979: Donna Gate

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 30m
November 5th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Big D, Anonymous Michael, Gonzo Shimura, Sir Max Powers, Lance Fisher, Erik Aschendorf, Richard Butler, Anonymous, Blake Israel, Landan Dallyn, Justin Lee, Scott Spencer, Anton Ponomarenko, marc hampton, Anonymous, Larry Stuart, Morgan, Dame Viki Poole

Associate Executive Producers: James Obrien, Phil Colbourn, Nikolaj Stepanov, Anon-A-Moose

Cover Artist: Mike Riley

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One Road One Bridge
Italy's Lombardy, Veneto Regions Claim Autonomy Wins - Bloomberg
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:42
A polling station official prepares ballots papers to vote for a referendum in Venice on Oct. 22.
Leaders of two regions in Italy's wealthy north claimed victory in referendums Sunday to demand more autonomy from the state, in a ballot that could strengthen the anti-immigrant Northern League party ahead of national elections early next year.
Final vote counts showed that 95 percent of those who cast ballots in Lombardy and 98 percent in Veneto supported greater autonomy. Over 57 percent of voters in Veneto went to the polls while turnout in Lombardy was 38 percent, according to regional electoral authorities.
''While the impact on markets is likely limited, this was a good test for the Northern League and right-wing parties,'' Vincenzo Longo, an analyst at IG markets in Milan, said in a phone interview. ''Still, at the moment I don't expect a referendum for independence.''
Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images
While the legal but non-binding referendums have little in common with the recent Catalan independence vote in Spain, they do echo autonomy movements in countries including Scotland and France. Televised images showed voters in Lombardy and Veneto, whose regional capitals are Milan and Venice, smiling and waving proudly to television cameras after exiting voting stations.
''What has won is the idea that we should be in charge of our own backyard,'' Luca Zaia, head of the Veneto authority and one of the main promoters of the referendums, said after the vote. The results also prove that ''reforms are possible while staying within the constitution.''
While the passage of the measure wasn't in doubt in either region, the focus was on turnout, with Veneto needing more than 50 percent of voters to cast ballots to render the process valid and backers of the referendum in Lombardy saying they would view a turnout of about 35 percent as a mandate. Milan and Venice had lower turnouts, at 31 percent and 45 percent respectively, than their surrounding provinces.
Northern LeagueZaia and fellow Northern League member Roberto Maroni, president of the Lombardy region, argue the results of the vote will allow them to reduce the gap between tax levies sent to Rome and the value of state services they receive in return. The Lombardy region estimates the shortfall at 54 billion euros ($64 billion), which it says is the highest in Italy, with Veneto third at 15.5 billion euros.
Photographer: Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images
Maroni said after the vote that he will present devolution proposals to the central government in Rome in the next few weeks. He and Zaia have also said they plan to ask for more powers over infrastructure, health, education and security issues related to immigration.
The Northern League emerges strengthened from the referendums as their main promoter, even though ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right Forza Italia party and the opposition Five Star movement also backed the votes. The Democratic Party of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni was divided.
Nationally, opinion polls show the Democrats, the populist Five Star and a possible center-right bloc are virtually tied ahead of elections in 2018.
''I'm from Lombardy but didn't vote because I felt it was just an electoral campaign move,'' said Nicola Nobile, economist at Oxford Economics in Milan. ''It is clear that the center-right remains very strong, especially in the North.''
'-- With assistance by Chiara Albanese
(Corrects turnout figure in first deck headline. )
If Catalonia goes independent, these places could be next
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:42
Catalonia might be the separatist region making headlines at the moment but Europe has many other separatist movements that are closely watching developments in northeastern Spain.
Separatist movements in Europe can range from small townships to entire regions and the motivations for wanting to go it alone are equally as diverse encompassing linguistic and cultural differences as well as economic and historical justifications. While some separatist movements harbor dreams of gaining just a bit more autonomy from the national government, others like Catalonia are aimed at gaining full independence and nothing less.
Countries like Germany and Italy where states can have very distinct linguistic, cultural and historical differences tend to have numerous and significant separatist movements to contend with. Geographical characteristics can play a part too with islands '-- such as Sicily or the Faroe Islands (between Norway, Scotland and Iceland) '-- and peninsulas (such as Cornwall, in southwest England) often seeking more autonomy or independence, feeling "separated" and far from the centers of power.
Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citi, told CNBC on Wednesday that "the Europe of regions is making a comeback."
"Too many countries in the European Union have secessionist problems, including the U.K., Belgium and Italy and this is not a unique problem," he said.
Here. CNBC highlights some of the larger and long-standing separatist movements that are monitoring Catalonia's referendum with interest.
Marco Secchi/Getty Images
A Venetian autonomist screams pro independence slogan on April 25, 2014 in Venice, Italy. The march, which takes place on St Mark's day, had been banned by the Police for reasons of public order.
Venice and LombardyItaly's wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto are both eyeing referendums on October 22 aimed at gaining more autonomy.
Both regions have strong separatist movements, mainly driven by resentment at the perception that taxpayers' money is spent in the poorer south of the country. As with Catalonia and Spain, Italy's Constitutional Court has blocked the regions' plans to hold a referendum on independence and so the citizens in each region will be asked if they want more autonomy (and more money) from the national government.
"Too many countries in the European Union have secessionist problems" -Willem Buiter, Chief economist at Citi
Known for being the city of romance rather than rampant nationalism, it's worth remembering that Venice only became a part of Italy in 1866. In 2014, Venice had its own non-binding referendum on independence in which 2.1 million citizens (89 percent of the vote) voted for independence. Many voters feel that their taxes go to the poorer south rather than contributing to investment in the region.
HERWIG VERGULT/AFP/Getty Images
Picture taken 14 May 2007 of two billboards pasted on a shopwindow by a local resident of Ninovse Steenweg, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek / Chaussee de Ninove, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, expressing his opinion in favour of two republics ie Flanders and Wallonia, instead of the Belgium monarchy, that would cost less money for Belgian citizens (200 millions Euro for monarchy every year while only 1 million Euro for a President). The message warn the population saying ' Think at your pensions, Think at your salary'.
Flanders and WalloniaBelgium is a country split between three communities, languages and regions. Flanders and the Flemish community is in the north of the country (where Dutch or Belgian Dutch - also known as Flemish) is spoken. Then there is the mainly French-speaking south, known as Wallonia and just to complicate matters further, there is a German-speaking region in the far east of the country. There are also considerable movements within each of these regions striving for independence.
Political groups such as the New Flemish Alliance, a nationalist, conservative group which is dominant in the Belgian parliament, advocate a gradual secession of Flanders from Belgium. Euronews reported that the party even hung a Catalan flag outside its headquarters recently in support of the Spanish separatist region. With elections in 2019, the issue of Flemish independence is not likely to disappear soon.
The Basque CountryOne region of Spain that is certainly watching events in Catalonia with interest is the Basque Country, an "autonomous community" situated on the north coast of Spain.
Like Catalonia, the Basque Country has its own language and distinct culture. Unlike Catalonia, it also has a history of some violent separatism with various terrorist attacks carried out by the nationalist and separatist group Eta. The armed movement for independence called a ceasefire in 2010 which was made permanent in 2011, however.
Separatist movements remain a force to be reckoned with in the region, with a spokesman for the region's largest separatist party - the Basque Nationalist Party '' saying recently that he hopes the region could have its own vote on independence just like Catalonia.
South TyrolThe South Tyrol region is found in the northern-most part of Italy and is also known as the Alto Adige, but is distinctly un-Italian with German being the predominant language with only around a quarter of the region's 510,000 inhabitants speaking Italian.
Despite being an autonomous province since 1972, giving it a greater level of self-determination - the region has a secessionist movement that would like to secede from Italy and reunify with Austria. The region was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but was annexed to Italy following the World War I.
Jeff J Mitchell I Getty Images
Hundreds of Yes supporters gather in George Square to show their support for the independence referendum
ScotlandOne country looking at the Catalan referendum with interest is Scotland. Despite holding its own legal and U.K.-government approved referendum on independence back in 2014, which separatists lost with 55 percent of voters choosing to stay a part of the U.K., the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) has not given up hope that another vote could be held sooner rather than later.
Following the vote in Catalonia last Sunday, the leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, said that the "strength of feeling" in Catalonia "cannot be ignored" but she added that talks needed to be held by both sides.
Sturgeon was close to calling a second referendum on independence in Scotland recently but the party lost a number seats during the 2017 general election this year. Political analysts saw these losses as signifying that Scottish voters have little appetite for another vote on the matter, especially so close to the last one in 2014.
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Promote peace, China's Xi tells soldiers at first overseas base
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 17:28
BEIJING (Reuters) - Troops serving at China's first overseas military base, in the Horn of Africa country of Djibouti, should help promote peace and stability, President Xi Jinping told them in a video chat, encouraging them to promote a good image.
China's President Xi Jinping claps after his speech as he and other new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee China formally opened the base in August on the same day as the People's Liberation Army marked its 90th birthday. It is China's first overseas naval base, although Beijing officially describes it as a logistics facility.
Djibouti's position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled worry in India that it would become another of China's ''string of pearls'' military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Speaking to China's Djibouti-based forces during a visit to a joint battle command center in Beijing, Xi ''got a good understanding'' of the base's operations and the lives of the soldiers there, China's Defence Ministry said late on Friday.
Xi ''encouraged them to establish a good image for China's military and promote international and regional peace and stability'', the ministry said.
The soldiers responded that they would not let Xi or China down, it said.
China began construction of the base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to resupply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing an ambitious military modernization program, including developing capabilities for China's forces to operate far from home.
During his visit to the command center, Xi also instructed the armed forces to improve their combat capability and readiness for war, the ministry said.
Xi said progress in joint operation command systems, especially in efficiency at the regional level, was needed and troops must conduct training under combat conditions.
Djibouti, which is about the size of Wales, is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts U.S., Japanese and French bases.
There has been persistent speculation in diplomatic circles that China would build other such bases, in Pakistan for example, but the government has dismissed this.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait
Saudis
President Trump Phone Call With Saudi Arabia King Salman'...
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:39
Against the backdrop of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, conducting a massive sweep of corrupt Saudi officials, President Trump and King Salman release a readout of their phone call:
WHITE HOUSE '' President Donald J. Trump spoke yesterday with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. King Salman expressed his condolences for the recent terrorist attack in New York City. President Trump thanked the King for his support and emphasized Americas commitment to defeating ISIS.
The leaders also discussed the continuing threat of Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen and last nights intercepted missile attack on Riyadh. They emphasized the importance of countering extremist ideologies and championing moderation and tolerance.
The President commended the King on achieving the commitments he announced during the historic Riyadh Summit earlier this year, including launching the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center and the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.
President Trump thanked the King for military purchases, including a $15 billion investment in Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and billions more in commitments and investments. The President assured the King that he would support the purchase of appropriate military equipment that would keep Saudi Arabia safe and help create American jobs.
The President asked the King to strongly consider listing Aramco on a stock exchange in the United States. Additionally, President Trump noted that the King and Crown Princes recent public statements regarding the need to build a moderate, peaceful, and tolerant region are essential to ensuring a hopeful future for the Saudi people, to curtailing terrorist funding, and to defeating radical ideology once and for all so the world can be safe from its evil. (link)
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i24NEWS - In dramatic shake up, Saudi king fires slew of princes from government posts
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:24
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017FAYEZ NURELDINE (AFP)
King Salman blasted those who 'abused public money without fear of religion, conscience, morals or patriotism'
Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday reportedly relieved a string of senior government ministers from their posts, in what is being billed as a dramatic anti-corruption purge driven by the kingdom's newly minted crown prince.
State-linked channel Al Arabiya, citing sources, reported that some ten princes had been fired by an anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and established on Saturday evening local time.
In a royal decree carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, King Salman condemned those who "abused public money without fear of religion, conscience, morals or patriotism, taking advantage of their influence and authority over public money, abuse and misappropriation in order to hide their shameful acts."
Among those fired include Minister of the National Guard Moteib Bin Abdullah Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel al-Faqieh, with their replacements swiftly announced. Navy chief Admiral Abdullah Al-Sultan has also been purged.
There were unconfirmed reports that high-profile billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal was placed under arrest, however this was not confirmed by officials or state-linked media.
In a separate statement reported by the SPA, the kingdom's information minister Dr Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad said the anti-graft campaign was being waged in order "to protect public money and eradicate corruption, which is considered harmful to the economy and society."
He added that the "fight against corruption comes within the framework of comprehensive reform witnessed by our country, in all fields, to enhance the kingdom's position and increase the efficiency and quality of work."
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan, who was appointed in June, has heavily pushed an economic liberalization push known as Vision 2030, an attempt to modernize the country's oil-dependent economy.
He has been condemned by rights groups in September for rounding up an estimated thirty clerics, activists, journalists, commentators and artists in a bid to hush dissident voices in the absolute monarchy.
More to come.
Who is Saudi Arabia's prince-in-waiting?
On Twitter, Trump pleads with Saudis to float oil company on NY stock exchange
Also on i24NEWS
From around the web
Mass Arrests in Saudi Arabia During Anti-Corruption Probe'...
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:21
Major developments happening in Saudi Arabia including the arrest of former King Abdallah chief of staff, prince Al Walid Bin Talal, and heads of the main three Saudi owned television stations. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Trump ally) leads the way:
Eleven princes, four sitting ministers and 'tens' of former ministers have been arrested on orders from the new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday evening according to sources. (LINK)NOTE: It's important to understand the use of the word ''corruption'' as it pertains to the domestic consumption of news in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). In these examples, ''corruption'' is expressed as self-interested financial corruption as in: 'activity against the people'. However, within KSA politics, adverse political action targeted against the state is framed as 'corruption' through internal broadcast.
President Trump, May 2017: ''Drive Them Out'' '... ''Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.''
I'll outline some recent actions we've been tracking that will highlight today's events, and yet encapsulate some larger issues. It is critically important to remember, KSA is in a state of realignment away from extremism ''REMINDER'' and President Trump has committed his support to the reform agents King Salman, and more importantly, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the future leader of Saudi Arabia. You can easily connect-the-dots.
Missed by almost all media reports '' five days ago President Trump's primary, and most trusted, messenger/emissary to the mid-east region, Jared Kushner, made a trip to Saudi Arabia.
['...] Kushner left Washington, D.C., via commercial airline on Wednesday for the trip, which was not announced to the public, a White House official told POLITICO. He traveled separately from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led a delegation to Riyadh last week to focus on combating terrorist financing. (read more)
Earlier today Saudi Arabia used a U.S. provided patriot missile defense system intercept to strike down a ballistic missile fired from Yemen. The target of the missile was King Khalid international airport in Riyadh:
['...] The missile launch on King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh was the first time the heart of the Saudi capital has been attacked and represents a major escalation of the ongoing war in the region.
The Saudi-led coalition accused a regional state of providing material support to the Houthi rebels, saying the firing of a ballistic missile at Riyadh ''threatens the security of the Kingdom and regional and international security,'' according to a statement carried by Saudi state-TV al-Ekbariya.
The coalition didn't name the country. Saudi Arabia has been fighting a proxy war in Yemen against Iran, which it accuses of arming the Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia has led a military operation in Yemen in support of the internationally recognized government, which was driven out of the capital by the Shite Houthi rebels and is now based in the southern city of Aden.
''This hostile and random act by the Houthis proves that one of the terrorism-supporting countries in the region supports the Houthis,'' the statement said.
The missile was fired at 8:07 p.m. local time (1:07 p.m. ET) and targeted civilian areas in Riyadh, the coalition said. It was intercepted by the Patriot missile defense system, leading to shrapnel falling over an uninhibited area east of the airport, the statement said. There were no injuries, it said. (link)
Hours later, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took action: ''Eleven princes, four sitting ministers and 'tens' of former ministers have been arrested on orders from the new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday evening according to sources.''
Mass arrests in Saudi Arabia, among those arrested former King Abdallah chief of staff, prince AlWalid Bin Talal, and head of MBC group pic.twitter.com/mpfQ5Qwl9B
'-- Ali Hashem عÙي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) November 4, 2017
Among those arrested two sons of late King Abdallah, head of national royal guards and former Emir of Mecca
'-- Ali Hashem عÙي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) November 4, 2017
The heads of the main three Saudi owned TV networks were arrested, Alwalid Bin Talal (Rotana), Walid Al Brahim (MBC), Saleh Kamel (ART)
'-- Ali Hashem عÙي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) November 4, 2017
Given PM @saadhariri resignation coincided with the arrests in KSA, many started questioning whether Hariri stepped down for a Saudi reason
'-- Ali Hashem عÙي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) November 4, 2017
Saturday was quite hectic, our PM resigned from Saudi Arabia, tens of Saudi princes and former officials arrested, a missile struck Riyadh
'-- Ali Hashem عÙي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) November 4, 2017
Notice: ''among those arrested former King Abdallah chief of staff, prince Al Walid Bin Talal''
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Poppie$
China's new Opium War against America | McClatchy Washington Bureau
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 10:47
Fentanyl is the synthetic opioid driving America's public health crisis. Its cheap price, widespread use, addictive quality and deadly effect make it more dangerous than other narcotics classified by the DEA.
It is, ultimately, a chemical. And it's being used as a weapon in China's 21st Century Opium War against America.
President Donald Trump's twelve-day, five-nation Asia tour will focus on North Korean nukes and international trade. In Beijing, however, he plans to address China's fentanyl production and distribution, an industry that fuels what the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission calls ''China's deadly export to the United States.'' Trump holds undeniable moral authority when it comes to substance abuse, having personally seen and felt the effects on his family. Forcing China's hand on fentanyl is the right thing to do.
Drug abuse is inherently a demand issue, with the underlying problem being America's insatiable narcotics need. But there is an international supply part to the drug equation that stretches from China's bottomless fentanyl manufacture to its bulk shipping of the deadly white powder into global markets. If Trump can get China to constrain its cheap supply, he might significantly reduce the problem.
And if any government can control its nation's industry, it is the one in Beijing. China already uses its authoritarian state structure to control the movement of people and ideas within its country with stunning efficiency. It even manages to do so in other jurisdictions as, for example, when it kidnaps book publishers in Hong Kong.
China is more passive, however, when asked to act responsibly or confront threats to the United States that are otherwise perceived as serving Beijing's strategic interests. North Korea is an example.
North Korea developed its nuclear capacity with China's acquiescence, if not outright support and blessing. Why? Because the Kim clan has provided the Chinese a strategic tool to leverage against the U.S. Pyongyang's nukes make China indispensable to any Korean Peninsula negotiations and future. China's strategic moves introduced a nuclear wild card into the international security game. A nuclear-armed North Korea seemed a lesser concern to China than the perceived value of bullying South Korea and the regional neutering of America's military might.
Fentanyl is the nuclear narcotic that is killing thousands of Americans today and another example of China's two-faced approach. The chemical, known as ''China Girl'' or ''China White'' on the street, may have some Chinese victims, but its true value is as a profitable opiate export that also destroys American communities and roils the U.S. political landscape. Drug exports have allowed for the establishment of new Chinese-run drug cartels and distributors within the United States while untimely and tragic American deaths are recorded daily, as highlighted by the president when he declared the opioid crisis a ''public health emergency.''
China has a deep and visceral understanding of how an Opium War can convulse a nation and collapse an empire. After all, it happened to them in the 19th century. Chinese call it their ''Century of Humiliation.'' Now the tables have turned. China has absorbed the Century of Humiliation's lessons of stealth attack and economic power and applied them globally. President Xi sits atop the world's power pinnacle, with a recent Economist cover story calling him ''the world's most powerful man,'' and POTUS acknowledging Xi's king-like authority.
But either this omnipotent man can control his population or not.
Given China's authoritarian tech and police state tools, Xi's monopoly power gives him extraordinary abilities to monitor and manage domestic criminal activity. Trump should not call to crack down further on the general population, but appeal for a more targeted application of Beijing's honed control practices. Since China already easily and regularly arrests bloggers, VPN users, artists, protesters, and other innocents, it can certainly find and disrupt criminal cartels cooking up deadly street drugs for sale in America.
If not, then the United States needs to take an even more aggressive stance against China. It must be recognized that China's new opium war, combined with her cyberattacks on American infrastructure and information, is further tearing at the increasingly fragile fabric of American society, institutions, and competitiveness.
Trade imbalances with China gnaw at the president. The trillions that flow one way have underwritten the Chinese economic juggernaut and fueled Communist Party power. American money built a peer competitor to the United States. Trump maintains that America's fat trade is now the key to leverage deals with China.
The U.S. regularly uses trade sanctions to punish foreign players or force them to the negotiating table. During Trump's trip and eventual meeting with freshly super-empowered Xi, he needs to align America's regional allies and lay out a tough approach to both North Korea and the drug war being waged against America's people.
Trump must use his plain talk and pushy style to make clear to President Xi that with Chinese fentanyl, America is under attack and a chemical weapons red line is being crossed.
The Rising Price of Naloxone '-- Risks to Efforts to Stem Overdose Deaths '-- NEJM
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 10:04
Editor's Note: The narration and closed captions in this video are in English. For subtitles in 13 other languages, see this video on the website of the World Health Organization .Editor's Note: For reasons of public health, readers should be aware that this letter has been ''heavily and uncritically cited'' as evidence that addiction is rare with opioid therapy. Leung et al. describe its history.Adobe Flash Player is required to view this feature. If you are using an operating system that does not support Flash, we are working to bring you alternative formats.
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Perspective
Ravi Gupta, B.S., Nilay D. Shah, Ph.D., and Joseph S. Ross, M.D., M.H.S.
N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2213-2215 December 8, 2016DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1609578
ArticleThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved naloxone in 1971 as an injection (Narcan) for reversing opioid intoxication or overdose. Although the brand-name version has been discontinued, generic versions of naloxone have been available since 1985, and today injections are available in two doses (0.4 mg per milliliter and 1 mg per milliliter; see table ). In 2014, the FDA fast-tracked approval of the first auto-injector formulation (Evzio), a fixed-dose single injection designed to allow people without medical training to reverse opioid overdose. In 2015, the agency fast-tracked approval of the first nasal-spray formulation (also marketed as Narcan); previously, naloxone injections (larger vials of a 1-mg-per-milliliter dose) had routinely been used off-label with an atomizer for nasal delivery.
In 2013, more than 80% of naloxone use was for heroin overdose, although there were twice as many deaths from prescription-opioid overdose as from heroin overdose.1 Several U.S. federal agencies have therefore recommended increasing access to naloxone, particularly for prescription-opioid users. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration developed an overdose-prevention tool kit in 2013, advising clinicians to coprescribe naloxone to patients taking opioids after considering a variety of factors, including whether these patients were receiving long-term or high-dose opioid therapy.
In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services published its priorities in combating opioid overdoses, including accelerating development of new naloxone formulations and user-friendly products and expanding naloxone utilization by disbursing grants to states for naloxone-purchasing programs. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that clinicians coprescribe naloxone to patients taking opioids and concurrently using benzodiazepines, patients taking higher opioid dosages ('‰¥50 morphine milligram equivalents per day), and patients with a history of overdose or substance use disorder. The 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act builds on these guidelines and calls for additional grants to expand access to naloxone '-- by means of provider training and drug purchasing, for instance.
Similarly, some states have increasingly pursued initiatives designed to improve access to naloxone. Historically, it has been illegal for physicians to prescribe naloxone to third parties, such as family members or friends of patients at risk for overdose. One new approach, adopted by 40 states so far, is to offer clinicians various levels of immunity from criminal or civil prosecution for third-party prescriptions. Laws in 42 states also grant criminal or civil immunity to bystanders who possess or use illegal drugs when they provide emergency services to someone who has overdosed, including administering naloxone or calling emergency responders.
A second strategy has been to allow people without a prescription to obtain naloxone at pharmacies through physicians' standing orders, collaborative practice agreements, or pharmacists' prescriptive authority; this approach has been authorized in 40 states, up from 1 in 2012. All told, the number of states with at least one law expanding access to naloxone increased from 8 in 2012 to 46 in 2016.
Beyond legislation, a rapidly growing number of community organizations now provide naloxone kits and education programs to laypersons,1 and states and partnering agencies are doing the same with emergency medical services (EMS) providers.
Given the attention focused on naloxone and the initiatives broadening recommendations for its use, one would expect rapid increases in utilization. But between 2009 and 2015, the annual number of naloxone prescriptions increased only from 2.8 million to 3.2 million; while retail-prescription numbers were unchanged, the proportion attributed to clinics and EMS providers has grown from 14% to 29%.2 The relatively slow adoption of naloxone may be due in large part to stigmatization and lack of familiarity with the treatment among clinicians and opioid users.3 Another reason, however, may be its rising cost, which is probably enabled by the small number of manufacturers producing it.
Each formulation of naloxone '-- two injection doses, Narcan nasal spray, and Evzio auto-injector '-- essentially has one supplier. Though there are three manufacturers with FDA approval for 0.4-mg-per-milliliter-dose injections, the vast majority are sold by Hospira, which has increased the price by 129% since 2012 (see table ). Only Amphastar manufactures 1-mg-per-milliliter injections, the dose used off-label as a nasal spray, which currently costs $39.60 after a 95% increase in September 2014. Newer, easier-to-use formulations are even more expensive. Narcan costs $150 for two nasal-spray doses. A two-dose Evzio package was priced at $690 in 2014 but is $4,500 today, a price increase of more than 500% in just over 2 years.
Naloxone's price increase is part of an overall trend of increasing prescription-drug prices for both new brand-name drugs and old, off-patent generics. Public frustration with rising drug prices has led to a number of recent policy proposals, including Vermont's new legislation requiring companies to justify price increases, California's attempt to constrain drug payments, and the recently proposed and bipartisan-supported Fair Accountability and Innovative Research Drug Pricing Act. None of the federal or state initiatives expanding naloxone's availability, however, address the drug's rising cost.
We believe that such policies should explicitly call on manufacturers to reduce the price of naloxone and increase transparency regarding their costs, particularly those related to the development of new formulations. For example, Evzio's price jumped significantly and without explanation the month before the CDC's coprescription guidelines were released. Several U.S. senators '-- most recently, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) '-- have sent letters asking naloxone manufacturers to explain their price increases. Though these requests recall recent investigations into Mylan, the manufacturer of the EpiPen, the naloxone situation has not garnered the type of attention or outrage inspired by that case, perhaps in part because of the stigma associated with opioid use.
There are additional steps governments could take to address naloxone's price increase. First, naloxone could be purchased in bulk, which would create stable demand that might motivate additional companies to begin manufacturing the medication '-- a strategy that's been used for vaccine manufacturing. Second, governments could invoke federal law 28 U.S.C. section 1498 to contract with a manufacturer to act on behalf of the United States and produce less costly versions of Evzio's patented auto-injector in exchange for reasonable royalties '-- an approach that was considered for procuring ciprofloxacin during the anthrax threat in 2001.4 Third, in response to increases in generic drug prices, some observers have proposed allowing importation of generics from international manufacturers that have received approval from regulators with standards comparable to those of the FDA,5 a strategy that could be pursued for naloxone.
In the long term, the FDA could also offer incentives to additional companies to obtain approval to market generic versions of naloxone by prioritizing more timely approval and waiving application user fees, which may require congressional action but would probably stimulate price competition. In the past, the FDA has discussed switching naloxone to over-the-counter status,2 a conversation that could be revisited given the expected benefits for patient access. The relative ease of receiving FDA authorization for over-the-counter medications would also probably attract additional manufacturers.
