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The Paris Opera, the Eiffel Tower and over a dozen museums are closed, with shops in high-end neighborhoods planning to close this coming weekend as a precaution against the violence and vandalism of the past several weeks.
The Gilets Jaunes revolt of the French working class in numerous French cities and now spreading to neighboring countries was initially a rebellion against the ''green'' carbon tax placed on gasoline and Diesel fuel enacted by President Emmanuel Macron per the UN Paris Accord Treaty.
This tax is the most out-of-touch, let-them-eat-cake, ridiculous Neoliberal nightmare imaginable. It was designed to push drivers off the road to lower emissions but it disproportionately affected those who can't afford to live in high-rent cities where there is mass transit.
Historically, the French have beheaded their leaders for less! France is already the highest-taxed country in the developed world and the economy has stagnated in recent years.
Macron was forced to cancel the carbon tax after protesters refused to relent. They remain at an impasse about restoring the wealth tax which he'd canceled and which earned the former Rothschild banker the sobriquet, ''President of the Rich''.
More rioting and a parliamentary vote of no confidence are expected next week, which could conceivably culminate in Macron's dismissal, given that his popularity sank from 23% to 18% over the past week.
Meanwhile, the incredible stupidity of the Globalist elite, as represented by their minion, Macron appears to have united French workers of every political persuasion. As one protestor says here, ''Everybody feels human again'...We are the French people.''
Yellow Jackets: investigation of a possible foreign interference - Le Parisien
Les services de renseignement v(C)rifient le r´le de r(C)seaux sociaux li(C)s l'(C)tranger qui auraient pu tenter d'amplifier la mobilisation des Gilets jaunes.Des activistes en ligne ont-ils cherch(C) amplifier depuis l'(C)tranger la col¨re, bien r(C)elle, des Gilets jaunes fran§ais ? C'est ce que cherche savoir le Secr(C)tariat g(C)n(C)ral de la d(C)fense et de la s(C)curit(C) nationale (SGDSN).
Cet organisme d(C)pendant du Premier ministre coordonne actuellement les v(C)rifications des services de renseignement fran§ais, et notamment de la DGSI, pour faire la lumi¨re sur une possible ing(C)rence (C)trang¨re dans l'activit(C) des r(C)seaux sociaux. Les investigations portent sur les conditions dans lesquelles certains comptes ont (C)t(C) cr(C)(C)s ainsi que sur l'activit(C) suspecte de sites d(C)multipliant l'information et le commentaire de mani¨re automatis(C)e.
Une ing(C)rence russe ?Le journal britannique The Times, se fondant sur une analyse laquelle il a eu acc¨s, (C)voque ce samedi le r´le de centaines de comptes de r(C)seaux sociaux li(C)s la Russie >> ayant cherch(C) amplifier les manifestations de rue qui ont secou(C) la France >>. De source proche de l'enquªte fran§aise, on se montre cependant prudent.
Si l'int(C)rªt des m(C)dias russes pour ce ph(C)nom¨ne social et politique appara®t (C)vident, avec une couverture tr¨s critique de la gestion de la crise par le gouvernement fran§ais, aucun (C)l(C)ment objectif >>, selon un bon connaisseur du dossier, ne permet d'(C)tablir un lien technique entre l'effervescence sur les r(C)seaux sociaux et les services russes. Pour l'heure, la justice n'est pas saisie.
La fuite, vendredi soir, d'une bonne partie du dispositif de s(C)curit(C) de la pr(C)fecture de police de Paris, dont plusieurs documents ont (C)t(C) mis en ligne sur un forum alternatif, ne serait pas li(C)e. Celle-ci fait l'objet d'investigations judiciaires confi(C)es la PJ parisienne par le parquet de Paris.
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De Jonge legt uit waarom Nederland Marrakesh tekent - Elsevier Weekblad
Vicepremier Hugo de Jonge (CDA) weet opeens heel veel over het pact van Marrakesh, bleek na de ministerraad. Anderhalve maand geleden had hij er nog nooit van gehoord. Help me even, zei hij toen op een vraag van Elsevier Weekblad.
Als vervanger van premier Mark Rutte (VVD), die op handelsmissie is naar Colombia, mocht hij deze vrijdag vertellen waarom het kabinet in december het pact gaat omarmen.
In tegenstelling tot op 19 oktober, sprak hij er honderduit over en legde hij omstandig uit hoe het pact pas laat op de agenda was gekomen en waarom het kabinet na lange juridische analyse had besloten het pact te ondersteunen.
'Het kabinet meent dat er meer moet worden samengewerkt op migratiegebied om bijvoorbeeld illegale immigratie te voorkomen. Die samenwerking werkt beter als je er afspraken over hebt gemaakt en die staan in dit compact,' zei De Jonge.
Geen verplichtingenHij ontkende dat er verplichtingen in verwerkt zijn '' 'het is niet bindend' '' anders dan die waaraan Nederland op grond van internationale verdragen toch al moet voldoen. 'Het is een gezamenlijke agenda waarmee de internationale samenwerking op gebied van immigratie wordt versterkt. En het is een diplomatiek instrument. Het tast de soevereiniteit niet aan.'
Het kabinet had vrijdag ook besloten om in Marrakesh een 'standpuntverklaring' (zie kader) te presenteren waarin duidelijk staat dat het pact niet bindend is.
Waarom een inlegvelletje?Waarom een inlegvelletje en waarom een wekenlange juridische analyse van een document waarvan het kabinet toch zo zeker wist dat het niet bindend is? Dat had het kabinet gedaan vanwege de 'onrust' in de Tweede Kamer en in de samenleving die vorige maand plotseling was ontstaan.
De Jonge doelde op de aandacht in de media en de kritiek van de Kamerfracties van PVV, SGP en vooral Forum voor Democratie van Thierry Baudet die er honderd Kamervragen over stelde. Kritiek die regeringspartijen CDA en VVD opeens ook deed twijfelen.
Lees verder onder het kader
Harbers beantwoordt 100 vragen Baudet
Door Matthijs van Schie
Vrijdagmiddag kwam staatssecretaris van Justitie en Veiligheid Mark Harbers (VVD) met zijn antwoorden op de 100 Kamervragen die Forum voor Democratie-fractievoorzitter Thierry Baudet hem vorige maand had gesteld. Omdat het pact 'geen juridisch bindend document' is, niet door lidstaten wordt geratificeerd en dus geen verdrag is, is opzegging niet aan de orde, schrijft Harbers.
Op de meeste vragen van Baudet, die doelstellingen uit het VN-pact aanhaalt, reageert de staatssecretaris dat het gaat om 'een vrijwillige beleidsoptie die het GCM (Global Compact for Migration) voorstelt'. In veel gevallen verandert het bestaande Nederlandse migratiebeleid volgens Harbers niet door het pact. Hij meent dat procedures om migratie 'ordentelijk' te laten verlopen in met name Afrikaanse landen nog vaak ontbreken, en dat het pact juist die landen handvatten kan bieden.
Naast de 100 antwoorden stuurde Harbers ook een aanvullende brief naar de Tweede Kamer. Daarin stelt hij dat het pact van Marrakesh in juridisch opzicht niet vergelijkbaar is met de Urgenda-zaak '' die de Nederlandse staat verplicht meer te doen om de CO2-uitstoot terug te dringen '' omdat het pact niet verder gaat dan verplichtingen waar Nederland 'al aan moet voldoen op basis van onder andere het EVRM en EHRM-uitspraken'. In de kwestie Urgenda, waartegen de Nederlandse staat in cassatie gaat, waren afspraken uit het door Nederland ondertekende klimaatakkoord van Parijs volgens de rechter w(C)l in conflict met bindende bepalingen uit het Europees Verdrag voor de Rechten van de Mens.
Nederland gaat de zogenoemde standpuntverklaring '' ook wel bekend als het 'inlegvel' '' opstellen samen met 'een brede groep Europese landen', is te lezen in de brief. Behalve het benadrukken van het belang van de aanpak van irreguliere migratie, moet dat ook nogmaals het 'niet-bindende karakter van het GCM en de soevereiniteit van staten bevestigen'. Daarbij noemt Harbers expliciet de mogelijkheid om onderscheid te maken tussen reguliere en irreguliere migranten.
Er mag geen misinterpretatie zijnDe Jonge over het inlegvelletje: 'Omdat er geen enkele misinterpretatie mag zijn, vonden wij het verstandig het zo te doen.'
Nederland overlegt met andere landen om dat inlegvelletje ook te ondersteunen. De vicepremier vertelde niet met welke landen Nederland dat wil doen.
Op een spervuur van vragen bleef hij ontkennen dat Nederland de grenzen met dit verdrag verder open zet. Dat rechters straks toch terugvallen op dit pact om niet toegelaten immigranten toch toegang tot Nederland te verlenen, sluit De Jonge uit. Die kunnen volgens hem alleen verwijzen naar bestaande verdragen.
Lees alles over het pact in het coververhaal van 17 november: Mijd Marrakesh!
Ja hoor, Mark Rutte en kornuiten doen w(C)(C)r een inlegvelletje: 'Aanvullende verklaring toevoegen aan Marrakesh pact' '' De Dagelijkse Standaard
Het VN-migratiepact heeft de discussie rond de migranten uit Afrika weer doen oplaaien. Linda Polman (foto), journaliste en schrijfster van twee boeken over Afrika, doet in een recent interview (De Telegraaf, 27 november 2018, p. 20) allerlei beweringen over de Afrikaanse bevolking. Het is de moeite waard om deze beweringen nader te bekijken, omdat ze wel vaker gebruikt worden om de discussie in een bepaalde richting te sturen.
Polman beweert dat:
1. Het geld van ontwikkelingshulp gaat niet naar de meest behoeftigen, maar naar zogenaamde agenda's. Hiermee verwijst ze naar de Millenniumdoelen. Dat zijn onder andere minder armoede, werk voor iedereen, minder honger en meer meisjes in het onderwijs. Dit zijn toch echt doelen die gericht zijn op het dagelijkse leven van de armsten. (Bron: UN, We can end poverty)
2. In Europa heerst de angst dat de Afrikaanse bevolking explodeert van 1,2 miljard naar 2,5 miljard in 2050. Volgens het Population Reference Bureau zal de bevolking van Afrika groeien van nu 1284 miljoen naar 2586 miljoen in 2050. (Bron: PRB, Population Data Sheet) De projecties van dit instituut zijn zeer betrouwbaar gebleken. Voor het jaar 2100 worden ruim 4 miljard mensen berekend. Pas aan het einde van de eeuw zal het gemiddelde kindertal per vrouw gedaald zijn tot 2 3. Het woord 'angst' moet suggereren dat het allemaal wel meevalt.
3. Dat komt allemaal hierheen. In Europa denken we echt niet dat ze 'allemaal' hierheen komen. We beschikken namelijk over onderzoek ter plekke, dat uitwijst dat 35 miljoen Afrikanen serieus overwegen om naar Europa te migreren. (Bron: Afrobarometer, 2018)
4. Dus betalen we om de Afrikaanse bevolking te stoppen. Alsof zoiets kan. Geboortebeperking is een fantasie. Het kan niet alleen, het gebeurt al. In drie landen, Ethiopi, Malawi en Rwanda loopt al twintig jaar een experiment met geboortebeperking. In deze landen wordt vooral gewerkt met de prikpil, daarnaast is het aantal sterilisaties sterk toegenomen. Het voordeel van de prikpil is dat het 2 3 maanden werkt zonder dat de vrouw daar verder omkijken naar heeft. Uit de sterke toename van het gebruik van de prikpil blijkt volgens het rapport 'dat gezinsplanning in deze drie landen een culturele norm is geworden'. (Bron: USAID, Three succesfull sub-saharan familyplanning programs)
5. Een programma om de bevolkingsgroei te stoppen, is veel ingewikkelder dan om kinderen een prikje te geven tegen polio. Er zullen complete staatsbestellen omver moeten'... Dat zijn langdurige, culturele veranderingen. Dit lijkt op de traditionele marxistische roep om revolutie teneinde een nieuwe orde te construeren. In werkelijkheid zijn er in het verleden tal van marxistische experimenten geweest in Afrika, die alleen maar hebben geleid tot meer armoede. Dat is die armoede die Polman juist wil bestrijden.
6. De migratie uit Afrika ligt op gemiddeld 100.000 mensen per jaar. Het aantal moet suggereren dat het allemaal wel meevalt. Het gaat ook helemaal niet om het aantal. Het gaat om de vraag: wat moeten wij met deze mensen? In Europa zijn we bezig met digitalisering en robotisering en mensen boven de 50 worden werkloos. Terug naar de feiten. In Afrika maakt maar 1 op de 3 mannen de middelbare school af. Slechts 1 procent komt in het hoger onderwijs terecht. De gemiddelde Afrikaan heeft 7 jaar minder onderwijs genoten dan de gemiddelde Europeaan als hij 18 jaar oud is. (Bron: Worldbank, At the crossroad, 2008, p. 20 en 21). Afrika kan dus voornamelijk mensen leveren die in Europa worden gezien als laaggeschoold. Deze mensen zijn kansloos op de arbeidsmarkt in Europa.
7. Uit Oost-Europa komen vier keer zoveel mensen als uit Afrika. Dit is een kromme vergelijking. De migranten uit Oost-Europa komen legaal, namelijk als gevolg van akkoorden in het kader van de EU. Ze hebben opleidingen en diploma's die voor de toetreding zijn vergeleken en kunnen dus meteen aan de slag. Bovendien hebben ze een Europese culturele achtergrond en spreken ze vaak de taal van het aankomstland. Tenslotte is de kans bij hen veel groter dat ze terugkeren naar het land van herkomst als ze geen werk meer hebben.
8. Migratie tegenhouden vergt een heel andere inspanning. Begin eens met een goede publieksvoorlichting, zodat we leren zonder angst naar de migratiecijfers uit Afrika te kijken. Hoe kunnen we migratie tegenhouden? Door zonder angst te kijken naar de cijfers. Kennelijk kunnen we de bootjes op de Middellandse Zee tegenhouden door magisch denken. Het zit allemaal tussen onze oren: we moeten ons wereldbeeld kantelen en dan is plotseling alles opgelost. Dit klinkt heel erg als het vertrouwde marxistische wensdenken dat als we onze ideologische kaders maar loslaten, de echte mens als bij toverslag in ons boven komt.
Linda Polman is niet de enige die de oude marxistische leugens en mythes over ons heen gooit als een verstikkende deken. In de media trof ik nog een paar juweeltjes:
9. Afrikanen krijgen veel kinderen, omdat ze overwegend katholiek zijn en de paus nog veel invloed heeft in Afrika. Als we kijken naar het aantal kinderen per vrouw in de Afrikaanse landen, blijkt dat die het hoogste is in de islamitische landen in het noorden. In Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso en Tsjaad ligt de vruchtbaarheid tussen 5,5 en 7 kinderen. In Somali op 6,0. Het lijkt onwaarschijnlijk dat dit is vanwege de invloed van de paus. In de overwegend katholieke landen meer aan de kust, zoals Ghana, Ivoorkust en Benin ligt de vruchtbaarheid tussen 3,9 en 5,0. Ondanks de invloed van de paus? Ook in Centraal Afrika ligt de vruchtbaarheid rond de 5,0, met uitzondering van Angola. In andere katholieke landen, zoals Spanje, Itali en Latijns Amerika krijgen de vrouwen gemiddeld maar 2 kinderen of zelfs minder. De invloed van de paus is dus geen beslissende factor. (Bron: PRB Data sheet 2018)
10. Afrikanen krijgen veel kinderen als zekerheid voor de oude dag. Dit veronderstelt dat hoe meer kinderen een echtpaar krijgt, ze beter onderhouden kunnen worden als ze ouder worden. Maar klopt deze veronderstelling? In 2003 maakte de groep van 15 tot 24 jaar 63 % uit van de werklozen, terwijl ze maar 33 % van de populatie uitmaakt (Bron: Africarenewal). De situatie is sindsdien niet verbeterd. De ILO schatte in 2017 dat 70 % van de jongeren werk deed ver onder hun opleidingsniveau en dat jeugdwerkloosheid met 80 % was gegroeid. (Bron: Africarenewal). Jeugdwerkloosheid betekent dat jongeren jarenlang niet of nauwelijks bijdragen aan de familiehuishouding. Ze zijn eerder een last voor hun ouders en familie dan een inkomstenbron. Minder kinderen is de meest efficinte manier om jeugdwerkloosheid tegen te gaan.
11. Afrikanen krijgen veel kinderen, omdat het Westen ondoordacht betere medische zorg heeft gebracht en daardoor de kindersterfte sterk is gedaald. De VN probeert al sinds de jaren 1970 om de Afrikaanse landen te bewegen tot gezinsplanning, maar dit werd altijd afgewezen. In 1994 heeft de VN de laatste bevolkingsconferentie gehouden. De uitkomst van de conferentie werd geformuleerd in 200 aanbevelingen met focus op sociale veranderingen, zoals verbetering van de positie van de vrouw, om gezinsplanning te bevorderen. De resultaten van dit programma zijn op zijn best magertjes. In landen als Egypte en Bangladesh is de vruchtbaarheid in de periode 1995-2015 nauwelijks gedaald (Bron: PRB, What was Cairo?). Het wordt dus tijd om iets anders te proberen.
Met een dergelijke stap wordt de N-VA richting uitgang gedwongen, dreigde N-VA-voorzitter Bart De Wever zaterdagavond. Maar Michel liet zich niet chanteren. Op een ingelaste persconferentie maakte hij duidelijk dat hij de N-VA-bewindslieden in zijn regeringsploeg zal vervangen door twee staatssecretarissen. De regeringsploeg, die al bekend stond als het 'kibbelkabinet', zal verder gaan als een minderheidskabinet. Volgend jaar mei zijn er sowieso verkiezingen gepland.
De N-VA liet de Belgische regering nadrukkelijk bungelen na een chaotische week. Op een ingelaste kabinetsvergadering zaterdagavond (uren uitgesteld door protest van de 'Gele Hesjes' in Brussel) werd al gauw duidelijk dat de N-VA en de andere drie coalitiepartijen recht tegenover elkaar staan. De Vlaams-nationalisten, de grootste partij binnen de samenwerking, zijn fel tegen het migratiepact.
Voorzitter en politiek brein van de partij Bart De Wever schitterde deze week door afwezigheid voor de schermen, maar trok alsnog de regie naar zich toe. Maar nog altijd wilde hij de definitieve doodsklap niet geven. Slim kaatste hij de bal weer terug naar de andere regeringspartijen, beducht om de schuld van de val van de regering in de schoenen geschoven te krijgen.
Omdat de N-VA pas zo laat aan de noodrem trekt, vroeg hij niet eens om een tegenstem maakte hij zaterdag duidelijk. Voor de N-VA zou het genoeg zijn als Belgi zich zou onthouden van stemming. Maar dit was onaanvaardbaar voor de Vlaamse partijen CD&V en Open VLD en voor de MR van premier Michel, de enige Franstalige partij in het kabinet.
Afgelopen week ontstond een politieke soap met tal van plotwendingen. Nadat de Vlaams-nationalistische N-VA eerst op hoge toon had geist dat Michel niet naar Marrakesh zou gaan namens de regering, weigerde de partij het kabinet te laten vallen toen duidelijk werd dat de andere drie regeringspartijen in het parlement op zoek gingen naar steun voor het pact.
'Marrakesh-coalitie'Michel wil zonder N-VA voorlopig door. De Wever suggereerde dat dit laatste, een 'Marrakesh-coalitie' perfect mogelijk zou zijn. 'Er is een twee derde meerderheid, ze kunnen verder zonder ons. Dat hebben ze duidelijk gemaakt door met veel gretigheid ons voorstel af te wijzen.''
In Marrakesh is maandag de topconferentie van de Verenigde Naties waarop het migratiepact op tafel ligt, een 34 pagina's tellend document dat richtlijnen over een ordelijke en veilige migratie. De N-VA vreest dat migranten met het pact in de hand meer rechten kunnen opeisen en dat landen niet meer soeverein kunnen beslissen over hun eigen migratiebeleid.
Volg de laatste ontwikkelingen rond de spanningen in het Belgische kabinet via onze correspondent Brussel Ruud Mikkers.
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Dieptepunt in Belgische soap rond migratiepact: Kabinet verder zonder N-VA | Buitenland | AD.nl
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EU-taskforce tegen nepnieuws fors uitgebreid | Politiek | AD.nl
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AD deelt de informatie die zij verkrijgt middels het gebruik van cookies en vergelijkbare technieken, waaronder ook persoonsgegevens, in een samenwerkingsverband genaamd NLProfiel van Buymedia Nederland met Sanoma en Telegraaf Media Groep om gezamenlijke groepsprofielen op te stellen. Door op 'Ja, ik accepteer cookies' te klikken, ga je akkoord met de verstrekking van jouw (persoons)gegevens aan Sanoma en Telegraaf Media Groep voor de totstandkoming van de gezamenlijke groepsprofielen.
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$5 Milliion extra-European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - A Europe that Protects: The EU steps up action against disinformation
European Commission - Press releaseBrussels, 5 December 2018
To protect its democratic systems and public debates and in view of the 2019 European elections as well as a number of national and local elections that will be held in Member States by 2020, the EU is presenting today an Action Plan to step up efforts to counter disinformation in Europe and beyond.
Taking stock of the progress made so far and following up on the call made by European leaders in June 2018 to protect the Union's democratic systems, the European Commission and the High Representative are setting out concrete measures to tackle disinformation, including the creation of a Rapid Alert System and close monitoring of the implementation of the Code of Practice signed by the online platforms. The Action Plan also foresees an increase of resources devoted to the issue.
High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said: ''Healthy democracy relies on open, free and fair public debate. It's our duty to protect this space and not allow anybody to spread disinformation that fuels hatred, division, and mistrust in democracy. As the European Union, we've decided to act together and reinforce our response, to promote our principles, to support the resilience of our societies, within our borders and in the neighbourhood. It's the European way to respond to one of the main challenges of our times."
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President responsible for the Digital Single Market, said: ''We need to be united and join our forces to protect our democracies against disinformation. We have seen attempts to interfere in elections and referenda, with evidence pointing to Russia as a primary source of these campaigns. To address these threats, we propose to improve coordination with Member States through a Rapid Alert System, reinforce our teams exposing disinformation, increase support for media and researchers, and ask online platforms to deliver on their commitments. Fighting disinformation requires a collective effort.''
