964: 6th Mass Extinction

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 4m
September 14th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir Johnny the Swamp Knight, Sir Mike Knight of the Gigaverse (pronounced jig-a-verse), NYC Anon, Timnonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Ronald Gardner of Insane Diego and Surrounding Waters, Alex Kroke

Cover Artist: Sven Arvidsson


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Geoff Dugwyler (or, courtesy Paypal Japan's automatic name reversal, "Dugwyler Geoff")
Deep State
Producer Jim confirms!
gents – On the heels of my Q3 donation I wanted to confirm your supposition that listeners of the show include many diverse actors operating directly and on the periphery of governments and the deep state and to my knowledge – the military industrial complex.
I learned about the show from a group of people associated with the business of global arms sales – think General Dynamics etc.
These guys listen to the show to get a gauge of how much the M5M is aware + reporting on global weapons contracts; which deals are being reported on and the angle the stories take. I think it’s also about ego with them. I imagine them sitting around the water cooler:
“hey fellas – remember my deal last month for the seven skids of 105mm Long Range Tank rounds I sold to the Saudis?”
“Well BOOM!...got coverage on No Agenda.”
(BTW, these guys claim Candinavia is the 2nd largest arms exporter to the Middle East. Go us!)
Hillary's Book
Neal's FaceBag Post
Facebook Wins, Democracy Loses - NYTimes.com
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:09
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. '-- On Wednesday, Facebook revealed that hundreds of Russia-based accounts had run anti-Hillary Clinton ads precisely aimed at Facebook users whose demographic profiles implied a vulnerability to political propaganda. It will take time to prove whether the account owners had any relationship with the Russian government, but one thing is clear: Facebook has contributed to, and profited from, the erosion of democratic norms in the United States and elsewhere.
The audacity of a hostile foreign power trying to influence American voters rightly troubles us. But it should trouble us more that Facebook makes such manipulation so easy, and renders political ads exempt from the basic accountability and transparency that healthy democracy demands.
The majority of the Facebook ads did not directly mention a presidential candidate, according to Alex Stamos, head of security at Facebook, but ''appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum '-- touching on topics from L.G.B.T. matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.''
The ads '-- about 3,000 placed by 470 accounts and pages spending about $100,000 '-- were what the advertising industry calls ''dark posts,'' seen only by a very specific audience, obscured by the flow of posts within a Facebook News Feed and ephemeral. Facebook calls its ''dark post'' service ''unpublished page post ads.''
This should not surprise us. Anyone can deploy Facebook ads. They are affordable and easy. That's one reason that Facebook has grown so quickly, taking in $27.6 billion in revenue in 2016, virtually all of it from advertisers, by serving up the attention of two billion Facebook users across the globe.
The service is popular among advertisers for its efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness. Facebook gives rich and instant feedback to advertisers, allowing them to quickly tailor ads to improve outcomes or customize messages even more. There is nothing mysterious or untoward about the system itself, as long as it's being used for commerce instead of politics. What's alarming is that Facebook executives don't seem to grasp, or appreciate, the difference.
A core principle in political advertising is transparency '-- political ads are supposed to be easily visible to everyone, and everyone is supposed to understand that they are political ads, and where they come from. And it's expensive to run even one version of an ad in traditional outlets, let alone a dozen different versions. Moreover, in the case of federal campaigns in the United States, the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance act requires candidates to state they approve of an ad and thus take responsibility for its content.
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None of that transparency matters to Facebook. Ads on the site meant for, say, 20- to 30-year-old home-owning Latino men in Northern Virginia would not be viewed by anyone else, and would run only briefly before vanishing. The potential for abuse is vast. An ad could falsely accuse a candidate of the worst malfeasance a day before Election Day, and the victim would have no way of even knowing it happened. Ads could stoke ethnic hatred and no one could prepare or respond before serious harm occurs.
Unfortunately, the range of potential responses to this problem is limited. The First Amendment grants broad protections to publishers like Facebook. Diplomacy, even the harsh kind, has failed to dissuade Russia from meddling. And it's even less likely to under the current administration.
Daniel Kreiss, a communication scholar at the University of North Carolina, proposes that sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube maintain a repository of campaign ads so that regulators, scholars, journalists and the public can examine and expose them. But the companies have no impetus to concur and coordinate. And Congress is unlikely to reform a system that campaigns are just learning to master.
Facebook has no incentive to change its ways. The money is too great. The issue is too nebulous to alienate more than a few Facebook users. The more that Facebook saturates our lives, families and communities, the harder it is to live without it.
Facebook has pledged to install better filtering systems using artificial intelligence and machine-learning to flag accounts that are run by automated ''bots'' or violate the site's terms of service. But these are just new versions of the technologies that have caused the problem in the first place. And there would be no accountability beyond Facebook's word. The fact remains that in the arms race to keep propaganda flowing, human beings review troublesome accounts only long after the damage has been done.
Our best hopes sit in Brussels and London. European regulators have been watching Facebook and Google for years. They have taken strong actions against both companies for violating European consumer data protection standards and business competition laws. The British government is investigating the role Facebook and its use of citizens' data played in the 2016 Brexit referendum and 2017 national elections.
We are in the midst of a worldwide, internet-based assault on democracy. Scholars at the Oxford Internet Institute have tracked armies of volunteers and bots as they move propaganda across Facebook and Twitter in efforts to undermine trust in democracy or to elect their preferred candidates in the Philippines, India, France, the Netherlands, Britain and elsewhere. We now know that agents in Russia are exploiting the powerful Facebook advertising system directly.
In the 21st-century social media information war, faith in democracy is the first casualty.
Make Mark Zuckerberg Testify
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 18:50
Last week, after what must have been a series of extremely grim meetings in Menlo Park, Facebook admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes what appears to be politically-motivated fraud undertaken by a shady Russian company. The social network, perhaps motivated by a Washington Post scoop on the matter, released a statement outlining the issues at hand, but leaving the most important questions unanswered. Only Facebook knows these answers, and we should assume they won't be eager to volunteer them.
After last week's reports, Facebook received a round of emails and calls from reporters asking for clarifications on the many glaring gaps in the social network's disclosure:
What was the content of the Russian-backed ads in question?How many people saw these ads? How many people clicked them?What were the Facebook pages associated with the ads? How many members did they have?What specific targeting criteria (race, age, and most importantly, location) did the Russian ads choose?Given that Facebook reaches a little under 30% of the entire population of our planet, the answers to these questions matter.
The response I received from Facebook PR (''We are not commenting beyond the blog post at this time'') is typical. But even when Facebook does decide to talk to journalists, it has the tenor of an occult priest discussing something from beyond an eerie void: Just last week, when faced with a report that its advertising numbers promised an American audience that in certain demographics well exceeded the number of such humans in existence, judging by U.S. Census Bureau numbers, Facebook told the Wall Street Journal that its numbers ''are not designed to match population or census estimates. We are always working to improve our estimates.'' Facebook's intercourse with the public need not adhere to the so-called norms of so-called reality.
But beyond the technology sector's penchant for PR non-statements and Facebook's understandable reluctance to further insinuate itself into the political controversy of the decade is the fact that complete inscrutability is just the way the company works. Facebook, even more than Apple, which has taken corporate secrecy to quasi-military lengths, operates as a black box. No one outside of the company knows exactly how the site's algorithms, by which the media and advertising industries now live and die, function. Academics and other researchers must go on what can be learned of Facebook merely by using Facebook. ''Many of us wish we could study Facebook,'' Professor Philip Howard of Oxford's Internet Institute told the Guardian in May, ''but we can't, because they really don't share anything.'' When details of how Facebook suppresses certain content and amplifies other information is leaked, it becomes a media sensation.
At the same time as it operates in a state of near total opacity, Facebook trumpets just how well the black box works; its advertising case study library is ample, including stories boasting of how Facebook can swing political elections. Facebook crucially never makes it clear exactly how it will help you win an election (or sell more fried chicken, or bracelets, or subscriptions). It just does. This magical efficacy, the company's apparently unparalleled power to make people look at and maybe even click on things, is helping Facebook reach quarter after quarter of mammoth profits and swallow whole larger and larger chunks of advertising and media around the world. This is disturbing enough if you happen to work at a newspaper, but ought to be something even beyond disturbing if you happen to be a citizen of any country in the world. Facebook prides itself on its ability to create successful influence campaigns at the same time that a foreign influence campaign against the United States is pretty much the only story anyone cares about (and lest we forget, just last November, Zuckerberg wrote the whole thing off as ''pretty crazy''). Today, we have reason to believe the two are connected. And while $100,000 is a pittance to Facebook, the bottom line is that even Facebook is willing to admit to the existence of bad-faith efforts to persuade its users by entities unknown and for purposes unknown. Shouldn't the roughly 80% of Americans who use Facebook know as much as possible as to how they're being remotely manipulated? It's good and worthwhile that Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller are probing the company's ability to influence political thought and political action, and that Facebook staffers have briefed the House and Senate intelligence committees, but if this is truly a democratic crisis, it can't be a closed-door crisis. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg should publicly testify under oath before Congress as to the capabilities of his company to influence the political process, be it Russian meddling or anything else. If the company is as powerful as it promises advertisers, it should be held accountable. And if it's not, then we need to stop fretting so much about it. Either way, threats to entire societies should be reckoned with publicly, by those very societies, and not confined to R&D labs and closed-door briefings. If democracy can be gamed from a laptop, that shouldn't be considered a trade secret.
Nearly 80 years ago, then-junior senator Harry Truman began a seven-year inquiry into American military waste, largely targeting the vast scale with which private corporations were duping and defrauding the public to enrich themselves. Military contractors aren't known for their transparency or willingness to level with the public, so it had to be pried from them''the process saved an estimated $230 billion in today's dollars. In 1994, tobacco executives were brought before congress to testify under oath as to the threat their ubiquitous social product posed to the public.
David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School and director of its Design and Technology MFA program, has been a vocal critic of Facebook's business practices through the 2016 election. Carroll told The Intercept he believes ''the public needs to hear Zuckerberg respond to crucial questions in his voice and in his words as the custodian of most of the public's personal data, social relationships, and media consumption.'' In particular, Carroll thinks Zuckerberg ought to explain the fact that bad actors are good business: ''How is he going to protect future elections while also fulfilling his fiduciary duty, which is going to involve ''leaving money on the table'' '-- how is he going to do it?''
Ron Fein is the legal director of Free Speech For People, an advocacy group targeting corporate influence in democratic processes. Last year, FSFP filed a formal complaint against the Russian government and Trump with the Federal Election Commission over what they described as ''violations of the federal campaign finance law prohibiting foreign nationals from spending money in U.S. elections, including through paid social media.'' They're not getting any less angry after last week's Facebook news, and Fein is among those who'd like to see Zuckerberg testify before Congress, he told The Intercept:
In the past, advertising was all public. If the Russian government had bought advertising in an election in the 1980s or 90s, it would have been on television, radio, or newspaper ads that anyone could see. We would know what the ads said, and where they were shown. Facebook ads are only visible to the users that the advertiser, using Facebook's proprietary algorithm, chooses to target. We don't know what the ads said, or who saw them. The public can't understand the scope of the problem of foreign election interference if Facebook continues to insist on secrecy. We can't fully protect ourselves from future election interference if the only information we have is what Facebook has chosen to share to this point. Right now, our laws prohibit foreign nationals from spending money to influence U.S. elections, but that is difficult to prove if the only evidence is what Facebook chooses to disclose.
Mark Zuckerberg's open testimony could be very helpful in helping Congress and the public understand what happened in the 2016 campaign, and what risks we face in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Daniel Kreiss, a professor at the University of North Carolina who studies the effect of technology on political communications and practices, is one of the many researchers around the world frustrated by Facebook's unwillingness to explain how Facebook may or may not affect over two billion people'--many of them potential voters. Kreiss admitted he's unsure of ''whether there's the political will to bring Zuckerberg in and make him answer questions about Facebook's role in the election,'' but that it could answer long overdue questions: ''I just find it stunning that we're learning about these ad buys ten months after the election is over as opposed when they would've been consequential,'' if it even was consequential. Of that, says Kreiss, we can't be certain: Facebook's crucial advertising and algorithmic data is ''not public,'' meaning ''academics can't go in and really clearly analyze the effects of advertising, let's say on the members of electorate, in a rigorous way'...that data isn't independently verifiable, therefore it's just what fuels speculation. The point is we can't really know.'' And that's by design.
It's reassuring that Facebook is cooperating with the ongoing Russia-related probes. But this is bigger than Russia, bigger than Hillary Clinton, and bigger than 2016. Should Facebook continue to simply allude to its ominous potential rather than sharing it in full, there's one good option left: Bring in Mark Zuckerberg, and have him sworn in live on CSPAN. No PR spokespeople required.
Russia reportedly used Facebook to organize rallies in US - CNET
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:38
Facebook Events was reportedly used by Russian operatives to plan political rallies in the US.
NurPhoto Russian operatives used Facebook Events to remotely organize political protests in the US, including a 2016 anti-immigration rally in Idaho, according to The Daily Beast.
The social media giant said it "shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week," The Daily Beast reported Monday. The news site said the confirmation marks the first time the company has publicly acknowledged the existence of such events organized using the site's event management and invitation tool.
Less than a week ago, Facebook revealed it had sold $100,000 worth of ads to inauthentic accounts likely linked to Russia during the US presidential election. Coupled with that disclosure, the latest incident underscores how Facebook can be used to influence not only opinion but behavior as well.
They are also a stark turnaround from CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments days after the election when he said it was a "crazy idea" that Facebook influenced the election.
Although many of the events had already been deleted from Facebook, some remnants still exist in search engine caches. One such event was an August 2016 rally held in Twin Falls, Idaho, a rural town that's been accepting refugees for decades.
"Due to the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society's attention to this problem," the event notice reportedly said.
The event was reportedly hosted by a group calling itself "SecuredBoarders," an anti-immigration community identified as a Russian puppet group. The Facebook page had 133,000 followers when Facebook closed it last month, The Daily Beast reported.
It's not clear how many such events were created using Facebook Events.
Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Amazon deletes one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton's 'What Happened' - Washington Times
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:15
Hillary Clinton may have written the best book of the year '-- if you go by the reviews on Amazon.
''What Happened'' boasts an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, and Amazon admitted to deleting one-star reviews of the former Democratic presidential nominee's tell-all about the 2016 presidential race.
''In the case of a memoir, the subject of the book is the author and their views,'' a company spokesperson told Fortune. ''It's not our role to decide what a customer would view as helpful or unhelpful in making their decision. We do however have mechanisms in place to ensure that the voices of many do not drown out the voices of a few and we remove customer reviews that violate our community guidelines.''
Screengrabs posted to social media show one-star reviews that are no longer present on Amazon.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 95 percent of customers who left a review '-- and whose review was not deleted '-- gave the book 5 stars out of 5.
Excerpts of Mrs. Clinton's book, including unapologetic criticisms of Democratic primary opponent Bernard Sanders and parting shots at President Trump, have been flooding social media since ''What Happened'' was officially released Tuesday.
One passage that caught the attention of readers recounts public encounters Mrs. Clinton has had since the election with people who have apologized for not voting for her.
''On one occasion, an older woman dragged her adult daughter by the arm to come talk to me and ordered her to apologize for not voting '• which she did, head bowed in contrition,'' Mrs. Clinton wrote. ''I wanted to stare right in her eyes and say, 'You didn't vote? How could you not vote?! You abdicated your responsibility as a citizen at the worst possible time! And now you want me to make you feel better?'
''Of course, I didn't say any of that,'' she continued. ''These people were looking for absolution that I just couldn't give. We all have to live with the consequences of our decisions.''
Copyright (C) 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.
Martin Shkreli headed to jail after Clinton threats - Sep. 13, 2017
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:45
A federal judge Wednesday revoked the former pharmaceutical exec's bail after he offered $5,000 to anyone who could grab a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair.
Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud in August and is awaiting sentencing, has "demonstrated that he has posed a real danger."
In a Facebook post last week, Shkreli promoted a conspiracy about the Clinton Foundation and said he would pay any person who could procure a lock of hair from the former presidential candidate.
Prosecutors said the post reflected "an escalating pattern of threats and harassment," adding that it had triggered an investigation by the Secret Service that required "a significant expenditure of resources."
In a hearing in Brooklyn federal court, Judge Matsumoto said she was particularly concerned that he had "doubled down" on his challenge for someone to grab Clinton's hair. Shkreli said he required a hair with a follicle while urging his social media followers not to hurt anyone.
She said his behavior indicates he is "an ongoing risk to the community."
Until Wednesday, Shkreli remained free on $5 million bail. His sentencing is set for January 16.
Shkreli, 34, has called the post "satire."
He ultimately asked Judge Matsumoto not to penalize him for "poor judgment" in a letter filed Tuesday.
"I understand now, that some may have read my comments about Mrs. Clinton as threatening, when that was never my intention when making those comments," Shkreli wrote in the letter. "I used poor judgment but never intended to cause alarm or promote any act of violence whatsoever."
Related: Shkreli apologizes for Hillary Clinton post
His defense lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, initially argued that Shkreli has a nonviolent background and was convicted on a nonviolent crime. He conceded that the comment was "stupid."
"Stupid doesn't make you violent. Sometimes stupid is just plain stupid," he said.
Once his client was remanded, Brafman pleaded with the judge to ban his client from social media instead of sending him to jail.
Shkreli was convicted in August of two counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy for misleading investors in his hedge funds.
The most serious count carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.
Shkreli first gained notoriety in 2015 when he raised the price of a pill used by AIDS patients from $13.50 to $750 while he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. His bombastic personality and prolific use of social media has kept him in the spotlight since then.
Even after his conviction, he continued livestreaming on YouTube from his apartment, predicting that his sentence would be "close to nil."
Shkreli's online harassment of a Teen Vogue editor in January, which got him kicked off Twitter, also came up during Wednesday's hearing. He made sexually explicit comments about the editor on Facebook the night before closing arguments in his criminal trial.
-- CNNMoney's Aaron Smith contributed to this report.
CNNMoney (New York) First published September 13, 2017: 6:32 PM ET
Service Animals
Pre-Boarding announcements-anyone with disabilities
Pretending your pet is a service animal? That could soon be illegal - The Boston Globe
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:17
Carolyn Barrett's service dog, Shadow, presses the button to open an automated door. She says bogus service dogs make her dog less accepted.
It's become a sneaky way to bring house pets into stores, restaurants, airplanes, and other places where four-legged creatures are usually banned: buy a service animal vest and '-- voila! '-- take Fido with you as you're shopping, eating out, or catching a flight.
Pretending your dog is a service animal is a harmless ruse, right?
Wrong, disability advocates say. And in Massachusetts it could soon be against the law.
To crack down on the growing problem of fake service dogs, state legislators are considering a bill that would make it a civil offense to misrepresent a pet as a service animal.
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For the unscrupulous, it's a startlingly easy scheme: buy a no-questions-asked service dog vest, cape, ''official certificate,'' or ''instant ID'' online for as little as 99 cents. You can even ''register'' your dog for free.
Problem is, there is no official service dog registry, and service animals are not required to have special equipment, documentation, or even formal training.
''I could go online right now and get a service dog ID kit, and I certainly don't have a service dog,'' said the bill's key sponsor, Representative Kimberly Ferguson, a Holden Republican. ''Our goal is to prevent abuse of the system, because animals that aren't legitimate service dogs can give true service dogs a bad reputation, and that does a terrible disservice.''
The bill is also aimed at exposing bogus operations that sell untrained or poorly trained dogs to the disabled, especially veterans, potentially putting them at risk.
''Many of these organizations will simply ship someone with a disability what we like to call a dog in a box,'' said Cathy Zemaitis, a spokeswoman for NEADS, a Princeton, Mass., nonprofit that trains service dogs. As a result, ''someone with a disability thinks they're getting a highly trained dog when in fact they're getting a glorified pet, or worse.''
Well-trained service dogs can press elevator buttons, retrieve dropped items, alert hearing-impaired people to doorbells and smoke alarms, provide balance to those with prosthetic limbs, sniff out life-threatening allergens, and sense when a person is having a medical emergency. For veterans with PTSD, they can prevent strangers from crowding too close.
When phony service animals behave badly, they can make businesses skeptical of future customers claiming to have one. If ill-trained animals are aggressive, they can endanger their disabled owners.
''What's happening is you get somebody who thinks it's cute to slap a vest on Fluffy and take Fluffy to CVS. What's the harm?'' said Lowry Heussler, 55, of Cambridge, who uses a service dog to help her walk due to a congenital hip problem.
''The problem is that all the work we did of convincing the public that if you see a dog wearing a cape, that dog is safe and reliable and you don't have to worry about anything '-- that work is being undone,'' she said.
Modeled after similar laws in Florida and Colorado, the bill filed in Massachusetts targets people who use fake service dogs to obtain privileges meant for the disabled, such as the right to take a dog into an airplane passenger cabin without paying a fee. If it becomes law, fakers could be fined up to $500 and required to do 30 hours of community service.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as one ''individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.'' That applies only to dogs and miniature horses, and excludes animals needed mainly for psychological support, such as so-called emotional support dogs, comfort dogs, and therapy dogs.
An organization called Assistance Dogs International has developed minimum standards for the service dog industry, but the absence of an official national registry or official certification process means anyone can self-train a pet and call it a service animal.
In a further complication, the US Department of Transportation allows emotional support animals on planes, although it is reconsidering its policy due to abuse, such as people reportedly bringing turkeys, pigs, and monkeys into passenger cabins.
The Massachusetts bill would not apply to animals offering only psychological support.
The ADA permits businesses to ask only two questions of someone claiming to have a service dog: Is the animal required because of a disability, and what work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform? But they can't ask what the person's disability is or ask the dog to demonstrate its skills.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
Shadow, Carolyn Barrett's service dog, helps guide her down to Boston Common. Barrett says there are dogs that are clearly not well-trained walking around with service dog IDs.
''Businesses have been cowed,'' said Zemaitis, of NEADS. ''From huge companies like TJX all the way down to mom-and-pop stores, they're afraid to say anything, so they feel like they have to let [all animals] in. And it's beyond businesses; it's hospitals, it's libraries, it's schools.''
Framingham-based TJX Cos. declined to comment about the negative press it suffered in 2014 when a Boston Marathon bombing victim entered a T.J. Maxx with a dog wearing a service animal vest and was asked to put it in a shopping cart or leave the store.
A diner in Oxford, Big I's, faced a public backlash when its owner questioned a veteran's claim that his Jack Russell terrier was a service dog, resulting in a call to boycott the business.
So the town was naturally skittish two years later when a group of people entered the local library with several animals they called ''psychological dogs,'' although library director Timothy Kelley described them in a Globe interview as ''mutts on a leash just dragging them around the building.''
The group wasn't ejected, but the town manager later issued a memo to all department heads clarifying ADA rules about service dogs.
Suspect ''service animals'' can be found on Craigslist for as little as $65, even though NEADS estimates it costs $42,000 to properly train a service animal.
A sales listing on Amazon hawks a ''service dog ID card'' with this marketing pitch: ''It's rather simple, you love your pet and you want it everywhere with you: restaurants, buildings, hospitals, shopping centers, hotels, cruise ships, grocery stores, and even airplanes. Well, this is the way to do it! Grab your service dog ID, and have doors opened for your dog!''
Due to dubious IDs like that, ''you're seeing dogs that are clearly not well-trained,'' said Carolyn Barrett, 23, of Wakefield, who uses a service dog because she has spinal muscular atrophy, ''and that causes people to be less inclined to believe me when I say I have a highly trained service dog. It takes the power out of those words.''
Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at pfeiffer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SachaPfeiffer.
US DOJ uses WWII-era legislation to demand that RT supplier register as a 'foreign agent' '-- RT America
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:36
Published time: 11 Sep, 2017 14:36 Edited time: 11 Sep, 2017 14:56
The company that supplies all services for RT America channel, including TV production and operations, in the US, has received a letter from the US Department of Justice, claiming that the company is obligated to register under FARA due to the work it does for RT.
Read more
Adopted in 1938 to counter pro-Nazi agitation on US soil, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, exists so that ''the people of the United States are informed of the source of information (propaganda) and the identity of persons attempting to influence US public opinion, policy, and laws.''
There are 401 entities in the active FARA register and include tourist boards and lobbyists, but no media outlets, which have traditionally been exempt from the legislation.
"The war the US establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech. Those who invented it, have buried it," said RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.
Earlier this year, a Democratic Senator and two Congressmen from both parties introduced a bill called the Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act, which would broaden the scope of FARA. They specifically named RT as a target of the law, which has not gone to a vote in either chamber.
Simonyan has condemned the proposed legislation.
''I wonder how US media outlets, which have no problems while working in Moscow, and that are not required to register as foreign agents, will treat this initiative,'' she said last week.
Senate helps Trump with war on Wikileaks and US leakers | McClatchy Washington Bureau
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 17:44
September 12, 2017 5:20 PM
WASHINGTON A Senate panel may be stealthily trying to give federal law enforcement a new tool to go after the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and its U.S. collaborators.
A one-sentence ''Sense of Congress'' clause was tacked onto the end of a massive 11,700-word bill that was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee and is likely to come before the full Senate later this month.
The clause says that WikiLeaks ''resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service'' and that the U.S. government ''should treat it as such.''
The intended target might not be Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks who has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. Federal law enforcement, experts say, is likely targeting anyone collaborating with his organization.
And this language would help investigators secure the authorization needed to surveil those U.S. citizens thought to be associated with WikiLeaks, said Robert L. Deitz, a lawyer who has held senior legal posts at the CIA, the National Security Agency and at the Pentagon's intelligence offices. Requests to spy on citizens go to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and, at least theoretically, they are difficult to obtain.
''You need to show that someone is an agent of a foreign power,'' said Deitz, who teaches at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.
It's possible that Assange has colleagues in this country that they need to focus on.
Robert L. Deitz, former CIA senior councillor
''It's possible that Assange has colleagues in this country that they need to focus on,'' Deitz said, noting that such action can only be done under court order.
Some mystery surrounds how the clause was added to the Intelligence Authorization Act 2018, the motivations for its inclusion and its intended impact. The office of Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the intelligence committee, declined to offer details.
''We don't discuss committee deliberations,'' spokeswoman Rebecca Glover said.
But the language in the bill tracks closely with remarks by CIA Director Mike Pompeo April 13 in his first public speech after taking the job.
Speaking at a Washington think tank, Pompeo said: WikiLeaks ''walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. '... It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is '' a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.''
WikiLeaks, which espouses what it calls radical transparency, has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. government for nearly a decade. Earlier this year, it began publishing what it called the biggest ever leak of confidential CIA documents.
The group played an outsized role in the 2016 presidential campaign. In July, the group released thousands of emails obtained after a hack of the Democratic National Committee. In the weeks before the Nov. 8 election, it divulged thousands more emails hacked from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, embarrassing her campaign.
According to press reports, a grand jury in the eastern district of Virginia began weighing evidence against Assange and his organization at least four years ago and produced a sealed indictment. The Justice Department has never confirmed those reports. Assange has said he fears extradition to stand trial in the United States on espionage charges based on earlier leaks, including of classified internal military logs of the war in Afghanistan in 2010, and secret State Department cables later that year.
Assange's U.S. lawyer, Barry Pollack, said he does not believe the secret FISA court should accept the ''sense of Congress'' clause in any legal argument presented by federal authorities seeking surveillance authority on a U.S. citizen.
''Will some intelligent(cq) agent make that argument to a court and will a court accept that argument? The honest answer is, who knows?'' Pollack said.
Pollack, who represents Assange, but not WikiLeaks, said he believes the group does not have paid employees in the United States.
Divisions cleave sectors of the Republican party regarding WikiLeaks. One Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, said he spent three hours with Assange in his embassy refuge in London on Aug. 17, and suggested that President Donald Trump should pardon him.
Rohrabacher said Assange assured him that Russia was not behind the DNC hack or the disclosure of the emails, refuting the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Trump has not spoken publicly about WikiLeaks since the CIA director declared it to be a hostile entity. He has repeatedly criticized leakers inside his administration and called on the Justice Department to launch probes to stop the unauthorized release of information. But in the heat of the presidential campaign, amid WikiLeaks publication of Podesta's emails, Trump told an Oct. 10, 2016, rally in Pennsylvania, ''I love WikiLeaks.''