Naloxone coprescribing and expanded availability represents only one of many potential strategies for reducing the number of prescription-opioid and heroin overdose deaths in the United States. But when governments promote naloxone use, they have a responsibility to ensure the drug's affordability. Taking action now is essential to ensuring that this lifesaving drug is available to patients and communities.
Source InformationFrom Yale University School of Medicine (R.G., J.S.R.), the Department of Health Policy and Management, Yale University School of Public Health (J.S.R.), and the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale''New Haven Hospital (J.S.R.) '-- all in New Haven, CT; and the Division of Health Care Policy and Research and Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (N.D.S.).
ReferencesReferences1
Wheeler E , Jones TS , Gilbert MK , Davidson PJ . Opioid overdose prevention programs providing naloxone to laypersons '-- United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2015;64:631-635
Web of Science | Medline
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Exploring naloxone uptake and use '-- a public meeting. Silver Spring, MD: Food and Drug Administration, July 1''2, 2015 (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/NewsEvents/ucm442236.htm).
3
Beletsky L , Rich JD , Walley AY . Prevention of fatal opioid overdose. JAMA 2012;308:1863-1864
CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline
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Kapczynski A , Kesselheim AS . 'Government patent use': a legal approach to reducing drug spending. Health Aff (Millwood) 2016;35:791-797
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Kesselheim AS , Avorn J , Sarpatwari A . The high cost of prescription drugs in the United States: origins and prospects for reform. JAMA 2016;316:858-871
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Citing Articles (11) Citing Articles1
Thomas Franko, Daniel Longyhore. . (2017) Naloxone coverage remains a barrier to use. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 57:6, 740.
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2
Patil Armenian, Kathy T. Vo, Jill Barr-Walker, Kara L. Lynch. . (2017) Fentanyl, fentanyl analogs and novel synthetic opioids: A comprehensive review. Neuropharmacology .
CrossRef
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Diane S. Aschenbrenner. . (2017) Fentanylʼs Role in Opioid Overdose Deaths. AJN, American Journal of Nursing 117:10, 21-23.
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4
Timmy Ho, John A.F. Zupancic, DeWayne M. Pursley, Dmitry Dukhovny. . (2017) Improving Value in Neonatal Intensive Care. Clinics in Perinatology 44:3, 617-625.
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Leana S. Wen, Katherine E. Warren. . (2017) Combatting the opioid epidemic: Baltimore's experience and lessons learned. Journal of Public Health , 1-5.
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6
Dinah P. Applewhite, Susan G. Sherman. . (2017) Applewhite and Sherman Respond. American Journal of Public Health 107:7, e1-e2.
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7
Marcin Chwistek, Matthew Wolf. . (2017) Naloxone for Outpatients at Risk of Opioid Overdose #328. Journal of Palliative Medicine 20:5, 562-563.
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8
Lauren E. Birmingham, Jeffrey A. Nielson. . (2017) An increase in per-patient naloxone requirements in an opioid epidemic. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine .
CrossRef
9
Kelly E. Dunn, Claudia Yepez-Laubach, Paul A. Nuzzo, Michael Fingerhood, Anne Kelly, Suzan Berman, George E. Bigelow. . (2017) Randomized controlled trial of a computerized opioid overdose education intervention. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 173, S39-S47.
CrossRef
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Kate J. Morton, Brianna Harrand, Carly Cloud Floyd, Craig Schaefer, Julie Acosta, Bridget Claire Logan, Karen Clark. . (2017) Pharmacy-based statewide naloxone distribution: A novel ''top-down, bottom-up'' approach. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 57:2, S99-S106.e5.
CrossRef
11
Thomas J. Stopka, Ashley Donahue, Marguerite Hutcheson, Traci C. Green. . (2017) Nonprescription naloxone and syringe sales in the midst of opioid overdose and hepatitis C virus epidemics: Massachusetts, 2015. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 57:2, S34-S44.
CrossRef
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Donna Gate
Donna Brazile: I Considered Replacing Hillary With Joe Biden
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 08:50
Donna Brazile writes in her new book that after Hillary Clinton fell ill with pneumonia in September 2016, she considered replacing the Democratic nominee with Vice-President Joe Biden, the Washington Postreported on Saturday:
In an explosive new memoir, Brazile details widespread dysfunction and dissension throughout the Democratic Party, including secret deliberations over using her powers as interim DNC chair to initiate the removal of Clinton and running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) from the ticket after Clinton's Sept. 11, 2016, collapse in New York City.
Brazile writes that she considered a dozen combinations to replace the nominees and settled on Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), the duo she felt most certain would win over enough working-class voters to defeat Republican Donald Trump. But then, she writes, ''I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.''
On Thursday, Brazile caused a stir when the first excerpt of the book, Hacks, was published on Politico. In it, Brazile wrote that the Democratic National Committee, which she took control of in 2016, had ''rigged'' the primary for Hillary Clinton, in part by instituting a quid pro quo system that would give Clinton full control of the organization. The seemingly explosive claim helped reanimate the acrimonious, seemingly never-quite-ending struggle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders partisans. But NBC News later reported that the joint agreement in question only applied to the general election, a claim that took much of the sting out of Brazile's allegations, since the agreement has been standard operating procedure for many years.
Her Biden deliberation story was more immediately ripe for debunking: The Democratic National Committee chair does not have the power to unilaterally remove a candidate. In the context of what seems to be a pattern of exaggeration, reactions to Saturday's revelations ranged from dismay to comic disbelief.
Brazile's book is full of incendiary commentary, the Post reports. She writes that the entire Clinton campaign carried ''the odor of failure,'' and recounts her personal problems with several top aides, including campaign manager Robby Mook. She writes about an exchange in which she told three campaign officials to stop treating her like ''Patsey the slave,'' a reference to the movie 12 Years a Slave. She calls President Obama, Clinton, and ex''Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz ''three titanic egos'' who had ''stripped the party to a shell for their own purposes.''
Most bizarrely, she writes of fearing for her life after the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer whose death has been the locus of deranged Republican conspiracy theories surrounding WikiLeaks and Hillary Clinton's emails.
Whether Brazile's apparent fabulism will be dismissed as a bookselling stunt or cause any real internecine conflict among Democrats is unclear. But with a pivotal, uncomfortably close gubernatorial election just around the corner in Virginia, one thing's for sure: The timing for a massive distraction for the party could scarcely be worse.
He joins three other Democrats.
The senator was ''blindsided'' by his neighbor, but received only minor injuries. The reason for the attack is not clear.
Many of the immigrants have U.S.-born children and own homes and businesses, and some have lived in the country for decades.
''Considered'' may be doing a lot of work here.
Tell us what you really think.
President Nicolas Maduro might be the only person in Venezuela not losing weight.
And Steve Bannon has (reportedly) convinced a key House Republican to oppose legal status for Dreamers '-- in any bill.
Mark your calendars, tentatively.
Behind the cheesy photo ops and terrifying tweets.
The Trump administration has a few people who disagree.
If John McCain, Susan Collins, and Bob Corker mean what they say, then the House bill will (almost certainly) die in the upper chamber.
Warren's comments about the 2016 primaries being ''rigged'' weren't as provocative as her assertion that the party owes Sanders deference going forward.
Last month, the unemployment rate hit a 16-year low '-- and the president's approval rating fell to 39 percent.
A judge sentenced Bergdahl to a dishonorable discharge but spared him time behind bars.
For a politician still aspiring to take the national stage, how much he wins by '-- and how many people vote '-- does matter.
Normally midterms are a referendum on the president. This president wants the focus to be on his vanquished 2016 opponent.
A bill that reads like it was reverse-engineered from attack ads.
''The saddest thing is that because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department.''
The city is placing concrete barriers at 57 intersections along the bike path.
Donna Brazile Says She "Feared For Her Life" After Seth Rich Was Killed
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:21
Perhaps the most shocking revelation contained in the excerpts from former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile's book was, unsurprisingly, buried in a Washington Post overview of the various allegations (and frankly, we're surprised the Post, given its status as a protector of the Washington establishment, deigned to publish it).
In the aftermath of Wikileaks' decision to publish a cache of emails stolen from the DNC's servers, Donna Brazile says she became increasingly paranoid about both possible Russian efforts to sway the election. Surprisingly, she says top Democrats initially instructed her not to discuss her concerns with others.
But even more than the Russians, Brazile says she feared possible retribution from shadowy elements within the campaign and the Democratic Party who might blame her for the leak. Her fears only intensified, she says, after the mysterious shooting of former campaign staffer Seth Rich, who the authorities said was killed during a robbery, though many so-called conspiracy theorists have speculated about a possible Democratic plot to kill Rich for his role in leaking the stash of DNC emails to Wikileaks. Brazile's anxiety eventually spiraled out of control, to the point where she feared for her own life while serving as interim chairwoman of the DNC.
Brazile describes her mounting anxiety about Russia's theft of emails and other data from DNC servers, the slow process of discovering the full extent of the cyberattacks and the personal fallout. She likens the feeling to having rats in your basement: ''You take measures to get rid of them, but knowing they are there, or have been there, means you never feel truly at peace.''
Brazile writes that she was haunted by the still-unsolved murder of DNC data staffer Seth Rich and feared for her own life, shutting the blinds to her office window so snipers could not see her and installing surveillance cameras at her home. She wonders whether Russians had placed a listening device in plants in the DNC executive suite.
At first, Brazile writes of the hacking, top Democratic officials were ''encouraging us not to talk about it.'' But she says a wake-up moment came when she visited the White House in August 2016, for President Obama's 55th birthday party. National security adviser Susan E. Rice and former attorney general Eric Holder separately pulled her aside quietly to urge her to take the Russian hacking seriously, which she did, she writes.
While she doesn't elaborate on her reasons for suspecting that Rich's death may have been a homicide, just the fact that Brazile says she, too, suspected that something nefarious might've been afoot is reason enough to take a second look at Rich's death. Of course, if it's true that Rich was killed as punishment for leaking the emails, then that would of course invalidata most of the evidence supporting the Russia interference narrative that has been propagated by the Democrats and their partners in the intelligence community.
OPEN LETTER FROM HILLARY FOR AMERICA 2016 TEAM '' Jesse Ferguson '' Medium
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 16:11
We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate's health.
Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time. We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.
The 2016 presidential campaign was unlike any in our history. It was very difficult for our candidates and our staff. We are very proud that throughout the campaign and the aftermath the staff stuck together, worked as a team, and did the best we could for both Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. We did this for the simple reason that we thought Hillary Clinton would make the best President for the country we all love. We have now, as we did throughout the campaign, enormous love and pride for our candidate, Hillary Clinton. She, more than any of us, persevered through an incredibly difficult campaign and her commitment and stamina inspired us every day. We are very proud of the effort she and the campaign made in both the primary and the general election.
The general election loss was devastating for us all and something we live with every day. And while frustrating that the general election vote total did not change the outcome of the election, we remain proud that Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine received nearly 3 million more votes in the general election than their opponents.
Finally, we are pretty tired of people who were not part of our campaign telling the world what it was like to be on the inside of our campaign and how we felt about it. We loved our candidate and each other and it remains our honor to have been part of the effort to make Hillary Clinton the 45th President of the United States.
All Democrats should be doing everything they can'Š'--'Šcanvassing, phone banking, etc.'Š'--'Što help our candidates for Governor of Virginia and New Jersey and the other races around the country next Tuesday.
SIGNERS
Huma Abedin
Lily Adams
Emily Aden
Crist"bal Alex
Meg Ansara
John Anzalone
Charlie Baker
Patrick Bauer
David Binder
Peter Bondi
Michael Brasher
Emily Bromberg
Austin Brown
Matt Compton
Glen Caplin
Yahel Carmon
Tony Carrk
Crystal Carson
Rebecca Chalif
Dennis Cheng
Corey Ciorciari
Thomas Corrigan
Brynne Craig
Leslie Dach
Addisu Demissie
Matt Dover
Katie Dowd
Amy Dudley
Marc Elias
Sterling Elmore
Adrienne Elrod
Brian Fallon
Jesse Ferguson
Amanda Finney
Rob Flaherty
Christina Freundlich
Sophie Friedman
Sarah Galvez
Tyrone Gayle
Teddy Goff
Mandy Grunwald
Mahen Gunaratna
Erika Gudmundson
Greg Hale
Michael Halle
Stephanie Hannon
Anthony Hayes
Sarah Henning
Dylan Hewitt
Tim Hogan
Alex Hornbrook
Anne Hubert
Sarah Jacobs
Maia Johnson
Beth Jones
Grady Keefe
Connolly Keigher
Jennifer Kinon
Barbara Kinney
Ron Klain
Michelle Kleppe
Sierra Lindsey Kos
Ben Krauss
Sarah Krauss
Elan Kriegel
Amanda Kules
Doug Landry
Jean Larsen
Sara Latham
Rebecca Leal
Jesse Lehrich
Ron Lester
Sierra Lindsey
Miryam Lipper
Lori Lodes
Jenna Lowenstein
Marlon Marshall
Jim Margolis
Zerlina Maxwell
Marisa McAuliffe
Jess McIntosh
Ian Mellul
Anthony Mercurio
Nick Merrill
Robby Mook
Navin Nayak
Jennifer Palmieri
Matt Paul
Lauren Peterson
Zac Petkanas
Anna-Lee Pittman
John Podesta
Lorella Praelli
Jacob Priley
Trisha Quan
Elianne Ramos
Noah Reisman
Christina Reynolds
Gabe Rodriguez
Megan Rooney
Jason Rosenbaum
Sylvia Ruiz
Robert Russo
Ian Sams
Carlos Sanchez
Elizabeth Lopez Sandoval
Kristina Schake
Laura Schiller
Adam Schultz
Dan Schwerin
Josh Schwerin
Karuna Seshasai
Vernessa Shih
Oren Shur
Jorge Silva
Samantha Slosberg
Deepa Subramaniam
Jake Sullivan
Kate Stayman-London
Michael Stennis
Heather Stone
Mike Taylor
Mini Timmaraju
Opal Vadhan
Lona Valmoro
Kate Waters
Liz Zaretsky
Julie Zuckerbrod
Fabien Levy
Lyle Del Mar Canceko
Stephanie Formas
Samantha Slosberg
Donte Donald
Sara Solow
Molly Nunez
Mina Markham
Jonathan Murray
Emmy Bengston
Manuelita Duran
Fabien Levy
Francisco Pelayo
Jaclyn Rothenberg
Paul Esker
Valentina Perez
Chris Farley
Julie Wood
Gwen Rocco
Shelley Greenspan
Helen Kalla
Varun Anand
Sarah Pollack
Oliver Chinyere
Mitchell Rivard
Jennifer Kinon
Kate Hansen
Deepa Subramaniam
Ashley Woolheater
Jessalyn Reid
Gabrielle McCaffrey
Emily Samsel
Antoinette Rangel
Daniel Barash
Margit Westerman
Yasmin Wazir
Hana Elhattab
KP Trueblood
Ben Fifield
Maria Cruz Lee
Juliet Spies-Gans
Rachel Cantor
Natasha Lawrence
Rick Fromberg
Nat Thompson
Molly Graepel
Charles Hicks
Vin Giannone
D.J. Koessler
Lisa Millstein
Rafael Noboa y Rivera
David Levine
Evelyn Danforth
Mariam Ehrari
Tom Strong-Grinsell
Lisa Vedernikova
Sarah Hasenfuss
Michael Billotti
Jack Davis
Nicole Michaelis
Alessandra Biaggi
Nathaniel Koloc
Dan Drabik
Nichole Sessego
Jessica Ybarra
Jenn Chang
Gita Tiku
Eddie A. Taveras
Ashley Beale
Laurel Ruza
Taylor Salditch
Olivia Raisner
Vanessa Archambault
Greg Guti(C)rrez
Angelo Salomon
Osi Imeokparia
Jon Adrabi
Mike Smith
Angelique Cannon
Lindsay Roitman
Kathy Gasperine
Yal Ouzillou
Marcus Switzer
Stephanie Smith
Jeremy Massey
Ashley Burns
Shawn Davis
Cara Ortiz
Katy-Ann Searcy
Rich Vickers
Alex Wall
Shut Up Slave!
Now, Silicon Valley Is Totally Cool With a Bill That Could Ruin the Internet
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 08:46
Photo: GettySilicon Valley has decided to throw its support behind the so-called Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA) that is sure to have enormously damaging consequences for the internet. Previously, most big tech giants opposed the legislation. But this week, Congress started intimating that they might need to bring more regulations to tame the online beast. And suddenly, that one bill wasn't looking so bad.
The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA) is one of those bills that presumably has good intentions, but its execution would come with unintended consequences. No business wants to enable or be perceived as enabling sex trafficking. But the major players in Silicon Valley like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter all voiced their opposition to the legislation under the cover of the Internet Association back in August. On Friday, they changed their minds.
In a statement, Internet Association President & CEO Michael Beckerman wrote:
Internet Association is committed to combating sexual exploitation and sex trafficking online and supports SESTA. Important changes made to SESTA will grant victims the ability to secure the justice they deserve, allow internet platforms to continue their work combating human trafficking, and protect good actors in the ecosystem.
Beckerman went on to praise certain senators by name and say that the Internet Association can't wait to spend time working with them in fighting exploitation. He did not specify what ''important changes'' were made to the bill that caused the Internet Association to change its mind. When Gizmodo spoke to a spokesperson for the organization on the phone, they told us they wouldn't be issuing any further comments beyond their statement at this time. (You can see the full text of the amended version of SESTA here.)
SESTA was inspired in part by the case of Backpage.com in which executives of the site were arrested on charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping. It's a complicated case that has had ripple effects, but the most important thing to know is that Backpage's ''adult'' section was being used for prostitution. Backpage operated under the presumption that it would be protected from liability for what users put on its site by what's commonly known as ''Section 230.'' That law is the reason that so many websites and social media platforms can operate the way they do. With some exceptions, Section 230 allows a site like YouTube to avoid legal responsibility for content created by others. It's difficult to overstate how important the law is to the way the internet operates, and it provides a lot of breathing room for innovation.
In short, SESTA is a sloppily written attempt to weaken some of Section 230 to allow victims of sex trafficking to sue a website that supports or otherwise assists in the act in any way whatsoever. It would also open online companies up to state criminal prosecutions for user-generated content.
When its first version appeared in August, the Internet Association along with other trade groups protested its proposals because they understood it was opening up online companies to extreme liabilities for practically anything that was uploaded to their services. Not only would they have to defend themselves through costly legal processes for content that was uploaded, they'd likely have to engage in mass removals of legitimate content in the interest of playing it safe. The way the bill was written made it difficult for them to even self-monitor the content on their sites because to do so would mean that they are ''knowingly'' hosting illegal content. It was a catch-22 situation that would be difficult and transformative for major corporations, and almost impossible for new companies with limited funds.
Legal scholars and internet freedom activists chimed in with their own analysis and everyone concluded that this bill could be ruinous for the world wide web. On one hand, broad overreach by sites attempting to limit their liability would be bad. On the other hand, many sites would back off the moderating they already perform out of fear that they would create legal proof that their platform was being used for unintended nefarious purposes.
The Internet Association's reversal on its position regarding SESTA came just hours after Senator John Thune introduced an amended version of the bill on Friday. Among the alterations that were proposed, the language, ''The term 'participation in a venture' means knowing conduct by an individual or entity, by any means, that assists, supports, or facilitates a violation,'' was changed to read, ''The term 'participation in a venture' means knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating a violation.'' The new language is a little more specific in its definition and removes the ''by any means'' wording that would certainly trigger a deluge of legal action.
But the Electronic Freedom Foundation quickly pointed out that the amendments change very little. In a blog post, an EFF legal representative writes:
As we explained [before], the words ''assist, support, or facilitate'' are extremely vague and broad. Courts have interpreted ''facilitate'' in the criminal context simply to mean ''to make easier or less difficult.'' A huge swath of innocuous intermediary products and services would fall within these newly prohibited activities, given that online platforms by their very nature make communicating and publishing ''easier or less difficult.''
Additionally, both Sen. Thune's bill and the current SESTA language oddly place this new liability within a new definition of ''participation in a venture.'' Importantly, this would do nothing to change the existing state-of-mind standard in the last paragraph of Section 1591(a), which provides that sex trafficking liability attaches when an individual or entity acts in reckless disregard of the fact that sex trafficking is happening. This means that online platforms would be criminally liable when they do not actually know that sex trafficking is going on'--much less intend to assist in sex trafficking.
Among other things, the EFF also takes issue with the retroactivity provision that's present in both bills. Not only would it hold companies legally responsible for any sort of promotion of sex trafficking on their platforms that occurred before the bill was passed, but because of its implications regarding due process, it's unclear if the bill would even be legally viable in the long run. Other internet activists have echoed the EFF's concerns.
So, if the Thune amendments don't solve SESTA's problems, why is the Internet Association (meaning all of the big tech companies) suddenly throwing its support behind the bill?
Well, the biggest thing that changed this week is that lawyers for Twitter, Facebook, and Google appeared before Congress in three separate sessions to talk about those companies' facilitation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and ongoing issues of online harassment. As usual, Silicon Valley wasn't exactly upfront about accepting any responsibility or admitting that its products have a problem. This didn't fly with some senators. At one point, Senator Diane Feinstein told the tech giant stand-ins:
You're general counsels. You defend your company. What we're talking about is cataclysmic change. What we're talking about is the beginning of cyber-warfare. What we're talking about is a major foreign power with the sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sow conflict and discontent all over the country'...
We are not going away, gentlemen...
Because you bear responsibility. You created the platforms '... and now they're being misused. And you have to be the ones who do something about it '' or we will.
Corporate giants like Apple and Microsoft know that they probably have the resources to fight through the troubles that SESTA would likely bring, even though the smaller guys don't. They also know that Congress doesn't know very much about technology and legislation like this is primarily designed to project an appearance of doing something about a problem. Congress needs to show it's doing something, there's a steady anti-tech drumbeat, and misguided regulations are looking more inevitable.
In all likelihood, the Internet Alliance sees SESTA as a chance of showing politicians that it's cooperating and hopefully legislators will get distracted by the next shiny object that comes along. The very fact that more senators continue to sign on to sponsor this bill, despite being told by experts of every stripe that it's bad, thoroughly demonstrates that these lawmakers aren't taking their job seriously. Silicon Valley's refusal to own up to its failures and just show some progress in addressing those failures demonstrates that it's not taking its responsibilities seriously either. So what we're left with is all parties accepting a calamitous piece of legislation that's purportedly aimed at addressing an issue that everyone agrees is bad, in an effort to go home and call the internet fixed. Our political representatives and our corporate overlords are all too happy to work together in being completely ineffective.
[Reuters, New York Times]
SJW BLM LGBBTQQIAAP
Womb transplants could allow men to have babies 'tomorrow', claims expert
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 15:21
WOMB transplants could allow men to have babies ''tomorrow'', an expert claims.
They would not be able to deliver the baby naturally, but could give birth by cesarean.
Richard Paulson says men could men could carry babiesRichard Paulson, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said eight children had already been born to women after transplants.
And he told a meeting in San Antonio, Texas: ''There's plenty of room to put a uterus in there. Men and women have the same blood vessels.''
He said the next step would to be trials involving transgender women to help them become natural mothers.
Such ops are not allowed in the UK. However, medical ethics lawyer Dr Amel Alghrani joined calls this year for the NHS to consider them.
Getty - Contributor
Although these ops are not allowed in the UK, medical ethics lawyer Dr Amel Alghrani has joined calls this year for the NHS to consider themLast night critics said transgender women may want to think of safer options first '-- such as using a surrogate. Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University, said the safety of the baby should be the priority.
He added: ''It it is hard to justify from the perspective of using NHS health resources, or from the child's own perspective.''
Docs hope to perform the first UK womb transplant in 2018.
In 2014 a Swede gave birth after receiving a uterus from a living donor.
SEX CLUESThis is how much sex you SHOULD be having... according to your age
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ALWAYS THE REAL THINGFrom your weight to your ticker, we pit Coke against Diet Coke - and find they're AS bad as each other
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EXCLUSIVE: DNC Official Says She Doesn't Want To Recruit 'Cisgender Straight White Males' | Daily Wire
Thu, 02 Nov 2017 14:58
Employees within the Democratic National Committee are looking for new employees in the Technology Department. However, the DNC is apparently not interested in your resume if you happen to be a white male.
In an email issued to DNC insiders on Monday, Data Services manager Madeleine Leader announced that the Technology Department is looking to fill several positions and asked interested parties to forward the openings to their colleagues.
She included the following caveat:
I personally would prefer that you not forward to cisgender straight white males, since they're already in the majority.
In response to this email, an anonymous DNC source told The Daily Wire the following:
Clearly the DNC is doubling down on a failed strategy that has alienated staffers and voters alike. We want to be judged based on the quality of our work, not on identity politics. How can we trust the leadership of the DNC if they don't even trust us?
The Daily Wire contacted Ms. Leader about the contents of her email, but she declined to comment.
After the latest scandals to plague the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election, the new leadership under Tom Perez and Keith Ellison (D-MN) seek to rebrand the party as a more inclusive and welcoming community. Unfortunately, this email doesn't exactly help their case.
Follow Elliott on Twitter and Facebook.
Anti-Discrimination Laws Apply to Democrats Who Believe in White Privilege, Too | Intellectual Takeout
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:38
A Democratic National Committee manager probably broke federal law by stating in an email 'cisgender straight white males' need not apply.
Regardless of how one feels about the theory of white privilege, it's still, for now, just that: a theory.
Anti-discrimination laws, on the other hand, are very real. Someone perhaps should remind Madeleine Leader of this fact. Leader, the Democratic National Committee Data Services Manager, reportedly made what is likely a very illegal request in an email related to the hiring of new IT staff for the DNC.
As first reported by the Daily Wire, Leader stated to colleagues that she ''would prefer that you not forward to cisgender straight white males, since they're already in the majority.''
Can a hiring manager legally make such a statement in an official capacity? Probably not, writes Suzanne Lucas at INC.
"So, here's the thing: You can't do this. Not legally, anyway'...
You can say we want to have a diverse staff, but you can't single out a group that you don't wish to hire. Legally, how affirmative action is supposed to work is that if you have two equally qualified candidate then you can give the job to the person from the minority group. It doesn't mean you don't consider straight, white males."
Legality aside, it seems like many progressives believe excluding "cisgender white males" is a morally correct action. After all, if white males truly are the oppressor class, wouldn't it be legitimate to discriminate against them?
Such questions are at the heart of modern politics and the source of much of the discord in America today.
The divide over this idea is evidenced by the fact that, as of Wednesday morning, not a single major network or newspaper had touched this juicy story--which involves overt racial discrimination and possible illegality on the part of a hiring manager working for a major political party. (Right wing media, on the other hand, have been all over it.)
All of this raises one important question: Do Americans wish to live in a country that strives to treat people equally, or one in which everyone has equal outcomes?
