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The bill is a victory for Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, who held fast to the bipartisan approach they used in writing its Senate version. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The compromise farm bill unveiled Monday night avoids partisan minefields on food stamps and commodity policy that would have jeopardized its chances of clearing Congress before the end of the year.
Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees rejected sweeping changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that House Republicans and President Donald Trump had sought, clearing a path for bipartisan support in both chambers. The final bill also sidesteps a Senate attempt to tighten limits on subsidies for wealthier farmers.
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The bill, which has an estimated price tag of $867 billion over a decade, could have a floor vote in the House as soon as Wednesday.
Quick passage in the House would allow the Senate to vote on the bill later this week. Congressional leaders want to get the compromise legislation to Trump's desk before the end of the week to avoid any chance of it becoming tied up in negotiations to pass a government spending package by Dec. 21.
The deal is a win for Democrats, who unanimously opposed the House plan to impose stricter work requirements on millions of participants in SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. SNAP helps nearly 40 million low-income Americans buy groceries and accounts for more than 75 percent of the farm bill's total price tag.
It is also a victory for Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who held fast to the bipartisan approach they used in writing the Senate version of the bill. The House, driven by outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan's push to rein in SNAP as part of his broader welfare reform agenda, advanced its bill earlier this year with only GOP support after it was voted down on the first try.
Trump has repeatedly said he wanted the farm bill to include stricter SNAP work rules, but lawmakers told reporters the president is expected to sign the final deal even though it lacks those provisions. Republicans and Democrats are betting Trump will choose to give farmers certainty by locking in farm and nutrition policy over the next five years. Producers have been struggling with low commodity prices, which have worsened as a result of retaliatory tariffs precipitated by Trump's trade agenda.
The president faces the same dilemma that helped motivate House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) to make concessions, including on SNAP. If the farm bill is not passed this month, lawmakers would have to restart the legislative process next year, giving a Democrat-controlled House the opportunity to include provisions that Republicans and major commodity groups consider unfavorable.
The release of the compromise bill follows months of politically charged negotiations between House and Senate Agriculture leaders that were marked by disagreements over SNAP, along with commodity, conservation and forestry programs. The previous farm bill expired Oct. 1 as top negotiators struggled to find common ground.
Ultimately, the deal that conference negotiators reached largely resembles existing agriculture and nutrition law.
Current SNAP policy would essentially be left in place, though the bill does make some administrative changes designed to reduce improper payments in the program.
House Republicans are likely to tout a handful of modest work-related provisions in SNAP, such as more funding for education and job-training initiatives.
While conservatives didn't get what they wanted in the farm bill, the Agriculture Department is preparing to give them a win by releasing a rule expected to make it harder for states to waive existing work requirements for able-bodied adult SNAP recipients. In effect, it is a way to make work rules more stringent without congressional approval.
''Through regulation we'll be able to please those conservatives who expected more work requirements in the farm bill, as I did, as President Trump did," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters after an Illinois Farm Bureau event in Chicago last week.
The House proposal on stricter SNAP work requirements and tightened eligibility standards together would have dropped about 1.5 million people from the program, according to CBO projections. Stronger work requirements would have led to a cut of some $9 billion in SNAP benefits over a decade, and the House bill called for using that money to fund a massive expansion of state-run SNAP employment and job-training efforts.
The final compromise doesn't cut SNAP benefits or change eligibility criteria in any significant way.
The bill also largely maintains current limits on farm subsidies, though a House plan to expand the definition of a family operation to include first cousins, nieces and nephews '-- making them eligible for commodity subsidies '-- is included. These payments are capped at $125,000 per person each year, and double that for couples.
Farmers with an annual adjusted gross income above $900,000 a year would be ineligible for commodity payments, which are sent to producers growing soybeans, corn, cotton, peanuts and other row crops. That limit is the same threshold as in current law. A Senate proposal to lower the means test was scrapped.
A controversial proposal from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to curb how many farm managers can qualify for commodity subsidies also didn't make the cut. Under current law, farms operated entirely by families can have an unlimited number of managers, as long as they are ''actively engaged,'' a standard enforced by USDA that critics argue is too lax and proponents contend is a bureaucratic headache.
Commodity subsidies, which can cost around $5 billion to $8 billion a year and are sent out when farmers' average revenue or crop prices fall below certain levels, are expected to increase under the bill.
Dairy producers will get added protection, as well, because lawmakers decided to make it less expensive for them to enroll in support programs. House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who is expected to take over the panel next year, has said the changes will make it nearly impossible for smaller dairy operations to lose money.
Federal crop insurance, which subsidizes about 60 percent of farmers' premiums and shields producers from weather-related disasters or profit losses during any one year, will continue. The program is not means-tested.
Agriculture lawmakers also had to resolve disagreements over conservation programs, which compensate farmers and ranchers to take environmentally sensitive land out of production, place it under easements or adopt practices that reduce pollution from runoff and improve soil quality.
The Conservation Stewardship Program would continue; the House version had proposed phasing it out over time in order to boost another initiative, known as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Both programs pay farmers to implement practices that benefit the environment, though CSP has a longer-term focus and doesn't put as much emphasis on livestock production. The final deal would slash CSP's budget by $800 million per year, and plow the savings into EQIP and several other conservation programs.
Lawmakers left out dozens of controversial environmental provisions proposed by House Republicans, such as language to ease restrictions on pesticides and certain requirements under the Endangered Species Act.
The final bill includes a small boost in funding for trade-promotion efforts and would allocate $30 million a year for a new initiative to combat animal diseases, including funding for a vaccine bank. Also included was a provision, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to legalize hemp cultivation and remove it from the federal list of controlled substances. Stabenow secured grant funding for urban and indoor farming.
The compromise measure would restore USDA's top rural development official to a Senate-confirmed position, reversing Perdue's decision last year to make that post part of the Office of the Secretary.
The bill also includes energy and forestry titles. The latter became a late holdup in negotiations in the aftermath of the California wildfires.
The Trump administration had pushed lawmakers to adopt the House plan for forestry management, which would have eased federal oversight of certain forest-thinning efforts, like salvage logging. But Senate Democratic leadership was opposed to that approach because of environmental concerns. The final deal would waive environmental reviews for some activities, like the removal of insect- or disease-ridden trees, but it doesn't go nearly as far as the House had proposed.
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Nancy Pelosi mocks Trump's 'manhood' after 'wild' Oval Office meet, says she tried to 'be the mom' - NY Daily News
President Trumo threatens government shutdown over border wall funding in a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Nancy Pelosi mocked President Trump's ''manhood'' and questioned his basic understanding of government spending during a closed-door meeting with House Democrats on Tuesday, according to an aide in the room.
The California congresswoman, who's vying to become the next House speaker, made the blistering remarks after returning to the Capitol from a tense Oval Office sit down with Trump, during which he repeatedly threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress fails to cough up at least $5 billion for his long-sought border wall with Mexico.
''It's like a manhood thing for him,'' Pelosi told the Dems of Trump's wall obsession, according to the source. ''As if manhood could ever be associated with him.''
Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn't enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he's scared to run away with his tail between his legs.
''I was trying to be the mom. I can't explain it to you. It was so wild,'' Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). ''It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.''
With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be ''proud'' to shut down the government if Congress doesn't earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.
Pelosi told Democrats that Trump's boisterousness will be beneficial for them.
''The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,'' Pelosi said. ''That was an accomplishment.''
A White House spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
After spending the campaign promising Mexico would pay for a border wall, Trump has since taking office demanded Congress makes sure American taxpayers foot the bill.
Democrats and a handful of Republicans have consistently refused and argue Trump's wall obsession is rooted in racism, not national security.
During the private Democratic rendezvous, Pelosi also explained why she had asked the President to not continue discussing government funding in front of the press.
''Fox News was saying, 'She doesn't want the public to know.' No, I don't want the public to see how wrong '-- no evidence, no data, no facts, no truth to what he says,'' Pelosi said. ''Should we be contradicting him in front of the press? Well, that's what I told the President. But anyway, it was, you know, he said at the end of the meeting, he said, 'We can go two routes with this meeting: with a knife or a candy.' I said, 'Exactly.'"
A source briefed on what went down during Trump's meeting with Pelosi and Schumer once reporters left the room said the President appears reluctant to come to terms with reality.
''The President was not firmly footed in the nuances,'' the source said. ''He was only focused on the topical aspects of his campaign pledge for a border wall that Mexico would pay for and he was unwilling to accept the reality that his own Republican-controlled Congress will only pass the deal that Schumer and Pelosi were meeting him about, which is a deal without a wall."
Nancy Pelosi Democratic Party U.S. Congress
Transgendered as a group from Allie
I agree with you on the internet/ social media influencing
transgender cases. BUT, not all are. I am 31 and kinda just questioned whatever
the hell I was with out internet or any outside influence as my parents was
religious and conservative. I am not alone in this, as a lot of the older
generations that came before the social media blast started churning out all
the letters added to the LGBT. Personally, most of us older to a lot older
trans people do not like the loud, annoying trans social generation. Our goal
was to move into a normal life as a woman, we do not want to live life as a
In the Morning
Allie Jade (alas)
College Students Make Comedian Sign 'Safe Space' Contract Ahead Of Charity Event | Daily Wire
With the recent backlash against Kevin Hart over his short-lived Oscars hosting gig, a whole new generation of funnymen will arise that are too afraid of losing everything over a joke that offends someone in the audience. Soon, they will be signing contractual agreements ahead of showtimes about what they can and cannot say. A student club at the University of London is a leading example of this coming Orwellian nightmare.
According to PJ Media, the UNICEF on Campus chapter at the University of London invited five local comedians to perform at an event, all of whom were asked to sign a "behavioral agreement" to avoid any problems. One of the invited guests was Russian-born free speech advocate Konstantin Kisin.
"Attached is a short behavioural agreement form that we will ask for you to sign on the day to avoid problems," wrote Fisayo Eniolorunda, the club's event organizer, in an email to Kisin.
The "behavioral agreement" form says the chief aim of the event is to provide a "safe space" for everyone to experience "joy, love and acceptance."
"This comedy night '... aims to provide a safe space for everyone to share and listen to Comedy," the agreement reads. "This contract has been written to ensure an environment where joy, love, and acceptance are reciprocated by all."
"By signing this contract, you are agreeing to our no tolerance policy with regards to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism," the contract continues. "All topics must be presented in a way that is respectful and kind. It does not mean that these topics can not be discussed. But, it must be done in a respectful and non-abusive way."
Speaking with PJ Media, Kisin said he understands why certain comedians no longer play college events. "I remembered the Nimesh Patel story from last week and Jerry Seinfeld saying he doesn't play colleges and it started to make sense," Kisin said.
Jerry Seinfeld said in 2015 that college kids had become too politically correct for comedy. "I don't play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, 'Don't go near colleges. They're so PC,'" he said. "They just want to use these words: 'That's racist;' 'That's sexist;' 'That's prejudice,'" he said. "They don't know what the hell they're talking about."
Kisin is the last comedian in the world that college students should ask to sign an agreement not to offend anyone, considering that he co-hosts the podcast TRIGGERnometry, which routinely blasts social justice warriors, academia, and censorship.
"Comedy isn't about being 'kind' and 'respectful' and the only people who get to decide what comedians talk about on stage are ... comedians," Kisin told PJ Media. "Comedy is supposed to push boundaries and challenge people and comedians should be free to mock religion, atheism and a whole load of other things."
Kisin supports the UNICEF cause but announced on Monday that he could not perform at the event so long as the behavioral contract remains on the table.
The UNICEF chapter at the University of London is independent of UNICEF's national organization.
VICTORY: Radio Station Lifts Ban On 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' After Overwhelmingly Positive Poll | Daily Wire
Sometimes the crowd is full of stupid. But sometimes the crowd is full of wisdom. A Bay Area radio station's decision to lift the ban on the popular Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" due to an audience poll is an example of the latter.
According to CBS News, San Francisco's KOIT radio station will be returning the allegedly controversial "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to the airwaves this season after audiences overwhelmingly expressed disapproval of the ban.
The ban occurred last week when KOIT Program Director Brian Figula announced the station would be shelving the song while asking listeners for feedback. In the end, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" won the day.
"After hearing from thousands of Bay Area listeners via polling, phone calls, emails and social media, KOIT has concluded that the vast majority consider the song to be a valuable part of their holiday tradition, and they still want to hear it on the radio," Figula said in a statement on Monday.
The vote on whether to ban the song was not even close, according to Figula, with a full 77% of listeners opposing it entirely.
"KOIT's listeners have spoken, and the overwhelming message is they do want to hear 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' on our station, as they have throughout the years," he said. "More than seven out of every ten listeners who responded said although some lyrics of the song may reflect a different era and a different sensibility than today, still they love the tradition and history of the song, and want to hear it as part of their holiday season."
In recent weeks, the classic Christmas tune has been portrayed as some kind of a "date rape anthem" by feminists who are unable to see the nuance in the song's flirtatious nature. It all began earlier this month when a Cleveland radio station banned "Baby, It's Cold Outside" entirely after some listeners complained it promoted date rape, even though the song's creator, Frank Loesser, intended it as a flirtatious song between a man and a woman on a cold winter's night. The song's critics typically overlook the part where the woman sings "Baby, it's cold outside" in unison with her male partner, signifying that the two were always in sync. Frank Loesser's daughter recently asserted this was the case.
Figula said the station received an outpouring of angry emails and social media posts following the ban, many of which accused the station of enforcing political correctness. While KOIT has made the right decision, that doesn't mean other stations have. As of now, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" remains on the blacklist in both Cleveland and Denver. Other stations in Canada have banned it as well.
"In Canada, CBC Radio announced last week it would join at least two other broadcasters in the country '-- Rogers Media and Bell Media '-- in keeping the song off their holiday playlists," reports CBS News. "CBC spokeswoman Nicola Makoway said the broadcaster planned to remove the song at midnight on Tuesday with 'no plans to play it going forward.'"
An informal poll on CBS New York shows a majority of people want "Baby, It's Cold Outside" kept on the radio.
RELATED: WATCH: Comedian JP Sears Mocks The 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Date Rape Controversy. It's Brilliant.
RELATED: BOIS: Top 10 'War On Christmas' Fails Of All Time'
Colin Kaepernick Is Reportedly 'Ready And Willing' To Sign With The REDSKINS | Daily Wire
Former NFL second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been out of work for almost two full seasons, but it seems he may have finally found a home '-- with the nation's most controversially named NFL team.
According to Yahoo Sports, Kaepernick, who walked away from a one-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers, under the mistaken impression his anti-racism protests had made him a desirable commodity, is "ready and willing" to suit up for just about any professional football team, even if that means playing for the Washington Redskins, whose very name sparks revulsion in social justice communities.
"The sources told Yahoo Sports on Sunday that Kaepernick remains willing to play for any NFL team that wants to offer him a job," the outlet reported late Sunday. "Both stressed that 'any NFL team' includes the Redskins, in spite of longstanding criticism over the team's logo and name, as well as team owner Dan Snyder having been one of the most critical owners on the issue of players kneeling during the national anthem."
''He's a professional Super Bowl-caliber quarterback and in the best shape of his life and he would play if given the opportunity on any NFL team,'' sources told Yahoo.
The Redskins are a controversial team, to say the least. The moniker "redskin" is widely recognized as an overtly racist term for a Native American, and social justice warriors have been pushing the team to adopt a more "modern" name for decades. Public opinion on the matter is generally split, but certainly Colin Kaepernick, who has made "anti-racism" the subject of his public protests, probably isn't on the side of those who claim critics of the Redskins' name are being "overly-sensitive."
Of course, the Redskins would have to roll out the red carpet to Colin Kaepernick first, and they don't seem in a hurry to pick him up '-- or pick up any experienced quarterback, for that matter. Instead, the team is relying on aging QB Mark Sanchez backed up by Josh Johnson who, Yahoo news points out, hasn't thrown a pass in nearly seven years.
Fox News reports that the Redskins have "discussed" signing Kaepernick but haven't made any job offers and certainly haven't scheduled any tryouts, even though they have a losing record and are looking increasingly desperate for talent. Coaches for the Redskins told Yahoo that they're concerned about bringing in a brand new QB with only three weeks left in the season.
Kaepernick has been out of work for nearly two years, having left the San Francisco 49ers back in 2016. He claims that's not because he lacks talent '-- though by the time he left San Francisco he was relegated to second-string QB '-- but because his anti-racism protests, which involved kneeling during the national anthem ceremony that takes place before each NFL game, made him a pariah.
Those same protests, which caught on after President Donald Trump publicly condemned them at a rally in 2017, have gone on to cost the NFL dearly, leaving stadiums empty and tickets unsold.
In a lawsuit filed this year, Kaepernick accused NFL team owners of coordinating with each other '-- and President Trump '-- to shut him out of the league. That lawsuit is reportedly in its "final stages," meaning it could be close to a resolution or settlement.
Boy Scouts of America Considers Bankruptcy Filing Amid Sex-Abuse Lawsuits - WSJ
The Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy protection as it faces dwindling membership and escalating legal costs related to lawsuits over how it handled allegations of sex abuse.
Leaders of the Boy Scouts, one of the country's largest youth organizations, have hired law firm Sidley Austin LLP for assistance with a possible chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the matter.
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts group says that more than 110 million people have participated in its educational programs, which promote outdoors skills, character-building and leadership.
The Boy Scouts have been at the center of sexual-abuse scandals in the past, and the organization is facing a number of lawsuits that allege inappropriate conduct by employees or volunteers in incidents dating back as far as the 1960s. Filing for bankruptcy would stop the litigation and would give the nonprofit a chance to negotiate with those who have sued.
Other organizations facing similar legal pressure have also turned to bankruptcy protection in recent years. More than 20 Catholic dioceses and religious orders have filed for chapter 11 protection to negotiate payouts to thousands of victims. And last week USA Gymnastics, the governing body for the sport, filed for bankruptcy as it faces lawsuits from decadeslong sexual abuse by the national team's former doctor Larry Nassar.
The Boy Scouts released a letter to its employees Wednesday that said it plans to ''explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted.''
Participation in the organization's programs has fallen in recent years, though the group opened some of its programs to girls and transgender boys. The Boy Scouts currently have more than 2.3 million youth members. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formerly one of the group's largest sponsors, has said it will withdraw from Boy Scout programs. The church said it would develop its own program for young men.
The Boy Scouts group has drawn scrutiny over its slow pace to become more inclusive, including by lifting a ban in 2015 on gay men and lesbians serving in leadership roles.
The group has also dealt with fallout from its decision last year to expand its recruitment of girls, putting it in competition with the Girl Scouts of the USA, a separate group that offers similar programming and has also seen membership fall.
In November, the Girl Scouts filed a trademark lawsuit against the organization, saying its push for girls to join caused confusion and led to instances in which parents mistakenly signed their children up for Boy Scouts programs.
A Boy Scouts spokeswoman said the group is reviewing the lawsuit and that the expansion came ''after years of requests from families who wanted'' to participate in its programs.
In recent years, the Boy Scouts group's legal bills for work done by some outside law firms have grown. In 2017, the organization paid $7.6 million to labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins, according to public filings. It paid Ogletree $3.5 million in 2016 and $859,347 in 2015, the filings show.
In the group's latest annual report, Boy Scout officials said its future financial situation will partly depend on the outcome of sex-abuse-related litigation and future damages awarded. One lawsuit unfolding in Idaho over alleged abuse by several former leaders is set for a jury trial in May.
The organization has said that it has never knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth members and has put rules in place to strengthen protections.
In the annual report, officials said they were ''aware of threatened and expanding litigation of a similar nature.'' They added that the group's financial health will also depend on how much of the litigation costs will be covered by insurance.
The organization has sued its insurers at least twice since 2013, accusing them of failing to cover costs related to previous sex-abuse lawsuits. In its annual report, organization leaders said the latest lawsuits could force the group ''to pay damages out of its own funds to the extent the claims are not covered by insurance or if the insurance carriers are unable or unwilling to honor the claims.''
'--Jonathan Randles contributed to this article.
Write to Katy Stech Ferek at email@example.com
Academy Awards considers going without host: report | Fox News
Following Kevin Hart's announcement that he was bowing out of as host of the 2019 Academy Awards, a report on Monday suggested that organizers behind the annual event are considering airing next year's telecast without a host.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is exploring all options, sources with knowledge of the situation told Variety.
The show may go sans host, an insider told the outlet, and instead would feature ''a bunch of huge celebs, something 'SNL' style, and buzzy people to throw to commercial.''
Organizers reportedly are leery of booking a host considered too controversial or ''off the cuff,'' the report claimed.
KEVIN HART'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS, FROM LEWD TRUMP DIG AT MTV VMAS TO SUPER BOWL RANT
Hart announced last week that he was stepping down from hosting the award show amid criticism over years-old tweets deemed anti-gay.
''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,'' Hart tweeted.
In a follow-up tweet he added, "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."
Shortly after announcing the hosting gig, several now-deleted tweets by Hart using words such as ''homo'' and ''gay,'' dating back to 2011, resurfaced.
PAT SAJAK SUGGESTS 'QUICK FIX' FOR OSCARS
In a 2010 stand-up special, Hart said "If I can prevent my son from being gay, I will."
GLAAD, a group founded by LGBT people in media, said it had contacted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to discuss Hart's gig prior to his stepping down.
The 91st Academy Awards is set to air Sunday, Feb. 24.
Fox News' Louis Casciano contributed to this report.
CELINUNUNU | gender neutral clothing for little humans with freedom of mind
The literal s***hole that is San Francisco has yet to clean up its rampant drug and homeless problem, but at least city officials have taken the time to assemble the first legally recognized transgender district in the world.
According to a lengthy article in the Daily Beast, San Francisco's Tenderloin district now serves as home to the Compton's Transgender Cultural District, located near the historic all-night diner Compton's Cafeteria (now transitional housing), where the famous 1966 riot occurred between transgenders and police.
The district manager, former "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Honey Mahogany, told the Daily Beast that the district will be a place of welcoming for trans people where they can learn about trans history.
"The Tenderloin has always held a really special place in my heart as a trans person with the way the community is accepting of gender variant and trans people of color," Mahogany said. "There's friendliness and an energy to the Tenderloin. People say hello and good morning and how are you and check in with each other, which I think often gets lost in a big city."
"Many of our traditions are passed down through queer bars because those are the places where our elders interact with younger generations," Mahogany continued. "Drag is often seen as a way of storytelling and passing on stories of previous generations."
The district will include a community center that will be at the site of a former gay bathhouse. It received $215,000 from the city as part of an initiative passed in November that allocated $3 million from an existing hotel tax toward the city's cultural districts. The Calle 24: Latino Cultural District and the LGBTQ Leather Cultural District in SOMA will also be receiving funds.
Jane Kim, a supervisor whose area includes the Tenderloin, introduced the legislation in June of last year to create the Compton's district. "We don't often think of nightclubs as safe spaces, but for the LQBTQ community, they're a place people can be free to love and dance with the people they want," she said. "That's why we're working so hard to have an intentional strategy to keep our small businesses here so they can grow and thrive."
Kim emphasized that the district comes at a most important time during the tenure of President Trump. "The first transgender commemorative neighborhood in the nation's history is well timed given the president's attack on transgender people," she said. "We will have grants for small businesses and we need to be intentional to make the district an anti-displacement strategy.''
Katie Condry, director for the Tenderloin Museum, says that history has forgotten how pivotal the district has been for the advancement of the LGBT cause. "Saying the LGBT movement in the United States started with Stonewall completely ignores the work activists had been doing for a decade at least," she said. ''It's important to realize the movement started with a lot of trans women, particularly trans women of color, and it gives them back their rightful place in history."
University of Montana Western Conduct Code Punishes Mean Facial Expressions | National Review
(Pixabay) Nobody likes a mean person, and it's better to be nice. But there is nothing nice about restricting students' speech. T he University of Montana Western has a policy that allows for punishing students for ''mean'' words or ''facial expressions'' '-- and that punishment could technically be as severe as expulsion.
''While discussions may become heated and passionate, they should never become mean, nasty or vindictive in spoken or printed or emailed words, facial expressions, or gestures,'' states the Student Code of Conduct.
Another area of the code states that ''committing any act prohibited by this Code of Conduct may result in expulsion or suspension from the University unless specific and mitigating factors are present.''
''Factors to be considered in mitigation may include the present attitude and past disciplinary record of the offender, as well as the nature of the offense and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it,'' the code continues.
Unsurprisingly, the pro-free-speech group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has expressed some concerns over this policy '-- especially considering the fact that the University of Montana Western is a public (read: taxpayer-funded) university.
''A great deal of constitutionally protected expression could be punished under this policy, like a tweet that criticizes the university administration, or the expression of those who take up the 'nasty woman' moniker, a rally cry made popular after then-candidate Donald Trump used the term to describe Hillary Clinton,'' a post on FIRE's website states.
Furthermore, as FIRE also points out, what is or is not ''mean'' or ''uncivil'' in terms of speech is an entirely subjective matter. For example: One person might like being called ''skinny,'' while another might take it as an insult. The same goes for facial expressions. Personally, I'm not big on smiling, and I've been told that my ''resting face'' can be a bit unwelcoming. I've had many people tell me that, upon meeting me, they assumed I did not like them because of the expression that I wear on my face. In other words, many people have interpreted my normal resting face as having a ''mean'' expression. Under this policy, as a student at this school, my very face could possibly be enough to get me expelled '-- and I certainly don't think that's appropriate.
Now, of course, I don't think the university would actually expel me for my resting bitch face. After all, the code does clarify that the nature of the punishment would depend on ''the nature of the offense,'' and I highly doubt that even the strictest administrator would consider my face looking how my face looks to be something bad enough to warrant such a severe punishment. The thing is, though, this policy would allow them to do so '-- and that's completely unfair and ridiculous.
Nobody likes a mean person, and it certainly is better to be nice. The truth is, however, there is nothing nice about restricting students' speech '-- and, as FIRE points out, the very existence of this policy in itself might be enough to do just that.
''Even if these civility policies aren't applied to punish protected speech in practice, they're still likely to have a chilling effect on speech, as students reading the policy will self-censor and avoid controversial expression rather than taking that risk,'' the website's post states.
I agree with these concerns. College is supposed to be a place where students can freely express ideas, challenge others' ideas, and learn from those experiences. This is a very important way for students to grow intellectually, as well as emotionally, and colleges should have conduct codes that protect these values rather than threatening them.
This story was previously covered in an article in Campus Reform.
July 2, 2018 | 5:26pm | Updated July 2, 2018 | 5:47pm
ngela Ponce, 26, made history on Friday when she was crowned Miss Universe Spain, becoming the pageant's first transgender titleholder.
''Bringing the name and colors of Spain before the universe is my great dream,'' wrote Ponce in Spanish on Instagram shortly after her win, reports The Advocate. ''My goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity not only for the LGBTQ+ community, but also for the entire world.''
In 2012, the Miss Universe Organization ended its ban on transgender contestants. Ponce will go on to represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant later this year.
And this isn't Ponce's first pageant. In 2015, Ponce who's originally from Seville, competed for Miss World Spain (which is not affiliated with Miss Universe). And while she didn't nab the crown, she was happy to represent her province, Cadiz.
''I have the regional crown on my head and I will keep fighting to make us seen, to make us heard and to demonstrate that I am already a queen with my own crown,'' she told the Daily Mail.
Journalists working as fact-checkers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership with the social network, saying the company has ignored their concerns and failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.
Current and former Facebook fact-checkers told the Guardian that the tech platform's collaboration with outside reporters has produced minimal results and that they've lost trust in Facebook, which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work. Some said Facebook's hiring of a PR firm that used an antisemitic narrative to discredit critics '' fueling the same kind of propaganda fact-checkers regularly debunk '' should be a deal-breaker.
''They've essentially used us for crisis PR,'' said Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a fact-checking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years. ''They're not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck '... They clearly don't care.''
Facebook began building its partnerships with news outlets after the 2016 presidential election, during which fake stories and political propaganda reached hundreds of millions of users on the platform. The goal was to rely on journalists to flag false news and limit its spread, but research and anecdotal evidence have repeatedly suggested that the debunking work has struggled to make a difference.
Facebook now has more than 40 media partners across the globe, including the Associated Press, PolitiFact and the Weekly Standard, and has said false news on the platform is ''trending downward''.
While some newsroom leaders said the relationship was positive, other partners said the results were unclear and that they had grown increasingly resentful of Facebook, especially following revelations that the company had paid a consulting firm to go after opponents by publicizing their association with billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros. The attacks fed into a well-known conspiracy theory about Soros being the hidden hand behind all manner of liberal causes and global events. It was later revealed that Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, had directed her staff to research Soros' financial interests after he publicly criticized the company.
''Why should we trust Facebook when it's pushing the same rumors that its own fact checkers are calling fake news?'' said a current Facebook fact-checker who was not authorized to speak publicly about their news outlet's partnership. ''It's worth asking how do they treat stories about George Soros on the platform knowing they specifically pay people to try to link political enemies to him?''
''Working with Facebook makes us look bad,'' added the journalist, who has advocated for an end to the partnership.
Another fact-checker who has long worked on the Facebook partnership said they were demoralized: ''They are a terrible company and, on a personal level, I don't want to have anything to do with them.''
Binkowski, who left Snopes earlier this year and now runs her own fact-checking site, which does not partner with Facebook, said the Facebook-Snopes partnership quickly became counterproductive. During early conversations with Facebook, Binkowski said she tried to raise concerns about misuse of the platform abroad, such as the explosion of hate speech and misinformation during the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and other violent propaganda.
''I was bringing up Myanmar over and over and over,'' she said. ''They were absolutely resistant.''
Binkowski, who previously reported on immigration and refugees, said Facebook largely ignored her: ''I strongly believe that they are spreading fake news on behalf of hostile foreign powers and authoritarian governments as part of their business model.''
Kim LaCapria recently left Snopes as a content manager and fact-checker partly due to her frustrations with the Facebook arrangement. She said it quickly seemed clear that Facebook wanted the ''appearance of trying to prevent damage without actually doing anything'' and that she was particularly upset to learn that Facebook was paying Snopes: ''That felt really gross '... Facebook has one mission and fact-checking websites should have a completely different mission.''
Binkowski said that on at least one occasion, it appeared that Facebook was pushing reporters to prioritize debunking misinformation that affected Facebook advertisers, which she thought crossed a line: ''You're not doing journalism anymore. You're doing propaganda.''
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on whether advertisers influenced fact-checking, saying in an email, ''The primary way we surface potentially false news to third-party fact-checkers is via machine learning.''
Other times, Snopes ended up fact-checking satirical articles for Facebook, which felt like a waste of time and in certain instances, sparked intense backlash against Snopes, the former staffers said. Once Snopes became an official partner, there was also a noticeable increase in online harassment, death threats and attacks from far-right users and prominent conservatives who accused the fact checkers and Facebook of having a leftwing bias and agenda, Binkowski said.
When reporters got caught in these kinds of firestorms, Facebook let individual journalists shoulder the blame, she said: ''They threw us under the bus at every opportunity.''
Added LaCapria: ''We were just collateral damage.''
A Facebook spokesperson said it has begun incorporating journalist safety training for new partners.
LaCapria, who is now working with Binkowski on her new site, said it became difficult to report on Facebook at Snopes due to the financial arrangement: ''We knew that if anything involved Facebook it was at risk of being compromised.''
''Most of us feel it's more trouble than it's worth,'' said one current fact-checker.
Facebook has said that third-party fact-checking is one part of its strategy to fight misinformation, and has claimed that a ''false'' rating leads an article to be ranked lower in news feed, reducing future views by 80% on average. The company has refused, however, to publicly release any data to support these claims.
One current fact-checker said the process overall was too slow and that often their fact-checks came too late: ''By the time it gets to us, how many people have already seen it?''
In contrast, Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of PolitiFact, said the partnership was a ''public service'', and that ''Facebook is helping us identify questionable material''. The revenue from Facebook ''added to our overall sustainability'', she said.
Asked of the impacts of her site's work, she said, ''Is it reducing fake content on Facebook? I don't know, I can't tell. Can Facebook tell? You would assume they could. I don't have any way of knowing.''
Facebook said in a statement that it has ''heard feedback from our partners that they'd like more data on the impact of their efforts'', adding that it has started sending ''quarterly reports'' with ''customized statistics'' to partners and would be ''looking for more statistics to share externally in early 2019''. Facebook declined to share the reports with the Guardian.
PolitiFact has not yet received any reports, according to Holan, who said Facebook stated the documents must remain private once they are produced.
Snopes founder and CEO David Mikkelson said he was unaware of any quarterly reports. In an interview, he also said he did not share Binkowski's concerns about the Facebook partnership and said he felt it has had a minimal impact on how Snopes operates.
''Our work remains the same,'' he said, adding that he doesn't expect Facebook to share data on how Snopes' work is impacting other publishers. ''It's up to Facebook to decide the relative success of it.''
A new Android app has launched with the focus of allowing Muslims to report individuals who commit blasphemy, or insult Islam.
No, this is not a joke. The app, ''Smart Pakem'', which launched in Indonesia last month at the request of the Indonesian government, will allow users and government officials to uphold Sharia law and target and report people who hold ''misguided'' beliefs in violation of Islamic law, which forbids insults of Islam, insults against the Prophet Mohammed, or the recognition of any other religion besides Islam.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, with an estimated Muslim population of 207 million.
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Indonesia's criminal code prohibits blasphemy, which is defined as ''the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things''.
The Code's Article 156(a) targets those who deliberately, in public, ''express feelings of hostility, hatred, or contempt against religion''. The penalty for violating Article 156(a) of Indonesia's criminal code is a maximum of five years imprisonment.
Rajan Anandan, who serves as the VP of Google in south-east Asia, has not shown any resistance to the app, which is available in the Google app store.
The National Secular Society (NSS) has since written to Anadan requesting the Google not stock the app in the app store, arguing that the app will have negative consequences for religious minorities and will further minimize freedom of expression.
According to Human Rights Watch, 125 people were convicted of blasphemy in Indonesia between 2004 and 2014. 23 additional people have been convicted since 2014.
Stephen Evans, who serves as the chief executive of NSS said said Google's decision to stock the Sharia app was ''incongruous with Google's mission statement'' and ''runs directly contrary to the democratic ideals which Google says it stands for''. Evans also said the app will ''normalize restrictions on freedom of expression in Indonesia and elsewhere''.
NSS, which works to repeal blasphemy laws around the world, strongly condemned Indonesia's blasphemy law.
''Indonesia's blasphemy law is a morally unjustifiable tool of repression which should be repealed as soon as possible. While this law exists anyone who believes in free expression should make it as difficult as possible for the Indonesian government to enforce the law. Google has greatly benefited from the freedom to share information globally. We ask it and other multinational companies to consider whether they can in good conscience profit from the repression caused by governments' crackdowns on free speech.''
Since the app's launch in the Google app store, it has been flooded with one star reviews and criticisms by anti-Sharia and human rights advocates.
On November 29, 2018, investigative journalist Laura Loomer handcuffed herself to Twitter HQ in NYC after she was banned from Twitter for criticizing Sharia law. While handcuffed, Loomer argued ''Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google, Instagram, they are essentially upholding Sharia. Silicon Valley is essentially upholding Sharia when they decide to ban me for posting facts about Islam, when they decide to ban me for posting facts about Sharia law and criticizing an anti-Jewish Muslim Congresswoman.''
Laura Loomer is a conservative investigative journalist and activist. Originally from Arizona, Laura began her career working as an undercover journalist for Project Veritas from 2015-2017. She covers politics, anti-Semitism, immigration, terrorism, the Islamification of the West, and voter fraud. Loomer's investigations have been broadcasted on every major national mainstream media outlet in the United States, as well as many international publications. Support Laura Loomer's Independent Journalism here: PayPal.me/lauraloomer
ACCC releases preliminary report into Google, Facebook and Australian news and advertising | ACCC
With Google and Facebook transforming the way consumers communicate, access news and view advertising online, it is critical that governments and regulators consider the potential issues created by the concentration of market power and the broader impacts of digital platforms.
The preliminary report, published today, contains 11 preliminary recommendations and eight areas for further analysis as the inquiry continues.
The ACCC has reached the view that Google has substantial market power in online search, search advertising and news referral, and Facebook has substantial market power in markets for social media, display advertising and online news referral.
The report outlines the ACCC's concerns regarding the market power held by these key platforms, including their impact on Australian businesses and, in particular, on the ability of media businesses to monetise their content. The report also outlines concerns regarding the extent to which consumers' data is collected and used to enable targeted advertising.
''Digital platforms have significantly transformed our lives, the way we communicate with each other and access news and information. We appreciate that many of these changes have been positive for consumers in relation to the way they access news and information and how they interact with each other and with businesses,'' ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
''But digital platforms are also unavoidable business partners for many Australian businesses. Google and Facebook perform a critical role in enabling businesses, including online news media businesses, to reach consumers. However, the operation of these platforms' key algorithms, in determining the order in which content appears, is not at all clear.''
Google and Facebook are now the dominant gateways between news media businesses and audiences and this can reduce the brand value and recognition of media businesses. In addition traditional media businesses and in particular, traditional print media businesses, have lost advertising revenue to digital platforms. This has threatened the viability of business models of the print media and their ability to monetise journalism.
''News and journalism perform a critical role in society. The downturn in advertising revenue has led to a cut in the number of journalists over the past decade. This has implications across society because of the important role the media plays in exposing corruption and holding governments, companies, powerful individuals and institutions to account,'' Mr Sims said.
The inquiry has also considered important questions about the range and reliability of news available via Google and Facebook. The ACCC's preliminary view is that consumers face a potential risk of filter bubbles, or echo chambers, and less reliable news on digital platforms. While the evidence of filter bubbles arising on digital platforms in Australia is not yet strong, the importance of this issue means it requires close scrutiny.
The ACCC is further concerned with the large amount and variety of data which digital platforms such as Google and Facebook collect on Australian consumers, which go beyond the data which users actively provide when using the digital platform.
Research commissioned as part of the inquiry indicates consumers are concerned about the extent and range of information collected by digital platforms. The ACCC is in particular concerned about the length, complexity and ambiguity of online terms of service and privacy policies, including click-wrap agreements with take-it-or-leave-it terms.
Without adequate information and with limited choice, consumers are unable to make informed decisions, which can both harm consumers and impede competition.
The preliminary recommendations and the areas for further analysis identified in the preliminary report have been put forward as potential options to address the actual and potential negative impacts of digital platforms and contribute to the debate about the appropriate level of government oversight.
The report found that key digital platforms, Google and Facebook, had both the ability and incentive to favour related businesses or those businesses with which they may have an existing commercial relationship. The platforms' algorithms rank and display advertising and news content in a way that lacks transparency to advertisers and news organisations.
''Organisations like Google and Facebook are more than mere distributors or pure intermediaries in the supply of news in Australia; they increasingly perform similar functions as media businesses like selecting, curating and ranking content. Yet, digital platforms face less regulation than many media businesses,'' Mr Sims said.
''The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,'' Mr Sims said.
''Australian law does not prohibit a business from possessing significant market power or using its efficiencies or skills to 'out compete' its rivals. But when their dominant position is at risk of creating competitive or consumer harm, governments should stay ahead of the game and act to protect consumers and businesses through regulation.''
The report makes preliminary recommendations aiming to address Google and Facebook's market power and promote increased consumer choice, including a proposal that would prevent Google's internet browser (Chrome) being installed as a default browser on mobile devices, computers and tablets and Google's search engine being installed as a default search engine on internet browsers.
The ACCC also proposes that a new or existing regulatory authority be given the task of investigating, monitoring and reporting on how large digital platforms rank and display advertisements and news content. Other preliminary recommendations suggest ways to strengthen merger laws.
Additional preliminary recommendations deal with copyright, and take-down orders, and the review of existing, disparate media regulations.
The ACCC also notes that consumers will be better off if they can make informed and genuine choices as to how digital platforms collect and use their data, and proposes changes to the Privacy Act to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
The ACCC is further considering a recommendation for a specific code of practice for digital platforms' data collection to better inform consumers and improve their bargaining power.
''The inquiry has also uncovered some concerns that certain digital platforms have breached competition or consumer laws, and the ACCC is currently investigating five such allegations to determine if enforcement action is warranted,'' Mr Sims said.
The ACCC is seeking feedback on its preliminary recommendations, and the eight proposed areas for further analysis and assessment.
These eight areas for further analysis include the proposed 'badging' by digital platforms of media content, produced by an accountable media business, as well as options to fund the production of news and journalism, such as tax deductions or subsidies, a digital platforms ombudsman to investigate complaints and provide a timely and cost effective means to resolve disputes, and a proposal for digital platforms to allow consumers to opt out of targeted advertising.
Submissions should be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 February 2019.
Further stakeholder forums may be held in early 2019.
Further information is available at Digital platforms inquiry
A media conference will be held at Level 6, the Westin Sydney at 12.30pm.
It will be live streamed at www.accc.gov.au and https://goliveaustralia.com.au/ACCC
In December 2017 the Australian Government directed the ACCC to undertake a public inquiry into the impact of digital platforms on competition in media and advertising services markets, in particular in relation to the supply of news and journalistic content.
The ACCC must provide a final report to the Government by 3 June 2019.
On 10 December 2018, the ACCC released its preliminary report for the inquiry, following the report being provided to the Treasurer.
Written submissions in response to the preliminary report should be emailed to email@example.com by 15 February 2019.
Broadly speaking, the inquiry is a public process and written feedback will be posted on the ACCC website.
The ACCC can accept a claim of confidentiality from a party if it is satisfied that the disclosure of information would damage their competitive position, and the ACCC is not of the opinion that disclosure of the information is necessary in the public interest. Further information is contained in the issues paper.
Media releaseACCC releases preliminary report into Google, Facebook and Australian news and advertising
Moet het Journaal in een item over het klimaat net zo veel aandacht geven aan sceptici als aan mensen die waarschuwen voor de opwarming van de aarde? Heeft een tegenstander van vaccinaties recht op evenveel ruimte aan tafel bij Buitenhof of Pauw als een voorstander? Of is dan sprake van false balance, onevenwichtige aandacht voor voor- en tegenstanders?
