960: Sandy Super Strong

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 16m
August 31st, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir Dwayne Grand Duke of the Pacific Northwest, Roy Pierce, Sir Zon Jr of the One Cat Army, Kieron Cassidy, Sir Micky Keck, Olga Mulder

Associate Executive Producers: Gordon Walton

Cover Artist: Conan Salada

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Hurricane Harvey
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Melania Trump, Hurricane Heels, and the Artifice of Fashion
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 11:35
Yesterday, heated debate over Melania Trump's travel attire nearly overshadowed the very purpose of her trip: to bear witness to the devastation of the Houston hurricane. At stake was whether Melania's look '-- slim black pants, face-framing blowout, green silk bomber, mirrored aviators, and sky-high snakeskin stilettos '-- was appropriately sober and practical for communing with victims of biblical-level flooding.
Those shoes especially drew critical fire. ''Melania is wearing stilettos to a hurricane zone,'' tweeted a Wall Street Journal reporter. ''Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water,'' observed the Washington Post. Some rushed to defend the First Lady, wielding the usual claim that women's fashion should be beneath our notice. ''I don't know why anyone should care what anyone wears when they're on their way to help people,'' declared Trevor Noah on his show.
But there is more going on here, and it's being ignored by detractors and defenders alike. The problem is not that Melania Trump wore an unsuitable, blithely out-of-touch outfit, although she did. The problem is that this administration turns every event '-- no matter how dire '-- into a kind of anesthetized luxury fashion shoot, which leads us to some disturbing political truths.
Fashion-magazine layouts have a particular feel to them. We know it well: stylized, blank, alluring in an anonymous way, suggestive of sex, but devoid of sensuality or personal emotion. The photographs draw us in, but the models don't return our gaze. Instead, they tend to wear a kind of frozen, faraway gaze, a look that frees us to gawk unashamedly, without fear of being caught staring. Fashion models feign ignorance of the camera lens in order to signal that we are not their interlocutors, but rather voyeurs whose desires are roused only to be rechanneled toward the items for sale (clothes, jewels, handbags, etc.).
Such photos exist to cast the fetishizing spell of the commodity over us. They create, that is, a dissociative relationship with the viewer. And while Melania Trump was known to have been somewhat stiff as a model, she has clearly mastered that squinty, middle-distance gaze, which she regularly employs as First Lady.
Melania dresses and moves as if she were awkwardly performing a theatrical role, much as Ivanka does. Their oddly stilted presence in political settings seems to transform all occasions, no matter how ''presidential,'' into advertisements. This is not because they were both once models, but because they cannot stop posing like models. (Ironically, successful models learn to avoid such obvious artificiality, since it makes the unreality of fashion shoots too glaring.)
The Trump women evince a dazed blankness and anonymity that in turn cast doubt on the reality of everything around them. When you see Melania headed to Marine One, or dining with world leaders, or standing on a White House balcony, the entire scene looks like a magazine spread in which ''real'' people, equipment, and buildings are being used merely as dramatic backdrops for a fashion layout. On Tuesday, this meant that instead of being a supporting presence in the president's trip to survey flood damage, Melania became the star and the trip morphed into a simulacrum, a kind of Vogue shoot ''simulating'' a president's trip. In other words, the realness of everyone and everything else (including hurricane victims) faded and the evacuated blankness of the commercial overtook the scene.
And this is how something as apparently trivial as women's style reveals a profound truth at the heart of this administration and its relationship to America's citizens: It is as dissociative as a fashion advertisement, brought to power by manipulating and rechanneling the electorate's desires for wealth and possessions. This truth seeps out of every photographed occasion, including and especially those featuring the Trump women.
So Melania dominated the scene yesterday (witness how much we were talking about her), but it was not with her personality. Rather it was the power of the commodity that she wielded '-- the power of transactional commerce purveyed with utter irreality and disconnection, which it has been her role to channel, and which feels disturbingly recognizable to us in our commerce-saturated society.
Driving that home, Melania actually later donned, somewhat heartbreakingly, a black cap with FLOTUS emblazoned on it '-- not ''America,'' or the awful ''MAGA,'' or her name, or the name of the devastated city she was visiting, or that of a sports team, or even a worthy organization she could have supported, such as the Red Cross. No, Melania wore a hat with the acronym of her role written on it. A non-person-specific hat, making clear that she is just a temporary occupant of this role. She labeled herself.
That's what models '-- and in this case also presidents '-- do: They inhabit anonymously temporary, unreal worlds born of the realm of luxury logo goods. The devastation in Houston is a tragedy, but so too is this administration's blank, model's stare '-- its mirrored shades in the face of human sorrows. This is not just about fashion. It's about the urgency of recognizing a certain genre of hypnotizing, dehumanizing spell, and snapping ourselves out of it.
Rhonda Garelick is the author of Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History.
Why It Matters That Melania Wore Dior in Paris Last Week
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DISGUSTING: Linda Sarsour is soliciting donations for a liberal political group masquerading as a Harvey relief fund '' twitchy.com
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:12
Posted at 9:56 am on August 30, 2017 by Greg P.
Shot. Linda Sarsour is soliciting donations for the ''Harvey Hurricane Relief Fund'':
Chaser. It's not a relief fund at all. Here's the group she's directing money to:
And here's what they will use the ''relief'' money on:
Disgusting:
***
Colorado Jewish Cemetery Promised $100,000 by BDS Activist Linda Sarsour in March 2017 Says Money Still Hasn't Arrived | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:13
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Linda Sarsour. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
A Jewish cemetery in Colorado that has fallen into severe disrepair has yet to receive a check for some $100,000 from a group associated with Palestinian-American BDS activist Linda Sarsour, despite being promised the money several months ago, The Algemeiner learned on Tuesday.
Neal Price of the Golden Hill Cemetery in Lakewood, CO said he had left three unreturned voicemails for Tarek El-Messidi, the founder of non-profit Islamic education organization Celebrate Mercy, who led the high-profile effort by the Muslim community in February and March to raise money for vandalized Jewish cemeteries in the US. El-Messidi's partner in the effort was Sarsour.
Price has been the primary caretaker of the Colorado cemetery for 35 years, and has tried doggedly to raise money to restore the area containing 800 graves of impoverished tuberculosis victims, buried there in the 19th and 20th centuries. Over the years, Price said there have been numerous false starts in his attempts to get grants for landscaping and security for the site.
''The Jewish community has many needs, and the focus is mostly on the needs of the living, or the active part of the cemetery,'' he said.
August 30, 2017 4:49 pm
Price was first told about the Celebrate Mercy campaign's money by Jennifer Goodland, a local who had never before been intimately involved in the cemetery rehabilitation efforts.
The campaign '-- named ''Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery'' '-- had raised $162,468 through the Muslim crowdfunding site LaunchGood, far beyond its set goal of $20,000. A total of $50,000 was distributed to three Jewish sites that had been vandalized: Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis, MO ($40,000), the Waad Hakolel Cemetery in Rochester, NY ($5,000) and the Chicago Loop Synagogue ($5,000). The director of the Missouri cemetery confirmed to The Algemeiner the receipt of the check, while other news sources have reported the New York and Illinois locations got the money as well.
El-Messidi and Sarsour also made public announcements that funds raised would go to fix Jewish graves in Philadelphia desecrated in February. Locals in charge of the Pennsylvania effort said they were approached by Celebrate Mercy, but they turned down the money as they were not in need of further assistance.
On March 24, the Celebrate Mercy campaign organizers announced on the website:
With extra funds raised, we have decided to embark on a major project to restore a neglected and vandalized Jewish cemetery in Colorado which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Costs will be over $100K. Learn about the story of this historic cemetery here. We are now hoping to raise a total of $200,000 to ensure we have the funds for this project while helping other vandalized sites as well.
The $200,000 mark set for Golden Hill did not appear to have been reached by the time the campaign ended on May 31.
Ted Ruskin, who has been involved with Golden Hill since 1989, took El-Messidi on a well-publicized tour of the cemetery in April. He told The Algemeiner in May that El-Messidi seemed ''willing and ready to give the money,'' but he had no contact with Celebrate Mercy following that visit.
Price, Ruskin and others involved in the cemetery restoration effort met in June to determine what to do with the Celebrate Mercy money.
''We divvied up the tasks to get bids on landscaping, a fence and other security,'' said Price. ''Plans are in place. We just need the money.''
But Price has not heard from Goodland for weeks. At his most recent attempt to get in touch, Goodland's husband, David Lustig, told him that she was sick.
Goodland spoke with TheAlgemeiner on Tuesday. She described herself as a ''person who works by opening my mouth to the right people, and getting grant money by connecting people with the right people.'' She became interested in Golden Hill after her mother, a reporter, wrote about the site for a local paper. Goodland said that El-Messidi contacted her after reading that article and expressed interest in helping out the effort.
Goodland said she was last in touch with El-Messidi over Facebook at the end of the Ramadan fasting period, which concluded on June 24.
She said she expected the money would eventually exchange hands, though it might take time.
Despite Price's three calls to El-Messidi, Goodland pinned Price's inability to connect with the Celebrate Mercy founder on the former's lack of understanding about crowdfunding and social media (the best way to reach El-Messidi, according to Goodland, is Facebook).
''Neal is used to the formalized traditional structure [of grant-giving],'' Goodland said. ''We need to get Neal in front of Facebook Messenger or something. You know, Tarek is raising money for multiple causes at the same time, and he had a lot going on with Ramadan and dealing with Islamophobia.''
Goodland added that she and Lustig would like to ''make Golden Hill our priority,'' but that for the last few years, she has been working through a disability and her husband has been recovering from a ''severe TBI [traumatic brain injury].''
Going forward, she noted, ''I will be kicking to a support role on Golden Hill and my husband will be working on the project full time.''
Concerns were raised about El-Messidi and Sarsour's handling of the crowdfunded money earlier this year. In May, Sarsour accused Jewish New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind of ''put[ting] out lies'...without any backup, to cast doubt and to defame me,'' after Hikind wrote on Facebook about the Celebrate Mercy crowdfunding effort: ''How much of that money '-- if any '-- actually went to these cemeteries?''
Price told The Algemeiner that he has no expectation that he will ever see the Celebrate Mercy money.
''I've been doing this [non-profit work] a long time, so I know how it works,'' said Price. ''You need budgets and time tables, and none of that is here.''
El-Messidi did not respond to The Algemeiner's request for comment by press time.
UPDATE: In a response she issued following the publication of this story, Sarsour told The Algemeiner that El-Messidi was ''awaiting a proposal from the cemetery for potential costs so they can be allocated. This proposal/estimates have not been delivered to Tarek and Celebrate Mercy, who too have to maintain the intention and integrity of the donations received. We promised people they would all go to helping Jewish cemeteries and that's where they will all go.''
This story was changed following publication to include the correct spellings of the names of Jennifer Goodland and David Lustig.
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After Professor Says Hurricane Was 'Karma' For GOP, University Gives Him Some Instant Karma - Blue Lives Matter
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 20:14
Kenneth Storey has now been fired after his tweet about hurricane victims.
Kenneth Storey Fired Over Hurriane TweetTampa, FL '' After University of Tampa Professor Ken Storey called Hurricane Harvey ''instant karma'' for Texas, the professor is now on the receiving end of some instant karma himself.
When the University of Tampa discovered Storey's comments, they immediately fired him.
The University released a statement which said:
''On Sunday, Aug. 27, visiting assistant professor of sociology Kenneth Storey made comments on a private Twitter account that do not reflect UT's community views or values. We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused.
''Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty. As Floridians, we are well of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.''
Ken Storey's initial tweet was made on Sunday suggesting that Houston residents deserved the hurricane and flooding for voting Republican.
It should be noted that Houston residents voted primarily for Hillary Clinton and have sued over the state law which prohibits their sanctuary city policies.
That doesn't seem to matter to Storey, who tweeted on Sunday, ''I dont believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesnt care about them''
In his initial tweet, it wasn't immediately apparent if he was referring to people who voted for President Trump, or Sentaors Ted Cruz and John Cornyn who voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy.
Both senators stated that they voted against the bill because it included billions in spending that was unrelated to the hurricane.
Ken Storey appeared to have clarified more in a response which suggested that it was directed at Trump voters, saying that Florida voters who ''voted for him here deserve it as well.''
After attention was brought to his tweets, Storey has shut down his Twitter account.
Eric Crdenas, Director of Public Information at The University of Tampa, told Fox News in a statement: ''The University of Tampa stands in solidarity with the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and our thoughts and prayers are with all involved.
''The comments made by Kenneth Storey were made via his private social media account. They were not made within his capacity as a faculty member, and they don't represent the University's views. The University of Tampa condemns these comments and the sentiment behind them. Storey has publicly apologized for his comments.''
Storey reportedly tweeted an apology just before shutting down his Twitter account.
Warrior 12 has announced a limited edition Texas Crusader shirt that will only be available for a short time to help raise money for relief efforts in Texas. The only chance to get this shirt is to order now before he pre-order ends. You can order the shirt HERE.
Texas Crusader '' Very Limited Time Only
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Houston flood: Explosions at Arkema chemical plant - BBC News
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 09:50
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption People formed a human chain to rescue an elderly manExplosions have been heard coming from a chemical plant near the flooded US city of Houston.
Emergency officials reported two blasts and black smoke issuing from the Arkema plant at Crosby.
During heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, the complex lost the ability to refrigerate chemical compounds that need to be kept cool.
There was no way to prevent an explosion, the company had warned earlier.
Ahead of the explosions, one police officer who was helping secure the site was taken to hospital after inhaling fumes, while others admitted themselves to hospital as a precaution.
In a statement, the company said: "At approximately 2am CDT [07:00 GMT], we were notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center of two explosions and black smoke coming from the Arkema Inc plant in Crosby, Texas.
"Local officials had previously established an evacuation zone in an area 1.5 miles from our plant, based on their assessment of the situation.
"We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so."
At least 33 people have been killed in eastern Texas in the aftermath of the storm, which the US National Weather Service has now downgraded to a tropical depression.
Heavy rainfall is expected from Louisiana to Kentucky over the next three days, and flood warnings remain in effect for south-east Texas and parts of south-west Louisiana.
US energy supplies have been hit, as oil companies shut down refineries and a major pipeline in the Houston area.
Firefighters will begin a door-to-door search of badly flooded areas of Houston on Thursday, to rescue survivors who are still stranded and recover the bodies of those who have died.
"We'll be doing block-by-block, door-by-door search of streets... to make sure there are no people we've left behind," Richard Mann, the city's assistant fire chief, was quoted as saying by the Houston Chronicle newspaper.
"This will be a one- to two-week-long process to make sure we address all those areas that have been... most impacted."
What happened at the chemical plant?The Arkema chemical plant, 21 miles (34km) from Houston, shut down its production on Friday, before the storm made landfall.
But 40in (102cm) of rainfall in the area flooded the site and cut off its power, the company said in a statement. Back-up generators were also flooded.
Image copyright Google The facility manufactures organic peroxides, compounds that are used in everything from making pharmaceuticals to construction materials, which can become dangerous at higher temperatures.
"Any fire will probably resemble a large gasoline fire," CEO Richard Rowe told Reuters news agency before the reports of explosions. "The fire will be explosive and intense."
He said the black smoke produced would irritate skin, eyes and lungs.
"The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it."
The fire is expected to be mostly contained to the site itself but residents have been evacuated in a 1.5 mile radius around the plant as a precaution.
The last remaining workers at the site were evacuated on Tuesday.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a temporary ban on flights near the plant.
How are rescue efforts progressing?Parts of Texas have been hit by more than 50in of rainfall since Hurricane Harvey landed on 25 August, setting new records before it was downgraded to a tropical storm and, late on Wednesday, to a tropical depression.
Rescue efforts continued overnight. Thousands of people have been rescued from the floodwaters, and more than 32,000 people are being housed in emergency shelters.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Port Arthur is among the areas severely flooded Large parts of Houston, the fourth most populous city in the US, remain under water.
The city is also a key energy hub. The storm and its subsequent flooding has knocked out about a quarter of the country's refining capacity, sending petrol prices to a two-year high.
The Colonial Pipeline, which carries more than 100 million gallons of petrol, heating oil and aviation fuel between Houston and the East Coast each day, has been shut.
Interactive See how flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey have covered low-lying areas After Before Port Arthur, about 80 miles east of Houston, was also severely flooded. Mayor Derrick Freeman, posting on Facebook, said the entire city was under water, and appealed for anyone who owned a boat to help.
Details of some of those who died in Texas have emerged:
In Beaumont, north-west of Port Arthur, rescue teams saved an 18-month old girl found clinging to her dead mother in the floodwatersIn Harris County, the bodies of six people - a couple and their four great-grandchildren - were recovered from a submerged van A married couple drowned when their truck was swept away while they were on the phone to emergency services asking for help, the Associated Press reports"To those Americans who have lost loved ones, all of America is grieving with you, and our hearts are joined with yours forever," President Donald Trump said in a speech a day after seeing the effects of the flooding during a trip to Texas.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption The numbers behind Storm HarveyOn Tuesday, Houston implemented a curfew to prevent looting of abandoned homes. Port Arthur followed suit on Wednesday.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Helicopters were used to rescue people in Beaumont What happens next?An additional 10,000 members of the National Guard were said to be on their way to Texas to join the rescue efforts, adding to the 14,000 troops already deployed.
Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years when it first made landfall at Corpus Christi, 220 miles south-west of Houston last week.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state could need more than $125bn (£97bn) from the federal government to help it recover.
And he warned "the worst is not yet over", as flooding is expected to continue for several days.
Mr Abbott has accepted an offer of aid from the Mexican government, which has suggested it is willing to despatch troops with food, water and medicine - as it did in 2005 when New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was "very generous of Mexico to offer their help at this very, very challenging time for our citizens down in Texas".
The move comes amid tension between the two countries over President Donald Trump's repeated promises to build a vast border wall on the southern US border to keep out illegal immigrants and criminals, and to make Mexico pay for it.
In a separate development, Mexico's Red Cross has sent 33 English-speaking volunteers to Houston to work in shelters in the city.