Everything You Know About Higher Education Is Wrong | HuffPost
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:10
Everything you know about higher education is wrong. Yes, you've read that correctly. This is not by accident. There has been a well funded and politicized movement to discredit institutions of higher education for years as part of a larger project to ''help conservatives control the branches of state governments and alter state policy to lower taxes, shrink government and attack labor unions.'' And it's working. What is the answer? Stop falling for it. Stop believing these myths. Reinvest in public education. Stop viewing public employees as your enemy. Let's start with the top fallacies dominating the narrative, as well as how Wisconsin serves as a useful case study for understanding how the dismantling of public education has happened:
Myth 1) Faculty salaries are responsible for rising tuition costs
Public perception of faculty salaries is often inaccurate, misquoted, and leaves people wondering what faculty members are complaining about. Salaries that are reported often quote the highest salary of a full professor at a large research institution '' a very small fraction of the norm. In Wisconsin, we are currently undergoing a massive restructuring which has received extensive media coverage. A news story by Steven Walters is a recent example of faculty salary misinformation, ''Why Cross wants universities, two-year colleges to merge.'' Walters states, ''A Legislative Fiscal Bureau summary said professors on four-year campuses were paid an average of $129,500 per year in 2015-16 '-- double the $62,300 paid the typical professor on a two-year campus.'' When reviewing the Bureau's report (pg. 34), Walters quoted the four-year figure for a full professor at UW-Madison '-- the highest ranking faculty member at the most highly compensated institution. The $129,500 per year salary is not even close to the average of most full professors at 4-year campuses. If you were to average the salary, you would have to average all three professor ranks '• Assistant, Associate, and Full '• at all campuses (these figures do not include the salaries of instructors or adjuncts who teach courses on more limited term contracts and are not included in the data collected in the Bureau's table). The average is $68,659. Even that average is laughable because many faculty at both the two-year and four-year institutions are easily $10,000-18,000 below that average, even at the highest level of professorship.
According to a report from the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social-science organization whose researchers analyze college finances ''faculty salaries were 'essentially flat' from 2000 to 2012.'' In addition, though state funding has declined, many universities have increased administrative services. As Scott Carlson notes, ''new administrative positions'--particularly in student services'--drove a 28-percent expansion of the higher-ed work force from 2000 to 2012'' and ''the number of full-time faculty and staff members per professional or managerial administrator has declined 40 percent, to around 2.5 to 1.'' At Cal State, the university system increased its hiring of managers at a steeper rate than its hiring of other employees over the past 10 years.
In my own institution, starting salaries of a professor with a Ph.D. remain at $43,000 and have stagnated. The highest paid professor with a Ph.D. at UW-Marshfield/Wood County, after 23 years of experience and service to our campus, makes $65,521.00. Most of my colleagues have second jobs, some at other institutions and others in any part-time job available. Several who work full-time on my campus and at other institutions are eligible for food stamps and reduced priced lunch programs for their children. They live paycheck to paycheck, working as line cooks and waitresses. They continue to pay off student loans and will do so for the next 25+ years at our rate of pay. These instructors do this work because they believe in the mission of public higher education, because they love to teach and receive tremendous satisfaction from it, and because they are committed to the communities and colleagues the work with.
Myth 2) Tenured professors cannot be fired and have ''jobs for life''
This is a widespread misunderstanding in part because tenure looks different in higher education than it does in K-12 education. In colleges and universities, tenure review is a process that takes place over six years, with tenure awarded competitively after a lengthy vetting of both quality and quantity of scholarly productivity and quality of teaching performance. What tenure provides is not a job for life per se (there have always been processes in place to lay off faculty in case of fiscal emergencies or to fire faculty for just cause '• flagrant violations of university policy or dereliction of duty). For a university to function effectively and best serve students, it is important to have a stable foundation of faculty who maintain academic programs, advise students, and serve the institution to improve its quality, to implement new initiatives, and to assess its effectiveness, none of which are part of the job description of part-time, adjunct, or 'contract' faculty who work off the tenure track. Tenure maintains that foundation of faculty personnel who have made the same level of commitment to the institution that it has made to them. What does that mean? It means tenure protections are incredibly important, but no one is immune from termination. Having tenure does not protect one from being laid off especially if they don't continue to excel in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. Tenured professors get fired every year for legitimate reasons. Others get fired for illegitimate reasons. But the idea that it is ''impossible'' to fire a tenured faculty member is just patently false.
Wisconsin was the only state that had job protections for tenured faculty written into state statutes, a primary reason faculty found UW System campuses a desirable place despite comparatively low salaries. However, in 2015, substantive changes were made to tenure and shared governance. As Eric Kelderman notes, ''In addition to eliminating tenure from state laws, the legislative committee approved a measure that would allow the university to lay off tenured faculty members without declaring financial exigency '-- for example, when the university discontinued an academic program.''
Now, just a year after the decision from the board, under the guise of ''institutional restructuring,'' any tenured faculty may be fired and let go. We saw this happen this year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in an initial proposal to restructure the Department of Geography and Geology with limit input from the faculty in the program or who are elected to governance positions charged with maintaining the institution's academic program. Though it seems as though this proposal is temporarily off the table, the fact it was considered is cause for alarm.
In addition, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, a small (about 3000 students), rural, northern Wisconsin campus, is also suspending 25 programs (options to major or minor in particular fields). As one professor of history wrote, critiquing this change, ''Though program 'discontinuation' requires a prolonged trip through governance, a chancellor can unilaterally announce a program's 'suspension,' which seems to mean that the program remains officially on the books but cannot admit new students. So in a couple of years, once the prolonged trip through governance ends, faculty layoffs will ensue immediately, since there will be no more majors left to serve (otherwise, if a program is discontinued with students still enrolled, the university must continue to offer them the courses they need until they graduate).''
Further, the massive restructuring that will absorb the institution of the University of Wisconsin Colleges'--the two year, transfer campuses of the system'--into comprehensive universities as ''branch campuses'' has the potential to contribute to program closures, faculty and staff layoff, and curricular elimination if courses are not presently offered by the four-year campus.
Myth 3) Faculty pensions and benefits are bankrupting state economies
Pension is deferred compensation, and is 100 percent funded by money earned by the person benefiting. It's not a freebie. Employer-subsidized health insurance is a standard benefit for employees of large companies. The level of total compensation for educators is quite a bit less than those with comparable education, training, and credentials receive in the private sector. And employees of private corporations don't have to dip into their own pocket for supplies they need do their jobs. In addition, many private sector employees also benefit from matched contributions to a retirement account, bonuses, and paid vacation time. Wisconsin has the most solvent pension system in the country.
Myth 4) Freezing tuition is inherently good
On the surface, of course low tuition sounds great for students. When millions of dollars were cut from the University of Wisconsin System, many universities had to get creative with ways of finding tuition dollars. When the state cuts funding and the school's only source of income is tuition, the school has no other way to generate revenue, especially if the school does not have another source of funding like out-of-state students, international students, or housing and other fees. Faculty also want to keep tuition low, but only if the government and states makeup for that cost difference. And, in Wisconsin and in other states, the state simply has not funded the tuition freeze it has put into place for years. Legislators can argue politically that they've managed to keep costs down for students, but without funding the tuition freeze, they've actually made it harder for students to graduate on time and get the support services they most need. Individual institutions subsequently have to reduce costs somewhere'•and that is often through cutting courses, increasing class sizes, hiring fewer instructors and staff (like advisors, IT help, or financial aid counseling), and reducing offices and support services that provide co-curricular and academic services.
State support for education has decreased precipitously under Republican and Democratic governors alike'--and Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that has not restored public funding for higher education to the level it was before 2009. Instead, year after year, we've seen more cuts. When my students' parents went to college in Wisconsin, they were only responsible for 20 percent of the bill, and the state covered the rest. Last year, my students covered 70 percent of the bill themselves. Now, students and their tuition dollars cover roughly 80 percent.
Think of it this way: Imagine if it cost $100 in the 1960s to run a UW institution. The state, through taxpayer dollars, funded $50 of the total $100 cost. The institution would then have to raise tuition to come up with that other $50. Now, though it costs far more to run an institution, the state is only willing to provide $20. How does the institution make up for that difference? By raising tuition. What happens when the government freezes tuition but doesn't make up for the loss of those dollars? The institution is forced to cut vital services for students.
Over the years, campuses have had to come up with creative ways to find additional funding, and, as Noel Radomski has argued ''unlike the comprehensive and doctoral campuses, the UW Colleges cannot raise tuition revenue by increasing the number of non-resident and international undergraduates and graduate/professional students. Non-resident undergraduate students make up only a tiny percentage of UW Colleges' enrollment. The UW Colleges do not offer graduate programs. City, county, and state elected officials view international students as outside the scope of the UW Colleges mission '• these campuses are a destination for place-bound students to complete their college education at reduced cost in their local communities.'' Because tuition is ''soft money'' that fluctuates depending on enrollment numbers, this also means that institutions cannot count on it to fund their base obligations'•including committed and invested permanent faculty and staff (tenure-line faculty and indefinite contract staff like library directors or student services coordinators). These, ultimately, degrade the overall quality of what an institution can provide to its students in all corners of its operations.
In the state of Wisconsin, the UW Colleges, for example, has had to therefore make some of the deepest cuts due to its inability to raise funds lost by the tuition funding and state support. In the 2013/15 biennium budget, UW-Marshfield/Wood County (one of the two-year transfer campus) reduced its budget by $76,633. In 2014, the UW Colleges cut $2.3 million, and positions were eliminated. We then took a $6.7 million cut '-- about 2.5 times the previous cut, which meant more layoffs and even fewer resources for students. Tuition would never be as high as it is currently had the state continued to fund public higher education consistently throughout the years. Students are paying more and more for fewer services and course options because tuition is subsidizing the cost of instruction rather than state support.
We have already restructured significantly and this has not done much to help with enrollments. In reality, decline in state support and tuition freezes have forced universities to cut vital services for students like advising, mental health counseling, tutoring services, and areas of support where students need them most.
How did state funding decrease so much over time?
The word ''taxes,'' has become synonymous with something Americans need to be ''relieved from'' since the phrase ''tax relief'' was first invented '• yes invented '• by the same people who decided it would be wise to start using the phrase ''climate change'' instead of ''global warming'' because it sounded more benign; by the same people who figured out more Americans would oppose the ''estate tax'' if it were relabeled the ''death tax'' because that sounded far more insidious. Language is powerful '• so powerful that we no longer see the constructedness of these labels '• they're just a given. We see taxation as an affliction or burden and since there is no established frame or language that discusses taxes as an investment or a public good, we default to the idea that tax cuts *are* good '• no matter how paltry or insignificant.
So when Governor Scott Walker claimed he would hold true to his promised property tax cut that would amount to $10 over the next two years for the owner of a median-valued home, a savings of $5 a year for Wisconsin homeowners who meet this criteria, he made the mistake of including the actual dollar amount. When we hear we're getting a tax break or a tax cut, the average citizen assumes they're going to be saving hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. In this instance, many pounced on the idea that the dollar amount was so low, and that the cuts proposed were so deep, they'd gladly give back those five dollars if it meant saving jobs, keeping the UW System intact, and if it meant not having to make cuts to programs around the state.
And, when universities are no longer seen as a ''public good,'' and instead a private and individual investment intended to increase the earning potential of a single person rather than support and advance civic engagement, it's easier for taxpayers to not want to invest. How else do legislators convince citizens that public universities are not worthy of investment? Republican legislators can paint them as bastions of liberal indoctrination and point to manufactured, republican funded ''free speech'' crises. Which brings us to our next point:
Myth 5) There is an overwhelming free speech crisis on college campuses
The ''myth of the liberal campus'' narrative presumes two things 1) a free speech crisis actually exists and 2) that the cause of the crisis is ''overly triggered'' student activists. In reality, conservatives have orchestrated and funded events on campuses to portray higher education as unstable, worthless, and discriminatory towards conservative ideas. Why? To convince the general public to divest in higher education. As Chris Ladd notes, ''Having lost the battle of persuasion, and largely swept from the campus environment, right wing speakers have to be foisted onto universities from the outside. When characters like Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Charles Murray appear on campus, their appearances are funded by extremist donors and their events are orchestrated by outside groups. Finding students among the organizers, attendees, protestors, or counter-protestors is a challenge. This is theater and the university is a prop.'' As this op-ed written by members of the Berkeley Faculty Association Board notes,
The entire right-wing spectacle at UC Berkeley must be seen within this larger context of a long-running war upon public higher education. Its aspects include reducing its tax base, discrediting scientists whose climate-change findings lend support to government regulation of polluting industries, and a culture war upon desegregated communities of learning. Quality mass higher education, intellectually rigorous research and the embrace of diversity are the hallmarks of a public university's service to democracy ... From a public relations perspective, accepting the terms of a right-wing narrative about supposedly illiberal campuses by bending over backwards to subsidize an already well-financed right-wing assault on the university may do more to confirm the erroneous claims of that narrative than to change them. That narrative has become a crucial element in the arsenal of weapons used to attack our democracy. Make no mistake: the groups that attack transgender people, Muslims, people of color, women, legal immigrants as well as undocumented students, are also those that attack science, and feel no obligation to hold their views to academic standards of evidence or coherence. We, therefore, urge the administration to creatively and courageously confront the way free speech is being deployed against our academic freedom, and'--in deciding what can take place on our campus '-- to prioritize the conditions that enable teaching and research.
There is no crisis. There is, however, an effort to convince citizens this crisis exists to yet again justify divestment in public education.
Myth 6) But states are broke! We can't afford to fund public higher education!
None of the cuts over the past few years needed to happen. Wisconsin faced a $2.2 billion budget hole for 2015-17 because of $2 billion in tax cuts since 2011. Many simply accepted as fact that ''cuts need to be made to balance the state's budget.'' What doesn't get included in the conversation is the fact that our representatives and our governor refused federal funds. If we had accepted the Badgercare Expansion, we'd not only have covered 80,000 more people, but much of this ''crisis'' would have gone away.
''But what happens when the federal government stops paying for the program,'' you ask?
Any state can request a waiver that states that after we no longer receive 100% of the funding from the federal government, we can go back to the current situation and not be on the hook for keeping that specific program going. According to the Henry A. Kaiser Family Foundation,
More states are discussing alternative models through waivers as a politically viable way to implement expansion in order to extend coverage and capture federal dollars ... To date, five states have received approval of a Section 1115 waiver to implement the Medicaid expansion (Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and most recently Indiana).
These waivers allow the states to implement the Medicaid expansion while also giving them time to figure out how they will fund these programs in the future once they no longer receive 100 percent of the funding from the federal government. These waivers allow each state to discontinue the program if there are no state monies to fund that particular program once federal money runs out. Wisconsin citizens have been led to believe that this just simply isn't an option.
This is also reflected in a report from the Wisconsin Budget Project citing, that ''State policymakers could free up $782 million by making three changes: capturing our state's share of the money Wisconsin taxpayers have been sending to Washington for Medicaid expansions; halting the continued phase-in of an ineffective corporate tax break that has mushroomed in cost; and reallocating $211 million that the bill uses for poorly targeted property tax cuts.''
Governor Walker and his Republican counterparts have stated numerous times that they wish faculty spent more time in their classrooms and went so far as to include that language in the most recent budget. He has publicly stated ''Maybe it's time for faculty and staff to start thinking about teaching more classes and doing more work.'' Though the governor and I agree on almost nothing, I will say he and I agree on this: I, too, wish I could spend all of my time focused on my job and my students.
I wish I didn't have to spend time convincing legislators that my colleagues and my students matter.
I wish I didn't have to spend countless hours convincing my fellow citizens to invest in higher education.
I wish I didn't have to fight with my own administrators regarding curricular array, quality, and standards within the framework of dwindling funds.
I wish I could focus all of my energy on lesson plans, research, and ways to make sure students are successful rather than on the bottom line of my institution.
I wish that the leaders of my institution cared about my students as much as I do.
What is the answer? After years of fighting, honestly I don't know anymore. For awhile, I thought I could do enough to convince my fellow citizens to reinvest in public education. I thought, surely, if they had the same information I did, they couldn't possibly continue to vote for legislators who wish to erode these institutions. But that has not happened. For years, my fellow citizens have voted to defund higher education and in turn, made it more difficult for the most vulnerable students in our state to have access to affordable, quality education and a shot at career stability and success. I don't know if I will ever be able to convince conservative voters to realize funding higher education is in the best interests of all in my state, but I do ask, at the very least, that progressives and liberals stop reiterating these myths. Stop falling for these untruths, and wringing your hands over ''political correctness,'' ''safe spaces,'' ''trigger warnings,'' and ''snowflakes.'' Stop buying into these ideologies. You're not helping, and you're reinforcing dangerous narratives that have been used for decades to dismantle institutions dedicated to training populations to think critically and navigate our worlds with facts, evidence, and reason.
I've been dismantling myths about higher education for years. It would be nice not to have to do this anymore.
The Swamp
Congressional pharmacy has reportedly delivered Alzheimer's drugs to members of Congress - The Boston Globe
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:13
A D.C. pharmacist says his pharmacy has filled prescriptions for ''pretty serious health problems'' for members of Congress, including drugs for Alzheimer's disease, according to a new interview published in STAT news.
The pharmacist, Grubb's Pharmacy owner Mike Kim, made the disclosure as part of a larger story into a perk afforded to lawmakers: Drugs from a community pharmacy are delivered to the office of the Attending Physician, allowing members of Congress to avoid trips to the store.
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''At first it's cool, and then you realize, I'm filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,'' Kim told STAT. ''It makes you kind of sit back and say, 'Wow, they're making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.'''
Those health problems have included things like Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, Kim said, according to STAT.
There has been a renewed interest in recent months about how lawmakers access health care as the Republican-controlled Congress has worked to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Members of Congress and their staffs were required by the Affordable Care Act to purchase health insurance from an exchange set up under the law, according to CNN.
But STAT notes that lawmakers pay just $600 a year for access to the Office of the Attending Physician, and by extension, the deliveries made by Kim's pharmacy.
Vegas Massacre
Flight records indicate a covert helicopter rooftop EXFIL may have taken place just minutes after the massacre
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 10:36
LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) '-- Flight records and information obtained by Intellihub show that at least one assailant may have been extracted via helicopter for a 10:21 p.m. EXFIL from the southwest rooftop of the Delano Hotel just four minutes before Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department helicopter N911WY arrived in the vicinity for the first time since shots were fired at crowd goers attending the Route 91 Harvest Music festival around 10:05 p.m., as the timeline indicates.
Covert helicopter emerges on radar for the first time due south of the Delano Hotel, heading due north. (Screenshot via FlightRadar24.com)Even more disturbing is the fact that the aircraft's transponder was transmitting the call sign ''SWA4119'' which is registered to a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 passenger jet with the tail number ''WN4119.''
Screenshot via FlightRadar24.com)According to the data, SWA4119 was originally scheduled to depart Tulsa (TUL) at 14:10 and arrive in Las Vegas (LAS) at 15:00 but was somehow delayed for over 7-hours giving ''SWA4119'' a new arrival time of 22:22 (10:22 p.m.) which doesn't make sense because the craft was headed north and was too close to the airport to be aligned with any of the runaways.
You see, the aircraft that was displaying ''SWA4119'' between 10:21 and 10:22 p.m., which emerged on radar for the first time at 10:21, absolutely can not be a passenger jet because the actual flight data confirms that the aircraft slowed to a stop then changed its direction abruptly to a due north heading before proceeding to hover over the Delano in a very specific spot for approximately one-minute (i.e. the craft in question was, in fact, a helicopter because jets simply cannot hover or change speed and direction with such intensity.) This means that the operators of the craft were intentionally transmitting a fictitious call sign before going dark (invisible) from radar altogether.
To top it off, the Oct. 1 flight data for Southwest Airlines ''WN4119'' is showing inconsistencies.
The following screen-capture of the the aircraft's flight history shows that ''SWA4119'' landed at 10:22 p.m. at (LAS) despite the fact that a transponder was pinging from the rooftop of the Delano at that exact same time.
Not to mention, the tail number listed for that exact flight is ''N227WN'' and not ''WN4119'' as the transponder was emitting in real-time suggesting that the plane on the tarmac that ''landed'' was ''N227WN'' which is a different aircraft entirely.
Flight history for Southwest Airlines flight WN4119. (Screenshot via FlightRadar24.com)The following image shows the position of where the aircraft was when it was in a solid hover for one-minute.
The red arrow points to the exact location where the helicopter was captured on flight radar hovering between 10:21 and 10:22 p.m. Note that it is directly over the Delano Hotel's southwest rooftop to the foot. (Screenshot via Google Maps)An aerial view of the Delano Hotel reveals the exact EXFIL site, based on FAA data.
Screenshot via Google MapsA more zoomed out view of the area.
Screenshot via Google MapsHere is a bird's eye view.
Screenshot via Google MapsWho did the helicopter extract? We can safely say that it was an extraction because the aircraft's transponder was turned off upon leaving the rooftop, not upon approach (i.e. it was trying to mask its exit from the scene.)
Please contact shepard@intellihub.com if you have any additional information on this matter.
Featured Image: Screenshot via Google Maps(C)2017. INTELLIHUB.COM. All Rights Reserved.Shepard Ambellasis an opinion journalist, analyst, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics (Intellihub.com). Shepard is also known for producing Shade: The Motion Picture (2013) and appearing on Travel Channel's America Declassified (2013). Shepard is a regular contributor to Infowars. Read more from Shep's World. Follow Shep on Facebook. Subscribe to Shep's YouTube channel.Follow @ShepardAmbellas
Why Has The Las Vegas Massacre Disappeared From The News Cycle? | Zero Hedge
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:42
Authored by Jon Hall via Free Market Shooter blog,
It is without a doubt, our news cycle '' in the age of 24/7 constant-connectedness '' moves at a breakneck pace. With so much information and news reaching us, it's easy to become overburdened and burned out on the world around us and the things taking place. It is true, too, that the mainstream media dictates what stays center in the mind of the public and what is allowed to fade awayand be forgotten.It is of the utmost importance we remain aware '' however exhaustive it may be '' of stories that just don't add up.
Enter the Las Vegas shooting; the worst mass-shooting in U.S. history...On October 1, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, which overlooked the festival venue. Paddock's onslaught left 58 dead and 546 injured.
A full month later, and we are still without any answers. Even more worryingly, the Vegas shooting has disappeared from any cable news channel. Even online, discussion over the shooting has all but vanished, save from the more conspiratorial corners of the web.
Here are the facts:The official timeline of the Vegas shooting has changed three times. A week before the attack, Paddock wired $100,000 to an account in the Philippines. Paddock also took cruises to ports in the Middle East.Paddock's laptop was also missing its hard drive when recovered in his hotel room.
Despite a month of being told otherwise, it's now been revealed that police did discharge fire in Paddock's hotel room upon entry'... but why, if Paddock had already killed himself before police breached the room?
Jesus Campos is the security guard who first reportedly found Paddock as he started his killing spree, and was shot in the leg in the process. However, he not only disappeared after scheduling several television interviews, but it's now been revealed Campos reportedly left the country just days after the Vegas shooting.
Why did authorities let Campos leave the country in the middle of an investigation? How did Campos travel unhindered with a gunshot wound in his leg?Not only that, but Campos was said to have been last heard from when he went to a walk-in health clinic'... but a spokesperson for UMC Quick Care '' the facility Campos supposedly went to '' said they had ''heard nothing'' about Campos visiting them.
On top of all of that, Campos only re-emerged to do a fluff, softball interview on Ellen. DeGeneres guides Campos along the interview, essentially framing and explaining the timeline of events so Campos didn't have to. At times, the interview even seems scripted. Don't take my word for that, I implore you to watch and see if you agree:
Plainly, things aren't adding up with the Vegas shooting. Paddock was in an area with extremely heavy surveillance, yet no stills or video of him have been released to the public. No potential motive has been released. Really, no answers to any of the questions that arose in result of the story not adding up have been addressed'... instead, the Vegas massacre has vanished from cable news channels and the public mind.
Another note to add, in just the span of a month, 4 survivors of the Vegas shooting have died. Notably, both Kymberley Suchomel and Danny Contrerasboth publicly claimed there were multiple gunmen the night of the mass shooting. Dennis and Lorraine Carver died after their Mercedes smashed into a metal gate and exploded into flames. Per CNN:
The couple's youngest daughter, 16-year-old Madison Carver, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she heard the crash from her bedroom. When she ran outside and down the street to find out what had happened, she recognized her family's vehicle in flames.
By the time their daughter heard the crash (which only happened about a half mile from the Carver's home) and ran down the road to see what had happened, the car was engulfed in flames'... Much like everything else pertaining to the Vegas shooting, the story just doesn't make sense.
Here we are, a month later '' with exactly what we had immediately in the aftermath of the shooting: nothing.No answers, no coverage, no questions'... nothing.
All of us should be asking many questions '' if only to ourselves '' about why the narrative behind Vegas isn't adding up'...Compare the massacre in Vegas to the terrorist attack that happened yesterday in New York. Within hours, we knew the name of the terrorist, had a picture of him, had his history as a refugee in the U.S. under a ''diversity visa'', and had a note declaring allegiance to ISIS.We have timelines and what the terrorist was doing in the hours, days before the attack'...
'...yet in the case of Stephen Paddock, nothing.
The victims of the Las Vegas shooting '' R.I.P.
We owe it to the victims to not let this simply fade away. We owe it to their memory to ask why the narrative behind the shooting stinks.We owe it to their legacy to question and demand answers from our public representatives when discussion and coverage is being obviously stone-walled. Nary a peep has come from any legacy media concerning Vegas in the past month, and that alone should make you question what's really going on. You don't have to delve into conspiracy theories or hack-witted ideas of a hoax. Merely ask yourself'...
The worst mass-shooting in America yet and seemingly everyone has shrugged their shoulders, thrown up their hands, and declared indifference until the next one.
George Knapp (journalist) - Wikipedia
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 15:35
George Knapp (born April 18, 1952) is an American television investigative journalist, news anchor, and talk radio host. Knapp is recognized with an Edward R. Murrow Award, Peabody Award, and as a recipient of over a dozen Emmys. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
A longtime fixture in Las Vegas media, he works at KLAS-TV[1] and is also a frequent host of the Sunday night/Monday morning Coast To Coast AM syndicated radio show. He is known for his work on anomalous phenomena,[2] which is a frequent topic of the Coast to Coast show. George Knapp hosts Coast to Coast AM on the 3rd and 4th Sundays of the month and sometimes the 5th.
Biography [ edit] Born in Woodbury, New Jersey, Knapp grew up in Northern California and graduated from Franklin High School in Stockton, where he was the senior class president. He earned a bachelor's degree in communication from University of West Georgia and a master's degree in the same field from University of the Pacific. He taught debate and forensics at both the University of the Pacific and University of California, Berkeley.[3]
He moved to Las Vegas in the early 1980s, working first as a cab driver before being hired as an intern and then a news reporter at a PBS station. From there, Knapp was hired as a reporter and news anchor for KLAS. Knapp became known nationally in the late 1980s by reporting the story of Bob Lazar, who claimed to have worked on extraterrestrial UFOs at the secretive Area 51. Due in part to Knapp's discovery of evidence corroborating some of Lazar's claims, Knapp's stories on Lazar were taken more seriously than typical UFO fare.[4] In 1990, Knapp's stories on Lazar earned an "Individual Achievement by a Journalist" award from the United Press International.[1] However, to Knapp's "eternal shame," he also during this era publicized the claims of conspiracy theorist Bill Cooper, whom Knapp came to regard as far less credible than Lazar.[3]
In 1991, Knapp left KLAS to work for Altamira Communications, a public relations firm whose clients included advocates of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository 90 miles (140 km) north of Las Vegas.[5] Knapp was rehired by KLAS-TV in the mid 1990s when he left the public relations firm.