Hilversum worstelt met zulke vragen, zegt Margo Smit, ombudsman voor de publieke omroepen. Sinds anderhalf jaar gaat zij over de journalistiek en actuele meningsvorming bij de hele NPO. Ervoor, sinds medio 2015, werkte ze alleen voor de NOS. Smit is het loket voor klachten en opmerkingen over het Journaal, Studio Sport, Buitenhof, De Wereld Draait Door, documentaires, actualiteitenrubrieken. 'Soms ben ik de Journaal-politie. Soms de diplomaat.''
Een belangrijke functie, want de omroep ligt onder vuur. Vanuit rechtse, populistische hoek klagen politici, commentatoren, media en twitteraars over de vooringenomenheid van de 'linkse staatsomroep'', de 'verspilling'' van belastinggeld, het gebrek aan transparantie.
Praat mee met NRCVindt u dat er sprake is van een false balance, onevenwichtige aandacht voor voor- en tegenstanders over zaken als vaccinaties als het klimaat, bij de NOS? Onderaan dit artikel kunnen abonnees reageren. Hier vindt u meer over reageren op NRC.nl.
Dan is er plek voor een onafhankelijk instituut dat uitzoekt hoe omroepjournalisten werken en uitlegt als zij iets verkeerd doen. Denk aan het gewraakte NOS-artikel over zakenman George Soros. Smit oordeelde dat de NOS in die zaak beter zijn bronnen had moeten vermelden en duidelijker had moeten rectificeren.
Maar hoe de omroepen de taak van de ombudsman hebben gedefinieerd roept veel vragen op. Smits mandaat is beperkt, ze heeft weinig medewerkers en is slecht zichtbaar voor het publiek. Zo kan ze een correctie in een uitzending niet afdwingen.
Beperkt mandaat In Belgi en het VK vallen de hele VRT en BBC onder een ombudsman. Maar in Nederland hebben de omroepen afgesproken dat Smit slechts gaat over een beperkte categorie programma's. En niet over Boer Zoekt Vrouw, Radar en tot voor kort niet over Rambam. Als het ministerie van OCW belt om te vragen wat de ombudsman vindt van tienermoeders in Vier Handen op (C)(C)n Buik, kan ze de verontruste ambtenaar alleen verwijzen naar BNN-VARA. Smit wil dat haar mandaat bondiger wordt geformuleerd tot de term 'journalistiek', welke titel daar ook onder valt. 'Het is nu lastig uit te leggen. Het publiek snapt het niet.'' Begin december sprak Smit hierover opnieuw met de omroepdirecteuren. Ze heeft 'goede hoop'' dat zij een oplossing vinden.
Welke omroepen aarzelen, weet ze niet. Bekend is dat vroeger weerstand bestond bij de consumentenprogramma's; die zaten niet te wachten op het oordeel van een ombudsman voordat een gedupeerd bedrijf naar de rechter zou stappen.
In de Tweede Kamer pleitte D66 onlangs voor een breder mandaat: de ombudsman moet ook gaan over niet-journalistieke programma's. Daar zit Smit niet op te wachten. Nu al is haar slagkracht beperkt, met (C)(C)n medewerker en (C)(C)n stagiair. Ze kan nu onvoldoende in de gaten houden wat omroepen online doen '' op eigen sites, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram.
Meer klachten Mensen zijn dit jaar meer gaan klagen over de omroep. In 2017 kreeg Smit 500 vragen en klachten, eind 2018 zullen dat er ongeveer 1.250 zijn. Dat komt doordat ze bekender is geworden bij het publiek, denkt ze. 'Maar ik ben nog niet zichtbaar genoeg.'' Mensen klagen over van alles, tot en met de ondertiteling; 100 tot 150 gaan er over journalistiek-ethische zaken, de helft daarvan over de NOS. 'De NOS verzorgt ook de helft van alle journalistiek van de publieke omroep.'' De BBC krijgt volgens Smit jaarlijks meer dan 200.000 vragen. Rond 450 gaan over de journalistiek.
De aard van de klachten is niet veranderd sinds 2015, zegt Smit. Thema's zijn objectiviteit, onafhankelijkheid en onpartijdigheid van NPO-programma's. En dan vooral het vermeende gebrek daaraan. 'Mensen beschuldigen de omroep nu wel meer van het verspreiden van nepnieuws, maar dan gaat het vaak om nieuws waar ze het mee oneens zijn.''
Net als veel buitenlandse media worstelt de publieke omroep, volgens Smit, met 'false balance'. Als een Journaal-item over de opwarming van de aarde 4 minuten duurt, moet je de sceptici dan 2 minuten aan het woord laten, al zegt de wetenschap dat het klimaat verandert? Na een klacht van sceptici over de 'alarmistische toon'' van de NOS inzake het klimaat, analyseerde Smit twee jaar berichtgeving over het thema. 'Er bleek: het Journaal bericht niet '50/50' over het klimaat, de helft over voorstanders en de helft over tegenstanders. Maar dat mag van mij. Tegenstanders moet je aan het woord laten, maar in redelijkheid.''
Taak presentator Als het gaat om afgewogen berichtgeving heeft de presentator in live programma's een grotere verantwoordelijkheid dan hij of zij nu soms neemt. Een gast die feitelijke onjuistheden bezigt mag niet wegkomen met onzin, vindt Smit. Ook al passen diens opmerkingen bij de kleur van een (leden)omroep. 'Dan juist moet je feiten en meningen scherp scheiden.'' Misschien, zegt Smit, moeten omroepen hun wereldbeeld explicieter uitdragen. 'Kijkers weten niet welke omroep wat maakt. Dat WNL staat voor het rechtse geluid zal niet elke kijker van Goedemorgen Nederland zich realiseren.''
In de discussie over het corrigeren van gasten wijzen critici op uitzendingen van Buitenhof en Pauw. In beide praatprogramma's kregen tegenstanders van vaccinaties ruim de kans hun ideen te verkondigen. In Buitenhof sloot presentator Diana Matroos, tot ergernis van kijkers, de discussie af met de dooddoener: 'U gaat het niet eens worden, maar u hebt uw eigen verhaal kunnen doen.'' Smit kreeg een klacht van een kijker over deze aflevering. Die heeft ze doorgestuurd aan Buitenhof.
Hadden Matroos en ook Pauw meer weerwoord moeten bieden? Smit wil individuele presentatoren niet afvallen, maar benadrukt wel de verantwoordelijkheid van de alerte, kundige, voorbereide presentator.
Maar, zegt Smit. 'als mensen niet meer klagen moet je je pas echt zorgen maken '' dan doe je er niet meer toe.''
On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was interrogated by the House Judiciary Committee over a number of topics including potential bias in the search results it provides users. DuckDuckGo '-- a privacy-focused search engine company that competes with Google Search'-- released a study last week that claims Google is inadvertently introducing bias into its results. "Google's collection and use of personal data, including location, which is then used to filter specific search results, is having an effect akin to the effects of a political bias," DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg told Business Insider on Tuesday. The company's study found participants saw vast differences in search results when searching for the same keywords (like "gun control" or "immigration") from different locations across the country. A Google spokesperson said, in part: "This study's methodology and conclusions are flawed." On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was interrogated by the House Judiciary Committee over a number of topics including the company's data collection and potential bias in the search results it serves up to users.
Republican House members '-- including Rep. Lamar Smith (TX) '-- didn't hold back on the topic of conservative bias.
"It will require a herculean effort by the chief executive and senior management to change the political bias now programmed into the company's culture," Smith said, citing "irrefutable" studies on the subject. "Google could well elect the next president with dire implications to our democracy."
Pichai responded: "With respect'... we don't agree with the methodology [of the studies]."
Read more:Congress grills Google CEO Sundar Pichai for the first time
One person watching closely was Gabriel Weinberg, co-founder and CEO DuckDuckGo '-- a privacy-focused search engine company that competes with Google Search and last week, revealed a study of its own (not referenced by Rep. Smith).
The study, among other things, found that participants saw vast differences in search results when searching for the same keywords (like "gun control" or "immigration") from different locations across the country. The study controlled for other potential factors of personalization by having its participants log out of their Google accounts and search from an incognito state.
"What [our study] does reveal, or at least suggests, is that Google's collection and use of personal data, including location, which is then used to filter specific search results, is having an effect akin to the effects of a political bias," Weinberg told Business Insider on Tuesday. "That is an important nuance often missed in these discussions.'¨"
You're putting a whole ZIP code in a filter bubble Essentially, Weinberg is saying that even if Google does not create its products with the intent of having a political bias, the fact that location information is used to filter results creates its own form of bias.
"If you live in this ZIP code, we're going to show you the NRA. But if you live in this other ZIP code, we're not going to show you the NRA," Weinberg says could explain the results his team discovered. "If that's what [Google's] doing, then you're putting a whole ZIP code (or whatever the location boundaries) in a filter bubble."
Filter bubbles occur when users get trapped in a cycle being served content that interests them most. The personalization may sound appealing, but the implications of not seeing content that contradicts one's beliefs can have major consequences.
"That's the problem with these algorithms," Weinberg said. "You make these things, you don't even realize what's going on, and then all of a sudden you're potentially influencing tens of millions of people."
A Google spokesperson denied the results of DuckDuckGo's study, saying: "This study's methodology and conclusions are flawed since they are based on the assumption that any difference in search results are based on personalization. That is simply not true. In fact, there are a number of factors that can lead to slight differences, including time and location, which this study doesn't appear to have controlled for effectively."
Weinberg said he anticipated Google's rebuttal and that is why he and his team controlled for both time and location in their research. Also, he argues the findings were far from trivial.
"On the surface level, [Google] said there were slight differences, and that is just totally different from what we saw," he explained. "We saw vast differences."
Weiberg told us that even if Google refutes DuckDuckGo's findings, he hopes it will at least inspires others '-- especially academics '-- to dig into the issue further.
"To date, no one has been really doing these studies to hold [Google] accountable," he said. "I don't think they want to acknowledge that it can have the manipulative effect that it can."
Get the latest Google stock price here.
More: Google DuckDuckGo Sundar Pichai Algorithmic bias
LONDON (AP) '-- British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a political crisis over her Brexit deal Wednesday, winning a no-confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers that would have ended her leadership of party and country.
But the margin of victory '-- 200 votes to 117 '-- leaves May a weakened leader who has lost the support of a big chunk of her party over her handling of Britain's exit from the European Union. It also came at a steep price as she promised not to run for re-election in 2022. Britain's Brexit problem, meanwhile, remains unsolved as May seeks changes to her EU divorce deal in order to make it more palatable to Parliament.
May said she was ''pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues'' but acknowledged that ''a significant number'' had voted against her in Wednesday evening's secret ballot.
''I have listened to what they said,'' May promised as she stood in a darkened Downing St. after what she called a ''long and challenging day.''
The threat to May had been building as pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers grew increasingly frustrated with the prime minister's handling of Brexit. Many supporters of Brexit say May's deal, a compromise that retains close economic ties with the EU, fails to deliver on the clean break with the bloc that they want.
The balloting came after May's Conservative opponents, who circled the beleaguered prime minister for weeks hoping to spark a no-confidence vote, finally got the numbers they needed to call one.
The vote was triggered when at least 48 lawmakers '--15 percent of Conservative legislators '-- wrote letters asking for a no-confidence ballot.
On Monday, May postponed a vote to approve the divorce deal to avoid all-but-certain defeat. She has until Jan. 21 to bring it back to Parliament after'-- she hopes '-- winning concessions from the EU.
The result of the vote was announced to loud cheers from lawmakers gathered in a stuffy, ornately wallpapered room in the House of Commons. Under party rules, May cannot be challenged again by fellow Conservatives for a year.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, an ally, said the result showed that May ''has the support of her party.''
''This is a clear statement by the parliamentary party they want her to go forward, they want her to lead us through Brexit,'' he told Sky News.
But pro-Brexit lawmaker Mark Francois said the result was ''devastating'' for May, who has lost the support of a third of her party in Parliament.
''If I were her, I wouldn't be pleased with this at all,'' Francois said. ''I think she needs to think very carefully about what to do now.''
Before the vote Wednesday, May had vowed to fight for the leadership of her party and the country ''with everything I've got,'' and spent the day holed up in the House of Commons trying to win over enough lawmakers to secure victory.
In a bid to win over wavering lawmakers, May indicated she would step down before the next election, due in 2022.
Solicitor-General Robert Buckland said May told lawmakers at a meeting that ''it is not her intention to lead the party in the 2022 general election.''
May's victory is a reprieve but does not lay to rest uncertainty about Britain's EU departure, due on March 29.
Opposition lawmakers expressed astonishment and outrage at the Conservative civil war erupting in the middle of the fraught Brexit process.
''This government is a farce, the Tory party is in chaos, the prime minister is a disgrace,'' Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford said during a pugnacious Prime Minister's Questions session in the House of Commons.
British business figures expressed exasperation at the continuing political uncertainty.
''With news that the prime minister remains in place, business communities will hope that these political games can finally be put to bed,'' said Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.
''Westminster must now focus all its energy on urgently giving businesses clarity on the future and avoiding a messy or disorderly Brexit.''
The vote confirms May's reputation as a dogged, determined political survivor. But on Thursday she will head to an EU summit in Brussels facing another difficult task. She is seeking changes to the withdrawal agreement that can win support in Britain's Parliament. But EU leaders say the legally binding text won't be reopened, and the best they can offer are ''clarifications.''
May said she would ''be seeking legal and political assurances that will assuage the concerns'' of lawmakers.
Among EU leaders there is sympathy for May's predicament '-- but also exasperation at Britain's political mess.
The European Parliament's Brexit point man, Guy Verhofstadt, could not contain a note of annoyance, tweeting: ''Once again, the fate of EU-U.K. relations, the prosperity of businesses & citizens' rights are consumed by an internal Conservative party catfight over Europe.''
On the streets of London, some felt sympathy for the embattled leader.
''It's embarrassing for a start to the rest of the world and I feel really sorry for Theresa May '-- she's being battered by everybody,'' said Abby Handbridge, who was selling Christmas cards and wrapping paper at a London street market.
''I hope she stays in power and sorts it out.''
Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit crisis at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
Associated Press writers Danica Kirka, Jo Kearney and Gregory Katz in London contributed.
Ministry of Truthiness
Austin Water Report Shows Big Impact Of Boil Order Was Conservation | KUT
Austin Water delivered an ''after action'' report to City Council today on the weeklong boil-water order enacted during severe flooding in October. During its presentation, the utility shed more light on what happened to bring about the emergency and what the city might do to avoid future water-boil mandates.
When it issued the order Oct. 22, Austin Water said the murkiness of floodwater had overwhelmed treatment capacity and could endanger water quality. But the more immediate risk appears to have been to water quantity in Austin's rapidly diminishing reserve of treated water.
Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said the amount of water flowing into Lake Travis was the most since the Mansfield Dam was built nearly 80 years ago. The city's water-treatment systems could not keep up, resulting in falling reservoir levels.
On Oct. 21, the city put out an urgent call to conserve water, but Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Tuesday there was not enough response. He said it was the later water-boil order that convinced the community of the need to replenish that supply.
''As soon as people looked at having to boil water ... people understood the severity of the moment,'' he said. ''And then there was the dramatic reduction in water usage.''
That's not to say water quality did not eventually become a problem. Four days after the boil order went into effect, Austin's drinking water briefly exceeded regulatory levels for ''turbidity'' or murkiness.
The water-boil order was lifted Oct. 28.
To prevent the need to issue a future water-boil order, Meszaros told council members the utility is working with outside consultants, looking into different chemical processes for treating overly murky water.
"I'm not saying that we're Flint or we're going to be Flint, but you have to be very thoughtful about process changes so you don't destabilize your distribution system."
But, he said, the utility needs to be cautious as it looks at overhauling its treatment processes, evoking the water contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., as a cautionary tale.
''They changed very radically [their treatment process for] water quality and water sources, and we all know what happened at Flint,'' he said. ''I'm not saying that we're Flint or we're going to be Flint, but you have to be very thoughtful about process changes so you don't destabilize your distribution system.''
The utility also said adding extra treated water storage capacity could help, as it would buy the city more time to treat floodwater in the event of a similar storm.
Since the order was lifted, Meszaros said, the level of murkiness in water flowing out of Lake Travis is still not what it was before the October flooding. The extra silt likely had a negative effect on the zebra mussels that gather on the intake pipes in Lake Travis.
He added, however, that the challenges of flooding and poor water quality are expected to increase as climate change brings more extreme weather to Texas.
KUT's Trey Shaar contributed to this report.
Trump Admin. Declares War on Russian, Chinese, Iranian Propaganda
The State Department has launched a new effort to counter propaganda and disinformation campaigns launched across the globe by a host of rogue nations, including Russia, China, and Iran, according to senior U.S. officials who briefed the Washington Free Beacon on the new undertaking, which they say will put the United States "on the offense" against these countries.
The State Department's Global Engagement Center, or GEC, which just received a $40 million cash influx, is refocusing its priorities on what senior Trump administration officials described as a global battle against propaganda that undermines the U.S. role in the world and its national security priorities.
As the Trump administration undertakes efforts domestically to address Russian election meddling as well as efforts by Iran and China to disrupt the American political landscape, the GEC will focus outside the U.S. borders to disrupt a range of disinformation operations by rogue nations seeking to increase their influence in regional hotspots.
While the GEC's operations largely focus on counterterrorism missions, such as the fight against ISIS, the recent cash allocation to the organization will enable it to expand its reach and put a renewed focus on global propaganda operations, U.S. officials say.
"We're going on offense" against primarily Russia, but also China and Iran to a large extent, according to Daniel Kimmage, the GEC's acting coordinator, who briefed a small group of reporters Tuesday afternoon at the State Department.
"The priorities have shifted" in recent years and months as "Russia looms large in our priorities," Kimmage said.
The GEC is working to identify and expose threats posed by these nations, officials said, noting that efforts are already underway to map online disinformation networks and help media outlets across the globe avoid falling into the propaganda trap.
While U.S. officials would not publicly discuss specific details of their operations amid security concerns, the GEC is working on at least four continents with plans to expand further. Specifically on the Russia threat, there are 25 initiatives in 21 countries currently operating with a focus on boosting the technical skills necessary to identify and crush Russian propaganda chains.
Similar operations are under way in the Asia-Pacific region, officials said, explaining they are "actively mapping the information environment so we can understand how Chinese influence manifests itself."
This includes working with journalists and opinion leaders to help them cut through the haze of propaganda in their public writings.
As for Iran, the administration is tapping into regional audiences in a bid to identify false narratives put out by the Islamic Republic and stop them in their tracks.
Officials are "looking to expose the hypocrisy and misinformation that comes from the regime," Kimmage said.
The ultimate goal, according to Kimmage and other officials familiar with the effort, is to build a global network capable of disrupting propaganda at its source. Much of this work, officials say, will take place behind closed doors with few public victories.
"A lot of this will be dogs that don't bark," Kimmage said.
The administration also will not get caught up in what it views as a "race to the bottom" between rogue regimes angling to fill the airwaves and internet with their propaganda.
"We don't want to play that game. We are not going to play that game," Kimmage said, responding to questions about how far the United States will go to counter state-backed disinformation campaigns.
With the program still in its infancy, officials expect it to take about a year until the rejiggered GEC is running at full bandwidth. From that point, it will take another two to three years to see a tangible impact of these operations.
International allies are said to have expressed "great receptivity" to the GEC's work, particularly efforts to combat Russia.
The State Department has received over 150 applications from international players seeking to receive funding to help disrupt disinformation networks. More than $10 million is set aside for this effort, with just about $1 million in grant money having already been awarded.
Kabinet start campagne tegen desinformatie | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
De D66-bewindsvrouw doet dit met het oog op de verkiezingen van volgend jaar. In de eerste helft van 2019 zijn er verkiezingen voor Provinciale Staten, waterschappen en het Europees parlement. 'Die moeten vrij en eerlijk verlopen'', laat ze weten. Daarom komt er dus een campagne waarmee mensen beter desinformatie kunnen herkennen en er komt een onafhankelijk onderzoek naar 'de effecten van social media en internetzoekmachines op verkiezingen'.
Russische inmengingOllongren wil dus voorkomen dat de verkiezingen hier be¯nvloed worden door berichten die niet waar zijn en bijvoorbeeld verspreid worden door groepen die daar belang bij hebben. 'De verspreiding van desinformatie met als doel de democratische rechtsorde te ondermijnen en destabiliseren gebeurt meestal online. Bekende voorbeelden zijn Russische inmenging in de Amerikaanse presidentsverkiezingen en desinformatie en trollen in het publieke online debat rond de Franse, Duitse, Zweedse verkiezingen en het Brexit-referendum'', stelt de minister, verwijzend naar een rapport van het Rathenau Instituut waarin deze voorbeelden genoemd werden.
Filter bubbelsIn dat rapport stond ook dat het risico op 'filter bubbels', waarin mensen zich eenzijdig informeren, in Nederland klein is vanwege een sterk mediabestel. Daar moeten we zuinig op zijn, zegt Ollongren die benadrukt dat het kabinet daarom geld heeft vrijgemaakt voor onderzoeksjournalistiek. Maar, net als het Rathenau Instituut, vindt ze dat er alertheid geboden is vanwege nieuwe technieken die ervoor zorgen dat filmpjes en audio zo bewerkt kunnen worden dat het net lijkt of mensen iets totaal anders zeggen of doen dan in werkelijkheid. Die technieken werken steeds beter en dat maakt het moeilijk te bepalen of een filmpje van iemand echt is.
'Hiermee wil het kabinet in februari 2019 burgers meer bewust maken van het fenomeen van desinformatie en de eigen verantwoordelijkheid in het herkennen daarvan'', stelt Ollongren over de bewustwordingscampagne over nepnieuws. 'De bescherming van de vrijheid van meningsuiting en onafhankelijke journalistiek staan hierbij voorop. Het gaat dus niet om het inhoudelijk aanwijzen van desinformatie in individuele berichten.'' De campagne loopt door tot en met de verkiezingen voor het Europees Parlement. 'Als inmenging door statelijke actoren de politieke, economische stabiliteit of nationale veiligheid bedreigt, is een reactie van nationale overheden gerechtvaardigd'', stelt Ollongren.
Kabinet alert'Het kabinet is alert op eventuele ongewenste buitenlandse inmenging bij de verkiezingen'', belooft de minister. Ze wil ook in gesprek blijven met bedrijven als Facebook. Ze vertrouwt op zelfregulering bij dit soort technologiebedrijven maar zegt ze indien nodig aan te spreken. 'Het kabinet blijft zelf ook bezien in hoeverre er voldoende aandacht is voor manieren waarop techbedrijven verspreiding van desinformatie kunnen beperken zonder dat het ten koste gaat van de vrijheid van meningsuiting en pers.''
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Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as news source | Pew Research Center
Social media sites have surpassed print newspapers as a news source for Americans: One-in-five U.S. adults say they often get news via social media, slightly higher than the share who often do so from print newspapers (16%) for the first time since Pew Research Center began asking these questions. In 2017, the portion who got news via social media was about equal to the portion who got news from print newspapers.
Social media's small edge over print emerged after years of steady declines in newspaper circulation and modest increases in the portion of Americans who use social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year.
Overall, television is still the most popular platform for news consumption '' even though its use has declined since 2016. News websites are the next most common source, followed by radio, and finally social media sites and print newspapers. And when looking at online news use combined '' the percentage of Americans who get news often from either news websites or social media '' the web has closed in on television as a source for news (43% of adults get news often from news websites or social media, compared with 49% for television).
Among the three different types of TV news asked about, local TV is the most popular '' 37% get news there often, compared with 30% who get cable TV news often and 25% who often watch national evening network news shows.
For the first time, we also asked respondents if they got news from a streaming device on their TV '' 9% of U.S. adults said that they do so often. There is a large amount of overlap between those who stream TV news and those who get news on broadcast television '' a majority of those who get news from streaming TV often (73%) also say that they get news often on broadcast or cable TV.
News diets differ drastically for younger and older Americans. Age gaps that have long been notable have now widened substantially, with those 65 and older five times as likely as 18- to 29-year-olds to often get news from TV. A large majority of those 65 and older (81%) get news from television often, as do about two-thirds (65%) of those 50 to 64. Far fewer young Americans are turning to television news, however '' only 16% of those 18 to 29 and 36% of those 30 to 49 get news often from television.
The age divide is nearly as large for social media, but in the other direction: Those 18 to 29 are about four times as likely to often get news there as those 65 and older.
Print's popularity only persists among those 65 and older. Among the oldest age group, about four-in-ten (39%) get news there often, but no more than 18% of any other age group do.
Online news websites are more popular among those ages 30 to 49. About four-in-ten (42%) in this age group get news often from websites and news apps. About a quarter (27%) of 18- to 29-year-olds get news from news websites, making it the second most commonly used platform for news for that age group. For these youngest adults, social media is the most popular news platform '' 36% get news there often, topping news websites, TV (16%), radio (13%) and print (2%).
Younger Americans are also unique in that they don't rely on one platform in the way that the majority of their elders rely on TV. No more than half of those ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 get news often from any one news platform.
See also: Americans Still Prefer Watching to Reading the News '' and Mostly Still Through Television
Topics: Newspapers, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Social Media, News Sources, News Media Sectors
Opinion | An Epidemic of Loneliness in America? - The New York Times
Does it exist, and if so, what is the cause, and what can be done?
Image Credit Credit John Taggart for The New York Times To the Editor:
Re ''Loneliness Is Tearing America Apart,'' by Arthur C. Brooks (Op-Ed, Nov. 24):
We agree. In 2009, when we wrote ''The Lonely American,'' we were deeply troubled that Americans had fewer confidants than in the past, and almost 25 percent reported that they had not talked about matters of importance with anyone in the last six months. We speculated that many people felt beleaguered by the growing demands for more productivity and longer hours at work, side by side with greater job insecurity, and so they retreated after work, putting less effort into their connections with friends and neighbors.
In order to form a community where you live, you need to stay in one place longer than a year or two and create joint projects with others whom you see weekly or bimonthly to achieve that mission. This can be as simple as a car pool, or as complicated as a community chorus. But if you stick with it long enough, it will result in long-term friendships.
This is the simple intentional way that people can create the building blocks of community where they actually live. And a real community, like Senator Ben Sasse's hometown, Fremont, Neb., cited by Mr. Brooks, draws in and looks after the lonely people who are otherwise seduced by the illusion of connection offered by extremists on the internet.
Jacqueline OldsRichard S. SchwartzCambridge, Mass.The writers are associate professors of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
To the Editor:
I know that ''hometown gym on a Friday night feeling.'' It's oppressive, depressing and very sports-oriented. Where I grew up, Friday night was reserved for boys' basketball games. As a girl, you could be a cheerleader or you could cheer in the stands. Either way, Friday night was an occasion for girls to support boys. So no, as a 73-year-old, I don't want another hometown gym on a Friday night feeling.
I've lived in a big city for 48 years now. I raised two children here, and I hope to retire in place. Big cities have lots of ways to forge friendships and communities that are open and accepting '-- more so than small towns. At the same time, cities offer private and alone time.
Loneliness hurts '-- but most of all, it hurts when we're not connected to ourselves or when our real selves are not valued by our communities.
Susan E. AndersonChicago
To the Editor:
Republicans like Senator Ben Sasse blame America's frayed sense of community on lonely people who no longer go to the gym with the family Friday evenings. Loneliness, however, is a symptom of large changes in society, many caused by policies that Republicans have pursued over decades.
Tax cuts exploded wealth inequality and destroyed any sense that workers and chief executives both benefited from a company's success. The gutting of labor unions has removed an important forum for community. The replacement of stable lifetime industrial jobs with temporary service jobs has undermined that important source of stable community.
These are all outcomes of Republican policies since the Reagan era. The first step to addressing these societal problems is an honest acknowledgment of their true cause. Going to the gym on Fridays is not going to cure what ails America.
Eliot BrenowitzSeattleThe writer is a professor of psychology at the University of Washington.
To the Editor:
Arthur C. Brooks (like David Brooks) is spreading the false story that we are undergoing a loneliness ''epidemic.'' Loneliness is a serious social problem, but there is no good evidence that it has spiked over the last couple decades or so.
That verdict is clear in the wider social science literature and in two broad investigations this year '-- one by CQ Researcher (''Loneliness and Social Isolation'') and another by a Senate committee (''All the Lonely Americans'').
Furthermore, the idea that lonely people are tearing America apart is misleading. While ''loners'' are occasional shooters, they often become so after getting connected to a movement.
We have no current epidemic of loneliness, but we do have periodic epidemics of alarm about loneliness, as symbolized by ''The Lonely Crowd'' (1950), ''A Nation of Strangers'' (1972), and ''Bowling Alone'' (2000) '-- oh, and ''Report of the Country Life Commission'' (1909).
False alarms matter, because they distract us from pressing, growing social problems, such as widening inequality, left-behind men of lower education, housing shortages and children living in pockets of violence.
Claude S. FischerBerkeley, Calif.The writer, a professor of sociology of the Graduate School, University of California, Berkeley, is the author of ''Still Connected: Family and Friends in America since 1970.''
To the Editor:
I agree with Arthur C. Brooks that feelings of loneliness are becoming more consuming with each generation. As a 16-year-old member of Generation Z, I have often had these feelings of loneliness even though there are many wonderful people in my life. I am not an isolated case; this is a recurring feeling with my peers as well.
I agree that individuals flock to social media to feel a sense of community, but I think that social media itself was the catalyst for this disconnect from the real world. By creating a pseudo-sense of belonging in online groups, perhaps we are more sensitive to the lack of social fulfillment in our offline relationships. Having our eyes glued to our phones instead of observing the people and places around us is obstructing the search for that ''Fremont'' in our lives.
Sophie HolohanSan Jose, Calif.
To the Editor:
Mr. Brooks, you can't create that hometown-gym-on-a-Friday-night feeling without making a significant investment of time. As Scott Sanders expressed in his book ''Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World,'' only by spending season after season in a place can you move from being a resident to becoming a steward.
After a decade and a half of travel, I came home a stranger in a strange land and committed to relearning the place. While friends swapped jobs and states every two years, my husband and I have chosen to stay put for almost 20 years '-- to, in Ben Sasse's words, ''intentionally invest in the places where we actually live.''
We've served on community boards, eaten local because the chefs are friends, watched neighbors' children and puppies grow, filled our walls with pieces from local artists. It has not been glamorous (we live in the now-famed swamp city much mocked in the show ''The Good Place''). We're often jealous of our more light-footed friends.
But the novelty of a new ZIP code won't produce long-term satisfaction. As our children enter high school, it brings me great joy to see them treasured by people who have known them all their lives. Even better, my kids know how to treasure people and places.
And novelty isn't hard to find. We visit our itinerant friends in each new locale. They will inevitably share, after a glass of wine, how badly they want to come home.
Anna JacobsonJacksonville, Fla.
To the Editor:
As usual, commentators miss the big picture when analyzing the epidemic of loneliness in America. Deep below any formal faith, our real religion continues to be self-reliance and rugged individualism. From our founding, this outlook has made fragmentation inevitable. If we want to change our trajectory, we will have to do what Americans have historically not done well: sacrifice individual achievement for the greater good. Otherwise, the ''tragedy of the commons'' will continue to unravel us.
Christopher BaileyKirkland, Wash.The writer is a psychiatrist.
To the Editor:
A simple way, at least for this reader, to become actively engaged and therefore forestall loneliness is through volunteer work. In two communities in which I have lived in the last 20 years, by volunteering for local government agencies and small nonprofits I have felt very quickly occupied and embraced by similarly committed neighbors. The seeming lack of volunteerism among younger Americans, and indeed my contemporaries (I am 64), is a cause for alarm. One need only to pick up a phone and ask to be of help. There are never enough ready hands.
Charles T. ClarkBethany, Conn.
Your apps know where you were last night, and they're not keeping it secret | Technology News, The Indian Express
At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The New York Times found. (Image Source: The New York Times)By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Natasha Singer, Michael H. Keller and Aaron Krolik
The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails '-- each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark, New Jersey, to a nearby Planned Parenthood. Another represents a person who travels with New York's mayor during the day and returns to Long Island at night.
Yet another leaves a house in upstate New York at 7am and travels to a middle school 14 miles away, staying until late afternoon each school day. Only one person makes that trip: Lisa Magrin, 46, a math teacher. Her smartphone goes with her.
An app on the device gathered her location information, which was then sold without her knowledge. It recorded her whereabouts as often as every two seconds, according to a database of more than 1 million phones in the New York area that was reviewed by The New York Times. While Magrin's identity was not disclosed in those records, The Times was able to easily connect her to that dot.
The app tracked her as she went to a Weight Watchers meeting and to her dermatologist's office. It followed her hiking and staying at her ex-boyfriend's home, information she found disturbing. ''It's the thought of people finding out those intimate details that you don't want people to know,'' said Magrin, who allowed The Times to review her location data.
Like many consumers, Magrin knew apps could track people's movements. But as smartphones have become ubiquitous and technology more accurate, an industry of snooping on people's daily habits has spread and grown more intrusive.
At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. The database reviewed by The Times '-- a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company '-- reveals people's travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.
These companies sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds. It is a hot market, with sales of location-targeted advertising reaching an estimated $21 billion this year. IBM has gotten into the industry, with its purchase of the Weather Channel's apps.
Businesses say their interest is in the patterns, not the identities, that the data reveals about consumers. They note that the information apps collect is tied not to someone's name or phone number but to a unique ID. But those with access to the raw data '-- including employees or clients '-- could still identify a person without consent. They could follow someone they knew, by pinpointing a phone that regularly spent time at that person's home address. Or, working in reverse, they could attach a name to an anonymous dot, by seeing where the device spent nights and using public records to figure out who lived there.
Mobile Surveillance Devices Fitness tracking app Strava did cause security scares, as the heat maps of the same helped track information of military bases. (Image Source: Strava)After Elise Lee, a nurse in Manhattan, saw that her device had been tracked to the main operating room at the hospital where she works, she expressed concern about her privacy and that of her patients. ''It's very scary,'' said Lee, who allowed The Times to examine her location history in the data set it reviewed.
Retailers look to tracking companies to tell them about their own customers and their competitors'. For a web seminar last year, Elina Greenstein, an executive at the location company GroundTruth, mapped out the path of a hypothetical consumer from home to work to show potential clients how tracking could reveal a person's preferences.
''We look to understand who a person is, based on where they've been and where they're going, in order to influence what they're going to do next,'' Greenstein said. Health care facilities are among the more enticing but troubling areas for tracking, as Lee's reaction demonstrated. Tell All Digital, a Long Island advertising firm that is a client of a location company, says it runs ad campaigns for personal injury lawyers targeting people anonymously in emergency rooms.
To evaluate location-sharing practices, The Times tested 20 apps, most of which had been flagged by researchers and industry insiders as potentially sharing the data. Together, 17 of the apps sent exact latitude and longitude to about 70 businesses. Precise location data from one app, WeatherBug on iOS, was received by 40 companies. When contacted by The Times, some of the companies that received that data described it as ''unsolicited'' or ''inappropriate.''
A Question of AwarenessCompanies that use location data say people agree to share their information in exchange for customized services, rewards and discounts. Magrin, the teacher, noted that she liked that tracking technology let her record her jogging routes. Brian Wong, chief executive of Kiip, a mobile ad firm that has also sold anonymous data from some of the apps it works with, says users give apps permission to use and share their data. ''You are receiving these services for free because advertisers are helping monetize and pay for it,'' he said, adding, ''You would have to be pretty oblivious if you are not aware that this is going on.''
But Lee, the nurse, had a different view. ''I guess that's what they have to tell themselves,'' she said of the companies. ''But come on.'' Lee had given apps on her iPhone access to her location only for certain purposes and only if they did not indicate that the information would be used for anything else, she said. Magrin had allowed about a dozen apps on her Android phone access to her whereabouts for services like traffic notifications.
But it is easy to share information without realizing it. Of the 17 apps The Times saw sending precise location data, just three on iOS and one on Android told users in a prompt during the permission process that the information could be used for advertising.
Following the MoneyApps form the backbone of this new location data economy. The app developers can make money by directly selling their data, or by sharing it for location-based ads, which command a premium. Location data companies pay half a cent to 2 cents per user per month, according to offer letters to app makers reviewed by The Times.
Google and Facebook, which dominate the mobile ad market, also lead in location-based advertising. Both companies collect the data from their own apps. They say they do not sell it but keep it for themselves to personalize their services, sell targeted ads across the internet and track whether the ads lead to sales at brick-and-mortar stores.
Apple and Google have a financial interest in keeping developers happy, but both have taken steps to limit location data collection. In the most recent version of Android, apps that are not in use can collect locations ''a few times an hour,'' instead of continuously. Apple has been stricter, for example requiring apps to justify collecting location details in pop-up messages. But Apple's instructions for writing these pop-ups do not mention advertising or data sale.
Apple recently shelved plans that industry insiders say would have significantly curtailed location collection. Last year, the company said an upcoming version of iOS would show a blue bar on screen whenever an app not in use was gaining access to location data. The discussion served as a ''warning shot'' to people in the location industry, David Shim, chief executive of the location company Placed, said at an industry event last year.
Vitaminwater will pay you $100,000 to ditch your smartphone for a year | FOX2now.com
ST. LOUIS '' Do you think you could without your smartphone for a whole day? Or how about a whole year?
Vitamin Water is willing to bet you can't do it. The company unveiled a challenge for 2019 with an award of $100,000 to a person who can go without their smartphone for 365 days.
You can enter the contest by sharing on Instagram or Twitter why you feel you're up for the challenge, including the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest.
Vitamin Water will choose one participant who will trade their smartphone for a 2000's era calling-only phone. If the challenger makes it for six months they get $ 10,000, and if they make it for the full year they win a $100,000
The entry period starts Tuesday, December 11 at 8 a.m. ET and ends Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. ET. You can enter up to four times.
Vitamin Water didn't go into detail about how they'll monitor the contest but said lie detector tests will be involved.
23andMe Informed Me My Husband and I Are Related Intelligencer The Cut Vulture Grub Street Sign In Subscribe Strategist After 38 years of marriage, I thought I knew my spouse. Then I got an email from the personalized genomics company 23AndMe with the subject line, ''You have new DNA relatives.'' Which is how I discovered that my husband Marc and I are related through more than mere marriage. We're third cousins.
When we finally stopped laughing, we texted our 30-year-old-son, Jonathan. ''I don't know how I feel about this,'' he said.
''You were the one who pushed us to get tested,'' I pointed out. ''You said, 'It'll be fun. Let's see how much of me is Dad and how much is you.'''
''Do I need to get genetic counseling?'' he fretted.
I shared my news on Facebook, with the hashtag #OurForbiddenLove. Sixty-three people quickly clicked the Like, Love, or LOL emojis, followed by a chorus of ''Get out!'' and ''No freakin' way!'' and ''How is that possible?''
''Just like the queen and Prince Phillip!''
''Or the Roosevelts.''
''You can't make this stuff up!!!!''
This being Facebook, it didn't take long before people started arguing.
John: ''Everyone has a ton of third cousins. No one on Earth is farther apart than 20th cousins.''
Ann: ''In the shtetl, we Jews all pretty much married each other.''
Doug: (mansplaining): ''What Ann means is that everyone was shtupping in the shtetl.''
Kirk: ''Family shrub. Very common where I'm from.''
Sharon tried to play nicely. ''Maybe this explains why you got engaged so fast.''
Stacy shot back: ''Yeah '... cause Marc felt like family!''
Actually, he did. Marc and I met rom-com cute, on a Club Med vacation in Nassau. I was 25; he was two years older. Initially, he was chasing my roommate. We struck up an intense conversation on the plane home, and by the time we landed at JFK, I had the unbidden thought, ''I could marry a guy like this.'' He insisted on carrying my luggage. I saw my parents chatting with a woman I didn't recognize, and pointed. ''There's my mother, but I don't know the woman she's with.''
''I do,'' he said. ''That's my mother.''
''We just ran into each other,'' my mother explained. Not only did our folks already know each other; I discovered I'd traveled 1,000 miles to the Bahamas, only to meet a man whose Manhattan apartment was just one block away from mine.
''We're moving too fast,'' I said to him on our first date, pulling out of a long kiss. ''I think we should put the brakes on.''
It was eerie how the coincidences kept accumulating. ''It's like we're two bodies with one mind,'' he said.He said, ''We can put on the physical brakes, but please don't put on the emotional ones.''
A man who welcomed intimacy, unlike all the emotionally unavailable guys I'd ever dated? It was intoxicating. On that same date, he read me an e.e. cummings poem because he said he loved the language: ''In Just-spring/when the world is mud-luscious the little/lame balloonman/whistles far and wee'....'' Entranced, I quoted back, ''And the world is puddle-wonderful.'' It might just as well have been cummings's famous ''I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart),'' so sure a way was it to win over my English major's heart.
That weekend as we drove out to the North Shore of Long Island for brunch, Marc said, ''Can we detour first? I want to show you one of my favorite places.''
I suddenly pictured water, weeping willows and mud. ''I'm not wearing the right shoes to get wet.''
''Where do you think I'm taking you?''
''A duck pond.''
His eyes got big. ''How do you know that?''
I hummed the Twilight Zone theme music and we laughed. But it was eerie how the coincidences kept accumulating. It was more than the fact that we both loved the southern gothic stories of Flannery O'Connor, or screwball comedies from the 1930s. We finished each other's sentences.
''It's like we're two bodies with one mind,'' he marveled.
Ten days later, we stood hand in hand in the hot summer night, watching Fourth of July fireworks over the Hudson River. Afterward, we strolled through the plaza at Lincoln Center. When we stopped to cool ourselves in the delicious mist of the fountain, he pulled me close and asked, ''Will you marry me?''
''What took you so long?'' I said.
''But you've only been dating two weeks!'' my friend Pat said. ''Are you crazy?''