Stepping up detection, response and awareness
The Action Plan '' prepared in close cooperation also with Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality VÄra Jourov; Commissioner for Security Union Julian King and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel - focuses on four areas key to effectively build up the EU's capabilities and strengthen cooperation between Member States and the EU:
Improved detection: Strategic Communication Task Forces and the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell in the European External Action Service (EEAS), as well as the EU delegations in the neighbourhood countries will be reinforced with significant additional specialised staff and data analysis tools. The EEAS' strategic communication budget to address disinformation and raise awareness about its adverse impact is expected to more than double, from '¬1.9 million in 2018 to '¬5 million in 2019. EU Member States should complement these measures by reinforcing their own means to deal with disinformation. Coordinated response: A dedicated Rapid Alert System will be set up among the EU institutions and Member States to facilitate the sharing of data and assessments of disinformation campaigns and to provide alerts on disinformation threats in real time. The EU institutions and Member States will also focus on proactive and objective communication on Union values and policies.Online platforms and industry:The signatories of the Code of Practice should swiftly and effectively implement the commitments made under the Code of Practice, focusing on actions that are urgent for the European elections in 2019. This includes in particular ensuring transparency of political advertising, stepping up efforts to close active fake accounts, labelling non-human interactions (messages spread automatically by 'bots') and cooperating with fact-checkers and academic researchers to detect disinformation campaigns and make fact-checked content more visible and widespread. The Commission, with the help of the European group of regulators in charge of audio-visual media services, will ensure a close and continuous monitoring of the implementation of the commitments.Raising awareness and empowering citizens: In addition to targeted awareness campaigns, the EU institutions and Member States will promote media literacy through dedicated programmes. Support will be provided to national multidisciplinary teams of independent fact-checkers and researchers to detect and expose disinformation campaigns across social networks.Finally, the Commission is today also reporting on the progress made in tackling online disinformation since the presentation of its Communication in April 2018.
The European Commission and the High Representative will develop and implement the measures set out in the Action Plan, in close cooperation with Member States and the European Parliament.
With a view to the European elections, the Rapid Alert System will be set up by March 2019. This will be complemented by further strengthening relevant resources.
The signatories of the Code of Practice will have to provide the first implementation update to the Commission by the end of 2018, which the Commission will then publish in January 2019. Between January and May, the online platforms will have to report to the Commission on a monthly basis. The Commission will also carry out a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the Code of Practice in its first 12 months. Should the implementation and the impact of the Code of Practice prove unsatisfactory, the Commission may propose further measures, including of a regulatory nature.
The European Union has been actively tackling disinformation since 2015. Followinga decision of the European Council in March 2015, in order to ''challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns", the East StratCom Task Forcein the European External Action Service (EEAS) was set up. The Task Force, together with the relevant Commission services, focuses on effectively communicating the EU's policies towards its eastern neighbourhood; strengthening the overall media environment in the eastern neighbourhood, including providing support for media freedom and strengthening independent media; and improving the EU's capacity to forecast, address and raise awareness of pro-Kremlin disinformation activities.
In 2016, the Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats was adopted, followed by the Joint Communication on increasing resilience and bolstering capabilities to address hybrid threats in 2018.
In April 2018, the Commission outlined a European approach and self-regulatory tools to tackle disinformation online, including an EU-wide Code of Practice against Disinformation, support for an independent network of fact-checkers, and tools to stimulate quality journalism. On 16 October, the Code of Practice was signed by Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla as well as the trade association representing online platforms and trade associations representing the advertising industry and advertisers.
In his 2018 State of the Union Address, President Juncker also put forward a set of concrete measures to make sure that next year's European Parliament elections are organised in a free, fair and secure manner. The measures include greater transparency in online political advertisements and the possibility to impose sanctions for the illegal use of personal data in order to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections.
For More Information
Action Plan Against DisinformationMEMO: Questions and Answers '' The EU steps up action against disinformationFactsheet: Action plan against disinformationCommunication on tackling online disinformation: a European approachReport on progress made in the implementation of the April CommunicationEU vs disinfo websiteCode of Practice against Online Disinformation and implementing roadmapsEurobarometer on democracy and electionsIP/18/6647
It's the latest bold, big-picture progressive policy idea that also fits on a campaign bumper sticker. Here's what it actually entails'--and why it might end up helping Democrats win elections in 2020.
As you may be aware, the planet on which you live has entered a perpetual state of being more or less on fire. And over the next few decades, scientists warn, the planet will somehow become even more on fire, unless we'--the United States, sure, but also the other 194 countries in the world, all of whom must constantly renegotiate the precise terms of their ever-more-fragile earthly coexistence'--do something drastic. Fast.
One such proposed intervention is a so-called Green New Deal, championed of late most prominently'--but certainly not solely'--by congresswoman-elect and living right-wing nightmare Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "This is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation," she said during a town hall convened by Bernie Sanders on Monday. "That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require."
What Ocasio-Cortez's version of a Green New Deal is and what it might become are two very different things. The long-term goal is to deliver the comprehensive piece of environmental and economic legislation in American history: an unholy mash-up of Roosevelt's Great Depression-era New Deal, an An Inconvenient Truth fever dream, and the Great Recession stimulus, infused with trillions of federal dollars and unleashed on an unsuspecting, carbon-belching nation. The short-term goal is...to form a congressional committee to study the possibility of doing those things someday. The Green New Deal, in other words, is an idea for an idea, and Ocasio-Cortez and company want to spend the 116th Congress fleshing it out.
According to that recent terrifying UN report, avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of global warming requires reducing 2010-level greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. Ocasio-Cortez's proposal is even more ambitious, aiming for the complete decarbonization of the American economy, including the energy production sector, within 10 years. To that end, she wants a House select committee to study the issue, hear from experts, investigate potential interventions, and then distill their findings into a concrete plan by January 1, 2020. And unlike previous big-picture climate change initiatives that have gone exactly nowhere, this committee would also be required to author an honest-to-God bill'--something on which the House and Senate could vote'--no more than 90 days after that.
About that bill, though: the committee wouldn't be responsible for passing it during this session of Congress. (In fact, the Ocasio-Cortez proposal actually prohibits the committee from taking action on this or any other piece of legislation.) This stipulation reflects the committee's exploratory fact-finding mission, as well as the political reality that no matter what the House does, a climate science-denying Republican senate and White House would almost certainly preclude its passage.
The strategy, instead, is to have a specific, substantive, and empirically-backed proposal on which Democratic candidates could campaign in 2020. (After three years of watching party leadership fail spectacularly to come up with a hashtaggable slogan on par with "Make America Great Again" or "Build That Wall," "Green New Deal" would be, like, eight gigantic steps in the right direction.) And if voters respond by delivering the White House and the Senate to Democrats, the party could waste no time implementing the plan when the new Congress begins in January 2021.
The Green New Deal includes one other gigantic feature that previous climate change-adjacent initiatives did not: a jobs guarantee. (That's the "New Deal" part of the title.) The committee's mandate requires that the plan'--and the legislation'--provide for full equality of opportunity, in the form of "a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to everyone who wants one." It also encourages the committee to incorporate into its recommendations policies like universal basic income and single-payer healthcare, if it finds that they would serve its purpose.
If the Green New Deal succeeds where its predecessors have failed, this s how it will do so: by framing badly-needed but decidedly unsexy environmental legislation as the biggest, best "jobs bill" imaginable. People may have grown weary of the latest, shrillest warnings about rising sea levels; if you're worried about stagnating wages, the consequences of climate change can feel impossibly distant. But if the task of addressing global warming means that they get a job, and training, and health insurance along the way? Suddenly, everyone has a personal and vested interest in saving the planet.
A Green New Deal bill could solve one of the most vexing problems that plagues the efforts of climate change activists: Schemes to reduce reliance on fossil fuels inevitably imperil a certain set of jobs, which are backed by powerful labor unions that work to preserve their future. President Trump is physically unable to set foot in Pennsylvania without screaming about "clean coal," an oxymoronic rallying cry embraced by those who depend on the mining industry. By focusing throughout on the legislation's economic impact'--and creating new jobs to replace the ones it may kill'--the Green New Deal committee might be able to mitigate this concern.
The second problem the Green New Deal targets is the prevailing conservative argument against global warming legislation that isn't outright science denial: The idea that the problem is simply too complex, and that since no consensus solution exists, it is prudent to sit on our hands and wait for Waterworld to become real life. Having a tangible bill that everyone could debate and judge on the merits would eliminate this cynical appeal to abstraction and/or helplessness. And there's buy-in: More than a dozen Democrats, from elder statesman John Lewis to freshmen representatives Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, have already declared their support.
There is some opposition from within the party, but it basically centers on the possibility that a select committee could undermine the existing Congressional committees that Democrats will soon inherit. "We've got people who are in charge of these committees who are very progressive, and I just don't see the need for the select committee," says Frank Pallone, the incoming chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. "We can have grand goals," adds Peter DeFazio, who will head the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, "but let's be realistic about how we get there."
Pallone and DeFazio boast solid progressive voting records of their own, and there's little reason to doubt that they care about this issue, too. But only in Congress could a group of 435 people entrusted with the fate of this country look at a looming global catastrophe and decide that addressing it isn't worth the trouble of rejiggering entrenched responsibilities. The whole point of select committees is to "examine emerging issues" that "cut across jurisdictional boundaries"; frankly, the fact that no committee has the clear authority to draft a Green New Deal-esque bill sounds like a good argument for creating one.
Speaking of which: Both Pallone and DeFazio have served in Congress for longer than Ocasio-Cortez has been alive, and despite their best efforts during periods of both Democratic and Republican leadership, the planet's prognosis has failed to improve. These results constitute pretty compelling evidence that it is time for legislators to consider taking a different approach. No one, including Ocasio-Cortez, knows if the plan will yield anything better than the status quo. But it's hard to imagine how it could be worse.
Select Committee for a Green New Deal - Draft Text | United States Congressional Committee | United States Government
5. additi onally , be res ponsiv e to, an d in acc ordanc e with , the go als and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality set fort h in paragraph 2. In addit ion to prep aring th e Plan as set f orth in pa ragraph ( 2)(A)( i), the se lect committee shall prepare draft legislation for the enactment of the Plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the ''draft legislation''), in accordance with this section. Such draft legislation may be prepared concurrently with the development of the Plan, or as the select committee may otherwise deem appropriate, provided that such finalized draft legislation shall be completed in accordance with the timing set forth in paragraph (5)(B)(ii). 2. INVES TIGAT IVE JURI SDICT ION '-- In furt heranc e of the mandat e set forth in par agraph (2)(A), the select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource. The select committee may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.
1. Except as s pecif ied in paragra ph (2), the sel ect com mitte e shall have th e authorit ies and responsibilities of, and shall be subject to the same limitations and restrictions as, a standing committee of the House, and shall be deemed a committee of the House for all purposes of law or rule. 1. Rules [to be c onfirm ed by ref erence to over all Hou se Rule s pack age] (Organization of Committees) and [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business) shall apply to the select committee where not inconsistent with this resolution. 2. Servi ce on the sel ect com mitte e shall no t count ag ainst t he limit ations o n committee or subcommittee service in Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees).
1. The sele ct comm ittee m ay use the s ervic es of sta ff of the H ouse and ma y, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, use the services of external consultants or experts in furtherance of its mandate; 2. The sele ct comm ittee s hall be eli gible for i nterim f unding pu rsuant t o clause [ to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] of Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Interim Funding - Organization of Committees); and 1
DRAFT TEXT FOR PROPOSED ADDENDUM TO HOUSE RULES FOR 116TH CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
1. ESTABLISHMENT; COMPOSITION +
ESTABLISHMENT '-- There is hereby established a Select Committee For A Green New Deal (hereinafter in this section referred to as the ''select committee'').
COMPOSITION '-- The select committee shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the Speaker, of whom 6 may be appointed on the recommendation of the Minority Leader. The Speaker shall designate one member of the select committee as its chair. A vacancy in the membership of the select committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment
2. JURISDICTION; FUNCTIONS +
The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the ''Plan for a Green New Deal'' or the ''Plan'') for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan shall: be prepared in consultation with experts and leaders from business, labor, state and local governments, academia and broadly representative civil society groups and communities; be driven by the federal government, in collaboration, co-creation and partnership with business, labor, state and local governments, research institutions and civil society groups and communities; be executed in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of such Plan; provide opportunities for high income work, entrepreneurship and cooperative and public ownership; and additionally, be responsive to, and in accordance with, the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality set forth in paragraph In addition to preparing the Plan as set forth in paragraph (2)(A)(i), the select committee shall prepare draft legislation for the enactment of the Plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the ''draft legislation''), in accordance with this section. Such draft legislation may be prepared concurrently with the development of the Plan, or as the select committee may otherwise deem appropriate, provided that such finalized draft legislation shall be completed in accordance with the timing set forth in paragraph (5)(B)(ii). The select committee shall not have legislative jurisdiction and shall have no authority to take legislative action on any bill or resolution. INVESTIGATIVE JURISDICTION '-- In furtherance of the mandate set forth in paragraph (2)(A), the select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource. The select committee may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.
3. PROCEDURE +
Except as specified in paragraph (2), the select committee shall have the authorities and responsibilities of, and shall be subject to the same limitations and restrictions as, a standing committee of the House, and shall be deemed a committee of the House for all purposes of law or rule.
Rules [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees) and [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business) shall apply to the select committee where not inconsistent with this resolution. Service on the select committee shall not count against the limitations on committee or subcommittee service in Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees). ð¨
4. FUNDING +
The select committee may use the services of staff of the House and may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, use the services of external consultants or experts in furtherance of its mandate;
The select committee shall be eligible for interim funding pursuant to clause [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] of Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Interim Funding - Organization of Committees); and
Without limiting the foregoing, the select committee may, at any time and from time to time during the course of its mandate, apply to the House for an additional, dedicated budget to carry out its mandate.
5. INTERIM REPORTING; SUBMISSION OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL; SUBMISSION OF DRAFT LEGISLATION +
The select committee may report to the House or any House Committee it deems appropriate from time to time the results of its investigations and studies, together with such detailed findings and interim recommendations or proposed Plan or draft legislation (or portion thereof) as it may deem advisable.
The select committee shall complete the Plan for a Green New Deal by a date no later than January 1, 2020. The select committee shall complete the finalized draft legislation by a date no later than the date that is 90 calendar days after the select committee has completed the Plan in accordance with paragraph (5)(B)(i) and, in any event, no later than March 1, 2020. The select committee shall ensure and procure that the Plan and the draft legislation prepared in accordance with this section shall, upon completion in accordance with paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii), be made available to the general public in widely accessible formats (including, without limitation, via at least one dedicated website and a print publication) by a date no later than 30 calendar days following the respective dates for completion set forth in paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii). ð¨
6. SCOPE OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL AND THE DRAFT LEGISLATION. +
The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed in order to achieve the following goals, in each case in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:
100% of national power generation from renewable sources; building a national, energy-efficient, ''smart'' grid; upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety; decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries; decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure; funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases; making ''green'' technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely carbon neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal. The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:
provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one; take into account and be responsive to the historical and present-day experiences of low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm; mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities); include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and> deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment. The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B). The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS +
Why do we need a sweeping Green New Deal investment program? Why can't we just rely on regulations and taxes alone, such as a carbon tax or an eventual ban on fossil fuels?
Regulations and taxes can, indeed, change some behavior. It's certainly possible to argue that, if we had put in place targeted regulations and progressively increasing carbon and similar taxes several decades ago, the economy could have transformed itself by now. But whether or not that is true, we did not do that, and now time has run out. Given the magnitude of the current challenge, the tools of regulation and taxation, used in isolation, will not be enough to quickly and smoothly accomplish the transformation that we need to see. Simply put, we don't need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment. In the same way that a company that is trying to change how it does business may need to make big upfront capital investments today in order to reap future benefits (for e.g., building a new factory to increase production or buying new hardware and software to totally modernize its IT system), a country that is trying to change how its economy works will need to make big investments today to jump-start and develop new projects and sectors to power the new economy. The draft resolution sets out a (non-exhaustive) list of several major projects that need to be completed fast. These include upgrading virtually every home and building for energy efficiency, building a 100% carbon neutral power generation system, decarbonizing industry and agriculture and more. These projects will all require investment. We're not saying that there is no place for regulation and taxes (and these will continue to be important tools); we're saying we need to add some new tools to the toolkit. Why should the government have a big role in driving and making any required investments? Why not just incentivize the private sector to invest through, for e.g., tax subsidies and such?
Two main reasons: (1) scale and (2) time. First - scale. The level of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient. For example, the ''$1 trillion over 10 years'' plan for investment in the green economy that has been floated by some policy makers has been criticized by climate experts as a wholly inadequate level of investment - $1 trillion is the entire market cap of Amazon, one of the biggest companies of all time (and it is far ahead of its closest competitors in terms of market size). Second - time. The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new sectors. Time-horizons matter in another way - by their nature, private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time the investment is made. Major examples of government investments in ''new'' tech that subsequently spurred a boom in the private section include DARPA-projects, the creation of the internet - and, perhaps most recently, the government's investment in Tesla. We've also seen that merely incentivizing the private sector doesn't work - e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuable spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment-promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully carbon neutral economy as quickly as needed. Once again, we're not saying that there isn't a role for private sector investments; we're just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime driver. How will the government pay for these investments?
Many will say, ''Massive government investment! How in the world can we pay for this?'' The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed. In addition to traditional debt tools, there is also a space for the government to take an equity role in projects, as several government and government-affiliated institutions already do. Why do we need a select committee? We already have committees with jurisdiction over the subject matter e.g. Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology. Just creating another committee seems unnecessary.
This is a big problem with lots of parts to it. The very fact that multiple committees have jurisdiction over parts of the problem means that it's hard for any one of those existing committees to generate a comprehensive and coherent plan that will actually work to transform America's economy to become carbon neutral in the time we have left. Not having a full 360° view of, and approach to, the issue (and only having authority over a part of the issue) means that standing committee solutions would be piecemeal, given the size and scope of the problem. A Democratic administration and Congress in 2020 will not have the time to sort through and combine all those solutions in the brief window of opportunity they will have to act. Select committees, in the Congressional Research Services' own words, serve the specific function of ''examin[ing] emerging issues that do not fit clearly within existing standing committee jurisdictions or cut across jurisdictional boundaries. ''(see: https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/312b4df4-9797-41bf-b623-a8087cc91d74.pdf) The challenges that the Select Committee For A Green New Deal is mandated to meet fit squarely within this space. This does not need to be a zero sum proposition between committees. Just as Markey-Waxman was collaborative between the head of the Select Committee and standing Energy & Commerce committee, this can also be collaborative. More is more. A select committee ensures constant focus on climate change as the standing committee deals with that and many other issues of the day -- such as wild fires in California, Infrastructure, clean water issues, etc. Why should we not be satisfied with the same approach the previous select committee used (i.e. the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming)? Why do we need a new approach?
The previous select committee did not have a mandate to develop a plan for the transformation of our economy to become carbon neutral. It mainly held hearings to draw attention to the problem of climate change. That was already too little too late in 2007-11 when the committee was active. The previous select committee's work can be summarized as follows (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-resolution/5/text, the old select committee is established in Section 4 ): First, it was set up so that it specifically ''shall not have legislative jurisdiction and shall have no authority to take legislative action on any bill or resolution.'' This means that the old committee didn't have the authority to start doing something concrete (in the sense of moving the ball forward to make actual changes to our laws) about the subject matter it covered. Second, the ''sole authority'' it did have was to ''investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, technologies and other innovations, intended to reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign sources of energy and achieve substantial and permanent reductions in emissions and other activities that contribute to climate change and global warming.'' From March 2007 to December 2010 - a full 3.5 years - they did the job that they were tasked to do and held hearings and prepared reports (see: https://www.congress.gov/committee/house-energy-independence-and-global/hlgw00 and https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/index.html (in fact, they held 80 hearings and briefings) Per their website, they ''engage[d] in oversight and educational activities through hearings, reports, briefings and other means intended to highlight the importance of adopting policies which reduce our dependence on foreign oil and our emissions of global warming pollution.'' So there has already been a select committee that did the investigating to highlight that it was important to have some action on this issue - it's now time to move on from investigating and reporting to action. The old select committee also had (even within its limited investigative mandate) the limitation that it focused on strategies for reducing foreign energy dependence and reducing emissions - rather than treating climate issues as the integrated social, economic, scientific challenge that it is. Why does this new select committee need to prepare draft legislation? Isn't investigation, hearings, briefings and reporting enough?
The old select committee was mandated merely to investigate and prepare reports for other people and House Committees to read and act on. The idea was that (as per the old select committees website) ''each Member of the Select Committee sits on legislative committees which process legislation and amendments affecting energy independence and global warming issues in other committees'' and presumably, that those members would take the work of the select committee and come up with legislation in their own committees. However, this approach did not make a big impact relative to the scale of the problem we face. The one piece of legislation that eventually came out of the old select committtees work - the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/legislation/index.html) was a cap-and-trade bill that was wholly insufficent for the scale of the problem. The House had a chance (from 2007 to 2010) to try a version of a select committee that investigated an issue and then passed along preparation of legislation to other committees - the result of that process doesn't inspire any confidence that the same process should be followed again if we wish to draft a plan to tackle the scale of the problem we face. The new select committee will also continue to have investigative jurisdiction, so the new proposal isn't taking anything away from the old one - it is adding things on to make the select committee more effective. What's an example of a select committee with abilities to prepare legislation? Does the new Select Committee For A Green New Deal seem to fit on that list?
Recent examples for select committees in the House include: Ad Hoc Select Committee on the Outer Continental Shelf (94th-95th Congresses), Ad Hoc Select Committee on Energy (95th Congress), Select Committee on Homeland Security (107th Congress), and Select Committee on Homeland Security (108th Congress). The Congressional Research Service notes (in discussing these four recent select committees with legislative jurisdiction) that ''The principal explanation offered in creating each of the four select committees with legislative authority was that their creation solved jurisdictional problems. The proponents in each case indicated that multiple committees claimed jurisdiction over a subject and that the House would be unable to legislate, or at least to legislate efficiently, in the absence of a select committee.'' (see: https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R40233.html#_Toc228679963) The proposed subject matter and mandate for the Select Committee For A Green New Deal sits squarely within this general description for a select committee with the ability and mandate to prepare legislation. Doesn't this select committee take away jurisdictional power from the other (standing i.e. permanent) committees that have jurisdiction over at least part of the issue?
