marriage supporters authorised to cheer gay sportspeople - Michael Smith News
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:48
UPDATED - THIS IS THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH THIS COMMENT FROM JILL JACKS
UPDATE
This comment makes a serious allegation:
its obvious this video has been edited ti suite your own bigoted agenda michael
Various operatives are active on Twitter
I can categorically deny having any role in or knowledge of the video being edited.
I've asked Jill Jacks to comment.
ENDS
From the incomparable all seeing gaze of Jill Jacks.
VIDEO - Washington Journal Mark Bray Discusses Role Antifa Movement | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 11:38
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VIDEO - Heavy Vitamin B Intake Linked to Lung Cancer - YouTube
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 10:43
VIDEO - Franklin Barbecue pit damaged in fire, restaurant OK | KXAN.com
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 16:27
AFD crews work a fire at Franklin Barbecue on Saturday. (Courtesy Joseph Lai)Related CoverageAUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Firefighters knocked down a fire at the world-renowned Franklin Barbecue Saturday morning.
The Austin Fire Department says it was started accidentally after the wind blew an ember from the fire pit. The damage is estimated to be a total of #350,000, with $200,000 for the structure and $150,000 of content.
While the pit sustained damage, the restaurant was saved and only has light smoke damage, according to Battalion Chief Thayer Smith. The two are in separate buildings.
AFDreports the second floor on the backside of the building was heavily involved in flame and at one point crews are worked defensively. It reports the fire started at 5:27 a.m. and a cook who was working at the time called 911 to report the fire. He told AFD that four of the seven smokers in the building were operating when the fire started.
By 6:05 a.m. AFD reported the fire was under control and no one was injured.
Franklin Brabecue tweeted that it is not sure when it will reopen.
A fire in our smokehouse this morning has forced us to close. We are not sure when we will reopen but everyone is safe here.
'-- Franklin Barbecue (@FranklinBbq) August 26, 2017
Franklin Barbecue is located at 900 E. 11th St. It's well known for its long line, and banned professional line-standers in 2015. Franklin Barbecue was damaged in April 2015 when a car crashed into the building and drove off, leaving a gaping hole in its dining room.
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VIDEO - Alan Dershowitz: Liberals in Statue Debate 'Doing What Stalin Did' | Mediaite
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:12
During an interview with Fox & Friends, Alan Dershowitz slammed the hard left by describing their efforts to tear down Confederate monuments as Stalinist.
Brian Kilmeade began by asking Dershowitz for his thoughts about the news that the country's oldest monument to Christopher Columbus was recently defaced amidst the pushback against statues. Dershowitz was concerned people might try to tear down statues of America's slave-owning founding fathers, and he said that erasing national history is not the right way to inform the public about the country's evolution.
''We have to take some of the statues that were put up more recently, for example, during the Civil Rights Movement and perhaps move them to museums where they can be used to teach young students about how statues are intended sometimes for bad purposes, to glorify negatives and to hold back positive developments. But the idea of willy-nilly going through and doing what Stalin did '' erasing history and re-writing it to serve current purposes '' does pose a danger, and it poses a danger of educational malpractice, of missing opportunities to educate people, and of going too far.''
Dershowitz also went after Antifa for using their opposition to fascism to justify violence and the stifling of free speech. He went on to say that moderate liberals have a responsibility to hold left-wing radicals accountable, but President Trump and centrist conservatives are obligated to condemn hard-right extremism too.
Watch above, via Fox.
[Image via screengrab]
'-- '--
>> Follow Ken Meyer (@KenMeyer91) on Twitter
Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com
VIDEO - American ISIS child fighter sends chilling message to Trump: video
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:04
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.) '' A young American child fighter of the Islamic State (ISIS) was recently featured in a propaganda film released by the terrorist group this week, which highlighted their fight against the 'infidels' (kuffar).
The young boy was identified in the video as Yousef, an American-born child fighter that is the son of a U.S. combat veteran of the Iraq War.
In the video, Yousef speaks of his mother's move to the so-called 'caliphate,' his training, and the ongoing U.S. bombing campaign of Raqqa City.
Yousef would then send a message to U.S. President Donald Trump, telling him that the battle against the Islamic State will not end in Mosul or Raqqa, but rather, the United States.
''My message to Trump, the puppet of the Jews, Allah promised us victory and promised you defeat. This battle is not going to end in Raqqa or Mosul; it is going to end in your lands. So get ready because the fighting has just begun,'' Yousef concluded.
This latest ISIS propaganda video comes just days after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) seized more than 60 percent of Raqqa Ciy from the Islamic State terrorists.
ALSO READ Pictures: Syrian Army throws tank forces into west Qalamoun battle
VIDEO - CNN Charlottesville Panel goes TERRIBLY wrong - YouTube
Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:00
VIDEO - Is This Final Proof Michelle Obama Is A Man? - #1 Video On The Web >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:48
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VIDEO - The Snowflake Bunch - Secret Agent Paul - No Agenda Show - YouTube
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 12:33
VIDEO - Keith Olbermann Predicts How It Will All End For Trump | HuffPost
Thu, 24 Aug 2017 22:30
Keith Olbermann reviewed recent reports that indicated special counsel Robert Mueller may be nearing the end of his investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
And with the closing of Mueller's investigation may come the resignation of President Donald J. Trump, the commentator predicted.
''For a while now, I have thought the Trump presidency would end suddenly,'' the former MSNBC host said on his most recent episode of the GQ series ''The Resistance.''
Olbermann added, ''I have been anticipating that Trump's last day in office will dawn like all the others, and then around dinner time it will suddenly break that he is about to resign.''
Why Olbermann believes Trump's supposed resignation will come about at the end of Mueller's investigation has to do with recent reports about the president's former campaign chief Paul Manafort.
Check out Olbermann's reasoning in the video above.
The Morning Email
Wake up to the day's most important news.
VIDEO - European Commission to decide on sanctions over Poland's rule of law violations | Euronews
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:03
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VIDEO - Special report: Desperate plight of Calais migrants | Euronews
Sun, 27 Aug 2017 14:59
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