End of Show Mixes: - UKPMX - Gx2 -Oh My Bosh - Danny Loos-Secret Agent Paul-Stepford Wives-PlaceBoing- Dave Courbanou - Able Kirby - Jungle Jones - Chris Wilson - Tom Starkweather - Conan Salada - Future Trash - Phantomville Billy Bon3s
Exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism.
Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Italy:
Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.Follow the instructions of local authorities.Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Italy.U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.
State Dept. issues travel warning for Americans going to China
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Thursday for Americans planning trips to China, warning U.S. citizens to "exercise increased caution" when visiting the communist nation.
The Level 2 alert cited the Chinese government's use of arbitrary, coercive exit bans placed on Americans, which could include "prolonged interrogations and extended detention" lasting for years.
What are the details?"Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using 'exit bans,' sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years," the State Department advisory read. "China uses exit bans coercively:
to compel U.S. citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations;to lure individuals back to China from abroad, andto aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of Chinese parties."U.S. officials further warned that "China does not recognize dual nationality," adding that "U.S.-Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and China may prevent the U.S. embassy from providing consular services."
Anything else?An ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has heightened rhetoric between the two countries for months. Adding to the tension, Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 at the behest of the U.S. government.
This action led to to the detention of a handful of Canadian citizens by Chinese officials. The arrest of the Canadian nationals was considered a retaliatory move by foreign policy experts.
The Canadian government warned its citizens in October to "exercise a high degree of caution" when traveling to China. The Level 3 alert warned Canadians to "avoid non-essential travel" due to "an extreme risk to your personal safety and security."
Honey Lantree, 75, Rarity as a Female '60s Rock Drummer, Is Dead - The New York Times
Image Honey Lantree of the Honeycombs in performance in 1964, the year the group's first and biggest hit, ''Have I the Right?'' was released. Credit Credit Associated Newspapers/Shutterstock Anne Lantree's life changed after a chance encounter with a drum kit in 1963.
She was working in a hair salon in London owned by her friend Martin Murray. Mr. Murray moonlighted as the rhythm guitarist in an amateur rock 'n' roll band called the Sheratons, whose drummer had recently quit. His drum kit was still set up at the group's rehearsal space, and Ms. Lantree, who was there for a guitar lesson, asked if she could try it.
Mr. Murray acquiesced, he said in an interview on Thursday, ''not giving any thought that she would jump on these drums and play like she had her whole life.''
''She was just a born, natural drummer; she hadn't played before and just went for it,'' Mr. Murray continued. ''I was aghast, staring at her, and said, 'All right, you're our new drummer.' ''
Ms. Lantree's impromptu solo was the start of a whirlwind career as one of the few women to play drums in a 1960s rock group. The Sheratons soon became the Honeycombs, with Ms. Lantree billed as Honey, and released ''Have I the Right?,'' a bouncy love song that reached No. 1 on the British pop charts and No. 5 in the United States.
Ms. Lantree died on Dec. 23 at her home in Great Bardfield, Essex, England. She was 75. Her son Matthew Coxall said the cause was breast cancer.
Female drummers are rare in rock music, and were even rarer in the 1960s. That did not stop Ms. Lantree, who soon began performing with the band.
The group, which also featured Dennis D'Ell as lead singer, Allan Ward on lead guitar and John Lantree, her brother, on bass, performed nightly at a local pub that quickly became swamped with admirers.
At one show the band met Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard, two aspiring songwriters, and they offered the group ''Have I the Right?'' (the title is sometimes rendered without the question mark) and many of the other songs that would make up its first album.
The band used its new material to audition for the record producer Joe Meek, who immediately saw their potential. They recorded ''Have I the Right?'' in Mr. Meek's studio.
Featuring twanging guitars and thumping drums augmented by stomping feet, the song was released as a single by Pye Records, whose managing director suggested that Ms. Lantree go by Honey and that the group become the Honeycombs.
The Honeycombs appeared on television and released their first album, called simply ''The Honeycombs,'' in 1964. Some journalists accused the group of using Ms. Lantree, who dressed stylishly and sported a beehive hairdo, as a gimmick. Some even questioned whether she had actually played the drums on ''Have I the Right?''
''We couldn't do nothing about it,'' Mr. Murray said, ''just deny it, which is the truth.''
In late 1964, Peter Pye replaced Mr. Murray, and in 1965 the Honeycombs set off on a tour of Scandinavia, Australia and parts of Asia. That same year the group reached No. 12 on the British pop charts with ''That's the Way,'' in which Ms. Lantree sang with Mr. D'Ell, and released a second album, ''All Systems Go!''
But the Honeycombs' greatest success was already behind them, and the band broke up in 1967.
''It was very traumatic,'' Ms. Lantree told an Australian newspaper in 1991. ''I was still living at home with my parents, and I went back to hairdressing. People still recognized me, and it was hard to get on with a new life.''
Anne Margot Lantree was born on Aug. 28, 1943, in Hayes, Middlesex, England, to John and Nora (Gould) Lantree. Her father owned a sign-making business, and her mother was a homemaker.
The family moved to Highams Park, in Northeast London, and Ms. Lantree attended high school there before she started working in Mr. Murray's salon.
Ms. Lantree married David Coxall, a pensions administrator, in 1969. He died in 2018. In addition to her son Matthew, she is survived by another son, Simon; a brother, John; and five grandchildren.
Ms. Lantree's time at the top of the charts was fleeting, but she was not finished with music. Beginning in the 1980s she played with different versions of the Honeycombs. She stopped only when Mr. D'Ell died in 2005.
Follow Daniel E. Slotnik on Twitter: @dslotnik
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From boots on the ground
I learned today from a Colonel in Air Force Space Command
that the interim SecDef Shanahan (from Boeing) was Trump’s director for the
Space Force exploratory working group.
Military expert suggests Canada may want to consider its own space force | National Post
MONTREAL '-- President Donald Trump's push to create a U.S. space force is being welcomed by military experts in Canada, and the executive director of one defence think tank says Canada should consider following suit.
''At some point we might like to think about a space force,'' Matthew Overton, executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, said in an interview. ''Thinking about space as a separate entity in itself that deserves attention and expertise, I think is a good idea.''
But it is not something that needs to be done immediately, he added, suggesting Canada should first develop a centre of excellence on space knowledge.
Last month, Trump took a first step toward a space force when he signed an order to create a U.S. Space Command, which pulls together space-related units from across military services into a co-ordinated, independent organization.
The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.
The U.S. air force has operated a space command since 1982, and its mission is ''to provide resilient, defendable and affordable space capabilities for the air force.'' It also operates the mysterious X-37B space plane, known simply as its orbital test vehicle. The unmanned plane has already completed four clandestine missions, carrying classified payloads on long-duration flights.
Overton, who served in the Canadian Forces for 39 years, noted that Canada's Air Force already has a space component. It is led by Brigadier General Kevin Whale, Director General Space. Its mission, a spokesman said by email, is ''to maintain space domain awareness, and to develop, deliver and assure space-based capabilities.''
Overton said Trump's space force makes a lot of sense, but he expects there will be tension as the new entity gets down to work with other branches of the military. He gave the example of the GPS network, which is crucial for land, air and sea forces, but could become a space force responsibility.
''What is the relationship with other forces? How do you work out that dynamic?''''
Wayne Ellis, who served in the Canadian military for 20 years, agrees that a U.S. space force is a good idea.
''I think there's enough activity and potential activity to concentrate resources in that domain, which probably merits a separation from the air force,'' Ellis, a past president of the Canadian Space Society, said in an interview.
''Perhaps now is a good opportunity to look at a totally separate branch '-- at least for the U.S.''
He noted that Canadian military personnel have worked side by side with the U.S. military for decades. ''A lot of these positions are actually space positions at various bases so, at some point, our posted personnel are going to be interacting with the U.S. space force as it gets set up,'' he added.
James Bezan, the Conservative defence critic, said he wants to see more details about the space capabilities Americans envision.
''For Canada, my sense is that we need to watch this and see how it evolves,'' he said. Before Canada considers creating its own space force, Bezan added, it should focus on making Norad '-- the bilateral North American Aerospace Defence Command '-- more effective.
''I would think that any co-operation that we do with the States as it relates to North American defence, as it relates to aerospace, should be part of the Norad discussions,'' he said.
Randall Garrison, the NDP defence critic, criticized Trump's plan to launch a sixth branch of the U.S. military.
''New Democrats are fundamentally opposed to the militarization of space and believe that space should only be used by all of humanity for peaceful purposes,'' he wrote in an email.
''New Democrats urge the government of Canada to uphold the principles of peaceful space exploration and to engage with our allies on a renewed call for the drafting of an international treaty aimed at the prevention of an arms race in space.''
Overton pointed out that space has long been exploited for military purposes, and there's no way it can be avoided.
''Communications satellites, GPS and intelligence communications, you name it '-- all that is there,'' he said.
The office of the Minister of National Defence noted in a statement that ''space-based capabilities have become essential to Canada's operations at home and abroad.
''That is why Canada's defence policy '... commits to investing in a range of space capabilities such as satellite communications, to help achieve global coverage, including the Arctic.''
The statement goes on to say that ''Canada will continue to promote the peaceful use of space and provide leadership in shaping international norms for responsible behaviour in space.''
'-- With files from The Associated Press.
Sarbanes' For the People Act
Attached is a copy of the bill Sarbanes put forward for Pelosi (don't know
the correct terminology, sorry) today; HR-1, The "For the People Act of
2019". It isn't available on congress.gov yet but I believe it to be
I know you sometimes get a kick out of reading bills, so have at it. I don't
have time to read it completely right now, I'm sorry, but I have been able to
dig up some beauties;
- 16 year olds are allowed to vote (page 39)
- Any citizen can request a "My Voice Voucher" worth $25 to be
donated from federal funds to their selected party - initially a trial run on 4
states before expansion (page 375)
- Colleges can automatically register students to vote
(page 40), but are not required to ask if they are US Citizens (page 41)
- Automatic voter registration (page 35)
- Non-citizens who are registered to vote cannot be
charged with a crime unless they "knew" they were violating a crime
- On the spot registration (page 65)
- Within 6 months of an elections, people cannot use the
cross-state registration database to find people who are registered to vote in
more than one state (page 49)
- Voting rights are restored to convicted criminals, as
long as they are not in jail on election day (page 111)
- All states must allow early voting. And polling
locations must be moved within walking distance of bus stops (page 137)
- Poll observers will no longer be allowed to challenge
The White House informed Congress on Friday that it is sending troops to Congo ahead of possible ''violent demonstrations'' in reaction to Sunday's presidential election there.
The letter says about 80 military personnel have deployed ''to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa,'' the nation's capital.
The letter states that more military personnel will deploy as needed to Gabon or neighboring Republic of Congo and that troops will remain in the region until the security situation ''becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.''
The presidential election is Congo's chance at its first democratic and peaceful transition of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. However, election observers and the opposition voiced concerns about voter irregularities, according to The Associated Press.
First results from the election are expected on Sunday.
The campaign has been marred by violence, with security forces using tear gas and live ammunition to stop opposition candidate Martin Fayulu from campaigning in certain parts of the country, according to Al Jazeera.
US sends troops for possible 'violent' Congo vote protests
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) '-- On the eve of the first expected results of Congo's long-delayed presidential election, President Donald Trump said military personnel had deployed to the region to protect U.S. assets from possible ''violent demonstrations,'' while the country's powerful Catholic church warned of a popular ''uprising'' if untrue results are announced.
Congo faces what could be its first democratic, peaceful transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960, but election observers and the opposition have raised numerous concerns about voting irregularities as the country chooses a successor to longtime President Joseph Kabila.
The first results are expected on Sunday, and the United States and the African Union, among others, have urged Congo to release results that reflect the true will of the people. The U.S. has threatened sanctions against those who undermine the democratic process. Western election observers were not invited to watch the vote.
The Catholic church, an influential voice in the heavily Catholic nation, caused surprise on Thursday by announcing that data reported by its 40,000 election observers deployed in all polling stations show a clear winner. As regulations say only the electoral commission can announce election results, the church did not announce a name.
The electoral commission responded by saying the announcement could incite an ''uprising.'' In a letter to the commission on Saturday, seen by The Associated Press, the Catholic church dismissed the accusation that it acted illegally, saying its goal was to ''make the electoral process credible'' and stabilize the country.
Congo's ruling party, which backs Kabila's preferred candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, called the church's attitude ''irresponsible and anarchist.'' Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, a businessman and lawmaker, has accused Congolese authorities of impeding his campaign.
At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world's mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped. Some 40 million people were registered to vote, though at the last minute some 1 million voters were barred as the electoral commission cited a deadly Ebola virus outbreak. Critics said that undermines the election's credibility.
While Congo has been largely calm on and after election day, Trump's letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about 80 military personnel and ''appropriate combat equipment'' had deployed to nearby Gabon to support the security of U.S. citizens and staffers and diplomatic facilities. More will deploy as needed to Gabon, Congo or neighboring Republic of Congo, he wrote.
The Dec. 30 election took place more than two years behind schedule, while a court ruled that Kabila could stay in office until the vote was held. The delay led to sometimes deadly protests as authorities cracked down, and Shadary is now under European Union sanctions for his role in the crackdown as interior minister at the time.
Kabila, who took office in 2001 after his father was assassinated, is barred from serving three consecutive terms but has hinted that he could run again in 2023. That has led many Congolese to suspect that he will rule from the shadows if Shadary takes office.
Internet and text messaging services were cut off the day after the election in an apparent effort by the government to prevent social media speculation about the results. The United States has urged that internet service be restored, and a United Nations human rights spokeswoman has warned that ''these efforts to silence dissent could backfire considerably when the results are announced.''
Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
Stock whisperer buy tip was CORRECT!
CSB is my Handler
RT's are to blame
TV movie “Brexit: The Uncivil War”
will air on Channel 4, Monday
at 21:00 GMT,
and it’s available on HBO in USA
this movie presents the
“let’s take back control” as
Britons would now vote to stay in EU, want second referendum: poll | Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit protestors gather outside Downing Street, on Whitehall in central London, Britain January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
LONDON (Reuters) - More Britons want to remain a member of the European Union than leave, according to a survey published on Sunday which also showed voters want to make the final decision themselves.
Britain is due leave the EU on March 29, but Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to get her exit deal approved by parliament, opening up huge uncertainty over whether a deal is possible, or even whether the country will leave at all.
The survey by polling firm YouGov showed that if a referendum were held immediately, 46 percent would vote to remain, 39 percent would vote to leave, and the rest either did not know, would not vote, or refused to answer the question.
When the undecided and those who refused to answer were removed from the sample, the split was 54-46 in favor of remaining.
That is broadly in line with other polls in recent months which show a deeply divided electorate, in which opinion has swung towards remaining in the EU. The 2016 referendum voted 52 to 48 percent in favor of leaving.
The poll of more than 25,000 voters was commissioned by the People's Vote campaign, which is spearheading an increasingly vocal push for a second referendum on Brexit.
On Sunday, May reiterated her opposition to holding a second referendum, saying it would be divisive and disrespectful to those who voted to leave in the initial vote, and also highlighted a lack of time available to hold a new referendum.
But, the survey showed 41 percent thought the final decision about Brexit should be made by a new public vote versus 36 percent who believe it should be up to parliament. Removing those who are undecided, the split was 53 percent in favor of another referendum and 47 percent against.
Lawmakers are due to vote on whether to accept May's exit deal in the week beginning Jan. 14.
Reporting by William James; Editing by Alison Williams
German politicians' personal data leaked online | World news | The Guardian
Sensitive data belonging to hundreds of German politicians, celebrities and public figures has been published online via a Twitter account in what is thought to be one of the largest leaks in the country's history.
The huge cache of documents includes personal phone numbers and addresses, internal party documents, credit card details and private chats.
A government spokeswoman, Martina Fietz, said the leaks affected politicians of all levels including those in the European, national and regional parliaments. ''The German government is taking this incident very seriously,'' she said, adding that faked documents could be among the cache.
The documents were published online in December but only came to light on Thursday night.
Several letters to and from Angela Merkel were among the documents, revealing email addresses and a fax number, German media reported, though a government spokeswoman said no sensitive information from the chancellory was leaked. Cabinet members and the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, were also among those affected.
Reports said all of the main German political parties except the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) had been hit.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD) spent Thursday night evaluating the scale of the damage and the authenticity of the documents, as did the liberal Free Democratic party, the Left party and the Greens.
Bild newspaper said the leaks contained data from 405 CDU-CSU politicians, 294 SPD politicians, 105 Greens, at least 82 Left party members and 28 FDP MPs.
That no AfD politician was affected prompted speculation that far-right sympathisers were behind the leaks.
The German Green party leader, Robert Habeck, was among those worst affected by the leaks as records of his personal chats with family members were reportedly posted online.
''You have to ask yourself where all this data comes from,'' Michael G¶tschenberg, a reporter for ARD, who had seen part of the leaked cache, said on Friday. He said no politically sensitive data appeared to have been leaked but some ''especially painful'' personal chats relating to ''family life'' were among the documents he had seen.
Other reports said photos of ID cards, direct debit records and family photos were among the documents. The sheer range of data published means it likely came from multiple sources.
Much of the data is being treated as authentic, but there were suggestions some of it could have been faked. The SPD MP Florian Post told the German news agency dpa he had never seen at least one of the messages said to have come from his communications.
The leaks appeared on 1 December when the Twitter account @'--0rbit began posting links on a daily basis in the style of an advent calendar.
German celebrities and journalists were initially targeted, including the TV personalities Jan B¶hmermann and Christian Ehring, the actor Til Schweiger, the YouTube star LeFloid and the rapper Sido. From 20 December onwards the account started tweeting data from politicians.
The account, which was hastily shut down on Friday, purportedly had more than 18,000 followers. It described its activities as ''security researching'' and ''satire and irony'', and said it was based in Hamburg.
A motive for the leaks remains unclear, as does how it could have stayed unnoticed for more than 10 days over the Christmas break. Spiegel reported that the Twitter account followed only a couple of others, including anonymousnews.ru, a site known for spreading far-right hate speech.
An interior ministry spokesman could not say whether the documents had been obtained via an external hacking attack on the German parliament or by an insider. ''According to our current information, government networks have not been targeted,'' Germany's federal office for information security (BSI) tweeted on Friday.
One explanation floated by the interior ministry was that hackers had gained access to private email and social media accounts after obtaining a list of stolen passwords.
''After an initial analysis much evidence points towards the data being obtained through the improper use of login details to cloud services, email accounts or social networks,'' the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said in a statement on Friday. ''Currently nothing points towards the system of the parliament or government having been compromised.''
Some of the leaked data could have been obtained during an earlier hacking attack on the German parliament. In 2015, the BSI shut down the parliamentary intranet for a spell after it emerged hackers had installed spyware on the system.
Last year, the government said a cyber-attack had targeted the foreign ministry's computer network. At the time, both attacks were blamed on Russian hackers, accusations the Kremlin denies.
Security officials have in the past pointed the finger at APT28, a Russian hacking group experts say has close ties to a Russian spy agency and has been held responsible for an attack before the 2016 US presidential election.
The revelations on Friday triggered an emergency meeting of Germany's national cyber-defence agency, a body set up by the BSI in 2016 to coordinate a response to online intrusions. German intelligence agencies have also asked for help from US intelligence in investigating the incident, said Bild.
German politicians expressed shock at the leaks and agreed that those behind them had intended to undermine public trust in democracy.
''Whoever is behind this wants to damage faith in our democracy and its institutions,'' the justice minister, Katarina Barley, said in a statement.
''[Those] responsible want to intimidate politicians,'' added the SPD secretary general, Lars Klingbeil. ''That will not succeed.''
Hackers published personal data from German public figures online
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speeches during her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) at Meseberg governmental house August 18, 2018 in Gransee, Germany.
Personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures have been published online, in what appears one of the most far-reaching cyber attacks in a country that has become a target of choice for hackers.
It was unclear if the breach, which triggered an emergency meeting of the national cyber defense agency, was the result of a hack or a leak, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. The information was shared through a Twitter account, which the company has since shut down, the New York Times reported.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was affected, but an initial analysis showed no sensitive material from her office was released, said a government spokeswoman.
If the data release does stem from a hack, it would be the latest in a number of hi-tech assaults on political institutions and key individuals in Germany.
Last year, lawmakers said a powerful cyber attack breached the foreign ministry's computer network.
Security officials have blamed most previous breaches on a Russian hacking group, while the Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in such incidents.
Cyber defense body BSI met in reaction to the latest attack to coordinate the response of intelligence and other federal agencies, a spokesman said.
Public broadcaster rbb, which broke the story, said the identity of the hackers and their motive were not known.
Government spokeswoman Martina Fietz confirmed personal data and documents "belonging to hundreds of politicians and public figures" had been released online.
German media said a fax number and two email addresses used by Merkel had been published. "The information and data drained from the chancellery and that relate to the chancellor are managable," Fietz told a news conference.