Yet here we were, together four decades and two children later. Was it really possible that my beloved soul mate was also my relative? Marc and I made jokes about the movie Chinatown '-- ''She's my sister/my daughter/my sister/my daughter/she's both!'' '-- but was this a bit too Flowers in the Attic for comfort? ''You're my cousin-husband,'' I said. ''Better than being a sister-wife,'' he said. Every time our eyes met, we cracked up laughing. Was our newfound connection romantic '... or creepy?
''I'm not sure I believe it,'' Marc said. ''It's not like we got this report from the Institutes of Medicine.'' I saw his point: the IOM is part of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and provides evidence-based research; 23andMe is a commercial enterprise selling ancestry and health information.
''They at least got something right,'' I said. ''They pegged Jonathan as our kid.'' According to the report, our son shared 50.1 percent of his DNA with me. It was reassuring '-- but not just because it validated our saliva samples. The night of Jonathan's birth, a nurse's aide shuffled into my hospital room and handed me a bundle for the 2 a.m. feeding. Still doped up from surgery, I unbuttoned my gown to nurse. Then my spidey sense kicked in. I twirled the plastic name bracelet around the infant's tiny wrist and stared woozily at it.
It said: ''GIRL.''
I kept a death grip on the call button till the aide shuffled back.
''This isn't my baby!''
She peered briefly and shrugged. ''Well, it looks like yours.''
So, yes, maybe for the last 30 years there'd been just the tiniest smidgen of doubt whether the hospital gave us the right child.
What I never doubted, though, was that Marc was meant to be a dad. He'd lost his father when he was only 13 years old; having a child of his own helped fill a void in his heart. He'd been ready to start a family as soon as we returned from our honeymoon; I was ambivalent. I loved our life exactly as it was. Marc, with both a Master's in English and an MBA in accounting, was working at a major medical center in health-care finance; I was a book publicist, and with Marc as my plus-one, went to glamorous literary events: dancing at Carl Sagan's book launch at Area, a celebrity-studded nightclub that blazed briefly in the '80s; swinging to the sweet jazz of the Count Basie Orchestra at Palladium; listening spellbound to legendary cabaret performer Bobby Short sing ''Don't Like Goodbyes'' at an invitation-only memorial service for Truman Capote. It was the era of Bright Lights, Big City, and I felt I was at the white-hot center of the literary establishment.
It was heady stuff, but eventually I had enough. We were both thrilled when I got pregnant at 32. My doctor, who jarringly referred to me as an ''elderly primigravida,'' insisted we have amniocentesis to rule out chromosomal abnormalities. All went well. At 37, I conceived again, but this time the pregnancy was rocky. I bled through the first trimester. During the amnio, it took three punctures before the doctor was able to extract fluid, which triggered a cascade of contractions. The doctor ordered me home to bed rest. Terrified, Marc hovered, plying me with tea and toast. I squeezed his hand. ''Sit down and listen to me,'' I said. ''It will be okay. This baby isn't going anywhere. It's a fighter.''
And it was okay. Until it wasn't. We worried that our second son Mickey, a loving and sweet toddler, wasn't talking. We took him for a comprehensive evaluation, expecting to be reassured. Instead, the doctor said, ''Don't expect higher education for your son.''
We knew that many marriages implode after a child is diagnosed with special needs. We were determined ours wouldn't be one of them. ''We're still two bodies, one mind,'' Marc said. Sometimes we worked so hard to give each child what he needed that there wasn't much left to give each other. But for our 30th anniversary, we finally took our first real vacation since our children had been born. For a whole week, we savored Paris and each other, remembering exactly why we'd fallen in love in the first place.
Which is why our implausible DNA match seemed entirely fitting to everyone who knew us. It was a fun story, and we dined out on it for weeks.
Then our friend Ed emailed an article titled ''No, You Don't Really Have 7,900 4th Cousins: Some DNA Basics for Those With Jewish Heritage.'' According to a 2014 international study published in the journal Nature Communications, all Ashkenazi Jews (Jewish individuals from Central and Eastern Europe) are at least 30th cousins, descended from a founding population of 350 people from the Middle Ages. We are an endogamous population, i.e., one that tended to marry within its own culture. Ashkenazi Jews share more DNA with one another than the average population does, which can skew the data. I learned about haplogroups and centimorgans and polymorphic markers. I dug deep into the technical data. With disappointment, I realized the science is not yet complete. It's unclear if Marc and I actually share a set of great-great-grandparents or not.
What I do know is this: We've forged an ordinary family life, even while dealing with the extraordinary needs of an autistic child. I don't need the imprimatur of 23andMe to tell me what I already know with bone-deep certainty: our connection is a decades' long conversation that continues to nurture and sustain us both.
There's an old saying that chance makes our relatives, but choice makes our friends.
Sometimes, it can even make both.
Facebook exec apologizes after woman posts scathing letter over targeted ads
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Dec. 12, 2018 / 10:28 PM GMT / Source: CNBC.com
By Lauren Feiner, CNBC
At one of the saddest times of her life, Gillian Brockell kept seeing ads on social media that provided painful reminders of her loss.
In an open letter posted to Twitter and addressed to ''Tech Companies,'' the Washington Post opinion video editor said she continued to be targeted with motherhood ads after learning that her baby would be stillborn.
At a time when the public is questioning tech companies' hyper-specific ad targeting, Brockell's letter highlights the damaging emotional effects this practice can have when tech companies fail to adjust their targeting to new information about someone's altered life situation.
''I know you knew I was pregnant,'' Brockell wrote in the letter and tagged with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Experian's handles. ''It's my fault, I just couldn't resist the hashtags - #30weekspregnant, #babybump. And, stupid me!, I even clicked once or twice on the maternity-wear ads Facebook served up.''
Brockell noted in the letter the topics she searched for when she learned her baby would be stillborn.
''But didn't you also see me googling 'is this braxton hicks?' and 'baby not moving'? Did you not see the three days of silence, uncommon for a high-frequency user like me? And then the announcement with keywords like 'heartbroken' and 'problem' and 'stillborn' and the two-hundred teardrop emoticons from my friends? Is that not something you could track?''
Brockell wrote in her letter that even when she opted to not see the ads she was served for products to prepare her for her new baby, the companies misinterpreted her motivation. After answering a prompt about why she didn't want to see the ad with ''it's not relevant to me,'' she began being served ads for nursing bras and strollers, according to the letter. She said she then received what she called a ''spam email'' asking her to ''finish registering your baby'' in order to track his credit through Experian.
The average person is becoming increasingly more aware of the amount of data tech companies store on them. A New York Times investigation earlier this week showed that many seemingly mundane apps can actually track a user's location throughout the day to a specific spot in a room, and on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was questioned by the House Judiciary Committee for his company's location tracking policies.
Brockell's letter raises the question of why these companies still can't adjust fully to the realities of people's lives.
In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said, ''We cannot imagine the pain of those who have experienced this type of loss. We are continuously working on improving our advertising products to ensure they serve appropriate content to the people who use our services.''
Facebook and Experian did not respond to requests for comment. Brockell pointed CNBC to tweets from a Facebook advertising executive, Rob Goldman, who explained how to turn off ads related to parenting.
''I am so sorry for your loss and your painful experience with our products,'' Goldman wrote. ''We have a setting available that can block ads about some topics people may find painful '-- including parenting. It still needs improvement, but please know that we're working on it & welcome your feedback.''
I am so sorry for your loss and your painful experience with our products. We have a setting available that can block ads about some topics people may find painful - including parenting. It still needs improvement, but please know that we're working on it & welcome your feedback.
'-- Rob Goldman (@robjective) December 12, 2018Brockell thanked Goldman for responding and suggested Facebook add a keyword like ''stillborn'' that would turn off ads automatically instead, saying the process of turning off ads is ''too confusing when you're grieving.''
Brockell also told CNBC she wished Experian would respond.
''Please, Tech Companies, I implore you: If you're smart enough to realize that I'm pregnant, that I've given birth, then surely you're smart enough to realize that my baby died, and can advertise to me accordingly,'' Brockell wrote, ''or maybe just maybe, not at all.''
Khashoggi PsyOp Series- Introduction: Who, What, How & Why
Whether in the Khashoggi case or any other case, the four main components of real investigative journalism consist of fact-finding and analyses of who, what, how and why. After spending nearly two months investigating this story, on the ground, in Turkey, and with access to inside sources and research material in multiple languages, I can assure you, with one-hundred-percent certainty, that none of those questions have been answered by the media, despite their around-the-clock sensational coverage- intentionally. In my previous post I directed you to my pinned real-time coverage of this concocted case. As you can see, I have over 600 entries spanning 55+ days. And as you can tell, with so much info, so many angles and twists, it would be impossible to present my report in one long and comprehensive article and or video episode. Therefore, I am going to break down my work into 4 to 6 segments to present the key questions and findings, examine the four components of the story, and analyze the macro picture:
Who was or is Jamal Khashoggi?
He was the nephew of notorious global arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, an intimate friend and confidante of Osama Bin Laden, an active CIA operative, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, an intelligence official for Saudi Intelligence, a major participant in Arab Spring operations via several CIA and Soros-Funded NGOs and Think-Tanks. On the personal front he was a polygamist with at least two known wives (one in Saudi Arabia, one in the U.S.) and one alleged fianc(C) in Turkey, a notorious party-man who frequented billionaires' harems of prostitutes in London, Istanbul, Dubai and Washington D.C., and a high-flyer with hundreds of millions of dollars in Dubai, London, New York, Malta, and Jeddah banks. A chameleon who drank like a fish and partied like Play Boy executives when posing with progressives and billionaires, while playing a pious Muslim and a staunch follower of Sharia laws when among traditionalist Muslim leaders.
Yet, when we look at the mainstream media portrayal of Khashoggi, we only read-watch-hear of a saintly progressive journalist who worked for the Washington Post and stood against the Saudi Kingdom. Why?
Who is Khashoggi's Alleged Fianc(C)- Hatice Cengiz?
She attended a University in Egypt during the height of Arab Spring operations, and has been connected to several London and US-based Arab Spring Networks of NGOs. She is an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood with intimate ties to Qatar. This woman worked with Al Sharq, which is a known Muslim Brotherhood media outlet. Her past social media writings have been mainly in Arabic not Turkish. The Khashoggi family had never heard of this woman or the alleged engagement.
I have also documented how she changed her story on the Consulate-Entry day- . changing her story from waiting outside for 3 hours then making calls and leaving, to waiting outside and pacing for 11.5 hours, and after that notifying authorities, then back to three to four hours. Meanwhile, those who have reviewed the ''entire'' CCTV recording outside the Saudi Consulate were unable to see her anywhere near the Consulate after Khashoggi entered the building. There is the question of why she had one of President Erdogan's top advisors' phone number and made the first call to him, not the security forces. There is that infamous photo of the duo submitted to all mainstream media outlets by '... ''her' which has been examined by several experts and determined to be ''highly likely fake; photo-shopped).
And of course, there is the recent revelation by one of Turkey's top generals, former Director of Turkish Military Intelligence Services, who claims she is a foreign agent and highly-likely a honeytrap.
Yet, comb through the media coverage and you will find only sympathetic coverage of a saintly damsel in distress- who happens to be the Only witness to Khashoggi's disappearance.
Why did Khashoggi come to Turkey?
According to the media, unanimously, Khashoggi came to Turkey because of the following reason:
He went to the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. where he was based, and asked them to provide him with documents showing he was divorced from one of his wives in Saudi Arabia, so that he could marry this Turkish woman Hatice Cengiz. The Saudi Embassy, set on luring him to Turkey in order to murder him, told him that they were unable to provide those papers there, and that the only place that could process this was one consulate: the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Within the first two weeks of this case I was able to establish this narrative concocted and disseminated by the media as completely FALSE. Khashoggi was Not divorced from his wives in Saudi Arabia. Not only that, he had just gotten married (via Sharia marriage) to his third or fourth wife in the United States. That's for one. I also contacted administrators in the Saudi embassy and I was told that: 1- Khashoggi had never made that request- and that there was no record of such a request; 2- Even if he had, an Embassy in D.C. would have been able to process that request as one of the routine processes they regularly perform. That's two.
I then began contacting my sources here in Turkey, and found that Khashoggi was relocating to Turkey to establish his new base for a new business and a new NGO he was setting up here. That in fact he set up one NGO and one for-profit business here with '... shady/questionable partners. Not only that, he had opened several bank accounts in Turkey with hefty deposits, and had bought a lavish residential flat in Istanbul with a value of nearly one million dollars.
Additionally, I also confirmed that while in Turkey, Khashoggi took a business trip to London, flew there First Class from Istanbul, and attended a spooks-filled glitzy conference sponsored by the Intelligence community and Soros NGO networks in preparation for Arab Spring Operations Part II.
Yet, the media coverage, despite having all this documented information on his relocation to Turkey, intentionally omitted all this highly relevant (and questionable) information from their concocted story, and turned it into a trip to obtain divorce papers for his coming marriage, which is entirely FALSE. Why?
What Really Did Happen to Khashoggi?
I could easily write a two-volume book series documenting the constantly-changing narrative on what happened on the day Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The media has been changing the story and claims on almost a daily basis. Most importantly, not a single outlet has ever bothered to issue a retraction for stories that later were completely and officially debunked: From the iWatch story (debunked within the first five days) and video-recording of hours-long tortured Khashoggi (completely debunked but never retracted), to, body-parts being transported by Saudi diplomatic cars and then to Saudi Arabia via diplomatic planes- from Saudis throwing body tidbits into a well in the Saudi Consul's residence, to, the entire body being immersed into an acid tub and melted with zero trace left behind.
In each case the story, always published as a major front-page headline, would be printed definitively, as a fact, based on one or two Unnamed sources, and with zero documents or witnesses cited.
Interestingly, up until recently, these Western mainstream media outlets would omit publishing factual reports coming out of Turkish media outlets, citing them as unreliable and government-influenced. Yet, these very same Western outlets, for the Khashoggi narrative, have been taking complete bs stories (with no named sources or documents) from some of the worst paparazzi media publications in Turkey, republishing them under their own signature and with warranty-assurance, and disseminating-marketing these FAKE stories nonstop. Why?
Why Did ''They'' Concoct the Khashoggi Story?
Around the third week of my coverage of this concocted story I started listing highly-possible reasons for this Khashoggi concocted shenanigan. Certain powers wanted MBS out and replaced with a new puppet prince for several reasons: MBS recent deals and agreements with China, MBS recent partnership with Putin and consideration of S-400 purchase, MBS getting a bit too confident and a bit hubris-ridden for the certain establishment's taste'...
Then there was this Iran issue: Was MBS going a bit Mild on Iran? What was the deal with the recent Iran comment on the possibility of getting a bit close to Saudi Arabia? Were there certain operation plans not to MBS' liking?
There were also possible positive externalities such as targeting President Trump- with the concocted Russia-Gate fizzled, why not replace that divisive and distract-ionary with a new one: Enter Target Trump via Saudi-Gate.
And remember: Saudi Arabia is rich with many billions to suck from. With the forecasted financial crash in the U.S., how much Saudi investment could be sucked via blackmail? Supposedly Turkey has a $40+ billion hole in its finance books- Qatar stepped in with more or less $10 Billion, who other than Saudis to dish $30 Billion extra in investment to fill in the gap?
This is where my analyses combined with research will come into the picture via my coming video series. Please stay tuned. The video series will be available only for our community members- please subscribe to support this work and access the coming series, and via Vimeo. You can also Donate to Newsbud for media with integrity solely supported by YOU.
# # # #Sibel Edmonds is editor and publisher of Newsbud, founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), and author of the acclaimed books Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, and The Lone Gladio, a Political Spy Thriller. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. Ms. Edmonds is a certified linguist, fluent in four languages, and has an MA in public policy from George Mason University and a BA in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University.
Time magazine on Tuesday recognized journalists, including the slain Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as its 2018 Person of the Year in what it said was an effort to emphasize the importance of reporters' work in an increasingly hostile world.
The designation wasn't intended as a specific message to the magazine's runner-up choice, President Donald Trump, who has denounced "fake news" and called some reporters enemies of the people, said Ben Goldberger, executive editor.
Time cited four figures it called "the guardians." Besides Khashoggi, they are the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were shot to death in June; Philippine journalist Maria Ressa; and Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been jailed in Myanmar for a year.
It's the first time since the magazine began the end-of-year tradition in 1927 that Time has featured a journalist or recognized someone posthumously.
Time Magazine photos
This combination photo provided by Time Magazine shows two of the four covers for the "Person of the Year," announced Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. The covers show Jamal Khashoggi, top left, members of the Capital Gazette newspaper, of Annapolis, Md., top right.
This combination photo provided by Time Magazine shows two of the four covers for the "Person of the Year," announced Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. The covers show Jamal Khashoggi, top left, members of the Capital Gazette newspaper, of Annapolis, Md., top right.
(Time Magazine photos)
Time said that 2018 has been marked by manipulation and abuse of information, along with efforts by governments to foment mistrust of the facts.
Goldberger said the magazine hopes the choice reminds people outside of journalism about the importance of the work.
Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said he sees this message already starting to get through '-- sadly, in part because of the attention paid to Khashoggi's killing. Khashoggi is one of at least 52 journalists murdered so far this year, the committee said.
"In some ways, I feel we're at a turning point," Simon said.
Khashoggi was killed two months ago when The Washington Post columnist, who had lived in the U.S., visited Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey for paperwork so he could get married. He had been critical of the Saudi regime.
The Washington Post applauded Time for its message of support for journalists.
"We hope this recognition will prompt our nation's leaders to stand up for America's values and hold accountable those who attempt to silence journalists who cover our communities or in Jamal's case, an oppressive authoritarian government," said Fred Ryan, the Post's publisher and CEO.
Reesa co-founded the online site the Rappler, which has aggressively covered the government of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. She was recently charged with tax fraud, with many in the Philippines seeing that as a reaction to the Rappler's reporting.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were imprisoned after investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.
Four journalists and a sales assistant were killed by a gunman at the Capital Gazette newspaper last spring.
Time is producing four different covers featuring "the guardians."
Last year Time recognized people who came forward to report on sexual misconduct. Trump, this year's runner-up, was Person of the Year in 2016.
The third-place finisher this year was special counsel Robert Mueller, who Time indicated could move up in next year's rankings depending on the findings of his investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.
Associated Press writer Shawn Marsh contributed to this report.
Saudi Arabia's crown prince must restore dignity to his country '-- by ending Yemen's cruel war - The Washington Post
Yemeni children take part in a mass funeral in the northern Yemeni city of Saada, Yemen, on Aug. 13. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images) Saudi Arabia must face the damage from the past three-plus years of war in Yemen. The conflict has soured the kingdom's relations with the international community, affected regional security dynamics and harmed its reputation in the Islamic world. Saudi Arabia is in a unique position to simultaneously keep Iran out of Yemen and end the war on favorable terms if it change its role from warmaker to peacemaker. Saudi Arabia could use its clout and leverage within Western circles and empower international institutions and mechanisms to resolve the conflict. However, the window for achieving a resolution to the conflict is rapidly closing.
The-U.N. sponsored Geneva peace talks that were scheduled to open last Thursday have practically collapsed, in part because Houthis rebels who control the capitol (and most of western Yemen) were afraid their return would be halted due to Saudi Arabia's control of Yemen's airspace. The Saudis could provide their enemy and the U.N. officials with travel support '-- or perhaps they could even offer them a Saudi plane. Even better, Saudi Arabia could announce a cease-fire and offer peace talks in the Saudi Arabian city of Taif, where previous peace talks with Yemenis have taken place.
Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen were driven by national security concerns due to Iranian involvement in the country. However, Saudi Arabia's war efforts have not provided an extra layer of security but have rather increased the likelihood of domestic casualties and damage. Saudi defense systems rely on the U.S.-made Patriot missile system. Saudi Arabia has been successful in preventing Houthi missiles from causing substantial damage. Yet, the inability of Saudi authorities in preventing Houthi missiles from being fired in the first place serves as an embarrassing reminder that the kingdom's leadership is unable to restrain their Iranian-backed opponent.
Each missile fired by Houthi forces poses both a political and financial burden on the kingdom. The cost of an Iranian missile supplied to the Houthis is uncertain, but one can speculate that each missile does not compare to the cost of a $3 million Patriot missile.
Unexpected costs associated with the conflict in Yemen means Saudi Arabia has increasingly been borrowing funds in international markets without clearly saying what the funds are for. The kingdom has reportedly raised $11 billion in a loan from international banks.
Furthermore, the political costs associated with the loss of innocent life cannot be tabulated. Lapses in Saudi intel led to the deployment of a bomb to target a bus suspected of carrying Houthi forces. Instead, the missile struck a school bus carrying children. The kingdom cannot afford to have an open war zone at its southern border, the confidence of international markets and the moral high ground.
Mistakes and risks associated with long-term conflict diminish Saudi standing internationally and increase the chances of a confrontation with traditional allies. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently stated, ''We support our partner Saudi Arabia's right to self-defense.'' The Saudi media ran Mattis's statement and quoted him with great enthusiasm but selectively omitted the portion that stated American support was ''not unconditional'' and that he urged Saudi authorities to ''do everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life.''
Mattis's remarks should serve as a reality check to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia is defined and represented by its Islamic stature. We should not need to be reminded of the value of human life. Muslims around the world deserve to see birthplace of Islam represent the ethics of Islam.
Saudi Arabia does not deserve to be compared to Syria, whose leader seemingly did not hesitate to use chemical weapons against his people. But further continuation of the war in Yemen will validate voices saying that Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen what Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Russians and Iranians are doing in Syria. Even the south of Yemen that has been ''liberated,'' protesters are currently staging a civil disobedience campaign, chanting slogans against the Saudi-led coalition, which is seen as the actual power on the ground, rather than Yemen's exiled government.
Peace talks will provide Saudi Arabia with a golden opportunity. Riyadh will almost certainly find international support if it enters into a cease-fire as negotiations take place. It must utilize its global clout and incorporate international institutions and allies to financially pressure Tehran to stand down in Yemen. The Saudi Arabian crown prince must also accept that the Houthis, the Islah (Sunni Islamists) and the southern separatists should play a future role in the governance of Yemen. Obviously, Riyadh will not get all of what it wants and would leave Yemenis to sort out their differences with their fellow Houthis in a National Congress '-- instead of on bloody battlefields.
The longer this cruel war lasts in Yemen, the more permanent the damage will be. The people of Yemen will be busy fighting poverty, cholera and water scarcity and rebuilding their country. The crown prince must bring an end to the violence and restore the dignity of the birthplace of Islam.
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Khashoggi Case: A Battle Over Leadership of the Islamic World - IslamiCity
Seven years ago, while investigating the story of a Muslim Brotherhood figure living in the United States, I spoke with a supporter of the Justice and Development Party about the relationship of Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan, then the prime minister of Turkey, with the Islamist organization.
''The flag raises from where it has fallen,'' said the supporter, who is now a high-level Turkish government official in Ankara, referring to the goal of reviving Turkish leadership in the Muslim world more than 80 years after the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924.
To some extent, he was putting down the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt in the 1920s, and arguing that Turkey's nationalist political Islam movement had a stronger hold over Turkish Islamists, including ErdoÄan.
Recently, in the aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance at the Saudi Consulate, I heard this sentiment again '-- this time from now President ErdoÄan himself. In a speech to Turkish religious officials in Ankara on Monday, he said, ''Turkey is the only country that can lead the Muslim world.''
In the West, the most simplistic narrative is that Khashoggi, who is widely presumed dead, was killed by the Saudi regime for daring to criticize the kingdom's de facto ruler, Mohammad bin Salman (often known as MBS). There is truth to that narrative, but Khashoggi's death in Istanbul has much deeper roots in a larger battle for regional hegemony.
When the Arab uprisings started in 2011, ErdoÄan quickly sided with members of the Muslim Brotherhood '-- or Ikhwan, as Brotherhood members and sympathizers in Turkey prefer to call it '-- throughout the region, from Egypt to Syria. He supported Ikhwan-related groups financially and logistically. He lobbied for these groups on the international scene. In Egypt, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, even came to power.
At that point, however, Khashoggi wasn't on the same side as ErdoÄan. In fact, during the Gezi protests in Istanbul in 2013, when millions rose up against ErdoÄan's oppressive policies and a wave of demonstrations lasting weeks spread across the country, Khashoggi sided with the people of Turkey struggling against their own authoritarian leader. He shared covers of the Economist magazine depicting ErdoÄan as a sultan on his social media account, and he even mocked ErdoÄan, tweeting, ''Sultan Recep I, sure he will not like the cover. But perhaps he likes the idea of the Sultan!''
Khashoggi may have been inspired by Gezi, but back then he could also afford to alienate Turkey's leader. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was still alive, Saudis and Qataris were working together in Syria , and the Muslim Brotherhood was running Egypt. Khashoggi himself was in a good position in Riyadh, but his connections were not to Mohammed (at that time an adviser and then chief of staff to his father) but to the ''Faisal clan '-- Turki and his brother Saud al-Faisal, the longtime Saudi foreign minister,'' according to Maggie Mitchell Salem, one of Khashoggi's friends, who spoke recently to David Ignatius of the Washington Post .
But the geopolitics shifted quickly. Morsi was toppled by the military in the summer of 2013, one year after being elected president. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who was working with ErdoÄan in Syria, died in 2015. And Mohammed, who became the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, joined Egypt and UAE to pursue a war against the Muslim Brotherhood everywhere in the region. A war of regional hegemony erupted between two Sunni camps: Turkey and Qatar on one side, and Saudis, Egyptians and Emiratis on the other.
The scrimmage between the two blocs escalated in 2017, when a coalition of Gulf countries launched a blockade against Qatar. Khashoggi was forced to pick a side, and he changed his tone about ErdoÄan. When Khashoggi interviewed ErdoÄan in 2016, the two men had already developed a warm relationship. And just before the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey in June 2018, Khashoggi supported ErdoÄan in his tweets and criticized his opponents.
This political shift was a reflection of another key change in Riyadh, where Khashoggi was losing his base of support. Mohammed had been appointed crown prince in June 2017.
''When I speak of the fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming of intellectuals and religious leaders who dare to speak their minds, and then I tell you that I'm from Saudi Arabia, are you surprised?'' Khashoggi wrote in his first sentence of his first column for the Washington Post on Sept. 18, 2017.
In November 2017, the crown prince began his purge, arresting more than 200 princes, ministers and businessmen and holding them for weeks at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh on anticorruption charges. Khashoggi's ties in the palace were cut. The purge swept up Prince Alwaleed bin Talal too, a Saudi billionaire who two years earlier had provided Khashoggi with financial support to establish a new television channel in Bahrain. The two had become so close that Khashoggi posted pictures that he took of them traveling together to Paris and Bahrain . When Crown Prince Mohammed arrested Alwaleed, Khashoggi spoke up. In his Washington Post column, he compared the ruler's actions to Putin 's.
His new life in Turkey most likely only deepened suspicions in the palace that Khashoggi was aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. By 2018, he had started a relationship with Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish researcher. The two, who became engaged, had met during a forum hosted by Al Sharq , which is considered a pro-Muslim Brotherhood media outlet. She was also writing analyses on the crisis at Gulf Cooperation Council, and some of her papers were published by INSAMER, the think tank of IHH, a Turkish nongovernmental organization that is known for coordinating the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010 and that is close to Ikhwan. And on her social media account, in which she tweets mostly in Arabic, she has expressed sympathy for Ikhwan.
In the last few months, Khashoggi openly supported the Muslim Brotherhood and harshly criticized the crown prince and the U.S. administration for their stands against the movement. ''The coup in Egypt led to the loss of a precious opportunity for Egypt and the entire Arab world,'' Khashoggi wrote in his Washington Post column in late August. ''If the democratic process had continued there, the Muslim Brotherhood's political practices could have matured and become more inclusive, and the unimaginable peaceful rotation of power could have become a reality and a precedent to be followed.''
In his last piece published before his disappearance, on Sept. 11, 2018, Khashoggi wrote that the crown prince ''must also accept that the Houthis, the Islah [Sunni Islamists] and the southern separatists should play a future role in the governance of Yemen.'' Advocating for the Islamist Al-Islah Party, which was blacklisted by the Saudi government because of its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, opened another and possibly fatal front.
Just a few weeks later, Khashoggi entered the consulate in Istanbul and disappeared; two private jets owned by Sky Prime Aviation, which belongs to the Saudi government, took off from Atat¼rk Airport that same day. One of them carried six high-level Saudi security personnel headed to Cairo, and the other took nine people to Dubai.
Those destinations reflect the current regional alliances: The UAE is heavily involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and Cairo is pursuing a longtime fight against Muslim Brotherhood members. ''Both Egypt and the UAE have come out defending the Saudis,'' says Bruce Riedel, senior fellow of Brookings Institution and a former CIA analyst who recently wrote a book about Saudi Arabia. ''Perhaps they also played some role in the operation. There is no evidence of that aside from the suspicious stops in Cairo and Dubai.''
Three days after Khashoggi's disappearance, Cengiz, his fianc(C)e , wrote in a tweet : ''I remain confident that my dear government will help me to know his fate and bring joy to my heart.''
She was right. The Turkish government has pursued the case and even helped fuel international media coverage through leaks. This is not because ErdoÄan is an ardent supporter of freedom of the press '-- he most certainly is not '-- but because it gives him the upper hand with the crown prince in the regional conflict.
Khashoggi, who picked ErdoÄan in this struggle for influence, is perhaps the most striking casualty of this war within the Sunni world. And what greater symbolism is there than to be killed and dismembered in the old capital of the Ottoman Empire, whose heirs are battling to reclaim leadership of the Muslim world?
Tolga Tanis is the former Washington, D.C., correspondent for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
( Source: Yahoo News )
Related posts from similar topics:
Khashoggi: An Intricate Web of Connections, And Assassinations, in Turkey
Samira Khashoggi (above), the mother of Princess Diana's boyfriend Dodi Fayed, was a cousin of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.The story of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is intertwined with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, and Turkey's ruling AK Party.
It could be another chapter in the of spate of unexplained assassinations in Turkey since 2015.
No story symbolizes Middle East's dirty politics right now more than Kashoggi's fate, which is not confirmed yet.
Turkey and the western media are convinced he was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. No less than President Erdogan of Turkey has come out in Kashoggi's support. Turkish Police is unofficially leaking to the media that Khashoggi was ''dismembered'' by a 15-member Saudi death squad that smuggled him out in pieces.
But then there's also this: Khashoggi was killed when he planned to end his opposition to King Salman, end his self-imposed exile, and return home.
In the days before the incident, he changed his tone on the Saudi government.
One day before his disappearance, a Saudi user asked him on Twitter: ''Your tone has changed, have you become soft on Saudi Arabia?''One day before his disappearance, a Saudi user asked him on Twitter: ''Your tone has changed, have you become soft on Saudi Arabia?''
Khashoggi replied: ''Dear Abdullah, it's my home and my people..''.
Saudi Arabia is convinced Khashoggi was about to divulge information on links between Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey's ruling AK Party, Qatar and underground Brotherhood cells inside Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud wrote this in a tweet: ''Khashoggi wanted to return home, they became scared he would expose them, so Qatar rulers eliminated him.''
Kashoggi, 59, was planning to marry his Turkish girlfriend. He was close to the Saudi royal family during the days when the kingdom was divided into power centers under the various branches of the royal family. After taking over, King Salman eliminated power centers within the House of Saud to stabilize the country, bring young royals forward and simplify succession.
Khashoggi was close to Saudi royals. Here in an undated picture with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Similar pictures of Jamal can be found will all major royals in Riyadh.Khashoggi was among those who chose to support an opposing faction within the royal family. It was the wrong gamble. Kashoggi played his cards for a year until the dust settled in the kingdom. The game was over. Khashoggi had been close to the royal family for too long and understood this better than others. In less than a year after leaving for Turkey and then Washington, Khashoggi apparently reconciled with the Saudi government in recent days. He probably discovered that the royal factions that supported him had long reconciled, and probably urged him to do so too.
Then there is his links to Muslim Brotherhood.
Khashoggi was aligned to factions within Saudi Arabia that supported the Muslim Brotherhood, the first Islamist political party in the region. The MB started in Egypt but now has extensions in the Gulf, Turkey, Tunisia, Syria, Pakistan and Indonesia. The main ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood these days, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian, is based in Qatar. When the MB factions in Egypt and Gaza established links recently to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or the IRGC, Khamenei's powerful sectarian force in Iran, the Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan saw it as a threat. Clerics-led Iran was meddling in Arab countries. This meddling could increase manifold if the Brotherhood joined hands with Iran. And the Brotherhood wanted patrons, money and arms to topple governments and seize power, like it did in Egypt.
Gulf capitals were convinced that the MB was a tool to disintegrate Egypt along the lines of Libya and Syria. If Egypt fell, Gulf states would be next. Hence, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait led the Gulf effort of supporting Egypt and cracking down on MB in the region. In the new Gulf military doctrine, fighting religious extremism was essential to avoiding state collapse as seen in some other Muslim countries, and MB is considered to be a secretive organization that operates parallel to the state.
This doctrine was among the main reasons that led to conflict with Qatar after Doha had become home to exiled MB leaders from Egypt, Gaza, Yemen, Libya and Syria.
The AK Parti in Turkey, led by President Erdogan, is widely considered to be the Turkish branch of Muslim Brotherhood, though more modern and westernized to make it different than any MB group in any other Muslim nation.
When Khashoggi first escaped Saudi Arabia, Ankara was his first refuge, and President Erdogan protected Khashoggi but advised him to move elsewhere to avoid a rupture in ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Muslim world's two major powers. After all, Riyadh helped Erdogan arrest Turkish diplomats involved in the failed coup attempt against the Turkish president.
When rebelled against King Salman, Khashoggi initially received strong support from the Brotherhood and Qatar. He became the darling of anyone who opposed King Salman and the kingdom in general, within and outside the region.
Saudis believe someone did not want Khashoggi to return to Riyadh with all the secrets he carried.
In the last three years, Turkey has seen a spate of unexplained assassinations of political dissidents wanted in other countries.
In 2015, a Syrian rebel film director opposed to Assad and ISIS was gunned down in Turkey days before moving to France with him family.
In 2016, a Turkish police officer assassinated the ambassador of Russia.
In 2017, a prominent Iranian television channel owner opposed to Iran's Khamenei was assassinated in Istanbul, along with his Kuwaiti partner.
And a year ago, a female Syrian-American journalist and her mother were assassinated in Istanbul.
The Turkish police officer was dubbed a rogue agent. None of the above cases were resolved.
Arms dealer and billionaire Adnan Khashoggi, Jamal's cousin.Khashoggi is no ordinary journalist or dissident. He insisted in all his interviews he did not oppose the Saudi royal family. He was the cousin of Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi. Princess Diana's lover Dodi Fayed was his nephew. He was practically part of the Saudi aristocracy, somewhat like the Bin Laden family and their notorious rebel son: Osama.
Did Khashoggi know too much? Is he really kidnapped and alive in Riyadh? Or was he eliminated because he decided to return home?
The real life version of Murder on the Orient Express is playing out in Istanbul.
Breaking News- Khashoggi Case: A Massive PsyOp Concocted by CIA-MI6-Mossad -- SIBEL EDMONDS newsbud.com newsbud - 12160 Social Network
*This is an Urgent Summary Report on the Khashoggi Case. I will be following this up with a detailed article series and video reports at Newsbud. Also, at the bottom this report I have a brief status report for my amazing Newsbud Community Members, explaining my three-month absence.
After 55 days covering the Jamal Khashoggi Case, 24 X 7, on the ground, in Turkey, with over 600 reports and analyses, via my pinned thread @sibeledmonds on Twitter (due to not having access to my computers and being equipped only with one cell phone), I am ready to conclude and publicize my investigative report.
The Khashoggi Case is a massive PsyOp concocted by MI6, CIA and Mossad, with the cooperation and participation of certain high-level Saudi Government intelligence officers.
For the first 53 days of my investigation of this case, while posting reports and analyses via Twitter posts on an almost hourly-basis, I had refrained from a definitive conclusion, partly to protect my sources, but also due to fulfilling the requirement of having documents and at least two direct named (and vetted/legitimate sources).
Yesterday I broke the news on the bombshell revelations by Former Director of the Turkish Military Intelligence Services, General Ismail Hakki Pekin, via Oda TV Live Coverage on Nov 21. See the 6-min video clip below
General Pekin, an insider with a long career in Intelligence who has high-level contacts and sources within MI6, CIA and Mossad, made the following statements (Summary Translation) while risking severe backlash from the government here in Turkey:
Update: Khashoggi PsyOp Series- Introduction: Who, What, How & WhyThere has been intense behind the scenes competition between the UK and US over ARAMCO and it's coming IPO, scheduled for 2020, via either the London or New York Stock Exchange (Many billions of dollars' worth)
Jamal Khashoggi was/is very close to certain ARAMCO Board Members, and has been a prize sought by both US and UK players due to his connectionsUK (MI6) concocted the plans (or fakery) to kidnap KhashoggiThe CIA and Mossad got involved in this UK plotThe Fianc(C) was some sort of honeytrap most likely connected to MI6, or possibly the CIA, and is not who ''they'' claim she is- not genuineThey may have selected Turkey as a secondary target to damage its reputation- With the US aiming to set up a Kurdish State in Northern Syria and the possibility of ending its alliance with TurkeyI've been seeking a second legitimate ''Named'' source for the above information, which I had already gathered weeks prior to General Pekin's revelations. On November 1, a trustable source, a newspaper editor and investigative journalist with history and expertise in Intelligence matters in Turkey, Ergun Diler, based on multiple high-level Intel sources, leaked explosive informationrevealed by General Pekin with added details and specifics- See translated summary highlights:
The behind-the-scenes clash between the US and Britain has shaken the foundations of global intelligence.On September 11, 2018, MI6 intercepted Saudi communications pertaining to plans to kidnap or eliminate Khashoggi. They notified the CIA and had three meetings in connection with these intercepted plans.MI6 also sensed that the CIA might actually be a participant in Khashoggi plans intercepted from Saudi communicationsOn September 15, MI6 actually contacted Khashoggi and warned him of the plans against him (possible kidnap or elimination in Turkey) by the Saudis. Khashoggi was fully briefed, and was aware of the plans.Why would Khashoggi go to the Saudi Consulate despite being warned of the plans weeks in advance?Since no body (or body trace) has ever been found or seen, there is the possibility of Khashoggi being alive, and the possibility of this being a joint MI6-CIA concocted game with him as an active/willing participant.From day 5 of the case I've been in the position of debunking the mainstream media's narrative and reports based on researching the case and Khashoggi comprehensively, contacting sources here in Turkey and in the United States, including former and current intelligence and law enforcement experts, insiders, and journalists' under-pressure here in Turkey. In fact, since day one of this case, unanimously, the media has been feeding the public around the world nothing but false and concocted information.
Khashoggi is/was Not who the mainstream media has been portraying. Right from day one the media published and marketed a false portrayal of this so-called victim, and did so intentionally. Jamal Khashoggi was not a journalist. He contributed less than a handful of fluff opinion pieces for the Washington Post (Of course a newspaper with a long history of CIA partnership). He was Osama Bin Laden's partner and confidante through out the 80s. He's been on the CIA team since 1982. In the 90s he worked as a liaison Intel officer for Saudi-CIA cooperation. Starting in the mid-2000s he was an active Arab Spring operative for several NGOs, many of them funded by George Soros and the CIA. Pretty much everything fed by the media giving Khashoggi and his background almost a saint-like status has been false. Intentionally.
I was the first and only person to debunk the media reports on the alleged Turkish fianc(C). Only a few months before coming to Turkey, Khashoggi, while still married in Saudi Arabia, married an Egyptian woman in the US/Canada, with a public and publicized wedding- a sharia wedding. I obtained the pictures of his wedding and his new wife. The media, despite being fully aware of this, omitted this fact from their coverage. How could he meet this alleged Turkish woman and get engaged to her while on honeymoon with this new wife? Then there is the background of this fianc(C) as an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood, her time in Egypt, and her connections to Soros-Funded Arab Spring NGOs. And let's not forget her ever-changing story and timeline for the day Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate. Again, for all the relevant documents, pictures, analyses and timeline on this alleged fianc(C) please go through my Pinned Khashoggi Thread with 600+ entries.
Instead of detailing all my Khashoggi coverage and making this a lengthy and complex article I am going to direct you to my twitter thread with hundreds of facts and analyses. In the next few days I will begin producing a series of videos talking about the case in depth.
**For my Newsbud community members and friends, after two unexpected surgeries in August I came to Turkey in September to open our Middle East-Central Asia-Caucasus hub. Why? Because we are at an historical turning point and there will be much coming up on the Iran front, Turkey, Russia '... I want to be right in the middle of it all and with access to sources that I no longer can communicate with via our under-surveillance communication channels. After a roller-coaster period of recuperating, settling in a new country with a child, and finding our new office-studio, I am almost done setting up our computers, cameras, and establishing a filming team. I will have regular analyses and reports for my Probable Cause video show, but I will also begin a new series (announcement will come soon-in 2 or 3 weeks) with a very interesting theme I know you will love. I want to thank you for your patience during this unexpected absence. Those of you who can please follow my twitter posts @sibeledmonds for tons of updates daily. None of this would have been possible without your kind and generous support. You are my partners and friends, and with that I thank you all.
# # # #Sibel Edmonds is editor and publisher of Newsbud, founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), and author of the acclaimed book Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, and The Lone Gladio, a Political Spy Thriller. She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. Ms. Edmonds is a certified linguist, fluent in four languages, and has an MA in public policy from George Mason University and a BA in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University.
Trump blijft achter Saoedische kroonprins staan - NRC
Trump steunt Saoedische kroonprins, ondanks kritiek In een interview met persbureau Reuters heeft Donald Trump gezegd dat hij Mohammed bin Salman blijft steunen, ondanks dat de Saoedische kroonprins door de CIA in een rapport is bestempeld als opdrachtgever achter de moord op journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Senatoren uit Trumps eigen Republikeinse partij, zoals Lindsey Graham en Bob Corker, zeiden eerder zeker te zijn van de medeplichtigheid van Mohammed bin Salman, nadat ze in een briefing door de CIA waren ingelicht over de moordzaak.