Are you affected by Tropical Storm Harvey? Let us know about your experiences. Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:
WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Upload your pictures / video hereTweet: @BBC_HaveYourSaySend an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100
buying a house in flood plain 500 years. any concern ... | Zillow
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:28
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insurance 100 year floodplain clause - Google Search
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:26
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[PDF] Floods & Floodplain ManagementFloods & Floodplain - VPICwww.vpic.info/Publications/Reports/NewResources/FloodplainFactSheets.pdfdamage. Statistically, a homeowner in the 100-year floodplain has a 26% chance of being ... lenders generally require property in the floodplain to carry flood insurance. .... In the classic Takings Clause case, the government condemns and. [PDF] Insurance - NYC.govwww.nyc.gov/html/sirr/downloads/pdf/final.../Ch5_Insurance_FINAL_singles.pdfOct 1, 2013 - flood insurance, Sandy also brought to the fore- ... significantly expanded 100-year floodplain ..... standard clauses directing insurers to issue. Flood Services-FAQ's - CoreLogicwww.corelogic.com/landing-pages/flood-services-faqs.aspxUnderstanding the mandatory purchase of flood insurance requirements and the flood ... by the lending institution to be in compliance with the mandatory purchase provision? ..... floodplain, is commonly referred to as the "100-year floodplain. [PDF] Flooding the Fifth Amendment: The National Flood Insurance Program ...lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1528&context=ealrDec 1, 1990 - Flood Insurance Program and the ''Takings'' Clause. Saul Jay Singer ... finding that these types of floodplain regulations constitute "tak- ings," thereby ..... Zone A: SFHAs subject to inundation by the 100-year flood. Because ... Flood Insurance Requirementshttps://portal.ldwholesale.com/portaldocs/yoda/wholesale/titleins/UWG_floodins.htmThis requirement also extends to units above the 100-year flood boundary such as a ... homes are not eligible properties if they are located in a flood zone. ... insurance coverage must have the insurance industry's standard mortgagee clause. Insurance for Flooding - City of Boulderhttps://bouldercolorado.gov/flood/flood-insuranceProperties located outside of the floodplain can also obtain insurance and generally have discounted insurance premiums. ... are located above the 100-year flood elevation, insurance premium costs are reduced. ... Grandfather Provisions. [PDF] Insurance Guidelines 2 - State of Michiganhttps://www.michigan.gov/.../mshda/mshda_am_insurance_guidelines_210585_7.pdfInsurance Guidelines for Completed/Operational Buildings . .... All policies must contain an acceptable non-contributory mortgagee clause and loss payable ... Insure for 100% of the replacement cost of ..... Within a 100 to 500 year flood plain. Searches related to insurance 100 year floodplain clause
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Hurricane Harvey: Why wasn't Houston evacuated? - The Washington Post
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:31
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner defended his decision not issue an evacuation order for Houston. (Reuters)
Through Monday morning, Harvey continued to unleash record levels of rain on Houston, causing ''catastrophic'' flooding in the city and in surrounding Harris County, where at least six people appear to have died as a result of the storm.
Some parts of Harris County have received more than 30 inches of rain since Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The NWS warned of ''additional catastrophic, unprecedented and life threatening flooding'' through this week and placed flash-flood emergencies for all of Southeast Texas.
As the much-anticipated storm pummeled the country's fourth-largest city '-- overwhelming the 911 system and sending some residents, against the advice of officials, into their attics to flee floodwaters '-- many asked the question: Should Houston have been evacuated? If so, why wasn't it?
At least one top official thought it should have been.
On Friday, before Harvey made landfall, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) encouraged residents to evacuate low lying and coastal areas, even if a mandatory evacuation order had not been issued.
''Even if an evacuation order hasn't been issued by your local official, if you're in an area between Corpus Christi and Houston, you need to strongly consider evacuating,'' Abbott said at a news conference. ''What you don't know, and what nobody else knows right now, is the magnitude of flooding that will be coming.
''You don't want to put yourself in a situation where you could be subject to a search and rescue.''
The governor's warning was in sharp contrast to the advice local and county officials had been dispensing for days: Shelter and stay in place.
And it set off a scramble by local officials on social media to tell Houston-area residents otherwise.
''LOCAL LEADERS KNOW BEST,'' Francisco Sanchez, spokesman for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, tweeted in response to Abbott's warning.
There were no evacuation orders in Houston, and orders only existed in a few communities in Harris County, Sanchez stressed on Friday afternoon.
In a follow-up tweet, Sanchez urged residents to heed the advice of local officials, such as Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, rather than the governor.
On Saturday morning, as Hurricane Harvey's powerful winds and rain caused severe damage to coastal communities, the Houston mayor warned people there would be heavy rain and flooding in the city for the next four to five days '-- but once again emphasized they did not need to evacuate.
Turner also addressed concerns that Abbott and local officials had sent conflicting messages about what was safer: fleeing or staying in place.
''Quite frankly, leaving your homes, getting on the streets, you'll be putting yourself in more danger and not making yourself safer,'' he said. ''And so, we're just asking people to hunker down.''
The following day, as the storm's devastating toll came into better focus, Turner defended his call for people to stay in place.
''There was a lot of conversation about the direction in which hurricane Harvey was going to go,'' he said at a news conference Sunday. ''No one knew which direction it was going to go. So it's kind of different to send people away from danger when you don't know where the danger is.''
He added that trying to evacuate the city in such a short time would have been logistically ''crazy,'' as history has shown.
''Remember the last time we evacuated, there was a great deal of confusion, great deal of chaos,'' the mayor said. ''There were people that were going to Austin that were on the road 10 to 12 hours, if not longer. There were people who ran out of gas on their way '-- a great deal of confusion.''
Turner was referring to the city's evacuation ahead of Hurricane Rita in 2005, a disastrous effort that resulted in dozens of deaths and widespread criticism of the authorities.
Emmett, Harris County's chief executive, echoed Turner's thoughts Sunday, telling reporters there was ''absolutely no reason'' to evacuate the city before the storm.
''You cannot put, in the city of Houston, 2.3 million people on the road. '... That is dangerous,'' the judge said, according to CNN. ''If you think the situation right now is bad '-- you give an order to evacuate, you create a nightmare.''
And during a record breaking flood, one expert said, inside a car is one of the most dangerous places to be, which complicates the decision to evacuate.
''People disproportionately die in cars from floods, so evacuation is not as straightforward a call as seems,'' Marshall Shepherd, a program director in atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, tweeted Sunday.
Still, reports and images from Houston and Harris County showed it was increasingly difficult for people to stay off the streets.
As The Washington Post reported, Texas officials had begun to get a sense of the full magnitude of the storm, including its effect on rivers and levees:
The Brazos River, which runs southwest of Houston, is expected to reach record heights in the coming days. National Weather Service models showed the river rising to 59 feet by Tuesday, topping the previous record of 54.7 feet.
''A flood of this magnitude is an 800-year event, and it exceeds the design specification of our levees,'' Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert said in a statement Monday.
The National Weather Service '-- which tweeted the ''beyond anything experienced'' description that morning '-- was predicting that parts of Texas could receive nearly 50 inches of rain, the largest recorded total in the state's history.
FEMA Administrator William ''Brock'' Long said Monday that Harvey could force 30,000 people into shelters, and he anticipated 450,000 people would seek some sort of disaster assistance.
''We have not seen an event like this,'' he said. ''You could not draw this forecast up. You could not dream this forecast up.''
[Trump praises storm response as millions brace for historic flooding]
Houston and Harris County officials who urged people to stay home before the storm may have been remembering that the city government was strongly criticized after the disastrous evacuation before Hurricane Rita in 2005.
In the hours before Rita struck the Houston area in September 2005, government officials issued an evacuation order, and some 2.5 million people hit the road at the same time, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Officials later reported more than 100 deaths connected to Hurricane Rita '-- and at least 60 of those deaths were linked the evacuation itself, according to a 2006 report to the Texas House of Representatives.
Dozens were injured or died of heat stroke waiting in traffic for nearly a full day. Fights broke out on clogged highways. A charter bus carrying people from a nursing home exploded on the side of Interstate 45, killing 24 people inside.
Meanwhile, the fear from Hurricane Rita turned out to be unfounded. It weakened from a Category 5 churning in the Gulf of Mexico to a Category 3 by the time it made landfall in East Texas '-- and resulted in a fraction of the damage and deaths as Hurricane Katrina, which had ravaged New Orleans three weeks earlier.
After Hurricane Rita, many in Houston returned to their homes after hours of languishing on the highway ''and found the house was fine and the street wasn't flooded,'' according to Madhu Beriwal, the president and chief executive of IEM, a disaster planning and prevention company who has worked in Harris County. Her company wasn't involved in planning for Hurricane Harvey, and she said she did not advise officials about whether to evacuate the city.
In evacuation planning, public officials are trying to find ''the course of least regret,'' Beriwal said. Traveling by car has inherent risks, and any mandatory evacuation order comes with the grim understanding that people will die trying to get out, she added.
''We know that there's going to result in a certain number of deaths just by having so many people on the road,'' Beriwal told The Post. ''When you have evacuation traffic, it's even more difficult, because you have people that are very vulnerable traveling. '... The people that tend to die in bigger numbers (during evacuations) are generally the elderly '-- people that wouldn't normally be on the road anyway.''
But no matter which path officials decide to take, Beriwal said, ''It is always better to speak with one voice so people know what the officials think is the best thing to do.''
After Rita, officials began changing laws and government programs to improve future evacuations.
The state's emergency management division began to work more closely with municipalities to coordinate hurricane response plans, the Texas Tribune reported, ''including finding ways to restore power sooner.''
Lawmakers amended statutes to make it easier for emergency workers from other parts of the state to help during a crisis, the Tribune reported, and removed liability worries that hindered mutual aid.
Now, state and local authorities participate in drills to reverse the traffic flow on the highway to ''ensure various agencies stay familiar with the process.''
On Monday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo was asked by a Fox Business Network anchor whether it was a mistake not to order an evacuation ahead of Harvey.
''Oh lord, you know I love the backseat quarterbacks,'' he said. ''I absolutely support the decision of our mayor and the county judge to not evacuate. Where do you take '... 6.5 million people, where do you send them? Especially in a state that is so prone to flash floods on our highways, we haven't been able to get resources here because highways have been blocked throughout the state of Texas.
''So I don't think they understand the complexity, they don't understand just how widespread this entire emergency has been.''
Texas State Rep. Armando Walle, who represents a district that stretches from northern reaches of Houston into unincorporated parts of Harris County, told The Post on Monday the decision against ordering evacuations probably saved lives.
''You would have had a calamity of biblical proportions; that's not an overstatement,'' he said. ''If you put 1 million cars on the road when every major road in this region is under water, it would have been a disaster. There are challenges in any disaster, but that decision not to call for mandatory evacuations was the right decision. I believe that you would have had thousands of people perish. '... People have listened to their local leaders and are paying attention.''
This post has been updated.
Read more:
FEMA director says Harvey is probably the worst disaster in Texas history
Catastrophic flooding underway in Houston and 'expected to worsen'
Harvey drops nearly two feet of water on Houston area, causing deadly floods
'All night of slam, bang, boom,' then a scramble to assess the hurricane's damage
Houston Is Drowning'--In Its Freedom From Regulations
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 04:19
We do value our freedom here in Texas. As I write from soggy Central Texas, the cable news is showing people floating down Buffalo Bayou on their principles, proud residents of the largest city in these United States that did not grow in accordance with zoning ordinances.
The feeling there was that persons who own real estate should be free to develop it as they wish. Houston, also known as the Bayou City, is a great location because of its access to international shipping in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not a great location for building, though, because of all its impervious cover. If water could easily sink into the ground, there would be less of it ripping down Houston's rivers that just a week ago were overcrowded streets.
In less-free cities, the jackbooted thugs in the zoning department impose limits on the amount of impervious cover in a development. Some of the limits can be finessed by lining parking lots with bricks turned sideways, so grass can be planted in the holes.
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If you meet the impervious cover standards, you still might get your entire plat chucked into the round file because some computer has determined that your business plan will attract automobile traffic in excess of the carrying capacity of nearby roads. Faceless bureaucracies have no respect for the inalienable right of every American to park his car on the public streets during rush hourt
I got snarky in the law school class where I first heard that Houston had no zoning, wishing out loud I could build a rendering plant in the so-posh River Oaks neighborhood. I was quickly slapped down by the freedom fighters in the class, who informed me that there are no rendering plants in River Oaks because the real estate costs too much. Did I not understand that the market regulates land use much more effectively than bureaucrats could?
River Oaks remains some of the most expensive real estate in the U.S., a model of what could be done with appropriate planning. Developers accomplished their ends by deed restrictions and ''gentlemen's agreements.''
Home prices were required to exceed $7,000 back in the 1920s and deed restrictions even specified allowable architectural styles. Gentlemen of the times, of course, excluded Jews and ''Negroes'' and similar undesirables. After Houston annexed River Oaks in 1927, the suburb became a neighborhood, but it remained a haven for swell folks as tightly regulated by custom as Houston was unregulated by law.
Impervious cover in Houston, meanwhile, has increased and continues to increase. I look at my television and see that the streets are flooded. The San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou are out of their banks. People are wading through waist-deep water carrying a few possessions, children and pets.
This catastrophic flooding is the result of 20 to 30 inches of rain. Adding to the water in the streets now, the Army Corps of Engineers has announced several reservoirs in the area will be opening floodgates to avoid failure of the dams, and the floodgates are expected to stay open for weeks because so much water will be coming downstream. Additionally, the National Weather Service is warning Houston to expect another 15 to 25 inches of rain.
As I write this, Hurricane Harvey is ambling off toward Louisiana, taking with him the high winds and the danger of storm surges but leaving rain and more rain. Critics in the cheap seats are complaining that Houston issued no mandatory evacuation order. That would only occur to somebody who has never sat in the parking lot that Loop 610 becomes at least twice a day when people are just going to and from work.
Putting the entire population on the roads at the same time, roads that are prone to flash floods when rains are nowhere near these historic levels, would mean not just inconvenience but fatalities. There would be at least as many rescues to be done as there are now, but they would be more dangerous rescues.
Agreeing that mandatory evacuation would have driven up the casualty numbers (currently in single digits), Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told MSNBC that half of the population would refuse to evacuate, but enough would do so to cause massive traffic jams that would leave everyone stuck in them at extreme danger in flash floods.
Houston was built without regard for the carrying capacity of its roads, just as it was built without regulating the amount of impervious cover that would be shedding water into streets, storm sewers, rivers and Buffalo Bayou.
Texans do value their freedom.
Houston's Mayor Was Right to Not Evacuate - NYTimes.com
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 04:32
As the rains from Tropical Storm Harvey continue to pound Houston, stranding thousands of people in their homes, a question has emerged: Should local officials, particularly Mayor Sylvester Turner, have ordered mandatory evacuations?
The answer is absolutely not.
It is logistically impossible to evacuate millions of people from low-lying coastal areas ahead of a major hurricane. The disastrous evacuation in preparation for Hurricane Rita in 2005 proved the case.
Hours before the hurricane hit 2.5 million Texans fled town at the same time, according to The Houston Chronicle. This caused enormous, daylong traffic jams. While stranded on highways, people were injured or killed from heat stroke. Others got in fights. And a bus that was transporting elderly people from a nursing home exploded, killing 23 people.
In total, some 130 people died in that evacuation, more than have ever perished in a hurricane in the state's history, with the exception of the 1900 Galveston storm. Of those deaths, about half occurred before the storm hit Texas.
After Hurricane Rita, I served on a governor's commission that studied what went wrong in the evacuation. In 2005, I headed a regional task force that held hearings for hundreds of hours, for nearly a year. The work of that commission became the basis for new evacuation plans that proved reasonably effective for the Hurricane Ike evacuation in 2008. I can tell you from that experience, any attempt to evacuate Houston ahead of Tropical Storm Harvey would have made the situation much worse and almost certainly resulted in more deaths.
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I narrowly lost in a runoff to Mr. Turner in the December 2015 mayoral race. While he and I certainly have our political and policy differences, the current suggestion in the news media that he should have called for an evacuation of Houston is absurd.
Attempting to evacuate areas that might be affected by localized flooding because of rainfall is an entirely different problem from evacuating areas in danger of flooding by storm surge, the rise in seawater level caused by a storm's winds pushing water onshore. We can predict with reasonable accuracy what areas will be flooded by storm surge based on the forecast and elevations. But flooding from rainfall is highly unpredictable and variable based on the dynamics of each particular rain event. Rarely will we know days in advance which areas will be flooded.
An evacuation of the entire city is a logistical impossibility. There is simply not enough roadway, gasoline in inventory or facilities in nearby cities to transport and house 2.3 million evacuees. Any such misguided attempt would have resulted in the same disaster we saw with Hurricane Rita, with thousands of disabled cars on the freeways and hundreds of thousands trapped on the road in the weather conditions we now endure.
While we do not have any hard numbers yet, my guess is that we will eventually learn that something less than 10 percent of the homes in the Houston region have been flooded by this storm. Had a general evacuation been called, 90 percent of the people would have evacuated for no reason.
Once the rains have passed and the waters have receded, there are plenty of legitimate questions that need to be asked about whether our regions are prepared for this kind of localized flooding. What plans were in place for high-water rescues? Why weren't more rescue boats and high-water vehicles positioned, especially considering that we had several days' warning that catastrophic rainfall was headed our direction?
Why were volunteer rescue organizations not activated earlier? Why are we having 100-year and 500-year floods every few years? Why, in this age of virtual networks, is our 911 system not expandable to handle a spike in calls? Why are we still licensing nursing homes in flood-prone areas? How is it that such a facility gets inundated with several feet of water and local officials learn about it on social media?
We should, and must, ask these questions at the appropriate time so that we do better next time. And trust me, there will be a next time. But second-guessing or speculating that Mayor Turner and other local officials should have called for mandatory evacuations is nonsense and betrays a fundamental ignorance of evacuation dynamics.
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Here is the Complete Story Behind the Attacks on Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church | CBN News
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 21:32
As Pastor Joel Osteen and his church face mounting criticism for not immediately hosting Houstonians fleeing their homes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, representatives are speaking out to provide additional background and context.
Don Iloff, a spokesperson for Lakewood Church, told Faithwire late on Monday night that the house of worship has been in touch with city and county officials in recent days and has been planning outreach efforts.
Learn about Operation Blessing's disaster relief response to Harvey's devastation HERE.
But considering that the church's building '-- inside what was once the Compaq Center sports arena '-- is prone to flooding, Iloff said that Lakewood chose to instead focus its energies on the ways in which the church could serve as a food and resource distribution center, among other outreach efforts.
And considering that Houston officials had set up shelters throughout the city '-- including a massive location at the George R. Brown Convention Center just five miles from Lakewood '-- Iloff said that the church had planned to host people in the event that those locations were full or at capacity.
''We had warning with this storm, so they set up shelters around the city '... that convention center is 5 or 6 times bigger [than Lakewood],'' he told Faithwire. ''They set that up with everything from the cots, food, triage.''
A photo of the flooding that was said to be inside and outside of Lakewood Church (Lakewood Church)
Iloff also noted that, while Lakewood was more than willing to make-do and house people, unlike the convention center, Lakewood has ''no showers'' and no kitchen, making the church more of an emergency shelter than anything else. Initially, the church waited to hear from city officials and planned to respond if needed.
Still, Iloff continuously affirmed that the bigger issue that impacted the decision to not immediately serve as a shelter centered on the building's history of flooding.
''The fact is that we knew that we could not put anyone on the bottom floor,'' he said, noting that the first floor is where the most space exists for housing flood victims. ''We were very concerned about putting anyone on that bottom floor given the history.''
And though there has been much debate on social media about whether Lakewood experienced any flooding during Hurricane Harvey, photos provided by the church '-- as well as Iloff's own account '-- point to water creeping up the floodgates on the lower level.
''They were within a foot of cresting the floodgates '... that flootgate's 10 feet tall,'' Iloff said. ''It was within a foot of coming over that floodgate.''
Lakewood Church
With more rain slated to come down in Houston over this past weekend, Iloff said Lakewood didn't want to endanger people, especially if there was enough room in the shelter system.
But he reaffirmed that church leaders did ask government officials to let them know if and when the time came for a greater need for shelter for victims impacted by the storm.
A photo of the flooding that was said to be inside Lakewood Church (Lakewood Church)
No such request had reportedly been made before controversy surrounding Osteen and the church broke out on social media and quickly went viral.
''We were on the phone with the city '... they said the shelters are fine at the moment,'' he said. ''We basically said we can put [a few hundred] people on the second level [and the] city said, 'We'll get back with you.' We are prepared to house those people.''