A defense ministry spokesman said the armed forces were not affected, and broadcaster ARD - affiliated to rbb - said its journalists had as yet detected no incriminating content.
"This data breach ...is alarming, but at the same time it's not surprising," said Mike Hart at commercial cyber security firm FireEye, citing previous hacks.
"...It highlights the need for the government to take cyber security very seriously."
Security officials have blamed most previous attacks on a Russian hacking group APT28 that experts say has close ties to a Russian spy agency. Experts held the same group responsible for an attack ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Bild newspaper reported that German authorities had asked the U.S. spy agency NSA for help in investigating the incident.
The mass-selling daily also said the secure internal network of Germany's government was not hit by the hackers, citing sources inside the BSI.
The BSI said all but one of the seven parties in the Bundestag lower house were affected. German media said that party was the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Broadcaster rbb reported earlier that the data, from hundreds of politicians and published on a Twitter account, included addresses, personal letters and copies of identity cards.
"Whoever is responsible, wants to intimidate politicians. That will not succeed," said Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the center-left Social Democrats, Merkel's coalition partner.
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Watch: EU official: Technology can be 'abused and used against us'
Hackers hijack thousands of Chromecasts to warn of latest security bug | TechCrunch
Hackers have hijacked thousands of exposed Chromecast streaming devices to warn users of the latest security flaw to affect the device. But other security researchers say that the bug '-- if left unfixed '-- could be used for more disruptive attacks.
The culprits, known as Hacker Giraffe and J3ws3r, have become the latest person to figure out how to trick Google's media streamer into playing any YouTube video they want '-- including videos that are custom-made. This time around, the hackers hijacked forced the affected Chromecasts to display a pop-up notice that's viewable on the connected TV, warning the user that their misconfigured router is exposing their Chromecast and smart TV to hackers like themselves.
Not one to waste an opportunity, the hackers also asks that you subscribe to PewDiePie, an awful internet person with a popular YouTube following. (He's the same hacker who tricked thousands of exposed printers into printing support for PewDiePie.)
The bug, dubbed CastHack, exploits a weakness in both Chromecast and the router it connects to. The two said that disabling Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) should fix the problem, but this has been disputed by experts.
''We have received reports from users who have had an unauthorized video played on their TVs via a Chromecast device,'' a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch. ''This is not an issue with Chromecast specifically, but is rather the result of router settings that make smart devices, including Chromecast, publicly reachable,'' the spokesperson said.
That's true on one hand, but it doesn't address the underlying issue '-- that the Chromecast can be tricked into allowing an unauthenticated attacker the ability to hijack a media stream and display whatever they want.
Hacker Giraffe sent this YouTube video to thousands of exposed Chromecast devices, warning that their streams could be easily hijacked. (Screenshot: TechCrunch)
Bishop Fox, a security consultancy firm, first found a hijack bug in 2014, not long after the Chromecast debuted. The researchers found that they could conduct a ''deauth'' attack that disconnects the Chromecast from the Wi-Fi network it was connected to, causing it to revert back to its out-of-the-box state, waiting for a device to tell it where to connect and what to stream. That's when it can be hijacked and forced to stream whatever the hijacker wants. All of this can be done in an instant '-- as they did '-- with a touch of a button on a custom-built handheld remote.
Two years later, U.K. cybersecurity firm Pen Test Partners discovered that the Chromecast was still vulnerable to ''deauth'' attacks, making it easy to play content on a neighbor's Chromecasts in just a few minutes.
Ken Munro, who founded Pen Test Partners, says there's ''no surprise that somebody else stumbled on to it,'' given both Bishop Fix found it in 2014 and his company tested it in 2016.
''In fairness, we never thought that the service would be exposed on the public internet, so that is a very valid finding of his, full credit to him for that,'' Munro told TechCrunch. (Google said in a follow-up email that it's working to fix the deauth bug.)
He said the way the attack is conducted is different, but the method of exploitation is the same. CastHack can be exploited over the internet, while Bishop Fox and his ''deauth'' attacks can be carried out within range of the Wi-Fi network '-- yet, both attacks let the hacker control what's displayed on the TV from the Chromecast, he said.
Munro said Google should have fixed its bug in 2014 when it first had the chance.
''Allowing control over a local network without authentication is a really silly idea on [Google's] part,'' he said. ''Because users do silly things, like expose their TVs on the internet, and hackers find bugs in services that can be exploited.''
But Munro said that these kinds of attacks '-- although obnoxious and intrusive on the face of it '-- could be exploited to have far more malicious consequences.
In a blog post Wednesday, Munro said it was easy to exploit other smart home devices '-- like an Amazon Echo '-- by hijacking a Chromecast and forcing it to play commands that are loud enough to be picked up by its microphone. That's happened before, when smart assistants get confused when they overhear words on the television or radio, and suddenly and without warning purchase items from Amazon. (You can and should turn on a PIN for ordering through Amazon.)
To name a few, Munro said it's possible to force a Chromecast into loading a YouTube video created by an attacker to trick an Echo to: ''Alexa, order an iPad,'' or, ''Alexa, turn off the house alarm,'' or, ''Alexa, set an alarm every day at 3am.''
Amazon Echos and other smart devices are widely considered to be secure, even if they're prone to overhearing things they shouldn't. Often, the weakest link are humans. Second to that, it's the other devices around smart home assistants that pose the biggest risk, said Munro in his blog post. That was demonstrated recently when Canadian security researcher Render Man showed how using a sound transducer against a window can trick a nearby Amazon Echo into unlocking a network-connected smart lock on the front door of a house.
''Google needs to properly fix the Chromecast deauth bug that allows casting of YouTube traffic,'' said Munro.
Updated at 9pm ET: with a new, clearer headline to better reflect the flaws over the years, and added additional comment from Google.
Clashes erupt in Paris as 'yellow vests' protest at unrepentant Macron | Reuters
PARIS (Reuters) - Rioters in Paris torched motorbikes and set barricades ablaze on the upmarket Boulevard Saint Germain on Saturday, as protests against high living costs and the perceived indifference of President Emmanuel Macron turned violent on the fringes.
The latest ''yellow vest'' street marches began peacefully in the French capital but degenerated in the afternoon as protesters threw missiles at riot police blocking bridges over the Seine river.
Officers fired tear gas to prevent protesters crossing the river and reaching the National Assembly. One riverboat restaurant was set ablaze and a policeman wounded when he was struck by a bicycle hurled from a street above the riverbank.
Two months after they started blocking roads, occupying highway tollbooths and staging sometimes-violent street protests in Paris, the yellow vests wanted to inject new momentum into a movement that weakened over the holidays.
Macron's government, shaken by the unrest, had this week hardened its stance against the uprising, branding the protesters as agitators seeking to overthrow the government.
Driving the unrest is anger particularly among low-paid workers over a squeeze on household incomes and a belief that Macron is deaf to citizens' needs as he enacts reforms seen as favoring the wealthy.
''They have no right to leave us in the shit like this,'' said protester Francois Cordier. ''We're fed up with having to pay out the whole time, we've had enough of this slavery, we should be able to live on our salaries.''
Thousands more rallied in cities including Bordeaux and Toulouse in southwest France, Rouen in the north of the country and Marseille in the southeast.
Protesters wearing yellow vests take part in a demonstration by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo FuentesAn estimated 25,000 took to the streets nationwide in what was dubbed Act VIII, BFM TV reported, barely 10 percent of the number in the first weeks of protests but higher than last week.
''POWER TO THE PEOPLE'' As darkness fell, officers dispersed scores of yellow vests gathered on the Champs Elysees. Television images showed hooded youths setting a car alight on a side street, but there was no repeat of the unrest that erupted in late November, when shops were looted, banks vandalized and the Arc de Triomphe defaced.
Authorities have blamed the worst of the violence in recent weeks on anarchists, anti-capitalists and extreme groups on the fringes of the yellow vest movement.
The protests which come 18 months into Macron's tenure and his drive to reshape the economy have already forced concessions from the 41-year-old president.
Last month, Macron promised tax cuts for pensioners, wage rises for the poorest workers and the scrapping of planned fuel tax increases to quell the unrest at a cost to the Treasury of 10 billion euros ($11 billion).
The measures marked the first big U-turn for a president elected 18 months earlier on a platform to break with traditional French politics and liberalize the heavily-regulated economy.
In a New Year's Eve address, Macron vowed to press on with his reform agenda, saying: ''We can't work less, earn more, cut taxes and increase spending.''
Slideshow (17 Images) Faced with record low popularity ratings, Macron is expected to pen a letter soon to the nation setting out his plans for coming months. These include a nationwide debate with citizens on ecological, fiscal and institutional questions, the results of which he says will feed into the policy-making process.
''We have to give power back to the people and not a minority that serves its own interests,'' said a second yellow vest protester outside the old stock market building.
($1 = 0.8777 euros)
Reporting by Richard Lough, Elizabeth Pineau and Johnny Cotton; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by David Evans and David Holmes
Like their sister protesters in France, London Yellow vests have brought parts of central London to a standstill.
Smoke bombs and blocked roads outside Parliament today caused major disruption, with at least 100 people wearing the high visibility 'Yellow Vests' gathered at Westminster, setting off smoke bombs as they marched along Whitehall on the way to Trafalgar Square.
UK: Police attack 'Yellow Vest' protesters in central London near Downing Street on Saturday as a smoke bomb was detonated amid the chaos.
Four people, including a 13-year-old girl, have reportedly been arrested so far.#SaturdayMotivation pic.twitter.com/XsjbN5BIXv
'-- Amy Mek (@AmyMek) January 5, 2019
Transport for London issued a travel warning due to the protests and Scotland Yard issued a statement that there were four arrests of the protesters, including a 13-year-old girl. A Met spokesperson said:
''Four arrests have been made following protests on Westminster Bridge, SW1 at approximately 11am today.''Three men were arrested on suspicion of public order offences.''A 13-year-old girl was also arrested on suspicion of assault on police.''
Meanwhile in France, the genesis of the Yellow Vests movement, protesters have returned to the streets. A member of Macron's administration called them 'hardliners bent on bringing down' the government.
There were 15 police wagons deployed where several hundred protesters gathered along the Champs Elys(C)es.
Leavers in Britain are being called on to march in non-violent protests against Theresa May and No. 10 wearing the Yellow Vests by Brexiteer Steven Woolfe, as MPs are pushing for a second referendum after an extension to Article 50.
Mr. Woolfe explains that if Leave voters rebel against He House if Commons elite now Brexit voters will be ''crashed and trumped''.
Build the Wall
Trump wall may be only opening in full immigration deal
People need to take to the streets - Build the Wall
25 for 45
Ex-Bush and Whitman adviser: Trump won't be impeached, but he will leave the presidency in 2019 | nj.com
The major issue for political pundits regarding 2019 is whether Donald Trump's presidency will survive the year leading into the 2020 elections. Their focus is on the likelihood as to whether Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives and then removed by the U.S. Senate.
Trump will not be removed from office by the Constitutional impeachment and removal process.
Instead, the self-professed supreme dealmaker will use his presidency as a bargaining chip with federal and state authorities in 2019, agreeing to leave office in exchange for the relevant authorities not pursuing criminal charges against him, his children or the Trump Organization.
Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives for high crimes and misdemeanors, specifically his involvement in directing his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to commit a felony by making illegal in-kind contributions to the Trump campaign and concealing them. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has already obtained Cohen's guilty plea to this conduct. Democrats now control the House of Representatives, and the votes will be there for the needed impeachment majority.
I served under President Bush: I left the GOP to vote Dem. Trump is a fascist, a danger to our republic
In order for the Senate to remove Trump from office, however, there must be a vote of at least two thirds of the senators affirming the House-passed Articles of Impeachment. That would require a defection against Trump of at least 20 Republican senators.
That is highly unlikely, regardless of how compelling the impeachment case may be. All but five of the 53 GOP senators represent solid Republican Red states. Their incumbency will not be threatened by their vote against removal of the president. Each such senator runs a serious risk, however, of a pro-Trump primary election challenge if he or she supports the removal of Trump from office.
The legal danger to Trump is developing more in the office of the attorney general of New York State, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In response to a lawsuit from the attorney general of New York State, Donald Trump agreed to shut down the Trump Foundation. The lawsuit alleged ''a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation ''- including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more."
The lawsuit implicates all three Trump children as well, seeking to bar them, as well as their father, from serving on the boards of other New York nonprofits.
It is now clear that the investigations of Donald Trump are now focused on possible criminal conduct of the Trump children, as well. Donald Trump Jr. has reportedly told confidants that he expects to be indicted by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III for actions taken by him during the campaign as well.
Having succeeded in obtaining Cohen's guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York can now investigate whether there is any evidence of other involvement of the Trump Organization in criminal activity, including money laundering crimes, tax evasion or bribes from foreign officials or governments, which are illegal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Such evidence could lead to indictment of the Trump Organization itself and seizure of assets derived from such criminal activity.
Aside from all the legal nightmares facing Trump and his presidency, it appears virtually impossible for Trump to be reelected in 2020. The economy appears headed for a severe recession, as evidenced by the recent plunge in the stock market, which appears on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression.
There are only two years left in Trump's presidential term. With his approval ratings in an abysmal state, and the forthcoming recession making it near impossible for Trump to stage a political recovery, it appears most likely that he will use the continuation of his presidency as a bargaining chip.
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Accordingly, before the end of 2019, Donald Trump will resign from the office of the presidency: He will do this pursuant to a deal with the U.S. Justice Department, the incoming President Mike Pence, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the New York Attorney General's Office, and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Here's my prediction for a possible Trump departure:
Trump resigns, to then be pardoned by Pence. In turn, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the New York State Attorney General will refrain from filing any charges against Trump and his family members and agree that there will be no forfeiture of Trump Organization assets.
We will know by this time in 2020 how accurate this scenario turns out to be.
Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former Gov. Christie Whitman.
Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.
Impeach MF is as predicted with cussing
cryptogon.com >> 75% of Med Students Are on Antidepressants or Stimulants (or Both)
75% of Med Students Are on Antidepressants or Stimulants (or Both) January 5th, 2019Via: Ideal Medical Care:
¬Å'Have you ever been depressed as a physician?¬¯½ I asked 220 doctors. Ninety percent stated yes. Yet few seek professional help. Here¬'s what depressed doctors do (when nobody¬'s looking). Some drink alcohol, exercise obsessively, even steal psychiatric meds. Still more shocking¬''I discovered that 75% of med students (and new doctors) are now on psychiatric medications.
¬Å'I was told by the psychologist at my med school¬'s campus assistance program, that 75% of the class of 175 people were on antidepressants,¬¯½ shares psychiatrist Dr. Jaya V. Nair. ¬Å'He wasn¬'t joking. How broken is the system, that doctors have to be pushed into illness in order to be trained to do their job?¬¯½
¬Å'During my internship, I found out that at least 75% of my fellow residents were on SSRIs or other antidepressants, just ¬Ë'to get through it¬' because it was so horrible.¬¯½ states Dr. Joel Cooper, ¬Å'Depression, or a constantly depressed state, is more or less the norm in medical school and throughout one¬'s residency.¬¯½
¬Å'When I left my residency, I was alarmed to find out that about 75% of my fellow residents had started antidepressants since their intern year,¬¯½ says Dr. Jill Fadal.
Seems the epidemic of depressed doctors begins in medical school. I wondered how best to verify this oft-repeated 75% statistic. Just then a student called to tell me what her professor said during orientation: ¬Å'Look around the room. By the end of your first year, two-thirds of your class will be on antidepressants.¬¯½
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Millennials Dogs Sex
soushoku danshi-stable boys story-Young People Are Having Less Sex - The Atlantic
The share of Americans who say sex between unmarried adults is ''not wrong at all'' is at an all-time high. New cases of HIV are at an all-time low. Most women can'--at last'--get birth control for free, and the morning-after pill without a prescription.
If hookups are your thing, Grindr and Tinder offer the prospect of casual sex within the hour. The phrase If something exists, there is porn of it used to be a clever internet meme; now it's a truism. BDSM plays at the local multiplex'--but why bother going? Sex is portrayed, often graphically and sometimes gorgeously, on prime-time cable. Sexting is, statistically speaking, normal.
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Polyamory is a household word. Shame-laden terms like perversion have given way to cheerful-sounding ones like kink. Anal sex has gone from final taboo to ''fifth base'''--Teen Vogue (yes, Teen Vogue) even ran a guide to it. With the exception of perhaps incest and bestiality'--and of course nonconsensual sex more generally'--our culture has never been more tolerant of sex in just about every permutation.
But despite all this, American teenagers and young adults are having less sex.
To the relief of many parents, educators, and clergy members who care about the health and well-being of young people, teens are launching their sex lives later. From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who'd had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent. In other words, in the space of a generation, sex has gone from something most high-school students have experienced to something most haven't. (And no, they aren't having oral sex instead'--that rate hasn't changed much.)
Meanwhile, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate has plummeted to a third of its modern high. When this decline started, in the 1990s, it was widely and rightly embraced. But now some observers are beginning to wonder whether an unambiguously good thing might have roots in less salubrious developments. Signs are gathering that the delay in teen sex may have been the first indication of a broader withdrawal from physical intimacy that extends well into adulthood.
Over the past few years, Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, has published research exploring how and why Americans' sex lives may be ebbing. In a series of journal articles and in her latest book, iGen, she notes that today's young adults are on track to have fewer sex partners than members of the two preceding generations. People now in their early 20s are two and a half times as likely to be abstinent as Gen Xers were at that age; 15 percent report having had no sex since they reached adulthood.
Gen Xers and Baby Boomers may also be having less sex today than previous generations did at the same age. From the late 1990s to 2014, Twenge found, drawing on data from the General Social Survey, the average adult went from having sex 62 times a year to 54 times. A given person might not notice this decrease, but nationally, it adds up to a lot of missing sex. Twenge recently took a look at the latest General Social Survey data, from 2016, and told me that in the two years following her study, sexual frequency fell even further.
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SubscribeSome social scientists take issue with aspects of Twenge's analysis; others say that her data source, although highly regarded, is not ideally suited to sex research. And yet none of the many experts I interviewed for this piece seriously challenged the idea that the average young adult circa 2018 is having less sex than his or her counterparts of decades past. Nor did anyone doubt that this reality is out of step with public perception'--most of us still think that other people are having a lot more sex than they actually are.
When I called the anthropologist Helen Fisher, who studies love and sex and co-directs Match.com's annual Singles in America survey of more than 5,000 unpartnered Americans, I could almost feel her nodding over the phone. ''The data is that people are having less sex,'' she said, with a hint of mischief. ''I'm a Baby Boomer, and apparently in my day we were having a lot more sex than they are today!'' She went on to explain that the survey has been probing the intimate details of people's lives for eight years now. ''Every year the whole Match company is rather staggered at how little sex Americans are having'--including the Millennials.''
Fisher, like many other experts, attributes the sex decline to a decline in couplehood among young people. For a quarter century, fewer people have been marrying, and those who do have been marrying later. At first, many observers figured that the decline in marriage was explained by an increase in unmarried cohabitation'--yet the share of people living together hasn't risen enough to offset the decline in marriage: About 60 percent of adults under age 35 now live without a spouse or a partner. One in three adults in this age range live with their parents, making that the most common living arrangement for the cohort. People who live with a romantic partner tend to have sex more than those who don't'--and living with your parents is obviously bad for your sex life. But this doesn't explain why young people are partnering up less to begin with.
Over the course of many conversations with sex researchers, psychologists, economists, sociologists, therapists, sex educators, and young adults, I heard many other theories about what I have come to think of as the sex recession. I was told it might be a consequence of the hookup culture, of crushing economic pressures, of surging anxiety rates, of psychological frailty, of widespread antidepressant use, of streaming television, of environmental estrogens leaked by plastics, of dropping testosterone levels, of digital porn, of the vibrator's golden age, of dating apps, of option paralysis, of helicopter parents, of careerism, of smartphones, of the news cycle, of information overload generally, of sleep deprivation, of obesity. Name a modern blight, and someone, somewhere, is ready to blame it for messing with the modern libido.
Some experts I spoke with offered more hopeful explanations for the decline in sex. For example, rates of childhood sexual abuse have decreased in recent decades, and abuse can lead to both precocious and promiscuous sexual behavior. And some people today may feel less pressured into sex they don't want to have, thanks to changing gender mores and growing awareness of diverse sexual orientations, including asexuality. Maybe more people are prioritizing school or work over love and sex, at least for a time, or maybe they're simply being extra deliberate in choosing a life partner'--and if so, good for them.
Many'--or all'--of these things may be true. In a famous 2007 study, people supplied researchers with 237 distinct reasons for having sex, ranging from mystical (''I wanted to feel closer to God'') to lame (''I wanted to change the topic of conversation''). The number of reasons not to have sex must be at least as high. Still, a handful of suspects came up again and again in my interviews and in the research I reviewed'--and each has profound implications for our happiness.