All of the relevant standing committees will be able to provide input to and make their wishes known to the select committee during the creation of both the plan as well as the draft legislation, and then in a future Congress, when it comes to crafting and passing the final legislation, that Congress can take a decision on the best mechanism for bringing that final legislation to a floor vote and passage. Allowing the select committee to draft legislation doesn't take any jurisdiction away from current standing committees, it is entirely additive. The legislation developed by the select committee would still need to be referred to and pass through the permanent House Committees that have jurisdiction over parts of the subject matter. For example, the legislation drafted by the Select Committee on Homeland Security needed to pass through the permanent committees on Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Energy and Commerce; Financial Services; Government Reform; Intelligence (Permanent Select); International Relations; Judiciary; Science; Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and Means (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/5005/committees) The benefit of a select committee in this case would also be that there would be a single forum that could act as a quarterback in working through and resolving any comments or issues brought up by the other House Committees, which would streamline the process of drafting this legislation. But a select committee only exists for the congressional session that created it! So even if this select committee prepares legislation, it likely won't get passed in this session by a Republican-held Senate and White House, so why does having a select committee now even matter?
The proposed new select committee would work in two stages (which wouldn't necessarily have to be sequential): First, they would put together the overall plan for a Green New Deal - they would have a year to get the plan together, with the plan to be completed by January 1, 2020. The plan itself could be in the form of a report or several reports. Second, they would also put together the draft legislation that actually implements the plan - they could work on the draft legislation concurrently with the plan (after they get an initial outline of the plan going) and would need to complete the draft legislation within 90 days of completing the plan (i.e. by March 1, 2020 at the latest) The select committee is also required to make the plan and the draft legislation publicly accessible within 30 days of completing each part The plan and the draft legislation won't be developed in secret - they are specifically required to be developed with wide and broad consultation and input and the select committee can share drafts or any portions of their work with the other House Committees at any time and from time to time, so their work will be conducted in the open, with lots of opportunities to give input along the way. gi The idea is that between (a) developing the plan and the draft legislation (and holding public hearings and briefings along the way as needed), (b) the plan coming out in Jan 2020 and (c) the draft legislation coming out in March 2020, the relevant permanent House Committees, House members, experts and public will have time to engage with, discuss, revise the draft legislation between March 2020 and the end of the 116th Congress so that, by the end of this congressional term, there is a comprehensive plan and enacting legislation all lined up as soon as the new (Democratic) Congress convenes in January 2021. What's wrong with the other proposed legislation on climate change? Can't we just pass one of the other climate bills that have been introduced in the past? Why prepare a whole new one?
The shortest and most accurate response is that (1) none of them recognize the extent to which climate and other social and economic issues are deeply inter-related and (2) even if looking at climate as a stand-alone issue, none of them are scaled to the magnitude of the problem. Of the other proposed legislation, the OFF Act could be a good starting point.
We're building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.
A month ago, Democrats took the house. Three weeks ago, 150 young people sat in at Nancy Pelosi's office demanding Democrats make a plan to fight climate change and put a Green New Deal on the map like never before. A week later, thousands of young people visited their Representatives across the country to ask for their support for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Select Committee for a Green New Deal.
We have one week to set the 2019 agenda for Congress. We've got the momentum. Let's make it count.Join us in DC on Dec. 10 to make sure Congress pushes forward a Green New Deal.
We've never had a chance like we do today. Join us.For the first time in our lives, we have a fighting chance to stop climate change. We will continue to pressure our Representatives to support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal for a Select Committee on A Green New Deal - a plan that will transform our economy and society in the 12 years we have to fight climate change.
Help us achieve our goals
Together, we will change this country and this world,sure as the sun rises each morning.
our Road to victory on a Green New DealAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a Select Committee for a Green New Deal, a plan that would transform our economy and society at the scale needed to stop the climate crisis. It's our fighting chance to actually stop this crisis - for some of us, the first we've seen in our whole lives.
Here is how we win:
Get a critical mass of members of Congress to support a Select Committee for a Green New Deal NOW. We already have 22 in just three weeks.
In January, make sure the next Congress puts the Select Committee in motion.
Use the next year to write the best Green New Deal bill possible, and organize candidates and people across the country to support it.
Join with other movements for change to elect a President and a Congress that will stand up to fossil fuel CEOs and pass a Green New Deal to transform our economy within the coming decade and offer a job to every single American who wants one '-- no matter the color of your skin, where you live or where your parents are from.
Taking action and raising your voice is how we achieve Step 1.In Boston, Sunrisers visited 4 Congressional Representatives' offices on the same day. In California, youth brought the pain and misery of the drought-driven fires that have claimed almost a hundred lives to bear in the offices of Congresspeople. From Virginia to Oregon, Ohio to Colorado, youth are uniting to send a clear message: the time for talk is over. We need action from our leaders.
Be a part of it with us. Join us in DC on December 10th to have our final say in 2018: House leaders must support a Select Committee for a Green New Deal.It's the best chance we have to fight climate change. Today is the day more than ever before.Last week, fossil fuel CEOs mobilized some of their strongest allies, who have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the industry, to speak out against the Select Committee for a Green New Deal. They are pushing back, hard.
But together, we are more powerful than the wealthiest industry and the slimiest politicians. That's why we're so excited about the movement we're building: because we believe that if we show up and refuse to back down, we are unstoppable.
Join us December 10th in DC. It's time to rise up.
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Obama's environmental adviser resigned early Sunday following fierce criticism from Republicans. (AP Photo)
The White House, in an unusual pre-dawn announcement Sunday, said its ''green jobs czar'' Van Jones would resign after fierce criticism from Republicans about some of his statements and associations prior to joining the administration.
While the job itself is not that high-profile '-- special adviser on green jobs '-- Jones' departure from the position is the first real scalp claimed by the Republican right, which stoked much of the criticism of Jones.
Story Continued Below
Jones was under fire for his past affiliation with the 9/11 conspiracy ''truthers'' and for calling Republicans ''a**holes'' in a video before he was appointed to the Obama administration. Republicans had also begun using him to escalate criticism of the administration's deployment of czars across the policy landscape, saying that they were being used to avoid Senate scrutiny of appointees.
More problematic for the White House, perhaps, was the fact that Jones' controversial statements fit snugly into the narrative woven by some conservative critics of Obama as a dangerous leftist, a critique that goes back to the campaign and was based as much on his past work as a community organizer and associations with the likes of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers as on his policies.
Jones' roots in radical politics, and a spate of newly surfaced links Saturday documenting his advocacy for convicted cop killer and former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal '-- a death row prisoner who many in the activist left view as an unjustly convicted political prisoner '-- threatened to play into that narrative, which reached new heights this week when the chairman of the Florida Republican Party challenged the President's plan to speak to schoolchildren across the country as part of a plot to ''indoctrinate'' them in ''socialism.''
In a resignation statement early Sunday morning, Jones said: "On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Van Jones' resignation was "a loss to the country."
''This guy is a Yale-educated lawyer, he is a best-selling authority about his specialty,'' said Dean on "Fox News Sunday." ''I think he was brought down. It is too bad. Washington is a tough place that way. It is a loss to the country.''
Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, to which Jones was attached, accepted his resignation in a statement released early Sunday. "Over the last six months, he had been a strong voice for creating jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources," she said. "We appreciate his hard work and wish him the best moving forward."
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The state's Building Standards Commission voted to approve the housing rule, which is set to take effect in 2020.
California can now officially require solar panels to be built on most new homes.
The state's Building Standards Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to give final approval on the renewable energy housing rule, which is the first of its kind in the U.S.
The regulations will apply to homes built in 2020 or later, though there are some exceptions for houses that are mostly shaded from the sun.
Officials say the costs associated with mandating solar panels will tack on about $10,000 to the price of building a new home. But the panels, along with other energy efficient updates, should save homeowners about $19,000 in energy costs over a span of three decades.
While the change is expected to help bring solar energy further mainstream, some experts say the added costs could contribute to the state's affordable housing crisis.
As one of the world's biggest economies, California's been a leader in its commitment to energy efficiency. Earlier this year, legislators voted to approve a new policy that aims to see the state getting all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.
Your personal data has always been the key to Facebook's business '-- and Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have used access to that personal data to strengthen strategic partnerships and hurt competitors over the years. At one point, Zuckerberg even considered selling users' personal data to outside app developers.
That much was clear from a new trove of internal Facebook emails and other documents released by British lawmakers Wednesday. The documents had previously been sealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit filed against Facebook in California, but were made public by Britain's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which collected the documents last week.
''I believe there is considerable public interest in releasing these documents,'' tweeted Damian Collins, the committee's chair. ''They raise important questions about how Facebook treats users data [sic], their policies for working with app developers, and how they exercise their dominant position in the social media market.''
The emails, which mostly date from 2012 to 2015, include conversations from Facebook's top executives about the company's developer tools and data-sharing practices before widespread changes were made to limit access to some user data in early 2015.
A Facebook blog post says the emails were ''cherrypicked'' from the lawsuit and represent ''only one side of the story.''
''I understand there is a lot of scrutiny on how we run our systems. That's healthy given the vast number of people who use our services around the world, and it is right that we are constantly asked to explain what we do,'' Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post published Wednesday. ''But it's also important that the coverage of what we do '-- including the explanation of these internal documents '-- doesn't misrepresent our actions or motives. This was an important change to protect our community, and it achieved its goal.''
The emails aren't necessarily scandalous, but they do offer a glimpse into how Facebook thinks about user data, and how access to that data was core to Facebook's success and business.
Facebook considered selling user dataOne of the biggest misperceptions about Facebook is that the company sells your personal information. In reality, Facebook uses that personal information to target you with advertising, but it holds onto the bulk of the data itself.
But in 2012, Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook charge some outside developers for accessing and collecting data on users through the company's APIs, software that allows Facebook to share data with other apps.
''If we make it so devs can generate revenue for us in different ways, then it makes it more acceptable for us to charge them quite a bit more for using platform,'' Zuckerberg wrote. He suggested that developers could offset these charges by spending money on Facebook ads.
Facebook ultimately decided not to charge for this kind of data sharing, but the consideration is a reminder of how Facebook has built an entire business on peoples' personal information.
''Like any organization, we had a lot of internal discussion and people raised different ideas,'' Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday. ''Ultimately, we decided on a model where we continued to provide the developer platform for free and developers could choose to buy ads if they wanted. This model has worked well. Other ideas we considered but decided against included charging developers for usage of our platform, similar to how developers pay to use Amazon AWS or Google Cloud. To be clear, that's different from selling people's data. We've never sold anyone's data.''
Facebook used personal data to strengthen '-- or weaken '-- competitorsAccess to the personal information of billions of people has put Facebook in a very powerful position. The emails show that the company used access to that information as a bargaining chip with potential competitors.
In some cases, Facebook granted other businesses, like Netflix and Lyft, special permission to access information that other companies didn't have. In other instances, Facebook cut competitors off. When Twitter launched the video service Vine in 2012, Facebook cut off access to its friend graph. That meant users who signed up for Vine with their Facebook account couldn't see and connect with all of their Facebook friends inside Vine, an ability that would have theoretically helped Vine create a network much faster.
In another email Zuckerberg sent in November 2012, he suggested Facebook ''enforce our policies against competitors much more strongly.''
It's not a surprise that Facebook would limit its data sharing in a way that didn't boost up competitors. It would be more surprising if Facebook hadn't done this. But again, the underlying theme here is that Facebook's competitive business advantage lies in having access to people's personal information, an important understanding at a time when regulatory bodies are likely looking at Facebook's competitive practices more closely now than ever.
Facebook knew there were risks in peddling users' private informationFacebook's Cambridge Analytica fiasco, in which a third-party research firm gained access to the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users without their permission, raised a number of questions about the company's data-sharing policies.
One of the most important was whether or not Facebook was ignorant about the risks of sharing user data, or just didn't care about them.
Wednesday's email dump makes it look like Facebook didn't really care. In the email from Zuckerberg mentioned above, he acknowledged that making Facebook's sharing tools free would lead to ''abuse.''
''Not charging still means people will overuse and abuse our APIs and waste money for us,'' he wrote to many of the company's top executives. ''I still think we should implement some kind of program where you have to pay if you use too many of our resources.''
It's not entirely clear what Zuckerberg meant by ''abuse'' '-- it's hard to imagine he foresaw that issues like Cambridge Analytica would arise the way they did. But it's also clear that his concern wasn't what that abuse might mean for users. The fear was that abusing the APIs would hurt Facebook's business.
What's the takeaway?You could easily walk away from this email dump and think, ''This is just how ruthless businesses work.'' That's true, and Facebook has proven that it is very, very good at making money from the personal information it collects from its users.
But Facebook has always positioned itself as a mission-driven company out to make the world a better place. It wasn't just another win-at-all-costs business, but the place where you post your baby photos and stay in touch with your friends from college. Facebook's product created a level of intimacy that others did not.
What we've learned over the past month '-- from Facebook's dealings in Washington to its relationship to oppo research firms to Wednesday's email dump '-- is that Facebook is a ruthless business, and your personal data keeps it alive.
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Jerry Boykin wasn't thrilled to see the Southern Poverty Law Center working with Amazon or Twitter, but he's far more alarmed about the left-leaning group's partnership with the FBI.
''I think the FBI is making a terrible mistake by doing this, given the track record of the Southern Poverty Law Center,'' said Mr. Boykin, a retired lieutenant general and former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, who now serves as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
''That is more proof of a deep state,'' he said. ''As far as I'm concerned, it delegitimizes so much of what the FBI does.''
Mr. Boykin added that he thought the FBI had dropped the SPLC as a resource, and certainly that was the widespread assumption among political conservatives, until a few days ago.
The FBI-SPLC link reignited alarm after Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, fired off a letter last week asking FBI congressional liaison Jill C. Tyson about an email in which he said the bureau acknowledged a working relationship with the SPLC.
''In email correspondence, the FBI has admitted to working with the SPLC,'' said Mr. Gaetz in the July 23 letter obtained by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. ''This is surprising and worrisome, as the SPLC is known to use its platform in order to denigrate and disparage certain groups by labeling them 'hate groups.'''
FBI spokeswoman Jacqueline Maguire neither confirmed nor denied the SPLC partnership, saying in a statement that the bureau has for years ''engaged with various organizations'' and ''we welcome information from these organizations on any possible violations of civil rights, hate crimes, or other potential crimes or threats.''
''We do, however, evaluate our relationships with these groups as necessary to ensure the appropriateness of any interaction,'' she said.
A Justice Department spokesperson told Fox that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had ''directed the FBI to reevaluate their relationships with groups like this to ensure the FBI does not partner with any group that discriminates.''
In 2014, there were myriad reports that the FBI had finally dropped the SPLC as a hate-crimes resource, although there was also evidence to suggest that the bureau had only stopped identifying the group online.
As of Monday, however, the SPLC was still listed as a partner on the FBI's Hate Crimes web page, along with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, the National Center for Transgender Equity, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Organization for Women.
''The FBI has forged partnerships nationally and locally with many civil rights organizations to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems,'' said the bureau, which was followed by a listing of the groups.
While many of the partners listed have a progressive or liberal political slant, none would be considered conservative.
The Family Research Council is one of dozens of right-of-center organizations named on the SPLC's ''hate map'' alongside racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, which has been dinged by the SPLC as an ''anti-LGBT'' hate group, said she worried about the center's pull with the FBI.
''Of course I am concerned about anyone with any authority relying on the SPLC,'' said Ms. Morse, whose group is dedicated to ending family breakdown. ''The SPLC has no objective standards, no oversight, and no published procedures. As far as anyone can tell, they are accountable to no one. This means they can be completely arbitrary.''
The SPLC, which also advises tech giants like Amazon, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube on hate speech, did not return immediately a request for comment.
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FBI says it did NOT actually designate Proud Boys 'extremist group' '-- RT USA News
Weeks after reports of right-wing group Proud Boys being slapped with the 'extremist' label hit the headlines, an FBI chief in Oregon says there's been a misunderstanding.
In a wide-ranging interview with local media, Special Agent Renn Cannon has revealed that, contrary to multiple reports, the FBI did not place the 'extremist' tag on the self-described 'Western chauvinist' group. He explained that there had been an apparent misunderstanding between Clark County police and the FBI, which ''do not intend and did not intend'' to brand Proud Boys like that.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon says FBI did not intend to designate Proud Boys as an extremist group during a recent briefing of Clark County law enforcement - but tried to characterize the potential for violence from individuals within that group. pic.twitter.com/7twWbFQnSz
'-- Maxine Bernstein (@maxoregonian) December 4, 2018Cannon said that the FBI indeed briefed local police on the threat from white supremacists, Proud Boys, anarchists and militia groups. Speaking of Proud Boys in particular, Cannon said the agents ''characterize the potential threat from individuals within that group,'' rather than assess it as a whole.
The Clark County officials might have gotten the wrong impression since the FBI agents made a reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center website, which describes the Proud Boys as an ''extremist'' and ''hate'' group known for ''anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.''
''We do not intend and did not intend to designate the group as extremist,'' Cannon stressed, adding that he ''can see were Clark County representatives came to that conclusion.''
READ MORE: Proud Boys founder calls it quits after FBI labels them 'extremist'
The confusion stemmed from an internal memo from the Clark County Sheriff's Office dated August 10 on an investigation into the former Clark County female deputy who was found in violation of the sheriff office's policy after her links to Proud Boys' women's wing, Proud Boys' Girls, were exposed.
The memo cites the FBI as categorizing the group ''an extremist group with ties to white nationalism.''
Also on rt.com FBI labels Proud Boys an 'extremist group' Although the memo was compiled in summer it was not until mid-November when the news of the FBI's designating the group ''extremist'' hit the media headlines. The document was released by transparency group Property of The People on November 19 and soon grabbed national attention.
While the FBI took weeks to disavow the supposed designation, the founder and de-facto leader of the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, quit the group just days after the report.
McInnes did mention the group's labelling by the FBI in his farewell video, but said that his motivation in dissociating himself from the group was primarily to help members on trial for allegedly beating up Antifa activists outside NYC Republican headquarters in October so they can receive lighter sentences.
Since Cannon's admission, the Proud Boys issued a statement, calling on supporters to spread the news that otherwise risk to be underreported by mainstream media.
''I wonder if the media is going to cover this development as much as the original claim? Answer: They aren't. So please share this far and wide.''
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Milo Yiannopoulos banned from Patreon over past association with Proud Boys '-- RT World News
The crowdfunding platform cited past endorsement of the right-wing group Proud Boys as pretext to ban the controversial speaker, who says he is $4 million in debt after losing a book deal and a place on a lucrative speaking tour.
The ban puts a dent in the plan by British-born Yiannopoulos to mount a "magnificent 2019 comeback'' announced earlier this week, which promised supporters ready to shell out $750 a month personalized access '' including an annual dinner, a phone call on their birthday, and 24/7 availability on WhatsApp.
Some political adversaries of the once-influential Breitbart columnist pitied him for being reduced to dancing for his supper, while others immediately demanded that he be de-platformed by Patreon, as they had with every other attempt by Yiannopoulos to engage in public life.
Some of the rewards in Milo's new Patreon are unbelievably sad. For $750 bucks he will call you every year on your birthday, and give you 24/7 access to him via WhatsApp pic.twitter.com/wTXCPJyFsS
'-- Joe Bernstein (@Bernstein) December 5, 2018Hi there, thanks for the tweet. Milo Yiannopoulos was removed from Patreon as we don't allow association with or supporting hate groups on Patreon. For more info, please see our Community Guidelines. https://t.co/L7737I1ENi
'-- Patreon (@Patreon) December 5, 2018The San Francisco-headquartered Patreon quickly obliged, though admitting that the content Yiannopoulous posted, however lacking in dignity, did not violate any of its rules.
In a letter Yiannopoulos posted on his Instagram account, the platform accused him of breaking community guidelines connected with ''violent organizations.''
''Your past association with the Proud Boys, though recently disavowed, is in breach of our guidelines,'' said the letter, which stated that Yiannopoulos could apply for reinstatement.
The Proud Boys themselves were taken off Patreon in May, presumably for falling under the category of ''violent or dangerous groups (including terrorist or cyber terrorist organizations, organized criminal groups, and violent hate groups).''
The link between the Proud Boys and Milo appears tenuous enough '' while he frequently shared the stage with them and attended their events, he was not a full-fledged member, nor did he incite any violence as part of the group.
The organization's own credentials as a threat appear to originate with its designation as a ''hate group'' by the activist NGO Southern Law Poverty Center, after a brawl in October with the Antifa, who ambushed them in New York and sparked a fight by throwing a bottle at one of the members.
READ MORE: Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes banned from Australia
Although the FBI recently denied that it listed the Proud Boys an extremist movement, the group has since been disavowed by Gavin McInnes, who founded it in 2016 as a means of combating political correctness and reaffirming belief in Western civilization. Yiannopoulos did the same, in a reluctant editorial.
While the 34-year-old's newest humiliation was met with cheers online, growing concern has been expressed on the political right at what they see as selective corporate censorship exerted by social media platforms and providers. Twitter had banned Yiannopoulous long before de-platforming Infowars' Alex Jones, while Patreon has also recently barred right-wing journalist Lauren Southern.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Crowdfunding site Patreon is purging far-right figures '' VICE News
Crowdfunding site Patreon this week banned the accounts of several controversial public figures, part of a wider push by tech companies to de-platform users linked to the alt-right and far right.
The accounts of British conspiracy theorist YouTuber Carl Benjamin, better known as Sargon of Akkad, and U.S. far-right political commentator James Allsup, were removed Thursday.
The ban will be a particular blow for Benjamin, who was earning more than $12,000 a month from the crowdfunding site. Benjamin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fresh bans came a day after far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos saw his account killed '-- just 24 hours after he set it up to fund a ''magnificent 2019 comeback'' tour. The former Breitbart editor was cut off because of his association with the far-right group Proud Boys, Patreon
''I've had a miserable year or two, banned and de-platformed and censored and blacklisted. Now I need your help. I want to get back on my feet and come roaring back in 2019,'' Yiannopoulos wrote on his Patreon page before it was culled.
''I am one of the most censored and most lied-about people in the world. Even my fans sometimes believe things about me that aren't true, because journalists lie more about me than perhaps anyone else in America,'' he added.
Crowdfunding site Patreon this week banned the accounts of several controversial public figures, part of a wider push by tech companies to de-platform users linked to the alt-right and far right.
The accounts of British conspiracy theorist YouTuber Carl Benjamin, better known as Sargon of Akkad, and U.S. far-right political commentator James Allsup, were removed Thursday.
The ban will be a particular blow for Benjamin, who was earning more than $12,000 a month from the crowdfunding site. Benjamin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fresh bans came a day after far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos saw his account killed '-- just 24 hours after he set it up to fund a ''magnificent 2019 comeback'' tour. The former Breitbart editor was cut off because of his association with the far-right group Proud Boys, Patreon said.