Controversy initially broke out after a photo was shared on Twitter that appeared to show that the church wasn't extensively flooded, though it is unclear when that image was taken. On Sunday, Lakewood took to its Facebook page to explain that the church wouldn't be open for services and offered up a list of available shelters.
''Dear Houstonians! Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding!'' the message read. ''We want to help make sure you are safe. Please see the list below for safe shelters around our city, and please share this with those in need!''
Iloff said that the one detail being overlooked in the current narrative is that Lakewood has a ''history of sheltering people,'' pointing back to Tropical Storm Allison, which devastated the region back in 2001. The church, which was still in its former location and hadn't yet moved to the arena, housed 3,000 people and became the largest shelter in the city.
It should be noted that, at the time, the Compaq Center (where Lakewood now resides) did cancel sports events in the wake of the tropical storm, with extensive flooding being reported by the Lawrence Journal-World.
So, flooding fears on the part of Osteen's team weren't exactly unfounded:
When Jerry McDonald arrived at the arena that's home of the Houston Comets and the Houston Rockets, he was stunned.
Flood waters from torrential rains brought by Tropical Storm Allison had inundated the Compaq Center, where McDonald is general manager.
''The court was floating in water four feet off the ground,'' McDonald said.
As for the current debate over Lakewood's response, numerous news reports noted that some Lakewood staff members also needed to be rescued amid the chaotic flood scene.
And Iloff added another detail that he felt was important to emphasize: ''The [church] doors have never been locked.''
A photo of the flooding that was said to be inside Lakewood Church (Lakewood Church)
In fact, while Iloff believes the media narrative painted a picture in which scores of people were coming to the church and being turned away, he said that, until around 2 p.m. on Monday, access to the church was difficult due to flooding and that only three people had come to the church doors thus far; those people were assisted, he said.
Lakewood Church is now working with Samaritan's Purse and has launched a fund to raise money that will strictly be used for hurricane relief, Iloff said.
The church also plans to coordinate distribution outreaches, offering baby formula, adult diapers and other supplies to members of the public.
Iloff, who said the church was already coordinating with Samaritan's Purse before debate broke out over the initial decision not to house people, said that he believes Lakewood Church is perfectly situated to help people in the community pick up the pieces of their life after the waters recede '-- and that this was always the plan.
''Where we really focus our efforts '... is on the aftermath of this thing,'' he said. ''We're going to be dealing with this for years to come. This is when peoples' lives need to be put back together.''
A photo emerged on Monday evening that purported to show that the church was setting up air-mattresses. And while Iloff said he could confirm that the image was taken inside the church, he had not been able to reach the church administrator to confirm the timing or purpose of those air mattresses.
Osteen himself also released a statement on Monday, saying that the church is ''prepared to shelter people.'' His statement came amid reports that the George R. Brown Convention Center was over capacity on Monday night.
''We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity,'' he said. ''Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.''
CLICK HERE to learn about Operation Blessing's disaster relief response to Harvey's devastation.
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Australia considering renaming Father’s Day - Red Ruby Scarlett
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Permanent Adolescence: The Epidemic That Will Destroy America
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:29
As a Humanities professor I have had the opportunity to teach psychology and social psychology for more than 20 years. Occasionally the knowledge obtained in these areas allows me analyze and understand social behavior and certain cultural trends. This is one those occasions.
If one is able to observe American society in an objective manner (granted no easy task) it becomes clear that the country is suffering from an epidemic of arrested emotional development (AED). This particular illness is characterized by some combination of: addiction, greed, immaturity, fear, blame, shame, resentments, anger, confusion and suffering. What it means is that the vast majority of Americans are stuck in adolescence exhibiting behavior like lying, negative attitudes, disobedience and disrespect, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and issues of sexuality.
One has only to watch American movies or television shows to get a snapshot of juvenile, puerile, and base comedy characteristic of adolescent humor. It's no accident that 42 year old Jimmy Fallon is essentially the ''eternal teenager'' performing comedy that mostly includes bathroom humor and gags that are based on and appeal to a silly sense of immaturity. The other darling of late-night shows in America is Stephen Colbert who specializes in insulting public figues in an overtly adolescent display of negative attitude and disrespect.
Another hallmark of AED is to evade responsibility and blame others for failure. One has only to observe the millions of Hillary supporters to understand this phenomenon. Also common for AED sufferers is to show disrespect in sophomoric ways usually by damaging property as we see with monuments being defaced and destroyed.
Teenagers, of course, tend to have identity issues often involving sexuality which is another phenomenon all too apparent in contemporary America. It's almost uncool not to be LGBT or confused about your gender nowadays. Soon there will be as many genders as ice-cream flavors for it's all just a matter of taste!In terms of cognitive activity AED is characterized by exaggeration and over-simplification. If you are angry with one of your parents you might refer to them as a Nazi or Fascist.
This negative attitude now is extended to anyone who disagrees with you and can be seen in slogans such as ''No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA''. Adults are an endangered species. The cognitive effect of exaggeration and over-simplification leads to irrationality and confusion. Witness the millions of people who think they are being anti-racist by opposing ''White Supremacy''. No anthropologist on earth would claim that ''White'' is a race (although a Neo- Nazi would) It's not even a primary color. The Irish were discriminated against for more than a hundred years in America due to Anglo-Saxon racism yet the Irish are considered ''white''. There are millions of Americans of German, Polish, and Scandinavian extraction who have been working-class and lower for a very long time. Are these ''white people'' guilty of supremacy? Against whom? Themselves?
Of course, what the protestors should be focusing on is class and not race which is really an arbitrary term. Unfortunately. the progressive movement in America has gone from ''Occupy Wall street'' to ''occupy the public bathroom''. Lenin would be turning over in his grave - if he had one. With regard to alcohol and drug addiction in America, the statistics are startling. Opiod addiction alone is becoming a national health issue as is depression. Alcohol abuse, of course, is also quite high. Lying is also becoming commonplace. It used to be just politicians and lawyers who were known to ''play with the truth''. Nowadays the mainstream media is widely seen as a mainstream of lies with CNN now wearing the title of FAKE NEWS.
The teenage attempt to rebel and show disobedience is often manifested through the use of profanity intended to shock the older generation. Gratuitous profanity is pervasive in American culture and has replaced the imagination as a form of creativity. It is not an accident that Pussy Riot - a group of ''performance artists" using profanity in a Cathedral considered sacred to ''shock'' the Russian public and ''disobey'' authorities - has found a home in the United States and been befriended by Madonna, another symbol of eternal adolescence. Her AED was on full display last year when she publicly offered all men fellatio if they voted for Hillary Clinton. And as any rebellious teenager attempting to shock the ''older generation'' she had to announce that she ''swallows''. Stay classy, Madonna. Keep in mind we're talking about a 59 year old mother of six.
You see'...if everyone is a teenager there is no adult supervision. That is the problem. After an autopsy is conducted years from now to ascertain how and why the American Empire expired, the obituary will include multiple causes of death and AED will be listed prominently. Perhaps a precocious teenager will be allowed to write the epitaph that will read'...''When extended, the bridge between adolescence and adulthood can take a heavy toll''.
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The 5 Types of 'Becky'
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 17:55
Kim Kardashian West (Josiah Kamau/Getty Images); Taylor Swift (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images); Tomi Lahren (John Scillia/Getty Images); Amy Schumer (Robin Marchant/Getty Images); Hillary Clinton (Disney)Becky:(noun); a white woman who uses her privilege as a weapon, a ladder or an excuse. Ex: ''A random Becky hit me up on Twitter to explain why not all white women are racist.''
What started as a controversial term for fellatio has blossomed into an all-encompassing term for a specific class of white women. Not all white women are Beckies, but all Beckies are white women. However, just as people note that ''black people are not a monolith,'' it is unfair to paint the entire genus of Beckies with the same broad brush.
To combat this stereotype, we gathered some of the world's leading board-certified Beckyologists and asked them to classify the disparate classes of Beckies so that we may have a better understanding when we discuss this subject. And after much discussion, our experts came up with five subgroups into which all Beckies can be categorized.
RebeccaThis is the standard, off-the shelf Becky with no adornments, around whom the entire world revolves. When ''alt-righters'' recite the 14 words, ''Because the beauty of the white Aryan woman must not perish from the earth,'' this is about whom they are talking. This is for whom they made Forever 21. This is for whom they make Pantene hair conditioner. This is for whom they made America.
It is easy to recognize a Rebecca. She can't understand how anyone could be cruel to a puppy, but turns the channel when they talk about Trayvon Martin. She is gluten-free and eats only free-range chicken, but will call the cops if she spots a ''suspicious-looking'' hoodie-wearing teenager in her neighborhood. In the South, she often wears dresses and cowboy boots. She sometimes wears Umbros and flip-flops. She always wears privilege.
Unaware of her Becky-ness, she asks questions born out of privilege, like, ''Can I touch your hair?'' or ''Is this racist?'' She loves everybody. She clutches her purse when you get close to her. She writes that Sharonda is ''too loud and aggressive'' in her employee evaluation. She begins every sentence with ''Well, actually ... '' She hates the term ''Becky.''
Identifying call: ''Well, actually, my name is Rebecca.''
Famous Rebeccas: Taylor Swift; Megyn Kelly; the girl in your study group who makes an A while doing none of the work.
BeccaThe most innocent of all Beckies, she volunteers at the local Boys & Girls Club teaching underprivileged youths. She voted for Barack Obama. She wears a safety pin and has a Black Lives Matter T-shirt. One of Becca's best friends is black. She is an ''ally.'' Did I mention she voted for Barack Obama?
Becca wants to help ... as long as it is convenient and comfortable. Even though Becca isn't a racist, her idea of black people is of a downtrodden underclass that just needs a little help from benevolent white people. Becca is pure of heart and holds no animosity toward anyone. She is willing to ''do the work ... '' But not really.
Beccas were the white women who sat on plantation porches teaching their slaves how to read but still had slaves. Becca works with inner-city children but voted against her school board annexing the ''black district.'' Becca would never use the n-word but doesn't speak up when her co-worker says something about not hiring ''those people.'' Becca thinks neo-Nazis are despicable, but quietly drinks her chardonnay when her boyfriend makes a joke that is ''kinda racist.'' Becca believes there is such a thing as ''kinda racist.'' Becca hates white supremacy. Becca upholds white supremacy.
Identifying call: ''I voted for Barack Obama. Twice.''
Famous Beccas: Hillary Clinton; Katy Perry; white women who work at ''nonprofits.''
BeckeishaPart of the privilege of Beckydom rests in its members' unflagging belief that everything belongs to them. For this subset of Beckies, culture, history and black penis are all disposable commodities for them to use and discard at their whim. In their belief system, you can't be offended when they appropriate a culture or call something ''ghetto,'' because they don't have a racist bone in their body. Plus, they once had a black boner inside their body, so how can they be racist?
Beckeishas slip on the temporary camouflage of black culture like a loose-fitting, swap-meet dashiki. They don't consider themselves thieves; they are more like culture vultures'--digesting dead black things until their bellies are filled, and then vomiting up the unwanted oppression and pain as they spread their wings and fly away. But you know what they say: Once you go black, you'll never go back ...
... unless you're a Beckeisha. Because they always go back. Because they can.
Identifying call: ''I dated a black guy in college.''
Famous Beckeishas: Anyone with the last name ''Kardashian''; Miley Cyrus; Rachel Dolezal; white girls who twerk.
RebaReba believes in equality. Reba is a feminist. Reba is ''woke.''
Reba believes in a woman's right to choose and wore a pink pussy hat to the Women's March, but Reba believes all lives matter. Reba speaks of the glass ceiling but wonders why black people always play ''the race card.'' Reba believes that a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body, but agrees that your hair is ''unprofessional.'' Reba loves Beyonc(C)'s ''Single Ladies'' but wonders why she had to pay homage to the Black Panthers at the Super Bowl and mention ''Negro noses'' in ''Formation.'' Reba cried for Justine Damond and Heather Heyer, but if you mention Rekia Boyd or Sandra Bland, Reba will ask, ''Is that the one who was on the Olympics gymnastics team?''
If you want to make Reba upset, mention how white women have always been complicit in white supremacy. Remind Reba about the white woman who lied on Emmett Till. Remind her about the white women whose chastities were avenged by lynch mobs. Show her the story about the white woman who went to the Supreme Court to dismantle affirmative action even though white women are the main benefactors. Remind her of the 53 percent of white women who kicked black people under the bus by voting for Donald Trump.
Reba won't like that because Reba doesn't really care about equality. Reba cares about winning. She believes that white women deserve the gold medal in the oppression Olympics, and if there is a chance that she isn't on the podium, Reba thinks you're not being fair. Reba talks about white privilege, but Reba doesn't understand that she is white privilege.
Identifying call: ''Not all white women ... ''
Famous Rebas: Amy Schumer; Lena Dunham; Jezebel readers.
BeckzillaBeckzillas don't give a fuck. They roam the streets stomping on everything, setting the world ablaze by spewing the flames of privilege every time they breathe.
If a Beckzilla is caught in a compromising position, she knows she can weasel her way out of it by tossing an innocent black body under the bus. She will scream bloody murder and watch silently while a faultless black boy is beaten to a pulp. She will shoot a black man in the back and claim that she feared for her life. A Beckzilla will castigate blackness for a career boost, an ounce of sympathy or just because she can.
A Beckzilla will fuck you, then she will fuck you. They always fuck you.
All Beckzillas know that white womanhood is a credit card with an unlimited balance. After all, if you are born with the ultimate privilege of white womanhood, why not use it to your advantage?
Beckzillas don't give a fuck.
Identifying call: ''What's a Becky?''
Famous Beckzillas: Betsy DeVos; Betty Shelby; Kellyanne Conway; Tomi Lahren.
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Turns Out Algorithms Are Racist | New Republic
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 14:49
It turns out that artificial intelligence may be just as bigoted as human beings. Last fall, it was discovered that a complex program used in image recognition software was producing sexist results'--associating cleaning or the kitchen with women, for example and sports with men. The developers were disturbed, but perhaps it shouldn't have been so surprising. After all, Computers and software, even at their most sophisticated, are still in essence input-output systems. AI is ''taught'' by feeding it enormous amounts of pre-existing data'--in this case, thousands upon thousands of photos. If it began to associate certain genders with certain activities, it is because it was outputting the bias inherent in its source material'--that is, a world in which pictures of people in kitchens are too often women.
The problem is a significant one. While in the abstract the term artificial intelligence can conjure sci-fi ideas of fully autonomous robots with personalities, for the present, AI mostly refers to complex software used to make decisions or carry out tasks'--everything from determining credit approvals to predicting shopping habits to self-driving cars'--software that's becoming more and more omnipresent in our daily lives. As we outsource and automate things like decision-making, customer service, and physical or mental tasks to software, there are profound ramifications for employment, government, regulation'--and social justice, too. We are situated at the threshold of determining whether a new era of technology will replicate the injustices of the past, or if it may in fact be used to challenge the inequalities of the present.
The term ''AI'' refers to a set of related fields that compose it: machine learning, in which computers are fed information to gradually learn to recognize and process it in increasingly complex ways; natural language processing, which lets software recognize the varied, shifting ways in which humans might express ideas; image recognition, which learns to ''see'' and understand images; and reasoning, in which computers learn to ''think.'' Obviously, our phones are not sentient little beings in our pockets. But many apps use parts of artificial intelligence to do things like recognize faces or images, react to context such as adding one's location to messages, or understanding commands we give with our voice. On the most basic level AI technologies, operate like ''if this, then that'' statements'--if x is greater than 100, then sound an alarm.
Will a new era of technology will replicate the injustices of the past, or challenge the inequalities of the present?Once we understand artificial intelligence as primarily a decision-making system, it becomes easier, and also surprising, to see the extent to which it has already penetrated our lives'--often with a worrying lack of transparency. Amazon, for example, is already using AI in hundreds of ways: to determine consumer preferences, to suggest products to buyers, to organize its warehouse and distribution, and of course in their Alexa voice assistant products like the Amazon Echo. But the company also uses AI to push customers to higher-priced products that come from preferred partners. These kinds of examples are becoming more common, and more serious. A ProPublica investigation revealed that justice systems were using AI to predict that chance of reoffending, and incorrectly marked black defendants as more likely to befuture criminals. AI is also being used to determine which prisons a convict should have to go to or, as The Atlantic revealed, what visitation rights she or he might have. AI and machine learning were in part responsible for the fake news that may have influenced the 2016 election. AI is also used to determine credit eligibility or offers for other financial products, and often does so in discriminatory ways'--the programs may offer you a higher interest rate if you are black or Latino, for instance, than if you are Asian or white.
As AI becomes more and more complex, it can become difficult for even its own designers understand why it acts the way it does. This poses a serious problem, particularly when given the common perception that AI is somehow objective or scientific. In such scenarios, technology becomes a black box that makes decisions and offers pronouncements and that we are encouraged to obey. As complexity only grows, it becomes more and more important to be aware of what effects AI is having on a broader social reality.
But the fact is that technology is never neutral. The example of sexist interpretation of images is just the tip of the iceberg. Since machine learning and AI operate through collecting, filtering, and then learning from and analyzing existing data, they will replicate existing structural biases unless they are designed explicitly to account for and counteract that. To address this situation, an approach would require a specifically social justice-oriented perspective, one that considers how economics intertwine with gender, race, sexuality, and a host of other factors. But given cultural factors such as the pervasive faith in blind meritocracy among tech professionals, pushing ideas focused on equity will be an uphill battle.
As AI becomes more and more complex, it can become difficult for even its own designers understand why it acts the way it does.There are moves afoot, however. AI Now is a New York-based research initiative led by Kate Crawford and Meredith Walker that seeks to further understanding of how AI works, how it might be put to better use, and how current implementations may sometimes be harmful. In an annual report, the group put out a series of recommendations designed to offer a perspective on how to mitigate the worst of AI's prejudices. Among them: dedicated resources to diversifying the range of inputs for AI systems, especially those related to marginalized groups'--photos of men doing the dishes, say, or of two women getting married. Another suggestion is to develop systems to evaluate AI's fairness and harms when in use; and try and improve diversity amongst the people designing and implementing AI in order to ferret out blind spots and bias. After all, if more of the developers were black, or women, then the programs might not reflect such a white, male worldview.
When we talk about artificial intelligence, it can be easy to get carried away with alarmism. Recently, dramatic headlines circulated that Facebook had to cut off an AI experiment because two bots ''invented their own language.'' In reality, all that happened is that the bots started to communicate in a shorthand, and not in a way that was understandable to most humans'--the program was cancelled not because it had become dangerous, but because it had ceased to be useful. There were no nefarious plots of autonomous intelligences to conquer the earth.
But in a sense, one thing that digital technology has done is to make manifest the ideas of society. Social media, for example, makes visible and concrete the idea of a ''public sphere,'' and we've seen there can be both incredible up- and downsides to this: The electric nature of open conversation also brings with it harassment and public venues for hate. For its part, AI seems to reveal the structure behind the structural bias. There are complex material and ideological factors and institutions that shape our lives, and in order to counteract the prejudice contained therein, we first need to recognize that we are in fact shaped and influenced by these bigger systems, and then work against their tendency to reproduce existing power structures. What is clear, however, is that the ''intelligence'' of AI is the output of our own investments and biases, and it behoves us to build it in a way the recognizes that fact. AI will always reflect its input, and its input is us'--our culture, our ideologies, our selves. To make the technology that will enable a more just future, those are what we have to change.