1. Sex for OneThe retreat from sex is not an exclusively American phenomenon. Most countries don't track their citizens' sex lives closely, but those that try (all of them wealthy) are reporting their own sex delays and declines. One of the most respected sex studies in the world, Britain's National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, reported in 2001 that people ages 16 to 44 were having sex more than six times a month on average. By 2012, the rate had dropped to fewer than five times. Over roughly the same period, Australians in relationships went from having sex about 1.8 times a week to 1.4 times. Finland's ''Finsex'' study found declines in intercourse frequency, along with rising rates of masturbation.
In the Netherlands, the median age at which people first have intercourse rose from 17.1 in 2012 to 18.6 in 2017, and other types of physical contact also got pushed back, even kissing. This news was greeted not with universal relief, as in the United States, but with some concern. The Dutch pride themselves on having some of the world's highest rates of adolescent and young-adult well-being. If people skip a crucial phase of development, one educator warned'--a stage that includes not only flirting and kissing but dealing with heartbreak and disappointment'--might they be unprepared for the challenges of adult life?
Meanwhile, Sweden, which hadn't done a national sex study in 20 years, recently launched one, alarmed by polling suggesting that Swedes, too, were having less sex. The country, which has one of the highest birth rates in Europe, is apparently disinclined to risk its fecundity. ''If the social conditions for a good sex life'--for example through stress or other unhealthy factors'--have deteriorated,'' the Swedish health minister at the time wrote in an op-ed explaining the rationale for the study, it is ''a political problem.''
This brings us to fertility-challenged Japan, which is in the midst of a demographic crisis and has become something of a case study in the dangers of sexlessness. In 2005, a third of Japanese single people ages 18 to 34 were virgins; by 2015, 43 percent of people in this age group were, and the share who said they did not intend to get married had risen too. (Not that marriage was any guarantee of sexual frequency: A related survey found that 47 percent of married people hadn't had sex in at least a month.)
For nearly a decade, stories in the Western press have tied Japan's sexual funk to a rising generation of soushoku danshi'--literally, ''grass-eating boys.'' These ''herbivore men,'' as they are known in English, are said to be ambivalent about pursuing either women or conventional success. The new taxonomy of Japanese sexlessness also includes terms for groups such as hikikomori (''shut-ins''), parasaito shinguru (''parasite singles,'' people who live with their parents beyond their 20s), and otaku (''obsessive fans,'' especially of anime and manga)'--all of whom are said to contribute to sekkusu shinai shokogun (''celibacy syndrome'').
Early on, most Western accounts of all this had a heavy subtext of ''Isn't Japan wacky?'' This tone has slowly given way to a realization that the country's experience might be less a curiosity than a cautionary tale. Dismal employment prospects played an initial role in driving many men to solitary pursuits'--but the culture has since moved to accommodate and even encourage those pursuits. Roland Kelts, a Japanese American writer and longtime Tokyo resident, has described ''a generation that found the imperfect or just unexpected demands of real-world relationships with women less enticing than the lure of the virtual libido.''
Let's consider this lure for a moment. Japan is among the world's top producers and consumers of porn, and the originator of whole new porn genres, such as bukkake (don't ask). It is also a global leader in the design of high-end sex dolls. What may be more telling, though, is the extent to which Japan is inventing modes of genital stimulation that no longer bother to evoke old-fashioned sex, by which I mean sex involving more than one person. A recent article in The Economist, titled ''Japan's Sex Industry Is Becoming Less Sexual,'' described onakura shops, where men pay to masturbate while female employees watch, and explained that because many younger people see the very idea of intercourse as mendokusai'--tiresome'--''services that make masturbation more enjoyable are booming.''
In their 2015 book, Modern Romance, the sociologist Eric Klinenberg and the comedian Aziz Ansari (who earlier this year became infamous for a hookup gone awry) describe Ansari's visit to Japan seeking insights into the future of sex. He concluded that much of what he'd read about herbivore men missed the mark. Herbivores, he found, were ''interested in sexual pleasure'''--just not ''through traditional routes.'' Among Japan's more popular recent innovations, he notes, is ''a single-use silicone egg that men fill with lubricant and masturbate inside.'' One night in Tokyo, Ansari picks one up at a convenience store, heads back to his hotel, and'--sorry for the visual'--gives it a go. He finds it cold and awkward, but understands its purpose. ''It was a way,'' he writes, ''to avoid putting yourself out there and having an actual experience with another person.''
Justin Metz / Mendelsund / MundayF rom 1992 to 2014, the share of American men who reported masturbating in a given week doubled, to 54 percent, and the share of women more than tripled, to 26 percent. Easy access to porn is part of the story, of course; in 2014, 43 percent of men said they'd watched porn in the past week. The vibrator figures in, too'--a major study 10 years ago found that just over half of adult women had used one, and by all indications it has only grown in popularity. (Makes, models, and features have definitely proliferated. If you don't know your Fun Factory Bi Stronic Fusion pulsator from your Power Toyfriend, you can find them on Amazon, which has these and some 10,000 other options.)
This shift is particularly striking when you consider that Western civilization has had a major hang-up about masturbation going back at least as far as Onan. As Robert T. Michael and his co-authors recount in Sex in America, J. H. Kellogg, the cereal maker, urged American parents of the late 19th century to take extreme measures to keep their children from indulging, including circumcision without anesthetic and application of carbolic acid to the clitoris. Thanks in part to his message, masturbation remained taboo well into the 20th century. By the 1990s, when Michael's book came out, references to masturbation were still greeted with ''nervous titters or with shock and disgust,'' despite the fact that the behavior was commonplace.
Today, masturbation is even more common, and fears about its effects'--now paired with concerns about digital porn's ubiquity'--are being raised anew by a strange assortment of people, including the psychologist Philip Zimbardo, the director of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, who is enjoying an unlikely second act as an antiporn activist. In his book Man, Interrupted, Zimbardo warns that ''procrasturbation'''--his unfortunate portmanteau for procrastination via masturbation'--may be leading young men to fail academically, socially, and sexually. Gary Wilson, an Oregon man who runs a website called Your Brain on Porn, makes a similar claim. In a popular ted x talk, which features animal copulation as well as many (human) brain scans, Wilson argues that masturbating to internet porn is addictive, causes structural changes in the brain, and is producing an epidemic of erectile dysfunction.
These messages are echoed and amplified by a Salt Lake City''based nonprofit called Fight the New Drug'--the ''drug'' being porn'--which has delivered hundreds of presentations to schools and other organizations around the country, including, this spring, the Kansas City Royals. The website NoFap, an offshoot of a popular Reddit message board founded by a now-retired Google contractor, provides community members (''fapstronauts'') a program to quit ''fapping'''--masturbating. Further outside the mainstream, the far-right Proud Boys group has a ''no wanks'' policy, which prohibits masturbating more than once a month. The group's founder, Gavin McInnes, who also co-founded Vice Media, has said that pornography and masturbation are making Millennials ''not even want to pursue relationships.''
The truth appears more complicated. There is scant evidence of an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among young men. And no researcher I spoke with had seen compelling evidence that porn is addictive. As the authors of a recent review of porn research note in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, ''The notion of problematic pornography use remains contentious in both academic and popular literature,'' while ''the mental health community at large is divided as to the addictive versus non-addictive nature of Internet pornography.''
This isn't to say there's no correlation between porn use and desire for real-life sex. Ian Kerner, a well-known New York sex therapist and the author of several popular books about sex, told me that while he doesn't see porn use as unhealthy (he recommends certain types of porn to some patients), he works with a lot of men who, inspired by porn, ''are still masturbating like they're 17,'' to the detriment of their sex life. ''It's taking the edge off their desire,'' he said. Kerner believes this is why more and more of the women coming to his office in recent years report that they want sex more than their partners do.
I n reporting this story, I spoke and corresponded with dozens of 20- and early-30-somethings in hopes of better understanding the sex recession. I can't know that they were representative, though I did seek out people with a range of experiences. I talked with some who had never had a romantic or sexual relationship, and others who were wildly in love or had busy sex lives or both. Sex may be declining, but most people are still having it'--even during an economic recession, most people are employed.
The recession metaphor is imperfect, of course. Most people need jobs; that's not the case with relationships and sex. I talked with plenty of people who were single and celibate by choice. Even so, I was amazed by how many 20-somethings were deeply unhappy with the sex-and-dating landscape; over and over, people asked me whether things had always been this hard. Despite the diversity of their stories, certain themes emerged.
One recurring theme, predictably enough, was porn. Less expected, perhaps, was the extent to which many people saw their porn life and their sex life as entirely separate things. The wall between the two was not absolute; for one thing, many straight women told me that learning about sex from porn seemed to have given some men dismaying sexual habits. (We'll get to that later.) But by and large, the two things'--partnered sex and solitary porn viewing'--existed on separate planes. ''My porn taste and partner taste are quite different,'' one man in his early 30s told me, explaining that he watches porn about once a week and doesn't think it has much effect on his sex life. ''I watch it knowing it is fiction,'' a 22-year-old woman said, adding that she didn't ''internalize'' it.
I thought of these comments when Pornhub, the top pornography website, released its list of 2017's most popular searches. In first place, for the third year running, was lesbian (a category beloved by men and women alike). The new runner-up, however, was hentai'--anime, manga, and other animated porn. Porn has never been like real sex, of course, but hentai is not even of this world; unreality is the source of its appeal. In a New York''magazine cover story on porn preferences, Maureen O'Connor described the ways hentai transmogrifies body parts (''eyes bigger than feet, breasts the size of heads, penises thicker than waists'') and eroticizes the supernatural (''sexy human shapes'' combine with ''candy-colored fur and animal horns, ears, and tails''). In other words, the leading search category for porn involves sex that half the population doesn't have the equipment to engage in, and the runner-up isn't carnal so much as hallucinatory.
Many of the younger people I talked with see porn as just one more digital activity'--a way of relieving stress, a diversion. It is related to their sex life (or lack thereof) in much the same way social media and binge-watching TV are. As one 24-year-old man emailed me:
The internet has made it so easy to gratify basic social and sexual needs that there's far less incentive to go out into the ''meatworld'' and chase those things. This isn't to say that the internet can give you more satisfaction than sex or relationships, because it doesn't '... [But it can] supply you with just enough satisfaction to placate those imperatives '... I think it's healthy to ask yourself: ''If I didn't have any of this, would I be going out more? Would I be having sex more?'' For a lot of people my age, I think the answer is probably yes.Even people in relationships told me that their digital life seemed to be vying with their sex life. ''We'd probably have a lot more sex,'' one woman noted, ''if we didn't get home and turn on the TV and start scrolling through our phones.'' This seems to defy logic; our hunger for sex is supposed to be primal. Who would pick messing around online over actual messing around?
Teenagers, for one. An intriguing study published last year in the Journal of Population Economics examined the introduction of broadband internet access at the county-by-county level, and found that its arrival explained 7 to 13 percent of the teen-birth-rate decline from 1999 to 2007.
Maybe adolescents are not the hormone-crazed maniacs we sometimes make them out to be. Maybe the human sex drive is more fragile than we thought, and more easily stalled.
2. Hookup Culture and Helicopter ParentsI started high school in 1992, around the time the teen pregnancy and birth rates hit their highest levels in decades, and the median age at which teenagers began having sex was approaching its modern low of 16.9. Women born in 1978, the year I was born, have a dubious honor: We were younger when we started having sex than any group since.
But as the '90s continued, the teen pregnancy rate began to decline. This development was welcomed'--even if experts couldn't agree on why it was happening. Birth-control advocates naturally pointed to birth control. And yes, teenagers were getting better about using contraceptives, but not sufficiently better to single-handedly explain the change. Christian pro-abstinence groups and backers of abstinence-only education, which received a big funding boost from the 1996 welfare-reform act, also tried to take credit. Yet the teen pregnancy rate was falling even in places that hadn't adopted abstinence-only curricula, and research has since shown that virginity pledges and abstinence-only education don't actually beget abstinence.
Still, the trend continued: Each wave of teenagers had sex a little later, and the pregnancy rate kept inching down. You wouldn't have known either of these things, though, from all the hyperventilating about hookup culture that started in the late '90s. The New York Times, for example, announced in 1997 that on college campuses, casual sex ''seems to be near an all-time high.'' It didn't offer much data to support this, but it did introduce the paper's readers to the term hooking up, which it defined as ''anything from 20 minutes of strenuous kissing to spending the night together fully clothed to sexual intercourse.''
Pretty much ever since, people have been overestimating how much casual sex high-school and college students are having (even, surveys show, students themselves). In the past several years, however, a number of studies and books on hookup culture have begun to correct the record. One of the most thoughtful of these is American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, by Lisa Wade, a sociology professor at Occidental College. The book draws on detailed journals kept by students at two liberal-arts colleges from 2010 to 2015, as well as on Wade's conversations with students at 24 other colleges and universities.
Wade sorts the students she followed into three groups. Roughly one-third were what she calls ''abstainers'''--they opted out of hookup culture entirely. A little more than a third were ''dabblers'''--they hooked up sometimes, but ambivalently. Less than a quarter were ''enthusiasts,'' who delighted in hooking up. The remainder were in long-term relationships.
This portrait is compatible with a 2014 study finding that Millennial college students weren't having more sex or sexual partners than their Gen X predecessors. It also tracks with data from the Online College Social Life Survey, a survey of more than 20,000 college students that was conducted from 2005 to 2011, which found the median number of hookups over a four-year college career to be five'--a third of which involved only kissing and touching. The majority of students surveyed said they wished they had more opportunities to find a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend.
When I spoke with Wade recently, she told me that she found the sex decline among teens and 20-somethings completely unsurprising'--young people, she said, have always been most likely to have sex in the context of a relationship. ''Go back to the point in history where premarital sex became more of a thing, and the conditions that led to it,'' she said, referring to how post''World War II anxiety about a man shortage led teen girls in the late 1940s and '50s to pursue more serious romantic relationships than had been customary before the war. ''Young women, at that point, innovate 'going steady,'''' Wade said, adding that parents were not entirely happy about the shift away from prewar courtship, which had favored casual, nonexclusive dating. ''If you [go out with someone for] one night you might get up to a little bit of necking and petting, but what happens when you spend months with them? It turns out 1957 has the highest rate of teen births in American history.''
''We hook up because we have no social skills. We have no social skills because we hook up.''In more recent decades, by contrast, teen romantic relationships appear to have grown less common. In 1995, the large longitudinal study known as ''Add Health'' found that 66 percent of 17-year-old men and 74 percent of 17-year-old women had experienced ''a special romantic relationship'' in the past 18 months. In 2014, when the Pew Research Center asked 17-year-olds whether they had ''ever dated, hooked up with or otherwise had a romantic relationship with another person'''--seemingly a broader category than the earlier one'--only 46 percent said yes.
So what thwarted teen romance? Adolescence has changed so much in the past 25 years that it's hard to know where to start. As Jean Twenge wrote in The Atlantic last year, the percentage of teens who report going on dates has decreased alongside the percentage who report other activities associated with entering adulthood, like drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without one's parents, and getting a driver's license.
These shifts coincide with another major change: parents' increased anxiety about their children's educational and economic prospects. Among the affluent and educated, especially, this anxiety has led to big changes in what's expected of teens. ''It's hard to work in sex when the baseball team practices at 6:30, school starts at 8:15, drama club meets at 4:15, the soup kitchen starts serving at 6, and, oh yeah, your screenplay needs completion,'' said a man who was a couple of years out of college, thinking back on his high-school years. He added: ''There's immense pressure'' from parents and other authority figures ''to focus on the self, at the expense of relationships'''--pressure, quite a few 20-somethings told me, that extends right on through college.
Malcolm Harris strikes a similar note in his book, Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials. Addressing the desexing of the American teenager, he writes:
A decline in unsupervised free time probably contributes a lot. At a basic level, sex at its best is unstructured play with friends, a category of experience that '... time diaries '... tell us has been decreasing for American adolescents. It takes idle hands to get past first base, and today's kids have a lot to do.M arriage 101, one of the most popular undergraduate classes at Northwestern University, was launched in 2001 by William M. Pinsof, a founding father of couples therapy, and Arthur Nielsen, a psychiatry professor. What if you could teach about love, sex, and marriage before people chose a partner, Pinsof and Nielsen wondered'--before they developed bad habits? The class was meant to be a sort of preemptive strike against unhappy marriages. Under Alexandra Solomon, the psychology professor who took over the course six years ago, it has become, secondarily, a strike against what she sees as the romantic and sexual stunting of a generation. She assigns students to ask someone else out on a date, for example, something many have never done.
This hasn't hurt the class's appeal; during registration, it fills within minutes. (It may or may not have helped that a course with overlapping appeal, Human Sexuality, was discontinued some years back after its professor presided over a demonstration of something called a fucksaw.) Each week during office hours, students wait in line to talk with Solomon, who is also a practicing therapist at the university's Family Institute, not only about the class but about their love woes and everything they don't know about healthy and pleasurable sex'--which, in many cases, is a lot.
Over the course of numerous conversations, Solomon has come to various conclusions about hookup culture, or what might more accurately be described as lack-of-relationship culture. For one thing, she believes it is both a cause and an effect of social stunting. Or, as one of her students put it to her: ''We hook up because we have no social skills. We have no social skills because we hook up.'' For another, insofar as her students find themselves choosing between casual sex and no sex, they are doing so because an obvious third option'--relationship sex'--strikes many of them as not only unattainable but potentially irresponsible. Most Marriage 101 students have had at least one romantic relationship over the course of their college career; the class naturally attracts relationship-oriented students, she points out. Nonetheless, she believes that many students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success'--or, at any rate, is best delayed until those other things have been secured. ''Over and over,'' she has written, ''my undergraduates tell me they try hard not to fall in love during college, imagining that would mess up their plans.''
One Friday afternoon in March, I sat in on a discussion Solomon was hosting for a group of predominantly female graduate students in the Family Institute's counseling programs, on the challenges of love and sex circa 2018. Over ros(C) and brownies, students shared thoughts on topics ranging from Aziz Ansari's notorious date (which had recently been detailed on the website Babe) to the ambiguities of current relationship terminology. ''People will be like, 'We're dating, we're exclusive, but we're not boyfriend and girlfriend.' What does that mean?'' one young woman asked, exasperated. A classmate nodded emphatically. ''What does that mean? We're in a monogamous relationship, but '...'' She trailed off. Solomon jumped in with a sort of relationship litmus test: ''If I get the flu, are you bringing me soup?'' Around the conference table, heads shook; not many people were getting (or giving) soup.
The conversation proceeded to why soup-bringing relationships weren't more common. ''You're supposed to have so much before you can get into a relationship,'' one woman offered. Another said that when she was in high school, her parents, who are both professionals with advanced degrees, had discouraged relationships on the grounds that they might diminish her focus. Even today, in graduate school, she was finding the attitude hard to shake. ''Now I need to finish school, I need to get a practice going, I need to do this and this, and then I'll think about love. But by 30, you're like, What is love? What's it like to be in love?''
He couldn't escape the sense that hitting on someone in person had, in a short period of time, gone from normal behavior to borderline creepy.In early May, I returned to Northwestern to sit in on a Marriage 101 discussion section. I had picked that particular week because the designated topic, ''Sex in Intimate Relationships,'' seemed relevant. As it happened, though, there wasn't much talk of sex; the session was mostly consumed by a rapturous conversation about the students' experiences with something called the ''mentor couple'' assignment, which had involved interviewing a couple in the community and chronicling their relationship.
''To see a relationship where two people are utterly content and committed,'' one woman said, with real conviction, ''it's kind of an aha moment for me.'' Another student spoke disbelievingly of her couple's pre-smartphone courtship. ''I couldn't necessarily relate to it,'' she said. ''They met, they got each other's email addresses, they emailed one another, they went on a first date, they knew that they were going to be together. They never had a 'define the relationship' moment, because both were on the same page. I was just like, Damn, is that what it's supposed to be like?'' About two-thirds of the way through the allotted discussion time, one of the teaching assistants finally interrupted. ''Should we transition?'' she asked, tentatively. ''I wanted to transition to talk about sex. Which is the topic of this week.''
3. The Tinder MirageSimon, a 32-year-old grad student who describes himself as short and balding (''If I wasn't funny,'' he says, ''I'd be doomed''), didn't lack for sex in college. (The names of people who talked with me about their personal lives have been changed.) ''I'm outgoing and like to talk, but I am at heart a significant nerd,'' he told me when we spoke recently. ''I was so happy that college had nerdy women. That was a delight.'' Shortly before graduation, he started a relationship that lasted for seven years. When he and his girlfriend broke up, in 2014, he felt like he'd stepped out of a time machine.
Before the relationship, Tinder didn't exist; nor did iPhones. Simon wasn't particularly eager to get into another serious relationship right away, but he wanted to have sex. ''My first instinct was go to bars,'' he said. But each time he went to one, he struck out. He couldn't escape the sense that hitting on someone in person had, in a short period of time, gone from normal behavior to borderline creepy. His friends set up a Tinder account for him; later, he signed up for Bumble, Match, OkCupid, and Coffee Meets Bagel.
