982: Support Squirrel

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 52m
November 16th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch, Timothy Pierce, Sir Bill of Osaka,

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Ronald Gardner

Cover Artist: Cesium137

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#MeToo
Is there a culture of denial around sexual misconduct in academia? | THE Features
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:52
I write this from my office in a department of philosophy somewhere in the northern hemisphere. Beside my computer, the unshorn mug of Harvey Weinstein stares out from the cover of the 23 October edition of Time magazine. Beside his unpleasant mien are three words: Producer, Predator, Pariah.
Academia is no Hollywood, but it is also infected by a hidden epidemic of sexual misconduct. There is at least one sexual predator in every department I've studied in, or taught in, over 30 years. This is increasingly being acknowledged, but responses typically focus on teaching students about consent. This is hopelessly naive and dangerous.
Sexual abusers come in all ages, colours and classes. It's not necessarily the creepy old prof we need to look out for: sometimes it is the mild-mannered junior faculty who has a wife and young children and self-identifies as a ''feminist''. When I was 18, I was date-raped by a guy home from university for the summer. He went on to become a geography professor.
Inside this world, there is an ancient route by which sexual misconduct thrives. It is through faculty sleeping with, and then marrying, their students. Sexual harassment is commonly seen as being on a totally different planet from consensual sexual-romantic relations between academics and students, framed in terms of the understandable need for human connection, and requiring discretion and minimal intervention.
But it is not that simple. There is a zone of overlap between these poles that I have personally experienced and watched happen around me. Academics can sexualise the learning space to ''prime'' the ego-satisfying possibility of being seen as sexual by their students. They can talk in seminars about personal sexual exploits. They can use case studies with a palpable sexual dimension, make sexually charged remarks in lectures, or openly share facts about their sex lives around the department.
None of this would even be on the radar of ''sexual violence'', but it opens the door to low-level sexual harassment. This is because colleagues and students tend to respond, consciously or unconsciously, with amped-up sexualised conduct, thus normalising the sexualisation of shared learning spaces.
Then come the direct propositions. These usually go along with casual, did-he-really-do-that? touches of those students the professor finds attractive. When I was an undergraduate, I was propositioned by at least three male faculty members. On one occasion, I was on a crowded bus going to campus. I had to stand close to an elderly man, who was seated. He spent the entire ride speaking under his breath about my ass and thighs. I tried to move away but was jammed in like a sardine. Fast-forward to grad school and he turns out to be a distinguished professor '' thankfully not in my area. Another female grad student told me he had offered her money for sex (something that also once happened to me, with a different academic, during his office hours). At his funeral, which we were all expected to attend, many off-colour jokes were made about how he loved women and how he had a collection of photos of them that he would show other male faculty if they were lucky. I wondered whether there was a picture of my ass and thighs in there. And was it labelled?
During my 10 years of graduate study, I was propositioned by five of the 16 academics in my department (90 per cent of whom were male), and was constantly sexually harassed. There was Professor X, who was married and had a son my age. He would
stare at my breasts when we crossed paths. I would hug the opposite wall in the corridor, keep my eyes on the ground and hold my purse or binder in front of me. I never took a class with him.
Then there was Professor Y, who got drunk at the last seminar of the year, held at his house. When everyone was at the door preparing to leave, he made a speech about how all the students had been great and everyone had passed '' except me, who would be required to stay behind and ''do some extra work''. Everyone laughed. I tried to avoid him subsequently, although twice found myself on an advisory committee with him.
I could recount another 100 incidents, and every one of my female colleagues has similar stories to tell. I did not invite, or enjoy, any of this, and I stayed away from the department as a consequence. It reduced the number of faculty members I could even conceive of studying with '' not merely because I didn't want to be subject to their verbal or actual gropings, but also because I just didn't respect them as human beings and didn't want their name beside mine on a thesis. I had to change my area of research away from my interests and previous specialisations. My right to fair and equal education was, in effect, violated. When I spoke with the dean about it, she agreed but said (very regretfully) that nothing could be done.
My treatment also prevented me from spending much of my free time around the department. It is very stressful knowing that you should be making an effort to network '' to kiss ass for professional reasons '' but not feeling able to do so. At the end of my graduate work, I felt like I was alone rather than in a community '' and that feeling has lingered to this day.
Yet some professorial propositions ultimately end up in a successful ''coupling'': a falling in love. Indeed, marrying students was not at all unusual in my graduate department: at least six other male faculty members' wives were former students.
When a student turns up as Mrs X or Mrs Y at the next departmental Christmas party, all the unwanted, even assaultive behaviour of the recent past is eclipsed and silenced. Calling the professor out on his prior behaviour is, at that point, perceived as an attack on a family man's character, his wife's judgement and their mutual, consensual love. Besides, everyone in Judaeo-Christian cultures loves a redemptive arc. Complainants (there are always more than one) are framed as ''colluding liars'' and ''bitches'' (being involved in regular rape or harassment cases) and also as ''sore losers'' and ''just jealous''.
But the icky truth is that I know of no happy outcome that was not preceded by at least three ''attempts'' by the professor that the students in question experienced as sexual harassment. For example, after rejecting the advances of a professor at a graduate seminar, I had to spend a lot of time managing his fragile ego and staying away from him '' which was hard because I had a class with him. Then he married one of my office mates, who quit and had an adorable kid.
Even in matrimony, the professor's innocence is rarely more than superficial. I know of at least 10 cases in which professors marry two smart, sexy students in a row '' separated of course by a few children and different institutions. Then there was Professor Z in my graduate school. He was married to a student: an office mate of mine. But that didn't stop him, every year, from inviting the female teaching assistant he found most attractive '' usually a new grad student who didn't know enough to decline '' to his house to ''do various tasks'' '' always when he wife was out. One of those tasks was to sort his books. While the TA was doing this, he would sit watching her. On one occasion, he stretched out on the floor underneath her.
I bear no ill will to female colleagues that married my (our) mentors, or to colleagues that are currently bedding my (our) graduate students. But there are subterranean patterns of sexual misconduct, and great chunks of ongoing harm that take place by virtue of the damaged or deformed ego needs of mostly male faculty.
If we keep failing to look hard enough, and in all the right places, the epidemic of sexual harassment on campus will never subside. Because it has the best possible hiding spot: right in front of us.
The author is a female senior professor of philosophy.
Well-intentioned efforts to stop sexual misconduct and harassment have created a legal apparatus that shares troubling parallels with the InquisitionCiting the egregious case of Harvey -Weinstein as a ''tipping point'', law-makers in the US House of Representatives and the Senate are crafting new rules on handling workplace discrimination that would change the culture in Congress. Mandatory anti-harassment training, enhanced anti-retaliation protections for staffers, and prohibitions on mediation are some of the policy changes being considered.
The question is, when does the effort to end sexual harassment do more harm than good? A sober look at how these policies have worked on college campuses reveals a disturbing trend. Well-intentioned efforts to stop sexual misconduct and harassment have created a legal apparatus that shares troubling parallels with the Inquisition.
The tipping point for college investigations occurred in 2011, when the US Department of Education began issuing a set of new guidelines for investigating cases of gender discrimination under Title IX legislation. As with the current push in Congress, the guidelines emphasised a zero-tolerance attitude through streamlined proceedings, enhanced anti-retaliation provisions and suspicion of mediation. To ensure maximum effect, all college employees became mandatory reporters: teachers were obliged to report on ambiguous evidence in freshman essays, and financial aid staff were required to pass on any private information that might pertain to a perceived sexual impropriety.
Not surprisingly, that zero-tolerance attitude has come at an enormous cost to the free exchange of ideas and feelings. With every employee acting as an arm of the Title IX apparatus, conversations with students must be punctuated with frequent reminders about the obligations of mandatory reporters. As if that weren't enough, the apparatus itself legitimises a culture of sexual paranoia. The only explanation for why each employee must stand on patrol is that men must be incapable of restraining their predatory instincts and women must be incapable of coping with unwanted advances.
But unlike other zero-tolerance policing efforts, such as preventing illegal drug use, there is no room for dissent. When Laura Kipnis, a cultural theorist at Northwestern University, questioned the benefits of the Title IX policies in 2015 in The Chronicle of Higher Education, students at Northwestern protested and called for her dismissal. She then found herself facing Title IX allegations. A reference that she had made to a specific case '' one that had been written up in the press and was eventually dropped '' resulted in her being accused of engaging in retaliation.
Kipnis delineates each step of the process in her 2017 book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. Unable to know who brought the charge against her, unclear about the exact nature of the charge and forbidden to bring a lawyer with her to the meeting with the investigating team, she discovered at first hand how basic principles of due process are easily abandoned when feelings run high.
After questioning her about the sources for her ideas, her ''Midwestern Torquemadas'' concluded that her essay had had a ''chilling effect'' on ''survivors''. Pondering when ''survivor'' had replaced ''accuser'', Kipnis describes the chilling effect on academic freedom. After the Chronicle essay was published, she was deluged with emails from professors ''too frightened to say such things publicly themselves''. Academics, she discovered, routinely avoided controversial topics in class that had anything to do with sex, including abortion, rape law, incest and homosexuality, for fear of risking a Title IX investigation.
Under the US Constitution, legislators are granted immunity from prosecution for what they say; the framers of that document determined that opinions and ideas needed to be aired in order to create better laws. Given the experience on college campuses, that immunity might be challenged. Nobody wants to be associated with the likes of Weinstein. Few are willing to invoke the presumption of innocence. The tipping point may indeed have been reached.
Meg Mott is professor of political theory at Marlboro College, Vermont.
Abusers make their victims feel powerless, but often it is a wider culture that downplays the impact of sexual violence that really silences womenI recently got one of those ''who to follow'' emails from Twitter, which uses clever algorithms based on your internet usage to suggest people you might be interested in. The first name on the list was a male academic who had sexually harassed my friend, a university lecturer.
This man is relatively well known in progressive academic circles; his professional and feminist credentials made my friend trust him. His harassment of her was a series of micro-aggressions: difficult to prove, but slowly corrosive of her confidence. She has found it impossible to take action against him, not least because '' as my friend puts it '' he is a ''golden boy that everyone loves in academia and on social media''. She fears a backlash if she calls him out, because he will be supported not only institutionally but also within their mutual social network.
In my research, I have written about the way that silence was perceived as a female virtue in the Middle Ages, and how women were expected to silently bear sexual and domestic violence rather than risk shaming themselves and their families. Despite the span of centuries between my sources and the present day, I repeatedly hear troubling echoes of that medieval past in the way women talk about their experiences of sexual violence. Recently, I have heard from several women who have felt unable to speak out about sexual assault at the hands of male academics. Many of their stories share a common thread of feeling belittled and marginalised by the men in question; one example is the student who was told by a male professor that she was ''too pretty and feisty'' to be studying law '' before he groped her.
Abusers are good at making their victims feel powerless, but often it is a wider culture that downplays the impact of sexual violence that really silences women. The law student reported her assault to her personal tutor, who merely suggested that she avoid the teacher in question. Unsurprisingly, she did not feel confident about taking the matter further. In another case, a young woman was harassed by a fellow PhD student, who would barge into her bedroom uninvited to talk about his recent sexual conquests. The only advice that she received after reporting it to university authorities was to make sure that she locked her door. Another woman who contacted me said that her head of department had implied that she was ''melodramatic'' and discouraged her from pursuing a formal complaints process. In these instances, women were not silent by choice '' they tried to speak, but were gagged by systemic failures within their institutions.
Even if a woman thought that reporting her experience might not be disregarded or dismissed out of hand, the same culture that emboldens some men to become abusers and permits institutions to brush wrongdoing under the carpet might make her feel that her suffering was not serious enough to warrant action. One woman disclosed to me that despite being raped by a male academic, she did not feel that he deserved to lose his career over what he did to her.
In academia, individual intellectual achievement can seem more important than anything: than teaching, collegiality, kindness. It can mean that ''golden boys'' are rewarded for their outputs while victims of their violence are called ''over-sensitive'' and see their own careers suffer, either as a result of stress or because their departments sideline them. For many female academics, staying silent is not a choice: it is a survival technique.
Rachel Moss is a lecturer in late medieval history at the University of Oxford.
The problem is framed as one of individuals rather than culture. The sector needs to acknowledge that it has been wilfully negligentAcademia in the UK has a serious problem with staff sexual misconduct. The 1752 Group was formed in 2016 as a research and lobby organisation to put staff-to-student sexual misconduct on the national agenda after we recognised that nowhere in the UK were higher education institutions developing effective responses to this issue. We are partnering with sector-wide organisations, including Universities UK, and working to develop national guidelines that will help institutions to prevent staff sexual misconduct and to respond effectively when it does occur.
We use the term ''sexual misconduct'' to describe forms of power enacted by staff (employed or contracted in different capacities) in their relations with students (and other staff, who are often in more junior roles). As well as sexual harassment, assault, grooming and sexual coercion, sexual misconduct might also include consensual sexual relations where the power imbalance between staff and students means that these relations can still have a negative impact on students' well-being and academic engagement.
Data in this area are sparse. The Association of American Universities (AAU) in 2015 found that one in six female postgraduate students had experienced staff sexual misconduct, and we anticipate a similar prevalence in the UK because here too doctoral students are placed in long-term, proximal and dependent relations with individual staff members, in which misconduct can occur. The AAU reported that a high percentage of trans and non-binary students experienced staff sexual misconduct. Crucially, few data are available on the impact on students of colour. We are partnering with the National Union of Students to carry out the first national study of staff sexual misconduct in the UK, and we will publish our findings next year.
Our work points to the serious consequences of staff sexual misconduct for students' equal access to education. Students can experience mental health issues, feel unsafe on campus, relinquish teaching work, alter or interrupt their studies, or drop out of education altogether. Yet existing structures and processes mean that the problem and its impact remain hidden. If a student makes a complaint to their institution, there is currently no requirement for the institution to inform them of the outcome, and universities routinely ask both students and staff to sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent any discussion of disciplinary proceedings brought against staff. These contracts create a culture of silence that protects perpetrators, even while the contract is often couched in terms of protecting the student.
Because of the sector's lack of adequate policies and procedures regarding the sexual misconduct of staff, encouraging the quiet resignation of perpetrators has become institutions' default response to misconduct. The problem is framed as that of individual perpetrators, rather than that of an entrenched culture of denial. The sector needs to acknowledge that it has been wilfully negligent in its responsibilities for safeguarding students and ensuring equal access to education for all.
Solutions to this problem are necessarily multifaceted. Recent research analysing 300 faculty sexual harassment cases in the US found that 53 per cent involved serial perpetrators, which suggests that a cross-university strategy is required. Fundamentally, responses must confront issues of power imbalances, and the procedures involved must be transparent and all actions taken must be made public. Based on our continuing research projects and casework, we offer a number of recommendations.
First, institutions should have a clear, enforceable and visible professional code of conduct. Second, policies in this area should not be subsumed within generic ''conflict of interest'' or ''bullying and harassment'' policies. It is essential to draft bespoke staff-student relationship policies that apply to all staff and not only to those with direct teaching or supervision responsibilities. Also needed are policies on staff-staff relationships that recognise the existence of power operating in reporting and line-management relationships as well as in more junior roles. Specific reporting and complaints processes for sexual misconduct are also necessary, feeding into the data reporting that should be required annually from each institution.
Third, non-disclosure agreements should never be used in cases of staff sexual misconduct. Fourth, anonymous and third-party reporting should have the power to lead to investigations, rather than serving solely as data collection. Fifth, students need support throughout the reporting process and beyond, ideally from an independent trained specialist.
Finally, institutions need to recognise and address how their organisational cultures support and condone sexual misconduct, even when there are preventive policies and training in place. There is work to be done in understanding the multiple cultures that can exist within an institution that can lead to very different experiences for students and staff across different departments and disciplines. Without this knowledge informing long-term cultural change programmes linked to policy and practices, sexual misconduct will continue to occur.
Tiffany Page is co-founder of The 1752 Group and is a lecturer in the department of sociology at the University of Cambridge.
I have reflected on the times that I have been sexually harassed in the academic world. But would I name names? Certainly notFirst it was men in Hollywood and showbiz in general, then men in the UK Parliament '' who will be next in the exposure of sexual harassment? Not many male MPs turned up to debate the matter in the Commons, and I imagine that not many would turn up if there were to be special meetings convened in universities, either. Sexual harassment is endemic in just about every profession, including the academic, because where there is an imbalance of power, there will be exploitation of the weakest.
Back in the 1970s, Malcolm Bradbury's novel The History Man depicted a womanising, left-wing sociology lecturer called Howard Kirk, and there was a lot of speculation about who was the model for that character. We all knew men like Howard Kirk, but we also all knew women who idolised them or, less frequently, tried to exploit them in turn, so as to ensure decent essay grades.
I have reflected in the past week or so on the various times that I have been sexually harassed in the literary and academic world. I came up with a string of names that includes some very senior men, including a handful of vice-chancellors, professors and well-known writers, as well as others lower down the food chain. I have been pinned to walls, groped at parties, had my bottom pinched, breasts fondled, skirt lifted '' sometimes with joviality, other times with the intensity of lust, fuelled by alcohol. One man was so infamous for his behaviour that when he crossed the room at drinks receptions, I, like the other women present, would strategically hold a plate and a handbag so as to employ jutting elbows as a defence.
But would I name names? Certainly not, and for two reasons. First, because I am a child of the generation that took this kind of behaviour as par for the course and so learned how to deal with it. I have used cutting remarks, the odd slap and the technique of grinding sharp nails across an offending hand. I have also on occasion bluntly told sex pests to ''fuck off''.
Second, although such events were distasteful, I never felt in any danger. I remember being very frightened when I was 12 years old, going home from school and being groped by a stranger who pursued me the length of the tram, right up to where the driver sat. I got off before my stop and ran all the way home. I never had that same fear as an adult because there is a difference between being 12 and being 21, and there is a difference between serious sexual assault and gross behaviour. Also, I learned not to put myself at risk if it could be avoided, so going to someone's bedroom or agreeing to work late in private was definitely out.
I suppose I thought that things had improved for younger women, and that the millennium generation of men were less crudely sexist than their elders: that the Howard Kirks of today were less inclined to grope and proposition their students
and colleagues. But I am told that while this might appear to be true, there are other forms of bullying and harassment that reflect the unequal power balance in academia. So while I applaud the women who are outing sex pests, I view with cynicism the suggestion that naming a few names is going to end what is, unfortunately, universally bad behaviour.'‰
Susan Bassnett is professor of comparative literature at the University of Glasgow and aprofessor emerita at the University ofWarwick.
Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It
By Leeann Tweeden
In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.
Also on the trip were country music artists Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas, and some cheerleaders from the Dallas Cowboys. The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.
Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.
As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.
When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.
Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn’t kiss me on the lips.
No one saw what happened backstage. I didn’t tell the Sergeant Major of the Army, who was the sponsor of the tour. I didn’t tell our USO rep what happened.
At the time I didn’t want to cause trouble. We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our Holiday tour, I was a professional, and I could take care of myself. I told a few of the others on the tour what Franken had done and they knew how I felt about it.
I tried to let it go, but I was angry.
Other than our dialogue on stage, I never had a voluntary conversation with Al Franken again. I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I was never alone with him again for the rest of the tour.
Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops.
But he didn’t stop there.
The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.
It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:
I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.
I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.
How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?
I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.
I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.
But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.
Today, I am the news anchor on McIntyre in the Morning on KABC Radio in Los Angeles. My colleagues are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever worked with in my career. Like everyone in the media, we’ve been reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations since they broke, and the flood of similar stories that have come out about others.
A few weeks ago, we had California Congresswoman Jackie Speier on the show and she told us her story of being sexually assaulted when she was a young Congressional aide. She described how a powerful man in the office where she worked ‘held her face, kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth.’