Data Scientist Cathy O'Neil: "Algorithms Are Opinions Embedded in Code" | naked capitalism
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:50
Cathy O'Neil has a PhD in mathematics from Harvard and is the author of the best seller Weapons of Math Destruction. She is also involved in Occupy Wall Street.
In this TED talk, she describes how algorithms routinely institutionalize bias, bad practices, and personal opinion. Worse, the ''gee whiz'' factor of technology and the difficulty lay people have in forcing the algorithm creators to make their assumptions and processes transparent, and allow for audits of their algorithms, makes them an all-too-easy way to reinforce and legitimate skewed power dynamics.
One part of her talk, on how hiring practices reinforce existing ''success'' models, which often have embedded biases, is consistent with our 2007 Conference Board Review article, Fit v. Fitness.
Algorithms are everywhere. They sort and separate the winners from the losers. The winners get the job or a good credit card offer. The losers don't even get an interview or they pay more for insurance. We're being scored with secret formulas that we don't understand that often don't have systems of appeal. That begs the question: What if the algorithms are wrong?
To build an algorithm you need two things: you need data, what happened in the past, and a definition of success, the thing you're looking for and often hoping for. You train an algorithm by looking, figuring out. The algorithm figures out what is associated with success. What situation leads to success?
Actually, everyone uses algorithms. They just don't formalize them in written code. Let me give you an example. I use an algorithm every day to make a meal for my family. The data I use is the ingredients in my kitchen, the time I have, the ambition I have, and I curate that data. I don't count those little packages of ramen noodles as food.
(Laughter)
My definition of success is: a meal is successful if my kids eat vegetables. It's very different from if my youngest son were in charge. He'd say success is if he gets to eat lots of Nutella. But I get to choose success. I am in charge. My opinion matters. That's the first rule of algorithms.
Algorithms are opinions embedded in code. It's really different from what you think most people think of algorithms. They think algorithms are objective and true and scientific. That's a marketing trick. It's also a marketing trick to intimidate you with algorithms, to make you trust and fear algorithms because you trust and fear mathematics. A lot can go wrong when we put blind faith in big data.
This is Kiri Soares. She's a high school principal in Brooklyn. In 2011, she told me her teachers were being scored with a complex, secret algorithm called the ''value-added model.'' I told her, ''Well, figure out what the formula is, show it to me. I'm going to explain it to you.'' She said, ''Well, I tried to get the formula, but my Department of Education contact told me it was math and I wouldn't understand it.''
It gets worse. The New York Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request, got all the teachers' names and all their scores and they published them as an act of teacher-shaming. When I tried to get the formulas, the source code, through the same means, I was told I couldn't. I was denied. I later found out that nobody in New York City had access to that formula. No one understood it. Then someone really smart got involved, Gary Rubenstein. He found 665 teachers from that New York Post data that actually had two scores. That could happen if they were teaching seventh grade math and eighth grade math. He decided to plot them. Each dot represents a teacher.
(Laughter)
What is that?
(Laughter)
That should never have been used for individual assessment. It's almost a random number generator.
(Applause)
But it was. This is Sarah Wysocki. She got fired, along with 205 other teachers, from the Washington, DC school district, even though she had great recommendations from her principal and the parents of her kids.
I know what a lot of you guys are thinking, especially the data scientists, the AI experts here. You're thinking, ''Well, I would never make an algorithm that inconsistent.'' But algorithms can go wrong, even have deeply destructive effects with good intentions. And whereas an airplane that's designed badly crashes to the earth and everyone sees it, an algorithm designed badly can go on for a long time, silently wreaking havoc.
This is Roger Ailes.
(Laughter)
He founded Fox News in 1996. More than 20 women complained about sexual harassment. They said they weren't allowed to succeed at Fox News. He was ousted last year, but we've seen recently that the problems have persisted. That begs the question: What should Fox News do to turn over another leaf?
Well, what if they replaced their hiring process with a machine-learning algorithm? That sounds good, right? Think about it. The data, what would the data be? A reasonable choice would be the last 21 years of applications to Fox News. Reasonable. What about the definition of success? Reasonable choice would be, well, who is successful at Fox News? I guess someone who, say, stayed there for four years and was promoted at least once. Sounds reasonable. And then the algorithm would be trained. It would be trained to look for people to learn what led to success, what kind of applications historically led to success by that definition. Now think about what would happen if we applied that to a current pool of applicants. It would filter out women because they do not look like people who were successful in the past.
Algorithms don't make things fair if you just blithely, blindly apply algorithms. They don't make things fair. They repeat our past practices, our patterns. They automate the status quo. That would be great if we had a perfect world, but we don't. And I'll add that most companies don't have embarrassing lawsuits, but the data scientists in those companies are told to follow the data, to focus on accuracy. Think about what that means. Because we all have bias, it means they could be codifying sexism or any other kind of bigotry.
Thought experiment, because I like them: an entirely segregated society '-- racially segregated, all towns, all neighborhoods and where we send the police only to the minority neighborhoods to look for crime. The arrest data would be very biased. What if, on top of that, we found the data scientists and paid the data scientists to predict where the next crime would occur? Minority neighborhood. Or to predict who the next criminal would be? A minority. The data scientists would brag about how great and how accurate their model would be, and they'd be right.
Now, reality isn't that drastic, but we do have severe segregations in many cities and towns, and we have plenty of evidence of biased policing and justice system data. And we actually do predict hotspots, places where crimes will occur. And we do predict, in fact, the individual criminality, the criminality of individuals. The news organization ProPublica recently looked into one of those ''recidivism risk'' algorithms, as they're called, being used in Florida during sentencing by judges. Bernard, on the left, the black man, was scored a 10 out of 10. Dylan, on the right, 3 out of 10. 10 out of 10, high risk. 3 out of 10, low risk. They were both brought in for drug possession. They both had records, but Dylan had a felony but Bernard didn't. This matters, because the higher score you are, the more likely you're being given a longer sentence.
What's going on? Data laundering. It's a process by which technologists hide ugly truths inside black box algorithms and call them objective; call them meritocratic. When they're secret, important and destructive, I've coined a term for these algorithms: ''weapons of math destruction.''
(Laughter)
(Applause)
They're everywhere, and it's not a mistake. These are private companies building private algorithms for private ends. Even the ones I talked about for teachers and the public police, those were built by private companies and sold to the government institutions. They call it their ''secret sauce'' '-- that's why they can't tell us about it. It's also private power. They are profiting for wielding the authority of the inscrutable. Now you might think, since all this stuff is private and there's competition, maybe the free market will solve this problem. It won't. There's a lot of money to be made in unfairness.
Also, we're not economic rational agents. We all are biased. We're all racist and bigoted in ways that we wish we weren't, in ways that we don't even know. We know this, though, in aggregate, because sociologists have consistently demonstrated this with these experiments they build, where they send a bunch of applications to jobs out, equally qualified but some have white-sounding names and some have black-sounding names, and it's always disappointing, the results '-- always.
So we are the ones that are biased, and we are injecting those biases into the algorithms by choosing what data to collect, like I chose not to think about ramen noodles '-- I decided it was irrelevant. But by trusting the data that's actually picking up on past practices and by choosing the definition of success, how can we expect the algorithms to emerge unscathed? We can't. We have to check them. We have to check them for fairness.
The good news is, we can check them for fairness. Algorithms can be interrogated, and they will tell us the truth every time. And we can fix them. We can make them better. I call this an algorithmic audit, and I'll walk you through it.
First, data integrity check. For the recidivism risk algorithm I talked about, a data integrity check would mean we'd have to come to terms with the fact that in the US, whites and blacks smoke pot at the same rate but blacks are far more likely to be arrested '-- four or five times more likely, depending on the area. What is that bias looking like in other crime categories, and how do we account for it?
Second, we should think about the definition of success, audit that. Remember '-- with the hiring algorithm? We talked about it. Someone who stays for four years and is promoted once? Well, that is a successful employee, but it's also an employee that is supported by their culture. That said, also it can be quite biased. We need to separate those two things. We should look to the blind orchestra audition as an example. That's where the people auditioning are behind a sheet. What I want to think about there is the people who are listening have decided what's important and they've decided what's not important, and they're not getting distracted by that. When the blind orchestra auditions started, the number of women in orchestras went up by a factor of five.
Next, we have to consider accuracy. This is where the value-added model for teachers would fail immediately. No algorithm is perfect, of course, so we have to consider the errors of every algorithm. How often are there errors, and for whom does this model fail? What is the cost of that failure?
And finally, we have to consider the long-term effects of algorithms, the feedback loops that are engendering. That sounds abstract, but imagine if Facebook engineers had considered that before they decided to show us only things that our friends had posted.
I have two more messages, one for the data scientists out there. Data scientists: we should not be the arbiters of truth. We should be translators of ethical discussions that happen in larger society.
(Applause)
And the rest of you, the non-data scientists: this is not a math test. This is a political fight. We need to demand accountability for our algorithmic overlords.
(Applause)
The era of blind faith in big data must end.
Thank you very much.
(Applause)
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Orpheum theater won't show 'Gone With the Wind,' calling film 'insensitive' | WREG.com
Mon, 28 Aug 2017 08:41
MEMPHIS, Tenn. '-- ''Gone With the Wind'' will be gone from The Orpheum's summer movie series, the theater's board said Friday.
The Orpheum Theatre Group decided not to include the 1939 movie about a plantation in the Civil War-era South in its 2018 Summer Movie Series after feedback from patrons following the last screening Aug. 11.
''As an organization whose stated mission is to 'entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves', the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population,'' the theater's operators said in a statement.
Memphis' population is about 64 percent African-American.
The historic theater in Downtown Memphis has shown the movie for decades, but this year's event ''generated numerous comments,'' leading to the decision.
''While title selections for the series are typically made in the spring of each year, the Orpheum has made this determination early in response to specific inquiries from patrons,'' the Orpheum group said.
The theater's 2018 movie series will be announced in the spring and will contain classic films and more recent blockbusters.
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US senators call on FDA to ban sale of menthol cigarettes - ABC News
Mon, 28 Aug 2017 19:13
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is calling for a ban on menthol cigarettes, arguing that tobacco companies disproportionately target African-Americans when they market and promote the cigarettes.
The Massachusetts Democrat is leading a group of fellow senators in calling on the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the cigarettes, noting that African-Americans suffer the greatest burden of tobacco-related mortality of any ethnic or racial group in the U.S.
The letter to the FDA sent earlier this week was also signed by fellow Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, and Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut.
The letter notes that in 2011, the FDA conducted a scientific review that concluded "menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes."
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It is time to examine the words and the origins of our national anthem, another neo-Confederate symbol - Salon.com
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:26
This article originally appeared on AlterNet
Confederate war memorials are just the beginning.
The removal of a statue of Chief Justice Roger Taney from its pride of place in the capital of Maryland is the manifestation of a popular awakening that goes beyond bringing down statues of Confederate heroes like Stonewall Jackson.
What we are seeing is the popular repudiation '-- and violent defense '-- of the neo-Confederate ideology that has shaped the symbols of American public life for the last 150 years. Some of these symbols now draw protests, while others are woven into public life.
For example, observing Memorial Day and singing ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' are uncontroversial patriotic gestures, yet there is no disputing that neo-Confederates developed these rituals. That doesn't necessarily mean the holiday and the national anthem should be jettisoned, along with Robert. E. Lee statues, only that their historical roots should be recognized and taught.
The dethroning of Taney shows why. Taney, who wrote the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision that effectively legalized slavery nationwide, was never a Confederate. He owned people as property, and defended slavery, but he never advocated rebellion. After the Civil War began, Taney continued to serve the U.S. government as chief justice until his death in 1864.
Yet his statue had to go, said Gov. Lawrence Hogan, a Republican. In his statement ordering the removal, Hogan declared:
''While we cannot hide from our past'--nor should we'--the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history.''
Taney's legacy
The dark chapter written by Roger Taney began long before the Confederacy existed.
In 1832, President Andrew Jackson '-- Trump's favorite president '-- appointed Taney as U.S. attorney general. One of Taney's first actions was to rescind a ruling that free black sailors could not be impressed into slavery when visiting Southern ports. In language strikingly similar to what he would write in the Dred Scott decision, Taney said no black person had rights that whites needed to respect.
Taney helped Andrew Jackson turn the power of the federal government against the anti-slavery movement, with Jackson appointing Francis Scott Key as District Attorney for the city of Washington in 1833 in part to get tough on black and white abolitionists who were becoming active in the capital.
When Jackson appointed Taney to the Supreme Court in the spring of 1836, Key was prosecuting a New York abolitionist for sedition because he kept a trunkful of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown home.
Taney's decision in the Dred Scott case, which nullified the laws of northern states protecting the rights of free blacks, made him a hero in the South after the war. The statue that came down last week was erected in 1872.
Likewise, Key's ''Star-Spangled Banner,'' with its lyrics deriding black people who took up arms to gain their freedom in the War of 1812, became a point of pride for Southerners.
In the decades following the Civil War, the defeated South strove to establish rituals such as Memorial Day, which honored the veterans of northern and southern armies equally, implying equality of respect for their causes.
Honoring ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' was another such ritual. In 1914, on the centennial of Key's writing the song, supporters launched a campaign to designate ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' as the one and only national anthem. At the time ''The Battle Hymn of the Republic'' and ''America the Beautiful'' were also considered national anthems, especially in the northern states.
The campaign to elevate the ''Banner'' was, as one Boston magazine noted in 1914, ''a sectarian movement.'' That sect was the white supremacist South.
Battle over the banner
Long before Colin Kaepernick had the best-selling jersey in the National Football League, ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' was the cause of an American culture war.
In the 1920s pacifists, liberals, and African Americans resisted elevating Key's stirring song because they objected to its militaristic and racist overtones. Confederate sympathizers responded by taking their cause to Congress.
In the 1920s, as blacks and white liberals denounced Jim Crow laws and lynchings, the campaign for ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' became a way to wrap the ideology of the Confederacy in the red, white and blue bunting of American patriotism.
African Americans were especially resistant to the appeal of Oh say can you see.
In 1927, poet James Weldon Johnson and his brother Rosamund composed a song to commemorate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, called ''Lift Every Voice and Sing.'' The song's popularity among people of color made it known as the ''Negro national anthem.'' Johnson, also an NAACP activist, denied there was anything in his song to conflict with ''The Star-Spangled Banner.'' But he couldn't resist adding that the ''Banner'' was ''difficult to sing,'' and that ''its sentiments are boastful and bloodthirsty.''
The national anthem culture war of the 1920s pitted the emancipationist values of the North against the white supremacist credo of the South.
The Southerners won the war in March 1931. That's when President Herbert Hoover signed a law, sponsored by Maryland Congressman John Linthicum, formally designating ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' as the national anthem.
Oh Say Can You See
The neo-Confederate spirit animating those who wanted Americans to sing Key's song after every public event was obvious. They marched under the Confederate flag.
Contemporary newspaper reports tell the story:
On June 14, 1931, the National Society of the Daughters of 1812 and the state of Maryland sponsored a ceremony at War Memorial Plaza in Baltimore to celebrate the new national anthem. The parade was led by a column of Boy Scouts carrying three flags: the Stars and Stripes, the red and gold flag of Maryland, and the Stars and Bars of the army of the Confederate States of America.
Marching in the parade were the very old men who had fought in 1861. The 22-year-old Union men who fought at Gettysburg in 1863 were now 90 years old. These dogged veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) were stunned to find themselves falling in behind the banner of their former enemies. They pulled up short.
The story made the news:
''GAR Balks at Southern Flag in Parade,'' reported the Baltimore Sun. Gen John F. King, past national commander of the GAR, ''ordered the Union men to disband and fall out of line,'' said the Baltimore Afro-America.
A confederate 'banner'?
Those who wanted ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' to serve as the national anthem could not have been more explicit in their politics.
Etta Holloway, the leader of the pro-''Banner'' forces for more than two decades, defended the flying of the Confederate flag as patriotic and dismissed the walkout of the Union veterans.
''It is shame to spoil such a beautiful occasion with talk of friction,'' she wrote in a letter to the Sun. ''There is no North. There is no South. Nor East nor West. We are a 'sovereign nation of many sovereign states, one and inseparable. A perfect Union.'''
The Confederate flag, she declared, was also a star-spangled banner.
''The Stars and Stripes, our country's flag,'' she went on, ''escorted the Stars and Bars [of the slaveholding states] in the pageant of June 14, proclaiming to all the world our loyalty to it and all it stands for.''
In short, neo-Confederates elevated ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' from patriotic tune to national anthem as a way of honoring southern slaveowners' rebellion.
We don't need to junk the national anthem the way we need to junk the ''justice'' of Roger Taney. But as Governor Hogan said, we might start by ''properly acknowledging our past.''
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MTV VMAs: Jared Leto's Linkin Park tribute cut short for commercials | Metro News
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 09:23
Best Dance Video
Zedd and Alessia Cara '' Stay
Best Pop
Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane '' Down
Song Of The Summer
Lil Uzi Vert '-- XO Tour Llif3
Best Choreography
Kanye West '' Fade
Best Collaboration
Zayn & Taylor Swift '' I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)
Best Dance
Zedd and Alessia Cara '' Stay
Best hip hop
Kendrick Lamar '' HUMBLE.
Artist of the year
Ed Sheeran
Best New Artist
Khalid
Video of the year
Kendrick Lamar
Best Rock
Twenty One Pilot '' Heavydirtysoul
Best Fight Against the System
Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson '' ''Black SpiderMan'' (Race & LGBTQ) (Def Jam)
The Hamilton Mixtape '' ''Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)'' (Immigration) (Atlantic Records)
Big Sean '' ''Light'' (Race) (Def Jam)
Alessia Cara '' ''Scars To Your Beautiful'' (Body image) (Def Jam)
Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley '' ''Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL'' (Environment)
John Legend '' ''Surefire'' (Immigration & Anti-Muslim hate) (Columbia Records)
Best Cinematography
Kendrick Lamar '' HUMBLE.
Best Art Direction
Kendrick Lamar '' HUMBLE.
Best Visual Effects
Kendrick Lamar '' HUMBLE.
Best editing
Young Thug '' Wyclef Jean
VMAs yellow stars
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 04:22
2017 MTV Video Music Awards '' Arrivals '' Inglewood, California, US, - Laura Perlongo and Nev Schulman, August 27, 2017... (photo credit:REUTERS/DANNY MOLOSHOK)
Are yellow stars the latest fashion trend? Just days after Billy Joel appeared onstage in New York with a yellow Star of David emblazoned on his lapel, the fashion statement made another appearance '' this time at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Nev Schulman, an actor and producer, strolled the red carpet in a red blazer with a bright yellow Star of David on his chest. Above it was another patch '' a red heart.
Schulman, who grew up in a Jewish family in New York, is best known for his film and follow-up TV show titled Catfish.
After the awards show, he posted on Twitter: ''We cannot tolerate hate against any group or identity. I'm proud to be Jewish. #lovewins.''
Schulman's costar on Catfish, Max Joseph, made a sartorial statement of his own at the awards show, by wearing a blue T-shirt simply emblazoned with the word ''Jew.''