Unless you are exceptionally good-looking, the thing online dating may be best at is sucking up large amounts of time.He had better luck with Tinder than the other apps, but it was hardly efficient. He figures he swiped right'--indicating that he was interested'--up to 30 times for every woman who also swiped right on him, thereby triggering a match. But matching was only the beginning; then it was time to start messaging. ''I was up to over 10 messages sent for a single message received,'' he said. In other words: Nine out of 10 women who matched with Simon after swiping right on him didn't go on to exchange messages with him. This means that for every 300 women he swiped right on, he had a conversation with just one.
At least among people who don't use dating apps, the perception exists that they facilitate casual sex with unprecedented efficiency. In reality, unless you are exceptionally good-looking, the thing online dating may be best at is sucking up large amounts of time. As of 2014, when Tinder last released such data, the average user logged in 11 times a day. Men spent 7.2 minutes per session and women spent 8.5 minutes, for a total of about an hour and a half a day. Yet they didn't get much in return. Today, the company says it logs 1.6 billion swipes a day, and just 26 million matches. And, if Simon's experience is any indication, the overwhelming majority of matches don't lead to so much as a two-way text exchange, much less a date, much less sex.
When I talked with Simon, he was seven months into a relationship with a new girlfriend, whom he'd met through another online-dating service. He liked her, and was happy to be on hiatus from Tinder. ''It's like howling into the void for most guys,'' he explained, ''and like searching for a diamond in a sea of dick pics for most girls.''
So why do people continue to use dating apps? Why not boycott them all? Simon said meeting someone offline seemed like less and less of an option. His parents had met in a chorus a few years after college, but he couldn't see himself pulling off something similar. ''I play volleyball,'' he added. ''I had somebody on the volleyball team two years ago who I thought was cute, and we'd been playing together for a while.'' Simon wanted to ask her out, but ultimately concluded that this would be ''incredibly awkward,'' even ''boorish.''
At first, I wondered whether Simon was being overly genteel, or a little paranoid. But the more people I talked with, the more I came to believe that he was simply describing an emerging cultural reality. ''No one approaches anyone in public anymore,'' said a teacher in Northern Virginia. ''The dating landscape has changed. People are less likely to ask you out in real life now, or even talk to begin with,'' said a 28-year-old woman in Los Angeles who volunteered that she had been single for three years.
As romance and its beginnings are segregated from the routines of daily life, there is less and less space for elevator flirtation.This shift seems to be accelerating amid the national reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, and a concomitant shifting of boundaries. According to a November 2017 Economist/YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 now believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink ''always'' or ''usually'' constitutes sexual harassment. (Among older groups, much smaller percentages believe this.)
Laurie Mintz, who teaches a popular undergraduate class on the psychology of sexuality at the University of Florida, told me that the #MeToo movement has made her students much more aware of issues surrounding consent. She has heard from many young men who are productively reexamining their past actions and working diligently to learn from the experiences of friends and partners. But others have described less healthy reactions, like avoiding romantic overtures for fear that they might be unwelcome. In my own conversations, men and women alike spoke of a new tentativeness and hesitancy. One woman who described herself as a passionate feminist said she felt empathy for the pressure that heterosexual dating puts on men. ''I think I owe it to them, in this current cultural moment particularly, to try to treat them like they're human beings taking a risk talking to a stranger,'' she wrote me. ''There are a lot of lonely, confused people out there, who have no idea what to do or how to date.''
I mentioned to several of the people I interviewed for this piece that I'd met my husband in an elevator, in 2001. (We worked on different floors of the same institution, and over the months that followed struck up many more conversations'--in the elevator, in the break room, on the walk to the subway.) I was fascinated by the extent to which this prompted other women to sigh and say that they'd just love to meet someone that way. And yet quite a few of them suggested that if a random guy started talking to them in an elevator, they would be weirded out. ''Creeper! Get away from me,'' one woman imagined thinking. ''Anytime we're in silence, we look at our phones,'' explained her friend, nodding. Another woman fantasized to me about what it would be like to have a man hit on her in a bookstore. (She'd be holding a copy of her favorite book. ''What's that book?'' he'd say.) But then she seemed to snap out of her reverie, and changed the subject to Sex and the City reruns and how hopelessly dated they seem. ''Miranda meets Steve at a bar,'' she said, in a tone suggesting that the scenario might as well be out of a Jane Austen novel, for all the relevance it had to her life.
Video: The Sex Drought
H ow could various dating apps be so inefficient at their ostensible purpose'--hooking people up'--and still be so popular? For one thing, lots of people appear to be using them as a diversion, with limited expectations of meeting up in person. As Iris, who's 33, told me bitterly, ''They've gamified interaction. The majority of men on Tinder just swipe right on everybody. They say yes, yes, yes to every woman.''
Stories from other app users bear out the idea of apps as diversions rather than matchmakers. ''Getting right-swiped is a good ego boost even if I have no intention of meeting someone,'' one man told me. A 28-year-old woman said that she persisted in using dating apps even though she had been abstinent for three years, a fact she attributed to depression and low libido: ''I don't have much inclination to date someone.''
''After a while it just feels exactly the same as getting good at a bubble-popping game. I'm happy to be good at it, but what am I really achieving?'' said an app user who described herself as abstinent by choice. Another woman wrote that she was ''too lazy'' to meet people, adding: ''I usually download dating apps on a Tuesday when I'm bored, watching TV '... I don't try very hard.'' Yet another woman said that she used an app, but only ''after two glasses of white wine'--then I promptly delete it after two hours of fruitless swiping.''
Many critiques of online dating, including a 2013 article by Dan Slater in The Atlantic, adapted from his book A Million First Dates, have focused on the idea that too many options can lead to ''choice overload,'' which in turn leads to dissatisfaction. Online daters, he argued, might be tempted to keep going back for experiences with new people; commitment and marriage might suffer. Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist who runs a longitudinal study out of Stanford called ''How Couples Meet and Stay Together,'' questions this hypothesis; his research finds that couples who meet online tend to marry more quickly than other couples, a fact that hardly suggests indecision.
Maybe choice overload applies a little differently than Slater imagined. Maybe the problem is not the people who date and date some more'--they might even get married, if Rosenfeld is right'--but those who are so daunted that they don't make it off the couch. This idea came up many times in my conversations with people who described sex and dating lives that had gone into a deep freeze. Some used the term paradox of choice; others referred to option paralysis (a term popularized by Black Mirror); still others invoked fobo (''fear of a better option'').
A nd yet online dating continues to attract users, in part because many people consider apps less stressful than the alternatives. Lisa Wade suspects that graduates of high-school or college hookup culture may welcome the fact that online dating takes some of the ambiguity out of pairing up (We've each opted in; I'm at least a little bit interested in you). The first time my husband and I met up outside work, neither of us was sure whether it was a date. When you find someone via an app, there's less uncertainty.
As a 27-year-old woman in Philadelphia put it: ''I have insecurities that make fun bar flirtation very stressful. I don't like the Is he into me? moment. I use dating apps because I want it to be clear that this is a date and we are sexually interested in one another. If it doesn't work out, fine, but there's never a Is he asking me to hang as a friend or as a date? feeling.'' Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward.
Anna, who graduated from college three years ago, told me that in school, she struggled to ''read'' people. Dating apps have been a helpful crutch. ''There's just no ambiguity,'' she explained. ''This person is interested in me to some extent.'' The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them. ''I never really learned how to meet people in real life,'' she said. She then proceeded to tell me about a guy she knew slightly from college, whom she'd recently bumped into a few times. She found him attractive and wanted to register her interest, but wasn't sure how to do that outside the context of a college party. Then she remembered that she'd seen his profile on Tinder. ''Maybe next time I sign in,'' she said, musing aloud, ''I'll just swipe right so I don't have to do this awkward thing and get rejected.''
Apart from helping people avoid the potential embarrassments (if also, maybe, the exhilaration) of old-fashioned flirting, apps are quite useful to those who are in what economists call ''thin markets'''--markets with a relatively low number of participants. Sexual minorities, for example, tend to use online dating services at much higher rates than do straight people. (Michael Rosenfeld'--whose survey deliberately oversampled gays and lesbians in an effort to compensate for the dearth of research on their dating experiences'--finds that ''unpartnered gay men and unpartnered lesbians seem to have substantially more active dating lives than do heterosexuals,'' a fact he attributes partly to their successful use of apps. This disparity raises the possibility that the sex recession may be a mostly heterosexual phenomenon.)
Justin Metz / Pablo DelcanIn all dating markets, apps appear to be most helpful to the highly photogenic. As Emma, a 26-year-old virgin who sporadically tries her luck with online dating, glumly told me, ''Dating apps make it easy for hot people'--who already have the easiest time.'' Christian Rudder, a co-founder of OkCupid (one of the less appearance-centric dating services, in that it encourages detailed written profiles), reported in 2009 that the male users who were rated most physically attractive by female users got 11 times as many messages as the lowest-rated men did; medium-rated men received about four times as many messages. The disparity was starker for women: About two-thirds of messages went to the one-third of women who were rated most physically attractive. A more recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Santa Fe Institute found that online daters of both genders tend to pursue prospective mates who are on average 25 percent more desirable than they are'--presumably not a winning strategy.
The very existence of online dating makes it harder for anyone to make an overture in person without seeming inappropriate.So where does this leave us? Many online daters spend large amounts of time pursuing people who are out of their league. Few of their messages are returned, and even fewer lead to in-person contact. At best, the experience is apt to be bewildering (Why are all these people swiping right on me, then failing to follow through?). But it can also be undermining, even painful. Emma is, by her own description, fat. She is not ashamed of her appearance, and purposefully includes several full-body photos in her dating profiles. Nevertheless, men persist in swiping right on her profile only to taunt her'--when I spoke with her, one guy had recently ended a text exchange by sending her a gif of an overweight woman on a treadmill.
An even bigger problem may be the extent to which romantic pursuit is now being cordoned off into a predictable, prearranged online venue, the very existence of which makes it harder for anyone, even those not using the apps, to extend an overture in person without seeming inappropriate. What a miserable impasse.
4. Bad Sex (Painfully Bad)One especially springlike morning in May, as Debby Herbenick and I walked her baby through a park in Bloomington, Indiana, she shared a bit of advice she sometimes offers students at Indiana University, where she is a leading sex researcher. ''If you're with somebody for the first time,'' she said evenly, ''don't choke them, don't ejaculate on their face, don't try to have anal sex with them. These are all things that are just unlikely to go over well.''
I'd sought out Herbenick in part because I was intrigued by an article she'd written for The Washington Post proposing that the sex decline might have a silver lining. Herbenick had asked whether we might be seeing, among other things, a retreat from coercive or otherwise unwanted sex. Just a few decades ago, after all, marital rape was still legal in many states. As she pushed her daughter's stroller, she elaborated on the idea that some of the sex recession's causes could be a healthy reaction to bad sex'--a subset of people ''not having sex that they don't want to have anymore. People feeling more empowered to say 'No thanks.''''
Bloomington is the unofficial capital of American sex research, a status that dates back to the 1940s, when the Indiana University biologist Alfred Kinsey's pioneering sex surveys inaugurated the field. It retains its standing thanks partly to the productivity of its scientists, and partly to the paucity of sex research at other institutions. In 2009, Herbenick and her colleagues launched the ongoing National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, which is only the second nationally representative survey to examine Americans' sex lives in detail'--and the first to try to chart them over time. (The previous national survey, out of the University of Chicago, was conducted just once, in 1992. Most other sex research, including Kinsey's, has used what are known as convenience samples, which don't represent the population at large. The long-running General Social Survey, which much of Jean Twenge's research is based upon, is nationally representative, but poses only a few questions about sex.)
I asked Herbenick whether the NSSHB's findings gave her any hunches about what might have changed since the 1990s. She mentioned the new popularity of sex toys, and a surge in heterosexual anal sex. Back in 1992, the big University of Chicago survey reported that 20 percent of women in their late 20s had tried anal sex; in 2012, the NSSHB found a rate twice that. She also told me about new data suggesting that, compared with previous generations, young people today are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors prevalent in porn, like the ones she warns her students against springing on a partner. All of this might be scaring some people off, she thought, and contributing to the sex decline.
''If you are a young woman,'' she added, glancing down at her daughter, ''and you're having sex and somebody tries to choke you, I just don't know if you'd want to go back for more right away.''
Justin Metz / Pablo DelcanS ome of Herbenick's most sobering research concerns the prevalence of painful sex. In 2012, 30 percent of women said they'd experienced pain the last time they'd had vaginal intercourse; during anal intercourse, 72 percent had. Whether or not these rates represent an increase (we have no basis for comparison), they are troublingly high. Moreover, most women don't tell their partners about their pain. J. Dennis Fortenberry, the chief of adolescent medicine at Indiana University's medical school and a co-leader of the NSSHB, believes that many girls and women have internalized the idea that physical discomfort goes with being female.
A particularly vivid illustration of this comes from Lucia O'Sullivan, a University of New Brunswick psychology professor who has published research documenting high rates of sexual dysfunction among adolescents and young adults. That work grew out of a lunch several years ago with a physician from the university's student-health center, who told O'Sullivan that she was deeply concerned by all the vulvar fissures she and her colleagues were seeing in their student patients. These women weren't reporting rape, but the condition of their genitals showed that they were enduring intercourse that was, literally, undesired. ''They were having sex they didn't want, weren't aroused by,'' O'Sullivan says. The physician told her that the standard of care was to hand the women K'Y Jelly and send them on their way.
Painful sex is not new, but there's reason to think that porn may be contributing to some particularly unpleasant early sexual experiences. Studies show that, in the absence of high-quality sex education, teen boys look to porn for help understanding sex'--anal sex and other acts women can find painful are ubiquitous in mainstream porn. (This isn't to say that anal sex has to be painful, but rather that the version most women are experiencing is.) In a series of in-depth interviews, Cicely Marston of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that teenage boys experimenting with anal sex'--perhaps influenced by what they've seen in porn'--may find that sudden, unlubricated penetration is more difficult than it looks, and more agonizing for the recipient. Some of her subjects appear to have pressured their partner; others seem to have resorted to what another researcher described to me, clinically, as ''nonconsensual substitution of anal for vaginal sex.''
In my interviews with young women, I heard too many iterations to count of ''he did something I didn't like that I later learned is a staple in porn,'' choking being one widely cited example. Outside of porn, some people do enjoy what's known as erotic asphyxiation'--they say restricting oxygen to the brain can make for more intense orgasms'--but it is dangerous and ranks high on the list of things you shouldn't do to someone unless asked to. Tess, a 31-year-old woman in San Francisco, mentioned that her past few sexual experiences had been with slightly younger men. ''I've noticed that they tend to go for choking without prior discussion,'' she said. Anna, the woman who described how dating apps could avert awkwardness, told me she'd been choked so many times that at first, she figured it was normal. ''A lot of people don't realize you have to ask,'' she said.
As Marina Adshade, a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies the economics of sex and love, said to me, ''Men have bad sex and good sex. But when sex is bad for women, it's really, really bad. If women are avoiding sex, are they trying to avoid the really bad sex?''
S ex takes time to learn under the best of circumstances, and these are not the best of circumstances. Modeling your behavior after what you've seen on-screen can lead to what's known as ''spectatoring'''--that is, worrying about how you look and sound while you're having sex, a behavior the sex researchers William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson long ago posited was bad for sexual functioning. Some young women told me they felt pressured to emulate porn actresses'--and to achieve orgasm from penetration alone, which most women can't do. ''It took me a while to be comfortable with the fact that I don't have to be as vocal during sex as the girls seem to be in porn,'' a 24-year-old woman in Boston said. A 31-year-old in Phoenix explained that in her experience, porn has made men ''expect that they can make any woman orgasm by just pounding away.''
Learning sex in the context of one-off hookups isn't helping either. Research suggests that, for most people, casual sex tends to be less physically pleasurable than sex with a regular partner. Paula England, a sociologist at NYU who has studied hookup culture extensively, attributes this partly to the importance of ''partner-specific sexual skills'''--that is, knowing what your partner likes. For women, especially, this varies greatly. One study found that while hooking up with a new partner, only 31 percent of men and 11 percent of women reached orgasm. (By contrast, when people were asked about their most recent sexual encounter in the context of a relationship, 84 percent of men and 67 percent of women said they'd had an orgasm.) Other studies have returned similar results. Of course, many people enjoy encounters that don't involve orgasms'--a third of hookups don't include acts that could reasonably be expected to lead to one'--but the difference between the two contexts is striking. If young people are delaying serious relationships until later in adulthood, more and more of them may be left without any knowledge of what good sex really feels like.
As I was reporting this piece, quite a few people told me that they were taking a break from sex and dating. This tracks with research by Lucia O'Sullivan, who finds that even after young adults' sex lives start up, they are often paused for long periods of time. Some people told me of sexual and romantic dormancy triggered by assault or depression; others talked about the decision to abstain as if they were taking a sabbatical from an unfulfilling job.
Late one afternoon in February, I met up with Iris, the woman who remarked to me that Tinder had been ''gamified,'' at the Lemon Collective, a design studio and workshop space in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The collective hosts DIY and design classes as well as courses geared toward the wellness of Millennial women; Valentine's Day had been celebrated with a wildly oversubscribed real-estate workshop called ''House Before Spouse.'' (''We don't need partners to be financially savvy and create personal wealth,'' the event's description said. ''Wine and cheese will be served, obviously.'')
As we chatted (over, obviously, wine), Iris despaired at the quality of her recent sexual interactions. ''I had such bad sex yesterday, my God, it was so bad,'' she said wearily. ''He basically got it in and'--'' She banged a fist against her palm at a furious tempo. It was the first time she'd slept with this man, whom she had met on Tinder, and she wondered aloud whether she could coach him. She was doubtful, though; he was in his 30s'--old enough, she thought, to know better.
Iris observed that her female friends, who were mostly single, were finding more and more value in their friendships. ''I'm 33, I've been dating forever, and, you know, women are better,'' she said. ''They're just better.'' She hastened to add that men weren't bad; in fact, she hated how anti-male the conversations around her had grown. Still, she and various platonic female friends'--most of whom identified as straight'--were starting to play roles in one another's lives that they might not be playing if they had fulfilling romantic or sexual relationships. For instance, they'd started trading lesbian-porn recommendations, and were getting to know one another's preferences pretty well. Several women also had a text chain going in which they exchanged nude photos of themselves. ''It's nothing but positivity,'' she said, describing the complimentary texts they'd send one another in reply to a photo (''Damn, girl, your tits!''). She wasn't ready to swear off men entirely. But, she said, ''I want good sex.'' Or at least, she added, ''pretty good sex.''
5. Inhibition ''Millennials don't like to get naked'--if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,'' Jonah Disend, the founder of the branding consultancy Redscout, told Bloomberg last year. He said that designs for master-bedroom suites were evolving for much the same reason: ''They want their own changing rooms and bathrooms, even in a couple.'' The article concluded that however ''digitally nonchalant'' Millennials might seem'--an allusion, maybe, to sexting'--''they're prudish in person.'' Fitness facilities across the country are said to be renovating locker rooms in response to the demands of younger clients. ''Old-timers, guys that are 60-plus, have no problem with a gang shower,'' one gym designer told The New York Times, adding that Millennials require privacy.
Related Stories A Million First Dates Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Sexually Conservative Millennial Dear Therapist: My Husband Doesn't Want to Have Sex Anymore Some observers have suggested that a new discomfort with nudity might stem from the fact that, by the mid-1990s, most high schools had stopped requiring students to shower after gym class. Which makes sense'--the less time you spend naked, the less comfortable you are being naked. But people may also be newly worried about what they look like naked. A large and growing body of research reports that for both men and women, social-media use is correlated with body dissatisfaction. And a major Dutch study found that among men, frequency of pornography viewing was associated with concern about penis size. I heard much the same from quite a few men (''too hairy, not fit enough, not big enough in terms of penis size,'' went one morose litany). According to research by Debby Herbenick, how people feel about their genitals predicts sexual functioning'--and somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of people, perhaps influenced by porn or plastic-surgery marketing, feel negatively. The business of labiaplasty has become so lucrative, she told me in an email, ''that you will actually see billboards (yes, billboards!) in some cities advertising it.''
As one might imagine, feeling comfortable in your body is good for your sex life. A review of 57 studies examining the relationship between women's body image and sexual behavior suggests that positive body image is linked to having better sex. Conversely, not feeling comfortable in your own skin complicates sex. If you don't want your partner to see you getting out of the shower, how is oral sex going to work?
Maybe, for some people, it isn't. The 2017 iteration of Match.com's Singles in America survey (co-led by Helen Fisher and the Kinsey Institute's Justin Garcia) found that single Millennials were 66 percent less likely than members of older generations to enjoy receiving oral sex. Which doesn't bode particularly well for female pleasure: Among partnered sex acts, cunnilingus is one of the surest ways for women to have orgasms.