At that moment, I thought to myself, Al Franken did that exact same thing to me.
I had locked up those memories of helplessness and violation for a long time, but they all came rushing back to me and my hands clinched into fists like it was yesterday.
I’m still angry at what Al Franken did to me.
Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour. I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that. I wanted to. But I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was there to entertain the troops and make sure they forgot about where they were for a few hours. Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story.
That day is now.
Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.
You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone.
You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.
While debating whether or not to go public, I even thought to myself, so much worse has happened to so many others, maybe my story isn’t worth telling? But my story is worth telling.
Not just because 2017 is not 2006, or because I am much more secure in my career now than I was then, and not because I’m still angry.
I’m telling my story because there may be others.
I want to have the same effect on them that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me. I want them, and all the other victims of sexual assault, to be able to speak out immediately, and not keep their stories –and their anger– locked up inside for years, or decades.
I want the days of silence to be over forever.
Leeann Tweeden is morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles
NBC dismisses a news executive for misconduct - NBC News
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:31
NBC News dismissed a senior executive Tuesday after multiple women accused him of misconduct.
The executive, Matt Zimmerman, senior vice president for booking, worked in the company's news division, and was one of the top bookers of talent and guests for "Today."
''We have recently learned that Matt Zimmerman engaged in inappropriate conduct with more than one woman at NBCU, which violated company policy," the company said in a statement, referring to NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC. "As a result he has been dismissed.''
Zimmerman was not in the office on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment. The nature of the accusations against him were not immediately clear, though NBC policy requires executives to notify the human resources department if they are dating a direct report.
He is the latest media and entertainment executive to lose his job since accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein opened a floodgate of allegations against other men a month ago.
MSNBC political contributor Mark Halperin was also forced out after a number of women stepped forward to allege he touched them inappropriately while they worked at ABC News. Kevin Spacey was stripped of a movie and dropped from upcoming projects. Other executives who have lost their jobs include Leon Wieseltier, formerly of the New Republic, and Michael Oreskes, a top news executive at National Public Radio.
Allowing #MeToo To Go Viral Is The Biggest Mistake The Establishment Ever Made
Sun, 12 Nov 2017 23:52
Louis CK has just released a statement on the sexual misconduct accusations that have been levelled at him by various women, and it goes pretty much exactly as you'd expect it to go if you're familiar with his work. He changes things up from the standard stock response powerful men generally provide in these situations, says that the stories are true, explains why what he did was wrong, then launches into his ''gosh I'm such an awful person'' lovable loser schtick that his fans have already come to adore.
This came out maybe an hour before this writing, and a quick glance at my social media feeds says that some are buying and some are selling. For the time being he's avoided a total destruction of his career. I'm sure it will make a good standup set someday. Oh, that Louie! He just can't get it right, but he's so meta and self-aware about it!
Whatever.
I was 19 years old the first time I was raped. The last time, I was 39. I am not unusual. I've been involved in a private ongoing discussion with some dear friends since last year in which we all share our rape stories with one another, and despite a deep awareness of rape culture's ubiquitousness even I was surprised at how universal these experiences are among the women I know.
All women. Rape culture impacts all women. Severely. The only reason this is treated as less of an epidemic than it is is because there are longstanding mechanisms built into our society (shame, religion, power dynamics, a cultural taboo against shaming men for irresponsible use of their sexuality, etc.) to keep us from speaking out about them.
These mechanisms are now falling apart.
Human civilization is made of rape. For millennia, all over the world, women have been commodified and kept as property for the purpose of receiving male reproductive fluids and raising their progeny, regardless of our will. During this time we were kept at home while men invented religion, money, economics, war, government, hierarchy, class, culture, rules, laws and traditions, including the laws of the marital bed. Civilization has been arranged so that each man receives a woman to own, with whom he may have sex whenever he wishes, between building, fighting, destroying and conquering in accordance with the will of whatever ruler happened to be running the show at the time.
This is only just now beginning to change. A woman's will for her own sexuality is only just now becoming culturally relevant, a blink of an eye from a historical perspective.
Spousal rape was not considered a crime in all 50 states until 1993, and there are still seven states where there is a marital exception to certain sex crimes. The full anatomy of the clitoris wasn't recognized by western science until 1998. The G-spot was given its name in the 1980s after a male gynecologist, Ernst Gr¤fenberg, who spent time in the 1940s studying the stimulation of theurethra. Birth control pills kill sexual desire. A third of women reported pain in their last sexual experience. There is a little-known, virtually unresearched and untreatable condition called vulvodynia that causes such intense nerve pain that some women consider suicide, and it is more common than breast cancer.
Just sit with that. A third of women reported pain in their last sexual experience. They didn't just not enjoy it, they gritted their teeth through it. Why? Because for a myriad of reasons, we don't feel like we have a choice. That's rape culture.
Given that interest in a woman's will for her own sexuality is just barely beginning to enter social consciousness on a large scale, it shouldn't surprise anyone that it is only just now in 2017 that sharing our experiences with rape culture is beginning to go mainstream.
Rape dynamics are woven into the fabric of society far more pervasively than anyone realizes, and by pulling this thread, the whole mad tapestry will necessarily unravel. This can only be a good thing.
Our species is at a crossroads. It's become self-evident that we're about to either collectively experience some kind of enormous transformation, or go the way of the dinosaur. Parallel to our unprecedented ability to network and share information and ideas with our fellow humans all around the globe is a death march toward either ecosystemic disaster or nuclear holocaust which so far shows no signs of slowing down, and one of these two factors will necessarily win out at some point in the near future. Thus far our attempts to shift trajectories have failed spectacularly. If something is going to save us, it's going to come from way out of left field.
Women everywhere feel the significance of the #MeToo phenomenon. A lot of us are scared to say anything about it for fear of hurting the feelings of the men we love, fear of retribution, and fear of being eaten alive by the intimidating, debate-culture defenders of patriarchy, but there's a widespread sense that this thing is much bigger than it seems. Some leaders of conventional feminist thought have been speculating about some kind of progressive political upheaval, but in my opinion this is infinitely more revolutionary than that. We are about to experience a plunge into completely unknown and uncharted territory.
I can't even keep track of all the men who are facing sexual misconduct accusations anymore as women gain more and more confidence to call it out, but the hyper-politicized nature of the circles I move in tells me it's entirely bipartisan. Liberal men rape and conservative men rape, all the way up the power structure. Democrats and Republicans are both accusing one another of hypocrisy today for focusing on one faction's sex crimes and not the other's, while ignoring the elephant in the room that rape is happening all over the place. What will happen when they can't ignore it anymore?
What will happen when women begin really reclaiming their sexuality? What will happen when women everywhere flick on every light in the house, and all the perversions of men no longer have any darkness left to hide in?
It is unimaginable. Power structures will be disrupted from the basic family unit all the way up to the highest echelons of influence. Movement will happen. Cracks will appear. The will of women, which spent all those millennia forbidden from influencing the development of the civilization in which we now find ourselves, will finally have some space to get a word in edgewise.
Most elites remain blissfully unaware of what's coming. The liberal think tanks in Washington still believe they'll be able to manipulate the #MeToo phenomenon into some pussyhat-wearing rah rah Kamala Harris 2020 movement that they can use to their advantage. They have never been more wrong. Pandora's box has been opened. They cannot manipulate this.
What is coming is not a new political movement, what is coming is a revolution against the very fabric of the profoundly sick society that our species has woven for itself. By shining a bright light on rape culture in each and every instance it rears its ugly head, we are actually re-tracing our footsteps back to the dawn of civilization and undoing every wrong turn that humanity has made which got us to the catastrophic point we now find ourselves. The fact that this is becoming a mainstream practice means that this societal alchemy will necessarily unfold, regardless of people's old ideas about politics and revolution.
When the doors of the sexual revolution opened in the late sixties, the predators flooded in and quickly turned ''You can have sex whenever you want!'' to ''You can have sex whenever I want.'' Germaine Greer warned us at the time that thousands of years of relentlessly abusing our sexuality had made us into female eunuchs who had no idea what our sexuality was. Unfortunately, that's still mostly true today.
We know our sexuality is our spark and our spunk, our creativity, our beauty and our healing. We know a raped woman will lose all these things in the months after the rape, often taking years to get them back. We know that when you scare a woman's sexuality, you dim her light. And that's Louis CK's greatest crime right now, whether he knows it or not. All those female comics that he smeared his smelly sexuality all over? He made them less brave, less fearless, less funny.
In a time when we face human extinction, we need all the bravery and humor we can get.
There's a certain type of personality that finds it deeply offensive that I talk about rape culture sometimes. Personally I found being raped rather offensive, myself. The people who find these discussions triggering are going to have to find a way to deal with it, because they're only going to get more common. Sexual predation is no longer shrouded by any taboos against pointing at it and calling it what it is. Complain all you want'Š'--'Šthis upheaval is coming either way.
This is not a political or ideological revolution. This is a complete undoing of all that is sick in this world, coming not from our minds but from deep within our cells. A voice has finally been given to the heritage of pain which has been passed from mother to daughter from generation to generation as we taught one another how to survive in a world of sexual slavery since the dawn of civilization. It will not be pretty when it first comes out. It will not be sexy. It will not dance for male sexuality as it has been trained to do like a good little girl. It will roar, and it will destroy.
Change is coming. What looks like women talking about their experiences with rape culture is actually a vast area of endarkened human unconsciousness suddenly becoming enlightened into consciousness. A whole section of our collective consciousness which we have never previously had access to is now suddenly becoming available to us. The old structures will not be able to stand on this new ground, as they were built upon the old ground.
Buckle up.
______
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John Travolta accused of sexual battery by masseur aged 21 | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:13
John Travolta has been named in a criminal complaint by a 21-year-old masseur who accused the actor of sexual battery that reportedly took place in 2000.
According to the bombshell police report, the masseur alleged that Travolta groped his bare buttocks and indecently exposed himself during a deep body massage at the LaQuinta Hotel in Palm Springs, California.
During the alleged incident, Travolta, 63, also made lewd remarks about gay fantasies while at the hotel's spa facility around 1.30am on February 15, 2000.
According to the documents, obtained by RadarOnline.com, Travolta wanted a more intimate rubdown and even removed the towel 'exposing' his buttocks as the male spa employee gave him the massage.
Hollywood star John Travolta (pictured in September) has been named in a criminal complaint by a 21-year-old masseur who accused the actor of sexual battery that reportedly took place in 2000
According to the bombshell police report, the masseur alleged that Travolta (left in 2000, a day before the alleged incident) groped his bare buttocks and indecently exposed himself during a deep body massage at the LaQuinta Hotel (right) in Palm Springs, California
The employee claimed in the report that he kept replacing the towel and covering Travolta's buttocks up when the Pulp Fiction actor removed it.
After that massage was complete they allegedly went into another room where the masseur performed what he called a 'Citrus Scrub' on Travolta, who is married to Kelly Preston.
During the treatment, Travolta, a devout Scientologist, told him that he was very attractive and that he had gotten him 'excited', the documents said.
The report states that once the 'scrub' was complete, 'they moved to the steam room, where Travolta asked it he would accompany him, so he wouldn't have to sit alone'.
The pair then sat in the steam room together, according to the report. They were both wearing towels initially but the employee claimed that Travolta removed his towel and 'was nude'.
Travolta then allegedly offered to demonstrate his own massage techniques on the masseur.
As the man lay on his stomach, 'Travolta reached under his towel and began to rub his inner thigh'.
During the alleged incident, Travolta, 63, who is married to Kelly Preston (pictured in September) also made lewd remarks about gay fantasies while at the hotel's spa facility around 1.30am on February 15, 2000
Then the actor 'began rubbing [the masseur's] bare buttocks as well as in the groove between'.
According to the report, the masseur said he felt uncomfortable and left, but then Travolta followed, offering to 'soap up' his back while he showered.
While the masseur was packing up his massage table, he alleged that Travolta made lewd comments' toward him and asked if he'd 'ever ha his a**hole licked by another man' and if so, 'tell him what he would do, so he [Travolta] could have something to fantasize about'.
The masseur reported the incident to the Palm Springs Sheriff's Department.
Officer Mark Peters went to the hotel to speak with Travolta, who had already checked out by the time he arrived.
The case was later 'closed unfounded' and Peters advised the man to 'speak with a civil attorney'.
This isn't the first time Travolta has been accused of misconduct while getting a massage.
In 2012, Travolta was sued over accusations that he tried to have sex with a male masseur during a therapy session at the luxury Beverly Hills Hotel.
This isn't the first time Travolta(pictured in February 2017) has been accused of misconduct while getting a massage. In 2012, Travolta was sued over accusations that he tried to have sex with a male masseur during a therapy session at the luxury Beverly Hills Hotel
The married actor, who has repeatedly denied being gay in the past, was said to have touched the unnamed therapist's genitals during a $200-per-hour massage appointment (complaint from 2012), the lawsuit claimed
The married actor, who has repeatedly denied being gay in the past, was said to have touched the unnamed therapist's genitals during a $200-per-hour massage appointment, the lawsuit claimed.
The suit claimed that Travolta stripped naked - and appeared aroused - before being massaged while at the same time trying to remove the towel covering his bottom.
After the session was over, Travolta allegedly touched the man's scrotum and penis.
A CAREER PLAGUED BY RUMORS Whispers about John Travolta's sexuality have plagued his movie career almost from the outset.
Various camp roles in films '' most notably as a drag queen in the musical Hairspray '' have helped fuel rumors he is secretly gay.
But there have also been strongly denied accusations he has been living a double life strikingly at odds with his family man image.
They include the rumor that his 1991 marriage to Kelly Preston was arranged by the shadowy cult-like religion of Scientology, of which he is a leading disciple.
Seven years later, the father-of-two Travolta was named as a homosexual in court papers by a former member of the Church. The case never got a hearing, however.
And in 2001, Travolta faced unsubstantiated claims that he had tried to pick up a business executive in a health club.
However, the rumor mill reached a crescendo in 2006, when the actor was seen apparently kissing a male friend as he prepared to board his own Boeing 707 jet in Canada.
But the masseur insisted he pulled away and claimed he then informed the actor that he was a professional masseur and not a prostitute.
Travolta is then said to have responded that 'we must have got our signals crossed', before adding: 'Come on dude, I'll jerk you off.'
According to the report at the time, the star is then said to have suggested a 'reverse massage', which is believed to mean that he wanted the masseur to lie on the table while the actor gave the man a full body rub.
The lawsuit was filed at the US District Court of Central California. The document claimed that during the encounter Travolta also masturbated.
During that particular incident, Travolta claimed the accusation were 'fiction'.
The lawsuit sought more than $2 million in damages.
At the time, a spokesperson for Travolta issued a vehement denial: 'This lawsuit is complete fiction and fabrication. None of the events claimed in the suit ever occurred.
'The plaintiff, who refuses to give their name, knows that the suit is a baseless lie'...On that date when plaintiff claims John met him, John was not in California and it can be proved that he was on the East Coast.
'Plaintiff's attorney has filed this suit to try and get his 15 minutes of fame. John intends to get this case thrown out and then he will sue the attorney and Plaintiff for malicious prosecution.'
Okorie Okorcha, the lawyer representing the masseur told RadarOnline.com: 'My client is afraid of John Travolta.
He added: 'Mr. Travolta made very explicit threats against my client, which are contained in the lawsuit.
'Specifically, John Travolta told my client that Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.
'Let's face it, John Travolta is an extremely powerful man, and my client absolutely felt threatened by Mr. Travolta. My client was sexually assaulted by Mr. Travolta and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.'
The suit (pictured is page 2 of the 2012 complaint) claimed that Travolta stripped naked - and appeared aroused - before being massaged while at the same time trying to remove the towel covering his bottom
Exclusive: Former Joe Biden Secret Service Agent: We Had to Protect Women From Him, 'Weinstein Level Stuff'
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:58
November 14, 2017 by Jim Hoft Guest post by Cassandra Fairbanks at Big League Politics:
A former Secret Service agent assigned to the Vice President Joe Biden residence claims that the Service often had to protect female agents from him.Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the agent asserted that, ''We had to cancel the VP Christmas get together at the Vice President's house because Biden would grope all of our wives and girlfriend's asses.'' The annual party was for agents and Navy personnel who were tasked with protecting the Biden family.
''He would mess with every single woman or teen. It was horrible,'' the agent said.
According to the source, a Secret Service agent once got suspended for a week in 2009 for shoving Biden after he cupped his girlfriend's breast while the couple was taking a photo with him. The situation got so heated, the source told Cassandra Fairbanks, that others had to step in to prevent the agent from hitting the then-Vice President.
Additionally, the agent claims that Biden would walk around the VP residence naked at night. ''I mean, Stark naked'... Weinstein level stuff,'' he added.
He said that the men on duty would frequently stand in front of female agents and Navy women that were present ''like a damn guardian.'' On some occasions, they would make up reasons to get the women away from where he was.
The agent said he was specifically concerned about women in the Navy.
''They weren't allowed to disobey him at all, but we'd take them away under pretend auspices,'' the agent stated.
The official Vice Presidential residence is the Queen Anne style house at One Observatory Circle in Washington, DC, which is located on the northeast grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. The property is maintained and cared for by the service branch.
Best-selling author Ronald Kessler wrote about Biden's problem with female agents in his book The First Family Detail.
''Agents say that, whether at the vice president's residence or at his home in Delaware, Biden has a habit of swimming in his pool nude,'' Kessler wrote. ''Female Secret Service agents find that offensive.''
Our source confirmed this sentiment, adding that ''it was especially an issue at his Delaware house that he would go to every weekend.''
''He would only get naked when Jill was absent,'' he added.
Biden has also long been criticized for his contact with women and girls in photos and videos, and was even referred to as ''Creepy Uncle Joe Biden'' by the Washington Post.
In a report from the Washington Examiner titled, 'Joe Biden's Woman Touching Habit,' Byron York wrote that he has a tendency to be ''particularly affectionate with women in business and social situations, like the 2013 Christmas party at which he embraced reporter Amie Parnes.''
The agent also worked under the Bush administration, and added that Vice President Dick Cheney ''never grabbed any butts or breasts.''
We have reached out to a Biden spokeswoman for comment, but did not receive a response by time of publishing.
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NYT reporter calls for Twitter to censor images of Biden inappropriately touching women, children - Big League Politics
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:19
Flickr/U.S. Embassy Romania/Creative CommonsIn the wake of new reports about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. having inappropriate contact with women and children, as well as a resurgence of videos and images of his conduct, Nicole Perlroth of The New York Times is calling on Twitter to ''handle,'' or censor, the content.
Perlroth, a cyber security reporter, tweeted the plea to her nearly 24,000 followers on Tuesday '-- to a less-than-warm reception. The tweet was retweeted only 16 times, while it received nearly 700 comments '-- most of which condemned her desire for censorship.
''In the past 24 hours, a new alt-right fake news meme had emerged of Biden as a predator. How will @twitter handle?'' Perlroth asked, quoting an in-depth thread from Richard Armande Mills featuring photos and videos of Biden's behavior. The images contained within the thread were not doctored or altered.
The Tweet followed the release of my report on allegations from a Secret Service agent who had worked within the Biden residence at Washington's Naval Observatory, the official home of the vice president.
The agent compared the former Veep to Harvey Weinstein and alleged that the situation was so dire that an annual holiday party at the residence for Secret Service agents and members of the Navy had to be canceled over concerns about his behavior towards women and teenage girls.
Biden's inappropriate touching has long been criticized, even by publications on the left, with The Washington Post referring to him as ''Creepy Uncle Joe.''
Perlroth's strange request for censorship also came at a time where Democrats appear to be testing the waters for a Biden presidential campaign in 2020.
According to a new poll that is being broadcast across every mainstream publication, after he told reporters on Monday that he was ''not closing the door'' on a run.