He wrote a regular column titled "Knappster" for the now-defunct alternative newsweeklies Las Vegas Mercury and Las Vegas CityLife.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Knapp worked with the now-defunct group National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS). Founded by Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow, NIDS was charged with scientifically studying unusual phenomena with scientists and funding. Based on his work with NIDS and biochemist Colm Kelleher, Knapp publicized the so-called Skinwalker Ranch in northeast Utah, where strange events are alleged to have occurred.[6][7]
In 2004, Knapp won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a story about vote fraud in Clark County, Nevada.[1] He has also won over a dozen Emmy Awards and several writing awards from the Associated Press.[1]
Knapp and photojournalist Matt Adams were recognized for their work on the investigative series Crossfire: Water, Power and Politics that received a 2008 Peabody Award.[8]
Animal welfare [ edit] George Knapp has been concerned with animal welfare since the beginning of his journalism career. Since hosting occasionally with Coast to Coast AM he hosts an annual animal welfare broadcast concerning issues, the development of law, animal cruelty, and remediation efforts. The 2016 broadcast covered various issues, including horses and trophy hunting noting the almost one year anniversary since the killing of Cecil the lion and the effect the incident was still causing at the date of the show.[9]
References [ edit] ^ abcd George Knapp, I-Team Reporter ^ "UFORC.com NEWS SERVICE: KLAS-TV Reporter - George Knapp to Give Keynote Banquet Speech at 4th UFO Crash Retrieval Conference". Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2008-01-01 . ^ ab 2008 Interview with George Knapp. ^ Wright, Susan (1999). UFO Headquarters: Investigations On Current Extraterrestrial Activity In Area 51, Macmillian, ISBN 979-0-312-97181-6, p. 166-167 ^ Scope Magazine Article on George Knapp, SCOPE Magazine Volume 4, Issue 11, February 1996 Pg. 6-8 ^ Kelleher, Colm & Knapp, George: Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah (Paraview Pocket Books, 2005 ISBN 1-4165-0521-0) ^ Path of the Skinwalker, George Knapp, 28 November 2002 ^ "Eyewitness News I-Team Wins Peabody Award". KLAS-TV. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2 April 2009 . ^ Coast to Coast AM evening broadcast, 18 June 2016. External links [ edit]
Las Vegas police say officer accidentally fired weapon inside gunman's hotel suite - The Washington Post
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 10:07
A Las Vegas police officer responding to the shooting rampage there earlier this month accidentally fired a weapon inside the attacker's suite but did not hit him, according to the county sheriff.
The revelation came as questions continue to surround the Oct. 1 massacre, during which Stephen Paddock, perched in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, fired shots on a country music festival far below. Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more before fatally shooting himself.
One month after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, key details remain a mystery, chief among them: What prompted the attack? Investigators have not publicly disclosed a motive, nor have they said whether Paddock had additional plans or targets.
[ The lives lost in Las Vegas ]
Uncertainty also has swirled around the timeline of what happened the night that Paddock, armed with an arsenal of rifles and a cache of ammunition, opened fire from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Police and the hotel's owner have offered multiple, and at times contradictory, timelines, creating confusion in the days after the attack.
News that an officer fired inside Paddock's suite does not appear to change that timeline again or substantially alter the police account of the shooting, but it is a small additional detail that had previously not been made public.
Joseph Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that an officer inadvertently fired the weapon after officers entered Paddock's suite. The officer was not identified.
''It happened and we're investigating it, just like we do with any officer-involved use of force,'' Lombardo told the newspaper. ''Nobody was struck.''
It was not clear how many rounds the officer fired or when exactly it happened. Las Vegas police did not immediately respond to a request Tuesday for further information about the incident.
[ Invisible wounds of Las Vegas shooting could affect tens of thousands ]
Authorities have said that Paddock fired sustained volleys into the concert crowd for 10 minutes, using devices called ''bump stocks'' that let rifles fire rounds at a rate more akin to automatic weapons.
According to the most recent police timeline, the first shots were fired at 10:05 p.m. Officers arrived on the Mandalay Bay's 32nd floor at 10:17 p.m., two minutes after the gunfire stopped. More officers arrived, clearing nearby rooms and looking for other injured people, and they did not breach Paddock's suite until 11:20 p.m.
They found Paddock dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a gun nearby. It is not clear when he killed himself.
While other shooters targeting public places have left behind bitter manifestos or patterns of troubling behavior that took on heightened significance after their attacks, Paddock did not appear to leave any such sign or trail.
Lombardo, the sheriff, said during a news briefing earlier this month that he was ''frustrated'' by that, saying that Paddock ''purposefully hid his actions leading up to this event and it is difficult for us to find answers for those actions.'' The FBI has said authorities found ''no signs of ideology or affiliations to any groups.''
In an interview with ''60 Minutes,'' the officers who breached Paddock's room said they found an armory that looked akin to ''a gun store,'' with stacks of guns and magazines. They also found wires, monitors and laptops, as authorities said Paddock had set up cameras to monitor approaching police.
[ A husband and wife survived the Las Vegas massacre. They died in a fiery crash two weeks later. ]
Authorities scouring Paddock's life for signs of what was to come have interviewed hundreds of people and pored over electronic devices, but few answers have emerged. Police also have said they are unable to determine why Paddock stopped firing after 10 minutes.
Other details from that night have been muddled. After police first said the security guard, Jesus Campos, was shot during the attack on the music festival, Lombardo later amended that, saying Campos was actually shot six minutes before the mass shooting began. This raised questions about when police were alerted to an active shooter in the Mandalay Bay.
But MGM Resorts, which owns Mandalay Bay, said that timeline was inaccurate and denied that there was any six-minute gap. Following that, Lombardo offered still another timeline, saying there was no six-minute gap after all, while also lamenting the amount of time and attention spent on the timeline.
''Nobody is attempting to hide anything in reference to this investigation,'' Lombardo said during a news briefing on Oct. 13. ''The dynamics and the size of this investigation requires us to go through voluminous amounts of information in order to draw an accurate picture.''
A sign at a makeshift memorial set up for the victims of the shooting rampage. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Further reading:
Las Vegas gunman left behind trail of carnage and clues but no 'clear motive or reason why'
Life after death: A mother mourns for Las Vegas shooting victim through the 24-hour news cycle
Las Vegas shooting victim, struck in the head, wakes from coma and walks
F-Russia
Russian Facebook ads, now publicly released, show sophistication of influence campaign - Chicago Tribune
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 02:26
Lawmakers on Wednesday released a trove of ads that Russian operatives bought on Facebook, providing the fullest picture yet of how foreign actors sought to promote Republican Donald Trump, denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton and divide Americans over some of the nation's most sensitive social issues.
The ads that emerged, a sampling of the 3,000 that Russians bought during the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath, demonstrated in words and images a striking ability to mimic American political discourse at its most fractious. The targeting information also showed a shrewd understanding of how best to use Facebook to find and influence voters most likely to respond to the pitches.
As a group, the ads made visceral appeals to voters concerned about illegal immigration, the declining economic fortunes of coal miners, gun rights, African-American political activism, the rising prominence of Muslims in some U.S. communities and many other issues. Some of the ads, many of which were bought in Russian rubles, also explicitly called for people to attend political rallies amid a campaign season that already was among the most polarizing in recent U.S. history.
They were targeted to many types of Facebook users, including professed gun lovers, fans of Martin Luther King Jr., supporters of Trump, supporters of Clinton, residents of specific states, and Southerners who Facebook's algorithms concluded were interested in "Dixie."
One ad, from a phony group called Donald Trump America, touted a petition to remove Clinton from the presidential ballot, saying "Disavow support for the Clinton political dynasty."
Another ad, from a Russian-controlled group called Heart of Texas, announced a rally to take place May 21, 2016, under the banner of "Stop Islamization of Texas." A separate Russian-controlled group, United Muslims of America, publicized a competing rally to "Save Islamic Knowledge" at the same place and time, prompting two groups to face off in competing demonstrations in Houston '-- a sign of how Russians hoped to turn divisions into open conflict.
This crossover of online influence to real-world consequences was among the issues raised in contentious Capitol Hill hearings Wednesday as lawmakers scolded attorneys for technology companies they said did not do enough to thwart Russian disinformation.
"I don't think you get it," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whose home state includes the headquarters for Facebook, Google and Twitter. "What we're talking about is a cataclysmic change. What we're talking about is the beginning of cyberwarfare. What we're talking about is a major foreign power with sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sow conflict and discontent all over this country. We are not going to go away, gentlemen. And this is a very big deal."
Facebook disclosed in September that it had discovered more than 3,000 ads bought by 470 accounts and pages run by a Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg. All those accounts have now been shut down, and the ads were provided to congressional investigators.
The ads released Wednesday cover only a small part of how the Russians targeted Americans on Facebook and other American-owned social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The biggest impact, several independent researchers have said, was through ordinary free posts by Russian-backed Facebook groups. Those posts reached up to 126 million Americans, Facebook said, far more than the 11.4 million who saw the ads.
These Facebook ads, like several others that had emerged in news reports over the past several weeks, had the apparent goal of needling Americans' cultural sore spots.
"The strategy is to take a crack in our society and turn it into a chasm," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
Those sharp words came on the same day that Facebook reported another surge in profits in its third quarter. The social network earned $4.7 billion, a 79 percent increase from the same period last year.
Addressing the controversy in a letter to investors Wednesday, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that new investments in security would affect the company's bottom line. Facebook said this week it has 10,000 employees and contractors working on safety and security issues and will double that number by the end of 2018.
"We're investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability," he wrote. "Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits."
Three ads from a group called "Stop All Invaders" showed photos of a woman wearing an Islamic religious head-covering, along with calls to action to stop the spread of sharia law. "All face covering should be banned in every state across America!" read one ad that had been shared more than 4,300 times and drummed up 14,000 likes.
Another Facebook ad promoted a "Down With Hillary!" rally in July 2016 outside Clinton's campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. The ad was targeted to Facebook users 18 to 65 years old who had declared interest in Trump or Donald Trump Jr. and lived within 25 miles of New York City.
Yet another ad targeted the other end of the political spectrum with the creation of a "Black Matters" community page, mimicking the language of the popular Black Lives Matter movement.
The Black Matters page featured pictures of African American men killed in high-profile police shootings, including Michael Brown, shot in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police that same year. The ad was targeted to a number of groups, including people who declared an interest in Martin Luther King Jr., BlackNews.com or HuffPost Black Voices.
A similar ad from a group called "Blacktivist" showed a black-and-white photo of militant Black Panthers with the words, "never forget that the Black Panthers, group formed to protect black people from the KKK, was dismantled by us govt but the KKK exists today." It targeted people who had declared on Facebook an interest in African American culture or Malcolm X. It was seen by nearly 300,000 people, according to Facebook data. More than 13,300 people clicked on the ad.
Another ad, also bought by the Heart of Texas group, took particular aim at veterans and others concerned about military issues, saying, "Hillary is the only one politician (except Barack Obama) who is despised by the overwhelming majority of American veterans."
The Russians targeted firearms enthusiasts with its "Defend the 2nd" page, a reference to the Second Amendment guarantee of Americans' right to bear arms.
This ad was targeted to fans of the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America and Guns & Ammo magazine, among others. It was seen by 300,000 people. Nearly 100,000 of them hit a Facebook "like" button signaling support for the page. The promotion cost was 48,305 rubles, less than $900.
Lawmakers also released a list of Twitter account names that were used by Russian operatives. The names seemed designed to sound like those of Americans, both ordinary and prominent, such as 4claireevans, 2lauragibson, and _GeorgeSchultz_.
In Wednesday morning's hearing, Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, cited a free post by a Russian-controlled account called "Army of Jesus" depicting Clinton dressed as Satan, with red horns and boxing gloves, appearing to punch Jesus, who also was wearing boxing gloves, as well as a determined glare as heavenly light appeared above him.
"'LIKE' IF YOU WANT JESUS TO WIN!" the post said, using the terminology of Facebook as it tries to get users to publicly declare their interest in groups, events or products. People who hit "like" buttons on Facebook can later be shown ads related to those subjects.
The group Army of Jesus also bought an ad that featured Jesus and Satan arm-wrestling, quoting the devil saying, "IF I WIN CLINTON WINS!"
Lawyers for Facebook, Google and Twitter all denounced the Russian campaign in the congressional hearings and vowed to keep investigating and sharing what they find. Facebook's general counsel, Colin Stretch, called the Russian effort "vile" and "reprehensible" in various hearings.
The lawyers also repeatedly sought to portray the Russian content as a tiny part of the overall flow on their platforms. But lawmakers from both parties repeatedly sought to make clear how important they considered the online influence campaign.
"This isn't about re-litigating the 2016 U.S. presidential election," said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "This isn't about who won or lost. This is about national security. This is about corporate responsibility. And this is about the deliberate and multifaceted manipulation of the American people by agents of a hostile foreign power."
Many ads were paid for using the Russian payment platform Qiwi, documents from the lawmakers showed. Qiwi is the Russian equivalent of PayPal and has worked with Visa to create a joint virtual card.
Technology lawyer Albert Gidari, director of privacy at the Stanford University Center for Internet and Society, said that in turning over the ads, companies were entering complex legal territory. Ads have long been considered private data on par with email content and other records that the government must have a search warrant to obtain, he said.
That includes ads published by foreign governments or even terrorists. The tech companies, he said, had probably made the calculation in this case that the risk of subjecting themselves to the ire of lawmakers and potential regulation was worse than the risk of being sued by Russians, but the negative consequences of that choice could be felt down the road.
"These are huge mistakes with consequences that far outweigh the benefits because they make us feel better about how Russians interfered in the election," Gidari said. "It turns the platforms into agents of the U.S. government to decide what people should like or not like, read or not read. This is bad policy in the U.S. and even worse abroad."
The Washington Post's Todd C. Frankel and Hamza Shaban contributed to this report.
Twitter's Lawyer Admits Hiding Tweets With '#DNCLeak' And '#PodestaEmails' Hashtags | LawNewz
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 10:41
Twitter admittedly censored large amounts of information referencing Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (''DNC'') published prior to the 2016 presidential election.
In prepared testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism delivered on October 31, Twitter's acting general counsel Sean J. Edgett acknowledged this large scale effort to hide political information by noting, ''Before the election, we'...took action on activity relating to hashtags that have since been reported as manifestations of efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.''
Edgett made a point to reference Twitter's efforts to hide highly-sought after information related to the DNC. He wrote:
With respect to #DNCLeak, approximately 23,000 users posted around 140,000 unique Tweets with that hashtag in the relevant period. Of those Tweets, roughly 2% were from Russian-linked accounts. As noted above, our automated systems at the time detected, labeled, and hid just under half (48%) of all the original Tweets with #DNCLeak.
In total, Twitter is effectively admitting to have hidden roughly 64,000 tweets referencing the leaked DNC emails. The total number of tweets using #DNCLeak from ''Russian-linked accounts'' hidden by Twitter was less than 3,000. According to Edgett's testimony, this process was largely automated and done under the auspices of spam detection.
Edgett also referenced an even larger campaign to block thousands of references to Podesta. He wrote of that effort:
In the two months preceding the election, around 57,000 users posted approximately 426,000 unique Tweets containing variations of the #PodestaEmails hashtag. Approximately one quarter (25%) of those Tweets received internal tags from our automation detection systems that hid them from searches.
In sum, Twitter's censorship of Podesta-related information blocked users from viewing roughly 106,000 tweets with the #PodestaEmails hashtag. Edgett attributes Twitter's reasoning for hiding the Podeta-related tweets from Twitter users simply by reference to the source of their publication: Wikileaks.
Edgett's testimony continues, ''The core of the hashtag was propagated by Wikileaks, whose account sent out a series of 118 original Tweets containing variants on the hashtag #PodestaEmails referencing the daily installments of the emails released on the Wikileaks website.''
Wikileaks began publishing their series, ''The Podesta Emails'' in October 2016 and continued to release the documents until the November 8 election. The leaked DNC emails were published by Wikileaks on July 22, 2016''a few days prior to the beginning of the Democratic National Committee''as part of their ''Hillary Leaks'' series.
The release of the DNC emails is attributed to the resignation of former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz''due to allegations that she and other allies of Hillary Clinton ''rigged'' the 2016 Democratic primary in Clinton's favor and to the detriment of independent socialist candidate Bernie Sanders.
Allegations of untoward behavior by the DNC resurfaced this morning after former DNC interim-chair Donna Brazile wrote a tell-all piece in Politico detailing the allegations of anti-Sanders collusion by top Democrats close to and including Hillary Clinton.
[image via Shutterstock.com/LawNewz]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher
Planned Parenthood hired Fusion GPS to discredit Daleiden hidden-camera videos - Washington Times
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 04:15
The same firm that produced the dossier about President Trump was retained by Planned Parenthood to discredit the undercover videos accusing the abortion giant of profiting from the sale of fetal body parts.
A ''forensic analysis'' conducted by Fusion GPS in 2015 found that the Center for Medical Progress videos ''do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict.''
In light of the Trump dossier, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said the Fusion GPS report is not credible.
''It is no surprise that Planned Parenthood hired Fusion GPS to create a fake report,'' Mr. Staver said in a statement. ''Fusion GPS is the same company hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to produce fake news.''
The Fusion GPS report was quoted approvingly in the media at the time as evidence that the Center for Medical Progress videos are ''edited.'' The firm's own report, however, found no ''substantive video editing'' or ''evidence of audio manipulation.''
David Daleiden, lead investigator at the Center for Medical Progress, denounced the Fusion GPS report when it was released Aug. 27, pointing out that the firm is not qualified to conduct a forensic analysis.
''In reality, the report is a pseudoscientific production by Fusion GPS, a political opposition-research company that has no forensic certifications,'' Mr. Daleiden said at the time.
The Center for Medical Progress retained Coalfire, a leading digital forensic analysis firm, to show that the undercover videos are ''authentic and show no evidence of manipulation.''
The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign helped pay for the salacious dossier that contained allegations about Mr. Trump's connection to Russia.
The House intelligence committee is investigating how much the dossier has influenced federal investigations about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Lawmakers struck a deal with Fusion GPS over the weekend that will allow them to access some of the firm's financial records.
In an appearance Wednesday on Comedy Central's ''The Daily Show,'' Mrs. Clinton defended the dossier as standard opposition research.
''It's part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try make sure anything you put out in public arena is accurate,'' she said. ''So this thing didn't come out until after the election and it's still being evaluated.''
Inside story: How Russians hacked the Democrats' emails
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 13:34
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- It was just before noon in Moscow on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious messages hit the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The first 29 phishing emails were almost all misfires. Addressed to people who worked for Clinton during her first presidential run, the messages bounced back untouched.
Except one.
Within nine days, some of the campaign's most consequential secrets would be in the hackers' hands, part of a massive operation aimed at vacuuming up millions of messages from thousands of inboxes across the world.
An Associated Press investigation into the digital break-ins that disrupted the U.S. presidential contest has sketched out an anatomy of the hack that led to months of damaging disclosures about the Democratic Party's nominee. It wasn't just a few aides that the hackers went after; it was an all-out blitz across the Democratic Party. They tried to compromise Clinton's inner circle and more than 130 party employees, supporters and contractors.
While U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the email thefts, the AP drew on forensic data to report Thursday that the hackers known as Fancy Bear were closely aligned with the interests of the Russian government.
The AP's reconstruction'-- based on a database of 19,000 malicious links recently shared by cybersecurity firm Secureworks '-- shows how the hackers worked their way around the Clinton campaign's top-of-the-line digital security to steal chairman John Podesta's emails in March 2016.
It also helps explain how a Russian-linked intermediary could boast to a Trump policy adviser, a month later, that the Kremlin had "thousands of emails" worth of dirt on Clinton.
____
PHISHING FOR VICTIMS
The rogue messages that first flew across the internet March 10 were dressed up to look like they came from Google, the company that provided the Clinton campaign's email infrastructure. The messages urged users to boost their security or change their passwords while in fact steering them toward decoy websites designed to collect their credentials.
One of the first people targeted was Rahul Sreenivasan, who had worked as a Clinton organizer in Texas in 2008 '-- his first paid job in politics. Sreenivasan, now a legislative staffer in Austin, was dumbfounded when told by the AP that hackers had tried to break into his 2008 email '-- an address he said had been dead for nearly a decade.
"They probably crawled the internet for this stuff," he said.
Almost everyone else targeted in the initial wave was, like Sreenivasan, a 2008 staffer whose defunct email address had somehow lingered online.
But one email made its way to the account of another staffer who'd worked for Clinton in 2008 and joined again in 2016, the AP found. It's possible the hackers broke in and stole her contacts; the data shows the phishing links sent to her were clicked several times.
Secureworks' data reveals when phishing links were created and indicates whether they were clicked. But it doesn't show whether people entered their passwords.
Within hours of a second volley emailed March 11, the hackers hit pay dirt. All of a sudden, they were sending links aimed at senior Clinton officials' nonpublic 2016 addresses, including those belonging to longtime Clinton aide Robert Russo and campaign chairman John Podesta.
The Clinton campaign was no easy target; several former employees said the organization put particular stress on digital safety.
Work emails were protected by two-factor authentication, a technique that uses a second passcode to keep accounts secure. Most messages were deleted after 30 days and staff went through phishing drills. Security awareness even followed the campaigners into the bathroom, where someone put a picture of a toothbrush under the words: "You shouldn't share your passwords either."
Two-factor authentication may have slowed the hackers, but it didn't stop them. After repeated attempts to break into various staffers' hillaryclinton.com accounts, the hackers turned to the personal Gmail addresses. It was there on March 19 that they targeted top Clinton lieutenants '-- including campaign manager Robby Mook, senior adviser Jake Sullivan and political fixer Philippe Reines.
A malicious link was generated for Podesta at 11:28 a.m. Moscow time, the AP found. Documents subsequently published by WikiLeaks show that the rogue email arrived in his inbox six minutes later. The link was clicked twice.
Podesta's messages '-- at least 50,000 of them '-- were in the hackers' hands.
___
A SERIOUS BREACH
Though the heart of the campaign was now compromised, the hacking efforts continued. Three new volleys of malicious messages were generated on the 22nd, 23rd and 25th of March, targeting communications director Jennifer Palmieri and Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, among others.
The torrent of phishing emails caught the attention of the FBI, which had spent the previous six months urging the Democratic National Committee in Washington to raise its shield against suspected Russian hacking. In late March, FBI agents paid a visit to Clinton's Brooklyn headquarters, where they were received warily, given the agency's investigation into the candidate's use of a private email server while secretary of state.
The phishing messages also caught the attention of Secureworks, a subsidiary of Dell Technologies, which had been following Fancy Bear, whom Secureworks codenamed Iron Twilight.
Fancy Bear had made a critical mistake.
It fumbled a setting in the Bitly link-shortening service that it was using to sneak its emails past Google's spam filter. The blunder exposed whom they were targeting.
It was late March when Secureworks discovered the hackers were going after Democrats.
"As soon as we started seeing some of those hillaryclinton.com email addresses coming through, the DNC email addresses, we realized it's going to be an interesting twist to this," said Rafe Pilling, a senior security researcher with Secureworks.
By early April Fancy Bear was getting increasingly aggressive, the AP found. More than 60 bogus emails were prepared for Clinton campaign and DNC staffers on April 6 alone, and the hackers began hunting for Democrats beyond New York and Washington, targeting the digital communications director for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and a deputy director in the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The group's hackers seemed particularly interested in Democratic officials working on voter registration issues: Pratt Wiley, the DNC's then-director of voter protection, had been targeted as far back as October 2015 and the hackers tried to pry open his inbox as many as 15 times over six months.
Employees at several organizations connected to the Democrats were targeted, including the Clinton Foundation, the Center for American Progress, technology provider NGP VAN, campaign strategy firm 270 Strategies, and partisan news outlet Shareblue Media.
As the hacking intensified, other elements swung into place. On April 12, 2016, someone paid $37 worth of bitcoin to the Romanian web hosting company THCServers.com , to reserve a website called Electionleaks.com, according to transaction records obtained by AP. A botched registration meant the site never got off the ground, but the records show THC received a nearly identical payment a week later to create DCLeaks.com.
By the second half of April, the DNC's senior leadership was beginning to realize something was amiss. One DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa, received an April 20 warning from Yahoo saying her account was under threat from state-sponsored hackers, according to a screengrab she circulated among colleagues.
The Trump campaign had gotten a whiff of Clinton email hacking, too. According to recently unsealed court documents, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos said that it was at an April 26 meeting at a London hotel that he was told by a professor closely connected to the Russian government that the Kremlin had obtained compromising information about Clinton.
"They have dirt on her," Papadopoulos said he was told. "They have thousands of emails."
A few days later, Amy Dacey, then the DNC chief executive, got an urgent call.
There'd been a serious breach at the DNC.
___
'DON'T EVEN TALK TO YOUR DOG ABOUT IT'
It was 4 p.m. on Friday June 10 when some 100 staffers filed into the Democratic National Committee's main conference room for a mandatory, all-hands meeting.
"What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room," DNC chief operating officer Lindsey Reynolds told the assembled crowd, according to two people there at the time.
Everyone needed to turn in their laptops immediately; there would be no last-minute emails; no downloading documents and no exceptions. Reynolds insisted on total secrecy.
"Don't even talk to your dog about it," she was quoted as saying.
Reynolds didn't return messages seeking comment.
Two days later, as the cybersecurity firm that was brought in to clean out the DNC's computers finished its work, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a British Sunday television show that emails related to Clinton were "pending publication."
"WikiLeaks has a very good year ahead," he said.
On Tuesday, June 14, the Democrats went public with the allegation that their computers had been compromised by Russian state-backed hackers, including Fancy Bear.
Shortly after noon the next day, William Bastone, the editor-in-chief of investigative news site The Smoking Gun, got an email bearing a small cache of documents marked "CONFIDENTIAL."
"Hi," the message said. "This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee."
___
'CAN IT INFLUENCE THE ELECTION?'
Guccifer 2.0 acted as a kind of master of ceremonies during the summer of leaks, proclaiming that the DNC's stolen documents were in WikiLeaks' hands, publishing a selection of the material himself and constantly chatting up journalists over Twitter in a bid to keep the story in the press.
He appeared particularly excited to hear on June 24 that his leaks had sparked a lawsuit against the DNC by disgruntled supporters of Clinton rival Bernie Sanders.
"Can it influence the election in any how?" he asked a journalist with Russia's Sputnik News, in uneven English.
Later that month Guccifer 2.0 began directing reporters to the newly launched DCLeaks site, which was also dribbling out stolen material on Democrats. When WikiLeaks joined the fray on July 22 with its own disclosures the leaks metastasized into a crisis, triggering intraparty feuding that forced the resignation of the DNC's chairwoman and drew angry protests at the Democratic National Convention.
Guccifer 2.0, WikiLeaks and DCLeaks ultimately published more than 150,000 emails stolen from more than a dozen Democrats, according to an AP count.
The AP has since found that each of one of those Democrats had previously been targeted by Fancy Bear, either at their personal Gmail addresses or via the DNC, a finding established by running targets' emails against the Secureworks' list.
All three leak-branded sites have distanced themselves from Moscow. DCLeaks claimed to be run by American hacktivists. WikiLeaks said Russia wasn't its source. Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be Romanian.
But there were signs of dishonesty from the start. The first document Guccifer 2.0 published on June 15 came not from the DNC as advertised but from Podesta's inbox , according to a former DNC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The official said the word "CONFIDENTIAL" was not in the original document .
Guccifer 2.0 had airbrushed it to catch reporters' attention.
___
'PLEASE GOD, DON'T LET IT BE ME'
To hear the defeated candidate tell it, there's no doubt the leaks helped swing the election.
"Even if Russian interference made only a marginal difference," Clinton told an audience at a recent speech at Stanford University, "this election was won at the margins, in the Electoral College."
It's clear Clinton's campaign was profoundly destabilized by the sudden exposures that regularly radiated from every hacked inbox. It wasn't just her arch-sounding speeches to Wall Street executives or the exposure of political machinations but also the brutal stripping of so many staffers' privacy.
"It felt like your friend had just been robbed, but it wasn't just one friend, it was all your friends at the same time by the same criminal," said Jesse Ferguson, a former Clinton spokesman.
An atmosphere of dread settled over the Democrats as the disclosures continued.