Ian Kerner, the New York sex therapist, told me that he works with a lot of men who would like to perform oral sex but are rebuffed by their partner. ''I know the stereotype is often that men are the ones who don't want to perform it, but I find the reverse,'' he said. ''A lot of women will say when I'm talking to them privately, 'I just can't believe that a guy wants to be down there, likes to do that. It's the ugliest part of my body.'''' When I asked 20-somethings about oral sex, a pretty sizable minority of women sounded a similar note. ''Receiving makes me nervous. It feels more intimate than penetration,'' wrote one woman. ''I become so self-conscious and find it difficult to enjoy,'' wrote another.
Mendelsund / MundayO ver the past 20 years, the way sex researchers think about desire and arousal has broadened from an initially narrow focus on stimulus to one that sees inhibition as equally, if not more, important. (The term inhibition, for these purposes, means anything that interferes with or prevents arousal, ranging from poor self-image to distractedness.) In her book Come as You Are, Emily Nagoski, who trained at the Kinsey Institute, compares the brain's excitement system to the gas pedal in a car, and its inhibition system to the brakes. The first turns you on; the second turns you off. For many people, research suggests, the brakes are more sensitive than the accelerator.
That turn-offs matter more than turn-ons may sound commonsensical, but in fact, this insight is at odds with most popular views of sexual problems. When people talk about addressing a lack of desire, they tend to focus on fuel, or stimulation'--erotica, Viagra, the K'Y Jelly they were handing out at the New Brunswick student-health center. These things are helpful to many people in many cases, but they won't make you want to have sex if your brakes are fully engaged.
In my interviews, inhibition seemed a constant companion to many people who'd been abstinent for a long time. Most of them described abstinence not as something they had embraced (due to religious belief, say) so much as something they'd found themselves backed into as a result of trauma, anxiety, or depression. Dispiritingly but unsurprisingly, sexual assault was invoked by many of the women who said they'd opted out of sex. The other two factors come as no great shock either: Rates of anxiety and depression have been rising among Americans for decades now, and by some accounts have risen quite sharply of late among people in their teens and 20s. Anxiety suppresses desire for most people. And, in a particularly unfortunate catch'22, both depression and the antidepressants used to treat it can also reduce desire.
''I have a therapist and this is one of the main things we're working on,'' a 28-year-old woman I'll call April wrote to me, by way of explaining that, owing to intense anxiety, she'd never slept with anyone or been in a relationship. ''I've had a few kisses & gone to second base (as the kids say) and it really has never been good for me.'' When we later spoke by phone, she told me that in adolescence, she'd been shy, overweight, and ''very, very afraid of boys.'' April isn't asexual (she gives thanks for her Magic Bullet vibrator). She's just terrified of intimacy. From time to time she goes on dates with men she meets through her job in the book industry or on an app, but when things get physical, she panics. ''I jumped out of someone's car once to avoid him kissing me,'' she said miserably. As we were ending the conversation, she mentioned to me a story by the British writer Helen Oyeyemi, which describes an author of romance novels who is secretly a virgin. ''She doesn't have anyone, and she's just stuck. It's kind of a fairy tale'--she lives in the garret of a large, old house, writing these romantic stories over and over, but nothing ever happens for her. I think about her all the time.''
In exchanges like these, I was struck by what a paralyzing and vicious cycle unhappiness and abstinence can be. The data show that having sex makes people happier (up to a point, at least; for those in relationships, more than once a week doesn't seem to bring an additional happiness bump). Yet unhappiness inhibits desire, in the process denying people who are starved of joy one of its potential sources. Are rising rates of unhappiness contributing to the sex recession? Almost certainly. But mightn't a decline in sex and intimacy also be leading to unhappiness?
Moreover, what research we have on sexually inactive adults suggests that, for those who desire a sex life, there may be such a thing as waiting too long. Among people who are sexually inexperienced at age 18, about 80 percent will become sexually active by the time they are 25. But those who haven't gained sexual experience by their mid-20s are much less likely to ever do so. The authors of a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine speculated that ''if a man or woman has not had intercourse by age 25, there is a reasonable chance [he or she] will remain a virgin at least until age 45.'' Research by Stanford's Michael Rosenfeld confirms that, in adulthood, true singledom is a far more stable category than most of us have imagined. Over the course of a year, he reports, only 50 percent of heterosexual single women in their 20s go on any dates'--and older women are even less likely to do so.
Other sources of sexual inhibition speak distinctly to the way we live today. For example, sleep deprivation strongly suppresses desire'--and sleep quality is imperiled by now-common practices like checking one's phone overnight. (For women, getting an extra hour of sleep predicts a 14 percent greater likelihood of having sex the next day.) In her new book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness, Lori Brotto, an obstetrics-and-gynecology professor at the University of British Columbia, reviews lab research showing that background distraction of the sort we're all swimming in now likewise dampens arousal, in both men and women.
How can such little things'--a bad night's sleep, low-grade distraction'--defeat something as fundamental as sex? One answer, which I heard from a few quarters, is that our sexual appetites are meant to be easily extinguished. The human race needs sex, but individual humans don't.
Among the contradictions of our time is this: We live in unprecedented physical safety, and yet something about modern life, very recent modern life, has triggered in many of us autonomic responses associated with danger'--anxiety, constant scanning of our surroundings, fitful sleep. Under these circumstances, survival trumps desire. As Emily Nagoski likes to point out, nobody ever died of sexlessness: ''We can starve to death, die of dehydration, even die of sleep deprivation. But nobody ever died of not being able to get laid.''
W hen Toys ''R'' Us announced this spring'--after saying it had been struggling because of falling birth rates'--that it would be shutting down, some observers mordantly remarked that it could be added to the list of things that Millennials had destroyed.
Societal changes have a way of inspiring generational pessimism. Other writers, examining the same data I've looked at, have produced fretful articles about the future; critics have accused them of stoking panic. And yet there are real causes for concern. One can quibble'--if one cares to'--about exactly why a particular toy retailer failed. But there's no escaping that the American birth rate has been falling for a decade.
At first, the drop was attributed to the Great Recession, and then to the possibility that Millennial women were delaying motherhood rather than forgoing it. But a more fundamental change may be under way. In 2017, the U.S. birth rate hit a record low for a second year running. Birth rates are declining among women in their 30s'--the age at which everyone supposed more Millennials would start families. As a result, some 500,000 fewer American babies were born in 2017 than in 2007, even though more women were of prime childbearing age. Over the same period, the number of children the average American woman is expected to have fell from 2.1 (the so-called replacement rate, or fertility level required to sustain population levels without immigration) to 1.76. If this trend does not reverse, the long-term demographic and fiscal implications will be significant.
A more immediate concern involves the political consequences of loneliness and alienation. Take for example the online hate and real-life violence waged by the so-called incels'--men who claim to be ''involuntarily celibate.'' Their grievances, which are illegitimate and vile, offer a timely reminder that isolated young people are vulnerable to extremism of every sort. See also the populist discontent roiling Europe, driven in part by adults who have so far failed to achieve the milestones of adulthood: In Italy, half of 25-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents.
When I began working on this story, I expected that these big-picture issues might figure prominently within it. I was pretty sure I'd hear lots of worry about economic insecurity and other contributors to a generally precarious future. I also imagined, more hopefully, a fairly lengthy inquiry into the benefits of loosening social conventions, and of less couple-centric pathways to a happy life. But these expectations have mostly fallen to the side, and my concerns have become more basic.
Humans' sexual behavior is one of the things that distinguish us from other species: Unlike most apes, and indeed most animals, humans have sex at times and in configurations that make conception not just unlikely but impossible (during pregnancy, menopause, and other infertile periods; with same-sex partners; using body parts that have never issued babies and never will). As a species, we are ''bizarre in our nearly continuous practice of sex,'' writes the UCLA professor Jared Diamond, who has studied the evolution of human sexuality. ''Along with posture and brain size, sexuality completes the trinity of the decisive aspects in which the ancestors of humans and great apes diverged.'' True, nobody ever died of not getting laid, but getting laid has proved adaptive over millions of years: We do it because it is fun, because it bonds us to one another, because it makes us happy.
A fulfilling sex life is not necessary for a good life, of course, but lots of research confirms that it contributes to one. Having sex is associated not only with happiness, but with a slew of other health benefits. The relationship between sex and wellness, perhaps unsurprisingly, goes both ways: The better off you are, the better off your sex life is, and vice versa. Unfortunately, the converse is true as well. Not having a partner'--sexual or romantic'--can be both a cause and an effect of discontent. Moreover, as American social institutions have withered, having a life partner has become a stronger predictor than ever of well-being.
Like economic recessions, the sex recession will probably play out in ways that are uneven and unfair. Those who have many things going for them already'--looks, money, psychological resilience, strong social networks'--continue to be well positioned to find love and have good sex and, if they so desire, become parents. But intimacy may grow more elusive to those who are on less steady footing.
When, over the course of my reporting, people in their 20s shared with me their hopes and fears and inhibitions, I sometimes felt pangs of recognition. Just as often, though, I was taken aback by what seemed like heartbreaking changes in the way many people were relating'--or not relating'--to one another. I am not so very much older than the people I talked with for this story, and yet I frequently had the sense of being from a different time.
Sex seems more fraught now. This problem has no single source; the world has changed in so many ways, so quickly. In time, maybe, we will rethink some things: The abysmal state of sex education, which was once a joke but is now, in the age of porn, a disgrace. The dysfunctional relationships so many of us have with our phones and social media, to the detriment of our relationships with humans. Efforts to ''protect'' teenagers from most everything, including romance, leaving them ill-equipped for both the miseries and the joys of adulthood.
In October, as I was finishing this article, I spoke once more with April, the woman who took comfort in the short story about the romance novelist who was secretly a virgin. She told me that, since we'd last talked, she'd met a man on Tinder whom she really liked. They'd gone on several dates over the summer, and fooled around quite a bit. As terrified as she had been about getting physically and emotionally intimate with another person, she found, to her surprise, that she loved it: ''I never thought I would feel that comfortable with someone. It was so much better than I thought it was going to be.''
As things progressed, April figured that, in the name of real intimacy, she should explain to the man that she hadn't yet had sex. The revelation didn't go over well. ''I told him I was a virgin. And he broke up with me. Beforehand, I figured that was the worst thing that could happen. And then it happened. The worst thing happened.'' She paused, and when she spoke again her voice was steadier and more assured. ''But I'm still here.''
This article appears in the December 2018 print edition with the headline ''The Sex Recession.''
FBI won't run honest investigation of Hillary Clinton crimes, but is tripping over itself to investigate the theft of files that might expose the truth about 9/11 | GOVERNMENT SLAVES
An underground hacking collective known as ''The Dark Overlord'' reportedly announced on New Year's Eve that it now has in its possession 18,000 documents related to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks '' critical information that, because it could potentially blow the lid on 9/11 being an inside job, has prompted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to launch an urgent investigation.
Even as this same corrupt FBI refuses to pursue justice against felonious traitor Hillary Clinton, federal authorities are now actively pursuing these anonymous, would-be whistleblowers, which claim they'll sell the documents in exchange for Bitcoin.
According to ''two people familiar with the matter,'' The Dark Overlord group possesses both emails and non-disclosure agreements concerning 9/11 that were sent and received by insurers such as Hiscox and Lloyd's of London, both of which deny that they suffered a security breach in relation to the theft. Also mentioned as one of the sources of the stolen documents is law firm Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin, now called Husch Blackwell.
The announcement by The Dark Overlord further invites ISIS, al-Qaeda, and various other nation states to ''bid'' on the documents online, insinuating that whomever offers to pay the most Bitcoin will gain exclusive access to the stolen documents.
''Pay the f*** up, or we're going to bury you with this,'' The Dark Overlord is vulgarly demanding. ''If you continue to fail us, we'll escalate these releases by releasing the keys, each time a Layer is opening, a new wave of liability will fall upon you,'' the letter adds.
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The Dark Overlord tells politicians, law enforcement, and others to pay up or face repercussionsThe Dark Overlord has already released a handful of decryption keys, which apparently unlock private conversations about the World Trade Center that took place among a cohort of entities that we're guessing probably don't want their identities publicly revealed '' which would explain The Dark Overlord's demands for bribery money in exchange for secrecy.
''If you're one of the dozens of solicitor firms who was involved in the litigation, a politician who was involved in the case, a law enforcement agency who was involved in the investigations, a property management firm, an investment bank, a client of a client, a reference of a reference, a global insurer, or whoever else, you're welcome to contact our e-mail below and make a request to formally have your documents and materials withdrawn from any eventual public release of the materials,'' the demand letter adds.
''However, you'll be paying us.''
Interestingly enough, The Dark Overlord says it's been under investigation for many years now, particularly after it obtained key information about Larry Silverstein, the former owner of the World Trade Center complex who infamously stated on video that a decision was made to ''pull it'' before the buildings came down that fateful day.
The insurance industry took a major hit from the attacks, which cost the 2017 equivalent of around $45 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This large amount of money prompted a series of lawsuits, at least some of the details of which are now allegedly in The Dark Overlord's possession.
As for Silverstein Properties, the real estate development firm owned by Larry Silverstein that's been tasked with rebuilding the World Trade Center complex, the company says it isn't at all phased by the data breach.
''We have spent the last 17 years fulfilling our obligation to deliver a magnificent and fully rebuilt World Trade Center,'' a company announcement reads. ''We will not be distracted by 9/11 conspiracy theories.''
This article first appeared at Natural News.
Yen's surge is a red flag for world markets | Article [AMP] | Reuters
LONDON LONDON (Reuters) - A gradual rise by the Japanese yen in recent weeks culminated in a dramatic overnight surge -- firing a warning shot for world markets and the global economy in 2019.
Historically, outsized yen gains in short periods, such as the Russian default in 1998 and the global market meltdown in 2008, are a harbinger of stress for global markets. Market watchers say the yen's latest ascent is a sign that the global economy is set for a rocky ride ahead.
Signs are growing that the global economy is headed for a slowdown. In an environment like that, the yen tends to thrive. Japan's large current account surplus means global markets consider it a safe haven.
Global surveys this week showed activity in European and Chinese factories are slowing. And falling demand forced Apple (AAPL.O ) to issue a rare cut in its sales forecast, sending tremors through global markets.
The yen's roaring higher was a sign of just how widespread concern over the health of the global economy had become, said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX research at Commerzbank.
Japanese investors tend to invest a large portion of their savings overseas, then bring the money home during extreme market stress, driving the yen higher.
That outward investment pressure has only surged in recent years. According to Morgan Stanley, foreign investments in U.S. assets has nearly doubled over the last decade to $1.25 trillion -- a sign of the magnitude of the flows that could head back into the yen.
The dollar collapsed to as little as 104.10 yen JPY=EBS, its lowest reading since March 2018 in early Asian trading, before recouping some losses to stand at 107.64 yen. The yen strengthened at least 1 percent against all its G10 peers
At session lows, the Japanese currency has gained more than 6.5 percent in the last five trading sessions and is the best performing major currency since early December.
But even as evidence mounts that the global economy is struggling, central banks, led by the United States, are signalling more interest rate increases are coming. That is raising fears they may be tightening policy too much into an economic slowdown.
"It tells you there is a lot of anxiety and nervousness and concern about a more material slowdown in the economy," said Bob Michele, chief investment officer and head of fixed income at JP Morgan Asset Management.
Real U.S. interest rates adjusted for inflation are at their highest in nearly three years. Nominal interest rates are greater than dividend yields in U.S., China and Japan.
"U.S. real yields are too high, productivity problems are emerging in China and the glut of global surpluses is falling, exposing structural flaws in developed markets," said Hans Redeker, global head of FX strategy at Morgan Stanley in London.
GRAPHIC: Japan Portfolio investments - tmsnrt.rs/2AuaiBE
SAFER SAFE HAVEN
Unusually though, this time around, the surge in the yen has occurred a few months after a selloff in emerging markets last summer. That suggests the bulk of Japanese investment is concentrated in developed markets such as the United States.
Between late March and early October, U.S. stocks rose by 13 percent and the dollar gained more than 9 percent against the yen as rate increases in the United States and trade tensions boosted the U.S. currency.
Sam Lynton-Brown, a currency strategist at BNP Paribas in London, said Japanese investors typically held much of their investments in developed markets and the widening cracks in developed markets resulted in the yen's strongly exhibiting its safe-haven characteristics only in recent weeks.
Morgan Stanley strategists said Japanese investors have stepped up buying of riskier U.S. assets such as equities and credit in recent weeks to capture higher yields. Since 2010, they have added more than $400 billion in U.S. assets, most of it in equities, they said.
With Japan's financial market still closed for new year's holidays, the latest moves have been credited to retail investors. Those investors generally behaved like the rest of the FX market bar exceptional circumstances, said Commerzbank's Leuchtmann.
GRAPHIC: JPY valuations - tmsnrt.rs/2AvJhO7
Emerging-market currencies such as Turkey's lira and South Africa's rand felt the biggest pain.
The lira TRYUSD=R tumbled more than 7 percent overnight against the yen. The rand ZARJPY=R dropped nearly 4 percent. Investors have been nervous about both countries, which rely heavily on foreign investors to plug their gaping current account deficits.
"These dislocations demonstrate the impact of unwinding QE on market structures and it means that the truly more vulnerable markets out there need to watch their back, so to speak," said Koon Chow at UBP.
GRAPHIC: Lira, Rand vs Yen - tmsnrt.rs/2RuZSLN
Japanese investors, who had cut back on their protection against currency moves, are also expected to take advantage of reduced hedging costs and protect their overseas portfolios from further losses -- a move that market watchers say may be the catalyst for further gains.
"Even if the yen consolidates around these levels in the near term, we think it will continue to strengthen on balance in 2019," said BNP Paribas's Lynton-Brown, who expects the dollar to weaken to 100 yen by the end of the year.
For Jane Foley, a currency strategist at Rabobank, dollar/yen at 100 is an indicator of a U.S. economy in recession.
GRAPHIC: USDJPY and CFTC - tmsnrt.rs/2RyqoDS
(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Karin Strohecker; Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Virginia Furness; editing by Larry Kiong)
The feeding frenzy about the drop in Apple's share price | Memex 1.1
I find the media obsession with Apple's valuation really tiresome. That's not just because I don't own any shares but also because it suggests that mainstream journalists haven't been paying attention. Way back in August, for example, Bloomberg's Tim Culpin published a very perceptive piece under the headline ''Dark Clouds Gather as Tech Stockpiles Hit Pre-Crisis Levels'' which made it crystal clear that there was a slowdown coming.
But even if journalists don't pay much attention to supply chains you'd have thought that common sense and everyday experience would have taught them that the iPhone picture was changing. I've lost count of the number of friends, colleagues and acquaintances who are happily still using their four- or five-year-old iPhones. The devices still work perfectly for their purposes. Sure, the camera isn't as good as the one on the iPhone XS, but it's still good enough for everyday use. My trusty old iPhone 6 is still more than adequate for my purposes. In fact, since the last couple of IOS updates and a replacement battery, it's as good as it ever was. And one of the things that would stop me upgrading is that I find its fingerprint recognition much more convenient for secure online activities than the much-touted face recognition in the newer iPhones would be. I've been an early adopter and a gadget freak for as long as I can remember. So if I'm not upgrading, then must be lots more like me.
Could it be that most mainstream tech journalists always have the latest iPhones because their employers pay for them? And so they have fallen into the delusion of thinking that they're normal consumers?
Today we are revising our guidance for Apple's fiscal 2019 first quarter, which ended on December 29. We now expect the following:
Revenue of approximately $84 billionGross margin of approximately 38 percentOperating expenses of approximately $8.7 billionOther income/(expense) of approximately $550 millionTax rate of approximately 16.5 percent before discrete itemsWe expect the number of shares used in computing diluted EPS to be approximately 4.77 billion.
Based on these estimates, our revenue will be lower than our original guidance for the quarter, with other items remaining broadly in line with our guidance.
While it will be a number of weeks before we complete and report our final results, we wanted to get some preliminary information to you now. Our final results may differ somewhat from these preliminary estimates.
When we discussed our Q1 guidance with you about 60 days ago, we knew the first quarter would be impacted by both macroeconomic and Apple-specific factors. Based on our best estimates of how these would play out, we predicted that we would report slight revenue growth year-over-year for the quarter. As you may recall, we discussed four factors:
First, we knew the different timing of our iPhone launches would affect our year-over-year compares. Our top models, iPhone X S and iPhone X S Max, shipped in Q4'18'--placing the channel fill and early sales in that quarter, whereas last year iPhone X shipped in Q1'18, placing the channel fill and early sales in the December quarter. We knew this would create a difficult compare for Q1'19, and this played out broadly in line with our expectations.
Second, we knew the strong US dollar would create foreign exchange headwinds and forecasted this would reduce our revenue growth by about 200 basis points as compared to the previous year. This also played out broadly in line with our expectations.