As the Senate takes aim at WikiLeaks, dissenting senators voiced worry that the clause inserted in the intelligence authorization act could ricochet and harm traditional journalists.
A Sept. 7 report to the full chamber from the 15-member intelligence committee included views of two Democratic senators who criticized what they termed the vagueness of the clause on WikiLeaks.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California declared that she is ''no supporter of WikiLeaks,'' which she said had done ''considerable harm'' to the United States. But the clause on the group is ''dangerous'' because it ''fails to draw a bright line between WikiLeaks and legitimate news organizations that play a vital role in our democracy,'' according to her remarks for the record.
Another, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, condemned WikiLeaks' publications of U.S. classified information but said the clause could chill the actions of investigative reporters inquiring about secrets.
''My concern is that the use of the novel phrase 'non-state hostile intelligence service' may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets,'' Wyden said in his remarks.
Indeed, experts on U.S. intelligence actions said the Senate bill's phrasing on WikiLeaks is both novel and vague, leaving uncertainty about what may ensue.
Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said in a blog post Monday that U.S. agencies, faced with a conventional hostile intelligence agency, might ''seek to infiltrate the hostile service, to subvert its agenda, and even to take it over or disable it.''
''Whether such a response would also be elicited by 'a non-state hostile intelligence service' is hard to say since the concept itself is new and undefined,'' Aftergood wrote.
Swedish Journalist taste the bitterness of reality - YouTube
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:21
Face-reading AI will be able to detect your politics and IQ, professor says | Technology | The Guardian
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:53
Your photo could soon reveal your political views, says a Stanford professor. Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian
Voters have a right to keep their political beliefs private. But according to some researchers, it won't be long before a computer program can accurately guess whether people are liberal or conservative in an instant. All that will be needed are photos of their faces.
Michal Kosinski '' the Stanford University professor who went viral last week for research suggesting that artificial intelligence (AI) can detect whether people are gay or straight based on photos '' said sexual orientation was just one of many characteristics that algorithms would be able to predict through facial recognition.
Using photos, AI will be able to identify people's political views, whether they have high IQs, whether they are predisposed to criminal behavior, whether they have specific personality traits and many other private, personal details that could carry huge social consequences, he said.
Kosinski outlined the extraordinary and sometimes disturbing applications of facial detection technology that he expects to see in the near future, raising complex ethical questions about the erosion of privacy and the possible misuse of AI to target vulnerable people.
''The face is an observable proxy for a wide range of factors, like your life history, your development factors, whether you're healthy,'' he said.
Faces contain a significant amount of information, and using large datasets of photos, sophisticated computer programs can uncover trends and learn how to distinguish key traits with a high rate of accuracy. With Kosinski's ''gaydar'' AI, an algorithm used online dating photos to create a program that could correctly identify sexual orientation 91% of the time with men and 83% with women, just by reviewing a handful of photos.
Kosinski's research is highly controversial, and faced a huge backlash from LGBT rights groups, which argued that the AI was flawed and that anti-LGBT governments could use this type of software to out gay people and persecute them. Kosinski and other researchers, however, have argued that powerful governments and corporations already possess these technological capabilities and that it is vital to expose possible dangers in an effort to push for privacy protections and regulatory safeguards, which have not kept pace with AI.
Kosinski, an assistant professor of organizational behavior, said he was studying links between facial features and political preferences, with preliminary results showing that AI is effective at guessing people's ideologies based on their faces.
This is probably because political views appear to be heritable, as research has shown, he said. That means political leanings are possibly linked to genetics or developmental factors, which could result in detectable facial differences.
Kosinski said previous studies have found that conservative politicians tend to be more attractive than liberals, possibly because good-looking people have more advantages and an easier time getting ahead in life.
Michal Kosinski. Photograph: Lauren BamfordKosinski said the AI would perform best for people who are far to the right or left and would be less effective for the large population of voters in the middle. ''A high conservative score '... would be a very reliable prediction that this guy is conservative.''
Kosinski is also known for his controversial work on psychometric profiling, including using Facebook data to draw inferences about personality. The data firm Cambridge Analytica has used similar tools to target voters in support of Donald Trump's campaign, sparking debate about the use of personal voter information in campaigns.
Facial recognition may also be used to make inferences about IQ, said Kosinski, suggesting a future in which schools could use the results of facial scans when considering prospective students. This application raises a host of ethical questions, particularly if the AI is purporting to reveal whether certain children are genetically more intelligent, he said: ''We should be thinking about what to do to make sure we don't end up in a world where better genes means a better life.''
Some of Kosinski's suggestions conjure up the 2002 science-fiction film Minority Report, in which police arrest people before they have committed crimes based on predictions of future murders. The professor argued that certain areas of society already function in a similar way.
He cited school counselors intervening when they observe children who appear to exhibit aggressive behavior. If algorithms could be used to accurately predict which students need help and early support, that could be beneficial, he said. ''The technologies sound very dangerous and scary on the surface, but if used properly or ethically, they can really improve our existence.''
There are, however, growing concerns that AI and facial recognition technologies are actually relying on biased data and algorithms and could cause great harm. It is particularly alarming in the context of criminal justice, where machines could make decisions about people's lives '' such as the length of a prison sentence or whether to release someone on bail '' based on biased data from a court and policing system that is racially prejudiced at every step.
Kosinski predicted that with a large volume of facial images of an individual, an algorithm could easily detect if that person is a psychopath or has high criminal tendencies. He said this was particularly concerning given that a propensity for crime does not translate to criminal actions: ''Even people highly disposed to committing a crime are very unlikely to commit a crime.''
He also cited an example referenced in the Economist '' which first reported the sexual orientation study '' that nightclubs and sport stadiums could face pressure to scan people's faces before they enter to detect possible threats of violence.
Kosinski noted that in some ways, this wasn't much different from human security guards making subjective decisions about people they deem too dangerous-looking to enter.
The law generally considers people's faces to be ''public information'', said Thomas Keenan, professor of environmental design and computer science at the University of Calgary, noting that regulations have not caught up with technology: no law establishes when the use of someone's face to produce new information rises to the level of privacy invasion.
Keenan said it might take a tragedy to spark reforms, such as a gay youth being beaten to death because bullies used an algorithm to out him: ''Now, you're putting people's lives at risk.''
Even with AI that makes highly accurate predictions, there is also still a percentage of predictions that will be incorrect.
''You're going down a very slippery slope,'' said Keenan, ''if one in 20 or one in a hundred times '... you're going to be dead wrong.''
Contact the author: sam.levin@theguardian.com
Researchers face backlash from LGBTQ groups over AI study | New York Post
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:53
A viral study that revealed artificial intelligence could accurately guess whether a person is gay or straight based on their face is receiving harsh backlash from LGBTQ rights groups.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Stanford University, reported that the AI correctly distinguished gay men from straight men 81 percent of the time and 74 percent of the time for women.
Advocates called the research ''junk science,'' claiming that not only could the technology out people, but it could put their lives at risk '' especially in brutal regimes that view homosexuality as a punishable offense.
''At a time where minority groups are being targeted, these reckless findings could serve as weapon to harm both heterosexuals who are inaccurately outed, as well as gay and lesbian people who are in situations where coming out is dangerous,'' Jim Halloran, GLAAD's Chief Digital Officer, wrote in a joint statement from GLAAD and The Human Rights Campaign.
However, the author of the study disagrees with the criticism, stating that this type of technology already exists and the purpose of his research was to expose security flaws and develop protections so that someone couldn't use it for ill will.
''One of my obligations as a scientist is that if I know something that can potentially protect people from falling prey to such risks, I should publish it,'' Michal Kosinksi, co-author of the study, told the Guardian. He added that discrediting his research wouldn't help protect LGBTQ people from the potentially life-threatening implications this kind of technology has.
Advocates also called out the study for not looking at bisexual and transgender people or people of color. The researchers gathered 130,741 images of men and women from public profiles on a dating site for the AI to analyze, all of which were Caucasian. While Kosinksi and his co-author recognized that the lack of diversity in the study was an issue, they didn't say which dating site they looked at and claimed they couldn't find enough non-white gay people.
''Technology cannot identify someone's sexual orientation,'' Halloran said. ''This research isn't science or news, but it's a description of beauty standards on dating sites that ignores huge segments of the LGBTQ community.''
Alex Bollinger, a writer at LGBTQnation.com, defended the study in an article stating that while it doesn't paint a ''complete picture'' of LGBTQ people, he didn't see any reason for the outright denunciation.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, did not develop its own AI for the research and only tested existing technology.
''Let's be clear: Our paper can be wrong. In fact, despite evidence to the contrary, we hope that it is wrong. But only replication and science can debunk it '-- not spin doctors,'' the researchers wrote in a statement. ''If our paper is indeed wrong, we sounded a false alarm. In good faith.''
Kosinksi said that he decided to publish the paper since similar software is already being used around the world.
NA-Tech News
Cambridge University set to scrap written exams because students' handwriting is so bad | The Independent
Sun, 10 Sep 2017 20:34
1/71 10 September 2017His Holiness The Dalai Lama holds the hand of Richard Moore as he gives a public talk on the theme of 'Compassion in Action' to celebrate 20 years of the Children in Crossfire initiative in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The Dalai Lama is the patron of the Children in Crossfire charity which was founded by Richard Moore. Mr Moore was blinded by a plastic bullet fired by a British Soldier during the Troubles in Derry.
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2/71 9 September 2017Participants in the annual Jane Austen Regency Costumed Parade dance on the lawn of the historic Georgian Royal Crescent before they walk through the city centre in Bath, England. This year, the annual event coincided with the 200th anniversary of 19th century author's death and saw hundreds of people parade through city centre streets dressed in regency costume. The event marks the start of a 10-day Jane Austen festival that celebrates the 19th century author who lived in the city from 1801 to 1806 and set two of her six published novels, 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion', in Bath.
3/71 8 September 2017Festival goers brave the wind and the rain at Bestival festival on the Lulworth Estate in Dorset
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4/71 7 September 2017Conservators and museum staff pose as they inspect the Manchester suffragette banner hanging in the conservation department of Manchester People's History Museum. For nearly 50 years the banner lay undiscovered in a Leeds charity shop. It will go on public display next year to mark the centenary of women gaining the vote
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5/71 6 September 2017Protesters wave placards in Parliament Square during a protest against a Government pay cap in London. Thousands of protesters made up of nurses and supporters hold a demonstration in Westminster today calling on the Government to end the 1% cap on public sector pay
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
6/71 5 September 2017U Soe Win, the great-grandson of Burma's last King, visits Buckingham Palace
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7/71 4 September 2017Protestors demonstrate in support of workers at British McDonalds restaurants striking over pay and other industrial relations issues, near the Houses of Parliament in London
8/71 3 September 2017World War II veteran from the Auxiliary Territorial Service Betty Webb (R) joins other veterans who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations for a group picture in front of Bletchley Park Mansion during an annual reunion in Milton Keynes, England. Bletchley Park was the Government Code and Cypher School's (GC&CS) main codebreaking centre during World War II and the site where codebreakers famously cracked the German's Enigma and Lorenz cyphers.
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9/71 2 September 201750,000 people making the foot crossing over new Queensferry road bridge
10/71 1 September 2017Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, is greeted by Emperor Akihito of Japan during her visit to the Royal Palace in Tokyo, Japan. Mrs May is on the third and final day of her visit to Japan where she has discussed a number of issues including trade and security
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11/71 31 August 2017Well-wishers and Royal 'enthusiasts' gather outside the gates of Kensington Palace where tributes continue to be left, on the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana
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12/71 30 August 2017Prime Minister Theresa May takes part in a tea ceremony in Kyoto, during her visit to Japan.
13/71 28 August 2017Revellers dance to music from a sound system with a Grenfell poster on it during the Notting Hill Carnival in London. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place since 1966 and now has an attendance of over two million people
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14/71 27 August 2017Mayor of London Sadiq Khan takes part in a release of doves as a show of respect for those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, during the Notting Hill Carnival Family Day in west London.
15/71 26 August 2017Eight people have died in a crash involving a minibus and two lorries on the M1 near Milton Keynes. All of those who died are believed to have been travelling in the minibus, which was from the Nottingham area. The two lorry drivers have been arrested, one of them on suspicion of driving while over the alcohol limit.
16/71 25 August 2017A Science Museum employee poses next to the Wells Cathedral Clock mechanism during a photocall at the Science Museum in London, England. The Wells Cathedral Clock mechanism is believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
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17/71 24 August 2017Lavlyn Mendoza (left) and Jennifer Quila celebrate after collecting their GCSE results, at Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls school in west London
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18/71 24 August 2017Reverend Andrew Poppe takes part in cricket match on the Brambles sandbank at low tide on August 24, 2017 in Hamble, England. The annual event sees Hamble's Royal Southern Yacht Club team take on the Cowes-based Island Sailing Club in a game of cricket. Spectators from the Isle of White and Southampton travel on boats to watch the match which lasts for around 45 minutes while the sandbank is exposed
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19/71 21 August 2017People gather in Parliament Square to listen to the final chimes of Big Ben ahead of a four-year renovation plan in London. The bell will still be used for special occasions such as marking New Year, but will remain silent on a daily basis, to allow the work teams to carry out structural repairs
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20/71 20 August 2017The Liverpool crew enters the Mersey, during the start of the Clipper Round the World Race at the Albert Docks, Liverpool.
21/71 19 August 2017Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage poses for photographs with veterans and Chelsea Pensioners next to a Spitfire on display at the Biggin Hill Festival of Flight in Biggin Hill, England. The Biggin Hill Festival of Flight is an annual airshow event and in 2017 the airport is celebrating its centenary. The airport only became exclusively business and general aviation in 1959, prior to which it was used by the British Royal Air Force.
22/71 18 August 2017The Isle of Skye is known as one of the most beautiful places in Scotland, however its infrastructure services are being stretched to the limit by the number of visitors heading there to enjoy its rugged scenic beauty.
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23/71 17 August 2017Grainne Close (L) and Shannon Sickles (2nd L) alongside Henry Edmond Kane (3rd L) and Christopher Patrick Flanagan (4th L) at Belfast High Court speak to the media through their solicitor Mark O'Connor (R) after the ruling on whether to allow same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The judge dismissed both cases. Same-sex marriage is recognised in the rest of the United Kingdom but not in Northern Ireland were the largest political party, the DUP has blocked proposed legislation. Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close, the first women to have a civil partnership in the UK and Henry Edmond Kane and Christopher Patrick Flanagan were challenging the NI Assembly's repeated refusal to legislate for same sex marriage.
24/71 16 August 2017Ratings line the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK's newest aircraft carrier, as she arrives in Portsmouth. The 65,000-tonne carrier, the largest warship ever to be built in Britain, is expected to be the Navy's flagship for at least 50 years.
25/71 15 August 2017People watch a bonfire in the bogside area of Londonderry, which is traditionally torched on August 15 to mark a Catholic feast day celebrating the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven, but in modern times the fire has become a source of contention and associated with anti-social behaviour.
26/71 14 August 2017An artist's impression showing the proposed London Garden Bridge. The £200m plan to build a bridge covered with trees over the River Thames in central London has been abandoned. The Garden Bridge Trust said it had failed to raise funds since losing the support of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan in April
27/71 13 August 2017Sir Mo Farah stands at the top of the Coca-Cola London Eye as he bids a final farewell to British track athletics after winning gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m at the IAAF World Championships in his home city
28/71 12 August 2017A dog retrieves a shot grouse on Lofthouse Moor in North Yorkshire as the Glorious 12th, the official start of the grouse shooting season, gets underway.Grouse moor estates received millions of pounds in subsidies last year, according to analysis which comes amid a debate over the future of farming payments after Brexit
29/71 11 August 2017Hot air balloons in the air after taking off in a mass ascent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
30/71 11 August 2017The scene in Rosslyn Avenue, Sunderland, after an explosion at a house.
31/71 10 August 2017Police on Goose Lane bridge which goes over the M11 motorway near Birchanger which is closed after a van driver was killed in a motorway crash after what "appears to be a lump of concrete" struck his windscreen and his vehicle hit a tree.
32/71 10 August 2017Emergency services at the scene in Lavender Hill, southwest London, after a bus left the road and hit a shop.
33/71 9 August 2017Guards march up to Windsor Castle in the rain as a yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for parts of the UK. Heavy rain has brought flooding to the north-east of England
PA Wire
34/71 8 August 2017A car on fire in the North Queen Street area of Belfast, close to the site of a contentious bonfire. The car was torched shortly after 10pm on Monday night
PA Wire
35/71 7 August 2017A post-Brexit trade deal with the US could see a massive increase in the amount of cancer-causing toxins in British milk and baby food
36/71 6 August 2017Acts gather amongst the crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
37/71 5 August 2017New world 100m champion Justin Gatlin pays respect to Usain Bolt after the Jamaican's last solo race
38/71 5 August 2017Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain (Lane 6) and Carolin Schafer of Germany (Lane 7) and their opponants compete in the Women's Heptathlon 100 metres hurdles during day two of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium.
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39/71 5 August 2017Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is greeted by PSNI and Garda police officers representative of the gay community as he attends a Belfast Gay Pride breakfast meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Irish Prime Minister is on a two day visit to the province having already met with DUP leader Arlene Foster yesterday. The DUP, Northern Ireland's largest political party have so far blocked attempts to legalise gay marriage.
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40/71 Members of Unite employed by Serco at Barts Health NHS Trust, on strike over pay, protest outside Serco's presentation of financial results at JP Morgan, in London.
41/71 3 August 2017Athletics - IAAF World Athletics Championships Preview - London, Britain - August 3, 2017 Great Britain's Mo Farah takes a photo in the stadium
42/71 3 August 2017Britain's Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, addresses journalists during a press conference to deliver the quarterly inflation report in London, August 3, 2017. REUTERS
43/71 Bank of England and British Airways workers stage a protest outside the Bank of England in the City of London.
44/71 2 August 2017Britain's Prince Philip, in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, attends a Parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge, on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt, in central London, Britain.The 96-year-old husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, made his final solo appearance at the official engagement on Wednesday, before retiring from active public life.
45/71 2 August 2017Jamaica's Usain Bolt gestures during a press conference prior to Bolt's last World Championship, in east London
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46/71 30 July 2017Riders wait at the start on Horse Guards Parade in central London ahead of the "Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic 2017", UCI World Tour cycle race in London.
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47/71 29 July 2017Horse and riders take part in the Riding of the Marches ford on the River Esk, alongside the Roman Bridge in Musselburgh, East Lothian, during the annual Musselburgh Festival organised by the Honest Toun's Association.
48/71 28 July 2017A wide view of play during day two of the 3rd Investec Test match between England and South Africa at The Kia Oval
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49/71 27 July 2017A nurse shows a message on his phone to colleagues as they take part in a protest near Downing Street in London. The Royal College of Nursing have launched a series of demonstrations, as part of their 'Summer of Protest' campaign against the 1 percent cap on annual pay rises for most NHS staff
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50/71 27 July 2017Two men look through binoculars at US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush anchored off the coast on in Portsmouth, England. The 100,000 ton ship dropped anchor in the Solent this morning ahead of Exercise Saxon Warrior 2017, a training exercise between the UK and USA
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51/71 26 July 2017Connie Yates, mother of terminally-ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard, arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on where a High Court judge is set to decide where baby Charlie Gard will end his life
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52/71 26 July 2017UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gestures while posing for a photograph at the Sydney Opera House, in Sydney. Johnson is there to attend AUKMIN, the annual meeting of UK and Australian Foreign and Defence Ministers.
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53/71 25 July 2017Britain Prime Minister Theresa May walks with her husband Philip in Desenzano del Garda, by the Garda lake, as they holiday in northern Italy
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54/71 23 July 2017England team players pose after winning the ICC Women's World Cup cricket final between England and India at Lord's cricket ground in London
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55/71 23 July 2017Rajeshwari Gayakwad of India attempts to run out Jenny Gunn of England during the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 Final between England and India at Lord's Cricket Ground in London
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56/71 22 July 2017Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the twentieth stage of the Tour de France cycling race, an individual time trial over 22.5 kilometers (14 miles) with start and finish in Marseille, France.
57/71 22 July 2017Competitors take part in the swim stage during the AJ Bell London Triathlon 2017 at Royal Victoria Docks in London, England. The 21st annual AJ Bell Triathlon sees 13000 competitors take part in the world's largest triathlon.
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58/71 21 July 2017Environment Secretary Michael Gove looks at screens in the information pod in the forest zone at the WWF Living Planet Centre in Woking, after he told an audience of environmental and countryside organisations that Brexit gives scope for Britain to be a global leader in green policy
59/71 21 July 2017Screen grabbed image taken from video issued by NATS showing air traffic over the UK yesterday at 12:15pm, with red representing departures, yellow arrivals, purple domestic and blue overflights. Air traffic controllers are dealing with the busiest day in the UK's aviation history. A total of 8,800 planes are to be handled by controllers across the country over 24 hours, at the start of a summer season which is due to see a record 770,000 flights in UK airspace - 40,000 more than last year
60/71 20 July 2017Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon shows off his cufflinks after cutting steel on the first Type 26 frigate at BAE System's Govan Shipyard near Glasgow.
61/71 20 July 2017Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson looks at a bipedal humanoid robot Wabian2 at Research Institute for Science and Engineering at Waseda University's Kikuicho Campus in Tokyo
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62/71 19 July 2017A damaged road in Coverack, Cornwall, after intense rain caused flash flooding in the coastal village.
63/71 19 July 2017Prince George holds hands with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they leave Warsaw
64/71 18 July 2017Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during her visit to the site of Aberdeen Harbour's expansion into Nigg Bay
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65/71 18 July 2017Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at Downing Street for the weekly cabinet meeting
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66/71 17 July 2017Daniel Goodfellow and Tom Daley of Great Britain compete during the Men's Diving 10M Synchro Platform, preliminary round on day four of the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships on July 17, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary
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67/71 17 July 2017Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks to the press upon his arrival at the European Council for the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
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68/71 16 July 2017Switzerland's Roger Federer holds aloft the winner's trophy after beating Croatia's Marin Cilic in their men's singles final match, during the presentation on the last day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London. Roger Federer won 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
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69/71 15 July 2017Garbine Muguruza of Spain celebrates victory with the trophy after the Ladies Singles final against Venus Williams of The United States on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon.
70/71 14 July 2017The hearse departs St Joseph's Church after the funeral service for six year old Sunderland FC fan, Bradley Lowery on in Hartlepool, England. Bradley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma aged only 18 months. Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects to the Sunderland football supporter who lost his battle with cancer last Friday.
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71/71 13 July 2017The EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, receives an Arsenal football top from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels
Olivier Hoslet/AP
Do you own your Tesla or does your Tesla own you?
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 20:06
Posted on November 7, 2016
Among all the hype and excitement about the wonders of self-driving cars '-- an age that Elon Musk says could start next year if regulators allow it '-- comes an interesting thought by a writer from the LA Times, asking whether we control our vehicles or does the manufacturer of the vehicle have a control on us? Let us explain.
Tesla issued a press release last month about the company's new autonomous driving hardware. In the statement Tesla made it clear that owners would be able to share their car with family and friends using its Full Self-Driving capability, but prohibited from using it to generate income through competing ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. But in an age where ownership is largely dictated by a person's action of purchasing something to own, such as a Tesla, do you really own it if Tesla can dictate how you use your car? Can you truly say you own it?
The issue comes down to the End User License Agreement (EULA). This legal agreement dates back to the 1980s when software companies began attaching one to their programs. At the time, there wasn't much opposition from customers, regulators, or courts. Today, every EULA is thousands of words of dense legal jargon largely unintelligible to the average person (and most lawyers).
Corporations are constantly seeking ways to maintain control over their products after they pass into the hands of consumers. John Deere prohibits farmers who buy its software enabled tractors from doing their own repairs. According to the Los Angeles Times, General Motors has told the U.S. Copyright Office that motorists who purchase its cars ''mistakenly conflate ownership of a vehicle with ownership of the underlying computer software in the vehicle,'' even though the vehicle is basically inoperable without the software. Hewlett Packard and Lexmark printers are programmed to reject other makers' ink cartridges.
Tesla doesn't prohibit people from working on their cars, but it severely restricts access to repair manuals. Even when access is granted, as required under Massachusetts law, the cost is prohibitive for most individuals. Is it fair to say a car you can't repair yourself and cannot use as you see fit is truly owned by you? Or are you merely a licensee of the technology contained within it?
The question for the future is what happens when and if Mother Tesla decides to further limit how owners can use their cars? Geofencing is common today. Top speed can be electronically limited. What if Tesla decided to cooperate with law enforcement to limit the maximum speed of cars owned by people with multiple moving violations? Would Tesla ever shut down the operation of one of its vehicles at the request of the police or federal authorities? Could Tesla disable a car it the owner falls behind in loan or lease payments?
No one is saying that Tesla is planning any of these actions, but the ability to implement them exists. All it takes is appropriate language in the EULA to make it all legal. Tesla's ban on using its cars for Uber or Lyft duty may not give most people pause, but it means the company has already taken one step down a slippery slope. Tesla owners need to be vigilant for further intrusions on their rights as owners.
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Scientists are building a DMT machine that will help them 'talk to aliens' | Rooster Magazine
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:19
Vices July 12, 2017 By Reilly Capps
People have been trying to contact aliens for a while now. Egon Arenberg, a web marketer from South Florida, seems an unlikely guy to have nailed it. But he's one of a handful of people who thinks he's found a way to do just that '-- with a brand-new machine.
Only, his machine's key component isn't nuts or bolts, antennae or telescopes.
It's DMT.
Arenberg is one of a small but growing group of people who believe that this obscure, powerful drug can be used to contact extraterrestrial life.
"Contact has been made," says Arenberg. "We've found life."
See, when DMT is smoked '-- often in high school basements, college dorms and estates in Silicon Valley '-- it makes you "see" weird dancing characters: animals, cartoons, aliens and elves. Some people say it makes them astral travel to new worlds. The people who see these things aren't crazy '-- anyone who vapes enough DMT will see these entities, too ... for five crazy minutes.
However, Arenberg, like thousands of others, believes the things people see on DMT aren't just hallucinations or imagined characters in a strange dream. He thinks they are real. Real like your dog is real. Or you are real. Or maybe real like bacteria or radio waves are real; real but invisible '... most of the time. That's why he wants to make a special DMT machine '-- to explore, and hopefully contact things he believes exists outside conscious perception.
After all, it took special instruments to prove that radio waves and bacteria are real. So, following in the footsteps of science, Arenberg and others hope to build a machine based on a design put forth by two academics in this scientific paper from last summer. It's a basically a DMT drip, to meter out DMT, to get high and stable amounts in the bloodstream. It's how anesthetists keep a stable concentration of anesthesia in patients' brains during surgery.
Once they get the machine built '-- and someone will probably eventually do it '-- a subject will climb into a bed. There will be a needle in the arm. A tube running down from a bag. A heart monitor. A blood pressure cuff. Beeping and whirring of machines. And in this bed, hooked to this machine, DMT will race through the blood of the brave person, and they'll blast off. Not for five minutes, like a normal DMT trip, but perhaps for five hours, into what the machine's inventors say is the perceived "alternate universe."
To be clear, once it's put to use, no one will have ever been that high. These trippers will be the Neil Armstrong of drugs, the Buzz Aldrin of tripping.
This may seem like strange terrain '-- a niche one at that '-- only interesting to the relatively small number of people familiar with this obscure, powerful drug. But these folks' quest speaks to is the constant human desire to go farther and farther out, to be the first, best, and bravest. It shows the human desire to explore isn't dead; it's just taken new forms, traveled down new alleys.
Or, maybe, this story just speaks to the inborn human tendency to see life '-- gnomes and leprechauns and ghosts back in the Dark Ages, nowadays aliens in UFOs '-- when it's all just shadows and dreams, all just in our heads.
Either way, after five hours or so, they'll come back and tell us what they saw. Tell us what the ''aliens'' and ''elves'' get up to all day. Maybe what their names are '' their addresses and their telephone numbers. Provided these DMT pioneers can come down from the stratosphere after a five hour DMT drip, the stories they tell might just be some of the most important of our time, offering a glimpse of things that exist beyond the perception of normal human consciousness.