(Screenshot from @JoeBiden Twitter page)The Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Biden currently holds an 11 percent edge on President Donald J. Trump in a hypothetical matchup, with 46 percent stating that they would vote for the former Veep.
Previous Blacked out: Writer is turning celeb sexual misconduct statements into 'Blackout Poetry'
The Pedophile Conspirancy Against Judge Roy Moore
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:36
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter
The Lame Cherry is not going to waste time cluttering up your trash heap minds about Roy Moore details, but will continue to point out the absolute fabrications and lies of his accusers, as this blog did in two of his accusers, when one stated he was in a diner every night until closing and one had him in the mall every night or a high school event. Mr. Moore simply can not be at two locations at once, so therefore one of the women or both are liars, as both can not be telling the Truth.
Monday, November 13, 2017 Roy Moore's Lying Accusers Exposed
What you are looking at with Roy Moore is something which has not dawned on you yet in all of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Charlie Sheen rape and pedophilia coverage has disappeared and Roy Moore is the story the liberals have concocted to ruin a Christian and stop the investigation and coverage on the pedophile syndicate.
Chelsea Clinton fled to her car to avoid answering questions from a ... $250,000 in donations from accused rapist ... movie producer gave over $30,000 ... dailymail.co.uk /news/article-4980948/Chelsea-Clinton-runs That is what is behind all of this smear against Roy Moore. If you notice Jeff Sessions who could not speak out on the Bundy frame up, could not speak to the Las Vegas Massacre in the greatest slaughter in America, could not speak to the Texas Church Massacre, the greatest murder spree in a Christian Church, can not speak out about a host of crimes by the Clintons, but can immediately come out and smear Judge Moore by saying these lying women are believable.
Sessions Says 'No Reason' To Doubt Moore Accusers...
Locals say predatory behavior no secret...
Alabama newspapers blasts as 'unfit for public office'...
Ted Cruz pulls support...
Paul Ryan: Drop Out...
As you read the accusations against Roy Moore, and now understand that the pedophile syndicate is funding this operation and directing it, because ask yourself how die Bev Nelson and her husband afford a trip to New York, afford high priced lawyer Gloria Allred, in these expenses of thousands of dollars as New York Hotel rooms are not cheap, just who is funding all of this, as there is a very expensive money trail, like the 30 million which Mitch McConnell spent in trying to stop the People of Alabama's vote for Judge Roy Moore?
Where is all of this money coming from?
We are going to visit Bev Nelson again and her dewy eyed rehearsed Harlequin Romance recital of cold hard concrete, tears streaming down, dark night in the well scripted Mockingbird story which triggered all of the Hitchcock things you have been taught to expect in your primal fears.
If you examine the media coverage of Bev Nelson, you discover that Roy Moore had a car, and had a truck in this rape......and it was an old car or truck.
The Lame Cherry is about to inform all of you something, including those who should have known better in Bev Nelson story to have bought into the Harlequin Romance recital.
Let us just say that it was a car and a truck, as CNN likes ingraining into your mind that southern bigotry of Bubba always is driving around in a truck, with gun racks in the back, Confederate flag on the bumper, Dixie car horn tootin' like the Dukes of Hazard and of course a case of beer in back, in case Roy Moore got thirsty from lettin' out Towser the Coon Houng in walking to the fire as he opens the beer bottle on his buck teeth.
That is what CNN did with the truck injection, but let us just say that Roy Moore had an old Chevy El Camino or a Ford Ranchero, in a pick up bed on a car chassis, from the 1960's to the 1970's.
READ now the following in BOLD and you still will not get it what is about to be broken here.
DAILY BEAST
''I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out.
CNN
Alabama resident Beverly Young Nelson claims Roy Moore assaulted her in his truck when she was working as a waitress in the 1970s.
You still do not get it, but this one is for Maggie and I hope it makes her smile.
This about LOCKED CAR DOORS. Now we have Beverly Nelson locked into her story with Gloria Allred. There is no doubt that Beverly Nelson stated that Roy Moore reached over and locked the car door, so she could not get out, and Beverly Nelson was trapped inside the El Camino or Ranchero, just like you would be sitting in your car as you sit there and can pull on the door handle and nothing will happen as the door is locked.
WRONG!!!!!
Let the Lame Cherry take you back to the old days, where all of the people who remember them have forgotten and all of you children have not experienced so you bite on this Dan Rather Forgegate stuff from another era in not understand the wrong fonts were used.
Cars once had no locks on the doors. Then cars had locks on the doors, but only key locks around 1948. Then cars for convenience had locks on the inside behind the person's shoulder, which were chrome and had a knob on top to lock on the inside.
Cars then when crooks started stealing them took the knobs off the inside lock around the 1990's and they evolved to the lock you know of today in power locks and locks at the front of the door.
Take a bit to rehearse that as your minds are foggy yet in remembering things you once experienced and once saw, but never catalogued as it was just a door lock.
I am going to tell you something now, as a teenager we had an old 1966 Ford Galaxy 500 which I got to drive to school when I got to drive home to come home to the fields to work. I hated that car as it was gutless in it had a 289 V8, automatic and I once locked the keys in the car and had to confiscate a coat hanger from a teacher to shove the wire in through the window to lift the lock knob on the inside.
This is important as the older drivers are about to have the lights going off pretty soon. See when cars or pick ups used to be locked from inside, there was a convenience in them, that when the passenger had the door locked, the handle actually lifted, unlocked the door and opened the door at the same time.
It was not like the modern era where the lock is not part of the door opening system. The old car doors and locks were combined, and done so, so that when you were driving along, stopped your car with the door locked, that you could just open the door without having to reach around behind your shoulder, and opened by the handle, it stayed open so you were not always locking your keys in the car.
When I locked my keys in the car the one time, it was because I had forgotten to take the keys out of the ignition and had gotten out without thinking and pressed down the door lock knob.
Yes we have all seen the horror movies of car doors locked and people not being able to get out, but in reality all one had to do is pull on the door handle even when locked, and the door would come unlocked.
See what happens when you have Millennial and Geezers writing script in Hollywood Horror memories and modern 21st century vehicles? You get a story of someone reaching over, locking a car door and your not being able to get out.
''He finally allowed meto open the car door and I either fell out or he pushed me out.
The story of Bev Nelson changed again, in now she opens the car door, when before it was locked. Psychologically if the door was locked she would have stated that, but the door was open as it always was open and this reads like a rehearsed Hollywood bad movie.
Do some of these images look familiar in your psyches which have been imprinted to accept the Roy Moore frame up?
Look familiar? And imprinted onto all of your minds the movie scene of the locks on the car door locking, the hands frantically clawing at door handles, locks, windows, in a director trick of heightening the urgency and the inevitable doom as we all know what happens when you are locked in and can not get away......
Roy Moore appears with a banjo and makes you listen to the Grand Ole Opry.
It is like Anita Hill with that coke can and pubic hair, once she got caught in a lie, then everything else is suspect and once a waitress states Roy Moore is every night in a diner, then he can not be every night at the mall, so the Deputy DA is lying or the waitress is lying........or both are lying as the media scrambles in the tangle web of finding other waitresses in the 1990's who said Roy Moore did paperwork in a diner too, in order to try and prop up the assault charge which is full of holes.
Namely someone intent on assaulting girls does not sign their annuals with Merry Christmas messages which can be used as evidence.
Especially when the names of Roy Moore in the annual do not match the signature of Roy Moore on legal documents in being different.
To close this out, the scene of the assault is available online from Google Maps. The current location is Ralley's a drive through chain.
No concrete parking lot at the assault locationAgain we take Bev Nelson's word as legal proof that Roy Moore shoved her out onto the COLD CONCRETE.
The passenger door was open as he burned rubber pulling away leaving me laying there on the cold concrete in the dark.''
In reviewing the photo, there is not any cold concrete, but hot asphalt in that parking lot and on Mieghan Boulvard which is a major six lane highway which can not be crossed.3rd Street is the street which Roy Moore is supposed to have pulled out on, burning rubber. Across the street in that "alley" is a Murphy's gas franchise. This is important as Bev Nelson has in her narration that she was "in back of the diner"
Instead of getting on the highway, she alleged, Moore parked in the back of the restaurant.
In actual photos of the diner, there is not any parking back there but only room for a DRIVE THROUGH, which it is today for take out orders.
On the side is parking, but not back where Bev Nelson states, but again if one looks at this diner location, it is on the corner of a busy street, which police would patrol and which traffic would be constant. Mieghan is a main artery, 3rd street sits on a development which is now a gas station. and the point being this entire venue is exposed in every corner. There is absolutely no place to lurk on this lot.
Meaning any police officer driving by after that diner closes would notice a car parked where Bev Nelson stated. More damning, anyone would be an idiot to squeal tires in this location, and dump a girl off on the asphalt AS THERE WAS NOT CONCRETE, as every vehicle driving by on this busy location would witness this.
I can not speak to what the lighting was in the 1970's, but it is lit up like the fourth of July currently. I can speak to the 1970's Mieghan lighting on this main thoroughfare in there is a light on every pole. This entire area was lit up and there were not any dark areas.
Speaking from a law enforcement position though, a DA will know that any vehicle parked down South in a closed business parking lot is going to be lit up immediately, because the Police will assume it is some niggers or crackers breaking into the place. The Police know parked cars at closed businesses mean trouble in people are drunk, doped, dead, robbing the business or raping someone.
I will close this further expose' as there are now four absolute lies in the story of the alleged rape of this woman. I will not mention who suggested the forensic psychology of this Bev Nelson story to me, but the astute observation appears to be a recounting of Bev Nelson's boyfriend who was noted to be abusive.
The point in this is, Bev Nelson might be telling the story of her boyfriend picking her up after work, parking behind the diner and then beating her up as she resisted sex and he shoved her out, and then burned rubber out of the parking lot as that would fit the profile.
Do not lose sight in this that there are predators in Hollywood, media and government who have been assaulting women and raping children, who were about to be exposed, and they are the individuals with the power to concoct and promote this frame up of Judge Moore. This is the same Pedophile Syndicate which Andrew Breitbart was exposing and culminated with John Podesta in 2016 in Pizzagate, which again was shut down by the powers that be. They are attacking Roy Moore to deflect from this so the rape of children will continue.
Roy Moore needs America's support as he is not the one lying in this, as evidenced by the continued holes in the lies of those accusing him.
It is always the details, locked doors, concrete, dark, and Roy Moore accused of being in two places at one time. Those are the exposed lies.
agtG
Roy Moore's Signature
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:22
Here is some more of my artistic creations in a picture I drew of myselfin 1977 as of course it shows how much talent I have.As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.In the assessment of Judge Roy Moore's writing something is outstanding in just as Roy Moore was in two places at once according to his female accusers, he also is man who signs not only in two different hands, but in two different genders.
The first example of Roy Moore as a woman is from the Olde Hickory House document.
Even a layman can compare the lower case "e" does not match. Roy Moore did not write this and from an expert analysis this is a female writer.
This Olde Hickory document.
The best analysis in many cases is you the reader. Look at the autograph in a reality of how you would sign things.
If you were signing something, do you always sign things double in DATES?Now if you were forging a document, do you think you might be focused on thee exact date in order to frame someone?Maybe an exact date which Roy Moore signs this and year, to frame him completely in what he was doing in front of Baby Jesus.There are many discrepancies in these forgeries, including the DA after Roy Moore's signature. It is not important in this that an assistant stamped Moore's signature and signed the DA after it, but what is important in this is the DA is the signature that his accuser did have access to, a 1999 legal document where Bev Nelson appeared before Roy Moore and he signed her divorce documents.This is the comparison of the legal document and the signature in the year book.As Moore was not a DA in 1977, the person forging the year book, in a non researched frame, mistook the DA of the Judge's assistance in 1999 for District Attorney, and added this to the year book, thinking it would add weight to the frame up.
Roy Moore's printed name does not match the printing and his male printing of his name does not match the female forgery of the year book.
In examination of the Gloria Allred presentation, the cursive Christmas wishes is feminine and not masculine. You are looking at the original forger personality appearing and then the forgery of Roy Moore's name practiced later and then transferred LARGER in his forged signature.
A third visit appeared when it was thought better to include the actual day and location.
Bev Nelson's step son stands with Roy Moore and states his step mother's story is all a lie.
Stepson of Roy Moore accuser: She's lying - WND.comwww.wnd.com/2017/11/stepson-of-roy-moore-accuser-shes-lying/14 hours ago - (GATEWAY PUNDIT) '-- Darrel Nelson, the stepson of Judge Roy Moore accuser Beverly Young Nelson says the allegations are all lies. This enhanced magical signature documentation first appeared with Obama's birth abstract and selective service registration. There is a history of this and the assessment of the Bev Nelson year book, is the reason the experts are finding discrepancies because when Mitch McConnell's trolls started baiting with 100 dollar bills, someone saw a pay day, and started looking through their old year book, and an idea was born to sign the year book as they had a document with Roy Moore's signature on it in forging it.
The overkill probably took place when someone mentioned to Nelson that it would really be better if the exact day was included along with the location.
This then comes to the coup de grace in Bev Nelson lost her case before Judge Roy Moore. 18 years is a long time for a woman's scorn and when McConnell's trolls appeared that this scheme began, a matter of vengeance in Luther Strange and delivered by Gloria Allred.
The year books of this era had gloss pages and frankly the Alabama State Police should seize this year book as it is evidence. See gloss pages would have the person's palm print and fingerprints on it. The conclusion is that Roy Moore never touched this book and his fingerprints are not any place on it, but those perpetrating this forgery fingerprints are on that page and book.
Once again another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter, as Roy Moore is innocent in this, an it is time to ask why Jeff Sessions is protecting the criminals involved in this framing of Judge Moore, and more to the point why was Jeff Sessions colluding in election tampering in stating he believed these lying women?
Jeff Sessions has a pattern in he can not impugn enough innocent Americans like Bundy's or Roy Moore, but Sessions can not find a crime in the deep state.
Nuff Said
agtG
Roy Moore's Real Poll Numbers
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:36
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
In the saga of the attacks upon Roy Moore, the apparatus which went after Donald Trump is now focused on Judge Moore in order to negate the national results of 2016.
These lying polls released which in another fake news source said Moore was barely ahead of Bobo the Democrat, now show Moore was ahead by double digits. Mitch McConnell's fake polling now has Moore behind as these same GOPliters are in the "talking Moore out of the race".
Politico is running the fake news.
Upon inquire these are Roy Moore's election numbers. These attacks upon him are viewed as personal attacks upon every Alabaman, so this race has moved from Republican Democrat to the Nazi regime against Alabama, a thing Alabamans are well aware of from 1860 when a like event took place against the entire South.
71%
Bobo the Democrat 23%
Election day
Moore 68%
Bobo the Democrat 31%
We now also have the Daily Beast, a leftist publication, publishing insider quotes from Steve Bannon's people. Yeah, Breitbart Nationalists are leaking to Obama Clinton leftists. Bannon really has some choice friends there betraying him.
This is though a skilled operation. The Washington Post sent out that "Lunatic Hunter" who does psychological stories based upon people who are unbalanced. It is not that hard as anyone could go into Mitch McConnell's state and find a dozen boys who will swear that Mitch McConnell raped them.
If you remember Ashley Judd going nuts, you can understand that those skilled in the techniques can talk the willing into anything and have them go on record.
Sean Hannity is squeamish as usual in hedging things. He should be like Linda the Producer who won't back down to anything. It is Homo Hannity though as he always has one foot in the closet peeking out as he pretends he is leading the movement.
Roy Moore only has to stay in the race and he will win it, based upon Alabama protecting it's own against the wicked McConnell world. Bannon's DIA game is off as he got caught by the deep state which has run circles around him. He dispatched reporters to look for a trail, but this is beyond trails, this is the convincing of the willing to fall on their own nuttery.
As I do not have time for this and was burned out saving Donald Trump who is now abandoning his every promise..........you do remember this blog stated that Roy Moore would be the Presidential candidate to primary Donald Trump.......so you do get why deep state Sessions and this Trump White House are busy sticking the pins in too right?
I have witnessed enough of the lies and inconsistencies in the smears against Roy Moore, especially this last female to know these charges are fabricated, and just like the Pissgate Dossier the thing driving the Mockingbird lynching of a Christian in Judge Roy Moore.
So I stay with Roy Moore as he is all we have. He is the Last Stand and he is bigger than himself now as he is the stake through the heart of the vampyre deep state, as Donald Trump dropped the hammer and is now protecting the deep state.
Nuff Said
agtG
DPRK
China sending envoy to North Korea following Trump visit
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:16
BEIJING (AP) '-- Following President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing, China said Wednesday that it would send a high-level special envoy to North Korea amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Song Tao, the head of China's ruling Communist Party's International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on outcomes of the party's national congress held last month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Xinhua said Song, as president and party leader Xi Jinping's special envoy, would carry out a "visit" in addition to delivering his report, but gave no details about his itinerary or meetings. It also made no mention of Trump's trip to Beijing or the North's weapons programs, although Trump has repeatedly called on Beijing to do more to use its influence to pressure Pyongyang into altering its behavior.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang downplayed any connection between Song's trip and Trump's visit, saying it was "common practice" for the Communist Party and North Korea's ruling Workers' Party to exchange views.
"The purpose of this visit is to brief about the party congress and exchange views on issues of common interest and bilateral interest," Geng said at a regularly scheduled briefing.
Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015, when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan met with leader Kim Jong Un. Liu delivered a letter to Kim from Xi expressing hopes for a strong relationship, although the respite in frosty ties proved short-lived. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin visited Pyongyang in October of last year.
The two ruling parties have long-standing ties that often supersede formal diplomacy, even while Beijing has long been frustrated with Pyongyang's provocations and unwillingness to reform its economy.
However, Song is not directly connected to China's efforts to convince Pyongyang to cease its nuclear weapons program and return to talks, downplaying the chances for a breakthrough in that highly contentious area.
China is also North Korea's largest trading partner and chief source of food and fuel aid, although it says its influence with Kim's regime is often exaggerated by the U.S. and others. While it is enforcing harsh new U.N. sanctions targeting the North's sources of foreign currency, Beijing has called for steps to renew dialogue.
Beijing is also opposed to measures that could bring down Kim's regime, possibly depriving it of a buffer with South Korea and the almost 30,000 U.S. troops stationed there, and leading to a refugee crisis and chaos along its border with the North.
In Beijing last week, Trump urged Xi to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
China can fix the problem "easily and quickly," Trump said in remarks to journalists alongside Xi. He urged Xi to "hopefully work on it very hard."
"If he works on it hard, it will happen. There's no doubt about it," Trump said.
While calling the visit significant, a top Chinese expert on North Korea relations downplayed any connection with Trump's statements in Beijing, saying it fit a pattern of traditional exchanges between the two parties following significant events such as national congresses.
"Representatives are dispatched to brief the other side at a chosen time and chosen level. It is a tradition and it is unnecessary to connect it with Trump's visit to China," said Guo Rui, researcher at the Institute for North Korean and South Korean Studies at Jilin University in northeastern China.
However, he said the visit "shows China's willingness to see a continuous development of the friendly relations between the two sides."
"Although the Korean Peninsula situation has been evolving fast with worrisome indications, the two parties are maintaining normal exchanges, and that is of significance for stabilizing the bilateral relations and the peninsular situation," Guo said.
The nature of Song's visit as a party-to-party exchange rather than one between the two governments appears to paint it as a bilateral attempt to strengthen relations, said John Delury, a professor at Seoul's Yonsei University who specializes in Korea and China.
The fact that Song was identified as Xi's special envoy also suggests that Xi is personally making a push to open the channel at a higher level and engage more constructively with Kim, Delury said.
"This is a chance to see if he can open things up," he said. "The relationship has been so frosty, it will be interesting to see if there's some improvement in the bilateral ties."