Third, we knew we had an unprecedented number of new products to ramp during the quarter and predicted that supply constraints would gate our sales of certain products during Q1. Again, this also played out broadly in line with our expectations. Sales of Apple Watch Series 4 and iPad Pro were constrained much or all of the quarter. AirPods and MacBook Air were also constrained.
Fourth, we expected economic weakness in some emerging markets. This turned out to have a significantly greater impact than we had projected.
In addition, these and other factors resulted in fewer iPhone upgrades than we had anticipated.
These last two points have led us to reduce our revenue guidance. I'd like to go a bit deeper on both.
Emerging Market Challenges
While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China. In fact, most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline, occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac and iPad.
China's economy began to slow in the second half of 2018. The government-reported GDP growth during the September quarter was the second lowest in the last 25 years. We believe the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the United States. As the climate of mounting uncertainty weighed on financial markets, the effects appeared to reach consumers as well, with traffic to our retail stores and our channel partners in China declining as the quarter progressed. And market data has shown that the contraction in Greater China's smartphone market has been particularly sharp.
Despite these challenges, we believe that our business in China has a bright future. The iOS developer community in China is among the most innovative, creative and vibrant in the world. Our products enjoy a strong following among customers, with a very high level of engagement and satisfaction. Our results in China include a new record for Services revenue, and our installed base of devices grew over the last year. We are proud to participate in the Chinese marketplace.
Lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, accounts for all of our revenue shortfall to our guidance and for much more than our entire year-over-year revenue decline. In fact, categories outside of iPhone (Services, Mac, iPad, Wearables/Home/Accessories) combined to grow almost 19 percent year-over-year.
While Greater China and other emerging markets accounted for the vast majority of the year-over-year iPhone revenue decline, in some developed markets, iPhone upgrades also were not as strong as we thought they would be. While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.
Many Positive Results in the December Quarter
While it's disappointing to revise our guidance, our performance in many areas showed remarkable strength in spite of these challenges.
Our installed base of active devices hit a new all-time high'--growing by more than 100 million units in 12 months. There are more Apple devices being used than ever before, and it's a testament to the ongoing loyalty, satisfaction and engagement of our customers.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, revenue outside of our iPhone business grew by almost 19 percent year-over-year, including all-time record revenue from Services, Wearables and Mac. Our non-iPhone businesses have less exposure to emerging markets, and the vast majority of Services revenue is related to the size of the installed base, not current period sales.
Services generated over $10.8 billion in revenue during the quarter, growing to a new quarterly record in every geographic segment, and we are on track to achieve our goal of doubling the size of this business from 2016 to 2020.
Wearables grew by almost 50 percent year-over-year, as Apple Watch and AirPods were wildly popular among holiday shoppers; launches of MacBook Air and Mac mini powered the Mac to year-over-year revenue growth and the launch of the new iPad Pro drove iPad to year-over-year double-digit revenue growth.
We also expect to set all-time revenue records in several developed countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Korea. And, while we saw challenges in some emerging markets, others set records, including Mexico, Poland, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Finally, we also expect to report a new all-time record for Apple's earnings per share.
Our profitability and cash flow generation are strong, and we expect to exit the quarter with approximately $130 billion in net cash. As we have stated before, we plan to become net-cash neutral over time.
As we exit a challenging quarter, we are as confident as ever in the fundamental strength of our business. We manage Apple for the long term, and Apple has always used periods of adversity to re-examine our approach, to take advantage of our culture of flexibility, adaptability and creativity, and to emerge better as a result.
Most importantly, we are confident and excited about our pipeline of future products and services. Apple innovates like no other company on earth, and we are not taking our foot off the gas.
We can't change macroeconomic conditions, but we are undertaking and accelerating other initiatives to improve our results. One such initiative is making it simple to trade in a phone in our stores, finance the purchase over time, and get help transferring data from the current to the new phone. This is not only great for the environment, it is great for the customer, as their existing phone acts as a subsidy for their new phone, and it is great for developers, as it can help grow our installed base.
This is one of a number of steps we are taking to respond. We can make these adjustments because Apple's strength is in our resilience, the talent and creativity of our team, and the deeply held passion for the work we do every day.
Expectations are high for Apple because they should be. We are committed to exceeding those expectations every day.
That has always been the Apple way, and it always will be.
The information presented in this letter is preliminary and our actual results may differ. Apple plans to discuss final results during our first quarter conference call on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. PST / 5:00 p.m. EST.
This letter contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include without limitation those about Apple's estimated revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, other income/(expense), tax rate, net cash, share count and plans for return of capital. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ. Risks and uncertainties include without limitation: the effect of global and regional economic conditions on Apple's business, including effects on purchasing decisions by consumers and businesses; the ability of Apple to compete in markets that are highly competitive and subject to rapid technological change; the ability of Apple to manage frequent introductions and transitions of products and services, including delivering to the marketplace, and stimulating customer demand for, new products, services and technological innovations on a timely basis; the effect that shifts in the mix of products and services and in the geographic, currency or channel mix, component cost increases, price competition, or the introduction of new products, including new products with higher cost structures, could have on Apple's gross margin; the dependency of Apple on the performance of distributors of Apple's products, including cellular network carriers and other resellers; the inventory and other asset risks associated with Apple's need to order, or commit to order, product components in advance of customer orders; the continued availability on acceptable terms, or at all, of certain components, services and new technologies essential to Apple's business, including components and technologies that may only be available from single or limited sources; the dependency of Apple on manufacturing and logistics services provided by third parties, many of which are located outside of the US and which may affect the quality, quantity or cost of products manufactured or services rendered to Apple; the effect of product and services design and manufacturing defects on Apple's financial performance and reputation; the dependency of Apple on third-party intellectual property and digital content, which may not be available to Apple on commercially reasonable terms or at all; the dependency of Apple on support from third-party software developers to develop and maintain software applications and services for Apple's products; the impact of unfavorable legal proceedings, such as a potential finding that Apple has infringed on the intellectual property rights of others; the impact of changes to laws and regulations that affect Apple's activities, including Apple's ability to offer products or services to customers in different regions; the ability of Apple to manage risks associated with its international activities, including complying with laws and regulations affecting Apple's international operations; the ability of Apple to manage risks associated with Apple's retail stores; the ability of Apple to manage risks associated with Apple's investments in new business strategies and acquisitions; the impact on Apple's business and reputation from information technology system failures, network disruptions or losses or unauthorized access to, or release of, confidential information; the ability of Apple to comply with laws and regulations regarding data protection; the continued service and availability of key executives and employees; political events, international trade disputes, war, terrorism, natural disasters, public health issues, and other business interruptions that could disrupt supply or delivery of, or demand for, Apple's products; financial risks, including risks relating to currency fluctuations, credit risks and fluctuations in the market value of Apple's investment portfolio; and changes in tax rates and exposure to additional tax liabilities. More information on these risks and other potential factors that could affect Apple's financial results is included in Apple's filings with the SEC, including in the ''Risk Factors'' and ''Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations'' sections of Apple's most recently filed periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and subsequent filings. Apple assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms '-- iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS '-- provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
(C) 2019 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Ministry of Truthiness
Jill Abramson, the former New York Times editor, pushes back on Trump praise of her book as he attacks media.
A journalist with NBC has resigned from the network with a statement which highlights the immense resistance that ostensibly liberal mass media outlets have to antiwar narratives, skepticism of US military agendas, and any movement in the opposite direction of endless military expansionism.
''January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I'd like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good,'' begins an email titled 'My goodbye letter to NBC' sent to various contacts by William M Arkin, an award-winning journalist who has been associated with the network for 30 years.
''This isn't the first time I've left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis,'' the email continues. ''My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.''
The lengthy email covers details about Arkin's relationship with NBC and its staff, his opinions about the mainstream media's refusal to adequately scrutinize and criticize the US war machine's spectacular failures in the Middle East, how he ''argued endlessly with MSNBC about all things national security for years'', the fact that his position as a civilian military analyst was unusual and ''peculiar'' in a media environment where that role is normally dominated by ''THE GENERALS and former government officials,'' and how he was ''one of the few to report that there weren't any WMD in Iraq'' and remembers ''fondly presenting that conclusion to an incredulous NBC editorial board.''
''A scholar at heart, I also found myself an often lone voice that was anti-nuclear and even anti-military, anti-military for me meaning opinionated but also highly knowledgeable, somewhat akin to a movie critic, loving my subject but also not shy about making judgements regarding the flops and the losers,'' he writes.
Arkin makes clear that NBC is in no way the sole mass media offender in its refusal to question or criticize the normalization of endless warfare, but that he feels increasingly ''out of sync'' and ''out of step'' with the network's unhesitating advancement of military interventionist narratives. He writes about how Robert Windrem, NBC News' chief investigative producer, convinced him to join a new investigative unit in the early days of the 2016 presidential race. Arkin writes the following about his experience with the unit:
''I thought that the mission was to break through the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton's hawkishness. It was also an interesting moment at NBC because everyone was looking over their shoulder at Vice and other upstarts creeping up on the mainstream. But then Trump got elected and Investigations got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush, the national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself''--'busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play.''I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. I'd also argue, ever so gingerly, that NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). I accept that there's a lot to report here, but I'm more worried about how much we are missing. Hence my desire to take a step back and think why so little changes with regard to America's wars.''Arkin is no fan of Trump, calling him ''an ignorant and incompetent impostor,'' but describes his shock at NBC's reflexive opposition to the president's ''bumbling intuitions'' to get along with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, and his questioning of the US military's involvement in Africa.
''I'm alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn't get out Syria? We shouldn't go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?''''There's a saying about consultants, that organizations hire them to hear exactly what they want to hear,'' Arkin writes in the conclusion of his statement. '' I'm proud to say that NBC didn't do that when it came to me. Similarly I can say that I'm proud that I'm not guilty of giving my employers what they wanted. Still, the things this and most organizations fear most''--'variability, disturbance, difference''--'those things that are also the primary drivers of creativity''--'are not really the things that I see valued in the reporting ranks.''
That's about as charitably as it could possibly be said by a skeptical tongue. Another way to say it would be that plutocrat-controlled and government-enmeshed media networks hire reporters to protect the warmongering oligarchic status quo upon which media-controlling plutocrats have built their respective kingdoms, and foster an environment which elevates those who promote establishment-friendly narratives while marginalizing and pressuring anyone who doesn't. It's absolutely bizarre that it should be unusual for there to be a civilian analyst of the US war machine's behaviors in the mainstream media who is skeptical of its failed policies and nonstop bloodshed, and it's a crime that such voices are barely holding on to the fringes of the media stage. Such analysts should be extremely normal and commonplace, not rare and made to feel as though they don't belong.
Click here to read William M Arkin's full email, republished with permission.
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2015 was a watershed year for Chicago. After months of public pressure, a federal judge ordered the city to release dashcam video of a Black teenager being shot sixteen times by a white police officer. That video led to widespread protests, the firing of the police chief, the unseating of the county's top prosecutor and, eventually, the first murder conviction of an on-duty Chicago police officer in more than fifty years.
The story of that murdered teen, Laquan McDonald, was'--and continues to be'--one of the biggest local news events in a generation. As an editor in Chicago, I knew what the news cycle would look like after the video was released: months of intense daily coverage of protests, prosecutorial steps and interviews with government officials that would peter into sporadic, formulaic news updates, eventually fading from the public conversation. It felt, in some ways, inevitable'--the coverage was valuable in its own way, but was it the best way for journalists to serve the public's interest?
At its best, journalism is a crucial component of civic engagement, exposing wrongdoing and galvanizing citizens to act for the greater good. Done wrong, it can sow division, lose the trust of the public, and '--perhaps worse, for a city infamous for corruption and where mayoral election voter turnout has fallen below 50 percent in the last two decades'--engender apathy. So how do we ensure the vitality of journalism in an era of widespread mistrust of institutions?
One month before the release of the Laquan McDonald video, myself and three friends'--Darryl Holliday, a reporter, Andrea Hart, an educator, and Harry Backlund, a publisher'--had co-founded City Bureau, a local journalism lab. Our guiding idea was simple: in order to make journalism better for democracy, we have to make journalism more democratic.
We cannot continue to think of journalism as a gift bestowed by journalists unto their audience.
Our goal was to tackle the industry's elitism and lack of diversity'--creating an inclusive, community-centered program, where trained journalists of all stripes work with people directly affected by issues like poverty, unaffordable housing, police violence and inadequate education, to produce the news and information useful to them. But more importantly, we sought to show people how journalism can be used, by anyone, as a tool to inform their neighbors, tell stories and make change in their communities.
From the beginning, we knew our work had to have a presence away from the page (or screen) and meet people where they are. So, in addition to training a cohort of reporting fellows to write stories on police misconduct in 2015, City Bureau partnered with the journalistic production group Invisible Institute, hosting a series of workshops around its Citizens Police Data Project, a database that holds hundreds of thousands of complaints filed against Chicago police officers.
For many people attending our workshops, this was their first time seeing firsthand how journalistic tools could provide access to records and help process and analyze the data within. We could ask attendees for the name of an officer in their neighborhood and pull up his or her misconduct record. With a few clicks, we could help them file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to see the full complaint report. Our reporting fellows could explain the complaint-filing process, including the many pitfalls in the system that make it hard for citizens to navigate.
City Bureau reporters present to a crowd. Photo by Darryl Holliday, courtesy of City Bureau.
Those early workshops'--enabled by the amazing work done by Invisible Institute'--were our first foray into the proactive, in-person journalism that we now consider the hallmark of City Bureau's work. More than just pointing out injustices in the system, this process equipped people to overcome them. Yes, it was more time- and labor-intensive than simply publishing a story on the database and the information available in it, but now our audience had a set of concrete skills that they could take home and share with their communities.
The following year, buoyed by the success of our citizen training, we developed the Documenters program. This program had its origins in the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic tech group, and City Bureau took it on with an eye toward making the dense, complex reports issued by Chicago's police accountability task force more digestible to the average person. The idea was simple: Teach a person the nuts and bolts of journalistic work, then give them a reason to use those skills. The more people you can teach, the more efficiently you can complete the work, the faster people have access to high-quality information.
That summer, we trained and paid ten people to parse the two-hundred-page police reform report and, using the same technology that drives the popular rap lyric site RapGenius, annotate the report with contextual notes, news articles and research. The resulting Police Task Force Tracker was used to engage students from across the city in classrooms, referenced by the head of the Police Board, and passed between elected officials. We even hosted a few workshops with high school students where we taught them how to use the tracker and add their own annotations based on their experiences with police officers. To date, we've created five total trackers related to Chicago's police reform efforts.
Since 2016, the Documenters program has grown to focus mostly on documenting public governance meetings. Our Documenters record, live-tweet, and take notes at meetings throughout the city that would otherwise go uncovered by local media, to keep tabs on public officials and create a third-party record of what happened there. We've built a sort of journalism street team'--an army of citizens ready to be mobilized to process spreadsheets, file FOIAs, and record meetings.
More recently, City Bureau has sought to fully embody our ''reporting in the open'' philosophy by opening our newsroom to the public. This meant creating a space where folks could learn new skills, meet interesting people, and discuss and critique civic media work. Most Thursday evenings, you can find us at Build Coffee, a cozy cafe in our building. We've invited everyone from artists to coders to activists to journalists to share their stories or workshop ideas. Rather than just reading about someone who's doing something interesting, attendees can engage directly with their ideas and ask their own questions.
We're not alone in this movement. Our first journalism partners, the Invisible Institute, have embodied this philosophy by uplifting the voices of & delivering tools to communities most affected by police misconduct. Free Press, based in New Jersey, has pioneered programs that treat people as constituents, not consumers. And there are practitioners in other news outlets and community organizations throughout the country, and beyond. In fact, likeminded groups gathered in Chicago this month [ed note: November] for the People-Powered Publishing Conference, to discuss new ways to make journalism more accessible to all.
Journalism is an act of citizenship'--something we co-create, which binds society together.
We're in an era characterized by the steepest drops in public trust of American institutions on record. In industries like journalism (and government, and police, and corporate boards, and academia), powerful people simply don't understand the life experiences of the communities they purport to serve, and many even deny the harm they have wrought upon vulnerable groups. In the case of Laquan McDonald, some activists placed the blame squarely on these very institutions: police for committing violence against people of color, politicians who protected them from punishment, and journalists who turned a blind eye to it all.
But it was more than just blindness, or even willful ignorance. It's a structural defect. The traditional model of journalism hoards the power'--and responsibility'--for uncovering and publicizing wrongdoing in the hands of very few people. At City Bureau, we've learned the wisdom of sharing that power with as many people as possible. Why not equip more community members to dig up information about their local governments, police departments, school boards, and the like? Why not show people how to vet the information and share it with each other while building their own avenues of civic power?
We've learned a lot since our first open house. We know that most people don't show up at a journalism event brimming with scoops'--but they do want to participate in thoughtful discussion that often leads to new pathways of reporting. They may not trust ''the media'' as an institution, but they can and will trust reporters who want to build relationships with them. Most importantly, we found that there are plenty of people who want to engage in civic processes in the city, but simply don't know where to start.
We cannot continue to think of journalism as a gift bestowed by journalists unto their audience. Rather, journalism is an act of citizenship'--something we co-create, which binds society together and allows us all to make better decisions. The problems facing communities across the region are not new, and neither are the solutions. We are simply reframing the question and asking more people for the answers. '
Support for this article was provided by Rise Local, a project of New America.
Bettina Chang is the cofounder and editorial director at City Bureau, a civic journalism lab in Chicago. She previously edited at Chicago magazine, DNAinfo Chicago and Pacific Standard magazine. She is bad at growing tomatoes and good at petting dogs.
Cover image: three of City Bureau's cofounders'--Chang, right; Darryl Holliday, center; and Andrea Hart, left'--take story suggestions at an event in Chicago. Photo courtesy City Bureau.
Belt Magazine is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To support more independent writing and journalism made by and for the Rust Belt and greater Midwest, make a donation to Belt Magazine, or become a member starting at $5 per month.
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 (26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1''7) is a United States antitrust law passed by Congress under the presidency of Benjamin Harrison, which regulates competition among enterprises.
The Sherman Act broadly prohibits (1) anticompetitive agreements and (2) unilateral conduct that monopolizes or attempts to monopolize the relevant market. The Act authorizes the Department of Justice to bring suits to enjoin (i.e. prohibit) conduct violating the Act, and additionally authorizes private parties injured by conduct violating the Act to bring suits for treble damages (i.e. three times as much money in damages as the violation cost them). Over time, the federal courts have developed a body of law under the Sherman Act making certain types of anticompetitive conduct per se illegal, and subjecting other types of conduct to case-by-case analysis regarding whether the conduct unreasonably restrains trade.
The law attempts to prevent the artificial raising of prices by restriction of trade or supply. "Innocent monopoly", or monopoly achieved solely by merit, is perfectly legal, but acts by a monopolist to artificially preserve that status, or nefarious dealings to create a monopoly, are not. The purpose of the Sherman Act is not to protect competitors from harm from legitimately successful businesses, nor to prevent businesses from gaining honest profits from consumers, but rather to preserve a competitive marketplace to protect consumers from abuses.
Background [ edit ] In Spectrum Sports, Inc. v. McQuillan 506 U.S. 447 (1993) the Supreme Court said:
''The purpose of the [Sherman] Act is not to protect businesses from the working of the market; it is to protect the public from the failure of the market. The law directs itself not against conduct which is competitive, even severely so, but against conduct which unfairly tends to destroy competition itself.''According to its authors, it was not intended to impact market gains obtained by honest means, by benefiting the consumers more than the competitors. Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts, another author of the Sherman Act, said the following:
''... [a person] who merely by superior skill and intelligence...got the whole business because nobody could do it as well as he could was not a monopolist..(but was if) it involved something like the use of means which made it impossible for other persons to engage in fair competition."''At Apex Hosiery Co. v. Leader 310 U. S. 469, 310 U. S. 492-93 and n. 15:
''The legislative history of the Sherman Act, as well as the decisions of this Court interpreting it, show that it was not aimed at policing interstate transportation or movement of goods and property. The legislative history and the voluminous literature which was generated in the course of the enactment and during fifty years of litigation of the Sherman Act give no hint that such was its purpose. They do not suggest that, in general, state laws or law enforcement machinery were inadequate to prevent local obstructions or interferences with interstate transportation, or presented any problem requiring the interposition of federal authority. In 1890, when the Sherman Act was adopted, there were only a few federal statutes imposing penalties for obstructing or misusing interstate transportation. With an expanding commerce, many others have since been enacted safeguarding transportation in interstate commerce as the need was seen, including statutes declaring conspiracies to interfere or actual interference with interstate commerce by violence or threats of violence to be felonies. The law was enacted in the era of "trusts" and of "combinations" of businesses and of capital organized and directed to control of the market by suppression of competition in the marketing of goods and services, the monopolistic tendency of which had become a matter of public concern. The goal was to prevent restraints of free competition in business and commercial transactions which tended to restrict production, raise prices, or otherwise control the market to the detriment of purchasers or consumers of goods and services, all of which had come to be regarded as a special form of public injury. For that reason the phrase "restraint of trade," which, as will presently appear, had a well understood meaning in common law, was made the means of defining the activities prohibited. The addition of the words "or commerce among the several States" was not an additional kind of restraint to be prohibited by the Sherman Act, but was the means used to relate the prohibited restraint of trade to interstate commerce for constitutional purposes, Atlantic Cleaners & Dyers v. United States, 286 U. S. 427, 286 U. S. 434, so that Congress, through its commerce power, might suppress and penalize restraints on the competitive system which involved or affected interstate commerce. Because many forms of restraint upon commercial competition extended across state lines so as to make regulation by state action difficult or impossible, Congress enacted the Sherman Act, 21 Cong.Rec. 2456. It was in this sense of preventing restraints on commercial competition that Congress exercised "all the power it possessed." Atlantic Cleaners & Dyers v. United States, supra, 286 U. S. 435.''At Addyston Pipe and Steel Company v. United States, 85 F.2d 1, affirmed, 175 U. S. 175 U.S. 211;
At Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U. S. 1, 221 U. S. 54-58.