Tegenover de journalisten van Reuters noemde Trump Saoedi-Arabi ''een hele goede bondgenoot''. Over de beschuldigingen aan het adres van de kroonprins zei Trump dat MbS, zoals hij wordt genoemd, zelf betrokkenheid ontkent. De uitspraken van Trump zijn opvallend, omdat hij eerder de moord op Khashoggi veroordeelde en nog niet zo uitgesproken zijn steun aan Mohammed bin Salman uitsprak.
Lees ook: Time roept Khashoggi en andere journalisten uit tot Person of the Year Trump ruziet live op televisie met Democraten over muur met Mexico Voorafgaand aan een gesloten bijeenkomst met Democratische leiders Nancy Pelosi en Chuck Schumer met Donald Trump in het Witte Huis, leidde een gesprek over de te bouwen grensmuur met Mexico tot een felle discussie. Opvallend is dat die discussie recht voor de draaiende camera's van de aanwezige pers plaatsvond.
Trump dreigde de overheid plat te leggen en de muur te laten bouwen door het Amerikaanse leger, als er niet genoeg geld beschikbaar wordt gesteld. In het geval van zo'n shutdown worden bepaalde overheidsinstellingen gesloten en werknemers met verlof gestuurd.
De Democraten zijn tegen de bouw van de muur, en hebben alleen geld beschikbaar gesteld voor verbeterde grensbewaking.
.....I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built...
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
We worked with Jamal Khashoggi. We are Karen Attiah and Jason Rezaian, of The Washington Post Global Opinions section. Ask Us Anything. : IAmA
Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a planned operation, according to Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor. He's been writing for us in the last year. All of his work can be found here, including his final column. He was living in Virginia after leaving Saudi Arabia because he feared for his safety. He had been planning to settle in Istanbul and marry his Turikish fianc(C)e. He went to the Saudi Consulate to pick up wedding papers, and he was detained and killed there. His remains have not been found.
Karen Attiah is global opinions editor for The Washington Post and was Jamal's editor as well. She joined us in 2014 as an editor for our foreign desk before moving to the opinions section as deputy digital editor. In 2016 she moved to heading up our global opinions section with reported commentary from around the world.
Jason Rezaian joined The Post in 2012 and has been writing for global opinions this year. Rezaian was previously our bureau chief in Tehran, Iran, where he lived from 2009 to 2016. He's originally from San Francisco and still roots for the Golden State Warriors and Oakland A's. He's been a huge Star Wars fan for as long as he can remember. He also loves burritos, good ramen, and cooking Thai curries. His memoir "Prisoner," about the 544 days he spent held hostage by the government of Iran, comes out in January 2019.
Today they will be talking about Jamal's work, his life, his columns, as well as press freedom issues around the world, a topic Karen and Jason are very familiar with. Due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing situation involving Jamal, we might not answer questions speculating about what might happen or has happened outside of the known facts, and thanks in advance for understanding.
Besides that, Ask Us Anything at 11 a.m. ET, and thanks for joining us!
EDIT: We're live!
EDIT 2: And we're done! Thanks everyone for the great questions and conversations. If you want to keep talking, feel free to send us a tweet, for Karen and Jason. Thanks again to you all, and to the mods, and have a great weekend iAMA!
When repression and impunity reign, no one can breathe.
From Trump's failure to condemn white supremacists to mocking a sexual assault victim, there have been many low points of this presidency. But turning a blind eye to the butchering of a U.S.-based journalist just may be one of the lowest.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be treated as a persona non grata and be shunned in the West.
We at The Post won't be able to rest easy until our colleague appears safe and sound.
We at The Post won't be able to rest easy until our colleague appears safe and sound.
When black women's strength can be used against us.
China and India are putting their former Western colonizers on notice: They want their looted treasures-- and dignity-- back.
Andr(C) Leon Talley and historian John Edwin Mason talk about Vogue and the challenges for black people in fashion and photography.
Trump's appalling tweet should be treated as the major foreign policy scandal that it is.
If you are going to talk to white nationalists on air, here's how not to do it.
Karen Attiah (born August 12, 1986) is a Ghanaian-American writer and Global Opinions editor for the Washington Post. Attiah was born in Northeastern Texas in 1986 to a Nigerian-Ghanaian mother and Ghanaian father. After a bachelor's degree at Northwestern University, Attiah won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Accra, Ghana and obtained an MA from Columbia University before later joining the Washington Post.
Attiah gained further prominence in October 2018 when one of the columnists she had recruited in 2017 for the Washington Post's "Global Opinions" section, the writer Jamal Khashoggi, went missing on 2 October 2018 in Istanbul. In an interview in Marie Claire, she claimed her Whatsapp started blowing up with ''Jamal's missing" messages, and she felt she knew the worst had happened. On October 5th, two days after his disappearance, Attiah let his column space remain blank with the title "A missing voice" and her tweet with the empty space was retweeted by Christiane Amanpour and 1,206 others.
Since then she has been interviewed by major news outlets as the primary contact for Khashoggi's last published opinion.
References [ edit ] External links [ edit ] Wordpress blog kept by Karen Attiah18-Oct-2018 interview of Attiah in New York Times
Senate begins historic debate on ending U.S. support for Saudi-led war in Yemen - The Washington Post
The Senate voted Wednesday to formally start debating a measure to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, setting up what is likely to be the first among several bipartisan rebukes of President Trump's support for Saudi Arabia that senators hope to deliver.
The 60-to-37 vote exceeded the expectations of the Yemen resolution's supporters, who had guessed that most of the 14 Republicans who backed an opening procedural measure last month would peel away as it advanced. But 11 Republicans '-- including the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James E. Risch (R-Idaho), a Trump ally '-- joined all Democrats in voting to start debating the resolution.
[Rebuking Trump, senators back effort to suspend U.S. support for Saudi-led war in Yemen]
The development sets up a likely vote Thursday to pass the resolution, provided even part of this coalition holds together. Its passage would send a significant political message to Trump that the status quo on relations with Saudi Arabia is no longer acceptable and also would be the first time the Senate had successfully invoked the War Powers Resolution since it became law in 1973.
Lawmakers have launched several efforts to condemn, chastise or curtail traditional U.S. support for Saudi Arabia after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist.
Support for several of those efforts '-- particularly the Yemen resolution from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) '-- grew dramatically after the CIA determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was most probably responsible for Khashoggi's killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, findings that Trump has dismissed as he continues to embrace the prince.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to reporters on Dec. 12, 2018, about efforts to curtail U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)Wednesday's Senate vote came just hours after CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed House leaders about the agency's assessment that Mohammed probably ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi leadership.
It was the second time in as many weeks that Haspel has given lawmakers a closed-door look at the CIA's classified examination of Khashoggi's death. It is based in part on intercepts of communications between the crown prince and one of his top aides, who investigators think oversaw the team that killed and dismembered the journalist in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After Haspel briefed senators last week, they accused Mohammed of complicity in the death of Khashoggi. Later this week, senators are expected to vote on a resolution condemning Mohammed as responsible for Khashoggi's death.
But in the House, senior members have been far more tight-lipped about their plans.
The Sanders-Lee resolution is all but guaranteed to be dead on arrival in the House, where lawmakers narrowly voted Wednesday to block consideration of any similar resolution. Specifically, the rule change the House adopted '-- tucked into a larger procedural measure about an agriculture bill '-- prevents rank-and-file members from demanding a House floor vote on any Yemen measure that seeks to invoke the War Powers Resolution.
Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has committed to holding comprehensive hearings early next year on a variety of issues relating to U.S. policy on Saudi Arabia, including the war in Yemen. But those plans lack the specificity of activity underway in the Senate, where lawmakers are already planning how to pivot from a successful vote on the Sanders-Lee measure to work on others in the new year. Chief among their new targets is a bill, sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), that would impose sanctions on Saudi officials found to be responsible for Khashoggi's death. The measure also would stop the transfer of anything but purely defensive weapons to Saudi Arabia until it ends it combat operations in Yemen.
When House leaders emerged from the briefing with Haspel on Wednesday, none claimed that her testimony had proved Mohammed's culpability '-- in stark contrast to what senators said after their session with the CIA director last week. The House members said they could not discuss their response to the briefing, noting that it was classified.
The full House is expected to be briefed Thursday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who also spoke with senators late last month. Both have adopted a stance closer to that of Trump, who despite having been briefed on the CIA's findings, emphasizes that Mohammed told him on several occasions that he was not involved in Khashoggi's death.
In an interview Wednesday on Fox News, Pompeo reinforced the president's position, adding that the administration is committed to accountability in Khashoggi's death.
[Pompeo challenges accuracy of reports that CIA is confident of Saudi prince's involvement in Khashoggi death]
''I've spoken to the crown prince a number of times since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and it is absolutely America's intent to hold everyone accountable who was responsible for this,'' Pompeo said.
But he said nothing about penalizing Mohammed and did not answer when asked whether he believed the crown prince's assertion that he was not involved in the killing.
Pompeo also repeated Trump's claim that the CIA has not actually determined that Mohammed is to blame, suggesting that news reports were ''inaccurate'' but without saying how.
That put him at odds with senators, including Republicans, who told reporters after their meeting with Haspel last week that they had no doubt about the prince's culpability.
''If the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes,'' said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said: ''There's not a smoking gun '-- there's a smoking saw.'' He was referring to the bone saw that investigators think was used to dismember Khashoggi's body.
Later Wednesday, Graham and Menendez were expected to outline their plans to push for sanctions, halt arms sales and use other measures to punish Saudi Arabia next year.
Van internationaal naar transnationaal recht - Doorbraak.be
Het Marrakesh-migratiepact en 'transnational legal process'
4 december 2018
foto: (C)ReportersIn de commissie Buitenlandse Betrekkingen werd vandaag gedebatteerd met experts over de deelname van Belgi aan de top in Marrakesh en over het VN-migratiepact. Advocaat Fernand Keuleneer was (C)(C)n van de zes experts. U vindt hieronder in extenso de tekst zoals hij die er naar voren bracht.
VAN INTERNATIONAAL NAAR TRANSNATIONAAL RECHT
MIGRATIEPACT EN ''TRANSNATIONAL LEGAL PROCESS''
Commissie voor de Buitenlandse Betrekkingen
Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers
4 december 2018
De juridische analyse, of politico-juridische analyse, van een instrument als het ter discussie staande Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration(hierna ''Migratiepact'') dient scherp te worden onderscheiden van politieke opvattingen of voorkeuren inzake migratiebeleid. Het is met andere woorden perfect mogelijk om het Migratiepact geen deugdelijk instrument te vinden, en toch voorstander te zijn van een beleid dat migrantvriendelijk of zelfs pro-migratie is.Het Migratiepact staat niet neutraal t.a.v. migratie, ondanks andersluidende verklaringen in die zin. In het Migratiepact wordt bepaald dat migratie bijdraagt tot positieve ontwikkelingsresultaten, tot het realiseren van de Horizon 2030 Agenda voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling, en tot de Duurzame Ontwikkelingsdoelstellingen goedgekeurd door de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties in 2015. Het Migratiepact bevat het algemeen engagement om op alle niveaus effectieve stappen te zetten om ''veilige, ordelijke en reguliere migratie'' te faciliteren, ''in alle stadia''. Daarom wordt ook bepaald dat regionale en regio-overschrijdende arbeidsmobiliteit gefaciliteerd zal worden door internationale en bilaterale samenwerkingsovereenkomsten.Verder valt het op dat de termen ''legale'' en ''niet-legale'' migratie niet voorkomen; in de plaats daarvan worden de termen ''regulier'' en ''irregulier'' aangewend. Deze termen worden niet gedefinieerd. Evenmin wordt verduidelijkt wie bepaalt wat ''reguliere'' en ''irreguliere'' migratie is.
Bovendien biedt het Migratiepact de internationaalrechtelijke basis voor z(C)(C)r verregaande ingrepen in de nieuws- en opiniemedia, en keert het daarmee zelfs de logica van de klassieke mensenrechtenverdragen om.
In mijn analyse heeft het Migratiepact echter slechts zijdelings met migratie te maken. Het is allereerst een nieuwe en belangrijke stap in de omvorming van internationaal naar globaal recht, zulks in het kader van een global governancewaarbij staten niet langer de centrale plaats innemen. De internationale orde, die gebaseerd was op het concept van soevereine en juridisch gelijke staten, evolueert in snel tempo naar (C)(C)n enkele globale civil society, met globale instituties en een globaal recht, waarin het onderscheid tussen statelijke en bovenstatelijke rechtsorde verdwijnt door fusie van beide met onderschikking van de eerste aan de laatste in alle domeinen, en de staatssoevereiniteitnaar internationale en supranationale instellingen en organismen overgeheveld wordt.De stelling dat het Migratiepact noodzakelijk is om internationale samenwerking inzake migratie tot stand te brengen, lijkt me tendentieus. Internationale samenwerking is zeer goed mogelijk buiten het global governance
De vervanging van een inter-statelijke orde door een global governancemodel is misschien een legitieme ideologische en politieke optie (hoewel de sluipende en verdoken soevereiniteitsoverdracht zeker constitutionele vragen doet rijzen), maar het blijft onmiskenbaar een ideologische en politieke optie die niet voortvloeit uit een of andere natuurwet of morele wet. Het is perfect legitiem om te vinden dat dit nieuwe model niet wenselijk of zelfs niet grondwettelijk is. Zulks heeft dan gevolgen voor de beoordeling van de wenselijkheid en/of de legaliteit van het Migratiepact, ongeacht iemands opvattingen over migratie en migratiebeleid.Ten onrechte wordt gesteld dat het Migratiepact slechts ''werkafspraken'' bevat die geen rechtsgevolgen hebben. Zulks is onjuist, en de kwalificatie ''onjuist'' hoeft niet genuanceerd te worden.Het Migratiepact werd wel onderhandeld in een intergouvernementele conferentie (met de inbreng van allerhande andere niet-statelijke ''actoren''), maar is geen verdrag. Enkel door verdragen en door het internationaal gewoonterecht worden staten rechtstreeks gebonden. Dat het Migratiepact geen verdrag is, maar uiteindelijk door een resolutie van de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties zal worden goedgekeurd, is een van de elementen die aantonen dat het moet gesitueerd worden in de hierboven geschetste evolutie. Staten hebben het Migratiepact onderhandeld, maar zetten vervolgens een grote stap opzij ten voordele van internationale instellingen. Zo wordt bijvoorbeeld een United Nations Network on Migration in het leven geroepen om voor de toepassing van en de controle op de engagementen uit het Migratiepact te zorgen.
Het Migratiepact is voor staten bijgevolg '' uiteraard '' niet onmiddellijk bindend zoals een verdrag onmiddellijk bindend zou zijn. Maar dat doet niet zoveel ter zake, want het Migratiepact wordt ondertussen wel degelijk opgenomen in het corpus van het internationaal recht. Resoluties van de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties hebben wel degelijk internationaalrechtelijke waarde en betekenis, ook al zijn ze niet onmiddellijk of rechtstreeks bindend. Enerzijds komen ze zelf tot stand op basis van een verdrag (Handvest van de Verenigde Naties), anderzijds kunnen hun auteurs en sponsors voorhouden dat ze bindend internationaal gewoonterecht hetzij codificeren, hetzij tot stand brengen. Bovendien moet opgemerkt worden dat het Migratiepact m(C)(C)r is dan een gewone resolutie van de Algemene Vergadering; het is een pact, goedgekeurd bij resolutie.
Om dit nieuw internationaal recht ingang te doen vinden in de statelijke rechtsordes wordt een transnational legal process, het actief betrekken van niet-statelijke actoren bij dit proces van transnationalisering en globalisering door de creatie van precedenten en kruisverwijzingen, actief aangemoedigd.
Om de transnationaliseringsdoelstelling te bereiken dienen de geschikte juridische technieken aanwezig te zijn. In het Migratiepact, zoals in zovele andere eraan voorafgaande pacten en resoluties in velerlei domeinen, vervullen de ''mensenrechten'' deze functie. De ''mensenrechten'' bieden de objectieve internationaalrechtelijke basis voor subjectief-rechtelijke aanspraken door individuen en groepen (''class actions''). Het is niet verboden te denken dat daarom het Migratiepact rond mensenrechten geconstrueerd werd, veeleer dan rond ontwikkeling, louter politieke doelstellingen of concrete beleidsafspraken.Het Migratiepact staat bol van verwijzingen naar en aanhakingen met ''mensenrechtelijke'' instrumenten, waarbij niet alle staten die het Migratiepact onderhandelden al deze instrumenten ratificeerden, of waarvan sommige zelfs niet door de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties werden goedgekeurden die op deze wijze tersluiks (meer) rechtskracht verwerven.
Rechtsregels vormen een systeem, en zoals in elk systeem zit er ook in het recht een eigen dynamiek, bepaald door de hirarchie van belangrijkheid tussen de regels, de wijze waarop ze worden toegepast en ge¯nterpreteerd (al dan niet via rechtszaken), en de verhouding tussen de instellingen en beslissingsinstanties die in deze processen een rol spelen. Elke component van een systeem oefent invloed uit op de andere componenten, en ondergaat op zijn beurt de invloed van de andere componenten. De densiteit van het systeem bepaalt zijn graad van autonome ontwikkeling.Rechtsnormen zijn gehirarchiseerd. Europees en internationaal recht hebben voorrang op nationaal recht. De grondwet heeft voorrang op andere interne wetgeving. Een individuele aanspraak die afgeleid is uit het Europese of internationale recht heeft voorrang op de grondwet of de gewone wet. Aan de top van de juridische piramide staan de grondrechten met supranationaalrechtelijke of internationaalrechtelijke status; zij hebben voorrang op alle andere rechtsnormen.
''Mensenrechten'' of ''grondrechten'' zijn een essentieel bestanddeel van het Migratiepact, ongetwijfeld met het oog op de bescherming van migranten, maar zeker ook met het oog op de realisatie van een nieuwe machts- en bevoegdheidsallocatie in het kader van het global governance project.
Elke advocaat en andere rechtspracticus weet dat elke wet of andere norm kan worden aangevochten door te verwijzen naar een conflict met een grondrecht, en dat er hiertoe nu reeds tal van mogelijkheden bestaan. Deze mogelijkheden worden door het Migratiepact nog sterk uitgebreid. De centrale rol van de grondrechten in het Migratiepact, samen met het constante gebruik van termen als we commit, we will draw from the following actions, we commit to fulfil the objectives and commitments outlined in the Global Compact, we will implement the Global Compact bieden voor een advocaat/rechtspracticus meer dan voldoende middelen om te argumenteren dat er rechtsgevolgen aan het Migratiepact moeten verbonden worden, ja zelfs dat grondrechten op het spel staan. En het is precies omdat het Migratiepact, waarschijnlijk opzettelijk, zo vele domeinen betreft (holistic and comprehensive'' zie voetnoot 2) en zo ruim interpretabel is, dat het voor advocaten en andere actoren van het transnational legal process zo multi-inzetbaar is.
De vergrondrechtelijking van materies, en van individuele aanspraken of verzuchtingen, brengt hen aan de top van de juridische piramide. Aangezien het om rechten gaat, hebben rechtscolleges het laatste woord en aangezien het om mensenrechten en grondrechten gaat, zullen dat vaak supranationale of internationale rechtscolleges zijn. Deze rechtscolleges zullen zich baseren op het gehele corpus internationaal en supranationaal recht, zoals tot stand gebracht in een permanente interactie tussen internationale instellingen, actoren van de global civil society (waarin staten nog slechts gedecentraliseerde beleidsmakers zijn), en rechterlijke uitspraken over concrete casussen. De vraag moet gesteld worden of wat voorgesteld wordt als ''recht'' uiteindelijk nog wel recht is, dan wel gejuridiseerde politiek of gejuridiseerde ideologie waarin rechtscolleges grondrechten tegen elkaar ''afwegen'' en ''proportionaliteitstoetsen'' uitvoeren waarvoor geen of slechts een ad hoc-gecreerde juridische basis bestaat.
Zulks brengt een systeem tot stand dat in die zin nieuw is dat het leidt tot een nieuwe vorm van ''democratie'', niet langer gebaseerd op verkozen vertegenwoordigers van naties, maar op een netwerk van supranationale anonieme instellingen en beslissers, die functioneren in een autonoom, zelf-referentieel systeem, niet vatbaar voor een klassiek-democratische correctie.
Het Migratiepact, zoals vele instrumenten voorheen, lijkt me in de eerste plaats over globale bevoegdheids- en machtsallocatie te gaan, en pas dan over migranten.
Ik ben bijgevolg van mening dat de rechtsgevolgen van het Migratiepact, in de hypothese dat het wordt goedgekeurd in de Intergouvernementele Conferentie en in de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties, in grote mate onafhankelijk zijn van de vraag of een staat het Migratiepact formeel en expliciet aanvaardt of niet. Van zodra het Migratiepact goedgekeurd is, wordt het als dusdanig onderdeel van de internationale rechtsorde, met mogelijke werking in de intra-statelijke rechtsordes, ongeacht of de betrokken staat het Migratiepact goedkeurde.De discussie die momenteel gevoerd wordt over een ''interpretatieve nota'' moet dan ook in dat licht worden bekeken.Zelfs voor de interpretatie van een verdrag, en het Migratiepact is geen verdrag, is een interpretatieve nota slechts een element van ''de context'' waarmee zal rekening gehouden worden voor zover er geen strijdigheid bestaat met de gewone betekenis van termen, behalve indien het vaststaat dat partijen een bijzondere betekenis aan een term hebben willen geven. Een interpretatieve nota in algemene termen zal dus bijzonder weinig juridisch gewicht in de schaal leggen. En wanneer bepalingen uit het Migratiepact geacht worden de correcte interpretatie van bestaande grondrechten te zijn, of internationaal gewoonterecht worden (wat eventueel al na zeer korte tijd kan geacht worden gebeurd te zijn), zal dit internationaal recht opnieuw voorrang hebben op een interpretatieve nota.
Evenwel, voor wie vanuit politico-juridische overwegingen vindt dat het Migratiepact beter niet tot stand was gekomen en ook in dit stadium niet bereid is het te aanvaarden, of voor wie toch nog wil trachten de juridische implicaties van het Migratiepact enigszins bij te sturen, is een solide, gedetailleerde en gemotiveerde nota, niet enkel goedgekeurd door regering en/of parlement maar ook namens Belgi toegevoegd aan het Migratiepact, waarschijnlijk het enig overblijvende instrument om (zonder enige garantie op succes) zoveel mogelijk de ontwikkelingen te be¯nvloeden die zouden voortvloeien uit een goedkeuring door de Intergouvernementele Conferentie en de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties. Zoals hierboven aangegeven, of de Belgische regering dat wil of niet, het lijkt erop dat het Migratiepact toch zijn weg zal vinden naar het corpus van het internationaal/transnationaal recht. Wellicht moet over dergelijke processen in de toekomst in een veel vroeger stadium nagedacht worden en dient een ruimere bezinning plaats te hebben over de systematische overdracht van soevereiniteit die deze met zich mee brengen.
Zoals uit de bovenstaande analyse blijkt, is de verhouding tussen internationaal, supranationaal en nationaal recht de sleutelvraag in gans deze problematiek. Zonder de huidige automatische voorrang van alle instrumenten van internationaal recht zouden initiatieven en instrumenten zoals het Migratiepact veel minder controversieel zijn. De vraag rijst of in de nationale rechtsorde aan elke norm van internationaal recht hetzelfde gewicht dient toegekend te worden: men kan zeker van oordeel zijn dat een geratificeerd verdrag met precieze verbintenissen van een andere aard is en een andere juridische draagwijdte heeft dan vergrondrechtelijkte resoluties van de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties, al dan niet via de supranationale transmissiekanalen van het EU-recht met zijn Charter van Grondrechten. Dit lijkt mij het echte politiek te voeren debat.Over de verhouding tussen internationaal, supranationaal en nationaal recht wordt ultiem echter beslist door rechtscolleges, niet door democratisch verkozen organen, hoewel dit een bij uitstek politieke beslissing is, momenteel misschien de politieke beslissing bij uitstek. Om die reden zou het voor een goed evenwicht tussen de staatsmachten meer dan wenselijk zijn de opvattingen ter zake van kandidaat-magistraten die voorgedragen en benoemd worden voor de hoogste nationale, supranationale en internationale rechtscolleges te kennen en vooraf te toetsen. Zulks geldt ook voor de ''filosofie'' van kandidaat-magistraten inzake de bandbreedte van de interpretatie van grondrechtelijke instrumenten in verhouding tot een gevoerd beleid. Dat zulks momenteel niet gebeurt, lijkt mij een zeer ernstig ''democratisch deficit''. Een debat over judicial philosophy, voorafgaand aan een benoeming van een hoge magistraat, zou ook in dit land moeten mogelijk zijn.Uiteraard mogen enkel hoogstaande juristen, die dus het onderscheid respecteren tussen politieke actie en het spreken van recht, in dergelijke functies benoemd worden, maar het volledig gebrek aan impact van de eerste en tweede staatsmacht in dergelijke fundamentele politico-juridische orintaties van de derde staatsmacht lijkt me niet langer verdedigbaar.
Helaas zijn ook de politieke instellingen momenteel niet uitgerust om dat debat op een rustige, serene en evenwichtige wijze te voeren.  Kan dit een rol zijn voor een nieuwe Senaat?
 Keuleneer, Vanneste, Van Varenbergh, Verhelst, Derveaux, Verenigingstraat 28, 1000 Brussel (02/209 11 22 '' [email protected] ). Zie o.m. Inflatie van rechten '' ontwaarding van het Recht?, RW, 1995-1996, 1073, https://www.vlaamspleitgenootschap.be/UserFiles/file/openingsrede%201995.pdf; The European Constitution, New International Law and Global Architecture, 2004,https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/56832688/fk-fs-paper-rome-140604;Environmentalism, the Transformation of International Law, and the Pursuit of Political Objectives, in: Terry L. Anderson and Henry I. Miller, M.D. ''The Greening of U.S. Foreign Policy'', Stanford University Press, 2000, p. 31, https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/62255066/fk-environmentalismed-021218
 ''It does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it.'' https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/07/1014632
 Migratiepact, par. 8, 15.
 Ibid, par. 21
 In de ''Antrag'' in de Duitse Bondsdag (zie voetnoot 9) wordt de Bondsregering verzocht ''weiterhin klar und stringent zwischen legaler und illegaler Migration zu unterscheiden und dabei die illegale Migration nach Deutschland und Europa auch mit nationalstaatlichen und europ¤ischen Mitteln zu verhindern;''
 ''The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is expected to be the first, intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It presents a significant opportunity to improve the governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with today's migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.'' https://www.iom.int/global-compact-migration
Er is een onmiddellijk verband tussen hogergeciteerde alinea, en de filosofie/ideologie van het Earth Charter en de Earth Charter Movement, die een aanvang nam in het laatste decennium van vorige eeuw: http://earthcharter.org/discover/,http://earthcharter.org/discover/history-of-the-earth-charter/. Zie ook Keuleneer, Environmentalism, supra noot 1.
 Staatssoevereiniteit betekent niet alles zelf willen doen of niet willen samenwerken, maar wel zich in de rechtsorde het laatste woord voorbehouden.
 Zie o.m. Eric A. Posner, The Perils of Global Legalism, The University of Chicago Press, 2009
 Migratiepact, par. 45
 Zie onder meer Ramses A. Wessel, Steven Blockmans, The Legal Status and Influence of Decisions of International Organisations and Other Bodies in the European Union, https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/pa/research/wessel/wessel112.pdf
 Zie ook: Anne Peters, The Global Compact for Migration: to sign or not to sign, https://www.ejiltalk.org/the-global-compact-for-migration-to-sign-or-not-to-sign/
 Zie onder meer Harold Koh, From International to Transnational Law, http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-treaty-bodies/chairpersons%E2%80%99-meeting/watch/harold-koh-from-international-to-transnational-law/2621287058001/?term=&page=17; Harold Koh, Transnational Legal Process, 75 Nebraska Law Review 181 (1996), https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1538&context=nlr; ''As governmental and nongovernmental transnational actors repeatedly interact within the transnational legal process, they generate and interpret international norms and then seek to internalize these norms domestically. The the extent that those norms are successfully internalized, they become future determinants of why nations obey.'' Harold Koh, Why Do Nations Obey International Law?, 106 Yale Law Journal, 2599, 2645-56 (1997). Prof. Harold Koh is een alom gerespecteerd autoriteit in zijn domein (ook door mezelf, oud-student van Yale Law School): https://law.yale.edu/harold-hongju-koh
Zie ook Jill Goldenziel, How to Help the Migration Crisis '' and Make International Law, Harvard Law Review Blog, 24 oktober 2017, https://blog.harvardlawreview.org/how-to-help-the-migration-crisis-and-make-international-law/
Een goed voorbeeld van de daartoe aangewende techniek is te vinden in The Earth Charter and International Law, http://earthcharter.org/virtual-library2/the-earth-charter-and-international-law/
 ''The Global Compact is based on international human rights law ('...)'', Migratiepact, par. 15; ''Human rights norms and standards can be powerful programmatic and methodological tools for action'',
 Zoals bijvoorbeeld de ''International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families'', niet geratificeerd door Belgi, waarnaar verwezen wordt in Migratiepact, par. 2
 Zoals bijvoorbeeld:WHO Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles to
Promote the Health of Refugees and Migrants, waarnaar verwezen wordt in Migratiepact, par. 31, e)
 Stefan Sottiaux, Het Stabiliteitsverdragsarrest in het licht van de rechtspraak van de hoogste Belgische rechtscolleges, TBP 2017/6 '' 305
 Vergelijk Objectief 15 (par 31) van het Migratiepact:
''We commit to ensure that all migrants, regardless of their migration status, can exercise their human rights through safe access to basic services. We further commit to strengthen migrant-inclusive service delivery systems, notwithstanding that nationals and regular migrants may be entitled to more comprehensive service provision, while ensuring that any differential treatment must be based on law, proportionate, pursue a legitimate aim, in accordance with international human rights law.'', aangevuld door e) van dezelfde paragraaf :
''incorporate the health needs of migrants in national and local health care policies and
plans, such as by strengthening capacities for service provision, facilitating affordable and
non-discriminatory access, reducing communication barriers, and training health care
providers on culturally-sensitive service delivery, in order to promote physical and mental
health of migrants and communities overall, including by taking into consideration relevant
recommendations from the WHO Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles to
Promote the Health of Refugees and Migrants''
met de uitspraak van Minister Denis Ducarme: ''Nous allons donc mettre en place un syst¨me qui reposera sur le travail d'un m(C)decin contr´le qui va veiller prendre contact avec le prestataire de soins, l'h´pital ou le m(C)decin g(C)n(C)raliste qui aura r(C)alis(C) des soins sur une personne en situation ill(C)gale, afin de v(C)rifier si on se trouve toujours dans le champ de l'aide m(C)dicale urgente. Il v(C)rifiera donc si ces soins de sant(C) effectu(C)s sont n(C)cessaires, incontournables, essentiels. >> http://www.dhnet.be/actu/belgique/denis-ducarme-se-confie-les-soins-de-confort-gratuits-pour-les-migrants-c-est-fini-5a623d28cd70b09cefbf0c95
Wat men over de discussie ten gronde ook moge denken, het is zo goed als uitgesloten dat een rechter niet zal oordelen over de verenigbaarheid met de ''we commit'' van het Migratiepact van maatregelen op basis hiervan genomen.
 Hoewel het Migratiepact zelf geen melding maakt van commitments die actionable zouden zijn, d.w.z. waaruit rechtstreekse subjectieve rechten kunnen afgeleid worden, is in de begeleidende literatuur nog wel degelijk sprake van actionable commitments. Bijvoorbeeld bij het Global Forum on Migration & Development '' Business Mechanism, https://gfmdbusinessmechanism.org/gfmd-summit-marrakesh-morroco-5-7-december-2018/waarnaar verwezen wordt in Migratiepact, par. 3
 Zeer oneerbiedig heb ik dit proces ooit wel eens vergeleken met de studie van de ingewanden van offerdieren of de studie van de vlucht der vogels door Griekse priesters.
 Zie o.m. ook Gordon Silverstein, Law's Allure. How Law Shapes, Constrains, Saves, and Kills Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Gelijkaardige technieken om uitgestrekte gebieden te supranationaliseren en zodoende te onttrekken aan de nationale soevereiniteit zijn de nieuwsoortige handels- en investeringsverdragen zoals TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) en CETA (Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement). Deze verdragen bestrijken een buitengewoon uitgebreid gebied, nl alles wat betrekking heeft op handel tussen verdragspartijen, hun respectievelijke wederzijdse investeringen (in de breedst mogelijke zin), en de mogelijkheid en voorwaarden voor de verdragspartijen om in deze domeinen nog regulerend te kunnen optreden. CETA, TTIP en andere akkoorden van die aard worden op zichzelf staande instrumenten die hun eigen recht creren. Het moge duidelijk zijn dat, zoals grondrechten (die hier overigens evenmin afwezig zijn, bijvoorbeeld onder de vorm van het niet-discriminatiebeginsel) ander recht dan het nationale toepasselijk wordt, en andere actoren dan nationale de eindbeslissingen nemen, ook in domeinen waar men zou verwachten dat democratisch bepaalde politieke preferenties ten volle kunnen spelen.
 Zie Verdrag van Wenen inzake het Verdragenrecht, 23 mei 1969, art.31: http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi_loi/change_lg.pl?language=nl&la=N&cn=1969052331&table_name=wet
 De ''Antrag'' aangenomen door de Duitse Bondsdag wijkt in tal van opzichten af van het Migratiepact. Eens het Migratiepact internationaalrechtelijke gevolgen heeft, zal ook deze ''Antrag'', waarvan trouwens onduidelijk is of hij bij het Migratiepact gevoegd wordt (lijkt me essentieel), niet bepalend zijn. http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/19/060/1906056.pdf
De brief van staatssecretaris Harbers aan de Voorzitter van de Tweede Kamer, lijkt mij een onwerkzame basis voor een interpretatieve nota of stemverklaring. https://www.tweedekamer.nl/kamerstukken/brieven_regering/detail?id=2018Z22708&did=2018D57602
 We leven momenteel in een juridische context die zeer verschillend is van de context waarin bijvoorbeeld het EVRM tot stand kwam. Op dat ogenblik was er geen automatische voorrang van internationaal of supranationaal recht, een wet werd zelfs niet getoetst aan de grondwet, en grondrechten hadden enkele verticale werking (t.a.v. de staat).
 In het algemeen dient er ook een ernstige bezinning plaats te vinden over de voortschrijdende juridisering van de politiek, waarbij beleid bijna gelijkstaat met het creren van nieuwe rechten, en de daaruit onvermijdelijk voortvloeiende politisering van het recht. Met name de vergrondrechtelijking van politieke en maatschappelijke kwesties speelt een nefaste rol. Naast de hoger aangehaalde effecten, brengt deze vergrondrechtelijking een moralistische verabsolutering van politieke debatten met zich mee. De maatschappelijke polarisering die hieruit volgt, is niet steeds wenselijk.
Fernand KeuleneerFernand Keuleneer is advocaat en conservatief publicist.
Global Compact for Migration positive for ensuring free expression, access to information, and inclusive public debate - ARTICLE 19
ARTICLE 19 welcomes the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (the Global Compact) in Marrakech on 10 December 2018. The Global Compact aims to ensure the dignity and safety of migrants, and coordinate government action on this issue. Negotiated by participating States, it underscores the importance of States respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights, including freedom of expression and media freedom, in their responses to migration.
The Global Compact is the first UN agreement for a common approach on international migration. It seeks to ensure the protection of all migrants' human rights, recognising migration as a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development, and seeking to optimise those positive impacts through improved coordination.
The Compact seeks to ensure that all people are given access to objective, evidence-based, clear information about the benefits and challenges of migration, including to dispel misleading narratives that generate negative perceptions of migrants.
However, some politicians and commentators have made claims about the contents and possible legal ramifications of the Global Compact that are false or misleading, including in relation to its supposed consequences for freedom of expression. The Global Compact, though a set of political commitments, is grounded in international human rights law, and does not allow for States to take action inconsistent with their legal obligations.
ARTICLE 19 considers that there are three key areas in which the Global Compact has the potential to make positive contributions to freedom of expression, not only for migrants but for all people:
Access to informationThe Global Compact commits States to ''strengthen efforts to provide, make available and disseminate accurate, timely, accessible, and transparent information on migration-related aspects for and between States, communities and migrants at all stages of migration'' (Objective 3). This is particularly important to serve the information needs of migrants accessing essential services (Objective 15). Complementing these aims, the Compact promotes more comprehensive data collection (Objective 1), including for the purposes of better informing public debate, underscoring that the right to privacy must be respected in these processes.
States should implement these commitments consistently with their international human rights law obligations, explicitly providing in law the right of all people, including migrants, to access publicly held information. Importantly, this is a key target under Goal 16 of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, recognising that strong access to information laws are key to maintaining peaceful and inclusive societies, with effective, accountable and transparent institutions.
Civil society space and public participationA ''whole of society approach'' underpins the Global Compact, making clear that civil society organisations, including human rights organisations, will need to play a key role in ensuring its implementation.
This implies that strong protections are needed for the rights to freedom of association, expression, assembly, and public participation, including for migrants themselves (see, for example, Objective 16(e) and (f), Objective 17(b)). Limitations to civic space, in particular those targeting migrants, will be obstacles to the implementation of the Global Compact and must be removed. This includes laws and policies that criminalise migration and/or the provision of support by civil society and human rights defenders to migrants, since they make the exercise of civil and political rights precarious.
Ensuring the participation of migrants in decision-making that affects them, including in the development and implementation of laws and policies, will be essential to effective implementation of the Global Compact. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has provided instructive guidance both on protecting civil society space, and on ensuring effective public participation.
Promoting inclusion and tackling hateThe Global Compact underscores that protecting open and free debate is key to ensuring safety and dignity for migrants, reinforcing that non-discrimination and freedom of expression are mutually reinforcing human rights principles. At the same time, it responds to rising nationalist politics, characterised by anti-migrant and discriminatory rhetoric, which often attack the universality of human rights and the institutions that protect them.
Objectives 16 and 17 of the Global Compact aim to ensure full inclusion of migrants and social cohesion, to eliminate discrimination, and to promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration. It is clear these commitments are grounded in and do not undermine States' existing human rights obligations, including on freedom of expression.
To ensure full inclusion and social cohesion, a series of measures are set out to prohibit discrimination in law and practice, to protect and recognise the social and cultural rights and contributions of migrants, to promote inter-cultural dialogue, and commit to evidence-based education on migration and in favour of diversity in schools.
The focus in Objective 17 is primarily to counter ''hate speech'' with more informed speech promoting tolerance, and ensure better informed debates on migration for all people. It calls for measures that enable migrants to tell their own stories and to speak out against hatred, and sets out the imperative that politicians and other leaders counter hatred too, and support public and civil-society led efforts to campaign for migrants' rights, and against discrimination and hatred.
The media are identified as key partners, and Objective 17 outlines how independent, objective and quality reporting is essential both to treat migrants with dignity and to ensure the public's right of access to reliable information. The Global Compact calls for media education and ethical reporting standards on migration, making clear that international standards on media freedom must be respected. The Compact specifies that public funding to media (for example through license fees or government advertising) should be withdrawn for media that systematically violate ethical standards, including on non-discrimination. This is consistent with international standards, which require that public funding to the media be contingent on upholding ethical standards on non-discrimination. Processes determining the allocation or withdrawal of such funds must be subject to a clear legal framework, be transparent, and also be free of political influence, to safeguard against abuse.
The Global Compact does not modify or expand States' existing obligations under international human rights law to prohibit the most severe forms of ''hate speech''. Such prohibitions must clearly protect freedom of expression, and cannot be abused to insulate governments from criticism or limit speech solely on the basis of its offensiveness.
Next steps: implementationARTICLE 19 urges all governments to support the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration, including through its formal endorsement later this month at the UN General Assembly in New York. As with any global commitments, the test of the Global Compact for Migration will be its effective implementation.
We urge that States draw upon their existing human rights obligations and commitments to fulfil all of the Objectives of the Global Compact, ensuring it is used to strengthen access to information, civil society space, and measures to promote inclusion and tackle hatred.
Belgian Government Collapses Over UN Migration Pact | Breitbart
Getty ImagesThe Belgian government has split apart after Prime Minister Charles Michel ignored the objections of his ruling coalition's biggest party and insisted he would sign the UN migration pact.The Flemish nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party quit the government following crisis talks over the weekend, prompting Michel to announce he would travel to Marrakesh to sign the controversial compact representing a minority government.
Stepping down as interior minister on Sunday, the N-VA's Jan Jambon told local media ''I think that, formally speaking, we are stepping down. We said that if the coalition goes to Marrakesh, it will be without us.''
The patriotic party had previously produced a list of 30 objections to signing the so-called Global Compact on Safe and Orderly Migration including a lack of differentiation between illegal and legal flows, and questions over whether the agreement, which declares mass immigration to be ''inevitable, desirable and necessary'', could have a chilling effect on objective journalism.
Vice Prime Minister Alexander De Croo rebuffed the N-VA for branding the parties set to sign Belgium up to the UN document as a 'Marrakesh coalition', asserting that ministers will continue to have ''firm but humane'' migration policies because ''no one in this government wants to pursue open [borders]''.
Belgium: EU Must Close Borders, Turn Back Boats or 'There'll Be No More European Union' https://t.co/hW983v5HqO
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 6, 2018
Pro-mass migration NGOs and left-wing politicians rejoiced on Sunday, however, after it was announced N-VA immigration minister, Theo Franken, would be replaced by the liberal health minister, Maggie De Block, as she immediately announced she would seek to abolish quotas limiting the number of asylum applications to 50 per day.
