999: Nein Nein Nein

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 32m
January 14th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Sir John Jolly, Sir dick bangs, thaddeus parker, Sir Lennart, Sir Rhoag, Black Knight of the Okanogan Plains, Thomas Newman, Sir Isaac of Altadena, Michael Halbe, Sir Milkman, Sir Cal, Dame Anonymous Goddess, Jess Munro, Jerry Zak, Brandon Trainque

Associate Executive Producers: Nancy Micsko, Squire Stickton, John Darius Soltes, Sir Nick, Dot4D, Carolyn Blaney, Sir Jeffrey Yerkey, Fakeologist.com

Cover Artist: Brett Szymovicz


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About Searx
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:26
about - searx.meSearx is a metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users.
Why use searx?searx may not offer you as personalised results as Google, but it doesn't generate a profile about yousearx doesn't care about what you search for, never shares anything with a third party, and it can't be used to compromise yousearx is free software, the code is 100% open and you can help to make it better. See more on githubIf you do care about privacy, want to be a conscious user, or otherwise believe in digital freedom, make searx your default search engine or run it on your own server
Technical details - How does it work?Searx is a metasearch engine, inspired by the seeks project.
It provides basic privacy by mixing your queries with searches on other platforms without storing search data. Queries are made using a POST request on every browser (except chrome*). Therefore they show up in neither our logs, nor your url history. In case of Chrome* users there is an exception, searx uses the search bar to perform GET requests.
Searx can be added to your browser's search bar; moreover, it can be set as the default search engine.
How can I make it my own?Searx appreciates your concern regarding logs, so take the code and run it yourself!
Add your Searx to this list to help other people reclaim their privacy and make the Internet freer!
The more decentralized the Internet is, the more freedom we have!
More about searxFAQHow to add to firefox?Install searx as a search engine on any version of Firefox! (javascript required)
Developer FAQNew engines?Don't forget to restart searx after config edit!
Installation/WSGI support?See the installation and setup wiki page
How to debug engines?Stats page contains some useful data about the engines used.
DPRK Incoming
From Producer Chris
First I’d like to apologize for being a douche bag, but I
will change that very soon, for your value is immeasurable. Now to the real
story. The email that you got from a gent who spent some years here in Hawaii
rebuking that cbs story about the new sirens was false, cbs was spot on. I am
born and raised here in the islands and can confirm that we have always had a
warning system to alert us of perilous situations ( ie tsunamis, hurricanes,
volcanic eruptions on my island) but the air raid or missile attack tone and
alert had been dormant for nearly 30 years. It was a huge deal here when a few
months ago they reinstated that tone and alert for an incoming attack. All the
local news stations, papers and radio jockeys were buzzing about it for weeks.
Then comes this morning. We were eating breakfast with the kids and my wife
showed me her phone saying look at this, “missile launch, not a drill”. I
thought immediately bullshit, a hack or something. Then my phone went off, so I
turned on the local stations, nothing yet (90 seconds in) while moving kids
into the bathroom. Mom called while out in town garage sailing asking what do I
think, I said bullshit. Then the tv ticker tapes flashed underneath “ missile
launch, not a drill” . Ok now this is serious, for the testing of our alert
system always and only takes place on the first of the month, unless it hits on
a weekend, then it’s the first Monday , so this is not right.
With the
family stowed away with a box of cookies I pace around looking for any local
news personalities to come on to let us know the scoop while im searching
twitter. Nothing from the state or local authorities or local news pundits for
what seemed like hours (4 mins in). Finally a break on twitter, a person living
on Oahu tweeting out “listening to police band traffic, saying a false alarm,
again a false alarm”. I breath of fresh
air while looking toward the horizon for a bright flash, being that I live in
Kona on the big island and Pearl Harbor is pretty far away. Called Mom and gave
the new info saying “it’s twitter so it may be bullshit also, but if you ask
me, all Is good”. Then Tulsi tweets and immediately the entire state breathed a
sigh of relief, thank god for her. Meanwhile nothing from state or local
officials for 38 minutes, total crap on their part.
Now I know the
official story of hitting the wrong button may be far fetched to you folks over
there, but let me tell you, it makes total sense here. Our state and county
governments are completely run incompetently and with total nepotism filling
all the ranks of the koosh jobs. Look at it this way, on Oahu they are building
a above ground rail line that barely will go 30 or so miles for 10+ billion
dollars yet not a single civilian fall out shelter in the entire state. Don’t
get me started, look at the blueness of our state legislature and you will get
a hint. Sorry to ramble on for so long, but let me just leave you with this. I
know it sounds insane that a guy pushing a wrong button could have cause all
this (which my sister in Vegas nailed right away), just remember sometimes the
dumbest answer is the right one.
Mahalo and
thank you for the best 6 or so hours of information a week out there.
Chris C.
How the False Hawaii Missile Warning Could Have Happened | WIRED
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 01:36
As the citizens of Hawaii came out of hiding in their bathtubs and basements Saturday morning, after learning that the emergency alert they had received, warning of an imminent nuclear missile attack, was a false alarm, their fear and panic transformed into rage.
"I'm extremely angry right now. People should lose their jobs if this was an error," Hawaii State Representative Matt Lopresti told CNN.
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz confirmed on Twitter that the alert, which said that a ballistic missile was inbound to Hawaii and urged people to seek shelter, was sent due to "human error." The initial alert went out at 8:07 am, but it wasn't until 8:43 am that the state sent a second alert, announcing it was a false alarm. Governor David Ige told CNN, "An employee pushed the wrong button."
Could it really be that the emergency alert system is so simplistic, it only takes the twitch of a finger to send Hawaii into terror and chaos?
Photo courtesy Ashley Shaffer
Yes. During a press conference Saturday afternoon, the governor and officials at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency confirmed that the blunder occurred during a twice-daily test that happens when staffers switch shifts. In this case, the staffer accidentally selected a live alert, instead of a test alert. After the alert went out, there was no way to automatically cancel or recall the message. Instead, they took to Twitter to tell the public the alert was a false alarm, but it took a full 38 minutes to manually generate and disseminate another corrective emergency alert that reached all Hawaiians. Officials said they're now working on speeding up that feature.1
"We've already implemented some actions to speed up the process so the public would be notified faster," Ige said.
The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS, manages both the emergency alerts you get on your phone and the national emergency alert system, which broadcasts to television stations. According to Simpson, the system uses a web interface with multiple servers that cache preloaded messages about different types of emergencies, from states across the country.
"It's a regular PC interface. This person probably had a mouse and a dropdown menu of the kind of alert messages you can send," and selected the wrong one, Simpson says.
In a statement to WIRED, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which operates IPAWS, said it is working with local authorities and the FCC to gather "more details to understand how this occurred and how to prevent such occurrences in the future." FCC chairman Ajit Pai tweeted that the commission is investigating as well.
Those pre-loaded emergency alerts, scary as they may seem, are necessary, says Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's critical we have this kind of early warning system."
Simpson agrees: "You don't want to be in the middle of a attack on the US and have someone fumbling around with the message." It's also natural to conduct exercises to ensure the system is functioning. The problem in this case, Simpson says, is any exercise message should begin with the words, "EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE."
"This was probably a state-run emergency exercise that doesn't have the strong controls that DoD has learned the hard way from 50 years of screwing up," Simpson says.
Where Were the Feds?In the event of an actual attack, the first government agency to initiate an alert would be the North American Air Defense Command, or NORAD, which is located in a cave in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, its staffers'--known as watch standers'--monitor a global network of sensors that can detect a missile launch. If it detects a missile en route to Hawaii, NORAD would send a message to Pacific Command, which would in turn alert the state emergency management center.
That's why, says Simpson, the biggest question of all may be what the federal government was doing after the alert went out. The Emergency Alert System, which predated Wireless Emergency Alerts, was created with the specific goal of letting the president communicate with the country in the event of a nuclear attack. The US has spent billions of dollars maintaining this system, and yet, 38 minutes went by before Hawaii sent a second message, acknowledging the false alarm. The president, or any of the federal agencies with access to the emergency alert system, could have corrected the record much sooner.
"We paid big bucks to the DoD and provide very good capabilities to the president to communicate directly to the nation. Where's the accountability there for not piping up immediately?" Simpson says. "I think that's going to wind up ultimately being the scandal. Where were they with all of this?"
In a statement Saturday afternoon, White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters put the blame on Hawaii. "The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise."
While numerous questions remain about the federal government's response, Hawaii's excruciatingly long panic sends several clear messages about ways to improve IPAWS. Though all 50 states use it, not all local governments are part of the voluntary system, leaving some cities without a uniform way to alert their citizens of a local threat. And it's possible not all emergency management centers are giving their staffers uniform, adequate training. In some cases, Simpson says, those emergency centers only staff up when a threat appears imminent.
"There's nowhere near the professionalism there on the national security side of things," Simpson says.
Perhaps the most critical issue this false alarm highlights is the need for a firewall between the test mode and live mode in the emergency response interface. In the DoD's version of the system, Simpson says, that separation exists. It appears that was not the case in Hawaii. The Hawaii emergency management officials also noted the obvious need for a better way to recall accidental messages.
As terrifying as this false alarm may have been, experts say it's critical for governments to continue to test these systems so that they're adequately prepared if and when the time comes to use them. During the wildfires in California last year, several counties declined to send alerts for fear of sowing panic, and instead, left their citizens wholly unprepared for the fires' spread.
"My big fear is this has been such a bad experience states will be afraid to use alerting now. But the opposite should occur. They should get in and conduct tests and exercises," Simpson says. "But do so using the right controls."
Louise Matsakis contributed reporting.
1Story updated at 18:45 ET on Saturday, January 13 to include information from the press conference.
Hawaii Panics After Alert About Incoming Missile Is Sent in Error - The New York Times
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:24
At no time, officials said, was there any indication that a nuclear attack had been launched on the United States. The Federal Communications Commission announced that it had begun ''a full investigation into the FALSE missile alert in Hawaii.''
The alert went out at about 8:10 a.m., lighting up phones of people still in bed, having coffee by the beach at a Waikiki resort, or up for an early surf. ''BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,'' it read.
Hawaii has been on high emotional alert '-- it began staging monthly air-raid drills, complete with sirens, in December '-- since President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, began exchanging nuclear threats. Estimates vary, but it would take a little more than half an hour for a missile launched from North Korea to reach Hawaii, traversing an arc of roughly 5,700 miles. State officials said that residents here would have as little as 12 minutes to find shelter once an alert was issued.
Within moments of the first announcement, people flocked to shelters, crowding highways in scenes of terror and helplessness. Emergency sirens wailed in parts of the state, adding to the panic.
''I was running through all the scenarios in my head, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to pull over to,'' said Mike Staskow, a retired military captain.
Allyson Niven, who lives in Kailua-Kona, said her first instinct was to gather her family as she contemplated what she thought would be her final minutes alive.
''We fully felt like we were about to die,'' she said. ''I drove to try to get to my kids even though I knew I probably wouldn't make it, and I fully was visualizing what was happening while I was on the road. It was awful.''
Ray Gerst was vacationing on Oahu with his wife to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary. He received the alert as they pulled up for their tour of Kualoa Ranch.
''All the buses stopped, and people came running out of the ranch and said, 'Just sit still for a minute, nobody get off the bus, nobody get off the bus,''' he said.
They were taken into the mountains, Mr. Gerst said, and dropped off at a concrete bunker. They sheltered in place for about 15 minutes, he said, during which time they had no cell signal.
''It was scary,'' Mr. Gerst said. ''I mean, there was no intel.''
At Konawaena High School on the Island of Hawaii, where a high school wrestling championship was taking place, school officials, more accustomed to alerts of high surf or tsunamis, moved people to the center of the gym as they tried to figure out how to take shelter from a missile.
''Everyone cooperated,'' said Kellye Krug, the athletic director at the school. ''Once they were gathered, we let them use cellphones to reach loved ones. There were a couple kids who were emotional, the coaches were right there to console kids. After the retraction was issued, we gave kids time to reach out again.''
Matt LoPresti, a state representative, told CNN that he and his family headed for a bathroom. ''I was sitting in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers,'' he said.
Natalie Haena, 38, of Honolulu, said she was getting ready to take her daughter to ice skating lessons when the alert came. ''There's nothing to prep for a missile coming in,'' she said. ''We have no bomb shelters or anything like that. There's nowhere to go.''
Photo An electronic sign reading ''Missile alert in error: There is no threat'' on a highway in Hawaii. Credit Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat In Washington, Lindsay Walters, a deputy press secretary, said that President Trump had been informed of the events. ''The president has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise,'' she said. ''This was purely a state exercise.''
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said the mistake was ''totally inexcusable.''
''The whole state was terrified,'' he said. ''There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.''
While the cellphone alerting system is in state authorities' hands, the detection of missile launches is the responsibility of the United States Strategic Command and Northern Command. It was the military '-- not Hawaiian officials '-- that was the first to declare there was no evidence of a missile launch.
The false alert was a stark reminder of what happens when the old realities of the nuclear age collide with the speed '-- and the potential for error '-- inherent in the internet age. The alert came at one of the worst possible moments '-- when tension with North Korea has been at one of the highest points in decades, and when Mr. Kim's government has promised more missile tests and threatened an atmospheric nuclear test.
During the Cold War there were many false alarms. William J. Perry, the defense secretary during the Clinton administration, recalled in his memoir, ''My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,'' a moment in 1979 when, as an under secretary of defense, he was awakened by a watch officer who reported that his computer system was showing 200 intercontinental ballistic missiles headed to the United States. ''For one heart-stopping second I thought my worst nuclear nightmare had come true,'' Mr. Perry wrote.
It turned out that a training tape had been mistakenly inserted into an early-warning system computer. No one woke up the president. But Mr. Perry went on to speculate what might have happened if such a warning had come ''during the Cuban Missile Crisis or a Mideast war?''
The United States faces an especially difficult problem today, not just because of tense relations with North Korea but also because of growing fears inside the military about the cyber vulnerability of the nuclear warning system and nuclear control systems.
Because of its location, Hawaii '-- more than any other part of the United States '-- has been threatened by escalating tensions and the risks of war, and preparations have already begun there.
On Friday, the day before the erroneous alert, several hundred people attended an event in Honolulu sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in which military commanders, politicians and others discussed the threat to the islands' population.
''The U.S. is the designated recipient '-- and that's because we are public enemy No. 1 to North Korea,'' Dan Leaf, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and Pacific Command deputy commander, was quoted as saying in The Honolulu Star Advertiser.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has been holding ''are you ready'' drills. As a chain of islands, Hawaii is subject to all kinds of threats '-- hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis '-- but officials have made clear that none is more urgent now than the threat of an attack by North Korea, given how little time there would be between an alert and the detonation of a bomb.
The fifth page of an emergency preparation pamphlet issued by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency features a picture of a rocket lifting off: ''Nuclear Threat '-- Unlikely But Cannot Ignore It.''
Vern T. Miyagi, the administrator of the agency, said that during the drill, an employee '-- whom he did not identify '-- mistakenly pushed a button on a computer screen to send out the alert, rather than one marked to test it. He said the employee answered ''yes'' when asked by the system if he was sure he wanted to send the message.
Mr. Miyagi, going through a detailed timeline of the events at an afternoon news conference, said the agency tried to correct the error on social media. It took 38 minutes to send out a follow-up message canceling the original alert, which he acknowledged was a shortcoming with the alert system that the agency would fix.
Mr. Rapoza said he did not know if anyone would be disciplined for the mistake. ''At this point, our major concern is to make sure we do what we need to do to reassure the public,'' he said. ''This is not a time for pointing fingers.''
The panic that followed the alert '-- if relatively short-lived '-- gripped the islands. There were reports of people seeking shelter by parking their cars inside a highway tunnel that cuts through a mountain. When the announcement was rescinded, a digital highway sign read: ''Missile alert in error: There is no threat.''
People in Hawaii tend to know what to do to protect themselves to threats of a tsunami or a hurricane. The prospect of nuclear annihilation was entirely new terrain.
''So this was the most terrifying few minutes of my LIFE!'' Paul Wilson, a professor at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, said on Twitter. ''I just want to know why it took 38 minutes to announce it was a mistake?!?''
Chris Tacker, a veteran who lives in Kealakekua, said the mistake had left her angry and frustrated.
''I didn't know where to go,'' she said. ''Anyone try to dig a hole in lava? Good luck trying to build a shelter. I'm stocking my liquor cabinet.''
Still, she added, ''If we don't have our sense of humor about this, it's all over.''
Correction: January 13, 2018An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a retired Air Force lieutenant general quoted in the Honolulu Star Advertiser. The general's name is Dan Leaf, not Leak.
Reporting was contributed by Barbara Tanabe, Meghan Miner Murray, Sydney Ember, Laurie Kawakami, Christina Caron, Christopher Mele and Joumana Khatib.
A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Panic in Hawaii As Missile Alert Is Sent in Error.
Continue reading the main story
Why Homeland Security Unleashed an 'Alien Virus' on Silicon Valley - Motherboard
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:37
At 5 PM on 25 April 2015, dozens of cell phone users in Mountain View were warned of a bizarre road accident. A satellite had crashed to Earth on the busy Moffett Boulevard, three miles from Google's headquarters, causing gridlock.
Half an hour later, things got really weird. First responders to the scene began sickening with an unknown virus. By half past six, the infection had spread to Palo Alto and Menlo Park, traffic was at a standstill for miles, and gunshots had been heard in nearby Sunnyvale.
The messages'--issued through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system that normally warns of severe weather and missing children'--kept coming. A firestorm in San Jose, mobbed hospitals and widespread civil unrest. By the next afternoon, California Governor Jerry Brown had ordered the evacuation of millions of people and the National Institutes of Health had confirmed the virus was extraterrestrial in origin. As darkness fell, the president imposed martial law.
But there was no need to panic. This was, of course, just an exercise, a scenario dubbed "Alien Catastrophe" by researchers with funding from the Department of Homeland Security to test new technologies for public alerts.
The real battle being fought right now is not between the National Guard and interstellar microbes but between government agencies keen to drag WEA into the digital age and a telecom industry that seems happy with things just the way they are.
All the information that could rescue a child or save your life today has to squeeze into less than two-thirds of a tweet.
First deployed in 2012, Wireless Emergency Alerts are those blaring cell phone tones that wake you in the middle of the night with an Amber Alert or notice of an incoming storm. WEAs are sent to every single cell phone within range of certain cell towers, allowing local, state and national agencies'--Alert Originators (AOs) in the jargon'--to achieve blanket coverage of the population in a way that radio and TV broadcasts no longer can. Since 2012, the more than 500 AOs across the US have sent out over 21,000 WEA alerts.
Some of those messages have certainly reunited families and avoided disasters. In 2013, WEA is credited with saving the lives of 29 children at a soccer camp in Connecticut, whose sports dome was blown away by a tornado moments after the manager received a warning on her phone and rushed the kids to safety. And earlier this year, two children in Florida who had been abducted by their mother were recovered after utility workers recognized her vehicle from an Amber Alert WEA.
But the system is painfully limited. Because of the way the underlying technology works (more on this later), WEAs are text-only messages limited to just 90 characters. All the information that could rescue a child or save your life today has to squeeze into less than two-thirds of a tweet. And there is currently no way to include a clickable phone number or web link for recipients to report sightings or learn more.
The geographical targeting of WEAs is also fairly crude. Alert Originators know or suspect the areas that will be affected by an event. They draw a geometric shape on a map and pass that along to the wireless carriers. The carriers then translate that polygon into which cell towers will broadcast the message. Inevitably, the irregular polygon doesn't map well on to hexagonal cells, so carriers ending up spamming many more phones than necessary to avoid missing anyone.
The upshot, says Martin Griss, the recently retired director of the Disaster Management Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus, is that, "People are getting messages that shouldn't be getting them and are then irritated and opting out." It only takes a second to turn off Amber Alerts and emergency alerts in your phone's settings, excluding you from all future messages.
Late last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided that it was time for a change. In November, it proposed a drastic overhaul of WEA that would see messages grow from 90 to 360 characters, include phone numbers, URLs and possibly multimedia content for the first time, and get far more precise geotargeting. It also suggested that WEAs be issued in languages other than English, and be presented in new ways to reduce the likelihood of people opting out.
"Our proposals are tailored to impose minimum burdens on stakeholders, while ensuring that all Americans have the capability to receive timely and accurate alerts," wrote the commissioners.
An example of a WEA alert augmented with a clear map, which could help recipients better understand and respond to the alert. Image: CMU/DHS
But cell phone industry stakeholders reacted with all the calm and composure of a Mountain View cop being engulfed by virulent alien goo.
In a filing to the FCC, Apple wrote, "Long alerts may inundate the user with information, leading to less user comprehension and increasing the likelihood of user opt-out." AT&T complained that, "Embedding URLs in all WEA messages poses a threat of congesting wireless networks."
Among its long list of objections, Verizon urged the Commission to "assess whether the marginal improvements of geofencing (if any) warrant the substantial effort of new device- and network-level standards." As for supporting a variety of new languages, thought Verizon, "This is a worthy longer-term endeavor'... but is not feasible in the near-term."
The Competitive Carriers Association, which represents nearly 100 wireless carriers, went further still. It recommended that providers should be allowed to opt-out of the WEA program in certain areas, and even be given a complete waiver if they could not comply with any new WEA requirements.
In short, says Hakan Erdogmus, a software engineering professor at CMU, "There is also open resistance from wireless carriers and platform developers to the idea of adding more functionality to the system. They really don't want to do more than they are doing right now."
While handset manufacturers and wireless carriers regularly update features and services for data, social media, music and video, the obstacles to upgrading a primitive public safety system are, apparently, insurmountable.
To investigate this puzzle, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate commissioned Carnegie Mellon to conduct a study of WEA usage, and to develop and test strategies for improving the alert system. Martin Griss, Hakan Erdogmus and a third CMU professor, Bob Iannucci, took up the challenge.
They interviewed over 100 Alert Originators from around the country, analyzed the links between WEA and social media, developed new compression technologies and visualization tools, and then tested them in a series of trials, culminating in the Alien Catastrophe.
They started with message length. The 90-character limit comes from WEA's root in a pre-millennial 2G cell phone technology called Short Message Service Cell Broadcast or SMS-CB. The advantage of SMS-CB is that it works like an old-fashioned TV broadcast, reaching every device within range at the same time. It's not dependent on network traffic, so no matter how many people are streaming cat videos or playing Pok(C)mon Go, the message will quickly pop up on every device connected to a specific cell tower. This makes it particularly useful during major disasters, when everyone is trying to call their mom.
"If we had a large earthquake that took out a lot of infrastructure, the way the WEA system is engineered means that it will probably survive even when other networks don't."
Modern 4G handsets, however, can easily accommodate 360 character messages, and Alert Originators are overwhelmingly in favor of them. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) says that it can be extremely difficult to fit sufficient information in current Amber Alerts, while the National Weather Service (NWS) wants longer messages to explain meteorological terms. Both organizations also want multimedia content, such as images of maps or missing children.
Apple's complaint to the FCC, that longer WEAs could overload users with information and increase opt out, is contradicted by several scientific studies. A 2014 report by the University of Maryland on terrorism alerts (also funded by DHS) found that longer messages were more effective at helping people understand the risks and choose the correct protective action.
In its own user tests, CMU found that there were no significant differences between the understanding and adequacy of short and long alerts, and that long alerts were significantly more relevant and actionable, and less annoying.
Almost every wireless company that commented on the FCC's rules was worried about including clickable phone numbers or URLs in WEAs. Apple's complaint is typical, that "users simultaneously attempting to access embedded references during emergencies could overwhelm networks."
This is a real danger. While two-thirds of recipients in CMU's test found web links in alerts useful, their effect on congestion remains uncertain. One argument for including them is that networks see a spike in traffic around WEAs anyway, as users seek information or contact loved ones. The URLs embedded in WEAs could link to small, specialized web pages, perhaps cached locally, to minimize disruption.
The critical thing, said Bob Iannucci, is that the messages themselves are as complete as possible: "If we had a large earthquake that took out a lot of infrastructure, the robustness and the way the WEA system is engineered means that it will probably survive even when other networks don't."
This graphic illustrates how little geographic precision the current system (closer to figure A) allows for. Image: DHS/CMU
Improved geotargeting is the other big change the FCC is pushing. Currently, users in rural areas can receive supposedly localized messages that relate to emergencies happening hundreds of miles away. "Better geotargeting was Alert Originators' top priority," said Martin Griss. "Because AOs don't know who will actually receive the alert, they don't feel they have enough control'--and in many cases they won't use it."
To solve this, the CMU researchers used the GPS and WiFi location technologies found in virtually every modern cell phone. In their system, a WEA encoding the Alert Originator's polygon would be sent out using the same cell towers as today'--a wider area than necessary. But then the phones themselves would decide whether or not to display the alert, depending on whether each handset located itself inside the polygon.
This also allows for the customization of alerts. For instance, a user could set their phone to always show messages from places that they visit regularly, such as their home or child's school, even if they were far away when the alert was issued. In CMU's user tests, subjects found geotargeted WEAs significantly more relevant than non-geotargeted alerts.
Verizon, however, is not convinced. "Geofencing would raise a number of potential concerns, including the potential need to establish a data session to enable a device to receive alert area coordinates, which could adversely affect network capability; and a device's need to track the customer's location (which the user may turn off) and the attendant privacy concerns and latency challenges," it wrote to the FCC.
CMU has some ideas here, too. Last year, Hakan Erdogmus and his team devised algorithms to compress complex polygons'--such as a winding river about to flood'--to as little as 10 percent of their original size, just 8 to 55 characters. These would be small enough to include in the WEA itself, eliminating the need for a data link. And if a phone could not fix its location, he says, it could simply default to showing the message.
As for privacy, all computation would be done on the phone itself, with nothing shared back to the carrier or AO. (Also: It's interesting to see Verizon use a pro-privacy argument as pushback to the new WEA concepts when it's taken an opposite stance on user privacy for more profitable technologies.)
The final improvement that CMU tested was a new interface. The researchers wanted to shift away from today's fleeting pop-up alerts to something that gives broader situational awareness. They designed an iOS and Android app, called WEA+, that includes icons, maps and threaded messages. It presents a digested sequence of alerts to help users better cope with situations that evolve over time.
The scheduled sequence of alerts sent out in the April 2015 test. Image: DHS/CMU
During the public tests in Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley, CMU tested dozens of new WEA features. Users knew they had signed up for a test but they didn't know any details in advance. "We created scenarios that were multi-dimensional, with lots of things going on, that we thought if they were sent as text messages might give rise to confusion," said Iannucci. "The alien virus worked really well. Users could suspend their disbelief and respond accordingly."
For the most complicated scenarios, the digest view made it many times more likely that a user correctly understood the emergency they were facing (even if they didn't believe it). People liked the app too, by a factor of over three to one compared to the normal WEA messages.
CMU admits that the shift to an app-style interface would be a massive change for WEA, requiring significant work on the part of carriers, handset manufacturers and platform developers like Android and Apple. Verizon's response suggests you shouldn't hold your breath. In its FCC filing, the nation's largest wireless carrier wrote, "Any regulations or standards'... risk stifling handset manufacturer creativity, with questionable overall benefit to consumers."
"There is resistance to even the smallest incremental change, with no apparent good reason," said Erdogmus. "They're pushing back, pushing back, and that probably stopped some of the improvements that could have been implemented earlier."
Nevertheless, the time does look ripe for change. By the end of this year, AT&T will have shut down its 2G network, with Verizon set to follow by the end of 2019. Once there are no live 2G handsets, and only a few 3G phones rattling around, the move to 360-character WEAs seems inevitable.
Once that happens, there will be plenty of room for CMU's efficient polygons to deliver superior geotargeting. That in turn should spur Alert Originators to make better use of the system, generating more feel-good stories of rescued kids and tornado survivors to reassure users.
Even AT&T, although remaining skeptical, recently agreed to a limited trial of embedded URLs to see whether they cause "unmanageable congestion" when included in Amber Alerts.
None of this really gets to the heart of the problem, though, which is a phone industry that sees WEA as a regulatory headache rather than an opportunity to protect and serve its customers. Instead of putting their billions towards improving a public safety technology that has been proven to save lives, they stall for time and focus instead on vapid "upgrades" like personalized message bubbles and pop-up menus.
"If we're at the whim of wireless carriers and platform developers, then I don't think large scale improvements will be possible," said Erdogmus. That would suck. After all, you never know when an infected satellite is going to land on your head.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @meharris.
Correction: This story originally referred to CMU research in Philadelphia. It was in Pittsburgh. We regret the error.
Hey, Hawaii: The Telecom Industry Lobbied Against Testing for Emergency Alert System - Motherboard
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:35
''BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,'' read an emergency push alert sent to the cell phones of people in Hawaii Saturday. It wasn't a drill, but it was a mistake.
Moments after the alert was issued, the Hawaii Emergency Management System tweeted that there was ''NO missile thread to Hawaii.'' In the coming hours and days, we will surely learn more about how such a horrifying mistake could have occurred.
In any case, the system used to send the message has been the subject of sharp criticism and ongoing controversy as public safety officials beg telecom companies to give them the capability of doing live, opt-in tests of the system without scaring the shit out of everyone.
The push alert Hawaiians received are known as ''Wireless Emergency Alerts.'' They were deployed in 2012 by the Federal Communications Commission, FEMA, and the telecom industry. They are sent directly by federal or local agencies to phones using technology developed specifically for the system'--they are not text messages. There are three types of WEAs: alerts issued by he president; alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life; and Amber alerts for missing children.
Crucially in this case, the new regulations require telecom companies to offer a testing system for local and state alert originators, but because of lobbying by Verizon and CTIA (a wireless telecom trade group), this specific regulation does not go into effect until March 2019
WEAs have been subject to a back-and-forth between the FCC and telecom companies, who have fought against upgrades to the system: Telecom companies are currently only required to offer messages with a maximum length of 90 characters of text (the one Hawaii sent was 87 characters long). Until recently, so-called ''Alert Originators'' could not send clickable links or phone numbers, the geographic targeting of the alerts isn't particularly good, are presented only in English, and don't tell people when an alert should become inactive. The system's infrastructure is based on 2G cell phone technology, which allows the alerts to be pushed to users simultaneously (and doesn't affect cell phone network traffic because 2G is barely used for anything else). But the 2G network is woefully limited.
In September 2016, the FCC enacted new rules, and required telecom companies to increase maximum message length from 90 to 360 characters, allow for clickable phone numbers and web links, and picture or videos, and improve the system's geotargeting.
Crucially in this case, the new regulations require telecom companies to offer a testing system for local and state alert originators, but because of lobbying by Verizon and CTIA (a wireless telecom trade group), this specific regulation does not go into effect until March 2019, 30 months after the regulations were adopted.
Most of these comments stated that testing and training is necessary to ensure that their alerts do not undermine public confidence in the system, and to ensure that novice Alert Originators understand how the system works
Dozens of state and local law enforcement and public safety groups asked the FCC for this testing capability, and asked for the ability to do end-to-end tests as opposed to just offline testing ("proficiency training is an essential element of verifying competency," one emergency department wrote in comments to the FCC.) Most of these comments stated that testing and training is necessary to ensure that their alerts do not undermine public confidence in the system, and to ensure that novice Alert Originators understand how the system works. The tests would be sent only to people who "opt-in" to them.
"Requiring State/Local WEA Tests to be received and delivered in accordance with our Alert Message requirements will ensure that emergency managers have the opportunity to test in an environment that mirrors actual alert conditions," the FCC wrote in its regulations. But "Verizon and CTIA state that providing consumers with the option to opt in to receive State/Local WEA Tests would require new standards to implement, militating for a 30-month implementation timeframe."
Other important parts of the regulations are still not active:
The character increase regulation does not become active until March 2019Regulations requiring Spanish-language alerts do not become active until September 2018When we spoke to him in 2016, Hakan Erdogmus, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has recommended improving the system and has offered alternatives, told us that ''there is open resistance from wireless carriers and platform developers to the idea of adding more functionality to the system.''
We do not know yet know what happened in Hawaii, but in an era in which we are expected to be constantly on edge as our President verbally spars with a country that has made direct nuclear threats to the United States, it'd seem that a functional way of testing WEAs would at the very least be good for our psyches. With an impulsive president, it's not difficult to see how Hawaii's screwup could have quickly become much, much worse.
Hawaii sends out 'false alarm' missile threat | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:33
A Civil Defense employee is set to be retrained after a shocking blunder on Saturday morning, when a mistaken alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile sent thousands fleeing for shelter.
The false alarm was caused by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee who 'pushed the wrong buttons' during an internal drill timed to coincide with a shift handover at 8.07am. The all-clear phone alert was not sent until 38 minutes later.
Incredibly, officials said the employee who made the mistake wasn't aware of it until mobile phones in the command center began displaying the alert.
'This guy feels bad, right. He's not doing this on purpose - it was a mistake on his part and he feels terrible about it,' said EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi in a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Miyagi, a retired Army major general, said the employee had been with the agency for 'a while' and that he would be 'counseled and drilled so this never happens again' - but stopped short of saying whether there would be disciplinary measures.
Hawaii Governor David Ige apologized at the press conference: 'I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused. I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can do to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing.'
Panicked Hawaiians ran for their lives and even lowered loved ones through manhole covers after receiving this alert at 8.07am local time: 'BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL'.
A similar message flashed up on local television networks and brought live sports games to a halt. Actor Jim Carrey, like many others, said he woke up thinking he had 'ten minutes to live'.