Last week, hit singer Joel came out onstage for an encore at his show in New York City wearing two yellow stars '' one on his left chest and the other on his back.
Both artists made their statements in the aftermath of a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month, where a counterprotester was killed. The white nationalist demonstrators waved swastika flags and chanted ''Jews will not replace us.''
While both Schulman and Joel received some criticism for the move, others praised the concept as brave.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that ''Billy Joel's father was in Dachau. If anyone has the right to use the Yellow Star as a gesture of solidarity to victims of the Nazis and in defiance of latter-day Nazis in Charlottesville and elsewhere around the world, it would be Billy Joel. Kol hakavod ['Good going'], Billy!''
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King's It Promotes White Male Privilege | The Daily Caller
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:18
For all the virtue signaling Stephen King does on Twitter, not even his work is free from progressive scrutiny. A Boston University scholar claims that his classic horror novel, ''It,'' and the upcoming movie adaptation, are problematic because its protagonists are ''white, straight, and able-bodied.''
Based on King's 1986 horror novel, the upcoming movie features a group of boys who go up against a supernatural terror in the form of a child-killing clown. With all things nostalgic (the movie's set in the '80s) being in vogue, the movie is expected to do well.
But just as filmgoers are gearing up to enjoy the movie, a Boston University scholar, Regina Hansen, is doing her best to spoil everyone's fun.
The College Fix reported Monday that the ''Master Lecturer of Rhetoric'' Hansen claims that the movie and the novel it's based on suffer from underlying problems in the form of toxic (or hegemonic) masculinity'--a common refrain among intersectional feminist scholars who believe that masculinity is a pervasive force that exists to oppress women.
Writing in the summer issue of the journal Science Fiction Film and Television, Hansen says that King's ''nostalgia for underdog boyhood'' in some ways challenges ''traditional concepts of hegemonic masculinity,'' but adds that the protagonists themselves assume ''hegemonic masculinity'' by standing up to their bullies.
''While this heroic underdog character is in some ways a challenge to traditional concepts of hegemonic masculinity, the challenge is incomplete, in that he remains white, straight and able-bodied,'' she writes, adding that they're only capable of becoming heroes through the ''marginalization of female characters, black characters, gay characters and characters with disabilities.''
The scholar claims that characters like Henry Bowers ''police the heterosexuality (and thus masculinity) of the males with terms such as 'sissy,' 'baby', and 'girly boy''' until the bully gets his due. Of course, the whole point of the character is that he's a bully'--so it's unclear why Hansen would expect for him to behave any other way.
Hansen goes on to state that there's a lot to admire in King's kinship with awkward nerds, but the makeup of the mostly white, straight boys ''can be vexing, especially for non-white, female or queer readers'''--a claim unsupported by King's many readers who don't necessarily identify with his characters based on their race and gender. After all, identity comes in many forms.
Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.
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Innocent Town Amana Colonies Was Listed on the SPLC 'Hate Map' Because a Daily Stormer Book Club Met There Once
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:20
On Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) removed the historic Iowa town Amana Colonies from its "hate map" that inspired a terrorist attack in 2012. The SPLC had targeted Amana Colonies as a refuge of "hate" because of an alleged link to the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. The Amana Colonies is a historic landmark, the site of seven German Pietist villages that produced a self-sustaining local economy for eighty years.
"We're thrilled for them changing the map and correcting it to what it should be, and not having the Amanas as a hate group," David Rettig, executive director of the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Iowa City Press-Bulletin.
The SPLC "had previously designated the historic settlement as the home of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacy news and commentary organization," the Press-Bulletin reported. On Monday, one of the Amanas leaders received word that the SPLC had changed Daily Stormer's designation to "statewide."
The town had previously contested the claim, but the SPLC had stood by its marking the Amanas on the "hate map." Why? The organization claimed "it had confirmation that a group of individuals met sometime in September 2016 at a restaurant in the Amanas."
"The First Iowa Stormer Bookclub was a success!" a user with the screen name Concerned Troll posted in a September 26, 2016, thread. Concerned Troll did not provide specific details about the visit, but went on to suggest a subsequent meeting in Des Moines.
Local officials shot back, explaining that there are no such groups active in Iowa County. Amanas leaders denounced hate groups and their activities, saying none of their messages or activities are welcome in their town. They demanded that the SPLC remove their community from the "hate map."
While Amana had been previously marked on the "hate map," the local leaders remained unaware of this designation until Daily Stormer became infamous following the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va., on August 12.
On Monday, the SPLC finally agreed, removing the town from the map.
This incident should not be lightly brushed over, however. The SPLC's "hate map" inspired a terror attack in 2012.
Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 14:52
The SPLC's chief trial counsel Morris Dees / Getty Images
BY: Joe Schoffstall
August 31, 2017 5:00 am
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal, Alabama-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that has gained prominence on the left for its "hate group" designations, pushes millions of dollars to offshore entities as part of its business dealings, records show.
Additionally, the nonprofit pays lucrative six-figure salaries to its top directors and key employees while spending little on legal services despite its stated intent of "fighting hate and bigotry" using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is perhaps best known for its "hate map," a collection of organizations the nonprofit deems "domestic hate groups" that lists mainstream conservative organizations alongside racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and is often referenced in the media. A gunman opened fire at the Washington, D.C., offices of the conservative Family Research Council in 2012 after seeing it listed as an "anti-gay" group on SPLC's website.
The SPLC has turned into a fundraising powerhouse, recording more than $50 million in contributions and $328 million in net assets on its 2015 Form 990, the most recently available tax form from the nonprofit. SPLC's Form 990-T, its business income tax return, from the same year shows that they have "financial interests" in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. No information is available beyond the acknowledgment of the interests at the bottom of the form.
However, the Washington Free Beacon discovered forms from 2014 that shed light on some of the Southern Poverty Law Center's transfers to foreign entities.
The SPLC's Form 8865, a Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships, from 2014 shows that the nonprofit transferred hundreds of thousands to an account located in the Cayman Islands.
SPLC lists Tiger Global Management LLC, a New York-based private equity financial firm, as an agent on its form. The form shows a foreign partnership between the SPLC and Tiger Global Private Investment Partners IX, L.P., a pooled investment fund in the Cayman Islands. SPLC transferred $960,000 in cash on Nov. 24, 2014 to Tiger Global Private Investment Partners IX, L.P, its records show.
The SPLC's Form 926, a Return by a U.S. Transferor of Property to a Foreign Corporation, from 2014 shows additional cash transactions that the nonprofit had sent to offshore funds.
The SPLC reported a $102,007 cash transfer on Dec. 24, 2014 to BPV-III Cayman X Limited, a foreign entity located in the Cayman Islands. The group then sent $157,574 in cash to BPV-III Cayman XI Limited on Dec. 31, 2014, an entity that lists the same PO Box address in Grand Cayman as the previous transfer.
The nonprofit pushed millions more into offshore funds at the beginning of 2015.
On March 1, 2015, SPLC sent $2,200,000 to an entity incorporated in Canana Bay, Cayman Islands, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records and run by a firm firm based in Greenwich, Ct. Another $2,200,000 cash transfer was made on the same day to another fund whose business is located at the same address as the previous fund in the Cayman Islands, according to SEC records.
No information is contained on its interests in Bermuda on the 2014 forms. SPLC's financial stakes in the British Virgin Islands were not acknowledged until its 2015 tax form.
Lucinda Chappelle, a principal at Jackson Thornton, the public accounting firm in Montgomery, Ala., that prepared the SPLC's tax forms, said she does not discuss client matters and hung up the phone when the Free Beacon contacted her in an attempt to get the most updated forms from the group in relation to its foreign business dealings.
Tax experts expressed confusion when being told of the transfer.
"I've never known a US-based nonprofit dealing in human rights or social services to have any foreign bank accounts," said Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California-based nonprofit consulting firm. "My impression based on prior interactions is that they have a small, modestly paid staff, and were regarded by most in the industry as frugal and reliable. I am stunned to learn of transfers of millions to offshore bank accounts. It is a huge red flag and would have been completely unacceptable to any wealthy, responsible, experienced board member who was committed to a charitable mission who I ever worked with."
"It is unethical for any US-based charity to invest large sums of money overseas," said Casil. "I know of no legitimate reason for any US-based nonprofit to put money in overseas, unregulated bank accounts."
"It seems extremely unusual for a '501(c)(3)' concentrating upon reducing poverty in the American South to have multiple bank accounts in tax haven nations," Charles Ortel, a former Wall Street analyst and financial advisor who helped uncover a 2009 financial scandal at General Electric, told the Free Beacon.
The nonprofit also pays lucrative salaries to its top leadership.
Richard Cohen, president and chief executive officer of the SPLC, was given $346,218 in base compensation in 2015, its tax forms show. Cohen received $20,000 more in other reportable compensation and non-taxable benefits. Morris Dees, SPLC's chief trial counsel, received a salary of $329,560 with $42,000 in additional reportable compensation and non-taxable benefits.
The minimum amount paid to an officer, director, trustee, or key employee in 2015 was $140,000 in base salary, not including other compensation. The group spent $20 million on salaries throughout the year.
The SPLC, which claims to boast a staff of 75 lawyers who practice in the area of children's rights, economic justice, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform, reported spending only $61,000 on legal services in 2015.
Following recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., the group raised a great deal of money.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told his employees that the company is donating $1 million to the SPLC and would match employee contributions two to one. Cook also placed an SPLC donation button in its iTunes store. The company is additionally providing a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League.
J.P Morgan Chase vowed to add a $500,000 donation for the group's "work in tracking, exposing, and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations."
The Washington Timesreported that CNN ran a wire story following the Charlottesville events originally titled, "Here are all the active hate groups where you live" using SPLC's list of 917 groups.
Brad Dacus, the president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a Sacramento-based group that defends "religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties without charge," was listed on the "hate groups" list.
"Why is the Southern Poverty Law Center doing this? It's simple. They want to vilify and isolate anyone that doesn't agree with their very extremist leftist policy and ideology," Dacus told the Times. "This isn't about defending civil rights; this is about attacking civil rights."
"I am shocked that CNN would publish such a false report on the heels of the Charlottesville tragedy," added Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, a Christian nonprofit that provides pro bono assistance and representation, which is also featured on SPLC's list. "To lump peaceful Christian organizations, which condemn violence and racism, in with the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists is offensive. This is the epitome of fake news and is why people no longer trust the media."
CNN later changed its headline to, "The Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups."
"The SPLC is an anti-conservative, anti-Christian hate group that the media have given pretend legitimacy to. One glance at their 990 tax forms is a reminder just what a fund-raising super-power it is," Dan Gainor, vice president of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center, told the Free Beacon. "Its assets are over $328 million in 2015 and went up $13 million in just one year. It doesn't need new liberal money. It could operate for at least six years and never raise a penny. It's like a perpetual motion machine for fundraisers."
The SPLC has also been hit with a number of lawsuits over "hate" defamation claims in recent days.
The Southern Poverty Law Center did not return a request for comment on its foreign financial dealings by press time.
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Mon, 28 Aug 2017 02:28
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Antifa!
The Call To Action: DRIVE OUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME! | In the Name of Humanity We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 10:45
The Trump/Pence Regime is a Fascist Regime. Not insult or exaggeration, this is what it is. For the future of humanity and the planet, we, the people, must drive this regime out.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence have assembled a vicious cabal that has put forth positions and begun initiatives which demonstrate that they fully intend to shred political and social norms with catastrophic consequence. Because Trump has his finger on the nuclear trigger, the Trump/Pence regime is more dangerous to the world than even Hitler.
Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors. All of this has already begun under the Trump Regime. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.
Millions of people, outraged by this regime,took to the streets delivering a stinging rebuke to Trump the day after the inauguration. Protest and resistance continues against the many attacks on the people by the Trump/Pence administration. This must grow broader, deeper, and more determined. This resistance is righteous and necessary, but it is not sufficient. We must recognize that the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward. The Trump/Pence regime will repeatedly launch new highly repressive measures, eventually clamping down on all resistance and remaking the law'... IF THEY ARE NOT DRIVEN FROM POWER.
In the first weeks of the Trump/Pence regime they have begun subverting the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, called for a new nuclear arms race, demonized the press, dismissed the very concept of truth substituting their own fabricated ''alternative facts.'' It can already be said of Trump/Pence that ''first they came for'' the Muslims, then the Mexicans, then all refugees, then women, then Black and Latino people, LGBTQ persons, the environment, and anyone who doesn't conform or submit to their vision and plan for a nation cohered around white supremacy and a political form of Christian fundamentalism, that should rightly be called Christian Fascism.
Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ''traditional values.'' In Trump's election campaign he encouraged and fed on the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power. In his inaugural address he pledged allegiance only to this movement. What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.
Even as the Trump/Pence Regime is moving fast, they have not yet fully consolidated their regime, or, as yet, been able to implement their full program. But, this is their objective and it is very possible. It might only take a single serious crisis '' international or domestic '-- for this regime to drop the hammer. We do not have much time.
Don't Normalize'...Don't Accommodate'...Don't Conciliate'...Don't Collaborate'...There is method to Trump's madness that echoes Hitler. Fascism advances in stages through outrage, shock and intimidation, followed by brief periods of normalization where people accommodate to the new situation the regime has imposed.
After the election, Obama said of Trump: ''We are now all rooting for his success.'' NO! If Trump succeeds, humanity loses. Bernie Sanders has said that he will work with Trump on jobs or where they agree. NO! If you work with fascists you normalize the road to horror.
This is not just a pendulum swing Democrat to Republican, but a regime that is moving to establish a fascist order under the signboard of ''America First.'' Acting as if the election in 2018 or 2020 is the way to deal with this regime is folly, betraying a lack of understanding of just how fast, furious, and profoundly this regime will change the rules, cement its rule, destroy lives and crush spirits.
You cannot try to ''wait things out.'' Those who lived through Nazi Germany and sat on the sidelines, looking on as Hitler demonized, criminalized, and eventually rounded up one group after another, became shameful collaborators with monstrous crimes.
All of this is what renders the Trump/Pence Regime illegitimate and a grave threat to people all over the world. Therefore, we resolve:
[1] Our single unifying mission must be to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime.
[2] We must manifest the power of NO! everywhere: on signs, billboards, walls, social media and the news. NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America must resound.
[3] Every outrage committed by this regime must be met with greater and greater resistance.
[4] We must ORGANIZE: working with all our creativity and determination toward the time when millions of people can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate '' Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power.
If this happens, then the whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond'--and all this could lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is driven from office.
Let it not be said that we did not move heaven and earth to drive out this regime. This must be a moment in history when millions stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to resist and say NO! Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.
Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!
7 Indictments: The Crimes Against Humanity of the Trump/Pence Regime | In the Name of Humanity We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 11:02
What Trump/Pence Regime Has Already Done'...
and Say They Will Do'...
A series of seven postersClick here for a series of 7 printable posters with the content of this page. These hard hitting posters are an indictment of what the Trump/Pence regime has done and is doing. They concentrate the facts of the regime's efforts to consolidate fascism. They drive home why, in the interests of humanity, the Trump/Pence Regime ''Must GO!''. People are being led by mass media to think ''Trump really hasn't been able to accomplish anything yet.'' People need a much fuller grasp of the aims of this regime, and the direction it is pushing in. Download these PDF Posters, print, and take them to protests, spread the word about November 4.
What they have doneOver 230 protesters arrested at Trump's inauguration were charged with multiple felonies, including federal riot charges, and 230 defendants face up to 70 or more years in prison. The government is now demanding massive and detailed information on visitors to a website used to organize those protests. The site's web hosting provider says complying would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses.U.S. agents now search cell phones and other electronic devices of people traveling internationally at a rate four times higher than in 2015. The head of Department of Homeland Security said visitors to the U.S. should be required to give up their online passwords and submit to social media searches.Trump has systematically accused the press of ''fake news'' and being an ''enemy of the people''; refuses to hold regular press briefings; threatens individual reporters and news outlets; and has tweeted a video of himself beating up a CNN reporter.Trump and his spokespeople have attacked artistic expression ranging from comedians to a staging of Julius Caesar by NYC's Shakespeare in the Park featuring a Trump-like title character.Attorney General Jeff Sessions has launched an aggressive campaign to identify and prosecute people who leak information to the press and opposes a federal ''shield'' law to protect journalists who refuse to disclose their sources.What they said they will doAfter Edward Snowden, a government security contractor turned whistle-blower, revealed the vast U.S. spying on people's communication, Trump and Pompeo, now the head of the CIA, called for Snowden's execution.Trump has publicly stated he wants to expand the government's surveillance apparatus, including restoring parts of the Patriot Act that have been amended. While still a senator, Jeff Sessions helped derail a Senate bill that would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before accessing stored electronic communications like emails.The Trump/Pence regime has discussed rewriting libel laws to allow suits against those who criticize government officials or leak unflattering information. After the New York Times published parts of Trump's tax returns in December 2016, Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager, said the Times' executive editor ''should be in jail.''Trump reportedly told James Comey before firing him as FBI director that journalists should be jailed for publishing classified information.TSA proposed requiring airline travelers to take all books out of carry-on luggage for agents to inspect.Department of Homeland Security announced plans to expand the use of facial recognition cameras at airport boarding gates to scan all passengers leaving the U.S.'--from seven major airports currently to all airports.What they have unleashed nationallyTrump supporters are systematically attacking academic freedom. They have targeted progressive professors with online threats and terror, and fascist goons have gone to campuses to spread hate and attack students and professors.Republican legislators in at least 19 states have introduced bills criminalizing protest in different ways in response to the massive anti-Trump demonstrations, and other states may follow suit. Some have already been passed into law.A proposed bill in Arizona redefines ''rioting'' to be included in the state's racketeering laws, allowing the government to seize the assets of people who participate or help plan protests that turn violent.A proposed bill in the Alabama Senate criminalizes ''mass picketing'' aimed at blocking access to streets and highways, airports or train tracks, places of business, and private residences, as misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison and $2,500 in fines.Proposed laws in North Dakota, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Rhode Island, and North Carolina make it legal to run over protesters as long as the driver claims it was an accident.A new Georgia law called the Back the Badge Act of 2017 criminalizes various acts of resisting police or jail authorities.Minnesota is considering bills that will increase penalties for blocking highways from misdemeanor to gross misdemeanor, with penalties of up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine. And they allow law enforcement or other government agencies to sue people convicted of unlawful assembly or public nuisance for the cost of government response to the protest.A proposed bill in Mississippi criminalizes ''maliciously impeding traffic on a public road,'' punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.In Missouri a proposed bill makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison for a protester to conceal ''his or her identity with a robe, mask, or other disguise'' while engaged in an unlawful assembly, and makes it a crime for two or more people to intentionally ''impede vehicular traffic'' by walking, standing, sitting, or lying on a public street or highway, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.North Dakota has increased penalties for ''instigating a riot'' from a Class C to Class B felony, with up to $20,000 in fines and 10 years in prison. Wearing a mask or hood to avoid identification or escape detention is now punishable by up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine.An Oregon bill will expel students from their college or university if they participate in a violent ''riot.''A Senate bill in Washington will criminalize ''economic disruption,'' defined as trying to influence government action by intimidation or coercion, blocking any vehicle or ship, or obstructing any oil pipeline, barge or power plant, with penalties ranging from 2 to 12 months in prison.In March 2017, a UN Special Rapporteur issued a report expressing concern about the impact these different bills and laws could have on free speech, assembly, and right of association.The National Rifle Association released a video attacking the New York Times, which ended with the warning, ''We're coming for you.''