To be clear, Arenberg isn't currently building this machine. But he's created a nonprofit, Noonautics, to start networking with people who can contribute knowledge and resources to this project and others like it, while staying within the law.
"This is like NASA," Arenberg says. "This is a launch pad to find new kinds of life. This is the new frontier."
Arenberg isn't the only person who uses the NASA comparison to talk about what's happening with DMT extraterrestrial exploration, though. Daniel McQueen, who lives in Boulder, and who's not a friend of Arenberg's but has grand plans along the exact same lines, also compares what he's doing to NASA's probe to find new life. He's calling it "CyberDMT." McQueen runs cannabis meditation sessions and conferences about psychedelics. He's told crowds that the exploration of this "DMT space" can follow the same lines as when Asians set out for Polynesia, the Norse sailed to Greenland and the Russians put a spacecraft on the moon.
''Nobody's ever done this before, even in the underground, in any capacity,'' McQueen says. McQueen tells us he's talking to people about moving to Boulder to pursue this. He's trying to get a team together. He's corresponded with the inventors of the same machine as Arenberg is interested in. McQueen has no definite timeline for the building of this machine, but he's looking for financial support. While the machine might be built for just $5,000 to $20,000, he says, operating it could would require skilled medical technicians to monitor the person getting high.
Many people who are interested in DMT are impressed with these folks' ambitions. Others think they've just '... gone off the deep end. And that, by tripping too hard for too long, they risk total insanity.
This happens to DMT-smokers occasionally: they start to think the entities they see while tripping are real. Next thing you know, they've quit their jobs to smoke DMT all day and communicate with them. One such person I met was a psychiatrist, who asked me not to use his real name. He told me that, years ago, he stayed up for four days straight, steadily loading a new bowl of DMT as soon as he came down. In that DMT space he encountered "insectoid, reptilian aliens," he says, who communicated with him, telepathically, that he was a chosen person, almost a messiah, picked to broadcast the truth about the reality of alien life, to shout, essentially: ''Contact has been made! We've found life!'' He was maniacally happy. Him! Of all people! The pioneer! Whom the aliens trusted with knowledge of their existence!
It wasn't too long before he decided he hadn't actually talked to aliens. But he told people about the whole experience. He told his girlfriend and his friends. And then he told his boss.
His boss thought it possible he had lost his marbles, and was a danger to his patients. It was a tense time. There were meetings and agreements about not talking about aliens at work. The doctor nearly lost his job.
Today, he's a successful psychiatrist. He knows the human mind. He thinks all those aliens were all just in his head.
''It was a representation of my own mind, of what extraterrestrial intelligence could actually be,'' he says. ''It definitely wasn't real."
His warning is this:
''Excessive use of Dimethyltryptamine can put you into a manic headspace where you think that you're the messiah who's supposed to spread the gospel of what you've learned,'' he says, ''to say, I've met the aliens, I know everything, I'm an ultra genius, let me heal the world.''
He's far from alone in his experience. After the one public, legal, clinical study of DMT, the experience so rattled some participants that they formed a support group to reassure each other that they weren't losing their minds.
McQueen responds: "This warning should absolutely be considered. We believe that the potential for mania and delusion are real. ... For a research project like this, working with untrained 'healthy volunteers' wouldn't be enough. We would develop a psychonaut training program to prepare people for the intensity of these experiences," and "also test the safety of the extended state DMT experience by starting with shorter and lower dose experiences."
Still, even from the small crowd that believes these characters are ''real,'' shouts of objection to the idea of a DMT machine rise up, saying, "You can't lasso these entities! They won't be probed and prodded!" At least that's what Hamilton Souther, a leader of retreats to do ayahuasca, a sister drug to DMT, and a person who thinks these characters are real-live spirits, has said. When asked by Duncan Trussell on his podcast about doing experiments to prove these spirits are real, he replied, "What makes you think these things are going to play by your rules?"
Maybe we're asking the wrong questions. Graham St. John, who has written a cultural history of DMT, said that the question, "Are they real," should be re-phrased into something like, "Is what they tell you useful? What do you come back with?" Because, a lot of the time, the entities tell people nice, uncontroversial stuff: that all is one, love is real, we should help each other. Maybe we should focus on what's being said, not who's saying it.
As James Casey, the former head of the CU Psychedelic Club has said: "Either this is stuff is really happening and then, Holy Mother. Or else this stuff is all just being created by your brain and then, Holy Mother, too. Either way it's incredible."
Others believe that most of these questions are simply beyond our understanding; that when we smoke DMT, we're like dogs being shown a card trick or cavemen trying to understand a rainbow. Nick Sand is the rebel chemist who made millions of hits of LSD. He smoked DMT thousands of times. And he wrote, very elegantly, that DMT is beyond our ken. "Some things just have to remain mysteries," he wrote. "We cannot analyze and dissect everything."
The scientist in all of us dies a little bit when we hear stuff like that. We want to know. But, in a way, it's a joy to hear that there are still mysteries in the universe, roads to explore, and brave souls willing to do the exploring.
As to the risks: they're very real. But when the Vikings and Columbus set out to discover new lands, ships sank, sailors starved, diseases spread. When the space race started, rockets blew up left and right. Whenever we explore, won't risks always be involved? So while this whole DMT Machine idea seems weird as hell and risky as fuck '-- isn't it also possible that anyone willing to take a five hour DMT trip without knowing what it'll do to them is really just a modern-day Magellan?
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Amazon Studios Faces Programming Shift Driven by Jeff Bezos | Variety
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:29
The mandate from Jeff Bezos is clear: Bring me ''Game of Thrones.''
That's the word that has the creative community buzzing this week about a major strategy shift underway for Amazon Studios' original series efforts.
The CEO of the e-commerce giant is said to have tasked Amazon Studios chief Roy Price with honing the focus on high-end drama series with global appeal. Amazon's decision this week to scrap plans for a second season of period drama ''Z: The Beginning of Everything'' reflects the new marching orders.
On Friday, Amazon confirmed five new projects '-- series greenlights for a period drama from Paul Attanasio and Wong Kar-wai and a comedy starring Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph; two comedy pilots; and a Seth Rogen-produced comic book adaptation eyed as a straight-to-series order '-- that reflect the drive to find shows that deliver sizzle in the water-cooler environs of social media and can travel around the world.
In an interview on Friday, Price told Variety that there is a new focus on finding ''big shows that can make the biggest difference around the world'' in growing Amazon Video's reach and Amazon Prime subscribers. ''Tong Wars,'' the drama penned by Paul Attanasio and directed by Wong, is a prime example of a period piece that blends the epic history of Chinese immigration to the U.S. with a crime potboiler. ''It's a very compelling show,'' he said.
Price said the strategic course has been informed by the wealth of data available to Amazon and is the consensus of senior management, including Bezos.
''It comes out of analysis of the data and conversations among the leadership team,'' Price said. ''We've been looking at the data for some time, and as a team we're increasingly focused on the impact of the biggest shows. It's pretty evident that it takes big shows to move the needle.''
Price cited Amazon's ''Man in the High Castle,'' the unscripted ''Grand Tour,'' and the new comedy ''The Tick'' as examples of existing shows that fit the bill of having global appeal. And he doesn't mince words about his interest in finding a show that packs the wallop of HBO's ''Game of Thrones.''
''I do think 'Game of Thrones' is to TV as 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars' was to the movies of the 1970s,'' Price said. ''It'll inspire a lot of people. Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that's the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit.''
Price pointed to the move Amazon made in January to recruit former Fox International Channels exec Sharon Tal Yguado to lead a new event series development unit focused specifically on sci-fi, fantasy and genre series. Price pointed to AMC's ''Preacher'' and Starz's ''American Gods,'' shows that Amazon carries in multiple markets outside the U.S.
''The biggest shows make the biggest difference around the world,'' Price said. ''If you have one of the top five or 10 shows in the marketplace, it means your show is more valuable because it drives conversations and it drive subscriptions. '... We're a mass-market brand. We have a lot of video customers and we need shows that move the needle at a high level.''
With this focus, Amazon could not justify moving ahead with season 2 of ''Z.'' Industry sources said Karl Gajdusek, the showrunner recruited to steer season 2 of ''Z,'' was plainly told of the shift in strategy when the surprise call came down on Thursday that the show was being shuttered. Gajdusek and his team of writers had been working for several weeks on getting the 10-episode order ready for production. ''Z'' starred Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald, the socialite wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and a legendary figure from 1920s Jazz Age lore.
Price said the decision on ''Z'' came down to a simple matter of priorities. He notes that Amazon has an ongoing development pact on the film side with Killer Films, one of the show's producers.
''We're glad we did 'Z.' We're proud of the work done on it and the team we had on it,'' Price said. ''At the end of the day you only have so many slots. With those slots you have to drive viewership and drive subscriptions. Sometimes there are shows that are a little bit on the bubble in terms of their viewership. We went down the road with it but ultimately decided in light of the full spectrum of opportunities we were looking at we would not be able to proceed with the show.''
Amazon is also expected to cut a significant number of current development prospects off of its plate. The service already has several big-ticket series orders in the works for 2018, including the two-season order for Amy Sherman-Palladino's ''The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,'' the John Krasinski-led adaptation of Tom Clancy's ''Jack Ryan'' from Carlton Cuse, Matthew Weiner's ''The Romanoffs'' anthology series, and David O. Russell's untitled crime drama starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore.
Multiple industry sources who work with Amazon say it is clear there is pressure on Price and his team to deliver. There has been speculation about the prospect of major management changes at Amazon Studios given the number of industry insiders who have complained about what they see has a difficult working environment at the streaming giant.
''It's not a good sign when Seattle overrules your decision,'' said one prominent producer of Amazon's reversal on ''Z.''
The overhaul of priorities comes amid what sources said is some frustration with the fruits of its foray into original TV content during the past few years. Amazon Studios made an early splash with comedy ''Transparent'' in 2014, which helped propel the national conversation about transgender issues and has collected high-profile Emmy wins for star Jeffrey Tambor and creator Jill Soloway.
But Amazon hasn't had much traction in pop culture with many other original series, even after comedy ''Mozart in the Jungle'' was an underdog winner for comedy series at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. For all of Amazon's investment in original series, it's been eclipsed this season by its smaller rival Hulu with the critically praised ''The Handmaid's Tale.''
There's been speculation about Amazon reining in its development expenditures '-- something that Price flatly denies. Amazon's aggregate spending on original content will be up in 2018 versus this year, he said, although he would not cite specific dollar figures. He also noted that Amazon is shelling out big bucks this season for a marquee sports franchise, ''Thursday Night Football.''
''We're very interested in getting those top shows '-- something that is broadly popular and admired,'' he said. ''We want to allocate a lot of our attention and resources going forward to that kind of thing.''
There have already been signals of Amazon's heightened focus on event and spectacle series. Tal Yguado has been given ample resources to go after big-name talent. In August, she secured an overall deal with ''The Walking Dead'' creator Robert Kirkman, luring him away from his longtime home AMC. At Fox, Tal Yguado made the savvy decision to help finance and license ''The Walking Dead'' for the more than 200 Fox-branded international channels. She also worked with Kirkman in developing ''Outcast,'' which airs across the Fox international channels group and on Cinemax in the U.S. She is said to be targeting other ''Walking Dead'' talent to make the jump to Amazon.
Tal Yguado came to the streaming service three months after the development team under Price had been reorganized, with comedy head Joe Lewis taking oversight of half-hour and drama series development. The move has caused some confusion among TV literary agents, who see no clear lines between Lewis' team and Tal Yguado's event focus.
Amazon faced another black eye in the creative community this week when reports of strife behind the scenes on another drama series, ''Goliath,'' emerged along with the news of the show's third showrunner in two seasons. Clyde Phillips, who took over from creator David E. Kelley for season two, departed the show of his own volition after creative conflicts with star Billy Bob Thornton.
''Goliath'' was in production in Los Angeles on its episode five of the 10-episode order at the point when Phillips left last month, according to sources. Lawrence Trilling, a producer on the first season of ''Goliath,'' has taken over.
Price said he spoke with Thornton on Thursday and was feeling ''very hopeful'' about the future of the show. He also asserted that Amazon has not had a higher incidence of behind-the-scenes changes on shows than other networks doing comparable volume.
''The reality is it can be a complicated task to create a show. and sometimes it goes smoothly and other times it does not,'' Price said.
As for the big-picture of Amazon's programming focus, Price said there are more deals to be unveiled in the coming weeks that will make the company's priorities very clear to the creative community. ''There are a lot more big, exciting announcements to come, and you'll see where it's all going,'' he said.
The five biggest questions about Apple's new facial recognition system - The Verge
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 11:31
Today, Apple introduced a new flagship phone '-- the iPhone X '-- with a powerful new login system. Because phone's all-glass front leaves no room for a home button, Apple is ditching Touch ID in favor of a facial recognition system powered by a new camera array and a specially modified A11 chip. Alongside the new technology, the new Face ID system raises serious questions about surveillance and user privacy. Until the phone goes on sale in November, some of those questions will be left unanswered '-- but this is what we know so far, and what it means for anyone thinking of buying an iPhone X.
Like Touch ID before it, Face ID raises real questions about compelled unlocking. If you're detained by police or kidnapped by criminals, they won't be able to guess your password '-- but they would be able to hold the phone up to your face until you pass a Face ID scan. It's a major privacy concern, and one many users don't think about until it's too late. There's no indication Face ID is any worse on this front than Touch ID, but it still raises real questions over how the system holds up under duress.
The good news is that Face ID allows users to opt out, just like Touch ID did. Leaked firmware from iOS 11 shows the option to disallow Face ID logins, even if your face is already enrolled. It's not a perfect solution, but it's as good as Touch ID was, and should give privacy-conscious users a way to address their concerns without avoiding the iPhone X entirely.
A trickier question is whether you can unlock someone's phone with Face ID once the system is enabled. Onstage, Schiller claimed the system required the user's attention to properly function, saying, ''If your eyes are closed, if it's not lined up, it's not going to work.'' It's also not easy to line up someone else's face in a front-facing camera, particularly if the system requires a sustained, eyes-open photograph.
Still, the speed of the process does suggest Face ID might shift the balance of power. As you can see in our own hands-on testing, the iPhone X refuses to unlock as long as the subject's eyes are closed '-- but almost as soon as he opens his eyes, Face ID makes the match, even though the camera is slightly off-axis to the subject's face.
The strength of the involuntary-login protections will depend a lot on the details of Face ID's specific user interface, so this will be another question to watch as the iPhone X hits the market.
Apple has already said the company won't send faceprint data to the cloud, which means your face data stays on your phone. Every indication is that Apple is treating faces the same way they treated fingerprints with Touch ID, which is good news. In that system, Apple uses the enrolled fingerprint to create a hashed version of the data, which is then stored on the phone's Secure Enclave security chip. (You can read more about this in Apple's iOS security white paper, starting around page seven.)
Assuming Apple follows the same playbook for Face ID, it will be extremely difficult to get that data off the phone, and nearly impossible to reconstruct a face from it. The Secure Enclave is the most secure part of the phone, resistant to even circuit-level analysis, and while researchers have started to break some of those protections, the chip is still probably the most secure place on any consumer device you own. More importantly, the hashing process eliminates a lot of data, which would make it extremely difficult to reconstruct a fingerprint or face if the data were ever extracted.
That's not an absolute assurance. Apple could always break from that playbook in some way they haven't discussed, or hackers could make some incredible new breakthrough. But compared to most information on an internet-accessible device, this looks to be pretty safe.
Facial recognition systems have a long history of racial bias, and it's attributable mostly to a lack of diversity in databases. The algorithms used to match faces get better as they see more faces. As you might expect, algorithms trained on mostly white faces aren't as good at recognizing people who are black, Chinese, or Indian, which translates to higher error rates and a worse product for specific groups of people. Will Face ID have the same problem?
The commercial facial recognition industry caught onto this problem early on, and for the most part, companies have incorporated more diverse datasets to address it. We know how to fix this problem, if we want to. The question is whether Apple has done the necessary work.
Algorithms trained on white faces aren't as good at recognizing black or Chinese people
So far, we don't have enough information to say. Phil Schiller said onstage that the Face ID team took over a billion images to train the algorithm '-- but that doesn't tell us much about how many people were part of the database and what they looked like. Like most tech companies, Apple doesn't have a very diverse workforce, particularly at the executive level. It's easy to imagine an issue like this slipping through, especially given the tight deadlines and strict secrecy that accompany a new product. There was a lot of racial diversity in the onstage video about Face ID's testing, which at least indicates Apple is aware of the issue '-- but we won't know for sure until we can test out the system in a rigorous way.
When the Galaxy S8 came out this March, its facial recognition system was one of its major selling points '-- until it turned out the scan could be defeated by simply holding an image of the person's face up to their phone. Apple's system is significantly more sophisticated, relying on dual cameras and an array of projected infrared dots to detect depth. Apple's marketing video showed off three-dimensional masks used to test Face ID against spoofing attacks, and the simple fact of having a motion-capable camera should make it easier to spot a false face at work. After all that, it seems unlikely that an iPhone X would fail the photo test '-- but you never know until you try.
Phil Schiller's wall of humanoid masks. This is the most interesting question, and the hardest to answer. Soon, millions of people will be enrolled into Face ID, giving Apple control over a powerful facial recognition tool. In the current system, that data stays on phones, but that could always change. The hashing would make it difficult for anyone other than Apple to use the data, but there's no real limit on what they use it for, particularly if they start to store information outside of specific phones. On Twitter, privacy advocates worried about Face ID data being used for retail surveillance or attention tracking in ads. You could also imagine it as next year's delightful product breakthrough, integrated into Apple Stores or Apple Cars as a way of carrying over logins no matter who walks in.
For now, the company is very much in the iPhone business, as today's keynote proved. Apple has pitched its commitment to privacy in the past, and unlike most of their competitors in the tech world, they've seemed genuinely uninterested in the kind of data collection and mass targeting that powers most web companies. But with one of the world's most ambitious companies showing off a powerful new toy, it would be foolish not to wonder what comes next.
Can Apple's iPhone X Beat Facial Recognition's Bias Problem? | WIRED
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 19:36
Joy Buolamwini once built a robot that could play peekaboo. But there was just one problem: It couldn't see her. Buolamwini is black, and the facial-recognition software she used couldn't recognize her face. The software worked well enough with lighter-skinned people, so Buolamwini moved on to other projects. "[I] figured, you know what, somebody else will solve this problem," she explained in a TEDx talk about her work.
But it didn't get solved, at least not right away. Buolamwini continued to encounter facial-recognition software that just couldn't see her. Hers was not an isolated example. In 2009, two co-workers created a video that went viral showing how an HP webcam designed to track people's faces as they moved followed the white worker, but not her black colleague. In 2015, web developer Jacky Alcin(C) tweeted a screenshot that showed Google Photos labeling a picture of him and a friend as gorillas.
Tuesday, Apple introduced its own facial-recognition program, Face ID, that will unlock its new iPhone X. Now, we will learn whether Apple was able to overcome such problems.
Apple, which did not respond to an interview request, has had years to learn from the mistakes of previous systems. There are some indications it is applying those lessons. Face ID uses an infrared camera to create three-dimensional models of its users' faces, which, in theory, could prove more nuanced than previous two-dimensional systems. Its website for the new iPhone X shows Face ID working with a person of color. During its two-hour new-product event, the company showed another face-detection feature'--part of its automated portrait-lighting mode'--working with people with a variety of skin tones. But we won't know for sure how well Face ID works in the real world until enough iPhone Xs are in the hands of customers.
Solving these problems matters, and not just for Apple. As the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement expands, the consequences of malfunctions will be more severe. "My friends and I laugh all the time when we see other people mislabeled in our photos," Buolamwini said during her TEDx talk. "But misidentifying a suspected criminal is no laughing matter, nor is breaching civil liberties."
There are technical reasons that previous facial-recognition systems failed to recognize black people correctly. In a blog post, HP blamed the lighting conditions in the viral video for its camera's failure. In an article for Hacker Noon, Buolamwini points out that a camera's default settings can affect how well it's able to process images of different skin tones. But Buolamwini argues that these issues can be overcome.
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Facial-recognition software works by training algorithms with thousands, or preferably millions, of examples, and then testing the results. Researchers say the problematic facial-recognition systems likely were given too few black faces, and can only identify them under ideal lighting conditions. Stanford University computer science professor Andrew Ng, who helped build Google's artificial-intelligence platform Google Brain, and Michigan State professor and machine-vision expert Anil Jain say facial-recognition systems need to be trained with more diverse samples of faces.
Researchers call this type of problem, when underlying biases influence the resulting technology, "algorithmic bias." Other examples include photo sets used to train image-recognition algorithms that identify men in kitchens as women, job-listing systems that show more high-paying jobs to men than women, or automated criminal-justice systems that assign higher bail or longer jail sentences to blacks than whites. Buolamwini founded a group called the Algorithmic Justice League to raise awareness of algorithmic bias, collect examples, and ultimately solve the problem.
Apple's use of infrared will make Face ID less susceptible to lighting problems. But the technology alone can't overcome the potential for algorithmic bias. "The face recognition system still has to be trained on faces of different demographic types," Jain says.
If Apple's software proves more capable than facial recognition systems of the past, it will be because the company took this into account while training it.
US bans use of Kaspersky software by federal agencies
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:46
The U.S. government banned all use of Kaspersky Lab Inc. software in federal information systems, citing concerns about the Moscow-based security firm's links to the Russian government and espionage efforts.
All agencies will be required to identify any Kaspersky products they have used within 30 days and develop plans to discontinue their use, according to a directive from Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
''This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products,'' DHS said Wednesday in a statement. ''The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.''
DHS said it has provided Kaspersky an opportunity to address these concerns.
Kaspersky in an emailed statement denied ''inappropriate ties with any government'' and criticized the U.S. decision as ''based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies.''
Campaign HackingThe ban comes after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government was behind an effort to interfere with last year's presidential campaign with a goal of hurting Democrat Hillary Clinton and ultimately helping Republican Donald Trump win.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether any Americans, including associates of Trump, contributed to Russia's efforts to influence the election. Trump has repeatedly questioned whether Russia was behind the hacking effort.
Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, was paid $11,250 for a 2015 speaking engagement in Washington for Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Kaspersky Lab. Flynn was fired by the Trump administration in February after providing misleading statements about his contacts with Russian officials.
The idea of having Kaspersky software on U.S. networks presented ''an unacceptable risk'' mainly because Russian law requires the company to collaborate with its main spy agency, the FSB, White House cybersecurity coordinator Robert Joyce said at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington on Wednesday.
''This is a risk-based decision we needed to make,'' Joyce said.
Russian Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov threatened in June to retaliate should Congress take action to ban the Defense Department from using Kaspersky software. Nikiforov said at the time that Russian government systems use ''a huge proportion'' of U.S. software and hardware products.
Now read: Cameroonian online scams in South Africa are a growing threat '' Expert
Up to 44mil Britons may have had data stolen from Equifax | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 10 Sep 2017 21:15
Equifax was hacked earlier this summer, the company revealed yesterdayUS credit rating firm is used by BT, Capital One and British Gas among othersCyber criminals stole 209,000 credit card numbers and personal informationBy Fionn Hargreaves For The Daily Mail
Published: 03:55 EDT, 9 September 2017 | Updated: 18:57 EDT, 9 September 2017
Millions of Britons may have been caught up in a cyber attack against an international credit rating company.
Equifax, which is used by BT, Capital One and British Gas among others, was hacked this summer, the company revealed yesterday.
Cyber criminals stole around 209,000 credit card numbers and the personal information of around 182,000 US citizens.
Equifax, which is used by BT, Capital One and British Gas among others, was hacked this summer, the company revealed yesterday
But the company also confirmed the hackers had stolen 'limited personal information' from British and Canadian citizens.
The credit rating company is believed to hold data on around 44million Britons.
James Dipple-Johnstone, of the Information Commissioner's Office, said: 'We are already in direct contact with Equifax to establish the facts including how many people in the UK have been affected and what kind of personal data may have been compromised.
'We will be advising Equifax to alert affected UK customers at the earliest opportunity.
'In cyber attack cases that cross borders the ICO is committed to working with relevant overseas authorities on behalf of UK citizens.'
A BT spokesman told MailOnline: 'We are aware of the developing story and are monitoring the situation closely.
'Like many companies in the UK, BT uses Equifax services. We are working on establishing whether this breach has any impact on those services.'
Cyber criminals stole around 209,000 credit card numbers and the personal information of around 182,000 US citizens
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When identity is a data product: '' Laura Noren '' Medium
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:36
Equifax, a credit monitoring company that holds detailed financial records on many Americans and Canadians, has been hacked. As many as 143m people may be impacted. CNN is reporting that the hackers obtained, ''names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver's licenses'...additionally, credit card numbers for about 209,000 people were exposed''.
The company is currently offering one year of free credit monitoring to impacted individuals. Is a year of credit monitoring an appropriate response for a breach that impacts half the US population? Is a year of protection that *requires individuals to forgo pursuing a class action suit against Equifax* a fair and just response? That may depend on how it came to pass that 143 million people could have their identities stolen from a trusted financial institution in the first place.
How did it happen that we collectively consented to the notion that our identities could be represented by a small set of inputs like birth date, social security number, name, and address? This is a far cry from philosophies of complex, developmental self-hood, kaleidoscopic personality, and meaningful embodiment which underpin sociological and psychological versions of identity. This reduction in the complexity of identity eased commercial transactions for most individuals (those who have access to credit, which is not everyone) and it allowed for financial institutions to begin building larger datasets for each one of us by storing our transaction history in a repository keyed to our identifying data. This, in turn, allowed them to assess creditworthiness on a person-to-person basis, which helped guide their loan-making decisions.
In other words, reducing complex human identity to a small data product reduced all sorts of commercial friction and allowed financial institutions to assess individual credit risk. Equifax is one of the three major companies performing credit risk assessments for individuals. As such, they hold financial details for the majority of Americans. As a part of the consumer financial infrastructure we may rightfully assume Equifax should be interested in protecting access to the data they hold. Their business model rests on that data. They are also interested in keeping data small'Š'--'Šor at least were, back when storing, transmitting, and running computational analyses were much more costly. Even though computation and storage has gotten much more affordable, once a particular data standard is adopted, it is stubbornly impervious to change, building up additional inertia as time passes. [Ask yourself: was it your centuries-old bank or your decades-old email provider that first offered you two-factor authentication to the identification process?]
There are broad questions present about holding many large companies in the credit industry, including but not limited to Equifax, responsible for protecting the commercial economy from widespread identity theft/misinformation. Trusting them means believing they can understand when default assumptions and organizational inertia are downright dangerous without external prompting. This leak is an example of external prompting. Another example is regulation. A third might be a financial upstart, competing to offer credit ratings. The third option is highly unlikely due to the institutional isomorphism in the financial industry around the standards for identity-as-data. Banks, credit reporting firms, retailers, car dealers finance auto loans, and credit card companies experience the greatest efficiency when they all use the same standards for defining a person's identity. It would be extremely difficult for an upstart company to work within this consumer finance world with a different set of criteria for establishing identity.
It is fair to say, then, that the assumption so many of us tacitly accept when we participate in credit markets is that names, birth dates, and social security numbers are a good proxy for a person's (financial) identity. If that set of data about a person can be so easily passed off as a valid indicator of parsimonious identification when it is no longer so tightly coupled with a single human wandering the planet because people on the dark web are selling databases full of this type of information all the time'Š'--'Šwe are all agreeing to bask in the delights transactional ease even as the hellish nightmare of identity thievery puts more of us into hellish months and years of identity recovery. Identity theft and credit-use fraud is neither isolated nor rare; it will impact all of us eventually.
Data products and meaningful identity
Our digital financial identities are data entities that proliferate because, from a technological standpoint, they can be copied easily, replicated perfectly, stored indefinitely, and easily combined with other, richer information about us, like our buying, watching, listening, and mobility behaviors. These data products develop a life of their own separate from the intentions, knowledge, and desire of the individuals they are assumed to reflect. Only in a very reductive way does our financial identity reflect our actual identities. The data product representing identity is now a product almost fully separate from the embodied, desiring, striving, idiosyncratic human from whom they were derived. This is both a problem and an opportunity. It is problematic because a hacker can open a line of credit in my name which does not reflect my wishes or intentions at all. But the gap between financial identities represented in data products like name+birth date+SSN+address slim bundles and our much more complex, richly woven embodied identities leaves ample scope to add nuance to authentication practices. Could we increase financial security of all sorts if authentication relinked the financial data product (poorly) signifying our identity to the embodied, agentic humans? Our many-featured, lived, embodied identities should be linked to our identities as represented in data products.