Residents of Hawaii are furiously asking why it took officials a whole 38 minutes to correct a missile threat warning that was sent out on Saturday morning, sparking panic across the state
EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi (left) and Hawaii Governor David Ige (right) apologized for the error at a press conference Saturday afternoon
Video appears to show a family taking shelter in the sewer through a manhole cover after a false alert of an inbound ballistic missile sparked panic in Hawaii on Saturday morning
Terror: People began to flee for their lives after the warning was sent that a ballistic missile was inbound to Hawaii
Actor Jim Carrey wrote that he woke up thinking that he had 'ten minutes to live'
On the H-3, a major highway north of Honolulu, vehicles sat empty after drivers left them to run to a nearby tunnel after the alert showed up, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Fearing a nuclear attack, terrified residents and tourists including basketball legend Magic Johnson flocked to shelters and into their garages.
TIMELINE OF HAWAII BALLISTIC MISSILE ALERT ERROROfficials have given the following timeline for the false alert on Saturday.
Approx. 8.05am: A routine internal test during a shift change was initiated. This was a test that involved the Emergency Alert System, the Wireless Emergency Alert, but no warning sirens.
8.07am: A warning was erroneously triggered statewide by an employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA).
8.10am: State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan validated with the US Pacific Command that there was no missile launch.
Honolulu Police Department notified of the false alarm by HI-EMA.
8.13am: State Warning Point issues a cancellation of the Civil Danger Warning Message. This would have prevented the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet. For instance, if a phone was not on at 8.07am, it would not receive the alert later on.
8.20am: HI-EMA issues public notification of cancellation via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
8.24am: Governor Ige retweets HI-EMA's cancellation notice.
8.30am: Governor posts cancellation notification to his Facebook page.
8.45am: After getting authorization from FEMA Integral Public Alert and Warning System, HI-EMA issued a 'Civil Emergency Message' remotely, cancelling the false alert.
Golfers in Honolulu for the US PGA Tour's Sony Open were also thrown into panic and confusion by the mistaken alert
'Under mattresses in the bathtub with my wife, baby and in laws,' tweeted American golfer John Peterson. 'Please lord let this bomb threat not be real.'
The mistake was corrected by government agencies on Twitter 12 minutes later but it took 38 minutes for another phone alert to be issued confirming to residents that it was a false alarm. Some say they never received a second phone alert at all.
Miyagi said that there was no template in the system for an alert retraction, and so the all-clear message had to be manually entered and activated, accounting for some of the delay.
The EMA administrator said that cooling tensions between North and South Korea should have been a signal to residents that the alert was mistaken, urging Hawaiians to 'keep informed on what's going on on the tension between the two countries and monitor that.'
'I deeply apologize for the trouble and heartbreak that we caused today,' said Miyagi. 'We've spent the last few months trying to get ahead of this whole threat, so that we could provide as much notification and preparation to the public. We made a mistake.'
Officials are suspending further drills until the incident is fully investigated.
State emergency managers have also already implemented a two-person verification for alerts and an automated all-clear signal that can be used in the future.
When it became clear on Saturday morning that the ballistic missile alert had been a false alarm, the public's panic turned to fury.
'Imagine this for 37 agonizing minutes before it is deemed a false alarm,' said one person.
Honolulu is seen on Saturday morning, when a false alert of an inbound ballistic missile sent residents running for shelter in terror
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted this out, 12 minutes after the threat was issued to confirm the error. This post was made at 8.20am local time, 1.20pm EST
Officials scrambled to notify citizens that there was no inbound ballistic missile threat, but it took 38 minutes to issue an all-clear phone alert because it had to be sent manually
Lawmakers slammed the mistake as 'inexcusable' and said 'the whole state was terrified'.
Another critic said the delay in phone alerts meant that only people with access to social media would have known it was a false alarm straight away.
' It took until 8.45am to state it was a false alarm. 37 minutes where anyone in Hawaii who doesn't sit on Twitter dot com all day thought their island might be incinerated.'
Governor David Ige apologized for the false alarm of an inbound ballistic missile
'Fire people. Fix it,' one outraged commentator said.
At the same time as the phone alert, an emergency alert was broadcast across radio and television networks.
The TV and radio alert told viewers and listeners: 'If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows.
'If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter.'
The second message, sent at 8.45am, said: 'There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.'
Calls from frightened residents inundated Civil Defense immediately asking for more information or advice after the first alert was issued.
People who say they got through to the office were then told it was a mistake that was caused by an employee who 'pushed the wrong buttons' during a drill.
One woman called 911 in panic and said she was told by the operator that staff were performing a drill when 'someone pushed the wrong buttons'.
'Called 911...Operator said it's a drill of Civil Defense Emergency System but someone pushed the wrong buttons..
'No missile is headed toward the State of Hawaii REPEAT....NO MISSILE IS HEADED TOWARD THE STATE OF HAWAII.'
A Hawaii Civil Defense official is seen above on Saturday writing instructions for dispatchers fielding calls from terrified locals
Hawaii Civil Defense startled Hawaii residents early Saturday, by sending a Civil Defense alert via cellular phones that a nuclear missile was heading towards Hawaii and to take cover
FCC LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO FALSE HAWAII MISSILE ALERT Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, confirmed that an investigation will be carried out
The US Federal Communications Commission said on Saturday it was launching a full investigation into a false emergency alert that said a ballistic missile was headed for Hawaii, the chairman of the commission said.
The alerts to Hawaii cellphone users were issued at about 8.07am local time, saying 'ballistic missile threat inbound' and urging residents to seek shelter immediately. The message also appeared on Hawaii television stations, according to news reports. The alert was officially canceled about 38 minutes later.
The FCC has jurisdiction over the emergency alert system. Earlier this week, Pai said the FCC would vote at its January meeting to enhance the effectiveness of wireless emergency alerts, which have been in place since 2012.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai posted on Twitter that the FCC was launching a full investigation and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the commission must find out what went wrong.
'Emergency alerts are meant to keep us and our families safe, not to create false panic. We must investigate and we must do better,' Rosenworcel wrote on Twitter.
CNN reported Hawaiian Governor David Ige told reporters the mistake was the result of human error and someone at the state emergency management agency pushed the 'wrong button' during a shift change.
Wireless carriers do not prepare or write the alerts but they run simultaneously on all networks.
The FCC is working to better target alerts to impacted people and will vote this month on a proposal to 'more precisely target these alerts to affected communities.'
Pai is proposing that providers 'deliver these alerts to match the geographic area specified by the officials sending the alert with no more overshoot than one-tenth of a mile,' he said in a statement earlier this week.
Governor Ige confirmed as much when he spoke to CNN later in the morning.
'It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,' he said.
The Civil Defense phone lines were consistently busy on Saturday and the Department of Defense has not responses to questions on the matter.
It is not clear yet whether the person responsible for the error will lose their job.
The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into the error.
President Donald Trump was playing golf in West Palm Beach when the false missile alert went out.
The White House confirmed later in the day that Trump had been briefed on the mistake.
'The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise,' said spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.
Hawaii is within the range of the latest intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea has been testing. It, along with Alaska, are the most vulnerable states to a threat
Kim Jong Un has test launched several intercontinental ballistic missiles in the last year, some of which have the capacity to reach Hawaii
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted 12 minutes after the first phone alert was issued to say it was a false alarm.
The state's governor David Ige quickly retweeted the post as did other lawmakers.
They vowed to get to the bottom of how such a colossal error was made.
'There is nothing more important to Hawai'i than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process,' Senator Brian Schatz tweeted.
He went on: 'What happened today is totally inexcusable.
'The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.'
Terrified residents later described how they packed into their garages to take shelter and sent messages to each other to say: 'I love you'.
Videos circulated of children being dropped into storm drains for shelter though those are unconfirmed.
There were also unconfirmed reports of tourists being escorted into a 'bomb shelter' at Pearl Harbour.
Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz said the mistake was caused by 'human error'. They slammed it as being 'inexcusable' given the rising tensions between the US and North Korea
How Hawaii was gripped by panic as phones and TV stations broadcast false missile warningPanic and terror gripped residents and visitors in Hawaii on Saturday after authorities said there was an incoming ballistic missile only to later clarify that it was a false alarm.
Social media users posted videos, photos, and testimonials about residents hurriedly taking up shelter while thinking they were under attack.
'I was sitting in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers,' Hawaii state representative Matt LoPresti told CNN in emotional interview after false missile alert.
One Twitter user wrote: 'My family was hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken'
One Twitter user wrote: 'My family was hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken.'
'Talking to loved ones in Hawaii, the reality of the situation is everyone thought they were going to die for 40-minutes,' tweeted another Twitter user.
'Let that sink in. Extremely traumatizing and please send your love to everyone there.'
Current NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted: 'Words cannot describe the relief my family and I feel that the alarm in Hawaii was false.
'My girlfriend was born and raised in Hawaii and with most of her family there, the panic was real.
'We should thank god for every day no matter the struggles and tell our family we love them.'
CNN host Jake Tapper tweeted: 'So sorry for all the people in Hawaii who went through that - we know someone who's there with her family.
'Crying in closet texting goodbyes to loved ones, husband shielding their baby. Sounds traumatic. Hang in there, folks.'
Maureen McCormick tweeted: 'My family in Hawaii got a phone alert and hid in the bathroom with kids for a good 10 minutes thinking "This is going to be it."
'So terrifying.'
Lorenza Ingram, a producer for CNN, told the network: 'We got alerts on our phone'... we opened our sliding glass door to look out onto the beach, we saw probably 10 different families running, not walking, running back to their room.'
Another CNN producer, David Shortell, told the network: 'There was a bit of running and shouting after [the alert was received]'... People were nervous.'
Shortell described 'a pretty harrowing 15 minutes' huddling in a garage with families and young children.
ShitHole Nation
Trump's 'shithole' comment is his new rock bottom
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 04:16
(CNN) On Thursday, in a meeting with a senators and House members on immigration, the President of the United States, asked this: "Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?"
Yes, he said "shithole countries" -- apparently in reference to the fact that immigrants from places like El Salvador, Haiti and Africa were being protected in a potential bipartisan deal to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and secure funding for border security.
What's even more appalling is that the White House didn't even try to deny that Trump used that slur, which was first reported in The Washington Post. In fact, in a lengthy statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah, the administration seemed to even defend the sentiment. "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," said Shah.
But it gets even worse. Asked about the "shithole" comments, a White House official told CNN's Kaitlan Collins this:
"The President's 'shithole' remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside of it. Though this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment will resonate with his base, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem did not alienate it."
Stop. Read that again. Here's what it means: The President's voicing of a racist remark about the sorts of people whom we are letting into the country is actually a good thing because people who like Trump will agree with him.
Make no mistake: This is the lowest ebb of a presidency defined by a series of low ebbs and defining of the presidency downward. Yes, lower than Trump's comments about Mexico sending us "rapists" and "criminals." Lower than questioning Sen. John McCain's military service. Lower than his impugning of a judge because of his Mexican heritage. Lower than his questioning the motives of a Gold Star family. Lower than the 2,000 mistruths and outright falsehoods he has said since becoming President. Lower than his racially-tinged attacks on the anthem protests by NFL players. Lower even than his "both sides" argument in the wake of white supremacist violence against peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This is not only a President of the United States voicing racist sentiment in front of a group of people. It is also doubling down on those sentiments -- proudly! -- because it might advance his political power among his base.
This is -- much like Charlottesville -- an abdication of the moral authority of the presidency, but it's more than that: It's saying, quite simply, that saying racist stuff is a-OK as long as it works politically.
There are things that are -- or should be -- beyond politics. The most important of those things is the belief that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
It's right there in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. And, "we believe these truths to be self evident" because, well, they are. The progress to a more perfect union hasn't always honored this pledge as it should. But this is 2018. Can't we agree that discriminating against people based on what they look like -- or what country they might come from -- is wrong?
Apparently not, according to President Trump.
Let's not make any mistake here: What was being discussed in the meeting in which Trump called Haiti and El Salvador "shithole countries" was not illegal immigration. This was a proposal to end the visa lottery, which Trump has repeatedly falsely suggested leads to other countries gaming the system to send the US their worst people, and replace it with affording a group of countries Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Nor should we dismiss this sentiment as a one off by Trump. Remember this June 2016 meeting, first reported by The New York Times, in which Trump was angrily decrying the fact that lots of immigrants from what he believed were less-desirable countries were still entering the country. The Times writes:
"Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They 'all have AIDS,' [Trump] grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.
Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never 'go back to their huts' in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office."
These sorts of noxious views are a feature not a glitch for Donald Trump. Everything in his history as a candidate and as President screams for that conclusion. For every "bill of love" pronouncement Trump makes, there are double-digit times in which he has said things -- publicly and privately -- that any reasonable person would describe as racially tinged at best and flat-out racist at worst.
Let me remind you in case you have forgotten: This is the President of the United States we are talking about. The President of ALL 300 million people -- not just the ones who voted for Trump and who might respond well to his "shithole" comments. The President of a country literally built on the idea of a melting pot of immigrants.
The discussion of whether this will resonate with Trump's base then is deeply cynical and totally misses the point. There need to be things that are right and things that are wrong, things that we can all agree we should do or not do. Whether or not these things have some political resonance with some group of people is immaterial.
We are talking about the President of the United States here! Not some fringe talk radio host? Not some blogger. The single most powerful person in the country. The symbol of the United States to the rest of the world.
Whether or not you voted for Trump, whether or not you still support him, whether or not you think this "shithole" comment will land well with his base, you need to acknowledge that voicing views like these is simply wrong. It is, quite literally, anti-American. Period. Full Stop.
Trump derides protections for immigrants from 'shithole' countries - The Washington Post
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:52
President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.
''Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?'' Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.
In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.
''Why do we need more Haitians?'' Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. ''Take them out.''
In November, the Trump administration rescinded deportation protection granted to nearly 60,000 Haitians after the 2010 earthquake and told them to return home by July 2019.
Lawmakers were taken aback by the comments, according to people familiar with their reactions. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) had proposed cutting the visa lottery program by 50 percent and then prioritizing countries already in the system, a White House official said.
A White House spokesman defended Trump's position on immigration without directly addressing his remarks. White House officials did not dispute the account.
[200,000 Salvadorans may be forced to leave the U.S. as Trump ends immigration protection]
''Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,'' spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement issued after The Washington Post first reported Trump's remarks. ''.'‰.'‰. Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.''
Trump built his candidacy and presidency around hard stances on immigration, vowing to build a wall along the Mexican border and cut legal immigration by half, among other positions. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have increased immigration raids, including dozens this week at convenience stores across the country.
Trump's comments Thursday also put further scrutiny on his long-standing tendency to make racially charged remarks '-- including attacks on protesting black athletes and his claim that there were fine people ''on both sides'' after neo-Nazis rioted in Charlottesville, Va. Trump falsely claimed for years that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and took out advertisements calling for the death penalty for members of the Central Park Five '-- four black youths and a Hispanic youth who were accused of a brutal rape in New York and later exonerated.
President Trump referred to African nations and Haiti as "shithole" countries on Jan. 11, when discussing restoring protections for certain immigrant groups. Here are other nations he has insulted. (Melissa Macaya/The Washington Post)
The president's remarks were quickly met with scorn from Demo­crats and some Republicans and could throw another wrench into bipartisan discussions on immigration, which had shown promise in recent days, according to legislators.
Rep. Luis Guti(C)rrez (D-Ill.) said the comments ''will shake the confidence that people have'' in the ongoing immigration policy talks.
''Democrats and Republicans in the Senate made a proposal. The answer is this racist outburst of the president. How can you take him seriously?'' Guti(C)rrez said. ''They [Republicans] don't believe in immigration '-- it's always been about people of color and keeping them out of this country.''
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on Twitter that Trump's remarks ''are further proof that his Make America Great Again Agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda.''
Some Republicans also raised objections. Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), whose family is from Haiti, said in a statement that Trump's remarks were ''unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.''
''My grandmother used to say, 'Digame con qui(C)n caminas, y te dir(C) qui(C)n eres.' 'Tell me who you walk with, and I'll tell you who you are,''Š'' said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who represents most of Harlem and is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. ''If he's walking around with white supremacists and supporting them, this kind of talk doesn't surprise me.''
The New York Times also reported last year that Trump said immigrants from Haiti have AIDS. The White House denied that report.
[White House: No deal yet on immigration]
In a statement condemning Thursday's remarks by Trump, Haiti's ambassador to the United States, Paul G. Altidor, said that ''the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people.'' He said the Haitian Embassy was inundated with emails from Americans apologizing for what the president said.
Democrats were quick to note that Trump employs Haitians at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and that he praised Haitian Americans during a roundtable in Miami in September.
''Whether you vote for me or don't vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion, and I will be your champion,'' Trump said at the roundtable.
Alix Desulme, a city council member in North Miami, home to thousands of Haitian Americans, said the president's latest remarks were ''disgusting.''
''Oh, my God. Oh, my God Jesus,'' Desulme said. ''I don't know how much worse it can get.''
''This is very alarming. We know he's not presidential, but this is a low,'' he said. ''It's disheartening that someone who is the leader of the free world would use such demeaning language to talk about other folks, referring to folks of color.''
Trump's critics also said racially incendiary language could damage relationships with foreign allies.
For many of Trump's supporters, however, the comments may not prove to be particularly damaging. Trump came under fire from conservatives this week for seeming to suggest that he would be open to a comprehensive immigration reform deal without money for a border wall, before he quickly backtracked.
''He's trying to win me back,'' conservative author Ann Coulter, who has called for harsh limits on immigration, wrote on Twitter.
Outlining a potential bipartisan deal, the lawmakers discussed restoring protections for countries that have been removed from the temporary protected status (TPS) program while committing $1.5 billion for a border wall and making changes to the visa lottery system. Lawmakers mentioned that members of the Congressional Black Caucus had requested that some African countries be included in a deal, according to a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation.
The exchange was ''salty'' on all sides, this person said, with the president growing profane and animated while discussing immigrants from other countries. ''It did not go well,'' this person said.
[Trump wants to remove these immigrants. An ugly bit of history tells us what it could do to the economy.]
The administration announced this week that it was removing TPS status for citizens of El Salvador. Haitians were added to the TPS program because of a strong earthquake that devastated Haiti eight years ago.
Trump had seemed amenable to a deal earlier in the day during phone calls with lawmakers, aides said, but shifted his position in the meeting and did not seem interested in the bipartisan compromise.
The scene played out hurriedly in the morning. Graham and Durbin thought they would be meeting with Trump alone and were surprised to find immigration hard-liners such as Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) at the meeting. White House and Capitol Hill aides say Stephen Miller, the president's top immigration official, was concerned there could be a deal proposed that was too liberal and made sure conservative lawmakers were present.
After the meeting, Marc Short, Trump's director of legislative affairs, said the White House was nowhere near a bipartisan agreement on immigration.
''We still think we can get there,'' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the daily White House news briefing.
Ed O'Keefe, Maria Sacchetti and Erica Werner contributed to this report.
Unamusement Park >> Blog Archive >> Haitian History
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:53
I'm a voodoo child, voodoo child;
Lord knows I'm a voodoo child.
Jimi Hendrix
Hello, friends! Welcome (back) to the Unamusement Park.
'-- which is, depending on whom you ask, either an online encyclopedia of race relations with added kittens OR the most hateful collection of hatred known to man. It's really up to you, intrepid Park ranger, to decide that for yourself.
Today's topic: the history of Haiti, formerly known as the French colony of Saint-Domingue (or Santo Domingo), on the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic, which is'... well, a rather different sort of place from Haiti. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but let's start with a little ''compare and contrast.''
From 'Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Tale of Two Countries' (Time, 2010):
The U.N. ranks the Dominican Republic 90th out of 182 countries on its human-development index, which combines a variety of welfare measurements; Haiti comes in at 149th. In the Dominican Republic, average life expectancy is nearly 74 years. In Haiti, it's 61. You're substantially more likely to be able to read and write if you live in the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, and less likely to live on less than $1.25 a day.
So how can we ''explain why Haiti suffers, while the Dominican Republic '-- which shares the 30,000 sq. mi. of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola '-- is relatively well-off?'' In the wake of Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, Jared Diamond (who, by the way, thinks New Guineans are ''more intelligent, more alert, more expressive, and more interested in things and people around them than the average European or American,'' which is'... interesting'...) tiptoed up to the truth in the Guardian:
A second social and political factor is that the Dominican Republic '-- with its Spanish-speaking population of predominantly European ancestry '-- was both more receptive and more ­attractive to European immigrants and investors than was Haiti with its Creole-speaking population composed overwhelmingly of black former slaves. ['...] Hence European immigration and investment were negligible and restricted by the constitution in Haiti after 1804 but eventually became important in the Dominican Republic. Those Dominican immigrants included many middle-class businesspeople and skilled professionals who contributed to the country's development.
Ridiculous, write Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson:
Many commentators end up arguing that Haiti is poor because of its people. A recent book by Laurent Dubois, Haiti: the Aftershocks of History, is a useful corrective to these arguments. Dubois starts by recapping many of these arguments which go back centuries. For example, Victor Cochinat, a 19th-century visitor from Martinique, stated
Haitians were lazy and 'ashamed' to work, '..., which was why they were so poor. They spent too much money on rum.
Lest you think that these are the ramblings of an eccentric 19th-century explorer, Dubois shows how the same arguments are what gets traction today ['...]
You see, people have been noticing the same thing for centuries, which makes it a ''stereotype,'' which makes it wrong, and you're a bad person for noticing it.
The book makes a lively read, dispelling these notions, and firmly locating the roots of Haiti's poverty in its history.
Haiti, you see, was an ''extractive'' colony, indeed ''a dystopic colony, based on terror and repression,'' with ''brutal punishments'... common for the most minor of offenses.'' As a result, ''slaves died at staggering rates,'' such as the completely made-up figure of ''10% of the slave population dying of disease, overwork and other causes.'' Fortunately, ''Haitians shocked the world with a formidable slave revolt in 1791, ultimately leading to independence from France.'' Unfortunately, ''this revolt did not lead to the development of inclusive institutions.'' Nope. Instead, it lead to a ''vicious circle of extractive institutions.'' Fascinating. As Steve Sailer puts it:
MIT economist Daron Acemoglu has a blog in which he advances his world-shattering insight that the reason some countries are poorer than others is because they have worse institutions bequeathed them by European imperialists. (Personally, I think he can take it a step further and point out that what's even more true of poor countries in general is that they have less money.) ['...]
Diamond's comparison of the differing fates of Haiti and Dominican Republic, both in Collapse and after the Haitian earthquake reads like 40 proof crimethink compared to Acemoglu/Robinson's embarrassing handling of the same subject.
While Acemoglu's political correctness certainly has promoted his career, as far as I can tell, though, Acemoglu is a True Believer. He comes across as being wholly untainted by the slightest doubts in the conventional wisdom.
It's actually rather amusing to see the newer generation of True Blue dopes turning on the aging cynics who taught them too well.
But now we really are getting ahead of ourselves. No, we're not ready for a ''formidable slave revolt'' yet. See, we haven't truly experienced the hell-hole of modern Haiti yet. Let's review this earthquake business, shall we?
'The horrifying moment lynch mob beats to death a looter and drags his body through the streets as Haiti descends into anarchy' (Daily Mail, 2010):
A mob of men and children watch as the bloodied corpse of a suspected thief is brutally beaten by a man with a stick.
The victim is naked and bound at his hands and feet. It is broad daylight in the devastated capital city of Haiti.
These are the latest in a series of chilling images from the country as anarchy threatens to destabilise the relief effort following Tuesday's earthquake.
(Make sure to check out the awesome pics.)
Meanwhile, fears are growing for the continued safety of the nation with violence rife as scavengers and looters swarm over the wrecks of shops, carrying off anything they can find.
Robbers prey on survivors struggling without supplies in makeshift camps on roadsides littered with debris and decomposing bodies.
Men armed with machetes and other weapons walk brazenly through the capital city while others stalk the streets holding shotguns.
'One Year After Earthquake, Haiti Still in Ruins' (Voice of America, 2011):
January 12 marks the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti. One year later, reconstruction is moving at a snail's pace, millions of people are still without a permanent home, a cholera epidemic has killed thousands, and the recent first-round of the presidential election is under investigation for fraud.
Only an estimated five percent of the capital's rubble has been cleared, and many streets are still blocked by debris. Makeshift camps in and around Port-au-Prince house more than a million people.
'Haiti: 2 Years After the Quake' (Atlantic, 2012):
Two years ago tomorrow, January 12, a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, leveling thousands of structures and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Haiti, already an impoverished nation, appears in many ways to have barely started recovery 24 months later, despite more than $2 billion in foreign aid. So many homes were destroyed that temporary tent cities hastily set up throughout Port-au-Prince have begun to appear permanent '-- more than 550,000 people still live in the dirty and dangerous encampments throughout the Haitian capital.
'3 years after Haiti's quake, lives still in upheaval' (USA Today, 2013):
On this third anniversary, local refugees and aid groups working in the impoverished Caribbean island nation say recovery is still painfully slow, despite billions in aid donations, including funds that remain undistributed.
An estimated 357,785 Haitians still live in 496 tent camps, according to a recent report by The New York Times. Others have moved to shanties or slums. Cholera, widespread joblessness and other woes still grip the nation.
'Four Years Later, Haiti's Troubled Recovery Haunts Its Future' (Time, 2014):
Four years after an earthquake leveled Port-au-Prince, capital of the poorest country in the western hemisphere, killing more than 100,000 people, pushing 2.3 million into homelessness and reducing tens of thousands of structures to mere matchsticks, Haiti slowly continues its resurrection from ruin.
Port-au-Prince has rebounded to an extent, considering its airport, roads and seaport were unusable or barely functional, hampering the quick influx of aid and personnel. But the simultaneous collapse of its political system and public-health infrastructure, among other sectors wracked by endemic corruption, made a bad situation worse for its 10 million people. At the time, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it ''unprecedented'' and ''overwhelming.'' And in many regards, as international relief organizations renew their calls for attention and resources in hopes of highlighting slim progress and a m(C)lange of challenges ahead, that hasn't changed.
Billions of dollars in promised aid haven't yet been dispersed and may never trickle down far enough for victims to feel it. A new action plan by the U.N. found that at least 70% of Haitians lack access to electricity, 600,000 are food-insecure and 23% of children are out of primary schools. At least 172,000 people remain in 306 displacement camps, down significantly from a peak of 1.5 million, but often with little or no access to safe water, sanitation and waste disposal. Amnesty International claims that many camps are at risk of flooding during hurricane season and their residents are privy to forced evictions.
Okay, that's Haiti now. Let's back it up a couple hundred years. From Remember Haiti at Brown University's John Carter Brown Library '-- 'Economy':
Once the richest colony in the world, Saint Domingue was a leader in the production of sugar, coffee, indigo, cacao, and cotton.
Haiti's early history is characterized by remarkable economic output. On the eve of the Haitian Revolution, Saint Domingue had become the most lucrative colony on earth. It was the world's top producer of sugar and coffee and among the global leaders in indigo, cacao and cotton (which was rising rapidly in importance). Indeed, Saint Domingue, occupying only a small territory, outproduced the entire Spanish empire in the Americas.
And 'Environment':
A dazzling array of flora and fauna greeted Haiti's earliest visitors.
Travelers and local writers found Hispaniola a luxuriant paradise, not only endowed with tremendous economic potential, but also full of the wonderment of life, as defined by a rich variety of flora and fauna unknown in Europe. ['...] In 1742, Jean-Baptiste Labat wrote, ''one does not know any other country in the world more abundant than this island, the land here has an admirable fecundity, rich, profound, and in a position of never ceasing to produce all that one could desire.''
Compare Spenser St. John's Hayti: The Black Republic (1889, p. 20):
I have travelled in almost every quarter of the globe, and I may say that, taken as a whole, there is not a finer island than that of Santo Domingo. No country possesses greater capabilities or a better geographical position, or more variety of soil, of climate, and of production, with magnificent scenery of every description, and hill-sides where the pleasantest of health-resorts might be established.
Whereas today: 'Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt' (National Geographic, 2008).
It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.
With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some must take desperate measures to fill their bellies.
A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.
Which is'... quite a difference. Now, opinion is divided as to whether the changes in Haiti have been positive or negative. Divided, that is, between sane people (or ''racists'') and the staff of the New York Times ('A World of Its Own,' 2013):
What if conventional wisdom has it exactly wrong? What if Haiti, instead of being mired in retrograde customs and superstitions the developed world cast off centuries ago, is in fact ahead of the curve? What if, as Amy Wilentz posits in her excellent ''Farewell, Fred Voodoo,'' Haiti has always been the most modern of nations, at the forefront of every major historical trend since Columbus dropped anchor off the Hispaniolan coast?
Yes, what if. Let me just think on that, friends. Hmmmm'...
Well, anyway, it's still quite a difference '-- which brings us to Haiti's exceedingly ''formidable slave revolt.'' From the John Carter Brown Library again '-- 'Revolution':
The Haitian Revolution was the world's only successful slave revolt.
The Haitian Revolution was one of the great episodes of human history. Although perpetually overshadowed by the American and French Revolutions, which preceded and to a degree caused it, it forever changed the history of the world. It witness [sic] the first successful slave uprising, introduced the first African-led nation in the new world, and profoundly affected France, the United States, and the neighboring nations and colonies of the hemisphere.
Huzzah! Truly ''one of the great episodes of human history'' '-- although, as it turns out, this ''episode'' was not exactly a straightforward ''slave revolt.'' No, Spenser St. John (no doubt an evil raciss) begs to differ (pp. 49''50):
It is curious to read of the projects of these negro leaders. They had no idea of demanding liberty for the slaves; they only wanted liberty for themselves. In some abortive negotiations with the French, Jean Fran§ois demanded that 300 of the leaders should be declared free, whilst Toussaint would only have bargained for fifty. The mulattoes, however, were most anxious to preserve their own slaves, and, as I have related, gave up to death those blacks who had aided them in supporting their position; and a French writer records that up to Le Clerc's expedition, the mulattoes had fought against the blacks with all the zeal that the interests of property could inspire.
''As I have related'' (pp. 41''43):
In the meantime the coloured men at Mirebalais, under the leadership of Pinchinat, began to arouse their brethren; and having freed nine hundred slaves, commenced forming the nucleus of an army, that, under the leadership of a very intelligent mulatto named Bauvais, gained some successes over the undisciplined forces in Port-au-Prince, commanded by an Italian adventurer, Praloto. ['...]
When everything had been settled between the chiefs of the two parties, the Haytians returned to Port-au-Prince, and were received with every demonstration of joy; they then agreed to a plan which showed how little they cared for the liberty of others, so that they themselves obtained their rights. Among those who had fought valiantly at their side were the freed slaves previously referred to. For fear these men should excite ideas of liberty among those blacks who still working on the estates, the coloured officers consented that they should be deported from the country. In the end, they were placed as prisoners on board a pontoon in M´le St. Nicolas, and at night were for the most part butchered by unknown assassins. Bauvais and Pinchinat, the leaders and the most intelligent of the freedmen, were those that agreed to this deportation of their brethren in arms who had the misfortune to be lately slaves! I doubt if the blacks ever forgot this incident.
The coloured men, jealous of each other, did not combine, but were ready to come to blows on the least pretext; while the blacks, under Jean Fran§ois, were massacring every white that fell into their hands, and selling to the Spaniard every negro or coloured man accused of siding with the French.
I guess they chose poorly. But '-- ''massacring every white''? Golly gee! Tell us more, Lothrop Stoddard! From The French Revolution in San Domingo (1914, p. 151):
The horror of the race war in the West now [1791] almost surpassed that of the North. The mulatto Confederates, in hideous token of their Royalist sentiments, fashioned white cockades from the ears of then-dead enemies. The atrocities perpetrated upon the white women and children are past belief. ''The mulattoes,'' writes the Colonial Assembly to its Paris commissioners, ''rip open pregnant women, and then before death force the husbands to eat of this horrible fruit. Other infants are thrown to the hogs.''
And that's not at all (pp. 281''282):
It was on August 1, 1800, that Toussaint Louverture made his triumphal entry into Les Cayes. After a solemn Te Deum for his victory, Toussaint mounted the pulpit according to his wont and promised a general pardon. But this was only a ruse. Toussaint knew that the mulattoes were his irreconcilable enemies, and he had no mind to see himself stabbed in the back at the height of some future struggle with France. He therefore appointed the sinister Dessalines Governor of the South with general orders for the ''pacification'' of the country. And Dessalines did not disappoint his master. Backed by overwhelming masses of negro troops, this ferocious brute born in the wilds of the Congo traversed in turn the districts of the South. Not by sudden massacre, but slowly and methodically, the mulatto population was weeded out. Men, women, and children were systematically done to death, generally after excruciating tortures chief among which was Dessalines's own special invention, '-- a form of impalement christened ''The Bayonet.'' The number of persons who perished in this atrocious proscription is usually estimated at ten thousand. Toussaint's comment was characteristic. Reproached with Dessalines's cruelty he answered, ''I told him to prune the tree, not to uproot it.''
Check out the '1804 Haiti Massacre' at Wikipedia (source of all truth):
The 1804 Haiti Massacre was a genocide, which was carried out against the remaining white population of French Creoles (or Franco-Haitians) in Haiti by the black population on the order of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. ['...]
Squads of soldiers moved from house to house, killing entire families. Even whites who had been friendly and sympathetic to the black population were imprisoned and later killed. A second wave of massacres targeted white women and children.