Green party chairman and UN compact advocate Meyrem Almaci, who has been fiercely critical of N-VA's previous influence on Belgian immigration policy, celebrated the reshuffle on social media, tweeting that De Block's appointment was a victory for ''humanity''.
Kati Verstrepen, head of the left-wing NGO League for Human Rights, praised the ''political courage'' of Michel and the parties which backed the agreement, commenting that their support for the pact shows they ''are of the opinion that human rights must be the guiding principle when devising immigration policy''.
In recent weeks a growing list of countries, some of the most recent of which include Italy, Slovakia, and Latvia, have pulled out of the global compact before it is due to be formally ratified on December 10-11.
World Follows Trump's Lead: Nations Abandon Legal 'Framework' Building UN Migration Pact https://t.co/QivexL6Jsk
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 22, 2018
A new anti-fossil fuel group with plans to sway the 2018 vote in Western states like Nevada and Colorado, has formally launched a campaign to deploy an ''army of young people'' to push climate change and renewables issues in an effort to assume the mantle of the fading campus divestment movement.
Through social media posts, emails, and a newly released video, the ''Sunrise Movement'' outlines its multi-state campaign of trainings and offers of full-time activism for the 2018 election, targeting politicians for an anti-fossil fuel campaign and paying special attention to one oil and gas company in particular: Exxon.
''But a greedy handful of fossil fuel executives are standing in the way of our progress. Forty years ago, they knew the truth about climate change,'' the video's narrator intones. The video incorporates stills of Rex Tillerson, former Chief Executive Officer of Exxon and currently the U.S. Secretary of State for the Trump administration, as well as the slogan ''Exxon Knew.''
The group published a ''Welcome to Sunrise'' video November 1, providing further details on ''building an army of young people across the country'' Sunrise hopes will be ''thousands strong'' by the 2018 election. Leading activists are asked for form a ''Sunrise hub'' and gather 25 names, which will earn the hub Sunrise-logoed promotional gear.
For those who want to go ''all-in,'' Sunrise offers a 6-month ''Sunrise Semester'' where activists will be deployed ''full time'' from June through the election, according to the video.
''Instead of studying in a classroom, you'll learn the real life skills of grassroots organizing, community building, and public speaking. If you've ever wanted to take a gap year after high school, take a semester off college, or leave your boring job, this is the time,'' Sunrise's narrator says.
Encouraging a campus hiatus appears to dovetail with evidence the campus divestment movement has begun to wane. The college fossil fuel divestment movement, which began in 2011, appears to be losing momentum of late with several campus groups announcing they are shutting down operations or changing tactics, including the promotion of the Sunrise Movement to their members as the shutter their social media accounts.
The movement's original goal'--to compel universities to rid their endowments of investments in the Carbon Underground 200'--a list of the top oil and gas and coal companies worldwide, has proven to be a difficult task since endowments don't typically hold direct investments in these companies, but rather invest in external funds managed by third parties.
Just this week, Fossil Free CU, the student group at the University of Colorado Boulder, announced it will be shutting down its operations. ''Dear groundbreakers, system-shakers, power-builders, and people-movers; dear friends and family: We have decided, after a five year campaign of changing the conversation about the role of the fossil fuel industry on campus, statewide, and nationally, that we are closing this campaign. To get involved in the next wave of momentum, check out Sunrise Movement.''
The Origins of Sunrise
The Sunrise movement is a political group, registered as a 501(c)4, with the stated goal of influencing the 2018 midterm elections in favor of their preferred climate policies. The group itself is unifying volunteers and staff who have ties to not only the divestment movement, but other climate protests including those against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
''Back in 2015, a bunch of us were working in different parts of the climate movement. Some of us were leading campus-based fossil fuel divestment campaigns working to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry and revoke its social license to act. Others were figuring out how to build political power in red and purple states. And another set of us were working on place-based extraction or pollution fights,'' Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash told the online magazine Waging Nonviolence. ''What we all had in common is that we found ourselves asking one question again and again: Are we enough? Are we building the movement we need to stop the climate crisis? Are we getting active participation by the millions? Are we winning? Clearly, the answer was no. So, a group of us coalesced around a singular objective: to build a mass popular movement capable of ending Big Oil's assault on our climate, economy and democracy.''
Sunrise promotes itself as a group focused on ''building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.'' It claims to be non-partisan, but its policy priorities are decidedly anti-oil and gas including: ''A transition to a 100% renewable energy economy, an immediate halt on all new fossil fuel projects, the break-up of the large energy monopolies and a transition to local, democratic control over our energy system.'' The group is vowing to only support candidates who ''refuse to take any money from the oil, gas and coal industry,'' and to fight against ''fossil fuel billionaires'' who ''use racism or classism to get their way.''
Sunrise itself has direct ties to the divestment movement. Prakash led her campus's UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign for two years and later worked for the Divestment Student Network (DSN) coordinating various divestment campaigns throughout the country. DSN is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, which has received grants from 350.org and the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations, and also has ties to Occupy Wall Street.
Several other staffers are alums of their own campus's divestment movements, while others have volunteered for organizations like 350.org and Climate Truth.
It is unclear who is funding the group and its ambitious political efforts. The group is sponsoring several initiatives including the ''Sunrise Semester,'' grassroots mobilization targeting ''politically significant states'' and organizing ''thousands'' of volunteers for the effort, and a four year plan that aims to create small ''hubs'' throughout the country and influence elections in 2020 and beyond.
An October 18 email from Prakash and Sunrise noted trainings in Nevada, along with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Colorado joins Nevada as a Western state targeted by Sunrise, joining Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, California, New York and Florida.
As a 501(c)4, Sunrise does not have to disclose its donors. According to IRS 990 forms, Sunrise was formerly the 501(c)3 group, U.S. Climate Plan which was formed in 2013 to support President Obama's then-climate efforts. That group's web presence has since been essentially eliminated, and the organization's former website is now defunct.
The U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN) lists Sunrise as a member of its network, along with activist groups like 350.org, Ceres, Climate Hawks Vote, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters and others. Sunrise was also listed as a 2017 USCAN grantee, but the size of the grant was not disclosed.
History of Fossil Fuel Divestment
Early on, the campaign racked up a few high profile victories'--Stanford and Syracuse University agreed to sell a small amount of direct coal investments'--but the movement quickly lost steam after failing to convince any major college board to completely divest from the fossil fuel industry. Since 2015, prestigious universities like MIT, NYU, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania have all officially rejected student divestment petitions.
At the University of Pennsylvania, the campus group Fossil Free Penn has publicly discussed plans to take a new approach to protesting after failing to convince the school's board to divest. Last fall, the board announced its unanimous decision rejecting divestment from fossil fuels.
The University of Colorado's Board of Regents officially rejected divestment in April 2015 with a 7-2 vote. It's not the only Colorado school do to so'--Colorado College's group ceased activity last year citing ''lack of participation.'' The University of Denver also rejected divestment in January on the grounds that it would cost money and ''would not be an effective means of mitigating global warming.''
But as interest in the divestment movement has waned in recent years, many former student divestment groups, like Fossil Free CU and Swarthmore Mountain Justice, are instead rebranding themselves under the banner of the newly-formed Sunrise Movement.
USCAN is a vital network for 175+ organizations active on climate change.USCAN'S MISSIONOur mission is to build trust and alignments among members to fight climate change in a just and equitable way. USCAN'S VISION We envision a powerful, inclusive, and trusting network of US organizations who worked together to meet the global goals in the Paris Climate Agreement and exceed the US targets outlined in that agreement.
THE NEED There is no denying it, we are seeing devastation from climate impacts happening more often. Even though we have the solutions at our fingertips, the next five year period will not be an easy road for climate action in America. It may even be the most challenging time in the US Climate Action Network's 28 year history.
USCAN'S THEORY OF CHANGEUSCAN's theory of change is that if we work together we will successfully impact climate change. This is rooted in the belief that our network members must double down on democracy and relationships in order to pursue our shared goals. Our inside game and our outside game members must be in relationships with each other and coordinate in areas where they decide that working together will enable us to meet the network's vision.
OUR WORK AHEAD: STRATEGIC PLAN 2017-2022JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION STATEMENT
As our mission indicates, we are committed to fighting climate change in a just and equitable way.
We believe that we can accomplish far more together than alone. Our passion for a just and equitable world requires that we are inclusive, transparent and fair in all that we do, and that we act in solidarity and with appreciation for the work of our colleagues around the world, especially in the global south. We can only achieve our vision with full participation from a multitude of cultural and life experiences and communities.
Our commitment to building trust and alignments among our members requires that we build situations and relationships where all members are valued, heard, respected and empowered, so that our collective action is informed by a broad range of perspectives.
Our pursuit of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion recognizes that the impacts of climate change disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable communities, including women, communities of color, income-challenged communities, and those who are not able to advocate for themselves.
Science and community input inform our work. We know that systems of racial and economic injustice must be dismantled and a new system created to bring justice to the marginalized communities that are most affected by climate change. We seek to address these historic inequities in our work.
We value justice, equity, democracy, inclusion, trust, relationships, optimism, wisdom, and perseverance. In order to fulfill our purpose and live our values, we aim to make our commitment to justice, diversity, equity and inclusion evident in our network structures, organizational structures, policies, board of directors, staff, mission, and vision. We are accountable to each other in our network, and transparent in our pursuit of equity. We embrace people of all backgrounds and seek to foster a culture where everyone is welcome, and historically marginalized voices are heard. We move collectively, taking leadership from frontline communities, marginalized communities, and communities of color. We act in accordance to the Environmental Justice Principles and the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing.
In summary, our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential to achieving our mission and vision.
''USCAN serves as the connective tissue between organizations that are working to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. It is critical that Oxfam coordinate our efforts at the international level with groups working on state, regional, and national policies, and USCAN provides us with that service. USCAN has also connected us to new groups and constituencies engaging on the climate issue, providing us with critical long-term allies, and has helped us to better understand the landscape, the people, and the politics surrounding this complex set of issues.''
'' HEATHER COLEMAN, MANAGER, CLIMATE CHANGE, OXFAM AMERICA
''As a regional climate activist, I find it vitally important to connect with other regions and with national and international climate action. To sustain us as climate champions, we all need to connect our limited slice of the action to the people and organizations that are forming a bigger, more coherent, hopeful whole. USCAN is the vital glue, the hub, the connection that makes that possible.''
'' KC GOLDEN, POLICY DIRECTOR, CLIMATE SOLUTIONS
''USCAN and its commitment to climate change has reactivated my enthusiasm to champion the causes and rights for others to enjoy clean air and water. Since climate change negatively impacts the lives of all people regardless of race, creed, class, or culture, I believe that it is the civil and human rights issue of our day, and I want to be in the thick of this battle. This is a battle we can win if we speak with ONE VOICE. USCAN will help us progress together!''
'' REV. DR. GERALD DURLEY, PASTOR EMERITUS, PROVIDENCE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
''Our involvement in USCAN provides an opportunity for us to give input into central conversations on organizing to address climate change, from a civil and human rights perspective. We also appreciate the opportunity to coordinate with an array of organizations to combine efforts to simultaneously prevent and adapt to climate change.''
'' JACQUELINE PATTERSON, DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE PROGRAM, NAACP
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Sunrise Movement Education Fund - GuideStar Profile
Sunrise is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. Sunrise Movement Education Fund supports young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America and expose the corruption of fossil fuel executives on our politics.
Evan Louis Weber
50 F Street NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001 USA
climate, environment, energy, justice, advocacy, movement building, organizing, policy
Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)
Voter Education/Registration (R40)
Citizen Participation (W24)
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Board Chair Evan Louis Weber
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FIRST BLOOD: On Freshman Orientation Day, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Stages Climate Change Coup D'(C)tat In Nancy Pelosi's Office ' Now The End Begins
Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lets Nancy Pelosi know that the Socialist Democrats are out for blood as she stages Climate Change coup in Pelosi's officeAt the Freshman Congressional orientation day in Washington, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined a protest of the Sunrise Movement at Nancy Pelosi's office. Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time in letting the establishment Democrats know that the Socialist Democrats are not interested in taking any prisoners.
So who exactly are the Sunrise Movement? Glad you asked. The Sunrise movement is a political group, registered as a 501(c)4, with the stated goal of influencing the 2018 midterm elections in favor of their preferred climate policies. Sunrise itself has direct ties to the divestment movement. Varshini Prakash led her campus's UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign for two years and later worked for the Divestment Student Network (DSN) coordinating various divestment campaigns throughout the country. DSN is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, which has received grants from 350.org and the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations, and also has ties to Occupy Wall Street.
George Soros helped to fund her campaign from Day One, and now he is requiring his 'pound of flesh' in return. Ocasio-Cortez is complying obediently.
On her first day of orientation on Capitol Hill, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez protests in Pelosi's officeFROM USA TODAY: Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday kicked off her first day of new-member orientation by participating in a climate change protest at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office.
About 200 people were in Pelosi's office lobby and down the hall, and among them was the 29-year-old New York Democrat.
Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, said she wants to show Pelosi that ''we're here to back her up in pushing for 100 percent renewable energy.''
SO YOU THINK SHE JUST POPPED UP OUT OF NOWHERE? SHE WAS CREATED IN THE GEORGE SOROS PUPPET FACTORY, AND NOW HER MASTER WANTS HIS MONEY'S WORTH.
''This is not about me, this is not about the dynamics of any personalities,'' she told reporters outside Pelosi's office. ''But this is about uplifting the voice and the message of the fact that we need a Green New Deal and we need to get to 100 percent renewables because our lives depend on it.''
This morning 100s of young people came together to ask us as elected officials to act urgently to draft a Green New Deal that gets us to 100% renewable energy ASAP.
They asked me to join them, and I did. We can embrace the energy of activism to move our party's goals forward. https://t.co/nsiG9hhcgf
'-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
The protest was organized by Sunrise Movement, which is mobilizing young people to fight climate change and calling for more green jobs.
''We're here because we're scared and we're angry,'' said Garrett Blad, a Sunrise Movement spokesman. ''We don't believe we need any more education or any more science.''
Ocasio-Cortez said she is thinking of the issue not just as an elected member of Congress, but as a 29-year-old woman who is concerned about the country over the next 30 years.
''I don't want to see Miami under water,'' she said. ''I don't want to see my district under water. And I know that Leader Pelosi doesn't either.'' READ MORE
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Varshini Prakash was born and raised outside Boston, MA. She got involved in the climate movement as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign early in her time at UMass and lead the campaign for two years. In Spring 2016, the campaign won after a 2-week long mass escalation in which over 700 students, faculty, and alumni participated. 32 were arrested after peacefully refusing to leave the Whitmore Administration Building until UMass agreed to climate action. For the last three years, she has coordinated fossil fuel divestment campaigns with the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network at a regional and national level. She supported campaigns across the country through training, mentorship, and strategic guidance.
This spring, Varshini supported the launch of the Sunrise Movement building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. She is the Lead Spokeswoman and coordinates Actions Design.
Friends Varshini Prakash January 29, 2013:
Too hot to handle :) love you suspects!!!! '-- with Jarrod Stein, Jesse Carrillo, Emily Elizabeth, Alex Russell, Alex Russell, Danielle Sultan, Ally Moran, Andrew Sachs, Taisha Edouard, Brandon Hetherington and Grace Emily.
Sunrise Movement is affiliated to Justice Democrats.
Speaking tour Varshini Prakash February 7 2018:
Hey everyone! Sunrise needs your help! We're looking for connections in MN, MI, NY, FL, and PA.
Sunrise is going on a speaking tour again this Spring! Our trained Speakers will talk to thousands of young people about climate change, why it's happening, and how we can link arms across this nation to stop it together.
If you know HS teachers, professors, pastors, community leaders, or friends who can connect us to these kinds of people in these five states - tag them here/have them fill out the form (https://www.sunrisemovement.org/host/). Hit me up if you have questions/ideas! '-- with Alex Mijares, Tiffanie Jeffreys, Garrett Blad and Dyanna Jaye.
Sunrise Movement Founder Responds to 2018 Midterms Nov 7 2018
''I founded Sunrise Movement last year in order to kick out corrupt politicians backed by Big Oil and elect a new generation of leaders who will fight for my generation. Last night was bittersweet. Young people voted in record numbers, many supporting visionary campaigns that imagined a more just and fair America that takes the climate crisis seriously. In fact, 19 of the 34 new House Democrats won without a dime of money from fossil fuel CEOs and lobbyists. This is unprecedented and should be celebrated. Still, our political system continues to be rigged in favor of the rich and powerful who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block candidates and ballot measures that threatened their profits.
''To Pelosi and the new Democratic leadership in the House: we hear you have no plan to combat climate change. This is unforgivable. Our generation will no longer tolerate empty promises or words without action. We're not expecting miracles; we understand the GOP is corrupted by dirty oil money and will stall us at every turn. We know that sweeping change isn't possible until Trump is gone''--'but we need to start laying the groundwork now. We're asking Pelosi and Democratic leaders to take up this fight alongside us, or step aside and make way for new leadership who will.''
Varshini Prakash, Co-Founder.
"Green New Deal" From the Sunrise Movement:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has released a proposal for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal, a plan that would transform our economy and society at the scale needed to stop the climate crisis.
We have the momentum to make a Green New Deal real, but we need a critical mass of Congresspeople to support the proposal.
Take action on Dec. 10 to show Congress the Green New Deal is a top priority.
Dyanna Jaye is an organization-builder and campaigner with eight years of experience in the climate movement. In her home state, Dyanna co-founded the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, which offered training and coordination to student campaigns for climate justice across Virginia. After the 2016 Elections, Dyanna co-founded and now organizes with Sunrise Movement '-- a movement of young people with a 4-year plan to expose the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics and elect a new generation of leaders who will fight for us.
Speaking tour Varshini Prakash February 7 2018:
Hey everyone! Sunrise needs your help! We're looking for connections in MN, MI, NY, FL, and PA.
Sunrise is going on a speaking tour again this Spring! Our trained Speakers will talk to thousands of young people about climate change, why it's happening, and how we can link arms across this nation to stop it together.
If you know HS teachers, professors, pastors, community leaders, or friends who can connect us to these kinds of people in these five states - tag them here/have them fill out the form (https://www.sunrisemovement.org/host/). Hit me up if you have questions/ideas! '-- with Alex Mijares, Tiffanie Jeffreys, Garrett Blad and Dyanna Jaye.
Momentum trainers Momentum trainers, as of April 2, 2018 included Dyanna Jaye;
Since becoming President, Donald Trump has dismantled years of critical climate, jobs and justice wins. He has defaulted on global climate commitments, appointed CEO's who poison our environment, signed orders attacking immigrants, refugees, and trans people, and provided a national platform for white supremacy.
But we're resisting: marching by the hundreds of thousands across the country. We're building: strengthening relationships across and within movements. And we're rising: young people rallying around leaders pledging to cut emissions, union workers and faith leaders creating sanctuaries for immigrants under attack, and citizens calling out bigotry wherever it's found.
From now until the 2018 elections, we will fill the streets with people demanding action and accountability for climate, jobs, and justice. We will organize and mobilize locally and nationally around the September Global Climate Action Summit. And, in November, we will hold our leaders accountable as only we can '' with our vote.
NextGen America acts politically to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American.
Since our founding as NextGen Climate in 2013, we've worked to fight climate change by advancing the transition to a clean energy economy. We've supported candidates who support climate action. We've fought to halt the Keystone XL pipeline and registered more than a million voters nationwide.
Now, the same values that drive our work on climate are under unprecedented attack from all directions. We're proud to step up the fight for immigrant rights, affordable health care, prosperity, and equality.
We organize our work around these issues: Climate Protecting our climate for a healthier, more prosperous future. ''
Equality Fighting to protect equal rights, opportunities, and dignity for all. ''
Health Care It's a human right. We'll continue to fight for women's reproductive rights and affordable health care. ''
Immigration We stand with America's founding fathers for a nation that welcomes immigrants and respects their rights. ''
Prosperity Americans value freedom '-- and real freedom requires an economy that works for everyone. ''
Tom Steyer,Founder & President, NextGen America
Tom Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.
Image Volunteers with Sunrise Movement registered voters at an event in Lancaster, Pa., this month. A surge of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have registered to vote this year. Credit Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times LANCASTER, Pa. '-- On an overcast afternoon this month, a block party was in full swing, the hot dogs were going fast, and Chris Underhill, freshly graduated from high school, was savoring a new milestone: He had registered to vote for the first time.
Filling out the form offered by a political activist not much older than him took about three minutes. But its significance was not lost on Mr. Underhill, 18, who grew up in this city on the edge of Amish country, 75 miles west of Philadelphia. An aspiring actor who helped organize a local march following this year's deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., Mr. Underhill said his everyday worries mirror those that fuel the anxieties of his generation, such as how to pay for college and losing access to health care.
And then there's the presidency of Donald J. Trump.
''This country's just gone off the walls since Trump got elected,'' he said, echoing the impressions of thousands of new Pennsylvania voters his age. ''But now I have the power to vote and make it better, starting with Lancaster and then going bigger.''
Weary of a political system that many young Americans see as rigged against their generation, and fired up to elect candidates who they believe support the issues they care about, a surge of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have registered to vote this year, according to data from 39 states compiled by Targetsmart, a Democratic polling firm.
Pennsylvania is leading the groundswell, with registered voters 34 and younger now outnumbering those 65 and older, according to the latest statistics from the Pennsylvania State Department issued Aug 13. States like Arizona, New York, Florida and Virginia have also seen sharp increases.
Image Chris Underhill, 18, registered to vote for the first time. ''This country's just gone off the walls since Trump got elected,'' he said. ''But now I have the power to vote and make it better.'' Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times Pennsylvania residents who are younger than 30 years old now make up nearly two-thirds of new voter registrations, up from less than half in the weeks before the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, an attack that left 17 students and staff members dead and sparked a wave of nationwide student-led protests and demands for gun control.
Though Mr. Trump won Pennsylvania, capturing 12 of the 18 congressional districts and all 20 electoral votes, progressive organizers said they hope the rise in young registered voters will help elect Democrats in competitive midterm statewide and congressional races.
[Read: Trump Won Pennsylvania. Democrats Want the State (and His Voters) Back.]
Young Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by more than 400,000 statewide, but the solidy conservative Lancaster County counted about 3,600 more Republicans between the ages of 18 and 34 as registered to vote, according to the state's statistics.
The surge of youth registrations, said Jarret Smith, Pennsylvania's youth director for NextGen America, can be attributed to a network of grass-roots organizations and passionate activists who have spent the spring and summer knocking on doors, confronting candidates and building relationships with residents '-- not just in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but across the towns, smaller cities and college campuses where they said voters have long been ignored.
''The No. 1 thing we hear is how angry young people are at Washington,'' said Mr. Smith, 27, whose liberal group is focused on registering and mobilizing voters in 11 states. ''We've found that the top issues are affordable health care, gun control and climate change, and they don't feel they're being represented.''
In Pennsylvania alone, Mr. Smith said, the group has registered about 13,000 young voters this year, out of 93,000 voters it has registered statewide since May 2016. It's aiming for 15,000 more as college students return to campus for the fall semester. The organization has traditionally targeted four-year college campuses, but it recently has expanded to community colleges and other areas with large youth populations, like the cities of Erie, Allentown and Reading, which is more than 63 percent Hispanic.
Image This summer, 18 volunteers with Sunrise Movement, an activist association composed of young people concerned about the environment, lived together in three houses across the state, registering voters and holding rallies. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times NextGen America strategizes with an array of groups in Pennsylvania, including local chapters of the Sunrise Movement, an activist association composed of young people concerned about the environment. In addition to campaigning to stop climate change and registering voters, the group said, Sunrise activists have convinced more than 800 political candidates nationwide to sign a pledge to reject funding from the fossil fuel industry.
In July, their cause made national headlines after Scott Wagner, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, called an 18-year old Sunrise member ''young and na¯ve'' for asking whether his dismissal of climate change was connected to the $200,000 she said he has received from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and political action committees.
[Read: A Politician Called Her 'Young and Na¯ve.' Now She's Striking Back.]
This summer, 18 Sunrise volunteers lived together in three houses across Pennsylvania, registering voters, holding rallies and telling as many people as they could about the $60 million the fossil fuel industry has spent since 2010 on lobbying efforts and political donations in the state. Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state that does not require oil and gas companies to pay a drilling tax, which could be worth around $100 million annually.
Sophia Zaia, 23, the group's regional leader, grew up in Austin, Tex., and remembers a drought that left her family without running water for weeks.
''Climate change was such a huge issue, but I never felt there was anything I could do about it,'' she said as she and a dozen other young activists prepared to sneak into the Philadelphia mayor's City Hall office in early August with a petition demanding that he reject fossil fuel money.
After graduating from Swarthmore College, where she was involved in a fossil fuel divestment campaign, Ms. Zaia said she felt compelled to find a job in climate activism.
Image Jeremy Ornstein, right, a member of Sunrise Movement, urged people in Philadelphia to register to vote. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times But building a movement takes patience.
''Sometimes I'm not in the mood to go out and talk to strangers,'' said Emma Walker, 20, a Sunrise volunteer from Jamaica, recalling the tediousness of voter registration. More challenging, she said, is hearing African-Americans and working-class people say their vote doesn't matter.
''The anger I have at the system really motivates me,'' she continued. ''I keep reminding myself that we're part of this wave of youth activism that's going to change the course of American politics.''
Not all of the youthful energy is coming from the left. Eager to capitalize on conservatives' support for Mr. Trump '-- the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state in nearly three decades '-- the 35 chapters of the Pennsylvania Young Republicans have reached about 250,000 voters this year through voter registration drives, knocking on doors and phone-banking, said Rick Loughery, the group's chairman.
C.J. Weigle, 23, is president of the York County Young Republicans, the second-largest chapter in the state. He said the group has signed up ''a lot of independents and folks who've never registered before.''
''My generation has had enough of the status quo, on both sides,'' he continued. ''We see in Trump someone who presents a better option.''
In Lancaster County, a solidly Republican area, a group called Lancaster Stands Up is trying to shift the political makeup. They have found a target in the congressional incumbent, Lloyd K. Smucker, a Republican who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and has not held a town-hall meeting since he took office in January 2017.
Image From left, Deshawn Nesbitt, Jonathan Seth and Justin Buthdy walked home after registering to vote in Lancaster. ''The only way things are going to change for us is if we make ourselves heard,'' Mr. Seth said. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times ''The Koch Bros own Lloyd $$$,'' declares a poster on a wall of the group's headquarters in Lancaster, where 30 percent of the residents live below the poverty line.
Founded shortly after the 2016 election, Lancaster Stands Up has grown to more than 800 members, many of whom have volunteered to register voters and canvas for Mr. Smucker's Democratic rival, Jess King, a nonprofit leader and Mennonite. The group includes Claudia Llewellyn, 29, an undocumented resident of Lancaster who fled gangs in Honduras and came to the United States as a child. As a ''Dreamer'' who is married to an American, her fate may be decided by the midterm elections, and she said the fear of deportation has driven her to register around 60 people so far.
''It's my duty,'' she said. ''I can't vote, but I can help others make their voices count.''
Lancaster Stands Up has made a concerted push to register voters in the city's poorer neighborhoods, where many of the residents are black, Hispanic and immigrants.
Jonathan Seth, 19, a charity worker whose parents immigrated from Cambodia and Pakistan, registered to vote at the early August block party, where music was blaring as children ran around and the smell of grilled hot dogs wafted in the air. Mr. Seth then convinced two of his young friends to register, too.
In interviews, the three men said they hoped their votes could help solve a raft of local problems facing their community, like low wages, underfunded schools and strained relationships with the police. In July, a viral video of a white Lancaster police officer using a Taser on a black man prompted outrage, particularly after the officer was not disciplined.
''The only way things are going to change for us,'' said Mr. Seth, ''is if we make ourselves heard.''
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Presidential hopefuls pushed to go big on climate change
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Environmental activists are ramping up a pressure campaign designed to drum up Democratic support for a sweeping agenda to fight climate change, with the 2020 presidential campaign in their sights.
Hundreds of young demonstrators are planning to turn out Monday on Capitol Hill to push Democrats on a package of ambitious environmental goals '-- including a nationwide transition to 100 percent power from renewable sources within as little as 10 years '-- that's collectively dubbed the Green New Deal. Already embraced by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an increasingly influential figure on the left, the Green New Deal is designed to nudge prospective Democratic presidential candidates to stake out aggressive positions on climate change. Some cast the goals as idealistic and politically risky.
Organizers with the Sunrise Movement activist group frame it as a make-or-break issue for Democratic voters, particularly young ones. But they're fighting recent history on that point.
Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., jockeyed during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary over their plans to stave off the devastating effects that scientists have warned of as temperatures continue to rise. Ultimately, however, other issues dominated the debate, and climate change barely registered during the 2016 general election.
Stephen O'Hanlon, a spokesman for the Sunrise Movement, said, ''Any senators or any other politician who wants the votes of young people in 2020 needs to back a Green New Deal that would transform our economy and create millions of new jobs stopping climate change.''
As he weighs another White House run, Sanders has staked out an early claim on the issue, hosting Ocasio-Cortez for a climate change town hall last week and preparing a forthcoming proposal that an aide said is likely to align with the broad goals of the Green New Deal.
''Next Congress I will be working on legislation that addresses the scope of the crisis we face, creates tens of millions of jobs and saves American families money while holding fossil fuel companies accountable for the enormous damage they have done to our planet,'' Sanders said in a statement to The Associated Press. ''Our job is to be bold, to think very big and to go forward in a moral struggle to protect our planet and future generations.''
When Sanders introduced single-payer health care legislation last year, most Senate Democrats also considering presidential runs signed on at the outset. It's not clear, however, whether other prominent Democrats eyeing the White House would back Sanders' forthcoming climate change bill or seek to carve out their own territory.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said last week that ''obviously, we have been doing a lot of work trying to find some bolder things we as a nation could be doing'' on climate change. Booker spokeswoman Kristin Lynch that his staff has held dozens of meetings since the summer aimed at shaping a broad climate bill and that he welcomes the activists' effort to spotlight the issue.
The staff of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has been in contact with the organizers behind the Green New Deal push, according to spokeswoman Lily Adams, who said the senator is broadly supportive of the sort of sweeping climate change agenda that the effort envisions. As legislation aimed at enacting the Green New Deal begins to take shape, Adams added, Harris plans to take a close look at it.
The Green New Deal deliberately omits details on how to reorient the United States toward the drastic carbon emissions reductions it calls for, instead calling for a select committee in the House to devise a plan by 2020. That timetable is designed to rally Democrats behind a climate change strategy as they're picking a nominee to take on President Donald Trump, who has rolled back multiple environmental regulations and cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human activity is driving global warming.
Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist whom Sanders tapped to help write the Democratic National Committee's party platform in 2016, said that it would be ''hard for me to imagine a serious Democratic candidate emerging'' in the 2020 presidential race who doesn't support a version of the Green New Deal, single-payer health care and a $15-per-hour minimum wage.
The plan, named for the New Deal that reshaped America under former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, envisions a costly and dramatically remodeled U.S. energy infrastructure as soon as 2030. It's a shift from where Democrats laid down their symbolic markers on climate change as recently as last year. Sanders and Booker, as well as potential presidential hopeful Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced legislation then that aimed to shift the nation to 100 percent renewable and clean energy sources by 2050.
Fossil fuels, mostly natural gas and coal, generated 63 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017, compared with 17 percent for renewable sources such as wind and solar, according to the nonpartisan Energy Information Administration. Nuclear energy comprised the remaining 20 percent.
''Is it all that realistic? Probably not, in the environment where we work. Certainly not now,'' Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the party's senior member on the environment committee, said of the Green New Deal's target. ''But it's a good aspirational goal.''
Sarah Dolan, communications director for the conservative opposition research group America Rising, warned that Democratic presidential hopefuls' ''race to the left'' on climate change, as well as on health care, minimum wage and immigration, would backfire in 2020.
''Being the first to take the most progressive position of the day will only lead to a party that can't compete in the general election as it becomes unrecognizable to independent voters,'' she said.
Popular Analysis of the National Climate Assessment Misleads the Public on the Economics of Climate Change - IER
The Executive Branch's recently released Volume II of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) is a massive document that is being cited as yet further evidence that the U.S. government should act quickly and boldly in the fight against climate change. The coverage in the New York Times was typical: ''All told, the report says, climate change could slash up to a tenth of gross domestic product by 2100, more than double the losses of the Great Recession a decade ago.''
Yet this claim is extremely misleading, as I'll demonstrate in this post. The projection of a 10-percent hit to GDP is an extremely unlikely (less than a 5-percent chance) event even if we assume we are in the most pessimistic of emission scenarios, while the scenario itself rests upon an assumption that progress on renewables and other technologies occurs much more slowly over the next century than it has already occurred historically. This means that anybody citing the NCA projections isn't allowed to also tout imminent breakthroughs in wind and solar, because such optimism renders the NCA projections invalid.
Even more astonishing, the NCA gives projections of the ''cost of inaction'' on climate change, but does not give any estimate of the costs of action on climate change. (It's a bit like a mechanic warning that you need a new part to avoid engine failure down the road, but refusing to tell you how much the part will cost.) Yet if we follow the citations to other work (such as from the United Nations) that the NCA cites, we see that even using the NCA's own diagram, it is not clear that aggressive steps to fight climate change would be worth the cost.
The NCA Warns of a Potential 10-Percent Hit to U.S. GDP1
The NCA is massive. In the interest of giving the reader a digestible chunk of analysis, in this post I am restricting myself to the material in Chapter 29, which covers the topic of ''mitigation'' and considers the economic impacts of climate change on the U.S. This chapter contains the chart that led New York Times reporters to write, ''climate change could slash up to a tenth of gross domestic product by 2100.''
Here's the chart in question, taken from Figure 29.3 of the Assessment:
Figure 1. Emissions and Damage Estimates from NCA Study
Source: National Climate Assessment 2018, Vol. II, Figure 29.3On the right panel of our Figure 1, we see where the NYT writers got their statistic. The far right bar shows that the midpoint of the gray ''uncertainty range'' is above a 10-percent level of damage to the U.S. economy.
However, how likely is this outcome? As the NCA chart itself shows, this enormous damage estimate is an outlier. In particular it is colored red, which the legend in the top left of the diagram shows is an ''RCP8.5'' scenario. The other RCP scenarios (blue and green bars) are nowhere near this level of warming or damage. Furthermore, notice that all of the other red bars indicate much smaller temperature increases, and hence damage.
The Unlikely RCP8.5 Scenario
As we've seen, the NCA can only generate the alarming outcome under the so-called RCP8.5 scenario. This refers to Representative Concentration Pathway, which is a series of benchmark scenarios used in climate science to have consistent assumptions in order to compare the results of different models. The number 8.5 refers to the amount of ''radiative forcing'' in effect in the year 2100, namely 8.5 watts per square meter. (The other scenarios, such as RPC4.5, of course have a similar meaning.)
The RCP8.5 scenario is the most pessimistic in the literature. It assumes rapid population growth coupled with a lack of progress in developing alternative technologies. As a scholarly article on the scenario explains:
Another important characteristic of the RCP8.5 scenario is its relatively slow improvement in primary energy intensity of 0.5% per year over the course of the century. This trend reflects the storyline assumption of slow technological change. Energy intensity improvement rates are thus well below historical average (about 1% per year between 1940 and 2000). [Bold added.]
Although the RCP8.5 could be classified as ''business-as-usual'' because it assumes no government policies to mitigate emissions, it nonetheless involves more emissions than most ''business-as-usual'' scenarios in the literature. In other words, it is a relatively pessimistic scenario to adopt, even if we assume no major government action.
And so we see that in order to focus attention on the RCP8.5 scenario, we are already building in pessimism, above and beyond the ''governments do nothing'' assumption. Furthermore, if writers at the NYT and elsewhere want to use the NCA's worst-case projections as motivation for climate change, then they can't also tout the continuing progress in ''clean energy'''--because the RCP8.5 scenario assumes a sudden stall in the historical progress on lowering emissions per unit of economic output.
10-Percent Damage Unlikely Even in the RCP8.5 Scenario
But wait, it gets worse. Even though we've seen how dubious the RCP8.5 scenario is, let's stipulate for the sake of argument that we'll be in it through the year 2100. Still, how likely is the extreme warming that the NCA report says could cause a 10-percent hit to the U.S. economy?
For that, we need to follow the citations. The chart in Figure 1 above ultimately comes from a 2017 Science article by Hsiang et al. In the Science version, the temperatures are expressed in Celsius, but otherwise it is clearly the same material.
Although the article doesn't (as far as I can tell) give a specific number for the probability of various outcomes, it does show us this graph, indicating the ''probability density function'' of varying degrees of warming:
Figure 2. ''Probability density'' of various level of warming, according to NCA source
SOURCE: Hsiang et al. 2017, Figure 1.In order to get to the particular simulation involving a 10-percent hit to GDP, the Hsiang et al. study needs more than 7 degrees Celsius of warming. Yet as Figure 2 above shows'--all assuming RCP8.5'--that only happens on the far right-hand tail of the probability distribution. The overwhelming bulk of the area under the curve is well to the left of that much warming.
If this were a standard statistical test, we could safely ''reject'' the hypothesis of warming in the range necessary to generate the extreme damage projections.
NCA Ignores Cost of Climate Mitigation Policies
Although Chapter 29 presents estimates of the damage from climate change, when it comes to the possible economic damage from policies to fight it, the report is remarkably agnostic. Indeed it says in the second sentence:
This chapter does not evaluate technology options, costs, or the adequacy of existing or planned mitigation efforts relative to meeting specific policy targets, as those topics have been the subject of domestic (e.g., Executive Office of the President 2016, CCSP 2007, DeAngelo et al. 2017, NRC 20157 ,8 ,9 ,10 ) and international analyses (e.g., Fawcett et al. 2015, Clarke et al. 201411 ,12 ). [Bold added.]
Fortunately here at IER I have already explored the cost estimates in the Clarke et al. 2014 references, which are to the previous UN IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).
For a full recounting of my analysis, here is my post. For our purposes, the most important takeaway is this: According to the very literature that the NCA refers us to, the cost of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 could be anywhere from 2.9 to 11.4 percent of consumption, with a best-guess of 4.8 percent.
Go look again at Figure 1 above, taken from the NCA report. Most of the projected outcomes involve less than 4.8 percent damage to the U.S. economy! Furthermore, the tradeoff is even worse than you might initially think. For even if we limited warming to two degrees Celsius (and incurred 4.8 percent damage to U.S. consumption), there would still be climate change damage, according to the official models'--that's why the UN recently urged an even lower target of 1.5 degrees.
This is why the most recent UN report, as well as the new NCA, refrain from engaging in a cost/benefit analysis altogether. If they did explicitly compare the costs of mitigation policies to the estimated economic impacts of climate change, then it wouldn't even be close. To be sure, advocates of extreme intervention can point to unlikely but catastrophic scenarios, and/or they can say the models leave out important things, but it would be more difficult to then claim the mantle of ''scientific consensus'' when they are ignoring the Obama Administration's own ''social cost of carbon'' estimates.
The recent NCA misleads the public, and the media should do a better job digging into the assumptions underlying its pronouncements. In particular, the alarming projections of economic damage rely on the RCP8.5 scenario, which is very pessimistic and in any event rules out the innovations in solar and wind that advocates assure us are just around the corner. Furthermore, even within the RCP8.5 scenario, it is unlikely that the U.S. will suffer extreme damage. The NCA itself doesn't discuss the cost of mitigation policies, but the previous UN IPCC report did. Looking at the NCA's own numbers, it's not at all clear that pursuing aggressive government action to mitigate climate change would produce benefits in excess of costs.
Rijk worden onder een koude douche - Trouw - Blendle
Video Shuttered shops, burning cars and tear gas. We were on the ground in Paris with the ''Yellow Vests'' protesters as they took to the streets for the fourth week in a row. Published On Dec. 9, 2018PARIS '-- Faced with violent protests and calls for his resignation, President Emmanuel Macron of France said Monday that he had heard the anger of the many whose economic suffering has burst into the open in recent weeks and that he would take immediate steps to relieve their hardship.
Mr. Macron's mea culpa on national television signaled a remarkable step back from his ambitions to reshape France's economy and become the European Union's foremost leader. For now, his chief goal is shoring up his own political support in France.
He announced tax cuts and income increases for the struggling middle class and working poor, vowing to raise the pay of workers earning the minimum wage. He promised to listen to the voices of the country, to its small-town mayors and its working people.
''There is anger, anger and indignation that many French share,'' he said in 13-minute prerecorded speech from the Elys(C)e, the presidential palace.
Mr. Macron's words and planned actions framed an attempt by a politician regarded as aloof and imperious to connect with ordinary citizens in Europe's third-largest economy.
The speech followed a month of turmoil in which a movement known as the Yellow Vests rampaged through Paris and other French cities. The movement, which began as a revolt against a fuel tax increase, has morphed into an angry rebuke of Mr. Macron and his government's failure to focus on what his critics call France's forgotten middle class.
Attempting to show that he understood, Mr. Macron acknowledged the anger of ''the couple who earn salaries that do not finish the month, and who get up every day early and come home late.'' He sympathized with ''the single mother, a widow, a divorc(C)e,'' whose life is no longer worth living, he said, and ''has no more hope.''
Mr. Macron recognized the anger too, he said, of retired people of small means who have ''contributed all their lives and often helped both parents and children, and no longer make ends meet.''
And in a rare admission of having fallen short, he said he took responsibility for having not responded more quickly, saying that he realized that people had the impression that he had ''other priorities'' and was not concerned about their problems.
Mr. Macron said that the details of his relief steps would be announced by Prime Minister douard Phillipe in Parliament on Tuesday, but that there would be a supplement of 100 euros, or about $115, to workers earning the monthly minimum wage starting in January; that taxes on overtime pay would be eliminated and that retirees whose earnings are less than 2,000 euros a month, about $2,270, would no longer be asked to pay a recent increase in social security taxes.
Whether Mr. Macron's actions will ease the deep-seated resentment toward him in France was unclear at best. So were the particulars of his proposals, which could translate into less in people's pockets than he made it sound.