''I've had a miserable year or two, banned and de-platformed and censored and blacklisted. Now I need your help. I want to get back on my feet and come roaring back in 2019,'' Yiannopoulos wrote on his Patreon page before it was culled. ''I am one of the most censored and most lied-about people in the world. Even my fans sometimes believe things about me that aren't true, because journalists lie more about me than perhaps anyone else in America,'' he added.
The crowdfunding site said Yiannopoulos was ''removed from Patreon as we don't allow association with or supporting hate groups.''
Patreon is the latest technology company to cut off payment options for users linked to hate groups or hate speech. PayPal and Stripe have previously taken similar action.
The company had previously shut down the account of BitChute, a video sharing platform that has attracted users who have been kicked off YouTube.
Patreon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the closure of the accounts belonging to Allsup or Benjamin.
Gab, a free-speech social network favored by the right-wing community, has also been cut off by payment processors.
READ: Milo's ''Free Speech Week'' lasted about 20 minutes
Many of its users reacted angrily to the latest de-platforming, criticizing the company but also President Donald Trump's for failing to protect free speech rights of conservative voices.
''Trump has done nothing to protect his base at this point,'' Dave Cullen, a conservative commentator, posted. ''He didn't lift a finger to defend Alex Jones, his biggest supporter. Free speech dies with a whimper and people just shrug.''
Cover image: Milo Yiannopoulos reacts during a press conference on arrival at the Sydney International Airport on November 29, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Student newspaper editor calls for word 'faggot' to be banned from Pogues Christmas song in case it offends homosexualsTom Haynes wrote opinion piece for student paper about Fairytale of New York He said that people should stop saying 'faggot' as it could offend LGBT peopleSome accused of him of being a 'snowflake', argued word has multiple meanings Since 2007 BBC have bleeped word from the song, which was released in 1987ByKeiligh Baker for MailOnline
Published: 05:56 EST, 6 December 2018 | Updated: 11:05 EST, 6 December 2018
A student newspaper editor has been accused of being a 'snowflake' after calling for the word 'faggot' to be bleeped out of Christmas classic Fairytale of New York.
London-based Tom Haynes, assistant editor of student paper The Tab, has split social media over his opinion piece on The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's festive hit.
In it he claims a line, sung by MacColl, which goes 'you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot' is a homophobic slur which is just as bad as using the N-word.
London-based Tom Haynes, assistant editor of student paper The Tab, has split social media over this opinion piece on The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's festive hit
Since 2007 the BBC have bleeped the word from the song, which was first released in 1987, and regularly makes the charts every Christmas.
Mr Haynes wrote: 'The ''faggot'' line is predictably censored on radio, but that won't stop straight people singing it at the top of their lungs when it comes on in the pub.
'Only when you take a step back does something seem off with that picture in 2018.'
He goes on to say that while many people in the LGBT community have reclaimed the word and re-purposed it as a term of endearment, for others it will bring back memories of being bullied because of their sexuality.
Predictably, the article attracted dozens of vitriolic comments, some of them homophobic, other pointing out that the word 'faggot' has multiple meanings
Mr Haynes added: 'This Christmas, give yourself the gift of not being an arsehole: When Fairytale of New York plays on your next night out, just don't sing one word of it. That's all '' one word, two syllables. Not too much of a stretch, right?'
Predictably, the article attracted dozens of vitriolic comments, some of them homophobic, other pointing out that the word 'faggot' has multiple meanings.
Joe Monday wrote: 'Dear Tom Haynes. Stop being the epitome of a millenial snowflake faggot.'
The student newspaper editor has been accused of being a 'snowflake' after calling for the word 'faggot' to be bleeped out of Christmas classic Fairytale of New York
Rossi Bateman said: 'Loool f*** off the song was written in 1986 I'm singing that part of the song EXTRA LOUD NOW.'
Other took a different approach. Adam Curtis said: 'People are so sensitive and that's coming from a gay person people can sing it all they want what is wrong with people.'
But others agreed with the piece. Emma Louise Lack said: 'It has NEVER been okay to use homophobic slurs in any context, I don't see why it should be suddenly okay just because it's in a song? It literally does not harm you or affect your life by removing one word from your vocabulary or omitting that word from the song. If you wouldn't use the n word, don't use the f word.'
Kevin Hart, seen attending the NFL Honors ceremony in February. Just a couple of days after he was announced as host of the next Oscars, the comedian said he would be stepping down amid a firestorm over his past tweets. Christopher Polk/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Christopher Polk/Getty Images Kevin Hart, seen attending the NFL Honors ceremony in February. Just a couple of days after he was announced as host of the next Oscars, the comedian said he would be stepping down amid a firestorm over his past tweets.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Just days after Kevin Hart got the nod to host the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, declaring it "the opportunity of a life time," the comedian is relinquishing the microphone. Hart announced that he is stepping down, citing his series of years-old homophobic tweets that had recently resurfaced.
He made the decision because he did not "want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists," Hart said in a pair of tweets. "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past."
"I'm sorry that I hurt people," he added. "I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.
'-- Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018 I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.
'-- Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018The announcement caps a roller coaster week for the film star and stand-up comic, who was first celebrating the high-profile gig just a couple of days ago.
"I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time," he said Tuesday afternoon. "To be able to join the legendary list of [hosts] that have graced that stage is unbelievable."
But that elation did not last long before it became laced with controversy.
Benjamin Lee, an editor at The Guardian, immediately expressed his disappointment with the selection and soon pointed to a cluster of old tweets that had been directed harsh words toward the gay community.
"Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay,' " reads one tweet that Hart posted in 2011.
That wasn't the only one. Other users dredged up a number of posts dating back nearly a decade, in which Hart spoke of gay people negatively and used an anti-gay slur.
"Hart's obsession with making unfunny, disrespectful and inappropriate jokes about a community he has shown nothing but bile for along with a string of unrepentant responses to any criticism paints him as someone entirely undeserving of a spot on the Oscars stage," Lee argued Wednesday.
The controversy only ballooned from there on social media, and by Thursday afternoon, Hart responded to it in two videos posted to his Instagram account.
"My team calls me, 'Oh my God, Kevin, the world is upset about tweets you did years ago,' " he said in the first, rubbing his face in evident frustration. "Guys, I'm almost 40 years old. If you don't believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don't know what to tell you."
In the second, posted just a few hours later, he said he had gotten a call from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars, requesting that he apologize for his tweets.
"I passed on the apology. The reason why I passed is that I've addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I've spoken on it. I've said where the rights and wrongs were. I've said who I am now versus who I was then," he said. "I'm not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I've moved on and I'm in a completely different space in my life."
"I'm thankful and appreciative of the opportunity," he added. "But if it goes away, no harm, no foul."
Shortly afterward, Hart announced he was stepping down.
The Academy did not immediately offer public comment on the situation. This year's Oscar nominees are expected to be announced on Jan. 22, while the ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Oscars host Kevin Hart's homophobia is no laughing matter | Benjamin Lee | Film | The Guardian
A t first glance, the Academy picking the ebullient and experienced comedian-actor Kevin Hart to host the 2019 Oscars seems like a smart pick.
The 39-year-old star of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Ride Along has quipped his way to becoming one of the most dependable box office stars working today with his films totalling over $3.5bn worldwide. His social media presence has also been a major key to his success with 34 million followers on Twitter and over 65 million on Instagram and with ratings for the ceremony continuing to spiral down, the Academy clearly hopes he'll help draw viewers back in.
After two years of straight white host Jimmy Kimmel's rather dull shtick and after an increased push to improve the diversity of voters, choosing an African American host is also a much-needed leap forward on stage.
But there's one small catch.
Hart has a rather vile history of documented homophobia, ranging from offensive standup clangers to dumb interview statements to puerile tweets to a whole embarrassing film filled with it. In 2010 during his Seriously Funny standup special, Hart delivered an extended joke based on a fear of his three-year-old son Hendrix turning out gay.
One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That's a fear. Keep in mind, I'm not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don't know if I handled my son's first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you've got to nip it in the bud!
Hilarious, right? A gay kid! No, thanks!
As his profile rose, the joke resurfaced and in a 2015 profile with Rolling Stone, he was asked to discuss it. After attempting a poorly conceived justification claiming that it's really all about his own fears and insecurities, he then blamed the climate.
''I wouldn't tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren't as sensitive as they are now,'' he said. ''I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren't necessarily big deals, because we can.''
What might not seem like a big deal to Hart is less amusing when given a wider context. In his extended joke, he claimed to have beaten both his son and another kid who was ''grinding'' up behind him at a party, something that feels particularly grotesque when viewed next to the multiple real world stories of parents beating and torturing their children to death when a so-called ''gay moment'' rears its head. Giovanni Melton, Gabriel Fernandez, Anthony Avalos, Ronnie Paris '' just a handful of kids killed by parents because of either their perceived or confirmed homosexuality.
During the same period, Hart revealed that he turned down a role in 2008's Tropic Thunder because the character was gay and his behaviour was ''real flagrant'' before adding that he'd never be able to play a gay character in the future. ''What I think people are going to think while I'm trying to do this is going to stop me from playing that part the way I'm supposed to,'' he said.
The comments preceded his role opposite Will Ferrell in Get Hard, one of the most shockingly regressive gay panic comedies in recent memory, an almost two-hour film based around a fear of anal sex. In the film, Hart helps Ferrell's character prepare for a stint in jail but after minimal attempts to cover the specifics of prison life and protecting one's self in a fight, a strikingly dominant phobia of male rape takes over. I wrote about it at the time:
The film's unarguably wretched low point arrives when Hart's character takes Ferrell to a gay brunch ''hookup spot'' where he tells him he'll need to learn to perform oral sex to make his time in prison easier. While being eyed up by every gay man around them, Hart informs Ferrell of the relative ease of approaching a gay stranger for sex, because ''that's what they do''. After Ferrell immediately gets the attention of the depressingly used Matt Walsh, of Veep fame, he proceeds to attempt an unsuccessful bathroom-stall tryst, which disgusts him in such graphic detail that he can't go through with it. Meanwhile, Hart is approached by a predatory older gay man who, even after finding out Hart's heterosexuality, refuses to take no for an answer.
Now, there's an important distinction to make here. The fear of rape is obviously legitimate and a man's fear of being raped by another man while in prison is also understandable and by no means homophobic. It makes sense that the film would at least address this but what makes less sense is why the writers have such an obsession with the idea. It punctuates every other line of dialogue and not even in particularly inventive ways (the script is essentially multiple, exhaustive variations on ''you're going to get raped'').
Hart's response to criticism, from a gay journalist at the time, was predictably unbothered. ''Funny is funny, regardless of what area it's coming from,'' he said to HitFix's Louis Virtel. The film was also released just months after The Wedding Ringer, a film described by The AV Club's AA Dowd as ''a 100-minute gay joke''.
So why at a time when the Academy is desperate to show a more inclusive side would Hart seem like an appropriate host? Back in 2011, Brett Ratner was removed as Oscars producer for saying ''rehearsal is for fags'' '' a dim-witted use of a word that he shouldn't be using in the first place but after a quick search of Hart's Twitter feed, it seems that it also used to be a major part of his vocabulary. Calling someone a ''fat faced fag'', comparing a profile picture to a ''gay bill board for AIDS'' and using the term ''no homo'' to frequently remind us of his superior heterosexuality. If he's even made to comment on any of this, I imagine he will use his youth as an excuse but the tweets in question were sent in his early 30s, quite clearly old enough to know the difference between right and bigoted.
Hiring Hart is an indicative misstep that highlights how homophobia, casual or blatant, is still de-prioritised in comparison with other discriminatory belief systems. In the past few years, the Twitter feeds, routines and off-stage behaviours of comics have been pored over for signs of impropriety and numerous figures have been duly taken to task. But gay jokes remain somehow acceptable. Look at straight comedian Peter Serafinowicz's string of redubbed Trump videos, meant to be hilariously funny and unthreatening because he was speaking in a ''gay voice'' or check out straight comedians Chelsea Handler and Jimmy Kimmel comparing their Republican enemies to bottoms because that somehow equals lesser in their book or on a related note, cis comedians Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais continuing to ridicule trans people in recent specials.
Hart's obsession with making unfunny, disrespectful and inappropriate jokes about a community he has shown nothing but bile for along with a string of unrepentant responses to any criticism paints him as someone entirely undeserving of a spot on the Oscars stage. If the Academy wants to progress and remain relevant, handpicking a man with a history of homophobia is a flashing red siren of an issue, a middle finger up to the LGBT community and a sign that Oscars might no longer be quite as white but they remain aggressively straight.
Officials in Berlin are apologizing and Muslim leaders are outraged after a scandal broke out at an Islamic conference being held in Germany.
The cause of the kerfuffle? Pork sausage was served as part of the buffet, which offended many Muslims whose religion treats the meat as forbidden.
It may seem like a silly incident, but the clash is actually highlighting a major fault line in the debate between multiculturalism and assimilation, both in Europe and America.
''Germany's Interior Ministry has apologized for serving the pork sausage at an Islam conference,'' the German Deutsche Welle media outlet confirmed. ''The '#BloodSausageGate' scandal has sparked a debate over integration and tolerance.''
On the one hand, it's well known that pork products are off limits for most practicing Muslims. On the other hand, the German government said no offense was meant, and that the sausage was just one of many offerings available for attendees of all backgrounds.
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''The ministry has defended its decision to serve the sausage consisting of pig's blood, pork and bacon at the evening buffet on Wednesday,'' Deutsche Welle explained.
''It said the serving reflected the 'religious-pluralistic composition' of the event, which brought together Muslim associations and leaders with officials from the federal and local governments,'' the outlet continued.
Officials pointed out that sausage was just one part of the buffet, and that food options ranging from vegetarian to ''halal'' Islamic dishes were also served.
''If individuals were still offended for religious reasons, we regret this,'' German officials from the Interior Ministry said.
Is an apology necessary from the Germans?It seems pretty straightforward: If you happen to be vegan, don't eat meat at a buffet. If your views put pork off limits, then don't touch it. Isn't it every individual's responsibility to make these choices for themselves?
Maybe not, at least according to left-leaning voices in Germany. Several are implying that the menu was a purposeful insult toward Muslims.
''(S)ome have viewed the choice of blood sausage as a deliberate provocation by hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer,'' Deutsche Welle reported.
''In March, Seehofer caused a stir when he said in an interview that 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany' and that 'Germany has been shaped by Christianity,''' DW added.
''A little respect for Muslims who do not eat pork would be appropriate,'' scolded Turkish-German journalist Tuncay Ozdamar.
RELATED: 9/11 Plotter Grinning Ear-to-Ear After Progressive Germany Sets Him Free
Auf der #Islamkonferenz gestern in Berlin gab es wieder Schweinefleisch auf dem Buffet. Es wurde Blutwurst serviert. Ä°nÅallah halal.Welches Zeichen will Seehofers Innenministerium damit setzen?Ein wenig Respekt vor Muslimen, die kein Schweinefleisch essen, w¤re angebracht. pic.twitter.com/HMsMAzOiZ6
'-- Tuncay zdamar (@TuncayOezdamar) November 29, 2018
Liberal politician Volker Beck echoed the same view on Twitter, chastising the Interior Ministry that ''appreciating diversity means also considering different habits.''
But part of the problem is that sausage is a food that is culturally connected to German heritage. Is it right to tell a nation to stop serving what is essentially its most famous dish?
''Tolerance starts at the point where the blood sausage is seen simply for what it is: a German delicacy that no one has to like, but that, just like our way of life, cannot be taken away from us,'' said conservative German lawmaker Alice Weidel.
It's a valid point. After all, it would be bizarre for a Hindu to move to Australia and demand they stop serving beef, or a Christian to move to Saudi Arabia and be perpetually offended by hummus.
At some point, tolerance for different tastes and diverse faiths must go both ways. That's a struggle that Europe is facing right now, and the same clashes could be ramping up in America soon.
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Read: The uncommon, requisite resolve of Michelle Obama
I sometimes wonder if the people who often cite that quote have a full understanding of the emotional toll it takes on people of color to have to constantly absolve the racism directed at them.
The Obamas didn't go low when they interacted with the Trumps, because that's just not how they operate. And it's not like I expected anything different at a state funeral. Former President Obama has always, always exhibited a maddening allegiance to institutional respect, even if it wasn't returned. (All too often, it wasn't.)
Still, it was infuriating to see the Obamas graciously engage with the man who spent years vociferously promoting the racist conspiracy theory that the former president is a Muslim who wasn't born in the United States. Also recall that Donald Trump repeatedly challenged Obama to produce his college-admissions records'--because it wasn't enough for Trump to try to invalidate Obama's presidency, he had to question Obama's intellect.
Trump was rewarded with the presidency for his ugliness. And, as president, Trump is often given special credit for behaving like an adult, as he was at the state funeral. The Obamas were also praised for their magnanimity'--but the difference is that the Obamas were the aggrieved party, not Trump.
Peter Beinart: Civility has its limits.
In her recently released book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes that she will ''never forgive'' Trump for spreading the ''birther'' conspiracy. But the Obamas didn't have the luxury of treating Trump the way, for instance, Hillary Clinton did at the service. She looked like she would have rather sawed off her arm than acknowledge the Trumps. She gave the president and first lady a slight nod as they took their seats. Considering that Trump is still calling for Clinton to be investigated and jailed, the cold reception was predictable and warranted.
But had the Obamas behaved like Clinton, they would have been accused of grandstanding and dividing the country even more than it already is. Or pundits would have said they lacked the grace and decency befitting a couple who once occupied the White House. A video clip of two black people showcasing visible anger toward the president would have been played over and over again on cable news.
Most black people have been told practically since the womb that they must be twice as good to get half as much as anybody white. They have also been conditioned to believe that maintaining the moral high ground and being a bigger person is the only way to defeat racism. That often means suppressing natural human emotions that could communicate racism's devastating impact.
Ibram X. Kendi: More devoted to order than to justice
In October, a video went viral of a white woman, Teresa Klein, falsely accusing the 9-year-old Jeremiah Harvey of groping her in a Brooklyn deli. Klein went so far as to call the police'--but surveillance footage proved that Harvey had done nothing wrong; he'd just brushed his backpack against Klein as he passed her in the store. The video was just the latest example of how black folks are punished and traumatized for simply existing in the same space as a white person.
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Via een online enquªte peilt de gemeente het draagvlak voor de botenparade van de Pride. Er is angst dat het een opmaat is voor beperking van het evenement.
In zeven vragen wordt momenteel onderzocht hoe genquªteerden aankijken tegen de jaarlijkse botenparade van de Gay Pride. Wethouder Rutger Groot Wassink (Democratisering) laat dat doen, omdat hij rond de laatste editie heeft gemerkt dat er minder draagvlak zou zijn voor de botenparade.Bij de VVD, bij coalitiepartij D66, maar ook bij de organisator Stichting Pride Amsterdam maakt men zich zorgen over die opvatting en de manier waarop dat draagvlak nu wordt onderzocht.
Volgens D66-raadslid Jan-Bert Vroege is de online enquªte een 'bij elkaar gefr¶beld stagewerkje', dat bovendien via sociale media wordt verspreid. Online zijn veel criticasters van evenementen in de binnenstad actief. Daardoor vreest Vroege dat vooral deze luidruchtige groep de uitkomsten van de enquªte zal bepalen.
Not in my backyardDie vrees is niet geheel onterecht. Wijkcentrum d'Oude Stadt, een vereniging van binnenstadbewoners die zich zorgen maken om de overlast, heeft de achterban al opgeroepen de enquªte zo snel mogelijk in te vullen. 'Het zou goed zijn als de gemeente door deze enquªte anders gaat denken over de Pride en evenementen in het algemeen,' aldus het bestuur van d'Oude Stadt op de website.
'Of deze enquªte daartoe bijdraagt, ligt aan de antwoorden. Wij roepen u daarom op deze enquªte in te vullen.' Het kost niet veel moeite om hier een stemadvies in te herkennen.Daarop heeft Lucien Spee, directeur van de Stichting Amsterdam Gay Pride, zijn achterban opgeroepen de enquªte ook in te vullen, om de balans in het voordeel van de organisatie van Pride te herstellen.
Spee zegt niet bang te zijn voor onderzoek naar het draagvlak voor de parade. Hij pleit er wel voor dat draagvlak via wetenschappelijk verantwoord onderzoek van OIS, de statistische dienst van de gemeente, vast te stellen.
"Bij een stadsbreed referendum zul je zien hoe klein het groepje mensen is dat zegt: 'Not in my backyard'."
In reactie op D66 en VVD haastte Groot Wassink (GroenLinks) zich woensdag te zeggen dat hij de uitkomst van de enquªte niet als een representatief onderzoek zal behandelen.
Wel liet hij zich ontvallen dat de 'waardering voor Pride aan inflatie onderhevig is'. Spee schrikt daarvan. "Op het stadhuis, maar ook bij de politie, zitten mensen die ons weg willen hebben. Elke winter voeren we daar weer discussie over. Er zit nu een nieuw college en een nieuwe burgemeester. Het wordt tijd dat zij Pride weer gaan verdedigen, zoals Eberhard van der Laan dat deed."SymboolpolitiekElk jaar roeren de tegenstanders van de Pride zich nadrukkelijker. In 2016 en 2017 probeerde d'Oude Stadt via een kort geding de botenparade tegen te houden. Daarnaast is er steeds meer kritiek op de inhoud van de vaartocht.
De groep Reclaim our Pride klaagt dat de optocht voor een steeds groter deel bestaat uit commercile boten van bedrijven, die niets met de doelstellingen te maken zouden hebben.
Oppositiepartij VVD is bang dat die verschillende actiegroepen een gewillig oor zullen vinden bij GroenLinks, de grootste partij in het stadsbestuur. "Ik vrees dat hier, net als met de I amsterdamletters, symboolpolitiek bedreven gaat worden om de GroenLinks-versie van Pride op te leggen aan de stad," zegt duoraadslid Claire Martens (VVD).
Ook D66 wil een vinger aan de pols houden. "Door verschillende deelbelangen van tegenstanders zou de parade in gevaar kunnen komen," zegt Vroege.
De twee partijen hebben schriftelijke vragen gesteld. Groot Wassink belooft de uitkomsten van de online peiling met hen te bespreken. In januari praten Spee en zijn stichting met burgemeester Femke Halsema over hun zorgen.
Protesters dressed in their underwear have staged a demonstration outside lingerie giant Victoria's Secret on London's Oxford Street.
The diverse group of women - including one with a stoma bag - braved the plummeting temperatures wearing just knickers and crop tops, in a bid to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in the fashion industry.
Video posted on social media shows them marching through the store chanting 'fashion has failed us'.
One woman carried a sign stating 'we want diversity for all brands', while another branded a placard with the hashtag #fallenangels.
Their protest comes after the much-anticipated annual Victoria's Secret show took place on Sunday night, pre-filmed in New York, which starred the likes of supermodels Martha Hunt, Sara Sampaio and Stella Maxwell.