After the defeat of France and the evacuation of the French army from the former French colony of Saint-Domingue, Dessalines came to power. In November 1803, three days after the French forces under Rochambeau surrendered, he caused the execution by drowning of 800 French soldiers who had been left behind due to illness when the French army evacuated the island. He did guarantee the safety of the remaining white civilian population. ['...]
Whites trying to leave Haiti were prevented from doing so.
On 1 January 1804, Dessalines proclaimed Haiti an independent nation. Dessalines later gave the order to all cities on Haiti that all white men should be put to death. The weapons used should be silent weapons such as knives and bayonets rather than gunfire, so that the killing could be done more quietly, and avoid warning intended victims by the sound of gunfire and thereby giving them the opportunity to escape.
Women and children were generally killed last. White women were ''often raped or pushed into forced marriages under threat of death.''
Before his departure from a city, Dessalines would proclaim an amnesty for all the whites who had survived in hiding during the massacre. When these people left their hiding place, however, they were killed as well.
Y'see, 'cuz ''the Haitian Revolution was one of the great episodes of human history.''
By the end of April 1804, some 3,000 to 5,000 people had been killed and the white Haitians were practically eradicated. ['...]
In the 1805 constitution, all citizens were defined as ''black,'' and white men were banned from owning land.
Jumping back to The French Revolution in San Domingo (pp. 349''350):
The nature of these events is well shown by the letter of a French officer secretly in Port-au-Prince at the time, who himself escaped by a miracle to the lesser evil of an English prison in Jamaica. ''The murder of the whites in detail,'' he writes, ''began at Port-au-Prince in the first days of January, but on the 17th and 18th March they were finished off en masse. All, without exception, have been massacred, down to the very women and children. Madame de Boynes was killed in a peculiarly horrible manner. A young mulatto named Fifi Pariset ranged the town like a madman searching the houses to kill the little children. Many of the men and women were hewn down by sappers, who hacked off their arms and smashed in their chests. Some were poniarded, others mutilated, others 'passed on the bayonet,' others disembowelled with knives or sabres, still others stuck like pigs. At the beginning, a great number were drowned. The same general massacre has taken place all over the colony, and as I write you these lines I believe that there are not twenty whites still alive '-- and these not for long.''
This estimate was, indeed, scarcely exaggerated. The white race had perished utterly out of the land, French San Domingo had vanished forever, and the black State of Haiti had begun its troubled history.
Yes, ''the Haitian Revolution,'' as we were so kindly informed by Brown University, ''introduced the first African-led nation in the new world.'' So how did that turn out? I mean, we already know the ending (mud for dinner). But '-- in the short term?
Back to Spenser St. John's Hayti: The Black Republic (p. 78):
The tyranny exercised by Dessalines and his generals on all classes [from 1804] made even the former slaves feel that they had changed for the worse. There were no courts to mitigate the cruelty of the hard taskmasters, who on the slightest pretext would order a man or woman to be beaten to death.
Yeah, but'... things got better, right? Well, actually (p. 86):
I am quite unable to reconcile the reports made of the state of affairs in Hayti at this time [1836]. After a twenty years' peace, the country is described as in a state of ruin, without trade or resources of any kind; with peculation and jobbery paramount in all the public offices; an army supposed to consist of 45,000 men, according to the Budget '-- in reality, few soldiers, but many officers, among whom the appropriations were divided. I feel as if I were reading of more modern times [i.e., circa 1889] instead of the halcyon days of Haytian history.
In other words: instant, permanent failure forever.
And now it's earthquakes again, for crying out loud (pp. 12''13):
Cap Ha¯tien never recovered from the effects of the fearful earthquake of 1842, when several thousands of its inhabitants perished. To this day they talk of that awful event, and never forget to relate how the country-people rushed in to plunder the place, and how none lent a helping-hand to aid their half-buried countrymen. Captain Macguire and myself used to wander about the ruins, and we could not but feel how little energy remained in a people who could leave their property in such a state. It was perhaps cheaper to build a trumpery house elsewhere.
One of those that suffered the most during that visitation wrote, before the earth had ceased trembling, ''Against the acts of God Almighty no one complains,'' and then proceeded to relate how the dread earthquake shook down or seriously injured almost every house; how two-thirds of the inhabitants were buried beneath the fallen masonry; how the bands of blacks rushed in from mountain and plain, not to aid in saving their wretched countrymen, whose cries and groans could be heard for two or three days, but to rob the stores replete with goods; and '-- what he did complain of '-- how the officers and men of the garrison, instead of attempting to keep order, joined in plundering the small remnants of what the surviving inhabitants could save from the tottering ruins. What a people!
Whereas today: 'Haiti Authorities Battle Looters' (The Wall Street Journal, 2010).
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti '-- Thousands of looters played a deadly version of cat-and-mouse with police in the earthquake-shattered capital on Sunday, stripping stores of canned goods, wash basins and other wares along block after block of a downtown thoroughfare.
The stealing surged and ebbed as police, far outnumbered by the teeming mob of mostly young men and some women, occasionally passed through the section of Boulevard Jean Jacques Dessalines [trollolol]. Sometimes the officers stopped and fired some shots or arrested a looter or two, and sometimes they simply drove through.
Do you think, perhaps, that things might have been slightly better under the evil white-supremacist French racists? The historian James Anthony Froude actually visited Haiti in the late 19th century (The Bow of Ulysses, 1888, pp. 301''303):
We were to stay some hours. After breakfast we landed. I had seen Jacmel, and therefore thought myself prepared for the worst which I should find. Jacmel was an outlying symptom; Port au Prince was the central ulcer. Long before we came to shore there came off whiffs, not of drains as at Havana, but of active dirt fermenting in the sunlight. Calling our handkerchiefs to our help and looking to our feet carefully, we stepped up upon the quay and walked forward as judiciously as we could. With the help of stones we crossed a shallow ditch, where rotten fish, vegetables, and other articles were lying about promiscuously, and we came on what did duty for a grand parade.
We were in a Paris of the gutter, with boulevards and places, fiacres and crimson parasols. The boulevards were littered with the refuse of the houses and were foul as pigsties, and the ladies under the parasols were picking their way along them in Parisian boots and silk dresses. I saw a fiacre broken down in a black pool out of which a blacker ladyship was scrambling. Fever breeds so prodigally in that pestilential squalor that 40,000 people were estimated to have died of it in single year. ['...] We English are in bad favour just now; no wonder, with the guns of the 'Canada' pointed at the city; but the chief complaint is on account of Sir Spenser St. John's book, which they cry out against with a degree of anger which is the surest evidence of its truth. It would be unfair even to hint at the names or stations of various persons who gave me information about the condition of the place and people. Enough that those who knew well what they were speaking about assured me that Hayti was the most ridiculous caricature of civilisation in the whole world. ['...]
In this, as in all other communities, there is a better side well as a worse. The better part is ashamed of the condition into which the country has fallen; rational and well-disposed Haytians would welcome back the French but for an impression, whether well founded or ill I know not, that Americans would not suffer any European nation to reacquire or recover any new territory on their side of the Atlantic. They make the most they can of their French connection. They send their children to Paris to be educated, and many of them go thither themselves. There is money among them, though industry there is none. The Hayti coffee which bears so high a reputation is simply gathered under the bushes which the French planters left behind them, and is half as excellent as it ought to be because it is so carelessly cleaned. Yet so rich is the island in these and other natural productions that they cannot entirely ruin it. They have a revenue from their customs of 5,000,000 dollars to be the prey of political schemers. They have a constitution, of course, with a legislature '-- two houses of a legislature '-- universal suffrage, &c., but it does not save them from revolutions, which recurred every two or three years till the time of the present president.
What have we learned here? The India-born British explorer/adventurer/big-game hunter/sniper/cricketer Major Hesketh Vernon Prichard has an idea '-- but I'm not sure you're going to like it much (Where Black Rules White, 1900, pp. 277''278):
Can the negro rule himself?
The present condition of Hayti gives the best possible answer to the question, and, considering the experiment has lasted for a century, perhaps also a conclusive one. For a century the answer has been working itself out there in flesh and blood. The negro has had his chance, a fair field and no favour. He has had the most fertile and beautiful of the Carribbees for his own; he has had the advantage of excellent French laws; he inherited a made country, with Cap Haytien for its Paris, ''Little Paris,'' as it was called. Here was a wide land sown with prosperity, a land of wood, water, towns, and plantations, and in the midst of it the Black Man was turned loose to work out his own salvation.
What has he made of the chances that were given to him?
What indeed (pp. 280''281):
To-day in Hayti we come to the real crux of the question. At the end of hundred years of trial, how does the black man govern himself? What progress has he made? Absolutely none. When he undertakes the task of government, he does so, not with the intent of promoting the public weal, but for the sake of filling his own pocket. His motto is still, [Dessalines'] ''Pluck the fowl, but take care she does not cry out.''
Corruption has spread through every portion and every department of the Government. Almost all the ills of the country may be traced to their source in the tyranny, the ineptitude, and the improbity of those at the helm of state.
Whereas today (I do hope you're ''enjoying'' these asides as much as I am): 'In Haiti, Little Can Be Found of a Hip-Hop Artist's Charity' (The New York Times, 2012).
Portraying himself as persecuted like Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Jean, 42, writes with indignation about insinuations that he had used his charity, Y(C)le, for personal gain. ['...]
Even as Y(C)le is besieged by angry creditors, an examination of the charity indicates that millions in donations for earthquake victims went to its own offices, salaries, consultants' fees and travel, to Mr. Jean's brother-in-law for projects never realized, to materials for temporary houses never built and to accountants dealing with its legal troubles.
On the ground in Haiti, little lasting trace of Y(C)le's presence can be discerned.
Oh well. I'm sure some generous white people will pick up the slack!
Froude writes, in The Bow of Ulysses (p. 304):
I stayed no longer than the ship's business detained the captain, and I breathed more freely when I had left that miserable cross-birth of ferocity and philanthropic sentiment. No one can foretell the future fate of the black republic, but the present order of things cannot last in an island so close under the American shores. If the Americans forbid any other power to interfere, they will have to interfere themselves. If they find Mormonism an intolerable blot upon their escutcheon, they will have to put a stop in some way or other to cannibalism and devil-worship. Meanwhile, the ninety years of negro self-government have had their use in showing what it really means, and if English statesmen, either to save themselves trouble or to please the prevailing uninstructed sentiment, insist on extending it, they will be found when the accounts are made up to have been no better friends to the unlucky negro than their slave-trading forefathers.
It's not as crazy as it sounds: 'Protectorate Touted to Mend Haiti's Crippled Society' (Los Angeles Times, 2004).
With Haiti's interim government halfway through its 18-month mandate and the Brazilian-led U.N. peacekeeping mission nearly at full strength, life remains cheap and security elusive in a society so broken it can't cobble together even the means to accept humanitarian aid.
Fruitless efforts to impose peace and pave the way for elections after years of dictatorship and chaos have given rise to debate about whether Haitians are capable of resolving their own crises or should have their country placed under international control.
In a briefing paper prepared for American military commanders on security challenges in Latin America, Gabriel Marcella of the U.S. Army War College warned that Haiti was undergoing an implosion and suggested that an international protectorate might be the only way to contain the disaster.
''Haiti's violence is the consequence of a predatory state, a nonexistent political culture, economic collapse and ecological destruction,'' Marcella wrote in the November advisory. ''Long-term measures are necessary, to the point of considering Haiti for protectorate status under a Brazilian-led regional coalition, if one can be created that is willing to support a 10-year restoration initiative.''
The protectorate idea, tantamount to foreign occupation that could last at least a decade, has ignited more enthusiasm among Haitian intellectuals than might have been expected in a year marking the bicentennial of the country's independence. Celebrations of the anniversary have been muted by catastrophic floods that killed at least 5,000, armed rebellion and repression.
''People are exasperated and exhausted. If you took a poll, 65% to 70% of the population would support a protectorate,'' said Claude Beauboeuf, an economist who compares Haiti with Afghanistan after the ouster of the Taliban government.
Politicians and historians note that one of the few periods of stability in Haiti stemmed from a 1915''34 U.S. occupation, now fondly regarded by many here as an act of benevolence rather than imperialism.
And Bret Louis Stephens (Pulitzer Prize winner, 2013) throws out this: 'Haiti, Sudan, C´te d'Ivoire: Who Cares?' (Wall Street Journal, 2011).
What, if anything, does it all mean?
It means that we've come full circle. It means that colonialism, for which the West has spent the past five decades in nonstop atonement, was far from the worst thing to befall much of the colonized world. It means, also, that some new version of colonialism may be the best thing that could happen to at least some countries in the postcolonial world.
Take Haiti. Haiti is no longer a colony of the West, but it has long been a ward of it. Even before the earthquake, remittances and foreign aid accounted for nearly 30% of its GDP. The country is known as the ''Republic of NGOs,'' since some 3,000 operate in it. What good they've done, considering the state the country has been in for decades, is an open question. Security, to the extent there is any, is provided by some 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers.
Should more responsibility be handed over to Haitians themselves? I used to think so, and debate on this subject rages among development experts. A new consensus holds that the long-term presence of foreign aid workers is ultimately ruinous to what's known in the jargon as ''local capacity.'' Probably true. Prosperity has never been built on a foundation of handouts.
But last year's fraudulent elections are a reminder that Haitians have been as ill-served by their democracy as by their periodic dictatorships. When ''Baby Doc'' Duvalier was overthrown in 1986, per capita GDP was $768. In 2009, on the eve of the quake, it was $519. Nor do the troubles end there: Criminality is rampant, and Haiti ranked 177th out of 179 on Transparency International's 2008 corruption index. These are not the depredations of greedy foreign interlopers. This is the depravity of the locals.
Put simply, Haiti has run out of excuses for its failures at the very moment the ''international community'' has run out of ideas about how to help.
The West professes to ''care'' about countries like Haiti, C´te d'Ivoire and '-- at least for as long as George Clooney is in the area '-- south Sudan. But ''care'' at the level of simple emotion is little more than a cheap vanity. The colonialists of yore may often have been bigots, but they were also, just as often, doers. Their colonies were better places than the shipwrecked countries we have today.
One day, some latter-day King Acqua will come to the West with a similar plea. If we aren't prepared to shoulder the full burden entailed in the request, the least we can do is stop pretending we care.
Alternatively, we always have the ''Carlyle Option'' (Occasional Discourse, 1849):
Or, alas, let him look across to Haiti, and trace a far sterner prophecy! Let him, by his ugliness, idleness, rebellion, banish all White men from the West Indies, and make it all one Haiti, '-- with little or no sugar growing, black Peter exterminating black Paul, and where a garden of the Hesperides might be, nothing but a tropical dog kennel and pestiferous jungle, '-- does he think that will forever continue pleasant to gods and men? I see men, the rose-pink cant all peeled away from them, land one day on those black coasts; men sent by the Laws of this Universe, and inexorable Course of Things; men hungry for gold, remorseless, fierce, as the old Buccaneers were; '-- and a doom for Quashee which I had rather not contemplate! The gods are long-suffering; but the law from the beginning was, He that will not work shall perish from the earth; and the patience of the gods has limits!
Meanwhile, Haitian gratitude to the West has not been conspicuous.
'Quixotic Haiti Seeks French Restitution' (Los Angeles Times, 2003):
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti '-- France owes this country exactly $21,685,135,571.48, the government figures '-- not counting interest, penalties or consideration of the suffering and indignity inflicted by slavery and colonization.
Paris swiftly rejected the demand for restitution when Haiti raised the issue in April, on the 200th anniversary of the death of Toussaint Louverture. A revered figure here, Louverture led fellow slaves in throwing off their French colonial oppressors.
'France urged to repay Haiti billions paid for its independence' (Guardian, 2010):
A group of international academics and authors has written to Nicolas Sarkozy calling on France to reimburse the crushing ''independence debt'' it imposed on Haiti nearly 200 years ago.
The open letter to the French president says the debt, now worth more than '‚¬17bn (£14bn), would cover the rebuilding of the country after a devastating earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people seven months ago.
Its signatories '-- including Noam Chomsky, the American linguist, Naomi Klein, the Canadian author and activist, Cornel West, the African-American author and civil rights activist, and several renowned French philosophers '-- say that if France repays the money it would be a solution to the shortfall in international donations promised following the earthquake.
Their letter says: ''The 'independence debt,' which is today valued at well over '‚¬17bn'... illegitimately forced a people who had won their independence in a successful slave revolt, to pay again for the freedom.''
'Haiti's Ex-Slaves Demand Land and Mule From France's CDC' (Bloomberg, 2013):
France's colonial past in Haiti is coming back to haunt it.
A group of black-rights associations is suing a French state-owned bank over compensation payments it collected for slave owners in the Caribbean nation, citing as precedent reparations ordered by U.S. Civil War General William Sherman.
The group is demanding that CDC pay 10 million euros ($13 million) to fund slavery-related research and education.
CDC should pay for French school textbooks to be updated to explain the consequences of French imperialism and a slavery museum should be built in France, Tricaud said.
France in 2010 canceled 56 million euros of remaining debt from Haiti and said that it would spend 230 million euros to help the country rebuild after the earthquake in January 2010 that killed about 300,000 people.
Never fear, Haitians: President Obama is on the case (Newsweek, 2010):
We look into the eyes of another and see ourselves.
'-- which turns out to mean amnesty for 100,000 Haitian illegals. You see, as Froude pointed out, Haitians would gladly settle for resettlement in the (hateful, raciss) West. 'Haitian invasion welcomed in rural America,' apparently (BBC, 2012):
Mount Olive is a small town in rural North Carolina, best known for its pickle factory and southern charm. Less than two years ago the Census listed this place as having zero immigrants from Haiti among the town's 4,600 inhabitants. But over the past 18 months that has changed as thousands of Haitians have flocked to the area.
The BBC's James Fletcher has been to Mount Olive to find out why and to see how the town is coping.
I'm sure they're loving it. More Haitians! We must have more Haitians!
I mean, really, what could go wrong?
Presented without comment (AlterNet, 2010):
Two weeks ago, on a Monday morning, I started to write what I thought was a very clever editorial about violence against women in Haiti. The case, I believed, was being overstated by women's organizations in need of additional resources. Ever committed to preserving the dignity of Black [sic] men in a world which constantly stereotypes them as violent savages, I viewed this writing as yet one more opportunity to fight ''the man'' on behalf of my brothers. That night, before I could finish the piece, I was held on a rooftop in Haiti and raped repeatedly by one of the very men who I had spent the bulk of my life advocating for.
It hurt. The experience was almost more than I could bear. I begged him to stop. Afraid he would kill me, I pleaded with him to honor my commitment to Haiti, to him as a brother in the mutual struggle for an end to our common oppression, but to no avail. He didn't care that I was a Malcolm X scholar. He told me to shut up, and then slapped me in the face. Overpowered, I gave up fighting halfway through the night.
Black men have every right to the anger they feel in response to their position in the global hierarchy, but their anger is misdirected.
Women are not the source of their oppression; oppressive policies and the as-yet unaddressed white [sic] patriarchy which still dominates the global stage are. Because women '-- and particularly women of color '-- are forced to bear the brunt of the Black male response to the Black male plight, the international community and those nations who have benefitted from the oppression of colonized peoples have a responsibility to provide women with the protection that they need.
I went to Haiti after the earthquake to empower Haitians to self-sufficiency. I went to remind them of the many great contributions that Afro-descendants have made to this world, and of their amazing resilience and strength as a people. Not once did I envision myself becoming a receptacle [!!!] for a Black man's rage at the white world, but that is what I became. While I take issue with my brother's behavior, I'm grateful for the experience. ['...]
My brothers can be sensitized to women's realities in Haiti and the world over if these are presented to them by using their own clashes with racism and oppression as a starting point.
World media struggle to translate Trump's Africa insult-WIRDS AROUND THE WORLD
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:40
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) '-- President Donald Trump's vulgar insult of Africa was a puzzle for many foreign media organizations, which didn't have a ready translation of his epithet for their readers or listeners.
Their answers ranged from "dirty" to, well, dirtier.
While meeting with senators on immigration, Trump questioned why the United States would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa, according to one participant and people briefed on the conversation.
His comments Thursday revived racism accusations against Trump, roiled immigration talks and set off international outrage that left some foreign journalists wondering how to express the offending word.
"We have dozens of language services at the BBC which today are all discussing the right way to translate into their own language the word 'shithole' for their millions of listeners," Paul Danahar, the editor of the BBC's North America bureau, tweeted Friday.
In Africa, the continent that was the object of Trump's insult, Tanzania's Mwananchi newspaper translated his comment as "mataifa chafu" '-- simply, "dirty countries."
Taifa Leo, a sister Swahili publication to Kenya's leading Daily Nation, chose "nchi za kinyesi," a more or less exact translation but with a gentler word for excrement.
There is a more direct translation for Trump's term in Swahili, editor Gilbert Mogire said. But, he explained, that would be "unprintable."
In Asia, Japan's Kyodo News wire service chose "kusottare," which literally means "dripping with excrement." The country's no-nonsense national broadcaster NHK settled for "filthy," while the Asahi Shimbun newspaper decided that a word meaning "outdoor toilets" conveyed the gist of Trump's term.
Chinese media outlets are tightly controlled and have relatively little latitude when it comes to creative interpretations. The official Xinhua News Agency and other outlets translated the expletive as "fenkeng" '-- literally "cesspit."
In the Spanish-speaking world, news outlets ranging from Argentina's Clarin and Todo Noticias to Spain's El Mundo and El Diario matched the president's profanity level by translating the word Trump reportedly used as "agujeros de mierda." ''Agujeros" is Spanish for holes.
Mexico's El Universal used both that and the simpler "paises de mierda," which is the phrasing The Associated Press sent to its Spanish-language customers. "Paises" is Spanish for countries. O Globo and Folha de S.Paulo of Brazil published the Portuguese "paises de merda."
Peru's Radio Programas went with "agujeros de porqueria," or "holes of filth."
News organizations in Serbo-Croatian-speaking countries didn't mince any words, applying a phrase with the same meaning as the term Trump reportedly used and arguably more off-color.
Croatian news portal Express.hr was among the media that used "vukojebina" for shithole.
A slightly less indiscreet English translation of the word would be "where the wolves fornicate," although it is used colloquially in Serbo-Croat to refer to places far from civilization.
Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Peter Orsi in Mexico City, Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.
Silicon Valley
''Oh My God, This Is So F---ed Up'': Inside Silicon Valley's Secretive, Orgiastic Dark Side
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:53
Romans of the Decadence (1847), by Thomas Couture, as updated to parody Silicon Valley's male-dominated sexual and sexist culture.
About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley Technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party. Sometimes the venue is an epic mansion in San Francisco's Pacific Heights; sometimes it's a lavish home in the foothills of Atherton or Hillsborough. On special occasions, the guests will travel north to someone's chteau in Napa Valley or to a private beachfront property in Malibu or to a boat off the coast of Ibiza, and the bacchanal will last an entire weekend. The places change, but many of the players and the purpose remain the same.
The stories I've been told by nearly two dozen people who have attended these events or have intimate knowledge of them are remarkable in a number of ways. Many participants don't seem the least bit embarrassed, much less ashamed. On the contrary, they speak proudly about how they're overturning traditions and paradigms in their private lives, just as they do in the technology world they rule. Like Julian Assange denouncing the nation-state, industry hotshots speak of these activities in a tone that is at once self-congratulatory and dismissive of criticism. Their behavior at these high-end parties is an extension of the progressiveness and open-mindedness'--the audacity, if you will'--that make founders think they can change the world. And they believe that their entitlement to disrupt doesn't stop at technology; it extends to society as well. Few participants, however, have been willing to describe these scenes to me without a guarantee of anonymity.
If this were just confined to personal lives it would be one thing. But what happens at these sex parties'--and in open relationships'--unfortunately, doesn't stay there. The freewheeling sex lives pursued by men in tech'--from the elite down to the rank and file'--have consequences for how business gets done in Silicon Valley.
Sex Parties of the Tech and FamousFrom reports of those who have attended these parties, guests and hosts include powerful first-round investors, well-known entrepreneurs, and top executives. Some of them are the titans of the Valley, household names. The female guests have different qualifications. If you are attractive, willing, and (usually) young, you needn't worry about your r(C)sum(C) or bank account. Some of the women work in tech in the Bay Area, but others come from Los Angeles and beyond, and are employed in symbiotic industries such as real estate, personal training, and public relations. In some scenarios, the ratio of women to wealthy men is roughly two to one, so the men have more than enough women to choose from. ''You know when it's that kind of party,'' one male tech investor told me. ''At normal tech parties, there are hardly any women. At these kinds of party, there are tons of them.''
I believe there is a critical story to tell about how the women who participate in these events are often marginalized, even if they attend of their own volition. One female investor who had heard of these parties before I approached her told me, ''Women are participating in this culture to improve their lives. They are an underclass in Silicon Valley.'' A male investor who works for one of the most powerful men in tech put it this way: ''I see a lot of men leading people on, sleeping with a dozen women at the same time. But if each of the dozen women doesn't care, is there any crime committed? You could say it's disgusting but not illegal'--it just perpetuates a culture that keeps women down.''
To be clear, there is a wide range of parties for experimental sexual behavior. Some, devoted entirely to sex, may be drug- and alcohol-free (to encourage safety and performance) and demand a balanced gender ratio. Others are very heavy on drugs and women and usually end in group ''cuddle puddles,'' a gateway to ever-so-slightly more discreet sexual encounters.
Men show up only if directly invited by the host, and they can often bring as many women as they want, but guys can't come along as plus-ones. (That would upset the preferred gender ratio.) Invitations are shared via word of mouth, Facebook, Snapchat (perfect, because messages soon disappear), or even basic Paperless Post. Nothing in the wording screams ''sex party'' or ''cuddle puddle,'' in case the invitation gets forwarded or someone takes a screenshot. Besides, there's no need to spell things out; the guests on the list understand just what kind of party this is. Women too will spread the word among their female friends, and the expectations are hardly hidden. ''They might say, 'Do you want to come to this really exclusive hot party? The theme is bondage,' '' one female entrepreneur told me. '' 'It's at this V.C. or founder's house and he asked me to invite you.' ''
Perhaps this culture is just one of the many offshoots of the sexually progressive Bay Area, which gave rise to the desert festival of free expression Burning Man, now frequented by the tech elite. Still, the vast majority of people in Silicon Valley have no idea these kinds of sex parties are happening at all. If you're reading this and shaking your head saying, ''This isn't the Silicon Valley that I know,'' you may not be a rich and edgy male founder or investor, or a female in tech in her 20s. And you might not understand, anyway. ''Anyone else who is on the outside would be looking at this and saying, Oh my God, this is so fucked up,'' one female entrepreneur told me. ''But the people in it have a very different perception about what's going on.''
This is how the night goes down, according to those who have attended. Guests arrive before dinner and are checked in by private security guards, who will turn you away if you're not on the list. Sometimes the evening is catered. But at the most intimate gatherings, guests will cook dinner together; that way they don't have to kick out the help after dessert. Alcohol lubricates the conversation until, after the final course, the drugs roll out. Some form of MDMA, a.k.a. Ecstasy or Molly, known for transforming relative strangers into extremely affectionate friends, is de rigueur, including Molly tablets that have been molded into the logos of some of the hottest tech companies. Some refer to these parties as ''E-parties.''
MDMA is a powerful and long-lasting drug whose one-two punch of euphoria and manic energy can keep you rolling for three or four hours. As dopamine fires, connections spark around the room, and normal inhibitions drop away. People start cuddling and making out. These aren't group orgies, per se, but guests will break out into twosomes or threesomes or more. They may disappear into one of the venue's many rooms, or they may simply get down in the open. Night turns to day, and the group reconvenes for breakfast, after which some may have intercourse again. Eat, drugs, sex, repeat.
These sex parties happen so often among the premier V.C. and founder crowd that this isn't a scandal or even really a secret, I've been told; it's a lifestyle choice. This isn't Prohibition or the McCarthy era, people remind me; it's Silicon Valley in the 21st century. No one has been forced to attend, and they're not hiding anything, not even if they're married or in a committed relationship. They're just being discreet in the real world. Many guests are invited as couples'--husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends'--because open relationships are the new normal.
While some parties may be devoted primarily to drugs and sexual activity, others may boast just pockets of it, and some guests can be caught unawares. In June 2017, one young woman'--let's call her Jane Doe'--received a Paperless Post invite for ''a party on the edge of the earth'' at the home of a wealthy venture capitalist. The invite requested ''glamazon adventurer, safari chic and jungle tribal attire.'' Ironically, the gathering was held just a week after sexual-harassment allegations against Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck had been reported, but that didn't seem to discourage certain guests from indulging in heavy petting in the open.
''It was in the middle of the Binary thing,'' Jane Doe told me, referring to the scandal at the V.C. firm. ''And it was all so ridiculous.'' Doe found herself on the floor with two couples, including a male entrepreneur and his wife. The living room had been blanketed in plush white faux fur and pillows, where, as the evening wore on, several people lay down and started stroking one another, Doe said, in what became a sizable cuddle puddle. One venture capitalist, dressed up as a bunny (it's unclear how this fit into the edge-of-the-earth theme), offered Jane Doe some powder in a plastic bag. It was Molly. ''They said it will just make you feel relaxed and you're going to like being touched,'' Doe recounted to me.
Nervous, she dipped her finger into the powder and put it in her mouth. Soon, her guard dropped. Then, the male founder asked if he could kiss her. ''It was so weird,'' she says. ''I'm like, 'Your wife is right there; is she O.K. with this?' '' The founder's wife acknowledged that, yes, she was O.K. with it. Jane Doe, who considers herself fairly adventurous and open-minded, kissed the founder, then became uncomfortable, feeling as if she had been pressured or targeted. ''I don't know what I'm doing, I feel really stupid, I'm drugged up because I'd never taken it before, and he knew I'd never taken it,'' she recalled. She tried to escape to a different area of the party. ''I felt gross because I had participated in making out with him and then he kept trying to find me and I kept trying to run away and hide. I remember saying to him, 'Aren't people going to wonder?' And he said, 'The people that know me know what is going on, and the people that don't, I don't really care.' '' Before dawn, she jumped into her car and left. ''What's not O.K. about this scene is that it is so money- and power-dominated. It's a problem because it's an abuse of power. I would never do it again.''
While this particular woman felt ambushed, if it's your first time, a friend will normally fill you in on what you're signing up for, and you are expected to keep it to yourself. You know that if you do drugs with someone you work with you shouldn't mention it to anyone, and the same goes with sex. In other words, we're not hiding anything, but, actually, we kind of are. You only get invited if you can be trusted and if you're going to play ball. ''You can choose not to hook up with [a specific] someone, but you can't not hook up with anybody, because that would be voyeurism. So if you don't participate, don't come in,'' says one frequent attendee, whom I'll call Founder X, an ambitious, world-traveling entrepreneur.
They don't necessarily see themselves as predatory. When they look in the mirror, they see individuals setting a new paradigm of behavior by pushing the boundaries of social mores and values. ''What's making this possible is the same progressiveness and open-mindedness that allows us to be creative and disruptive about ideas,'' Founder X told me. When I asked him about Jane Doe's experience, he said, ''This is a private party where powerful people want to get together and there are a lot of women and a lot of people who are fucked up. At any party, there can be a situation where people cross the line. Somebody fucked up, somebody crossed the line, but that's not an indictment on the cuddle puddle; that's an indictment on crossing the line. Doesn't that happen everywhere?'' It's worth asking, however, if these sexual adventurers are so progressive, why do these parties seem to lean so heavily toward male-heterosexual fantasies? Women are often expected to be involved in threesomes that include other women; male gay and bisexual behavior is conspicuously absent. ''Oddly, it's completely unthinkable that guys would be bisexual or curious,'' says one V.C. who attends and is married (I'll call him Married V.C.). ''It's a total double standard.'' In other words, at these parties men don't make out with other men. And, outside of the new types of drugs, these stories might have come out of the Playboy Mansion circa 1972.
I had a wide-ranging conversation with Twitter co-founder Evan Williams about the peculiar mixture of audacity, eccentricity, and wealth that swirls in Silicon Valley. Williams, who is married with two kids, became an Internet celebrity thanks to his first company, Blogger. He pointed out that he was never single, well known, and rich at the same time, and that he isn't part of this scene, but recognizes the motivations of his peers. ''This is a strange place that has created incredible things in the world and therefore attracts these types of people and enables these types of people. How could it be anything but weird and dramatic and people on the edge testing everything?'' On the one hand, he said, ''if you thought like everyone else, you can't invent the future,'' yet he also warned that, sometimes, this is a ''recipe for disaster.''
Rich men expecting casual sexual access to women is anything but a new paradigm. But many of the A-listers in Silicon Valley have something unique in common: a lonely adolescence devoid of contact with the opposite sex. Married V.C. described his teenage life as years of playing computer games and not going on a date until he was 20 years old. Now, to his amazement, he finds himself in a circle of trusted and adventurous tech friends with the money and resources to explore their every desire. After years of restriction and longing, he is living a fantasy, and his wife is right there along with him.
Married V.C.'s story'--that his current voraciousness is explained by his sexual deprivation in adolescence'--is one I hear a lot in Silicon Valley. They are finally getting theirs.
Founder HoundersThere is an often told story that Silicon Valley is filled with women looking to cash in by marrying wealthy tech moguls. Whether there really is a significant number of such women is debatable. The story about them is alive and well, however, at least among the wealthy men who fear they might fall victim. In fact, these guys even have a term for the women who pursue them: founder hounders.