I imagine there is a way to incorporate gait analysis, spontaneous elicitations of which books, news articles, and music person would prefer to read from a list of 20, keystroke mapping (we each have relatively unique rhythms in our typing patterns), and a host of ever-changing cultural and biological authentication strategies. These types of practices will add friction to transactions. Some of them may not even work, but we need to try something.
What about tw0-factor authentication
In some sense, two-factor authentication makes a ham-fisted attempt to reattach the human to their identity which has been wrapped in a data product. Inviting the humans to pick up a phone and type in a code requires embodiment'Š'--'Štyping'Š'--'Šand human temporality. I am not an expert at two-factor authentication, but I know that SMS two-factor authentication can be gamed. Authentication strategies that require a changing set of embodied traits'Š'--'Šfrom fingerprints to gait to vocal pitch to facial expression recognition'Š'--'Šcan add human friction to current small, clean, digital, nearly frictionless identity data products. No matter what strategy we adopt now, no solution will work forever despite'Š'--'Šor because of'Š'--'Šthe object demand of databases to maintain continuity with past data structures. Whatever we gather and store acts as a point of departure for those who want to reverse engineer their way into an exploitable loophole.
Identity theft is an oxymoron
It should not be possible to steal the identity of 143 million people. Until we accepted the idea that identity could be wrapped in a data product and sent around, it would have been an oxymoron (or a science fiction/telenovela plot) to assert that one's identity could be stolen. How can we gain insights from the previous tight-coupling of identity to individual to inform the way we produce and protect identities-in-data going forward?
Stronger cybersecurity is possible. Right now, there is no single company or governmental entity that can demand change, so macro-level change is slow or inadequately radical (e.g. chip-based cards are not that much more secure anymore; two-factor authentication using SMS relies primarily on digital inputs in a predictable pattern so can be gamed). Stripping consumers of their rights as a class as part of their recompense is a way to dampen the likelihood of meaningful change. Some consumers will not be silenced.
Chatbot offers legal help to Equifax data breach victims
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:49
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A free AI chatbot helps consumers sue Equifax in small claims courts without a lawyer An artificially intelligent chatbot that provides free legal advice has been configured to help victims sue hacked credit report giant Equifax without a lawyer.
The DoNotPay robot lawyer generates documents US consumers can take to the small claims court.
Depending on the state, consumers can sue Equifax for up to $25,000 (£19,000).
The Equifax data breach has affected 143 million US customers.
Despite repeated requests by the BBC, Equifax has not confirmed exactly how many UK consumers were affected, but reports suggest the details of up to 44 million British people may have been compromised.
The firm has committed to working with regulators in the US, UK and Canada on next steps. It is also offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year.
"We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations," said Richard Smith, Equifax chairman and chief executive, when the breach was revealed.
Parking tickets appealsImage copyright DoNotPay Image caption The AI chatbot asks the users questions to help generate documents for small claims courts DoNotPay was invented by British teenager Joshua Browder, who is an undergraduate at Stanford University.
The free service was originally designed to help appeal against parking or speeding tickets by selecting the right letter that corresponds to the user's issue.
This is not the first time it has been programmed for altruistic purposes - in March, Mr Browder adapted the bot to help asylum seekers with immigration applications and to obtain financial support.
As of July, he estimated that the bot had helped to defeat 375,000 parking tickets in two years.
Unauthorised accessAt the end of July, Equifax discovered signs of unauthorised access to data including names, addresses and social security numbers.
The credit report giant set up a website where consumers can check whether their information was accessed and sign up for free credit and identity theft monitoring.
The data breach is one of the biggest ever reported in the US and victims are at risk of identity theft and fraud.
Designing a Smoke-Free Future | PMI - Philip Morris International
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 11:37
Now we've made a dramatic decision.
We will be far more than a leading cigarette company. We're building PMI's future on smoke-free products that are a much better choice than cigarette smoking.
Indeed, our vision '' for all of us at PMI '' is that these products will one day replace cigarettes.
Why are we doing this?
Because we should...
We understand the millions of men and women who smoke cigarettes. They are looking for less harmful, yet satisfying, alternatives to smoking. We will give them that choice.
We have a commitment to our employees and our shareholders. We will fulfill that commitment by pursuing this long-term vision for success.
Society expects us to act responsibly. And we are doing just that by designing a smoke-free future.
and because we now can.
Success in the cigarette business gives us the resources to pursue our ambitious vision.
Thanks to the imagination and perseverance of thousands of people at PMI, we have developed breakthrough products that are smoke-free and enjoyable.
And, we are selling them today. Over three million people have already given up smoking and switched to our new products, and this is just the beginning.
We're investing to make these products the Philip Morris icons of the future.
A future PMI that's known for replacing cigarettes with a portfolio of revolutionary products.
In changing times you can always choose to do nothing. Instead, we've set a new course for the company. We've chosen to do something really big.
Councilman resigning after secret 'furry' life revealed | New York Post
Sun, 10 Sep 2017 20:27
A Connecticut councilman is resigning after his profile on a website catering to ''furries'' appeared on social media '-- but the outgoing first-term Democrat insists his animal costume fetish has ''nothing to do with sex.''
New Milford Councilman Scott Chamberlain, who was up for re-election, is stepping down after a town resident posted several screenshots on Facebook of the lawmaker's profile on a private website for ''furries,'' a subculture of people who don animal costumes, sometimes for sexual gratification.
''In response to information about 'likes' on a personal page by Councilman Chamberlain, I have called for his immediate resignation from the Town Council and any other appointed Boards and Commissions,'' Mayor David Gronbach said in an email to The Post. ''As public servants, we are held to a higher standard and Mr. Chamberlain's apparent posts do not meet that standard.''
The profile on sofurry.com '-- according to the Danbury News Times, which first reported on it Thursday '-- includes a list of Chamberlain's preferences, ranging from ''loves'' to ''likes'' to ''tolerates'' to ''hates'' in order to customize content sent to users. Chamberlain, whose avatar resembles a fox named ''Gray Muzzle,'' insisted to the newspaper that his interest in the subculture stems from an appreciation for animal characters like Tony the Tiger and Mickey Mouse.
''It's nothing to do with sex; it's an interest in cartoon animals,'' Chamberlain told the newspaper Thursday.
But the profile also indicated that Chamberlain ''tolerates'' rape, prompting at least one commenter on the Facebook post to question the lawmaker's ability to lead.
''Anyone is free to pursue any hobby of choice, however that doesn't mean they can represent me as an elected official and endorse the things that are seemingly endorsed on that page,'' one comment read.
Chamberlain did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday, nor did he respond to a follow-up request for comment from the Danbury News Times on Thursday.
Peter Mullen, the town's Democratic chairman, said Chamberlain told him previously about his interest in ''science fiction adult literature,'' but said the Facebook post, which has since been removed, was troubling.
''Literature is one thing, but this kind of stuff takes on a whole different level,'' Mullen told the News Times.
Gronbach said he also had no idea about Chamberlain's interest in ''furries.'' The outgoing lawmaker '-- whose written resignation was expected Friday, according to Gronbach '-- claimed someone must've set him up, creating an account on the website just to obtain private information on him. But Chamberlain also acknowledged writing what he characterized as a ''soap opera'' on another website for adults only.
''I'm just saddened by this whole thing,'' he told the News Times. ''I've always tried to be positive in my public life and work hard and donate my time for the people of New Milford.''
A Nobel Peace Prize Winner's Shame - The New York Times
Sun, 10 Sep 2017 20:31
For the last three weeks, Buddhist-majority Myanmar has systematically slaughtered civilians belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority, forcing 270,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh '-- with Myanmar soldiers shooting at them even as they cross the border.
''The Buddhists are killing us with bullets,'' Noor Symon, a woman carrying her son, told a Times reporter. ''They burned houses and tried to shoot us. They killed my husband by bullet.''
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the widow who defied Myanmar's dictators, endured a total of 15 years of house arrest and led a campaign for democracy, was a hero of modern times. Yet today Daw Suu, as the effective leader of Myanmar, is chief apologist for this ethnic cleansing, as the country oppresses the darker-skinned Rohingya and denounces them as terrorists and illegal immigrants.
And ''ethnic cleansing'' may be an understatement. Even before the latest wave of terror, a Yale study had suggested that the brutality toward the Rohingya might qualify as genocide. The U.S. Holocaust Museum has also warned that a genocide against the Rohingya may be looming.
Burmese soldiers round up Rohingya in Rakhine State. Footage acquired by The New York Times
For shame, Daw Suu. We honored you and fought for your freedom '-- and now you use that freedom to condone the butchery of your own people?
''They're killing children,'' Matthew Smith, the chief executive of a human rights group called Fortify Rights, told me after interviewing refugees on the Bangladesh border. ''In the least, we're talking about crimes against humanity.''
''My two nephews, their heads were cut off,'' one Rohingya survivor told Smith. ''One was 6 years old and the other was 9.''
Other accounts describe soldiers throwing infants into a river to drown, and decapitating a grandmother. Hannah Beech, my Times colleague who has provided outstanding coverage from the border, put it this way: ''I've covered refugee crises before, and this was by far the worst thing that I've ever seen.''
Rohingya refugees walk through rice fields after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the Myanmar border on Friday. Bernat Armangue/Associated Press
It's not that Daw Suu is organizing the killings (she does not control the military), or that they are entirely one-sided. The latest slaughter began after Rohingya militants attacked police stations and a military base on Aug. 25; the Myanmar security forces responded with scorched-earth fury against Rohingya civilians.
Footage acquired by The New York Times.
Hundreds are believed to have been killed, but Daw Suu has not criticized the slaughter. Rather, she blamed international aid groups and complained about ''a huge iceberg of misinformation'' aiming to help ''the terrorists'' '-- presumably meaning the Rohingya.
When a Rohingya woman bravely recounted how her husband had been shot dead and how she and three teenage girls had been gang-raped by soldiers, Daw Suu's Facebook page mocked the claims as ''fake rape.''
Based on a conversation with Daw Suu once about the Rohingya, I think she genuinely believes that they are outsiders and troublemakers. But in addition, the moral giant has become a pragmatic politician '-- and she knows that any sympathy for the Rohingya would be disastrous politically for her party in a country deeply hostile to its Muslim minority.
''We applauded Aung San Suu Kyi when she received her Nobel Prize because she symbolized courage in the face of tyranny,'' noted Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. ''Now that she's in power, she symbolizes cowardly complicity in the deadly tyranny being visited on the Rohingya.''
Another Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote a pained letter to his friend: ''My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.''
A Rohingya child is carried in a sling after his family entered Bangladesh. Bernat Armangue/Associated Press
Myanmar tries to keep foreigners out of the Rohingya areas, but I've managed to get there twice in the last few years, and even then Rohingya were confined to concentration camps or to remote villages. Many were systematically denied medical care, and children were barred from public schools. It's a 21st-century apartheid.
I saw a 23-year-old woman, Minura Begum, lose her baby because she needed a doctor; I met a brilliant 15-year-old girl whose dream of becoming a doctor is collapsing because she is confined to a concentration camp; I met a 2-year-old boy, Hirol, who was starving after his mother died for lack of medical care.
Daw Suu and other Myanmar officials refuse to use the word ''Rohingya,'' seeing them as just illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, but that's absurd. A document from 1799 shows that even then, the Rohingya population was well established.
In Washington, Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin have introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning the violence and calling on Daw Suu to work to halt it. I hope President Trump speaks up as well.
We know that the Myanmar government responds to pressure, because that's what won Daw Suu her freedom. Yet there has been far too little outcry for the Rohingya; bravo to Pope Francis for being an exception among world leaders and speaking up for them. A basic lesson of history: Ignoring a possible genocide only encourages the persecutors.
There are petitions online calling for Daw Suu to be stripped of her Nobel. In fact, there is no mechanism to take away the prize, but I do wish that the prize money could be recovered and go to feed the widows and orphans being created on her watch.
Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, 2012
''Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace.''
Another statue of St. Junipero Serra vandalized in California
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:29
Statue of St. Junipero Serra at the Santa Barbara Mission in California. (Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons.)
A statue of St. Junipero Serra at the Old Santa Barbara Mission in California has been decapitated and splashed with red paint. The bronze statue was vandalized overnight between Sunday and Monday.
An 18th century Spanish Franciscan, Serra is remembered in Catholic circles as the missionary who brought the faith to the West Coast of the Americas, having founded nine missions himself from San Francisco to San Diego, and he inspired the creation of twelve others after his death in 1784. He's formally known as the ''Apostle of California.''
It is estimated that during his ministry, Serra baptized about 6,000 native people.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988, and canonized by Pope Francis during his trip to the United States in 2015.
RELATED: Blessing of St. Junipero statue celebrates Holy Spirit in saints' lives
When Pope Francis made Serra a saint, he said Serra ''sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it.''
Critics, however, associate Serra with human rights violations and the destruction of native cultures, among other things charging that natives at his missions who refused to embrace Christianity were often mistreated, including imprisoning them to prevent them from leaving.
It is the latest vandalization of of a Serra monument over the past few years. In 2015 '' shortly before Serra was canonized '' the Carmel Mission was attacked, leaving several statues toppled to the ground and a headstone vandalized with the painted words 'Saint of Genocide.'
RELATED: Amid monument debate, statue of St. Junipero Serra defaced in L.A.
In 2016, the front door of the Santa Cruz Mission was splashed with red paint. In August of this year, a statue at the San Fernando Mission was painted red, and the word 'Murder' was written on it in white.
Santa Barbara police are investigating the latest act of vandalism, working with police departments involved in the other incidents.
The Santa Barbara Mission was founded in 1786, and is the only California mission to have remained under the care of the Franciscan order since its inception. It is currently a parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Mission is also home to papers of the entire California mission system, and is one of the oldest libraries in the state of California.
The vandalized statue of Serra has been removed from its location on the mission grounds, but Monica Orozco '' the mission's executive director '' told local media she did not know if the statue would be repaired or replaced.
Jun­pero Serra - Wikipedia
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:29
Jun­pero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M., (; Spanish: [xuËnipeɾo Ësera] , Catalan: Jun­per Serra i Ferrer ) (November 24, 1713 '' August 28, 1784) was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Alta California in the Province of Las Californias, New Spain. Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, in Vatican City. Pope Franciscanonised him on September 23, 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., during his first visit to the United States.[3] Because of Serra's recorded acts of piety combined with his missionary efforts, he was granted the posthumous title Apostle of California.
Saint Jun­pero Serra, O.F.M.A portrait of Serra in 1774
Apostle of CaliforniaBornMiquel Josep Serra i Ferrer(1713-11-24 ) November 24, 1713
Petra, Majorca
Died(1784-08-28 ) August 28, 1784Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, Las Californias, New Spain, Spanish Empire
Beatified25 September 1988, Saint Peter's Square by Pope John Paul IICanonized23 September 2015, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception by Pope FrancisMajor shrine Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, United StatesAttributesFranciscan habit, wearing a large crucifix, or holding a crucifix accompanied by a young Native American boyPatronageControversySuppression of Native American cultureMonument of Jun­pero Serra (with Juane±o Indian boy) on the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis in Havana, CubaThe declaration of Serra as a Catholic saint by the Holy See is controversial with some Native Americans who criticize Serra's treatment of their ancestors and associate him with the suppression of their culture.[4]
Serra (born Miquel Josep Serra, November 24, 1713 '' August 28, 1784) was born in the village of Petra on the island of Majorca (Mallorca) off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. A few hours after birth, he was baptized in the village church. His baptismal name was Miquel Joseph Serra.[5] His father Antonio Nadal Serra and mother Margarita Rosa Ferrer were married in 1707.[6]
By age seven, Miquel was working the fields with his parents, helping cultivate wheat and beans, and tending the cattle. But he showed a special interest in visiting the local Franciscanfriary at the church of San Bernardino within a block of the Serra family house. Attending the friars' primary school at the church, Miquel learned reading, writing, mathematics, Latin, religion and liturgical song, especially Gregorian chant. Gifted with a good voice, he eagerly took to vocal music. The friars sometimes let him join the community choir and sing at special church feasts. Miquel and his father Antonio often visited the friary for friendly chats with the Franciscans.[7]
At age 15, Miquel's parents enrolled him in a Franciscan school in the capital city, Palma de Majorca, where he studied philosophy. A year later, he became a novice in the Franciscan order.[citation needed ]
Joins Franciscan order Edit On November 14, 1730'--just shy of his 17th birthday'--Serra entered the Alcantarine branch of the Friars Minor, a reform movement in the Order. The slight and frail Serra now embarked on his novitiate period, a rigorous year of preparation to become a full member of the Franciscan Order. He was given the religious name of Jun­pero in honor of Brother Juniper, who had been among the first Franciscans and was a companion of Saint Francis.[8] The young Jun­pero, along with his fellow novices, vowed to scorn property and comfort, and to remain celibate. He still had seven years to go to become an ordainedCatholic priest. He immersed himself in rigorous studies of logic, metaphysics, cosmology, and theology.
The daily routine at the friary followed a rigid schedule: prayers, meditation, choir singing, physical chores, spiritual readings, and instruction. The friars would wake up every midnight for another round of chants. Serra's superiors discouraged letters and visitors. In his free time, he avidly read stories about Franciscan friars roaming the provinces of Spain and around the world to win new souls for the church, often suffering martyrdom in the process. He followed the news of famous missionaries winning beatification and sainthood.
In 1737, Serra became a priest, and three years later earned an ecclesiastical license to teach philosophy at the Convento de San Francisco. His philosophy course, including over 60 students, lasted three years. Among his students were fellow future missionaries Francisco Pal"u and Juan Cresp­.[10] When the course ended in 1743, Serra told his students: "I desire nothing more from you than this, that when the news of my death shall have reached your ears, I ask you to say for the benefit of my soul: 'May he rest in peace.' Nor shall I omit to do the same for you so that all of us will attain the goal for which we have been created."[11]
Serra was considered intellectually brilliant by his peers. He received a doctorate in theology from the Lullian College (founded in the 14th century by Ramon Lull for the training of Franciscan missionaries) in Palma de Majorca, where he also occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy until he joined the missionary College of San Fernando de Mexico in 1749.[12]
During Serra's last five years on the island of Majorca, drought and plague afflicted his home village of Petra. Serra sometimes went home from Palma for brief visits to his parents'--now separated'--and gave them some financial support. On one occasion he was called home to anoint his seriously ill father with the last rites. In one of his final visits to Petra, Serra found his younger sister Juana Mar­a near death.[13]
In 1748, Serra and Pal"u confided to each other their desire to become missionaries. Serra, now 35, was assured a prestigious career as priest and scholar if he stayed in Majorca; but he set his sights firmly on pagan lands. Applying to the colonial bureaucracy in Madrid, Serra requested that both he and Pal"u embark on a foreign mission. After weathering some administrative obstacles, they received permission and set sail for Cdiz, the port of departure for Spain's colonies in the Americas.
While waiting to set sail, Serra wrote a long letter to a colleague back in Majorca, urging him to console Serra's parents'--now in their 70's'--over their only son's pending departure. "They [my parents] will learn to see how sweet is His yoke," Serra wrote, "and that He will change for them the sorrow they may now experience into great happiness. Now is not the time to muse or fret over the happenings of life but rather to be conformed entirely to the will of God, striving to prepare themselves for that happy death which of all the things of life is our principal concern."[14] Serra asked his colleague to read this letter to his parents, who had never attended school.[15]
Ministry in the Americas Edit In 1749, Serra and the Franciscan missionary team landed in Veracruz, on the Gulf coast of New Spain (now Mexico). To get from Veracruz to Mexico City, Serra and his Franciscan companions took the Camino Real (English: royal path), a rough road stretching from sea level through tropical forests, dry plains, high plateaus and volcanic sierra mountains to an altitude of 7400 feet (2250 meters). Royal officials provided horses for the 20 Franciscan friars to ride up the Camino Real. All accepted the offer, except for Serra and one companion, a friar from Andalusia. Strictly following the rule of his patron saint Francis of Assisi that friars "must not ride on horseback unless compelled by manifest necessity or infirmity," Serra insisted on walking to Mexico City. He and his fellow friar set out on the Camino Real with no money or guide, carrying only their breviaries. They trusted in Providence and the hospitality of local people along the way.
During the trek Serra's left foot swelled up, and a burning itch tormented him. Arriving at a farm at day's end, he could hardly stand. He attributed the swelling to a mosquito bite. His discomfort made his stay over at the farm another night, during which he scratched his foot and leg to excess, desperately trying to relieve the itch. The next morning his leg was raw and bleeding. This wound plagued Serra for the rest of his life.[16]
Hobbling into Mexico City, Serra joined up with his fellow friars at the College of San Fernando de Mexico, a specialized training center and regional headquarters for Franciscan missionaries. Serra requested that he do his novitiate year again'--despite his academic prestige, and the fact that the college's novices were far younger men. Though his request was declined, Serra insisted on living as a novice at San Fernando: "This learned university professor'...would often eat more sparingly in order to replace the student whose turn it was to read to the community. Or he would humbly carry trays and wait on tables with the lay brothers'..."[17]
Besides the routine of prayers, hymns and meditations, daily life at the secluded college included classes on the languages of Mexico's Indian peoples, mission administration and theology. Before completing his required year of training, Serra volunteered for a mission in the rugged Sierra Gorda, to help replace friars who had recently died there. He was accepted as mission superior. His fellow volunteer, Friar Francisco Pal"u, became Serra's assistant in his first mission.
Mission in the Sierra Gorda, Mexico Edit The Sierra Gorda Indian missions, some 90 miles north of Santiago de Quer(C)taro, were nestled in a vast region of jagged mountains, home of the Pame Indians and a scattering of Spanish colonists. The Pames'--who, centuries earlier, had built a civilization with temples, idols and priests'--lived mainly by gathering and hunting, but also pursued agriculture. Many groups among them, adopting mobile guerrilla tactics, had eluded conquest by the Spanish military.
Serra and Pal"u, arriving at the village of Jalpan, found the mission in disarray: The parishioners, numbering fewer than a thousand, were attending neither confession nor Mass. The two missionaries set about learning the Pame language from a Mexican who had lived among the Pames. But the claim by Pal"u that Serra translated the catechism into the Pame language is questionable, as Serra himself later admitted he had great difficulties learning indigenous languages.[19]
Serra involved Pames parishioners in the ritual reenactment of Jesus' forced death march. Erecting 14 stations, Serra led the procession himself, carrying an extremely heavy cross. At each station, the procession paused for a prayer, and at the end Serra sermonized on the sufferings and death of Jesus. On Holy Thursday, 12 Pames elders reenacted the roles of the apostles. Serra, in the role of Jesus, washed their feet and then, after the service, dined with them.
Serra also tackled the practical side of mission administration. Working with the college of San Fernando, he had cattle, goats, sheep, and farming tools brought to the Sierra Gorda mission. Pal"u supervised the farm labor of mission Indian men; the women learned spinning, sewing and knitting. Their products were collected and rationed to the mission residents, according to personal needs. Christian Pames sold their surplus products in nearby trading centers, under the friars' supervision to protect them from cheaters. Pames who adapted successfully to mission life received their own parcels of land to raise corn, beans and pumpkins, and sometimes received oxen and seeds as well.[21]
Within two years, Serra had made inroads against the Pames' traditional belief system. On his 1752 visit from the Sierra Gorda mission to the college of San Fernando in Mexico City, Serra joyfully carried a goddess statue presented to him by Christian Pames. The statue, showing the face of Cachum, mother of the sun, had been erected on a hilltop shrine where some Pame chiefs lay buried.
Back in the Sierra Gorda, Serra faced a conflict between Spanish soldiers, settlers, and mission Indians. Following a Spanish military victory over the Pames in 1743, Spanish authorities had sent not only Franciscan missionaries, but also Spanish/Mexican soldiers and their families into the Sierra Gorda. The soldiers had the job of pursuing runaway mission Indians and securing the region for the Spanish crown. But the soldiers' land claims clashed with mission lands that Christian Pames were working.
Some of the soldiers' families tried to establish a town, and the officer in charge of their deployment approved their plan. The Pames objected, threatening to defend their lands by force if necessary. Soldiers and settlers let their cattle graze on Christian Pames' farmlands and bullied Pames into working for them. Serra and the College of San Fernando sided with the Pames'--citing the Laws of the Indies, which banned colonial settlements in mission territories.
The viceroy, Spain's highest official in Mexico, suspended the intrusive colony. But the townspeople protested and stayed put. The government set up commissions and looked into alternative sites for the colony. It ordered the settlers to keep their cattle out of the Pames' fields, and to pay the Pames fairly for their labor (with the friars supervising payment). After a protracted legal struggle, the settlers moved out, and in 1755 the Pames and friars reclaimed their land.
Crowning his Sierra Gorda mission, Serra oversaw the construction of a splendid church in Jalpan. Gathering masons, carpenters, and other skilled craftsmen from Mexico City, Serra employed Christian Pames in seasonal construction work over the course of seven years to complete the church. Serra pitched in himself, carrying wooden beams and applying mortar between the stones forming the church walls.
Serra's work for the Inquisition Edit During his 1752 visit to Mexico City, Serra sent a request from the college of San Fernando to the local headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. He asked that an inquisitor be appointed to preside over the Sierra Gorda. The next day, Inquisition officials appointed Serra himself as inquisitor for the whole region'--adding that he could exercise his powers anywhere he did missionary work in New Spain, as long as there was no regular Inquisition official in the region.[25]
In September 1752, Serra filed a report to the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico City from Jalpan, on "evidences of witchcraft in the Sierra Gorda missions." He denounced several Christian non-Indians who lived in and around the mission for "the most detestable and horrible crimes of sorcery, witchcraft and devil worship'... If it is necessary to specify one of the persons guilty of such crimes, I accuse by name a certain Melchora de los Reyes Acosta, a married mulattress, an inhabitant of the said mission'... In these last days a certain Cayetana, a very clever Mexican woman of said mission, married to one P(C)rez, a mulatto, has confessed'--she, being observed and accused of similar crimes, having been held under arrest by us for some days past'--that in the mission there is a large congregation of [Christian non-Indians], although some Indians also join them, and that these persons,'...flying through the air at night, are in the habit of meeting in a cave on a hill near a ranch called El Saucillo, in the center of said missions, where they worship and make sacrifice to the demons who appear visibly there in the guise of young goats and various other things of that nature'... If such evil is not attacked, the horrible corruption will spread among these poor [Indian] neophytes who are in our charge."[26]
Illustration showing Jun­pero Serra holding a crucifix in one hand and a stone in the other preaching to a crowd of NativesAccording to modern Franciscan historians, this report by Serra to the Inquisition is the only letter of his that has survived from eight years of mission work in the Sierra Gorda.[27] Serra's first biographer, Francisco Pal"u, wrote that Serra, in his role of inquisitor, had to work in many parts of Mexico and travel long distances. Yet the Archivo General de la Naci"n in Mexico City, with over a thousand volumes of indexed documents on the Inquisition, apparently contains only two references to Serra's work for the Inquisition following his 1752 appointment: his preaching in Oaxaca in 1764, and his partial handling of the case of a Sierra Gorda mulatto accused of sorcery in 1766.[28]
In 1758, Serra returned to the College of San Fernando. Over the next nine years he worked in the college's administrative offices, and as a missionary and inquisitor in the dioceses of Mexico, Puebla, Oaxaca, Valladolid, and Guadalajara. In his missionary wanderings, Serra often kept traveling on foot, despite painful leg and foot sores.
Physical self-punishment Edit Emulating an earlier Franciscan missionary and saint, Francisco Solano, Serra made a habit of punishing himself physically, to purify his spirit. He wore a sackcloth spiked with bristles, or a coat interwoven with broken pieces of wire, under his gray friar's outer garment.[30] In his austere cell, Serra kept a chain of sharp pointed iron links hanging on the wall beside his bed, to whip himself at night when sinful thoughts ran through his mind. His nightly self-flagellations at the college of San Fernando caught the ears of some of his fellow friars. In his letters to his Franciscan companions, Serra often referred to himself as a "sinner" and a "most unworthy priest."