North Korea staged its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, detonating what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb, and last launched a ballistic missile on Sept. 15, firing it over the Japanese island of Hokkaido into the Pacific Ocean.
Since then, there has been a lull in such activity, leading to some hopes in Beijing that Pyongyang might be responding to international pressure and becoming more amenable to talks.
Song's visit to Pyongyang also comes as China and South Korea are repairing their relations, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in scheduled to visit next month for talks with Xi.
Previously warm ties soured last year over Seoul's decision to deploy a sophisticated U.S. missile defense system aimed at guarding against North Korean threats.
Beijing claimed the THAAD system damaged its own security because its radars could observe military movements within northeastern China and retaliated by banning Chinese tour groups from visiting and interfering in the China operations of South Korean companies.
While South Korea resisted China's demands to withdraw the system, Beijing appeared satisfied with a pledge from Seoul not to expand it, among other commitments.
___
Associated Press writer Foster Klug in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.
Mark of The Beast
Far-right accounts lose Twitter verified tick - BBC News
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:18
Image copyright Getty Images/PA Image caption Richard Spencer and Tommy Robinson have lost their blue badges Twitter has stripped several far-right accounts of their "verified" badge, after changing its policy.
Among them are Jason Kessler who helped organise a far-right march in Charlottesville, and white supremacist Richard Spencer.
English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson also had his badge removed.
Twitter said the badge was being interpreted as an "endorsement or an indicator of importance" and said it would change the scheme.
The blue badge was first introduced to indicate the authenticity of prominent profiles on the social network.
Originally the site had chosen who to verify, and usually reserved the status for celebrities, public officials and journalists.
In July 2016, it opened the scheme up to the wider public and let anybody apply for a verified badge.
Last week, the social network was criticised for giving Mr Kessler a verified badge, and on 9 November halted its verified profile scheme.
It said it had not intended the blue badge to be an endorsement of views shared.
"We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception," it said. "We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritise the work as we should have."
Twitter said it was designing a new "authentication and verification programme", but in the meantime would "remove verification from accounts whose behaviour does not fall within the new guidelines".
The new guidelines say verified status can be lost if a person breaks Twitter's rules or "promotes hate" on the basis of "race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease".
It said behaviour both on and off Twitter would be taken into account.
Some of those who had their verified badges removed said the new policy was being applied inconsistently and highlighted accounts of disgraced celebrities that had not lost the icon.
Mr Kessler suggested Twitter had changed its rules to "censor" his views, while Mr Robinson said Twitter now classed the truth as "hate speech".
The Algos
It's IRS Official: Jared Levandowski Launches First Church of Artificial Intelligence
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:09
A former executive at Google has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn't just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence itself, with the goal of creating a godhead.
The new church of AI will aim "to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society," according to IRS documents.
The non-profit religious organization would be called "Way of the Future" (WOTF). According to the website (wayofthefuture.church), the movement is "about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + 'machines.'"
"Given that technology will 'relatively soon' be able to surpass human abilities, we want to help educate people about this exciting future and prepare a smooth transition," the site explains. "In 'recent' years, we have expanded our concept of rights to both sexes, minority groups and even animals, let's make sure we find a way for 'machines' to get rights too."
There is an inherent contradiction in creating a deity of artificial intelligence and then worshipping it.
Algorithm outperforms radiologists at diagnosing pneumonia | Stanford News
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:14
Stanford researchers have developed an algorithm that offers diagnoses based off chest X-ray images. It can diagnose up to 14 types of medical conditions and is able to diagnose pneumonia better than expert radiologists working alone. A paper about the algorithm, called CheXNet, was published Nov. 14 on the open-access, scientific preprint website arXiv.
Radiologist Matthew Lungren, left, meets with graduate students Jeremy Irvin and Pranav Rajpurkar to discuss the results of detections made by the algorithm. A tool the researchers developed along with the algorithm produced these images, which are similar to heat maps and show the areas of the X-ray most indicative of pneumonia. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)
''Interpreting X-ray images to diagnose pathologies like pneumonia is very challenging, and we know that there's a lot of variability in the diagnoses radiologists arrive at,'' said Pranav Rajpurkar, a graduate student in the Stanford Machine Learning Group and co-lead author of the paper. ''We became interested in developing machine learning algorithms that could learn from hundreds of thousands of chest X-ray diagnoses and make accurate diagnoses.''
The work uses a public dataset initially released by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center on Sept. 26. That dataset contains 112,120 frontal-view chest X-ray images labeled with up to 14 possible pathologies. It was released in tandem with an algorithm that could diagnose many of those 14 pathologies with some success, designed to encourage others to advance that work. As soon as they saw these materials, the Machine Learning Group '' a group led by Andrew Ng, adjunct professor of computer science '' knew it had found its next research direction.
The researchers, working with Matthew Lungren, an assistant professor of radiology, had four Stanford radiologists independently annotate 420 of the images for possible indications of pneumonia. The researchers have chosen to focus on this disease, which brings 1 million Americans to the hospital each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is especially difficult to spot on X-rays, the researchers said. In the meantime, the Machine Learning Group team got to work developing an algorithm that could automatically diagnose the pathologies.
Within a week the researchers had an algorithm that diagnosed 10 of the pathologies labeled in the X-rays more accurately than previous state-of-the-art results. In just over a month, their algorithm could beat these standards in all 14 identification tasks. In that short time span, CheXNet also outperformed the four Stanford radiologists in diagnosing pneumonia accurately.
Why use an algorithmOften, treatments for common but devastating diseases that occur in the chest, such as pneumonia, rely heavily on how doctors interpret radiological imaging. But even the best radiologists are prone to misdiagnoses due to challenges in distinguishing between diseases based on X-rays.
''The motivation behind this work is to have a deep learning model to aid in the interpretation task that could overcome the intrinsic limitations of human perception and bias, and reduce errors,'' explained Lungren, who is co-author of the paper. ''More broadly, we believe that a deep learning model for this purpose could improve health care delivery across a wide range of settings.''
After about a month of continuous iteration, the algorithm outperformed the four individual Stanford radiologists in pneumonia diagnoses. This means that the diagnoses provided by CheXNet agreed with a majority vote of radiologists more often than those of the individual radiologists. The algorithm now has the highest performance of any work that has come out so far related to the NIH chest X-ray dataset.
Many options for the futureAlso detailed in their arXiv paper, the researchers have developed a computer-based tool that produces what looks like a heat map of the chest X-rays '' but instead of representing temperature, the colors of these maps represent areas that the algorithm determines are most likely to represent pneumonia. This tool could help reduce the amount of missed cases of pneumonia and significantly accelerate radiologist workflow by showing them where to look first, leading to faster diagnoses for the sickest patients.
In parallel to other work the group is doing with irregular heartbeat diagnosis and electronic medical record data, the researchers hope CheXNet can help people in areas of the world where people might not have easy access to a radiologist.
''We plan to continue building and improving upon medical algorithms that can automatically detect abnormalities and we hope to make high-quality, anonymized medical datasets publicly available for others to work on similar problems,'' said Jeremy Irvin, a graduate student in the Machine Learning group and co-lead author of the paper. ''There is massive potential for machine learning to improve the current health care system, and we want to continue to be at the forefront of innovation in the field.''
Additional co-authors of this paper are Kaylie Zhu, Brandon Yang, Hershel Mehta, Tony Duan, Daisy Ding and Aarti Bagul of the Machine Learning Group at Stanford and Curtis Langlotz and Katie Shpanskaya of the Stanford School of Medicine; Andrew Ng is senior author of the paper. Lungren is also a member ofStanford Bio-X, theChild Health Research Instituteand theStanford Cancer Institute.
Service Goat
Woman kicked off flight after her emotional support PIG became too rowdy
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:26
A PLANE passenger was booted off a flight because her rowdy emotional support PIG caused mayhem on board.
The woman was given her marching orders after the havoc-wreaking hog began walking up and down the aisles.
Twitter
A plane passenger was given her marching orders after her havoc-wreaking hog began walking up and down the aisles of a flightEven attempts to strap the farmyard animal to an arm rest failed.
One shocked onlooker said the brown swine looked around five stone as it was tossed over the unidentified woman's shoulder and marched off.
Others initially thought it was a duffel bag - but were given the shock of their lives when it began oinking on board the US Airways flight out of Connecticut.
University professor Jonathan Skolnik told ABC: "It turns out it wasn't a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash.
Pig called Pigasso is taking the art world by storm with her abstract paintings "She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth.
You can be kicked off a plane if you SMELL, and 7 other shock reasons you can get booted off flights "I was terrified, because I was thinking I'm gonna be on the plane with the pig."
Staff were eventually forced to order the pig off the flight when it became too disruptive.
American Airlines, the parent company of US Airways, confirmed it was taken on board as an emotional support animal.
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NSA
Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core - The New York Times
Mon, 13 Nov 2017 05:24
With a leak of intelligence methods like the N.S.A. tools, Mr. Panetta said, ''Every time it happens, you essentially have to start over.''
Fifteen months into a wide-ranging investigation by the agency's counterintelligence arm, known as Q Group, and the F.B.I., officials still do not know whether the N.S.A. is the victim of a brilliantly executed hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider's leak, or both. Three employees have been arrested since 2015 for taking classified files, but there is fear that one or more leakers may still be in place. And there is broad agreement that the damage from the Shadow Brokers already far exceeds the harm to American intelligence done by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who fled with four laptops of classified material in 2013.
Mr. Snowden's cascade of disclosures to journalists and his defiant public stance drew far more media coverage than this new breach. But Mr. Snowden released code words, while the Shadow Brokers have released the actual code; if he shared what might be described as battle plans, they have loosed the weapons themselves. Created at huge expense to American taxpayers, those cyberweapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies.
Photo A screenshot taken as ransomware affected systems worldwide last summer. The Ukrainian government posted the picture to its official Facebook page. Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored. Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million. Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.
American officials had to explain to close allies '-- and to business leaders in the United States '-- how cyberweapons developed at Fort Meade in Maryland came to be used against them. Experts believe more attacks using the stolen N.S.A. tools are all but certain.
Inside the agency's Maryland headquarters and its campuses around the country, N.S.A. employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs in a hunt for turncoats allied with the Shadow Brokers. Much of the agency's arsenal is still being replaced, curtailing operations. Morale has plunged, and experienced specialists are leaving the agency for better-paying jobs '-- including with firms defending computer networks from intrusions that use the N.S.A.'s leaked tools.
''It's a disaster on multiple levels,'' Mr. Williams said. ''It's embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice.''
Video Who Are The Shadow Brokers?A National Security Agency hacking tool leaked in April by an elite group called the Shadow Brokers has now been used in a cyberattack on computers in more than 150 countries. Intelligence officials say North Korean-linked hackers are likely suspects.
By NATALIE RENEAU and MARK SCHEFFLER on Publish Date May 15, 2017. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/European Pressphoto Agency. Watch in Times Video >>In response to detailed questions, an N.S.A. spokesman, Michael T. Halbig, said the agency ''cannot comment on Shadow Brokers.'' He denied that the episode had hurt morale. ''N.S.A. continues to be viewed as a great place to work; we receive more than 140,000 applications each year for our hiring program,'' he said.
Compounding the pain for the N.S.A. is the attackers' regular online public taunts, written in ersatz broken English. Their posts are a peculiar mash-up of immaturity and sophistication, laced with profane jokes but also savvy cultural and political references. They suggest that their author '-- if not an American '-- knows the United States well.
''Is NSA chasing shadowses?'' the Shadow Brokers asked in a post on Oct. 16, mocking the agency's inability to understand the leaks and announcing a price cut for subscriptions to its ''monthly dump service'' of stolen N.S.A. tools. It was a typically wide-ranging screed, touching on George Orwell's ''1984''; the end of the federal government's fiscal year on Sept. 30; Russia's creation of bogus accounts on Facebook and Twitter; and the phenomenon of American intelligence officers going to work for contractors who pay higher salaries.
Photo The Shadow Brokers have mocked the N.S.A. in regular online posts and released its stolen hacking tools in a ''monthly dump service.'' One passage, possibly hinting at the Shadow Brokers' identity, underscored the close relationship of Russian intelligence to criminal hackers. ''Russian security peoples,'' it said, ''is becoming Russian hackeres at nights, but only full moons.''
Russia is the prime suspect in a parallel hemorrhage of hacking tools and secret documents from the C.I.A.'s Center for Cyber Intelligence, posted week after week since March to the WikiLeaks website under the names Vault7 and Vault8. That breach, too, is unsolved. Together, the flood of digital secrets from agencies that invest huge resources in preventing such breaches is raising profound questions.
Have hackers and leakers made secrecy obsolete? Has Russian intelligence simply outplayed the United States, penetrating the most closely guarded corners of its government? Can a work force of thousands of young, tech-savvy spies ever be immune to leaks?
Some veteran intelligence officials believe a lopsided focus on offensive weapons and hacking tools has, for years, left American cyberdefense dangerously porous.
''We have had a train wreck coming,'' said Mike McConnell, the former N.S.A. director and national intelligence director. ''We should have ratcheted up the defense parts significantly.''
America's Cyber Special ForcesAt the heart of the N.S.A. crisis is Tailored Access Operations, the group where Mr. Williams worked, which was absorbed last year into the agency's new Directorate of Operations.
Photo The N.S.A.'s headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. Cybertools the agency developed have been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies. Credit Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency T.A.O. '-- the outdated name is still used informally '-- began years ago as a side project at the agency's research and engineering building at Fort Meade. It was a cyber Skunk Works, akin to the special units that once built stealth aircraft and drones. As Washington's need for hacking capabilities grew, T.A.O. expanded into a separate office park in Laurel, Md., with additional teams at facilities in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas.
The hacking unit attracts many of the agency's young stars, who like the thrill of internet break-ins in the name of national security, according to a dozen former government officials who agreed to describe its work on the condition of anonymity. T.A.O. analysts start with a shopping list of desired information and likely sources '-- say, a Chinese official's home computer or a Russian oil company's network. Much of T.A.O.'s work is labeled E.C.I., for ''exceptionally controlled information,'' material so sensitive it was initially stored only in safes. When the cumulative weight of the safes threatened the integrity of N.S.A.'s engineering building a few years ago, one agency veteran said, the rules were changed to allow locked file cabinets.
The more experienced T.A.O. operators devise ways to break into foreign networks; junior operators take over to extract information. Mr. Williams, 40, a former paramedic who served in military intelligence in the Army before joining the N.S.A., worked in T.A.O. from 2008 to 2013, which he described as an especially long tenure. He called the work ''challenging and sometimes exciting.''
T.A.O. operators must constantly renew their arsenal to stay abreast of changing software and hardware, examining every Windows update and new iPhone for vulnerabilities. ''The nature of the business is to move with the technology,'' a former T.A.O. hacker said.
Long known mainly as an eavesdropping agency, the N.S.A. has embraced hacking as an especially productive way to spy on foreign targets. The intelligence collection is often automated, with malware implants '-- computer code designed to find material of interest '-- left sitting on the targeted system for months or even years, sending files back to the N.S.A.
The same implant can be used for many purposes: to steal documents, tap into email, subtly change data or become the launching pad for an attack. T.A.O.'s most public success was an operation against Iran called Olympic Games, in which implants in the network of the Natanz nuclear plant caused centrifuges enriching uranium to self-destruct. The T.A.O. was also critical to attacks on the Islamic State and North Korea.
It was this arsenal that the Shadow Brokers got hold of, and then began to release.
Like cops studying a burglar's operating style and stash of stolen goods, N.S.A. analysts have tried to figure out what the Shadow Brokers took. None of the leaked files date from later than 2013 '-- a relief to agency officials assessing the damage. But they include a large share of T.A.O.'s collection, including three so-called ops disks '-- T.A.O.'s term for tool kits '-- containing the software to bypass computer firewalls, penetrate Windows and break into the Linux systems most commonly used on Android phones.
Evidence shows that the Shadow Brokers obtained the entire tool kits intact, suggesting that an insider might have simply pocketed a thumb drive and walked out.
But other files obtained by the Shadow Brokers bore no relation to the ops disks and seem to have been grabbed at different times. Some were designed for a compromise by the N.S.A. of Swift, a global financial messaging system, allowing the agency to track bank transfers. There was a manual for an old system code-named UNITEDRAKE, used to attack Windows. There were PowerPoint presentations and other files not used in hacking, making it unlikely that the Shadow Brokers had simply grabbed tools left on the internet by sloppy N.S.A. hackers.
Photo After 15 months of investigation, officials still do not know what was behind the Shadow Brokers disclosures '-- a hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider's leak, or both. Some officials doubt that the Shadow Brokers got it all by hacking the most secure of American government agencies '-- hence the search for insiders. But some T.A.O. hackers think that skilled, persistent attackers might have been able to get through the N.S.A.'s defenses '-- because, as one put it, ''I know we've done it to other countries.''
The Shadow Brokers have verbally attacked certain experts, including Mr. Williams. When he concluded from their Twitter hints that they knew about some of his hacks while at the N.S.A., he canceled a business trip to Singapore. The United States had named and criminally charged hackers from the intelligence agencies of China, Iran and Russia. He feared he could be similarly charged by a country he had targeted and arrested on an international warrant.
He has since resumed traveling abroad. But he says no one from the N.S.A. has contacted him about being singled out publicly by the Shadow Brokers.
''That feels like a betrayal,'' he said. ''I was targeted by the Shadow Brokers because of that work. I do not feel the government has my back.''
The Hunt for an InsiderFor decades after its creation in 1952, the N.S.A. '-- No Such Agency, in the old joke '-- was seen as all but leakproof. But since Mr. Snowden flew away with hundreds of thousands of documents in 2013, that notion has been shattered.
The Snowden trauma led to the investment of millions of dollars in new technology and tougher rules to counter what the government calls the insider threat. But N.S.A. employees say that with thousands of employees pouring in and out of the gates, and the ability to store a library's worth of data in a device that can fit on a key ring, it is impossible to prevent people from walking out with secrets.
The agency has active investigations into at least three former N.S.A. employees or contractors. Two had worked for T.A.O.: a still publicly unidentified software developer secretly arrested after taking hacking tools home in 2015, only to have Russian hackers lift them from his home computer; and Harold T. Martin III, a contractor arrested last year when F.B.I. agents found his home, garden shed and car stuffed with sensitive agency documents and storage devices he had taken over many years when a work-at-home habit got out of control, his lawyers say. The third is Reality Winner, a young N.S.A. linguist arrested in June, who is charged with leaking to the news site The Intercept a single classified report on a Russian breach of an American election systems vendor.
Mr. Martin's gargantuan collection of stolen files included much of what the Shadow Brokers have, and he has been scrutinized by investigators as a possible source for them. Officials say they do not believe he deliberately supplied the material, though they have examined whether he might have been targeted by thieves or hackers.
But according to former N.S.A. employees who are still in touch with active workers, investigators of the Shadow Brokers thefts are clearly worried that one or more leakers may still be inside the agency. Some T.A.O. employees have been asked to turn over their passports, take time off their jobs and submit to questioning. The small number of specialists who have worked both at T.A.O. and at the C.I.A. have come in for particular attention, out of concern that a single leaker might be responsible for both the Shadow Brokers and the C.I.A.'s Vault7 breaches.
Then there are the Shadow Brokers' writings, which betray a seeming immersion in American culture. Last April, about the time Mr. Williams was discovering their inside knowledge of T.A.O. operations, the Shadow Brokers posted an appeal to President Trump: ''Don't Forget Your Base.'' With the ease of a seasoned pundit, they tossed around details about Stephen K. Bannon, the president's now departed adviser; the Freedom Caucus in Congress; the ''deep state''; the Alien and Sedition Acts; and white privilege.
''TheShadowBrokers is wanting to see you succeed,'' the post said, addressing Mr. Trump. ''TheShadowBrokers is wanting America to be great again.''