Criticisms came quickly from many of Mr. Macron's political opponents, who said his proposals fell far short of people's needs. More sobering for Mr. Macron could be the disappointment of many in the Yellow Vests movement who said his proposals did not speak to their needs.
While some protesters welcomed the president's announcements as a first gesture, and a few praised him for his contrition, many more criticized what they called ''half measures.''
On the dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to the movement that have buzzed over the past month, a majority of Yellow Vests protesters said they felt it was too little, too late. A number expressed dismay that he had not even mentioned the Yellow Vests movement by name.
''There are a lot of forgotten,'' one user, Bruno Ceneda, said in the movement's main group. ''And the others only have the crumbs left.''
Video In response to the growing protests over a decline in economic prosperity, President Emmanuel Macron of France said that he would take immediate steps to cut taxes and increase wages for the middle class and working poor. Published On Dec. 10, 2018 Credit Credit Pool photo by Yoan Valat ''He is kidding us,'' said another, Jean-Jacques Brial.
Political analysts suggested that appeasing the anger toward Mr. Macron would require significantly more than what he promised.
''When one listens to the Yellow Vests, one hears many different demands, but there is more and more agreement that Emmanuel Macron should resign,'' said Thomas Snegaroff, a professor of political science at Sciences Po in Paris. ''The people allude to the French Revolution, 'We have to cut off the head of the king.'''
At the same time, many do not believe his departure would improve their situation, suggesting they are not sure themselves what would truly improve their lives.
Mr. Macron, elected in 2017 to a five-year term, came into office promising to make France more economically competitive. One of his early moves was to cut taxes on the wealthy to stimulate investment. Such changes alienated many working people who called him a ''president of the rich.''
But Mr. Macron has shown little inclination to resign. His new political party holds an overwhelming majority in France's legislature, and Mr. Macron enjoys considerable support among business leaders and many urban residents. But nationally, his popularity has collapsed and his domestic reform program has come under attack. To appease protesters, he has already canceled the hated fuel tax increase.
Beyond France, Mr. Macron's problems also mean problems for the European Union, already roiled by populist political forces and Britain's increasingly chaotic and uncertain plans to leave.
For more than a year, Mr. Macron has positioned himself as the natural heir to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany as the bloc's dominant political figure. He has put himself forward, at times, as an establishment champion for a Continent besieged by far-right populism and has called for reforming the euro currency union and building a European army.
But now Mr. Macron is focused on his own political survival, and Ms. Merkel's political twilight has suddenly arrived, as her fellow conservatives in Germany last week elected her successor as party leader. Ms. Merkel remains chancellor, for now, but her diminished stature only accentuates a potential leadership vacuum in Europe.
''With Macron, you had a very ambitious European agenda from a young president urging European renewal and reform,'' said Pierre Vimont, a former French ambassador to the United States. ''But here we see a more subdued president facing a difficult situation, and whose prospects to shape the next European Commission are not as good as before.''
Earlier in the day, Mr. Macron's political vulnerability was on full display. He consulted with representatives of the major unions '-- a move he had largely spurned before '-- and met with business leaders, associations representing local politicians and parliamentary leaders, whose support he will need if he wants to push through new legislation.
The notice to reporters announcing the Monday meetings made no pretense about their significance. ''At this serious moment for the nation, the president is bringing together all forces, political, local, economic and social, to hear their voices, their proposals and with the objective of mobilizing them for action,'' it said.
The criticism of Mr. Macron is that too often he has consulted only with a tight circle of advisers, or relied on himself. Early in his presidency, when his popularity levels were high, he tended to portray his role as a ''Jupiterian'' president, and his bold style pleased those who had long regarded France as in desperate need of change. It was also a departure from the style of his predecessor, Fran§ois Hollande, who called himself a ''normal'' president '-- a description many French thought diminished the office.
But Mr. Macron's assured and sometimes even condescending tone has also backfired. He has often been dismissive of complaints and suggested the complainers were not trying hard enough. That has fed the feeling that he represents the elites and not the vast majority of the French. At the same time, lawmakers in Mr. Macron's political party have also been criticized for lacking roots in the working class.
''He has been insensitive to the kinds of popular concerns that make people feel they are drowning'' said Pascal Perrineau, a professor of political science at Sciences Po. ''He has not been a president who brings people together.''
On Friday though, Mr. Macron began to try.
Karl Olive, the mayor of Poissy, a town on the outskirts of the Paris metropolitan area, said Mr. Macron lacked a feel for ordinary people such as those who lived in his town. So he brought a group of mayors from his department, Yvelines, to explain to Mr. Macron how he needed to change.
The mayors insisted that Mr. Macron meet with them alone '-- and Mr. Olive said the president made a point of taking notes himself. The meeting was scheduled to last two hours, Mr. Olive said, but lasted nearly twice that long. ''The president needs to understand that decisions have to come from the bottom up, the French people do not like it when it is top down,'' he said.
Mr. Olive said many people in his town are not in the streets but agree with the concerns of the Yellow Vests. Yet, he said, they are open to hearing that Mr. Macron has had a change of heart. ''They are looking for more social justice and a new program. He has to change the goals, but also changing the method is important,'' he said.
Aurelien Breeden and Elian Peltier contributed reporting from Paris, and Steven Erlanger from Brussels.
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Facing Unrest, Macron Turns Focus to Home
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Yellow Jackets: Saturday in Paris, police had a secret weapon
C'est dire si le pouvoir a eu peur. Samedi 8 d(C)cembre, certains des blind(C)s de la gendarmerie dispos(C)s pour la premi¨re fois dans Paris (C)taient secr¨tement (C)quip(C)s d'un dispositif radical, qui n'aurait (C)t(C) utilis(C) qu'en dernier recours >> : une r(C)serve de liquide incapacitant. Selon nos sources, la pulv(C)risation de ce liquide sur une foule de gilets jaunes aurait (C)t(C) capable de les arrªter net, mettant les gens terre, mªme avec des masques >>. Chaque engin aurait pu neutraliser >> une surface de plusieurs terrains de football'... Heureusement, que l'on n'en est pas arriv(C) l >>, ajoute cette source haut plac(C)e dans le dispositif policier. L'autorit(C) politique >>, comme le disent les fonctionnaires, aurait approuv(C) l'(C)ventuel emploi d'un tel produit, qui n'aurait (C)t(C) utilis(C) qu'en cas de d(C)bordement ultime >>. Une sorte de dernier rempart >>, utilisable sur d(C)cision politique'... Interrog(C)e, la pr(C)fecture de police de Paris renvoie au minist¨re de l'Int(C)rieur.
Les pr(C)cisions de la gendarmerie Le 11.12.2018 17h30
A la suite de la parution de notre article, la gendarmerie nationale a souhait(C) pr(C)ciser que le dispositif dont nous vous rapportons l'existence n'est pas un liquide mais une poudre >>'... Certains blind(C)s d(C)ploy(C)s Paris samedi (C)taient bien (C)quip(C)s d'un dispositif de pulv(C)risation >> d'un produit incapacitant >>, de type lacrymog¨ne dose forte >>, qui n'aurait (C)t(C) utilis(C) que sur ordre d'une autorit(C) >>. Chacun des blind(C)s (C)quip(C)s de ce dispositif de pulv(C)risation (visible en haut droite face l'engin) contient trois bouteilles de plong(C)e dont deux sont charg(C)es de la fameuse poudre sous pression. Cela n'a jamais (C)t(C) utilis(C) en m(C)tropole >>, confie Marianne le Sirpa gendarmerie, qui reconna®t qu'en configuration normale >>, un blind(C) peut pulv(C)riser >> sous forme d'(C)pandage sur l'(C)quivalent d'une surface de un deux terrains de football >>. Marianne maintient que lors des r(C)unions de crise au plus haut niveau, pr(C)paratoires la manifestation du 8 d(C)cembre, il a bien (C)t(C) question de ce dispositif comme d'un dernier rempart >>'... et qu'il aurait (C)t(C) capable d'arrªter net une foule, mettant les gens terre, mªme avec des masques >>.
C'est le premier enseignement de la journ(C)e du 8 d(C)cembre : le pr(C)fet de police de Paris a perdu son leadership sur le maintien de l'ordre dans la capitale. La semaine derni¨re, le minist¨re de l'Int(C)rieur, sous la double commande de Christophe Castaner et Laurent Nu±ez, a pris les choses en main, largement (C)paul(C) en ce sens par les syndicats policiers. Cette mainmise du minist¨re de l'Int(C)rieur ne s'est pas faite sans friction avec la pr(C)fecture de police de Paris, o¹ le pr(C)fet Michel Delpuech a grinc(C) plusieurs reprises devant la mise en place d'un dispositif mobile et d(C)centralis(C), contraire aux pratiques ant(C)rieures. Selon nos informations, le pr(C)fet a d'ailleurs r(C)clam(C) en fin de semaine derni¨re des instructions (C)crites >>, ce qui, en mÅ'urs pr(C)fectoraux, consiste se couvrir >> l'approche d'une situation controvers(C)e. D'un point de vue policier, le maintien de l'ordre de samedi Paris a finalement (C)t(C) un succ¨s, ces frictions ne sont plus d'actualit(C) >>, sourit une source la pr(C)fecture de police. Bilan en six points.
1 - Un nettoyage sans pr(C)c(C)dent. De m(C)moire de policier, aucune manifestation parisienne contemporaine n'avait mobilis(C) autant de pr(C)paratifs en amont. Quasiment toute la rive droite avait tir(C) les stores, barricad(C) ses vitrines et rang(C) ses voitures. Le mobilier urbain avait (C)t(C) d(C)mont(C) et la plupart des chantiers de voirie vid(C)s sur un large p(C)rim¨tre, pas seulement autour de la place de l'Etoile. Lors de la premi¨re manifestation sur les Champs-Elys(C)es, celle du 24 novembre, un seul chantier sur l'avenue avait servi de combustible aux barricades. Lors de la deuxi¨me manifestation, ce sont tous les chantiers autour de l'Etoile qui ont jou(C) le mªme r´le'... Samedi 8 d(C)cembre, pour ne pas fournir armes et combustibles aux manifestants >>, la majeure partie de la rive droite ressemblait une ville morte.
2 - Des mesures d'exception aux abords. Autre initiative polici¨re rest(C)e cach(C)e jusqu' samedi matin, les fouilles pr(C)ventives. Vendredi, les procureurs comp(C)tents, notamment aux p(C)ages de la r(C)gion parisienne, avaient pris des r(C)quisitions judiciaires autorisant les contr´les d'identit(C), invoquant les risques d'infractions li(C)es la manifestation sur Paris. Ces contr´les ont permis de saisir des objets potentiellement dangereux comme des boules de p(C)tanque, des manches de pioche, ou d'autres signant la participation un rassemblement, comme des masques de plong(C)e. R(C)sultat, samedi, Paris a battu son record de gardes vue. Le dispositif initial permettant d'en absorber 800 a mªme (C)t(C) d(C)pass(C). Il y en a finalement eu 974 en r(C)gion parisienne. Mais seulement >> 278 ont donn(C) lieu un d(C)ferrement judiciaire. Dans la majorit(C) des cas, les gardes vue (C)taient lev(C)es ou se soldaient par un rappel la loi >>. Autrement dit une admonestation, la simple possession d'un masque de plong(C)e ou d'une bombe peinture ne pouvant pas, en tant que tel, constituer un d(C)lit.
Les interpellations de Julien Coupat, figure de l'ultragauche, ainsi que d'autres activistes d'extrªme droite, d¨s samedi matin, participent du mªme dispositif pr(C)ventif >> in(C)dit et controvers(C). Henri Leclerc, ancien pr(C)sident de la Lige des droits de l'Homme, d(C)nonce un potentiel usage liberticide tr¨s grave >>. En clair, une sorte d'interdiction de manifester qui ne dirait pas son nom.
On assume, confie une source polici¨re. Au moins, ces gens n'(C)taient pas dehors. Cela a fait d(C)gonfler les effectifs de durs potentiels >>. Autre dispositif en amont, la plupart des gilets jaunes, avant de rejoindre les principaux spots >> de manifestation (Champs-Elys(C)es, Bastille, R(C)publique), (C)taient syst(C)matiquement fouill(C)s. La plupart y perdaient leurs masques de protection contre les lacrymog¨nes. Pour parvenir jusqu'au Champs-Elys(C)es, avec toutes les stations de m(C)tro bloqu(C)es et les barrages de policiers dispos(C)s certains endroits autour du p(C)rim¨tre interdit, la plupart des gilets jaunes ont d>> marcher plusieurs heures'... R(C)sultat, une grosse partie des manifestants errait d'un point un autre, sans parvenir rejoindre aucun point chaud >>. De fait, durant la quasi-totalit(C) de la journ(C)e, le rapport de force sur les lieux de friction est toujours rest(C) l'avantage des policiers.
3 - Un dispositif mobile et d(C)centralis(C). C'est la grande nouveaut(C) de cette journ(C)e. Les policiers et gendarmes sur Paris (C)taient mobiles >> et leur commandement largement d(C)centralis(C), par secteur. Bien s>>r, il y avait toujours autant de galonn(C)s autour du pr(C)fet, dans la salle de commandement de la pr(C)fecture de police, se d(C)sole un fonctionnaire, mais pour la premi¨re fois, c'est vraiment le commissaire de terrain qui menait sa troupe en fonction de ce qu'il voyait sur place >>. Avec une efficacit(C) spectaculaire, l'Å'uvre sur les Grands Boulevards, o¹, avan§ant au milieu de deux canons eau, des policiers et gendarmes nettoyaient >> au fur et mesure les feux de poubelles moins de cinq minutes apr¨s leur d(C)clenchement. Comme l'entra®nement ! On avan§ait vite, sans leur laisser le temps de former une v(C)ritable barricade devenant vite un point de fixation >>, raconte un fonctionnaire. Ce dispositif a permis d'(C)viter la confrontation g(C)n(C)rale du 1er d(C)cembre, avec une place de l'Etoile occup(C)e par les gilets jaunes et des forces de l'ordre assi(C)g(C)es des heures durant, en direct sous les yeux des cam(C)ras du monde entier. Samedi, dans l'apr¨s-midi, il y a eu des moments de grande tension, notamment autour de l'Etoile, mais ils se sont moins vus >>, admet cette source.
Jusque-l , le maintien de l'ordre parisien habituel >> privil(C)giait l'absence de contact avec la foule. Pour ce genre de manifestation, la mobilit(C) (C)tait souhaitable depuis longtemps, il y aura un avant et un apr¨s samedi 8 d(C)cembre >>, se r(C)jouit un commissaire parisien, saluant pour sa part l'efficacit(C) du dernier dispositif. On nous r(C)torque depuis des ann(C)es que le contact risque d'augmenter le nombre de bless(C)s, cela n'a pas (C)t(C) le cas >>, ajoute-t-il. Le bilan de samedi est de 264 bless(C)s dont 39 fonctionnaires. Un manifestant a eu une main arrach(C)e cause d'une grenade, une femme a perdu un Å'il sur les Champs-Elys(C)es, vraisemblablement cause d'un tir de flash-ball. D¨s vendredi, apr¨s des premiers incidents li(C)s des flash-ball lors de manifestations lyc(C)ennes, 200 personnalit(C)s, dont plusieurs d(C)put(C)s de gauche, ont appel(C) cesser imm(C)diatement l'usage de ces armes.
4 - Une mobilisation en hausse. Autre constat, malgr(C) les appels incitant ne pas manifester Paris, la mobilisation des gilets jaunes a grossi d'une semaine sur l'autre. Le message envoy(C) par l'Elys(C)e, selon lequel certains venaient pour tuer >>, n'est pas parvenu inverser la tendance. Aucune arme n'a pourtant (C)t(C) saisie lors des contr´les de police. La dramatisation n'a pas empªch(C) le monde, de l'ordre de 10.000 personnes >>, admet un fonctionnaire. Ce 8 d(C)cembre, les gilets jaunes (C)taient visibles par grappes de Bastille l'Etoile en passant par R(C)publique et les grands Boulevards, quand le week-end pr(C)c(C)dent, ils n'(C)taient concentr(C)s que sur l'Etoile. Raison de plus pour se f(C)liciter de notre dispositif >>, glisse un syndicaliste qui esp¨re, sans trop y croire, que la tension va d(C)sormais retomber >>. Si ce samedi, on avait fait comme le week-end d'avant, on aurait eu une nouvelle journ(C)e de chaos, dit-il. Mais je ne sais pas combien de samedis cons(C)cutifs on tient encore comme cela >>. Face aux 136.000 gilets jaunes recens(C)s dans toute la France, ce 8 d(C)cembre, le minist¨re de l'Int(C)rieur avait d(C)ploy(C) 89.000 policiers. Sans parler des effectifs d'agents municipaux pour ranger et r(C)installer le mobilier urbain, et des efforts des commer§ants pour barricader et d(C)barricader leurs vitrines.
5 - Un d(C)s(C)quilibre Paris-Province. Autre constat, la province trinque. Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Bordeaux notamment ont (C)t(C) le th(C)tre d'affrontements d'une rare violence. Sur 150 unit(C)s, 50 (C)taient Paris et cent en province >>, indique une source au minist¨re de l'Int(C)rieur. Un tiers, deux tiers'... Officiellement, pas question d'avouer que certaines zones avaient (C)t(C) d(C)garnies faute de troupes. Ce lundi matin, en d(C)placement Bordeaux, Laurent Nu±ez a estim(C) que les effectifs (4 unit(C)s) y avaient (C)t(C) suffisants. Une affirmation qui fait sourire certains syndicalistes. Le ministre ne peut pas le dire, mais certains secteurs (C)taient tr¨s d(C)garnis. Samedi, on (C)tait notre maximum. On ne peut pas plus'... Au del , c'est l'arm(C)e qu'il faut appeler >>, dit un policier. C'est d'ailleurs le paradoxe de ce mouvement. Etant durable, diss(C)min(C) sur tout le territoire et violent, il met les forces de l'ordre au bord de la rupture. Samedi prochain, en cas d'acte V, Paris sera-t-il d(C)laiss(C) de certaines unit(C)s au profit de villes de province ? La d(C)cision politique, au minist¨re de l'Int(C)rieur, ne sera pas facile prendre.
6 - Des pillages du soir en hausse. Le dernier constat concerne ce que certains policiers appellent la troisi¨me mi-temps des manifestations de gilets jaunes : les pillages. Samedi soir Paris, ils ont (C)t(C) deux fois plus nombreux encore que ceux du 1er d(C)cembre >>, selon un policier de terrain. Ce sont des petits groupes, pour la plupart de jeunes de banlieue, qui attendent la fin de la journ(C)e et la tomb(C)e de la nuit pour cibler des boutiques et se servir >>, se d(C)sole-t-il. De fait, les 90 mineurs arrªt(C)s samedi Paris l'ont tous (C)t(C) en flagrant d(C)lit de pillage, ainsi que bon nombre de jeunes majeurs >>. Un g(C)rant de bijouterie a tir(C) au flash-ball'... Si ces pillages continuent, cela peut d(C)g(C)n(C)rer >>, pr(C)vient ce policier, qui craint un s(C)rieux risque de bavure >> de ce cot(C)-l . De toute fa§on, maintenant, on marche sur le bord d'un volcan >>, conclut-il. Jusqu' quand ?
The CDC Will Conduct A First-Of-Its-Kind Study Of Scooter Injuries In Austin | KUT
The city says it's working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study dockless scooter-related injuries and incidents in Austin '' a first for the nation's public health institute.
Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department is partnering with three CDC epidemiologists to look at the health risks of dockless scooters. The details of the study were presented to the city's Mobility Committee this afternoon.
Here's the full presentation from the Austin Transportation Department.
The study will focus on 37 EMS calls and 68 scooter-related injuries reported over a 60-day period between Sept. 5 and Nov. 4 this year at Austin area hospitals. Data collected will, ideally, be used to educate riders '' and the city itself '' on the best safety practices in Austin and beyond.
The city adopted rules for deployment and operations of the scooters last month after its initial pilot program expired.
Dockless bikes and scooters began officially rolling out on to Austin streets this year, starting with bikes in February. Scooters outpaced that growth quickly, but have also prompted safety concerns and sidewalk congestion.
Austin is currently home to seven dockless mobility companies who own or operate more than 11,000 bikes and scooters; bikes account for a mere 850 of those. Recently, the city called out Lime for packing its scooters into the downtown area, forcing it to reduce its fleet by 20 percent (1,000 scooters) for violating its agreement with the city.
The city says, in October alone, riders took nearly 293,000 dockless scooter and bike trips, with scooters accounting for 94 percent of those rides.
After the study and public input is gathered over the next few months, the Austin City Council could vote on tweaks to the rules as soon as March or April next year.
Hate Trumps Love
Incoming New York attorney general plans wide-ranging investigations of Trump and family
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Dec. 12, 2018 / 9:30 AM GMT
By Allan Smith
New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James says she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and "anyone" in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.
"We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.
James outlined some of the probes she intends to pursue with regard to the president, his businesses and his family members. They include:
Any potential illegalities involving Trump's real estate holdings in New York, highlighting a New York Times investigation published in October into the president's finances.The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian official.Examine government subsidies Trump received, which were also the subject of Times investigative work.Whether he is in violation of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution through his New York businesses.Continue to probe the Trump Foundation."We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law," said James, who was endorsed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
James campaigned on passing a bill to change New York's double jeopardy laws with an eye on possible pardons coming out of the White House. James told NBC News she wants to be able to pursue state charges against anyone the president were to pardon over federal charges or convictions and whose alleged crimes took place in the state. Under current New York law, she might not be able to do that.
"I think within the first 100 days this bill will be passed," she said, adding, "It is a priority because I have concerns with respect to the possibility that this administration might pardon some individuals who might face some criminal charges, but I do not want them to be immune from state charges."
She's also enlisting help from some prosecutorial heavy hitters, like former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, as a part of her transition to help her identify important hires for her office with an eye on bringing in experts for its Trump-related investigations.
New York is home to the president's namesake business, the Trump Organization, and it is where Trump's presidential campaign was headquartered and his reelection campaign as well. And it is where a number of key events under special counsel Robert Mueller's microscope, such as the controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, took place. All of that falls within James' jurisdiction.
As a result, she is about to become one of the most recognizable '-- and powerful '-- state attorneys general in the country.
"Taking on President Trump and looking at all of the violations of law I think is no match to what I have seen in my lifetime," James said.
Currently the city's public advocate for a few more weeks, James is set to take over for New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. She was appointed to fill in for the remainder of Eric Schneiderman's term after he resigned earlier this year following accusations of sexual misconduct.
The most prominent litigation between the attorney general's office and the president involves the Trump Foundation. Schneiderman began probing the charity in 2016 and Underwood later filed the lawsuit against Trump, his adult children and the foundation in June.
The foundation is accused of engaging in illegal political coordination with the Trump campaign, self-dealing and violating legal obligations. The Trumps and the foundation could face millions of dollars in penalties as a result. Trump's lawyers tried and failed to have the case thrown out in New York state Supreme Court, alleging the probe was politically motivated.
Underwood also was investigating whether Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which generally prohibits federal officials from receiving gifts or payments from foreign or state governments.
The White House, Trump Organization, an attorney representing the company and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.
Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told NBC News that the president has "considerably more vulnerability" when faced with New York state investigations because he can't hold out the offer of pardons or fire investigators, though he said James' scope would be limited to matters occurring before Trump became president.
He added that it remains an open question as to whether a sitting president can be charged with a state crime.
For her part, James said she thinks Mueller's "doing an excellent job."
"I think he's closing in on this president," she said, "and his days are going to be coming to an end shortly."
Allan Smith Allan Smith is a political reporter for NBC News.
House, Senate agree on bill to establish new sexual harassment policy for Congress - The Washington Post
The U.S. Capitol from New Jersey Avenue in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) Elise ViebeckEnterprise and investigations reporter focused on politics
December 12 at 6:13 PMMore than a year after the #MeToo era began, the House and the Senate reached a deal Wednesday to change their policies on sexual harassment and make lawmakers liable for their own misconduct in the workplace.
The agreement was brokered after nearly seven months of negotiations between the two chambers and with just days left in the 2018 legislative calendar. Members involved in the talks predicted that the bill would be adopted quickly in both chambers and that the new rules would take effect before January, when the new Congress convenes.
While exact legislative language was not released, the Senate Rules Committee confirmed that lawmakers will be required to reimburse the Treasury Department for settlements and awards resulting from harassment or retaliation they commit. Under the current system, settlements are paid for by taxpayers.
''Everybody will understand their personal liability and their personal responsibility, and that will be a good thing,'' Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters Wednesday.
Leaders and other lawmakers in the House promised further action in the next Congress.
''We believe this is a strong step towards creating a new standard in Congress that will set a positive example in our nation, but there is still more work to be done,'' House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other key lawmakers said in a joint statement.
The deal represents the first major change to Capitol Hill's employment policies in response to the #MeToo movement, apart from mandatory anti-harassment training for lawmakers and staff.
More than half a dozen members of Congress were forced to resign within the past year amid allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. Some had been involved in secret settlements that were eventually revealed in the media.
Advocates said the changes were long overdue. The system for reporting harassment and discrimination in congressional offices received widespread criticism last fall amid claims that it favored lawmakers over staff. In addition to taxpayer-funded settlements, the current process involves mandatory counseling, mediation and ''cooling off'' periods for accusers.
The House and the Senate passed separate overhaul bills earlier this year and began negotiations over points of disagreement, including when lawmakers would be personally responsible for settlements and what kind of free advice would be available to people who bring claims.
Under the agreement, the mandatory counseling, mediation and ''cooling off'' periods for accusers would be eliminated. Any settlement or award would be automatically referred to the respective chamber's ethics committee. Members' liability would be capped for awards but not settlements. And that liability would continue even if a member leaves office.
The deal involves greater transparency. Awards and settlements would be publicly reported, including whether a member of Congress was held personally liable, and a staff survey would be conducted each Congress about workplace culture.
The compromise would extend protections to unpaid staff, including interns and fellows and provide opportunities for accusers to work remotely or request paid leave.
There were a handful of inter-chamber splits, including on the kind of free counsel available to accusers. Senate staffers will have access to a confidential advocate who must be an attorney but cannot provide legal representation. House staffers will have access to full legal representation.
In a joint statement, House leaders and lawmakers described their goals for the next Congress.
''House Republicans and Democrats remain committed to working in a bipartisan manner to address outstanding issues in the 116th Congress, including passing legislation which holds members personally liable for discrimination, reauthorizing the Employee Advocate, and strengthening our workplace rights and responsibilities education program,'' said Ryan, Pelosi, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the leaders of the House Administration Committee and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.).
The absence of a deal before the midterm elections had raised fears that reforms would be delayed until after Democrats took control of the House in January. But lawmakers at the center of the talks had predicted an agreement would take shape this month.
A summary of the deal was released by the Senate Rules Committee.
Read more at PowerPost
Paul Kane and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.
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Trump cancels White House Christmas party for the press | Fox News
President Donald Trump has canceled the White House holiday party for the media. (Associated Press)
EXCLUSIVE '' President Trump has canceled the White House holiday party for the media, making the decades-old tradition a victim of his increasingly contentious relationship with major news organizations.
The annual Christmas-season gathering was a significant perk for those covering the White House, as well as other Washington reporters, anchors and commentators, and New York media executives would regularly fly in for the occasion. At its peak, the invitation-only soirees grew so large that there were two back-to-back events, one for broadcast outlets and one for print organizations.
Journalists who attended the events, which featured a catered buffet of lamb chops, crab claws and elaborate desserts, got to roam the decorated mansion with a spouse or other family member, a friend or a colleague, adding to the invitation's allure.
But the biggest fringe-benefit was the picture-taking sessions, in which the president and first lady would patiently pose with guests and briefly chat with them in front of a Christmas tree, with the White House sending out the photos '-- copies of which were invariably sent home to mom. This would take a couple of hours, with long lines snaking across the building's first floor. Bill Clinton even posed for pictures with journalists days after he was impeached.
The White House made no announcement that it was dropping the press party. The president and first lady threw such a gathering last December but did not pose for pictures. Trump made a brief appearance with his wife and offered a few welcoming remarks.
Top White House officials, especially the communications staff, routinely circulated at these media parties and often talked shop. Last year, chief of staff John Kelly held forth with reporters for at least 15 minutes, making informal remarks that turned into a mini-press conference.
The decision is hardly shocking, given Trump's constant attacks on "fake news" and the overwhelmingly negative coverage of him and his administration. In recent weeks, the White House pulled the credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta after he refused to give up the microphone at a news conference and restored his pass only after the network filed a lawsuit.
Trump has also twice refused to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, a tony media awards dinner attended by every president since Richard Nixon.
While dropping the media party, the White House is in the midst of a full panoply of other parties this holiday season. Selected media people generally favorable to Trump, including a few Fox News hosts, have made those guest lists.
When Democrats have been in the White House, more liberal commentators have gotten invitations, while more conservative pundits have shown up during Republican administrations.
Some critics questioned whether those who cover or comment on the White House should engage in such socializing, but few turned down the invitations. Many Trump supporters who view his coverage as unfairly harsh will undoubtedly welcome the president's decision to exclude the media establishment, at least for this year.
After Disappearing From Airwaves, Court TV Will Get Another Trial - WSJ
Katz Networks, a division of E.W. Scripps, said Monday that it is reviving Court TV, the cable network that helped turn American judicial proceedings into TV spectacles with gavel-to-gavel coverage of grisly murder trials of defendants like O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony.
The network, which has been off the air for more than a decade, will be delivered through over-the-air broadcasts and cable TV via deals Katz Networks has struck with local TV station owners such as Tribune Media Co. and Univision Communications Inc. It will launch in May.
Katz Networks said Court TV also might be available on digital platforms such as Roku and YouTube TV, and that it was seeking further carriage on cable and satellite systems.
The decision to launch a new TV network when so many channels and streaming services are competing for consumers' attention might seem like a mystery worthy of its own investigation.
But Jonathan Katz, president and chief executive of Katz Networks, said demand for true-crime media was flourishing, with hit podcasts like ''Serial'' and streaming series like ''Making a Murderer'' on Netflix.
''When you think about the genre, it couldn't have a broader base,'' Mr. Katz said. ''Consumer interest in true-crime content is at an all-time high, but there is no real-time court coverage on TV.''
Court TV disappeared from the airwaves in 2008 when its former owner, Turner Broadcasting, overhauled the network by adding more reality-entertainment programming and changed its name to TruTV.
Katz Networks, which was founded by Mr. Katz, a former Turner executive, acquired the Court TV brand and its library of more than 100,000 hours of content earlier this year for an undisclosed sum from Turner, which is now a unit of AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia. WarnerMedia still owns TruTV.
E.W. Scripps, which acquired Katz Networks in 2017, owns more than 30 television stations across the U.S., some of which will carry the network.
Katz Networks, which will make money selling advertising around its shows, declined to disclose terms of its deals with distributors.
In addition to Court TV, Katz Networks owns four national TV networks that are each distributed over the air and as subchannels to the main broadcast signal available through platforms such as Roku. They include Grit, which broadcasts war and action films; Laff, which features sitcoms and comedy movies; and Bounce, a network aimed at African-Americans.
At launch, Mr. Katz said, Court TV will feature 24/7 trial coverage, along with analysis and commentary from legal experts, many of whom worked at the network more than a decade ago.
The network also may mine its library of trial footage to produce documentaries and other nonfiction content, Mr. Katz said, although much of the network's programming slate will be live trial coverage.
Court TV was launched by the journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill in 1991 as a joint venture of Time Warner, Cablevision Systems Corp. and NBC Cable. Time Warner bought out the rest of the equity for $735 million in 2006.
Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com
This Congo project could supply the world with lithium | MINING.com
Dec. 10, 2018, 1:18 PM |AVZ Minerals' (ASX: AVZ) Manono project became the world's largest non-brine lithium resource after the Perth-based company released the maiden estimate for its 60%-owned project in the southern Congo in August of this year.
At the end of November, AVZ published the results of a drilling campaign that further increased Manono's size '' by more than half to just over 400 million tonnes grading 1.66% Li2O for 6.6m tonnes of lithium oxide.
State-owned Congolese company Cominiere holds 30% of Manono and the deposit was mined for tin for six decades, ending in 1982. AVZ's latest resource estimate also includes 300kt of tin and 13.2kt of tantalum.
The company hopes to update its October scoping study before the end of year, and AVZ is now studying a 5mtpa and 10mtpa operation (up from 2mtpa) thanks to the expanded resource and offsets provided by tin and tantalum.
London-based research consultants Roskill reports an operation at Manono with a 10 million tonnes per year capacity has the potential to produce over 300,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate equivalent.
That's a rate of production roughly equal to global output from all brine operations and hard-rock mines forecast for 2018.
Roskill compared Manono to other lithium projects and points out that ''unlike some of its closest peers such as Clayton Valley, Sonora and Thacker Pass, which will require integrated plants, Manono hosts traditional pegmatite mineralization that can produce a spodumene-bearing concentrate for conventional conversion at existing refining facilities in China.''
''An expanded processing capacity will ultimately bring some cost saving to the project through economies of scale, however, in our view the project's main hurdle remains its location and the costs involved with transporting its concentrate to market. ''Furthermore, in the near to medium-term as projects such as Greenbushes, Wodgina and Pilbara Minerals' Pilgangoora ramp-up production, the market should have an ample supply of concentrate.''
There is of course a long road ahead for AVZ at Manono and like many of its peers, the $110m stock has come under pressure from the fall in the price of lithium. The sector is also a crowded field, but AVZ does enjoy some high-profile backers with Citicorp, JP Morgan and BNP Paribas together holding some 30% of the company.
Unlike cobalt, lithium escaped being treated as a strategic mineral by the Congolese authorities and royalty rates for the battery raw material remains at 3.5%. Kinshasa recently imposed a 10% royalty rate on cobalt. Congo represents almost two-thirds of global output of cobalt used in cellphone and electric vehicle batteries and as an alloy in the aviation industry.
U.S. Proposal Would Let Postal Service Sell Access to Your Mailbox - WSJ
WASHINGTON'--Looking for ways to raise Postal Service revenue, the Trump administration has proposed a fundamental change to your mailbox: selling access to it to private companies.
The Postal Service could capitalize on a ''highly valuable'' asset by selling mailbox access to companies such as FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc., the administration said in a report last week.
The Postal Service has been losing money for years as letter volume has declined and it has struggled with requirements that it fund retirement benefits decades in advance. It reported a net loss of $3.9 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
Past proposals to boost revenue have ranged from privatization to the introduction of banking services'--ideas last week's report didn't endorse. The report was commissioned in April by President Trump, who has regularly claimed that Amazon.com Inc. gets a sweetheart deal on package shipping from the Postal Service. It drew immediate attention for another proposal, tiered pricing for packages, which would likely raise shipping prices for e-commerce.
The proposal to license access to mailboxes was one of the ideas for using existing assets to find new revenue.
It is illegal for anyone except a Postal Service mail carrier to deliver to a mailbox, a restriction established in 1934 to crack down on attempts to avoid paying postage. Such limited access protects customers from theft and preserves their privacy, last week's report noted.
Technically, even dropping a card in your neighbor's mailbox is a federal crime. Commercial shippers instead walk up to a customer's door, sometimes leaving a package on a porch or outside a locked apartment building.
The report notes that revenue could be raised by retaining the mailbox monopoly but allowing regulated access, for a fee, to certified private companies. These ''franchisees'' would be granted access to the mailbox for the delivery of mail and small parcels, according to the report.
''They would be willing to pay a fair amount to have access to that capability,'' a senior administration official said in a call with reporters.
The report doesn't go into details about what these licensing deals might look like, such as whether it would mean that private companies would get access to locked mailboxes, or those inside apartment buildings.
Postal unions argue the proposal would essentially privatize a part of the Postal Service that has been considered a government service, something ''that obviously affects our mission and our jobs,'' said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union.
He also said expanding access beyond postal workers could require residents to give up a certain amount of privacy. ''I don't think the customers would take kindly to anybody being able to open that mailbox and put something else in there,'' Mr. Dimondstein said.
The head of the Postal Regulatory Commission, which approves any new Postal Service products, said it would be a major shift.
''We're unique, where no one else can put their hand in your mailbox except the Postal Service,'' Chairman Robert Taub said. ''This would be a change to how that has been handled for 84 years. That would be a big deal.''
But given the Postal Service's dismal finances, Mr. Taub said everything should be considered.
It's unclear how popular mailbox licenses would be, given that many commercial shippers already pay the Postal Service for what's called ''last-mile'' delivery of many packages. Because the Postal Service already delivers to every mailbox nationwide, it is often cheaper for these companies to contract with them than to deliver items themselves.
But mailbox access could save time when commercial shippers deliver packages themselves, said Chris Wetherbee, a transportation analyst at Citi Research.
''That could just take some of the intensity out of the stopping, walking up driveways, dropping stuff on the front step,'' Mr. Wetherbee said.
A spokesman for FedEx declined to comment. UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross called the report as a whole ''a positive step to address the challenges the USPS faces'' but declined to comment directly on mailbox licensing.
Meanwhile, details are uncertain about the report's proposal to charge higher prices for commercial packages that aren't deemed essential services. The report cited pharmaceuticals as one possible example of essential packages, but it didn't otherwise say how a package's category would be determined.
The senior administration official said that some forms of e-commerce could be considered essential. ''There would need to be some mechanism of identifying the type of package it is, but the actual contents or the privacy of the contents would not be something that the Postal Service would need to know,'' the official said.
Write to Heidi Vogt at firstname.lastname@example.org
China tells Canada to release Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou or face severe consequences | Fox News
China has warned Canada it will face severe consequences unless it releases Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the U.S. after being arrested in the country last week.
Meng, 46, was taken into custody on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, on behalf of the U.S., while she was transferring flights in Vancouver, the tech company said. She's accused of trying to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran. She is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese military engineer worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
During her bail hearing on Friday, a prosecutor for the Canadian government said U.S. charges against her have to do with Huawei using an unofficial subsidiary to access the Iran market in dealings that would contravene U.S. sanctions. The prosecutor said she is accused of fraud.
If extradited to the U.S., she could face charges of ''conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions,'' which holds a ''maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge,'' Reuters reported.
HUAWEI CFO MENG WANZHOU'S ARREST MAY PROMPT CHINA TO RETALIATE, 'TAKE HOSTAGES,' EXPERT SAYS
Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned the Canadian ambassador in Beijing and ''lodged a strong protest,'' a statement from China's Foreign Ministry stated. The ministry called Meng's arrest ''extremely nasty.''
Meng Wanzhou, right, attends a bail hearing at British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP)
''China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused,'' a statement from Le stated.
It was not immediately clear what the consequences would entail.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said the consequences would probably have to do with trade.
HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CFO ARRESTED IN CANADA, ACCUSED OF VIOLATING IRAN SANCTIONS
''The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the icebox for a while. But we're going to have to live with that,'' Mulroney said, according to Reuters. ''That's the price of dealing with a country like China.''
Chinese officials blasted Meng's arrest, and experts warned more forceful actions could be coming.
The chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies was arrested in Canada on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. (AP)
James Lewis, the director of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Axios the U.S. should be prepared for a backlash and warned American tech executives to steer clear of China for now.
"If I was an American tech executive, I wouldn't travel to China this week," warned Lewis, who labeled Huawei "one of the Chinese government's pet companies" and charged the communist country's leaders wouldn't be afraid to "take hostages."
Meng will spend the weekend in jail after a Canadian judge said Friday that he needs to weigh her proposed bail conditions. The bail hearing continues Monday.
Fox News' Katherine Lam and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sabotage: The Deep State Has Destroyed Trump's Chances Of A Trade Deal With China, And The Stock Market Is Tanking As A Result
Somebody out there apparently does not want President Trump to make a trade deal with China. Just after U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to suspend the implementation of new tariffs for 90 days, one of China's most important tech executives was literally kidnapped as she was changing planes in Canada. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was simply on her way to Mexico, but at the urging of U.S. authorities the Canadians grabbed her and are refusing to let her go. Reportedly, the plan is to extradite her to the United States where she will apparently face charges relating to Huawei's evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran. When Trump was negotiating face to face with the Chinese, he was not aware that this was taking place. So now all of Trump's hard work is out the window, and our relations with the Chinese are probably the worst that they have been since the Korean War.
If U.S. authorities wanted to punish Huawei, they should have just slapped a big fine on them and have been done with it.
The Chinese would have been annoyed, but not that much damage would have been done.
But kidnapping a high profile member of Chinese tech loyalty and throwing her in prison is something that the Chinese will not forgive.
The Chinese are a deeply nationalistic people, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou is being treated as a grave national insult in China. If the goal of the Deep State was to really upset the Chinese, they picked a perfect target. The following comes from Robert Wenzel'...
''This is a really big deal. Ms. Meng is by birth and position a member of China's corporate royalty,'' David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, is quoted by TGM as having said.
According to TGM, Meng, 46, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was appointed CFO of Huawei in 2011 and is also one of four deputy chairs. She appears to be being groomed for the top job at Shenzhen-based Huawei, which is now the world's second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment.
Just imagine how Americans would feel if China kidnapped a high profile member of our tech royalty and multiply that outrage by about 10.
Until Meng Wanzhou is let go, there is not going to be any deal with China. Many Americans are not familiar with Huawei, but they are essentially China's version of Apple or Microsoft. The following originally comes from CNN'...
Huawei is one of the world's biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment. It is at the heart of China's ambitions to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and become an innovation powerhouse in its own right.
The country is pumping hundreds of billions into its ''Made in China 2025'' plan, which aims to make China a global leader in industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips. The introduction of 5G wireless technology, which hinges on Huawei, is a top priority.
Meng Wanzhou is not just the CFO of the company. She is also the daughter of the founder of the company and she is considered to be a hero by millions of Chinese.
So what in the world is the Deep State thinking? Are we going to start regularly kidnapping individuals that work for foreign corporations that have somehow violated U.S. laws?
And should Americans expect the same treatment? How would you like it if your mother or daughter was kidnapped while changing planes in a foreign country because the company that she works for had committed some sort of violation?