When I ask Founder X whether these men are taking advantage of women by feeding them inhibition-melting drugs at sex parties, he replies that, on the contrary, it's women who are taking advantage of him and his tribe, preying on them for their money.
On their way up to a potential multi-million-dollar payout, some younger founders report, more and more women seem to become mysteriously attracted to them no matter how awkward, uncool, or un­at­trac­tive they may be.
However many founder hounders exist, the idea of these women lives large in the minds of Silicon Valley founders, who often trade stories about women they've dated. As Founder X puts it, ''We'll say whether some girl is a fucking gold digger or not, so we know who to avoid.''
When I tell her this, Ava, a young female entrepreneur, rolls her eyes. According to Ava, who asked me to disguise her real identity and has dated several founders, it's the men, not the women, who seem obsessed with displays of wealth and privilege. She tells of being flown to exotic locations, put up in fancy hotels, and other ways rich men have used their money to woo her. Backing up Ava's view are the profiles one finds on dating apps where men routinely brag about their tech jobs or start-ups. In their online profiles, men are all but saying, ''Hello, would you like to come up to my loft and see my stock options?''
In Ava's experience, however, once men like this land a woman, they are quick to throw her back. After a few extravagant dates, Ava says, she will initiate a conversation about where the tryst is going. The men then end things, several using the same explanation. ''They say, 'I'm still catching up. I lost my virginity when I was 25,' '' Ava tells me. ''And I'll say, 'Well, you're 33 now, are we all caught up yet?' In any other context, [these fancy dates] would be romantic, but instead it's charged because no one would fuck them in high school. . . . I honestly think what they want is a do-over because women wouldn't bone them until now.''
Ava's jaundiced view of newly wealthy moguls would be funny if their gold-digger obsession didn't mask something serious. The claim of being stalked by women often becomes an excuse used by some tech stars to justify their own predatory behavior.
What that adds up to is a great deal of ego at play. ''It's awesome,'' says Founder X. At work, he explains, ''you're well funded. You have relative traction.'' Outside work, ''why do I have to compromise? Why do I have to get married? Why do I have to be exclusive? If you've got a couple girls interested in you, you can set the terms and say, 'This is what I want.' You can say, 'I'm happy to date you, but I'm not exclusive.' These are becoming table stakes for guys who couldn't get a girl in high school.''
Furthermore, these elite founders, C.E.O.'s, and V.C.'s see themselves as more influential than most hot-shit bankers, actors, and athletes will ever be. ''We have more cachet than a random rich dude because we make products that touch a lot of people,'' says Founder X. ''You make a movie, and people watch it for a weekend. You make a product, and it touches people's lives for years.''
At least on the financial level, Founder X has a point. The payouts of A-list actors and the wolves of Wall Street just aren't that impressive among the Silicon Valley elite. Managing directors at top-tier investment banks may pocket a million a year and be worth tens of millions after a long career. Early employees at tech firms like Uber, Airbnb, and Snapchat can make many times that amount of money in a matter of years. Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Jared Leto, and Leonardo DiCaprio have jumped on that power train and now make personal investments in tech companies. The basketball great Kobe Bryant started his own venture-capital firm. LeBron James has rebranded himself as not just an athlete but also an investor and entrepreneur.
With famous actors and athletes wanting to get into the tech game, it's no surprise that some in the Valley have a high opinion of their attractiveness and what they should expect or deserve in terms of their sex lives. In the Valley, this expectation is often passed off as enlightened'--a contribution to the evolution of human behavior.
For many women who describe it, however, it's a new immaturity'--sexist behavior dressed up with a lot of highfalutin talk'--that reinforces traditional power structures, demeans women, and boosts some of the biggest male egos in history: just another manifestation of Brotopia.
When I spoke about Silicon Valley's sex parties'--specifically those where women vastly outnumber men'--with Elisabeth Sheff, a Chattanooga-based writer and professor who has spent two dec­ades researching open relationships, her reaction was heated: ''That's exploitation. That's old-school, fucked-up masculine arrogance and borderline prostitution,'' she said. ''The men don't have to prostitute themselves, because they have the money. . . . 'I should be able to have sex with a woman because I'm a rich guy.' That is not even one particle progressive; that is the same tired bullshit. It's trying to blend the new and keeping the old attitudes, and those old attitudes are based in patriarchy, so they come at the expense of women.''
Jennifer Russell, who runs the established Camp Mystic at Burning Man, is more sympathetic. ''Men and women are equally drawn to creating a structure that invites their full sexual expression, and events like this are a safe place to dabble,'' she says. ''It's way better than a swingers' club would feel because this is at a home and you are surrounded by people you know.''
Married V.C. admits, however, that for many men these parties aren't so much about self-expression as they are about simply sport fucking. ''Some guys will whip out their phones and show off the trophy gallery of girls they've hooked up with,'' he says. ''Maybe this is behavior that happened on Wall Street all the time, but in a way they owned it. These founders do this, but try not to own it. They talk about diversity on one side of their mouth, but on the other side they say all of this shit.''
The New Paradigm for Women Getting ScrewedFor successful women in Silicon Valley, the drug-and-sex-party scene is a minefield to navigate. This isn't a matter of Bay Area tech women being more prudish than most; I doubt recent history has ever seen a cohort of women more adventurous or less restrained in exploring sexual boundaries. The problem is that the culture of sexual adventurism now permeating Silicon Valley tends to be more consequential for women than for men, particularly as it relates to their careers in tech.
Take multi-time entrepreneur Esther Crawford, who is familiar with sex parties (specifically those with an equal gender ratio and strict rules around consent) and talks openly about her sexual experiments and open relationships. For four years, she had been in a non-monogamous (they say ''monogamish'') relationship with Chris Messina, a former Google and Uber employee best known for inventing the hashtag. More recently, Crawford and Messina have started a company together called Molly'--perhaps not un-coincidentally the same name as the drug'--where they are developing a ''nonjudgmental (artificially intelligent) friend who will support your path to more self-awareness.'' They also chose to become monogamous for a while; seeing other people was getting too complicated. ''The future of relationships is not just with humans but A.I. characters,'' Crawford told me. By December 2017, they had raised $1.5 million for their new company. In the meantime, Crawford is acutely aware of the harsh reality that as a female entrepreneur she faces so many challenges that men don't. What she has found is that, for a woman, pushing private sexual boundaries comes with a price.
When Crawford was raising funds for her second company, a social-media app called Glmps, she went to dinner with an angel investor at a hip restaurant on San Francisco's Valencia Street. At the end of the meal, he handed her a check for $20,000, then immediately tried to kiss her. ''I certainly wasn't coming on to him,'' she asserts. ''I kind of leaned back, and he ordered me an Uber, and I was like, 'I gotta go home.' '' Crawford thinks it's likely that this particular investor knew about her sexual openness and found it difficult to think of her simply as an entrepreneur rather than as a potential hookup. This encounter is an example of a unique penalty women face if they choose to participate in the ''we're all cool about sex'' scene.
Ava was working as an executive assistant at Google when she ran into her married boss at a bondage club in San Francisco. He was getting a blow job from a woman strapped to a spanking bench who was being entered by another man from behind. Ava and her boss, an engineer, locked eyes but didn't exchange a word and never spoke of the encounter again. However, a few months later, at a Google off-site event, another married male colleague approached her. ''He hits on me, and I was like, What are you doing? Don't touch me. Who are you again? He was like, I know who you are. The other guys said you like all this stuff.'' Someone had outed Ava. She quit working at Google shortly thereafter. ''The trust works one way,'' Ava says. ''The stigma for a woman to do it is so much higher. I'm supposed to be in this industry where everyone is open and accepting, but as a woman the punishment is so much more unknown.''
Crawford can't even count the number of men who've told her how lucky she is to have so many eligible men to date in the male-dominated tech scene. ''Of all the privileges in the world, that is not the one I would choose,'' she says fiercely. ''I'd choose equal pay for equal work. I'd choose having better access to capital and power. I'd choose not being passed over for promotions. I'd choose not having to worry about being in the 23.1 percent of undergraduate college women who get sexually assaulted. I'd choose not being slut-shamed if I do opt to explore my sexuality.''
Married V.C. admits he might decline to hire or fund a woman he's come across within his sex-partying tribe. ''If it's a friend of a friend or you've seen them half-naked at Burning Man, all these ties come into play,'' he says. ''Those things do happen. It's making San Francisco feel really small and insular because everybody's dated everybody.'' Men actually get business done at sex parties and strip clubs. But when women put themselves in these situations, they risk losing credibility and respect.
The party scene is now so pervasive that women entrepreneurs say turning down invitations relegates them to the uncool-kids' table. ''It's very hard to create a personal connection with a male investor, and if you succeed, they become attracted to you,'' one told me. ''They think you're part of their inner circle, [and] in San Francisco that means you're invited to some kind of orgy. I couldn't escape it here. Not doing it was a thing.'' Rather than finding it odd that she would attend a sex party, says this entrepreneur, people would be confused about her not attending. ''The fact that you don't go is weird,'' the entrepreneur said, and it means being left out of important conversations. ''They talk business at these parties. They do business,'' she said. ''They decide things.'' Ultimately, this entrepreneur got so fed up that she moved herself and her start-up to New York and left Silicon Valley for good.
The women who do say yes to these parties rarely see a big business payoff. ''There is a desire to be included and invited to these kinds of things and sometimes it felt like it was productive to go and you could get ahead faster by cultivating relationships in this way,'' one female tech worker told me. ''Over time, I realized that it's false advertising and it's not something women should think is a way to get ahead. It's very risky'--once you're in that circle, once you decide you want to play the game, you can't back out. If you really believe that's going to get you to a serious place in your career, that's delusion.''
Another female entrepreneur described the unfair power dynamic that's created. ''There is this undercurrent of a feeling like you're prostituting yourself in order to get ahead because, let's be real, if you're dating someone powerful, it can open doors for you. And that's what women who make the calculation to play the game want, but they don't know all the risks associated with it,'' she said. ''If you do participate in these sex parties, don't ever think about starting a company or having someone invest in you. Those doors get shut. But if you don't participate, you're shut out. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.''
It hearkens back to those popular 1980s teen movies which tell the ''heartwarming'' story of a glasses-wearing nerd who is transformed into the cool, funny kid who gets all the hot chicks. But we're not living a teenage dream. Great companies don't spring magically to life when a nerd gets laid three times in a row. Great companies are built in the office, with hard work put in by a team. The problem is that weekend views of women as sex pawns and founder hounders can't help but affect weekday views of women as colleagues, entrepreneurs, and peers.
Adapted fromBrotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley,by Emily Chang, to be published on February 6, 2018, by Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC; (C) 2018 by the author.
CORRECTION: A photo with incorrect caption information has been removed from the story.
The first truth-bending claim of the Trump administration came just a day after the inauguration, when Sean Spicer introduced himself to the world by claiming that Trump's inauguration had drawn the largest audience ever, despite several photos showing a rather sparse crowd. Within a month, Spicer, once a well-respected journeyman flack in D.C. media circles, had cemented his reputation as Trump's own Baghdad Bob.
Left, by Lucas Jackson/Pool/Getty Images; right, by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.Less than two weeks after he was inaugurated, Trump bungled a major campaign promise when he signed an executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The order sparked protests across the country and threw border control into chaos as it struggled to implement . . . something. Federal courts immediately blocked the ban, declaring that it was an unconstitutional religious test meant to discriminate against Muslims, and pointed to Trump's own comments as proof. The ban continues to wind its way through federal court, continually hamstrung thanks to the way Trump and then adviser Steve Bannon mangled its initial rollout.
By Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.Back when she was still known as Trump's maternal handler, the White House adviser drew scrutiny for kneeling on an Oval Office couch as casually as if she owned the place (she does not). She told the press that she had done so to snap a photo of Trump and a group of visiting presidents of H.C.B.U.s, and that it seemed to be the best angle.By Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.The lawsuit against Trump University was the perfect allegory for a Trump presidency: the real-estate billionaire stood accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars from regular folks, promising that his financial know-how would make them wealthy overnight, and then leaving them with nothing. Back in March, Trump settled three separate lawsuits'--two class-action suits and a fraud case'--against the university for $25 million.By Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images.Among a White House filled with apocalyptic blowhards, stoic generals, and fast-talking fame-seekers, Jared Kushner , an overweening real-estate manager with disproportionate power over his father-in-law, stood out by trying to avoid the spotlight. One could wax poetic about how the Harvard legacy student assumed responsibility for tasks in which he had little experience: overhauling government IT, creating peace in the Middle East, and tackling the opioid epidemic, to name a few. But a picture, as always, speaks a thousand words'--specifically that picture of Jared in Iraq, practicing boat-shoes diplomacy in a war zone.By Dominique A. Pineiro/Getty Images.Prior to James Comey's firing, those who believed that his eleventh-hour letter regarding her e-mails cost Hillary Clinton the election saw this image as a clear sign that he supported Trump in all things MAGA. Funny how far a little context can go: Comey's close friend Benjamin Wittes told The New York Times that in an attempt to avoid said photo, the 6-foot-8 Comey attempted to blend in with the blue curtains at the back of the room, futilely hoping that Trump would not spot him.By Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images.If people obsessed over the size of Trump's hands, they were almost equally fixated by Melania's'--specifically, why they were seldom anywhere near those of her husband, or why they slapped his away, or what it meant that, when they did come into contact with the president's diminutive mitts, they instinctively clenched into fists.By Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.Trump's dance of loathing-turned-love-turned-loathing with Morning Joe took a remarkably stupid turn in June, when he decided to bash ''Low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe'' for criticizing him on their show. Over the course of their feud, Trump at various points suggested Scarborough murdered an intern, and accused Brzezinski of committing an equally heinous crime in his eyes: getting a face-lift.By Mark Peterson/Redux.When Donald Trump chooses to defend white supremacists or taunt North Korean leadership before a crowd, onlookers draw a small measure of comfort from chief of staff John Kelly's crestfallen reactions, reading them as a sign that perhaps someone with some level of sanity holds a modicum of influence over the president. (Kelly, however, insists that he just has the military equivalent of resting bitch face.)By Drew Angerer/Getty Images.The law requires that the Secret Service provide protection to the president and vice president's immediate family, but the law was perhaps unprepared for the globetrotting Trump clan, which consists of one wife, five children, three children-in-law, and eight grandchildren. To complicate matters, Melania Trump adamantly refused to leave Trump Tower for the first several months of the presidency, keeping 11-year-old Barron Trump with her. (Nor did it help that Trump insisted on dragging his coterie to his various properties for golf weekends, forcing the Secret Service to do work overtime.) In August it was reported that the Secret Service would exceed its overtime-pay caps due to the sheer number of man-hours necessary to fulfill their duties.By Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.It is a fairly well-known fact that staring directly at a solar eclipse will fry your retinas, and on the eve of the 2017 eclipse, scientists made sure Americans were prepared, cautioning the general public to wear special glasses or to construct a pinhole viewer. But the president, who is not the biggest fan of scientists, ignored their warnings, choosing instead to gaze directly at the one thing that dared to challenge his position as the star around which everything revolves.By Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images.Of course Melania Trump, former model and Upper East Side inhabitant, would think nothing of wearing stiletto heels while preparing to visit a hurricane disaster zone. But after the Internet slammed her for her tone-deaf fashion faux pas, a practice that goes back centuries, she emerged from Air Force One just hours later wearing a brand-new pair of white sneakers and what appeared to be a men's button-up shirt.By Alex Wong/Getty Images.North Korea's ''three generations of punishment'' law dictates that if a citizen commits a crime, they and their entire family will be sent to prison camps, and the next two generations of children will remain there. Somewhat similarly, Donald Trump declared that Steph Curry's refusal to attend a White House ceremony acknowledging the Golden State Warriors N.B.A. Championship meant that the entire team's invite was withdrawn. (When N.F.L. player Tom Brady's turn came for a White House invite, he sidestepped controversy by claiming an illness in the family.)By Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.Of all the Trump administration officials who habitually use taxpayer dollars to fund their private jet travel, Tom Price, the former Health and Human Services secretary, was the only one let go because of it. Granted, his plane use was egregious compared to the other Cabinet members being investigated: whereas Ryan Zinke,Steve Mnuchin, and Scott Pruitt racked up a few thousand dollars in dubious flights to their homes and to the occasional donor party, Price spent $400,0000 on flights to places like Nashville (where his son lives), Philadelphia (which is less than a two-hour train ride from D.C.), and St. Simons, a private island in Georgia where he and his wife happen to own a million-dollar property. Such graft somehow infuriated Trump, who told reporters that he was ''not happy'' with Price's plane profligacy.By Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images.
I Paid To See A Movie About Singing. I Got Ninety Minutes Of Pentagon Propaganda.
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 10:40
To cap off a long, strange day, my husband and I took the kids out last night to see Pitch Perfect 3. The first Pitch Perfect is a firm favorite in our household, the kind of movie we end up watching when we can't agree on what to watch. We'd been waiting til we all had a night to see the latest one together, so we made a night of it and went out for some dinner, too. I even had a Coke. The sugary kind. This was a big night, people! So we were all in high spirits and I entered the theater excited to see some good music and have a good time.
I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but I also wasn't expecting to be blasted in the face with ninety minutes of blatant war propaganda from the United States Department of Defense.
Before I go on I should mention that a group called Insurge Intelligence published a report a few months back on thousands of military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act which showed unbelievably extensive involvement of US defense and intelligence agencies in the production of popular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Just from the information this group was able to gain access to, the scripts and development of over 800 films and 1,000 television titles were found to have been influenced by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA to advance the interests of the US war machine. We're talking about big, high profile titles you've definitely heard of, from Transformers to Meet the Parents.
So it's an established fact that these depraved agencies of destruction and domination are balls-deep in Hollywood production. You can understand my discomfort, then, as it became evident that the movie I'd sat down to watch with my family was set on US military bases for no reason whatsoever. There was nothing about the plot of Pitch Perfect 3 that required this; any music tour of any kind would have worked just as well. The antagonist had nothing to do with the military, the protagonists were a civilian a capella singing group, and the general conflicts and resolutions of the film were entirely uninvolved with anything related to the armed forces of any nation.
Indeed, the film looks like it was initially written to have taken place in a civilian setting, then after many rewrites and the involvement of God knows what agencies managed to force itself onto US military bases. As Insurge Intelligence noted in its report, once that happens the war machine is granted what amounts to total creative control of the film's production, up to and including the ability to cancel production altogether by withdrawing support.
Sure enough, retired Army lieutenant colonel Thomas Lesnieski, who was involved with the production of the film, says that in order to ''make sure that the way the military is portrayed is done right,'' changes were made to the script of Pitch Perfect 3 after the film enlisted ''DoD support''.
As far as the film in question is concerned, ''the way the military is portrayed'' could not have been more propagandistic. The heroines were constantly drooling over the handsome, sexy servicemen, there was nonstop saluting, flag-waving and patriotic ''thank you for your service'' lines, the lead cast did an entire number dressed in camouflage, a lesbian character said she wanted to enlist ''now that they let gay people join,'' servicemen were portrayed as charming heroes and protectors of women, and life on a military base was portrayed as a fun party where you get to go to awesome concerts and have a great time. You could not possibly pack more glorification of the US war machine into a movie if you tried.
Air Force Captain Meredith Kirchoff, a public affairs officer at Dobbins Air Reserve Base where the film was shot, gushes over the movie for the way it ''humanizes'' (read: normalizes) the human resources used to power the American war machine while US civilians are deprived of the basic social safety nets accorded to everyone else in every other major country on earth.
The US Department of Defense was given a ''special thanks to'' line at the tail of the end credits.
Again: there was no discernible reason for this film to be set on military bases. At all. Anyone who gets involved in filmmaking for love of that artistic medium loathes the involvement of any outside influencer putting pressure on them to change their script and produce their movie in a certain way to advance their own agendas, but this film deliberately sought that influence out. From top to bottom, a sequel to a popular movie about an all-female singing group was built to normalize the globe-spanning war machine that is closely approaching a trillion dollar budget and recruit teenage girls into its ranks to be used for slaughter and destruction.
I love Pitch Perfect. It's honestly one of my favorite movies ever. It's an effortless romp of a film about the joy of delightfully unique individuals not overcoming those differences but enthusing about them in each other, enjoying them, embracing them and collaborating together to create something beautiful, inspired, healthy and new. It speaks to my heart about what we have to do as a species to create utopia and avoid self-destruction. To take that and twist it into another advertisement for the blood-thirsty, child-killing, empire building war machine was all kinds of heartbreaking to me.
When we came home and the kids were out of earshot my husband and I started angrily fuming about what manipulative, disgusting, art-killing parasites these people are, then remembered we have a podcast now so we hit record before we ran out of rage:
Keep fighting.
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Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War On Behalf Of The Pentagon, CIA, & NSA | Zero Hedge
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 10:43
Authored by Tom Secker and Matthew Alford via Medium.com,
Published by INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project for people and planet.
Tom Secker and Matthew Alford report on their astonishing findings from trawling through thousands of new US military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents reveal for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made? - not to mention influencing some of the most popular film franchises in recent years.
This raises new questions not only about the way censorship works in the modern entertainment industry, but also about Hollywood's little known role as a propaganda machine for the US national security apparatus.
When we first looked at the relationship between politics, film and television at the turn of the 21st century, we accepted the consensus opinion that a small office at the Pentagon had, on request, assisted the production of around 200 movies throughout the history of modern media, with minimal input on the scripts.
How ignorant we were.
More appropriately, how misled we had been.
We have recently acquired 4,000 new pages of documents from the Pentagon and CIA through the Freedom of Information Act. For us, these documents were the final nail in the coffin.
These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles.
The previous best estimate, in a dry academic book way back in 2005, was that the Pentagon had worked on less than 600 films and an unspecified handful of television shows.
The CIA's role was assumed to be just a dozen or so productions, until very good books by Tricia Jenkins and Simon Willmetts were published in 2016. But even then, they missed or underplayed important cases, including Charlie Wilson's War and Meet the Parents.
Jon Voight in Transformers?'--?in this scene, just after American troops have been attacked by a Decepticon robot, Pentagon Hollywood liaison Phil Strub inserted the line 'Bring em home', granting the military a protective, paternalistic quality, when in reality the DOD does quite the opposite.
Alongside the massive scale of these operations, our new book National Security Cinema details how US government involvement also includes script rewrites on some of the biggest and most popular films, including James Bond, the Transformers franchise, and movies from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes.
A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges from Hawaii Five-O to America's Got Talent, Oprah and Jay Leno to Cupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC.
National Security Cinema also reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA, including the James Bond adventure Thunderball, the Tom Clancy thriller Patriot Games and more recent films, including Meet the Parents and Salt.
The CIA even helped to make an episode of Top Chef that was hosted at Langley, featuring then-CIA director Leon Panetta who was shown as having to skip dessert to attend to vital business. Was this scene real, or was it a dramatic statement for the cameras?
James Bond and Domino are rescued via a plane and skyhook that was loaned to the production by CIA front company Intermountain Aviation?'--?Thunderball
The Military's Political Censorship of HollywoodWhen a writer or producer approaches the Pentagon and asks for access to military assets to help make their film, they have to submit their script to the entertainment liaison offices for vetting. Ultimately, the man with the final say is Phil Strub, the Department of Defense's (DOD) chief Hollywood liaison.
If there are characters, action or dialogue that the DOD don't approve of then the film-maker has to make changes to accommodate the military's demands. If they refuse then the Pentagon packs up its toys and goes home. To obtain full cooperation the producers have to sign contracts?'--?Production Assistance Agreements?'--?which lock them into using a military-approved version of the script.
This can lead to arguments when actors and directors ad lib or improvise outside of this approved screenplay.
On set at Edwards Air Force base during the filming of Iron Man, there was an angry confrontation between Strub and director Jon Favreau.
Favreau wanted a military character to say the line, 'People would kill themselves for the opportunities I have', but Strub objected. Favreau argued that the line should remain in the film, and according to Strub:
'He's getting redder and redder in the face and I'm getting just as annoyed. It was pretty awkward and then he said, angrily, ''Well how about they'd walk over hot coals?'' I said ''fine.'' He was so surprised it was that easy.'
In the end, this compromised line did not appear in the finished film.
One of several scenes for Iron Man filmed at Edwards Air Force Base
It seems that any reference to military suicide?'--?even an off-hand remark in a superhero action-comedy adventure?'--?is something the DOD's Hollywood office will not allow. It is understandably a sensitive and embarrassing topic for them, when during some periods of the ever-expanding and increasingly futile 'War on Terror', more US servicemen have killed themselves than have died in combat. But why shouldn't a movie about a man who builds his own flying suit of armour not be able to include such jokes?
Another one-line quip that was censored by the DOD came in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
When Bond is about to HALO jump out of a military transport plane they realise he's going to land in Vietnamese waters. In the original script Bond's CIA sidekick jokes 'You know what will happen. It will be war, and maybe this time we'll win.'
This line was removed at the request of the DOD.
Strangely, Phil Strub denied that there was any support for Tomorrow Never Dies, while the pre-eminent scholar in the field Lawrence Suid only lists the DOD connection under 'Unacknowledged Cooperation'.
But the DOD are credited at the end of the film and we obtained a copy of the Production Assistance Agreement between the producers and the Pentagon.
The DOD-approved version of the HALO scene in Tomorrow Never Dies
Vietnam is evidently another sore topic for the US military, which also removed a reference to the war from the screenplay for Hulk (2003). While the military are not credited at the end of the film, on IMDB or in the DOD's own database of supported movies, we acquired a dossier from the US Marine Corps detailing their 'radical' changes to the script.
This included making the laboratory where the Hulk is accidentally created into a non-military facility, making the director of the lab an ex-military character, and changing the code name of the military operation to capture the Hulk from 'Ranch Hand' to 'Angry Man'.
'Ranch Hand' is the name of a real military operation that saw the US Air Force dump millions of gallons of pesticides and other poisons onto the Vietnamese countryside, rendering millions of acres of farmland poisoned and infertile.
They also removed dialogue referring to 'all those boys, guinea pigs, dying from radiation, and germ warfare', an apparent reference to covert military experiments on human subjects.
The documents we obtained further reveal that the Pentagon has the power to stop a film from being made by refusing or withdrawing support. Some movies such as Top Gun, Transformers and Act of Valor are so dependent on military cooperation that they couldn't have been made without submitting to this process. Others were not so lucky.
The movie Countermeasures was rejected by the military for several reasons, and consequently never produced. One of the reasons is that the script included references to the Iran-Contra scandal, and as Strub saw it 'There's no need for us to'... remind the public of the Iran-Contra affair.'
Similarly Fields of Fire and Top Gun 2 were never made because they couldn't obtain military support, again due to politically controversial aspects of the scripts.
This 'soft' censorship also affects TV. For example, a planned Louis Theroux documentary on Marine Corps recruit training was rejected, and as a result was never made.
It is impossible to know exactly how widespread this military censorship of entertainment is because many files are still being withheld. The majority of the documents we obtained are diary-like reports from the entertainment liaison offices, which rarely refer to script changes, and never in an explicit, detailed way. However, the documents do reveal that the DOD requires a preview screening of any project they support and sometimes makes changes even after a production has wrapped.
The documents also record the pro-active nature of the military's operations in Hollywood and that they are finding ways to get involved during the earliest stages of development, 'when characters and storylines are most easily shaped to the Army's benefit.'
The DOD's influence on popular culture can be found at all stages of production, granting them the same kind of power as major studio executives.
Agencywood: The CIA and NSA's Influence on Movie ScriptsDespite having far fewer cinematic assets the CIA has also been able to wield considerable influence on some of the projects they have supported (or refused to support).
There is no formal CIA script review process but the Agency's long-serving entertainment liaison officer Chase Brandon was able to insert himself into the early stages of the writing process on several TV and film productions.
The new recruits arrive at CIA training facility The Farm in The Recruit
Brandon did this most prominently on the spy thriller The Recruit, where a new agent is put through CIA training at The Farm?'--?an obvious vehicle for inducting the audience into that world and giving them a glimpse behind the curtain. The original story treatment and early drafts of the script were written by Brandon, though he is only credited on the film as a technical advisor, covering up his influence on the content.
The Recruit includes lines about the new threats of the post-Soviet world (including that great villainous justification for a $600 billion defense budget, Peru), along with rebuttals of the idea that the CIA failed to prevent 9/11. And it repeats the adage that 'the CIA's failures are known, but its successes are not'. All of this helped to propagate the idea that the Agency is a benevolent, rational actor in a chaotic and dangerous world.
The CIA has also managed to censor scripts, removing or changing sequences that they didn't want the public to see. On Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal 'verbally shared' his script with CIA officers, and they removed a scene where a drunk CIA officer fires an AK-47 into the air from a rooftop in Islamabad, and removed the use of dogs from the torture scenes.
In a very different kind of film, the hugely popular romantic comedy Meet the Parents, Brandon requested that they change a scene where Ben Stiller's character discovers Robert De Niro's (Stiller's father-in-law to be) secret hideaway. In the original script Stiller finds CIA torture manuals on a desk, but Brandon changed that to photos of Robert De Niro with various dignitaries.
Ben Stiller discovers that Robert De Niro is working for the CIA?'--?Meet the Parents
Indeed, the CIA's ability to influence movie scripts goes back to their early years. In the 1940s and 50s they managed to prevent any mention of themselves appearing in film and TV until North by Northwest in 1959. This included rejecting requests for production support, meaning that some films were never made, and censoring all references to the CIA in the script for the Bob Hope comedy My Favourite Spy.
The CIA even sabotaged a planned series of documentaries about their predecessor, the OSS, by having assets at CBS develop a rival production to muscle the smaller studio out of the market. Once this was achieved, the Agency pulled the plug on the CBS series too, ensuring that the activities of the OSS remained safe from public scrutiny.
While very little is known about the NSA's activities in the entertainment industry we did find indications that they are adopting similar tactics to the CIA and DOD.
Internal NSA emails show that the producers of Enemy of the State were invited on multiple tours of NSA headquarters. When they used a helicopter to film aerial footage of Fort Meade, the NSA did not prevent them from using it in the movie.
According to a 1999 interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, they changed the script at the NSA's request so that the wrongdoings were the actions of one bad apple NSA official, and not the agency in general.
Bruckheimer said:
'I think the NSA people will be pleased. They certainly won't come out as bad as they could have. NSA's not the villain.'
This idea of using cinema to pin the blame for problems on isolated rogue agents or bad apples, thus avoiding any notion of systemic, institutional or criminal responsibility, is right out of the CIA/DOD's playbook.
NSA headquarters at Fort Meade?'--?Enemy of the State
In all, we are looking at a vast, militarised propaganda apparatus operating throughout the screen entertainment industry in the United States.
It is not quite an official censor, since decisions on scripts are made voluntarily by producers, but it represents a major and scarcely acknowledged pressure on the kind of narratives and images we see on the big and small screens.
In societies already eager to use our hard power overseas, the shaping of our popular culture to promote a pro-war mindset must be taken seriously.
* * *
Tom Secker and Matthew Alford are co-authors of the new book, National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood.
Formal complaints to the FBI regarding suspect Australian taxpayer donations to the Clinton Foundation
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:37
Facebook 130 Twitter Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Pinterest 0 You will be aware that criminal investigations involving the Clinton Foundation are now underway in the United States.
I have been asked to provide the FBI with further and better particulars about allegations regarding improper donations to the CF funded by Australian taxpayers.
I am now preparing complaints/referrals to the FBI regarding the following matters:
FIRST OFFENCEA $25M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deception in the 22 February 2006 MOU betweenthe Australian Government andthe Clinton Presidential Library andthe Clinton HIV/Aids Initiative Inc (CHAI) ''Offenders Bill CLINTON and Alexander DOWNER.SECOND OFFENCEThe corrupt October 2006 backdating of false tender advertisements purporting to advertise the availability ofa $15M contract to provide HIV/Aids services in PNGon behalf of the Australian Government,after an agreement was already in place to pay the Clinton Foundation and/or associates.Offenders Bill CLINTON and Alexander DOWNERTHIRD OFFENCEThe unlawful and corrupt incorporation of an incorporated association known asthe ''William J. Clinton Foundation HIV/Aids Initiative '' PNG'' '' which took placebetween 21 August 2006 and 10:03AM on 24 August 2006 '' atPort Moresby, Papua New GuineaOffenders Ruby SHANG and Bill CLINTON and certain PNG officialsFOURTH OFFENCEThe $10M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deceptionbetween 1 April 2008 and 25 September 2008, atWashington DC, New York NY and Canberra Australia, involving an MOU betweenthe Australian Government,the ''Clinton Climate Initiative'' andthe purported ''Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute Inc''Offenders Kevin Michael RUDD, Bill CLINTON, Hillary CLINTONFIFTH OFFENCEThe $14M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deceptionduring September 2012 atCanberra Australia and New York NY, involving the award ofa contract to the Clinton Foundation to design and build a carbon accounting scheme in Kenyaon behalf of The Australian Government; andcertain financial advantages obtained by Julia GILLARD as a result of the corrupt payments made under the purported contract, commonly known as the Clinton Foundation ''Pay to Play'' schemeOffenders Julie Eileen GILLARD, then US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham CLINTONand Greg COMBETSIXTH OFFENCEThe $88M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deceptionon 22 September 2014 atNew York NY, involvinga MOU between the Australian Government and certain Clinton Foundation entitieswhich purported to retrospectively erase the ''Clinton HIV/Aids Initiative Inc'' (CHAI) as a contracting party with the Australian Government, and replace it withthe ''Clinton Health Access Initiative Inc'' (CHAI)Offenders '' Julie BISHOP and Bill CLINTONI am also preparing to file a private criminal prosecution of GILLARD in an Australian court along with formal advice to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions regarding the charges GILLARD will face.