One staffer described walking through the DNC's office in Washington to find employees scrolling through articles about Putin and Russia. Another said she began looking over her shoulder when returning from Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn after sundown. Some feared they were being watched; a car break-in, a strange woman found lurking in a backyard late at night and even a snake spotted on the grounds of the DNC all fed an undercurrent of fear.
Even those who hadn't worked at Democratic organizations for years were anxious. Brent Kimmel, a former technologist at the DNC, remembers watching the leaks stream out and thinking: "Please God, don't let it be me."
___
'MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN'
On Oct. 7, it was Podesta.
The day began badly, with Hillary Clinton's phone buzzing with crank messages after its number was exposed in a leak from the day before. The number had to be changed immediately; a former campaign official said that Abedin, Clinton's confidante, had to call staffers one at a time with Clinton's new contact information because no one dared put it in an email.
The same afternoon, just as the American electorate was digesting a lewd audio tape of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women, WikiLeaks began publishing the emails stolen from Podesta.
The publications sparked a media stampede as they were doled out one batch at a time, with many news organizations tasking reporters with scrolling through the thousands of emails being released in tranches. At the AP alone, as many as 30 journalists were assigned, at various times, to go through the material.
Guccifer 2.0 told one reporter he was thrilled that WikiLeaks had finally followed through.
"Together with Assange we'll make america great again," he wrote.
___
Donn reported from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Desmond Butler, Ted Bridis, Julie Pace and Ken Thomas in Washington, Justin Myers in Chicago, Frank Bajak in Houston, Lori Hinnant in Paris, Maggie Michael in Cairo, Erika Kinetz in Shanghai and Vadim Ghirda in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this report.
___
Editor's Note: Satter's father, David Satter, is an author and Russia specialist who has been critical of the Russian government. Several of his emails were published last year by hackers and his address is on Secureworks' list.
___
Previously in this series: http://apne.ws/b8By82B
Climate Gate
Stanford Prof sues scientists who criticized him '' demands $10M | Climate Etc.
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:18
by Judith Curry
Mannian litigation gone wild. '-- Steve McIntyre
Details given by Michael Schellenberger in Environmental Progress:
Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million in damages, against the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) [link to published paper] and a group of eminent scientists (Clack et al.) for their study showing that Jacobson made improper assumptions in order to claim that he had demonstrated U.S. energy could be provided exclusively by renewable energy, primarily wind, water, and solar.
A copy of Jacobson's complaint and submitted exhibits can be found here and here.
What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.
The lawsuit rests on the claim that Clack et al. defamed Jacobson by calling his assumption that hydroelectricity could be significantly expanded a ''modeling error.''
Environmental Progress weighed in on this controversy when Clack et al. published their article. In our view, it's clear that Jacobson made a false assumption about the possibility of expanding U.S. hydroelectricity.
Jacobson's assumption speaks to the essential fallacy of the 100 percent renewables proposal.
Renewables like solar and wind require vastly larger amounts of land and mining in order to produce power that is unreliable. Under the guise of protecting the environment, renewables destroy the environment.
One of the most environmentally devastating ways of producing electricity is with hydroelectric dams. While poor nations have a right to make cheap power from hydroelectricity, their environmental impact is enormous.
Jacobson's proposal is to expand radically hydroelectric dams so they can support unreliable solar and wind energy. Such a proposal would devastate fish species even more than they have already been devastated.
The only way to promote such an environmentally devastating agenda is to claim it is good for the environment. That requires lying. Now that these lies have been exposed, it is revealing that Jacobson has resorted to a lawsuit that cannot and will not do anything more than intimidate his opponents.
Scientists and energy analysts should not be intimidated. We must stand up to bullies. We urge all lovers of nature and science to join us in denouncing this unprecedented and appalling attack on free inquiry.
JC reflections
Well I am just speechless. Alice Dreger summed it up with this tweet
This is batshit.
In many ways, this is much worse than any of Michael Mann's lawsuits alleging defamation of character [link] '-- Jacobson's lawsuit seeks to settle a genuine scientific disagreement in the courts.
I am reminded of the controversy surrounding publication of the Webster, Curry et al. (2005) paper on hurricanes and global warming [link]. Massive hostilities from both sides in the media, dozens of rebuttals submitted to Science, dozens of papers defending and extending our findings. The whole debate played out on the evening news for almost six months. Massive elevations to my blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, etc. It wasn't pretty, and it was massively stressful. I took a step back, and wrote a paper Mixing Science and Politics in Testing the Hypothesis that Warming is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity. Not surprisingly, after more than a decade, we can see that both sides had valid points and this issue still isn't settled.
We are also seeing themes of campus 'safe spaces' here, with allegations that this critique has upset the graduate students.
I do not see a good ending for Mark Jacobson here '-- there will undoubtedly be a countersuit and he stands to lose a lot of money (not just his lawsuit).
Possibly, there will be sufficient backlash against this that will steer the overall climate-energy debate back towards a direction of sanity.
Hurricane Harvey
David Corn investigated for inappropriate workplace behavior - POLITICO
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 11:04
Mother Jones magazine's editor and chief executive acknowledged on Thursday that they investigated Washington bureau chief David Corn for inappropriate workplace behavior three years ago, warning him about touching female staffers and insensitive descriptions of sexual violence, and would now probe the allegations further in light of two emails written by former staffers in 2014 and 2015 and obtained by POLITICO.
One of the emails, written in 2015 by a former staffer outlining concerns she had heard from other women in the Washington office, said Corn, now 58, made ''rape jokes,'' ''regularly gave [several women] unwelcome shoulder rubs and engaged in uninvited touching of their legs, arms, backs, and waists,'' and ''made inappropriate comments about women's sexuality and anatomy.'' The other email, from 2014, was by a former female staffer who claimed that Corn ''came up behind me and put his hands and arms around my body in a way that felt sexual and domineering.''
Story Continued Below
CEO Monika Bauerlein and editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery said they had not seen these emails, which were shared several years ago between colleagues and union representatives. But the magazine's leaders acknowledged dealing with allegations of inappropriate touching and comments around the time the emails were written, and said they believe Corn has stopped those behaviors.
Corn, in a statement to POLITICO, said that neither his comments nor his touching of colleagues was in any way sexual.
''I am an exuberant person and have been known to pat male and female colleagues on the shoulder or slap them on the back, but always in a collegial or celebratory way,'' he said. ''I have never touched any work colleague in a sexual manner. Once concerns were raised about this type of contact, I have been mindful to avoid it to prevent any misperception. If anyone ever perceived any of this as 'sexual' or 'domineering,' I am sorry'--that was never my intent.''
''Sexual violence is not funny, and I have never joked about it, or about women's sexuality and anatomy,'' Corn wrote.
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Bauerlein and Jeffrey emphasized in a statement to POLITICO that they would look into the allegations in the emails and that ''now that they've come to us, we are going to take them seriously and investigate.''
''What we heard about in the past were concerns about nonsexual touching (patting on the shoulder, slapping on the back, poking in the arm),'' Bauerlein and Jeffery said. ''At no time did anyone claim that any kind of sexual touching occurred. In fact, the people who raised concerns about touching told us that they did not consider it sexual, but simply didn't want any physical contact at all.''
Corn is Mother Jones' most high-profile employee, with regular appearances on MSNBC. He's the author, with Yahoo's Michael Isikoff, of ''Hubris,'' a 2007 book on the Bush administration's selling of the Iraq war, and is writing a forthcoming book with Isikoff on the investigation into whether President Donald Trump or his allies colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Corn also won the prestigious Polk Award in 2013 for breaking the ''47 percent video,'' in which former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said nearly half of Americans were dependent on the government.
The accusations against Corn have surfaced amid a wave of sexual harassment allegations involving high-profile men in the news business, including star political journalist Mark Halperin, now-former top NPR editor Michael Oreskes, former New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier and New Republic publisher Hamilton Fish. Wieseltier, Fish and Corn were recently accused of harassment on ''Shitty Media Men,'' an anonymously written list featuring women's claims against more than 70 men that's been circulating among journalists.
Bauerlein and Jeffery drew distinction between the allegations against Corn and other high-profile male journalists, writing that ''while anything that makes someone uncomfortable is important to deal with, nothing that was brought to us was anywhere near the kinds of behaviors we have been reading about taking place elsewhere in the past few weeks.'' The allegations against Corn, they said, ''deserved to be addressed'' but his behavior was determined to not be ''misconduct.''
POLITICO has spoken to around a dozen current and former Mother Jones staffers, who worked in both the Washington and San Francisco offices, and most of whom described their experiences at the magazine on the condition of anonymity.
The allegations that some female former staffers made against Corn do not rise to the level of those made against Halperin, who has been accused by several female colleagues of pressing his genitals against their bodies and masturbating behind his desk in the presence of one '-- or even Oreskes and Wieseltier, who have been accused of unwanted kissing on the mouth. But several former Mother Jones staffers described the Washington office culture as uncomfortable for women and said the magazine's leaders in its San Francisco headquarters were slow to act on the situation.
Some former staffers said they believed that a progressive magazine that closely covers sexual harassment and assault, and is led by women, should've responded more aggressively to women's concerns. One former staffer recalled discussing Corn's behavior in an exit interview with human resources staffers and believed she wasn't the first because they appeared unsurprised. Concerns about the Washington workplace culture persisted for at least nine months, according to interviews and documentation obtained by POLITICO.
Bauerlein and Jeffery defended management's response. ''When concerns about the DC bureau were brought up in 2014, we immediately investigated,'' they wrote. ''Both of us personally interviewed staff in the bureau more than once. We addressed the concerns with David, counseling him and directing him to avoid specific conduct. We followed up to ensure that the situation had improved.''
In addition to touching, Bauerlein and Jeffery said some concerns raised in the past were about ''insensitive discussion of difficult issues in the news, including sexual violence, in a way that could have been offensive or triggering to some.'' However, they said, ''what was described to us did not constitute joking about sexual violence, much less 'rape jokes.' ''
The allegation that Corn made ''rape jokes'' came in the 2015 email that compiled incidents reported to the magazine's union from women in the Washington office. ''Several expressed concern about the 'gleeful' tone of these remarks and David's seeming indifference to the discomfort they created,'' it read. ''In the summer and fall of 2014, some women staffers reported that they had quit pitching stories involving rape because David's reactions made them so uncomfortable.''
The woman who outlined her own experiences in the 2014 email claimed Corn put his arms around her from behind ''in front of several DC staffers, and I felt humiliated and undermined.'' The former staffer also alleged that Corn hovered around some female staffers ''in a way that they say feels disturbing and distracting from their work.''
''We also directed all managers and staff to make sure they respect everyone's sensitivities regarding physical boundaries, and that they address charged news stories such as sexual violence with particular care,'' Bauerlein and Jeffery wrote to POLITICO. ''In addition to our existing policies on workplace environment (including regular trainings on sexual harassment), we put in place further internal procedures to ensure that everyone has multiple paths to report any workplace concerns.''
For his part, Corn asserted that ''throughout my ten years at Mother Jones, I have strived to build a bureau where reporters and editors can do great work in a collegial, supportive, and enjoyable environment.
''At a time when rape'--and the actions of politicians and celebrities such as Todd Akin and Bill Cosby'--was much in the news, I made comments and asked questions about the terrible behavior of the perpetrators, and I said that stories about these issues were of great interest to our readers. I was later told that the way in which I made these comments was seen as insensitive by some, and I'm sorry I didn't realize that in the moment. I sought to make sure that it didn't happen again and that my male colleagues would be mindful as well.''
Current Mother Jones staffers, including those working on behalf of the union, indicated that concerns about Corn's behavior seem to have abated.
''We are unable to divulge confidential interactions the union had with or on behalf of members,'' Hannah Levintova, a Washington-based reporter and union co-chair, told POLITICO. ''The union took this very seriously, and it is our understanding that management did as well.''
Daniel Schulman, who has worked at Mother Jones for more than a decade and is currently deputy Washington bureau chief, said that ''the organization puts its employees and their families first'' and in his experience Mother Jones ''is not the type of place where complaints are swept under the rug.''
''When complaints about the atmosphere in the D.C. bureau were brought to the attention of the management, they were addressed directly with the D.C. bureau chief,'' Schulman added. ''He subsequently made an effort to correct the issues that were brought to his attention. Based on my knowledge, the process was handled as it should have been. Complaints were raised and they were addressed directly.''
Senior editor Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, who has worked in journalism for three decades, and at Mother Jones since early 2015, told POLITICO she didn't personally witness Corn touching any women, though she said her understanding was that such behavior, while perhaps considered a ''violation of space,'' was not ''in any way sexual in nature.''
She said Corn now appears ''quite scrupulous about keeping physical distance because he realized it was in danger of being misinterpreted.''
''I've seen terrible behavior by men in journalism,'' she added, ''and I have not seen it at Mother Jones.''
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Corey Feldman names two of his alleged sexual abusers - CBS News
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 11:16
Nov 3, 2017 5:25 PM EDT Entertainment
By Andrea Park / CBS News
Actor Corey Feldman on May 5, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Michael Buckner/Getty Images After announcing last week that he plans to out pedophiles in Hollywood , Corey Feldman has named two men he claims abused him. On "The Dr. Oz Show," Feldman named former co-star Jon Grissom and showed his photo on air, claiming the man sexually assaulted him in the 1980s. Later, Feldman went on Twitter to clarify that the man's name is Jon Grissom, not John Grissom, who is another actor.
Feldman called Santa Barbara law enforcement officials to report the allegations on "The Dr. Oz Show." Grissom is the second man Haim has named. On Monday, Feldman told Megyn Kelly on "Today" that former child talent manager and convicted sex offender Marty Weiss was one of his former abusers.
On "The Dr. Oz Show," host Dr. Mehmet Oz held up a photo of Grissom and Feldman said, "That's the guy."
Feldman continued, "This guy, on his Myspace page and his Facebook page, has pictures of me and Corey Haim. He still taunts it and flaunts it." Feldman said he wrote about Grissom in his 2013 book, "Coreyography," but his lawyers made him change Grissom's name. Oz and Feldman then called Los Angeles Police on air to report the accusations.
"They are going to do an interview with me when I get back to Los Angeles," he said. "However, they did give me the warning that based on the statute of limitations, they can only open an investigation, but they cannot promise that it will be prosecuted." An LAPD official told The Hollywood Reporter that they have been "made aware" of the incident but have not taken a report.
Grissom acted with Feldman and Haim in 1988's "License to Drive" and 1989's "Dream a Little Dream." Later, Oz and his legal counsel appeared together in a video posted to Facebook. They revealed that Grissom, whose full name is Cloyd Jon Grissom, was arrested in 2001 on child molestation charges. A jury found him guilty in 2003 and he served time in prison. Oz and his legal counsel also revealed that Grissom is currently a fugitive.
Feldman is currently trying to raise $10 million to create a feature film exposing pedophiles in Hollywood.
Oz Exclusive: Corey Feldman
On today's show, for the first time ever, Corey Feldman identified one of his alleged abusers: Jon Grissom. Together with our show's legal counsel, we investigated Grissom, and his background is incredibly disturbing. He may have a warrant for his arrest - if you see him, please notify your local law enforcement.
Posted by Dr. Mehmet Oz on Thursday, November 2, 2017(C) 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(C) 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.
Soros fund manager raped, beat Playboy models, $27M lawsuit alleges | Fox News
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 11:30
Two Playboy Playmates and a third woman have filed a lawsuit seeking $27 million, alleging a former fund manager for billionaire George Soros raped and beat them in a New York City penthouse described as a dungeon.
The three plaintiffs, who were not identified, claim portfolio manager Howie Rubin beat them to the point they needed extensive medical attention, the New York Post reported, citing a lawsuit filed in federal court.
''I'm going to rape you like I rape my daughter,'' Rubin, a former Bear Stearns trader, yelled out during one of the attacks, according to the lawsuit.
It states that Rubin rented out the $8 million penthouse in Manhattan and paid women $2,000 to $5,000 for brutal sex sessions in a side room with ropes, chains and sex toys.
The New York Post said it reached out to Rubin, but he declined to comment.
John Balestriere, the lawyer who filed the suit, said Rubin gagged, tied up and abused women in the penthouse. Balestriere alleged Rubin punched one woman in the head.
In another encounter, Rubin is accused of beating a woman's ''breasts so badly that her right implant flipped,'' the lawsuit stated. The suit alleges the woman was paid $20,000 by Rubin to repair the damage.
The New York Post report also said Rubin had the women sign non-disclosure agreements. Rubin collaborated with two female fixers and a lawyer who sought to ''cover up'' his ''sexual misconduct and criminal abuse of women and to serve as a cover for his wide-ranging human trafficking scheme,'' Balestriere added.
According to MSHopeForACure, Rubin received an MBA in 1982 from Harvard. His profile '' which was removed from the website Friday morning '' also said Rubin enjoys Texas Hold 'em Poker, swimming, yoga and Soul Cycle.
Rubin worked for Soros Fund Management from 2008 to 2015.
Netflix has a mess on its hands with the collapse of 'House of Cards' - LA Times
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:05
Kevin Spacey, shown arriving for the season four premiere screening of the Netflix show "House of Cards" in Washington, D.C., last year, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple men. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images) When ''House of Cards'' debuted in 2013, it catapulted Netflix into a whole new level of Hollywood recognition and acclaim. The dark political series about an unscrupulous Washington power couple became Netflix's first breakout hit, planting a flag for the streaming service in the competitive world of original TV programming.
But just as its protagonist Frank Underwood fell ignominiously from power last season, the series itself has collapsed in scandalous fashion following allegations around actor Kevin Spacey, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by numerous men including employees on the show.
Netflix isn't the only company left holding the bag. Media Rights Capital is the production company that owns the series and licenses it to Netflix. Since news about Spacey broke Sunday, followed by additional allegations, the companies moved quickly to cancel the seventh season of "House of Cards" and put production of the sixth season on indefinite hold. Netflix said in a statement Friday night that it is cutting all ties with Spacey and that he will not be involved with the show that he has starred in since 2013.
"Netflix will not be involved with any further production of 'House of Cards' that includes Kevin Spacey," the company said in a statement.
While the scandal represents a public-relations debacle for Netflix, it isn't likely to materially affect the company, even though "House of Cards" remains one of its most popular series, experts said.
"I think of 'House of Cards' as a trampoline," said Paul Levinson, a professor of media and communications at Fordham University. "Netflix put it up, jumped on it and Netflix got so high that it no longer needs 'House of Cards.' "
Netflix spent about $100 million to produce two 13-episode seasons for "House of Cards." The political drama launched the company's venture into original programming, helping to transform the streaming service into a global powerhouse and disrupter of the TV business. The Los Gatos-based company now has 104 million paid streaming subscribers and has made massive investments in new shows. It will spend as much as $8 billion on content next year alone.
As a result, Netflix now has multiple hit series '-- including "Stranger Things," "Orange Is the New Black" and "The Crown" '-- that it can rely on to retain and attract subscribers.
The speed at which Netflix responded to the allegations against Spacey '-- the first of which was made by actor Anthony Rapp on Sunday in Buzzfeed '-- will likely work in the company's favor, according to Michael Pachter, a digital media analyst at Wedbush Securities, where he covers Netflix.
"I think Netflix is handling this extremely well," Pachter said. "This is what you want them to do from an investor's point of view."
Analysts said the cancellation of "House of Cards" was likely an easy decision for Netflix to make because the series was already past its prime and nearing the end of its run.
Public scandals are rare for major TV series but not unheard of. The most recent instance was CBS' "Two and a Half Men," which saw the departure of Charlie Sheen after the actor's personal problems became public. His character was killed off from the show.
Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey play Claire and Frank Underwood in the Netflix series "House Of Cards." (David Giesbrecht / Netflix ) Among "House of Cards" fans, the most recent season was seen as something of a creative resurgence but the show was clearly on the decline and had lost a lot of its buzz. Creator and showrunner Beau Willimon had left the show last year after four seasons.
"During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on 'House of Cards,' I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off,'' Willimon said in a statement. ''That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage."
Rapp alleged that he was 14 when Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance on him during the 1980s. Spacey responded by saying that he didn't recall the incident, but offered Rapp "the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior." The two-time Academy Award winner also used the opportunity to come out as a gay man.
Since Sunday, the accusations have quickly snowballed, including an unnamed artist who told Vulture that he was a minor when he entered into a consensual sexual relationship with Spacey decades ago.
On Thursday, eight current and former "House of Cards" employees alleged to CNN that Spacey created a "toxic" work environment with his behavior. The allegations include one former production assistant who said Spacey sexually assaulted him during one of the show's early seasons.
A representative for Spacey could not be reached for comment.
Netflix could face civil legal exposure from any employee harassment that occurred on "House of Cards" because Spacey was also credited as an executive producer on the show, which means that he was in a supervisory position, according to Genie Harrison, an attorney who specializes in employment and sexual harassment cases.
"The company will have strict liability because he's a supervisor and because he would be seen as acting on behalf of the company," Harrison said.
As the studio behind "House of Cards," Media Rights Capital could also face legal exposure for any of its employees who were harassed by Spacey on the show.
MRC, which is based in Beverly Hills, declined a request for an interview but said in a statement that during the show's first year of production, in 2012, someone on the crew shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Spacey. The company didn't elaborate on the nature of the complaint.
"Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey," the company said in the statement.
Netflix, which also declined an interview request, said in a statement Friday that it was just made aware of the 2012 incident and was informed that it was swiftly resolved.
"Netflix is not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set," the company said in a statement. "We continue to collaborate with MRC and other production partners to maintain a safe and respectful working environment."
Both companies said they are evaluating the future of "House of Cards." It remains unclear if writers and hundreds of Maryland-based crew are being kept on the payroll as executives decide on the fate of the sixth season.
MRC would be on the hook for whatever expenses have to be absorbed as production on "House of Cards" is shut down, though the company could have insurance to cover such events.
"House of Cards" is estimated to cost several millions of dollars per episode, with each season consisting of 13 installments.
MRC sold the international rights for "House of Cards" to Netflix in a deal estimated to be worth more than $200 million, according to one industry executive familiar with the show.
Even if Netflix emerges relatively unscathed from ''House of Cards,'' the streaming service faces another challenge with an upcoming movie it is making with Spacey, in which he plays the late writer Gore Vidal.
The movie, which had been expected to be released next year, is believed to focus on the years that Vidal spent in virtual exile in Italy. Netflix said Friday night that it will not release the film.
Netflix rival Amazon Studios confronted its own scandal last month when Roy Price resigned as head of the studio after accusations made by an executive producer that Price had made lewd remarks and unwanted advances.
Dustin Hoffman accused of sexual harassment against 17-year-old | Film | The Guardian
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:23
'He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment' Anna Graham Hunter says of Hoffman. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Dustin Hoffman has been accused of sexual harassment against a 17-year-old intern in 1985.
Writer Anna Graham Hunter alleges that the actor, now 80, groped her on the set of TV movie Death of a Salesman and spoke inappropriately about sex with her.
''He asked me to give him a foot massage my first day on set; I did,'' Hunter wrote in the Hollywood Reporter. ''He was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me. One morning I went to his dressing room to take his breakfast order; he looked at me and grinned, taking his time. Then he said, 'I'll have a hard-boiled egg '... and a soft-boiled clitoris.' His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried.''
John Malkovich and Dustin Hoffman in 1985's Death of a Salesman. Photograph: Allstar/CBS/Sportsphoto Ltd./AllstarHunter detailed Hoffman's alleged treatment of her over her five weeks on set in a diary that she mailed to her sister at the time. ''Today, when I was walking Dustin to his limo, he felt my ass four times,'' she wrote. ''I hit him each time, hard, and told him he was a dirty old man.''
She claims that on set, she was told to put up with his behavior by a supervisor who told her to ''sacrifice'' some of her values for the sake of the production.
''At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere,'' she wrote, looking back. ''He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment. As to how it fits into my own pattern, I imagine I'll be figuring that out for years to come.''
Hoffman has responded to the article with an apology: ''I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.''
The Tootsie star's reputation has often been troubling. On the set of Kramer vs Kramer, he slapped Meryl Streep to improve her performance in a dramatic scene while also taunting her about the death of her boyfriend. ''I was getting divorced, I'd been partying with drugs and it depleted me in every way,'' Hoffman said of his behavior at the time.
The story comes after a deluge of similar stories of sexual harassment within Hollywood against producer Harvey Weinstein, film-maker James Toback and actor Kevin Spacey. Today has also seen six women accuse director Brett Ratner of sexual harassment, including actors Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.
Why do we expect total self-flagellation from men in the wake of sexual assault scandals? - CBC News | Opinion
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:27
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, thinkpiece after thinkpiece has been circulating instructing men of ways they can "help" women dismantle the parts of our culture in which sexual violence pervades.
These lists of tips and guidelines vary in terms of specific recommendations, but the idea they all share is that even if you, male reader, are not harassing or assaulting women, you are still responsible for the way women are treated by men everywhere. Indeed, even when you're doing nothing at all to harm women, you're still doing something wrong.
Fixing men, in five steps From the Chicago Tribune's article "Men's response to the #MeToo campaign must be more than hashtags" to Chatelaine's "Rape Culture For Dummies: How Men Can Be Allies, In 5 Easy Steps," it's obvious that the only appropriate response to sexual harassment from the average man is total self-flagellation; a masochistic exercise in service of moral purity and enlightenment.
In a display of condescension so self-assured it's nearly inspiring, The Guardian published "Men, you want to treat women better? Here's a list to start with" '-- a crash course in elevating all women of the world to a pedestal so tall they're less like persons and more like angels from whom every thought, every word, and every experience is unquestionably and inherently valuable.
From The New York Times: "Dear Men: It's You, Too." And Variety: "Men Must Step Up to Change the Hollywood Culture That Enabled Harvey Weinstein."
GQ weighed in with "A good man knows he has to do more," an article that outlined exactly what the behaviour of "a good man" ought to be in every imaginable scenario even mildly pertaining to women.
These examples all seem to suggest that if only men (like you!) were snapping at their male coworkers for making sexist jokes, then Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein wouldn't have been luring actresses to his hotel rooms to proposition them for sex.
But to argue that telling a colleague she looks nice today will encourage a culture in which men think it's permissible to grope or grab women sets the bar offensively low as far as men's understanding of boundaries.
The notion that women are fragile and vulnerable and in constant need of the protective, corrective action of men around them is counterproductive and insulting. (Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)
The vast majority of men recognize that harassing women for sex or touching them without consent is a line that should never be crossed. Of course all of us '' male and female '' should do our part to reinforce that sexual assault and sexual harassment are never okay, but combing through every innocuous interaction between colleagues in search of potential implicit sexism has nothing to do with the predatory crimes of guys like Harvey Weinstein.
What's more, plenty of women working in Hollywood knew about Weinstein's reputation, and had decades to speak up but decided against it. While these articles have no problem demanding men risk their careers to stand up for women, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to expecting women to stand up for other women, or themselves. Especially since many actresses continue to withhold the identities of their harassers '' men who are presumably still working in Hollywood. It is not blaming the victim to suggest women are capable of being just as brave as men.
Expectations of allies The notion that women are fragile and vulnerable and in constant need of the protective, corrective action of men around them is counterproductive and insulting. Suggesting that a female colleague needs you to step in each and every time she is interrupted by a male coworker is patriarchal and patronizing, not virtuous.
Every single guy out there is not responsible for the behaviour of certain criminals just because they happen to share a gender. Nor should they be asked to carry a collective guilt over the actions of people they have never met and crimes they did not know were occurring.
The assumption that the way to be an "ally" is to live every day preoccupied with defending the honour and status of women feeds into the idea that women will always be damsels in perpetual distress. That's not the way we come to recognize men and women as equals.