In one of his sermons in Mexico City, while exhorting his listeners to repent their sins, Serra took out his chain, bared his shoulders and started whipping himself. Many parishioners, roused by the spectacle, began sobbing. Finally, a man climbed to the pulpit, took the chain from Serra's hand and began whipping himself, declaring: "I am the sinner who is ungrateful to God who ought to do penance for my many sins, and not the padre [Serra], who is a saint." The man kept whipping himself until he collapsed. After receiving the last sacraments, he later died from the ordeal.[31]
During other sermons on the theme of repentance, Serra would hoist a large stone in one hand and, while clutching a crucifix in the other, smash the stone against his chest. Many of his listeners feared that he would strike himself dead. Later, Serra suffered chest pains and shortness of breath; Pal"u suggests that Serra's self-inflicted bruises were the cause. While preaching of hell and damnation, Serra would sear his flesh with a four-pronged candle flame'--emulating a famed Franciscan preacher, saint John of Capistrano. Pal"u described this as "quite violent, painful, and dangerous towards wounding his chest."[33]
Serra did not stand alone among Catholic missionaries in displaying self-punishment at the pulpit. The more zealous Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries did likewise. But few took it to the extremes that Serra did. The regulations of the college of San Fernando said that self-punishment should never be carried to the point of permanently incapacitating oneself.[34] Some of Serra's colleagues admonished him for going too far.
King Carlos expels the Jesuits Edit On June 24, 1767, the Viceroy of New Spain, Carlos Francisco de Croix, read a Spanish royal decree to Mexico's archbishop and assembled church officials: "Repair with an armed force to the houses of the Jesuits. Seize the persons of all of them and, within 24 hours, transport them as prisoners to the port of Veracruz. Cause to be sealed the records of said houses and records of such persons without allowing them to remove anything but their breviaries and such garments as are absolutely necessary for their journey. If after the embarkation there should be found one Jesuit in that district, even if ill or dying, you shall suffer the penalty of death."
Spain's king Carlos III had plotted the expulsion of Jesuits throughout his empire five months earlier. Within days of his viceroy reading the expulsion decree to Mexico's top Catholic officials, Spanish royal soldiers removed the Jesuits'--who offered no resistance'--from all their stations within ready communication range of Mexico City. Many Jesuit priests died along the rugged mountain trail to Veracruz, where overloaded ships waited to carry the survivors across the Atlantic to the Papal States on the Italian peninsula.
On the Baja California peninsula, newly appointed governor Gaspar de Portol had to notify and remove the Jesuits from the chain of missions they had developed in forbidding territory over 70 years. By February 1768, Portol gathered the 16 Baja Jesuit missionaries in Loreto, from where they sailed to mainland Mexico for deportation. Sympathetic to the Jesuits, Portol treated them kindly even as he removed them under the king's orders.[36]
President of Baja California missions Edit Into the vacuum created by the Jesuits' expulsion from Mexico, stepped Franciscan missionaries. In July 1767, the guardian of the college of San Fernando appointed Serra president of the missions of Baja California, heading a group of 15 Franciscan friars; Francisco Pal"u served as his second in command.[37] Jesuit priests had developed 13 missions on that long and arid peninsula over seven decades. Two Jesuits had died at the hands of Indians in the revolt of 1734''6.
In March 1768, Serra and his missionary team boarded a Spanish sloop at San Blas, on Mexico's Pacific coast. Sailing over 200 miles up the Gulf of California, they landed at Loreto two weeks later. Gaspar de Portol, governor of Las Californias, welcomed them at the Loreto mission, founded by Jesuits in 1697. While he gave control of the church to Serra, Portol controlled the living quarters and rationed out food to the friars, charging their costs to the mission.[38]
Serra and Pal"u found'--to their unpleasant surprise'--that they ruled only on spiritual matters: everyday management of the mission remained in the hands of the military, who had occupied the Baja missions since evicting the Jesuits. In August 1768, New Spain's inspector general Jos(C) de Glvez, displeased with the sloppy military administration of the Baja missions, ordered them turned over fully to the Franciscan friars.
Serra started assigning his fellow friars to the missions scattered up the length of the Baja peninsula, with its scarce water and food sources. He stayed over a year at the Loreto mission while his colleagues tried to convert Indians in the nearby mountains and deserts. Where mission workers could dam small streams, they managed to grow wheat, corn, beans, fruits and cotton'--always depending on the availability of water.[citation needed ]
The Franciscans found that the Indian population in the Baja California mission territories had dwindled to about 7,150. By the time the Franciscans had moved north and turned the missions over to Dominican friars in 1772, the Indian population had decreased to about 5,000. "If it goes on at this rate," wrote Pal"u, "in a short time Baja California will come to an end." Epidemics, especially syphilis introduced by Spanish troops, were wasting the Indians. But Pal"u attributed the ravages of syphilis to God's retribution for the Indians' murder of the two Jesuit priests over 30 years earlier.[41]
Journey to San Diego Edit In 1768 Jos(C) de Glvez, inspector general of New Spain, decided to send explorers and locate missions in Alta (upper) California. Glvez aimed both to Christianize the extensive Indian populations and serve Spain's strategic interest by preventing Russian explorations and possible claims to North America's Pacific coast. Glvez chose Serra to head the missionary team in the California expedition. Serra, now 55, eagerly seized the chance to harvest thousands of pagan souls in lands previously untouched by the church.
But as the expedition gathered in Loreto, Serra's foot and leg infection had become almost crippling. The commander, Gaspar de Portol, tried to dissuade him from joining the expedition, and wrote to Glvez about Serra's condition. Serra's fellow friar and former student Francisco Pal"u also became concerned, gently suggesting to Serra that he stay in Baja California and let the younger and stronger Pal"u make the journey to San Diego in his place. Serra rebuffed both Portol's and Pal"u's doubts. He chided Pal"u for his suggestion: "Let us not speak of that. I have placed all my confidence in God, of whose goodness I hope that He will grant me to reach not only San Diego to raise the standard of the Holy Cross in that port, but also Monterey."
Serra suggested that the Portol party set off without him; he would follow and meet up with them on the way to Alta California. He then assigned friar Miguel de la Campa as chaplain to the Portol expedition, which set out from Loreto on March 9, 1769. Spending holy week at mission Loreto, Serra set out on March 28. "From my mission of Loreto," wrote Serra, "I took along no more provisions for so long a journey than a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese. For I was there [at mission Loreto] a whole year, in economic matters, as a mere guest to receive the crumbs of the royal soldier commissioner, whose liberality at my departure did not extend beyond the aforementioned articles."[44]
Two servants'--one named Jos(C) Mar­a Vergerano, a 20-year-old from Magdalena, the other a soldier guard'--accompanied Serra on his journey from Loreto, as he rode on a feeble mule. On April 28, 1769, Serra arrived at mission San Borja, where he received a warm welcome from friar Ferm­n Lasu(C)n. Founded just seven years before by the Jesuit Wenceslaus Linck, mission San Borja sat in an unusually arid region of Baja California. Continuing north, Serra stopped on May 5 to recite a Mass celebrating the feast of the Ascension in the deserted church at Calamaju(C), scarcely more than a ruined hut. The next morning he arrived at Santa Mar­a, where he met up with Portol, friar Miguel de la Campa and several members of their party. In this arid region, whose alkaline land resisted cultivation, lived the "poorest of all" the Indians Serra had encountered in Mexico. On Sunday May 7, Serra sang high Mass and preached a sermon at the mission church on the frontier of Spanish Catholicism.
Founding Mission Velicat Edit After leaving Mission Santa Mar­a, Serra urged Portol to move ahead of the slow pack train, so they could reach Velicat in time for Pentecost the next day. Portol agreed, so the small group traveled all day May 13 to reach Velicat by late evening. The advanced guard of the party greeted them there.
On Pentecost day, May 14, 1769, Serra founded his first mission, Misi"n San Fernando Rey de Espa±a de Velicat, in a mud hut that had served as a makeshift church when friar Ferm­n Lasu(C)n had traveled up on Easter to recite the sacraments for the Fernando Rivera expedition, the overland party that had preceded the Portol party. The founding celebration took place "with all the neatness of holy poverty," in Serra's words. Smoke from the soldiers' guns, fired in repeated volleys, served as incense.
The new mission lacked Indians to convert. A few days later, friar Miguel de la Campa notified Serra that a few natives had arrived. Serra joyously rushed out to welcome twelve Indian, men and boys. "Then I saw what I could hardly begin to believe when I read about it," wrote Serra. "'...namely, that they go about entirely naked like Adam in paradise before the fall'... We treated with them for a long time; and although they saw all of us clothed, they nevertheless showed not the least trace of shame in their manner of nudity." Serra placed both hands upon their heads as a token of paternal affection. He then handed them figs, which they ate immediately. One of the Indian men gave Serra roasted agave stalks and four fishes. In return, Portol and his soldiers offered tobacco leaves and various food items.
Through a Christian Indian interpreter, Serra told the Indians that de la Campa would stay at the mission to serve them. They should encourage their families and friends to come to the mission. Serra asked them not to harass or kill the cattle. Portol announced that their chief now had legal status in the name of the king of Spain.[citation needed ]
Earthy remedy for leg wound Edit Back on the road, Serra found it very difficult to stay on his feet because "my left foot had become very inflamed, a painful condition which I have suffered for a year or more. Now this inflammation has reached halfway up my leg'..." Portol again tried to persuade Serra to withdraw from the expedition, offering to "have you carried back to the first mission where you can recuperate, and we will continue our journey." Serra countered that "God'...has given me the strength to come so far'... Even though I should die on the way, I shall not turn back. They can bury me wherever they wish and I shall gladly be left among the pagans, if it be God's will." Portol had a stretcher prepared, so that Christian Indians traveling with the expedition could carry Serra along the trail.[48]
Not wishing to burden his traveling companies, Serra departed from his usual practice of avoiding medicines: He asked one of the muleteers, Juan Antonio Coronel, if he could prepare a remedy for Serra's foot and leg wound. When Coronel objected that he knew only how to heal animals' wounds, Serra rejoined: "Well then, son, just imagine that I am an animal'... Make me the same remedy that you would apply to an animal." Coronel then crushed some tallow between stones and mixed it with green desert herbs. After heating the mix, he applied it to Serra's foot and leg. The next morning, Serra felt "much improved and I celebrated Mass'... I was enabled to make the daily trek just as if I did not have any ailment'...There is no swelling but only the itching which I feel at times'..."[49]
Trading cloth for fish Edit The expedition still had 300 miles (480 kilometers) to travel to San Diego. They passed through desert terrain into oak savanna in June, often camping and sleeping under large oaks. From a high hill on June 20, their advance scouts saw the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Reaching its shores that evening, the party called the spot Ensenada de Todos Santos (All Saints' Cove, today simply Ensenada). They now had less than 80 miles (130 kilometers) to reach San Diego.
Pressing north, they stayed close to the ocean. On June 23, they came upon a large Indian village where they enjoyed a pleasant stopover. The natives appeared healthy, robust and friendly, immediately repeating the Spanish words they heard. Some danced for the party, offering them fish and mussels. "We were all enamored of them," wrote Serra. "In fact, all the pagans have pleased me, but these in particular have stolen my heart." The next morning, soldiers traded with the Indians, swapping handkerchiefs and larger pieces of cloth for fish amidst lively bargaining.
The Indians now encountered by the party near the coast appeared well-fed and more eager to receive cloth than food. On June 25, as the party struggled to cross a series of ravines, they noticed many Indians following them. When they camped for the night, the Indians pressed close. Whenever Serra placed his hands of their heads, they placed theirs on his. Coveting cloth, some begged Serra for the friar's habit he wore. Several women passed Serra's spectacles around with delight from hand to hand, until one man dashed off with them. Serra's companions rushed to recover them, the only pair of spectacles Serra possessed.
Arrival in San Diego Edit On June 28, sergeant Jos(C) Ortega, who had ridden ahead to meet the Rivera party in San Diego, returned with fresh animals and letters to Serra from friars Juan Cresp­ and Fernando Parr"n. Serra learned that two Spanish galleons dispatched from Baja to supply the new missions had arrived at San Diego Bay. One of the ships, the San Carlos, had sailed almost four months from La Paz, bypassing its destination by almost 200 miles before doubling back south to reach San Diego Bay.[52] By the time it dropped anchor on April 29, scurvy had so devastated its crew that they lacked the strength to lower a boat. Men on shore from the San Antonio, which had arrived three weeks earlier, had to board the San Carlos to help its surviving crew ashore.[53]
The Portol/Serra party, having trekked 900 miles (1450 kilometers) from Loreto and suffered dwindling food supplies along the way, arrived in San Diego on July 1, 1769. "It was a day of great rejoicing and merriment for all," wrote Serra, "because although each one in his respective journey had undergone the same hardships, their meeting'...now became the material for mutual accounts of their experiences'..."[54]
Between the overland and seafaring parties of the expedition, about 300 men had started on the trip from Baja California. But no more than half of them reached San Diego. Most of the Christian Indians recruited to the overland parties had died or deserted; military officers had denied them rations when food started running low. Half of those who made it to San Diego spent months unable to resume the expedition, due to illness.[55] Doctor Pedro Prat, who had also sailed on the San Carlos as the expedition's surgeon, struggled to treat the ill men, himself weakened from scurvy. Friar Fernando Parr"n, who had sailed on the San Carlos as chaplain, had become weak with scurvy as well. Many men who had sailed on the San Antonio, including captain Juan P(C)rez, had also taken ill with scurvy.[56] Despite the efforts of Doctor Prat, many of the ill men died in San Diego.
Mission San Diego de Alcal Edit On July 16, 1769, Serra founded mission San Diego in honor of saint Didacus of Alcal in a simple shelter on Presidio Hill serving as a temporary church. Tensions with the local Kumeyaay people made it difficult to attract converts. The Indians accepted the trinkets Serra offered as rewards for visiting the new mission. But their craving for Spanish cloth irritated the soldiers, who accused them of stealing. Some of the Kumeyaay teased and taunted the sick soldiers. To warn them away, soldiers fired their guns into the air. The Christian Indians from Baja who remained with the Spaniards did not know the Kumeyaay language.[57]
Indians attack fledgling mission Edit On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, Serra and padre Juan Vizca­no recited Mass at the new mission chapel, to which several Hispanics had gone for confession and Holy Communion. After Mass, four soldiers went down to the beach to bring padre Fernando Parr"n back from the San Carlos, where he had been delivering Mass.
Observing the mission and its neighboring huts sparsely protected, a group of over 20 Indians attacked with bows and arrows. The four remaining soldiers, aided by the blacksmith and carpenter, returned fire with muskets and pistols. Serra, clutching a Jesus figurine in one hand and a Mary figurine in the other, prayed to God to save both sides from casualties. The blacksmith, Chac"n, ran about the Spanish huts unprotected by a leather jacket, shouting: "Long live the faith of Jesus Christ and may these dogs, enemies of that faith, die!"[58]
Serra's young servant Jos(C) Mar­a Vergerano ran into Serra's hut, his neck pierced by an arrow. "Father, absolve me," he beseeched, "for the Indians have killed me." "He entered my little hut with so much blood streaming from his temples and mouth that, shortly after, I gave him absolution and helped him to die well," wrote Serra. "'...He passed away at my feet, bathed in his blood."[59] Padre Vizca­no, the blacksmith Chac"n, and a Christian Indian from San Ignacio suffered wounds. That night Serra buried Vergerano secretly, concealing his death from the Indians.
The Indian warriors, suffering several dead and wounded, retreated with a new-found respect for the power of Spanish firearms. As local Indians cremated their dead, the wailing of their women sounded from local villages. Yet Serra wrote six months later, in a letter to the guardian of the college of San Fernando, that "both our men and theirs sustained wounds"'--without mentioning any Indian deaths. He added: "It seems none of them died so they can still be baptized."[60] Tightening security, the soldiers built a stockade of poles around the mission buildings, banning Indians from entering.
Baptism aborted Edit A teenage boy from the Kumeyaay village of Kosa'aay (Cosoy, known today as Old Town, San Diego) who had often visited the mission before the outbreak of hostilities, resumed his visits with the friars. He soon learned enough Spanish for Serra to view him as an envoy to help convert the Kumeyaay. Serra urged the boy to persuade some parents to bring their young child to the mission, so that Serra could administer Catholic baptism to the child by pouring water over his head.
A few days later, a group of Indians arrived at the mission carrying a naked baby boy. The Spaniards interpreted their sign language as a desire to have the boy baptized. Serra covered the child with some clothing and asked the corporal of the guard to sponsor the baptism. Dressed in surplice and stole, Serra read the initial prayers and performed the ceremonies to prepare for baptism. But just as he lifted the baptismal shell, filled it with water and readied to pour it over the baby's head, some Indians grabbed the child from the corporal's arms and ran away to their village in fear. The other Kumeyaay visitors followed them, laughing and jeering. The frustrated Serra never forgot this incident; recounting it years later brought tears to his eyes. Serra attributed the Indians' behavior to his own sins.[61]
Just-in-time delivery Edit
March 19, 1770: Serra rejoices at the sight of the supply ship San Antonio on the horizon beyond San Diego Bay. The San Carlos rests at anchor offshore.Over six months dragged on without a single Indian convert to mission San Diego. On January 24, 1770, the 74 exhausted men of the Portol expedition returned from their exploratory journey up the coast to San Francisco. They had survived by slaughtering and eating their mules along the return trek south. Commander Gaspar de Portol, engineer and cartographer Miguel Costans", and friar Juan Cresp­ all arrived in San Diego with detailed diaries of their trip. They reported large populations of Indians living along the coast who seemed friendly and docile, ready to embrace the gospel. Serra fervently wrote to the guardian of the college of San Fernando, requesting more missionaries willing to face hardships in Alta California.[62]
Food remained scarce as the San Diego outpost awaited the return of the supply ship San Antonio. Weighing the risk of his soldiers dying of starvation, Portol set a deadline of March 19, the feast of saint Joseph, patron of his expedition: If no ship arrived by that day'--Portol told Serra'--he would march his men south the next morning. The anguished Serra, along with friar Juan Cresp­, insisted on staying in San Diego in the event of the Portol group's departure. Boarding the San Carlos (still anchored in San Diego Bay), Serra told captain Vicente Vila of Portol's plan. Vila agreed to stay in the harbor until the relief ship arrived'--and to welcome Serra and Cresp­ aboard if they got stranded by Portol's departure.
On the morning of March 19, Serra sang Mass and preached a sermon at the forlorn mission on Presidio Hill. No ship appeared in the bay that morning. But around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the sails of a ship'--the San Antonio'--came into view on the horizon. It sailed past San Diego Bay, destined for Monterey. When it got to the Santa Barbara Channel, its sailors made landfall to fetch fresh water. There they learned from Indians that the Portol expedition had returned south. So the San Antonio also turned south, anchoring in San Diego Bay on March 23.[63]
Monterey: the northern outpost Edit Bolstered by the food unloaded from the San Antonio, Portol and his men shifted their sights back north to Monterey, specified by Jos(C) de Glvez as the northern stake of Spain's empire in California. Friar Juan Cresp­ prepared to accompany the second Portol expedition to Monterey. Leaving mission San Diego in the hands of friars Fernando Parr"n and Francisco G"mez, Serra rode a launch out to board the San Antonio. He and Cresp­ would meet in Monterey. Since Serra planned to establish the mission there while having Cresp­ establish mission San Buenaventura, the two friars would be living over 200 miles apart. "Truly," wrote Serra to Pal"u, "this state of solitude shall be'...the greatest of my hardships, but God in His infinite mercy will see me through."[64]
On April 16, 1770, the San Antonio set sail from San Diego Bay, carrying Serra, doctor Pedro Prat, engineer Miguel Costans" and a crew of sailors under captain Juan P(C)rez. Contrary winds blew the ship back south to the Baja peninsula, then as far north as the Farallon Islands. As the ship heaved against heavy winds, P(C)rez, Serra and sailors recited daily prayers, promising to make a novena and celebrate High Mass upon their safe arrival in Monterey.[65] Several sailors fell sick with scurvy. Serra described the six-week voyage as "somewhat uncomfortable."[66]
Meanwhile, the land expedition departed from San Diego on April 17 under the command of Portol. His group included friar Cresp­, captain Pedro Fages, twelve Catalan volunteers, seven leather-jacketed soldiers, two muleteers, five Baja Christian Indians, and Portol's servant. Following the same route they had taken the year before, the expedition reached Monterey Bay on May 24, without losing a single man or suffering any serious illness.[67] With the San Antonio nowhere in sight, Portol, Cresp­ and a guard walked over the hills to Point Pinos, then to a beachside hill just south where their party had planted a large cross five months before on their journey back from San Francisco Bay. They found the cross surrounded by feathers and broken arrows driven into the ground, with fresh sardines and meat laid out before the cross. No Indians were in sight. The three men then walked along the rocky coast south to Carmel Bay. Several Indians approached them, and the two groups exchanged gifts.[68] On May 31, the San Antonio sailed into Monterey Bay and dropped anchor, reuniting the surviving men of the land and sea expeditions.
On Pentecost Sunday, June 3, 1770, Serra, Portol and the whole expedition held a ceremony at a makeshift chapel erected next to a massive oak tree by Monterey Bay, to found mission San Carlos Borromeo. "The men of the land and sea expeditions coming from different directions met here at the same time," wrote Serra, "we singing the divine praises in our launch, while the gentlemen on land sang in their hearts." After the raising and planting of a large cross, which Serra blessed, "the standards of our Catholic monarch were also set up, the one ceremony'...accompanied by shouts of 'Long live the Faith!' and the other by 'Long live the King!' Added to this was the clangor of the bells, the volleys of the muskets, and the cannonading from the ship."[69] Both king Carlos III and viceroy Carlos de Croix had chosen to name the new mission after saint Carlo Borromeo.[70] The body of a sailor, Alexo Ni±o, who had died the day before aboard the San Antonio, was buried at the foot of the newly erected cross.[71]
Serra realized from the start that the new mission needed relocation: While the Laws of the Indies required missions to be located near Indian villages, there were no Indian settlements near the newly christened mission by Monterey Bay. "It might be necessary," wrote Serra to the guardian of the college of San Fernando, "to change the site of the mission toward the area of Carmel, a locality indeed more delightful and suitable because of the extent and excellent quality of the land and water supply necessary to produce very abundant harvests."[72]
On July 9, the San Antonio set sail from Monterey, bound for Mexico. Aboard were Portol and Miguel Costans", along with several letters from Serra. Forty men, including the two friars and five Baja Indians, remained to develop the mission on the Monterey peninsula. In San Diego, 450 miles (725 kilometers) south, 23 men remained to develop the mission there. Both groups would have to wait a year before receiving supplies and news from Mexico.[73]
Missions founded Edit When the party reached San Diego on July 1, Serra stayed behind to start the Mission San Diego de Alcal, the first of the 21 California missions[12] (including the nearby Visita de la Presentaci"n, also founded under Serra's leadership).
Junipero Serra moved to the area that is now Monterey in 1770, and founded Mission San Carlos Borrom(C)o de Carmelo. He remained there as "Father Presidente" of the Alta California missions. In 1771, Serra relocated the mission to Carmel, which became known as "Mission Carmel" and served as his headquarters. Under his presidency were founded:
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcal, July 16, 1769, present-day San Diego, California.Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, June 3, 1770, present-day Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.Mission San Antonio de Padua, July 14, 1771Mission San Gabriel Arcngel, September 8, 1771, present-day San Gabriel, California.Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, September 1, 1772, present-day city of San Luis Obispo, California.Mission San Juan Capistrano, November 1, 1776, present-day San Juan CapistranoMission San Francisco de As­s, June 29, 1776, present-day San Francisco, California chain of missions.Mission Santa Clara de As­s, January 12, 1777, present-day city of Santa Clara, California, andMission San Buenaventura, March 31, 1782, present-day Ventura, California.Serra was also present at the founding of the Presidio of Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, California) on April 21, 1782, but was prevented from locating the mission there because of the animosity of Governor Felipe de Neve.
He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near the Presidio of Monterey, but soon moved a few miles south to establish Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in today's Carmel, California.[8]
The missions were primarily designed to bring the Catholic faith to the native peoples. Other aims were to integrate the neophytes into Spanish society, to provide a framework for organizing the natives into a productive workforce in support of new extensions of Spanish power, and to train them to take over ownership and management of the land. As head of the order in California, Serra not only dealt with church officials, but also with Spanish officials in Mexico City and with the local military officers who commanded the nearby garrison.
In 1773, difficulties with Pedro Fages, the military commander, compelled Serra to travel to Mexico City to argue before ViceroyAntonio Mar­a de Bucareli y Ursºa for the removal of Fages as the Governor of California Nueva. At the capital of Mexico, by order of Viceroy Bucareli, he printed up Representaci"n in 32 articles. Bucareli ruled in Serra's favor on 30 of the 32 charges brought against Fages, and removed him from office in 1774, after which time Serra returned to California. In 1778, Serra, although not a bishop, was given dispensation to administer the sacrament of confirmation for the faithful in California. After he had exercised his privilege for a year, Governor Felipe de Neve directed him to suspend administering the sacrament until he could present the papal brief. For nearly two years Serra refrained, and then Viceroy Majorga gave instructions to the effect that Serra was within his rights.[citation needed ]
Franciscans saw the Indians as children of God who deserved the opportunity for salvation, and would make good Christians. Converted Indians were segregated from Indians who had not yet embraced Christianity, lest there be a relapse. To understand the impetus behind missionary efforts in the 18th century, one must take into account the era's views on the salvation of unbaptized infants. While there were many controversies in the Church's history, the fate of unbaptized infants was never a serious point of contention, for which reason the Church to this day has not deemed it necessary to settle the issue definitively.[original research? ]
Catholics are therefore free to speculate and hold a variety of opinions on the matter. In the 18th century, most Catholic speculation regarding the ultimate end of unbaptized infants was still in line with the early Church Fathers such as St. Augustine of Hippo, who believed that unbaptized infants would receive the mildest chastisements in Hell, but no reward. While several theologians from the 12th Century onward (notably Peter Abelard) had suggested that unbaptized infants would spend eternity in natural happiness in Limbo, and several mystics such as Mary of Agreda and Marcel Van had affirmed that unbaptized children ultimately go to Heaven, it is only very recently that the private speculation of Catholic theologians has leaned toward this position.[original research? ]
For Serra and his companions, therefore, instructing the natives so that their children might also be saved would have most likely been a great concern.[original research? ] From this came the determined efforts of missionaries to the detriment of native cultures, which few today would countenance.[74]
Discipline was strict, and the converts were not allowed to come and go at will. Indians who were baptized were required to live at the mission and conscripted into forced labor as plowmen, shepherds, cattle herders, blacksmiths, and carpenters on the mission. Disease, starvation, over work, and torture decimated these tribes.[75]:114 Serra successfully resisted the efforts of Governor Felipe de Neve to bring Enlightenment policies to missionary work, because those policies would have subverted the economic and religious goals of the Franciscans.[76]
Serra wielded this kind of influence because his missions served economic and political purposes as well as religious ends. The number of civilian colonists in Alta California never exceeded 3,200, and the missions with their Indian populations were critical to keeping the region within Spain's political orbit. Economically, the missions produced all of the colony's cattle and grain, and by the 1780s were even producing surpluses sufficient to trade with Mexico for luxury goods.[77]
In 1779, Franciscan missionaries under Serra's direction planted California's first sustained vineyard at Mission San Diego de Alcal. Hence, he has been called the "Father of California Wine". The variety he planted, presumably descended from Spain, became known as the Mission grape and dominated California wine production until about 1880.[78]
During the American Revolutionary War (1775''1783), Serra took up a collection from his mission parishes throughout California. The total money collected amounted to roughly $137, but the money was sent to General George Washington.[citation needed ] Serra also received the title Founder of Spanish California.[citation needed ]
Treatment of Native Californians Edit Serra had a singular purpose in mind, to save Native American souls. He believed that the death of an unconverted heathen was tragic, while the death of a baptized convert was a cause for joy.[79]:39 He maintained a patriarchal or fatherly attitude towards the Native American population. He wrote, "That spiritual fathers should punish their sons, the Indians, with blows appears to be as old as the conquest of the Americas; so general in fact that the saints do not seem to be any exception to the rule."[77] Punishment made clear to the natives "that we, every one of us, came here for the single purpose of doing them good and their eternal salvation."[79]:39
Cultural oppression Edit The New York Times noted that some "Indian historians and authors blame Father Serra for the suppression of their culture and the premature deaths at the missions of thousands of their ancestors."[4]George Tinker, an Osage/Cherokee and professor at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado,[80] cites evidence that Serra required the converted Indians to labor to support the missions. Tinker writes that while Serra's intentions in evangelizing were honest and genuine, overwhelming evidence suggests that the "native peoples resisted the Spanish intrusion from the beginning".