This article was originally published by Michael Smith News
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Who we are | Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:37
Who we are
The Global CCS Institute is an international member-led organisation whose mission is to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an imperative technology in tackling climate change and providing energy security.
CCS is the process of capturing CO2 and storing it deep below ground. It has been in safe and successful commercial operation for the past 45 years.
Working with our Members, we drive the adoption of CCS as quickly and cost effectively as possible by sharing expertise, building capacity and providing information, advice, and advocacy to ensure this clean technology plays its vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Our diverse international membership includes governments, global corporations, private companies, research bodies and non-governmental organisations, all of whom are committed to CCS as an integral part of a decarbonised future.
Members include Shell, ExxonMobil, BHP, Gassnova, the Asian Development Bank, China Steel Corporation, Mitsui, Kawasaki, Toshiba, and the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, China, and Japan.
We are headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with offices in Washington DC, Brussels, Beijing and Tokyo.
What we do
The Global CCS Institute brings experience, expertise and specialist resources to provide members and stakeholders with accurate, insightful and impactful information about CCS and its latest developments.
We are a financially independent organisation which is recognised and sought after as the premier CCS body.
Our team includes geologists, scientists, engineers, economists, policy analysts, climate change experts, business developers and marketers, who provide expertise across the entire CCS spectrum.
Our services include:
ResearchAs the world authority on CCS, the Institute provides research on key aspects of CCS deployment.
Every year, the Institute publishes the Global Status of CCS - a flagship publication for policy-makers and businesses to understand CCS and its integral part in a low emission future.
The Institute produces a raft of additional reports and research papers on key topics associated with CCS spanning law and regulation, storage, transportation, technical developments and project delivery.
Advice and capacity-buildingThe Global CCS Institute provides governments and other key stakeholders with practical policy advice on CCS.
This includes the production of technical reports, economic analysis and strategic counsel on all aspects of CCS deployment.
Additionally, the Institute leads capacity-building through tailored workshops, conferences, and presentations, delivered to its broad constituency.
The Institute actively participates in international global climate change engagement, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the World Energy Council (WEC), the International Energy Trading Association (IETA), and the Clean Energy Ministerial roundtables (CEM).
Communications, advocacy and engagementThe Institute works to build awareness of CCS and its vital role in achieving climate targets and reducing emissions.
International evidence from organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the International Energy Agency (IEA), confirms that international climate change targets cannot be met without CCS.
The Institute's repository of information extends across the 17-large scale, commercial CCS facilities currently in operation around the world, and the further four facilities which will come onstream in the next 12-18 months.
It also advocates for policy parity to ensure that CCS receives the same acknowledgement and incentivisation as other clean technologies.
CCS is a safe, proven, versatile technology which is the harbinger of a new economy that will deliver jobs, energy security and a low emissions future.
Magic Mushrooms
From Anonymous Producer
ITM Adam,
I was listening to the Sunday show and you mentioned that study about Magic
Mushrooms. I'd like to share my first hand account of taking them with therapy
helped me.
Around November of 2016 I was in the lowest of the low.
Depression had taken over my life. I would lay in bed all day and not do
anything. Work barely happened. My abusive ex girlfriend was destroying me. I
was in a perfect storm. Thoughts of suicide were there. I entered therapy, and
it was helping a little bit. I didn't want to go on prescription medication, as
I saw them really mess up my ex.
I was reading some articles on Microdosing psylocybin
as a treatment for depression. After doing some research I found something that
worked for me.
Half a gram of mushrooms ground up into a fine powder,
brewed with some black tea, once a week.
Day ONE, I felt a severe change in my mood. Over the course
of ten weeks the change was intense. Night and day.
The actual dose is so low you wont have a "trip".
Average dose for visuals is about 2-4 grams.
The first day things got a little "fuzzy" around
the edges. The next few doses that got less severe as my body built up on
the psylocybin. Sometimes if I took it on an empty stomach, it would hurt,
and sometimes the effects would be a bit more noticeable. On rare occasions I
would have a bit of anxiety/frustration. My body would be on the edge of
flipping over to a mellow buzz. That "blue balls", so to speak, would
give me a bit of anxiety. That would pass shortly.
I would highly suggest you look into this matter
further. Just wanted to share my first hand experience.
The Algos
Facebook Overhauls News Feed to Focus on What Friends and Family Share - The New York Times
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:04
''When people are engaging with people they're close to, it's more meaningful, more fulfilling,'' said David Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook. ''It's good for your well-being.''
Facebook has been under fire for months over what it shows people and whether its site has negatively influenced millions of its users. The company has been dogged by questions about how its algorithms may have prioritized misleading news and misinformation in News Feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election as well as political discourse in many countries. Last year, Facebook disclosed that Russian agents had used the social network to spread divisive and inflammatory posts and ads to polarize the American electorate.
Those issues have landed Facebook in front of lawmakers, who have grilled the company about its influence last year. Next Wednesday, Facebook is set to appear at another hearing on Capitol Hill, along with Twitter and YouTube, about the online spread of extremist propaganda.
The repercussions from Facebook's new News Feed changes will almost certainly be far-reaching. Publishers, nonprofits, small business and many other groups rely on the social network to reach people, so de-emphasizing their posts will most likely hurt them. Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management at Facebook, who is responsible for running the News Feed, acknowledged that ''there will be anxiety'' from partners and publishers who often complain about the constant changes in what will be shown across the network.
Photo Facebook said it would prioritize what users' friends and family share and comment on in the News Feed while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands. The change may also work against Facebook's immediate business interests. The company has long pushed users to spend more time on the social network. With different, less viral types of content surfacing more often, people could end up spending their time elsewhere. Mr. Zuckerberg said that was in fact Facebook's expectation, but that if people end up feeling better about using the social network, the business will ultimately benefit.
Changes to Facebook's News Feed are not new. The Silicon Valley company constantly experiments with what shows up in the News Feed, and in the past it has also said it would prioritize posts from users' friends and family. But Thursday's shift goes beyond previous changes by prioritizing posts that have generated substantive interactions. A long comment on a family member's photo, for instance, might be highlighted in the News Feed above a video that has fewer comments or interactions between people.
Facebook has conducted research and worked with outside academics for months to examine the effects that its service has on people. The work was spurred by criticism from politicians, academics, the media and others that Facebook had not adequately considered its responsibility for what it shows its users.
After the 2016 election, for instance, Mr. Zuckerberg initially shrugged off qualms about Facebook's effect on the outcome, even as outsiders pointed to the proliferation of fake news stories on the site that had attacked Hillary Clinton. Mr. Zuckerberg later said he had been too hasty and dismissive of the concerns. More recently, he began signaling that Facebook was rethinking what it shows people on the site.
Last week, he posted on Facebook about his goals for 2018, including ''making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent'' and adding that ''this will be a serious year of self-improvement and I'm looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together.''
On Thursday, he said many of the discussions about Facebook's responsibilities had prompted the company ''to get a better handle on some of the negative things that could happen in the system.''
''Just because a tool can be used for good and bad, that doesn't make the tool bad '-- it just means you need to understand what the negative is so that you can mitigate it,'' he said.
Facebook and other researchers have particularly homed in on passive content. In surveys of Facebook users, people said they felt the site had shifted too far away from friends and family-related content, especially amid a swell of outside posts from brands, publishers and media companies.
''This big wave of public content has really made us reflect: What are we really here to do?'' Mr. Zuckerberg said. ''If what we're here to do is help people build relationships, then we need to adjust.''
Mr. Zuckerberg said he was now focusing his company around the new approach. Product managers are being asked to ''facilitate the most meaningful interactions between people,'' rather than the previous mandate of helping people find the most meaningful content, he said.
Mr. Zuckerberg added that his way of running Facebook has shifted since the birth of his two daughters, Maxima and August, in recent years. He said he had rethought the way he views his and Facebook's legacy, even if it will cost the company in the short term.
''It's important to me that when Max and August grow up that they feel like what their father built was good for the world,'' Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Follow Mike Isaac on Twitter: @MikeIsaac
A version of this article appears in print on January 12, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Facebook Feed Shifting Focus To Genial Ties.
Continue reading the main story
Opinion | Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here's Exhibit A. - The New York Times
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:01
Op-Ed Contributor
Harvard University Professor Steven Pinker Credit Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg, via Getty Images This week, a video surfaced of a Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, which appeared to show him lauding members of a racist movement. The clip, which was pulled from a November event at Harvard put on by Spiked magazine, showed Mr. Pinker referring to ''the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right'' and calling them ''internet savvy'' and ''media savvy.''
The clip went viral. The right celebrated; the left fumed. The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website ran an article headlined, in part, ''Harvard Jew Professor Admits the Alt-Right Is Right About Everything.'' A tweet of the video published by the self-described ''Right-Wing Rabble-Rouser'' Alex Witoslawski got hundreds of retweets, including one from the white-nationalist leader Richard Spencer.
''Steven Pinker has long been a darling of the white supremacist 'alt-right,''' noted the lefty journalist Ben Norton. ''And he returns the favor.'' Others reacted to the rumor with simple exasperation: ''Christ on a crutch,'' said the liberal commentator and biologist PZ Myers, who also wrote a blog post denouncing Mr. Pinker for this supposed alliance.
The idea that Mr. Pinker, a liberal, Jewish psychology professor, is a fan of a racist, anti-Semitic online movement is absurd on its face, so it might be tempting to roll your eyes and dismiss this blowup as just another instance of social media doing what it does best: generating outrage.
But it's actually a worthwhile episode to unpack, because it highlights a disturbing, worsening tendency in social media in which tribal allegiances are replacing shared empirical understandings of the world. Or maybe ''subtribal'' is the more precise, fitting term to use here. It's one thing to say that left and right disagree on simple facts about the world '-- this sort of informational Balkanization has been going on for a while and long predates Twitter. What social media is doing is slicing the salami thinner and thinner, as it were, making it harder even for people who are otherwise in general ideological agreement to agree on basic facts about news events.
That's because the pernicious social dynamics of these online spaces hammer home the idea that anyone who disagrees with you on any controversial subject, even a little bit, is incorrigibly dumb or evil or suspect. On a wide and expanding range of issues, there's no such thing as good-faith disagreement.
The online anger aimed at Mr. Pinker provides a perfect case study.
The clip was deeply misleading. If you watch the whole eight-minute video from which it was culled, it's clear that Mr. Pinker's entire point is that the alt-right's beliefs are false and illogical '-- but that the left needs to do a better job fighting against them.
The clip begins with Mr. Pinker saying he agrees with the other panelists (two journalists and a lawyer) that ''political correctness has done an enormous amount of harm in the sliver of the population that might be '-- I wouldn't want to say 'persuadable,' but certainly whose affiliation might be up for grabs.'' This problem presents itself when it comes to ''the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right: internet savvy, media savvy, who often are radicalized in that way, who 'swallow the red pill,' as the saying goes, the allusion from 'The Matrix.'''
Mr. Pinker goes on to argue that when members of this group encounter, for the first time, ideas that he believes to be frowned upon or suppressed in liberal circles '-- that most suicide bombers are Muslim or that members of different racial groups commit crimes at different rates '-- they are ''immediately infected with both the feeling of outrage that these truths are unsayable'' and are provided with ''no defense against taking them to what we might consider to be rather repellent conclusions.''
That's unfortunate, Mr. Pinker argues, because while someone might use these facts to support bigoted views, that needn't be the case, because ''for each one of these facts, there are very powerful counterarguments for why they don't license racism and sexism and anarcho-capitalism and so on.''
He then goes on to carefully explain those counterarguments: For example, while at the moment it's true that, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the homicide rate is higher for blacks than for whites, that doesn't really tell us anything about a group of people since at different times in history, different groups have had elevated crime rates '-- at one point Irish-Americans did. By that same token, he says, ''the majority of domestic terrorism is committed by right-wing extremist groups,'' not Muslims.
It would be impossible for a reasonable person to watch the eight-minute video and come away thinking Mr. Pinker's point is to praise the alt-right rather than to make a psychological argument about political correctness, alt-right recruitment and how to better fight that movement's bigoted ideas
Now, maybe you disagree with certain parts of this argument '-- I do, in that I think Mr. Pinker overstates the intensity of campus political correctness '-- but it's hard to have that debate in the first place when such a wildly skewed version of Mr. Pinker's point is spreading like wildfire on the internet.
Steven Pinker will be O.K. A fleeting Twitter blowup isn't going to bruise his long and successful career as a public intellectual. But this is happening more and more '-- and in many cases to people who don't have the standing and reputation he does.
It's getting harder and harder to talk about anything controversial online without every single utterance of an opinion immediately being caricatured by opportunistic outrage-mongers, at which point everyone, afraid to be caught exposed in the skirmish that's about to break out, rushes for the safety of their ideological battlements, where they can safely scream out their righteousness in unison. In this case: ''Steven Pinker said the alt-right is good! But the alt-right is bad! We must defend this principle!''
This is making us dumber.
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25th for 45
American Psychiatric Association Tells Shrinks: Stop Analyzing Trump
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:41
President Donald Trump / Getty Images
BY: Elizabeth Harrington
January 12, 2018 1:15 pm
The American Psychiatric Association is pleading with its members and all psychiatrists to stop analyzing President Donald Trump, saying it is "unacceptable and unethical" to engage in "armchair psychiatry."
The APA, which is the largest psychiatric association in the world, released a statement this week decrying members of the profession who are violating the "Goldwater Rule"'--commenting on a public figure's mental state from afar.
"We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media," the organization said. "Armchair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical."
The organization said it is impossible to diagnose someone from their tweets, adding that it "undermines the credibility and integrity of the profession."
"A proper psychiatric evaluation requires more than a review of television appearances, tweets, and public comments," the APA said. "Psychiatrists are medical doctors; evaluating mental illness is no less thorough than diagnosing diabetes or heart disease."
A shrink at Yale University hawking a book with 26 other psychiatrists who claim Trump's mental state "presents a clear and present danger to our nation" is leading the movement against Trump. Bandy Lee has been "summoned" by Democratic lawmakers to Capitol Hill for two days of briefings on Trump's mental health. Lee's main issue with the president is his tweets.
"We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress," Lee said.
Lee's book includes essays entitled, "Trump's Daddy Issues: A Toxic Mix for America"; "Trump Anxiety Disorder"; "Donald J. Trump, Alleged Incapacitated Person: Mental Incapacity, the Electoral College, and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment"; and "Donald Trump Is: (A) Bad, (B) Mad, (C) All of the Above."
The media have also joined in, with hours of cable news coverage questioning Trump's "mental fitness."
Trump's election did have an effect on the mental state of liberals, with a surge of new patients in Washington, D.C., following Hillary Clinton's loss. Psychotherapists said they saw an unprecedented number of patients expressing "anger, frustration, anxiety, [and] sadness" over Trump's win.
Psychiatrists' publicly diagnosing Republican politicians was the basis for the Goldwater Rule, created after the unprecedented attacks on Barry Goldwater's mental state during the 1964 presidential election.
The APA points out that mental health professionals diagnosed Goldwater from afar as "basically a paranoid schizophrenic," who "resembles Mao Tse-tung," the communist dictator responsible for the deaths of 45 million people.
"Not wanting to exclude other relevant 20th-century tyrants, another claimed, 'I believe Goldwater has the same pathological makeup as Hitler, Castro, Stalin, and other known schizophrenic leaders,'" the APA said.
Now that Trump is facing similar attacks by members of its profession, the APA has had to reassert its commitment to the Goldwater Rule.
"The president is about to undergo his annual physical examination, and APA has confidence that his physician will follow the standard of care in examining all systems, which includes an age-appropriate medical and mental health evaluation," the group said. "If mental health concerns are raised, the standard of care would result in the examining physician seeking consultation from an experienced psychiatrist who would approach the consultation with objectivity and within the physician-patient confidential relationship."
Victoria Nuland named CEO of Center for a New American Security
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:13
WASHINGTON '-- Victoria Nuland, a longtime U.S. State Department official, has been named the new CEO of the Center for a New American Security think tank, while former Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work will be stepping up his involvement with the group.
She succeeds Mich¨le Flournoy, the former undersecretary of defense for policy, who co-founded CNAS in 2007. Flournoy, who is leaving to create a new consulting group, will remain on the think tank's board.
Nuland comes to the group with a strong bipartisan background. Under the George W. Bush administration, she served as deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and deputy chief of mission for the United States at NATO, before becoming the full ambassador to NATO in President George W. Bush's second term.
She then became the State Department's spokeswoman for President Barack Obama's first term, later transitioning to assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs from September 2013 until the end of the administration.
''I am honored to join CNAS at this vital time,'' Nuland said in a news release. ''For over a decade, the Center has excelled in offering pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to our nation's most pressing national security and defense challenges. Those are needed more than ever today. As CEO, I look forward to working with the men and women of CNAS and leaders across the national security community to advance the best ideas and the strongest public consensus for principled American leadership in the world.''
Work, who retired from the Pentagon in July, will also become a more visible part of the think tank, with the group announcing he will serve as senior counselor for defense. Work is a previous CEO of the think tank.
In a release, the group said Work will ''advise CNAS' defense studies, produce analyses related to the future of warfare, and lead signature CNAS initiatives including the Artificial Intelligence Task Force and the Evolving the Future Force Initiative.''
That all seems in line with the Third Offset technology focus he brought to the Pentagon.
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The Googley Way from Producer
I am a low level dude-named-Ben at Google
I've been with Google since August of 2010
I'm a Corporate
Operations Engineer which is an Engineer that handles IT operations within the
Intranet at Google - From Desktop Support to Operating Systems to Video
Conferencing etc, basically we support everything that Googlers use to be
docuheba... get the job done.
The company has changed dramatically in the past few years. Everything
in the lawsuit is legit and provides fairly good context. Some of the
posts in the Appendix are from co-workers in the same building as me in
Cambridge... it's fucking scary.
I'm a more conservative individual that breaks the traditional dogma in the
company. I don't believe the traditional media narratives and I do my own
research, including listening to you and John. A few of my
co-workers who are sane know about my political leanings, but I don't talk
about it much with my co-workers because I'm worried about being lynched.
The lack of diversity of thought is TERRIFYING since the squeaky wheel gets the
grease, the squeakyist are the SJWs who have their feelings hurt by anyone
questioning the world as they see it. It's like being stuck in the
Dimension B machine everyday... and Sparky the dog isn't even there.
I have attempted to transfer departments several times in the 5 years I've
been in Cambridge (6 to be exact) and have been rejected every time, even
though my performance reviews are strong. I don't know if its because I'm
on some type of Blacklist, but it is certainly possible. I don't dare
speak my thoughts to anyone that I don't trust completely, or I could end up in
the HR office and fired. It's been very stressful being stuck in a
dimension B echo chamber, hearing everyone bitch about Trump and anyone who
dares question them.
I think that the tech companies are going to take a huge hit in the
next 12 months, and their stocks plummeting will begin the second tech bubble
and take down the market again. A lot of people are going to be up shits
creek without a paddle and I don't want to be part of it.
The entire company is a dumpster fire, and I don't know how things get
done. The "AI" is total BS and is a glorified state machine --
Chelsea Manning has filed to run for US Senate | The Verge
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:49
Chelsea Manning, the former US Army private who was convicted of leaking documents to Wikileaks, has filed paperwork to run for the US Senate in 2018.
According to the filing, Manning will run as a Democrat in Maryland. The Washington Post reports that Manning did not respond to a request for comment, but says that she will be challenging the state's senior senator, Democrat Ben Cardin, who is up for reelection this year. In addition to Manning, Jerry Segal, Richard Vaughn, and Debbie Wilson have announced their intention to run for the seat. Maryland will hold its Democratic primary election on June 26th.
Manning was released from prison in May after President Barack Obama commuted her sentence last year. She was sentenced to more than 35 years in prison in 2013for her role in the leak, and began a rigorous debate over the way in which the US was conducting its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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BREAKING: Indictment Handed Out In Russian Bribery Case Involving Uranium One, Hillary Clinton | Daily Wire
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:49
An 11-count indictment was handed out on Friday connected to the alleged Russian bribery scheme involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, and Uranium One.
The charges are against Mark Lambert, who is the "former co-president of a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad." Lambert, 54, of Maryland, was charged with "one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering," the DOJ said in a statement.
The charges are connected to the alleged bribery scheme that involves "Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX."
TENEX is the commercial sales arm for Russia's Rosatom , which took full control of Uranium One in 2013.
A report from October revealed that federal agents started collecting evidence in 2009 about Russian officials that were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering connected to the Uranium One deal:
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account '-- backed by documents '-- indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton's charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin's commercial nuclear ambitions.
In December, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered that prosecutors at the DOJ start "interviewing FBI agents about evidence they uncovered in a criminal investigation into a highly-controversial uranium deal that involves Bill and Hillary Clinton."
Glenn Simpson retracts claim FBI had a mole inside Trump team - Washington Times
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:48
Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS founder who sponsored the unverified anti-Trump dossier, claimed in August and again Jan. 2 that the FBI has a source inside the Trump camp who lent credence to the document.
When a transcript of his secret August testimony was released on Tuesday, news headlines immediately latched onto the disclosure as a boon to a dossier whose core charges of Donald Trump-Russia collusion have been denied and not confirmed publicly.
Then suddenly, as quick as the headlines went up, some one close to Fusion was waving off reporters. Mr. Simpson had ''mischaracterized'' the source. It was not some one on the Trump inside, but apparently an Australian diplomat.
He was featured in a Dec. 30 New York Times story as the source who tipped off the FBI. Campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos told him over drinks that a Russian-linked professor knew of ''thousands'' of Hillary Clinton emails in the hands of Moscow.
How Mr. Simpson knew of the diplomat last August was unclear. He would have known of him in January when he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he again told of an insider source.
''As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp,'' he wrote.
Moments after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, unilaterally released the transcript, the inside-source story spread, especially in London. The city is home base of Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy who wrote the dossier.
In his testimony, Mr. Simpson told of Mr. Steele's meeting with FBI agents in Rome in September 2016. Mr. Steele told Mother Jones magazine he was trying to jump-start an investigation into President Trump.
Mr. Simpson testified, ''Essentially what he told me was they had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source and that '-- that they '-- my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point '-- that they believed Chris's information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.''
''It was someone like us who decided to pick up the phone and report something,'' added Mr. Simpson, who said this person was not a Steele source, but an FBI one.
Hours after the transcript's release, the corrections started.
''A source close to Fusion GPS tells me there was no walk-in source''''that was a mischaracterization by Simpson of the Australian diplomat tip about Papadopoulis [sic],'' tweeted NBC reporter Ken Dilanian.Whether the source the FBI supposedly told Mr. Steele about could be Mr. Papadopoulos is doubtful. He has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about issues surrounding his contacts with the professor. The criminal complain says the FBI did not interview him until January 2017, three months after Mr. Steele met with the agents in Rome.The story corrections correction caught the eye of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, who on Thursday sent off a letter to Fusion attorney Joshua Levy. Mr. Grassley demanded to know why Mr. Levy did not correct the record after spending hours reviewing the transcript in October and November or contact the committee last Tuesday.'' If it is true that your client's statement to the Committee was a mischaracterization, why did you not attempt to correct your client's statement as soon as you and/or he realized it was not accurate?'' the senator wrote. Mr. Levy did not return a message seeking comment.
Mr. Simpson at first requested a private interview with committee staff instead of an opening hearing. Later, he demanded the panel release the transcript, which Mrs. Feinstein did.
The dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The money went from them to a D.C. law firm to Fusion to Mr. Steele.
Senate Democrats accuse Russia of 'assault on democracy' in conspiracy-laden report '-- RT US News
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:13
Russians are everywhere, and everything they do is an existential threat to democracy and the American way of life. So says the 200-page report published by Senate Democrats on behalf of one of the most outspoken Russia hawks.
The report, compiled by Democratic staffers of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and published Wednesday, was commissioned ''shortly after the 2016 election'' by ranking member Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). Many of its sources are individuals and media outlets with a known anti-Russia bias.
Titled ''Putin's asymmetric assault on democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for US national security,'' the report asserts there has been a ''20-year'' campaign to undermine democracy led by Russian President Vladimir Putin personally. In addition to eight chapters on everything from ''Soviet active measures'' to the alleged ''Russian coup'' in Montenegro, the report contains nine appendices of Washington's favorite Russia conspiracy theories, from the 1999 apartment bombings to ''Russian doping'' and ''alleged political assassinations.''
''The Russian government, under Putin's leadership, has shown that it is both capable of and willing to assault democratic and transatlantic institutions and alliances. These assaults take many forms, including the use of disinformation, cyberattacks, military invasions, alleged political assassinations, threats to energy security, election interference, and other subversive tactics that fuel corruption, employ organized crime, and exploit both far-right and far-left ideologies to sow discord and create confusion,'' the conclusion of the report reads (page 153).
Putin hates democracy, they argue, because Western sanctions ''threaten the ill-gotten wealth of his loyalists and hamper their extravagant lifestyles,'' present ''an attractive alternative to his corrupt and criminal rule,'' and are resilient to corruption, ''thereby limiting the opportunities for the further enrichment of Putin and his chosen elite.'' (page 1)
Cardin is the principal sponsor of the 2012 Magnitsky Act, the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act, and the 2017 CAATSA law overriding the Trump administration on various Russia-related sanctions. Not surprisingly, the report invokes all three (page 147) as useful tools for dealing with Russia.
Read more
The report includes more than 30 recommendations that would involve the US, EU and NATO taking action against Russia. These would include the establishment of a global body on ''hybrid threats'' modeled after the coalition to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL); designating countries that conduct ''malign influence operations to assault democracies'' as State Hybrid Threat Actors and subjecting them to a ''preemptive, escalatory sanctions regime''; and mandating social media companies to disclose funding for political advertising, and work with ''philanthropies, governments, and civil society to promote media literacy and reduce the presence of disinformation on their platforms.''
Much of the report deals with news coverage by RT and Sputnik, described as the ''Russian government's main external propaganda outlets.'' RT and Sputnik's fault seems to be that they ''target a diverse audience: both far-right and far-left elements of Western societies, environmentalists, civil rights activists, and minorities.'' (page 40)
Meanwhile, one of the recommendations was to broadcast ''more American popular culture'' to ''neutralize the Kremlin's active measures'' (page 108), offering ''popular entertainment programming'' to bolster news reporting by US government-funded Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
Many of the sources cited by the authors are media reports '' including those from VOA and RFE/RL. Other sources include the ''NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence,'' Economist correspondent Edward Lucas, The Atlantic correspondent Julia Ioffe, and Anne Applebaum, a Washington Post columnist and wife of former Polish government minister Radoslaw Sikorski.
Another source mentioned is Diana Pilipenko, ''the principal investigator for the Moscow Project at American Progress,'' a Democrat think-tank founded by Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Pilipenko's opinion piece in The Guardian is used to argue (page 119) that Facebook wasn't looking hard and wide enough when it found just 73 pence ($.93) worth of ''Russia-linked'' advertising connected to the Brexit referendum in the UK.
Read more
When discussing France (Chapter 6), the report repeats claims that Russia was behind the alleged hack of President Emmanuel Macron's emails, though the head of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI) Guillaume Poupard could not confirm this was the case.
The report also highlights the ''significant presence'' of the Russian Orthodox Church in France, including ''a new church and community center near the Eiffel Tower'--seen as a visible display of Russian might in the heart of Europe and part of the Kremlin's attempts to influence France's 200,000-strong Russian diaspora.'' (page 123)
Cardin's staff also claims that Germany was targeted ''through energy ties, cultural and political influence, disinformation, and cyberattacks'' (page 127), though German officials admitted there was no evidence of such a thing, and even the New York Times wondered''Why no Russian meddling?''
Yet the Democrats' report accuses Russia of backing both the far-left Die Linke and the far-right AfD (page 128) and sees sinister motives behind the popularity of Russian martial arts (page 130) in Germany.
To counter the omnipresent malign Russian influence, the authors recommend promoting programs like ''Learn to Discern,'' promoted by the Canadian government in Ukraine between July 2015 and March 2016, which trained 15,000 Ukrainians in ''safe, informed media consumption techniques.'' (page 143-44).
Last, but not least, Chapter 7 calls for US lobbying against Russian oil and gas pipelines such as Nord Stream 2, ''which could make Europe more dependent on Russian energy supplies and would significantly diminish Ukrainian government revenues collected from pipeline transit fees in its territory'' (page 144). Moscow has sought to build the pipeline in order to prevent authorities in Kiev from holding Europe hostage by closing the valve every time they have a political dispute.
Cardin, who is up for re-election in November, would become chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee if Democrats gain the majority in the Senate. The report was compiled and published independently of the Republican majority on the committee, currently chaired by Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee).
''While we will review the report in its entirety, including the recommendations, no further full committee activity is planned at this time,'' Corker's spokesman Micah Johnson said in a statement cited by AP on Wednesday.
Shut Up Slave!
European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Next steps against fake news: Commission sets up High-Level Expert Group and launches public consultation
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:13
The work of the High-Level Expert Group as well as the results of the public consultation will contribute to the development of an EU-level strategy on how to tackle the spreading of fake news, to be presented in spring 2018.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The freedom to receive and impart information and the pluralism of the media are enshrined in the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. We live in an era where the flow of information and misinformation has become almost overwhelming. That is why we need to give our citizens the tools to identify fake news, improve trust online, and manage the information they receive.''
Andrus Ansip,Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, added: "We need to find a balanced approach between the freedom of expression, media pluralism and a citizens' right to access diverse and reliable information. All the relevant players like online platforms or news media should play a part in the solution."
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner responsible for Digital Economy and Society, stated: "At the heart of my action lies the defence of citizens' right to quality information which is a cornerstone of our democracies. I want to have an open and broad discussion about fake news to address this complex phenomenon in order to overcome the challenges ahead of us."
Public input expected until February
Citizens, social media platforms, news organisations (broadcasters, print media, news agencies, online media and fact-checkers), researchers and public authorities are all invited to share their views in the public consultation until mid-February. It will gather opinions on what actions could be taken at EU level to give citizens effective tools to identify reliable and verified information and adapt to the challenges of the digital age.
The contributions are expected in three main areas:
The scope of the problem, i.e. how fake news is perceived by citizens and stakeholders, how they are aware of online disinformation, or how they trust different media
Assessment of measures already taken by platforms, news media companies and civil society organisations to counter the spread of fake news online, as well as positions on the roles and responsibilities of the relevant stakeholders
Possible future actions to strengthen citizens access to reliable and verified information and prevent the spread of disinformation online
This consultation only addresses fake news and disinformation online when the content is not per se illegal and thus not covered by existing EU or national legislative and self-regulatory actions.
High-Level Expert Group opens for applications
The Commission is inviting experts to apply for the High-Level Group on fake news to advise the Commission on scoping the phenomenon, defining the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, taking stock of the positions at stake, and formulating recommendations. As far as possible, the group should include several representatives of each field of expertise, be it academia or civil society delegate. The Commission aims at a balanced selection of the experts.
The call for application is open until mid-December. The High-Level Expert Group is expected to start in January 2018 and will work over several months.
Online platforms and other internet services have provided new ways for people to connect, debate and to gather information. However, the spread of news intentionally misleading readers has become an increasing problem for the functioning of our democracies, affecting peoples' understanding of reality.
On 17 and 18 November 2016, the Commission hosted its second Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, on the topic of "Media Pluralism and Democracy". A Eurobarometer survey published on 17 November 2016 showed that European citizens are worried about the independence of the media, and levels of trust in media are low.
In his mission letter, President Jean-Claude Juncker tasked Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel to look into the challenges the online platforms create for our democracies with regard to the spread of fake information and initiate a reflection on what would be needed at EU level to protect our citizens.
In June 2017, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution calling on the Commission to analyse in depth the current situation and legal framework with regard to fake news and to verify the possibility of legislative intervention to limit the dissemination and spreading of fake content. The Commission has confirmed that this is a priority and has included the initiative against fake news online in its 2018 Work Programme.
For More Information
Public Consultation
Call for application: High-Level Expert Group
Web-streaming of the Multi-Stakeholder Conference: 13 November and 14 November
Vice-President Andrus Ansip's speech in the European Parliament, 5 April 2017
Building an EU strategy to tackle the spreading of fake news online
The Commission's key initiatives and events:
March 2015: under the mandate of the European Council, the EEAS East Strategic Communication Task Force was launched to identify, analyse, and raise awareness of Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns on a daily basis
May 2016: Presentation of the Communication on Online Platforms, encouraging the industry to step-up voluntary efforts to tackle practices such as fake or misleading online reviews.
13 November 2017: Launch of the Public Consultation and the High-Level Group on fake news, Multi-Stakeholder event in Brussels combined with an ongoing dialogue with Member States
January 2018: First meeting of the High-Level Group on fake news
March 2018: Results from the Public Consultation and Eurobarometer Survey
April 2018: Report from the High-Level Group
Spring 2018: Communication on fake news and online disinformation
The Commission's Representations in the EU Member States and external delegations in third countries will participate in the debate and gather information on national rules and initiatives addressing the spread of fake news in their countries.