The show was marred with controversy after chief marketing officer Ed Razek dismissed calls for the inclusion of plus-size and trans models - remarks he later retracted, issuing an apology.
After the show, singer Halsey, who performed on the night, also distanced herself on social media, posting on Instagram to say that 'as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity'.
Protesters dressed in their underwear have staged a demonstration outside lingerie giant Victoria's Secret on London's Oxford Street, just days after the annual 'angels' show was broadcast
And standing outside the lingerie store on Thursday, a group of models echoed that message, showing off a range of body types as they protested on the busy London Street.
One woman sported a colostomy bag, while the women posed together with signs demanding a more diverse range of models representing the brand.
Another held a sign that said 'Embracing every body type', while another used the front of the store as her own catwalk, strutting up and down as she branded a board with the words 'We want equality at Victoria's Secret'.
The event appeared to have been organised by clothing brand Nu Nude, which promotes body positivity and advocates for women of all shapes and sizes.
A video posted on the brand's Instagram story sees the group of women getting changed into their underwear in the store, before walking through the shop, shouting 'Fashion has failed us', before continuing their protest outside.
The women braved the plummeting temperatures wearing just knickers and a sports bra, in a bid to raise awareness at the lack of diversity in the fashion industry
Their protest comes after the much-anticipated annual Victoria's Secret show took place on Sunday night, pre-filmed in New York, which starred the likes of supermodels Martha Hunt (seen), Sara Sampaio and Stella Maxwell
The latest Victoria's Secret show saw its lowest ever ratings with just 3.27 million viewers, the smallest since it became a holiday-season TV event in 2001.
And even singer Halsey, who performed at the show, called out the brand following her appearance, addressing comments which slammed its lack of exclusivity.
Taking to Instagram, Halsey, who is bisexual, said: 'I have adored the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show since I was young. Performing this year alongside other amazing artists and hardworking models/friends was supposed to be the best night of my year.
'However, after I filmed the performance, some comments were made regarding the show that I simply cannot ignore.'
One woman sported a colostomy bag, while the women posed together with signs demanding a more diverse range of models representing the brand
Standing outside the lingerie store on Thursday, a group of models echoed that message, showing off a range of body types as they protested on the busy London Street
She continued: 'As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity. Especially not one motivated by stereotype.'
'If you're on my page because you watched my performance tonight, please allow me instead to direct your attention to GLSEN: An organization that offers services aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ youth,' she said.
'And with respect to those youth targeted by these comments in a world where they have been made to feel "other," I have made a sizable donation in their honor.'
Concluding, she said: 'If you are a trans person reading this, and these comments have made you feel alienated or invalidated please know that you have allies. We stand in solidarity.
Another held a sign that said 'Embracing every body type', while another used the front of the store as her own catwalk, strutting up and down as she branded a board with the words 'We want equality at Victoria's Secret'
The event appeared to have been organised by clothing brand Nu Nude, an advocate for women of all shapes and size
A video on Instagram story sees the group of women getting changed into their underwear in the store, before walking through the shop, shouting 'Fashion has failed us', and continuing their protest outside
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has been marred with controversy ever since it was filmed on November 8.
Following the taping, chief marketing officer of L Brands Ed Razek, 70, spoke to Vogue and said why he thought the brand shouldn't have 'transexuals' walk in the show.
He told the publication: 'It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show?
'No. No, I don't think we should. "Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is.'
However he later backtracked, apologising for the comment.
'My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologizs,' he said.
'To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We've had transgender models come to castings'... And like many others, they didn't make it'... But it was never about gender.
'I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.'
Victoria's Secret declined to comment when contacted by FEMAIL.
Singer Halsey, who performed at the show, called out the brand following her appearance, addressing comments which slammed its lack of exclusivity
Halsey said: 'As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity. Especially not one motivated by stereotype.'
Following the taping, chief marketing officer of L Brands Ed Razek, 70, spoke to Vogue and said why he thought the brand shouldn't have 'transexuals' walk in the show
However he later backtracked, apologising for the comment. 'My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologizs,' he said
Bill and Hillary Clinton, who just can't seem to exit stage-left, have resorted to selling tickets for their 13-city speaking tour on Groupon for nearly 60% off after failing to attract crowds at full price - or any price.
What's worse, their Groupon deal is for a May 4, 2019 appearance in the liberal stronghold of Los Angeles.
As we noted last week, the supposed-power-couple continue to face-plant, after the Daily Mail reported that just 3,300 tickets were sold in the Scotiabank Arena in very liberal downtown Toronto, which holds 19,800.
And as the New York Times's Maureen Dowd noted on Sunday, the Clinton empire is in steady decline. After paying $177 for a ticket to hear the Clintons, journalist Byron York noted that Dowd could have simply waited until the day of the event and paid less than $10.
Maureen Dowd paid $177 for a ticket to hear Bill & Hillary Clinton. If she had waited til day of the event, she could have gotten one for less than $10. That's how popular the tour is... https://t.co/UmWW1F4J6P
'-- Byron York (@ByronYork) December 2, 2018As Dowd writes in her Op-Ed, "Curtains for the Clintons":
I can't fathom why the Clintons would make like aging rock stars and go on a tour of Canada and the U.S. at a moment when Democrats are hoping to break the stranglehold of their cloistered, superannuated leadership and exult in a mosaic of exciting new faces.
What is the point? It's not inspirational. It's not for charity. They're not raising awareness about a cause, like Al Gore with global warming. They're only raising awareness about the Clintons.
And now they're raising awareness over Groupon...
OMG--I'm dying. ððThe Clintons are on Groupon. pic.twitter.com/bQoPU4YrqH
'-- thebradfordfile' (@thebradfordfile) December 7, 2018(h/t @thebradfordfile)
"I Know Where All The Bodies Are Buried": Clinton Foundation CFO Spills Beans To Investigators | Zero Hedge
The CFO of the Clinton Foundation, thinking he was "meeting an old professional acquaintance," admitted to investigators that the charity had widespread problems with governance, accounting and conflicts of interest, and that Bill Clinton has been commingling business and personal expenses for a long time, reports The Hill's John Solomon.
Clinton Foundation CFO Andrew Kessel made the admissions to investigators from MDA Analytics LLC - a firm run by "accomplished ex-federal criminal investigators," who have been probing the Clinton Foundation for some time.
Kessel told MDA "There is no controlling Bill Clinton. He does whatever he wants and runs up incredible expenses with foundation funds, according to MDA's account of the interview. "Bill Clinton mixes and matches his personal business with that of the foundation. Many people within the foundation have tried to caution him about this but he does not listen, and there really is no talking to him."
MDA compiled Kessel's statements, as well as over 6,000 pages of evidence from a whistleblower they had been working with separately, which they secretly filed with the FBI and IRS over a year ago. MDA has alleged that the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities, and may owe millions in unpaid taxes and penalties.
In addition to the IRS, the firm's partners have had contact with prosecutors in the main Justice Department in Washington and FBI agents in Little Rock, Ark. And last week, a federal prosecutor suddenly asked for documents from their private investigation.
The memo also claims Kessel confirmed to the private investigators that private lawyers reviewed the foundation's practices '-- once in 2008 and the other in 2011 '-- and each found widespread problems with governance, accounting and conflicts of interest.
''I have addressed it before and, let me tell you, I know where all the bodies are buried in this place,'' the memo alleges Kessel said.
The 48-page submission, dated Aug. 11, 2017, supports its claims with 95 exhibits, including internal legal reviews that the foundation conducted on itself in 2008 and 2011. -The Hill
As Solomon noted in January, the Little Rock FBI field office has been spearhandling an investigation into pay-for-play schemes and tax code violations according to law enforcement officials.
The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.
The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said. -The Hill
Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation has been under investigation by the IRS since July, 2016 according to a January report by the Dallas Observer - after 64 GOP members of congress received letters urging them to push for an investigation. The investigation is being handled by their Dallas office - far away from Washington insiders.
FBI Offices, Little Rock, Arkansas"There is probable cause that the Clinton Foundation has run afoul of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt charitable organizations and has acted inconsistently with its stated purpose," MDA alleged in its memo, adding "The Foundation should be investigated for all of the above-mentioned improprieties. The tax rules, codes, statutes and the rule of law should and must be applied in this case."
Foundation officials confirmed that Kessel met with MDA investigators, but said that he "strongly denies that he said or suggested hat the Clinton Foundation or President Clinton engaged in inappropriate or illegal activities."
"Mr. Kessel believed he was meeting an old professional acquaintance who was looking for business from the Foundation," the foundation added in a statement.
MDA was specifically created to investigate 501c3 charities, and researched the Clinton Foundation at its own expense in the hope that the whistleblower submission they compiled might result in a government reward if the IRS was able to corroborate wrongdoing and recover tax dollars.
The IRS sent multiple letters in 2017 and 2018 to MDA Analytics, confirming it had received the submission and it was ''still open and under active investigation.'' But, shortly before last month's election, the agency sent a preliminary denial letter indicating it did not pursue the allegations for reasons that ranged from a lack of resources to possible expiration of the statute of limitations on some allegations.
I asked a half-dozen former federal investigators to review the submission and key evidence; all said the firm's analysis of tax-exempt compliance issues would not be that useful to federal agencies that have their own legal experts for that. But they stressed the evidence of potential criminality was strong and warranted opening an FBI or IRS probe. -The Hill
According to retired FBI supervisory agent Jeffrey Danik, MDA's work is "a very good roadmap for investigation, adding "When you have the organization's own lawyers using words like 'quid pro quo,' 'conflicts of interest' and 'whistleblower protections,' you have enough to get permission to start interviewing and asking questions."
While some of the documents MDA submitted were marked as attorney-client privileged, Danik doesn't think that should be an issue for federal investigators - given that since special counsel Robert Mueller "got the OK to investigate Michael Cohen and his attorney-client communications with President Trump, I imagine that hurdle could be overcome under the crime-fraud exception."
Meanwhile, next week a GOP Congressional subcommittee led by Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) will review the work of John Huber - the US attorney designated a year ago by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate "all things Clinton." The hearing will establish how much money and resources Huber has dedicated, and whether we can expect to see any recommendations regarding Hillary Clinton's transfer of classified information from her insecure private server, along with the foundation's activities.
To that end, a prosecutor working under Huber called MDA analytics last week and requested copies of their Clinton Foundation evidence, according to Solomon.
A prosecutor working for Huber called MDA Analytics last week, seeking copies of their evidence, according to sources. The firm told the prosecutor that the FBI has possessed the evidence in its Little Rock office since early 2018, the sources said.
Some evidence that MDA investigators cited is public source, such as internal foundation reviews hacked in 2016 and given to WikiLeaks. Other materials were provided to the investigators by foreign governments that have done business with the charity, or by foundation insiders.
One of the nonpublic documents is an interview memo the MDA Analytics investigators penned after meeting with Kessel in late November 2016 at the Princeton Club in New York City. -The Hill
Kessel's inadvertent admissions, meanwhile, track closely with comments made in 2008 written by a private lawyer named Kumiki Gibson - who the Clinton Foundation hired to study its governance. Gibson flagged concerns over improper commingling of charitable and private business.
"The work of the Foundation and the President are intertwined in a way that creates confusion at, and undermines the work of, the Foundation at virtually every level," he wrote, warning that such actions pose "reputational and legal challenges, and with confusion, inefficiencies and waste."
Specifically, the memo warned the foundation had not created policies and procedures ''required by law'' and that some of its leaders ''appear to have interests that do not always align with those of the Foundation.''
It also raised the possibility of illegal activities, saying the foundation and its managers held an ''anti-compliance attitude'' and that there were lower-level employees who ''begged'' for whistleblower protections after witnessing ''less than fully compliant behavior or even worse are asked to participate in or condone it.'' -The Hill
Meanwhile, a 2011 review by the law firm Simpson Thatcher noted "material weaknesses" found by auditors in 2009 and 2010, such as a lack of board meetings and unsigned board minutes - and also found that some foundation employees "abuse expense privileges," while others had conflicts of interest.
We look forward to hearing anything further from Solomon and The Hill on whatever Huber has been up to.
Millennial Boots on the Ground
In the morning! Unfortunately this
email will not accompany a donation, but I promise a donation will come soon
after the new year. I wanted to write this email to you because I figured if I
can’t donate monetarily I might as well give a boots on the ground report for
A bit of background
I was hit in the mouth by my
dad and brothers, who have been listening to the show for years, my dad is
even a knight, he is Sir Snoops Magoo.
I met John at the meetup in
Seattle in August(I’m the girl standing next to him in the big group photo)
I’m 24 years old and I live in
Tacoma, Washington and I currently go to community college, and have been
for the last two years, except for about 5 months last year when I did a
study abroad in Japan.
Heres a few observations of
mine that I think would be good information for the show:
THE REPUBLICAN/DEMOCRAT SHIFT:
I was taught all throughout high school, and even in my history class last
spring, that the democrats switched to republican after the election of
MILLENNIALS: There is an
epidemic of depression among millennials, I think that is because of
social media and the many “disastrous” things they read on there causing
their amygdalae to become enlarged. Also many of my friends like to joke
about their depression and romanticize it, it’s almost as if that if
you’re not depressed, you’re not “cool.”
COLLEGE AFTER THE ELECTION:
After Trump was elected teachers and students at my school became
absolutely unhinged. I took English 101 in winter of 2017 and in almost
every class my teacher would spend a lot of class time spouting her
opinions on Trump, some of which I have a recording of. In spring of 2018
my history teacher would spend the first 10-15 minutes of class talking
about what CNN had said about Trump the previous day, he even said during
our unit on the cold war, “Putin is worse than Stalin.” Needless to say, I
spent a majority of my time in that class rolling my eyes.
SOME THINGS ABOUT THE SHOW: I
actually do appreciate the OTG segments of the show so more updates would
be appreciated! The show has been dynamite recently, except for John’s
increasing impatience with things he already knows about that he assumes
other people know about as well, and we all know what happens when we
But that doesn’t impede my enjoyment
of the show, which is amazing and has kept me sane throughout these last few
I hope this all made enough
sense, I’m not very good at explaining things but I figured I’d share my
thoughts on all of these matters. You may read this note on the show if you
want, I don’t think there is enough important information in it but you never
Tyler Perry pays off more than $430,000 in layaways at Walmart
ATLANTA, Ga. ( CIRCA VIA WSET ) -- Santa, we mean Tyler Perry, is spreading the Christmas spirit in his city.
The 'Madea' star shared a video on Twitter announcing that he paid off layaway items Thursday, totaling $432,635.
A Walmart spokesperson told CNN that the actor paid off the layaway items at two stores in the Atlanta area.
"I know it's a hard time, a lot of people are struggling and I'm just really, really grateful to be able to be in a position to do this," Perry said in the video. "God Bless, go get your stuff, Merry Christmas."
He said he tried to remain anonymous.
Anonymous or not, we hope you know that you just made Christmas for so many families. You went above and beyond. Thank you ð' #SparkKindness
'-- Walmart (@Walmart) December 6, 2018 Walmart also took to Twitter thanking the actor.
Perry isn't the first Santa to pay off layaway items at Walmart. In recent weeks, there has been secret Santas in Pennsylvania , Vermont , New York, and Colorado. CNN reported that the Secret Santas have paid off more than $130,000 in Walmart customers' layaways.
Feds OK'd sale of top-secret satellite tech to China - WND
The U.S. Commerce Department approved a deal by Boeing to sell a satellite containing top-secret military technology to a startup company financed by the communist Chinese government.
After the Wall Street Journal reported the deal Tuesday, Boeing backed out, citing default for nonpayment, the paper reported Friday.
But intelligence experts such as Adm. Dennis Blair, a former U.S. director of national intelligence, are baffled by the Commerce Department's approval. The Journal noted Blair chairs an advisory committee for a Boeing competitor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
Thomas Lifson, editor of the American Thinker, said the Journal ''deserves huge kudos for uncovering a genuine scandal involving national security.''
The Journal reported workers at a Boeing plant in Los Angeles were nearing completion of a new satellite that uses restricted technology relied on by the U.S. military.
According to corporate records, court documents and people close to the project, the satellite was being funded by Chinese state money.
Using an offshore channel from a state-owned Chinese financial firm, about $200 million went to Boeing for the satellite project.
The technology, the Journal reported, would ''help fill in a missing piece of the puzzle for China as it seeks to secure its status as a superpower alongside the U.S.''
''It would bolster China's burgeoning space program, as well as initiatives to dominate cutting-edge industries and expand its influence in the developing world.''
Boeing insisted in a written statement it ''undertakes rigorous measures to comply with U.S. export regulations and protect national interests.''
The aerospace company said it had obtained an export license from the Commerce Department for the Global IP satellite and would ''continue to work closely with Commerce officials to ensure appropriate protection of satellite technology.''
The Journal said Boeing declined to say what it told Commerce officials about the deal. The Commerce Department told the paper it couldn't comment on an individual application.
Lifson '' noting U.S. laws bar export of satellite technology directly to China '' commented that it's ''disconcerting that this deal came to light thanks only to a spat breaking out between the founders of the startup Global IP and their Chinese financiers.''
''If the Chinese had been willing to spend a bit more, would the deal have been pulled off?''
Lifson said Boeing ''has a lot to answer for.''
''I trust there will be legislative and possibly criminal investigations.''
Making President Trump's Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers - The New York Times
BEDMINSTER, N.J. '-- During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Victorina Morales has made Donald J. Trump's bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo.
Because of the ''outstanding'' support she has provided during Mr. Trump's visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name.
Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.
Ms. Morales's journey from cultivating corn in rural Guatemala to fluffing pillows at an exclusive golf resort took her from the southwest border, where she said she crossed illegally in 1999, to the horse country of New Jersey, where she was hired at the Trump property in 2013 with documents she said were phony.
She said she was not the only worker at the club who was in the country illegally.
Sandra Diaz, 46, a native of Costa Rica who is now a legal resident of the United States, said she, too, was undocumented when she worked at Bedminster between 2010 and 2013. The two women said they worked for years as part of a group of housekeeping, maintenance and landscaping employees at the golf club that included a number of undocumented workers, though they could not say precisely how many. There is no evidence that Mr. Trump or Trump Organization executives knew of their immigration status. But at least two supervisors at the club were aware of it, the women said, and took steps to help workers evade detection and keep their jobs.
''There are many people without papers,'' said Ms. Diaz, who said she witnessed several people being hired whom she knew to be undocumented.
Mr. Trump has made border security and the fight to protect jobs for Americans a cornerstone of his presidency, from the border wall he has pledged to build to the workplace raids and payroll audits that his administration has carried out.
During the presidential campaign, when the Trump International Hotel opened for business in Washington, Mr. Trump boasted that he had used an electronic verification system, E-Verify, to ensure that only those legally entitled to work were hired.
''We didn't have one illegal immigrant on the job,'' Mr. Trump said then.
[Read more immigration coverage from Miriam Jordan]
But throughout his campaign and his administration, Ms. Morales, 45, has been reporting for work at Mr. Trump's golf course in Bedminster, where she is still on the payroll. An employee of the golf course drives her and a group of others to work every day, she says, because it is known that they cannot legally obtain driver's licenses.
A diminutive woman with only two years of education who came to the United States speaking no English, Ms. Morales has had an unusual window into one of the president's favorite retreats: She has cleaned the president's villa while he watched television nearby; she stood on the sidelines when potential cabinet members were brought in for interviews and when the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, arrived to confer with the president.
''I never imagined, as an immigrant from the countryside in Guatemala, that I would see such important people close up,'' she said.
But Ms. Morales said she has been hurt by Mr. Trump's public comments since he became president, including equating Latin American immigrants with violent criminals. It was that, she said, along with abusive comments from a supervisor at work about her intelligence and immigration status, that made her feel that she could no longer keep silent.
''We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,'' she said. ''We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.''
Image Sandra Diaz said she was undocumented when she worked at the golf club from 2010 to 2013. Credit Christopher Gregory for The New York Times Ms. Morales and Ms. Diaz approached The New York Times through their New Jersey lawyer, Anibal Romero, who is representing them on immigration matters. Ms. Morales said that she understood she could be fired or deported as a result of coming forward, though she has applied for protection under the asylum laws. She is also exploring a lawsuit claiming workplace abuse and discrimination.
In separate, hourslong interviews in Spanish, Ms. Morales and Ms. Diaz provided detailed accounts of their work at the club and their interactions with management, including Mr. Trump. Both women described the president as demanding but kind, sometimes offering hefty tips.
While they were often unclear on precise dates of when events occurred, they appeared to recollect key events and conversations with precision.
Ms. Morales has had dealings with Mr. Trump that go back years, and her husband has confirmed that she would on occasion come home jubilant because the club owner had paid her a compliment, or bestowed on her a $50 or sometimes a $100 tip.
To ascertain that she was in fact an employee of the club, The Times reviewed Ms. Morales's pay stubs and W-2 forms, which list the golf course as her employer. She also made available her Individual Taxpayer Identification, a nine-digit number that is issued by the Internal Revenue Service to foreigners to enable them to file taxes without being permanent residents of the United States. Having a number does not confer eligibility to work.
The Times also examined the documents Ms. Morales presented as proof that she was entitled to work '-- a permanent resident card, or green card, and a Social Security card, both of which she said she purchased from someone in New Jersey who produced counterfeit documents for immigrants.
The Times ran Ms. Morales's purported Social Security number through several public records databases and none produced a match, which is often an indication that the number is not valid. The number on the back of the green card that Ms. Morales has on file at the golf course does not correspond to the format of numbers used on most legitimate resident cards. For example, it includes initials that do not match those of any immigration service centers that issue the cards.
Ms. Diaz produced similar documents, though since she has gained legal residence she has been issued a genuine Social Security card and green card.
The Trump Organization, which owns the golf course, did not comment specifically on Ms. Morales or Ms. Diaz. ''We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices,'' Amanda Miller, the company's senior vice president for marketing and corporate communications, said in a statement. ''If an employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately.''
The White House declined to comment.
Image Mr. Trump opened the golf club in 2004 and has spent all or part of about 70 days at Bedminster since taking office. Credit Christopher Gregory for The New York Times That Ms. Morales appeared able to secure employment with what she said were fake documents is not surprising: An estimated eight million unauthorized immigrants are in the labor force, and it is an open secret that many businesses, especially in the service sector, hire them.
Mr. Trump has a long history of relying on immigrants at his golf and hotel properties. Though he signed a ''Buy American, Hire American'' executive order in 2017 tightening the conditions for visas for foreign workers, his companies have hired hundreds of foreigners on guest-worker visas.