The mole hunt is inevitably creating an atmosphere of suspicion and anxiety, former employees say. While the attraction of the N.S.A. for skilled operators is unique '-- nowhere else can they hack without getting into legal trouble '-- the boom in cybersecurity hiring by private companies gives T.A.O. veterans lucrative exit options.
The New York Times would like to hear from readers who want to share messages and materials with our journalists.
Young T.A.O. hackers are lucky to make $80,000 a year, while those who leave routinely find jobs paying well over $100,000, security specialists say. For many workers, the appeal of the N.S.A's mission has been more than enough to make up the difference. But over the past year, former T.A.O. employees say an increasing number of former colleagues have called them looking for private-sector work, including ''graybeards'' they thought would be N.S.A. lifers.
''Snowden killed morale,'' another T.A.O. analyst said. ''But at least we knew who he was. Now you have a situation where the agency is questioning people who have been 100 percent mission-oriented, telling them they're liars.''
Because the N.S.A. hacking unit has grown so rapidly over the past decade, the pool of potential leakers has expanded into the hundreds. Trust has eroded as anyone who had access to the leaked code is regarded as the potential culprit.
Some agency veterans have seen projects they worked on for a decade shut down because implants they relied on were dumped online by the Shadow Brokers. The number of new operations has declined because the malware tools must be rebuilt. And no end is in sight.
''How much longer are the releases going to come?'' a former T.A.O. employee asked. ''The agency doesn't know how to stop it '-- or even what 'it' is.''
One N.S.A. official who almost saw his career ended by the Shadow Brokers is at the very top of the organization: Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the N.S.A. and commander of its sister military organization, United States Cyber Command. President Barack Obama's director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, recommended removing Admiral Rogers from his post to create accountability for the breaches.
But Mr. Obama did not act on the advice, in part because Admiral Rogers's agency was at the center of the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump, who again on Saturday disputed his intelligence agencies' findings on Russia and the election, extended the admiral's time in office. Some former intelligence officials say they are flabbergasted that he has been able to hold on to his job.
A Shadow War With Russia?Lurking in the background of the Shadow Brokers investigation is American officials' strong belief that it is a Russian operation. The pattern of dribbling out stolen documents over many months, they say, echoes the slow release of Democratic emails purloined by Russian hackers last year.
But there is a more specific back story to the United States-Russia rivalry.
Starting in 2014, American security researchers who had been tracking Russia's state-sponsored hacking groups for years began to expose them in a series of research reports. American firms, including Symantec, CrowdStrike and FireEye, reported that Moscow was behind certain attacks and identified government-sponsored Russian hacking groups.
Photo The Moscow headquarters of Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm that hunted for N.S.A. malware. Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images In the meantime, Russia's most prominent cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, had started work on a report that would turn the tables on the United States. Kaspersky hunted for the spying malware planted by N.S.A. hackers, guided in part by the keywords and code names in the files taken by Mr. Snowden and published by journalists, officials said.
Kaspersky was, in a sense, simply doing to the N.S.A. what the American companies had just done to Russian intelligence: expose their operations. And American officials believe Russian intelligence was piggybacking on Kaspersky's efforts to find and retrieve the N.S.A.'s secrets wherever they could be found. The T.A.O. hackers knew that when Kaspersky updated its popular antivirus software to find and block the N.S.A. malware, it could thwart spying operations around the world.
So T.A.O. personnel rushed to replace implants in many countries with new malware they did not believe the Russian company could detect.
In February 2015, Kaspersky published its report on the Equation Group '-- the company's name for T.A.O. hackers '-- and updated its antivirus software to uproot the N.S.A. malware wherever it had not been replaced. The agency temporarily lost access to a considerable flow of intelligence. By some accounts, however, N.S.A. officials were relieved that the Kaspersky report did not include certain tools they feared the Russian company had found.
As it would turn out, any celebration was premature.
On Aug. 13 last year, a new Twitter account using the Shadow Brokers' name announced with fanfare an online auction of stolen N.S.A. hacking tools.
''We hack Equation Group,'' the Shadow Brokers wrote. ''We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons.''
Inside the N.S.A., the declaration was like a bomb exploding. A zip file posted online contained the first free sample of the agency's hacking tools. It was immediately evident that the Shadow Brokers were not hoaxsters, and that the agency was in trouble.
The leaks have renewed a debate over whether the N.S.A. should be permitted to stockpile vulnerabilities it discovers in commercial software to use for spying '-- rather than immediately alert software makers so the holes can be plugged. The agency claims it has shared with the industry more than 90 percent of flaws it has found, reserving only the most valuable for its own hackers. But if it can't keep those from leaking, as the last year has demonstrated, the resulting damage to businesses and ordinary computer users around the world can be colossal. The Trump administration says it will soon announce revisions to the system, making it more transparent.
Mr. Williams said it may be years before the ''full fallout'' of the Shadow Brokers breach is understood. Even the arrest of whoever is responsible for the leaks may not end them, he said '-- because the sophisticated perpetrators may have built a ''dead man's switch'' to release all remaining files automatically upon their arrest.
''We're obviously dealing with people who have operational security knowledge,'' he said. ''They have the whole law enforcement system and intelligence system after them. And they haven't been caught.''
Continue reading the main story
Brexit
Intelligence watchdog urged to look at Russian influence on Brexit vote | UK news | The Guardian
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:40
Thousands of fake accounts may have been used to influence the Brexit vote. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA
Britain's intelligence watchdog is facing demands to examine whether Russian ''troll factories'' interfered in UK politics, amid mounting evidence that thousands of fake accounts may have been used to influence the Brexit vote.
An investigation by parliament's powerful intelligence and security committee would represent a significant escalation in the UK's response after encouragement from senior Labour and Conservative MPs.
Labour's Mary Creagh asked Theresa May at prime minister's questions if the committee would urgently evaluate ''the Kremlin's attempts to undermine our democracy''. In reply, May said that she expected the committee to be re-formed imminently.
UK academics have already established that at least 419 Twitter accounts operating from the Kremlin-linked Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) tweeted about Brexit and that thousands of other Russia-based Twitter accounts posted more than 45,000 messages about Brexit in just 48 hours during last year's referendum.
Academics at City University in London estimate more than 13,000 accounts that tweeted about Brexit disappeared after the ballot, suggesting they may have been created for the sole purpose of influencing the vote.
The committee is made up of a mixture of MPs and peers and is re-formed after every general election. It has the power to take evidence from the intelligence agencies, and previously conducted an inquiry into Edward Snowden's revelations about mass surveillance. Its first meeting could come as soon as next week.
The make-up of the committee was tabled by the government late on Wednesday night. Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general who has spearheaded the rebellion against the government's Brexit bill, is expected to be reappointed as its chair.
Other appointees include Labour MPs Caroline Flint, Kevan Jones and David Hanson, put forward by their party; and the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford. They will be joined by Grieve's fellow Conservative MPs, Keith Simpson and Richard Benyon. Before the general election, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw had urged the committee to investigate claims of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.
Damian Collins, the Conservative chairman of the culture select committee's own fake news inquiry, said a parallel investigation by the intelligence and security committee would be helpful because it could access classified information ''analysing what is going on in Russia''.
An inquiry into whether Russia interfered in Brexit is also underway by the Electoral Commission but it has no power to sanction non-UK based individuals or organisations for activity that takes place outside the UK.
The Guardian has meanwhile learned the Russian embassy in London has been ''turbo charging'' its official propaganda operation in Britain by signing up around 100 loyal Twitter users to automatically repeat its key messages on social media.
The founder of the system, Filip Perkon, said the embassy had now signed up dozens of ''superfans'' to the ''Russian diplomatic online club'', which allows the Kremlin's diplomats to instantly spread messages to thousands more people than would otherwise be possible.
Perkon, 28, whose parents are from Russia, said his system allows the embassy to effectively take control of the accounts and have them retweet its messages without their owners doing anything.
The Russian embassy's messages on Twitter are frequently retweeted between 10 and 20 times, but sometimes they are retweeted hundreds of times. Perkon declined to say whether a tweet on Monday retweeted 616 times responding to Theresa May's comments that Russia is interfering in western democracies, was as a result of the digital boost being applied.
May had said, ''We know what you're doing''. The Russian embassy tweeted back: ''We know what YOU are doing as well.''
''It works very well for political organisations,'' Perkon said. ''We can turbo charge any post through our fan club''.
The embassy describes the digital system as ''diplomacy of the future'' and invites people who have signed up to discussions at the embassy about topics including ''hacking the algorithm: getting your message across through the social media bubble''.
The embassy did not respond to inquiries.
May declined to say on Wednesday that Russia had interfered in Brexit, supporting the foreign secretary Boris Johnson's position that there was no evidence yet.
She said: ''I spoke on Monday about the issue of Russian interference in elections. We have seen that taking place in a number of countries in Europe. '... the examples I gave of Russian intervention were not in the UK.''
Vladimir Putin has also denied any role, and said the day after the Brexit poll: ''We closely followed the voting but never interfered or sought to influence it.''
However concern is spreading at Westminster. Collins said it was now clear Russian influence via social media was ''a big and serious problem'' and Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson, said he was planning to write to every UK telecoms and utility company to ask them for evidence of Russian hacks.
Liam Byrne, the shadow minister for digital, culture, media and sport has also asked the culture secretary Karen Bradley for details of discussions she had with social media companies about Russian-linked accounts designed to influence both the EU referendum and the 2017 general election.
Ben Bradshaw, the former Labour culture secretary and security minister said: ''Now the intelligence and security committee has been established, it is imperative they investigate the whole issue of Russian interference as a matter of urgency.
''We need assurances that the government and all of its agencies are giving the help and information that both the select committee and the Electoral Commission will need to find out what Russian social media interference has been. That will almost certainly include the co-operation of our intelligence and security services.''
BREXIT: One straight answer David Davis should demand from Brussels right now: '' The Slog.
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:33
Eight days ago, the European Central Bank offered its answer to a joint question from the European Parliament and Commission on the nature of eurozone banking crisis mechanisms. The ECB took a mere nine months to respond, but hidden away in 69 pages of acronyms, legalese and jargonated double-talk is what appears to be a suggestion that the bank customer guarantee scheme (DGSD) should have all its teeth pulled out one by one'....while European citizens are under anaesthetic.
There is almost no certainty or clarity at all the in the ECB paper (you can view it here) and this is the main reason I think David Davis should ask the likes of Guy Verhofstadt, Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier what the reality is. They will claim not to know, and dismiss the suggestion both here and elsewhere '' that DGSD is history '' as ''fake news''. In which case '' to satisfy the dwindling band of Remainers '' they should issue a statement saying that the deposit guarantee scheme will stay in force. Or better still, the angel of death Mario Draghi should do so.
The one-chord song Brussels has been singing since ''negotiations'' began is that the divorce cost needs to be settled before we get into the nitty-gritty. On the same basis, therefore, expat Brits in the eurozone need to know what guarantees the EU/EC/ECB/EP axis of overmanning they will supply about their banked money before any 2-way citizen protection scheme is signed off.
But this is the last thing Draghi will be happy to do, because he knows that if enough people interpret the November 8th response the way some commentators already are, there will be a bank run alongside a flight to gold.
That's why Mario's motto is ''Keep it complex'':
'2.1 The MREL consists of two parts: a loss absorption amount and a recapitalisation amount. The proposed amendments to the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive7 (BRRD) and to the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation8 (SRMR) provide the possibility for the resolution authority to adjust the MREL recapitalisation amount in order to adequately reflect risks resulting from the business model, funding model and overall risk. In addition, the ECB considers that the resolution authority should be allowed, after consultation with the competent authority, to adjust the MREL recapitalisation amount upwards to provide for a 'safety margin'.'
For those of you who don't know your SRMRse from your MRELbow (and that would include almost all MEPs plus 100% of Labour MPs) I should point out that MREL is what the bank needs to have in terms of eligible losses and customer-facing liquidity under the rules. The ECB is recommending that the banks should make themselves immune to a run, which is of course a nonsense, as such a thing doesn't exist. It is also contradicted by another strangulated sentence later on saying that banks can only function with 'flexible liquidity', and futher obfuscates what on Earth the ECB is recommending by referring to the increased reserves as ''a small buffer'' in one place and ''an extensive safety margin'' in another.
However, to the layman it reads as if MREL makes the retail customer safer. In fact, it doesn't appear to do any such thing. Thus, although there is an unintentionally hysterical passage at 2.11 about banks giving 'clear and easily understandable disclosure
requirements and other safeguards to raise investor awareness of the risks associated', in the same breath, reference is made to certain new ''catches'' to replace the DGSD:
'One key factor in the implementation of an entity-specific MREL is the determination of an adequate transition period'....the resolution authority should be given the flexibility to determine, on a case-by-case basis, a final period for compliance that is longer than [the current] harmonised minimum.'
So in other words, you may wait three weeks or ten years to get your life savings back, and hard luck if it's the latter. There is more: one the one hand, 'The ECB cautions that prolonged periods during which depositors have no access to their deposits undermine confidence in the banking system and might ultimately create risks to financial stability' (no shit?) but on the other'....[my highlights]
''....covered deposits and claims under investor compensation schemes should be replaced by limited discretionary exemptions to be granted by the competent authority in order to retain a degree of flexibility. Under that approach,
the competent authority could, for example, allow depositors to withdraw a limited amount of deposits on a daily basis consistent with the level of protection established under the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGSD), while taking into account potential liquidity and technical constraints'....'
Note the introduction of ''covered'' there: it is never adequately explained. Currently, the deal is ''no quibble'': in future, crafty accountancy can be used to declare your money ''not covered''. But even that diluted guarantee could be negated by further exemptions made by the authorities. These are to be limited as a means of retaining flexibility, but how are ''limited'' and ''flexibility'' to be defined?
One can see where things are headed by the reference to ''limited daily withdrawals'' to ensure the rest of us don't starve'....and then even that is rendered homaeopathic by the power of authorities to ensure that liquidity and unspecified technical stuff remain intact. In short, ''the bank must survive and the citizens can go whistle for their money''.
This is the sort of soft soap that banking, regulatory and sovereign authorities could run a coach and horses through. Here's another gem:
''.....during a transitional period, depositors should have access to an appropriate amount of their covered deposits to cover the cost of living within five working days of a request'.....'
Tough luck if you're destitute, chum: we'll make you wait a further five days, and still refuse to guarantee whether you can have 60 euros or 50 cents.
Everyone reading this stuff should take into account the following:
How desperate the ATM situation got in Greece, and who caused it. (Hint: the ECB)As the 69 pages proceed, the DGSD is increasingly conspicuous by its absence The very existence of this paper blows away the paper-tiger confidence in the Eurobanking system affected by the Brussels buffoonsWhy talk about daily allowances if it is not the intention to dispense with the DGSD? Under the DGSD, your deposit is guaranteed up to '‚¬100,000''Covered'' deposits may well be a reference to an entirely new exception definition to help them wriggle out of paying up '' viz, 'your money is guaranteed by another supplier, so he will have to reimburse you'. Good luck with that one.The previous behaviour of MEPS when in Brussels would suggest that a deadly combination of mefirst, idleness and ignorance will ensue that they will do nothing to protect you when the mammories go skywards.Now fair enough, the biggest exposure of this document so far was by a gold marketer. It ran at Zero Hedge, and has all the hallmarks of paid-for content. Goldbugs have a vested interest in pointing out the shakey ethics and mendacity of bankers.
That said, they're not wrong, are they? You know, about the shakey ethics and mendacity shtick. To be honest, I was sceptical before I went to the original document. Now I'm hugely suspicious.
The mainstream, old media haven't gone anywhere near it. Google delivers hundreds of references under 'ECB may drop bank deposit guarantee scheme''....but every last one of them is about the existing scheme. Even putting the same headline as the one at ZH into Big G produces diddly squat. And of course, at the bottom of the page there is always the health warning about ''omissions under data protection legislation'': what a first class Nazi Enabling Act that law is.
While I do think a wider debate needs to start taking place about the ECB Paper, I don't especially see it as anything more than confirmation of what I've always felt: that cometh the Four Horsemen, we shall not see bankers going to prison, nor sovereign States helping their citizens in any meaningful way, nor indeed hide or hair of our money. We shall not see the authorities for dust, in fact: twas ever thus.
The minute George Osborne started wittering about ''reducing the burden on taxpayers from bank bailouts'' the endgame was obvious. It was a wonderfully Orwellian piece of doublethink, whereby the drongoes were to be hoodwinked into believing there was any substantive difference whatsoever between taxpayers and bank depositors. And it came soon after concerted ''reminders'' started to appear in the media that ''at the end of the day, all retail bank customers are creditors''.
Ask Waspi women in the UK cheated out of 60 year-old pension promises how much a ''guarantee'' from the self-styled (C)lite is worth. The pigs in Animal Farm asserted, ''All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others''. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are no more than pigshit on their shoes.
Hat tips due to several Sloggers and other sources who pointed the ECB Paper out to me
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Oxford teacher faces action over 'misgendering' pupil - BBC News
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:27
Image copyright Christian Legal Centre Image caption Joshua Sutcliffe said he tried to balance his beliefs with the need to treat the pupil sensitively A teacher is facing disciplinary action at his school after he referred to a transgender pupil as a girl, although the student identifies as a boy.
Joshua Sutcliffe, a Christian pastor from Oxford, admitted he said "Well done girls" when addressing a group including the student.
He described it as a "slip of the tongue", but said he believed biological sex was defined at birth
The school said it would be "inappropriate" to comment.
Mr Sutcliffe, who teaches children aged between 11 and 18, said the incident took place on 2 November.
He said a week-long investigation found he had "misgendered" the pupil.
'Born a girl'The maths teacher, who is also a pastor at the Christ Revelation church in Oxford, said he tried to balance his beliefs with the need to treat the pupil sensitively.
He claimed he did this by avoiding the use of gender-specific pronouns and by referring to the pupil by name.
"While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs... I have never looked to impose my convictions on others", he said
He said he had apologised to the student, but said he did not consider it "unreasonable" to call someone a girl "if they were born a girl".
More children seek help with gender identity More than 2,000 young people, aged between three and 18, were referred to a specialist NHS clinic in 2016-17, seeking help with their gender identity.
The numbers have been growing every year since the start of the decade.
Of 2,016 young people referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the most recent year, 1,400 were assigned female at birth.
Polly Carmichael, a consultant clinical psychologist and director of GIDS, said there was no single explanation for the increase but said there had been "significant progress towards the acceptance and recognition of transgender and gender diverse people in our society".
Dr Carmichael said the majority of the service's users did not take up physical treatment.
There were two children referred aged three in 2016-17. The service rejected 30 referrals of people who were already 18 years old.
The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Sutcliffe, said he faced an internal disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.
The state academy school where he is employed said the matter was confidential.
However, it said it took equality and discrimination seriously and had a range of governor-approved policies in place to ensure it acted lawfully.
LGBT charity Stonewall said "pupils must be protected" even if teachers may hold "different opinions" about sexuality and gender identity.
It did not want to comment on the case involving Mr Sutcliffe, but it said "children should always feel included and accepted for who they are".
Vaccine$
Army now accepting recruits with history of serious mental illnesses
Mon, 13 Nov 2017 06:09
In this file photo, US soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony at Bagram air base. (Photo: Shah Marai, AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON '' People with a history of ''self-mutilation,'' bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.
The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year's goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
Expanding the waivers for mental health is possible in part because the Army now has access to more medical information about each potential recruit, Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. The Army issued the ban on waivers in 2009 amid an epidemic of suicides among troops.
''The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,'' Taylor's statement to USA TODAY said. ''These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.''
But accepting recruits with those mental health conditions in their past carries risks, according to Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist who retired from the Army as a colonel in 2010 and is an expert on waivers for military service. People with a history of mental health problems are more likely to have those issues resurface than those who do not, she said.