While administering Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey, California, Serra had ongoing conflicts with Pedro Fages, who was military governor of Alta California. Fages worked his men very harshly and was seen as a tyrant. Serra intervened on the soldier's behalf, and the two did not get along.[83][84] The soldiers raped the Indian woman and kept them as concubines.[83] Serra moved the mission to Carmel due to better lands for farming, due to his conflicts with Fages, and in part to protect the Indian neophytes from the Spanish soldiers.[85]
Mark A. Noll, a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, wrote that Serra's attitude'--that missionaries could, and should, treat their wards like children, including the use of corporal punishment'--was common at the time.[86]
Tinker argues that it is more appropriate to judge the beatings and whippings administered by Serra and others from the point of view of the Native Americans, who were the victims of the violence, and who did not punish their children with physical discipline.
Salvatore J. Cordileone, the current archbishop of San Francisco, acknowledges Native American concerns about Serra's whippings and coercive treatment, but argues that missionaries were also teaching school and farming.[4]
Iris Engstrand, a professor of history at the Roman Catholic University of San Diego, described Serra as:
much nicer to the Indians, really, than even to the governors. He didn't get along too well with some of the military people, you know. His attitude was, 'Stay away from the Indians'. I think you really come up with a benevolent, hard-working person who was strict in a lot of his doctrinal leanings and things like that, but not a person who was enslaving Indians, or beating them, ever....He was a very caring person and forgiving. Even after the burning of the mission in San Diego, he did not want those Indians punished. He wanted to be sure that they were treated fairly . . . "[8]
Deborah A. Miranda, a professor of American literature at Washington and Lee University and Native American, stated that "Serra did not just bring us Christianity. He imposed it, giving us no choice in the matter. He did incalculable damage to a whole culture".[4]
Professor Edward Castillo, a Native American and director of Native American Studies at the Sonoma State University in California, said in a Firing Line episode with William F. Buckley, Jr. that, "...you pointed out [that] in my work I haven't cited Serra as oppressor. You can't put a whip in his hand. You can't put a smoking gun in his hand. And that is true. The man was an administrator."[88]
Corine Fairbanks of the American Indian Movement proclaimed that ''For too long the mission system has been glorified as these wonderful moments of California's golden era. That is not true. They were concentration camps. They were places of death.''[89]
Support for canonization Edit Despite these concerns, thousands of Native Americans in California maintain their Catholic faith,[90] and some supported efforts to canonize Serra.[91][92] James Nieblas, 68 '' the first Native American priest to be ordained from the Jua±eno Acjachemen Nation, a tribe evangelized by Serra, was chosen to meet with Pope Francis during his visit to Washington D.C.[93] Nieblas, a longtime supporter of Serra's canonization, stated during a 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times that "Father Serra brought our people to this day. I think Serra would be proud...canonization has the full support and backing of the Juaneno people."[94]
Members of other tribes associated with mission system also expressed support for Serra's canonization. ''Our people were directly involved with the Carmel Mission,'' said Tony Cerda, tribal chief of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel tribe. ''We support the canonization...The mission lands were our ancestral homes. Our ancestors are buried at the mission."[95]
On the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe's official website, the community released a bilingual statement in support of Serra's canonization shortly after a visit between Chief Cerda and Pope Francis, stating:
Saint Junipero Serra Baptized and Married our ancestors Simon Francisco (Indian name "Chanjay") and Magdalena Francisca on April 1, 1775 at Mission San Carlos De Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo...We wholeheartedly Support the canonization of Saint Junipero Serra because he protected our people and supported their full human rights against the politicians and the military with total disregard for his own life and safety.[96]
Two members of California's Ohlone Tribe played roles in the canonization Mass by placing a relic of Serra's near the altar and reading a scripture in Chochenyo, a native language. One of the participants, Andrew Galvan, a member of the Ohlone Tribe and curator of Mission Dolores in San Francisco, stated prior to the ceremony that the canonization ''will be the culmination of a life's work for me'...It will be a ceremonial opening of the door that will 'let us Indians in,' a moment I honestly didn't think I would live to see.''[91]
Ruben Mendoza, an archeologist of MexicanMestizo and Native Yaqui descent who has extensively excavated missions in California, stated during a March 2015 interview with the Los Angeles Times that "Serra endured great hardships to evangelize Native Californians. In the process, he orchestrated the development of a chain of missions that helped give birth to modern California'....When I don't go along with the idea that the missions were concentration camps and that the Spanish brutalized every Indian they encountered, I'm seen as an adversary."[92]
In July 2015, Mendoza testified at a hearing on a proposal to remove a statue of Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol. In his remarks, he stated, ''What greater symbol of empowerment than that offered by Fray Jun­pero Serra himself can we offer our youth? I ask that this legislative body seriously reconsider this politicized effort to minimize and erase one of the most substantive Hispanic and Latino contributions to our nation's history.''[97]
Biographer Gregory Orfalea wrote of Serra: "I see his devotion to Native Californians as heartfelt, plain-spoken and borne out by continuous example." [98][99]
During the remaining three years of his life, he once more visited the missions from San Diego to San Francisco, traveling more than 600 miles in the process, to confirm all who had been baptized. He suffered intensely from his crippled leg and from his chest, yet he would use no remedies. He confirmed 5,309 people, who, with but few exceptions, were California Indian neophytes converted during the fourteen years from 1770.
On August 28, 1784, at the age of 70, Jun­pero Serra died at Mission San Carlos Borromeo. He is buried there under the sanctuary floor.[8] Following Serra's death, leadership of the Franciscan missionary effort in Alta California passed to Ferm­n Lasu(C)n.
Jun­pero Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.[100] The pope spoke before a crowd of 20,000 in a beatification ceremony for six; according to the pope's address in English, "He sowed the seeds of Christian faith amid the momentous changes wrought by the arrival of European settlers in the New World. It was a field of missionary endeavor that required patience, perseverance, and humility, as well as vision and courage."[101]
During Serra's beatification, questions were raised about how Indians were treated while Serra was in charge. The question of Franciscan treatment of Indians first arose in 1783. The famous historian of missions Herbert Eugene Bolton gave evidence favorable to the case in 1948, and the testimony of five other historians was solicited in 1986.[102][103][104]
Serra was canonized by Pope Francis on September 23, 2015, as a part of the pope's first visit to the United States, the first canonization to take place on American soil.[105] Nevertheless, Serra's life underwent the same level of scrutiny the Vatican requires of all canonizations, including the compilation of thousands of pages of materials about his life and work.[106] He is the first native saint of the Balearic Islands. During a speech at the Pontifical North American College in Rome on May 2, 2015, Pope Francis stated that "Friar Jun­pero ... was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church's universality and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country."[1]
Serra's feast day is celebrated on July 1 and he is considered to be the patron saint of California, Hispanic Americans, and religious vocations.
The Mission in Carmel, California containing Serra's remains has continued as a place of public veneration. The burial location of Serra is southeast of the altar and is marked with an inscription in the floor of the sanctuary. Other relics are remnants of the wood from Serra's coffin on display next to the sanctuary, and personal items belonging to Serra on display in the mission museums. A bronze and marble sarcophagus depicting Serra's life was completed in 1924 by Catalan sculptor Joseph A. Mora, but Serra's remains have never been transferred to that sarcophagus.
Many of Serra's letters and other documentation are extant, the principal ones being his "Diario" of the journey from Loreto to San Diego, which was published in Out West (March to June 1902) along with Serra's "Representaci"n."'
The Jun­pero Serra Collection (1713''1947) at the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library are their earliest archival materials. The Santa Barbara Mission-Archive Library is part of the building complex of the Mission Santa Barbara, but is now a separate non-profit, independent educational and research institution. The Santa Barbara Mission-Archive Library continues to have ties to the Franciscans and the legacy of Serra.[107]
The chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano, built in 1782, is thought to be the oldest standing building in California. Commonly referred to as "Father Serra's Church,"[108] it is the only remaining church in which Serra is known to have celebrated the rites of the Roman Catholic Church (he presided over the confirmations of 213 people on October 12 and October 13, 1783).
Many cities in California have streets, schools, and other features named after Serra. Examples include Junipero Serra Boulevard, a major boulevard in and south of San Francisco; Serramonte, a large 1960s residential neighborhood on the border of Daly City and Colma in the suburbs south of San Francisco; Serra Springs, a pair of springs in Los Angeles; Serra Mesa, a community in San Diego; Junipero Serra Peak, the highest mountain in the Santa Lucia Mountains; Junipero Serra Landfill, a solid waste disposal site in Colma; and Serra Fault, a fault in San Mateo County. Schools named after Serra include Jun­pero Serra High School, a public school in the San Diego community of Tierrasanta, and four Catholic high schools: Jun­pero Serra High School in Gardena, Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, and Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. There are public elementary schools in San Francisco and Ventura, as well as a K-8 Catholic school in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Both Spain and the United States have honored Serra with postage stamps.
In 1884, the Legislature of California passed a concurrent resolution making August 29 of that year, the centennial of Serra's burial, a legal holiday.[109]
Serra International, a global lay organization that promotes religious vocations to the Catholic Church, was named in his honor. The group, founded in 1935, currently numbers a membership of about 20,000 worldwide. It also boasts over 1,000 chapters in 44 countries.[110]
Serra's legacy towards Native Americans has been a topic of discussion in the Los Angeles area in recent years. The Mexica Movement, a radical indigenous separatist group that rejects European influence in the Americas,[111] protested Serra's canonization at the Los Angeles Cathedral in February 2015.[112] The Huntington Library announcement of its 2013 exhibition on Serra made it clear that Serra's treatment of Native Americans would be part of the comprehensive coverage of his legacy.[113]
On September 27, 2015, in response to Serra's canonization, the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission was vandalized. The statue of Serra was toppled and splattered with paint, and the cemetery, the mission doors, a fountain, and a crucifix were as well. The message "Saint of Genocide" was put on Serra's tomb, and similar messages were painted elsewhere in the mission courtyard.[114][115] After the incident, law enforcement authorities launched a hate crime investigation since the only grave sites targeted for desecration were those of Europeans.[116]
Statuary and monuments Edit
Fray Jun­pero Serra. Sculpture in The National Statuary HallA statue of Friar Jun­pero Serra is one of two statues that represent the state of California in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol. The work of Ettore Cadorin, it depicts Serra holding a cross and looking skyward. In February 2015, State Senator Ricardo Lara introduced a bill in the California legislature to remove the statue and replace it with one of astronaut Sally Ride. In May 2015, some California Catholics were organizing to keep Serra's statue in place. California Governor Jerry Brown supported retaining it when he visited the Vatican in July, 2015 .[117][118] On July 2, Lara announced that as a gesture of respect towards Pope Francis and people of faith, the vote on the bill would be postponed until the following year. Pope Francis canonized Serra as part of his September 2015 papal visit to the US.[119]A gold statue of heroic scale represents him as the apostolic preacher at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.In 1899 Jane Elizabeth Lathrop Stanford, wife of Leland Stanford, governor and U.S. Senator from California, and a non-Catholic herself, commissioned a granite monument to Serra which was erected in Monterey in 1891. The figure of Serra was decapitated in October 2015,[120] and the head not found until April 2, 2016, in Monterey Bay.[121]When Interstate 280 was built in stages from Daly City to San Jose in the 1960s, it was named the Junipero Serra Freeway. A statue of Serra on a hill on the northbound side of the freeway in Hillsborough, California points a finger towards the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific.A bronze statue of Serra standing over an outline of the State of California stands in the California State Capitol's Capitol Park. It faces a statue of Thomas Starr King, previously located in the National Statuary Hall Collection.A bronze statue of Serra stands in Ventura in front of city hall at the corners of California and Poli StreetsA statue of Serra is located in the courtyard of Mission Dolores, San Francisco's oldest remaining building.A life-size bronze statue of Serra overlooks the entrance to Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo, near the fa§ade of Old Mission San Luis Obispo.Statues or other monuments to Father Serra are found on the grounds of several other mission churches, including those in San Diego and Santa Clara.A statue of Junipero Serra near the San Fernando Mission in the Mission Hills district of Los Angeles, California was vandalized on August 17, 2017, as part of a larger movement to tear down monuments deemed offensive by activists. [122]^ ab "Pope Francis celebrates Junipero Serra at Rome's North American College". Retrieved 24 September 2015 . ^ "Patron Saints and their feast days". Retrieved 15 June 2015 . ^ "Pope to Canonize 'Evangelizer of the West' During U.S. Trip". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 21 January 2015 . ^ abcd Pogash, Carol (January 21, 2015). "To Some in California, Founder of Church Missions Is Far From Saint". The New York Times. ^ "Serra's baptismal record"(JPG) . Ag¨ncia Baleria (in Catalan). Palma, Majorca. 24 November 1713. Retrieved 8 September 2015 . ^ Hackel, Steven W. (2013-09-03). Junipero Serra: California's Founding Father. Macmillan. pp. 16. ISBN 9780809095315. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra, O.F.M.: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 10. ^ abcd "Blessed Jun­pero Serra 1713 '' 1784". Serra Club of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 24 May 2013 . ^ Geiger, Maynard, "The Life and Times of Padre Serra", Richmond: William Byrd Press, 1959, p. 26 ^ Maynard Geiger, The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra, O.F.M.: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 2, p. 375. ^ ab "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Junipero Serra". newadvent.org. Retrieved 21 January 2015 . ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 28''9. ^ Jun­pero Serra, letter to Francesch Serra, Cdiz, August 20, 1749. Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, p. 5. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 4. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra,: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 86''7. Geiger discussed Serra's wound with three medical doctors'--one of them Mexican'--to fact-check this account from Serra and his first biographer, Francisco Pal"u. Serra's wound may have been caused either by a mosquito bite or infestation by a "chigger," more precisely a chigoe flea. ^ Eric O'Brien, O.F.M. "The Life of Padre Serra." Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, p. xxxii. ^ Rose Marie Beebe, Robert M. Senkewicz, Jun­pero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary, University of Oklahoma Press, 2015, Google Books ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra, O.F.M.: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 116''17. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra, O.F.M.: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 115. ^ "Report to the Inquisition of Mexico City." Xalpan, September 1, 1752. Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, pp. 19''21 (HathiTrust). ^ Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., editor. Acadummy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, p. 410 (reference note). ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 149 ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra,: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 146''7. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra,: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 171''2 (drawing on Francisco Pal"u's account). ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra,: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 172''3. ^ James J. Rawls and Walton Bean. California: An Interpretive History, 8th edition. McGraw-Hill, 2003, p. 34. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 182''3. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 183''4. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 192. ^ Francisco Pal"u, 24 November 1769 report to the guardian of the college of San Fernando. MM 1847, f 273, Bancroft Library, Berkeley, California. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 211. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 219''20. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 220''1. ^ "Pedro Fages and Miguel Costans": Two Early Letters From San Diego in 1769". Journal of San Diego History, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 1975. Translated and edited by Iris Wilson Engstrand. ^ James J. Rawls and Walton Bean. California: An Interpretive History, 8th edition. McGraw-Hill, 2003, pp. 35''6. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 227. ^ James J. Rawls and Walton Bean. California: An Interpretive History, 8th edition. McGraw-Hill, 2003, p. 36. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 231. ^ Don DeNevi and Noel Francis Moholy. Jun­pero Serra: The Illustrated Story of the Franciscan Founder of California's Missions. Harper & Row, 1985, p. 93-4. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 234. ^ Serra's letter to Juan Andr(C)s at the college of San Fernando, Feb. 10, 1770. Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, p. 151. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 235. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 233, 235''6. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 237. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 240''1. ^ Jun­pero Serra, letter to Francisco Pal"u, April 16, 1770. Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, p. 163. ^ Don DeNevi and Noel Francis Moholy. Jun­pero Serra: The Illustrated Story of the Franciscan Founder of California's Missions. Harper & Row, 1985, p. 103. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 246, 247. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 246. ^ Don DeNevi and Noel Francis Moholy. Jun­pero Serra: The Illustrated Story of the Franciscan Founder of California's Missions. Harper & Row, 1985, p. 99. ^ Serra's letter to Juan Andr(C)s, June. 12, 1770. Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, pp. 169''71. ^ Don DeNevi and Noel Francis Moholy. Jun­pero Serra: The Illustrated Story of the Franciscan Founder of California's Missions. Harper & Row, 1985, p. 100. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 248. ^ Serra's letter to Juan Andr(C)s, June. 12, 1770. Writings of Jun­pero Serra. Antonine Tibesar, editor. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1955, vol. 1, p. 171. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Jun­pero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 252''3. ^ "Lumen Gentium" (16) ^ Pritzker, Barry M. (2000). A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1. ^ Francis P. Guest, "Junipero Serra and His Approach to the Indians," Southern California Quarterly, (1985) 67#3 pp 223''261 ^ ab "Junipero Serra". pbs.org. Retrieved 20 October 2015 . ^ LaMar, Jim., Professional Friends of Wine,"Wine 101: History". Retrieved on April 6, 2007 ^ ab Nugent, Walter (1999). Into the West: The Story of its People (First ed.). New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0679454793. ^ Tinker, George E. [1], "Missionary Conquest," Chap. 3, Fortress Press, 1993, pages 42 and 61 ^ ab Walton, John (2003). Storied Land: Community and Memory in Monterey. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 15ff. ISBN 9780520935679. Retrieved 5 September 2016 . ^ Paddison, p. 23: Fages regarded the Spanish installations in California as military institutions first, and religious outposts second. ^ Breschini, Ph.D., Gary S. (2000). "Mission San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel)". Monterey County Historical Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2013 . ^ Noll, Mark A., A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, pp. 15 '' 16, Wm. B. Erdmans Publishing, 1992 ^ Southern Educational Communications Association (SECA) (17 March 1989). "Firing Line with William F. Buckley: Saint or Sinner: Junipero Serra" '' via Internet Archive. ^ http://www.montereyherald.com/article/NF/20150401/NEWS/150409964 ^ Cultural Diversity in the Catholic Church in the United States ^ ab Audi, Tamara (24 September 2015). "Pope Francis Honors First Hispanic Saint in U.S." '' via Wall Street Journal. ^ ab Times, Los Angeles. "Often criticized, Serra gets a reappraisal from historians". ^ BHARATH, DEEPA. "Orange County and Pope Francis: Native American priest to meet pope for Father Serra canonization". ^ KOPETMAN, ROXANA (12 October 1986). "Bells Sound at Ordination of First Juaneno" '' via Los Angeles Times. ^ "Carmel Mission, city ready for Serra canonization". ^ "Meeting the Pope". ^ "Catholic San Francisco". ^ Gregory Orfaleo, Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of California (2014) pp. 340 -359 ^ Times, Los Angeles. "Sainthood and Serra: His virtues outdistance his sins". ^ Steve Chawkins (28 August 2009). "Junipero Serra advocates need just one more miracle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 March 2013 . ^ Terry Leonard, "Pope beatifies founder of missions," Associated Press story published in the Santa Barbara News-Press, September 26, 1988, p. A4. ^ James A. Sandos, "Junipero Serra, Canonization, and the California Indian Controversy," Journal of Religious History (1989) 15#3 pp 311''329 ^ James A. Sandos, "Junipero Serra's Canonization and the Historical Record," American Historical Review (1988) 93#5 pp 1253''69 in JSTOR ^ Guest, Francis P., "Junipero Serra and His Approach to the Indians," Southern California Quarterly, (1985) 67#3 pp 223''261. ^ "Pope's canonization announcement surprises even Serra's promoters". Catholic News Service. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015 . ^ Damian Bacich, "The Seven Steps to Sainthood for Junipero Serra" http://www.juniperoserra.net/junipero-serra-steps-sainthood ^ "Santa Brbara Mission Archive-Library". Santa Brbara Mission Archive-Library. Retrieved 21 January 2015 . ^ "Interior of Father Serra's Church '' California Missions Resource Center". ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Junipero Serra". ^ "History of Serra in America and Australia '' Serra Council of Australia New Zealand and the South Pacific". ^ "MEXICA MOVEMENT: Indigenous Liberation for Anahuac". ^ Times, Los Angeles. "Protesters confront parishioners over Serra canonization". ^ Johnson, Reed (16 August 2013). "Junipero Serra exhibition at the Huntington seeks a full view" '' via LA Times. ^ Liam Stack, "Vandals Desecrate Carmel Mission Where Jun­pero Serra Is Buried", New York Times, September 28, 2015, http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/us/carmel-california-junipero-serra-pope-francis-vandalism.html. ^ "statue of st junipero serra defaced at californias carmel mission". ^ Burbank, Keith (28 September 2015). "Carmel saint statue vandalized in possible hate crime". ^ Brittany Woolsey, "Catholics coalescing to save statue of Serra," Los Angeles Times, Monday, May 11, 2015, p. B4. ^ Siders, David. Jerry Brown says Jun­pero Serra statue will stay. Sacramento Bee, July 21, 2015. ^ White, Jeremy B. Pope's visit delays vote to ditch Junipero Serra statue. Sacramento Bee. July 2, 2015. ^ Schmalz, David (October 15, 2015). "Junipero Serra statue at Presidio of Monterey is decapitated". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved April 13, 2016 . ^ "Decapitated head of Junipero Serra found during low tide". SF Gate. April 3, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016 . ^ "St. Junipero Serra statue vandalized in Mission Hills". LA Times. August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2017 . DeNevi, Don; Moholy, Noel Francis (1985). Jun­pero Serra: The Illustrated Story of the Franciscan Founder of California's Missions. Harper & Row. Beebe, Rose Marie; Robert M. Senkewicz (2015). Jun­pero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0806148687. Castillo, Elias (2015). A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions. Quill Driver Books. ISBN 978-1-61035-242-0. Clifford, Christian (2016). Who Was Saint Jun­pero Serra?. Tau Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61956-545-6. Clifford, Christian (2015). Saint Jun­pero Serra: Making Sense of the History and Legacy. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1511862295. Cook, Sherburne Friend (1943). The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization. University of California Press. ; Cook did not discuss Serra but looked at the missions as a systemDeverell, William Francis; William Deverell; David Igler (2008). A Companion to California History. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-4051-6183-1. Fitch, Abigail Hetzel (1914). Junipero Serra: The Man and His Work. Fogel, Daniel (1988). Junipero Serra, the Vatican, and Enslavement Theology. ISM Press. ISBN 978-0-910383-25-7. Geiger, Maynard J. The Life and Times of Fray Junipero Serra, OFM (2 vol 1959) 8 leading scholarly biographyGeiger, Maynard. "Fray Jun­pero Serra: Organizer and Administrator of the Upper California Missions, 1769''1784," California Historical Society Quarterly (1964) 42#3 pp 195''220.Gleiter, Jan (1991). Junipero Serra. Guest, Francis P. "Junipero Serra and His Approach to the Indians," Southern California Quarterly, (1985) 67#3 pp 223''261; favorable to SerraHackel, Steven W. "The Competing Legacies of Jun­pero Serra: Pioneer, saint, villain," Common-Place (2005) 5#2Hackel, Steven W. Jun­pero Serra: California's Founding Father (2013)Hackel, Steven W. Children of Coyote, Missionaries of St. Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769''1850 (2005)Sandos, James A. (2004). Converting California: Indians and Franciscans in the Missions. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10100-3. Luzbetak, Lewis J. "If Junipero Serra Were Alive: Missiological-Anthropological Theory Today," Americas, (1985) 42: 512''19, argues that Serra's intense commitment to saving the souls of the Indians would qualify him as an outstanding missionary by 20th century standards.Orfalea, Gregory (2014). Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of California. Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4516-4272-8. Primary sources Edit Serra, Junipero. Writings of Jun­pero Serra, ed. and trans. by Antonine Tibesar, 4 vols. (Washington, D.C,. 1955''66).
Saudi Embassy to US Funded 9/11 'Dry Run,' Terror Victim Attorneys Claim - Sputnik International
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 21:28
US22:03 11.09.2017(updated 00:11 12.09.2017) Get short URL
Attorneys representing the families of 9/11 victims in a lawsuit against Riyadh contend that the Saudi Embassy to the US paid for two Saudi Arabian students to conduct a "dry run" for the largest attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor.
The allegation is founded on "every FBI report that we have been able to obtain," says Sean Carter, the lead attorney on the case, adding that "nearly 5,000 pages of evidence submitted of record" in the case back up the claim, the New York Post reports.
"The dry run reveals more of the fingerprints of the Saudi government," New Yorker Kristen Breitweiser, whose spouse died in the World Trade Center 16 years ago today, told the Hoover Institution's Paul Sperry. "These guys were Saudi government employees for years and were paid by the Saudi government '... in fact, the Saudi Embassy paid for their plane tickets for the dry run," she said.
The individuals allegedly working for the Saudi Kingdom to rehearse the dry run were Saudi nationals Mohammed al-Qudhaerring and Hamdan al-Shalawi, according to the plaintiff's most recent court filing.
The dry run allegedly occurred in November 1999 on an America West flight to the nation's capital. According to FBI case files cited in court documents, "After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious. When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane."
"Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit," the file adds.
Attorney Sean Carter of the Cozen O'Connor law firm continued: "We've long asserted that there were longstanding and close relationships between Al Qaeda and the religious components of the Saudi government."
According to Sperry, "the FBI also confirmed that Qudhaeein's and Shalawi's airline tickets for the pre-9/11 dry run were paid for by the Saudi Embassy." The FBI had suspected Qudhaeein was a Saudi intelligence asset, Sperry reports, who had trained in Afghanistan where he learned how to handle explosives.
War on Ca$h
Why Sweden is close to becoming a cashless economy - BBC News
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:14
Image caption Senobar Johnsen says it's "visibly noticeable" that Swedes prefer cards to cash these days Sweden is the most cashless society on the planet, with barely 1% of the value of all payments made using coins or notes last year. So how did the Nordic nation get so far ahead of the rest of us?
Warm cinnamon buns are stacked next to mounds of freshly-baked sourdough bread at a neighbourhood coffee shop in Kungsholmen, just west of Stockholm city centre.
Amongst the other typically Scandinavian touches - minimalist white tiles and exposed filament light bulbs - is another increasingly common sight in the Swedish capital: a "We don't accept cash" sign.
"We wanted to minimise the risk of robberies and it's quicker with the customers when they pay by card," says Victoria Nilsson, who manages two of the bakery chain's 16 stores across the city.
"It's been mainly positive reactions. We love to use our cards here in Stockholm."
Across the country, cash is now used in less than 20% of transactions in stores - half the number five years ago, according to the Riksbank, Sweden's central bank.
Coins and banknotes have been banned on buses for several years after unions raised concerns over drivers' safety.
Even tourist attractions have started to gamble on taking plastic-only payments, including Stockholm's Pop House Hotel and The Abba Museum.
Image caption Bjorn Ulvaeus (left) back in his Abba heyday. Now he's a keen supporter of a cashless Sweden. The iconic band's Bjorn Ulvaeus is, in fact, one of the nation's most vocal supporters of Sweden's cash-free trend, after his son lost cash in an apartment burglary.
Smaller retailers are jumping on the bandwagon, too, making use of home-grown technologies such as iZettle, the Swedish start-up behind Europe's first mobile credit card reader.
Such portable technologies have enabled market traders - and even homeless people promoting charity magazines - to take card payments easily.
"I took my kids to the funfair and there was a guy selling balloons and he had a card machine with him," remarks Senobar Johnsen, one of the Swedish customers back at the bakery.