In hiring workers who are already in the United States, employers are required to examine identity and work authorization documents and record them on an employment eligibility form. But companies are not required in most cases to take additional steps to verify the authenticity of documents. Because falsifying these documents is so easy, E-Verify, which is required in 22 states, goes the extra step of checking them against records kept by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
The federal list posted online of employers who use the E-Verify system includes Mr. Trump's golf club in North Carolina, a state that requires it, but the Bedminster club in New Jersey, where it is not required under state law, does not appear on the list.
During his campaign, Mr. Trump called for expanding the program to workplaces around the country. So far, that has not happened.
Mr. Trump opened his trophy club in the affluent horse country of Somerset County, N.J., in 2004. After buying the 504-acre property from a group of investors in 2002, Mr. Trump planted a sweeping colonnade of maple trees at the entrance and built two 18-hole golf courses, their design inspired by the gardens of Versailles. The membership initiation fee is more than $100,000.
The property has an estimated 40 to 80 employees, depending on the season; the bulk of the basic service workers are foreign-born. Immigrants keep the greens watered and manicured. They clean and maintain the cottages and suites that surround the junior Olympic-size heated pool.
The president has spent all or part of about 70 days at Bedminster since taking office. He has a two-story residence on the property; his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, were married at the club in 2009, and also have a cottage.
The job at Bedminster, at which Ms. Morales earns $13 an hour, is one of several she said she has held since arriving in the United States in 1999, crossing undetected into California after a journey of nearly six weeks by bus and on foot.
After she first arrived in Los Angeles, a contact provided her with a false Social Security number and an identification card that she was told would enable her to secure employment. She then flew to New Jersey, where she joined her husband, who had arrived months earlier.
In early 2013, a friend who worked at the Trump golf club told her that management was looking for housekeepers.
Ms. Morales was keen: The pay would be $10 an hour, higher than the $8.25 that she was earning cleaning guest rooms at a hotel.
According to her account, when she arrived for her interview, the housekeeping supervisor showed her around and asked her to demonstrate how she cleaned. The supervisor asked her to report to work the next morning at 6 a.m. '-- with her documents.
Ms. Morales said she told her she had no legal working documents. ''I told her I don't have good papers. She told me to bring what I used at the hotel,'' Ms. Morales recalled.
By the time Ms. Morales was hired, Ms. Diaz had been working at the club since 2010 and had the job of cleaning Mr. Trump's residence.
Image M&M's that were handed out during one of Mr. Trump's visits to the golf course. Credit Christopher Gregory for The New York Times Image Ms. Morales was asked to wear an American flag pin with a Secret Service logo when Mr. Trump visited the golf club. Credit Christopher Gregory for The New York Times She said she washed and ironed Mr. Trump's white boxers, golf shirts and khaki trousers, as well as his sheets and towels. Everything belonging to Mr. Trump, his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, was washed with special detergent in a smaller, separate washing machine, she said.
''He is extremely meticulous about everything. If he arrives suddenly, everyone runs around like crazy'' because Mr. Trump inspects everything closely, Ms. Diaz said.
She recalled a nervous moment in 2012, when Mr. Trump approached her and asked her to follow him to the clubhouse, a renovated 1930s Georgian manor, where he proceeded to run his fingers around the edges of frames on the wall and over table surfaces to check for dust.
''You did a really great job,'' she said he told her, and handed her a $100 bill.
That same year, she said, Mr. Trump had an outburst over some orange stains on the collar of his white golf shirt, which Ms. Diaz described as stubborn remnants of his makeup, which she had difficulty removing.
When Ms. Morales joined the housekeeping team in 2013, Ms. Diaz was in charge of training her, and began to take her to tend to Mr. Trump's house. In November of that year, when Ms. Diaz quit, Ms. Morales and the housekeeping supervisor took on the job of cleaning Mr. Trump's house together.
Ms. Morales said she will never forget the day Mr. Trump pulled up to the pro shop in his cart as she was washing its large, arched windows. Noticing that Ms. Morales, who is shy of five feet tall, could not reach the top, he said, ''Excuse me,'' grabbed her rag and wiped the upper portion of the glass.
Mr. Trump then asked Ms. Morales her name and where she was from, she recalled. ''I said, 'I am from Guatemala.' He said, 'Guatemalans are hard-working people.''' The president then reached into his pocket and handed her a $50 bill.
''I told myself, 'God bless him.' I thought, he's a good person,'' Ms. Morales recalled.
Soon after Mr. Trump launched his campaign for the presidency, in June 2015, Ms. Morales recalled, one of the managers summoned her to tell her that she could no longer work inside Mr. Trump's house.
Around the same time, she said, several workers, who she said were also working illegally, had their work days shaved from five days to three days. ''The workers panicked. A lot of people just left,'' she said.
Two months after Mr. Trump's inauguration, in March 2017, Ms. Morales said that she and other workers received a new employee handbook.
Under a section titled ''Immigration Compliance,'' the handbook stated that employees were required to present documents specified by the federal government. ''Those that are found to have falsified information will not be eligible for employment,'' the handbook stated.
Ms. Morales said she was given a new employment form to sign. She could not understand the form, she said, but her lawyer, Mr. Romero, said it was likely an updated I-9 employment eligibility document '-- a form that, like the previous one, referenced her falsified documents.
Sometime last year, she said, one of the managers told her she must get both a new green card and new Social Security card because there were problems with her current ones.
Ms. Morales provided a detailed account of what transpired, but it was not possible to independently confirm what happened. According to her recollection, she told the manager that she did not know how to obtain new forgeries.
''I don't know where to get them,' '' she said she told him.
The manager, she said, suggested she speak with a maintenance employee who he said knew where to acquire new documents. When the maintenance employee told her that the new papers would cost $165, Ms. Morales told the manager that she did not have the money. ''He said, 'don't worry. I will lend you the money,''' she said.
Ms. Morales said the maintenance worker drove her to a house in Plainfield, N.J., where she waited in his car while he met with someone inside. Ms. Morales said that she had no record or recollection of the address.
The next day, she said, the maintenance worker brought her a new Social Security card and a realistic-looking green card to replace the one that had ''expired.'' She said the manager made copies of them for files kept at the club's administrative headquarters.
Now that Mr. Trump was president, there was more than the usual excitement whenever he arrived. Ms. Morales was still asked to clean Mr. Trump's residence on occasion, and had to wear a Secret Service pin whenever the president was on site, she said, most likely identifying her as an employee, though the pins did not mean employees had a security clearance.
As the months went on, she and other employees at the golf club became increasingly disturbed about Mr. Trump's comments, which they felt demeaned immigrants from Mexico and Central America. The president's tone seemed to embolden others to make negative comments, Ms. Morales said. The housekeeping supervisor frequently made remarks about the employees' vulnerable legal status when critiquing their work, she said, sometimes calling them ''stupid illegal immigrants'' with less intelligence than a dog.
Ms. Morales expects she will have to leave her job as soon as her name and work status are made public. She understands she could be deported. On Thursday, she spent the day with her lawyer, and as news of her disclosures spread, she did not answer a phone call from her supervisor at the golf course. She said she did not expect to return to work.
She said she is certain that her employers '-- perhaps even Mr. Trump '-- knew of her unlawful status all along.
''I ask myself, is it possible that this se±or thinks we have papers? He knows we don't speak English,'' Ms. Morales said. ''Why wouldn't he figure it out?''
Maggie Haberman and Ben Protess contributed reporting from New York. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
Miriam Jordan is a national immigration correspondent. She reports from a grassroots perspective on the impact of immigration policy. She has been a reporter in Mexico, Israel, Hong Kong, India and Brazil. @ mirjordan ' Facebook
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The Psychopharmacology of Everyday Life | by Jamieson Webster | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Daniel Kaesler/EyeEm/Getty ImagesVarious pharmaceuticalsEveryone is on drugs. I don't mean the old-fashioned, illegal kind, but the kind made by pharmaceutical companies that come in the form of pills. As a psychoanalyst, I've listened to people through the screen of their daily doses; and I've listened to them without it. Their natural rhythms certainly change, sometimes very dramatically'--I guess that's the point, isn't it? I have a great many questions about what happens when a mind'--a mind that uniquely structures emotion, interest, excitement, defense, association, memory, and rest'--is undercut by medication. In this Faustian bargain, what are we gaining? And what are we sacrificing?
There is new resistance to the easy solution of medicating away psychological problems, because of revelations about addiction and abuse, a better understanding of placebo effects, or, for example, the startling realization that antidepressants, far from saving some teenagers from committing suicide, can sometimes push them to do it, which means that these pills should not be a first line of defense. Perhaps the time is right to return to the conundrum of mind and medicine.
The story of psychopharmacology stretches from the advent of barbiturates at the turn of the century to the discovery in the early 1950s of the first antipsychotic, based on a powerful sedative used for surgical purposes that was described as a ''non-permanent pharmacological lobotomy.'' This drug, Chlorpromazine, led to the development of most of the drugs used today for psychiatric management. The proliferation of psychiatric medications, ones with supposedly less overt dangers, began in the late 1980s'--at the same time, a watershed lawsuit was filed in the UK against the makers of benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used for treating anxiety and other disorders, for knowingly downplaying knowledge of their potential for causing harm. Today, psychopharmacology is a multibillion-dollar industry and an estimated one in six adults in America is on some form of psychiatric medication (a statistic that doesn't even include the use of sleeping pills, or pain pills, or the off-label use of other medications for psychological purposes).
Until I started researching the history of psychopharmacology, I didn't know that it was an antipsychotic that had spurred the developments of most of the medications we know so well today, such as Prozac and Xanax. But it was the issue of antipsychotics that first made me think about what we were trading as individuals, and as a society, in relying so widely on psychiatric meds. When I went to work in a psychiatric hospital during my training, nothing seemed more self-evident than the need to sedate a psychotic person. They were the most clearly ''out of their mind'' and the medications worked quickly to reduce psychotic symptoms, especially the auditory hallucinations that menaced these patients. How could this be wrong?
I see that question very differently today. For one thing, these antipsychotic medications still come, three generations after their arrival, with severe, life-threatening and life-shortening side-effects, from tardive dyskinesia (TD), or involuntary movement disorder, which can become permanent, to type II diabetes, obesity, dementia, cardiac arrhythmia, and even sudden cardiac death. This is to say nothing of a whole host of less severe side-effects, especially the overall blunting of the personality. Working in an inpatient unit, onecomes to know well what we called the ''psychotic shuffle,'' a characteristic way of walking among patients suffering from the bodily tremors caused by TD and the sedative effects of these medications.
What did we do before these substances? We hospitalized people, long-term, and tried various alternative treatments, which is expensive, especially compared to medications. But a major problem with the drugs is that people with severe psychotic symptoms'--like schizophrenia, for example'--commonly abandon them because the medications make them feel terrible. So these patients end up becoming acutely psychotic over and over, and have to be hospitalized and rehospitalized. Many of them now end up in nursing homes, which have come to be used as psychiatric holding pens in the absence of long-term psychiatric hospitals'--many of which closed in the US as psychopharmacology took hold and became the dominant mode of treatment. Such nursing homes are facilities with little to no therapeutic program, intended to house the elderly and the severely disabled. How much money are we now saving by this system? Are we cutting short the lives of these patients by medicating them for life?
There are alternatives to this system. As Sigmund Freud posited decades ago, a psychotic person who is helped to pass through the most acute phase of their symptoms by being kept safe, and who then receives a continuous form of talk treatment, as well as some means of education or ability to work, can potentially stabilize without excessive medication. A fascinating, rare collective of psychoanalysts in Quebec known as ''the 388'' have created a clinic that provides psychoanalytic treatment and 24/7 emergency care to individuals suffering from psychotic problems. A study of eighty-two patients treated in their facility for three years or more demonstrated that the program was able to reduce incidences of hospitalization by 78 percent, while 82 percent were living autonomously and 56 percent were able to provide for themselves financially. Proving that such a course of treatment costs far less in the end than the conventional one, the 388 group has recently been asked by the Canadian government to open more facilities and expand its approach.
But that's Canada. This is practically unimaginable in America. The scarcity of resources and the legal hassle a doctor could face would likely be enough of a deterrent to taking on the risk of treating those with severe mental illness, especially given that most medics graduate with too much loan debt to consider such a precarious experiment. And if one such facility did begin to gain traction, drug company lobbyists would surely work to quash it.
This is the extreme end of the story because schizophrenia has always been the most serious of the mental disorders and a litmus test for how our society views mental illness, how we treat it, revealing what our ethical position is toward those who are suffering psychologically. By that measure, it doesn't look good: from what I have learned, we are trading more humane treatments for a solution that superficially seems effective, but on closer examination is not helping patients in any long-term way and may actually be killing them.
I am indeed a Freudian psychoanalyst, that strange anachronism maligned by psychiatry for not being as scientific as medication supposedly is, by virtue of the control studies that can be done with drug treatments. Modern psychopharmacology goes hand in hand with a psychiatric diagnostic system that has, over time, been redefined to rely on medicating symptoms away rather than looking at the structure of the mind and its complex permutations in order to work with a patient in a deeply engaged way over the long haul. Modern psychiatry is hailed as a scientific success story, and drug companies have profited from the fact that talking therapies are often thought to take too long, their results frequently dismissed as unverifiable. I question, though, whether we should demand verified results when it comes to our mental life: Do you believe someone who promises you happiness in a pill?
Psychoanalysis still has the power to intrigue people, it seems'--so embedded is it in American popular culture. Psychoanalytic language has entered the vernacular and psychoanalytic concepts permeate the way we all understand human relationships, especially sexuality. I have the sense that we need it more than ever to help us with our discontents because there is enduring value in the Freudian understanding of, on the one hand, the unceasing conflictual relationship between civilization and neurosis, and, on the other, what talking, simply talking, can do.
Freud himself was anything but hostile to psychopharmacology. Indeed, he was a notorious experimenter with drugs, especially cocaine, whose anesthetic properties and psychological effects he was one of the first to discover and champion (until, that is, a host of his friends and family to whom he administered the drug became addicted, contributing even to the death of one friend whose morphine abuse escalated after using cocaine in tandem, until he eventually overdosed). Freud himself underwent a course of experimental hormonal therapy with the first neuro-endocrinologist to see if it would improve his mood. Such research became the foundation for sex-change therapies today, along with a number of other medical discoveries that earned that doctor seven nominations for the Nobel Prize.
Freud's beliefs about the human psyche thus did not exclude his own quite liberal experiments with medication and medical procedures. Importantly, at the end of his life, Freud chose to forgo any pain medication after almost thirty surgeries for oral cancer, so that he could think clearly with patients and continue to write'--though he never ceased smoking the cigars he loved that had almost certainly caused his disease. The lesson I take from Freud is that you can choose your poison, which is the reason I wanted to turn to the topic of drugs, using what I've learned as a psychoanalyst over the last two decades.
We do have a choice about whether to medicate and how we do so. I think we have forgotten this because of how easy it is to obtain pills, along with the pervasive idea that our problems are simply chemical or genetic. So I want to begin by recalling what the drug panacea is treating at the most basic psychological level: pain, attention, sadness, libido, anxiety, sleep. Freud was surprisingly insightful about these crucial aspects of the psyche, even from his earliest writings before the turn of the century. By elucidating some basic psychoanalytic notions concerning the most common ''troubles'' of the mind, and by focusing on the different categories of medications prevalently used, I hope to disrupt our blind passion for prescriptions.
SSPL/Health Education AuthorityA public health information poster, United Kingdom, late twentieth centuryPainkillers
I'd like to begin with painkillers since they have been filling our headlines and because pain is often not thought of as having a psychological component (whereas I believe it does). Given that we have a crisis that has seen opioid-related deaths increase by 600 percent over the last four years, exceeding gun deaths and traffic fatalities in America, with 72,000 dead from overdose in 2017 alone, there is a problem with the way we medicate pain.
Pain is much more enigmatic than is commonly recognized. Why some people have a much higher threshold for tolerating physical pain than others is not fully understood. Nor do we know enough about the relationship between physical and emotional pain.
Freud recognized that pain was an important part of evolution, built into our being as a primary means of apprehending reality and adapting our behavior to avoid the threat of harm. Yet he also called pain a ''failure'' and a stark limit to the efficiency of the psychic system because it was, on the one hand, too easy always to ''fly from pain'' (in other words, to obscure it) and, on the other, too difficult to master pain since it creates indelible memory traces that do not lose their intensity even, in some cases, with the passage of time. The memory of pain is often as bad, if not worse, than the pain that was experienced. Consider post-traumatic stress disorder.
''Pain,'' writes Freud, is a pure ''imperative'' that produces a state of ''mental helplessness.'' And in his view, physical pain and emotional pain are made of the same stuff'--what Freud called a breach of the stimulus barrier that protects us from the outside world, where, analogous to our skin, there is a protective layer that is meant to remain intact and unperturbed. When it comes to pain, a shock to the barrier sets off a multitude of nerves that then fire too rapidly to prevent a reaction. This built-in alarm system makes a demand on a person and those around one, forcing everyone to address whatever painful circumstance has arisen.
Even what we call pleasure, or the reward-system of the mind, does not always have a positive outcome, but can involve a lowering of our sensitivity to pain, allaying the alarm system. The opioid receptors of the brain do just this'--something Freud called, when speaking about cocaine, the happiness of ''the silence of the inner organs.'' Lulling can be dulling. Freud also notes that pain and the sounds associated with it, such as screams or groans, coallesce as a first memory trace, bringing together the sensory realms of internal feeling with an acoustic correlative. Our mind creates a solid bond between pain and the sounds we associate with it, which have the power, through empathy, to immediately produce pain in others. This is what makes the cries of an infant so intolerable. So our experience of pain involves not just our own pain, but also our relation to the pain of others.
With the abuse of pain medication, then, we are not only treating our own pain, which is always somewhere between the physical and emotional, but we are also dulling the immense pain around us. Modernity has increasingly allowed a breaking through of the stimulus barrier, from the impossible demands and the chaotic pressures of contemporary life, to a sense of mounting helplessness in the face of environmental disaster, poverty, loneliness, injustice, annihilation. One could say that ''all this pain'' is nothing new, but the constant forced attention to the theater of it has come with easy access to a powerful antidote: the ability to medicate the pain away, not just our own, but all of it.
Fascinatingly, Freud notes in his later work ''On Narcissism'' that the pain arising from organic causes often increases our narcissism, making us give up our interest in the outside world'--so ''concentrated is his soul'... in his molar's narrow hole,'' Freud quotes Wilhelm Busch on the poet who is suffering from a toothache. This is a state that, Freud says, resembles sleep, or what he called ''the narcissistic withdrawal of'... the libido onto the subject's own self,'' a turning-away from the world. So pain and narcissism are bedfellows'--and what else is the abuse of pain medication but a synthetic version of this couplet, fulfilling the wish to keep sleeping, to keep dreaming, to turn away from the world. Overdose appears immanent in this schema, as the risk of slipping into permanent sleep, falling down the narrow hole that seems to promise the cessation of all pain.
There is an ethical twist to this understanding of narcissism's relationship with pain. The opioid crisis enacts the paradox of a society that seeks to annihilate pain as quickly as possible, even as it refuses to care for or attend to it and its underlying causes.
Annihilating pain, or ''flying'' from it, will never permit us to master pain, but only increases the need for its continued obliteration. This mastery of pain Freud explained as the formation of a mental response network, which strengthens our tools for dealing with pain beyond ''toxic agents or the influence of mental distraction.'' Freud always advocated ''work,'' which was how he characterized what happens in psychoanalysis; he also said that drive or libido could be thought of as the demand that a body can make upon the mind for work'--like the emotional pain that can come from others' requiring us to revisit it again and again to try to make more sense of it.
So what are painkillers, finally? They are drive-killers, which is why their effect on sexual function and even digestion is about the ceasing of work. This suggests the acute danger of these pills, insufficiently regulated, with drug companies profiting from this simple desire: no body, no drive, no pain, no helplessness, nothing. Stretched to the logical extreme, they are about permanent sleep. Death.
Burt Glinn/Magnum PhotosNew York City, 1949Adderall
Let's move from a world asleep to a world on stimulants. Whole college campuses and schoolrooms of children obeying the commands to: Wake up! Sit still! Pay attention! I hate to see a child put on Ritalin even as their parents compulsively check their emails or their Twitter feed, waiting for any conversational lull that licenses them to look at their phones. This hypocrisy reaches into the very core of our beings when we realize that we can exert the most concentrated attention on certain tasks'--spending hours on video games, or shopping on Etsy, or online vacation-planning'--but not on what we don't like or what is most pressing.
Work is hard. When the painful demands of concentration on work or life are overwhelming, when success or failure seem to hang in the balance, the temptation to check social media accounts and procrastinate is powerful. So we are really in a jam: no one wants to pay attention, no one can easily be still; and no one really knows whether the drugs help or not with achieving better grades or being more productive, aside from our feeling better on them, the megalomaniacal high we get from stimulants.
We psychoanalysts like to call this the medicating away of ''castration anxiety,'' which is what speed, like cocaine, does. What we mean by this is that it is a way of trying to slip past both the pangs of conscience (for, say, a missed deadline on a piece of work) and the fear of failure (because the work was late and also judged inadequate) that run through our heads like an executioner's song. Or to put it in other terms, ADD medication creates a false ego-boost, a momentary halo of self-esteem. Freud said in his 1926 paper ''Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety'' that most patients sought help for inhibitions that, he said, affect the ego in the realms of either sexual function, eating, locomotion, or vocation. (Problems of locomotion might seem the oddest category in this list, but we recognize well the difficulties with work, eating disorders, and sexual function'-- on which more follows.)
We are still very inhibited. So many patients cannot easily perform sexually, enjoy the pleasures of the appetite, or succeed at work. But here is what Freud writes specifically about vocation:
Inhibition in the field of occupation, which so often becomes a matter for treatment as an isolated symptom, is evidenced in diminished pleasure in work, or its poor execution, or such reactive manifestations as fatigue (vertigo, vomiting) if the subject forces himself to go on working. Hysteria compels the suspension of work by producing paralysis of organs and functions, the existence of which is incompatible with the carrying on of work. The compulsion neurosis interferes with work by a continuous distraction of the attention and by loss of time in the form of procrastination and repetition.
Sound familiar? Are we, as a society, moving closer and closer to what Freud calls compulsion neurosis?
Freud is here distinguishing between that condition (which is close to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and hysteria. The hysteric'--who has a whole host of bodily symptoms, from pain to paralysis to nausea, that prevent him or her from working'--is structured differently from the compulsion neurotic who can't work because of distraction and procrastination. Freud actually finds the hysteric easier to treat because, more often than not, the hysterical patient is avoiding something in the external world'--usually sexuality'--whereas the compulsion neurotic is rigorously avoiding something in their internal mental life. It is not easy to turn someone's attention toward what they want to stay away from, especially when it is something on the inside. This force of resistance has to be overcome. But the hysteric is easily led to the source of his or her suffering, trauma, and conflict, and the bodily symptoms, and failure to attend to life, vanish. Those with ADD on the side of compulsion are much more adept at avoiding the source.