Next steps against fake news: High-Level Expert Group to tackle disinformation meets for the first time [updated on 12/01/2018 at 15:50]
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:14
Visit of the College of Commissioners to Sofia: Bulgarian Presidency begins with '‚¬100 million Juncker Plan loan for agri-pharma business Huvepharma
Yesterday evening President Juncker and the College participated in the opening ceremony of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU, with Prime Minister Borissov, President Radev, Minister in charge of the Bulgarian Presidency Lilyana Pavlova, President Tusk and President Tajani. President Juncker delivered a speech in which he said: "You can count on us ('...) because your place is in Europe. And your place is in Schengen. And your place is in the euro. We will work for that. The Commission will be by Bulgaria's side: united we stand strong and united we will stand."(watch the opening ceremony on EbS+) The ceremony was followed by a working dinner, hosted by President Borissov. The visit of the College of Commissioners continues today. This morning President Juncker and Prime Minister Borissov witnessed the signing of a new European Investment Bank (EIB) loan of '‚¬100 million with Bulgarian agri-pharma business Huvepharma to finance a boost in production levels and research and development (R&D) in the area of animal health. The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. The deal was signed by Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, Agriculture Minister of Bulgaria Rumen Porodzanov, EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell and Kiril Domuschiev, Chief Executive Officer of Biovet's parent company Huvepharma. (For more information about the EFSI project and the latest Investment Plan results see theInvestment Plan website). Speaking about the deal in his press conference with Prime Minister Borissov this morning, President Juncker said: "This will not only create 200 jobs locally but will also reinforce Europe's leading position in the global animal health sector.To me this not only shows this country's potential but it shows that Bulgaria is a leader in Europe." President Juncker also underlined the importance of the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency in the delivery on our Roadmap for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union, and in finding consensus in the ongoing legislative proposals. On Bulgaria's prospects of joining the euro, President Juncker said: "Bulgaria is on the right track. Government debt is, with clearly below 30%, one of the lowest of the European Union and of the eurozone, budget deficit is an unknown term in this country, unemployment is falling, which also shows that bigger improvements have been made concerning real convergence in Bulgaria. (...) I am of the opinion that Bulgaria should join the ERMII as quickly as possible."(For more information: Margaritis Schinas '' Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva '' Tel.: +32 229 91382; Annika Breidthardt '' Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhn Millbright '' Tel.: +32 229 57361)
Payment services: Consumers to benefit from cheaper, safer and more innovative electronic payments
The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which will apply as of 13 January 2018, aims to modernise Europe's payment services to the benefit of both consumers and businesses, so as to keep pace with this rapidly evolving market. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said. "This legislation is another step towards a digital single market in the EU. It will promote the development of innovative online and mobile payments, which will benefit the economy and growth. With PSD2 becoming applicable, we are banning surcharges for consumer debit and credit card payments. This could save more than '‚¬550 million per year for EU consumers. Consumers will also be better protected when they make payments." The new rules will be applicable as of 13 January 2018 through provisions that Member States have introduced in their national laws in compliance with the EU legislation. The Commission calls on Member States who have not yet transposed the Directive, to do so as a matter of urgency. For more information please see the full press release and MEMO available online (For more information: Vanessa Mock - Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini - Tel.: +32 229 51958)
Next steps against fake news: High-Level Expert Group to tackle disinformation meets for the first time [updated on 12/01/2018 at 15:50]As announced in November 2017, the High-Level Expert Group appointed to advise the European Commission on how to tackle the spread of online disinformation will meet for the first time next Monday 15 January at 10:00. The High-Level Expert Group will contribute to the development of an EU-level strategy on how to tackle this phenomenon, to be presented in spring 2018. Following the Commission's call for application last November, the Commission received over 300 applications for the group. The experts will advise the Commission on scoping the phenomenon, defining the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, taking stock of the positions at stake, and formulating recommendations. The selection of members ensures a wide participation of expertise, a balanced geographical representation, gender balance, and a balanced view of both social media platforms and media organisations, civil society organisation and experts such as journalists and academia. The procedure has followed the usual rules for selection of expert groups of the Commission. The final list of participants can be found here. Mandated by President Juncker, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel launched the initiative in November 2017 together with a public consultation open until 23 February. On Monday 15 January, the Commissioner will hold a press point at 11:00 with the Chair of the group, Prof. Dr. Madeleine de Cock Buning from Utrecht University, specialised in Intellectual Property, Copyright and Media and Communication Law. The press point can be followed live on EbS. In establishing the group, the Commission has worked closely with the EEAS East Stratcom Task Force, which was set up by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini in 2015 to address disinformation activities by external actors. You can find more information about the High-Level Expert Group's work here, as well as in a press release and in Commissioner Gabriel's speech. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt '' Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga H¶glund '' Tel.: +32 229 50698; Julia-Henriette Br¤uer '' Tel.: +32 229 80707)
New opportunities for Europe's leading innovators in the fields of Added-Value Manufacturing and Urban Mobility
Today, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is launching a Call for the creation of two new Knowledge and Innovation Communities: EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility. The former will contribute to the development of a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly manufacturing process in the industrial sector. The latter will focus on smart, green and integrated transport. The two new pan-European partnerships of universities, research organisations and businesses will join the six existing Knowledge and Innovation Communities on climate (EIT Climate-KIC), digitisation (EIT Digital), food (EIT Food), health (EIT Health), renewable energy (EIT InnoEnergy), and raw materials (EIT Raw Materials). They will help to boost innovation in strategic sectors where Europe needs to build and maintain a competitive advantage. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the EIT, said: "The EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities are part of Europe's answer to the global challenges our societies face. It is only by innovating, investing in talent and developing solutions that we will be able to build resilient, sustainable and inclusive societies. Therefore I am looking forward to welcoming the new Knowledge and Innovation Communities in the fields of added-value manufacturing and urban mobility." Read the EIT's press release here. The EIT is an independent EU body set up to boost innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe '' more details are available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184; Julia-Henriette Br¤uer '' Tel.: +32 229 80707)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of the Chapelfield Partnership by intu and LaSalle Investment Management
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over the Chapelfield Partnership LP by intu properties plc ("intu") and LaSalle Investment Management ("LaSalle"), all of the UK. The Chapelfiled Partnership, currently indirectly wholly owned by intu, owns and operates the Chapelfield Shopping Centre in Norwich, UK. intu is a real estate investment trust, largely focused on shopping centre ownership, management and development across the UK and, to a lesser extent, in Spain. LaSalle '' a subsidiary of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated of the US '' is a real estate investment management firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the companies' moderate combined market positions in the provision of real estate services in the UK resulting from the proposed transaction. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8720. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso '' Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)
La Commission lance un appel propositions pour les nouvelles campagnes de promotions des produits agro-alimentaires europ(C)ens
Un appel propositions pour une nouvelle campagne de promotion des produits agro-alimentaires de l'Union europ(C)enne s'ouvre aujourd'hui avec un budget de pr¨s de '‚¬170 million, en nette augmentation par rapport aux '‚¬142 million disponibles l'ann(C)e derni¨re. Deux tiers de la somme seront utilis(C)s pour promouvoir les produits de l'UE travers le monde et trouver de nouveaux march(C)s, en ciblant principalement des pays tiers fort potentiel de croissance. Le Commissaire l'agriculture Phil Hogan a dit: "l'UE est le plus grand exportateur de produits agro-alimentaires et la r(C)f(C)rence mondiale en ce qui concerne les produits alimentaires de haute qualit(C). J'ai eu l'occasion de constater de mes propres yeux l'int(C)rªt des consommateurs et des entreprises pour les produits agroalimentaires de l'UE dans le cadre de mes nombreuses missions commerciales l'(C)tranger. Je me r(C)jouis de ces nouveaux programmes de promotion qui, par le pass(C), ont ouvert la voie de nouveaux candidats et ont accru notre visibilit(C) dans le monde entier." Au sein du territoire de l'Union, l'accent sera mis sur les labels de qualit(C) existants: label bio, IGP, AOP, et sur les campagnes visant promouvoir la consommation de fruits et l(C)gumes. Les organisations de producteurs et associations sectorielles peuvent envoyer leurs propositions via un portail d(C)di(C) jusqu'au 12 avril. Un communiqu(C) de presse dans toutes les langues est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'information: Daniel Rosario '' Tel: +32 2 29 56185;Cl(C)mence Robin '' Tel: +32 229 52 509)
Agriculture: the Commission approves new geographical indication from the Netherlands
The Commission has approved today the addition of a new product from The Netherlands to the quality register of Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG). 'Suikerstroop' is dark brown syrup made of the syrupy liquid left behind during the production of sugar from sugar beet or sugar cane. It has a sweet taste due to its large sugar content (at least 70%) but is also a bit salty due to the minerals and other components from the sugar beet or sugar cane found in the syrup as a result of the production process. Historically, 'suikerstroop' is a by-product of sugar refining and it has been a much-used ingredient in traditional Dutch dishes, such as Groningse kruidkoek or Limburgse zoervleisj. A sauce made out of 'suikerstroop' called stroopsaus is also a recommended accompaniment for many traditional dishes. The scheme for traditional specialities guaranteed is to help the producers of traditional products to communicate to consumers the value-adding attributes of their product. A name can be registered as a traditional speciality guaranteed where it describes a specific product or foodstuff that results from a mode of production, processing or composition corresponding to traditional practice for that product or foodstuff; or is produced from raw materials or ingredients that are those traditionally used. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.(For more information: Daniel Rosario '' Tel: +32 229 56 185; Cl(C)mence Robin '' Tel: +32 229)
Eurostat: Le taux d'(C)pargne des m(C)nages stable 12,0% dans la zone euro
Au troisi¨me trimestre 2017, le taux d'(C)pargne des m(C)nages a (C)t(C) de 12,0% dans la zone euro, stable par rapport au deuxi¨me trimestre 2017. Le taux d'investissement des m(C)nages a quant lui (C)t(C) de 8,8% au troisi¨me trimestre 2017 dans la zone euro, contre 8,7% au trimestre pr(C)c(C)dent. Ces informations, qui proviennent de la premi¨re diffusion de donn(C)es, corrig(C)es des variations saisonni¨res, sur les comptes europ(C)ens trimestriels des secteurs, sont publi(C)es par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union europ(C)enne, et la Banque centrale europ(C)enne (BCE). Un communiqu(C) de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt '' Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl '' Tel.: +32 229 59914)
Eurostat: Le taux d'investissement des entreprises en baisse 22,4% dans la zone euro
Au troisi¨me trimestre 2017, le taux d'investissement des entreprises s'est (C)tabli 22,4% dans la zone euro, contre 23,1% au trimestre pr(C)c(C)dent. La part des profits des entreprises s'est quant elle situ(C)e 41,4% au troisi¨me trimestre 2017 dans la zone euro, contre 41,0% au deuxi¨me trimestre 2017. Ces informations, qui proviennent de la premi¨re diffusion de donn(C)es, corrig(C)es des variations saisonni¨res, sur les comptes europ(C)ens trimestriels des secteurs, sont publi(C)es par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union europ(C)enne, et la Banque centrale europ(C)enne (BCE). Un communiqu(C) de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt '' Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl '' Tel.: +32 229 59914)
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Police Hunt Down Facebook Users Who Made 'Offensive' Comments About Muslim Grooming Gangs Online
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:32
The force launched an investigation into comments left on its Facebook page in response to articles about the Operation Shelter scandal, in which young white British girls in were groomed, sexually abused and trafficked by mostly Muslim men of South Asian descent in Newcastle.
Officers made a review of every comment on the page after a member of the public complained that a number of posts referred to the race and religion of the 18 people convicted following the operation.
ChronicleLive reports that police recorded two cases of racially aggravated public order offences among responses to the news articles on Facebook, and have now tracked down six people responsible for posts ''deemed to be offensive and potentially criminal''.
A spokesman from Northumbria Police said: ''As a result of a complaint, we can confirm we looked into a number of comments posted on the force's Facebook page.
''Following an investigation, which has now concluded, we spoke to two males as voluntary attenders and visited a further four people in their homes, and provided them with words of advice.
''All expressed their remorse and stated that the intention of their comments was not to cause concern or to be offensive and have acknowledged the words of advice provided.''
The spokesman added: ''We would also like to take this opportunity to remind people using social media that they should do so responsibly and ensure they do not post anything which could be considered offensive.''
Campaigners and MPs had demanded that the crimes of groomers who target white girls be treated as ''racially aggravated'', urging Britain's Attorney-General to review the Newcastle gang members' sentences after claims that the racist nature of the crimes was not reflected in their punishment.
But despite the abuse having been labeled ''profoundly racist'' by former director of public prosecutions Lord MacDonald, members of the grooming gang escaped the harsher sentences which accompany racially motivated crimes, with Judge Penny Moreland claiming victims were targeted ''not because of their race, but because they were young, impressionable, naive and vulnerable''.
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Seal says Oprah Winfrey is 'part of the problem' over sexual assault allegations in Hollywood - National | Globalnews.ca
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:22
Seal visits "Extra" at Universal Studios Hollywood on Oct. 18, 2017 in Universal City, California.
Noel Vasquez/Getty ImagesSeal has criticized Oprah Winfrey for her relationship with disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein just days after her widely praised speech at the Golden Globes on sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
The singer took to Instagram on Jan. 10, calling Winfrey ''part of the problem for decades.''
He published a pair of photos of Winfrey with Weinstein, including one in which she is kissing the producer's cheek.
READ MORE: Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes speech calls for a 'new day'
Overlaid on the photos, in capital letters, is the text that reads: ''When you have been part of the problem for decades, but suddenly they all think you are the solution.''
The 54-year-old singer added a sarcastic comment to his caption, suggesting that Winfrey knew about Weinstein's alleged behaviour.
''Oh I forgot, that's right'.....you'd heard the rumours but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young starry-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad,'' Seal wrote.
READ MORE: David Letterman's Netflix show: Obama explains 'dad moves' in first interview clip
The Grammy-winning artist ended the post with the hashtag ''#SanctimoniousHollywood.''
Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 30 women since the New York Times' expos(C) came out last October.
Winfrey addressed the allegations against Weinstein in a Facebook post last October.
She wrote, ''I've been processing the accounts of Harvey Weinstein's hideous behaviour and haven't been able to find the words to articulate the magnitude of the situation,'' before sharing a quote from filmmaker James Schamus.
She thanked the victims who had come forward and added, ''I believe a shift is coming.''
READ MORE: James Franco accused of sexual misconduct by 4 more women
Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes was likened to a campaign speech, which sparked rumours that the former talk show host was eyeing a potential presidential run in 2020.
Winfrey addressed the sexual misconduct scandal in Hollywood and beyond in her speech, telling those watching ''speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you all have.''
On Jan. 9, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane spoke out against Winfrey, warning that celebrity power does not qualify a candidate for the presidency.
''Oprah is beyond doubt a magnificent orator,'' MacFarlane wrote. ''But the idea of a reality show star running against a talk show host is troublingly dystopian. We don't want to create a world where dedicated public service careers become undesirable and impractical in the face of raw celebrity.''
READ MORE: Seth MacFarlane explains his 2013 Harvey Weinstein joke
Winfrey confidante Gayle King said earlier on Tuesday there was no change in Winfrey's past position '' that she is not interested in running for president.
''I do think she's intrigued by the idea, I do think that,'' King said on the CBS This Morning program. ''I also know that after years of watching The Oprah (Winfrey) Show you always have the right to change your mind. I don't think at this point she's actually considering it.''
'--With a file from Reuters
(C) 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:24
She approached him because she recognized his camera flash '-- Aziz Ansari was taking pictures at the 2017 Emmy Awards after-party with a film camera, not a digital one. ''I stood up, and I'm like tipsy at this point and feeling really confident. I'm in a gown, and I walked up to Aziz and said, 'What'd you just shoot with?'''
Grace is a 23-year-old Brooklyn-based photographer, then aged 22. We are not using her real name to protect her identity because she is not a public figure. She says Ansari brushed her off at first, but after he realized they both brought the same kind of camera to the event, an old model from the 80s, he was impressed.
They flirted a little '-- he took two pictures of her, she snapped some of him '-- and then she and her date went back to the dance floor. ''It was like, one of those things where you're aware of the other person all night,'' she said. ''We would catch eyes every now and then.''
One of two photos Grace took of Ansari at the Emmys after party. (Photo: babe.net)They ran into each other one last time, right as Grace was leaving. At Ansari's suggestion, she put her number in his phone.
When her plane landed back in New York the next day, she already had a message from him. They exchanged flirtatious banter over text for a week or so before he asked her to go out with him on Monday, September 25.
The date didn't go as planned. The night would end with Grace in an Uber home, in tears, messaging her friends about how Ansari behaved. Babe spoke to the first friends she told about it, and reviewed the messages on her phone.
The day after the incident, she wrote a long text to Ansari, saying: ''I just want to take this moment to make you aware of [your] behavior and how uneasy it made me.'' To that message, Ansari responds: ''Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I'm truly sorry.''
The mobile phone number from which his texts to her were sent matches up with his details on a searchable public register.
We spoke to Grace last week. When we met, Ansari had just won Best Actor for his Netflix show ''Master Of None'' at the Golden Globes, where he declared his support for the fight against sexual assault and harassment by wearing a ''Time's Up'' pin on the red carpet.
Grace said it was surreal to be meeting up with Ansari, a successful comedian and major celebrity, and she was ''excited'' for their date.
Ansari at the Golden Globes with his Time's Up pin. (Photo: Getty)Before meeting Ansari, Grace told friends and coworkers about the date and consulted her go-to group chat about what she should wear to fit the ''cocktail chic'' dress-code he gave her. She settled on ''a tank-top dress and jeans.'' She showed me a picture, it was a good outfit.
After arriving at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday evening, they exchanged small talk and drank wine. ''It was white,'' she said. ''I didn't get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.'' Then Ansari walked her to Grand Banks, an Oyster bar onboard a historic wooden schooner on the Hudson River just a few blocks away.
She said it was a beautiful, warm September night. They discussed NYU, comedy and a new, secret project he was working on, but she says she did most of the talking.
Grace says she sensed Ansari was eager for them to leave. ''When the waiter came over he quickly asked for the check and he said like, 'Let's get off this boat.''' She recalls there was still wine in her glass and more left in the bottle he ordered. The abruptness surprised her. ''Like, he got the check and then it was bada-boom, bada-bing, we're out of there.''
Grace took this photo of their meal, lobster rolls and a side salad. (Photo: babe.net)They walked the two blocks back to his apartment building, an exclusive address on TriBeCa's Franklin Street, where Taylor Swift has a place too. When they walked back in, she complimented his marble countertops. According to Grace, Ansari turned the compliment into an invitation.
''He said something along the lines of, 'How about you hop up and take a seat?''' Within moments, he was kissing her. ''In a second, his hand was on my breast.'' Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.
When Ansari told her he was going to grab a condom within minutes of their first kiss, Grace voiced her hesitation explicitly. ''I said something like, 'Whoa, let's relax for a sec, let's chill.''' She says he then resumed kissing her, briefly performed oral sex on her, and asked her to do the same thing to him. She did, but not for long. ''It was really quick. Everything was pretty much touched and done within ten minutes of hooking up, except for actual sex.''
She says Ansari began making a move on her that he repeated during their encounter. ''The move he kept doing was taking his two fingers in a V-shape and putting them in my mouth, in my throat to wet his fingers, because the moment he'd stick his fingers in my throat he'd go straight for my vagina and try to finger me.'' Grace called the move ''the claw.''
Ansari also physically pulled her hand towards his penis multiple times throughout the night, from the time he first kissed her on the countertop onward. ''He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,'' she said. ''He really kept doing it after I moved it away.''
But the main thing was that he wouldn't let her move away from him. She compared the path they cut across his apartment to a football play. ''It was 30 minutes of me getting up and moving and him following and sticking his fingers down my throat again. It was really repetitive. It felt like a fucking game.''
Throughout the course of her short time in the apartment, she says she used verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was. ''Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling. I know that my hand stopped moving at some points,'' she said. ''I stopped moving my lips and turned cold.''
Whether Ansari didn't notice Grace's reticence or knowingly ignored it is impossible for her to say. ''I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn't interested. I don't think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.''
Ansari wanted to have sex. She said she remembers him asking again and again, ''Where do you want me to fuck you?'' while she was still seated on the countertop. She says she found the question tough to answer because she says she didn't want to fuck him at all.
''I wasn't really even thinking of that, I didn't want to be engaged in that with him. But he kept asking, so I said, 'Next time.' And he goes, 'Oh, you mean second date?' and I go, 'Oh, yeah, sure,' and he goes, 'Well, if I poured you another glass of wine now, would it count as our second date?''' He then poured her a glass and handed it to her. She excused herself to the bathroom soon after.
Grace says she spent around five minutes in the bathroom, collecting herself in the mirror and splashing herself with water. Then she went back to Ansari. He asked her if she was okay. ''I said I don't want to feel forced because then I'll hate you, and I'd rather not hate you,'' she said.
She told babe that at first, she was happy with how he reacted. ''He said, 'Oh, of course, it's only fun if we're both having fun.' The response was technically very sweet and acknowledging the fact that I was very uncomfortable. Verbally, in that moment, he acknowledged that I needed to take it slow. Then he said, 'Let's just chill over here on the couch.'''
This moment is particularly significant for Grace, because she thought that would be the end of the sexual encounter '-- her remark about not wanting to feel ''forced'' had added a verbal component to the clues she was trying to give him about her discomfort. When she sat down on the floor next to Ansari, who sat on the couch, she thought he might rub her back, or play with her hair '-- something to calm her down.
Ansari instructed her to turn around. ''He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did. I think I just felt really pressured. It was literally the most unexpected thing I thought would happen at that moment because I told him I was uncomfortable.''
Soon, he pulled her back up onto the couch. She would tell her friend via text later that night, ''He [made out] with me again and says, 'Doesn't look like you hate me.'''
Halfway into the encounter, he led her from the couch to a different part of his apartment. He said he had to show her something. Then he brought her to a large mirror, bent her over and asked her again, ''Where do you want me to fuck you? Do you want me to fuck you right here?'' He rammed his penis against her ass while he said it, pantomiming intercourse.
''I just remember looking in the mirror and seeing him behind me. He was very much caught up in the moment and I obviously very much wasn't,'' Grace said. ''After he bent me over is when I stood up and said no, I don't think I'm ready to do this, I really don't think I'm going to do this. And he said, 'How about we just chill, but this time with our clothes on?'''
They got dressed, sat side by side on the couch they'd already ''chilled'' on, and he turned on an episode of Seinfeld. She'd never seen it before. She said that's when the reality of what was going on sank in. ''It really hit me that I was violated. I felt really emotional all at once when we sat down there. That that whole experience was actually horrible.''
While the TV played in the background, he kissed her again, stuck his fingers down her throat again, and moved to undo her pants. She turned away. She remembers ''feeling in a different mindset at that point.''
''I remember saying, 'You guys are all the same, you guys are all the fucking same.''' Ansari asked her what she meant. When she turned to answer, she says he met her with ''gross, forceful kisses.''
After that last kiss, Grace stood up from the couch, moved back to the kitchen island where she left her phone, and said she would call herself a car. He hugged her and kissed her goodbye, another ''aggressive'' kiss. When she pulled away, Ansari finally relented and insisted he'd call her the car. ''He said, 'It's coming, but just tell them your name is Essence,''' she said, a name he has joked about using as a pseudonym in his sitcom.
She teared up in hallway, outside his place, pressing the down button on the elevator. The Uber was waiting when she left the building. He asked if she was Essence, she said yes, and then she rode back to her Brooklyn apartment. ''I cried the whole ride home. At that point I felt violated. That last hour was so out of my hand.''
Babe asked Ansari's representatives if they wanted to respond to Grace's account, but they have yet to do so.
Grace compares Ansari's sexual mannerisms to those of a horny, rough, entitled 18-year-old. She said so to her friends via text after the date and said the same thing to me when we spoke.
But Aziz Ansari isn't an 18-year-old. He's a 34-year-old actor and comedian of global renown who's probably done more thinking about the nuances of dating and sex in the digital age than practically anyone else. He wrote a book about it, ''Modern Romance'', and it was a New York Times bestseller. Ansari built his career on being cute and nice and parsing the signals women send to men and the male emotions that result and turning them into award-winning, Madison Square Garden-filling comedy.
Most people first saw Aziz when he was Tom Haverford, a Parks and Rec fan favorite whose absurd, hilarious phrases were made to be memed. Who hasn't said ''treat yo' self'' once or twice? At that time, he branded himself as the witty, woke alternative to the stereotypical douchebag bro. His early 2010s routines paint him as the kind of guy who strikes out because he actually respects women.
And then, as he rose to prominence, he focused less on his own sexual disenfranchisement and more on pressing societal issues like racism and sexual assault, a move that's earned him tons of praise. Refinery29 called him ''a certified woke bae.''
In the second season of ''Master of None'', one episode introduces a macho TV food guy called Chef Jeff, who gives Ansari's character Dev a huge career opportunity before being accused of sexually inappropriate conduct by a bunch of women.
Discussing the storyline, Ansari said he wanted to examine what happens when much-loved characters are revealed to be creeps, making all those around them who don't speak out complicit. ''So it was like, 'Okay, what if this is one of those types of guys and we just get the audience to love him? And then pull the rug out from under them at the end and reveal that he's actually not a good dude?'''
Speaking to babe, Grace mentioned the glaring gap between Ansari's comedy persona and the behavior she experienced in his apartment as a reason why she didn't get out earlier. ''I didn't leave because I think I was stunned and shocked,'' she said. ''This was not what I expected. I'd seen some of his shows and read excerpts from his book and I was not expecting a bad night at all, much less a violating night and a painful one.''
In the Uber home from Ansari's apartment, Grace texted a friend: ''I hate men.'' She continued: ''I had to say no a lot. He wanted sex. He wanted to get me drunk and then fuck me.'' She texted another friend after she got back to her apartment, ''I'm taking a bath I'm really upset I feel weird.''
Grace's roommate, who babe has spoken to, didn't see or talk to Grace until the morning after. The roommate asked how it went right away. ''She said, 'it was awful. It didn't feel good at all.''' Grace filled her roommate in on the details later. ''I guess it ended up getting really fucking weird, really fucking quick,'' the roommate said. ''She was really shaken up about it.''
Another friend, who Grace texted on the way home from Ansari's apartment and spoke to the day after on the phone, told babe she was ''so upset.''
Grace says she spent the next day groggy and miserable. When they asked, she told her coworkers that the date had gone poorly. She also reached out to her friends, who helped her craft a message to tell Ansari how she felt about the date. But he reached out first.
''It was fun meeting you last night,'' Ansari sent on Tuesday evening. ''Last night might've been fun for you, but it wasn't for me,'' Grace responded. ''You ignored clear non-verbal clues; you kept going with advances.'' She explains why she is telling him how she felt: ''I want to make sure you're aware so maybe the next girl doesn't have to cry on the ride home.''
''I'm so sad to hear this,'' he responded. ''Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I'm truly sorry.''
Those texts were the last Grace had contact with Ansari. And that night in his apartment was the last time she saw him, until she watched him win big at the Golden Globes.
Grace says her friends helped her grapple with the aftermath of her night with Ansari. ''It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,'' she told us. ''I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that's why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.''
For Grace, the Golden Globes brought the events back to the forefront of her mind. ''It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award,'' she said. ''And absolutely cringeworthy that he was wearing the Time's Up pin. I think that started a new fire, and it kind of made it more real.''
She told babe: ''I believe that I was taken advantage of by Aziz. I was not listened to and ignored. It was by far the worst experience with a man I've ever had.''
Contact babe on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or email us at [email protected]
For more investigations by babe, check out http://babe.net/category/investigations.
Vegas Massacre
Records: FBI knew Las Vegas gunman had stashes of big guns, ammunition, explosives - CBS News
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:57
Jan 12, 2018 10:17 PM EST U.S.
Police say Stephen Paddock (inset) opened fire through two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Oct. 1, 2017. CBS News/AP Photo LAS VEGAS -- FBI agents knew the gunman behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history left behind big caches of guns , ammunition and explosives when they sought warrants to search his properties and online accounts, according to court documents released Friday. According to the documents, Stephen Paddock's girlfriend told investigators they would probably find her fingerprints on bullets because she helped him load ammunition magazines.
A U.S. judge in Nevada unsealed the documents showing some of what federal agents learned about Stephen Paddock in the week after the Las Vegas shooting. Prosecutors didn't oppose the request from media organizations including The Associated Press to release affidavits that were filed to get search warrants.
They also show that agents sought the email, Facebook and Instagram accounts of Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was in the Philippines during the Oct. 1 shooting.
Vegas shooter had lost money, been depressed, sheriff says
The documents didn't answer the key unanswered question: What motivated a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler to unleash gunfire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort into an outdoor concert below. Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more before killing himself.
Las Vegas police Officer Aden Ocampo Gomez and FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault said Friday that they had no update about Paddock's motive . Both called it an ongoing investigation.
Investigators have said that Paddock meticulously planned his attack and intentionally concealed his actions. He modified assault-style rifles to shoot rapidly, set up cameras to watch for police outside his hotel room and wounded a security guard in the hotel hallway.
Investigators found no evidence that Paddock had help carrying out the attack.
An FBI agent told a judge in warrant documents made public Friday that Danley wasn't arrested when she returned to the U.S. from the Philippines days after the Oct. 1 shooting, and that she was cooperating with investigators.
Police release new details on Las Vegas shooting investigation
The agent says in the Oct. 3 document that there was no evidence at that time of "criminal involvement" by Danley, but that investigators had not ruled out the possibility.
The document says Danley also provided a DNA sample to authorities.
Paddock's three-bedroom house in a retirement community in the city of Mesquite was searched twice - first by police and FBI agents in the hours immediately after Paddock was identified as the shooter.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo later said that Oct. 2 search found 19 guns and several pounds of potentially explosive materials.
The FBI returned to the house a week later for what officials called "redocumenting and rechecking."
Officers also raided Paddock's hotel suite where he opened fire and searched his vehicle after it was found parked in the casino parking structure. Lombardo said several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, was found in the car.
Other searches were conducted at a house the gunman owned in Reno where agents found a red SUV. A neighbor reported that Paddock kept a safe the size of a refrigerator in the garage.
FBI agents also returned to that house, on Oct. 10, after local police determined someone had broken in days earlier.
A Nevada judge is due to hear arguments Tuesday about whether Las Vegas police search warrant documents should remain sealed.
(C) 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.
FBI Hid Vegas Gunman's Personal Email that Suggests He May Have Had Help and Was Running Guns '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:53
PoliticsSecurityFBI Hid Vegas Gunman's Personal Email that Suggests He May Have Had Help and Was Running GunsNewly released search warrants prove the FBI is not telling the truth about not knowing details of Stephen Paddock's background, especially his gun running.
Paddock emailed from his personal Microsoft Live account, ''[email protected]'' to ''[email protected],'' Paddock wrote ''try and ar before u buy. we have huge selection. located in the las vegas area.''
The ''centralpark4804'' account wrote back ''we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try.'' Paddock emailed back ''for a thrill try out bumpfire ar's with a 100 round magazine.''
ZeroHedge raises the possibility that these correspondence means Paddock had accomplices:
According to some, this is the first information on the record suggesting that the gunman may have had help.
The warrant goes on to read ''Investigators believe these communications may have been related to the eventual attack that occurred at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.''
Investigators found 23 firearms in Paddock's room '' several of which were outfitted with ''bump-fire'' stocks, a large quantity of ammunition, high capacity magazines, a handgun, a bulletproof vest and a ''breathing apparatus'' in Paddock's room. 1,600 round of additional ammunition along with 50 pounds of explosives and ammonium nitrate '' often used to manufacture explosives, were found in his Hyundai Tucson SUV. Investigators say he planned to survive the assault and escape, and had set up several surveillance cameras in various locations throughout the room, the peep hole of his door, and in the hallway outside.
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Lame Cherry: The Intrigue of Stephen Paddock
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 02:58
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Now that the Las Vegas FBI, the one's X'in out Cliven Bundy's face on their display wall, have begun parsing information again to the public concerning the accused Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, two damning bits of information have surfaced and it is not that Paddock's girlfriend was helping load magazines for the accused firearms as FOX focuses on.
The first intrigue is Paddock was running two email accounts, and he was emailing himself information as if he was someone else.
Investigators can not figure out what is behind this action, but someone who is emailing themselves information as if it is coming from a gun dealer, points to two scenarios.
The first and it has already been discounted is Stephen Paddock was a split personality. This has been disproven by autopsy and observations.
For Paddock to have done this, he would have had to have been setting up a psychiatric defense as he was sane
The second which is the most plausible is someone was setting Stephen Paddock up in having access to his accounts. This of course means other associates in the Las Vegas shootings.
The documents said Paddock had received an email from a Gmail account in July encouraging him to try an AR-style rifle before buying one. "We have huge selection" in the Las Vegas area, the email allegedly noted.
Paddock wrote back that he wanted to try several scopes and different types of ammunition. An email in response suggested trying a bump stock on the rifle with a 100-round magazine.
Paddock's email address and the Gmail address had similar names, leading investigators to suspect that he may have been emailing himself, although they couldn't figure out why.
FBI agents reportedly knew that Paddock had left behind big caches of guns, ammunition and explosives when they sought warrants to search his properties and online accounts, according to the documents.
Las Vegas Police Officer Aden Ocampo Gomez and FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault said Friday that they had no update about Paddock's motive.
The last is the statement from above:
FBI agents reportedly knew that Paddock had left behind big caches of guns, ammunition and explosives when they sought warrants to search his properties and online accounts,
Remember this was the same FBI which immediately cleared Paddock's girlfriend as they knew she was not a suspect which was impossible. This is the same FBI which immediately knew that Stephen Paddock had big caches of guns, ammunition and explosives for warrants which again is impossible, for the simple reason one does not have to file federal forms to purchase ammunition, nor in the types of recreational explosives that Paddock had in tennerite.