The people of every country are full human beings, and not collateral damage to be subjected to massive bombing, invasions, occupations, the danger of nuclear war, and a program of ''America First'' that would bludgeon them into submission.
What they have doneThe U.S. is waging war, in one form or another, in six countries'--Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. It's escalating and intensifying U.S. attacks at a rapid pace.Yemen has been hit by more U.S. air strikes than in all of 2015-2016 combined.In March, the U.S. resumed drone attacks in Pakistan.In Afghanistan in April, the U.S. carried out 296 bombing strikes'--its highest monthly total in 5 years.The war against ISIS has escalated as U.S.-led forces fight to take Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria.The U.S. has also stepped up threats against Iran and its allies, and directly attacked Syrian government forces for the first time.There's been a staggering increase in the number of civilians killed by the U.S. and its allies in Syria and Iraq'--anywhere from 2,300 to more than 3,000 civilians, figures including over 1,000 in March alone.U.S.-supplied white phosphorous munitions have reportedly been used in the heavily populated cities of Mosul and Raqqa. White phosphorous munitions are savage weapons: they're toxic, stick to the skin, and burn so hot they can create deep second- and third-degree burns. Under international law, they're banned from use in populated areas.Civilian casualties have soared. Defense Secretary Jim ''Mad Dog'' Mattis dismisses them as ''a fact of life.''Finalized the largest arms sale in U.S. history with Saudi Arabia'--$110 billion in tanks, bombs, helicopters, and other equipment immediately, with tens of billions more likely to come.Explicitly supported the Saudis' war in Yemen, which has led to 10,000 civilian deaths, massive famine, and a rapidly spreading cholera epidemic. On average, one child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes.Dropped the world's largest-ever non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan in April weighing 11 tons and nicknamed MOAB'--the ''mother of all bombs.'' Trump called MOAB ''another very, very successful mission.''Has repeatedly threatened North Korea with war while deploying attack aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines to its coast and carrying out provocative military maneuvers along its borders.Twice provocatively deployed warships within 12 miles of islands in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam to challenge their claims and assert U.S. supremacy and ''freedom of navigation.''U.S. Special Forces are now deployed in 70 percent of all the countries on Earth.Slammed U.S. borders shut and demonized Muslims and refugees during the greatest global displacement crisis in history. Over 65 million people (half are children) are fleeing wars, violence, and persecution.What they said they will doDeploy another 3,000 to 5,000 troops to Afghanistan.Trump declares ''The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed and frankly, that patience is over,'' warns he wants North Korea to be ''dealt with rapidly.'' At the G-20 Summit Trump declared ''I have some pretty severe things that we're thinking about.''National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster announced Trump has ordered the military to ''prepare all options because the President has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea.'' Every option being prepared, he states, involves a U.S. military attack.''Torture works,'' insists Trump. Guantnamo stays open. Illegal torture including waterboarding is being re-approved. Trump plans to bring back the CIA ''black sites.''Trump's CIA director Mike Pompeo calls torturers ''patriots,'' Guantnamo ''honorable and professional'' and ''a goldmine of intelligence,'' and NSA spying ''a very valuable asset for the intelligence community and for law enforcement.''Trump now has his finger on the nuclear trigger. During his campaign, he asked a foreign policy expert three times: If we have nukes, why can't we use them?After being elected, Trump tweeted last December, ''The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability'' and ''Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.''
The Earth and the species who inhabit it'--including humanity'--should sustain life and not be despoiled by ignorance, greed, and the disregard of science.
What they have doneWithdrew the U.S. from the Paris international climate agreement on greenhouse gas emissions.The regime released a list of 860 environmental rules it's reviewing or withdrawing'--including drinking water standards for radon and lead levels, water quality standards on Indian reservations, ozone and methane emission limits, and air-quality standards for hazardous chemicals. Just ten of those standards save more than 10,000 lives and prevent 300,000 cases of illness and injury each year.Contrary to scientific consensus, EPA head Scott Pruitt denied on national TV that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the main cause of global warming.Approved and expedited construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines, which will increase fossil fuel use and emissions and accelerate global warming.Attempted to block rules restricting leaks of methane, an even more harmful greenhouse gas than CO2, from landfills and from oil and gas wells.Approved the use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide shown to be harmful to children's brains and nervous systems.Rescinded Obama's Clean Power Plan, which put restrictions on carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.In a move lauded by the NRA, Trump's interior secretary approved the use of lead ammunition on federal lands and waters.What they said they will doEPA head Scott Pruitt attacks climate science and the reality and danger of climate change and plans to dismiss 38 scientists from the EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors.In the name of doing an ''update'' to ''reflect the agency's new direction,'' the EPA website has removed ''Climate Change'' as a topic from its menu of ''Environmental Topics'' and begun making content related to climate change unavailable.The Trump/Pence budget would slash the EPA budget by more than 30 percent and eliminate 3,200 jobs at the agency.Among the EPA programs targeted to be gutted or eliminated is ''environmental justice,'' which was supposed to help minority and other disadvantaged communities fight industrial pollution.Filed a plan to end rules protecting more than half the country's streams and waterways'--which flow into rivers, lakes, and wetlands'--from pollution, which could end drinking water safeguards for one in three people in the U.S.Announced plans to roll back auto fuel efficiency standards and regulations restricting vehicle emissions.Trump instructed his interior secretary to review 40 national monuments to see if the size of land set aside for protection from development should be reduced.A Trump order for a review of bans on offshore oil drilling in parts of the Arctic and Pacific and Atlantic oceans points to renewed expansion of such drilling.Trump has said the U.S. environmental regulations are ''out of control,'' and has removed protections of certain species, like the Yellowstone grizzly bear, and ordered reviews of rules protecting other endangered species, like the greater sage-grouse.Although studies say the construction of Trump's border wall will threaten more than 100 species of animals and plants, Trump claims no environmental review is necessary to put up the wall and plans to invoke ''national security'' to bypass it.The Bureau of Land Management proposed repealing rules on fracking on federal and Native American tribal lands that put some requirements on oil and gas companies, like safety measures on toxic chemicals used in fracking.The Department of Treasury says they will turn from promoting renewable energy in ''developing'' countries to supporting more coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel projects.Muslims and refugees are full human beings, not people to be shunned, banned, and cast out to be swallowed up by oceans and wars.
What they have doneImposed significant parts of a Muslim ban that bars people from 6 Muslim-majority countries and all refugees from entering the U.S.To get around the obstacles put up by some courts to the Muslim ban, instituted ''extreme vetting'' that especially targets people entering the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries.After the initial Muslim ban, Trump fired the acting attorney general for refusing to defend the ban.Trump said nothing when a 17-year-old abaya-wearing Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen, was kidnapped after leaving a Virginia mosque and battered to death with a metal bat.Trump appointed as his chief of strategy Steve Bannon, who sees America and the ''Christian West'' as being locked in an existential struggle with the Muslim world and non-European/dark-skinned people generally.Wisconsin sheriff, David Clarke, a fascist who spoke at the Republican Convention, called for intensified surveillance of Muslim communities.What they said they will doICE is targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority countries named in Trump's original Muslim ban. In July, at least 114 Iraqi immigrants in Detroit'--nearly all Chaldean Christians from Iraq'--were rounded up in an ICE raid.ICE has announced that they have a list of 1,444 ''deportable'' Iraqis that they fully intend to go after, arrest and deport'--as well as 4,801 Somali immigrants on the same list.When the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated significant parts of Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0 in June, Neil Gorsuch, appointed to the Court by Trump, joined two others in an opinion declaring the ban should be restored in full'--in anticipation of the Court considering the question in the fall.What they have unleashed nationallyFascists rallied in dozens of cities across the country on June 10 in what they called a ''March Against Sharia,'' a major leap in the normalization of anti-Muslim bigotry.A Trump supporter in Portland, Oregon, murdered two Good Samaritans who came to the aid of women he was threatening because one wore a hijab. He shouted, ''Muslims should die.'' It took Trump 4 days to tweet that the attack was ''unacceptable.''The number of hate crimes against Muslims in the first half of 2017 spiked 91% compared to the first half of 2016. There were 66 attacks on mosques in the U.S. in that period'--compared to 84 for the whole of last year.A white man set fire to a convenience store in St. Lucie, Florida, in March while shouting ''run the Arabs out of the country,'' because he thought it was owned by Muslims (the owner is actually from India).A woman walking on a Milwaukee street in April was confronted by a man who pulled up to her in a car, demanded that she remove her hijab, pulled her to the ground, and slashed at her clothes with a knife.A worker at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Salem, Oregon, was attacked by a white man wielding a pipe and yelling ''Get out of America'' and ''Arab, you need to leave.''In August, an IED exploded at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, as people were preparing for morning prayers.A Muslim cemetery in Castle Township, Minnesota, was vandalized with swastikas and graffiti saying ''leave u r dead.''Immigrants are full human beings, not ''illegals'' or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out.
What they have doneOne of Trump's first acts in office was an executive order targeting all 11 million undocumented immigrants for deportation, regardless of any supposed criminal record.Arrests of immigrants are up almost 40 percent from the record highs under Obama.Every day since Trump/Pence came into office, over 400 people have been ripped away from their lives, families, and jobs by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).Trump officials claim the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that gave temporary deportation relief to 750,000 mostly young immigrants (''DREAMers'') brought to the U.S. without documents when they were children is ''under review'''--but ICE agents have already arrested some DREAMers, like 22-year-old Daniela Vargas in Jackson, Mississippi.In prepared remarks for an appearance at the U.S.-Mexico border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote: ''It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth'.... This is a new era. This is the Trump era.''Over the June 10 weekend, at least 114 Iraqi immigrants'--nearly all Christians who face extreme persecution and threat of death if deported'--were rounded up in SWAT-team type raids by ICE agents in Detroit.Trump's Department of Homeland Security appointed the former director of the virulently xenophobic group FAIR as an ''ombudsman'' whose role is supposedly to advocate for immigrants whose citizenship or visa applications have run into problems.What they said they will doTo step up anti-immigrant operations, the Trump/Pence regime plans to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol cops and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the coming months and years.Plans for Trump's wall for the border with Mexico are going ahead, with the regime calling for the allocation of several billion dollars to start the construction even as Trump continues to insist Mexico will be forced to pay for the total cost of tens of billions.Trump/Pence announced at end of June they will begin arresting parents and other relatives who hire ''coyotes'' to help their children cross the border into the U.S.Trump's Pentagon is considering reneging on enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits without legal immigration status, who had been promised a path to citizenship for serving in the military'--making them targets for deportation.What they have unleashed nationallyAmong the barrage of Republican anti-immigrant bills now in Congress is the Davis-Oliver Act which, among other things, would turn civil immigration infractions into criminal violations punishable by prison, expand immigration prisons, require local law enforcement to hand over to Department of Homeland Security a wide range of data on all immigrants who are arrested and suspected to be undocumented, and other draconian measures.States are also passing anti-immigrant laws; for example, the SB4 law signed by the Christian fascist Texas governor Abbott, requiring that local law enforcement detain a person they suspect of being undocumented until their immigration status is checked'--the law effectively bans sanctuary cites and campuses in the state.Trump created a new government office under Homeland Security, called VOICE, which will ''publicize'' supposed crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. This anti-immigrant propaganda office is part of whipping up a climate of hatred and terror against immigrants.Among the victims of Trump-era anti-immigrant violence: Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an immigrant from India, who was murdered in February in Kansas by a white man shouting ''Get out of my country'' as he fired his gun.Black and Latino people are full human beings, not people to be denied the right even to live, gunned down by the police with impunity, incarcerated in genocidal numbers, and denied basic rights.What they have doneAttorney General Jeff Sessions called for maximum charges and penalties for non-violent drug offenders, reversing policies reducing them, at a time when 2.3 million people, disproportionately Black and Latino, are already incarcerated.Sessions has put a halt on consent decrees with cities that aim to address some of the most egregious police abuses, such as in Baltimore.Police across the U.S. have already shot and killed over 508 people in the first 6 months of 2017, over 200 of them Black or Latino, with many unarmed.In the name of stopping the ''carnage,'' the Department of Justice is working with local police in 12 cities, and Trump has sent feds into Chicago. These forces are an advance guard for a stepped-up reign of terror on Black and Latino people.Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education is rolling back investigations of civil rights abuses against people of color, women, and LGBTQ people in public schools.What they said they will doThe Republicans are moving to end Obamacare, which will result in an additional 217,000 deaths over the next decade and 22 million more people without health insurance'--hitting poor, Black, Latino, and Native American people hardest.A proposed ''Back the Blue Act'' would make it harder to sue for damages for unjustified police violence; turn even minor, often non-existent, assaults on police into federal crimes with severe mandatory minimum sentences; and expand the federal death penalty to cover killings of police.Trump's proposed budget will cut $192 million from the Food Stamps program over the next 10 years, taking food from many of the nearly 44 million recipients'--about 26 percent Black'--depriving basic nutritional assistance from children and elderly, disabled, working poor, and homeless people.Funding for the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will be reduced. Latinos make up 40 percent of WIC recipients, Black people about 20 percent, and Native people about 12 percent.Trump's budget would cut 13 percent of the Department of Education budget'--$9 billion'--which will lead to further deterioration of public schools in oppressed neighborhoods, while $1.4 billion will be added to encourage and support private, charter, and religious schools, including vouchers for religious fundamentalist charter schools.Other education cuts affecting oppressed nationalities in particular include elimination of $1.2 billion allocated for after school and summer programs serving 1.6 million students of working families, including after school food programs for low-income students.What they have unleashed nationallyThe Trump regime has fostered a climate in which white supremacists feel empowered and emboldened, including a Mississippi legislator who declared that anyone wanting to take down Confederate monuments ''should be lynched.''In just the first 5 months following Trump's election, there were nearly 300 acts of racist threats directed against Black people.There is an epidemic of lynching nooses appearing across the country'--clearly meant to deliver a hateful, racist, threatening message. One appeared in May at the exhibit on segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC'--4 days after another noose had been found at another Smithsonian museum, the Hirshhorn.In June, another lynching noose was hung near the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.Other lynching nooses have appeared, since Trump's election, at a construction site and a middle school in Maryland; a frat house at the University of Maryland; the Duke University campus and Wakefield High School in North Carolina; the Port of Oakland in California; a high school in Lakewood, California; and a New York City butcher shop.One hundred racists with burning torches, and some armed with automatic weapons, held a nighttime rally in May in Charlottesville, Virginia, against the taking down of a Confederate monument, shouting ''We [white people] will not be replaced!''After Texas congressman Al Green said on the House floor that Trump should be impeached, he was flooded with telephone lynching threats, like ''You're not going to impeach anybody, you fucking nigger. You'll be hanging from a tree.''In the Name of Humanity,
We Indict FOX FASCIST NEWS
The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
While masquerading as ''fair and balanced'', Fox News serves as a vehicle for stirring up racism, xenophobia and irrational fear of other peoples and countries among its overwhelmingly white audience. Fox has worked to turn millions into easy prey for leaders like Trump'--who has had virtually unlimited access to airtime there'--and to cohere them into a fanatical fascist movement.
Fox helped whip up war fever and mass hysteria over nonexistent ''weapons of mass destruction'' in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It provided a platform for Trump and others to attack Obama as a ''secret Muslim,'' and ''not an American,'' as if being a Muslim was itself a crime, and being Black was somehow ''un-American.'' It feeds fear of ''Muslim terrorism'' and casts suspicion on Muslim communities, women in Muslim garb, Muslim places of worship.
In the name of free speech, its hosts complained bitterly about being the victims of persecution as they whip up hatred for women, LGBTQ people and any person who is not white and Christian. FOX regurgitates Trump's lying portrayal of immigrants as dangerous criminals and a threat to ''white womanhood.'' It exaggerates and spreads fear of rampant crime even as crime rates drop, implying if not outright saying that people of color are the cause of crime. It celebrates police even as they kill hundreds of Black and Latino people annually; then shamelessly defames the victims as criminal scum who got what they were asking for. Its hosts have defended the ''right'' of businesses to refuse service to gay people. It has saturated the airwaves with pseudo-experts who attack the scientific understanding of the danger of human-caused climate change, and who fundamentally attack science and critical thinking itself.
And on and on '... Fox has proven to be an open sewer of misinformation, disinformation and outright lies, hour after hour.
Here are just some of the flood of lies and reactionary garbage that comes out of Fox ''Fascist News Network'':At least 28 times before courageous abortion doctor George Tiller was assassinated by an anti-abortion killer in 2009, Bill O'Reilly and others on Fox News repeatedly called Dr. Tiller ''baby killer'' and spewed other incendiary lies and attacks, and whipped up murderous hatred against Dr. Tiller.In a two-month period in 2013, 69% of Fox News guests talking about climate change and 75% of references to the subject cast doubt on the scientific reality of climate change'--in contrast to 97% of the world's experts who hold the consensus view based on scientific evidence about the danger of climate change.Donald Trump avidly follows the ''Fox & Friends'' morning show, tweets out lies straight out of Fox broadcasts, and regularly tells his millions of Twitter followers to watch Fox.In one of many lies in service of spreading anti-immigrant hatred, Jillian Mele of ''Fox & Friends'' falsely claimed that 21 sanctuary cities across the U.S. are ''teaming up'' with an immigrant rights group to ''rush the process for illegals pouring over our borders.''Trump advocated the U.S. use of torture during his campaign, and in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity after his election, Trump renewed his support for waterboarding.After a cop in suburban St. Paul murdered Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, Fox News hosts Hannity and Kelly criticized Castile's girlfriend who was in the car with her 4-year-old daughter, for not doing more to help; a contributor used the occasion to attack Obama for violent attacks on police; and a guest, an NRA board member, used the killing to accuse Obama of trying to start a race war.Anti-abortionist Lila Rose appeared on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show on May 31 to promote the deceptive video footage that had been used by an anti-abortion group in a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood'--after a federal judge had barred the release of the footage and ordered that all copies of it be removed from the Internet.Top Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly was let go after many women came forward to testify about being sexually harassed by him, as top management continued to back him'--so far Fox News has paid $13 million to settle sexual harassment claims against O'Reilly. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the whole misogynist, ultra-patriarchal culture at, and viewpoint consistently blasted out by, Fox News.After a white supremacist murdered two men who tried to stop him from harassing a young woman wearing a hijab and her Black friend on a Portland, Oregon train, Fox News' Tucker Carlson downplayed his known history of neo-Nazi activity and claimed he was just an ''unstable maniac,'' whose actions were ''hardly the behavior of a coherent white supremacist,'' and ''this guy wasn't a right-winger.''Fox News anchors and commentators have consistently downplayed the implications and evidence of the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia to affect the elections'--host Gregg Jarrett said, for example, in late May, ''I've said it before and I'll say it again: Collusion is not a Only in antitrust law. You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election. There's no such statute.''As part of the Trump-Republican assaults on health care, Fox News spreads thinly disguised racist lies about Medicaid, such as: Medicaid ''was going to people who didn't need it'' (Ainsley Earhardt); Obamacare's Medicaid expansion included ''a lot of people who are not, by previous standards, considered poor'' (Brit Hume); Medicaid expansion gave care to ''a population who maybe could have gotten a job'' (Marc Siegel).Fox News hosts and commentators have added to the dangerous Trump/Pence war threats around North Korea'--including the host of ''TheFox News Specialists'' who said in June that if North Korea goes further with their missile development, ''It may be time for a preemptive ''
Click here for printable posters
Can't Shake It Off: How Taylor Swift Became a Nazi Idol - Broadly
Mon, 28 Aug 2017 14:17
Every demographic chooses a pop icon. Gay men worship Cher, black women love Beyonc(C), and neo-Nazis worship Taylor Swift, a skinny, blonde Pennsylvania girl that they have labeled an "Aryan Goddess." Nazis and members of the "alt right"'--an Internet subculture that is best described as the venn diagram of hipster culture and white supremacy'--have been spreading a conspiracy theory that Swift is a covert Nazi. They claim Swift's songs "red pilled" America into believing a conservative, racist agenda. (Taylor Swift's representative, a publicist named Tree Paine, did not return Broadly's request for comment.)