All in all, Freud is no fan of attention for its own sake. He felt that it is always easily disrupted. He writes in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, his early work from 1901 that is essentially about mistakes and lapses of attention, that an ''unconscious readiness to look for something is much more likely to lead to success than consciously directed attention.'' Freud was fascinated by the phenomena in which an intentional attempt to direct attention to something forgotten could be easily opposed, whereas priming oneself for wanting to know, and then letting go of one's attention to it, often caused the information to shoot back into one's mind. We perform best not when we try to direct the whole of our attention to a task, but when we are able to use a split in our attention and act automatically, without thinking, when ''scarcely any conscious attention'' is paid.
We can also see this, for example, when we read aloud. Often, we read perfectly and yet have let our thoughts wander while doing so to the extent that we have no idea what it is exactly that we've read. What Freud says about this is that it isn't ''a lessening of attention,'' as many psychologists would have it, but ''a disturbance of attention by an alien thought which claims consideration.'' It was for this reason that Freud wrote the book on mistakes as lapses in attention that had some underlying motivation. Freud being Freud, he wanted to see if he could analyze the reason for calling your significant other your mother, or for leaving your umbrella in your psychoanalyst's waiting room.
In a sense, Freud trusts unconscious mental life more than the vicissitudes of consciousness or the functions of the ego. In his model of the mind, one has to let the mind be claimed by this alien force, let some processes go on automatically, let others drift. One has to play into this flux. This, in fact, became the very model for how the psychoanalyst works: their split, hovering attention, which allows them to attend to what is evoked unconsciously by what a patient comes to say, while still listening to what is said, tuning in and tuning out, catching the thoughts that distract us, returning to a task. Rigid, unblinking attention is overrated.
So if one is alienated from what is already alien (unconscious thoughts), which can easily make claims on one's attention, well, then you are in very deep water, psychoanalytically speaking. This is the problem with ADD, or compulsion neurosis: it is the purest form of alienation from internal life, which is why everything is turned into some external problem of avoidance, distraction, and procrastination. Work draws on one's unconscious, on one's emotional life, and on the reserves of self-esteem that help with one's inevitable anxieties.
For those with ADD, you will easily see that the unconscious is what cannot be tolerated'--not the Excel spreadsheet, but you yourself. Stimulants help you jump the hurdle, but the drugs cannot completely erase your internal life, which will always be there waiting for you on the other side of the come-down, at some point when you find yourself in a speed-free moment of stillness. Don't you want to know what's in there before you chemically dampen it?
To conclude on a rather depressing note'--one that follows on the heels of the uncanny fact that these very same ADD stimulants were used by the Third Reich to aid soldiers in performing acts of extermination'--the sociologist Theodor Adorno in his article ''Freudian Theory and Fascist Propaganda'' noted the irony of the Nazi slogan, ''Germany Awake!'''--when what Germany was engaging in was mass hypnotism by a fascist leader. What the Nazis meant, he said, was the exact opposite'--''Germany Asleep!'' Might the same hold true here with our mass medicating of collective distraction?
Wayne Miller/Magnum PhotosJune, 1956Antidepressants
Moving from induced mania to depression, it's been twenty-four years since Prozac Nation was published; I never read it but practically everyone I know has been on a modern antidepressant Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) like Prozac at one point or another. Do antidepressants help with depression? It's a touchy subject; they have clearly helped many through periods of depression, saving the lives of some who have struggled with suicidal feelings. One thing I will say is that I prefer my patients not to be on them if possible, or eventually to get off them. True, the lows aren't as low, but neither are the highs high, and pleasure is limited to some medial zone. To borrow Sylvia Plath's metaphor of the bell-jar, the whole system feels caught between two glass walls.
Psychoanalytic work depends on following the natural emotional rhythms of the mind, stretched between anxiety, sadness, and excitement, allowing a certain amount of tension to build at the points of blockage. This is what creates breakthroughs. With the SSRIs, it's as though the machine becomes frictionless and idling, and the complaints'--which don't go away'--spin in neutral, never gaining purchase or momentum. That said, who can afford to have lows in today's world that demands that we always be on and productive? I understand this. I do think the demands that we make use of ourselves are excessive'--and nearly a depressant in itself.
Further, the work of psychoanalysis is tough'--both analyst and patient must push past (or work through, as Freud put it) pockets of melancholia, which are real and painful, and affect us not just psychically, but on a biological level, sometimes leading to lethargy, insomnia, and even psychotic delusions of persecution. Freud wrestled with the problem of melancholia all his life, and at various points he wasn't sure it was treatable by psychoanalysis, especially its most extreme form'--cyclical depression or what we now call bipolar disorder. More often than not, in these cases, even antidepressants don't really help and psychiatrists often turn to more extreme treatments. When I worked in the hospital, we often used Electro-Convulsive Therapy, or ECT, which induces a seizure in order to jump-start your mental system, wiping out swaths of memory in the process.
At other moments, Freud saw depression as a tendency within any neuroses, an affective change in which the dissatisfaction that characterizes neurotic sickness mounts to the pitch of a depression. He also saw this kind of depression as a nodal point where the conundrums of loss touch us deeply. In some sense, melancholia is what we have inherited from our ancestors'--what hasn't been worked through or metabolized. It is an expression of trauma passed down and repeated over generations. In 1937, Freud wrote to Princess Marie Bonaparte a now infamous letter about his thoughts on depression:
The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence; by asking this question one is merely admitting to a store of unsatisfied libido to which something else must have happened, a kind of fermentation leading to sadness and depression. I am afraid these explanations of mine are not very wonderful. Perhaps because I am too pessimistic. I have an advertisement floating about in my head which I consider the boldest and most successful piece of American publicity: ''Why live, if you can be buried for ten dollars?''
Freud is always comical whenever he mentions America'--here finding the perfect illustration for the fermentation process of depression that makes a certain kind of calculation regarding the value of life possible. Life'--unsatisfying, painful, without objective meaning'--may for some add up to the idea that death would be better; better, that is, if death were less terrifying and could be had cheaply.
We are all familiar with the soliloquy on suicide of that great melancholic, Hamlet: ''To die, to sleep'--no more'--and by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.'' It's true that depressives can loath having bodies which registers the shocks of life; the inevitable disappointment with loved others feels like salt rubbed in already gaping wounds. Hamlet nevertheless choses a life he finds miserable and unjust because it's the life he knows, rather than the uncertainty of death. For Freud, the problem is that Hamlet thought life was to have more meaning than it did, implicit in his desire for justice, happiness, and love. But then as Freud says, my answers aren't wonderful, and I may be too pessimistic.
So why do some enter into this process of depressive fermentation? Early in his career, Freud pointed to the relationship between a history of anesthesia, or loss of feeling'--especially pleasure'--and melancholia. There are varying degrees of this libidinal depletion. In cyclic depression, there is both a draining and a flooding of the libido that creates the severe vegetative and manic symptoms of the illness. In their moving from a loss of all feeling and purpose to an excess of them, manic people suddenly have a million things they need to do with the utmost urgency and excitement'--like buying and sending forty Volkswagens to Yemen to compensate for the children who died in an American-supported airstrike.
Freud modeled what was called depressive neurasthenia'--a state of languor, malaise, and boredom'--on excessive masturbation, or too much manual discharge of the libido, which weakens the overall system. This negative view of masturbation was endemic to the Victorian era, but minus this moralism dressed up as medicalism, Freud was pointing to the problems of indulgence that induce anesthesia; or melancholia as followed by an excess. He includes in this all the problems of addiction, including sex addiction, or simply hedonism more generally.
Finally, he says there are those for whom bodily feelings are trapped at the border, unable to transform into thoughts, ideas, or feelings, and end up appearing as diffuse anxiety. When this anxiety begins to deplete the libido, we have what Freud called anxiety melancholia. Under this rubric, he would include alexithymia (lack of emotional awareness), anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), asexuality (loss of sexual desire), anorexia (loss of appetite), and many of the vicissitudes of disappointment that can reach the pitch of a mild melancholia. It is this latter category that the antidepressant campaigns are targeting in those strange television ads in which cartoons ask if you feel lonely, sad, or just not yourself.
Freud concedes that anesthesia is possible without melancholia, but melancholia is never possible without anesthesia of some kind. And this is vital, because while this numbing is part of depression, it is also what depression is trying to escape by increasing the feelings of agony and pain. Unfortunately, antidepressant drugs stop the agony and keep the anesthesia. It wraps your depression in bubble wrap.
Is it any wonder, then, that what is most obviously sacrificed in taking antidepressant medication, though it is never fully acknowledged, is orgasmic pleasure itself? Antidepressants can, and most often do, cause a severe attenuation of both sexual desire and the capacity to reach orgasm. It's not easy to live with sexuality, with a body, with all its unpredictable pleasures and pains'--the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. Sexual desire, that constant engine that demands we start over and over, is what is shed through depressive numbing. Instead, you don't want anything'--always to be followed by the rage that takes its place, and certainly not from you.
This is perhaps why in Freud's 1917 article ''Mourning and Melancholia,'' he gave the problem of melancholia more substance, saying that it was more than just a libidinal process gone haywire, it was also an inability to sustain desire because of a morbid, unconscious attachment to a lost loved one. Somewhere, the melancholic was sentimentally attached to someone or something that was crushing them from the inside. They simply couldn't let go, let something new in, desire something else, let the engine turn off and turn on again, as it will. So, while depressives declare life devoid of meaning, there is a secret attachment to some part of life that they are guarding. The depressive rage against the machine was a way to continue loving someone or something that has been lost, and the pain is the mind's attempt to finally break free of this, to acknowledge not the meaninglessness of life, but the end of a certain way that life had taken on meaning.
Sexual desire takes the biggest hit in depression as that longing transforms into hopelessness, or, as Freud poetically put it, ''the shadow of the object falls on the ego.'' Are antidepressants a substance that aids and abets in this holding on and coasting at neutral to negative by refusing to work through painful experiences of loss? No sex, no desire, no loss, no gain'--just me and you and this dull pain. Or, as a Pink Floyd lyric once put it, ''The child is grown. The dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.''
Martin Parr/Magnum PhotosWalmart, New Jersey, 1998Viagra
Sexual dysfunction'--and our drug panaceas to treat it'--are logically next on the list, not least because antidepressants are one of the major factors in both erectile dysfunction in men and sexual interest/arousal disorder in women. The incidence of sexual interest/arousal disorder for women aged twenty to sixty is estimated to be 30 percent, though many acknowledge that women are less likely to speak about the problem, whereas, since Viagra was released in 1998, men have become much more comfortable talking about it. Half of all men between the ages of forty and eighty report some problems with erectile dysfunction (ED), and the global drug market to treat ED is worth over $3 billion.
A 2017 meta-analytic study found that depression increases the risk of erectile dysfunction and erectile dysfunction increases the risk of depression, especially if one is living in a developed country. This puts us in a tight, almost claustrophobic bind'--something Freud pointed to as early as 1908 in '''Civilized' Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous Illness.'' In this article for the medical journal Sexual Problems, Freud is one of the first to say that sexuality by itself does not generate conflicts or dysfunction; rather, it is in sexuality's interaction with culture and morality that something goes askew.
Freud worries that damage to an individual's sexuality will eventually threaten society as a whole. He ends the article saying that the restrictions imposed on sexuality that are causing new forms of neurotic illness are also making people more anxious about life. That creates an excessive fear of death that interferes not only with a person's capacity for enjoyment, but diminishes the inclination to have children and thus participate in the future of civilization. It's not just about not being able to do it, nor even just about not really wanting to, Freud is saying; it is that we are in a deep crisis about the meaning of intimate relationships and life generally.
Freud is quite the sexual revolutionary in this article: criticizing the restrictions of monogamy and the double standard that allows men infidelities, recasting what were often considered sexual perversions as a normal part of sexuality, and showing how the aim of sexual drives is pleasure, not reproduction. But he was far from being a fan of hedonistic sexual indulgence. He thought such indulgence, especially excessive masturbation, weakened one's psychological constitution. He was also skeptical about romantic love, which he found fickle, since it was not easily combined with, or sustained by, sexual desire, and was often part of neurotic illusions or religious-moral idealism.
Later, Freud pointed to the difficult truth that the misogynistic debasement of a sexual partner helped men greatly with their potency. In fact, of the majority of men seeking treatment for what Freud named ''psychical impotence,'' it was always easy to discover that they were impotent only with some women and not with others. The women they demonstrated sexual prowess with were generally those whom they didn't respect or have affectionate feelings toward'--in short, women of a lower class, or prostitutes. This thesis about male sexuality and debasement, I want to note, was formulated well before the age of Internet pornography, which has finally caught up to Freud. Freud named this problem, in one of my favorite titles for an essay, ''The Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love.''
Developing this theme, Freud said the Madonna-whore complex is caused by incestuous fantasies'--meaning that once a woman is remotely reminiscent of a man's mother (by virtue of her becoming a mother, or because of his being intimidated by her, or simply feeling dependent on her), erectile function goes out the window. Women, he said, have their own version: they like secret relationships, and once something is sanctioned, it loses its exciting, transgressive edge; into that scenario enters frigidity. Despite skepticism regarding Freud on women (and much else), these ideas continue to be of help to feminists, showing how misogyny is structured, as well as women's symptomatic abandoning of desire in response to conventional forms of sexuality.
Both women and men, Freud said, have to surmount their feelings of ''respect'' that act as a curb on their sexual desire. Furthermore, they have to face up to their incestuous fantasies: we all have them'--hence the universal in the essay's title. Actually, it seems many of us are trying to face up to our incest fantasies since some variety of Mom porn came number three, four, five, and six among Pornhub's ''most searched'' categories in 2017. And since 2016, we have had a president with an apparent penchant for debasing women, even as he expresses frank admiration for his daughters' bodies. At the same time, we are still a society saturated with sexual morality, or sex panic, as some like to call it. I include in this not simply ideas or ideals about sex or sexuality, but also notions of love, marriage, and family.
The idea of the family has never been stronger despite divorce rates hovering at around 45 percent and birth rates dropping to their lowest since 1987. Despite the patent fiction of shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, in which no one really can believe that the Reality TV contestants are finding true love that will lead to marriage and a family, we nevertheless want to believe. In fact, nothing seems to sell better than when it is associated with a family, like The Kardashians, Duck Dynasty, or the Trumps. Perhaps, now, the family sells better than sex does since, in the past few years, many researchers are reporting large drops in sexual activity across the globe, with a 15 percent fall in the United States, and the most extreme statistic coming from Japan, where a reported 46 percent of women and 25 percent of men say they ''despise'' sexual contact.
The researchers blame porn, they blame increased working hours and stress, they blame depression and the insecurity of modern life. But Freud, surveying his patients in 1908, says that the problems with sexual desire often arise not simply from an external situation, but when someone can't acknowledge or speak a truth about their love relationships. Often, they repress the truth in order to live up to a societal ideal regarding family life or what they imagine it means to be in an intimate relationship, and then fall into illness. But illness causes just as much lack of satisfaction and situation of worry as would have been caused by acknowledging the truth. In a comment whose sardonic tone cannot be ignored, Freud says: ''This example is completely typical of what a neurosis achieves.''
So what Freud is saying is that we have a problem concerning sex and sexual desire and we have a problem with truth. This is an enormous double challenge for the practice of psychoanalysis that deals with speaking about one's desires and sexual difficulties as honestly as possible. It takes a long time; even with all the restrictions loosened, people still have great difficulty speaking about what they want. It seems that many people would prefer to turn away from uncomfortable sexuality, which seems to invade them from the inside. So, without hard therapeutic work, we are going to need a lot of medication.
Naturally, Big Pharma is furiously working to come up with a Viagra for women. The latest pill in testing has been named Lybrido'--note how they put the phonetic equivalent of ''breed'' in the name given our penchant for sexual dysfunction-inducing moralism. Interestingly, in a long article about the trials for this medication in The New York Times in 2013, the women interviewed were strikingly ambivalent: they wanted the medication desperately, sometimes insistently, but at the same time seemed not to follow instructions, claimed that they were in the placebo group, forgot to attempt the prescribed application of medication followed by sexual intercourse, even reported having orgasms but without leading to any overall change in desire. Nor did these women seek out any alternate solutions, such as therapy, to try get to the bottom of the matter; they chose instead to wait for the day that the real pill comes along. Funny, because I'm not sure they really want it. But there's the rub.
Thomas Hoepker/Magnum PhotosNew York City, 1960Benzodiazepines
Now, to everyone's favorite: anxiety meds. Anyone can appreciate a Xanax or Klonopin on one of those days when we're frayed at the edges and the after-work ''happy hour'' tequila doesn't really help. The problem with these pills, as every doctor will attest, is that these substances are highly addictive: their half-life is short, tolerance to the medication mounts quickly, and, with respect to the anxiety that they're treating, they do nothing but medicate it away, very temporarily, and the physical strain when trying to wean oneself off the medication is severe and dangerous.
The second day off from even a minor ''housewife's helper'' habit is a horror; you feel the pressure mounting as the medication wears off and that buzzing starts to creep back in, like the insistent pinging of alerts on your iPhone in the other room. What if I put it in a drawer, or maybe even in the basement? Take another pill. Take two more'... So I worry very much when my patients start developing a taste for Xanax, a condition that usually starts with the recommendation that you carry it in your purse or wallet, prescribed ''as needed.'' We are telling people to carry a powerful sedative around in their pockets, just in case?
Most of my patients come with a mixture of anxiety and depression, and antidepressants don't help all that much with anxiety symptoms. Even Wellbutrin (''the skinny antidepressant,'' as it has come to be called because it doesn't cause the weight gain that the others often do), which is said to help with this mixed picture, can't really touch anxiety in the way a benzodiazepine-type drug can. In fact, it can sometimes make things worse since it has more pick-me-up than the other antidepressants, and entering more fully into life often means experiencing more anxiety. But what is anxiety? Doesn't everyone have it to some extent?
For some, anxiety is coextensive with existence: to live is to have anxiety. This is what Kierkegaard and some of the other mid-nineteenth-century Existentialists pointed to and even celebrated. For psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, anxiety was fear without an object'--dread would be a good word for it. Even if it is an intrinsic tendency within the psychological system, for some it could become a powerful disposition. They used to call it ''nervousness'' by virtue of the anxious person's overly sensitive nervous system, reacting without any substantial instigating cause. Anxiety responds to anything and everything, which is the problem. It has no end or outside, which must somehow be constructed.
In fact, when anxiety does develop into a phobia or panic attack proper, it is more easily treated. At least then there is an object of fear or a climax to an anxiety, which otherwise tends to feel diffuse and infinite. Logically, the extreme poles of anxiety are agoraphobia, on the one hand, and claustrophobia, on the other, meaning one isn't happy where one is, inside or outside, alone or with others, since one cannot get out of the steel jaws of the trap that is anxiety. Horror movies play on this feeling to the hilt.
Freud was always very worried about anxiety and its costs on one's mental life. He refined his theory of anxiety from the beginning to the end of his work, and even changed his theory drastically late in the day, deciding that anxiety wasn't the result of psychological defenses, but actually of their failure or absence. We would be less at the mercy of anxiety if we had better defenses and symptoms'--such as repression, which makes us forget what is unpleasant, or phobias, which concentrate our anxiety in something symbolic, like spiders or public speaking. No spider, no anxiety. There is a reversal here, as Freud is making symptoms a kind of achievement. Symptoms, for Freud, are always creative psychic solutions, adaptations we can make use of in our artistic or scientific or other vocational endeavors. He actually called a certain kind of symptom formation without anxiety a ''beautiful indifference.'' This is what the anxious person can't achieve.
We are also living in times that many have characterized as deeply anxious and insecure. Some psychoanalysts have pointed to what they call the breakdown of collective fantasies that helped shore up our defenses against anxiety'--such as belief in God, or the American Dream, or the Enlightenment, or Prince Charming, and so on. In fact, what I see in my patients is that talk about anxiety and its many immediate palliative solutions function as a new religion. Anxiety and its solutions bring with them a whole host of new rituals'--from the taking of supplements (more pills), to checking social media, to Facebook stalking even. Freud called these kinds of solutions to anxiety ''crooked cures.''
In Freud's very first attempt at discovering the cause of anxiety, he decided it was a result of what he called ''coitus interruptus.'' By this term, he meant to imply any stoppage of orgasm. It's one of those moments in Freud, as when he thought that men menstruated out of their noses, when you think, Okay, he's young, or maybe he was on a lot of cocaine. But Freud was linking two ideas for the first time: one was an understanding of our individual psyches and how they are structured, and the other was how this structure affects our relationships with others, especially in our intimate sexual relationships, and vice versa. First, Freud contrasts anxiety and orgasm: orgasm is the externalization of the drive in the outside world, what he called the ejection into the outside of the libido, while anxiety is the libido trapped on the inside, unable either to enter into thought or mental work, and take some form in the world, or to return to the body. Next, Freud says this internal failure of sexuality is mirrored in the outside world in a failure to achieve orgasm with our partners, to not surrender to sexual enjoyment. We were spoiling sex; we were leaving ourselves, and our partners, half-satisfied, and this mirrored an internal condition of bodily energy never really developing'--into pleasure or into any definable mental content. This is the very stuff of anxiety.
Freud then takes this one step further (and this is what is ingenious): both of these failures, internal and external, essentially amount to a recognition of our separateness, our aloneness in our bodies, and our inability to achieve a unity or communal satisfaction with others. Anxiety is the truth of the infinite difficulty of sexuality and sexual relationships. This was the interpretation Freud was making of coitus interruptus: in this failed sexual encounter, a moment when our expectations are high, especially for some kind of experience of union, we realize how separate we really are. Anxiety!
It wasn't until much later in his career that Freud really puts all of this together regarding anxiety, when he says that anxiety is always what it was when it first appeared in childhood: namely, separation anxiety. Children, Freud says, are not afraid of the dark, or even of strangers; what they are, in these moments, is longing for the primary care-taker who satisfies all their needs. The build-up of longing for the other'--who takes care of me, makes me feel safe, provides me with pleasure'--can tip into anxiety that must then be mastered, since we must, at least at some point, begin to take care of ourselves.