Provisions [ edit ] Original text [ edit ] The Sherman Act is divided into three sections. Section 1 delineates and prohibits specific means of anticompetitive conduct, while Section 2 deals with end results that are anti-competitive in nature. Thus, these sections supplement each other in an effort to prevent businesses from violating the spirit of the Act, while technically remaining within the letter of the law. Section 3 simply extends the provisions of Section 1 to U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.Section 2:
Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony [. . . ]Subsequent legislation expanding its scope [ edit ] The Clayton Antitrust Act, passed in 1914, proscribes certain additional activities that had been discovered to fall outside the scope of the Sherman Antitrust Act. For example, the Clayton Act added certain practices to the list of impermissible activities:
price discrimination between different purchasers, if such discrimination tends to create a monopolyexclusive dealing agreementstying arrangementsmergers and acquisitions that substantially reduce market competition.The Robinson''Patman Act of 1936 amended the Clayton Act. The amendment proscribed certain anti-competitive practices in which manufacturers engaged in price discrimination against equally-situated distributors.
Legacy [ edit ] The federal government began filing cases under the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. Some cases were successful and others were not; many took several years to decide, including appeals.
Notable cases filed under the act include:
United States v. Workingmen's Amalgamated Council of New Orleans (1893), which was the first to hold that the law applied to labor unions (reversed by the Clayton Antitrust Act).Chesapeake & Ohio Fuel Co. v. United States (1902), in which the trust was dissolvedNorthern Securities Co. v. United States (1904), which reached the Supreme Court, dissolved the company and set many precedents for interpretation.Hale v. Henkel (1906) also reached the Supreme Court. Precedent was set for the production of documents by an officer of a company, and the self-incrimination of the officer in his or her testimony to the grand jury. Hale was an officer of the American Tobacco Co.Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911), which broke up the company based on geography, and contributed to the Panic of 1910''11.United States v. American Tobacco Co. (1911), which split the company into four.Federal Baseball Club v. National League (1922) in which the Supreme Court ruled that Major League Baseball was not interstate commerce and was not subject to the anti-trust law.United States v. National City Lines (1953), related to the General Motors streetcar conspiracy.United States v. AT&T Co., which was settled in 1982 and resulted in the breakup of the company.United States v. Microsoft Corp. was settled in 2001 without the breakup of the company.Legal application [ edit ] Constitutional basis for legislation [ edit ] Congress claimed power to pass the Sherman Act through its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. Therefore, federal courts only have jurisdiction to apply the Act to conduct that restrains or substantially affects either interstate commerce or trade within the District of Columbia. This requires that the plaintiff must show that the conduct occurred during the flow of interstate commerce or had an appreciable effect on some activity that occurs during interstate commerce.
Elements [ edit ] A Section 1 violation has three elements:
(1) an agreement;(2) which unreasonably restrains competition; and(3) which affects interstate commerce.A Section 2 monopolization violation has two elements:
(1) the possession of monopoly power in the relevant market; and(2) the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident.Section 2 also bans attempted monopolization, which has the following elements:
(1) qualifying exclusionary or anticompetitive acts designed to establish a monopoly(2) specific intent to monopolize; and(3) dangerous probability of success (actual monopolization). Violations "per se" and violations of the "rule of reason" [ edit ] Violations of the Sherman Act fall (loosely) into two categories:
Violations "per se": these are violations that meet the strict characterization of Section 1 ("agreements, conspiracies or trusts in restraint of trade"). A per se violation requires no further inquiry into the practice's actual effect on the market or the intentions of those individuals who engaged in the practice. Conduct characterized as per se unlawful is that which has been found to have a "'pernicious effect on competition' or 'lack[s] . . . any redeeming virtue'" Such conduct "would always or almost always tend to restrict competition and decrease output." When a per se rule is applied, a civil violation of the antitrust laws is found merely by proving that the conduct occurred and that it fell within a per se category. (This must be contrasted with rule of reason analysis.) Conduct considered per se unlawful includes horizontal price-fixing, horizontal market division, and concerted refusals to deal.Violations of the "rule of reason": A totality of the circumstances test, asking whether the challenged practice promotes or suppresses market competition. Unlike with per se violations, intent and motive are relevant when predicting future consequences. The rule of reason is said to be the "traditional framework of analysis" to determine whether Section 1 is violated. The court analyzes "facts peculiar to the business, the history of the restraining, and the reasons why it was imposed," to determine the effect on competition in the relevant product market. A restraint violates Section 1 if it unreasonably restrains trade.Quick-look: A "quick look" analysis under the rule of reason may be used when "an observer with even a rudimentary understanding of economics could conclude that the arrangements in question would have an anticompetitive effect on customers and markets," yet the violation is also not one considered illegal per se. Taking a "quick look," economic harm is presumed from the questionable nature of the conduct, and the burden is shifted to the defendant to prove harmlessness or justification. The quick-look became a popular way of disposing of cases where the conduct was in a grey area between illegality "per se" and demonstrable harmfulness under the "rule of reason".Modern trends [ edit ] Inference of conspiracy [ edit ] A modern trend has increased difficulty for antitrust plaintiffs as courts have come to hold plaintiffs to increasing burdens of pleading. Under older Section 1 precedent, it was not settled how much evidence was required to show a conspiracy. For example, a conspiracy could be inferred based on parallel conduct, etc. That is, plaintiffs were only required to show that a conspiracy was conceivable. Since the 1970s, however, courts have held plaintiffs to higher standards, giving antitrust defendants an opportunity to resolve cases in their favor before significant discovery under FRCP 12(b)(6). That is, to overcome a motion to dismiss, plaintiffs, under Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, must plead facts consistent with FRCP 8(a) sufficient to show that a conspiracy is plausible (and not merely conceivable or possible). This protects defendants from bearing the costs of antitrust "fishing expeditions"; however it deprives plaintiffs of perhaps their only tool to acquire evidence (discovery).
Manipulation of market [ edit ] Second, courts have employed more sophisticated and principled definitions of markets. Market definition is necessary, in rule of reason cases, for the plaintiff to prove a conspiracy is harmful. It is also necessary for the plaintiff to establish the market relationship between conspirators to prove their conduct is within the per se rule.
In early cases, it was easier for plaintiffs to show market relationship, or dominance, by tailoring market definition, even if it ignored fundamental principles of economics. In U.S. v. Grinnell, 384 U.S. 563 (1966), the trial judge, Charles Wyzanski, composed the market only of alarm companies with services in every state, tailoring out any local competitors; the defendant stood alone in this market, but had the court added up the entire national market, it would have had a much smaller share of the national market for alarm services that the court purportedly used. The appellate courts affirmed this finding; however, today, an appellate court would likely find this definition to be flawed. Modern courts use a more sophisticated market definition that does not permit as manipulative a definition.[citation needed ]
Monopoly [ edit ] Section 2 of the Act forbade monopoly. In Section 2 cases, the court has, again on its own initiative, drawn a distinction between coercive and innocent monopoly. The act is not meant to punish businesses that come to dominate their market passively or on their own merit, only those that intentionally dominate the market through misconduct, which generally consists of conspiratorial conduct of the kind forbidden by Section 1 of the Sherman Act, or Section 3 of the Clayton Act.
Application of the act outside pure commerce [ edit ] The Act was aimed at regulating businesses. However, its application was not limited to the commercial side of business. Its prohibition of the cartel was also interpreted to make illegal many labor union activities. This is because unions were characterized as cartels as well (cartels of laborers). This persisted until 1914, when the Clayton Act created exceptions for certain union activities.
Preemption by Section 1 of state statutes that restrain competition [ edit ] To determine whether a particular state statute that restrains competition was intended to be preempted by the Act, courts will engage in a two-step analysis, as set forth by the Supreme Court in Rice v. Norman Williams Co.:
First, they will inquire whether the state legislation "mandates or authorizes conduct that necessarily constitutes a violation of the antitrust laws in all cases, or ... places irresistible pressure on a private party to violate the antitrust laws in order to comply with the statute." Rice v. Norman Williams Co., 458 U.S. 654, 661; see also 324 Liquor Corp. v. Duffy, 479 U.S. 335 (1987) ("Our decisions reflect the principle that the federal antitrust laws pre-empt state laws authorizing or compelling private parties to engage in anticompetitive behavior.")Second, they will consider whether the state statute is saved from preemption by the state action immunity doctrine (aka Parker immunity). In California Retail Liquor Dealers Association v. Midcal Aluminum, Inc., 445 U.S. 97, 105 (1980), the Supreme Court established a two-part test for applying the doctrine: "First, the challenged restraint must be one clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed as state policy; second, the policy must be actively supervised by the State itself." Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted).Criticism [ edit ] Alan Greenspan, in his essay entitled Antitrust described the Sherman Act as stifling innovation and harming society. "No one will ever know what new products, processes, machines, and cost-saving mergers failed to come into existence, killed by the Sherman Act before they were born. No one can ever compute the price that all of us have paid for that Act which, by inducing less effective use of capital, has kept our standard of living lower than would otherwise have been possible." Greenspan summarized the nature of antitrust law as: "a jumble of economic irrationality and ignorance."
Greenspan at that time was a disciple and friend of Ayn Rand, and he first published Antitrust in Rand's monthly publication The Objectivist Newsletter. Rand, who described herself as "a radical for capitalism," opposed antitrust law not only on economic grounds but also morally, as a violation of property rights, asserting that the "meaning and purpose" of antitrust law is "the penalizing of ability for being ability, the penalizing of success for being success, and the sacrifice of productive genius to the demands of envious mediocrity."
In 1890, Representative William Mason said "trusts have made products cheaper, have reduced prices; but if the price of oil, for instance, were reduced to one cent a barrel, it would not right the wrong done to people of this country by the trusts which have destroyed legitimate competition and driven honest men from legitimate business enterprise." Consequently, if the primary goal of the act is to protect consumers, and consumers are protected by lower prices, the act may be harmful if it reduces economy of scale, a price-lowering mechanism, by breaking up big businesses. Mason put small business survival, a justice interest, on a level concomitant with the pure economic rationale of consumer
Economist Thomas DiLorenzo notes that Senator Sherman sponsored the 1890 William McKinley tariff just three months after the Sherman Act, and agrees with The New York Times which wrote on October 1, 1890: "That so-called Anti-Trust law was passed to deceive the people and to clear the way for the enactment of this Pro-Trust law relating to the tariff." The Times went on to assert that Sherman merely supported this "humbug" of a law "in order that party organs might say...'Behold! We have attacked the trusts. The Republican Party is the enemy of all such rings.'" 
Dilorenzo writes: "Protectionists did not want prices paid by consumers to fall. But they also understood that to gain political support for high tariffs they would have to assure the public that industries would not combine to increase prices to politically prohibitive levels. Support for both an antitrust law and tariff hikes would maintain high prices while avoiding the more obvious bilking of consumers."
Robert Bork was well known for his outspoken criticism of the antitrust regime. Another conservative legal scholar and judge, Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit does not condemn the entire regime, but expresses concern with the potential that it could be applied to create inefficiency, rather than to avoid inefficiency. Posner further believes, along with a number of others, including Bork, that genuinely inefficient cartels and coercive monopolies, the target of the act, would be self-corrected by market forces, making the strict penalties of antitrust legislation unnecessary.
Conversely, liberal Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas criticized the judiciary for interpreting and enforcing the antitrust law unequally: "From the beginning it [the Sherman Act] has been applied by judges hostile to its purposes, friendly to the empire builders who wanted it emasculated... trusts that were dissolved reintegrated in new forms... It is ironic that the Sherman Act was truly effective in only one respect, and that was when it was applied to labor unions. Then the courts read it with a literalness that never appeared in their other decisions."
According to a 2018 study in the journal Public Choice, "Senator John Sherman of Ohio was motivated to introduce an antitrust bill in late 1889 partly as a way of enacting revenge on his political rival, General and former Governor Russell Alger of Michigan, because Sherman believed that Alger personally had cost him the presidential nomination at the 1888 Republican national convention... Sherman was able to pursue his revenge motive by combining it with the broader Republican goals of preserving high tariffs and attacking the trusts. "
See also [ edit ] References [ edit ] ^ Officially re-designated as the "Sherman Act" by Congress in the Hart''Scott''Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, (Public Law 94-435, Title 3, Sec. 305(a), 90 Stat. 1383 at p. 1397). ^ "Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and Analysis". 12 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. ^ "This focus of U.S. competition law, on protection of competition rather than competitors, is not necessarily the only possible focus or purpose of competition law. For example, it has also been said that competition law in the European Union (EU) tends to protect the competitors in the marketplace, even at the expense of market efficiencies and consumers."< Cseres, Katalin Judit (2005). Competition law and consumer protection. Kluwer Law International. pp. 291''293. ISBN 9789041123800. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013 . Retrieved July 15, 2009 . ^ 'Spectrum Sports, Inc. v. McQuillan', 506 U.S. 447, 458 (Supreme Court 1993). ^ Congress, United States; Finch, James Arthur (26 March 2018). "Bills and Debates in Congress Relating to Trusts: Fiftieth Congress to Fifty-seventh Congress, First Session, Inclusive". U.S. Government Printing Office. Archived from the original on 9 April 2017 '' via Google Books. ^ Footnote 11 appears here: "See the Bibliography on Trusts (1913) prepared by the Library of Congress. Cf. Homan, Industrial Combination as Surveyed in Recent Literature, 44 Quart.J.Econ., 345 (1930). With few exceptions, the articles, scientific and popular, reflected the popular idea that the Act was aimed at the prevention of monopolistic practices and restraints upon trade injurious to purchasers and consumers of goods and services by preservation of business competition. See, e.g., Seager and Gulick, Trust and Corporation Problems (1929), 367 et seq., 42 Ann.Am.Acad., Industrial Competition and Combination (July 1912); P. L. Anderson, Combination v. Competition, 4 Edit.Rev. 500 (1911); Gilbert Holland Montague, Trust Regulation Today, 105 Atl.Monthly, 1 (1910); Federal Regulation of Industry, 32 Ann.Am.Acad. of Pol.Sci., No. 108 (1908), passim; Clark, Federal Trust Policy (1931), Ch. II, V; Homan, Trusts, 15 Ency.Soc.Sciences 111, 113:"clearly the law was inspired by the predatory competitive tactics of the great trusts, and its primary purpose was the maintenance of the competitive system in industry."See also Shulman, Labor and the Anti-Trust Laws, 34 Ill.L.Rev. 769; Boudin, the Sherman Law and Labor Disputes, 39 Col.L.Rev. 1283; 40 Col.L.Rev. 14." ^ Footnote 12 appears here: "There was no lack of existing law to protect against evils ascribed to organized labor. Legislative and judicial action of both a criminal and civil nature already restrained concerted action by labor. See, e.g., the kinds of strikes which were declared illegal in Pennsylvania, including a strike accompanied by force or threat of harm to persons or property, Brightly's Purdon's Digest of 1885, pp. 426, 1172.For collection of state statutes on labor activities, see Report of the Commissioner of Labor, Labor Laws of the Various States (1892); Bull. 370, Labor Laws of the United States with Decisions Relating Thereto, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (1925); Witte, The Government in Labor Disputes (1932), 12''45, 61''81." ^ Footnote 13 appears here: "Three statutes covered in 1890 the Congressional action in relation to obstructions to interstate commerce. A penalty was imposed for the refusal to transmit a telegraph message (R.S. § 5269, 17 Stat. 366 (1872)) for transporting nitroglycerine and other explosives without proper safeguards (R.S. § 5353, 14 Stat. 81 (1866)) and for combining to prevent the continuous carriage of freight, 24 Stat. 382, 49 U.S.C. § 7." ^ Footnote 14 appears here:"See, e.g. regulation of; interstate carriage of lottery tickets, 28 Stat. 963 (1895), 18 U.S.C. § 387; Transportation of obscene books, 29 Stat. 512 (1897), 18 U.S.C. § 396; transportation of illegally killed game, 31 Stat. 188 (1900), 18 U.S.C. §§ 392''395; interstate shipment of intoxicating liquors, 35 Stat. 1136 (1909), 18 U.S.C. §§ 388''390; white slave traffic, 36 Stat. 825 (1910), 18 U.S.C. §§ 397''404; transportation of prize-fight films, 37 Stat. 240 (1912), 18 U.S.C. §§ 405''407; larceny of goods moving in interstate commerce, 37 Stat. 670 (1913), 18 U.S.C. § 409; violent interference with foreign commerce, 40 Stat. 221 (1917), 18 U.S.C. § 381; transportation of stolen motor vehicles, 41 Stat. 324 (1919), 18 U.S.C. § 408; transportation of kidnapped persons, 47 Stat. 326 (1932), 18 U.S.C. § 408a''408c; threatening communication in interstate commerce, 48 Stat. 781 (1934), 18 U.S.C. § 408d; transportation of stolen or feloniously taken goods, securities or money, 48 Stat. 794 (1934), 18 U.S.C. § 415; transporting strikebreakers, 49 Stat. 1899 (1936), 18 U.S.C. § 407a; destruction or dumping of farm products received in interstate commerce, 44 Stat. 1355 (1927), 7 U.S.C. § 491. Cf.National Labor Relations Act, 49 Stat. 449 (1935), 29 U.S.C., Ch. 7, § 151,"Findings and declaration of policy. The denial by employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal by employers to accept the procedure of collective bargaining lead to strikes and other forms of industrial strife or unrest, which have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce. . . ."The Anti-Racketeering Act, 48 Stat. 979, 18 U.S.C. §§ 420a-420e (1934), is designed to protect trade and commerce against interference by violence and threats. § 420a provides that"any person who, in connection with or in relation to any act in any way or in any degree affecting trade or commerce or any article or commodity moving or about to move in trade or commerce --""(a) Obtains or attempts to obtain, by the use of or attempt to use or threat to use force, violence, or coercion, the payment of money or other valuable considerations . . . not including, however, the payment of wages by a bonafide employer to a bona fide employee; or""(b) Obtains the property of another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right; or""(c) Commits or threatens to commit an act of physical violence or physical injury to a person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to violate subsections (a) or (b); or""(d) Conspires or acts concertedly with any other person or persons to commit any of the foregoing acts; shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment from one to ten years or by a fine of $10,000 or both."But the application of the provisions of § 420a to labor unions is restricted by § 420d, which provides:"Jurisdiction of offenses. Any person charged with violating section 420a of this title may be prosecuted in any district in which any part of the offense has been committed by him or by his actual associates participating with him in the offense or by his fellow conspirators: Provided, That no court of the United States shall construe or apply any of the provisions of sections 420a to 420e of this title in such manner as to impair, diminish, or in any manner affect the rights of bona fide labor organizations in lawfully carrying out the legitimate objects thereof, as such rights are expressed in existing statutes of the United States."It is significant that Chapter 9 of the Criminal Code, dealing with "Offenses Against Foreign And Interstate Commerce" and relating specifically to acts of interstate transportation or its obstruction, makes no mention of the Sherman Act, which is made a part of the Code which deals with social, economic and commercial results of interstate activity, notwithstanding its criminal penalty." ^ Footnote 15 appears here:"The history of the Sherman Act, as contained in the legislative proceedings, is emphatic in its support for the conclusion that "business competition" was the problem considered, and that the act was designed to prevent restraints of trade which had a significant effect on such competition.On July 10, 1888, the Senate adopted without discussion a resolution offered by Senator Sherman which directed the Committee on Finance to inquire into, and report in connection with, revenue bills"such measures as it may deem expedient to set aside, control, restrain or prohibit all arrangements, contracts, agreements, trusts, or combinations between persons or corporations, made with a view, or which tend to prevent free and full competition . . . with such penalties and provisions . . . as will tend to preserve freedom of trade and production, the natural competition of increasing production, the lowering of prices by such competition . . ."