This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.
Julianna Margulies Says Steven Seagal And Harvey Weinstein Tried To Sexually Harass Her | HuffPost
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 08:59
Actress Julianna Margulies has added her own frightening experiences with Harvey Weinstein and Steven Seagal to the cascade of allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment world.
In a Friday interview on SiriusXM's ''Just Jenny,'' the ''Good Wife'' star talked about two troubling encounters with Seagal and Weinstein earlier in her career.
When she was 23, Margulies said, a female casting director sent her to Seagal's apartment at 10 p.m. to read a scene. The casting director pushed past the actress's objections by offering to reimburse the cab fare and promising that she would be present as well. But when Margulies arrived later that night, she said she found herself alone with the action movie star.
''She set me up,'' Margulies said of the woman who arranged the audition.
The encounter with Seagal quickly turned threatening, the actress recalled. ''He made sure that I saw his gun, which I'd never seen a gun in real life,'' Margulies said. ''I got out of there unscathed. ... I don't know how I got out of that hotel room. ... I sort of squirmed my way out.''
She said Seagal tried to turn the supposed audition into a sexual encounter with a tactic also allegedly practiced by Weinstein. ''It always starts with 'I'm a healer, I wanna massage you,''' she said.
Several years later, in 1996, Margulies said she was invited to meet with Weinstein. She said another woman brought her to the hotel, promising that if she met with the film producer she'd be given a screen test for a possibly award-winning role in a major movie. After her disturbing encounter with Seagal, however, Margulies was wary.
''I said, 'I'm not going up there alone' '• because of the Seagal experience and because I had a career,'' said Margulies, who was on the hit show ''ER'' at the time.
After the actress insisted she would go home if the other woman didn't join her, the two of them went to Weinstein's hotel room together.
''He opened the door in a bathrobe,'' Margulies recalled. ''I could see that there were candles lit in the room, and there was a dinner for two. And I saw him stare at her, daggers.'' She turned to the other woman and ''caught her in a shrug, like, 'What could I do?'''
Weinstein looked ''furious,'' Margulies said. He told her, ''Just wanted to say, 'Good audition,''' and then slammed the door, she said. She did not get the part.
Margulies joins a list of more than 50 women who have stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, with allegations ranging from attempted harassment to rape. Following two explosive expos(C)s in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and numerous additional women then stepping forward to share similar experiences, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded with his brother, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Police departments in Los Angeles and London are reportedly investigating rape allegations made against him. The New York Police Department confirmed on Friday that it has been gathering evidence for a ''credible rape allegation,'' which could lead to his arrest.
Seagal has previously been accused of inappropriate conduct as well. In 1998, actress Jenny McCarthy discussed leaving an audition distraught after Seagal repeatedly insisted that she undress. In 2010, he was sued for sexual harassment by a former assistant who claimed in the lawsuit that he had used her as a ''sex toy.'' The lawsuit was later dropped. In October of this year, ''Inside Edition'' correspondent and actress Lisa Guerrero said she was repeatedly pressured to audition alone with Seagal at his home for a role in the 1997 movie ''Fire Down Below.''
During Friday's interview, Margulies said the recent wave of public allegations led her to realize that she'd ''swept everything under the rug. You shrug it off as that's just Hollywood.''
She also pointed to the role of some women in enabling predatory male behavior, noting that she was introduced to both situations by other women in the business.
''We have to start holding these people accountable,'' Margulies said. ''These women were leading me to the lion's den.''
NYPD Investigating Rape Allegations Against Harvey Weinstein
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:49
Following weeks of allegations by dozens of women, former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein could soon be facing criminal charges.
Multiple reports indicate New York authorities are taking seriously the rape allegations of actress Paz de la Huerta.
According to one CNN source, her claim that Weinstein, 65, raped her seven years ago ''is the strongest case we've had that fits within the statute of limitations.''
The 33-year-old actress notified the New York Police Department late last month to report two separate incidents over the course of two months in 2010, according to Page Six.
Robert K. Boyce, the NYPD's chief of detectives, confirmed the department is building a solid case against Weinstein.
TRENDING:US Military Investigating SEAL Team 6 Members for Alleged Strangulation of Green Beret, NYT Report
He said de la Huerta provided a ''credible and detailed narrative'' regarding the two alleged crimes, much of which investigators were then able to corroborate.
She recalled ''each and every moment of the crime,'' he said, including ''where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did.''
The only reason Weinstein is not already in police custody, Boyce said, is the amount of time that has passed since the alleged rapes.
''If this person was still in New York and it was recent we would go right away and make the arrest, no doubt,'' he said. ''But we're talking about a seven-year-old case, and we have to move forward gathering evidence.''
Detectives have been working with de la Huerta and her attorney since she filed the report.
''We have an actual case here,'' Boyce said.
One New York Times source confirmed the district attorney's office has also been piecing together a possible case based on de la Huerta's allegations.
''We are taking it seriously and we are investigating it,'' the unnamed official said. ''We are hoping to build a case. If we can build one, we will build one.''
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According to de la Huerta's complaint, the first rape occurred in Weinstein's apartment after she accepted a ride home from the producer at a club in October 2010.
He allegedly invited himself up to de la Huerta's apartment, in the same building, the following month and assaulted her again.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
War on Cars
We Should Ban Cars From Big Cities. Seriously.
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:24
In the coming days, politicians will try to convince you that what happened on the West Side Highway in Manhattan this week was an issue of terrorism, immigration, or religion. But just like the plague of mass shootings is a gun problem, the thousands of people killed by cars as they walk our streets every year is a car problem.
A gun lobbyist would typically step in right about now to ask whether those who demand gun control after mass shootings also want to ban cars after events like this week. To which I say: Hell yes. Cars don't belong on the streets of big cities, and we should do everything in our power to get rid of them.
You can't stop crazy. But you can reduce the number of people allowed to drive their 4,000 pound machines into city parks, along city beaches, past playgrounds, and alongside the sidewalks of the most pedestrian-packed places in the nation. If we banned cars from every city in the US tomorrow, we would stop vehicular terrorism overnight '-- and save thousands of lives.
When a man shot and killed 58 people at a Las Vegas music festival last month, no one pointed to the lack of bulletproof vests worn by concertgoers, because the problem was clearly the stacks of weapons stockpiled in his hotel room.
The truck that was used to kill eight people on Tuesday is no different, except unlike firearms, cars are still welcomed unconditionally in every city in the US. Gun ownership has its own constitutional guarantee '-- there's no equivalent for cars '-- but imagine if cities embraced guns the way they do vehicles: Free gun storage outside your apartment! A designated lane in the park for concealed carriers!
More than 40,000 Americans were killed by cars in 2016 '-- the equivalent of a fully-loaded Boeing 747 falling out of the sky once every three days. It's more than the 33,000 annual gun deaths, and more than the 20,000-plus people killed by synthetic opioids that year. Half of those automobile fatalities occurred in urban areas; about 6,000 of them were pedestrians.
Exactly 10 years and 11 months ago, a different man steered onto the same Manhattan bike path that Sayfullo Saipov did this week. He also accelerated for a mile, and then he killed my best friend. My friend's name was Eric Ng, and he died on the same block as Saipov's first victim. The drunk driver struck Eric so hard that he was knocked out of his sneakers.
This happened in the middle of the night, but if that drunk had been a day-drinker, I have no doubt the death toll would have been as high as it was on Tuesday.
After Eric was killed, the city of New York put up a few plastic bollards along the bike path, as though this was not a car problem, but a bollard problem. On Tuesday, Saipov drove right over those plastic bollards.
Vehicular terrorism is still a minuscule part of the overall picture of pedestrians being killed by cars. But it is a rising tide, with automobiles used as weapons this year alone in Charlottesville, Barcelona, London, and Stockholm. But before terrorism experts start calling for a radical redesign of our security culture and the NYPD permanently surrounds Trump Tower with dump trucks, let's make this easy: Ban cars in New York City. Boom, you saved all those lives.
Of course, the cities we have today could not ban cars tomorrow. No current public transportation system functions well enough to carry an entire city population. Not everyone can walk or ride a bike. Too many taxi drivers would be out of work.
We are not ready, but the car-free city is being tested in bits and pieces around the world. We should learn from all of them, and apply those lessons as soon as possible.
Oslo plans to ban all cars from its city center by 2019. Madrid has a goal of 500 car-free acres by 2020. In Paris and Mexico City, people are restricted from driving into the city center on certain days based on the age of their cars or the number on their license plates. Inside Barcelona's superblocks, all car traffic that isn't local is banned. Over 75 miles of roads in Bogot, Colombia, close to traffic for a full day every week.
With an extensive network of bike lanes, and plans for a bike superhighway that stretches to the suburbs, Copenhagen has convinced more than half of its population to bike to work. A planned city outside Chengdu was developed to make walking easier than driving, with all destinations built within a 15-minute stroll. In 180 cities, some 31 million people globally leave their cars at home each day and ride on bus rapid transit systems, a sort of aboveground subway built of buses. When London introduced a congestion fee that charged drivers a premium to travel into the city center, so many people took public transit instead that traffic crashes declined by 40%.
Self-driving cars have the potential to prevent anyone from being killed by a car ever again. Of course, that requires a city of only autonomous vehicles, and manufacturers who care about the vehicular death toll. If manufacturers don't program driverless cars to protect pedestrians, then we will be corralled to the sidewalk like so many sheep, blamed for our deaths should we be so bold as to venture near the roar of traffic. That does not sound like an idyllic urban future.
Terrorism is not predictable or preventable. But the threat of cars in cities is in our control. A hundred years ago, when cars first became an accessible purchase for city dwellers, and the idea of a pedestrian being killed by a car was still shocking, the City Club of New York published a ''municipal murder map,'' which exclusively listed locations where people had been killed by cars.
Such a map would have been a service this week. It would have shown that on the same bike path where an ISIS sympathizer killed eight people on Tuesday, Olga Cook was also killed by a driver in 2016. Carl Henry Nacht was killed there in 2006. Later that year, so was my best friend.
Back then, I did my best to make sure it would never happen again. In response, someone installed some plastic bollards.
Jessie Singeris senior editor at Transportation Alternatives, and writes aTinyLetterabout accountability and accidents.
Clinton Emails
Weekly Update: 72,000 New Clinton Docs! - Judicial Watch
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:32
October 10, 2017 The FBI Recovered 72,000 Pages of Clinton Records '' Court Orders Explanation on Processing
Judicial Watch Helps Grieving Father Fight for Purple Heart for his Son
Border Agency Computers Can't Screen Harmful Aliens
The FBI Recovered 72,000 Pages of Clinton Records '' Court Orders Explanation on ProcessingPresident Trump's efforts to drain the Washington swamp are being seriously hindered by Deep State, particularly in the State and Justice Departments.
As an example, the State Department just revealed in a federal court hearing that it has yet to process 40,000 of 72,000 pages of Hillary Clinton records that the FBI recovered last year. The revelation came in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails that were sent or received during her tenure from February 2009 to January 31, 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The case is before Judge James E. Boasberg.
The hearing, which took place last week, focused on the State Department's progress on processing the tens of thousands of emails Clinton failed to disclose when she served as Secretary of State, some of which were emails sent by Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on the laptop of her estranged husband Anthony Weiner.
The State Department has processed 32,000 pages of emails so far, only a small number of which have been released, but 40,000 pages remain to be processed.
We asked the court to require the State Department to identify any records from the seven FBI discs that it intends to withhold, and why, in a timely manner. The State Department disclosed to the court that it was adding extra resources to its FOIA operation but would not commit to a faster production of the Clinton emails.
But right after the hearing, Judge Boasberg ordered the State Department to ''explain how its anticipated increase in resources will affect processing of records in this case and when the processing of each disk is likely to be completed.'' Surprisingly, the Tillerson State Department and Sessions Justice Department previously argued to the court that there was diminished public interest in the Clinton emails.
In November 2016, the State Department was ordered to produce no fewer than 500 pages of records a month to Judicial Watch, emails which the FBI found in its investigation into Clinton's non-government email system. The State Department has produced 23 batches of documents so far.
At the current pace, the Clinton emails and other records won't be fully available for possible release until at least 2020! (We originally filed the lawsuit in May 2015.)
Clinton attempted to delete 33,000 emails from her non-government server. The FBI investigation recovered or found a number of these missing emails, many of which were government documents. We know that some of these recovered emails are in the pile of documents on which the State Department now sits.
Secretary Tillerson should be asked why his State Department is still sitting on this mother lode of Clinton emails. It is disheartening that an administration elected to ''drain the swamp'' is stalling the release of documents in order to protect Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
In a related lawsuit, the State Department admitted it received 2,800 Huma Abedin work-related documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that were found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner's personal laptop. The State Department expects to complete its review and production of the FBI records by December 31, 2017.
This is all a slow-motion cover-up, and it's being conducted in a department allegedly reporting to President Trump. The President needs to clean house and get the American people these Clinton documents ASAP!
Judicial Watch Helps Grieving Father Fight for Purple Heart for his SonOn November 5, 2009, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, under the influence of a foreign terrorist organization, opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and injuring dozens. Judicial Watch is proud to help seek justice for one of the heroes from that terrible day.
This week, JW attorneys proudly filed a lawsuit on behalf of Howard M. Berry, the father of the late U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua A. Berry, against the Secretaries of Defense and Army to award the Purple Heart to Sgt. Berry for injuries sustained at Fort Hood (Howard M. Berry v. Ryan D. McCarthy, Acting Secretary of the Army and James Mattis, Secretary of Defense (No. 1:17-cv-02112)).
Sgt. Berry was among the service members injured during the attack.
Following the Fort Hood attack, the Obama administration declined to recognize the mass shooting as an international terrorist attack against the United States. Instead, the attack was characterized as ''workplace violence.'' As a result, active duty service members injured in the attack were ineligible for the Purple Heart, among other awards and benefits.
In response, Congress enacted legislation in 2014 mandating that service members killed or wounded in an attack targeting members of the armed forces and carried out by an individual in communication with and inspired or motivated by a foreign terrorist organization be eligible for the Purple Heart.
Our lawsuit describes how the late Sgt. Berry was injured during the Fort Hood terrorist attack and should be awarded a Purple Heart:
On November 5, 2009, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan (''Hasan'') opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing thirteen people and injuring more than 30 service members and civilians. Sgt. Berry was among the service members injured in the attack. Sgt. Berry was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, at Fort Hood. He had deployed to Afghanistan for approximately a year in June 2008 and was at Fort Hood as part of a transition program following his return from deployment. He was one of the last soldiers awaiting redeployment to Fort Knox at the time of the attack.
The briefing room in Building 42004 had a set of metal double doors leading to the outside. In witness statements given to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command (''CID'') and in a separate statement given to a Texas Ranger, Sgt. Berry estimated that Hasan fired 30-40 rounds outside Building 42004. Sgt. Berry told those around him to get down on the floor and stay away from the doors and windows. When Sgt. Berry heard gunshots hit the metal doors near him, he leaped over a desk to take cover and, in so doing, dislocated his left shoulder. He then heard Hasan trying to kick in the doors.
According to a witness statement from another individual, Hasan fired three rounds at the briefing room doors.
Investigative photographs and sketches of the SRP center show the layout of buildings and the location of shell casings from the shots fired by Hasan. The photographs and sketches show a number of shell casings around the metal doors of the briefing room where Sgt. Berry was located during the shooting.
Following the attack, Sgt. Berry was admitted to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, where his dislocated shoulder was surgically repaired.
The attending physician who admitted Sgt. Berry found that Sgt. Berry's injury occurred during the mass shooting at the SRP center.
Sgt. Berry's commander found the injury to have been incurred in the line of duty and documented that Sgt. Berry was a casualty of the mass shooting at the SRP center.
On November 6, 2009, Sgt. Berry was entered into the U.S. Army casualty reporting system with a diagnosis of shoulder dislocation as a result of the mass shooting at the SRP center.
A photograph of Sgt. Berry meeting with President Barack Obama at a November 10, 2009 memorial service at Fort Hood, included herewith as Exhibit A, shows Sgt. Berry's left arm in a sling.
By memorandum dated December 7, 2009, the Fort Hood Installation Adjutant General confirmed that Sgt. Berry's shoulder dislocation occurred in the line of duty.
CID, the Texas Rangers, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a joint investigation of the shooting and subsequently found probable cause to believe Hasan committed the offense of attempted murder when he fired at Sgt. Berry.
On May 2, 2011, a Physical Evaluation Board found Sgt. Berry unfit for continued military service due to post-traumatic stress disorder, the shoulder injury received in the Fort Hood shooting, and degenerative arthritis of the spine. It recommended a combined disability rating of 80%.
On May 31, 2011, Sgt. Berry was released from active duty and placed on the temporary disability retired list.
On February 13, 2013, Sgt. Berry committed suicide. He was 36 years old. Sgt. Berry is survived by his father and now a 7-year-old daughter.
At his August 2013 court martial, Hasan admitted to being influenced by Anwar Awlaki, chief propagandist for the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist group.
***
On February 6, 2015, the Secretary of the Army announced that the Fort Hood attack met the criteria for awards of the Purple Heart. In its review of the mass shooting, the Army found sufficient evidence to conclude Hasan ''was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack,'' and that his radicalization and subsequent acts could be considered to have been ''inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.''
The U.S. Army Decorations Board denied Mr. Berry's application, for a posthumous award of the Purple Heart to his son. In April 2015, the Army awarded the Purple Heart to 47 service members injured in the Fort Hood attack. Sgt. Berry was not among them.
On April 17, 2016, a three-member panel of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records recommended that all Army records concerning Sgt. Berry be corrected by awarding Sgt. Berry the Purple Heart. The panel found ''[t]here is no question that [Sgt. Berry's] injury met the basic medical criteria for award of the [Purple Heart].''
In the lawsuit, we ask the court to declare the Secretary of the Army's October 28, 2016, decision to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with the law; to declare that the denial of Berry's application was unsupported by evidence; and to prevent the Army from continuing to deny Sgt. Berry a Purple Heart.
Sgt. Berry deserves the Purple Heart, and the bureaucracy should stop obstructing his just cause. Frankly, we can't imagine that President Trump, President Obama (there's nice picture of Sgt. Berry with President Obama here) or Secretary Mattis would disagree that Sgt. Berry should be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained during the Fort Hood attack.
I'm hoping that some senior official sees fit to take steps to rectify this injustice, so Sgt. Berry's father can get due recognition for his son. Until then, Judicial Watch will fight in court!
Border Agency Computers Can't Screen Harmful AliensA border wall is important, but equally critical to our safety is the ability to track individuals wishing to do us harm. That requires sophisticated information technology. After eight years of President Obama trying to eliminate our borders it should not be surprising that our border agents are using inadequate, antiquated computer systems. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the story.
The computer system used by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) front-line border protection agency is slow, frequently blacks out, and can't prevent the entry of inadmissible aliens with ''harmful intent,'' a disturbing federal audit reveals. Incredibly, thousands of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents rely on the flawed information technology (IT) system to fulfill their duty of securing the nation's borders and keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States.
''CBP's IT systems and infrastructure did not fully support its border security objective of preventing the entry of inadmissible aliens to the country,'' a DHS Inspector General report states. ''The slow performance of a critical pre-screening system greatly reduced Office of Field Operations officers' ability to identify any passengers who may represent concerns, including national security threats. Further, incoming passenger screening at U.S. international airports was hampered by frequent system outages that created passenger delays and public safety risks. The outages required that CBP officers rely on backup systems that weakened the screening process, leading to officers potentially being unable to identify travelers that may be attempting to enter the United States with harmful intent.''
This may seem inconceivable 16 years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil. CBP is one of the world's largest law enforcement agencies with 60,000 employees and annual budget of around $13 billion. It's a crucial DHS agency that must balance national security with facilitating lawful international travel and trade. On a typical day CBP processes more than a million passengers and pedestrians, 280,000 vehicles and conducts more than 1,000 apprehensions. The agency also has an Air and Marine Operations (AMO) that protects sea borders by interception inadmissible aliens and cargo approaching American borders. The division has about 1,800 agents, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The agency watchdog found that ''frequent network outages hindered air and marine surveillance operations, greatly reducing the situational awareness needed to detect inadmissible aliens and cargo approaching U.S. borders.''
Information technology is a critical part of CBP's operations and the agency has a special Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) to assure everything is functioning properly. The office is charged with providing effective technology, infrastructure and communications to adequately carry out border security operations. It's also well funded to the tune of $1.4 billion in 2016, the DHS IG report says. That accounts for the largest IT budget within DHS, comprising around 23% of DHS's $6.2 billion IT budget.
The CBP IT division also has a staff of around 5,200, including nearly 2,000 federal employees and thousands of contractors. This is a big-time and handsomely funded enterprise that should run smoothly and effectively. Instead, it's notorious for being inefficient and dangerously unreliable.
As an example of traveler delays and safety issues, the DHS report offers recent system outages that affected about 119,774 international travelers nationwide. More than 10,000 arrived at Miami International Airport and the backlog created ''hazards and security concerns,'' the audit says. CBP had to call local police and fire departments to help mitigate the risks, and 258 CBP officers worked 762 overtime hours, resulting in more than $58,000 in overtime pay. The incident ''created numerous secondary challenges and risks, including difficulties with crowd control, temperature, health emergencies and officer and public safety,'' according to the audit.
Border Patrol agents face similar issues with a system known as e3 that's famously slow and suffers lots of outages. Agents are frequently unable to carry out border apprehension and enforcement activities, DHS investigators found, with the most common outages related to a key portal that shares information in real time with Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE). Some of the outages were prolonged and others occurred monthly. ''The most significant impact of outages and slow processing in the e3 system was Border Patrol agents' inability to meet court deadlines for submitting information about criminal aliens for possible prosecution,'' The report states. For example, 48 individuals apprehended in the Tucson sector of the southwest border were not prosecuted in 2015 due to late records submissions. The same Border Patrol sector missed the deadline for transferring records for another 36 individuals due to e3 system failures.
CBP management does not dispute any of the findings in this alarming report. The question is, what will the agency do to fix the problem.
As you can see, building a wall may be necessary but won't be sufficient to secure our borders as long as Big Government bureaucracy remains ascendant.
Until next week '...
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War on Strippers
"All We Want Is Respect" - NYC's Strippers Are Going On Strike | Zero Hedge
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:04
Wealthy Wall Street finance types are going to need to find a new way to entertain their wealthy asset-management clients - at least for the time being - because the strippers are going on strike.
The source of the dispute is a simmering dispute between New York City dancers and a growing cohort of Instagram-famous ''startenders'' who wear outfits that are almost as revealing as the strippers' outfits, but also promote the club on social media - bringing in a loyal following of customers - while also serving drinks.
The club owners, not wanting to lose the revenue that the bartenders are bringing in, have stood idly by while the bartenders' influence inside the clubs has grown, while the strippers, who typically pay clubs a house fee to dance, are seeing their nightly earnings dwindle.
The result? One stripper who spoke to the post said she used to make $1,000 a night. But now she's pulling in closer to $400.
''No dancer in New York City is making $1,000 a night anymore."
Of course, the strike is still in its early stages. But according to the Washington Post, it's quickly gaining support.
Panama is a stage name and she declined to provide her real name. She is for real, though, said Mona Marie, the owner of a New York dance studio where many dancers train called Poletic Justice. And, she says, so are their mounting grievances, so much so that some of them have declared a stripper's strike. It's unclear how many dancers are participating and what the impact on the clubs has been. The strike is about a week old.
This isn't your normal labor dispute between employees and employers. It's between bartenders and strippers, on the one hand, and between strippers and club promoters on the other, who tend to side with the bartenders because, after all, it's the bartenders who they believe are bringing in the customers via social media.
As it turns out, the advent of photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat has violently disrupted the business of being an exotic dancer. To compensate for the drop in their nightly take at NYC clubs, the dancers now travel more because they can earn more money at clubs down South, or clubs in smaller towns where girls from fresh faces can earn more money.
Because of the club owners' indifference, many of the best dancers to skip NYC altogether, one stripper said.
A dancer named Gizelle Marie is one of the strike organizers. ''The [New York City] bartenders tell the customers not to tip us. They block us from the customers while we dance or they are sweeping our money off the stage while we dance,'' she told The Post. Several videos taken from inside different clubs posted on Instagram appear to support her claim.
Gizelle Marie says most customers can't tell bartenders apart from strippers anymore because they all basically dress the same and ''the club promoters and owners encourage the behavior."
Gizelle Marie got the idea to mobilize the NYC Strippers Strike after she traveled to Washington last month to dance at a club during Howard University's homecoming.
''I made a lot of money. It made me think to myself that a lot of the great dancers aren't dancing in New York anymore. They moved away to other cities to work or they just completely stopped,'' Gizelle said.
Within a couple days, she posted the word on Instagram and 30 strippers gathered last week at Poletic Justice in the Bronx for a meeting.
Panama said, ''The dancers used to be the most respected in the club, and now it's like the dancers are at the bottom of the barrel. And the dark-skinned dancers are all the way at the bottom of the barrel."
Among other considerations, the striking strippers are demanding a reduction in house fees and that black dancers also have the opportunity to be hired as bartenders.
In the past, the dancers have mostly been silent about their issues out of fear, she said. ''People were in fear of losing their jobs if they spoke out. A lot of these women have other careers, are parents, are putting themselves through school so that fear factor absolutely played a part in it."
They want their house fees reduced. They want bartenders to pay house fees, too. The black dancers want the opportunity to be hired as bartenders. And they want the bartenders to stop stealing their money.
They wish as well that management would stop pitting the strippers and bartenders against each other. The dancers believe everyone can work together harmoniously if rules are established.
''All we want is respect at the end of the day,'' Gizelle Marie said. ''If it doesn't change by us going to the owners we'll take further matters legally."
However, the nascent strike is facing one major obstacle: Club promoters' reaction to the strike ranges from indifferent to downright hostile.
Club promoters are not sympathetic to the strippers' demands. Sean Simmons, promotional director for Aces New York, said the strike is ''nonsense.'' He said there is no racism in the nightclubs and that he employed ''all ethnicities'' as dancers and bartenders at his club before it was shut down a couple months ago.
''The whole industry itself has changed,'' Simmons told The Post in a brief phone interview. ''Some clubs are bartender-driven, but that's just because the bartenders are beautiful women.'' Simmons said that there should be rules and regulations between dancers and bartenders, but said, ''Nothing will come from the strike."
Still, the women plan to keep fighting.
''No matter how people perceive your work environment, a work environment is a work environment and everybody needs to be respected and treated equally. If there's something you can do to help or change your establishment, you should do it.''
The Algos
Google's AI thinks this turtle looks like a gun, which is a problem - The Verge
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 11:11
From self-driving cars to smart surveillance cams, society is slowly learning to trust AI over human eyes. But although our new machine vision systems are tireless and ever-vigilant, they're far from infallible. Just look at the toy turtle above. It looks like a turtle, right? Well, not to a neural network trained by Google to identify everyday objects. To Google's AI it looks exactly like a rifle.
This 3D-printed turtle is an example of what's known as an ''adversarial image.'' In the AI world, these are pictures engineered to trick machine vision software, incorporating special patterns that make AI systems flip out. Think of them as optical illusions for computers. You can make adversarial glasses that trick facial recognition systems into thinking you're someone else, or can apply an adversarial pattern to a picture as a layer of near-invisible static. Humans won't spot the difference, but to an AI it means that panda has suddenly turned into a pickup truck.