Dealing with anxiety, then, is part of developing our autonomy. What we see Freud doing here again is showing that this mastery must take place both internally and externally: not giving in to anxiety, but transforming the feeling of loss and aloneness into the ability to work (or if not that, then at least turning it into a definable symptom). This also means coming to tolerate the momentary absence of others, and perhaps even their eventual loss. As they say about relationships: either it ends badly because we break up, or it ends badly because one of us dies.
What separateness means for psychoanalysis is that even if it is a simple fact'--we are irrevocably separate from one another and even from ourselves'--separateness is still a major achievement, one we have to continually refine. We can do this work by ourselves or, to be less pessimistic for once, we can also work at it with others. We can do this so long as the parties involved understand the value, as well as the difficulty, of separation. Otherwise, we usually end up playing into the other's fantasy and providing a crutch (co-dependence, anyone?).
It would seem that despite our hyper-individualistic, incest pornography-saturated world, or maybe in reaction to it, we are all having a lot of trouble with separation. Anxiety is a family affair. We miss our parents; and we miss whatever illusions they swathed us in; we miss feeling as though we did not have any real needs, and were gratified whenever we wanted something. We prefer this ideal fantasy and we see adult life and all its responsibilities as terrible and boring at best, and anxiety-ridden at worst: the injustice! Also, we are angry that sex doesn't work out the way we thought it would.
But the problem here, or maybe even the solution, is that we anxious people do know the truth: we are all going to die alone, others do what they like, something in sexuality inevitably fails, who even knows what anyone is thinking, I don't know what I want, I don't know how to give you what you want, and I certainly don't know what is going to happen, between us, or at all. Anxiety is always the signal of a truth that is calling you. Which is why the psychoanalysts, in some sense, are celebrating the breakdown of our collective fantasies, hoping that we all make it through to the other side of this wall of anxiety, to what they like to call'--a little cynically, maybe with some cruelty'--reality.
Elliott Erwitt/Magnum PhotosNew York City, 1953Ambien
Sleeping pills are a good place to end, especially since the one truth in psychoanalysis that I think should be retained at all costs is the staggering value of dream life. This is something I think of as entirely democratic, since it is available to all, for free, and not just to those who happen to have stock in Pfizer. Sleeping pills kill dream life, both because they affect REM sleep (which is when you dream), and because one is often too groggy upon awakening to retain the memory of a dream. They also knock out the importance of preparing to sleep: the cessation of thought, the drawing inward, the letting-go of the day, in an act through which we create an intermittency in life.
Yes, sleep resembles death, and that is scary, but perhaps that is the point: it is about coming to terms with the fact that we can't be awake forever, can't keep thinking, acting, planning, wishing. We have to let our bodies rest. We need to close down our receptivity to perceptions or other sensations. We must allow the control exerted by consciousness to slacken. Sleep, we might say, is separation'--from ourselves and from others.
''Dreams,'' Freud famously said, ''are the guardians of sleep.'' Which often makes many ask about the dreams, or rather nightmares, that wake a person up. In a sense, nightmares for Freud are failed dreams insofar as the mechanism of distortion in a dream that disguises any distressing thoughts and feelings'--what makes dreams nonsensical on the surface'--has failed, allowing too much anxiety and fright. A dream is supposed to keep us asleep, preserve the state of paralysis in the body, absorb any external perceptions or sensations, and produce an imagistic narrative that is the equivalent of a hallucinated wish.
Every dream for Freud is a wish fulfillment, even when it is a nightmare'--usually, the nightmare is a dream that is following the wish to master some terrifying experience or set of feelings. This is why there is much to be learned from one's dreams. But this essay is not about the meaning of dreams; rather, we are concerned with the psychopharmacology that targets sleep. So why does someone become sleepless, or have difficulty falling asleep?
In a 1915 essay titled ''A Metapsychological Supplement to the Theory of Dreams,'' Freud speaks about how the relaxation of the ego throws us back onto the unconscious, which is what is expressed in dream life: ''The stronger the Unconscious instinctual cathexes are, the more unstable is sleep. We are acquainted, too, with the extreme case where the ego gives up the wish to sleep, because it feels unable to inhibit the repressed impulses set free during sleep'--in other words, where it renounces sleep because of its fear of its dreams.'' By which he means, the more we haven't made friends with our unconscious, the more dangerous it's going to feel, and the more sleep will be affected.
At the extreme end, we can develop a phobia of sleep. And the most dire psychogenic disturbance of sleep is seen in the zombie-like conditions of depressives who never really sleep while sleeping all the time. The drawing-in of the libido necessary for falling asleep cannot take place because the mind, Freud says, is hemorrhaging. He called it the pain of a container with no bottom.
Enter the sleeping pill. But beware: as with laxatives and peristalsis, you will lose the feeling quickly for how to work in that place between the voluntary and involuntary.
There is something strange here. Freud describes sleep itself as a blissful state equivalent to narcissism. He describes this narcissism and its relation to dreams as the pure imagistic and auditory projection of an internal process, a veritable psychosis (in the contradictory logic of dreams and their madness), a series of hallucinated wish fulfillments (where all our dreams come true), and a relaxation of morality and rationality. Who wouldn't want this? Why don't we just sleep all the time? (In one article I've read, a psychoanalyst described the most severe addiction he ever treated as one of a patient who took sleeping pills during the day.)
In this case, if sleep and dreaming are so desirable, why have we become sleepless and restless, avoiding the moment when we can turn away from world, especially in a psychopharmacology of everyday life that seems to be looking for just this? I don't know that I have a very good answer, but I suspect that if dreams are the royal road to the unconscious, then this must be worse than turning away from what is painful in the world. Facing the anxiety of meeting with our unconscious, we must prefer instead rules and rationality and dissatisfaction and oppressive authorities and wishlessness and imagelessness and memorylessness'... I could go on.
Freud always said that the greatest resistance would be to the unconscious, maybe even to a greater extent than to death itself. This is why, in an apocryphal story of when he and Jung are on a boat for his one trip to the United States, to speak at Clark University in 1909, he turns to Jung and says, ''Do they know that we are bringing them the plague?'' In a 1917 article, Freud puts this another way, writing that he regards himself as one of those who, as the German poet Hebbel says, ''disturbs the sleep of the world.''
It might sound as though Freud is a complete megalomaniac (and that I'm making a powerful pitch for myself on that score), but if it is true that we spend a third of our lifetimes asleep, wouldn't it be better to think that it had some usefulness to the other two thirds of our lives, especially one that brings us closer to the truth, rather than just adopt some physiological explanation that leaves us, our minds, our lives, our histories, out of it? Wouldn't it be better to think of this unmediated access to ourselves from inside as a gift'--one that can even be material, to the extent that many psychoanalysts have noted how dreams can often show knowledge of an organic illness in the body before even our conscious selves or a doctor can?
Perhaps our penchant for pills, our restlessness, our desire for less pain, better sexual functioning, less emotional turmoil, is also a deep desire to get better acquainted with our unconscious life? And perhaps not. Last night, I dreamed of a one-eyed guinea pig'--and I still haven't figured out why, even though I've been doing this for twenty years now. And the night before, my partner and I had the same dream, after discussing wanting to have the same dream, which, in one sense, is uncanny, and, in another sense, is an unconscious joke'--the unconscious likes to joke, and it's oh-so-funny'--except for the fact that what we both dreamed about was death in the form of the ashes of the other that we were forced to eat. Love and mourning as cannibalism. My unconscious added another joke to this joke: the ashes I was to eat were in the form of toast, which is itself an idiom for death. Ash toast: hilarious. But I had also just found out that my aunt, who lives in Ashville, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Sleep of death, indeed.
Even if I love my partner so much I have to dream of eating him, and also dream of him dead, since that would be easier than continuing to love him, when I wake up, and he's still there, and I don't eat him'--but perhaps indulge in too much kissing, or eating, or other oral gratification'--I am more aware of the gap between us. It is in this gap that the drive works, organizing my wishful fantasies into a dream that teaches me about the depths and cruelty and narcissism of my desires. Also, about tenderness. It's funny to think of the illusion of dreams dispelling illusions'--but that was Freud's ingenious discovery, and also how he thought of the psychoanalytic cure.
The narcissism of sleep can cure actual narcissism since we can better reach out toward the world after experiencing and working through our worst narcissistic fears in dreams, especially injuries at the hands of others. Often, when a nightmare can return to a proper dream, to a dream full of wishes, with feelings other than fright, anxiety has been mitigated. Through a relaxation of our moral strictures and of our ferocious rationality, we will, in real life, be less severe with ourselves and others, and also more creative. Through the flawless projection of internal bodily processes (this is what a dream is), these processes return to themselves, able to work on their own, in their own time, in their own space: an organic movement from body to psyche and back. Psychoanalysis harnesses these effects.
Bettmann/Getty ImagesSigmund Freud in his Vienna home office, 1930This ''getting to know your unconscious'' is not a quick fix. The pills will be easier, for a time, and I understand that'--I've taken plenty of them, too. But there is so much more to be gained in psychoanalytic work, which I've witnessed, in myself, and in my patients.
Perusing Freud for this piece, I stumbled upon yet another of his scathing remarks about America'--this time in relation to sleeping pills, in his work The Future of an Illusion, in which he engages with an imaginary interlocutor on the question of religion:
It is certainly senseless to begin by trying to do away with religion by force and at a single blow. Above all, because it would be hopeless. The believer will not let his belief be torn from him, either by arguments or by prohibitions. And even if this did succeed with some it would be cruelty. A man who has been taking sleeping draughts for tens of years is naturally unable to sleep if his sleeping draught is taken away from him. That the effect of religious consolations may be likened to that of a narcotic is well illustrated by what is happening in America. There they are now trying'--obviously under the influence of petticoat government'--to deprive people of all stimulants, intoxicants, and other pleasure-producing substances, and instead, by way of compensation, are surfeiting them with piety. This is another experiment as to whose outcome we need not feel curious.
It is a nice reminder that psychoanalysis has little desire to take on your medications with any sense of piety. Rather, we hope for better, sturdier pleasures'--earthly ones, in this lifetime. Freud said he wanted us to take this step, and, quoting the German writer and poet Heinrich Heine, to leave heaven ''to the angels and the sparrows.''
VIDEO - Man Unable to Speak, Walk, See or Breathe Days After Getting Flu Shot
'It's the last time anyone in my family will ever get one'A Las Vegas man lost his vision, became partially paralyzed and has been unable to breathe without assistance since getting a flu shot last month.
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Shane Morgan and his wife Monique decided to get flu shots on November 2, believing it would help protect them and young family members ahead of the busy holiday season.
But what they thought was a pro-active measure turned to horror when Shane began losing feeling in his arms and legs.
''About 36-hours after he got the flu shot he started to get sick,'' Monique explained to KSNV.
''I never dreamed that any of this could ever happen,'' Shane told local media.
A Las Vegas Man lost his ability to walk, speak & see days after getting the #FluShot Doctors diagnosed him w/ Guillain-Barre syndrome a.k.a GBS. His family says the Flu shot triggered it & the CDC confirms a link, calling it extremely rare. Tune into @News3LV @ 6 for more. pic.twitter.com/TUNTBB1JJe
'-- Gabby Hart (@GabbyNews3LV) December 1, 2018
Doctors at Centennial Hills Hospital diagnosed Shane with Guillain-Barr(C) Syndrome, a known vaccine adverse reaction characterized by the CDC as an ''autoimmune disorder in which a person's own immune system damages the nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.''
Monique blames the flu shot for triggering the adverse reaction, which has left Shane in need of a ventilator and a feeding tube.
''It's the last time anyone in my family will ever get one,'' she said, adding Shane would rather have the flu ''ten to one'' than suffer the debilitating disorder.
RELATED: TEEN'S LEGS PARALYZED AFTER RECEIVING COLLEGE-MANDATED VACCINE
Despite Shane's horrific vaccine injury, a Nevada health official interviewed by KSNV still encouraged people to get the flu shot, saying Guillain-Barr(C) Syndrome is a ''rare'' condition.
Guillain-Barr(C) Syndrome, or GBS, has also been reported in patients who received the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine, Gardasil (HPV), and M-M-R II injections, to name a few.
A GoFundMe page has been created seeking donations to help the Morgan family.
h/t Dr. Willie Soon '' according to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, taxpayers have a right to expect a return for their green investments.
'... ''When we as a public choose to invest in new technologies, we deserve a return on that investment,'' Ocasio-Cortez said while talking about the broader Progressive agenda to fund renewable and green technology research with taxpayer money.
''For far too long, we gave money to Tesla, we gave money to a ton of people and we got no return on our investment that the public made in creating technologies, and it's about time we get our due because it's the public that funded and financed a lot of innovative technologies,'' Ocasio Cortez continued. '...
Sadly Ocasio-Cortez also said a lot of other things which were not so sensible, like promoting her favourite broken window fallacy '' her claim about the alleged benefits of the economic activity which would occur if the USA transitioned to green socialism.
Ocasio-Cortez's surprise demand that Musk produce something useful, combined with President Trump's determination to phase out subsidies for electric cars and green energy, in my opinion suggests an emerging bipartisan consensus against giving more government money to Tesla.
VIDEO - What A Green New Deal Looks Like - YouTube
Open LinesDuring the first part of the show, investigative journalist and Bush Family expert Russ Baker joined guest host Ian Punnett to reveal what he has uncovered about the life of late president George H.W. Bush. Regarding Bush's seemingly out-of-nowhere ascendancy to the Director of Central Intelligence in 1976, Baker noted, "He had a pretty thin resume... and he had absolutely nothing to do with intelligence," which suggests other forces in power behind the scenes wanted Bush in that role. According to Baker, Bush had been working covertly for the CIA for decades before his post as director, and may even have been under orders in Dallas during JFK's fateful visit on November 22, 1963.
Baker revealed a curious tie linking Bush to JFK's assassination from an interview in which the former president and Texas resident claimed he could not remember where he was the day JFK was shot and killed in Dallas. An FBI document from the time indicates he was in Tyler, Texas (about 98 miles from Dallas) at 1:45 PM, Baker reported. Bush had apparently phoned an agent friend in the Houston FBI branch to report he had information on somebody who may have been involved in the assassination. Baker thinks Bush was creating a paper record to show he was not in Dallas that day. "I'm not saying that [Bush] was necessarily in Dallas at 12:30, but... I found a small notice in the Dallas newspapers from the day before announcing that he was speaking, he was appearing at a small oil men's gathering at a hotel on the night that Kennedy was coming in," he said.
Open Lines followed in the second half of the program. Laura from Maine sounded off on the late president George H.W. Bush, suggesting he was a deceptive person. "I never got good vibes even looking at his face, or any of his family, especially his wife," she said. Laura also expressed her belief that Bush helped usher in the age of the New World Order.
Don from Kent, Ohio, told Ian he was listening to former World Bank lawyer Karen Hudes, who suggested the United States is actually run by Jesuits. Don noted that one caller to the radio program from which he learned this nugget informed the host CIA stands for Catholics In Action for the Church's deep involvement in politics.
Charles in Elgin, Texas, spoke about what he believes was the assassination of his father and the cover-up that followed. "He used to tell me, you know, not to say certain things, and I guess I must have said something I shouldn't have said," Charles admitted, accepting blame for the death of his father.
VIDEO - Everybody wants the POTUS. "We want Trump" chants from the UK #MAGA ðºð¸ : The_Donald
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has declared that renewable energy can be the ''vehicle'' to ending racism. And Twitter is not totally on board.
The congresswoman-elect joined Sen. Bernie Sanders at his Solving Our Climate Crisis Town Hall on Monday, and she spoke passionately about the benefits of renewable energy.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says combatting climate change will help end racism, but Twitter doesn't buy it. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
''It's not just possible that we will create jobs and economic activity by transitioning to renewable energy,'' she said, ''but it's inevitable that we are going to create jobs, it's inevitable that we are going to create industry, and it's inevitable that we can use the transition to 100 percent renewable as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States.'' A video of this declaration has made its way to Twitter, and users can't help but comment on the connection she's made.
Dumbest thing I've ever heard. Bigotry isn't based on weather
'-- Kurt (@KMGIndy) December 7, 2018
Achieve racial and social justice'...'...All this from renewable energy, wow if only we knew this earlier
'-- John Carpenter (@1969rpmalerba) December 7, 2018
So now Carbon Dioxide is oppressing minorities? God this woman is hilarious.
'-- YourLocalMailmain' (@Praise_Waluigi2) December 7, 2018
Had we only stopped the ice age from ending. Racism would've been completely erased!
'-- David Romero (@4everoldskoola) December 7, 2018
Many are mocking her connection between racism and climate change by coming up with their own versions.
Well? If she doesnt talk it could end noise and air pollution. Just a little thought.
'-- Wingless Angel (@l_lengyel) December 7, 2018
You nailed it. We are racist against trees.
That's why we used to hang people from them, to humiliate those worthless bastard trees.
'-- Zach Ingram (@zacharyingram10) December 7, 2018
There are some who supported her belief, though.
It's rhetorically genius to link renewable energy proposals to combat climate change with economic and social justice for communities.
'-- Ryan Ross (@rrossfl) December 5, 2018
the people of Flint, the families in Flint will not find peace within the country they live in without first getting clean drinking water! children shouldn't have to live in fear of being poisoned from faulty pipes! Flint awaits direct action from our govt''ð½
'-- cerejadere (@liberatefirst) December 5, 2018
Sanders is certainly a supporter, as he often speaks about the connections between environmental inequality and racism. ''People of color disproportionately experience a daily assault on their health and environment,'' he writes in the racial justice section of his website. ''Communities of color are the hardest hit by air and water pollution from industrial factories, power plants, incinerators, chemical waste and lead contamination from old pipes and paint. At the same time, they lack access to parks, gardens and other recreational green space.''
Also during the Solving Our Climate Crisis Town Hall, Ocasio-Cortez compared the progressive ''Green New Deal'' to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's economic New Deal of the 1930s, when American was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was on the brink of war.
''No one would have thought that a nation so poor, so scarce and in such dire straits as we were in that time could pursue such a bold economy agenda, but we chose to anyway. We had the courage to do it anyway,'' Ocasio-Cortez said. ''That is what this moment demands of us right now.'' The fight for this will be akin to the civil rights movement, in her mind. ''This is going to be the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require.''
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will pay interns after calling out 'unjust' free internships: 'Time to walk the walk'Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responds to Mike Huckabee's criticism: 'Leave the false statements to Sarah Huckabee'How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turns clothing critiques into teaching moments: 'Get used to me slaying lewks'Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.
VIDEO - UK Column News - 7th December 2018 | UK Column
Brian Gerrish, Mike Robinson, David Scott and David Ellis with today's UK Column News.
START '' Brexit disaster: Tuesday's vote will not be delayedThe final days of May's premiership'...? Operation Stop Boris already in full swingUK politics a morass of chaos'...UK may extend transition period4:47 '' Integrity Initiative & Institute for Statecraft: response on postal address questionGovernment spends £100 million of taxpayers money on anti-Russian strategy'...Georgian government moves tanks back towards the Russian borderEU Eastern Partnership countries are now considered part of the EUIf Russia reacts, they are immediately considered the aggressorWho is actually running UK politics'...? Not Westminster'...Foreign & Commonwealth Office funding militarism rather than help the starvingIs the EU rebuilding the Roman Empire'...?Brussels university linked in to British defence and securityEU military union: Northwood HQ setup for EU-led military crisis managementNorthwoods provides a direct secure communications link into Brussels'...MPs are not reading the documentation to understand EU military unificationCarillion £196 million MoD contract won by SkanskaBritish military security totally compromised by EU military unification25:28 '' Nigel Farage on LBC: very awkward questions from David in Torquay'...MPs are being whipped into silence on EU military unificationHow UKIP has been destroyed from within to leave 17.4 million voters adriftUKIP deliberately being moved from a moderate party to 'extreme' right-wingTommy Robinson: funded and supported by pro-zionist thinktank MEFFriends of Israel '' there's even a UKIP version'...40:44 '' Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)Gavin Williamson SoS for war: DASA a shining example'...(of Fusion Doctrine)43:15 '' Royal Navy officer's 'jaw broken' in mass punch-upBritish military being broken down in readiness for public to accept EU takeoverUS Navy is seeing the same kind of deliberate break down'...45:10 '' Book recommendation: The Way the Wind Blows by Alec Douglas-Home
VIDEO - Jay Rosen - Creating a Space for Ad-Free Journalism with The Correspondent - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Video Clip) | Comedy Central
While discussing border security at the closing of her press briefing on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the Untied States has three coasts, ''North, South and West.''
The issue of Border security came up after a journalist began asking Speaker Pelosi about her CR for The Department of Homeland Security:
VOTE NOW: Should Trump close down the Southern Border?
According to a transcript provided by the Speaker's website, the lead exchange went like this:
Q: Madam Leader, I just want to ask about '' you said you would accept the CR for DHS.
Leader Pelosi. Yes.
Q: Are you looking for a CR into the early part of the year? Are you looking for a full year?
Leader Pelosi. Oh, a full year, a full year.
Q: So you don't want to have this fight again in January is basically what you're ''
Leader Pelosi. No, no, a full year. There's no point in doing that. But even if you have a CR for a full year, it doesn't mean that at some point if you come to another conclusion you can pass a bill, but you have to '' you can't do this week '' there's too much uncertainty involved.
Q: May I follow up on this question?
Leader Pelosi. Sure.
Who would win a 2020 election match-up: Trump or Biden?
Q: To follow up on his question very quickly. Some of your '' some of the House Democrats are concerned about adding more money for this border fence, and if you guys do a CR, my understanding is that that would approve $1.3 million, at least, for the border fence?
Leader Pelosi. No, not necessarily
Q: Correct? That's what it was last year. So if you extend that again, wouldn't that cause a problem ''
Leader Pelosi. No, no, it depends on how you spend the money. It's border security. It's about border security.
Q: But within that, there was money for the fence as well.
Leader Pelosi. Well, you're talking about a fence, you're not talking about a wall now.
Q: But you're okay with that as long as ''
Leader Pelosi. No. I'm okay with what our Chairwoman, Lucille Roybal-Allard, she is the person who has fought on these issues her entire stay in Congress, which has been for a couple of decades. We're blessed that she's in the position that she is in. She knows that. We, most of us, speaking for myself, consider the wall immoral, ineffective and expensive, and the President said '' he promised '' he also promised Mexico would pay for it. So even if they did, it's immoral still, and then they're not going to pay for it. So that isn't how I would interpret a congressional '' a continuing resolution.
''We can move forward with this,'' she said. ''We have a responsibility, all of us, to secure our borders, North, South, and coming in by plane on our coasts, three coasts''North, South and West''and that's the responsibility we honor. But we do so by honoring our values as well.''
Leader Pelosi is no stranger to gaphs of this nature, but as the numbers begin to pile up some may question if she truly is the right fit to lead the House once again.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts below.
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