''It is a red flag,'' she said. ''The question is, how much of a red flag is it?''
While bipolar disorder can be kept under control with medication, self-mutilation '-- where people slashing their skin with sharp instruments '-- may signal deeper mental health issues, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
If self-mutilation occurs in a military setting, Ritchie said, it could be disruptive for a unit. A soldier slashing his or her own skin could result in blood on the floor, the assumption of a suicide attempt and the potential need for medical evacuation from a war zone or other austere place.
A legacy of problemsAccepting recruits with poor qualifications can cause problems. In 2006, for example, an Iraqi girl was raped and her family killed by U.S. soldiers, one of whom required waivers for minor criminal activity and poor educational background to join the Army.
Memos and documents obtained by USA TODAY outline the hurdles that a potential recruit must clear to join the Army.
Self-mutilation scars. (Photo: EILEEN BLASS, USA TODAY)
Guidance for screening potential recruits with histories that include self-mutilation make clear that the applicant must provide ''appropriate documentation'' to obtain the waiver, according a September memo to commanders. Those requirements include a detailed statement from the applicant, medical records, evidence from an employer if the injury was job-related, photos submitted by the recruiter and a psychiatric evaluation and ''clearance.''
Slides for military officials who screen recruits show examples of people whose arms, legs and torsos have been scarred by self-mutilation.
"For all waivers," one memo states, "the burden of proof is on the applicant to provide a clear and meritorious case for why a waiver should be considered."
Taylor said many ''meritorious cases'' had been found of highly qualified applicants who had been disqualified because of events that had occurred when they were young children.
''With the additional data available, Army officials can now consider applicants as a whole person, allowing a series of Army leaders and medical professionals to review the case fully to assess the applicant's physical limitations or medical conditions and their possible impact upon the applicant's ability to complete training and finish an Army career,'' Taylor said. ''These waivers are not considered lightly.''
Under the right circumstances, a waiver for self-mutilation could be appropriate, Ritchie said.
''I can see a rationale that that shouldn't be an absolute but could be a waiver,'' she said.
Unknown number of waiversThe Army did not respond to a question of how many waivers, if any, have been issued since the policy was changed.
Data reported by USA TODAY in October show how the Army met its recruiting goals by accepting more marginally qualified recruits.
In fiscal year 2017, the active-duty Army recruited nearly 69,000 soldiers, and only 1.9% belonged to what is known as Category Four. That refers to troops who score in the lowest category on military aptitude tests. In 2016, 0.6% of Army recruits came from Category Four. The Pentagon mandates that the services accept no more than 4% of recruiting classes from Category Four. In addition, waivers for marijuana use, illegal while in uniform, jumped from 191 in 2016 to 506 in 2017. Eight states have legalized recreational use of marijuana.
Recruiting generally is more challenging for the services when the economy is strong. The Army has responded by offering more bonuses to those who sign up for service. In fiscal year 2017, it paid out $424 million in bonuses, up from $284 million in 2016. In 2014, that figure was only $8.2 million. Some recruits can qualify for a bonus of $40,000.
The Army's decision to rescind the ban for a history of mental health problems is in part a reaction to its difficulties in recruiting, Ritchie said.
"You're widening your pool of applicants," she said.
More:Army is accepting more low-quality recruits, giving waivers for marijuana to hit targets
More:Army to spend $300 million on bonuses and ads to get 6,000 more recruits
More:Army hits target for recruits
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2ABpbzD
Elite$
SXSW additions: London mayor Sadiq Khan, A-Rod, Christiane Amanpour
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:55
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One Belt One Road
The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia | Global Geopolitics
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:43
The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about China's initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia.
Involving about 65 countries and affecting 4.4 billion people, constituting thirty percent of the world's GDP, together with a total investment from Beijing that could surpass a trillion dollars, the is an immense project that requires a lot of imagination to grasp the intentions of the Chinese leadership. With a host of projects already in progress, and some almost completed (the Sino-Pakistan Corridor known as CPEC is archetypical), the overland and maritime routes are developing side by side. Plenty of ink has been used detailing Beijing's intentions regarding the East-West connections of the super Eurasian continent. Pipelines, railway lines, fiber-optic cables, telecommunications infrastructure and highways dominate discussions, together with talks about costs, feasibility studies, the question of security, and the return on investment. The land Silk Road is certainly an imposing challenge that is not just commercial in nature but sets the foundation for greater cultural and social integration between neighbouring countries. It is a project that in the long term aims to blend together the Eurasian continent and overcome the contradictions contained therein through win-win cooperation and economic development.
The maritime route is a more structured project, tied mainly to two intrinsic needs of the People's Republic of China. The first is commercial and concerns the need for Beijing to ship its goods along established routes, creating ports and supply facilities along the way. The objective is to increase profits from cargo ships, especially when they return to China filled with goods, as well as to create new global sorting centers at ports set up along the maritime silk road. Important examples can be found in Pakistan with the development of the Gwadar port. The first phase was completed in 2006, and the second has been in progress since 2007, though the port was inaugurated in November 2016 and has been operational since. The project should be completed in the coming decades, with potentially 45 anchorage points, drainage of the approaching canal to about 20 meters, and a total trade turnover of over 400 million tonnes. The major benefit of this arrangement is to divide goods according to necessity, value and supply, choosing between an overland or maritime route. The port of Gwadar is connected principally through pipelines to the Chinese city of Kashi. This is a great example of how diversification can be achieved with the maritime route, used mainly for transportable goods, while the Gwadar port becomes an important hub in the oil and gas trade, especially thanks to progress in methane and regasification technology.
Other major maritime silk-route destinations include Venice and Athens, with the port of Piraeus already owned by COSCO of China for many years , a company that specializes in port activities and the integration of harbours along the maritime silk road based on the model of the Gwadar port. Venice is currently only a reminder of the ancient Silk Road, but if its past role is to be reprised, where in its modern garb it would today be the final landing point of the South Sea BRI, it would certainly require large investments to feed a network of dense exchanges. China would then have a maritime route in Southern Europe that is linked mainly overland to its northern corridor.
The other reason (that are less well known) pushing the People's Republic of China to invest in such extensive maritime routes concerns the naval doctrine adopted by the Chinese navy. The United States maintains a remarkable ability to project power across all five continents thanks to the size of its navy, which has grown quite steadily over the last century. Beijing realized that possessing such power projection would undergird the viability of its maritime routes, guarding against pirates as well as as obviating the possibility of a naval blockade in time of war, something always on the back of the minds of Chinese strategists.
A parallel in terms of security is easily observed when analysing the overland route of the Silk Road and the security that necessarily accompanies such an extensive infrastructure network. In this sense, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the accession of both Pakistan and India into the Organization, aims to create the conditions for peaceful development while avoiding tensions between neighbouring countries and different ethnic groups. Beijing is well aware that there is no prosperity without security, especially in the context of underdevelopment and in such a diverse continent with respect to human geography.
In military and naval terms, Beijing's budget has reached significant levels, rising from about 10 billion dollars in 1989 to about 110 billion in 2017. With such investment, Beijing has been able to launch three new submarine models (Type 93, Type 94, and Type 95) as well as a refurbished aircraft carrier (Type 001) together with the construction of China's first fully equipped homemade aircraft carrier (Type 001A). The main focus for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is a strategic investment in amphibious and small vessels that provide the means to project power in order to influence the power dynamics of the South China Sea, this in the context of American harassment to dominate the Sea. In this sense, the strategy of denying America a presence in the South China sea is also accompanied by the construction of artificial islands and the development of new anti-ship missiles with supersonic capabilities.
Security and investment seem to be the engine of the Chinese BRI project, and connectivity appears to be the transmission chain. Maximum attention is also being given to the creation of seaports for the PLAN, as seen with China's first foreign base in Djibouti, a particularly strategic location due to the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.
An aspect of the Chinese BRI that is less well known, and about which we still have few details, is the Arctic route. The Arctic is formally shared between the United States, Northern Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden and is administered by the Arctic Council. Non-member countries include France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South, Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the People's Republic of China.
Recently, Russia and China begun a fruitful discussion on the exploitation of the Arctic routes. The July 2017 meeting between Xi Jinping and Medvedev confirmed Moscow and Beijing's intention is to jointly develop the Chinese maritime Silk Road though the Arctic, serving to diversify trade routes and involving neighbouring states in port projects and scientific research. Beijing has every intention in the future of moving its goods through the Arctic from China to Europe, thereby reducing the distances involved by up to 20-30%, saving time, fuel and human resources in the process. Considering that 90% of Chinese goods are transported by sea, even a small change would generate savings and bigger profits. In the face of such an irresistible opportunity, China is not wasting any time. A few days ago, the Xuelong icebreaker (the Russian Federation is the only country possessing two nuclear icebreakers) sailed through the Northwest Passage in the Arctic, reaching North America from Asia in virtually no time, constituting an event of historic importance, this being the first time a Chinese ship has completed this route. Equally important for business, COSCO, the Chinese giant, completed in 2013 the Northeast Passage in the Arctic, starting from the Chinese port of Dalian and arriving in Rotterdam, shaving the duration of the journey by a third, down from 45 days to 30.
There are some considerations regarding the Arctic region to be made, both from a practical and realistic point of view. There are currently three usable routes, namely the northeast, northwest and ''north-north'' (crossing the North Pole). The first is the one through which Russia and China intend to shorten shipping times, in spite of the difficulties faced by the current lack of infrastructure as well as an unwelcome environment, complicating things and making the whole endeavour extremely expensive to develop. In this sense, cooperation between Russia and China is highly profitable for both countries, who are interested in proposing this route to other countries as well, resulting in increased transit volumes. Currently the route can be used for about four months of the year. The northwest route has problems with deep ice that prevents icebreakers from clearing a passage for a sufficient duration to allow for a commercial route. The ''north-north'' passage, cutting straight through the North Pole, is inaccessible until all ice is melted, something scientists predict will occur by 2050, with all the related consequences.
Inevitably, Arctic routes represent the future in terms of opportunities and savings in cost. In comparison to the Suez Canal, which is the current route through which China reaches Europe, entailing a journey of nearly 12,000 nautical miles, a route through the Northwest Passage in comparison cuts to journey to under 7,000 nautical miles.
Beijing is investing in infrastructure to reduce time and increase profit. The Arctic route has all the indications of becoming a central node of the BRI initiative. China's commitment to development of the Arctic route is comparable to another titanic project that is also central to the strategy of the maritime Silk Road and is occurring in Nicaragua, namely the construction of an alternative to the Panama Canal. How viable these gigantic projects are remains a matter of time, resting mainly on the acquisition of new technologies that transform the impossible into the possible, whereby the accessibility of new technology allow for a reduction in research and developmental costs.
In the not-too-distant future, transit routes through the Arctic will assume a certain level of importance vis- -vis the global geopolitics of Russia and China. Beijing and Moscow seem to have every intention of developing this innovative route with every means at their disposal, adding to the maritime silk road an unanticipated but highly beneficial route. Creating a partnership with Russia in the Arctic will enable Beijing to set foot in the area, as well as allowing it to be involved in the exploitation of hydrocarbons and other natural resources. Combined with the Russian Federation's increasing ability to penetrate the Arctic and thereby create the necessary infrastructure, the Arctic route is something that can increasingly be offered as a proposition to partner nations.
Note: For archiving purposes, a full copy of the article will remain here.
Hate Trumps Love
Trump to allow imports of African elephant trophies | TheHill
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:18
The Trump administration is reversing an Obama administration ban on bringing to the United States the heads of elephants killed in two African countries.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it has determined that hunting African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia ''will enhance the survival of the species in the wild,'' which is the standard by which officials judge whether to allow imports of parts - known as trophies - of the animals.
''Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,'' an FWS spokesman said in a statement late Wednesday, after hunting group Safari Club International announced the policy.
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Imports will be allowed for elephants killed between Jan. 21, 2016 and the end of 2018.
The decision, cheered by some hunting and gun rights groups, is a reversal of the policy under the Obama administration. The United States and international authorities say the African elephant is a threatened species, and the Obama administration argued that allowing trophy imports would harm the animals by encouraging killing them.
The reversal is part of a wide-ranging effort by Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeSupreme Court weighs Congress's power to dismiss lawsuitsDemocrats oppose effort to delay or repeal Interior methane ruleGreens sue Trump for national monument documentsMORE , whose department includes FWS, to promote hunting.
''Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing '‹with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish'‹. That's something I want more families to experience,'' Zinke said in a September statement in which he announced that the arcade game Big Buck Hunter would be temporarily installed in the department's headquarters.
The National Rifle Association's lobbying arm praised the elephant trophy decision.
''By lifting the import ban on elephant trophies in Zimbabwe and Zambia the Trump Administration underscored, once again, the importance of sound scientific wildlife management and regulated hunting to the survival and enhancement of game species in this country and worldwide,'' Chris Cox, executive director of the group's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.
Animal rights groups slammed the Trump administration.
''Let's be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,'' Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote in a blog post.
''What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive cannot kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it's just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?'' he continued.
2TTH
My name is Seth Rich
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:12
You finally found me! I'm the source of the John Podesta/DNC Email hacks. I've been waiting so long for you to join me.Thanks to Wikileaks and Trump Jr you'll all soon know why Hillary Clinton and John Podesta had me killed.
As you can see I'm no Russian agent. I was just a proud DNC staffer who believed in the system until I found out Hillary Clinton and the DNC rigged the primaries against my candidate Bernie Sanders. That's when I decided to take action and release these emails to Wikileaks.
John Podesta was determined to make an example out of me and had me taken care of. Why did you think they didn't let the FBI examine the DNC servers? Yep, those servers would have lead them straight to me. John couldn't let that happen.
BTW, did you know that John Podesta is a Pedophile? Just ask him about Pizzagate next time you see him for me. Thanks.
Thanks again Wikileaks for upping my reward to solve my murder. I wonder why you'd do that for me? Oh, you are trying to tell the world I was your source. Whoops cat's outta the bag now.
Poppie$
FDA warns of 'deadly risks' of the herb kratom, citing 36 deaths - The Washington Post
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:34
Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifies at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last month on federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis. On Tuesday, the FDA issued a public health warning saying there was no evidence that the herb kratom was effective in treating opioid addictions. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The Food and Drug Administration issued a strong warning Tuesday to consumers to stay away from the herbal supplement kratom, saying regulators are aware of 36 deaths linked to products containing the substance.
Consumers are increasingly using the supplement, which comes from a plant in Southeast Asia, for pain, anxiety and depression, as well as symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The herb also is used recreationally because it produces symptoms such as euphoria. Proponents say it is a safe way to deal with chronic pain and other ailments, and some researchers are exploring its therapeutic potential, including helping people overcome addictions.
But in a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that there is no ''reliable evidence'' to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid-use disorder, and that there are no other FDA-approved uses for kratom.
Rather, he said, evidence shows that the herb has similar effects to narcotics like opioids, ''and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and, in some cases, death.'' He said that calls to U.S. poison control centers involving kratom increased tenfold between 2010 and 2015, and that the herb is associated with side effects including seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.
Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration proposed temporarily placing the drug into Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which effectively would have banned its use. But the agency backtracked after a public outcry and pressure from some members of Congress. It asked the FDA to expedite a scientific and medical evaluation '-- including whether kratom has any medical use '-- and a recommendation for how to handle the compounds in kratom.
DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson said Tuesday that once the agency receives FDA's report, it will decide whether kratom should be regulated as a controlled substance and if so, into which schedule, or classification, it should be placed.
The herb is banned in several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Gottlieb said the FDA is treating kratom as an unapproved drug and also has taken action against kratom-containing dietary supplements. If the plant is useful in treating various conditions, a manufacturer should go through the agency's regular drug-approval process to prove the product is safe and effective, he added. Meanwhile, the FDA is working to prevent shipments of kratom from entering he country.
Jack Henningfield, an addiction specialist who works at the drug policy consulting group Pinney Associates, which has done work for the American Kratom Association, said that surveys have shown that people using opioids to treat pain or satisfy an addiction were able to stop using them by drinking kratom tea. He argued that kratom's ''overall abuse potential and risk of death isn't anything close to narcotics like opioids'' and warned that restricting or banning the substance could drive some people back to opioids or onto the black market to get kratom.
In a study last year for the American Kratom Association, Henningfield, an adjunct professor of behavior policy at Johns Hopkins, found that effectively banning kratom ''is not warranted from a public health perspective and is more likely to cause public health problems that do not exist.''
The American Kratom Association says on its website that kratom is not habit forming but that if taken in high amounts over long periods of time, consumers may experience a dependence similar to caffeine dependence.
Read more:
FDA's Gottlieb calls for greater use of medication-assisted treatment to fight opioid epidemic
FDA targets hundreds of 'rogue' websites illegally selling opioids and other prescription drugs
Do opioid drug-abuse deterrents actually work? FDA wants to know.
F-Russia
Russia Today Is Trolling Everyone With Adverts Joking About Russian Hacking
Mon, 13 Nov 2017 03:05
RT, the television news channel backed by the Russian state, has responded to suggestions it is complicit in a state disinformation campaign aimed at disrupting Western nations by embracing the claims with a series of adverts.
The promotional posters '' which have appeared on the London underground in recent days '' refer to accusations from the channel's critics that it is part of a wider Russian information campaign involving hacking and propaganda, welcoming them as a sign of the channel's outsider status.
One advert suggests people watch RT, formerly known as Russia Today, in order to "find out who we are planning to hack next". One quotes former US secretary of state John Kerry's description of the channel as a "propaganda bullhorn", while another proudly boasts that the CIA describes it as a "propaganda machine".
Another advert appearing on the tube mocks the increasing number of allegations of Russian interference in Western politics: "Missed the train? Lost a vote? Blame it on us!"
Asked about the thinking behind the adverts, a spokesperson for RT deadpanned: "We wanted to go straight to the hearts and minds of the British people and warn them about the dangers of watching RT and Questioning More. Obviously."
When BuzzFeed News suggested RT was not taking the question entirely seriously, the spokesperson added: "Based on the thousands of articles the UK mainstream media has produced trying to do the same, and apparently failing, I don't see how we could be taking this any more seriously."
A spokesperson for the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is responsible for Transport for London, referred questions to the tube operator. A TfL spokesperson confirmed the advertising campaign would appear in tube stations for the next two weeks and "complies with our advertising policy".
Similar adverts have also appeared in Washington, DC, mocking Hillary Clinton's defeat in the US presidential contest with the slogan "Stuck in traffic? Lost an election? Blame it on us!"
RT has been repeatedly criticised by UK media regulator Ofcom over its coverage, especially around the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, in addition to a bias against Western nations and NATO.
In typical RT style it has capitalised on each Ofcom ruling, holding it up as an example of the British state trying to silence dissenting voices.
The channel has gained a reputation for giving airtime to people on the fringes of politics, on both the far left and right of politics. It has provided a regular home for UKIP politicians raising concerns about mass immigration and at one point considered giving a show to Katie Hopkins. Several backbench Conservative MPs have also appeared on RT.
At the same time it has also provided in-depth coverage of anti-austerity protests and given airtime to left-wing voices who were ignored by more mainstream channels. When Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a relatively obscure backbencher in 2011 and 2012 '' rather than a national figure '' he often appeared on the channel, which he recommended as an alternative to more mainstream outlets, especially on foreign affairs.
While most centrist Labour politicians '' with some notable exceptions '' have tended to avoid appearing on RT, an increasing number of pro-Corbyn shadow cabinet ministers and prominent left-wing voices are happy to appear on its programmes in a bid to reach a different audience.
When this was highlighted by The Times earlier this week, the channel shot back with a story attacking the newspaper for being a "puppet of owner Rupert Murdoch, who stands accused of interfering with British government decisions".