Currently living in Portsmouth in southern England, she's visiting Sweden for the first time in a year and says it's "visibly noticeable" that people are paying more with cards.
"It's not like the UK where there's often a minimum spend when you go to a kiosk or you're in the middle of nowhere. I think it's great".
Swish, a smartphone payment system, is another popular Swedish innovation used by more than half the country's 10 million strong population.
Image caption Signs like this are becoming increasingly common in Sweden Backed by the major banks, it allows customers to send money securely to anyone else with the app, just by using their mobile number.
A staple at flea markets and school fetes, it's also a popular way to transfer money instantly between friends: Swedes can no longer get away with delaying their share of a restaurant bill using the excuse that they're short on cash.
"In general, consumers are very interested in new technologies, so we're quite early to adopt [them]," explains Niklas Arvidsson, a professor at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology.
This is partly down to infrastructure (Sweden is among the most connected counties in the EU); a relatively small population that is an ideal test-bed for innovations; and the country's historically low corruption levels, he argues.
"Swedes tend to trust banks, we trust institutions... people are not afraid of the sort-of 'Big Brother' issues or fraud connected to electronic payment."
Somewhat paradoxically, Sweden's decision to update its coins and banknotes, a move announced by the Riksbank in 2010 and fully implemented this year, actually boosted cashless transactions, explains Prof Arvidsson.
Image copyright Getty Images "You would have thought that a new kind of cash would have created an interest, but the reaction seems to have been the opposite," he says.
"Some retailers thought it's easier not to accept these new forms of cash because there's learning to be done, maybe investment in cash registration machines and so-on."
There has also been a "ripple effect", he says, with more shops signing up to the cashless idea as it becomes increasingly socially acceptable.
Riksbank figures reveal that the average value of Swedish krona in circulation fell from around 106 billion (£10bn) in 2009 to 65 billion (£6bn) in 2016.
Barely 1% of the value of all payments were made using coins or notes last year, compared to around 7% across the EU and in the US.
Prof Arvidsson predicts that the use of cash will most likely be reduced to "a very marginal payment form" by 2020.
Retailers seem to agree. A survey - not yet published - of almost 800 small retailers carried out by his research team found that two thirds of respondents said they anticipated phasing out cash payments completely by 2030.
Image caption Former Interpol president Bjorn Eriksson is worried about a cashless future But the trend is not to everyone's liking, as Bjorn Eriksson, formerly national police commissioner and president of Interpol, explains from the suburb of Alvik.
Here, his local coffee shop still accepts old-fashioned money, but several of the banks no longer offer cash deposits or over-the-counter withdrawals.
"I like cards. I'm just angry because about a million people can't cope with cards: the elderly, former convicts, tourists, immigrants. The banks don't care because [these groups] are not profitable," he argues.
The 71-year-old is the face of a national movement called Kontantupproret (Cash Rebellion), which is also concerned about identity theft, rising consumer debt and cyber-attacks.
"This system could easily be disturbed or manipulated. Why invade us when it's so easy? Just cut off the payment system and we're completely helpless," says Mr Eriksson.
His arguments haven't escaped the notice of politicians in Sweden, where debates about security are increasingly making their way onto the agenda in the wake of a government agency data leak that almost brought down the ruling coalition in July.
Meanwhile, the backdrop of an increasingly divided electorate suggests that rural and elderly voters could prove crucial in the Nordic country's next general election, scheduled for September 2018.
Back at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology, Prof Arvidsson points out that while most Swedes have embraced the nation's cash-free innovations, two thirds don't want to get rid of notes and coins completely.
"There's a very strong emotional connection to cash among Swedes, even though they do not use it," he says.
Sweden may leading the global trend towards a cashless future, but it's tech-savvy population also appears to be guided by another, more traditional Swedish trait: caution.
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In Surprise Vote, House Passes Amendment to Restrict Asset Forfeiture
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:22
In a stunning move, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act that will roll back Attorney General Jeff Sessions's expansion of asset forfeiture.
Amendment number 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members, led by Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash. He was joined by Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California; Washington state's Pramila Jayapal, a rising progressive star; and Hawaii's Tulsi Gabbard.
Civil asset forfeiture is a practice by which law enforcement can take assets from a person who is suspected of a crime, even without a charge or conviction. Sessions revived the Justice Department's Equitable Sharing Program, which allowed state and local police agencies to take assets and then give them to the federal government '-- which would in turn give a chunk back to the local police. This served as a way for these local agencies to skirt past state laws designed to limit asset forfeiture.
The amendment would roll back Sessions' elimination of the Obama-era reforms.
Amash, the prime mover of the amendment, spoke forcefully in favor of the Obama-era rules on the House floor and the need to bring them back.
''Unfortunately these restrictions were revoked in June of this year. My amendment would restore them by prohibiting the use of funds to do adoptive forfeitures that were banned under the 2015 rules,'' he explained.
Virginia Democratic Rep. Don Beyer reached across the aisle to voice support for Amash's effort ''Civil asset forfeiture without limits presents one of the strongest threats to our civil, property, and Constitutional rights,'' he said on the flood. ''It creates a perverse incentive to seek profits over justice.''
The amendment passed with a voice vote, meaning it had overwhelming support.
Republican Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Raul Labrador of Idaho and Dana Rohrabacher of California joined in the effort, along with Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.
Top photo: Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., arrives to the Capitol on May 4, 2017.
Correction: September 12, 2017
Due to an editing error, this story originally misnamed the state Jayapal represents.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after fifth child sex-abuse allegation | The Seattle Times
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:01
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced his resignation hours after a fifth accuser, a cousin, said Murray molested him when he was a child. Murray maintains he has never abused anyone.
For five months, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray rejected calls for his resignation amid allegations he sexually abused teens decades before entering politics.
But Murray couldn't withstand a devastating new allegation from within his own family.
He announced his resignation Tuesday, hours after news emerged that a younger cousin was publicly accusing Murray of molesting him in New York in the 1970s.
Murray, a former Democratic state legislator elected mayor in 2013, didn't appear in public to make the announcement. Instead, he issued a statement saying his resignation would be effective 5 p.m. Wednesday.
''While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our city government to conduct the public's business,'' the mayor said.
He added he was proud of his accomplishments in a long political career, including landmark gay civil-rights laws and enactment of a $15 minimum hourly wage.
It was a stunning end to a monthslong drama that has seen five men step forward to accuse Murray of sexually abusing them years ago, when they were teenagers.
Since the allegations began to emerge in April, Murray has continued to say he is innocent. Though he ended his re-election campaign in May, Murray until Tuesday had insisted he would not resign, despite calls for his exit.
''The accumulation of these accusations and now coming from a family member just made it essential that he resign,'' said City Councilmember Tim Burgess.
Council President Bruce Harrell will temporarily serve as mayor and will decide within five days whether to take on the role of acting mayor past the Nov. 7 election.
Harrell may turn down the position of acting mayor because accepting it would require him to give up his council seat. If he demurs, the council will pick another of its members to serve until the election results are certified.
In the election, Seattle voters are choosing between former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and planner Cary Moon, and the winner will take over the mayor's office after the election results are certified Nov. 28.
Durkan entered the race after Murray ended his bid and accepted the mayor's endorsement. She removed his name from her campaign website Tuesday afternoon.
Moon first called for Murray to step down in May.
In a statement, Harrell said his ''heart goes out'' to survivors of sexual abuse due to ''the re-traumatization these allegations have caused'...
''These accusations are unspeakable and require the utmost attention from our legal and social-service system no matter how long ago they might have occurred,'' he said.
The city ''must focus on governance and day-to-day business without distraction,'' Harrell added, saying he has a plan in place for a ''seamless transition.''
Councilmember Kshama Sawant blasted her colleagues for failing to push Murray out. Before Tuesday, she and M. Lorena Gonzlez were the only council members to call on the mayor to resign.
''Unfortunately, the majority of the City Council failed to show any such leadership,'' Sawant said. ''Establishment politicians and political operatives do not show courage on an ordinary basis, so this is yet another example.''
Asked why he had held off on calling for Murray's ouster, Burgess said the new allegations felt different.
''I don't know what to believe. I don't know if we'll ever know the truth in this situation,'' he said.
Murray's midday announcement came soon after The Seattle Times reported on allegations by the mayor's cousin, Joseph Dyer, 54.
The fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of child sexual abuse, Dyer says he was 13 when Murray forced him into sex when the two shared a bedroom at Dyer's mother's home in Medford, New York, in the mid-1970s.
''We were very glad to hear that he's resigned,'' the mother, Maryellen Sottile, said Tuesday afternoon. ''We hope it helps the others in some way.''
Murray, 62, has repeatedly denied that he sexually abused anyone, contending the accusations are part of a political takedown targeting him for his progressive politics and record as a gay-rights champion. He attributed the latest claims to bad blood between two estranged wings of the family.
Another accuser, Jeff Simpson, a former foster son of Murray's who claims Murray began abusing him at age 13, said of the resignation: ''I couldn't believe it. I was like, you know what? God is good. When you're doing the right thing and don't quit before the miracle, God takes care of stuff. It's just on his time.''
Simpson met Murray while growing up in a Portland group home for troubled children in the late 1970s. He tried to bring attention to his allegation in 2008, when Murray was in the Legislature, but his account was never publicly reported.
In July, newly released documents showed that an Oregon child-welfare investigator in 1984 had found Simpson's allegations valid.
On Tuesday, Simpson said, ''If nothing else happens, and nothing else comes of it, for me, I will be OK. Because I believe I got my story out.''
A third accuser, Lloyd Anderson, who met Murray in the same Portland group home as Simpson, issued a statement through his lawyer.
''I feel victory, but saddened that it required another victim to come forward for him to resign. I wonder how many other victims are out there,'' said Anderson, who has alleged he was paid for sex as a teenager by Murray in the 1980s in Portland.
Delvonn Heckard, who sued Murray earlier this year over alleged abuse, expressed relief.
''I mean, at least the public knows that everything I was saying was the truth, right?'' he said. ''I'm not just some crackhead, some criminal, some street kid, I was telling the truth '... It's not just me, or one or two guys. It's his own cousin, too.''
Heckard dropped his case against the mayor in June, saying he would refile. On Tuesday, he said he's eager to do so.
''I want to face him so bad. I still want to face him,'' Heckard said. ''I am going to get my attorney and make sure he's going to file that lawsuit, now that he's not the mayor anymore. We need to continue on. He needs to see all of us, all his victims.''
Though the Seattle LGBTQ Commission and Seattle Human Rights Commission joined council members Sawant and Gonzlez in calling for Murray to resign this summer, he retained support from others on the council and from four former mayors. That remaining support deteriorated Tuesday.
''Given the new allegations '... the mayor is making the right decision [to resign],'' former Mayor Greg Nickels, who before had said Murray should be allowed to finish his term, said in an email.
Durkan had previously declined to call for Murray to quit. She amended her view Tuesday, shortly before the mayor's announcement.
''It's clear that it is in everybody's best interest for him to resign,'' Durkan said in a statement. ''As a parent, former public official and openly gay woman, these allegations are beyond sad and tragic; no official is above the law.''
Moon on Tuesday reiterated her previous criticisms, saying the mayor's response to the allegations had been ''deeply inappropriate and harmful, especially to survivors, LGBTQ people and young people everywhere.''
She added, ''Survivors of sexual assault must be believed and treated with respect.''
Simpson summed up the news this way: ''Is it justice, is it closure? I don't know. But this definitely '-- this is a major step in the right direction.''
Coroner: Police sergeant died from high concentration of kratom | News, Sports, Jobs - Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:52
HealthSep 12, 2017
Aaron CerboneStaff Writeracerbone@adirondackdailyenterprise.comTupper Lake village police Sgt. Matthew Dana (Photo provided)
TUPPER LAKE '-- After a month-long investigation, the coroner's official cause of death for Tupper Lake police Sgt. Matthew Dana has been ruled as an overdose of kratom.
Toxicology reports, received Friday, took longer than usual due to how uncommon it is to test for the plant from southeast Asia, according to Franklin County Coroner Shawn Stuart. After consulting with local medical examiner Dr. C. Francis Varga, Stuart ruled Tuesday that the manner of death was accidental, meaning Dana did not intend to overdose.
Dana died on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Tupper Lake home he shared with his girlfriend.
Formally, Stuart said the cause of death was a hemorrhagic pulmonary edema '-- blood in the lungs '-- as a result of an overdose of mitragynine, the active chemical in kratom.
''I think we always assumed that kratom played a role,'' Stuart said. ''That was the only substance found at the scene.''
Toxicology tests came back negative for narcotics and opioids, the other drugs that were screened for, and Stuart said Dana was otherwise in remarkably good health.
''The only thing wrong with the guy was [a hemorrhagic] pulmonary edema,'' Stuart said, ''and the only thing in his system was this crazy amount of kratom.''
The report revealed Dana had 3,500 nanograms per milliliter of mitragynine in his blood, according to Stuart, who said that is nearly five times as much as in other people whose deaths involved kratom. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency reported last year that it is aware of 15 kratom-related deaths in the U.S. between 2014 and 2016.
Nationwide, kratom's many defenders say it has never killed anyone and that those deaths were largely due to other factors.
Kratom is a controversial plant from southeast Asia which has been banned by several countries but remains legal in most U.S. states, including New York. It was traditionally used for pain relief, to heal wounds, to treat digestive ailments and to stimulate energy. It is also used today as a recreational drug, a bodybuilding tool and a way to stop dependency on prescription narcotics or heroin.
Questions still remain, including why Dana took kratom.
Stuart said that when he and Varga finish the written coroner's report, it will be available to the public.
At the state police Troop B barracks in Ray Brook Tuesday, Senior Investigator Marshall Rocque said only that they would use the coroner's report in their ongoing investigation.
Village police Chief Eric Proulx, who hired and promoted Dana on the village squad, did not respond to a request for comment.
Dana was a graduate of Tupper Lake High School in the Class of 2008, North Country Community College in the Class of 2010 and the State University of New York at Canton in the Class of 2012. He entered the Tupper Lake Police Department as a part-time officer in 2012, then full-time in 2013 after he finished the police academy. He was promoted to sergeant in 2016. Colleagues remembered him actively pursuing narcotics investigations with a strong desire to alleviate Tupper Lake's drug problem. He sat on the Franklin County narcotics task force and performed undercover operations. He was remembered as being hard-working and well-liked by co-workers and the public.
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Thu, 14 Sep 2017 04:48
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VIDEO - Police ready for clash as Confederate group plans rally at Lee statue | WTVR.com
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 04:44
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RICHMOND, Va. '' The Richmond Police Department is getting prepared for a possible Confederate rally on Sept. 16 in Richmond, expected to be met by a strong counter protest movement.
Possibly, that is.
Chief Alfred Durham said that no group has applied for a permit and that they are preparing for numerous variables.
As CBS 6 first reported two weeks ago, the group CSA II: The New Confederate States of America, led by out-of-towners Tom and Judy Crompton and Tara Brandau, plan to host a ''Heritage not Hate'' rally at the Robert E. Lee Monument on Monument Avenue.
Crime Insider sources said police have intel that the group will attract opposition from ANTIFA, an activist group that has exploded in numbers since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The group had a strong presence in Charlottesville when white supremacists and white nationalists gathered for a ''Unite the Right'' rally that saw deadly events unfold.
The chaos which rocked the Virginia town is on the forefront of many people's minds.
And the week prior could see a flaring of tensions around the controversial issue of removing monuments, with Councilman Michael Jones expected on Sept. 11 to introduce a resolution to remove the monuments.
"It scares me to death,'' said Richmonder Linda Bergh. ''I don't want to have a war and what happened in Charlottesville looked like the beginning of a war to me. People don't realize it has already been fought--150 years ago."
Tom Crompton, with Confederate group, said that the Department of General Services denied his group a permit for 50 people, but they plan to rally regardless. Crompton said he has now focused his ire on Governor Terry McAuliffe, who issued an executive order barring demonstrations at the Lee Monument '' this was after Crompton filed for the permit.
''We understand that the governor has taken away our First Amendment right for free speech and free assembly,'' Crompton said.
Crompton, whose group is based in Tennessee, said he plans to pursue legal action. ''We will pursue any and all avenues to get the permit activated,'' Crompton said.
He also emphasized their focus is ''protecting our congressionally deemed monuments of our Confederate veterans.''
A local activist, who wished not to be identified out of concern for the safety of other activists and herself, said she ''suspects if white nationalists show up in RVA permitted or unpermitted, there will be a community response.''
''We don't associate with white supremacy,'' Crompton said. ''We do not believe in those groups or any other hate groups '' nor will we stand for that.''
Brag Bowling, with the Coalition for Monument Preservation, canceled the event he previously had planned for Sept. 16 and said that after witnessing the violence in Charlottesville he did not want to see similar violent protests in Richmond. He said he did not want "outside elements" to descend upon Richmond.
"I'm totally opposed to those groups that were in Charlottesville and the causes that they wanted. I'm here for preserving Richmond's monuments, not to get in some racial fight with radicals."
When asked how they would attempt to distance themselves from any hate groups that attempted to unite through his rally, Crompton said they ''don't stand for bigotry or hate.''
''An organization that would attempt to rally with us that has any hate linked to them, they will be asked to leave or go to a separate area because we do not support their ideas,'' he said.
Crompton said they are willing to face arrest ''if need be because we can only protect our rights to Free Speech and our rights to peaceful assembly'' but that ''we are not about causing any disturbances.''
The RPD will continue to discuss their operational plans this week.
"I can't predict the behavior of the community,'' said Chief Durham, but he added that he can promise a lawful assembly.
He said that people living along Monument Avenue deserve peace of mind.
''Most recent history of these protests -it's folks from the outside and not locals,'' Durham said. ''Our citizens love this city and we don't want them thinking they can just come here, wreak havoc on our city and leave."
Next week police will meet with a Fan civic association to discuss their plan for what stands now as the unknown.
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VIDEO - Hurricane Telethon Gets Political Right At The Start [VIDEO] - The Daily Caller
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:58
Stevie Wonder, Hand In Hand Hurricane telethon, screen capture from Twitter video.
Singer Stevie Wonder kicked off Tuesday's star studded Hand In Hand telethon to raise money for hurricane recovery by getting political. Wonder started the show by saying, ''Anyone who believes that there's no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent.''
The Hand In Hand telethon was run on every broadcast network to benefit victims of hurricanes Harvey, which devastated the Houston area, and Irma, which slammed Florida over the weekend. The event mirrors past telethons for natural disasters.
The 2005 telethon to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina became known for Kanye West's infamous anti-President George W. Bush comments. ''George Bush doesn't care about black people,'' West said as a stunned Mike Meyers looked on.
In addition to musical performances, celebrities took phone calls during Tuesday's telethon from people making pledges to help those in need.
Celebrities participating in the Hand In Hand fundraiser include Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid, Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani, Ray Romano, Bryan Cranston, Beyonc(C), and many more. It was broadcast from New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville and was organized by Comic Relief.
Wonder wasn't the only participant who got political during the telethon. Singer Beyonc(C) contributed a video that started, ''During a time when it's impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country. Just when you think it couldn't possibly be worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives.''
Continuing, Beyonc(C) said, ''The effects of climate change are playing out around the world everyday.'' She then implied that climate change was behind the hurricanes, a monsoon in India and the recent earthquake in Mexico.
Actress Lupita Nyong'o announced the effort raised $14 million by the end of the hour long program.
Donations to the fundraiser are tax-deductible and can be made by clicking here.
VIDEO - Peter Schiff talks about Broken Window fallacy - YouTube
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 17:45
VIDEO - Senate helps Trump with war on Wikileaks and US leakers | McClatchy Washington Bureau
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 17:44
September 12, 2017 5:20 PM
WASHINGTON A Senate panel may be stealthily trying to give federal law enforcement a new tool to go after the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and its U.S. collaborators.
A one-sentence ''Sense of Congress'' clause was tacked onto the end of a massive 11,700-word bill that was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee and is likely to come before the full Senate later this month.
The clause says that WikiLeaks ''resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service'' and that the U.S. government ''should treat it as such.''
The intended target might not be Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks who has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. Federal law enforcement, experts say, is likely targeting anyone collaborating with his organization.
And this language would help investigators secure the authorization needed to surveil those U.S. citizens thought to be associated with WikiLeaks, said Robert L. Deitz, a lawyer who has held senior legal posts at the CIA, the National Security Agency and at the Pentagon's intelligence offices. Requests to spy on citizens go to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and, at least theoretically, they are difficult to obtain.
''You need to show that someone is an agent of a foreign power,'' said Deitz, who teaches at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.
It's possible that Assange has colleagues in this country that they need to focus on.
Robert L. Deitz, former CIA senior councillor
''It's possible that Assange has colleagues in this country that they need to focus on,'' Deitz said, noting that such action can only be done under court order.
Some mystery surrounds how the clause was added to the Intelligence Authorization Act 2018, the motivations for its inclusion and its intended impact. The office of Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the intelligence committee, declined to offer details.
''We don't discuss committee deliberations,'' spokeswoman Rebecca Glover said.
But the language in the bill tracks closely with remarks by CIA Director Mike Pompeo April 13 in his first public speech after taking the job.
Speaking at a Washington think tank, Pompeo said: WikiLeaks ''walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. '... It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is '' a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.''
WikiLeaks, which espouses what it calls radical transparency, has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. government for nearly a decade. Earlier this year, it began publishing what it called the biggest ever leak of confidential CIA documents.
The group played an outsized role in the 2016 presidential campaign. In July, the group released thousands of emails obtained after a hack of the Democratic National Committee. In the weeks before the Nov. 8 election, it divulged thousands more emails hacked from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, embarrassing her campaign.
According to press reports, a grand jury in the eastern district of Virginia began weighing evidence against Assange and his organization at least four years ago and produced a sealed indictment. The Justice Department has never confirmed those reports. Assange has said he fears extradition to stand trial in the United States on espionage charges based on earlier leaks, including of classified internal military logs of the war in Afghanistan in 2010, and secret State Department cables later that year.
Assange's U.S. lawyer, Barry Pollack, said he does not believe the secret FISA court should accept the ''sense of Congress'' clause in any legal argument presented by federal authorities seeking surveillance authority on a U.S. citizen.
''Will some intelligent(cq) agent make that argument to a court and will a court accept that argument? The honest answer is, who knows?'' Pollack said.
Pollack, who represents Assange, but not WikiLeaks, said he believes the group does not have paid employees in the United States.
Divisions cleave sectors of the Republican party regarding WikiLeaks. One Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, said he spent three hours with Assange in his embassy refuge in London on Aug. 17, and suggested that President Donald Trump should pardon him.
Rohrabacher said Assange assured him that Russia was not behind the DNC hack or the disclosure of the emails, refuting the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Trump has not spoken publicly about WikiLeaks since the CIA director declared it to be a hostile entity. He has repeatedly criticized leakers inside his administration and called on the Justice Department to launch probes to stop the unauthorized release of information. But in the heat of the presidential campaign, amid WikiLeaks publication of Podesta's emails, Trump told an Oct. 10, 2016, rally in Pennsylvania, ''I love WikiLeaks.''
As the Senate takes aim at WikiLeaks, dissenting senators voiced worry that the clause inserted in the intelligence authorization act could ricochet and harm traditional journalists.
A Sept. 7 report to the full chamber from the 15-member intelligence committee included views of two Democratic senators who criticized what they termed the vagueness of the clause on WikiLeaks.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California declared that she is ''no supporter of WikiLeaks,'' which she said had done ''considerable harm'' to the United States. But the clause on the group is ''dangerous'' because it ''fails to draw a bright line between WikiLeaks and legitimate news organizations that play a vital role in our democracy,'' according to her remarks for the record.
Another, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, condemned WikiLeaks' publications of U.S. classified information but said the clause could chill the actions of investigative reporters inquiring about secrets.
''My concern is that the use of the novel phrase 'non-state hostile intelligence service' may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets,'' Wyden said in his remarks.
Indeed, experts on U.S. intelligence actions said the Senate bill's phrasing on WikiLeaks is both novel and vague, leaving uncertainty about what may ensue.
Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said in a blog post Monday that U.S. agencies, faced with a conventional hostile intelligence agency, might ''seek to infiltrate the hostile service, to subvert its agenda, and even to take it over or disable it.''
''Whether such a response would also be elicited by 'a non-state hostile intelligence service' is hard to say since the concept itself is new and undefined,'' Aftergood wrote.
VIDEO - WHAT'S WRONG WITH NANCY? Orders LGBT group to clap for Obama, laments 'bulleting' of youth - The American MirrorThe American Mirror
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 04:01
What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi?
That question is coming up again as the House Minority Leader was seen on Saturday repeatedly telling the GLAAD audience to clap and botching simple words.
Speaking of San Francisco, Pelosi said, ''Our city is blessed with a large LGBTQ community, and a strong history of legacy'-- of advocacy'...''
A painfully awkward moment came when she had to tell the gay rights group to applaud for President Obama.
''And we were very proud of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and President Obama was so very much a part of that,'' Pelosi said, inserting an applause line for Obama.
But no one clapped.
''Let's hear it for President Obama,'' Pelosi said after the silence.
''That's an applause line,'' she continued, ''I'll tell you when it's an applause line if we're not kind of in sync.''
Pelosi told the crowd to applaud for her efforts to ''end discrimination.''
She went on to say we should ''stop the bullying of LGBT youth in our schools.''
When some in the audience shouted approval, Pelosi flubbed her response, saying, ''Stop the bulleting of our kids!''
''Innovation must be about inclusion,'' she said, adding, ''Alright, applause line!'' and breaking into laughs.
VIDEO - UN Approves New Round Of Sanctions Against North Korea
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:46
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The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to impose sanctions on North Korea after the regime carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley leading the charge.
''Today, we are attempting to take the future of the North Korean nuclear program out of the hands of its outlaw regime,'' Haley said.
''We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing. We are now acting to stop it from having the ability to do the wrong thing,'' Haley added.
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The initial sanctions package was much more aggressive, but Haley and other U.S. allies agreed to water down the proposal after Russia and China threatened to veto the resolution.
''(I)t is a very significant set of additional sanctions on imports into North Korea and on exports out of North Korea and other measures as well,'' said Matthew Rycroft, the United Kingdom's ambassador to the U.N.
The new round of sanctions will aggressively ban a number of textile exports and impose a reduction of the nation's ability to import oil, both elements being crucial to North Korea's economy.
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''The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted the strongest sanctions ever against North Korea: #15-0,'' Haley tweeted, including a breakdown of how severe the sanctions are against North Korea.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted the strongest sanctions ever against North Korea: #15-0 pic.twitter.com/0tNWAZRoSr
'-- Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) September 11, 2017
The Washington Examiner reported the U.S. originally sought an outright oil embargo and the freezing Kim Jong Un's personal assets.
China and Russia wanted these two bold measures removed in exchange for their support of new sanctions.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that overly aggressive sanctions against North Korea wouldn't have the lasting effect some are seeking.
''We do not need to react emotionally and corner North Korea into a dead end,'' Putin said. ''I am concerned cutting off the oil supply to North Korea may cause damage to people in hospitals or other ordinary citizens.''
President Donald Trump has warned that the United States would be in favor of imposing unilateral sanctions against any company that conducts business with North Korea '-- a threat aimed directly at Russia and China '-- but decided against the aggressive measure and in favor of a more moderate approach.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.
VIDEO - John McCain Issues Surprise Repudiation Of Trump's Climate Change Policy
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:45
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During an appearance Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., issued what appeared to be a repudiation of President Donald Trump's views and policies on climate change.
''I don't know because I can't define their motives,'' he responded when host Jake Tapper asked him why Trump and other Republicans deny the existence of man-made climate change.
''But I know this that there is '-- things happening with the climate in the world that is unprecedented,'' he continued, seemingly contradicting Trump's long-held belief that the doomsday scenarios touted by climate change activists are inaccurate.
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McCain then pivoted to turn the focus of discussion to energy.
''(W)e need to have, in my view, nuclear power as part of the answer,'' he said. ''It's the cleanest, cheapest, in many ways, source of power. My friends in the environmental community refuse to make that part of the equation. I'm not saying it is the equation but I'm saying it has got to be part of it because they're basically anti-nuclear.''