Imagine tricking a self-driving car into seeing stop signs everywhere
Researching ways of generating and guarding against these sorts of adversarial attacks is an active field of research. And although the attacks are usually strikingly effective, they're often not too robust. This means that if you rotate an adversarial image or zoom in on it a a little, the computer will see past the pattern and identify it correctly. Why this 3D-printed turtle is significant, though, is because it shows how these adversarial attacks work in the 3D world, fooling a computer when viewed from multiple angles.
''In concrete terms, this means it's likely possible that one could construct a yard sale sign which to human drivers appears entirely ordinary, but might appear to a self-driving car as a pedestrian which suddenly appears next to the street,'' write labsix, the team of students from MIT who published the research. ''Adversarial examples are a practical concern that people must consider as neural networks become increasingly prevalent (and dangerous).''
Labsix calls their new method ''Expectation Over Transformation'' and you can read their full paper on it here. As well as creating a turtle that looks like a rifle, they also made a baseball that gets confused for an espresso and numerous non-3D-printed tests. The classes they chose were at random.
The group tested their attack against an image classifier developed by Google called Inception-v3. The company makes this freely available for researchers to tinker with, and although it's not a commercial system, it's not far from one. Although this attack was not tested against other machine vision software, to date there's no single fix for adversarial images. When contacted by The Verge, Google did not offer a comment on the paper, but a spokesperson directed us to a number of recentpapers outlining ways to foil adversarial attacks that have been published by the company's researchers.
An example from labsix of how fragile adversarial attacks often are. The image on the left has been altered so that it's identified as guacamole. Tilting it slightly means it's identified once more as a cat. The research comes with some caveats too. Firstly, the team's claim that their attack works from ''every angle'' isn't quite right. Their own video demos show that it works from most, but not all angles. Secondly, labsix needed access to Google's vision algorithm in order to identify its weaknesses and fool it. This is a significant barrier for anyone who would try and use these methods against commercial vision systems deployed by, say, self-driving car companies. However, other adversarial attacks have been shown to work against AI sight-unseen, and, according to Quartz, the labsix team is working on this problem next.
Adversarial attacks like these aren't, at present, a big danger to the public. They're effective, yes, but in limited circumstances. And although machine vision is being deployed more commonly in the real world, we're not yet so dependent on it that a bad actor with a 3D-printer could cause havoc. The problem is that issues like this exemplify how fragile some AI systems can be. And if we don't fix these problems now, they could lead to much bigger issues in the future.
Update November 2nd, 1:20PM ET:The story has been updated with Google's response.
'Bedrijven geven informatie over klanten aan Facebook'
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 11:11
'Bedrijven geven informatie over klanten aan Facebook'John DoeIedere zaterdag om 19.05 uur op Inloggen of registrerenLog in of registreer om jouw vraag te plaatsen
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Nam luctus turpis vel sapien tincidunt, sit amet eleifend metus suscipit. Nunc interdum facilisis eleifend. Pellentesque hendrerit nisl at fermentum efficitur. Cras tortor ante, placerat non elementum et, condimentum vitae neque. Fusce tempor libero a dolor interdum finibus. Pellentesque sed sollicitudin velit, id ultricies mauris. Fusce dapibus est eu tortor aliquet, vitae placerat nunc pulvinar.
Vrijdag 3 november 2017
Sommige bedrijven geven informatie over hun klanten door aan Facebook, ook al hebben die klanten daar helemaal geen toestemming voor gegeven. De Consumentenbond zegt zeventien bedrijven te hebben gewaarschuwd dat ze de wet overtreden.
Gerichter adverterenDe bedrijven sturen de gegevens naar Facebook zodat ze gerichter kunnen adverteren. Het gaat niet alleen om e-mailadressen, maar ook om woonadressen, geboortedata en telefoonnummers. Volgens de bond hebben de ANWB, Nuon, Oxfam Novib en De Bijenkorf hun leven gebeterd. Essent zou dat ook hebben beloofd, KLM en Transavia denken erover na. ANP
Facebookde consumentenbondBNNVARA
Postbus 175
1200 AD Hilversum
Against an Increasingly User-Hostile Web - Neustadt.fr
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 13:02
I quit Facebook seven months ago.
Despite its undeniable value, I think Facebook is at odds with the open web that I love and defend. This essay is my attempt to explain not only why I quit Facebook but why I believe we're slowly replacing a web that empowers with one that restricts and commoditizes people. And why we should, at the very least, stop and think about the consequences of that shift.
The Web: Backstory(If you want, you can skip the backstory and jump directly to the table of contents).
I love the web.
I don't mean that in the way that someone might say that they love pizza. For many of us in the early 2000s, the web was magical. You connected a phone line to your computer, let it make a funny noise and suddenly you had access to a seemingly-unending repository of thoughts and ideas from people around the world.
It might not seem like much now, but what that noise represented was the stuff of science fiction at the time: near-instantaneous communication at a planetary scale. It was a big deal.
I was an average student at school. Despite well-meaning and often wonderful teachers, I didn't thrive much in a school system that valued test performance and fact-retention over genuine curiosity. Had it not been for the web, I might have convinced myself that I was a poor learner; instead, I realized that learning is one of my great passions in life.
What remains of my fan site for German powermetal band Gamma Ray from 2001, archived thanks to the wonderful folks over at Archive.orgI was 11 when I set up my first website. Growing up in Nepal, this was magical. Almost everything I love today '-- design, aviation, cosmology, metal music, computation, foreign languages, philosophy '-- I discovered through the many pages that found their way to my web browser. All I needed were curiosity, a phone line and that strange little electrical song. And good old Netscape Navigator.
Netscape Navigator 4.04, source: A Visual Browser History, from Netscape 4 to Mozilla FirefoxThe web enabled that. It's one of humanity's greatest inventions. And now, we the architects of the modern web '-- web designers, UX designers, developers, creative directors, social media managers, data scientists, product managers, start-up people, strategists '-- are destroying it.
We're very good at talking about immersive experiences, personalized content, growth hacking, responsive strategy, user centered design, social media activation, retargeting, CMS and user experience. But behind all this jargon lurks the uncomfortable idea that we might be accomplices in the destruction of a platform that was meant to empower and bring people together; the possibility that we are instead building a machine that surveils, subverts, manipulates, overwhelms and exploits people.
It all comes down a simple but very dangerous shift: the major websites of today's web are not built for the visitor, but as means of using her. Our visitor has become a data point, a customer profile, a potential lead -- a proverbial fly in the spider's web. In the guise of user-centered design, we're building an increasingly user-hostile web.
If you work in the design/communication industry, consider this essay introspective soul-searching by one of your own. If you're a regular web user, consider this an appeal to demand a better web, one that respects you instead of abusing and exploiting you.
Note: The entire essay is rather long so feel free to skip to individual parts:
The Web was Born Open: a very brief history of the webThe Modern Web (of Deception): the disturbing state of the web todayTrack the Trackers, an Experiment: with whom websites are sharing your informationGated Communities: recentralization and closed platformsThe Way Forward: open tools, technologies and services for a better webThe Web was Born OpenIt all began in the early 90s.
The Internet '-- the physical network that allowed computers around the world to communicate '-- was already in place but it remained inaccessible to most people. You had to know how to use a local client to connect to a remote FTP, Usenet, Gopher or an email server. This was before the days of ubiquitous graphical user interfaces so you had to type funny commands into a terminal, one of those black screens with green text that that hackers supposedly use to do Bad Things.
Usenet Archives from 1981 on gopher server Quux.org, accessed 31 October 2017 via lynxMeanwhile, Tim Berners-Lee was working as an independent contractor at CERN in Geneva. Frustrated with how difficult it was to find, organize and update technical documentation, he proposed a solution that involved "global computer networked information system" that "presented users with a web of interlinked documents", called Mesh. Pretty soon it became apparent that WWW '-- World Wide Web, as it came to be known '-- could do more than just link technical documents.
The world's first website, accessed 31 October 2017 via lynxOn April 30 1993, CERN made a bold decision. It decided to release WWW into the public domain. It renounced all intellectual property rights and essentially invited anyone at all, anywhere in the world, to play with it. Later, the director of CERN who approved the decision said that he was inspired Richard Stallman's vision of free, open software.
Had CERN decided otherwise and patented the technology to then license it for money, the web would arguably not have taken off the way it did. It might have died out like the Minitel did in France. The web as we know it was born of a vision to create an open system that brought people and ideas together, with documents that "may reside on any computer supported by that web".
Advances in the hyper-text transfer protocol (HTTP), network infrastructure, web browsers and standards, consumer Internet access, accessible hosting and blogging platforms led to a massive democratization and adoption of the web.
Soon, anyone could put a document on the web and any document could link to any other. It created a completely open platform where a writer in Nepal could freely share her ideas with a dancer in Denmark. A climate science student in Nairobi could access data from the McMurdo weather station in Antarctica. You could start reading about logical fallacies and end up on a website about optical illusions. Read about the history of time-keeping and end up learning about Einstein's special theory of relativity. All interests were catered to. Information could truly be free: transverse borders, cultures and politics.
That is the web at its best.
My own journey from designing that first website as an 11-year old "webmaster" in Nepal to writing this article as a UX Consultant in France has its origin in that 1993 decision by CERN.
The Modern Web (of Deception)The modern web is different.
It's naturally different from a technological standpoint: we have faster connections, better browser standards, tighter security and new media formats. But it is also different in the values it espouses. Today, we are so far from that initial vision of linking documents to share knowledge that it's hard to simply browse the web for information without constantly being asked to buy something, like something, follow someone, share the page on Facebook or sign up to some newsletter. All the while being tracked and profiled.
Almost every website you go to today reports your activities to third parties that you most likely neither know nor trust. They record where you come from, what pages you visit, how long you stay on each, where you click and where you go next. In fact, since so many websites report to the same third parties, these companies can essentially have your web history on file as you go from link-to-link, website to website. Like an omnipotent eye embedded on Sir Berners-Lee's global system of interlinked documents, noting down everything you do and reporting to private entities who then sell this information for profit.
These companies build profiles, anonymous at first, with your interests and navigational behavior. These profiles can then get increasingly personal: they might include your email addresses, home address, income, educational history, political affiliation, information on your family. Over time, they can cross-reference all this information with your location data to figure out where you work, which restaurants you go to, where your gym is. Recently, we even learned that Google was able to associate your offline purchases with your online ad viewing history (albeit anonymously, it would appear). Once they have that, they can look into your behavior and psychology: what kind of ads do you tend to click on? What kind of messages resonate most with you? What are the best strategies to influence your opinion?
Screenshot of Mr. Alexander Nix presenting the work of Cambridge Analytica, video The Power of Big Data and Psychographics on YoutubeThe Leave campaign responsible for Brexit in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign both bought the services of a certain Cambridge Analytica, a company that boasts a gigantic database containing personal details amounting to "close to four or five thousand data points on every adult in the United States" (their own words). The goal? Craft hyper-personalized messages to change voting behavior based on your individual personalities, and by extension, your attitudes, opinions and fears. So if you are identified as a dad of three young kids in rural Texas, the message is nuanced to suggest that only a certain candidate will be able to protect your family against real or imagined threats. If you are identified as a patriot who's previously posted comments about gun rights and the second amendment, it might be about crime rates and how the opposition is trying to take your constitutional rights away from you.
You become a manipulable data point at the mercy of big corporations who sell their ability to manipulate you based on the data you volunteer.
This is the equivalent of someone following you in real life as you go about your everyday business, like a private eye who notes down with whom you meet, what you talk about, what you spend time looking at in stores. A private eye who takes notes and then sells it to the highest bidder. But you got to enter the store for free, so you should be so glad. The stores might also justify it. "Sure it's a bit invasive, but we'll be able to give you better recommendations if we know what you like".
But how do they get all this personal information -- where you live, who your friends are, what your religion and ethnicity are, where you were last night, what you bought on Monday? Most of it you volunteer yourself on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The little share buttons you see on websites aren't just there to make it easy for you to post a link to Facebook; they also allow Facebook to be present and gather information about you from pretty much any website.
But how can you know that any of this is true?
Track the Trackers: An ExperimentPerhaps you think I'm being a tad too dramatic.
In your defense, all of this does sound like some dystopian fantasy. But I'm not that great a fiction writer quite yet. Let me illustrate my point with a little experiment. We'll pick a major website that you might visit regularly and identify third parties it shares your information with.
We'll need a few things:
a test websiteWebbkoll, a web privacy check tool by Dataskydd.net, a Swedish association for data protection and privacy (of which I'm a proud member) andA web inspectorLet's take an article that was published around the time I first started working on this article (which is last year; I'm a slow writer): Astronomie : la sonde Juno s'est mise en orbite autour de Jupiter (Astronomy: space probe Juno put in orbit around Jupiter).
Le Monde article Astronomie : la sonde Juno s'est mise en orbite autour de JupiterIf you run this URL through Dataskydd's Webbkoll and a web inspector tool (I used Chromium's web inspector), you learn a few interesting things: the page is 3.1 MB in size, makes about 460 HTTP requests of which 430 are third-party requests (outside of its parent domain) and takes 20 seconds to fully load on a fast 3G connection (from Paris, France).
It also stores 100 cookies (these are little pieces of text stored on your computer by websites other than lemonde.fr; cookies are normally used to save session information but can also be used to identify and track you) and contacts 118 third-parties. And if all this weren't enough, your connection to LeMonde and the majority of third-party connections are over unsecure HTTP protocol (instead of the more secure HTTPS, which should be a basic requirement).
That's a lot of big numbers for an article of 1500 words, three images and one video.
Now let's look at some of the third parties that the page connects to when you load it:
Weborama: advertising platform for analytics, digital marketing and behavioral targetingVisual Revenue: predictive analytics platformAppNexus: multimedia content monetization serviceOutbrain: "online advertiser specializing in presenting sponsored website links" (Wikipedia)Facebook: a social network and micro-targeted advertising platformCedexis: a multi-CDN application delivery platformNote: In an earlier version of the article, I had mistakenly identified Cedexis as an "ad-delivery platform", which it is not. My apologies to Cedexis for the error.
Some of these are simply tools to manage content delivery but many are advertising or content monetization platforms. Companies like Weborama make money by selling information about you. When people say, "you're the product," it isn't just some analogy, it accurately reflects the business propositions of many such companies.
What's surprising is that the bulk of the information transferred between LeMonde and you doesn't even concern the actual article. If you were to isolate the actual content'--the words, images and video'--and put it in an HTML file, it would weigh considerably less than 3.1 MB and would make a lot fewer requests.
If fact, I did just that and made three versions :
Version A: With the original text (including comments, images and video)Version B: With the original text (including comments, images) but no videoVersion C: With just the original text (including comments), no images or videoSome numbers:
Original (LeMonde.fr)Version AVersion BVersion CPage Size3,1 MB1 MB (32%)183 KB (5,8%)17 KB (0,54%)Load Time20,9 s4,6 s (19,4%)2,8 s (9,6%)662 ms (3,2%)Requests (total)459108 (23,5%)5 (1%)1 (0,2%)Requests (third-party)43664 (14,7%)4 (0,9%)0Third Parties Contacted11817 (14,4%)2 (11,8%)0Cookies (total)10016 (16%)00Cookies (third-party)7316 (21,9%)00Text(% of Page Size)
0,5 %1,7 %9,5 %100 %Text + Images(% of Page Size)
5,8 %17,9 %100 %Text + Images + Video(% of Page Size)
32,3 %100 %Note: Data on the number of requests (first- and third-party) and cookies (first- and third-party) comes from Dataskydd Webbkoll. The rest of the data comes from Chromium's built-in web inspector. All connections were made from Paris, France with cacheing disabled and the bandwidth throttled to simulate a "fast 3G" connection. You can run these numbers yourself; they should vary only nominally depending on where you are. If you find errors, please let me know. Those are some very interesting figures. Some observations:
The actual article (text and three images, version B) makes up less than 6% of the total size of the page on LeMonde.fr. This means that 94% of the data transferred between you and LeMonde.fr has nothing to do with the article.What about the video, you ask? Before you even play it, that one video adds over a 100 requests (60 of which are to 15 additional third parties) and 16 third-party cookies. It also adds over 800 KB of data. Again, this is before you even decide to play the video. The video might be related to the content, but it's doing a lot more than that.Even compared to the version with the video (Version A), the LeMonde article makes about 450 additional third party requests, of which 370 are to about 100 additional third parties, storing 100 additional cookies (55 of which are third party cookies). It also adds over 2 MB to the page. All that is data that has nothing do with and completely unnecessary to load the article you're reading.The text + image version (Version B) is able to load the entire text and the 3 images with only 5 requests and no cookies whatsoever. Adding a video should reasonably add one or two more requests and maybe one cookie, not 450 requests and 100 cookies, the majority of which on behalf of companies you neither know nor trust, including those who track and sell your data for profit.The Le Monde page will continue to periodically transfer data and make additional requests even after it has completely loaded and as you scroll and interact with the page. If you monitor network traffic, a lot of this data is going to third-party tracking scripts. For example, a request is made to Xiti.com (a web analytics company) every few seconds.If you don't use a content blocker, you will notice that in just a matter of minutes, over 30 MB of data will be transfered between your browser and the 100+ third parties. The number of requests will go into the thousands. This will continue to rise as long as you leave your browser open.Essentially, this means that about 94% of the data being transferred and 99% of the requests being made have nothing to do with the article itself. Le Monde might principally be a newspaper in its printed version, but the online version is an invasive, insecure advertising platform with good content (in that order).
If you're curious, try using Webbkoll on other websites you visit to see how privacy-friendly and respectful these websites are. We'll get into how to protect yourself from these third-party trackers later on in the article.
All this might not be illegal (although there's some doubt, especially now that in the context of up the upcoming European General Regulation on Data Protection), but it is rather disrespectful towards the user. Not only are these websites breaking my trust'--when I visit your website, I entered into contact with you, not 80 other websites'--but they are loading content from websites neither know nor trust. Some of which have been know to spread malware.
Using an ad/content-blocker isn't cheating the system; it's taking very basic precautions that websites like Le Monde can't be bothered to take to protect you. For me, it's a basic necessity in the modern web.
If you're reading this and are wondering what to do to protect yourself, skip ahead to the The Way Forward section.
If you run a website and you put official share buttons on your website, use intrusive analytics platforms, serve ads through a third-party ad network or use pervasive cookies to share and sell data on your users, you're contributing to a user-hostile web. You're using free and open-source tools created by thousands of collaborators around the world, over an open web and in the spirit of sharing, to subvert users.
Gated CommunitiesOne of the most impressive things about the Internet (and consequently also the web) is that it is decentralized. No central authority gets to decide which page is more important than others and you don't have to play by anyone else's terms to publish and read what you want. There isn't anything like a main server that stores the code that runs the Internet; it's just a protocol on a physical backbone (of undersea cables).
You could buy a Raspberry Pi Zero today for less than 10'‚¬, connect it to the Internet, set up a chat server on it, give it a public address and the world would be able to connect to it and talk to one other. Sure, it might not perform too well and no one might actually use it, but it is technically possible.
But most of the time we spend on the web today is no longer on the open Internet - it's on private services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. While Facebook provides a valuable service, it is also a for-profit, company. Their source of revenue is advertising. It is the epitome of centralized.
Francisco Goya's The Naked Maja (1800)Try posting a picture of the Francisco de Goya's "The Naked Maja" or your naked breasts (if you're a woman) on Facebook; it'll almost certainly be removed. It's against their terms of use. To use their platform, you have to agree to whatever conditions they set, however absurd. If you replace the open web with Facebook, you're giving up your right to publish and share on your terms. The data that you post there does not belong to you; you're putting it in a closed system. If one day Facebook decides to shut down '-- unlikely as that might seem today '-- your data goes with it. Sure, you might be able to download parts of it, but then what?
Tumblr Blog Our Incredible Journey, "cataloging the thrilling opportunities start-ups are offered when their incredible journey continues by being bought by an exciting company. However, as a user of the start-up's service, your own incredible journey must end, because all of your photos and writing and checkins and messages and relationships must now be deleted".This works because they know you'll agree to it. You'll say you don't have a choice, because your friends are all there '-- the infamous "network effect". This is Facebook's currency, its source of strength but also a crucial dependency.
And this is what we often fail to realize: without its users'--without you'-- Facebook would be nothing. But without Facebook, you would only be inconvenienced. Facebook needs you more than you need it.
And they do their best to keep you on their website as long as possible. Your attention is worth a lot to a lot of companies who are convinced that traditional advertising is dead and that micro-targeted campaigns work better. (And they mostly do, from their point of view). This drives them to come up with absurd techniques to create addiction: wish your friend happy birthday, wish your colleague a happy work anniversary (who does that?), here's a video we made about you, three friends are going to an event near you, continue watching the video you started even as you scroll, be the first to comment, react to this photo, tell everyone what you're to. The longer you stay, the more information you give, the more valuable your profile '-- and the platform '-- is to advertisers.
I'm not saying that what Facebook is doing is entirely unethical. It has to make money to make up for the resources it employs to keep the website running and it does so by advertising. Every time you choose to use a free service like Instagram, LinkedIn, Gmail or Snapchat, you are paying for the convenience with your eyes, your data and your attention. There's nothing inherently wrong as long you as you understand and consent to this exchange of value. But do you? Does your daughter? Your dad?
What I'm against is the centralization of services; Facebook and Google are virtually everywhere today. Through share buttons, free services, mobile applications, login gateways and analytics, they are able to be present on virtually every website you visit. This gives them immense power and control. They get to unilaterally made decisions that affect our collective behavior, our expectations and our well-being. You're either with them or out. Well, I chose out.
You see, the web wasn't meant to be a gated community. It's actually pretty simple.
A web server, a public address and an HTML file are all that you need to share your thoughts (or indeed, art, sound or software) with anyone in the world. No authority from which to seek approval, no editorial board, no publisher. No content policy, no dependence on a third party startup that might fold in three years to begin a new adventure.
A website on Doom level design on Geocities from 1999, accessed October 31, 2017 via Archive.orgThat's what the web makes possible. It's friendship over hyperlink, knowledge over the network, romance over HTTP.
In fact, the browser you're reading this on (Chrome, Firefox, lynx, whatever), the web server that's hosting this website (Nginx), the operating system that this server runs on (Ubuntu), the programming tools used to make it all work (python, gcc, node.js...) -- all of these things were created collectively by contributors all around the world, brought together by HTTP. And given away for free in the spirit of sharing.
The web is open by design and built to empower people. This is the web we're breaking and replacing with one that subverts, manipulates and creates new needs and addiction.
The Way ForwardIf you want to protect yourself (as a user) from predatory web marketing companies and defend the open web, there a few things you can do today at an individual level.
If you're a web professional (a designer, UX consultant, strategist, programmer...), there are a number of considerations for better respecting your users and protecting their privacy (and your integrity).
Here's a basic list:
For end users (you, dear reader)If you use Chrome as your main browser, consider switching to Chromium, the open-source version of the browser. Consider minimalist browsers like Min (and choose to block all ads, trackers and scripts) to browse news websites. If you like a certain news source, support it by subscribing if you're able!Install a content/ad blocker for your browser: I recommend uBlock Origin (available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari on most platforms).Install HTTPS Everywhere for your browser; this forces your information through secure, encrypted channels (HTTPS vs HTTP one) if possible. It can also be configured to only allow connections to HTTPS websites.Think about how much information/details you provide to social media platforms like Facebook, Linked, Twitter and Instagram. They already have quite a lot (including the ability to recognize you by name on photographs), but what other information are you volunteering? Where you are, whom you're with, information about your friends?Consider quitting social networks, especially Facebook (but download your data first!). What would you miss the most? Are there alternatives?Consider alternatives to free services provided by the likes of Google and Facebook. Today, if both of these companies shut down (or implement policies I don't like), I would mostly be fine because my contact with them is limited. I use DuckDuckGo and Startpage for search (free); FastMail for email and calendar (less than 40'‚¬ a year) ; HERE WeGo for maps (free); Signal, email and IRC for messaging (free, along with iMessage, Whatsapp and Twitter); Digital Ocean for web hosting (about 5'‚¬ per month).Pay for services and content that you like, if you are able. If you like reading The Guardian, for example, consider subscribing. If your favourite YouTube channel is on Patreon, consider pledging a small amount per video. If you like services like Pinboard.in that charge in return for a useful service, buy it. There's mutual respect when both the user and the service provider know what basic service they are buying/selling.At the very least, consider that the platforms you use need you more than you need them. You have power over them (unfortunately, in numbers) and they know it. If enough people care about privacy and respect for their data and time, platforms will have to adapt to stay relevant.For web professionals (you, fellow industry colleague)Consider not putting share buttons everywhere. They're visual noise and make third party connections every time the page is loaded (adding to load time). If you have to, create your own instead of using ones provided by Facebook and co. (so that a click is needed before a request is made to their servers)Support HTTPS. It's super easy (and free!) with Let's Encrypt so you don't have an excuse to not respect your users' privacyThink about accessibility also in terms of page size, load times and tech requirements: will your website work without Javascript? What percentage of your the total weight of your page is actual information? How many third party requests are you making? How long would it take to load on a 56.6k dial-up or on EDGE? How does it render for speech readers? Can it be read via a text-based browser? (It's a fun experiment; try visiting your website with a text-based browser like lynx or Links).Refuse client requests to implement hyper-invasive technologies like canvas fingerprinting.Consider replacing Google Analytics with a more privacy-respecting analytics software like Piwik. Even better if you can host it yourself!Minimize third-party dependencies like Google Fonts (you can self-host them instead).Avoid ad networks (like the plague!) if possible. Serve your own ads by selling ad space the old school way if you're able. If not, explore privacy-respecting methods of serving ads, including developments powered by the blockchain (like the Basic Attention Token).Respect Do Not Track.Carefully consider the benefits of hyper personalisation and retargeting. The benefits are debatable but the long term consequences might be disastrous. Ask yourself: would you be okay with a company collecting as much data (as you seek to collect) on your teenage daughter, your nephew in college, your husband or your grand-mother?Consider business models where you actually respect your clients and your website visitors instead of using them. If you can't be honest about your business model with your client, maybe you need to ask questions.Thoughts and feedbackIt all comes down to one simple question: what do we want the web to be?
Do we want the web to be open, accessible, empowering and collaborative? Free, in the spirit of CERN's decision in 1993 or the open source tools it's built on? Or do we want it to be just another means of endless consumption, where people become eyeballs, targets and profiles? Where companies use your data to control your behaviour and which enables a surveillance society '-- what do we want?
For me, the choice is clear. And it's something worth fighting for.
I hope this article has been interesting. If you have thoughts'--you agree, disagree, have reservations, other ideas or a suggestion'--I'd love to hear them! This article is on GitHub; if you'd like you can send a pull request with edit suggestions (like Anders and many others did, thank you!). You can also get in touch via email (userhostileweb'--at'--neustadt.fr) or, if you're on Hacker News or Reddit, share your thoughts there.
'--Parimal Satyal is a Paris-based designer/geek who enjoys cosmology, dark beer, the open internet, metal music and foreign languages. More''
Neustadt.fr is his collection of essays, reviews and music.
EuroLand
Duitsland islamiseert speeltuintjes #zaplog
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:38
Wat kunnen ze bouwen h¨, daar in Mofrika. Maar goed, zo weet je in ieder geval zeker dat je er geen Merkel-lego omheen hoeft te mieteren om de boel een beetje gezellig te houden. Hey maar ho is even. Vallen die poppetjes niet onder etnische karikaturen? En werkt zulks geen STEREOTYPEN IN DE HAND?! En mogen kufarkindjes hier ook gewoon spelen zonder Djizja te betalen? Natuurlijk mogen ze dat, want zo doen we dat in het moderne Europa.