Again, how did the FBI know about huge quantities of ammo and tennerite when there was not a record of this, unless of course the FBI had been monitoring Stephen Paddock for sometime.
This confirms the first narrative of this blog in Stephen Paddock was linked to the CIA in running arms to terrorists to track these groups, and the FBI had been observing Paddock and knew who he was, and knew his girlfriend was not involved, even with her overseas travel to terror states.
The above emails appear to be that someone was leaving an electronic trail to ensnare Stephen Paddock, when something he was not involved in, was about to erupt. Remember that someone broke into Paddock's police cordoned off home with the FBI watching the crime scene.
The above admission by the FBI in knowing of Paddock's ammunition and tennerite cache, meant that the FBI was watching Stephen Paddock and could have stopped this event before it took place........if Stephen Paddock really was the Las Vegas shooter.
It explains why the FBI is not releasing any Paddock information as to motive for another year, as this small release has opened up some very damning information.
Nuff Said
Cocoa Beans
Nutella Maker Ferrero Wants to Buy Nestle's Chocolate Business - Eater
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:21
The first Big Food merger of 2018 is poised to be a sweet one: Italian chocolate maker Ferrero SpA is reportedly in talks to buy Nestle's U.S. candy business for $2.8 billion, according to Bloomberg. In addition to its namesake foil-wrapped truffles, Ferrero Rocher also makes Nutella and Tic Tacs.
Nestle's confectionery division includes numerous iconic candy bars such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Kit Kat, and Nestle Crunch. Though the world's biggest food and beverage brand has long been synonymous with chocolate in the U.S., it's pivoting away from sweets as sales of sugary products have declined in recent years. Nestle has instead poured its money into indie coffee brands, acquiring a majority stake in Bay Area-based Blue Bottle last year and also snapping up Austin-based Chameleon Cold Brew.
Bloomberg notes that Nestle rival Hershey has also made moves to diversify its business, recently coughing up more than $900 million to buy the snack brand that produces SkinnyPop popcorn. Falling sales have plagued the soda industry, too, with companies like Coca-Cola investing in less-sugary options like Topo Chico mineral water.
A Ferrero-Nestle merger could certainly present some intriguing chocolate possibilities: Nutella Kit Kats? Butterfinger truffles? A deal could be finalized as soon as Sunday, per Bloomberg's source.
' Ferrero Near Deal to Buy Nestle's U.S. Chocolate Unit [Bloomberg]
' Nestle Wants Out of the American Chocolate Industry [E]
' Nestle Buys Hipster Coffee Brand Blue Bottle [E]
Magic Number
Jeff Bezos DACA donation rings in at $33 million
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:59
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donated $33 million in college scholarships for "dreamers" '-- childhood undocumented immigrants granted stay in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
TheDream.Us, a nonprofit working toward college access for undocumented immigrants, said the donation from Bezos and his wife MacKenzie is the largest in the organization's history and will fund 1,000 scholarships.
"My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan," Bezos said in a statement. "He landed in this country alone and unable to speak English. With a lot of grit and determination '' and the help of some remarkable organizations in Delaware '' my dad became an outstanding citizen, and he continues to give back to the country that he feels blessed him in so many ways."
Bezos' wealth recently hit record levels. The e-commerce founder is now worth more than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ever was, in absolute terms, but Gates has donated billions through his charitable foundation.
Bezos seems to be taking up a similar path, even requesting philanthropic ideas from his Twitter followers in June.
In September, Bezos signed an open letter alongside nearly 400 U.S. executives urging President Donald Trump to continue to extend protections for the childhood immigrants.
The president ended DACA protections in September, but has faced court challenges in the months since.
Goldman Sachs Says Bitcoin is the New Gold, a Better Safe Haven Asset
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:08
Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.The $96 billion investment bank Goldman Sachs believes bitcoin is the new gold, the premier store of value in the global finance market.
Bitcoin, Natural Progression From Fiat MoneyIn a report sent to the bank's clients, Goldman Sachs analyst Zach Pandl wrote that the rapid increase in demand for bitcoin has been triggered by the growing dissatisfaction with regulated monetary systems and the current banking infrastructures.
In the long-term, as cryptocurrencies mature and evolve into a major asset class, Pandl noted that digital currencies like bitcoin will pose lower returns but demonstrate a high level of stability, like gold and other safe haven assets. He wrote:
''We should stress that, as money, cryptocurrencies should have low expected returns in the long run, despite their high returns recently. Digital currencies should be thought of as low/zero return or hedge-like assets, akin to gold or certain other metals.''
However, Pandl also provided a negative viewpoint on the price trend of bitcoin and the exponential growth rate of the cryptocurrency market, sharing the sentiment of experts within the cryptocurrency market such as Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and co-founder Charles Hoskinson.
In December, Buterin stated:
''So total cryptocoin market cap just hit $0.5 trillion today. But have we earned it? How many unbanked people have we banked? How much censorship-resistant commerce for the common people have we enabled? How many dapps have we created that have substantial usage? Low added value per user for using a blockchain is fine, but then you have to make up for it in volume.
The answer to all of these questions is definitely not zero, and in some cases it's quite significant. But not enough to say it's $0.5 trillion levels of significant. Not enough.''
While the market valuation of several major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum could be justified given their massive user bases and increasing user activity, the market valuation of other cryptocurrencies in the market can be questioned. In that sense, Pandl's description of the cryptocurrency market as a ''classic speculative bubble'' could also be justified.
Bitcoin's PotentialBut, as Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein explained in an interview with CNBC, if bitcoin is the natural progression from fiat money or physical forms of money to digital currencies, the market valuation of bitcoin can be easily justified.
Blankfein emphasized that abolishment of the gold standard and the abrupt introduction of the fiat currency system was not accepted and adopted by individuals and businesses at first. Over time, the global economy adapted to the fiat currency system and began using it as the main form of money.
Bitcoin could lead to the natural progression from fiat currencies to digital currencies, similar to the change from gold to the US dollar. ''You move a little bit further and you get bitcoin that is not a fiat currency so I don't trust, it and I don't like it. On the other hand, if it works, I say maybe it was a natural progression from hard money to digital money,'' said Blankfein.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Safe sex: Dutch blockchain company creates app for giving consent '-- RT World News
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:45
Dutch blockchain firm LegalThings announced the launch of an app enabling people to request formal consent before going to bed with someone. Does your date really want to get it on? Find out whether you click with a single click.
''Sex should be fun and safe, but nowadays a lot of things can go wrong,'' the company says on its website.
Read more
When you find yourself at close quarters and it looks like you're heading for some steamy action, all you have to do is open the LegalFling app, scroll through your contacts and send a request. Your sexual preferences, turn-ons, dos and don'ts '' anything worth mentioning will be automatically communicated to your partner on the receiving end.
''Asking someone to sign a contract before the fun starts is a little uncomfortable. A simple swipe is easy as 1-2-3,'' the company says.
The LegalFling website is crystal clear that anyone has the right to change their mind at any time.
'''No' means 'no' at any time. Being passed out means 'no' at any time,'' the FAQ page states.
''This is explicitly described in the agreement. Additionally, you can withdraw consent going forward through the LegalFling app with a single click.'' All you need to do in the thick of the action is take a deep breath, open the app and adjust the settings to tell your sex partner you are no longer comfortable with something.
Read more
The app, which was created in the wake of the #MeToo movement, could also help avoid some embarrassing situations. ''Think of unwanted videos, withholding information about STDs and offensive porn re-enactment. While you're protected by law, litigating any offenses through court is nearly impossible in reality. LegalFling creates a legally binding agreement, which means any offense is a breach of contract. By using the Live Contracts protocol, your private agreement is verifiable using the blockchain and enforceable with a single click.''
Some experts say the high-tech app is still far from reality, with certain nuances of connection and communication becoming evident only in practice.
''LegalFling presents itself as an alternative to 'a 10 page document full of legal lingo,''' Neil Brown, lawyer for decoded:Legal, told the Register.
''I don't know about you, but even as a lawyer, I rarely insist on multi-page written agreements before having sex.
''Similarly, while the app does allow consent to be revoked, this approach seems inconsistent with reality, where consent is an ongoing communication (verbal or otherwise) between participants.''
Service Goat
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals | ADA National Network
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:56
(Printer-friendly PDF version | 555 KB)
(Large Print PDF version | 565 KB)
Where are they allowed and under what conditions? Jacquie BrennanVinh Nguyen (Ed.)
Southwest ADA Center
A program of ILRU at TIRR Memorial Hermann
This manual is dedicated to the memory of Pax, a devoted guide dog, and to all the handler and dog teams working together across the nation. Guide dogs make it possible for their handlers to travel safely with independence, freedom and dignity.
Pax guided his handler faithfully for over ten years. Together they negotiated countless busy intersections and safely traveled the streets of many cities, large and small. His skillful guiding kept his handler from injury on more than one occasion. He accompanied his handler to business meetings, restaurants, theaters, and social functions where he conducted himself as would any highly-trained guide dog. Pax was a seasoned traveler and was the first dog to fly in the cabin of a domestic aircraft to Great Britain, a country that had previously barred service animals without extended quarantine.
Pax was born in the kennels of The Seeing Eye in the beautiful Washington Valley of New Jersey in March 2000. He lived with a puppy-raiser family for almost a year where he learned basic obedience and was exposed to the sights and sounds of community life'--the same experiences he would soon face as a guide dog. He then went through four months of intensive training where he learned how to guide and ensure the safety of the person with whom he would be matched. In November 2001 he was matched with his handler and they worked as a team until Pax's retirement in January 2012, after a long and successful career. Pax retired with his handler's family, where he lived with two other dogs. His life was full of play, long naps, and recreational walks until his death in January 2014.
It is the sincere hope of Pax's handler that this guide will be useful in improving the understanding about service animals, their purpose and role, their extensive training, and the rights of their handlers to travel freely and to experience the same access to employment, public accommodations, transportation, and services that others take for granted.
Individuals with disabilities may use service animals and emotional support animals for a variety of reasons. This guide provides an overview of how major Federal civil rights laws govern the rights of a person requiring a service animal. These laws, as well as instructions on how to file a complaint, are listed in the last section of this publication. Many states also have laws that provide a different definition of service animal. You should check your state's law and follow the law that offers the most protection for service animals. The document discusses service animals in a number of different settings as the rules and allowances related to access with service animals will vary according to the law applied and the setting.
A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.
Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals either. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. It does not matter if a person has a note from a doctor that states that the person has a disability and needs to have the animal for emotional support. A doctor's letter does not turn an animal into a service animal.
Examples of animals that fit the ADA's definition of ''service animal'' because they have been specifically trained to perform a task for the person with a disability:
· Guide Dog or Seeing Eye® Dog1 is a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool for persons who have severe visual impairments or are blind.
· Hearing or Signal Dog is a dog that has been trained to alert a person who has a significant hearing loss or is deaf when a sound occurs, such as a knock on the door.
· Psychiatric Service Dog is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessen their effects. Tasks performed by psychiatric service animals may include reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks or room searches, or turning on lights for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interrupting self-mutilation by persons with dissociative identity disorders, and keeping disoriented individuals from danger.
· SSigDOG (sensory signal dogs or social signal dog) is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the handler to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the person to stop the movement (e.g., hand flapping).
· Seizure Response Dog is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. How the dog serves the person depends on the person's needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance to sit down or move to a safe place.
Under Title II and III of the ADA, service animals are limited to dogs. However, entities must make reasonable modifications in policies to allow individuals with disabilities to use miniature horses if they have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities.
While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Even though some states have laws defining therapy animals, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals. Therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.
The handler is responsible for the care and supervision of his or her service animal. If a service animal behaves in an unacceptable way and the person with a disability does not control the animal, a business or other entity does not have to allow the animal onto its premises. Uncontrolled barking, jumping on other people, or running away from the handler are examples of unacceptable behavior for a service animal. A business has the right to deny access to a dog that disrupts their business. For example, a service dog that barks repeatedly and disrupts another patron's enjoyment of a movie could be asked to leave the theater. Businesses, public programs, and transportation providers may exclude a service animal when the animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. If a service animal is growling at other shoppers at a grocery store, the handler may be asked to remove the animal.
· The ADA requires the animal to be under the control of the handler. This can occur using a harness, leash, or other tether. However, in cases where either the handler is unable to hold a tether because of a disability or its use would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, the service animal must be under the handler's control by some other means, such as voice control.2
· The animal must be housebroken.3
· The ADA does not require covered entities to provide for the care or supervision of a service animal, including cleaning up after the animal.
· The animal should be vaccinated in accordance with state and local laws.
· An entity may also assess the type, size, and weight of a miniature horse in determining whether or not the horse will be allowed access to the facility.
a) Public Facilities and AccommodationsTitles II and III of the ADA makes it clear that service animals are allowed in public facilities and accommodations. A service animal must be allowed to accompany the handler to any place in the building or facility where members of the public, program participants, customers, or clients are allowed. Even if the business or public program has a ''no pets'' policy, it may not deny entry to a person with a service animal. Service animals are not pets. So, although a ''no pets'' policy is perfectly legal, it does not allow a business to exclude service animals.
When a person with a service animal enters a public facility or place of public accommodation, the person cannot be asked about the nature or extent of his disability. Only two questions may be asked:
1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
These questions should not be asked, however, if the animal's service tasks are obvious. For example, the questions may not be asked if the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability.4
A public accommodation or facility is not allowed to ask for documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Local laws that prohibit specific breeds of dogs do not apply to service animals.5
A place of public accommodation or public entity may not ask an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees. Entities cannot require anything of people with service animals that they do not require of individuals in general, with or without pets. If a public accommodation normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.6
b) EmploymentLaws prohibit employment discrimination because of a disability. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation. Allowing an individual with a disability to have a service animal or an emotional support animal accompany them to work may be considered an accommodation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the employment provisions of the ADA (Title I), does not have a specific regulation on service animals.7 In the case of a service animal or an emotional support animal, if the disability is not obvious and/or the reason the animal is needed is not clear, an employer may request documentation to establish the existence of a disability and how the animal helps the individual perform his or her job.
Documentation might include a detailed description of how the animal would help the employee in performing job tasks and how the animal is trained to behave in the workplace. A person seeking such an accommodation may suggest that the employer permit the animal to accompany them to work on a trial basis.
Both service and emotional support animals may be excluded from the workplace if they pose either an undue hardship or a direct threat in the workplace.
c) HousingThe Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects a person with a disability from discrimination in obtaining housing. Under this law, a landlord or homeowner's association must provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities so that they have an equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling.8 Emotional support animals that do not qualify as service animals under the ADA may nevertheless qualify as reasonable accommodations under the FHA.9 In cases when a person with a disability uses a service animal or an emotional support animal, a reasonable accommodation may include waiving a no-pet rule or a pet deposit.10 This animal is not considered a pet.
A landlord or homeowner's association may not ask a housing applicant about the existence, nature, and extent of his or her disability. However, an individual with a disability who requests a reasonable accommodation may be asked to provide documentation so that the landlord or homeowner's association can properly review the accommodation request.11 They can ask a person to certify, in writing, (1) that the tenant or a member of his or her family is a person with a disability; (2) the need for the animal to assist the person with that specific disability; and (3) that the animal actually assists the person with a disability. It is important to keep in mind that the ADA may apply in the housing context as well, for example with student housing. Where the ADA applies, requiring documentation or certification would not be permitted with regard to an animal that qualifies as a ''service animal.''
d) EducationService animals in public schools (K-12)13 '' The ADA permits a student with a disability who uses a service animal to have the animal at school. In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act allow a student to use an animal that does not meet the ADA definition of a service animal if that student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 team decides the animal is necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate education. Where the ADA applies, however, schools should be mindful that the use of a service animal is a right that is not dependent upon the decision of an IEP or Section 504 team.14
Emotional support animals, therapy animals, and companion animals are seldom allowed to accompany students in public schools. Indeed, the ADA does not contemplate the use of animals other than those meeting the definition of ''service animal.'' Ultimately, the determination whether a student may utilize an animal other than a service animal should be made on a case-by-case basis by the IEP or Section 504 team.
Service animals in postsecondary education settings '' Under the ADA, colleges and universities must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or to students.
Colleges and universities may have a policy asking students who use service animals to contact the school's Disability Services Coordinator to register as a student with a disability. Higher education institutions may not require any documentation about the training or certification of a service animal. They may, however, require proof that a service animal has any vaccinations required by state or local laws that apply to all animals.
e) TransportationA person traveling with a service animal cannot be denied access to transportation, even if there is a ''no pets'' policy. In addition, the person with a service animal cannot be forced to sit in a particular spot; no additional fees can be charged because the person uses a service animal; and the customer does not have to provide advance notice that s/he will be traveling with a service animal.
The laws apply to both public and private transportation providers and include subways, fixed-route buses, Paratransit, rail, light-rail, taxicabs, shuttles and limousine services.
f) Air TravelThe Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) requires airlines to allow service animals and emotional support animals to accompany their handlers in the cabin of the aircraft.
Service animals '' For evidence that an animal is a service animal, air carriers may ask to see identification cards, written documentation, presence of harnesses or tags, or ask for verbal assurances from the individual with a disability using the animal. If airline personnel are uncertain that an animal is a service animal, they may ask one of the following:
1. What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you?
2. What has your animal been trained to do for you?
3. Would you describe how the animal performs this task for you? 15
Emotional support and psychiatric service animals '' Individuals who travel with emotional support animals or psychiatric service animals may need to provide specific documentation to establish that they have a disability and the reason the animal must travel with them. Individuals who wish to travel with their emotional support or psychiatric animals should contact the airline ahead of time to find out what kind of documentation is required.
Examples of documentation that may be requested by the airline: Current documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a licensed mental health professional stating (1) the passenger has a mental health-related disability listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV); (2) having the animal accompany the passenger is necessary to the passenger's mental health or treatment; (3) the individual providing the assessment of the passenger is a licensed mental health professional and the passenger is under his or her professional care; and (4) the date and type of the mental health professional's license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.16 This documentation may be required as a condition of permitting the animal to accompany the passenger in the cabin.
Other animals '' According to the ACAA, airlines are not required otherwise to carry animals of any kind either in the cabin or in the cargo hold. Airlines are free to adopt any policy they choose regarding the carriage of pets and other animals (for example, search and rescue dogs) provided that they comply with other applicable requirements (for example, the Animal Welfare Act).
Animals such as miniature horses, pigs, and monkeys may be considered service animals. A carrier must decide on a case-by-case basis according to factors such as the animal's size and weight; state and foreign country restrictions; whether or not the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; or cause a fundamental alteration in the cabin service.17 Individuals should contact the airlines ahead of travel to find out what is permitted.
Airlines are not required to transport unusual animals such as snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders. Foreign carriers are not required to transport animals other than dogs.18
Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. If employees, fellow travelers, or customers are afraid of service animals, a solution may be to allow enough space for that person to avoid getting close to the service animal.
Most allergies to animals are caused by direct contact with the animal. A separated space might be adequate to avoid allergic reactions.
If a person is at risk of a significant allergic reaction to an animal, it is the responsibility of the business or government entity to find a way to accommodate both the individual using the service animal and the individual with the allergy.
a) Air TravelThe Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) does not allow ''service animals in training'' in the cabin of the aircraft because ''in training'' status indicates that they do not yet meet the legal definition of service animal. However, like pet policies, airline policies regarding service animals in training vary. Some airlines permit qualified trainers to bring service animals in training aboard an aircraft for training purposes. Trainers of service animals should consult with airlines and become familiar with their policies.
b) EmploymentIn the employment setting, employers may be obligated to permit employees to bring their ''service animal in training'' into the workplace as a reasonable accommodation, especially if the animal is being trained to assist the employee with work-related tasks. The untrained animal may be excluded, however, if it becomes a workplace disruption or causes an undue hardship in the workplace.
c) Public Facilities and AccommodationsTitle II and III of the ADA does not cover ''service animals in training'' but several states have laws when they should be allowed access.
a) Public Facilities and AccommodationsTitle II of the ADA covers state and local government facilities, activities, and programs. Title III of the ADA covers places of public accommodations. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act covers federal government facilities, activities, and programs. It also covers the entities that receive federal funding.
Title II and Title III Complaints '' These can be filed through private lawsuits in federal court or directed to the U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section '' NYA
Washington, DC 20530
800-514-0301 (v)
800-514-0383 (TTY)
Section 504 Complaints '' These must be made to the specific federal agency that oversees the program or funding.
b) EmploymentTitle I of the ADA and Section 501 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination in employment. The ADA covers private employers with 15 or more employees; Section 501 applies to federal agencies, and Section 504 applies to any program or entity receiving federal financial assistance.
ADA Complaints - A person must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of an alleged violation of the ADA. This deadline may be extended to 300 days if there is a state or local fair employment practices agency that also has jurisdiction over this matter. Complaints may be filed in person, by mail, or by telephone by contacting the nearest EEOC office. This number is listed in most telephone directories under ''U.S. Government.'' For more information:
800-669-4000 (voice)
800-669-6820 (TTY)
Section 501 Complaints - Federal employees must contact their agency's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) officer within 45 days of an alleged Section 501 violation.
Section 504 Complaints '' These must be filed with the federal agency that funded the employer.
c) HousingThe Fair Housing Act (FHA), as amended in 1988, applies to housing. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all housing programs and activities that are either conducted by the federal government or receive federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA applies to housing provided by state or local government entities.
Complaints '' Housing complaints may be filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
800-669-9777 (voice)
800-927-9275 (TTY)
d) EducationStudents with disabilities in public schools (K-12) are covered by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II of the ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Students with disabilities in public postsecondary education are covered by Title II and Section 504. Title III of the ADA applies to private schools (K-12 and post-secondary) that are not operated by religious entities. Private schools that receive federal funding are also covered by Section 504.
IDEA Complaints - Parents can request a due process hearing and a review from the state educational agency if applicable in that state. They also can appeal the state agency's decision to state or federal court. You may contact the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) for further information or to provide your own thoughts and ideas on how they may better serve individuals with disabilities, their families and their communities.
For more information contact:
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-7100
202-245-7468 (voice)
Title II of the ADA and Section 504 Complaints - The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education enforces Title II of the ADA and Section 504 as they apply to education. Those who have had access denied due to a service animal may file a complaint with OCR or file a private lawsuit in federal court. An OCR complaint must be filed within 180 calendar days of the date of the alleged discrimination, unless the time for filing is extended for good cause. Before filing an OCR complaint against an institution, an individual may want to find out about the institution's grievance process and use that process to have the complaint resolved. However, an individual is not required by law to use the institutional grievance process before filing a complaint with OCR. If someone uses an institutional grievance process and then chooses to file the complaint with OCR, the complaint must be filed with OCR within 60 days after the last act of the institutional grievance process.
For more information contact:
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service: 800-421-3481 (voice)
800-877-8339 (TTY)
E-mail: OCR@ed.gov
Title III Complaints '' These may be filed with the Department of Justice.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section '' NYA
Washington, DC 20530
800-514-0301 (v)
800-514-0383 (TTY)
e) TransportationTitle II of the ADA applies to public transportation while Title III of the ADA applies to transportation provided by private entities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to federal entities and recipients of federal funding that provide transportation.
Title II and Section 504 Complaints '' These may be filed with the Federal Transit Administration's Office of Civil Rights. For more information, contact:
Director, FTA Office of Civil Rights
East Building '' 5th Floor, TCR
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
FTA ADA Assistance Line: 888-446-4511 (Voice)
800-877-8339 (Federal Information Relay Service)
http://www.fta.dot.gov/12874_3889.html (Complaint Form)
Title III Complaints '' These may be filed with the Department of Justice.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section '' NYA
Washington, DC 20530
800-514-0301 (v)
800-514-0383 (TTY)
Note: A person does not have to file a complaint with the respective federal agency before filing a lawsuit in federal court.
f) Air TransportationThe Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) covers airlines. Its regulations clarify what animals are considered service animals and explain how each type of animal should be treated.
ACAA complaints may be submitted to the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Air travelers who experience disability-related air travel service problems may call the hotline at 800-778-4838 (voice) or 800- 455-9880 (TTY) to obtain assistance. Air travelers who would like the Department of Transportation (DOT) to investigate a complaint about a disability issue must submit their complaint in writing or via e-mail to:
Aviation Consumer Protection Division
Attn: C-75-D
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
For additional information and questions about your rights under any of these laws, contact your regional ADA center at 800-949-4232 (voice/TTY).
The contents of this booklet were developed by the Southwest ADA Center under a grant (#H133A110027) from the Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
Southwest ADA Center at ILRU
TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center
1333 Moursund St.
Houston, Texas 77030
713.520.0232 (voice/TTY)
800.949.4232 (voice/TTY)
The Southwest ADA Center is a program of ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization) at TIRR Memorial Hermann. The Southwest ADA Center is part of a national network of ten regional ADA Centers that provide up-to-date information, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The centers serve a variety of audiences, including businesses, employers, government entities, and individuals with disabilities. Call 1-800-949-4232 v/tty to reach the center that serves your region or visit http://www.adata.org.
This book is printed courtesy of the ADA National Network. The Southwest ADA Center would like to thank Jacquie Brennan (author), Ramin Taheri, Richard Petty, Kathy Gips, Sally Weiss, Wendy Strobel Gower, Erin Marie Sember-Chase, Marian Vessels, and the ADA Knowledge Translation Center at the University of Washington for their contributions to this booklet.
(C) Southwest ADA Center 2014. All rights reserved
Principal Investigator: Lex Frieden
Project Director: Vinh Nguyen
Publication staff: Maria DelBosque, Marisa Demaya, and George Powers
[1] http://www.seeingeye.org
[2] 28 C.F.R. 36.302(c)(4); 28 C.F.,R. § 35.136(d).
[3] 28 C.F.R. 36.302(c)(2); 28 C.F.,R. §35.136(b)(2).
[4] 28 C.F.R. 36.302(c)(6).
[5] See 28 C.F.R. Pt. 35, App. A; Sak v. Aurelia, City of, C 11-4111-MWB (N.D. Iowa Dec. 28, 2011)
[6] 28 C.F.R. 36.302(c)(8).
[7] 29 C.F.R. Pt. 1630 App. The EEOC, in the Interpretive Guidance accompanying the regulations, stated that guide dogs may be an accommodation...''For example, it would be a reasonable accommodation for an employer to permit an individual who is blind to use a guide dog at work, even though the employer would not be required to provide a guide dog for the employee.''
[8] 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B).
[9] Fair Housing of the Dakotas, Inc. v. Goldmark Prop. Mgmt., Inc., 3:09-cv-58 (D.N.D. Mar. 30, 2011): '''... the FHA encompasses all types of assistance animals regardless of training, including those that ameliorate a physical disability and those that ameliorate a mental disability.''
[10] See Bronk v. Ineichen, 54 F.3d 425, 428-429 (7th Cir. 1995); HUD v. Purkett, FH-FL 19372 (HUDALJ July 31, 1990) Green v. Housing Authority of Clackamas County, 994 F.Supp. 1253 (D. Ore. 1999).
[11] Hawn v. Shoreline Towers Phase 1 Condominium Association, Inc., 347 Fed. Appx. 464 (11th Cir. 2009).
[12] See ''Pet Ownership for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities'', 73 Federal Register 208 (27 October 2008), pp. 63834-63838; United States. (2004). Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act: Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Justice. Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Justice [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 03/06/2014 from http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/jointstatement_ra.php.
[13] Private schools that are not operated by religious entities are considered public accommodations. Please refer to Section V(a).
[14] Sullivan v. Vallejo City Unified Sch. Dist., 731 F. Supp. 947 (E.D. Cal. 1990).
[15] ''Guidance Concerning Service Animals in Air Transportation'', 68 Federal Register 90 (9 May 2003), p. 24875.
[16] 14 C.F.R. § 382.117(e).
[17] 14 C.F.R. § 382.117(f).
[18] Id.
Jim Carrey moves closer to facing trial over death of ex | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:09
A judge has refused to throw out two wrongful death lawsuits which accuse Jim Carrey of supplying the prescription drugs his ex-girlfriend used to kill herself with.
Cathriona White was found dead in her LA home on September 28, 2015, surrounded by empty bottles of painkillers Ambien, Propranolol and Percocet - drugs which were acquired by Carrey using the alias Arthur King, the lawsuits allege.
Now White's mother Brigid Sweetman and estranged Mark Burton are suing the Carrey, accusing him of contributing to her death and violating the Drug Dealer Liability Act.
The Hollywood star's attorneys had called on a judge to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuits, saying that a trial would be 'very painful' for his client and that the lawsuits' allegations were 'malicious' and 'predatory', MyNewsLA reports.
A judge has refused to throw out two wrongful death lawsuits which accuse Jim Carrey of supplying the prescription drugs his ex-girlfriend Cathriona White (with him) used to kill herself
Carrey looks set to face trial over the death of his ex-girlfriend White (above with his daughter Jane at White's 2015 funeral)
But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Deirdre Hill indicated she would not throw out the suits and set a trial date to begin on April 26, 2018.
However, she said she would send the final ruling on Carrey's motion to strike to lawyers in due course, after she had more time to further study the case.
'Mr Carrey loved Ms White dearly and so obviously it will be a very painful process for him,' the actor's attorney Raymond Boucher said after the hearing.
In the courtroom, Boucher said that Carrey denied all the allegations, criticized the wording of the wrong death lawsuits for being too vague and argued the drugs charges fell outside the statute of limitations.
He added that the wrongful death allegation was also flawed because White had carefully planned her death and did not kill herself as a result of an 'irresistible impulse.' Her suicide was 'an independent intervening force', separate from Carrey.
But White's heartbroken mother and estranged husband disagree and blame her death on the 55-year-old Ace Ventura star.
Ahmed Ibrahim, representing Sweetman and Burton added that the drugs allegations against Carrey wasn't the typical 'selling drugs out of the back of his pickup' but said there was enough evidence against him to go to trial.
'In our view, enough is enough,' he said.
Sweetman (left, crying at White's funeral services in 2015, has sued Carrey over her daughter's death
Allegation: Burton (above), who was White's estranged husband at the time of her death, claims in an amended complaint that Carrey gave White sexually transmitted diseases before breaking up with her, triggering her suicide
Burton, who filed his suit on September 19, claims that Carrey used surveillance cameras outside White's LA home to keep track of her. His assistant knew she'd gone home on September 24, and hadn't left for more than a day, but neither she not Carrey called the cops, the suit alleged.
Sweetman, who filed her lawsuit on October 11, claims Carrey provided the prescription painkillers her daughter overdose on and also claims the Canadian-born star gave White three sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Carrey is alleged to have transmitted herpes type 1, herpes type 2 (genital herpes) and gonorrhea in 2013 and allegedly tested positive after providing the false name of Jose Lopez. He had pressured White to keep quiet about the STDs until her death.
When White confronted Carrey, he shamed her by calling her a 'whore' and even threatened to silence her with the help of high-priced Hollywood lawyers and 'fixers', according to Sweetman's lawsuit.
Carrey filed legal documents on December 19 demanding that the court to strike claims from Sweetman's lawsuit, saying the allegations she included were made for the sole purpose of harassing, embarrassing and humiliating him in an effort to shame him into an unmerited settlement.
Carrey says that in one note (pictured above) White called him her 'family' and asked him to divide up her property following her death
He added that he and White were a loving couple and that he was 'absolutely devastated' by her suicide on the third anniversary of her father's death, on September 28, 2015
Carrey pictured at the premiere of his upcoming Showtime series I'm Dying Up Here, which he is a producer and writer of, in Los Angeles on Wednesday
The actor says that the statements regarding claims that he gave White STDs without warning, called her a 'whore' and used 'fixers' to silence her are 'irrelevant' to the wrongful death case.
'A part of their attempt to shakedown Carrey for a multi-million dollar payday, Sweetman and her attorney have riddled the Complaint with severe ad hominem attacks and allegations about STDs, none of which are relevant to the cause of death,' court documents say. 'Hence, none of these allegations belong in the Complaint.
By having the claims struck from the lawsuit, Carrey will not have to prove that he did not give White STDs without warning, among other allegations.
He says in court documents that he and White were a loving couple and that he was 'absolutely devastated' by her suicide on the third anniversary of her father's death, on September 28, 2015.
Carrey specifically points to two of White's suicide notes that she left him, saying that the letters show how much she loved him.
'White left Carrey two suicide notes speaking lovingly to him, requesting his forgiveness for ending her own life, describing him, and him alone, as her 'family', and entrusting him to divide her property,' court documents read.
Sad days: White (above in selfies she posted to Instagram shortly before her death) had recently split with Carrey when she took her own life
He noted that Sweetman is not mentioned was not mentioned in the notes.
Carrey claimed in legal documents that Sweetman filed her lawsuit in an attempt to profit from her daughter's suicide.
He has demanded that the court strike the majority of the allegations made in Sweetman's lawsuit, including allegations that he gave her STDs, that he reneged on paying for funeral costs and that he owned a private jet.
The actor says in court documents that the accusations were only included as a means of prejudicing the court or potential jury regarding his purported financial means.
In Sweetman's wrongful death suit, an STD test submitted as evidence shows positive results for multiple diseases.
The Quest Diagnostics test belonging to 'Jose Lopez' and filed under seal has been seen by DailyMail.com and shows that 'Lopez' tested positive for Herpes I and II, Chalmidya and Hepatitis after being tested on January 28, 2013, with the results being reported three days later according to the test.
The date of birth for Lopez is listed as January 17, 1962, which is also Carrey's date of birth.