I don't want to make it sound like Huawei is perfectly innocent, because they aren't. But this is a move that is not just going to ensure a nightmarish trade war with China. Ultimately, things could get a whole lot worse than that.
At this point, the Chinese have summoned the U.S. ambassador and have formally demanded Meng Wanzhou's release'...
The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest the detention of a senior tech executive by the Canadian authorities ''at the unreasonable behest of the United States.''
Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who is accused by U.S. officials of attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.
It would be wonderful if Meng Wanzhou was released, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen.
So now our relationship with China is officially in the toilet, and this is one of the factors that could push stock prices much lower once again this week. In fact, as I write this article Dow futures are way down'...
U.S. stock futures fell on Sunday night as traders feared an intensifying trade war between the United States and China.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 197 points, implying a decline of 173.95 points at Monday's open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also declined. The losses would add to a steep decline from last week.
This current ''correction'' was supposed to be over by the time December rolled around, but instead stock prices accelerated their decline last week.
And many of those that work in financial circles are starting to use language that is much more pessimistic than we have become accustomed to seeing. Here is just one example'...
''We're very mindful once again where we're at in the cycle,'' Gregory Carmichael, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based lender Fifth Third, said at a conference last week. ''We're well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy, and we'll be very cautious.''
I don't know what ''well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy'' means exactly, but it sounds nice.
It frustrates me that so few people seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing. Our stores are filled with cheap products that come from China and they own more than a trillion dollars of our national debt. The two largest economies in the entire world are decoupling from one another, and if the Chinese conclude that they are not able to salvage the relationship then they will rapidly become an exceedingly dangerous enemy.
This is a major turning point, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou has put us on a road that doesn't lead anywhere good. Hopefully things can rapidly be fixed, because if not, events are likely to start escalating quite dramatically.
About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.
BEIJING (AP) '-- The Latest on the detentions in China of two Canadian men (all times local):
China has confirmed it has detained two Canadian men, saying they were being detained on suspicion of ''endangering national security.''
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody on Monday.
Lu says Canada has been informed of the detentions, but declined to say whether the men have been provided with lawyers. He says they are being handled separately.
The two cases ratchet up pressure on Canada, which is holding an executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei wanted by the United States. China has demanded the immediate release of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's CFO and the daughter of its founder.
Asked if detentions were related to Meng's arrest, Lu said they were being handled according to Chinese law.
The apparent detentions of two Canadian men in China this week have raised the stakes in a three-way international dispute with the United States.
The Canadian government said late Wednesday that entrepreneur Michael Spavor went missing after reporting that he was being questioned by Chinese authorities. His disappearance follows the detention of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday.
The two cases ratchet up pressure on Canada, which is holding a Chinese telecommunications executive wanted by the United States.
The U.S. is seeking the extradition of Huawei Technologies' Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1.
China has reacted angrily to her detention and demanded her release. It has not confirmed that Spavor or Kovrig has been detained.
An early straw poll of members of the progressive group MoveOn.org shows a wide-open competition for liberal voters in the 2020 Democratic presidential contest, with Rep. Beto O'Rourke narrowly beating out former Vice President Joe Biden.
The poll, obtained by NBC News, shows a plurality of respondents '-- 29 percent '-- either said they did not yet know whom they would support or wanted someone else not listed among the group's more than 30 potential candidate choices.
The most popular potential candidate was O'Rourke, D-Texas, who was selected by 15.6 percent of respondents, followed by Biden at 14.9 percent, and then Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 13.1 percent.
It's another sign of O'Rourke's surprising popularity among national Democrats and a potentially troubling indication for Sanders, whom MoveOn endorsed in the 2016 Democratic primary. That year, 78 percent of MoveOn members voted to back Sanders over Hillary Clinton
The three men were followed by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who garnered 10 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 6.4 percent. Meanwhile, three Democratic senators, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were each selected by about 3 percent of members.
"While the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president remains wide open and MoveOn's endorsement is up for grabs, MoveOn members and progressives across the country are clear: They're looking for candidates who will rally voters around a progressive vision of building a country where every American can thrive '-- whether we're white, black, or brown, rich or poor," said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action.
"We'll be challenging prospective candidates to inspire us with big ideas in the months to come '-- including at a series of events in early voting states in early 2019," Sheyman added.
MoveOn, which was founded during Bill Clinton's presidency, is one of the largest progressive online organizing groups with millions of members across the country, so its endorsement has been coveted in the past.
This year, the group plans to hold a series of events in early presidential nominating states as part of its endorsement process, which is ultimately decided by a vote of its members.
Here are the top 10 finishers in the MoveOn straw poll:
Someone else/DK/other: 28.8 percent
Beto O'Rourke: 15.6 percent
Joe Biden: 14.9 percent
Bernie Sanders: 13.1 percent
Kamala Harris: 10 percent
Elizabeth Warren: 6.4 percent
Sherrod Brown: 2.9 percent
Amy Klobuchar: 2.8 percent
Michael Bloomberg: 2.7 percent
Cory Booker: 2.6 percent
Alex Seitz-Wald is a political reporter for NBC News.
Tarek Fatah on Twitter: "Indian billionaire rents John Kerry and Hillary Clinton along with Beyonce to dance on stage at his daughter's wedding. Is no one in America not for sale? https://t.co/yxPIeenxoj"
British Prime Minister Theresa May has postponed a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal
Show moreA day before a vote was scheduled, British Prime Minister Theresa May has postponed a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal.
Also in the programme: What does Emmanuel Macron have to say to soothe the anger of the French in the most important speech of his presidency, and campaigners in Britain are calling for a major re-think in sentencing policy, after a report shows that more prisoners are serving life sentences in the UK than any other country in Europe.
(Photo: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May shelters from the rain under an umbrella after attending a church service near to her Maidenhead constituency, west of London. Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP)
VIDEO - Apple to invest $1 billion in new Austin campus
Apple will invest $1 billion in a new campus in Austin, Texas, the company announced on Thursday.
The 133-acre campus will be located in North Austin and will accommodate an initial 5,000 employees, with capacity for 15,000 employees in total. The new campus will be located less than one mile from Apple's existing Austin facilities and will house a range of jobs in engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales and customer support.
Apple said the expansion will make it the largest private employer in Austin.
"Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement Apple's decision to expand in Texas "is a testament to the high-quality workforce and unmatched economic environment that Texas offers."
On Thursday, Apple also announced plans to open new sites and add over 1,000 employees in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City over the next three years. It said it will also expand its existing operations in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Boston and Portland, Oregon.
Apple also announced that it has added 6,000 jobs to its U.S workforce in 2018 and is on track to create 20,000 jobs across the country by 2023.
Apple plans to invest $10 billion in U.S. data centers over the next five years, including $4.5 billion this year and next. On Thursday, the company said "preparations are underway" for its newest data center in Waukee, Iowa. It is also expanding its data centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada.
President Donald Trump has attacked Apple for producing many of its devices outside of the United States. In September, he warned Apple it could face more tariffs, ordering the company to "make your products in the United States instead of China."
TWEETApple shares have been under pressure in recent months amid worries about demand for its new iPhones. The tech titan has also been in the crosshairs of the trade war between the U.S. and China. President Trump threatened to place a 10 percent tariff on iPhones and laptops made in China last month. Apple's stock has tumbled more than 20 percent over the past three months.
VIDEO - Google CEO Sundar Pichai Testifies Data Privacy Bias Concerns, Dec 11 2018
December 11, 2018 2018-12-11T20:14:46-05:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/5e8/20181211101336003_hd.jpg Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified at a hearing on his company's use of consumer data. He answered lawmakers' questions on issues that included search results, algorithms, privacy policies, terms of service agreements, and security measures. He also faced questions about potential political partisanship or bias of Google employees, and whether staff affiliations influenced what users see in search results.Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified at a hearing on his company's use of consumer data. He answered lawmakers' questions on issues that'... read more
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified at a hearing on his company's use of consumer data. He answered lawmakers' questions on issues that included search results, algorithms, privacy policies, terms of service agreements, and security measures. He also faced questions about potential political partisanship or bias of Google employees, and whether staff affiliations influenced what users see in search results. close
If you have kids and wonder if all that time they spend on their smartphones endlessly scrolling, snapping and texting is affecting their brains, you might want to put down your own phone and pay attention. The federal government, through the National Institutes of Health, has launched the most ambitious study of adolescent brain development ever attempted. In part, scientists are trying to understand what no one currently does: how all that screen time impacts the physical structure of your kids' brains, as well as their emotional development and mental health.
At 21 sites across the country scientists have begun interviewing nine and ten-year-olds and scanning their brains. They'll follow more than 11,000 kids for a decade, and spend $300 million doing it. Dr. Gaya Dowling of the National Institutes of Health gave us a glimpse of what they've learned so far.
Dr. Gaya Dowling: The focus when we first started talking about doing this study was tobacco, marijuana, all drugs the screen time component really came into play because we were wondering what is the impact? I mean, clearly kids spend so much time on screens.
The first wave of data from brain scans of 4,500 participants is in and it has Dr. Dowling of the NIH and other scientists intrigued.
The MRI's found significant differences in the brains of some kids who use smartphones, tablets, and video games more than seven hours a day.
"We're sort of in the midst of a natural kind of uncontrolled experiment on the next generation of children."Dr. Gaya Dowling: What we can say is that this is what the brains look like of kids who spend a lot of time on screens. And it's not just one pattern.
Anderson Cooper: That's fascinating.
Dr. Gaya Dowling: It's very fascinating.
The colors show differences in the nine and ten-year-olds' brains. The red color represents premature thinning of the cortex. That's the wrinkly outermost layer of the brain that processes information from the five senses.
Anderson Cooper: What is a thinning of the cortex mean?
Dr. Gaya Dowling: That's typically thought to be a maturational process. So what we would expect to see later is happening a little bit earlier.
Anderson Cooper: Should parents be concerned by that?
Dr. Gaya Dowling: We don't know if it's being caused by the screen time. We don't know yet if it's a bad thing. It won't be until we follow them over time that we will see if there are outcomes that are associated with the differences that we're seeing in this single snapshot.
Dr. Gaya DowlingThe interviews and data from the NIH study have already revealed something else: kids who spend more than two hours a day on screens got lower scores on thinking and language tests.
Anderson Cooper: When the study is complete, is it possible that a researcher will be able to say whether or not screen time is actually addictive?
Dr. Gaya Dowling: We hope so. We'll be able to see not only how much time are they spending, how they perceive it impacting them, but also what are some of the outcomes. And that will get at the question of whether there's addiction or not.
Anderson Cooper: When will you have the answers that you're searching for?
Dr. Gaya Dowling: Some questions we'll be able to answer in a few years. But some of the really interesting questions about these long-term outcomes, we're gonna have to wait awhile because they need to happen.
That delay leaves researchers who study technology's impact on very small children anxious.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: In many ways, the concern that investigators like I have is that we're sort of in the midst of a natural kind of uncontrolled experiment on the next generation of children.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis at Seattle Children's Hospital was the lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' most recent guidelines for screen time. They now recommend parents, "avoid digital media use, except video chatting, in children younger than 18 to 24 months."
"Toddlers need laps more than apps"Dr. Dimitri Christakis: So what we do know about babies playing with iPads is that they don't transfer what they learn from the iPad to the real world, which is to say that if you give a child an app where they play with virtual Legos, virtual blocks, and stack them, and then put real blocks in front of them, they start all over.
Anderson Cooper: If they try to do it in real life, it's as if they've never done it before.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: Exactly. It's not a transferable skill. They don't transfer the knowledge from two dimensions to three.
Dr. Christakis is one of the few scientists who have already done experiments on the influence screens have on children under the age of two. It's a critical period for human brain development.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: If you're concerned about your teenager being addicted to their iphone, your infant is much more vulnerable and using the exact same device.
Anderson Cooper: Your infant is more vulnerable because why?
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: Because the experience of making something happen is so much more gratifying to them.
In a small pilot study that Dr. Christakis conducted on 15 children, researchers gave toddlers three toys: first a plastic guitar, then an iPad that played musical notes and finally an iPad with an app that rewarded the kids with lights, colors and sounds.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: So at a very specific time, the research assistant will ask the child to give what they're playing with back.
Anderson Cooper: To give it to the research assistant.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: To give it to the research assistant.
Sixty-six percent of the time with a traditional toy, the child will do just that.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: With the iPad that simulates that, they give it back almost with the same frequency. But with the iPad app that when they push on it, it does all kinds of things, they're much less likely to give it back.
With the more interactive iPad app, the percentage of kids willing to hand it back to the researcher dropped from 60 percent to 45 percent.
Anderson Cooper: It's that much more engaging?
Dr. Dimitri Christakis: It's that much more engaging. And that's what we find in the laboratory.
It's engaging by design, as Tristan Harris told us in a story we reported more than a year ago.
Tristan Harris: There's a whole playbook of techniques that get used to get you using the product for as long as possible.
Harris is a former Google manager who was one of the first Silicon Valley insiders to publicly acknowledge that phones and apps are being designed to capture and keep kids' attention.
Tristan Harris: This is about the war for attention and where that's taking society and where that's taking technology.
Anderson Cooper: You know it's one thing for adults, for kids this is a whole other thing?
Tristan Harris: That is where this gets particularly sensitive'...is developmentally do we want this war for attention to be affecting our children?
Anderson Cooper: Do you think parents understand the complexities of what their kids are dealing with?
Tristan Harris: No. And I think this is really important. Because there's a narrative that, oh, I guess they`re just doing this like we used to gossip on the phone, but what this misses is that your telephone in the 1970s didn't have a thousand engineers on the other side of the telephone who were redesigning it to work with other telephones and then updating the way your telephone worked every day to be more and more persuasive.
Until recently, it was impossible to see what happens inside a young brain when a person is focused on a mobile device. But now scientists at the University of California, San Diego have hacked that problem.
Correspondent Anderson Cooper speaks with Dr. Kara BagotDr. Kara Bagot is an investigator on that $300 million NIH study. Her team is scanning teenager's brains as they follow Instagram, the most popular social media app. When we met 18-year-old Roxy Shimp, she was about to participate in Dr. Bagot's study.
Anderson Cooper: How much time do you actually spend on screens?
Roxy Shimp: I check my phone pretty regularly I'd say.
Anderson Cooper: What's pretty regularly?
Roxy Shimp: Every at least 10 to 20 minutes.
Anderson Cooper: Is that a conservative estimate?
Roxy Shimp: Probably.
She can't take her phone into the MRI because of the powerful magnets in the machine, so a mirror has been placed above her face to allow her to look across the room at a movie screen displaying images from her Instagram account. This way, Dr. Bagot can see exactly which parts of the brain's reward system are most active while using social media.
Anderson Cooper: So you can actually see a part of the brain light up when you're feeling good.
Dr. Kara Bagot: Yes, in the scanner.
Anderson Cooper: In the scanner.
Based on her data and the results from other studies, Dr. Bagot is among scientists who believe screen time stimulates the release of the brain chemical dopamine, which has a pivotal role in cravings and desire.
Dr. Kara Bagot: So you're more likely to act impulsively and use social media compulsively instead of, like, checking yourself.
Anderson Cooper: You want to keep on it to keep getting--
Dr. Kara Bagot: The good feelings.
2017: What is "Brain Hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should careTeenagers now spend on average four and a half hours a day on their phones. All that time has resulted in a fundamental shift in how a generation of american kids acts and thinks.
Jean Twenge: When smartphones went from being something only a few people had to something that the majority of people had, it had this really big effect on how teens related to each other.
"it should be a tool that you use. Not a tool that uses you."Jean Twenge is a psychology professor at San Diego State University. She spent five years combing through four large, national surveys of 11 million young people since the 1960's. She discovered sudden changes in the behavior and mental health of teens born in 1995 and later, a generation that she calls "I-gen".
Jean Twenge: They're the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones so a lot of them can't remember a time before smartphones existed.
Anderson Cooper: There have been generational shifts before in the past, haven't there?
Jean Twenge: Certainly. But this one's much more sudden and pronounced than most of the others.
The iPhone was introduced in 2007. Smartphones gained widespread usage among young people by 2012. Jean Twenge says she was startled to find that in the four years that followed, the percentage of teens who reported drinking or having sex fell. But the percentage who said they were lonely or depressed spiked. It's possible other factors may have played a role, but Twenge says she wasn't able to identify any that correlated as closely as the growing popularity of the smartphone and social media.
Jean Twenge: It's not just the loneliness and depression from these surveys. It's also that ER visits for self harm like cutting have tripled among girls age 10 to 14.
Anderson Cooper: What are teens doing on their phones that could be connected to depression?
Jean Twenge: It could be anything. There's kind of two different schools of thought on this. That it's the specific things that teens are doing on their phones that's the problem. Or it could be just the sheer amount of time that they're spending on their phones that is the problem.
Correspondent Anderson Cooper with Jean TwengeFinding definitive answers about social media's influence on mental health can be a frustrating exercise. Eighty-one percent of teens in a new national survey by the Pew Research Center said they feel more connected to their friends and associated social media use with feeling included. But in a month-long experiment at the University of Pennsylvania, college students who limited themselves to just 30 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat reported significant decreases in loneliness and depression.
Jean Twenge: A lot of times with these technological shifts is these things are adopted because they're so wonderful and convenient. And we don't realize until later the possible consequences. And I think fortunately in the last year or so there's been more discussion about how can we manage the use of our devices.
Facebook and Instagram have introduced settings to allow users to monitor app use. And Apple, the company that started the smartphone revolution, has built a new feature for parents to set time restrictions on apps.
Anderson Cooper: Tech companies say there are tools out there that they have supplied and that they're doing their part.
Jean Twenge: A lot of parents, probably the majority I talk to, don't even realize those tools are available. and I wish they happened five years ago instead of now. But better late than never.
For its part, the National Institutes of Health has just finished enrolling the 11,000 kids for its landmark brain study. Early next year, the data will be made available to any researcher around the world investigating the effect of a device that's become the most dominant technological presence in young lives.
Jean Twenge: Smartphones are great things, They are a wonderful piece of technology. They allow us to find our way around and look up the weather and do all that kind of stuff. And if you do it for a half an hour or an hour a day, fine. No problem. Then you're using it for what it's good for. But you have to use it for what it's good for and then put it down. I mean, it should be a tool that you use. Not a tool that uses you.
Produced by Guy Campanile and Andrew Bast. Associate producer, Lucy Hatcher
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Study: 1 In 4 College Students Sends Texts In Sleep, Most Won't Remember CBS New York
December 10, 2018 at 5:43 pmNEW YORK (CBSNewYork) '' A new study from a Villanova College of Nursing professor says a growing number of adolescent college students are texting friends in the wee hours of the night, with no recollection of having done so.
More than 25 percent of the kids surveyed said they texted in their sleep and 72 percent of those students say they don't remember doing it, reports CBS2's Scott Rapoport.
Texting is especially high in this group, among whom the study says they exchange as many as 60 to 100 text messages a day.
''People have gotten used to sleeping next to their devices,'' said sleep specialist Dr. John Werber. ''So subconsciously people are falling off to sleep and there may be some angst about communicating with someone or contacting someone.
''They're reaching for the phone in this kind of altered state on consciousness,'' he said.
Werber says it is not a new phenomenon.
Several years ago, 23-year-old Megan told CBS2 she was doing the same thing.
''I guess I got up and texted and went back to bed, but I don't remember it,'' she said.
Megan relates her friends and family would receive middle of the night notes from her, and that's how she found out she was doing it.
''(At) 4 o'clock in the morning. 3 o'clock in the morning, it would just be a sentence of jumbled up stuff,'' she said.
READ: 'Sleep Texting' Poses Health Risks For Smartphone Users
One student in the study said her solution to sleep texting was to wear mittens to bed every night.
Experts say the problem is that sleep texting causes interrupted sleep, which can affect someone mentally, physically and more.
''It affects you emotionally because people become more anxious and depressed when they don't have enough sleep,'' noted Werber.
He says the solution is to ditch the phone and the electronics, get them out of the bedroom and give your brain the rest it needs.
VIDEO - California wants to tax your text messages | abc7news.com
Soon, Californians may have to think twice before texting. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is set to vote next month on a proposal to add on a surcharge for text messages.
Many tell ABC7 News that reviewing their current cellphone bill is already a challenge. Wireless customers point to the fine print, saying it's difficult to recognize exactly what you're being charged for.
Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, calls the proposal "bad practice."
RELATED: San Jose family billed $13,470 by T-Mobile for half-hour of iPhone internet"When hardworking Californians are already feeling taxed and 'feed' to death, not every new idea needs a new tax to fund it," Guardino told ABC7 News. "Here's a great example, the CPUC is sitting on $1 billion for this purpose."
He's referring to the Public Purpose Program. The Federal Government and states put the program in place, which charges customers a fee for telephone service. The money collected then helps fund programs for the poor.
The new proposal would extend the existing tax to include text messages.
"I don't actually use my text messages a lot unless I'm texting someone on an Android or something like that," wireless customer Braulio Gamino told ABC7 News. "So, not often am I using my phone for text messaging."
This wouldn't be a tax for services like Apple iMessage or Facebook Messenger, but for text messages sent on your cellphone.
VIDEO: There's a sure fire way to avoid international data charges -- and it isn't airplane mode"This is the Grinch that is stealing Christmas by stealing the tax for texts on your phones," Guardino said. "We can do better than this."
In a statement to ABC7 News, a CPUC spokesperson wrote, "Some wireless carriers assess surcharges for texting, other carriers don't. This proceeding seeks to clarify the rules on whether texting revenues are surchargeable or not."
The CPUC said the money needs to come from somewhere. If it doesn't come in the form of a text tax, you may see higher voice service charges.
In the statement, the CPUC acknowledged the impact to consumers. "The charge may even out, because if more surcharge revenue comes from texting services, less would need to come from voice services," the statement read.
Additionally, the statement read, "If texting surcharge revenues are not collected to support those programs more would need to come from voice services. The surcharge rate is less than 7 percent currently, so for every $10 of text revenues, it would cost about 70 cents."
The FCC is expected to meet Wednesday on the issue. The CPUC said the proposal goes to vote January 10.
See the proposal by CPUC here.
(Copyright (C)2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO - Pelosi, Democratic critics agree to term limits for party leaders | Fox News
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Wednesday evening that she had agreed to serve no more than four more years as leader of the chamber's Democrats under an agreement with party insurgents, virtually ensuring that she will be elected Speaker of the House when the new Congress convenes next month.
Under the terms of the agreement, House Democratic leaders will be limited to three two-year terms, though each could serve an additional term if two-thirds of the caucus support the leader staying in office. The agreement is retroactive to include the four years that Democrats held the House majority between 2007 and 2011.
In a statement, Pelosi said the proposed agreement would be put to a vote by Feb. 15. However, she added: "I am comfortable with the proposal and it is my intention to abide by it whether it passes or not."
The plan represents a narrowing of a package Democrats had considered that also would have restricted the number of years that lawmakers could serve as House committee chairs. The idea of curbing the power of seniority has encountered blistering criticism from long-time lawmakers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, several of whose members are in line to lead committees.
Democratic members who oppose Pelosi told Fox News earlier Wednesday the prospective plan would protect the current caucus leadership rather than infusing it with new blood. However, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who challenged Pelosi for the leadership in 2016, endorsed the agreement, calling it "a historic step" toward "creating a system that will ensure the speedy rise of new leadership reflecting the diversity and energy of our caucus."
Six other Democrats who had opposed Pelosi's return to the speakership joined Ryan in a statement vowing to "support and vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker."
"We wish to thank Nancy Pelosi for her willingness to work with us to reach this agreement," read the statement from Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.; Bill Foster, D-Ill.; Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.; Seth Moulton, D-Mass.; Ryan; Filemon Vela, D-Texas; and Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros, D-Calif. "We are proud that our agreement will strengthen our caucus and will help develop the next generation of Democratic leaders."
MEADOWS OUT OF THE RUNNING FOR WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
Pelosi was the heavy favorite to become House Speaker for a second time after Democrats won at least 235 House seats -- pending the final outcome of a disputed election in a North Carolina district -- in last month's midterm elections, but some Democrats had called for change at the top of the caucus.
Party rebels have said it's time for Pelosi and her two top lieutenants, No. 2 leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and No. 3 leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, to step aside and make room for a new generation. Pelosi, 78, and Hoyer, 79, have served as the top two House Democrats since 2003, while Clyburn, 78, has been the third-ranking Democrat since 2011.
DEAL STRUCK ON CAPITOL HILL FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT REFORM LEGISLATION
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., the Congressional Black Caucus chairman, criticized the proposal. He said party leaders are "people who've earned it" and added, "I don't see what problem we're trying to fix."
Democrats said they would consider whether to clamp term limits on committee chairs early next year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Mika Brzezinski Apologizes For Calling Mike Pompeo 'A Wannabe Dictator's Butt Boy' '' Talking Points Memo
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski referred to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as ''a wannabe dictator's butt boy'' on Wednesday. She later apologized for the remark.
On Twitter, Brzezinski expressed regret for her ''SUPER BAD choice of words.'' She made the comment during a discussion of the Trump administration's muted response to journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Totally agree with you -SUPER BAD choice of words .. I should have said ''water boy'''... like for football teams or something like that.. apologize to @SenatorDurbin too! SO SORRY! https://t.co/zIqsGdK3Tk
'-- Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) December 12, 2018
Raw Story reported that MSNBC ''cut Brzezinski's audio'' as a result of the comment. An MSNBC spokesperson declined to comment.
Mika Brzezinski referred to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a ''wannabe dictator's butt boy." pic.twitter.com/wk74K7PNgp
'-- TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 12, 2018
VIDEO - Dems to Google: It's Totally Fine If You Want to Be Biased Against Conservatives - YouTube
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VIDEO - Sources Say Trump Is _______. | SUPERcuts! #640 - YouTube
Adult film star Stormy Daniels must pay President Trump $293,000 in legal fees, a judge ruled on Tuesday.
"The U.S. District Court today ordered Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) to pay President Trump $292,052.33 to reimburse his attorneys' fees (75% of his total legal bill), plus an additional $1,000 in sanctions to punish Daniels for having filed a meritless lawsuit against the President designed to chill his free speech rights," Charles J. Harder, the president's legal counsel, said in a statement.
"The court's order," Harder said, "along with the court's prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels' defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case."
Attorneys for President Trump had asked a court earlier this month for nearly $800,000 in lawyers' fees and penalties from Daniels for the failed defamation lawsuit against him. Harder defended more than 500 hours his firm spent that rang up a nearly $390,000 legal bill for the president and asked for an equal amount in sanctions as a deterrent against a ''repeat filer or frivolous defamation cases.''
Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti quickly reacted, declaring the ruling wouldn't survive an appeal.
"Charles Harder and Trump deserve each other because they are both dishonest," Avenatti tweeted. "If Stormy has to pay $300k to Trump in the defamation case (which will never hold up on appeal) and Trump has to pay Stormy $1,500,000 in the NDA case (net $1,200,000 to Stormy), how is this a Trump win?"
Daniels alleged she had a one-night affair with Trump in 2006. She sued him earlier this year seeking to break a non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 election about the alleged affair as part of a $130,000 hush money settlement. Trump has strongly denied the affair took place.
Despite the deal to stay quiet, Daniels spoke out publicly and alleged that five years after the alleged affair she was threatened to keep quiet by a man she did not recognize in a Las Vegas parking lot. She also released a composite sketch of the mystery man.
She sued Trump for defamation after he responded to the allegation by tweeting: ''A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!''
Daniels' lawsuit against Trump was tossed out of court in October, with U.S. District Judge S. James Otero citing free-speech grounds.
"The court agrees with Mr. Trump's argument because the tweet in question constitutes 'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the U.S.,'' Otero said at the time. ''The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement.''
''The ruling also states that the President is entitled to an award of his attorneys' fees against Stormy Daniels,'' Harder said in a statement to Fox News following the judge's order.
Fox News' Frank Miles contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Time magazine honors journalists attacked for their work - YouTube
On Tuesday, NPR made the big announcement that Remote Audio Data, better known as RAD, is rolling out. RAD could be a game-changer for podcast measurement'...that is, if everyone gets onboard.
While podcasts are now being measured in terms of downloads and listens, podcasters really have no idea how long a listener is engaged. RAD could solve that by capturing data after the download, from the player, and sending that data back to the hosting company where those details stats could be posted.
Bryan Moffett is the Chief Operating Officer for NPM, a subsidiary of NPR. Moffett has been very involved in the development of RAD since the days NPR started using the technology on NPR One. The big question, of course, is will Apple be a player. Click on the player below to listen to PBJ Editorial Director Ed Ryan's 14-minute interview with Bryan Moffett.
VIDEO - Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake in Tennessee Felt in Atlanta Metro, Southeast | The Weather Channel
The quake Wednesday was centered between Chattanooga and Knoxville.The quake was felt in the Atlanta metro area, as well as parts of the Tennessee Valley.An early morning earthquake in east Tennessee Wednesday was widely felt over the Southeast U.S.
The magnitude 4.4 quake struck around 4:14 a.m. EST, centered about 7 miles north-northeast of Decatur, Tennessee, in Meigs County, about 55 miles west-southwest of Knoxville.
It was followed about 12 minutes later by a magnitude 3.3 aftershock.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, light shaking was observed over most of the Atlanta metro area, and a number of states from southern Alabama to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
This quake was one of the strongest on record in east Tennessee, exceeded only by a November 30, 1973 near Maryville, south of Knoxville which lead to minor damage near the epicenter.
The quake appeared to occur along the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone, a southwest-to-northeast belt extending from Alabama to far southwest Virginia that is the second-most active quake zone in the central and eastern U.S. behind the more notorious New Madrid zone.
A 2014 USGS study bumped a portion of the ETSZ to a higher risk of earthquakes, though not nearly as high as the New Madrid zone in the western part of Tennessee and other adjacent states.
Though quakes stronger than M4.7 have not been recorded in recent times, a 2017 study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America found evidence of a M6 or stronger temblor along the ETSZ within the last 25,000 years.
Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. can be felt over an area more than 10 times larger than a similar magnitude quake in the West, according to the USGS.
The Weather Company's primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
VIDEO - Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before House, addresses bias claims
By Brandi Vincent, Michael Cappetta and Jason Abbruzzese
WASHINGTON '-- It's Google's turn.
Sundar Pichai, the tech giant's chief executive, addressed lawmakers on Tuesday in his first appearance before Congress, where he answered questions about alleged political bias and the company's dealings with China.
"Right now, we have no plans to launch in China," Pichai said about reports that the company was working on a censored search engine to comply with the country's information restrictions. "We don't have a search product there."
Pichai also pledged to be open about any future developments concerning its search engine's re-entry to China, which it left in 2010.
"I am committed to being fully transparent including with policymakers to the extent we ever develop plans to do that," Pichai said.
Pichai's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee caps what has been a rough year for tech companies that have come under scrutiny from Washington politicians like never before. While it is Pichai's first time testifying, he follows executives from Facebook and Twitter who have been asked difficult questions about their companies' roles in facilitating foreign disinformation campaigns, as well as how they handle user data.
As tech companies have taken a more active role in cracking down on disinformation and abuse, they have also come under fire from conservatives for what they see as political bias. President Donald Trump has leveled similar accusations against Google, which Pichai is expected to counter.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 11, 2018. J. Scott Applewhite / APWhile Pichai fielded questions on a variety of topics, a significant portion of the proceedings took on a partisan flavor, with Republicans questioning Pichai over allegations of liberal bias and Democrats pushing back on that idea.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, referred to an email from Eliana Murillo, Google's head of multicultural marketing, reflecting on the company's efforts to get out the Latino vote in the 2016 election in "key states," as Jordan emphasized.
Pichai said the company did not favor Democrats or Republicans in its work.
''We don't participate in partisan activities,'' Pichai said. ''We engage with both campaigns, and support and sponsor debates on both sides of the aisle.''
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., used his opening statement to push back on conservative claims about bias, which he anticipated Republicans would ask about during the hearing.
''Before we delve into these questions, I must first dispense with an illegitimate issue '-- the fantasy dreamed up by some conservatives that Google and other online platforms have an anti-conservative bias,'' Nadler said. ''As I have said repeatedly, no credible evidence supports this right-wing conspiracy theory.''
I just'... This is starting to feel like congresspeople venting their anger at Pichai about partisanship and bias, instead of asking real and thoughtful questions about Google's accountability to the American people
'-- Davey Alba (@daveyalba) December 11, 2018Pichai also answered questions about Google's data collection efforts, which have recently come under greater scrutiny.
''Google is able to collect an amount of information about its users that would even make the NSA blush," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the House Judiciary chairman, said. "I think it is fair to say that most Americans have no idea the sheer volume of detailed information that is collected. Today, I hope to get answers on the extent of data collection and use by Google.''
Pichai said Google communicates with users about its data collection, but noted that the company is still working to address claims including that it can track the location of smartphone users even if they have opted out of location tracking.
''Today, for any service we provide our users, we go to great lengths to protect their privacy and we give them transparency, choice and control,'' Pichai said. ''For Google services, you have a choice of what information is collected and we make it transparent.''
Tech companies could soon face new regulations and renewed antitrust reviews as Democrats prepare to take control of the House, including proposals for new restrictions similar to the sweeping data privacy regulations put in place in Europe.
Pichai expressed general support for data privacy regulations, particularly for having consistent global rules.
''I'm of the opinion that we are better off with more of an overarching data protection framework for users, and I think that would be good to do,'' Pichai said.
Google has flown under Washington's radar compared to Facebook and Twitter, but Pichai's absence from a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in September '-- which was attended by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive officer '-- frustrated Washington politicians. A chair with a Google placard was left empty at the hearing.
Before the hearing, Trump associate Roger Stone and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones spoke to the press about tech censorship. Jones and his media company, Infowars, were banned from a variety of tech platforms including Google-owned YouTube earlier this year.
As Pichai entered the building, Jones chanted, "Google is evil." Jones also appeared outside of the hearing with Sandberg and Dorsey.
While Facebook has been the focus of broader tech backlash, Google has also had its issues. The company has faced scrutiny from some of its employees, who oppose Google's plan to build a censored search engine for the Chinese market. Google employees also staged a global walkout over the company's handling of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against some senior executives.
Google has also had its own data security issues. The company announced on Monday that it would shut down Google Plus, its social network, earlier than it originally announced, after a security flaw compromised the information of 52.5 million users on the platform.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., also pushed Pichai to address the role Google and employees play in manipulating search results.
''Right now, if you Google the word 'idiot,' under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up,'' Lofgren said. ''I just did that. How would that happen?''
Pichai elaborated on the complexity of the company's keyword and search algorithms.
''We don't manually intervene on any particular search result,'' Pichai said.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
Michael Cappetta is a producer at NBC News covering business and technology.
Jason Abbruzzese is the senior editor for technology news at NBC News Digital.
Students at the Savannah College Of Art And Design in Georgia started a petition in October to remove the name of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from a building on campus.
Citing their belief that Thomas is ''anti-woman'' and doesn't represent the values of the college, the petition garnered over 2,000 signatures from angry students and members of the community.
''I don't know I haven't done much research on this. I just saw the petition and that's the extent of it."
But do the people who support removing Thomas' name understand why they're so opposed to him?
Campus Reform's Cabot Phillips headed to Savannah to find out.
[RELATED: VIDEO: Beto O'Rourke supporters can't name any of his accomplishments]
Most students Phillips spoke with were clear in wanting the building name changed. They were not so clear in what it was they were so upset about.
One student, after saying she would sign the petition, admitted, ''I don't know I haven't done much research on this. I just saw the petition and that's the extent of it." Another student in support of the petition echoed a similar sentiment, saying, ''well I don't actually know what he did,'' while yet another added, ''I really don't know anything about him.''
One student went so far as to compare Thomas to Hitler, though when asked if he could name anything Thomas had done to justify such a comparison, the student admitted, ''I mean not in particular.''
[RELATED: VIDEO: For $100, students can't name time conservatives shut down liberals on campus]
While most students supported the petition, there were those in opposition. One such student said they believed ''just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean you shouldn't honor them.''
Another student had a message for those who had signed the petition: ''If you don't align with someone it doesn't mean they're bad. It doesn't mean they're wrong or that you're right. Do your own research and find the middle ground between you and that person.''
What did the rest of the students have to say? Watch the full video to find out:
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Cabot_Phillips
VIDEO - BITCH -Trump is 'humiliated' and 'super pissed,' sources say - YouTube
In a major snub to the United States, the European Union has decided to set up a new mechanism to enable legal trade with Iran without encountering US sanctions.
The EU will create new payment channels to preserve oil and other business deals with Iran, Federica Mogherini, the bloc's foreign policy chief said late on Monday, in a bid to evade US punitive measures.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal in May and re-imposed sanctions on the country.
Mogherini's announcement came after a meeting with foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
"In practical terms this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world," she told reporters after the closed-door meeting.
The EU, along with Russia and China, said in a joint statement that the so-called "Special Purpose Vehicle" will "assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran".
The statement added that the six countries signatory to the 2015 nuclear agreement "reconfirmed their commitment to its full and effective implementation in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere".
2015 nuclear dealKnown formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal ended a nearly 12-year standoff between Iran and Western powers in 2015.
It was spearheaded by the Obama administration and saw the lifting of international sanctions.
The nuclear agreement is meant to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, but Trump announced in May he was unilaterally pulling out because he felt it wasn't strong enough and didn't cover other issues of concern to the US and its allies, such as Iran's military influence in the Middle East and its ballistic missile programme.
The US has also accused Iran of promoting international terrorism, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.
A second round of US sanctions is expected in November, aimed at putting a stranglehold on Iranian oil exports.
Meanwhile, t he EU has vowed to stick with the deal and updated legislation to protect European companies from future sanctions.
The EU, US allies and the international nuclear watchdog IAEA maintain that Iran continues to abide by the terms of the agreement.
'Last chance'Mogherini said on Monday the decision to set up such a vehicle had already been taken and that technical experts would meet again to flesh out the details.
Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the new entity will act as a "clearing house, a middleman, so to speak, between Europeans and Iranians as they try to do business."
"If the Italians want to buy some Iranian oil, they will wire the money to this entity which will then handle the financial transactions from there and vice versa," he said.
"There will be no involvement of commercial banks and central banks, both of whom are terrified at the prospect of US retribution if they are seen to be going against US sanctions."
Rodger Shanahan, a research fellow at the Lowry Institute for International Policy, called the EU agreement "a poke in the eye for the US".
"I think it reflects the kind of the attitude that the Europeans have had about the decision by President Trump," he told Al Jazeera in an interview from Sydney, Australia.
"They have been quite upset about going against international norms of pulling out of the agreement. At the same time, all external auditors have found that Iran has been complying with the agreement.
"So the Europeans want to try and save the agreement and they're seeing this as really the last chance."
'Math on Iran's side'The EU move came a day before Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani separately address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, with the US leader expected to take a hard line on Iran.
"Iranian leaders are likely to be seen pushing their partners - the four remaining signatories plus one - to try to save some of the economic benefits from the nuclear deal," said Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi, reporting from the Iranian capital, Tehran.
Despite opposition from the EU, a number of businesses including French energy giant Total and carmakers Peugeot and Renault as well as Germany's Siemens and Daimler have already suspended operations in Iran for fear of triggering US sanctions.
But Iranian officials have told Al Jazeera that up until now oil sales have more or less remained the same, Basravi reported.
"International demand and market forces dictate that the math is on Iran's side," he said.
"So, unless the Trump administration and the White House are willing to accept a price hike, unless the international market is willing to see oil prices go up, then really the math will remain on Iran's side and oil sales are not expected to fall."
VIDEO - Someone touched Parliament's special mace, and British Twitter is losing it
By Morgan Sung 2018-12-10 23:18:55 UTCForget surgery on a grape. After Prime Minister Theresa May postponed the parliamentary vote on her contentious Brexit deal, Labour representative Lloyd Russell-Moyle defiantly marched to the center of the room, picked up the mace '-- which looks like a large, fancy club '-- and attempted to leave with it.
SEE ALSO: This brutally honest reporter perfectly sums up how Brexit is going
Fellow members of Parliament were horrified by the statement. The mace is a "symbol of royal authority" and without it, the House can't meet or pass laws.
Russell-Moyle was met with an angry uproar as fellow MPs shouted at him to "put it back." He attempted to leave with the massive gold club, but was stopped at the door and asked to "withdraw from the chamber," according to the Guardian.
Twitter users quickly reacted with jokes.
john bercow's half-hearted and utterly impotent murmurs of 'no, no, no, nono, no..." are really the brexit 'negotiations' in a nutshell https://t.co/PwureZBwQp
'-- Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) December 10, 2018
Britain to the world:We are a noble, respected and extremely advanced democracyAlso Britain:
Oh it's all kicking off now, they've grabbed the big mace!pic.twitter.com/yPoFOcvoyx
'-- James Felton (@JimMFelton) December 10, 2018
Trump is going to throw a temper tantrum over not having a mace
'-- Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) December 10, 2018
i haven't seen a mace this misused since the star wars prequels
'-- Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) December 10, 2018
The important context that you have to understand here is that the Mace is like Thor's hammer. Not just anybody can pick it up - for most of us, it would appear bolted to the floor. But Lloyd Russell-Moyle is no mortal man https://t.co/5g8avbeMUg
'-- Tom Gara (@tomgara) December 10, 2018
sorry for all the retweets of UK parliamentary drama but this account is now('_')
( '_')>'' -'
('' _' )
all about dat mace
bout dat mace
'-- Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) December 10, 2018
What's the American equivalent of steeling the ceremonial mace? Raiding the Senate candy desk?
'-- Benjy Sarlin: Endgame (@BenjySarlin) December 10, 2018
I have takenthe macethat was onthe deskand which
you probablyconsidereda breach of decorumForgive me
it was a political propso heavyand so meaningless
'-- Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) December 10, 2018
I have takenthe macethat was on the tableand which
you were probablysavingfor keeping orderForgive me
It's legislative power was so deliciousso sweetand so cold
'-- Rickin' Around the Christmas Tree (@CrystalPepsi) December 10, 2018
Ceremonial Mace Twitter is a strange place.