"Firstly, Taylor Swift is a pure Aryan goddess, like something out of classical Greek poetry. Athena reborn. That's the most important thing," explains Andre Anglin, the writer of the white supremacist blog the Daily Stormer. "It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world. Probably, she will be betrothed to Trump's son, and they will be crowned American royalty." (Swift is notoriously private about her political leanings, although, after Obama was elected, she toldRolling Stone, "I've never seen this country so happy about a political decision in my entire time of being alive. I'm so glad this was my first election.")
It's unclear when the white supremacists started writing blog posts about their Taylor Swift fandom. Anglin believes Swift Nazi memes may have existed since her "Teardrops on My Guitar" days. "Some believe it was meme magic that made her famous'--though no one can be certain," he says. "We are certain that as soon as Nazis saw her, they were magnetically drawn to her sculpted Aryan form and angelic demeanor."
Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos believes the memes may have originated with a Pinterest user named @poopcutie, which was helmed by a teenage girl named Emily Pattinson. In 2013, she started pining memes attributing Adolf Hitler quotes to Swift to spoof memes that falsely attributed inspiring quotes to Marilyn Monroe. Pattinson emblazoned an image of Swift in a ball gown walking past trees with the Hitler quote: "As in everything, NATURE is the best instruction." BuzzFeed aggregated her posts without asking Pattinson for comment, and then Pattinson went viral. "Everyone wants to go viral," she says. She soon learned that short-lived Internet fame isn't what it's cracked up to be, when Swift's lawyer, J Douglas Baldridge, sent Pinterest a threatening letter, which Pattinson provided to Broadly. Part of the letter read as follows:
The association of Ms. Swift with Adolf Hitler undisputedly is 'harmful,' 'abusive,' 'ethnically offensive,' 'humiliating to other people,' 'libelous,' and no doubt 'otherwise objectionable.' It is of no import that Ms. Swift may be a public figure or that Pinterest conveniently now argues that the Offending Material is mere satire or parody. Public figures have rights. And, there are certain historical figures, such as Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson and the like, who are universally identified in the case law and popular culture as lightning rods for emotional and negative reaction.
Citing parody laws, Pinterest refused to take down the Hitler/Swift memes. "I didn't continue making the quote images, but I didn't delete my board either," Pattinson tells Broadly. In her wake, other Hitler/Swift meme accounts have popped up.
On Facebook, a group called Taylor Swift for Fascist Europe has over 18,000 likes. The group's community manager'--who remains anonymous'-- tells Broadly in an email that he wishes "to preserve Europe" through fascism. "Not only has fascism traditionally opposed Marxism, rather than simple opposition to Communism in the spirit of many traditional conservative ideologies, but anti-Marxist principles are at the core of its ideology," he writes. "Only through the destruction of Marxism can Europe be restored to its former glory, and only fascism can ensure this destruction." Although he doesn't believe Swift is "red pilling" the masses, he says he believes that she embodies the Aryan "spirit."
"Being Aryan is not simply a matter of blood, but it is also a matter of spirit," the community manager writes in an email to Broadly. "Take Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus as examples of this: both began their lives with the same Nordic blood that Swift did, but what makes these two degenerates unfit for consideration as fascist icons? It is because, although Aryan in blood, the two are not Aryan in spirit. To be Aryan in spirit is what completes the fascist."
Read More:We Found Actual Feminazis, as in Feminist Nazis
Now, actual fascists adore Swift. The Daily Stormer has published 24 posts about Swift, including "Aryan Goddess Taylor Swift Accused of Racism for Behaving Like an Ape in a Music Video" and "Memification: Top Feminist Calls Taylor Swift a Nazi." As Yiannopoulos points out, blogger Michael Collins worries that Swift has "succumbed" to the "Merchant," which is Nazi code for "Jewish."
"It's incredible really that she's surrounded by these filthy, perverted Jews, and yet she remains capable of exuding 1950s purity, femininity and innocence," Anglin says. "She is the anti-Miley. While Miley is out having gang-bangs with colored gentlemen, she is at home with her cat reading Jane Austen."
Yiannopoulos writes that Swift works as an avatar for the ultra right because she comes across as a born conservative but also keeps politics out of her public identity. The blonde, pale star grew up in Pennsylvania, one of the original 13 colonies, while her father worked as a wealth manager and senior vice president of Merrill Lynch. She originally sang country music, the genre beloved by the same people who voted twice for George W. Bush.
Some of the alt-right's defenders argue that memes just exist to rankle and troll people'--the "Taylor Swift for Fascist Europe" page, for example, is listed as a comedian on Facebook. Perhaps, but racist jokes often come out of racists' mouths. Nevertheless, Anglin's commitment to Swift's ascendance into the role of figurehead in the coming white supremacist uprising remains steadfast. "The entire alt-right patiently awaits the day when we can lay down our swords and kneel before her throne," Anglin says, "as she commands us to go forth and slaughter the subhuman enemies of the Aryan race."
NA-Tech News
Germany and France introduce new tax on internet giants
Mon, 28 Aug 2017 08:55
Photo: DPA.
France and Germany plan to issue a new proposal to tax internet giants so that they pay a "fair contribution" in every country where they earn money, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.
"We will unveil a new plan along with our German partners at the next finance ministers' meeting in Tallinn in mid-September" for taxing technology giants including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, Le Maire said in a Facebook Live chat.
"We propose taking the revenues of these large companies as a reference point, and use this to determine a tax level so that these companies pay what they should to the treasuries of every country where they make money," he said.
He acknowledged, however, that similar proposals had already been made at an EU level as well as for the OECD group of developed economies, without success.
"For now, these talks have stalled," Le Maire said.
The internet companies have come under fire in Europe for using complex fiscal arrangements to declare profits in countries with the lowest tax rates, even when they are earned elsewhere in the bloc.
Le Maire's comments come after Google recently escaped a '‚¬1.115 billion tax bill sought by the French treasury, after a court ruled that the US company's Irish subsidiary was not taxable in France.
French President Emmanuel Macron promised to get tough on US internet giants during his election campaign, seeing their low tax rates as a source of resentment about globalization and as unfair for European companies.
Maxine
Maxine Waters charged with ethics violations | Power Line
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:30
The Hill reports that the House ethics committee has charged Rep. Maxine Waters with three counts of violating House rules and the federal ethics code in connection with her effort to arrange a 2008 meeting between Treasury officials and representatives of OneUnited bank.
The committee found that by trying to assist OneUnited, Waters stood to benefit directly because her husband owned a sizable amount of stock that would have been ''worthless'' if the bank failed. It also accused Waters of violating the ''spirit'' of a House rule prohibiting lawmakers from using their positions for financial gain, as well as a government ethics statute banning the dispensing of ''special favors.''
The meeting Waters helped arrange was between the National Bankers Association (NBA), a trade group of minority owned banks of which OneUnited is a member, and Treasury officials. At least that was how Waters described it when she contacted then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to request the meeting, according to this report. As it turned out, three of the four attendees NBA invited had ties to OneUnited, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics.
OneUnited was seeking $50 million in assistance to cover expected losses from the collapse of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The ethics committee valued Waters' husband's holding in OneUnited at more than $350,000 as of the end of 2007. This represented between 4.6 and 15.2 percent of the couple's net worth, according to Waters's financial disclosure reports. By the end of September 2008, the stock's value plummeted more than 50 percent, to $175,000, because of the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The committee found that ''if OneUnited failed, [Waters's] husband's investment would have been worthless.''
In early September 2008, Barney Frank, head of the House Banking Committee, warned Waters against involvement in assisting OneUnited because of her husband's ties to the bank. However, the committee found that Waters remained involved through her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, who also happens to be Waters' grandson.
Moore continued to communicate with OneUnited executives regarding the proposed TARP legislation. OneUnited's senior counsel sent Moore an email thanking him for his ''hard work.''
In October, the legislation authorizing the TARP included language intended to apply to OneUnited. The bank eventually applied for TARP funds and received $12 million in December.
Waters' attorneys have argued that Moore '-- the congresswoman's grandson and chief of staff '-- acted without her knowledge. The ethics committee isn't buying this. How could it?
The Hill points out that Waters is the second House Democrat charged recently with ethics violations. In late July, the House ethics committee charged Rep. Charles Rangel with 13 counts of breaking House rules and federal ethics statutes. With only three violations, Waters is a paragon of virtue compared to the man from Harlem. Yet, she fully deserves her status as one of the most corrupt members of Congress.
Ministry of Truthiness
Internal CIA Memos Expose Media As Agency's "Principal Villains", Urges "Intervention In Journalism Schools"
Mon, 28 Aug 2017 09:02
Authored by Emma Best via Muckrock.com,
''Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the power of the media to publish in this country is nearly absolute.''
A series of 1984 memos from the CIA Inspector General's (IG) office reveals some alarming views on the press and how to deal with them. Among other things, the memo shows that 33 years before the Agency declared WikiLeaks a hostile non-state intelligence service, they were viewing the general press in the same terms.
Several weeks prior, CIA Director Casey had asked the IG to weigh in on officer Eloise Page's paper on unauthorized disclosure. The IG passed the task onto someone on his staff, who produced a four page SECRET memo for IG James Taylor, who passed it onto Director Casey.
The IG specifically endorsed the proposal for a program where the Agency would intervene with journalism schools , which is discussed further below.
The SECRET memo began by endorsing the proposals that Page had laid out in her paper. Specifically praised among her proposed initiative was new legislation, a special FBI unit, and a special prosecutor. While it was obviously hoped that this would help enforce the law, the member of the IG staff also hoped that they would create a chilling effect. The sole criticism for Page's paper was that it lacked a strategy for dealing with the media, who were the ''principal villains'' in all of this.
To the Inspector General's office, the reason that the press were the ''principal villains'' was simple: ''absolute power corrupts absolutely'' and ''the power of the media to publish in this country is nearly absolute.'' As a result of the media's ''absolute power'', argued the Agency that had been involved in mind control attempts, illegal surveillance, tampering in foreign elections and dozens of assassinations, assassination attempts and coups, they had been corrupted absolutely. The member of the IG's staff then suggested that they compare the media to the ''opposition,'' a reference to hostile intelligence services. This could be backed up by citing ''precise parallels in methods and results, if not in motivations, between the media's attempts to penetrate us and the opposition's attempts to do the same.''
The IG's office argued that the Agency's response to the media had been largely passive and inadequate. Proposing that it was ''time for an offense as well as a defense'', they offered a list of potential Do's and Don'ts for the Agency.
First and foremost, they argued that the Agency shouldn't ''frontally attack'' concepts such as the First Amendment and freedom of the press. Nor should any program to curb media excesses be announced. While they had praised Page's suggestion of new legislation, they also argued that the Agency shouldn't expect anything to materialize. Nor should they expect help from Congress on covert action - it was simply ''too easy to argue there's a public interest in debating actions that could lead to war.'' Instead, the Agency should remember that journalists don't operate in a vacuum and their support/publishing structure can be prevailed upon as a method of tempering a journalist's activities - especially since the press had ''their own reasons for wanting to improve [their] image.''
The list of Do's was significantly longer, beginning with several self-explanatory suggestions and a call for releasing ''a sanitized list of foolish media disclosure that have cost the country or individuals substantially.'' The second half of that suggestion remains redacted, marked as exempt from disclosure lest it reveal some of the Agency's sources or methods.
The list of Do's also included using the Agency's official contacts ''in leadership posts'' for academia and the media. There were ''undoubtedly'' similar unofficial contacts that could also be prevailed upon.
A later suggestion similarly pointed out that ''the media have owners, Boards of Directors, managing editors et al'' and that the Agency ''had some success for a while in staving off'' something, the details of which remain redacting allegedly to protect the Agency's sources and methods.
The penultimate suggestion put forward by the IG's office was that the Agency should figure out just what media ethics reviews and processes existed, and ''try to get such people to address the issues that concern us.'' That finding out and using proper channels needed to be suggested as a new strategy to pursue is mildly alarming.
The final suggestion, which was specifically praised by the IG when presenting the memo to the CIA Director, was using Agency contacts with college and university presidents at schools of journalism to change their curriculums. The hope was that this might challenge or put an end ''to the practice of publishing indiscriminately whatever an investigative reporter can come up with.'' The IG seemed taken with the idea that ''given some curriculum changes, the next generation of reporters might show some elevation of ethics.''
The CIA Director passed the memo to Clair George, the Agency official responsible for liaising with Congress who would later be convicted of lying to Congress.
You read the exchange of memos here.
Is it any wonder that the CIA is now terrified of the non-mainstream media, that is outside of their control?
NBC Insider: 'Total Panic' Over Megyn Kelly's Morning Show
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:18
Four weeks before the Sept. 25 debut of Megyn Kelly Today'--the 9 a.m. replacement for the venerable morning show's third hour, Today's Take'--some NBC insiders are expressing doubts, and even worries, about the network news division's plan to scrap a reliable long-running program in order to morph the former Fox News anchor and Donald Trump nemesis into an accessible, female-friendly personality for an ethnically diverse daytime viewership.
Officially, of course, NBC News is excited and upbeat about the new show, which will feature a live audience in a specially built studio at 30 Rock.
A self-described ''combination of Mike Wallace, Oprah Winfrey, and Larry the Cable Guy'' (as she famously confided to pernicious conspiracy monger Alex Jones in his leaked audiotape of her telephone pitch to secure an interview for her Sunday magazine show), the 46-year-old Kelly is a gifted broadcaster.
She thrived as a prime-time star on the right-leaning cable channel with a male-skewing viewership'--''a TV network for people 55 to dead,'' as the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes once joked.
''A lot of people were watching the magazine show to try to get a sense of her appeal to the daytime demographic and a sense of how she would be outside of the Fox environment,'' said a veteran daytime television impresario, who noted that the nationwide audience in that time period is not only heavily female but from 25 to 30 percent African American and Latino. ''Fox News skews very male'... I always tend to think of her as more of a guy's girl than a girl's girl'... It's extremely challenging, and I'm not sure Megyn's personality really connects with women.''
In recent months, Kelly has been a regular presence on the 7-9 a.m. Today show (contributing ''Summer of Yes'' segments in which she trekked into the wilderness with her husband and two young children and strummed the guitar by the campfire, among other warm and fuzzy pursuits).
Off camera, she has cozied up to coworkers at 30 Rock and elsewhere, and has dutifully traveled to far-flung NBC affiliate stations to schmooze general managers and local talent.
Earlier this month, she capitalized on her visit to an NBC station in North Carolina by throwing out the first pitch at the Durham Bulls game.
Yet, according to network insiders, her new role is prompting ''questions internally about who her audience is exactly'' as well as a sense of ''total panic'' concerning the intense media scrutiny that will unavoidably attend the launch of Megyn Kelly Today, to say nothing of the need to publicly vindicate NBC News Chairman Andy Lack's $17 million gamble (reportedly her eye-popping annual compensation) when he wooed her away from Fox.
It was not a good omen for Kelly's daytime prospects when Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly posted disappointing numbers, was reportedly pulled from its limited summer run July 30 two episodes short of the expected 10, and attracted unwelcome controversy with the Alex Jones segment, notably protests from the relatives of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims (including 20 young children killed in a mass shooting that Jones had called a hoax).
''The Sunday show laid such an egg that any claims that she had automatic star power, to get people in the door to see what she was doing, have been disavowed,'' television news analyst Andrew Tyndall told The Daily Beast. ''The stardom of the celebrity anchor was a phenomenon of the 1980s back when [flamboyant ABC News president] Roone Arledge was around. In this day and age, the shows make the anchors, not the other way around.''
But within NBC, the fact that Kelly's Sunday show'--which is scheduled to resume next spring after football and Olympics coverage'--fell short of expectations doesn't necessarily reflect on her new venture.
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''The Sunday show struggled and tried to be very splashy and even controversial, but the Today show is a different format with a very strong underlying brand,'' said an NBC insider who, as with others who were interviewed, claims to like Kelly and to be rooting for her success. ''She should be able to excel there even if the Sunday show was perceived as compromised. They're totally different animals.''
While the Sunday show's June 4 launch, featuring her newsmaking interview with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, received mixed reviews but garnered praise from respected Washington Post foreign policy columnist David Ignatius, some internal NBC critics argue that Kelly would have been better served by concentrating on less hard-edged, more humanizing segments to demonstrate that she's relatable to a morning television audience.
A well-connected NBC insider dismissed that argument: ''If you were trying to use a Sunday night public affairs journalism show to soften an anchor's image for a morning show, you wouldn't accomplish that'--nor would you do a good public affairs show. You would just accomplish nothing.''
The nature of Megyn Kelly Today's mix of newsworthy interviews versus the traditional daytime fare of personal confession, cooking, fashion, and entertainment segments remains unclear.
But an NBC News source told The Daily Beast that the show's launch next month will result in ''the opportunity to reformat most of the Today hours with the goal of adding more Today programing for the viewers. We were successful in doing that and the viewer will soon enjoy almost 8 minutes of more Today content starting in September.''
When she takes over Today's third hour next month'--a move, when it was announced in February, that resulted in the abrupt and indignant departure from NBC of popular anchor Tamron Hall, who now is planning to host her own daytime show produced by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein'--Kelly will be fronting a franchise that has aired in various incarnations since May 2000.
On the bright side, Kelly will be somewhat protected by the Today show's strong lead-in; the 7-9 a.m. program has consistently beat all comers in the all-important 25-54 news demographic, on which advertising is sold, for the past two years. The current third hour'--featuring Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer, and Sheinelle Jones'--has been posting respectable ratings, although it trails ABC's 9 a.m. offering, Live with Kelly & Ryan, in both the news demo and total viewers.
''She has the safety net of being in the Today show cocoon,'' said the daytime impresario. ''She'll be in the flow of audience going through that time period at 9 a.m., and there's going to be some buzz around it, and some sampling by viewers.''
But, this daytime veteran cautioned, ''she's going to have to adapt to the live audience, she will have to be more entertaining, and that will be a learning curve for her. The ultimate question is whether she connects with women in daytime.''
War on Weed
North Korea Smokes Weed Every Day, Explaining a Lot - VICE
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 21:44
North Korea, the most tight-lipped, conservative, and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smoker's paradise. Despite the government's deadly serious stance on the use and distribution of hard drugs like crystal meth (which has a notorious legacy in the country), marijuana is reportedly not considered a drug. As a result, it's the discerning North Korean gentleman's roll-up of choice, suggesting that, for weed smokers at least, North Korea might just be paradise after all.
NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from the northern port town of Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced. Our sources are people we know who work inside North Korea and make regular trips in and out of the country.
There is no taboo around pot smoking in the country'--many residents know the drug exists and have smoked it. In North Korea, the drug goes by the name of ip tambae, or "leaf tobacco." It is reported to be especially popular amongst young soldiers in the North Korean military. Rather than getting hooked on tar and nicotine like servicemen in the West, they are able to unwind by lighting up a king-sized bone during down time on the military beat.
Despite the fact the government doesn't crack down on the use of marijuana (or opium) and its prevalence among the common people, traveling weed enthusiasts eager to sample some NK bud will likely be disappointed. If a Western tourist asks his or her guide where is the best place to get the "special plant," as it is euphemistically referred to, the guide will most likely eschew the question. Most of them are educated enough in Western legal attitudes toward marijuana to not feel the need to promote anything that might attract negative press. Then again, bring them a bottle of Hennessy and they might be more willing to help you out.
The reasons for smoking weed in North Korea differ from America. In North Korea, you don't smoke just to get high and laugh at your own hand, you do it to save money and as a break from the ubiquitous cheap local cigarettes. In the black markets of North Korea, marijuana is commonly sold at a cheap price and is easily obtainable. Therefore, the drug is especially popular among the lower classes of North Korean society. After a day of hard manual labor, it is common for North Korean workers to smoke marijuana as a way to relax and soothe tight or sore muscles.
One of the great bits of North Korean mythology we've all heard a million times is that citizens may not fold their newspapers, lest they accidentally fold a picture of their leaders. But luckily not every page features those powerful, attention-seeking bossmen, so all the paper's more easily recyclable parts (sports, weather, TV listings) end up being used to roll up tobacco and marijuana.
The Rodong Sinmun newspaper is a favorite rolling paper among many North Korean smokers. It is cut up into squares, then rolled into small, cone-shaped spliffs. A source confirmed to NK NEWS that they had found a half-lit joint on the ground in a rural area of the country with the Rodong Sinmun used as rolling paper. The same source noted that, tragically, the weed in North Korea isn't very strong.
Although weed grows naturally on the Korean peninsula, it is cultivated more formally in some areas. The herb is often grown in the private gardens of North Koreans. An American who travels to North Korea every year commented on Reddit, "We came to a garden one day and took one look and said, 'that is weed!' We went over and sure enough they were growing marijuana. I had heard it is used for medicine but finding it was interesting."
Reports of marijuana use date back to the formation of the nation as it exists today. After the Korean War, US soldiers commonly plucked the herb from the DMZ areas near the North Korean border and smoked it. Stories of tents being hot boxed by tired fighters is a common recollection in the folklore of the difficult era.
Meanwhile back in the West, with the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado, some Americans are clamoring for legalization of the herb across the whole country. While this remains a controversial issue, the fact that marijuana appears to be commonly used in North Korea as a casual, cheap escape from an otherwise tightly controlled society suggests that for all the other worries they have to put up with, they do enjoy at least one perk denied to people like me living here in the land of the free.
Follow NK NEWS on Twitter @nknewsorg
DPRK
Why Didn't the US Shoot Down That North Korean Missile? - Defense One
Wed, 30 Aug 2017 17:58
The military's record of hitting intermediate-range missiles is less than perfect. That makes the decision to attempt an intercept much harder.
This story has been updated to reflect recent developments overnight.
North Korea launched another medium-range missile on Monday, this one right over Japan. Despite Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' threats to shoot down missiles aimed at Guam and President Donald Trump's Pyongyang-aimed bluster, the United States and Japan let it fly. Why?
After the test, Trump on Tuesday said that ''all options are on the table,'' as every president has said for decades. But the Pentagon is still reluctant to use some of the most obvious options, such as shooting down a missile above the earth's atmosphere with another missile fired from a ship.
The United States has 33 Aegis warships (three more are slated to arrive next year) that can launch an interceptor to hit a mid- or intermediate-range missile like the Hwasong-12 that North Korea sent over Hokkaido. Sixteen of those warships are currently in the Pacific.
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Pacific Command, in Honolulu did not respond to questions about why they didn't attempt to down Monday's missile. The command did issue a statement: ''North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD , determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,''
Mattis said earlier this month that any North Korean missile headed toward U.S. land, including Guam and other territories, would be shot down and considered war against the United States. But, he added, if the missile were tracking to land in the sea, it would be the president's call what to do about it.
See also:As Missile Defense Technology Improves, So Do Odds of an Arms Race in the Pacific
And:The Technology Race to Build '-- or Stop '-- North Korea's Nuclear Missiles
Tom Karako, senior fellow and missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that if the missile launched Monday were really a threat to the United States or even Japan ''then presumably we may well have attempted to engage it.''
But what are the costs and what are the benefits in attempting such an intercept? Anti-missile interceptors like the ones on U.S. warships are designed to hit enemy missiles as they reach peak altitude '-- in the case of the Hwasong-12, that's above 3,500 kilometers. The United States has demonstrated that it can intercept mid-range and slightly higher intermediate-range missile. But the test record includes embarrassing and recent failures.
Between January 2002 and August 14 of this year, the Defense Department attempted 37 intercepts of a mid-range missile and hit the target 29 times with an SM -3. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest, according to the Pentagon's Office of the Director of Operational Testing and Engineering, is that realistic testing of interceptors is very expensive and requires a lot of lead time and support.
Update: On Wednesday morning, MDA conducted another successful intercept test using an SM -6 aboard a warship against a medium-range ballistic missile target. ''The USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii with its onboard AN /SPY -1 radar,'' the agency said in a press statement.
In February, MDA showed that their newest version of the standard missile, the SM -3 IIA , could hit a mid-range missile. But a second test in June was a failure. The Navy later attributed that to human error. But 50 percent is not a good record for the most advanced intermediate-range interceptor in the U.S. arsenal.
The Obama administration pushed hard for a ship-based defense against mid-range North Korean missiles aimed at Japan or Guam but found that the military has much better chance of hitting missiles that don't fly so high.
Shooting down an enemy missile aimed at U.S. territory may be good defense, but shooting down a missile test aimed at the sea would be an act of war. Or so argued North Korea.
''Taking a shot at a North Korean missile is not something the U.S. military would do lightly or without a directive to do so,'' said Karako. ''if we are going to shoot at something, we will do it like we mean it. But there has to be a good reason to do it. That reason might be if there is an actual threat to the U.S., its forces, or our allies. Or it might be if the U.S. or Japan adopts a policy to intercept certain types of missiles or those on certain kinds of trajectory. But that would have to be a deliberate policy choice.''
The highest probability of success would be to hit the enemy missile closer to the ground, during the so-called boost phase. That's what MDA is aiming for in the future with laser-armed drones. In July, the agency put out a request for information for a high-altitude long endurance aircraft. Read that to mean a drone that can fly above 63,000 feet for a long time. According to the request, the drone should have enough power for a 140-kw laser. But that program won't even begin testing until 2023. Until then, and likely even after, every time a missile heads toward Japan, Guam, or anywhere else, military leaders will have to decide whether attempting to shoot down North Korean missiles is worth the costs of possibly missing '-- or starting a war.
CLIPS AND DOCS
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VIDEO - Indigenous Peoples Day to Replace Columbus Day After Los Angeles City Council Vote | KTLA
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 10:17
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The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to eliminate Columbus Day from the city calendar, siding with activists who viewed the explorer as a symbol of genocide for native peoples.
Supporters of Indigenous Peoples Day gather at L.A. City Hall on Aug. 30, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)
Over the objections of Italian American civic groups, the council made the second Monday in October a day in L.A. to commemorate ''indigenous, aboriginal and native people.'' The day will remain a paid holiday for city employees.
Appearing before city lawmakers, Italian Americans voiced anguish over the proposal, saying it would erase part of their heritage. Some said they supported Indigenous Peoples Day but wanted it to be held at a different time.
''On behalf of the Italian community, we want to celebrate with you,'' said Ann Potenza, president of Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California, speaking in a room packed with Native American activists. ''We just don't want it to be at the expense of Columbus Day.''
Read the full story on LATimes.com.
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Thu, 31 Aug 2017 10:15
VIDEO - Black Hawk down in Yemen as military hunt for service member after crash landing | World | News | Express.co.uk
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 01:18
The Black Hawk crashed off the southern coast of the nation, which is currently embroiled in a deadly civil war.
The helicopter crashed amid a training exercise about 20 miles from the southern coast of Yemen at 4pm GMT, according to a statement from US Central Command (CENTCOM).
CENTCOM spokesman Colonel John Thomas said: ''When the incident took place the helicopter was not very high above the water.''
Five service members were rescued following the incident, but one is missing with a furious search underway.
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Five servicemen were rescued following the incident while one is still missing Related articles Navy 'will be able to defend Royal fleet's £6bn aircraft carriers' US 'damaged trust with China by deploying anti-North Korea missiles' Officials have revealed the accident, which took place Friday night, is under investigations
US officials say a Black Hawk helicopter has crashed off the southern coast of Yemen while training its crew.
The US military has been carrying out precision air strikes against al Qaeda insurgents in Yemen, launching at least 80 since the end of February.
Special Operations forces have also taken part in a small number of ground raids, including one in January which resulted in the death of a U.S. Navy Seal.
US Army soldiers prepare for WAR against North Korea Fri, April 14, 2017 1 of 11
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The US military has been carrying out precision air strikes against al Qaeda insurgents in Yemen It is not the first aviation mishap to befall the US military in recent months.
The US Coast Guard recently confirmed it had suspended its search off the coast of Hawaii for five Army aviators, who went missing when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed earlier this month.
In April another Black Hawk crash on a Maryland golf course left one crew member dead and seriously injured two others.
Last month a military transport plane crash killed 16 service members including elite special operations forces in northern Mississippi.
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407 Views Program ID:433233-4Category:Call-InFormat:Call-InLocation:C-SPAN Studio, Washington, District of Columbia, United StatesFirst Aired:Aug 29, 2017 | 9:00am EDT | C-SPAN RADIOLast Aired:Aug 29, 2017 | 9:05am EDT | C-SPAN 1Airing DetailsAug 29, 2017 | 9:00am EDT | C-SPAN RADIOAug 29, 2017 | 9:05am EDT | C-SPAN 1
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2017-08-30T07:00:01-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/a0f/20170830071225001_hd.jpg Telephone lines were open for viewer comments on President Trump's management of disaster relief efforts in Texas. Telephone lines were open for viewer comments on President Trump's management of disaster relief efforts in Texas.
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VIDEO - Rescued Woman Goes Off On CNN For Hurricane H | The Daily Caller
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 19:42
Rescued Woman Goes Off On CNN For Hurricane H | The Daily Caller The Daily Caller
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Amber Athey
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1:55 PM 08/29/2017
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A woman who was rescued from Hurricane Harvey after 36 hours went off on CNN for trying to interview her on camera while she was with her children.
The mother began the interview by explaining how long she had to wait to be rescued, but was becoming visibly upset and anxious by having to share her story to the CNN correspondent.
The CNN correspondent continued to ask questions and touch the mother's arm as she and her daughter were crying.
''We walked through four feet of water to get food on the first day,'' the mother said, clearly annoyed at this point. ''Yeah, that's a lot of shit.''
''But y'all sit here, y'all trying to interview people during their worst times '-- like that's not the smartest thing to do. Like people are really breaking down and y'all sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the fuck is wrong with us,'' she continued.
''And you really trying to understand with the microphone still in my face? With me shivering cold, with my kids wet, and you still putting the microphone in my face.''
CNN cut back to Jim Acosta, who awkwardly said they would go back to the correspondent later because of the ''upset family.''
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VIDEO - Mueller Team Asking If Trump Tried to Hide Purpose of Trump Tower Meeting - NBC News
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:21
WASHINGTON '-- Federal investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are keenly focused on President Donald Trump's role in crafting a response to a published article about a meeting between Russians and his son Donald Jr., three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The sources told NBC News that prosecutors want to know what Trump knew about the meeting and whether he sought to conceal its purpose.
The meeting occurred at Trump Tower in June 2016 and was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. The meeting, which was first reported by The New York Times, also involved Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and former Soviet intelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin.
Related: Trump 'Weighed In' on Son's Misleading Statement About Russia Meeting
At the time, the White House confirmed that Trump had "weighed in" as the response to the Times report was drafted aboard Air Force One on July 8 as the president returned to the U.S. from the G20 meeting in Germany. The Washington Post reported that Trump had "dictated" the response.
The initial response by Donald Trump Jr. that was drafted aboard Air Force One described the 2016 meeting as "a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up."
According to The Times, he added: "I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand."
By the next day the paper reported that the meeting was scheduled in order to convey damaging information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign '-- an account that Trump Jr. would confirm in a follow-up statement and in emails that he released publicly.
Related: Former Soviet Counterintelligence Officer at Trump Tower Meeting With Trump Jr.
In a June 3, 2016, email, publicist Rob Goldstone told Trump Jr. that a Russian prosecutor had "offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] '... and would be very useful to your father."
Trump Jr. responded, "[I]f it's what you say, I love it."
Emails show that the following day, Goldstone and Trump Jr. began arranging the Trump Tower meeting.
A person familiar with Mueller's strategy said that whether or not Trump made a "knowingly false statement" is now of interest to prosecutors.
"Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller's team to show Trump's conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges."
Ty Cobb, the attorney chosen by the White House as special counsel to oversee its response to the Mueller investigation, told NBC News that he assumed ''the statement issued after the G20 is of interest, but I'm not aware of any crime associated with that. It was true at the time it was written and true now."
Cobb said that the statement "was not a bible of events leading up to and after the meeting, but it was not untruthful," pointing to the additional details that Donald Trump Jr. and his attorney have since made public.
"It was a simple response to a short request," said Cobb, and the president's role in crafting the statement was "minimal.''
Julia Ainsley and Hallie Jackson reported from Washington, and Tom Winter from New York.
VIDEO - Cathy O'Neil: The era of blind faith in big data must end | TED Talk | TED.com
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:52
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VIDEO - Charles Ortel exploring the Clintons and their organised crime business model - Michael Smith News
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17-03-92Locals concerned the Accident and Death Fund was being used to buy property and office equipment with the funds they paid into the fund.18-03-92Boulder fund suspended15-05-92Bruce Wilson and Julia Gillard go to a meeting with the miners in Kalgoorlie18-05-92AWU announce it is taking over the fund at Boulder paper article13-02-93Contract of sale signed by Bruce Wilson13-02-93Purchase of 85 Kerr Street Fitzroy by Julia Gillard and B Wilson who attended the Auction13-02-93blewitt-getting-his-addres.html Purchase of 85 Kerr Street Fitzroy by Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson who attended the Auction15-02-93Letter to Slater & Gordon about the 1/85 Kerr Street sale15-02-93Ralph Blewitt is appointed Western Australian Branch Secretary in the week 15 to 19 February16-02-93Olive Brosnan and Heidi chasing up the Power of Attorney - notes17-02-93Olive Brosnan makes this further note regarding Heidi, a sales person with the Real Estate firm GA Thomson. Note that Heidi returns the call and says that she will let Olive Brosnan have the original Power of Attorney (when she gets it?) and will need a certified copy in return22-02-93Slater and Gordon acknowledges that it has received the Contract of Sale, Section 32 Statement and the Power of Attorney from GA Thomson.23-02-93Olive Brosnan certifies Power of Attorney3-03-93A memo from Sylvia to Olive Brosnan about the application for the loan for Ralph Blewitt and the Kerr Street property4-03-93Letter/fax from Hewitt & Company stating Ralph Blewitt Wages Ref VB/CS9-03-93Memo to Olive Brosnan from Sylvia about the loan approval and the return of the chq for $500 from Ralph Blewitt's personal account10-03-93Letter from Slater & Gordon addressed to Ralph Blewitt explaining mortgage details Page 1,Page 2,Page 310-03-93Memo Julia Gillard wants details of penalty interest rates12-03-93Memo to Julia Gillard from Olive Brosnan about penalty interest rates17-03-93Memo of fees for house - Bill of costs18-03-93Letter to Ralph Blewitt requesting Cheque for $67,772.3018-03-93The cheque for $67,772.3022-03-93Settlement date for Kerr Street purchase23-03-93Land Transfer document31-03-94Dawesville project costsAug-Sept 94Julia Gillard went on holidays while Bruce Wilson organised house renovationsAug-Sept 94Interview with Slater & Gordon about the Renovations6-02-95New bank accounts for Construction Fund17-02-95AWU-FIME amalgamate (2 Victorian Branches)12-04-95Cheque from AWU WRAI account $46,55027-04-95Cheque for $15000 - $10 000 for K Spyridis and $5000 cash30-06-95AWU went back to central funding arrangements25-07-95Letter from Robert Smith (AWU) to Ian Cambridge and Steve Harrison about the unknown AWU bank accounts27-07-95Letter to the National Executives about the freezing of the accounts2-08-95Union National Finance committee meet to discuss what was going on start of investigations into the frozen accounts4-08-95Bob Smith wrote to Ian Cambridge to say the AWU was going to charge Bruce Wilson10-08-95Ian Cambridge visits QC Richard Kenzie from Maurice Blackburn for discussions to fix it (get union money back)14-08-95Internal Review into Julia Gillard's involvement of the AWU -WRA and she is put on restricted duties14/15 Aug 95Other Joint secretaries of the Unions paid out the signatories of the accounts - hand writing on the cheques Link 1Link 216-08-95Bruce Wilson redundancy cheque $55,20417-08-95Letter to stop the cheques Ian Cambridge17/18 Aug 95All accounts were closed bar 2 general and grants accounts and redundancies given out18-08-95Affidavit - Bill Ludwig - Bruce Wilson get sprung11-09-95Julia Gillard interviewed by Geoff Shaw, Peter Gordon and Nick Styant-Browne at Slater and Gordon - It's recorded and she goes on leave of Absence until May 96 (WA AWU-WRA not yet discovered by AWU yet)31-01-96Ian Cambridge addresses AWU Qld Branch meeting3-04-96Ian Cambridge talked with Commonwealth Bank - Diary entry - Discovery of Workplace Reform Association INC. WA branch6-05-96Discovery of Accounts in AWU name by Ian Cambridge letter from Commonwealth Bank7-05-96Fax from Com bank listing the accounts in the AWU name - for Ian Cambridge1-06-96Newspaper article about Joe Trio and the AWU fraud article from sometime in 19963-06-96Ian Cambridge received bank records after the discussions with the bank back in April Ian Cambridge spoke to AWU Officials in Perth and they never heard of the Workplace Reform Association Inc.5-07-96Diary entry Ian Cambridge - spoke to Branch Official Russell Frearson about the $400,000 going through the account31-07-96Geoff Shaw Slater & Gordon General Manager gets Subpoena to supply all documents relating to purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street13-08-96Court proceeding where Geoff Shaw is to produce the documents from the Subpeona Link 1,Link 26-01-97Memo from Investigating Detective Dave McAlpine about the AWU fraud6-02-97Memo to fraud squad from Theiss stating they hadn't been defrauded Link 1,Link 2,Link 3,Link 417-02-98Memo fraud squad about Theiss - Ralph Blewitt said Theiss auditors required that the WRA needed to be Inc.
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