Sweetman and her attorney claim in court papers that 'Jose Lopez' is Jim Carrey.
In a another note, White says: 'I love Jim and I am sorry I brought turmoil into his life'. White's mother is again not mentioned by name
In the note, however, White goes on to day that her 'blood is on your hands' after addressing Carrey, and says that he 'destroyed' her body
The results of the 'Jose Lopez' test were submitted as evidence in the case in October.
'Jose Lopez' was the alias Carrey used for his medical records until September 3, 2013, when it was changed to 'Arthur King', the court documents state.
In text messages previously submitted in the case, White allegedly writes to Carrey concerned that she may have a sexually transmitted disease on February 20.
White wrote to Carrey about finding 'a couple of bumps' and wanting to go get it 'checked' claims the initial complaint, which also includes screenshots of the text messages between the two.
Carrey wrote back a brief message saying that he hoped White would be 'OK' and told her to enjoy a shoot she is working on.
White then appears to become more nervous, responding to a text sent from Carrey by writing: 'I understand your [sic] worried. Imagine how I am feeling right now. I am the one who should be freaking out.'
She then stated that she is sure the bumps are 'just the abrasion thing [Carey] was talking about.'
Carrey responded to this by writing: 'I hope your [sic] ok hun. It could be from someone before me. Doesn't show up until you're really stressed.'
He then added that 'it should be fine though.'
White's ex-husband Mark Burton claimed in his initial complaint however that White was tested just before she began dating Carrey, so the STDs could not have come from another man.
When White then told Carrey this fact he 'inexplicably' ended their relationship within hours according to the complaint
He sent her a text message saying, 'You have become too much drama'.
Sweetman claimed in her suit that Hollywood 'fixers' forced White to stay silent, which caused her to struggle emotionally before she overdosed on Ambien, Percocet and Propranolol, which Sweetman accuses Carrey of providing to her.
Carrey demanded that the court to strike claims from Sweetman's lawsuit in December , saying the allegations she included were made for the sole purpose of harassing, embarrassing and humiliating him in an effort to shame him into an unmerited settlement
She filed suit demanding general damages, economic damages, funeral and burial expenses, punitive damages and attorney fees.
Carrey's lawyer, Marty Singer, fired back at the lawsuit, calling it a 'sham' and alleged that White and her mother had a broken relationship.
He claimed that White left home at 15 years old, and days before her suicide she cut off all contact with her mother following a 'cruel birthday message Sweetman left for White days earlier'.
Singer said in October: 'This is just another desperate attempt by the attorney after Cathriona White's own family distanced themselves from this sham lawsuit yesterday.
'These distortions and false statements by the attorney do a disservice to Cathriona's memory and to the truth. Cat White's biological mother, Brigid Sweetman acknowledged in writing that she received death threats because people believed she was responsible for Cat's death.
'This latest attempt to create a diversion by the attorney from his meritless claims just shows how low he will stoop.'
White, from Cappawhite, Co Tipperary, was found dead in her Los Angeles home in September 2015.
A coroner recorded her death as suicide.
The trial date has been set for April 26.
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VIDEO - Girl, 6, Suffers Stunning Side Effects After Taking Tamiflu CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:52
ALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) '' A North Texas family says their daughter's side effects from the popular drug Tamiflu were beyond what they ever could have imagined '' and left them saying never again.
Like so many others, the 6-year-old's flu diagnosis that came with a choice: whether or not to take Tamiflu to speed up the course of the dreaded illness.
Tamiflu (CBS11)
The family from Allen, who wants to remain anonymous, says the side effects were stunning: hallucinations, running away from school and an attempt, they believe, to hurt herself.
''The second story window was open, which is in her bedroom, and she used her desk to climb up onto it, and she was about to jump out the window when my wife came up and grabbed her,'' her father said.
They took her to the hospital, where a doctor informed them that nervous system problems '' including psychosis '' can be a very rare side effect of Tamiflu. Emergency room physician Dr. Glenn Hardesty, with Texas Health Prosper, says it's very rare but can happen.
''Less than 1 percent is what's listed in the data sheet,'' he said. ''I've been in practice 20 years, and I haven't seen that particular complication.''
It is written in the fine print, and Dr. Hardesty says there's always a chance of a side effect with any drug. The little girl's parents say they wish they had known.
''I don't think the 16 hours of symptom relief from the flu is worth the possible side effects that we went through,'' her father said.
His message for parents: do your homework before taking Tamiflu '' or any drug.
''Know that side effects are there for a reason. They're written down for a reason. I guess they can happen, and we got the short end of the stick,'' her father said.
VIDEO - Philip Mudd calls Don Lemon the N-word on CNN because of Trump - YouTube
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:25
VIDEO - How Nestle stole California water - YouTube
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:37
VIDEO - Trump asks why U.S. would want immigrants from 'shithole countries' - YouTube
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:27
VIDEO - Hawaii missile threat: Locals lived out their 'worst nightmare' as they prepared for the world to end - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:59
Updated January 14, 2018 15:28:31
"Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."
It might sound like something straight out of a horror movie, but for 38 minutes terrified Hawaiian residents thought the world was going to end.
At 8:07am on Saturday (local time), locals and tourists on the small island woke up to a message that many have feared amid North Korea's development of a ballistic nuclear weapon.
Panicked residents gathered family members, ran out onto the streets and desperately sought shelter as they awaited the attack.
Cars were reportedly abandoned on highways and people who were outside at the time hid in the homes of neighbours as others prepared to flee.
Those watching television also had their broadcasts interrupted by the ballistic missile threat alert, according to NBC.
Stacey Bow, 56, of Honolulu, said she was awakened to the emergency alert on her smart phone and woke up her 16-year-old daughter with the news.
"She became hysterical, crying, you know, just lost it," she said.
Cherese Carlson, a tourist visiting Hawaii, said the moments following the alert were filled with fear.
"There was nothing I could do. I wasn't in an area where I had any friends where I could go into their homes," she said.
"I literally just sat in my car worried that was it for me because I didn't have a shelter to go to like it said."
Honolulu resident Phillip Simmons said: "I was thinking of my family. My wife had gone out for a walk, she immediately called me [and had] received the same text. I knew it was important for us to be together at that moment."
Social media was filled with accounts from horrified Hawaiians, sharing how frantic they were during those 38 minutes.
"Got the text. Both my wife and I look at each other in unbelief and terror. We looked at our four year old daughter sleeping peacefully," one user wrote on social platform Reddit.
"We kept quiet and calmed. Sat there in silence whispering to each other things are going to be OK but anger rushing through my head as a father as I felt helpless.
"Heard a knock on the door. Two joggers terrified asked if they could take shelter with us. We said OK."
Scared child sent down manholeIn one video that has surfaced since the alert, a man can be seen telling a child to climb down a manhole to escape the incoming missile attack.
The child can be heard saying that she didn't want to go in, before she begins to descend into the dark space.
Others thought that it was a hoax or a false alarm, since the sirens did not ring out.
"I thought to myself, it must be someone's last day at work or someone got extremely upset at a superior and basically did this as a practical joke," a Honolulu lawyer told The Associated Press.
"But I think it's a very serious problem if it wasn't that, or even it was, it shows that we have problems in the system that can cause major disruption and panic and anxiety among people in Hawaii."
Brian Naeole, who was visiting Honolulu from Molokai, said he wasn't worried since he didn't hear sirens and neither TV nor radio stations issued alerts.
"I thought it was either a hoax or a false alarm," he said.
Even as residents slowly began to realise it was a false alarm, the horror of what could have been left them reeling.
ABC News journalist David Spicer received the notification while on holidays in Honolulu.
He said tourists were gathering in groups on Waikiki Beach, "trying to figure out where to go".
"I mean, what do you do if you're under imminent threat of a ballistic missile?"
Many have been stunned by how unprepared they were.
Actor Jim Carrey tweeted that he woke up to the alert in Hawaii, writing that while it turned out to be a false alarm it was "a real psychic warning".
Hawaii Governor David Ige said "today is a day that most of us will never forget".
"A day when many in our community thought that our worst nightmare might actually be happening. A day when many frantically try to think about the things that they would do if a ballistic missile launch would happen," he said.
"You know, I know firsthand that what happened today was totally unacceptable. And many in our community was deeply affected by this and I'm sorry for that pain and confusion that anyone might have experienced."
Why did it take 38 minutes to correct the error?Many have been left asking why it took so long for emergency management to reveal it was a false alarm, with some residents only finding out it was sent in error because of a tweet sent in the interim by US Representative Tulsi Gabbard.
A revised alert informing of the "false alarm" did not reach mobile phones until about 40 minutes after the first warning was sent.
Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi said "there was no automated way to send a false alarm cancellation".
"We had to initiate a manual process. And that was why it took a while to notify everyone," he told a media conference.
When asked if that was why it took 38 minutes to notify people, he again replied it was due to the "manual process to provide notification on the smartphones and cellphones".
"We did have other notification that occurred much, much sooner than that," he said.
The agency had tweeted there was no threat about 10 minutes after the initial alert, but residents who were not on Twitter did not see the correction.
The administrator apologised and vowed changes, revealing that as a result of this incident they need to "expand the notification protocols" and "make more contacts to notify that this was a false alarm".
"Again, I apologise for this. This is my responsibility and my team," he said.
Topics:world-politics, government-and-politics, human-interest, nuclear-accident, disasters-and-accidents, hawaii, united-states
First posted January 14, 2018 13:46:49
VIDEO - And Alexa toilet: Do we really need it?
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:50
Jennifer Jolly, Special for USA TODAY Published 5:29 p.m. ET Jan. 11, 2018 | Updated 1:37 p.m. ET Jan. 12, 2018
CLOSEAlexa can help you with heating up the seat, lifting the lid, playing your favorite tunes, and of course, flush. Alexa is branching out to other appliances, too. USA TODAY
This toilet from Kohler can flush by voice command (Photo: Kohler)
Do we really need an Alexa-powered toilet?
Kitchen and bath products-maker Kohler thinks so, as well as a faucet and bathroom mirror and the list of Alexa-activated devices is even longer and weirder than that. How about an Alexa-powered dog collar or backyard umbrella?
Amazon was expected to get its voice-activated digital assistant into all manner of Internet-connected gadgets at CES 2018, the big annual technology trade show that wrapped up in Las Vegas last week. And it didn't disappoint. The list of new devices powered by Alexa rose to 4,000, from over 1,000 brands. Not to be outdone, Google made an unusual splash, showing off deals that put its Alexa rival, Google Assistant, in touchscreen displays and voice-activated commands in cars.
Technology fads often run hot then fizzle, and it's tempting to think that the Numi intelligent Wi-Fi-connected Kohler commode will fall into the realm of cool-but-little-used items that include smart forks and see-through washing machines.
Columnist Jennifer Jolly takes a rest on Kohler's Alexa-powered toilet, shown at CES in Las Vegas, January 2018. (Photo: Roddy Blelloch/Special for USA TODAY)
More:'Flush!': New Kohler toilet operates by voice command
More:Amazon Alexa is coming to $1,000 smart glasses '-- and PCs
More:These cute robots want to replace Amazon Echo in your home
But in this race for the crown jewel of smart home control, Kohler's toilet might just take the throne. You can ask it to heat up the seat, lift the lid, play your favorite tunes, and of course, flush. ''Numi delivers hands-free control, personalized cleansing functionality,'' reads the release, ''that let users fine-tune every aspect of their experience to their exact preferences.''
The smart toilet starts at $5,625, while the fancier Numi Black will set you back $6,500. Both come out in the fourth quarter this year.
Now before you make it the butt of new gadget jokes, just imagine how great it would be to end the age-old argument between men and women everywhere to put the seat down. And talk about ending germaphobes' complaints forever. As much as I want to mock it, I would buy it in a heartbeat '-- if I won the lottery. And it's far from the only wacky voice-controlled gadget I saw this week.
LG's InstaView ThinQ Internet-connected refrigerator will let you ask Alexa to order groceries, while commanding the new robot CordZero R9 vacuum to clean up whatever you just spilled on the floor.
Whirlpool's Wi-Fi-enabled Smart Over-the-Range Microwave (starting at $619) lets you ask Alexa to make popcorn. Sleep Number's 360 Smart Bed (starts at $2,000) will soon let you ask ''Hey Google, how did I sleep last night?''
Pets are getting in on the trend, too. The Wagz Smart Dog Collar ($295) will soon let you say, ''Alexa fluffy needs some food,'' to restock its smart feeder ($250), and even open its Wi-Fi connected dog door ($250). All three of those gadgets are expected out in May this year.
An Alexa-enabled robotic umbrella, by ShadeCraft. (Photo: Jennifer Jolly for USA TODAY)
Then, there's the $8,000 robot ShadeCraft Sunflower outdoor robotic parasol, that you'll be able to ask Alexa to play your favorite summer jams, or move a bit to the right. It also acts as a security camera, and can serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
As over the top some of these sound, they also make sense in a way. Amazon's Echo and Google Home have been such big hits, tech makers envision a future where our voices are like remote-controls for our homes, which might be soon be considered our biggest gadget. Or like one big robot servant, wired and waiting to make our every wish its command.
At the very least, it's safe to say, the future's flush with tech possibilities.
Jennifer Jolly is a consumer tech contributor for USA TODAY.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2D68O2O
VIDEO - Feds conducted surprise 'active shooter training' two weeks before the October 1 Las Vegas massacre
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:12
LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) '-- An unannounced federal-level 'active shooter training' drill was conducted several weeks before the Oct. 1 Route 91 massacre where 58 people lost their lives.
According to the founder of Las Vegas Emergency Incidents Mikey Slyman: ''The feds ran a drill, an active shooter drill, in the northwest area of town and they did not tell the police department.''
The disturbing news that federal officials would come into the city and fire guns without warning the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department or the general public, for that matter, is ludicrous.
''Metro had no idea it was going on,'' Slyman said. ''Concerned citizens were calling in to 911 and 311 and saying there's a gunfight and it never hit the media.''
Several weeks later the mass shooting took place.
The Journeyman Pictures YouTube channel has the story.
The information also backs up Intellihub founder Shepard Ambellas's report which he released on The Alex Jones Show Halloween day where Ambellas revealed that one of his sources had told him that the FBI had reserved thirty hotel suites at Bluegreen Club 36 on Thursday, Sept. 28, three days prior to the shooting, and the same number of suites on the Tuesday following the massacre. If Ambellas's source is correct, this may indicate that the FBI may have had at least some foreknowledge of the Oct. 1 event.
Related: Vegas union worker blows whistle on ''mandatory active shooter training'' which was due ''Sept. 30'' at ''12 a.m.''
Featured Image: TacticalMediaGroup/Flickr(C)2018. INTELLIHUB.COM. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Obama rips Fox News viewers: 'You are living on a different planet' | Fox News
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:12
Former President Barack Obama resurfaced on Friday and took a shot at Fox News viewers, saying they're ''living on a different planet'' than people who consume mainstream media.
Obama made the remarks on the premiere of the new monthly Netflix series ''My next guest needs no introduction with David Letterman,'' which hit the streaming service on Friday morning. Early in the episode, Obama asked Letterman about his retirement but the veteran talk show host quickly let the former president know who was boss.
''Now here's how this is gonna work. I'm gonna ask you stuff, and then you respond to stuff,'' Letterman joked.
Letterman then asked Obama what he considers the more dangerous threat to a democracy, the president demeaning the press or a foreign power sabotaging the voting process. Both options are clearly jabs at President Trump and Obama answered without mentioning the current president's name.
''One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don't share a common baseline of facts,'' Obama said. "If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you are listening to NPR.''
"If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you are listening to NPR.''
- Barack Obama The response got a big round of applause from the presumably liberal crowd at the City College of New York. Obama has a long history of taking shots at Fox News but the recent comment marks his first public attack on the network and its viewers since leaving the White House.
While Trump is often criticized for attacking the media and labeling CNN as ''fake news,'' Obama's comment is a reminder that the White House and the press have sparred for decades. Obama once even accused Fox News of ''attacking'' his administration during an interview with CNBC.
Letterman said goodbye to his long-running talk show two years ago and has launched a six-episode series on Netflix. In each hour-long episode, Letterman conducts a long-form conversation with a single guest, and explores topics of his own outside the studio.
George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey, and Howard Stern are scheduled to be guests on Letterman's show over the next five months.
VIDEO - Moby Says CIA Agents Asked Him to Spread the Word About Trump and Russia | Pitchfork
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:41
Moby Says CIA Agents Asked Him to Spread the Word About Trump and Russia | Pitchfork''They said, like, 'Look, you have more of a social media following than any of us do, can you please post some of these things just in a way that'... sort of put it out there.'''
Last February, following the Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, Moby posted on social media claiming to have insider information on connections between the Trump administration and Russia. The producer/DJ said that ''after talking to friends in DC,'' he had allegedly learned that the Fusion GPS dossier was ''100% real'' and that the Russian government was ''blackmailing'' the president. Now, in a new interview with WFPK in Louisville, Kentucky, Moby has doubled down on his claims (as CoS points out).
Talking with WFPK's Kyle Meredith, Moby cited ''active and former CIA agents'' who were ''truly concerned'' about Trump's collusion with Russia. ''They were like, 'This is the Manchurian Candidate, like [Putin] has a Russian agent as the President of the United States,''' he said. ''So they passed on some information to me and they said, like, 'Look, you have more of a social media following than any of us do, can you please post some of these things just in a way that '... sort of put it out there.'''
He added, ''It's really disturbing and it's going to get quite a lot darker. Like the depths of the Trump family in business and their involvement with organized crime, sponsored terrorism, Russian oligarchs, it's really dark. I guess we should all, like, fasten our seat belts and hold on.''
Find the full interview below; the Trump discussion begins around the 8:00 mark.
Pitchfork has reached out to Moby's representatives for further comment.
Moby Says CIA Agents Asked Him to Spread the Word About Trump and Russia | Pitchfork''They said, like, 'Look, you have more of a social media following than any of us do, can you please post some of these things just in a way that'... sort of put it out there.'''
Last February, following the Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, Moby posted on social media claiming to have insider information on connections between the Trump administration and Russia. The producer/DJ said that ''after talking to friends in DC,'' he had allegedly learned that the Fusion GPS dossier was ''100% real'' and that the Russian government was ''blackmailing'' the president. Now, in a new interview with WFPK in Louisville, Kentucky, Moby has doubled down on his claims (as CoS points out).
Talking with WFPK's Kyle Meredith, Moby cited ''active and former CIA agents'' who were ''truly concerned'' about Trump's collusion with Russia. ''They were like, 'This is the Manchurian Candidate, like [Putin] has a Russian agent as the President of the United States,''' he said. ''So they passed on some information to me and they said, like, 'Look, you have more of a social media following than any of us do, can you please post some of these things just in a way that '... sort of put it out there.'''
He added, ''It's really disturbing and it's going to get quite a lot darker. Like the depths of the Trump family in business and their involvement with organized crime, sponsored terrorism, Russian oligarchs, it's really dark. I guess we should all, like, fasten our seat belts and hold on.''
Find the full interview below; the Trump discussion begins around the 8:00 mark.
Pitchfork has reached out to Moby's representatives for further comment.
VIDEO - Responses To President Donald Trump's 'Shithole Countries' Comment | TIME - YouTube
Sun, 14 Jan 2018 01:29
VIDEO - 'CIA friends' asked Moby to spread word of Trump-Russia collusion on social media '-- RT US News
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:38
In a recent interview, Moby said his friends at the CIA asked him to take advantage of a greater ''social media following'' to spread rumors about President Donald Trump's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Multi-award winning recording artist and activist Moby gave an interview to WFPK on Thursday to promote his new album, ''Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt,'' but somehow ended up spending the last half of the interview talking about Trump and Russia.
Moby said he had made friends with a few ''active and former CIA agents'' over the years, who told him they were ''really concerned'' that Trump was ''essentially being run as a Russian agent.''
''This is the Manchurian Candidate, like [Russian President Vladimir Putin] has a Russian agent as the president of the United States,'' Moby recalled his friends telling him.
The full interview was posted on Twitter by WFPK's Kyle Meredith. The discussion about Trump begins at 8:10.
Last February, Moby said he was having dinner with his friends when they asked him to post several anti-Trump theories on social media, where he has a large number of followers.
''They said like, look you have more of a social media following than any of us do, can you please post some of these things, just in a way to sort of put it out there,'' Moby said.
Moby said his friends based their information, in part, on the Fusion GPS report that was published by BuzzFeed last January.
Read more
The musician said he did not know for sure whether there was collusion between Trump and Russia, but added ''where there's smoke, there's fire.''
Moby went on to make some ominous predictions about Trump, saying things are ''going to get quite a lot darker.''
''Like the depth of the Trump family and business, their involvement with organized crime sponsors of terrorism, Russian oligarchs '' like it's really, really dark.''
However, Moby said he is hopeful that his ''friend and neighbor,'' Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), will win in 2018 and take over as head of the House Judiciary Committee.
''That is when things start to get really serious,'' Moby said, referring to the Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Moby also said he is grateful for Trump's incompetence.
''Like, just imagine how much more dangerous he'd be if he was intelligent and had emotional impulse control,'' Moby said. ''I'm really grateful that if we're going to have a tyrant at least let him be stupid and incompetent.''
Moby said his ''dream'' president would be former First Lady Michelle Obama, but accepted it's ''never going to happen.'' In lieu of another Obama, Moby said he would like to see either Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) or Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) as the next commander in chief.
''I just really want to hopefully see a female president sooner rather than later,'' Moby said.
Last February, Moby wrote a lengthy post on Instagram detailing what his ''friends who work in DC'' told him about Trump.
The post said the infamous Russian dossier was ''100 percent real,'' adding that Trump was ''being blackmailed by the Russian government, not just for being peed on by Russian hookers, but for much more nefarious things.''
after spending the weekend talking to friends who work in dc i can safely(well, 'accurately'...) post the following things: 1-the russian dossier on trump is real. 100% real. he's being blackmailed by the russian government, not just for being peed on by russian hookers, but for much more nefarious things. 2-the trump administration is in collusion with the russian government, and has been since day one. 3-the trump administration needs a war, most likely with iran. at present they are putting u.s warships off the coast of iran in the hope that iran will attack one of the ships and give the u.s a pretense for invasion. 4-there are right wing plans to get rid of trump. he's a drain on their fundraising and their approval ratings, and the gop and koch brothers and other u.s right wing groups are planning to get rid of trump. 5-intelligence agencies around the world, and here in the u.s, are horrified by the incompetence of the trump administration, and are working to present information that will lead to high level firings and, ultimately, impeachment. i'm writing these things so that when/if these things happen there will be a public record beforehand. these are truly baffling and horrifying times, as we have an incompetent president who is essentially owned by a foreign power. -moby
A post shared by moby X''‹X (@moby) on Feb 13, 2017 at 8:49am PST
The post added that the Trump administration has been colluding with the Russian government ''since day one,'' and Trump was putting warships off the coast of Iran ''in the hope that Iran will attack one of the ships and give the US a pretense for invasion.''
''I'm writing these things so that when/if these things happen there will be a public record beforehand,'' Moby tweeted. ''These are truly baffling and horrifying times, as we have an incompetent president who is essentially owned by a foreign power.''
The post received just over 5,000 likes in the last year.
VIDEO - ALEX, INC. Official Trailer (HD) Zach Braff ABC Comedy Series - YouTube
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:14
VIDEO - Media Meltdown over Trump's S-Word: 'Nazi,' 'Evil,' 'KKK,' 'Terrorist Sympathizer' :: Grabien News
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:46
Media Meltdown over Trump's S-Word: 'Nazi,' 'Evil,' 'KKK,' 'Terrorist Sympathizer'
The media reaction to President Trump using the word "sh*thole" to describe countries some immigrants are fleeing was swift, harsh, and ... hysterically hyperbolic.
In the hours after The Washington Post's report surfaced, reporters and anchors on the major news networks called the president "evil," a "neo-Nazi," a "terrorist sympathizer," a "danger" to non-white Americans, and so, so much more.
To help keep track of it all, we've assembled the following compendium of the most unhinged media reactions to Trump's comments over the last 18 hours.
1) A writer at The Root, Jason Johnson, said these comments show Trump is a "white supremacist," a "terrorist sympathizer," and a "danger" to non-whites.
"The president is a white supremacist," Johnson said Thursday night on MSNBC. "Our president is a terrorist sympathizer. Our president is a clear and present danger to nonwhite people in America. It's that simple. There's no reason to pretend that's not what's going on."
[Video, transcript]
2) MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said Friday morning that Trump's use of the word "sh*thole" proves his theory that the commander-in-chief is suffering from early-onset dementia.
"Let me just say, everybody knows that granddad and grandmom and people with early onset of dementia, I know this, say things that they would have never said five or six years ago," Scarborough said. "Just ask members of my family and my mom about how they'll say stinging things about you or other people. I'm just saying."
[Video, transcript]
3) Stephen Colbert used Trump's comments to say that America is the real "sh*thole" because ... we elected him president.
"Trump reportedly said why are we having all these people from [bleep]hole countries come here," the CBS host said during his monologue. "Sir, they're not [bleep]hole countries, for one, Donald Trump isn't their president. Am I right?"
[Video, transcript]
4) MSNBC's Donny Deutsch said Trump's comments prove he's not only "racist" but also "insane," "crazy" and an "evil, evil man."
"I think there's a word we have to start to use with Donald Trump in addition to all of the crazy talk," Deutsch said. "If you take Charlottesville and his blessing and love of or kinship with understanding there are nice Nazis out there, if we take his implied support of a pedophile, and now if we take this additional, very clear racist thing, he is an evil man. We don't talk about that a lot. We talk about he's insane, he's crazy. That's evil. This is just an evil, evil man."
[Video, transcript]
5) MSNBC guest and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, Erika Andiola, said the comment proves Trump's policies are rooted in "white supremacy."
"A lot of this has been rooted in white supremacy since the beginning," she told Joy Ann Reid. "These policies are rooted in racism."
[Video, transcript]
6) Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said the comment shows that Trump "could lead the Ku Klux Klan in the United States of America." He's "somebody who could be the leader of the neo-nazis."
[Video, transcript]
7) On CNN, anchors and reporters used the report as an apparent justification for swearing on the air, repeatedly and enthusiastically. While condemning the president for using vulgarity, these anchors used the offending word over and over and over. So many times, in fact, that we made the following supercut:
[Video, transcript]
8) After former Trump campaign staffer Jason Miller defended Trump's comments, CNN contributor Ana Navarro suffered a complete meltdown, screaming and becoming unusually emotional:
[Video, transcript]
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.
VIDEO - Trump's Comment Hurt Cooper's Feeli | The Daily Caller
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:44
CNN's Anderson Cooper held back tears Thursday night as he described his emotional connection to the country of Haiti in response to President Donald Trump's reported characterization of the country as a ''shithole.''
Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and a group of African nations as ''shithole countries'' during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, who gathered at the White House to discuss the fate of immigrants affected by the roll back of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked widespread condemnation among Democratic lawmakers and pundits, eager to cast the description as racist.
Cooper's voice wavered as he countered Trump's narrative by recounting the strength and resilience he saw on display in Haiti while reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2010.
''I've never met a Haitian that isn't strong. You have to be to survive in a place here the government has often abandoned its people, where opportunities are few and where mother nature has punished the people far more than anybody should ever be punished,'' Cooper said.
''But let me be clear tonight, the people of Haiti have been through more, they've been through more and they've withstood more. They fought back against more injustice than our president ever has,'' Cooper said as a chyron reading ''Hearts with Haiti'' filled the screen.
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VIDEO - Ana Navarro Gets Into CNN Shouting Fight | The Daily Caller
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:43
Ana Navarro started screaming at the camera when discussing President Trump's recent immigration comments on CNN Friday morning.
''But you know what, President Trump is gonna get that done, but the political left is going immediately to the personal attacks because they have no argument,'' said Jason Miller in regard to an immigration bill, former senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign.
''Let me tell you something, this isn't about you and me,'' Navarro, whose voice became suddenly and audibly shrill as she discussed the issue.
''You can't even sit there and watch the president's own words without calling John Burman in New Day ridiculous because you don't even have the face to look be able to look at his own words. This program isn't putting words in his mouth, they're quoting him. That's him on video. Those are his words, he has been a racist his entire life,'' screamed Navarro.
''Ana, you're melting. You're melting Ana,'' responded Miller.
''Oh no, I'm not melting, I'm not a snowflake. You know who I am, I am an American citizen with a voice and a vote,'' she contended.
Miller butted in, saying, ''It's not even springtime and you're melting.''
''Do not offend me Jason, I don't say that you look like a bafoon trying to make sense of what this man is saying. This is about Donald Trump being a racist, I don't care what you say. This is about the haitian kids and the African kids and the people that come from sh**hole countries,'' continued Navarro until the argumentation became inaudible as all three voice attempted to hold the reigns of the commentary.
''Let him pass DACA and I'll give him credit,'' finished Navarro, even though the president has said he will not pass DACA without first discussing the border wall.
Throughout the exchange, host John Berman attempted, unsuccessfully, to control the dialogue.
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VIDEO - CNN's Chris Cuomo Says Trump Is A ' | The Daily Caller
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:42
CNN Host Chris Cuomo went on an emotional rant last night over president Trump's Thursday ''shithole'' comments.
To begin Cuomo's segment, he wrote on a whiteboard. The whiteboard said ''This Is Who He Is:'' Cuomo then wrote the word ''S-H-I-T-H-O-L-E'' on the board saying:
The president is just showing you who he is. This is who he is, OK? We sum it up in a word, okay? There it is.
Cuomo then began to explain that he did not want to teach his children this word, but he oddly made sure that they were watching him spell it out on a whiteboard that evening.
It's a bad word. My kids are watching right now. I don't want to teach my kids and your kids a bad word, our president decided to make that choice.
Cuomo claimed ''hiding from the word'' is a mistake and that Trump is in essence a racist because of his comments on Charlottesville and the Mexican border.
A word of advice: If you self-righteously do not want to teach children a bad word, don't spell it out on a whiteboard on national TV and force your children to watch.
VIDEO - CNN Host Cries Over Trump Comments | The Daily Caller
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:41
CNN's Alisyn Camerota, cohost of the show New Day, burst into tears Friday morning on New Day.
''Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?'' POTUS reportedly asked while negotiating an immigration deal on Thursday.
''Guys, thank you very much for having this really important conversation. I feel a little lame for getting emotional, but if Phil Mudd, that tough guy from the CIA, who can snap a man's neck with his bare hands, if he can get emotional and teary as he was about all of this, then I guess that it's all free game for all of us,'' said Alisyn Camerota through a flurry of tears. She held a tear-soaked napkin in her hand as she explained herself.
''Alisyn, it's your humanity, it's your humanity, it's your humanity, and that is appreciated,'' declared CNN Political Analyst April Ryan.
Editor's Note:Camerota began crying initially after reading a tweet from Bill Kristol in regard to an immigrant from Ghana, not directly while discussing Trump's comments as this article previously stated
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VIDEO - CNN's Philip Mudd Blasts Trump on Immigrant Comments | Thursday, 11 January 2018 - YouTube
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:40
VIDEO - CNN Obsessed With 'Shithole' [VIDEO | The Daily Caller
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:40
CNN anchors and pundits were seemingly disgusted by President Donald Trump's ''shithole countries'' comment, but gleefully repeated his comments over and over again.
When they first started reporting on Trump allegedly asking why the U.S. was accepting immigrants from ''shithole countries,'' CNN seemed unsure as to whether they should say the word or censor it by saying ''s-hole,'' ''bleep-hole,'' or some other combination.
However, a couple of hours after the news broke, CNN clearly decided that they were going all-in on saying ''shithole.''
Jim Acosta, John Avlon, John Berman, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and a number of other anchors and contributors dropped the s-bomb with no regrets.
''New Day'' cohost Alisyn Camerota said she personally felt uncomfortable saying ''shithole,'' but her cohost John Berman laughed and said he had no problem repeating the word.
''I'll be the one that says it,'' Berman exclaimed, while contributor John Avlon justified, ''the president said it, I'll say it.''
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VIDEO - Las Vegas police push for more secrecy in Route 91 shooting investigation | KSNV
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:56
Lawyers representing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have filed a 13-page response to the media lawsuit seeking to unseal the Route 91 shooting investigation. (KSNV file)
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) '-- Lawyers representing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have filed a 13-page response to the media lawsuit seeking to unseal the Route 91 shooting investigation.
LVMPD's response claims ongoing secrecy is necessary.
''Despite the death of Stephen Paddock, there remains an active criminal investigation,'' writes LVMPD's private attorney, Jackie Nichols.
RELATED |Media lawsuit to unseal 14 search warrants executed in mass shooting investigation
The response also states that ongoing privacy is necessary ''during the pre-indictment stage of an investigation,'' without saying if an indictment is pending.
In the hours and days following the Oct. 1 massacre, detectives obtained 14 search warrants in connection with Stephen Paddock.
Without a pending criminal trial or the ongoing search for suspects, attorneys for News 3 and other media have argued for public disclosure.
In their opposition filing, LVMPD declares such disclosure would be damaging to police.
''Access would reveal investigative techniques used by law enforcement,'' according to the legal filing.
Documents obtained by News 3 reveal an effort to seize text messages on at least two phones connected to Paddock, along with the contents of a Google e-mail account.
If unsealed, search warrant filings would likely contain significant information about other people and evidence that police encountered early in the investigation.
A hearing to potentially decide the matter has been scheduled for Jan. 16 at 8:30 a.m., in Las Vegas.
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