Head of Gazprom St. Petersburg attacked
Sun, 12 Nov 2017 21:42
The man was hospitalized with an open craniocerebral trauma.
The website of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region reported there has been an attack on the head of Gazprom project department.
According to the information available, the attack was committed late on November 9. Two unknown persons beat the Gazprom department head, 53, on Bogatyrsky Avenue at about 7:30pm. The blows were delivered by a piece of reinforcement bar or a similar heavy object. The victim was hospitalized with an open craniocerebral trauma. He is in a critical condition.
An investigation is under way. No suspects have been found yet. A criminal case was instituted under part 1 of Art. 213 of the Criminal Code (Hooliganism).
PedoBear
John Grisham: men who watch child porn are not all paedophiles - Telegraph
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:32
"His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled 'sixteen year old wannabee hookers or something like that'. And it said '16-year-old girls'. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff - it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.
"He shouldn't 'a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys. He didn't touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: 'FBI!' and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people - sex offenders - and he went to prison for three years."
"There's so many of them now. There's so many 'sex offenders' - that's what they're called - that they put them in the same prison. Like they're a bunch of perverts, or something; thousands of 'em. We've gone nuts with this incarceration," he added in his loft-office in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Asked about the argument that viewing child pornography fuelled the industry of abuse needed to create the pictures, Mr Grisham said that current sentencing policies failed to draw a distinction between real-world abusers and those who downloaded content, accidentally or otherwise.
"I have no sympathy for real paedophiles,'' he said, "God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that's what they're getting," adding sentencing disparities between blacks and whites was likely to be the subject of his next book.
There are currently some 2.2m people in jail in the US '' or more than 750 per 100,000 population '' which makes the US by far the heaviest user of prison sentences in the world. By contrast, Britain imprisons just 154 per 100,000 population.
However Mr Grisham's remarks are likely to anger child-rights campaigners that over the past decade have successfully lobbied the US Congress to demand tougher sentences for those who access child pornography online.
Since 2004 average sentences for those who possess '' but do not produce '' child pornography have nearly doubled in the US, from 54 months in 2004 to 95 months in 2010, according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
However the issue of sex-offender sentencing has sparked some debate in the US legal community after it emerged that in some cases those who viewed child porn online were at risk of receiving harsher sentences than those who committed physical acts against children.
A provocative article in the libertarian magazine Reason headlined "Looking v Touching" argued last February that something was "seriously wrong with a justice system in which people who look at images of child rape can be punished more severely than people who rape children".
And in January this year the US Supreme Court was unable to resolve a debate over whether a man who viewed images of a child rape should be as liable to pay the same financial compensation to the victim as the original perpetrator of the crime.
Mr Grisham, who earned $17m (£10.7) from his work last year according to Forbes, is still one of America's highest paid novelists and is a self-declared Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton in her failed 2008 bid to win the White House.
He has waded into political issues in the past, writing newspaper columns against the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, the death penalty as well as serving on the board of the Innocence Project, a campaign group that uses DNA analysis to end miscarriages of justice.
In the interview to promote Gray Mountain, a fast-paced thriller in which a young lawyer takes on 'Big Coal' as it destroys the rural landscape of Virginia, Mr Grisham spoke freely on a range of subjects from politics to publishing.
Among the highlights were his contention that Barack Obama had presided over ''amateur hour'' at the White House during his six years as president, and that Amazon.com was seeking to establish an effective online monopoly that could ultimately destroy the paperback books business.
Peter Foster's full interview with John Grisham will appear on Saturday, and readers' questions will be answered in an online video. Gray Mountain is published next week by Hodder & Stoughton.
Visit telegraph.co.uk from 3pm on Friday October 17th to read an exclusive extract from John Grisham's new book Gray Mountain
Na-Tech News
This 10-year-old was able to unlock his mom's iPhone using Face ID - The Verge
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:44
Since the iPhone X has hit the market, people have been trying all sorts of ways to trick the phone's Face ID feature, including this creepy, cobbled-together mask. While Apple has admitted that false positives can happen, it was thought this could only happen with twins, or siblings under the age of 13. However, a new video has popped up showing a 10-year-old unlocking his mother's iPhone, suggesting that any family members who bear enough resemblance might be able to bypass the system.
In the video, the mother explains that despite setting up Face ID for her face, her son is able to unlock the phone using his face. A Wired report on the video notes that the son was able to do this upon picking up the phone for the first time. The son was also able to unlock his father's phone, but only in one instance.
After the mother reregistered her face under different lighting, her son was no longer able to unlock her phone. She reregistered a third time in dimmer lighting to replicate her initial registration, and then, her son was able to unlock the phone again.
Although Apple says Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, this raises questions about the possibility of false positives not only happening with twins and siblings around the same age, but with people of different sexes and significantly different ages. It is possible that the son's age played a role as Apple has said that the ''undeveloped facial features'' in those under the age of 13 could cause issues with Face ID.
We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update with a response.
Microsoft adds blockchain services to Azure Government -- GCN
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:10
Microsoft adds blockchain services to Azure GovernmentBy Sara FriedmanOct 23, 2017With the hype around blockchain technology growing steadily, Microsoft announced new capabilities for the distributed ledger technology in the Azure Government Cloud at its Oct. 17 Microsoft Cloud Forum.
Blockchain for Azure Government is designed to support a wide array of blockchain and distributed ledger solutions, including Ethereum, Hyperledger, R3 Corda and Chain.
Microsoft is also pushing forward with its ''trusted execution environment'' called the Coco Framework to protect code in a confidential computing setting.
''Blockchains are currently transparent, so everyone can see what is on the blockchain, which makes it not usable when you want some of the data to be private,'' Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich said at the forum.
The Coco Framework also is designed to ''remove the latency'' that is found in public blockchains and serve as an open-source framework. Russinovich said Microsoft has a proof of concept for the framework and is planning to make it public early next year.
Blockchain for Azure Government will help government agencies deal with issues such as the distribution of funds after natural disasters and the registration of property ownership. Plans are also in the works to develop blockchain software-as a-service capabilities.
About the Author
Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.
Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.
Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.
Click here for previous articles by Friedman.
Microsoft Plays Blockchain Matchmaker with Azure Council Creation - CoinDesk
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:10
Microsoft is stepping into a new role as matchmaker in its creation of the Microsoft Azure Blockchain Council.
Confirmed in new statements to CoinDesk, the council has been established to better connect those looking for distributed ledger tools with the kinds of companies that can build those tools.
Spurred by requests for proposals sent to Microsoft for blockchain services, the software giant now wants to allow its sector-specific partners to bid on those requests. In this way, Microsoft is seeking to provide startups with access to revenue opportunities, while helping to build blockchain solutions for existing clients.
While the council seems a bit like a new consortium effort, the spokesperson said it is actually more than that:
"It's almost like a sales tool for the partners."
In addition to competing for the requests for proposals, council members are also expected to develop proofs-of-concept that will receive support from Microsoft's blockchain engineering team.
As an increasing number of blockchain applications are being trusted with live transactions, the establishment of the council positions Microsoft's Azure cloud computing services as a way for companies to evolve past the ideation phase with emerging blockchain technology.
Who exactly is part of this effort, however, remains largely unclear.
Synechron, a financial services consulting firm that announced a blockchain accelerator program last year, revealed itself as the first member of the council yesterday. Otherwise, Microsoft is being cautious about revealing any additional members.
"We're going to allow the additional partners to announce their membership when they're ready, and we do expect more members to join," a spokesperson said.
Toy building tools image via Shutterstock
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.
Microsoft and Accenture demo blockchain-based identity network as part of ID2020 - Neowin
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:09
Microsoft and Accenture are teaming up to build a digital identification network using blockchain technology. The project is backed by the United Nations and will provide legal identification to 1.1 billion people worldwide without official documentation, and will also be available to everyone else too.
The two companies showed off a prototype implementation of their network at the UN headquarters on Monday at ID2020, which is a forum for public and private entities to attend to promote the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
David Treat, a managing director at Accenture, said:
''Without an identity, you can't access education, financial services, healthcare, you name it. You are disenfranchised and marginalised from society. Having a digital identity is a basic human right.''
The new platform will join records from private and public entities through the blockchain network. This will allow people to access their records from anywhere on the planet even if they've lost physical copies of their identity documents, making it suited to the needs of refugees who are often forced to leave their homes with nothing.
Microsoft and Accenture have invited other companies to join their project and help develop their system. The goals of the ID2020 project are as follows: by 2020, technical proof of concept will be reached and those involved will be evaluating multiple avenues to scale; and by 2030, every person on the planet should have access to a digital identity.
Source: Reuters
CLIPS & DOCS
VIDEO - Joe Biden Says the Man Who Shot the Texas Church Shooter Shouldn't Have Had an AR-15
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:35
During a Monday appearance on NBC's ''Today,'' former Vice President Joe Biden shared his thoughts on what he believes shouldn't have taken place during the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
In the segment, Biden suggested that Stephen Willeford shouldn't have been able to own the firearm he used to wound Devin Kelley, the gunman responsible for killing 26 and injuring 20 earlier this month at the First Baptist Church.
In fact, it was just as Kelley was fleeing the church that Willeford '-- an experienced hunter '-- fired his AR-15 rifle at Kelley, wounding him.
As reported by The Western Journal, Kelley had previously opened fire on civilians inside the church.
During a question and answer segment, a woman in the ''Today'' crowd asked Biden for his take on gun control in the wake of the fatal massacre.
TRENDING:John Travolta Sexual Battery Allegations Resurface
''How do you justify the Democratic (Party's) view on gun control when the shooter was stopped by a man who was legally licensed to carry a gun?'' the woman asked.
Biden responded by re-positioning the focus on the specific firearm model Willeford used.
''Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn't be carrying,'' Biden said. ''I wrote the last serious gun control law that was written and was law for 10 years, and it outlawed assault weapons and it outlawed weapons with magazines that had a whole lot of bullets and so you can kill a whole lot of people a lot more quickly.''
The former vice president was referencing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which he helped push through the Senate in 1994, as reported by CNN.
The ban, which expired in 2004, prevented civilian ownership of firearms such as the AR-15.
''Number two, it's just rational to say certain people shouldn't have guns,'' Biden continued.
He then conceded that there are some situations that can't be prevented, regardless of the extensive measures put in place to stop them.
RELATED:Former TV Anchor Whose Journalist Girlfriend Was Shot Live On-Air in 2015 Wins Election for Dems
''Now the fact that some people with guns are legally able to acquire a gun and they turn out to be crazy after the fact, that's life,'' he said. ''There's nothing you can do about that.''
The opposition to Biden's statement was apparent on Twitter.
This isn't Biden's first time finding himself in hot water after making seemingly off-the-cuff statements regarding gun control.
During a town hall meeting in 2013, Biden advised citizens to purchase a double-barreled shotgun for home defense, rather than a semi-automatic rifle.
''If you want to protect yourself get a double-barreled shotgun, have the shells of a 12-gauge shotgun, and I promise you,'' Biden explained. ''As I told my wife '... I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here '... put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.''
As CNN reported, an online firestorm erupted in the wake of Biden's remarks, which many suggested were irresponsible.
''So when the cops come to arrest me for shooting off the porch, I can tell 'em Joe said it's ok,'' one online user wrote.
''The scariest part about his whole statement is that he is encouraging people to blindly fire off rounds at unknown noises and in unknown directions,'' another user reportedly said.
Had Willeford had a double-barreled shotgun or any other weapon on Nov. 5, his heroic effort may have ended very differently.
According to The Federalist, Willeford told political commentator Stephen Crowder in a Nov. 6 interview, ''If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and Kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile. I ran out with an AR-15 and that's what he was shooting the place up with.''
''I hate to politicize that, but that's reality.''
VIDEO - NSA Gutted, Turned, Shadowbrokers Destroys US Intel Capability | Veterans Today
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:31
'' First published '... November 14, 2017 ''
The NSA was dealt a severe blow by a massive infiltration that resulted in the theft of cyber-weapons by unidentified hackers, calling into question its value to US national security. And as Matthew Hickey, director of the Hacker House, told Radio Sputnik, this development puts the country's intelligence capacity in ''quite a negative light.''
Radio Sputnik: What perspective did the revelations put the NSA and the entire US intelligence community, Matthew?
Matthew Hickey: To be fair, the current disclosure from the Shadow Brokers and from the article in the New York Times, it puts the intelligence capacity of the United States in quite a negative light, it terms of them developing cyber munitions and implant technology to break into computer systems around the world with what appears to be little regard for collateral damage and the security of the systems they've been breaching. It doesn't paint them in a particularly good light, unfortunately.
Radio Sputnik : And now officials say that the revelations call into question the NSA's value to national security. Do you believe they could lead to the closure of the agency or just a total transformation and getting the whole thing reformed altogether?
Matthew Hickey: Reforming the intelligence agencies or making changes in the way they operate, I think a lot has come from previous leaks from Snowden and now the Shadow Brokers. A lot of people are calling into question the role of the intelligence agencies when handling information and data around cyber.
I do believe that these leaks, and other leaks before it, certainly lead to an argument about the requirement for us to have intelligence agencies that can access information and computers all around the world, and reviewing the procedures and policies that we have in place with those agencies to ensure that information is not being misused or stolen. It certainly does call for reform, it gives a strong weight to the need for perhaps reforming the agencies or disbanding them and starting new ones.READ MORE: US National Security Agency Reportedly in Jeopardy After Its Cyberweapons Stolen
Radio Sputnik : Many experts believe that the recent wave of ransomware attacks was staged with the use of the leaked NSA codes. Do you think that more is still to come, do you think there's still somewhere out there in the global audience that infects systems, programs and proxies, and how can this be addressed?
Matthew Hickey: Actually, we're seeing ransomware and worm-like programs already taking advantage of the NSA cache, and there are certainly other weaknesses in that cache that can be used in a similar way. You know, computer criminals are going to be exploiting this information at least for the foreseeable future while people begin to patch their systems.
And also, they (hackers) have effectively released blueprints on how to build your own cyber-capabilities for espionage purposes, so people will make new versions of these attacks, they will look for new variants'... We've seen the worst of the initial outbreak, but there's certainly the potential for more to happen. And as we still don't yet know all of the information that has been stolen by the Shadow Brokers, there may be further attacks to follow that could be just as damaging.
VIDEO - Reuters Newsmaker: Billionaire Cuban debates economist over AI | Reuters.com
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:28
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VIDEO - Cyber-bullying: Prince's 'stop, speak, support' code of conduct - BBC News
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:21
Image copyright PA Image caption Social media was Felix's life, his mum Lucy Alexander says Facebook and Snapchat are trialling a new, more direct way to help young people bullied online, following an intervention by Prince William.
The social media platforms will help those in need of emotional support to access counsellors.
The prince, together with tech firms, children's charities and parents, is also introducing the equivalent of a Green Cross Code for the internet.
It tells young people to "stop, speak, support" when online.
The aim is to encourage them to stop negative behaviour, tell a responsible adult and support victims of bullying.
Other firms, including Google and EE, have also taken part in the project.
The Duke of Cambridge became interested in helping to tackle the issue shortly after his son Prince George was born, when he heard about a boy who killed himself because of online abuse.
'Ate away at him'
In a moving video filmed to highlight the project, Lucy Alexander told the prince about her son Felix, who killed himself after being targeted on social media.
"Social media was his life. It was the way everyone communicated, and if you weren't on it, you were isolated.
"If he was invited to a party, someone would text saying: 'You don't want to invite him. Everyone hates him'.
"And all he saw was negative. He saw himself as stupid and ugly," she told the prince.
"It just ate away at him inside, I think, but I had no idea of the depth of his despair at all."
She believes the prince's initiative could have helped her son in his darkest times.
"It may not have changed my story, but it's got to be a step forward," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
What is cyberbullying?It's bullying behaviour on social networks, games and mobile phones, which can include spreading rumours about someone, or posting mean or embarrassing messages, photos or video.
The NSPCC says children may know who's behind the bullying, and it may be an extension of bullying in school or elsewhere. Or the bully may be targeting someone using a fake or anonymous account.
Cyberbullying can happen at any time and anywhere, even when a child is alone in their bedroom, making it feel as if there's no escape.
Prince William also heard from Chloe Hine, who, aged 13, tried to take her own life after enduring sustained online abuse.
"You can't escape it. You're constantly with that bully," she said.
She described being part of a group who turned on her after she said something they didn't want to hear.
They decided they should all hate her and would twist her words, she said.
"Then it kind of spiralled out of control from there."
The prince highlighted the danger of anonymous bullying - which he says can come directly into a young person's bedroom but remain invisible to those around them.
"It is one thing when it happens in the playground and it's visible there and parents and teachers and other children can see it.
"Online, you're the only one who sees it, and it's so personal. It goes straight to your room." he said.
He also warned against cyber-bullies being able to ignore the real-world consequences of their actions.
"I think it is worth reminding everyone that the human tragedy of what we are talking about here isn't just about companies and online stuff - it's actually real lives that get affected," he added.
Brent Hoberman, chairman of the Royal Foundations taskforce, said he wanted to see the trial to give young people access to a counsellor rolled out universally.
Asked whether the onus should be on the tech firms to remove the bullying posts or messages, he told BBC's Today that removing them may not be as effective as helping the young person emotionally.
The message, he said, to young people was "don't be bystanders - step up speak out, stop this".
The responsibility to deal with this was "everywhere", he added.
What to do if your child is being cyberbulliedTalk about it - find the right time to approach them with your concerns.
Show your support - stay calm, be considered and tell them how you will help them.
Don't necessarily stop them going online - this can make them feel more isolated.
Help them to deal with it - advise them to tell the person how it makes them feel and ask them to take any pictures or comments down.
Don't retaliate - advise them against responding to abusive messages and to leave uncomfortable conversations.
Block the bullies - if messages continue, block the sender and report them to the social network or gaming platform.
Keep the evidence - take screenshots as proof.
Don't deal with it alone - talk to friends or your child's school for support.
Know when to take it further - consider telling the police if your child is in danger.
Don't stop when the bullying stops - keep talking and consider counselling.
Source: Internet Matters
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VIDEO - Cyberbullying: More teens anonymously bullying themselves online
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:55
Researchers are studying a new trend in cyberbullying in which teens are engaging in digital self-harm. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes, AP)
Cyberbullying is not a new phenomenon. But an alarming number of teenagers are anonymously posting mean things online '-- about themselves.
About 6% of kids from the ages of 12 through 17 have bullied themselves digitally, according to research conducted by Sameer Hinduja, a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center.
''It's a new phenomenon, and this is definitely happening" for teens across the U.S., Hinduja said. ''We have a tendency to demonize the aggressor, but in some cases, maybe one out of 20, the aggressor and target are the same.''
This issue was brought to researchers' attention by the death of Hannah Smith, a 14 year old from Leicestershire, England, who hanged herself after months of apparent online harassment.
After her death, officials from Ask.fm, a social media site where users can ask each other anonymous questions, found that 98% of the messages sent to Smith came from the same IP address as the computer she used.
Many other sites like Tumblr and the now defunct Formspring also have had an anonymous question feature, which could allow teens to anonymously send themselves hurtful messages and then publicly respond.
Researchers are calling this behavior "digital self-harm." Teens who identified as non-heterosexual were three times more likely to bully themselves online, while victims of cyberbullying were 12 times more likely to cyberbully themselves.
A strong link already exists between physical self-harm and suicide attempts, and researchers are concerned that the same connection could exist with digital self-harm.
''It could betray suicidal tendencies and lead to suicidal behavior down the line if it's not addressed,'' Hinduja said.
This is concerning because teen suicide rates have been steadily climbing over the past decade. The suicide rate for girls ages 15-19 doubled from 2007 to 2015, reaching its highest point in 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The question perplexing researchers is why teens would do this.