'-- Olivier Knox (@OKnox) December 10, 2018
I'm going to pick up the mace too
'-- Italian Alex Pareene (@pareene) December 10, 2018
hell yes it's been ages since someone grabbed the Magic Mace That Must Not Be Touched
'-- ð'>> Little Drum Machine Boy ð¥ð (@nailheadparty) December 10, 2018
To my American followers; if u grab the mace & manage to keep hold of it for longer than 2 minutes while chanting 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious', u become the next ruler of England.This is how Queen Victoria claimed the throne, but BIASED HISTORIANS won't tell u about it. https://t.co/ATT9hAqRM4
'-- Daniel Sugarman (@Daniel_Sugarman) December 10, 2018
I want an article about the clear division between US scandals like Watergate and UK scandals like what just happened in ParliamentIt could be called
THE MACE 'N' NIXON LINE
'-- Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) December 10, 2018
I want an article about the clear division between US scandals like Watergate and UK scandals like what just happened in ParliamentIt could be called
THE MACE 'N' NIXON LINE
'-- Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) December 10, 2018
The MP grabbing and walking with the ceremonial mace is outrageous to the British because the mace represents Parliament's royally derived authority, so it's a gesture of contempt to the most fundamental principle of the body, like disagreeing with a white guy in Congress.
'-- ThankYouForNotSmockingHat (@Popehat) December 10, 2018
the parliament mace thing shows why a British person could never invent a character like The Joker. the most insane thing to them is like, drinking the wrong tea during a ceremony honoring a tax accessor from 1610
'-- soon theyll be calling me ''MR BRIGHTSIDE'' (@ByYourLogic) December 10, 2018
It's been nearly 10 years since the last time someone made a grab for the ceremonial mace. In Jan 2009, Labour MP John McDonnell called the governing body's refusal to hold a vote a "disgrace to the democracy of this country" as he picked up the mace and put it down on a nearby bench.
British government scandals really are something else.
WATCH: DJ Khaled Talks With Ty Dolla $ign at the Red Carpet Pre-Show
VIDEO - Jennifer Rubin: Trump Will Resign 10 Minutes Before His Term is Up
Washington Post writer and frequent MSNBC commentator Jennifer Rubin predicted Sunday that President Trump would resign from office with 10 minutes left in his presidency and accept a pardon from his successor, Mike Pence.''I also don't think that Trump can pardon himself. And if he tries that, and that's his only mechanism, he risks being prosecuted after he leaves office,'' Jennifer Rubin said.
She continued, ''For that very reason, I would predict, here on MSNBC, that when Trump leaves office, he will resign the presidency 10 minutes before Mike Pence leaves office, allowing Pence to pardon him, if there is not a Republican president to follow him.''
''Wow'...we git that on tape,'' Jonathan Capeheart responded, also saying, ''And also, when you accept the pardon, you have to accept the level of guilt, so, keep that in mind.''
Rubin, supposedly a ''conservative'' writer, has gone full left-wing in the age of Trump. The writer made headlines over the summer for endorsing public harassment of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and saying that she deserves a ''life sentence'' of it.
''No one is telling them to be violent protesters, but we're not going to let these people go through life unscathed,'' she said on MSNBC.
''Sarah Huckabee has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss, after lying to the press, after inciting against the press. These people should be made uncomfortable, and I think that's a life sentence, frankly,'' she said.
VIDEO - Activists and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Demand Nancy Pelosi Take Action on Climate - YouTube
At a press conference on Thursday, presumptive incoming Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) criticized the notion of a border wall, calling it "immoral."
When a reporter asked Pelosi about the possibility that a Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by the House of Representatives might fund a border fence, the congresswoman argued that such funds are for "border security." Pelosi then stated that she believes a wall is a step too far:
... most of us, speaking for myself, consider the wall immoral, ineffective, expensive, and the president said he promised it. He also promised Mexico would pay for it. So, even if they did, it's immoral still ...
We have a responsibility, all of us, to secure our borders '' north, south, and coming in by plane ... and that's a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well.
The battle over President Trump's long-promised southern border wall once again reached a fever pitch on Thursday as the House and Senate passed a stopgap spending bill in order to continue funding the government. The bill gives Democrats and Republicans until December 21 to come up with a budget plan.
Democratic leaders were supposed to meet with President Trump this week, but the meeting had to be rescheduled following the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. It will now take place on Tuesday morning.
According to USA Today, the president "said he would be willing to allow a government shutdown if Congress does not approve $5 billion for construction" of his southern border wall. The $5 billion figure has been a sticking point between Trump and Democratic lawmakers.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) echoed Pelosi's sentiment regarding a border wall, saying the following on the floor of the Senate:
As everyone knows, Democrats have offered to pass the bipartisan DHS appropriations bill, agreed to six months ago, which includes $1.6 billion for border security.
Now there has been some confusion about that figure. Let me be clear: the $1.6 billion cannot be used to construct any part of President Trump's 30-foot-tall concrete border wall. It can only be used for fencing, using technology currently deployed at the border, and only where the experts say fencing is appropriate and makes sense as a security feature. This is something Democrats have always been for '-- smart, effective, appropriate border security.
This is so good that every Republican appropriator signed off on that bill a few months ago, including Leader McConnell, Senator Shelby, Senator Rubio, and Senator Graham. They were all for it. This is a bipartisan compromise proposal. Now if they cannot go for that, the proposal they signed off on and negotiated, because President Trump is pounding on the table in an irrational way, there's a second option.
Schumer then suggested that lawmakers pass multiple "bipartisan appropriations bills and a continuing resolution for the Department of Homeland Security." He also criticized the Trump administration for allegedly not having "a plan" in place for the construction of the proposed wall, as well as having the taxpayers "foot the bill." He added that the wall is simply "political fodder" for the president.
VIDEO - Ocasio-Cortez: I come from Sephardic Jews who fled to Puerto Rico - Diaspora - Jerusalem Post
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UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later In a speech at an event celebrating the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of 435 members of the incoming US House of Representative, shared that members of her family were Sephardic Jews who were forced to flee to Puerto Rico during the Spanish Inquisition.Ocasio-Cortez shared her family's past at a Hannukah celebration she held together with the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JREJ) earlier this evening, and thanked the organization on her social media account for assembling the 'festivities.'
"So many of our destinies are tied beyond our understanding." Ocasio-Cortez said regarding her family lineage.
At Hanukkah event with @JFREJNYC in an moving speech, @Ocasio2018 shares that her family were Sephardic Jews who fled to Puerto Rico. ''So many of our destinies are tied beyond our understanding'' pic.twitter.com/68bjuCFnDD
'-- Taly Krupkin (@TalyKrupkin) December 10, 2018
The newly elected congresswoman of New York told a gasping crowd, "That a very long time ago, generations and generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews."
Ocasio-Cortez told the audience of her family's past struggles as Sephardic Jews, how they were forced to flee into the mountains of Puerto Rico during the Spanish Inquisition and practice Catholicism as a front to escape antisemitic oppression.
"The story goes as, during the Spanish Inquisition, as so many people were forced to convert on the exterior to Catholicism, but on the interior continued to practice their faith.
"The culture [at this time] in Puerto Rico is that people who open their closets, there would be this small menorah inside, and as they had children, and their children had children, and their children had children. These cultures started to kind of mix in a way that many people in those subsequent generations didn't understand. To practice Catholicism on the exterior, but when you're at home to practice Judaism."
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is from Queens, New York, and at the age 29, will be the youngest member ever to be a part of Congress
What a beautiful and touching evening we shared tonight for our community Chanukah celebration.Thank you Rabbi Mia for the opportunity of helping you light the shamash, and thank you @JFREJNYC for assembling the festivities!
May tonight's light and hope spark many others ''¨ pic.twitter.com/vBE2s3KH5S
'-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 9, 2018 Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>
VIDEO - Justin Trudeau defends his record on trade, economy in The National interview | CBC News
I sat down with the Prime Minister at the Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal last Thursday.
It was before the First Ministers meeting, a meeting that proved to be a lot of talk about tension, but not a whole lot of consequences to all that talk.
It's not one of those year-end interviews; it's an interview I have been trying to get for some time now. He's busy, that's understandable.
But as we are now less than one year away from an election, sitting down with the current prime minister and his rivals for that job seems important. The goal of the interview was not to have Trudeau react to news of the day, but rather to reflect a bit on decisions he has made and defend them and explain them.
You can judge how good a job he does in answering those questions.
We will do other interviews with other leaders in the weeks to come to help Canadians understand what these leaders and their parties stand for and, when the time comes, how to decide who best represents your values and priorities
RB: Good to see you.
PMJT: Good to be here Rosie.
RB: How you doing?
PMJT: Very well.
RB: Good. I'm going to start with where you were around this time last week, at the G20 and the signing of the new NAFTA, that's what I call it anyway. I know you might argue that tariffs and trade deal are not the same thing, that they're two separate things, but it seems to me that you had some leverage there with the United States, and you won't get it again. So why did you sign it even with those tariffs still in place?
PMJT: Well, I think first of all, making sure we're securing access to our most important trading partner for businesses, for workers, for our Canadian economy was essential, and the alternative to not signing would have put what we have achieved in terms of signing a really important trade deal with the U.S. at a time of tremendous protectionism and uncertainty. I mean investors and businesses are extremely happy that we have settled the question of NAFTA.
PMJT: The question of leverage is one to reflect on. I mean we obviously want to get rid of those steel and aluminum tariffs, we need to, we're going to continue to stand up for our workers, but we also see the path towards ratification as a place where there are continued conversations from members of Congress, from business or associations in the United States, from governors who also want to see these tariffs gone, and we're going to keep working on that.
RB: So that's the leverage then, trying to press on people around him or people in Washington?
PMJT: Every step of the way there continued to be levers to pull on and we're going to continue to do what Canadians expect us to do which is look at every opportunity to stand up for our interests.
Watch Trudeau discuss tariffs:
In a wide-ranging interview with The National's Rosemary Barton that airs Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about the steel and aluminum tariffs that were slapped on Canada by the United States '-- and his game-plan to have them removed. 0:39 RB: When you were having that press conference beside the president and you said at one point: 'Donald, all the more reason to get rid of these tariffs,' did you give him a head's up that you were going to do that or did you just feel you needed to admonish him publicly like that.
PMJT: No, I spoke with him just before and I'd spoken with him a few days before, impressed upon him how important it was for us to uh get rid of, uh get rid of these tariffs between our two countries. It doesn't make sense to be moving forward on free trade and still have tariffs, particularly ones that are on a national security justification that makes no sense when it comes to Canada.
RB: OK, but that's what we did, we moved ahead with free trade and left the tariffs in place. So what is the path forward to getting rid of them?
PMJT: To continue to engage with the broad range of partners across the United States, for members of congress, to business leaders, to workers groups who know that these tariffs, like any tariffs, hurt consumers and workers on both sides of the border.
RB: There was a point there once it was done, after it was done, where the U.S. ambassador said we'd probably send someone with a bag over their head to a signing ceremony. Why did you feel the need to play along with that given that it was so difficult, personal at times, why did you give the president that moment to vaunt the trade deal?
PMJT: Oh, Canadians don't want me to make this personal, Canadians want me to make sure that I'm doing what's right for Canada and it is right for Canada to move forward with a secured NAFTA '-- that is what I've heard from Canadians right across the country. That's what people of all political backgrounds and all industries have been working on together. Our united approach on NAFTA made a huge difference around the bargaining table and we got a better deal than we otherwise would have.
Watch the full interview with Justin Trudeau:
RB: Yeah but you didn't have to stand next to him to sign it. It was going to happen whether you stood there or not, so...
PMJT: Actually no, there needed to be a signing ceremony and we were glad to be able to say 'look, we worked very hard on this, there's still more work to do on tariffs, obviously we need to stand up for our steel and aluminum workers, but we have secured free trade with the United States and that is a big thing, not a small thing.'
RB: You have said that the president is unpredictable, you've said that he doesn't play by the rules, can you give me an example of how that has affected your job as prime minister, having someone who is so unpredictable?
PMJT: Well I think as Canadians have seen, we've continued to stay constructive in our relationship with the United States. It means that we certainly don't react or overreact when we get a surprise in a tweet or a statement. We continue to say, look, the relationship is bigger than that between any two individuals at the heads of the country, and we're going to continue to focus on that relationship, and that's between Canadians and Americans. That approach has stood us in good stead.
RB: But it certainly has made your job more challenging.
PMJT: Being prime minister of Canada is a challenging job at anytime, and there's always personalities, and challenges on the global stage one has to deal with. I've gotten used to having to adjust to surprises on the world stage, not just from the United States. That comes with the territory.
RB: Has it gotten easier with the president?
PMJT: I think certainly we have a level of understanding of each other that has grown through having worked together, through having got to a resolution on this big file of modernizing NAFTA. So yes there's a little more understanding of what our personalities are and how we can work together.
RB: But you're not going to hang out with him?
PMJT: Canadians expect me to be professional around this and I will continue to.
RB: I wanna move to another thing that happened at the G20 when you took some time to meet with the Saudi prince. The Saudi Crown Prince, MBS. You raised the issue of Raif Badawi, his sister, Jamal Khashoggi, and the war in Yemen. How does a leader respond to another leader coming up to him and saying: 'listen, we have some problems here, I need you to do,' whatever you asked him for. How does he respond to that?
PMJT: Well I think that very much depends on the way things are phrased, and my frame, in all cases on the world stage, is Canada wants to be helpful in moving us towards a better place as a planet and highlighting our concerns around the humanitarian crisis in Yemen involves an offer of: 'look Canada wants to be helpful,' whether it's through the UN, with our allies. There are people suffering and dying, we want to be helpful.
So it's 'look, we need to see a ceasefire, we certainly want to work with you in the international community to get to that ceasefire and to be able to flow humanitarian aid.' It's never a situation of you know, imagining that we can stand there and tell another country what to do, or how to do it. It's saying, 'look, it would be great if you were to do this and we could be helpful in moving forward in a constructive way.' I think that's what Canadians try to do on the world stage at all levels.
RB: I can see how that conversation would happen on Yemen, less obvious how it would happen on Jamal Khashoggi.
In this Oct. 24, 2018, file photo, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the second day of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed held talks with Justin Trudeau at the recent G20 summit in Argentina. (Amr Nabil/Associated Press) RB: How do you say to the crown prince 'we're pretty sure you were involved in the killing of an innocent journalist.'
PMJT: Well we say we need better answers on that. We need better accountability. The killing of a journalist is something that is extremely serious to Canadians, to me. But I'm getting a lot of questions from Canadians, who are rightly, like citizens around the world, really preoccupied, outraged at what happened. We need, as a global community, to provide better answers to citizens.
RB: His response to you, saying that, with you knowing full well what you know about the intelligence behind it?
PMJT: His response is: 'look, we're happy to continue to work and get more information and more proof, and if you have proof or information, continue to provide it. That's exactly what we're doing.'
RB: Do you roll your eyes at that point?
PMJT: Being a leader on the world stage involves having an ability to engage with all types of people without letting personal feelings overtake one's involuntary movements.
RB: Have you heard the tape, or have you been briefed on what that tape is?
PMJT: I have been briefed on what the tape is.
RB: And what was that like?
PMJT: Obviously it's something that intelligence communities have taken and listened to and worked with and is part of our reflection on getting real answers.
RB: Could you characterize it for me?
PMJT: I'm not going to characterize that, no.
PMJT: I'm not going to characterize it.
RB: You also made it clear to the crown prince that Canada stands up for human rights. How can you say that to him, knowing that we are still selling those light armoured vehicles? Is there not a contradiction in that?
PMJT: This is a question that comes up not just in regards to Saudi Arabia, but in regards to a broader array of countries that have different levels of defensive human rights than Canadians have and Canadians expect. Whether it's China, whether it's Russia, whether it's Saudi Arabia, whether it's other countries around the world that aren't as far along in terms of defensive LGBT rights, or others.
We try to look for constructive ways to have relationships that lead us to being able to be very frank on human rights, on where we disagree, where we feel we could perhaps be helpful in improving things, while at the same time look for a way where you're not shaking your fist at someone and saying: 'you've gotta change,' in an expectation that that alone will have them change.
RB: No, not that alone, but Germany did it. Germany said: 'we're not willing to do this anymore.'
PMJT: We are engaged very much with the issue behind the scenes, looking at export permits and looking about ways forward.
RB: Is the contract impossible to break?
PMJT: There are reflections ongoing around that.
RB: What does that mean?
PMJT: That means we are in discussions on what to do with our continued economic relations with Saudi Arabia.
RB: Just so I'm clear though, the contract could be broken. It's possible.
PMJT: As I highlighted, the contract has particular provisions, both for confidentiality, and around significant penalties. It was a contract that was signed by the previous government and we are looking at it obviously.
RB: OK. Let's turn to what's about to happen this week, the first minister's meeting. You're about to go into this meeting with a bunch of people that you probably don't know as well, that I wouldn't characterize as allies of yours in particular. You've got four provinces who have not complied with the carbon tax, now you're imposing it on them.
It does seem to be, as well, more coordinated, actively working against you on the carbon tax. How much more difficult is it, then, for you to sell that to Canadians knowing that there's these other people out there saying it's the wrong thing to do.
PMJT: One of the questions people have, have asked me are: Given the context, and yes, the real disagreements around the first minister's table that are likely to come up, am I wishing I'd taken a page out of Stephen Harper's book and decided to do away entirely with first minister's meetings? And the answer of course is no. I think it's really important to sit down and be able to look people in the eyes and talk in a constructive way about how we serve the citizens that we all are here to serve.
Scott McBride, of Nanaimo, B.C., holds a caricature of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a protest against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday March 10, 2018. Critics say Trudeau has done a poor job in supporting the oil industry. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) There are going to be things that we agree on, there are going to be things we disagree on, and having these conversations, even though some will be more difficult than others, and some years will be more difficult than others, continues to be something that I think Canadians rightly expect from their prime minister. I'm glad that this is our fourth year doing this, and I'm going to continue to sit down and meet with the premiers every single year because it's really important in terms of our, our federation.
RB: I get that, that wasn't the question though. The question was: is it harder to sell the carbon tax when you have premiers saying that it is the wrong thing to do?
PMJT: I think the fact that there are a bunch of Conservatives out there who have decided that pollution should be free is not that difficult to counter. I think Canadians understand that we have to fight climate change, prepare our economies for the future, and make sure that we're supporting Canadians through this transition. That's exactly what we're doing, that's exactly what our plan is.
We're putting a price on pollution, cause we want less pollution and the fact that conservatives in this country don't want to move forward, on either fighting climate change or helping people ensure that we can get the good jobs in the future, is a conversation I'm willing to have anytime. The political machinations around it that conservatives from Andrew Scheer, to Doug Ford, to others are trying, are really off base with where the conversations I've had with Canadians are.
RB: I do think Canadians are worried about climate change as well. I'm not sure, though, that they're willing to give up the comforts of their life for climate change. which is sort of what you're suggesting, is it not?
PMJT: No, but that's exactly why what we're doing in moving forward with putting a price on pollution also involves making sure that ordinary families in the provinces where the federal government has to bring in a price on pollution, cause the Conservative government won't do it, that those families are actually better off, better supported. What we're doing with the climate action incentive is making sure that a family in Ontario, that will have extra costs because of putting a price on pollution, will be more than equivalently compensated for it.
RB: What is your hope in terms of how those people change their behaviour and do you have a sense of how quickly that would happen?
PMJT: Well I think we know that when you put a price on something you don't want...
RB: A tax.
PMJT: Like pollution.
RB: A tax.
PMJT: Well we're putting a price on pollution, right.
RB: It's a tax, but OK.
PMJT: And we're making sure, we'll act, actually the money is going straight back to the jurisdiction. This isn't going into federal coffers. This isn't something we're going to spend on something else. We're actually giving that money back to citizens in the province in which it was raised, because we know that if you make pollution free people are going to give out more of it.
That's quite frankly what the Conservatives wanna do. They wanna make pollution free again, to use a handy phrase. We say no, if you wanna pollute, there should be a cost associated with it.
RB: And yet we saw a political, I think he's a political ally of yours, Emmanuel Macron, faced this very question over the past couple of weeks. He put a surtax on fuel, riots in the street, and he had to back down. What lesson did you learn from watching that?
PMJT: He didn't ensure the second part of it, you put a price on pollution cause we want less pollution, but you also make sure that ordinary Canadians are going to be able to afford this transition towards a lower carbon economy.
RB: So it's the rebate that makes the difference?
PMJT: The rebate, the support for families, because people are worried about the future, they are worried about climate change, they're also worried about their kids' jobs and their own retirement. Making sure that we are supporting families through this transition time is a fundamental responsibility for every government. That's at the core of our approach, that's not what we can see of the Conservatives' approach, and that's not what other countries have done.
RB: So when Conservatives, and other people, when they talk about commuters particularly, people who live in the suburbs around Toronto who have to drive a lot, have to bring their kids places, all that kind of stuff, they are the people who will be burdened the most. Do you think that the rebate means that it'll be completely different, that they don't have to worry, or do you expect that people will feel a squeeze when it starts to happen as it begins to ramp up?
PMJT: No, the average family will be better off with the rebate under what we're doing. But that's not all we're doing, obviously. We've invested massively in public transit, we're investing in cleaner energy sources, in renewable energies, in clean tech, and we're making historic investments in making sure that the jobs in innovation, as we move towards a lower carbon economy, are front and centre.
RB: And yet the United Nations says most of the large emitting countries, including Canada, are not on track to meet the Paris targets, no G20 country is in fact. So you're doing this, and it's having not the impact that the United Nations would like to see. They are calling for more urgency. So how do you respond in the face of that? Do you speed up what you're doing? Do you change what you're doing?
PMJT: Countries around the world are looking, with a lot of interest, at how Canada is moving forward on putting a price on pollution and supporting ordinary citizens through this transition. This is a model that a lot of people are very, very interested in because it is a model that is going to set us on a path to reach our Paris targets.
RB: Well, the UN says no. The UN says it's not going to happen.
PMJT: We are going to be able to reach those commitments.
PMJT: By having a price on pollution. People will look for ways to innovate, to pollute less and the positive virtuous cycle that comes through this, as people make better inventions and innovations, we actually develop a path forward in a meaningful way that will effectively reduce our climate change emissions and improve outcomes.
RB: So you will reach the Paris targets?
PMJT: We're going to reach our Paris targets, yes.
RB: You mentioned the Conservatives in provinces. There does seem to be sort of a growing movement in provinces, that happens a lot as you know, and when liberals are in power federally. The movement seems to be embodied, at least, in part by Doug Ford. So I wonder what you think is so appealing to him about voters, and, whether they are the same people who are interested in you.
PMJT: I think there's, there's no question that Ontarians, like all Canadians, are worried about growth in the economy, worried about their jobs, worried about the changes they're seeing in the economies around them, around globalization, and wanting to make sure that there are answers for how they fit into that. That's something that I share as a preoccupation with all premiers, including premier Ford. So we're going to work together in trying to figure out ways to grow the economy, to help citizens, to move forward in positive ways.
RB: Yeah, but you couldn't say that you share the same values.
PMJT: No, but we share similar preoccupations about how we're going to help Ontarians, and that's why I'm looking forward to sitting down with him to talk about how we move forward in the ways that we agree.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford reads his notes during the first ministers meeting in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press) RB: On Sunday the Alberta premier announced a reduction on oil production to deal with these historic low prices [for oil] in Alberta. She's also buying rail cars to try and find more ways out. You have said it's a crisis. How can you not offer help if it's a crisis?
PMJT: Oh we have absolutely offered help and we've'...
RB: Like what?
PMJT: We recognize, first of all, that Alberta and Albertans are going through a terrible moment right now. This price differential is hitting harder than just about anything has been over the past years, and they need help. the first and foremost thing they need is to be able to get our oil resources to new markets other than the United States. The fact that Canada, Canadian oil is for the most part prisoner to the U.S. market, means that we are taking a massive discount.
If we are going to move forward in a transition towards a lower carbon economy, we're going to need to be able to pay for that transition, and taking billions of dollars of discount every year does not make any sense. So that's why we are so committed to moving forward to getting our resources to markets the right way, markets other than the United States, like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. But we're following the court's rulings on how to do that.
The problem is, for ten years we had a government that ignored the courts, ignored Indigenous communities, ignored environmental science and didn't listen to Canadians' preoccupations about that, and we lost ten years of building these projects.
Watch as Trudeau discusses the oil industry:
In an exclusive interview with The National, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is willing to consider helping Alberta Premier Rachel Notley fund the purchase of rail cars to increase the volume of oil her province can ship to international markets. Trudeau's comments comes as tensions have increased between the Prime Minister's Office and the premiers, who are in Montreal to meet with Trudeau for the first ministers meeting. 4:28 RB: So that's your long-term solution. But the premier is concerned about the short-term and that's why she's doing these things right now. What have you offered to her? What can you do for the, you know, tens of thousands of people laid off in that sector now? Is there anything you can do?
PMJT: We are absolutely looking at the tools we have around EI. We're looking at the tools we have around income support. We've done a number of things around that, around situations in the past and we're going to continue to do that. I'm also willing, of course, to sit down with premier Notley and hear about how the federal government can be a partner in solving this in real ways.
RB: But she's told you she wanted you to buy rail cars, for instance.
PMJT: You know, that's something we're happy to look at. If that's a proposal that she thinks is going to make a significant difference, then we're happy to look at how it works. I mean we're there to be a partner to help.
RB: Is the answer, though, not really, we've already bought you a pipeline, what more do you want?
PMJT: Well no we still have a lot of work to do to get the Line Three. Well actually, the Line Three expansion is going to come in the third quarter, or fourth quarter next year. That'll bring a certain amount of relief and the moving forward in the right way on the Trans Mountain will also remove pressures. But you know, we are, working forward towards what is the fundamental problem, which is we only have one market for Alberta and for our prairie oil.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to cabinet members about an 8.7-per-cent oil production cut to help deal with low prices, in Edmonton on Dec. 3, 2018. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press) RB: For TMX you're obviously going back, as the federal court said, you should do right now, re-consulting with First Nations, having a better dialogue. What are you willing to do, though, to get it built; change the route, better accommodate some of those first nations communities? Are you willing to consider those things?
PMJT: Absolutely, that's at the heart of what the Federal Court of Appeal's ruling was. We're a country of respect for the rule of law, respect for the constitution, and the court gave us a blueprint and said, you need to do a better job of consulting with Indigenous communities, and you need to do a better job on some of the environmental science in regards to marine safety and that's exactly what we're doing.
We have a country that has vast natural resources, but also citizens who are quite rightly preoccupied with the impact of our resource development on themselves, on their environment, on their kids' future. Getting those right in a thoughtful way is exactly what the court is laying out a blueprint for and what we're going to follow.
RB: But because you've bought it already, with my tax dollars, and everybody's tax dollars, it has to go ahead. It has to go ahead in some form and by some route, does it not?
PMJT: Well we bought a existing pipeline and the option to move it forward and we are going to follow what the court laid out as the way to do this the right way, and to come to the right decision for whether or not it's in Canada's national interest and that's what we're doing.
RB: But you believe that it is?
PMJT: I have said consistently we need to get our resources to new markets, but we need to do it in the right way. The problem that we had for a decade under the previous government is they weren't preoccupied with doing things in the right way. They just wanted to try and get things done, and what that led to was not getting things done at all.
Right now, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion for example, goes hand in hand with putting a price on pollution and actually reaching our Paris targets. Because we know that as we get our oil resources to new markets we bring in more wealth that can pay for that transition and the innovation, while at the same time, Alberta has chosen to put an absolute cap on oil sands emissions which will allow us to reach those Paris targets.
RB: When GM announced its future shutdown of the Oshawa auto plant, you said you're going to help to get those workers back on their feet. But it occurs to me, you know, for that decision, for the people being laid off in Alberta, there's only so much you can do really. So what would you say to those people who are concerned that their jobs are sort of evolving away, that the jobs are not maybe the jobs of the future.
RB: What could you do for them?
PMJT: Well, first of all, support for those families and the people going through a, a terribly worrisome time, a terribly difficult time. Oshawa has an extraordinary long hundred-year-history with that plant and it is a devastating piece of news that GM has put forward and we're continuing to work both with GM and with folks to try and see if there isn't a path forward. But certainly, support for those families is top of mind. We also understand that yes, there are going to be changes in the workforce, there are changes in consumption habits, there are changes in the global economy that come with more automation, different supply chains around the world, AI.
I know there will always be a role for manufacturing in Canada, for high value manufacturing in Canada, whether it's new technologies that are coming in, or improvements on old technologies. That focus is something we're continuing to invest in and that's why our investments in skills, in university, in stem research, in bringing women into the workforce, these are the kinds of things that we're trying to help Canadians in that transition.
RB: I get that, and that you're trying to think about jobs for the future, but GM doesn't wanna stay here so what does that tell you?
PMJT: Actually GM has invested significant amounts in, for example, in an engineering research facility in Markham where they are working on jobs of the future, they are looking at more electric cars and self-driving cars. And Canada is a part of how they think about the future.
RB: So then why don't you just say to them take that giant plant you have and make cars of the future. Why won't they consider'...
PMJT: That's part of the conversation ongoing. Obviously President Trump and I commiserated about this in that the U.S. is losing four or five plants. We're losing one plant and the Oshawa plant is actually one of the, was always, one of the top performing plants in the world for GM.
So there are real questions about what we can do to try and make sure that we're giving every possible support to those workers.
The relationship between Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump has sometimes been testy. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press) RB: Why do you double down on deficit spending when the economy is doing so well? It doesn't make a lot of sense to people.
PMJT: Over the ten years of the previous government, we faced stubbornly low growth and low employment numbers, and we made a very deliberate decision in 2015. We were the only party to say investing in Canadians, investing in infrastructure, investing in our communities, putting more money in the pockets of the middle class, and those working hard to join it, like with the Canada child benefit, is the way to grow the economy.
There were a lot of people that were skeptical. But what we've actually seen is that money for the Canada Child Benefit, for the increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement for our most vulnerable seniors, investing in infrastructure that's making a difference in communities, that drawing in investment, making strategic investments in businesses, lowering the barriers to small businesses success, our approach has actually delivered the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years...
PMJT: Has delivered five or six hundred thousand new jobs created over the past three years, and we had the fastest growth in the G7 last year. Our approach to invest, in order to grow the economy, is working and we're going to continue to do that in responsible ways. Every year, our debt as a proportion of our GDP continues to decline. We're the lowest ratio in the G7. We're doing very well.
RB: So you're OK with that broken promise though?
PMJT: We are on a trajectory that demonstrates decreasing deficits and growing economies.
RB: But is that because politicians thinking on issues evolves, that you had a different thought about what the economy could be versus what you wanted to do with it when you got in office, or is that just because you said, this actually isn't that important the deficit?
PMJT: No, we've always said that fiscal responsibility is extraordinarily important and that's something that we've demonstrated with the declining share of our debt as a piece of our GDP.
RB: I know, I guess I'm just trying to understand how you went from saying we're going to have this, we're going to return to balance, then to no longer talking about that. Like what was the thinking for you, where you said to yourself that shouldn't be my focus anymore, we shouldn't be preoccupied with that.
PMJT: The fact that our approach is working, that people are getting, you know, new and better jobs, that our economy is growing, that unemployment is low that Canadians are more confident, not just in their futures, but their kids' futures, means that our approach continues to work, and maintaining that fiscal responsibility, and that fiscal discipline is part and parcel of what we always do.
RB: OK so that's a reasonable answer, but how should Canadians interpret that then? That it's OK to break a promise if you can show that what you've chosen is a better option?
PMJT: Well I think people understand that circumstances change and, for example, all the cuts that the Conservatives made in that last year of their government, cuts to veteran services, cuts to border security, cuts to a significant range of programs, that weakened Canadians, and showed a phony balance and, just in time for the election, that immediately snapped back into a huge deficit, regardless of what we were going to do, people understand that they want a government that is going to adjust to what the needs of the time are. We are very much realizing that our plan of investing in Canadians, of investing in infrastructure, and in their communities, is working to grow our economy and we're going to keep doing it.
RB: Did that trip to India do more harm than good?
PMJT: There was a number of things that came out that were very positive about that trip.
RB: Like what?
PMJT: In terms of investments, in terms of jobs, we're talking about a billion dollars in two-way investment, we're talking about thousands and thousands of jobs across this country created. We saw positive connections between our diaspora communities, but yeah, if I had to redo that trip I would do it very differently.
RB: Would you wear the outfits?
PMJT: No, I probably would not. I think that was a clear. I mean I had more suits on that trip than I had outfits, but the pictures of the outfits dominated and certainly it was a lesson learned.
RB: And the whole attempted murderer showing up at a dinner, I know the report has come out and you're not willing to say much about what was redacted, but it seems to me you at least have a lesson here about how you do these things.
PMJT: Absolutely. On every trip there are lessons to learn, ways to improve how we do things. I mean one of the lessons on this is just how important it is that we have a national security committee of parliamentarians that actually come together, all parties together, and weigh in on these issues.
And the professionalism with which they dug into some very complex issues, and the solutions they put forward are significant aide to our government and to all governments moving forward.
RB: You've said that Canadians should expect the next election to be the nastiest yet. What are you going to do to prevent that?
PMJT: I'm going to continue to demonstrate that positive politics that bring people together, that not engaging in personal attacks, not trying to dumb down and simplify politics so it fits on a bumper sticker or an easy slogan, instead treat Canadians as intelligent, rational citizens who want to be part of the difficult reflections on how we move forward. The challenge with populism, as we've seen it rise over the past three years particularly, is that it sort of takes citizens for fools.
It says, while we can scare them by you know, going into our darkest fears and making political hay out of it, I'm always going to look for ways to bring people together, to involve them in the solutions, and demonstrate that Canadians deserve better than politicians who play the fear and division card every time they can.
RB: Do you practice what you preach?
PMJT: I certainly try to, yeah.
RB: You try to?
PMJT: Yeah absolutely.
RB: Would you admit that there are times when you don't?
PMJT: I will admit that I have occasioned to be critical in ways. I always look for ways to be very fierce about distinctions in policy and calling out the politics of division and fear whenever I see it. I won't make apologies for that, cause I'm going to fight for the democratic principles that we have, and the values of an informed populous.
RB: I'm thinking back to a moment at the beginning of October when we were talking about the Terri-Lynne McClintic issue with the healing lodge, and inside the House of Commons you called the Conservatives ambulance chasing politicians '-- and it wasn't just in the heat of the moment.
RB: Cause then you came right back out and you said it again. How do you feel about that comment now? Does it reflect who you are as a politician?
PMJT: I think it does because I won't make any apologies for calling out people who use the basest kinds of politics and fears to torque a situation. I mean they'...
RB: But how did they do that?
PMJT: Know, knowing...
RB: You've changed the policy.
PMJT: Knowing what we know now.
RB: You've changed the policy subsequent to that.
PMJT: Oh yes we did.
PMJT: But they didn't recognize that they had done exactly the same thing 14 times while they were in office. And the fact that Terri-Lynne McClintic was transferred to a medium security institution under the Conservative government, and she remained in a medium security institution throughout the time that they were criticizing me, showed that they were willing to exploit a horrific tragedy to a family, to a little girl, to try and score cheap political points.
RB: Or they were trying to call attention to an issue that needed to be changed that you subsequently changed...
PMJT: That they consistently ignored, and we didn't change it by suddenly giving the politicians power to classify a criminal. We asked...
RB: No, I understand that.
PMJT: We asked the institution to review its policies to make sure they were right. That was a change that they very much could have made when, if they were so outraged about it, while they were busy doing it.
But they chose to play a level of politics, when they themselves had engaged in exactly that behaviour, in a way that is cynical that I will not apologize for calling out the politics of cynicism, of fear, of division, of anger, of hatred.
RB: Yeah but that's not what you did, you called them a name back, ambulance chasing politicians. I just wonder whether you think you should have said something different now.
PMJT: I think it's extremely important to point out when people are playing the basest kinds of politics. And the fact that I am calling out Conservatives on the way they play politics with horrific tragedies to do fundraising, and to try and score cheap points. I'm willing to do it.
RB: After you made the decision to change the healing lodge.
PMJT: Listen, their decision to move forward and to make this an issue on the back of a terrible tragedy was something that would require to call them out.
RB: But you changed the policy, like, it worked.
PMJT: What worked was we actually asked Corrections Canada to review their entire policy. We didn't change that one case. We didn't weigh in the way politics'...
RB: No, I understand but it forced you to look at the policy and in that way the opposition was doing its job. Whether you like the language they used is beside the point.
PMJT: I think there's two things.
First of all, yes, it is an opposition's job and responsibility to challenge, to call out, to say you should do things differently, you can do things differently.
PMJT: That's really important. But if they do it by exacerbating the polarization, the anger, the fear within electorate, we start to walk down a very, very dangerous path. And I am always going to be very firm and unequivocal about calling out nastiness and negativity to that level in politics.
And if you take...
PMJT: The comment I made and put it up against the kind of ugly rhetoric that they put forward, you'll see that my comment was actually very mild. But you know, as we often see, there is a habit amongst those particular practitioners of negative politics to have very thin skins when things are turned around on them.
RB: Have you learned anything about your temperament in this job? I have some observations, but I'll let you go first.
PMJT: Yeah. I'm extremely passionate about standing for what I believe to be the truth and believe in my values. And I get offended when people rely on falsehoods, and I get irritated when people try and play fast and loose with facts, or ignore facts entirely. I think that is weakening not just to our governance, but to our institutions and to our democracy.
RB: You're scrappy.
PMJT: I can be.
RB: Would you say?
PMJT: I'm not going to, you know, sit by meekly as people weaken our institutions and our democracy.
RB: And what is the difference between being scrappy and being full of sunny ways? Because that's not something you say very much anymore and maybe it's just a reality of governing. I don't particularly love the expression anyway, but is there a difference between that, or can you be scrappy and still positive?
PMJT: I think, absolutely.
PMJT: I think I can and I think I do. I mean, I always look for ways to bring people together. I look for ways to solve solutions. I look for ways [to] solve problems, I look for ways to listen to people and make sure we are consulting and engaging in thoughtful ways. Now it usually requires me to give a longer answer to a complex question than someone who's just looking for an easy populist answer, but I'm always going to be ready to argue a given point.
RB: Do you think though that you're a better politician than the Conservatives? I mean it seems that to me that you're sort of putting yourself on a different level than them and I wonder if that's not a little dismissive of the people who believe the things they're saying, because there's a lot of them.
PMJT: I'm always willing to have a debate on the facts, to look at counter-proposals. But what we're not seeing from the opposition, whether it's on climate or even on economic policy is much of a plan, or an explanation of how they would do things differently. So we're not actually debating on the substance of what we're doing, they tend to go to name calling and a challenge around, you know, personal attacks rather than actually debating the substance of what we're putting forward.
RB: Do you think are a patient person?
PMJT: It depends on the context. If I'm spending time with a Canadian who has questions about what we're doing, I have a tremendous amount of patience. If I'm in a situation where I'm engaging with someone who should know better and chooses to believe that the earth is flat, or that climate change is not man made, then I will be a little more impatient because I feel that is a choice that they're making that is impacting negatively on our ability to come together and actually solve the big problems we're facing.
RB: So you probably don't have good chats with the president then?
PMJT: No, I've had excellent conversations with...
RB: You must be impatient with him though.
PMJT: I've had good conversations with the president.
RB: Do you think that sometimes you are perceived as trivial or superficial? I'll give you examples. The outfits in India certainly gave that perception. The tweet on the weekend to Trevor Noah about the $50 million dollars.
PMJT: Yeah but see, but that's an interesting one, because of course when you make a spending decision like that, there's weeks of reflection on whether or not this is the right thing to do. Because our political opponents don't particularly like the way we announced it, they find themselves opposed to investing money in some of the most vulnerable kids around the world.
RB: No, I don't know that they're opposed to that. I think they're opposed to the trivial nature in which it was announced. Like why do you have to'...
PMJT: Would they prefer I have a big novelty cheque like the Conservatives used to do?
RB: No, but tagging a celebrity, what's the benefit of that as prime minister?
PMJT: Well one of the challenges is if we were to put out a press conference in the Ottawa press theatre that says 'we're sending $50 million dollars to education cannot wait to invest in the most impoverished and vulnerable kids in the world,' that might not have actually reached as much of an audience as for example than [a] celebrity engaged down in South Africa.
RB: Yeah, I would argue you stepped on your own message though by doing that.
PMJT: Well, I think a lot more people know that Canada is actually stepping up and helping vulnerable people around the world. And there are always lessons to be learned about this, but I'm not going to make apologies for actually doing it and for making sure that we're looking for different ways of communicating that message.
RB: OK, so I'll leave this part on this. Do you ever worry that brand Trudeau'... I was in New York last week and I wandered into a store and there was cups with your name on it, and socks, and all sorts of things. It was very strange to be in New York and all that stuff is there.
I'm sure it's stranger for you. Do you ever worry that brand Trudeau sort of overtakes what you're trying to say and do, which I think to you is more important?
PMJT: I think what we're seeing around interest in Canada on the world stage doesn't have as much to do with me as it does to do with what Canadians have been doing on the world stage for years and for generations. Yes, there's a moment where for all sorts of different reasons, including, you know, social media skills, that Canada is being noticed a little bit more, but the fact that is a positive aspirational impact on so many people around the world...
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sports fancy socks during his interview with Rosemary Barton on Dec. 6, 2018. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) RB: But it's your face attached to it.
PMJT: Is due to our values.
RB: It's not the, the flag, or it's not, you know, anybody else.
PMJT: You know, there's a mix of things associated with it and if we can do a better job of highlighting what Canada is doing on the world stage, and how what we're doing at home with things like the, the Canada Child Benefit that's making such a big difference. then people will look and say, 'OK, they've got a solution to some of the really sticky problems that we're facing all around the world.'
RB: Thank you, thank you for your time.
PMJT: Thank you very much Rosie.
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