In late June, Trump announced his plans to ''expand the nuclear energy sector by launching a 'complete review' of current policy to identify ways to revive the industry,'' according to CNBC.
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McCain then brought the discussion back to climate change, arguing that common-sense measures must be taken to protect the American people.
McCain criticizes GOP colleagues for their denial of climate change https://t.co/BPGA42mp2jpic.twitter.com/LzSEURXc5h
'-- ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) September 11, 2017
''(W)e have to understand that the climate may be changing and we can take common-sense measures which will not harm the American people,'' he said. ''And in fact, solar and other technologies make it cheaper for energy for many of the American people, including a state like mine where we have lots of sunshine. So I think it's time for to us sit down.''
The idea of investing in renewable energy also seems to contrast with Trump's stated agenda. In early June, his administration announced major cuts to a division of the Department of Energy responsible for accelerating the growth of clean energy.
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These cuts were in line with Trump's campaign statements during the 2016 presidential election.
''They want everything to be wind and solar,'' he said during an interview last October with 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain. ''Unfortunately, it's not working on large-scale. It's just not working. Solar is very, very expensive. Wind is very, very expensive, and it only works when it's windy.''
Trump made it clear during the interview he would rather focus on the coal industry by removing onerous regulations.
McCain made no mention of coal during his appearance on CNN's State of the Union.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.
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VIDEO - Swedish Journalist taste the bitterness of reality - YouTube
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VIDEO - Yes, it's really this simple: Donald Trump is a cranky, obsessive racist - Salon.com
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:44
No one in the reality-based world can really deny, at this late date, that Donald Trump is a racist, but there continues to be some debate over the extent that white supremacy drives Trump's decisions, hangups and obsessions. I learned this, to my chagrin, on Wednesday, when I tweeted out a link to a Think Progress piece by Ian Millhiser that debunked Jeff Sessions' claim that DACA is unconstitutional.
''Trump accusing Obama of overreach is always rooted in a belief Obama was never a rightful president,'' I mused, adding in a follow-up, ''As with most things Trump, it really goes back to racism. The only reason to believe Obama was incompetent and illegitimate is racism.''
While it might seem a bit odd to link a discussion of the constitutionality of an executive order to racist animosity toward Obama, I felt it was justified in this case. Both during the Sessions speech and while reading Millhiser's takedown, I was struck by how unnecessary it was for the Trump administration to challenge the constitutionality of DACA. The president has a lot of latitude to set priorities for immigration enforcement '-- which is the power that Obama invoked to justify DACA in the first place '-- so all Trump had to do was declare that he was rearranging immigration enforcement priorities. To declare Obama's actions illegal struck me as further evidence of Trump's endless obsession with delegitimizing Obama's presidency '-- an obsession that is rooted in Trump's racism.
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones took me to task both on Twitter and in a blog post titled, ''Racism Is Not the Explanation for Everything Republicans Do,'' in which he argued that Republicans had taken an obstructionist attitude toward Obama as a political move, scolding, ''it's unwise to make [racism] the go-to explanation for everything.''
''Race is a powerful political weapon. It should be used judiciously,'' he added at the end.
But no one is pinning all Republican behavior on racism. In truth, I made a far more narrow claim: that Trump's hatred of Obama, which is obsessive, reflects his inability to accept that a black man could have been a legitimate president. No one, certainly not this feminist, said all Republican behavior is about race. Not even all Trump behavior is about race '-- when he grabbed women's pussies, for instance, I suspect that was more about gender.
But when it comes to Trump, the time has come to stop ranking racism as last in the list of all possible motivations he has, and to accept that racism is the Orange Mussolini's prime directive. Particularly when it comes the way Trump is treating Obama's legacy.
''It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true '-- his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power,'' Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in a lengthy feature for the Atlantic. The piece is thousands of words long, but is worth taking the time to read (or the hour to listen to the audio version). Coates is painstakingly thorough with his research, covering history that is hundreds of years old, recent events and volumes of polling data to build a bulletproof case that the story of Donald Trump is the story of a man driven by white supremacy and elected because of it.
Despite the horrific topic, Coates' writing is a pleasure to read, if only because it's rare to get a chance to read such a deeply written piece in the fast-moving age of the internet. But it's also distressing that Coates had to do so much research, write so many words and use so much broad-ranging evidence to convince readers of what should be obvious: Donald Trump is a racist, and racism is the animating force behind his political success.
''As for his obsession with Obama, that's most likely because Obama is his predecessor,'' Drum argues. ''Trump's personality demands that he attack his enemies relentlessly in order to build up his own ego, and in this case it means dismantling Obama's legacy.''
Except, of course, that Trump's obsession with delegitimizing Obama's legacy predates not just Trump's own presidency, but Trump's campaign and even his affiliation with the Republican Party. In the endless chaos of our news cycle, it's easy to forget, apparently, that Trump, a longtime political independent who often donated to Democrats, became fixated during Obama's first term on a conspiracy theory holding that Obama wasn't born in the United States and therefore couldn't be president.
Coates calls'' birtherism,'' as this conspiracy theory is called, ''that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built.'' And Trump hammered at it, repeatedly, in public until Obama, in a moment that should bring shame to us all, felt compelled to produce his birth certificate in an effort to stop the madness.
Even after that, as Coates recounts, ''Trump demanded the president's college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school.''
Trump has a long history of racism and a long history of floating eugenic theories, repeatedly insisting that he must be a genius because of his supposedly good genes. Trump is a stupid man who believes whiteness makes him smarter, and Obama's actual intelligence upends everything Trump thinks he knows about the world. This induced an obsession that happened to dovetail with the racist anger of a large proportion of white Americans.
That's the simplest explanation, but it also happens to be the one that fits the evidence. The insistence that it must be something else '-- some other explanation that has no real evidence behind it, but is more comforting than believing that the country is being run by a white supremacist '-- verges on denial. You'd think that after Trump lost his temper and defended swastika-waving white supremacists as ''fine people,'' we could all accept our grim reality for what it is and start dealing with it honestly. And yet.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a nasty old obsessive racist guy is just a nasty old obsessive racist guy. Instead of wasting energy minimizing this fact, it's time to put that energy into doing something about it.
VIDEO - Doneer geen cent aan het Rode Kruis. Deze wethouder barst na orkaan Harvey uit in tirade
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 21:32
Dave Martin, wethouder van Houston, heeft na orkaan Harvey hard uitgehaald naar het Amerikaanse Rode Kruis.
Hij riep inwoners van de stad op hun geld en hulpgoederen aan andere organisaties te doneren en sprak meerdere keren van Red Lost in plaats van Red Cross.
Martin legde uit dat de lokale overheid al het zware werk heeft verricht en de meeste hulp heeft geboden, terwijl op tv steeds wordt gezegd dat het Rode Kruis miljoenen aan donaties heeft ontvangen.
''Wat doen jullie met al dit geld?'' vroeg hij.
'Geef ze geen cent'Het Rode Kruis is de 'meest onbekwame, chaotische organisatie die ik ooit heb gezien', aldus de wethouder. ''Geef ze geen cent.''
''Verspil je geld niet aan het Rode Kruis,'' zei hij. ''Geef het aan een ander doel.''
Bekijk het fragment hieronder:
Het Rode Kruis kwam onder vuur te liggen nadat NPR en ProPublicahadden onthuld dat de organisatie na de verwoestende aardbeving in Ha¯ti in 2010 slechts zes huizen had laten bouwen.
Wist hij nietNPR en ProPublica ontdekten dat het grootste deel van de 488 miljoen dollar aan donaties was verdeeld onder derden en het Rode Kruis zelf.
De Amerikaanse senator Chuck Grassley kwam erachter dat een kwart van alle donaties was opgegaan aan interne kosten.
Vorige week vroeg NPR directeur Brad Kieserman welk percentage van het bedrag dat mensen hebben gedoneerd na orkaan Harvey zal worden gebruikt om de slachtoffers van de ramp te helpen, maar dat wist hij niet.
ViralEen Facebookbericht van een vrouw uit Beaumont ging viral nadat ze had geklaagd dat het Rode Kruis had geprobeerd om 400 warme hamburgers in een vrieskist te stoppen nadat een piloot ze helemaal van Austin naar Beaumont had gevlogen.
De honderden gevacueerden hadden al meer dan 24 uur geen warme maaltijd gehad.
Het Rode Kruis weigerde de hamburgers uit te delen omdat mensen enkele uren daarvoor nog een boterham hadden gegeten.
Orkaan Harvey sloeg zo hard toe in Houston dat de stad twee centimeter is weggezakt.
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Mon, 11 Sep 2017 21:26
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VIDEO - Cartoonist Who Predicted Trump Victory Weighs In On Kid Rock
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 19:05
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In March 2016, Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind the Dilbert comic strip, made a bold prediction that seemed highly unlikely at the time: He said Donald Trump would become president of the United States.
With the November general election proving him right, Adams has decided to weigh in on politics again, this time on a possible U.S. Senate run by musician Robert Ritchie, known professionally as Kid Rock.
''Master Persuader rising. If he runs, he wins. And it won't be luck.'' Adams tweeted, linking to a video of a Ritchie speech at a concert in Michigan (Warning: The Speech Contains Explicit Language).
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The ''master persuader'' label is not new. Adams also used the term to describe Trump, saying the then-candidate was connecting with voters by focusing on ''the suffering of some,'' which other politicians would not acknowledge.
Adams suggested it's possible Ritchie is using the same strategy.
In his Saturday speech, the musician discussed the religious foundation upon which America was founded, in addition to the plight of working families, who he claimed are forced to support those on welfare.
On a video blog, Adams explained his perspective on Ritchie's speech.
''I'm not saying this is the best speech I've seen from, you know, from a rocker. I'm saying it might have been the best speech I've ever seen,'' he said.
Adams added that the musician used a combination of music, lighting and other theatrical techniques in his speech. The combination of these factors, Adams said, works in Ritchie's favor and presents his message in a ''fresh'' and ''positive'' way.
Adams had previously said Trump held a similar advantage, particularly because the news media could not ignore him. He explained that ''the media doesn't really have the option of ignoring the most interesting story.''
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Adams argued that Trump ''can always be the most interesting story if he has nothing to fear and nothing to lose.''
Like many of Trump's campaign events, Ritchie's speech garnered widespread media attention.
Adams also indicated that Ritchie may be improving on Trump's strategy by admitting that his opponents will call him a racist.
Still, Adams pointed out that Ritchie criticized Nazis and white supremacists, ''going after them harder than anyone ever went after them.''
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton says her career as a political candidate is over
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 19:02
VIDEO - Clinton bought a second house in New York in anticipation of winning White House
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 19:02
VIDEO - Clinton: Trump's Campaign Was Successful in Comforting 'Millions of White People'
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 19:01
VIDEO - Scientists: Climate Change May Wipe Out a Third of World's Parasites, with Disastrous Ripple Effects | Democracy Now!
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:14
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN : As the United States continues to deal with unprecedented floods and hurricanes, a new study has revealed climate change is also driving the mass extinction of parasites that are critical to natural ecosystems, and could add to the planet's sixth great mass extinction even that's currently underway. The report in the journal Science Advances warns that about a third of all parasite species could go extinct by 2070 due to human activity. The loss of species of lice, fleas and worms could have profound ripple effects on the environment and might pave the way for new parasites to colonize humans and other animals with disastrous health outcomes.
For more, we're joined by Colin Carlson, lead author of a report published last week which revealed climate change is driving the mass extinction of parasites that are critical to natural ecosystems. He's a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science, policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley. Still with us, Elizabeth Kolbert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New Yorker magazine. Her latest piece, coming storms. She reports extensively on climate change.
So, I wanted to start with Colin Carlson. Talk about what is happening to parasites in the world and why it matters.
COLIN CARLSON : Good morning. So, I think the key thing that we need to get out there is that there's a lot of things about climate change we still don't know. We've spent a lot of time in the last 15, 20 years focusing on the extinction of big charismatic wildlife, and we've thought a little bit about how that might impact their parasites. But the direct impacts of climate change on parasites haven't been as well studied. So our research comes out and sort of does this global survey and really thinks through, OK, how good or bad could climate change be for parasites? And it turns out that parasites follow the same logic most species do: A handful do a little bit better in a changing climate, and the vast majority actually do a lot worse. They lose a lot of habitat. They lose their hosts. They face very high extinction rates.
AMY GOODMAN : So, talk about why parasites are important in the world.
COLIN CARLSON : So, I think one of the really cool things about parasites is that we have undervalued them for decades. And that means that when it turns out they actually serve important roles in ecosystems, it's all the more surprising. Parasites are a huge part of what holds ecosystems together. They can be the majority of biomass in an ecosystem. They can be 80 percent of the links in a food web. They control wildlife populations. They keep populations down, just like predators do. And just like predators in the 18th and 19th century when we were eradicating them, parasites are, obviously, a hard sell. But it turns out they play this important regulatory role. And what we think could happen in a changing climate is, with these very high extinction rates, the loss of that stabilizing role could produce opportunities for new patterns of wildlife in human disease that are genuinely concerning.
AMY GOODMAN : So you say that parasites are among the most threatened species on Earth. Now, it may be hard, Colin Carlson, in the world you're in, as a scientist, to understand how difficult it is for laypeople to understand this, but assume no knowledge when it comes to parasites, why they're important. Most people would think, "Great! It's good to get rid of parasites."
COLIN CARLSON : So, I think the important thing'--right?'--is that, for one thing, the majority of parasites never affect humans. There are over 300,000, potentially, species of parasitic worm on Earth. And of those, a handful, maybe up to a thousand at most, affect humans. A very similar thing is true for wildlife parasites. We have this idea that parasites are probably not good most of the time. But most of what they're doing in ecosystems is just directly interacting with wildlife species. Most host-parasite relationships are stable. They're at some sort of equilibrium, just like most ecosystems are, without environmental change. What we think is going to happen is the destabilization of those pairs, of parasites and their hosts. And just like with, I think, most things in climate change research, the sort of overarching maxim is that change is bad. There's a massive predictive crisis. There's a lot of species we still don't know what the impacts will be. And so, on average, changing things from the way they are is probably actually not a good thing.
AMY GOODMAN : Can you give us some examples of common parasites?
COLIN CARLSON : Sure. Well, there's a lot of parasites in the news these days, right? I'm from Connecticut originally, and so Lyme disease is always in the news, and we always have deer ticks in the news because of it. And deer ticks are one of those rare species in our study that gains a lot of range. But there's also a lot of ticks on Earth that are threatened. There's a lot of worms on Earth that are threatened.
To get back at this role that parasites play, I think one of the most incredible cases that we found in our research is these horsehair worms in Japan. They change the behavior of crickets so that they jump into streams, and that ends up being the majority of the food that endangered Japanese trout eat. So, even though parasites are manipulating host behavior, they're literally moving energy through an ecosystem and keeping actually endangered wildlife populations stable. And a lot of species like that are the ones in our study that are threatened with extinction.
AMY GOODMAN : Colin Carlson, I just wanted to ask about your very interesting background. Our audience might be surprised to know you were born in 1996. You're what? Thirty-one now? You enrolled'--21 now.
COLIN CARLSON : Something like that.
AMY GOODMAN : Twenty-one.
COLIN CARLSON : Twenty-one. There you go.
AMY GOODMAN : Twenty-one now. You enrolled at the University of Connecticut at the age of 12. By the time you were 16, you had also obtained a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biography'--biology, and another in environmental studies, as well as a master's degree in the same subject. In 2011, Business Insider included you in a roundup titled "16 of the Smartest Children in History," alongside Mozart, Picasso and the chess master Bobby Fischer. So, you've been doing this for quite some time now, but you're only 21 years old.
AMY GOODMAN : I'm wondering about the climate you find yourself in right now, so to speak, the climate going to the top of the country, to President Trump, who talks about climate change as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. How does this affect your work and your colleagues' work, your friends'?
COLIN CARLSON : So, a few things on that. I grew up in a rural town in Connecticut where climate change was a very taboo topic. And when I go home, I think it still is. I think that that's one of the things that has pushed me towards this kind of research. I think that in the context of not just the current administration, but the current challenge that we face in terms of communicating science to the public, it's incredibly important that we are transparent and honest about sort of the full impacts of climate change, the fact that, yeah, maybe one or two parasite extinctions might be good, the vast majority are bad. We have to give these balanced perspectives. I think that level of transparency is a huge part of how we continue to sell climate change research.
More broadly, I would say that a lot of my colleagues, a lot of folks that I work with, a lot of the people who have collected data that are part of our study, are very worried about the continued status of climate change research in the United States. A lot of our study relies on museum collections, and those are a huge foundation of biological research. We have to have museum collections to understand change over time. There's really no way we could have ever done our study without them. And I know a lot of folks are worried about museum collections and other biological collections being defunded in the coming years. We're already seeing some funding cuts for graduate research in ecology and evolutionary biology. Hopefully, those won't translate into more funding cuts. But I think that in the coming years it's absolutely critical that we continue to support those programs, we continue to fund research that makes the links between where we've been ecologically and where we're going. Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN : Explain, though, more why museum collections matter.
COLIN CARLSON : So, our study is reconstructive in a lot of ways. It's the first to map out this many species of parasite at once. And the way that we do that is we look for records of where parasites have been, to reconstruct their habitat. It's a very top-down approach. So, the way that we end up doing that in practice is we take a set of museum specimens that have coordinates attached to them. You know, it'll be an island in the Pacific, and we'll have the longitude and latitude. And that goes into a database that feeds our models.
Our study is based in large part on the U.S. National Parasite Collection, which is currently housed at the Smithsonian. There's over 20 million specimens in that collection. We've mapped out 150,000 records for this study. And I would say those almost exclusively come, in some form or another, from either field research by biologists or from museum collections.
We use collections in a lot of research this way. We use it to say, "Here's where species have been. Here are the conditions that they've been found in. Here's how we can inform our projections of their future, based on those records." And so, this is an absolutely indispensable role that collections play.
AMY GOODMAN : I wanted to bring Elizabeth Kolbert back into the conversation, author of The Sixth Extinction. Can you put Colin Carlson's work, the significance of this report, in context and explain further the sixth extinction?
ELIZABETH KOLBERT : Well, the sixth extinction, we're referring to the idea that we're in a mass extinction event, so that there have been five, what are called major mass extinctions, over the course of the history of, you know, multicellular life, so over the last half a billion years or so. And the most famous of all these is the fifth. It's the event that did in the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, which was, in all likelihood, caused by an asteroid impact.
So, now the idea is that because of what we humans are doing to the planet, we have extremely elevated extinction rates. And we are either'--you know, by different people's definitions, we are heading into, we are in, another mass major'--you know, potentially major mass extinction event. Now, one of the hallmarks of a mass extension event is that you get extinctions across all different groups of animals, so from the very tiny to the very, very large. It's sort of an indiscriminate event and takes out a lot of different groups at the same time. That is the very definition of a mass extinction event. So, if you were in a mass extinction event, then you would expect very elevated extinction rates, as I say, across all'--virtually all groups, including our friends, the parasites.
AMY GOODMAN : And what most interested you, Elizabeth Kolbert, about this Science Advances report, Colin Carlson's work?
ELIZABETH KOLBERT : Well, I think Colin makes a really important point, which is that we are always'--you know, everyone is aware tigers are in terrible trouble, elephants are in terrible trouble, giraffes are in terrible trouble, you know, and so we're always talking about'--almost always talking about really charismatic animals and what's happening to them. But E.O. Wilson makes the point'--I'm not sure I'm quoting him directly, but it's the little things that run the world. It's really, you know, very tiny invertebrates and microorganisms that make the world work and the way we know it. And so, when you're messing around with that, when you're messing around with the very tiny world that we're not really paying a lot of attention to, you can get some really, really big impacts that you didn't anticipate, as I say, in part because you didn't even know what was going on.
AMY GOODMAN : We were talking about the political context that is taking place right now in Washington. President Trump has just nominated the Republican Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine to head NASA , the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Bridenstine has no science credentials, has repeatedly denied the human impact on climate change. NASA conducts a significant amount of global climate change research. In 2013, Congressman Bridenstine took to the House floor to demand President Obama apologize for funding climate change research.
REP . JIM BRIDENSTINE : Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles. ... Here's what we absolutely know. We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when a cold jet stream meets the warm Gulf air, and we also know that this president spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the president's apology, and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.
AMY GOODMAN : So that was Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who President Trump has now nominated to be head of NASA . I want to get both of your responses, beginning with Elizabeth Kolbert.
ELIZABETH KOLBERT : Well, unfortunately, he's a pretty characteristic nominee of this administration to positions that have traditionally been held by very eminent scientists. And you're seeing this sort of wholesale undermining of science, scientific inquiry, at the top of the U.S. government. And you have to say yourself, you know, "Whom does that benefit?" It does not benefit scientists, and it certainly doesn't benefit the public. So there's obviously an agenda here. And it's pretty'--as I said, it's a pretty scary one. When you're having people at the very top of the U.S. government who are basically peddling patent medicine, it's really, really not a happy situation.
AMY GOODMAN : And, Colin Carlson, as a scientist yourself, your response?
COLIN CARLSON : I think it's incredibly concerning to see science not only deprioritized, but actively worked against, by the administration. The view from the ground is that a lot of researchers are incredibly worried about our ability to keep doing research that is scientifically ethical, that is valid, that presents issues like climate change objectively, and our ability to continue to be funded to do that research. I think this is one in a set of decisions by this administration that really do give us reason to be worried.
That said, I think there is some silver lining in that I know that this has brought out a lot of passion among scientists who I work with and scientists across the country. I think this is giving us a chance to really shine as a community. And I think that this might, in some inadvertent ways, lead to a really productive four years of research.
AMY GOODMAN : And, Colin Carlson, in your report on parasite biodiversity facing extinction and redistribution in a changing climate, what most surprised you?
COLIN CARLSON : I think one of the really cool results, buried a little bit in the study, is that with the kind of models that we use, human parasites or parasites that spread human diseases, like that deer tick, don't actually have any inherently better or worse chance in a changing climate. It's kind of a lottery. And we've known this about climate change and extinctions for a while. We know that there are factors that make some species do better and worse. There's variation between groups. But really, for parasitic species, because they're dependent on wildlife and because wildlife are already threatened at such a high rate, what we think is going to happen is a pretty high across-the-board extinction rate, like Elizabeth was talking about, regardless of whether that affects humans or wildlife. I think the rates that we are predicting are shockingly high, and it's definitely a lot more than we expected going in.
AMY GOODMAN : I want to thank you both for joining us. Of course, we'll continue to discuss this issue, the issue of the intensity and frequency of hurricanes and climate change. Colin Carlson, co-author of the piece, "Parasite biodiversity faces extinction and redistribution in a changing climate." Elizabeth Kolbert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction, her latest piece in The New Yorker magazine, "Hurricane Harvey and the Storms to Come." Thanks so much for being with us.
When we come back from break, we'll go to Florida to talk with the prize-winning author Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American writer, who also had to take cover, had to evacuate. And we're going to talk about the'--hear from voices of survivors of the Mexico earthquake and speak with Kim Ives about what took place in Haiti when Hurricane Irma struck. Stay with us.
VIDEO - Clinton Blames Comey, Russia, WikiLeaks, Facebook, Fake News, Voter ID Laws, Sexism, and Misogyny for Losing :: Grabien News
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:48
Clinton Blames Comey, Russia, WikiLeaks, Facebook, Fake News, Voter ID Laws, Sexism, and Misogyny for Losing
'And let's not forget sexism and misogyny, which are endemic to our society'
Hillary Clinton believes that were it not for James Comey, Russia, Wikileaks, Facebook, fake news, voter ID laws, or America's "endemic" sexism and misogyny, she would currently be president of the United States.
In just under two minutes, Clinton rattled off eight separate excuses for losing the 2016 election.
Clinton claims that, "If the election were on October 27, I would be your president," singling out James Comey in particular for re-opening an investigation into her mishandling of classified material. (Others notably argue that Comey kept Clinton in the campaign by preemptively exonerating Clinton before the FBI had concluded its own investigation.)
"I went from 26 points ahead to 13 points ahead, and I needed about 18 points in order to be sure to win Pennsylvania," Clinton said of the impact of Comey's notorious letter explaining he was re-opening the investigation. "I watched how analysts who I have a great deal of respect for, like Nate Silver, burrowed into all the data and said that 'but for that Comey letter, she would have won.'"
"So it was very personal to me," she said in an interview with CBS's Jane Pauley. "I think my general election prospects were badly damaged because of that, so that even though I was starting to come back, it was not enough time to overcome it."
Clinton also rattled off Russia, Wikileaks, and even fake news as other culprits in her failed presidential run.
"But even though [the Comey letter] was the primary blow to my campaign at the very end, it has to be looked at in context -- with the Russians weaponizing information, negative stories about me; this whole Wikileaks beginning to leak in early October of John Podesta's emails -- which if you read them all were, they're pretty anodyne, but they were taken out of context; stories were made up about them."
Clinton then cited a recent story about Facebook accepting advertising from a Russian firm as another reason for her loss.
"We now know that Facebook was taking money from Russian companies to run negative stories about me," she continued. "If you look at all of this, yes, it affected me and my campaign. But I am more concerned now going forward that we haven't come to grips with what it means for future elections."
In comments that echo Donald Trump's claims that the votes from illegal aliens affected the vote totals, Clinton likewise claims that Republican-led "voter suppression" enabled Trump to win toss-up states.
"I would also add that the voter suppression that we now know had been in the works and really put into effect in a lot of states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, etc., played a role," she said."
And she blamed America's "sexism and misogyny, which are endemic to our society. And certainly as I write in my chapter called 'On Being a Woman in Politics,' have to be factored in as well."
RELATED:Clinton Bizarrely Lists Putin's 'White' Race First Among His Negative Qualities
VIDEO - GP probed for giving child, 12, gender-change hormones - BBC News
Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:24
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Media caption Dr Helen Webberley said she listens to 'children's hearts' about when they want treatmentA Monmouthshire GP is being investigated over complaints about her giving gender-change hormones to children as young as 12.
Dr Helen Webberley has been restricted from treating transgender patients unsupervised while the General Medical Council (GMC) looks into the case.
The Abergavenny-based GP said there had been no adverse finding against her.
The GMC said it would only comment on investigations if and when they reached tribunal stage.
The investigation was launched after two GPs complained to the GMC about Dr Webberley's private clinic, which specialises in gender issues.
She told the BBC she had given cross-sex hormone treatment to one 12-year-old and three 15-year-olds, despite NHS guidelines that they be given at about 16 or over.
"There are many children under 16 who are desperate to start what they would consider their natural puberty earlier than that," Dr Webberley told BBC Wales.
"And, of course, when someone mentions a 12-year-old it is very emotive."
Dr Webberley said the NHS protocol on hormone treatment starting at about 16 was "not set on any medical evidence or research".
"It's not in line with the centres of excellence in other countries and the standards of transgender care moving forward," she added.
She pointed out there had been "no decisions or judgements" made on the claims against her and they were "simply aspects that need to be explored".
The restrictions imposed by the GMC on 7 May mean that all of Dr Webberley's work with transgender patients will have to be supervised until November 2018.
She is unable to practise until she finds an approved clinical supervisor, which Dr Webberley says she is currently putting in place.
Image copyright Getty Images Stephanie Davies-Arai, of campaign group Transgender Trends, said she was "very concerned" by the move toward "earlier and earlier" treatment for "younger and younger" children.
"Teenagers [and children] are not really equipped to make long-term decisions and benefit and risk calculations. We should not be fixing their identity at that age with medication that is irreversible," she added.
She said cross-sex hormone treatment can effectively put patients on the path to sterilisation, alongside other changes, which is a "huge ethical issue".
"These are huge, life-changing effects on children's bodies, on children's lives, and we need to be very, very cautious before presenting this treatment pathway to minors," she said.
Ms Davies-Arai called for "much-tighter regulation" for private GPs in this area.
The news comes after the Welsh Government announced Wales would get its first transgender clinic last month.
The Tavistock clinic, in England, which is currently the only centre offering gender identity treatment to young people in England and Wales, has seen a sharp rise in cases in recent years.
Only available on the NHS for those aged 16 or overHelps make those with gender issues "more comfortable" with their physical appearance and how they feel Hormones start the process of changes in the bodyUsually need to be taken indefinitelySource: NHS
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 15:26
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