When asked why they engaged in digital self-harm, boys were more likely to say they did it as a joke or to get attention, while girls often said they did it because they were struggling with depression.
"There's that same phenomena that's going on; it's akin to physically wanting to feel pain," said Patricia Cavazos, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine.
The rates of physical self-harm are similar, as well. About 8% of children ages 7-16 surveyed in a 2012 study said they'd engaged physical self-harm, or non-suicidal self injury.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests social media plays a role in increasing mental health issues among young people, she said.
Cavazos, who studies depression-related content on social media, said more than likely teens are looking for a response. But peers often ignore posts that may indicate someone is struggling with mental health problems.
"These individuals could be at a very vulnerable place, and there's a risk of what could happen next if there is no intervention," she said. "The question is, what is the appropriate response when content like this is posted?"
Cavazos recommended sending a private message, encouraging them to seek professional help or getting a trusted adult involved, but she said more research needs to be done on how best to intervene.
Study author Hinduja said he hopes his research into digital self-harm will open up a dialogue about the issue.
''It's extremely hard because kids are very hesitant to discuss these sorts of feelings and struggles,'' he said. ''As more educators and parents bring this up as a phenomenon, it will lead to more candid discussion.''
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VIDEO - Investors Seek To Buy Opioid Treatment Facilities : Shots - Health News : NPR
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:53
Investors Seek To Buy Opioid Treatment Facilities : Shots - Health News : NPRInvestors Seek To Buy Opioid Treatment Facilities : Shots - Health NewsOpioid addiction treatment is a growth market, and private equity firms are buying up treatment centers and chains. But it's too soon to say how this might affect access to care and quality.
VIDEO - It's possible Parliament just quietly started the process of a Brexit reversal | The Independent
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:40
The notion that Brexit might not happen after all is beginning to gain support. Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, has claimed that the chances of Brexit falling through are now ''maybe 20 per cent, possibly 25 per cent''.
At the weekend, he said: ''The probabilities of having an exit from Brexit are rising because of the chronic weakness of the Government '' the lack of ability to negotiate a satisfactory deal ... We will almost certainly be faced with a poor deal, maybe no deal at all, and I think under those circumstances, [with] large numbers of initially MPs and then the public, wanting to revisit the basic question will rise.''
Stein Ringen, visiting professor of political economy at King's College London, made the same prediction in a blog published on 12 September: ''Parliament is moving towards preventing Britain from exiting the European Union. It is not there yet, but in its lumbering, convoluted, step-by-step manner, that's where it is heading.''
At first glance, this view received support from David Davis's promise on Monday of enhanced scrutiny by members of Parliament. In a statement in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union promised that Parliament will be given time to debate, scrutinise and vote on the final agreement that is struck with the European Union, and that the agreement would hold only if Parliament approved it.
Britain will leave EU without deal if MPs vote down final deal, says David Davis
Obviously worried by the direction in which Davis seemed to be going, Owen Paterson MP, who is a keen Leaver, asked for confirmation that if the House of Commons votes down the new withdrawal bill, we would still leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but without an agreement. Davies gave a one word reply: ''Yes.''
So it is now my turn to be concerned. Was Davis merely indulging in an elaborate charade in the House of Commons on Monday? Was he deliberately giving an impression of consultation but not meaning a word of it?
Quite a few MPs came to that conclusion. Antoinette Sandbach said Davis's words were ''not a concession'' because they gave no indication of the timing of the vote. Indeed, if it took place at the last minute, it would not give MPs the opportunity to mandate the Government to go back to the negotiating table. Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, said the concession was one ''in name only''.
Now I don't take a cynical view of David Davis's proposals. I believe he would rather arrive at the exit door with parliamentary approval than not. That must be sensible. It may be that after Parliament has scrutinised, debated and voted on the final agreement, it would not be the settlement for which he would personally have wished. But he seems to be saying to himself ''so be it''.
Meanwhile, Parliament began today on the enormous task of debating the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which would copy across EU rules into domestic UK law to ensure a smooth transition the day after Brexit. Because the Government has only a slim majority in the House of Commons, this arduous exercise is bound to bring pressure on the Government to make more and more concessions to its critics.
This is why former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith warned on Monday that rebel MPs would put the future of the Government at risk if they inflicted defeats over the bill, which paves the way for Brexit. ''If people keep voting against the Government on this they make the Government's position more untenable,'' he said.
Now the key concession to look for in these circumstances would be giving MPs the opportunity also to vote on the merits of the no-deal option.
That seems right, but try to imagine what would happen if the Government came to the House of Commons and said that no satisfactory Brexit deal had been struck and sought approval for crashing out, and the Commons refused. We should then have reached a state of total chaos that could only be resolved by an immediate general election or a second referendum. And that is the scenario in which Brexit might be taken off the table and we should then return to those peaceful days when the mad idea of holding a referendum hadn't even been considered.
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VIDEO - Australians say 'yes' to same-sex marriage
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:41
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world's largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world's media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV. Learn more about Thomson Reuters products:
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VIDEO - FDA approves digital pill that tracks when you take it
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:05
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VIDEO - This 10-year-old was able to unlock his mom's iPhone using Face ID - The Verge
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:44
Since the iPhone X has hit the market, people have been trying all sorts of ways to trick the phone's Face ID feature, including this creepy, cobbled-together mask. While Apple has admitted that false positives can happen, it was thought this could only happen with twins, or siblings under the age of 13. However, a new video has popped up showing a 10-year-old unlocking his mother's iPhone, suggesting that any family members who bear enough resemblance might be able to bypass the system.
In the video, the mother explains that despite setting up Face ID for her face, her son is able to unlock the phone using his face. A Wired report on the video notes that the son was able to do this upon picking up the phone for the first time. The son was also able to unlock his father's phone, but only in one instance.
After the mother reregistered her face under different lighting, her son was no longer able to unlock her phone. She reregistered a third time in dimmer lighting to replicate her initial registration, and then, her son was able to unlock the phone again.
Although Apple says Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, this raises questions about the possibility of false positives not only happening with twins and siblings around the same age, but with people of different sexes and significantly different ages. It is possible that the son's age played a role as Apple has said that the ''undeveloped facial features'' in those under the age of 13 could cause issues with Face ID.
We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update with a response.
VIDEO - VIDEO: Maxine Waters 'Impeach 45!' chant sends GLAMOUR awards into frenzy - The American MirrorThe American Mirror
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:26
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters continued her crusade against President Trump this week by leading women at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in an ''Impeach 45!'' chant at Brooklyn's King Theatre.
Waters addressed a theatre packed with liberal women '' and school girls bused in from around Manhattan '' on Monday, when she heaped praise on Glamour, a progressive women's magazine that honored the 79-year-old career politician with its Woman of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, and took shots at the president.
While many speeches during the evening by other honorees like Nicole Kidman, Gigi Hadid, and others were mostly uplifting messages seemingly aimed at local school girls, Waters focused on recruiting the next generation of progressive politicians and her never-ending campaign to oust the president.
''This is your country, this is your future, and our democracy is at stake. So, not only am I depending on all of the progressives everywhere, but I'm depending on young people. I'm depending on the millennials to do what we know they can do,'' Waters said.
''You see again what is going on. You understand who is being disadvantaged. You understand who is being undermined. And you also understand those who would intimidate you and try to dismiss you and keep you from becoming what you want to become,'' she continued. ''Trust yourselves. Do not doubt yourselves. Do what you know your mind and your heart is telling you to do. '...
''You recognize when a leader is irresponsible. You recognize when a leader is dishonorable and disrespectful of you. You recognize when a leader is dangerous, even if that leader is the president of the United States of America,'' Waters said to a roaring applause.
''And I want you to have the courage. I want you to know that you can stand up to him or anybody else. For those who say to me, 'You are asking for something too soon and too early, be careful, don't jeopardize yourself, don't say what you're saying right now,' but I continue to say, 'Impeach him! Impeach him! Impeach him!
''Impeach 45! Impeach 45! I didn't hear you! Impeach 45!''
The speech follows numerous others by Waters in recent months '' at political fundraisers, an AIDS charity event and even during a eulogy for comedian Dick Gregory '' that she turned into rallies to impeach Donald Trump over unproven accusations his campaign conspired with the Russians to steal the 2016 election from Democrat Hillary Clinton, has The American Mirror reported.
In a speech to ''homeless LGBTQ youth'' at New York City's Ali Forney Center in October, Waters vowed to ''take Trump out.''
''I'm sitting here listening, watching, absorbing, thinking about Ali even though I never met him. And with this kind of inspiration, I will go and take Trump out tonight,'' Waters said.
The career politician offered no apologies for her comments when confronted by CNN about the threat days later.
''Everybody knows that I'm on the front lines not talking about any physical harm to anybody, but I am talking about impeachment and I'm not going to stop,'' Waters said.
Two days after her comments in New York City, Waters took the stage in front of Los Angeles City Hall for the ''non political'' Los Angeles AIDS walk, which she also turned into a platform to push her agenda.
She congratulated APLA Health for meeting online fundraising goals and briefly outlined the progress made to control the AIDS epidemic, then quickly pivoted to Trump and Republicans in Congress.
''We face unprecedented challenges today in our struggle against HIV and AIDS and I want you to know those people in Congress on the opposite side of the aisle from me control every branch of our federal government,'' Waters said. ''And we have, unfortunately, an unstable, erratic person in the White House.''
''We don't know what this president will do, or say, or tweet from one day to the next. Don't forget, this is not a political event, but I'm heading toward impeachment,'' Waters said with a snicker.
Those comments followed a similar speech during a eulogy for comedian Dick Gregory in September.
Waters wasted little time in turning the eulogy into a tirade against Trump, whom she repeatedly referred to as a ''dishonorable human being,'' The American Mirror reported.
Instead of remembering her ''friend,'' Waters declared she's ''going to sanitize the White House,'' and rid the country of ''this dishonorable human being who has the alt-right, and the KKK and everybody else inside his Cabinet!''
''When I get through with Donald Trump, he's going to wish he had been impeached!'' Waters yelled, pointing at the crowd.
VIDEO - Things Not To Say To A Non-Binary Person - YouTube
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:50
VIDEO - Breaking: NAACP Calls on Government to Investigate ALL Gulen Charter Schools in U.S.
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:43
The California N.A.A.C.P. has introduced resolution #16 calling on the states and the federal government to investigate all of the Gulen charter schools in the U.S. Here is Newsbud's exclusive interview with the President of the N.A.A.C.P. for both California and Hawaii.
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VIDEO - Clearwater Beach man facing eviction over emotional support squirrel | WFLA.com
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:03
CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) '-- A Clearwater Beach resident is fighting to keep his emotional support squirrel that lives with him at Island Walk Condominiums.
Ryan Boylan and Brutis are inseparable.
He rescued her last year after Hurricane Matthew.
''Ever since then I mean, oh my God, I can't imagine not being around her,'' said Boylan.
But he could lose her.
Property management discovered Brutis back in April when she was chased up a tree by a dog.
According to a complaint filed by the condo association to Boylan and the condo owner, exotic animals are not allowed. He never told the board about the animal.
He was sent a notice last month to give up the squirrel or be evicted.
''I was very sad that he had to basically push every single limitation that he could to try and get me out because of Brutis,'' said Boylan.
In the complaint, attorneys state Boylan never submitted paperwork that Brutis was an emotional support animal until this past summer.
His doctor's note was written in July.
Attorneys also state Boylan is residing in the unit as a tenant without having applied for and/or obtained approval from the association.
Boylan contacted the Office of Human Rights, claiming discrimination and they sent a letter to the association on his behalf, stating the Fair Housing Act, protecting emotional support animals.
News Channel 8 spoke to former board member, Sherry Arfa.
''I don't know if he's discriminated against. I'm sure it's like any emotional support dog, people ask questions,'' she said.
Condo officials say it's a liability if something happens.
''It's just like with any animal, you can have the nicest dog and they could bite somebody, it's no guarantee,'' said Arfa.
She feels the squirrel should be free.
''As I said if it was a gerbil or something that your grandkid had hiding under the bed, I'm sure that would be fine, but a squirrel is a wild animal,'' she said.
A note from Boylan's doctors states he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident.
Boylan registered Brutis under the website RegisterMyServiceAnimal.com
His case is pending.
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VIDEO - Tom Sizemore accused of molesting 11-year-old actress on set 2003
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:05
Actor Tom Sizemore is accused of touching an 11-year-old girl's genitals, while filming a movie in 2003. Buzz60
'The Hollywood Reporter' says actor Tom Sizemore, seen here in 2014, was suspended from the 2003 film 'Born Killers' after he allegedly violated an 11-year-old girl. (Photo: Jordan Strauss, Invision/AP)
Another week, another ugly allegation of sexual assault against a Hollywood star, this time tough-guy actor Tom Sizemore who is accused of sexually molesting an 11-year-old actress on a movie set in 2003.
The Hollywood Reporter posted a story late Monday recounting how Sizemore, then 42, allegedly was told to leave the Utah set of a crime thriller called Born Killers (shot as Piggy Banks) after the child actress told her mother that Sizemore had touched her genitals during a photo shoot for the film.
But her parents declined to press charges and months later, Sizemore returned for reshoots in Malibu. THR said the story was based on interviews with a dozen people involved with the production who confirmed that Sizemore was sent home over the alleged incident, and that it provoked anger and tensions on the set.
Sizemore, 55, already notorious in Hollywood for his drug use and convictions for battery against women, has never been accused of molestation before.
He is best known for his roles in action films and dramas, especially Saving Private Ryan in 1998 and Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor in 2001. Despite his rap sheet, he has worked steadily; his IMDb page lists 15 projects in 2018 alone.
This incident has previously gone unreported, THR reported, but is coming out now in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment-and-rape scandal, which has set off a cascade of similar allegations and a belated industry move towards openness about such accusations.
USA TODAY reached out to Sizemore's representatives but has received no response. His agent, Stephen Rice, told the industry trade paper, "Our position is 'no comment.'"
Charles Lago of DTLA Entertainment Group, who was Sizemore's former manager for a half-dozen years until Lago dropped him in disgust after he was accused of beating women, said he was "not surprised" by the allegation. He blamed Sizemore's behavior on frequent drug use.
"He's the most abhorrent person I've ever met in my life," Lago said, although this alleged incident happened before he worked with Sizemore. "I heard something happened on the set but I didn't realize it involved a child. It was hushed up."
The young actress, now 26, was unidentified at her request; she told THR she didn't want to talk about the matter except to say that she's recently hired a lawyer to explore legal action against the actor as well as her parents.
THR reported Sizemore is said to have denied the young actress' claim as soon as he was confronted with it; shortly after, he was quietly dropped by his management firm and talent agency.
The promotional photo session required the child, who had a small role in the film, to be seated on Sizemore's lap for a holiday picture.
"This is when Sizemore allegedly either rubbed his finger against the girl's vagina or inserted it inside," THR reported. The paper quoted production manager Cassidy Lunnen recalling that the "the girl was so young it was unclear to her and (later) her parents what had actually taken place and if it was intentional or not."
The paper also interviewed Robyn Adamson, who portrayed the wife in the film, who stood near the photographer when the picture was being taken. She recalled the child, who was wearing a flannel nightgown, reacted to something during the photoshoot.
"At one point her eyes got just huge, like she could've vomited," Adamson told the paper. "I was watching her. She soon reintegrated and kept going, although she had trouble taking direction. Later, when I was told about what happened, I knew exactly what it was."
When casting director Catrine McGregor heard about the alleged encounter from the child's agent, she filed a complaint with the Screen Actors Guild legal department and pushed for Sizemore's immediate dismissal from the project. (SAG declined to comment to THR.)
The paper also talked to a production assistant, Roi Maufas, who said the crew believed what the child said because they considered Sizemore a "sleazebag."
"There was never any doubt," Maufas said. "He was this guy who was already known for making inappropriate comments, being drunk, being high. We're talking about consistent behavior, just being 'Tom Sizemore' on set every day. Then this happens. Guys reached for hammers."
The producers of the film told THR they removed Sizemore from the set as soon as they heard about the assertion, reviewed the photographs from the portrait session but found them to be inconclusive, and suggested to the child's parents they could contact police if they wanted.
"They did talk to the police but didn't press charges," producer Michael Manshel told the paper. "We also talked to Tom at the time, and told him everything that had been told to us, and he said: 'I've done a lot of awful things, and I'd never do anything with kids.' We considered whether we had some responsibility to him to not pass judgment on him."
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VIDEO - Texas woman brings pet goat shopping in a hardware store | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:54
A video shows the moment a Texas woman takes her goat shopping with herThe goat had a vet appointment and it was too hot to leave her in the carThe woman puts the goat in her shopping cart and introduces her to customersBy Mollie Cahillane For Dailymail.com
Published: 10:56 EST, 13 November 2017 | Updated: 11:51 EST, 13 November 2017
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An adorable video captures the moment a woman takes her goat shopping with her in Bandera, Texas.
The woman had to take her pet goat to a veterinarian but realized she needed to stop and pick up dog food.
However, it was too hot to leave her pet in the car, so she decided to bring the animal inside with her.
A video shows the moment a woman takes her goat into a hardware store in Bandera, Texas
The video shows the goat sitting in a shopping cart as the woman pushes her through the hardware store.
At one point, another customer pauses to say hi to the goat and pets her.
The goat appears used to the attention and is comfortable riding in the shopping cart.
The goat proved to be a hit with other customers, as several stopped to pet the animal
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VIDEO - /POL/- Q Clearance Anon - Is it #happening??? - YouTube
Mon, 13 Nov 2017 06:10
VIDEO - Hamid Karzai: US colluded with ISIL in Afghanistan | Afghanistan News | Al Jazeera
Sun, 12 Nov 2017 21:38
Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has accused the US of working with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in his country.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera's UpFront aired on Friday, Karzai said the US government had allowed ISIL, also known as ISIS, to flourish inside Afghanistan.
"In my view under the full presence, surveillance, military, political, intelligence, Daesh [ISIL] has emerged," he said.
"And for two years the Afghan people came, cried loud about their suffering, of violations. Nothing was done."
Karzai said the US administration of President Donald Trump used ISIL as an excuse to drop a massive bomb on Afghanistan in April 2017 .
"And the next day, Daesh takes the next district in Afghanistan," he said referring to the Arabic name of the armed group.
"That proves to us that there is a hand in it and that hand can be no one else but them [the US] in Afghanistan."
GBU-43, the largest non-nuclear bomb, the US used in combat was dropped in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 36 ISIL fighters and destroying tunnel complex of the armed group.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the attack was designed to minimise the risk to Afghan and US forces conducting clearing operations in the area.
The explosive, also known as the "mother of all bombs" (MOAB), was equal to 11 tonnes of TNT with a blast radius of 1.6km.
Witnesses said they felt the ground shake after the explosion, while others described towering flames in the aftermath.
At that time, Karzai also condemned the attack as "inhuman and most brutal misuse" of Afghanistan as "testing ground for new and dangerous weapons".
Karzai also said he welcomed a recent call by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan, including those committed during his tenure in office.
"She's right to launch such an investigation," Karzai told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan, referring to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's request to launch an investigation in Afghanistan.
Karzai also acknowledged that there were human rights violations during his government, and possibly on his watch.
"Definitely, there were violations by the Afghan security forces, by the US, and by others."
Karzai said he would help with any investigation, even into his own potential complicity.
"I have been asking for this so that they come to Afghanistan and investigate as to what has happened in this country."
During the interview, Karzai was also asked to respond to claims by human rights groups that he was warned while in office that human-rights abuses were taking place.
"They are wrong," he said. "They didn't tell me. I told them."
"I told the Western human rights bodies as to what was going on in Afghanistan. They were hiding it. The Western press was hiding it. I told them. I raised it."
VIDEO - Farage DESTROYS Corrupt EU Ministers: Collusion with George Soros! - YouTube
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:22
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