Annotaties:
Ebola
Nederlands hulpgeld voor ebola in zakken van fraudeurs | Binnenland | AD.nl
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 11:13
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Diversity Visa
2002 Los Angeles International Airport shooting - Wikipedia
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 11:13
On Independence Day, July 4, 2002, a lone terrorist opened fire at the airline ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. Two people were killed and four others were injured before the gunman was fatally shot by a security guard after also being wounded by him.
Check-in counters at the Tom Bradley Terminal within LAX, where the incident happenedOn July 4, 2002 at around 11:30 a.m., a lone gunman approached the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport, pulled out two Glock pistols and started shooting at the 90 passengers standing in the line. Initially, the assailant killed 25-year-old Customer Service Agent Victoria Hen, who was standing behind the counter, with a gunshot to the chest. Later, the assailant opened fire at the passengers as they huddled nearby and killed 46-year-old passenger Yaakov Aminov. In addition, he injured four other bystanders.
The terrorist used a .45-caliber handgun in the shooting. In addition, he was armed with a 9 mm handgun, a 6-inch knife, and was also carrying extra magazines and ammunition for both guns.[1]
After the gunman fired 10 bullets at the crowd, one of El Al's security guards, who was unarmed, managed to knock him down. Meanwhile, El Al's security officer, Chaim Sapir, ran to the scene but was stabbed by the assailant with a knife. Despite this, Sapir managed to draw his pistol and shoot the gunman in the chest, killing him.[2][3]
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a 41-year-old Egyptian national, was identified as the assailant. He emigrated to the United States in 1992, arriving on a tourist visa but claimed political asylum; however, his status was tenuous until 1997 when his wife won the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery enabling both to become legal residents.[4] In Egypt he had been arrested for being a member of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Islamist group. He denied the accusation to U.S. immigration authorities. He said that he was a member of Assad Eben Furat Mosque Association, a group that aimed to "understand truly and apply Islamic law in the 20th century under any circumstances."[5] Despite these Islamist commitments, he was given permission to live in the U.S. while his asylum application was pending. His asylum request was denied in 1995 but a letter notifying him was returned by the Post Office as undeliverable and no further efforts appear to have been made to locate and deport him.[5]
Hadayet had a green card which allowed him to work as a limousine driver. He was married, and had at least one child. At the time of the shooting, Hadayet was living in Irvine, California.[1]
Like Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov, the perpetrator of the 2017 New York City attack, gained legal residency in the United States under the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery.[6][7]
Out There
10 Terrifying Stories About Children With Black Eyes (Page 3)
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 11:28
Photo: via YouTube
At 6'7'" and 260 lb, this United States marine was his own looming and intimidating force of nature, but that didn't stop a black-eyed kid from testing him. He was in the barracks of the Texas base where he lived and settling in for the night when he heard a sharp knock on the door. Assuming it was his neighbor, the marine finally made his way to the door. Standing outside was a boy around 17 years old. The marine asked him what was up, and almost hungrily, the boy asked to be let in to use the phone. Nothing but sleep and peace on his mind, the Marine said no and directed him to the service building across the parking lot and closed the door.
He knocked again. Irritated, the marine went to the window intending to yell at him, but just looking at the thin, gaunt kid gave him the creeps. That's when he noticed his eyes - they were black as coal. Once again, the child asked to be let in with a creepy, predatory smile.
Still determined to assert his authority, the marine ignored his fear, ''I'm going to tell you one more time before I kick your ass to get lost.''
He turned momentarily to grab his phone and by the time he turned around the creature in the form of a child was gone. He couldn't shake the feeling that he'd seen him before, that all of this was familiar. The it hit him: he had watched his brother have a similar interaction once.
Two years earlier, while still in high school and living in Pennsylvania, he worked the night shift at a gas station. One night, while having a smoke out front with his brother, they saw some guy walking across four lanes towards them. His brother asked him if he needed anything, and it was the same request, he wanted to use a phone. The brother said the phone was back by the register and no one was allowed to use it.
They brothers went inside but the strange kid didn't take no for an answer. He stood in front of the shop just knocking until his brother chased him off with a bat. When he came back, he said the kid was pale and had black eyes. It was the same kid.
To some, the fact that the marine didn't recognize the black-eyed kid immediately implies these beings might be able to scramble people's minds or cloak their memories, at least temporarily, just like they cloak their appearance.
CLIPS & DOCS
VIDEO - Why Is The Opioid Epidemic Overwhelmingly White? : NPR
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 16:24
Why Is The Opioid Epidemic Overwhelmingly White? : NPRWhy Is The Opioid Epidemic Overwhelmingly White?The opioid epidemic is ravaging large parts of the American population. But some races are being hit harder than others. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a drug abuse expert, explains why that might be the case.
VIDEO - Donna Brazile tells critics of her book to 'go to hell' in explosive interview with Stephanopoulos - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 14:58
VIDEO - Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes Including A Billionaire - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 13:43
VIDEO - Katy Tur Discusses Campaign 2016 Memoir Unbelievable, Oct 17 2017 | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 13:23
About C-SPAN Resources Follow C-SPAN Channel Finder Find C-SPAN On Your TV ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Channel Finder ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Found C-SPAN On Your TV ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("");if (provider['STATUS'][0] == 1){var cspan1 = provider['CHANNEL'][0].split(',');$.each(cspan1, function(index, value) {cspan1[index] = parseInt(value);});cspan1 = cspan1.sort(compareNumbers).join(', ');$('nav.channel-finder div table').append("C-SPANChannel " + cspan1 + ((typeof provider['HDCHANNEL'][0] == 'string') ? " & HD " + provider['HDCHANNEL'][0] + "*" : "") + "");}if (provider['STATUS'][1] == 1){var cspan2 = provider['CHANNEL'][1].split(',');$.each(cspan2, function(index, value) {cspan2[index] = parseInt(value);});cspan2 = cspan2.sort(compareNumbers).join(', ');$('nav.channel-finder div table').append("C-SPAN2Channel " + cspan2 + ((typeof provider['HDCHANNEL'][1] == 'string') ? " & HD " + provider['HDCHANNEL'][1] + "*" : "") + "");}if (provider['STATUS'][2] == 1){var cspan3 = provider['CHANNEL'][2].split(',');$.each(cspan3, function(index, value) {cspan3[index] = parseInt(value);});cspan3 = cspan3.sort(compareNumbers).join(', ');$('nav.channel-finder div table').append("C-SPAN3Channel " + cspan3 + ((typeof provider['HDCHANNEL'][2] == 'string') ? " & HD " + provider['HDCHANNEL'][2] + "*" : "") + "");}if (hd)$('nav.channel-finder div').append("* Not available in all packages and areas. Please contact your provider if you don't see C-SPAN on your channel lineup.
");}else{$('nav.channel-finder').html("");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Channel Finder ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Your Provider Does Not Carry C-SPAN ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Request C-SPAN");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("C-SPAN is carried by these providers:
");$.each(window.providers['PROVIDER'], function(index, value) {if (value['STATUS'][0] == 1 || value['STATUS'][1] == 1 || value['STATUS'][2] == 1) {$('nav.channel-finder div table').append("" + decodeURIComponent(value['NAME']) + "");$('nav.channel-finder div table tr#' + index).append("");if (value['STATUS'][0] == 1) {$('nav.channel-finder div table tr#' + index + ' .channels').html("C'‘SPAN, "+((typeof provider['HDCHANNEL'][0] == 'string') ? "C'‘SPAN HD, " : ""));}if (value['STATUS'][1] == 1) {$('nav.channel-finder div table tr#' + index + ' .channels').append("C'‘SPAN2, "+((typeof provider['HDCHANNEL'][1] == 'string') ? "C'‘SPAN2 HD, " : ""));}if (value['STATUS'][2] == 1) {$('nav.channel-finder div table tr#' + index + ' .channels').append("C'‘SPAN3, "+((typeof provider['HDCHANNEL'][2] == 'string') ? "C'‘SPAN3 HD, " : ""));}}});$('#request-cspan').click(function(e) {$('nav.channel-finder').html("");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Channel Finder ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Request C-SPAN From Your Provider ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("");$('nav.channel-finder div form').append("* First Name:
");$('nav.channel-finder div form').append("* Last Name:
");$('nav.channel-finder div form').append("* Email Address:
");$('nav.channel-finder div form').append("Message:
");$('nav.channel-finder div form').append("* Denotes a required field
")});}}});});function submitRequest(){var formData = $('#request-cspan').serializeArray();var userid = window.providers['K2USERID'];var firstname = formData[0]['value'];var lastname = formData[1]['value'];var email = formData[2]['value'];var message = formData[3]['value'];if (validateEmail(email)) {$.ajax({type: "POST",url: "//www.c-span.org/common/services/getChannel.php",data: {userid: userid, firstname: firstname, lastname: lastname, email: email, provider: window.selectedprovider, zip: window.zip, message: message}}).done(function(data){if (data == '{"STATUS":"SUCCESS"}'){$('nav.channel-finder').html("");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Channel Finder ");$('nav.channel-finder div').append("Thank You For Your Request ");}});}}function validateEmail($email){var emailReg = /^([\w-\.]+@([\w-]+\.)+[\w-]{2,4})?$/;var ret = true;if(!emailReg.test($email))ret = false;return ret;}function compareNumbers(a, b){return a - b;}(C) 2017 National Cable Satellite Corporation
VIDEO - Social Media Companies Can Block Foreign Interference With Technology It Already Has : NPR
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:23
Social Media Companies Can Block Foreign Interference With Technology It Already Has : NPRSocial Media Companies Can Block Foreign Interference With Technology It Already HasSocial media platforms had to answer to Congress for the part it played in Russian influence in the 2016 elections. Dartmouth computer science professor Hany Farid talks about the tools Facebook, Twitter and Google can use to stop foreign interference in the future.
VIDEO - Robby Mook Inadvertently Showcases Fear Within Clinton Camp and Connection to Fusion GPS Funding'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:56
Interestingly an earlier report from the Daily Caller today outlines the attorneys for Fusion GPS fighting Congressman Devin Nunes to hide their payments to journalists and media.
That legal battle is interesting when conspicuously contrast as the backdrop for this CNN interview between Anderson Cooper and former Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook. In the interview Mook admits to paying for the research conducted by Fusion GPS that ultimately became a contract with Christoper Steele for the infamous ''Russian Dossier''. However, Mook is visibly concerned about the downstream connection to Steele.
If you don't think the Clinton campaign is worried about their connection to the Fusion GPS story, well, just watch this interview. More specifically notice at the 02:00 point of the interview when Mook removes his (non media) earpiece. Mook is getting instructions and cues on this interview from an earpiece that IS NOT CNN equipment. WATCH :
Media do not use wireless ear inserts, and Mook is not hearing Anderson Cooper's audio through that earpiece. He is being coached through the interview and is having a tough time listening to the questions and simultaneously listening to his handlers instructions.
Reeeeee'....
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VIDEO - WEB EXTRA: George Knapp interviews Sheriff Joe Lombardo
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:47
LAS VEGAS - One month ago, havoc erupted on the Las Vegas Strip when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
Fifty eight people died and more than 500 were injured in the country's worst mass shooting.
The I-Team's George Knapp spent two hours with Sheriff Joe Lombardo for an exclusive interview. While some of the discussion was not recorded, most of it was and you can watch the entire interview here. It is separated into two parts. Part 1 is in the top player. Part 2 is below.
VIDEO - JFK files, Russia, VA, Twitter | Overtime with Bill Maher (HBO) - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:20
VIDEO - New Rule: Toxic Male Laziness | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:05
VIDEO - Monologue: TMZ Meets DMZ | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:01
VIDEO - Hundreds of recruits get sick at Marine boot camp - The San Diego Union-Tribune
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:50
More than 300 recruits at the Marines' boot camp in San Diego are suffering from diarrheal symptoms from an bacterial outbreak, officials disclosed on Tuesday.
With most of the cases linked to Shiga toxin-producing E.coli bacteria physicians are treating 302 patients out of the more than 5,500 candidates undergoing training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
''Our immediate focus is identifying, isolating and treating recruits who present symptoms,'' said Brig. Gen. William Jurney, the commander of both the depot and the Corps' Western Recruiting Region, in a written statement. ''We are working to identify the cause of the sickness, making sure our affected recruits can return to training as soon as possible and continuing training for recruits not influenced.''
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the bacteria sickens 265,000 Americans annually, triggering 3,600 hospitalizations and 30 deaths.
Symptoms typically include painful stomach cramps, diarrhea that can become bloody, a mild fever and vomiting.While most victims recover within a week, some infections can threaten lives. Between five to seven percent of patients develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure, according to the CDC.
The bacteria was identified in recruits at both the depot and at Edson Range at Camp Pendleton beginning on Wednesday but the number of cases spiked on Monday, officials said.
Ten recruits were transported to an undisclosed hospital off the base for additional care.
''It's anticipated that they'll get to training but we're not sure when that will happen,'' said depot spokesman Steven H. Posy.
Family members will be notified if the illnesses delays a recruit's graduation date and no drill instructors or other base staffers appear to have contracted the malady, he added.
While investigators continue searching for the source of the contagion, commanders have quarantined sick recruits from those who have yet to display symptoms, mandated increased hand washing and ensured proper sanitation in all training areas, officials said.
Naval Medical Center San Diego's Preventative Medicine Unit also hiked inspections of barracks, dining facilities and common areas across the depot.
cprine@sduniontribune.com
VIDEO - Yanis Varoufakis blows the lid on Europe's hidden agenda - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:47
VIDEO - Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile over capital - CNN
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:25
But the missile was intercepted over northeast Riyadh, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said in a statement carried on government-backed Al-Arabiya television.
Yemen's Defense Ministry said the missile attack "shook the Saudi capital" and the operation was successful. The attack was conducted using a Yemeni-made, long-range missile called the Burqan 2H, it said.
The Riyadh airport tweeted that it hadn't been affected.
"Travelers across King Khalid international airport in Riyadh, we assure you that the movement is going on as normal and usual, and trips going according to time," the airport said on Twitter.
Airstrikes later in the day targeted Yemen's capital Sanaa, shaking homes and breaking windows. This is the first night attack on Sanaa in weeks, according to CNN's Hakim al-Masmari from Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of states against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who toppled Yemen's internationally recognized government in 2015.
The missile launch on King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh was the first time the heart of the Saudi capital has been attacked and represents a major escalation of the ongoing war in the region.
No injuries
The Saudi-led coalition accused a regional state of providing material support to the Houthi rebels, saying the firing of a ballistic missile at Riyadh "threatens the security of the Kingdom and regional and international security," according to a statement carried by Saudi state-TV al-Ekbariya.
The coalition didn't name the country. Saudi Arabia has been fighting a proxy war in Yemen against Iran, which it accuses of arming the Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia has led a military operation in Yemen in support of the internationally recognized government, which was driven out of the capital by the Shiite Houthi rebels and is now based in the southern city of Aden.
"This hostile and random act by the Houthis proves that one of the terrorism-supporting countries in the region supports the Houthis," the statement said.
The missile was fired at 8:07 p.m. local time (1:07 p.m. ET) and targeted civilian areas in Riyadh, the coalition said. It was intercepted by the Patriot missile defense system, leading to shrapnel falling over an uninhabited area east of the airport, the statement said.
There were no injuries, it said.
US President Donald Trump praised the US-made Patriot missile defense system.
"We make the best military equipment in the world," he said. "... You saw the missile that went out? And our system knocked the missile out of the air. That's how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we're selling it all over the world," Trump told reporters Sunday aboard Air Force One en route to Japan.
'New phase'
The UN Human Rights Office has documented 13,829 civilian casualties in Yemen, including 5,110 people killed, from the beginning of the fighting into late August.An airstrike in Sanaa in August destroyed two residential buildings, which a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said was an "unintentional accident." An airstrike days earlier destroyed a hotel on the outskirts of Sanaa, leaving dozens dead.
"We previously warned that capitals of countries attacking Yemen will not be safe from our ballistic missiles," Houthi spokesman Mohammed AbdulSalam said. "Today's missile attack comes in response to Saudi killing innocent Yemeni civilians."
A senior Yemeni air force official told CNN that the claim that Saudi Arabia intercepted the ballistic missile is false.
"The Saudi regime cannot hide the heavy fires that was seen by thousands of Saudi nationals in the King Khalid Airport premises as result of the Yemeni missile," the official said.
"This is not the end. Saudi cities will be a continuous target. We are entering a new phase," he said.
CNN's Bijan Hosseini and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Progressive Growing of GANs for Improved Quality, Stability, and Variation - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:22
VIDEO - Sarah Harris Instagram Live: Studio 10 host accidentally streams herself snoring
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 08:56
STUDIO 10 host Sarah Harris happily spends almost 20 hours a week broadcasting live into people's homes, so it's a rare event that she has to explain herself for it.
But last night, the seasoned broadcaster lived all of our greatest nightmares and managed to accidentally livestream her Saturday night.
The Instagram live video began just after 10pm, but it took a few minutes for the hundreds of fans who had tuned in to see what the popular TV host was up to and start asking questions.
The feed displayed only a black screen, presumably either turned over on a table or facing out into a blackened room.
The sounds were more confusing. Was that a shower running? Heavy breathing? Is someone in trouble?
Viewers managed to eventually figure out that Harris, who is pregnant with her second child, must have somehow knocked the live stream function on in her sleep.
The sounds were rain and snoring.
Fans started tweeting not only the Studio 10 star herself, but her boss, executive producer Rob McKnight.
Taking to Instagram on Sunday morning, this time intentionally, Harris said she had woken to several messages trying to alert her to what was happening in her bedroom.
''Er, this is a bit awkward,'' she wrote.
''Not sure how I managed to turn on Instagram Live in my sleep (I probably knocked it on accidentally while blindly fumbling for water on my bedside table because pregnancy makes me SO DAMN THIRSTY) but I hope it was entertaining.
''Anywhooo, my Saturday nights are clear lit. Yours must be too IF YOU'RE WATCHING A LIVE STREAM OF A SLEEPING PREGNANT LADY SNORING YA BLOODY WEIRDOS!!!''
The popular host took it all in good humour, replying to comments on the post, including one that noted the hilarious mistake was ''peak Harris''.
VIDEO - Las Vegas shooting proof - YouTube
Sun, 05 Nov 2017 04:34
VIDEO - A Global Shortage of Magnetic Tape Leaves Cassette Fans Reeling - WSJ
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 18:37
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.'-- Steve Stepp and his team of septuagenarian engineers are using a bag of rust, a kitchen mixer larger than a man and a 62-foot-long contraption that used to make magnetic strips for credit cards to avert a disaster that no one saw coming in the digital-music era.
The world is running out of cassette tape.
National Audio Co., where Mr. Stepp is president and co-owner, has been hoarding a stockpile of music-quality, '…›-inch-wide magnetic tape from suppliers that shut down in the past 15 years after music lovers ditched cassettes. National Audio held on. Now, many musicians are clamoring for cassettes as a way to physically distribute their music.
The company says it has less than a year's supply of tape left. So it is building the first manufacturing line for high-grade ferric oxide cassette tape in the U.S. in decades. If all goes well, the machine will churn out nearly 4 miles of tape a minute by January. And not just any tape. ''The best tape ever made,'' boasts Mr. Stepp, 69 years old. ''People will hear a whole new product.''
''Hamilton'' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda insisted that ''The Hamilton Mixtape,'' a 23-track album based on the hit Broadway musical and released last year, be available in cassette format. Brooklyn post-punk trio Big Bliss's cassette debut last year earned music-blog reviews and gas money on the band's first tour, even though the musicians didn't have a cassette player when the tape was released.
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Metallica is a repeat customer of National Audio, and the company's 45 employees have produced cassette soundtracks for installments of the movies ''Star Wars'' and ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' and a surprise release by the platinum pop act Twenty One Pilots. It left the factory in unmarked boxes.
Most customers are up-and-coming bands, hobbyists or eccentrics who order 50 to 500 copies at a time, including a man who claimed to have recorded the sound of grass growing, according to Mr. Stepp.
Mr. Stepp's father sold reels of background music to restaurants and factories. The family started National Audio in 1969, buying an early type of tape and loading it into cartridges for radio stations. The company began selling cassettes a few years later.
When tapes took over the music business, outselling vinyl records by the early 1980s, National Audio stuck to the spoken word. The company produced continuing-education lessons for lawyers, magazines read aloud for the blind and blank cassettes.
For years, Joyce Meyer Ministries, an evangelical Christian group based in Fenton, Mo., ordered 250,000 blank tapes a week on which it dubbed sermons and self-help advice. Listeners of ''How to Hear From God'' and ''Eat & Stay Thin'' kept Mr. Stepp prowling for supplies long after most music fans switched to compact discs. When competitors scrapped their cassette equipment, National Audio would send a truck and offer pennies on the dollar.
''They were laughing as we drove away because they were putting in CD-replicating lines,'' he says.
The joke was on them. Cassettes are cool again, particularly with listeners raised on earbuds, MP3s and streaming music. Sales are small but rising, according to Nielsen Music data.
The founders of Burger Records, an independent label run from a Southern California strip mall, grew fond of the cassette format a decade ago when their band, Thee Makeout Party, was touring in a van equipped with a cassette deck. The band had copied records to cassettes so they would have tunes to play on the road. They decided to sell their own music on cassette.
Burger has sold some 500,000 copies of about 1,000 different releases on cassette, ranging from new bands to reissued albums by Green Day and Weezer. Other labels chuckled at first. ''When they realized they could make a buck or two on these things, they started doing it themselves,'' says Burger co-founder Sean Bohrman.
Nostalgia and analog chic aside, cassettes solve two dilemmas: the high cost of making vinyl records and getting fans to buy digital downloads, particularly when bands are touring. A hundred cassettes packaged with download coupons can be made in a few weeks for a few hundred dollars, compared with months and thousands of dollars for vinyl. They often sell at retail for as little as $5 each.
''Plus, tapes fit in your breast pocket, which is pretty great,'' says Mr. Miranda, the ''Hamilton'' composer.
National Audio got small orders from Burger and other record labels. Then Pearl Jam called. The Seattle rock band needed 15,000 copies for a 2011 box set. Smashing Pumpkins followed. Metallica wanted 20,000 replicas of its original demo tape.
Mr. Stepp's company has had to rely on repurposed equipment, including an 80-year-old machine built to seal cigarette packs with cellophane. It was modified to wrap cassettes. National Audio has a Noah's ark of spare parts to keep what Mr. Stepp calls its ''orphaned'' gear running.
''It's the finest equipment the 1960s has to offer,'' he says amid rows of whirring duplicators.
When his supplier in South Korea stopped making tape in 2014, Mr. Stepp bought everything that was left. He found tape in China but deemed it ''consistently mediocre.'' It was suitable for spoken word but not rock 'n' roll. National Audio's stockpile shrank.
Tape-making is complicated. The process includes a finely calibrated slurry of metallic particles and polyurethane, miles of Mylar, 48 feet of ovens, a small amount of radioactivity and a very precise slicer. Employees broke an elevator while hauling in a 4,600-pound component that squeezes tape to a shine.
Mr. Stepp, who owns National Audio with his wife and adult children, hopes to ship the first cassettes made with the new tape by January. After that, he plans to start selling bulk tape to other cassette makers.
He is working the phones to promote the new product and take orders. Mr. Stepp says he treats every customer alike, whether they order 50 cassettes or 15,000, recalling that the company's first order from Joyce Meyer Ministries brought in just $35.
''You never know who you're dealing with or who that person will become,'' he says.
VIDEO - Harvey Weinstein photographed with prescription drug haul | Page Six
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:54
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was spotted aboard a commercial flight in first class with a huge haul of prescription drugs.
As revealed exclusively on ''Page Six TV'' Thursday, Weinstein was photographed opening a sturdy silver case filled with an astonishing amount of prescription pill bottles and medications as he sat in first class on a plane at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in December last year before his sexual harassment scandal broke '-- in full view of other passengers and the flight crew.
The source, who gave the picture exclusively to Page Six, said, ''Many people are wondering how Harvey can live with himself after all he's done '-- the years of sexually predatory behavior. The answer is: with the help of a lot of drugs.''
The source said that when another passenger on the plane who recognized Weinstein asked about his impressive pharmaceutical stash, Weinstein explained, ''Oh, I've got a cold.''
A different source familiar with Weinstein over the years told us, ''He always had that briefcase of drugs. He carries his whole medicine cabinet with him '-- even stuff he isn't taking at the time.''
Getty Images The insider added that Weinstein usually had pills handy for ''allergies'' as well as ''pain medication'' and others.
Reps for Weinstein told Page Six in a statement: ''The prescription bottles seen in the photo are medications prescribed by Mr. Weinstein's physicians for treatment of diabetes and other ongoing health conditions.''
Another Hollywood player who's been accused in the wake of the Weinstein scandal of sexual harassment, James Toback, has used his medical conditions to defend himself against the allegations. The director claimed to the LA Times that it was ''biologically impossible'' for him to have engaged in such lurid behavior with women due to his suffering from diabetes and a heart condition that require medication.
Weinstein and Toback are both being investigated by the Beverly Hills Police Department for multiple complaints by women. Weinstein's rep has said, ''Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.''
VIDEO - Media files lawsuit against Las Vegas police for public records in 1 October shooting | KSNV
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:46
News organizations, including News 3, have filed suit against LVMPD for refusing to release 911 calls and public records related to the '1 October' shooting in Las Vegas. (Craig Fiegener | KSNV)
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) '-- The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is being sued by seven news organizations after refusing to release public records related to the Route 91 concert shooting.
Despite repeated requests from News 3, and other media, police and county officials have refused to produce a log of 911 calls, recordings of 911 calls, preliminary autopsy records from the Clark County coroner, and security camera video obtained during the course of the investigation.
The lawsuit, filed this morning in Clark County District Court, also seeks to unseal 14 search warrants connected with Stephen Paddock and the investigation.
RELATED |1 October investigation: What we know so far
Police had a warrant for Paddock's Mesquite home, the 32nd floor hotel suite the Mandalay Bay hotel, along with warrants to obtain electronic information on Paddock from Google and Verizon.
Media attorneys argue that the public has a right to such information when there's no pending criminal trial and because police have repeatedly said there's no ongoing search for suspects.
The lawsuit says the public deserves to know as much as possible about the government's response to the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's history.
It's the only way the public can know if the response was ''appropriate, lawful, and effective,'' according to the court filing.
VIDEO - Racist flyers, online threats target students - YouTube
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:17
VIDEO - Las Vegas Shooting Flight Radar Data - YouTube
Sat, 04 Nov 2017 02:59
VIDEO - WATCH: This Reporter Ripped Trump For Not Calling For Death Penalty For Vegas Shooter. There's One Huge Problem. | Daily Wire
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 10:43
On Thursday afternoon, appearing on MSNBC, Eli Stokols of The Wall Street Journal committed an egregious but hilarious faux pas as he criticized President Trump for calling for the death penalty for Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the terrorist who murdered eight people on Tuesday in New York City.
Stokols stated, ''The unifying thread is the sort of broader politics of Donald Trump, the ethnocentric nationalism. He did not react this way when a white person shot dozens of people in Las Vegas. He did not come and say, 'Well, we have to do an immediate policy change, we need to give this guy the death penalty '...'''
Stokols' unwittingly hilarious remark resembled ThinkProgress editor Elham Khatami's tweet on Wednesday, when, after noting that Trump had said he wanted to send Saipov to Gitmo, she tweeted, ''He said no such thing about the Vegas shooter, who killed 58 people.''
As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro pointed out on Wednesday, referring to the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, in a remark that could equally apply to Stokols' comment:
Stokols responded on Twitter to his faux pas:
Video below:
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