(19 Cong.Rec. 6041).This resolution explicitly presented the economic theory of the proponents of such legislation. The various bills introduced between 1888 and 1890 follow the theory of this resolution. Many bills sought to make void all arrangements"made with a view, or which tend, to prevent full and free competition in the production, manufacture, or sale of articles of domestic growth or production, . . ."S. 3445; S. 3510; H.R. 11339; all of the 50th Cong., 1st Sess. (1888) were bills of this type. In the 51st Cong. (1889), the bills were in a similar vein. See S. 1, sec. 1 (this bill as redrafted by the Judiciary Committee ultimately became the Sherman Law); H.R. 202, sec. 3; H.R. 270; H.R. 286; H.R. 402; H.R. 509; H.R. 826; H.R. 3819. See Bills and Debates in Congress relating to Trusts (1909), Vol. 1, pp. 1025''1031.Only one, which was never enacted, S. 1268 in the 52d Cong., 1st Sess. (1892), introduced by Senator Peffer, sought to prohibit"every willful act . . . which shall have the effect to in any way interfere with the freedom of transit of articles in interstate commerce, . . ."When the antitrust bill (S. 1, 51st Cong., 1st Sess.) came before Congress for debate, the debates point to a similar purpose. Senator Sherman asserted the bill prevented only "business combinations" "made with a view to prevent competition", 21 Cong.Rec. 2457, 2562; see also ibid. at 2459, 2461.Senator Allison spoke of combinations which "control prices," ibid., 2471; Senator Pugh of combinations "to limit production" for "the purpose of destroying competition", ibid., 2558; Senator Morgan of combinations "that affect the price of commodities," ibid., 2609; Senator Platt, a critic of the bill, said this bill proceeds on the assumption that "competition is beneficent to the country," ibid., 2729; Senator George denounced trusts which crush out competition, "and that is the great evil at which all this legislation ought to be directed," ibid., 3147.In the House, Representative Culberson, who was in charge of the bill, interpreted the bill to prohibit various arrangements which tend to drive out competition, ibid., 4089; Representative Wilson spoke in favor of the bill against combinations among"competing producers to control the supply of their product, in order that they may dictate the terms on which they shall sell in the market, and may secure release from the stress of competition among themselves,"ibid., 4090.The unanimity with which foes and supporters of the bill spoke of its aims as the protection of free competition permits use of the debates in interpreting the purpose of the act. See White, C.J. in Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U. S. 50 Archived 2009-05-01 at the Wayback Machine.; United States v. San Francisco, ante, p. 310 U. S. 16 Archived 2009-05-25 at the Wayback Machine..See also Report of Committee on Interstate Commerce on Control of Corporations Engaged in Interstate Commerce, S.Rept. 1326, 62d Cong., 3d Sess. (1913), pp. 2, 4; Report of Federal Trade Commission, S.Doc. 226, 70th Cong., 2d Sess. (1929), pp. 343''345." ^ See 15 U.S.C. § 1. ^ See 15 U.S.C. § 2. ^ States, United (26 March 2018). "Sherman Anti-trust Law and List of Decisions Relating Thereto". U.S. Government Printing Office '' via Google Books. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-26 . Retrieved 2016-03-08 . ^ E.g., Richter Concrete Corp. v. Hilltop Basic Resources, Inc., 547 F. Supp. 893, 917 (S.D. Ohio 1981), aff'd, 691 F.2d 818 (6th Cir. 1982); Consolidated Farmers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Anchor Sav. Association, 480 F. Supp. 640, 648 (D. Kan. 1979); Mardirosian v. American Inst. of Architects, 474 F. Supp. 628, 636 (D.D.C. 1979). ^ United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 570''71, 16 L. Ed. 2d 778, 86 S. Ct. 1698 (1966); see also Weiss v. York Hosp., 745 F.2d 786, 825 (3d Cir. 1984). ^ The truth is that our categories of analysis of anticompetitive effect are less fixed than terms like 'per se,' 'quick look,' and 'rule of reason' tend to make them appear. We have recognized, for example, that 'there is often no bright line separating per se from rule of reason analysis,' since 'considerable inquiry into market conditions' may be required before the application of any so-called 'per se' condemnation is justified. Cal. Dental Association v. FTC at 779 (quoting NCAA, 468 U.S. at 104 n.26). "'Whether the ultimate finding is the product of a presumption or actual market analysis, the essential inquiry remains the same whether or not the challenged restraint enhances competition.'" 526 U.S. at 779''80 (quoting NCAA, 468 U.S. at 104). ^ Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania Inc., 433 U.S. 36, 58 (1977) (quoting Northern Pac. Ry. v. United States, 356 U.S. 1, 5 (1958)). ^ Broadcast Music, Inc. v. CBS, 441 U.S. 1, 19''20 (1979). ^ Jefferson Parish Hosp. Dist. No. 2 v. Hyde, 104 S. Ct. 1551, 1556 (1984); Gough v. Rossmoor Corp., 585 F.2d 381, 386''89 (9th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 936 (1979); see White Motor v. United States, 372 U.S. 253, 259''60 (1963) (a per se rule forecloses analysis of the purpose or market effect of a restraint); Northern Pac. Ry. v. United States, 356 U.S. 1, 5 (1958) (same). ^ United States v. Trenton Potteries Co., 273 U.S. 392, 397''98 (1927) ^ Continental T.V., Inc. v. G.T.E. Sylvania Inc.97 S.Ct. 2549(1977) limiting[United States v. Topco Assocs.405 U.S. 596, 608 (1972); by making vertical market division rule-of-reason analysis] ^ FTC v. Superior Court Trial Lawyers Ass'n, 493 U.S. 411 for collusive effects and NW Wholesale Stationers, Inc. v. Pacific Stationery & Printing Co., 472 U.S. 284 (1985) for exclusionary effects ^ Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania Inc., 433 U.S. 36, 49 (1977). The inquiry focuses on the restraint's effect on competition. National Soc'y of Professional Eng'rs v. United States, 435 U.S. 679, 691 (1978). ^ id. at 692 ^ see Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania Inc., 433 U.S. 36, 45 (1977) (citing United States v. Arnold, Schwinn & Co., 388 U.S. 365, 382 (1967)), and geographic market, see United States v. Columbia Steel Co., 334 U.S. 495, 519 (1948). ^ Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania Inc., 433 U.S. 36, 49 (1977); see Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U.S. 1, 58 (1911) (Congress only intended to prohibit agreements that were "unreasonably restrictive of competitive (conditions"). ^ Cal. Dental Association, 526 U.S. at 770. ^ see Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274 (1908) ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-10 . Retrieved 2012-05-19 . ^ It should be noted that criticisms such as this one, attributed to Greenspan, are not directed at the Sherman act in particular, but rather at the underlying policy of all antitrust law, which includes several pieces of legislation other than just the Sherman Act, e.g. the Clayton Antitrust Act. ^ Check Your Premises, The Objectivist Newsletter, January 1962, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 1 ^ Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ch. 3, New American Library, Signet, 1967 ^ Congressional Record, 51st Congress, 1st session, House, June 20, 1890, p. 4100. ^ "Mr. Sherman's Hopes and Fears" (PDF) . New York Times. 1890-10-01 . Retrieved 2008-04-21 . ^ DiLorenzo, Thomas, Cato Handbook for Congress, Antitrust. ^ a b Richard Posner, _Economic Analysis of Law_ p.295 et seq. (explaining the optimal antitrust regime from an economic point of view) ^ Douglas, William O., An Almanac of Liberty, Doubleday & Company, 1954, pg. 189}} ^ Newman, Patrick (2018-01-12). "Revenge: John Sherman, Russell Alger and the origins of the Sherman Act". Public Choice. 174 (3''4): 257''275. doi:10.1007/s11127-017-0497-x. ISSN 0048-5829. External links [ edit ] Official websitesU.S. Department of Justice: Antitrust DivisionU.S. Department of Justice: Antitrust Division '' text of SHERMAN ANTITRUST ACT, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1''7 - broken linkAdditional informationAntitrust Division's "Corporate Leniency Policy"Antitrust by Alan GreenspanDr. Edward W. Younkins (February 19, 2000). "Antitrust Laws Should Be Abolished".
Green New Deal
Ocasio-Cortez floats 70 percent tax on the super wealthy to fund Green New Deal - POLITICO
''I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country,'' Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is floating an income tax rate as high as 60 to 70 percent on the highest-earning Americans to combat carbon emissions.
Speaking with Anderson Cooper in a ''60 Minutes'' interview scheduled to air Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez said a dramatic increase in taxes could support her ''Green New Deal'' goal of eliminating the use of fossil fuels within 12 years '-- a goal she acknowledges is ambitious.
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''What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?'' Ocasio-Cortez asked. ''There's an element where yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.''
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that in a progressive tax rate system, not all income for a high earner is taxed at such a high rate. Rather, rates increase on each additional level of income, with dramatic increases on especially high earnings, such as $10 million.
When Cooper pointed out such a tax plan would be a ''radical'' move, Ocasio-Cortez embraced the label, arguing the most influential historical figures, from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin D. Roosevelt, were called radical for their agendas as well.
''I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country,'' Ocasio-Cortez said. ''Yeah, if that's what radical means, call me a radical.''
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In 1913, the States ratified the 16 th Amendment, instituting the federal income tax. The 1913 tax looks nothing like it looks today. For example, where the actual form and directions fit on a mere four pages in 1913, they total an intimidating 106 pages today.
Click here to see the 1913 IRS Form 1040.
Click here to see the 2017 IRS Form 1040.
The tax law, like almost all laws, grows as lawmakers use it for pork, try to make it fairer, use it to stimulate a sector of the economy, or just want to raise revenue.
As Will Rogers said: ''The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.''
In 1913, the top tax bracket was 7 percent on all income over $500,000 ($11 million in today's dollars); and the lowest tax bracket was 1 percent.
World War IIn order to finance U.S. participation in World War One, Congress passed the 1916 Revenue Act, and then the War Revenue Act of 1917. The highest income tax rate jumped from 15 percent in 1916 to 67 percent in 1917 to 77 percent in 1918. War is expensive.
After the war, federal income tax rates took on the steam of the roaring 1920s, dropping to 25 percent from 1925 through 1931.
The DepressionCongress raised taxes again in 1932 during the Great Depression from 25 percent to 63 percent on the top earners.
World War IIAs we mentioned earlier, war is expensive.
In 1944, the top rate peaked at 94 percent on taxable income over $200,000 ($2.5 million in today's dollars). That's a high tax rate.
The 1950s, 1960s, and 1970sOver the next three decades, the top federal income tax rate remained high, never dipping below 70 percent.
The 1980sThe Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 slashed the highest rate from 70 to 50 percent, and indexed the brackets for inflation.
Then, the Tax Reform Act of 1986, claiming that it was a two-tiered flat tax, expanded the tax base and dropped the top rate to 28 percent for tax years beginning in 1988. The hype here was that the broader base contained fewer deductions, but brought in the same revenue. Further, lawmakers claimed that they would never have to raise the 28 percent top rate.
The 28 percent top rate promise lasted three years before it was broken.
The 1990s-2012During the 1990s, the top rate jumped to 39.6 percent.
However, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2001 dropped the highest income tax rate to 35 percent from 2003 to 2010. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 maintained the 35 percent tax rate through 2012.
2013 '' 2017The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 increased the highest income tax rate to 39.6 percent. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act added an additional 3.8 percent on to this making the maximum federal income tax rate 43.4 percent.
2018-2019The highest income tax rate was lowered to 37 percent for tax years beginning in 2018. The additional 3.8 percent is still applicable, making the maximum federal income tax rate 40.8 percent.
What this Means for YouThis history is important because it shows that the tax law is always changing. You must pay close attention to these changes because they affect your bottom line.
For example, a change in the income tax rate influences your investment portfolio and the value of your home.
To stay on top of tax law changes, we suggest that you read the monthly articles published online at the Bradford Tax Institute. We provide cutting-edge tax information for the self-employed, the one owner business, and the husband and wife owned business.
If you're already a subscriber to the Tax Reduction Letter , you will be prompted to log in when you CLICK HERE . If you are not yet a subscriber, CLICK HERE . You'll get a no-obligation 7-day FREE trial during which you can read all of our helpful tax saving tips from the last two months. This trial is absolutely free and there are no strings attached.
History of Tax Rates: 1913 '' 2019
Spot The Spook
American Detained in Russia Is Charged With Espionage - WSJ
MOSCOW'--Russia charged an American citizen who is detained in Moscow with espionage and said he can be held for up to two months, Russian state media reported Thursday.
A lawyer for the detained American, Paul Whelan, asked a local court for his client to be released on bail, the official Russian news agency, TASS, quoted the lawyer as saying.
TASS, and another agency, Interfax, cited sources involved in the investigation saying that Mr. Whelan was charged and he would remain in custody until Feb. 28.
The Wall Street Journal couldn't independently verify the reports, and Russia didn't disclose details of the charges. Officials at the FSB press office and the Russian Foreign Ministry couldn't immediately be reached for comment. The lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, couldn't be reached for comment. Russian national holidays are under way through Jan. 8.
Mr. Whelan, 48, of Novi, Michigan, was detained on Dec. 28 by Russia's main security agency while he was ''carrying out spying activities,'' the FSB said in a press release published on Dec. 31. The agency provided no further details.
Mr. Whelan's family has said he was traveling in the country for a wedding and denied he was involved in espionage. The family would provide no further comments on Thursday. Mr. Whelan works as a security official at a Michigan auto supplier, but was on personal travel, his company said.
Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow, visited Mr. Whelan Wednesday in the Lefortovo Detention Facility in Moscow. Also on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was urging Russia's government to provide more information about why it was holding Mr. Whelan.
If convicted of spying, Mr. Whelan could face up to 20 years in jail, according to Russian law.
RIA Novosti, another official state news agency, quoted Mr. Zherebenkov as saying that the investigation of Mr. Whelan was being conducted ''professionally and humanely.''
Mr. Whelan ''feels fine'' and was even treating the situation with humor, RIA quoted Mr. Zherebenkov as saying.
''There is no depression'' and Mr. Whelan didn't exhibit the confusion and pessimism that Mr. Zherebenkov said he typically observed in people during the first days of an arrest, RIA quoted the lawyer as saying.
Mr. Zherebenkov said he was paying special attention to explaining Mr. Whelan's rights to him, because given the differences in the American legal system not everything was clear to Mr. Whelan, the lawyer was quoted as saying.
''He was used to the fact that the case is being considered by jurors, but in Russia espionage does not fall under the jurisdiction of the jury court,'' the lawyer said, according to RIA.
The news agency said Mr. Whelan is ''in quarantine in solitary confinement'' at the detention facility.
Social media friends of Mr. Whelan described the American as a Russian culture enthusiast who was interested in Russian language and the country's people.
Mr. Whelan is a former Marine and law enforcement officer. Service records released by the Marines earlier this week show that Mr. Whelan was part of the Marine Corps Reserve from 1994-2008, rising to the rank of staff sergeant, before he was reduced to the rank of private and given a bad-conduct discharge. His court-martial involved several charges related to larceny, according to the Marines.
Mr. Whelan's arrest comes amid increasingly worsening relations between Russia and the U.S. and follows the U.S. arrest of Russian citizen Maria Butina, who last month pleaded guilty to conspiracy to influence American politics and could face as much as six months in prison.
Russian officials claim the charges against Ms. Butina are false and they view her as a political prisoner and hostage.
Write to Georgi Kantchev at email@example.com
Shut Up Slave!
The FBI is Trying Amazon's Facial-Recognition Software - Nextgov
The FBI is piloting Amazon's facial matching software'--Amazon Rekognition'--as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects during investigations.
The pilot kicked off in early 2018 following a string of high-profile counterterrorism investigations that tested the limits of the FBI's technological capabilities, according to FBI officials.
For example, in the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas carried out by Stephen Paddock, the law enforcement agency collected a petabyte worth of data, much of it video from cellphones and surveillance cameras.
''We had agents and analysts, eight per shift, working 24/7 for three weeks going through the video footage of everywhere Stephen Paddock was the month leading up to him coming and doing the shooting,'' said FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Christine Halvorsen.
Halvorsen made those remarks in November at the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, where she described how the FBI is using Amazon's cloud platforms to carry out counterterrorism investigations. She said Amazon Rekognition could have gone through the same trove of data from the Las Vegas shooting ''in 24 hours'''--or three weeks faster than it took human FBI agents to find every instance of Paddock's face in the mountain of video.
''Think about that,'' Halvorsen said, noting that technology like Amazon Rekognition frees up FBI agents and analysts to apply their skills to other aspects of the investigation or other cases.
''The cases don't stop, the threats keep going,'' Halvorsen added. ''Being able to not pull people off that and have computers do it is very important.''
While Amazon is now a significant supplier of technology to the government'--much of it through its cloud business, AWS, which includes the CIA and Defense Department as customers'--it is less clear how its facial recognition software is being used in the public sector. The Daily Beast reported the company pitched the software to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last summer, a move that has lawmakers and Amazon employees asking questions. The company does not list any federal clients on its customer page, and currently only identifies as a customer one local law enforcement agency, the Washington County Sheriff Office. According to press reports, the city of Orlando recently began a second pilot of Amazon's Rekognition software.
The FBI did not respond to questions about its use of Amazon Rekognition from Nextgov.
Massive Accusation from VP at 'The Hill.' Feds Sitting on Evidence That Would Help Trump Admininstration
Can officials in Washington, D.C., be trusted to tell the whole truth and present facts plainly to the American people?
That's a question that has perhaps never been more important, especially as people like special counsel Robert Mueller hold the power to sway the future of the country with surprisingly limited oversight.
For decades, citizens generally saw investigators and civil servants in Washington as working for the people '-- but what if that's no longer true?
A scathing Op-Ed by a vice president at The Hill, a moderate news magazine, suggested that not all is as it seems inside the beltway.
On Wednesday, veteran investigative journalist John Solomon dropped a bombshell: Officials and the establishment media may have hidden evidence exonerating Michael Flynn, and they may be planning to do the same for others.
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Flynn, as you may remember, is a retired Army general who briefly served as national security adviser under President Donald Trump until a scandal rocked his tenure. Facing accusations that he misled the FBI and was ''compromised'' by Russia, the ex-general was forced to cut a deal with Mueller, presumably to help take down Trump.
But all is not what it seems. Solomon '-- who has built a career on exposing failures within the FBI and other agencies '-- pointed out that important evidence which would have defended Flynn was essentially swept under the rug.
''For nearly two years now, the intelligence community has kept secret evidence in the Russia collusion case that directly undercuts the portrayal of retired Army general and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as a Russian stooge,'' Solomon wrote.
The investigative journalist pointed to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, who received an in-depth briefing on the Flynn-Russia scandal in 2017.
Grassley, a Republican, could have made sure that the information presented to him in that classified briefing stayed hidden if it hurt the Trump administration and Flynn. Instead, the judiciary chairman repeatedly asked for that information to be de-classified and shown to the American people.
''It appears the public release of this information would not pose any ongoing risk to national security,'' Sen. Grassley wrote at the time. ''Moreover, the declassification would be in the public interest, and is in the interest of fairness to Lt. Gen. Flynn.''
But that information was never made public. If it had been, Flynn might have had a fighting chance at defending his reputation and actions, at least according to Solomon.
Citing sources close to the matter, the respected journalist insisted that the still-buried Senate report showed that Flynn was not the deceptive villain he was made out to be.
''Before Flynn made his infamous December 2015 trip to Moscow '-- as a retired general and then-adviser to Donald Trump 's presidential campaign '-- he alerted his former employer, the DIA,'' Solomon claimed.
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''He then attended a 'defensive' or 'protective' briefing before he ever sat alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russia Today (RT) dinner, or before he talked with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak,'' the journalist continued.
''The briefing educated and sensitized Flynn to possible efforts by his Russian host to compromise the former high-ranking defense official and prepared him for conversations in which he could potentially extract intelligence for U.S. agencies such as the DIA,'' Solomon wrote.
In other words, Flynn seemed not only willing but eager to follow good procedures to make sure Russian intelligence agents didn't compromise him or pump him for information. In fact, the former general allegedly met with numerous U.S. intelligence officials to be ''debriefed'' about what he learned from his Russia meetings, not the other way around.
Flynn left the national security adviser position back in 2017 '... so what does this have to do with politics today?
In Solomon's view, the current frenzy over Trump-Russia ''collusion'' accusations and the Mueller probe can be directly traced back to Flynn, who was made into something of a scapegoat.
''It's important to wind back many months to where the Russia collusion narrative started and the media frenzy-driven suggestion that Flynn may have been on a mission to compromise America's security and endanger this great republic when he visited Moscow,'' he wrote.
''(T)here is ample evidence now that the event that many 'Russia collusion' cheerleaders have cited as the start of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow was, in fact, something very different,'' he pointed out.
In simple terms, the entire race by Mueller and most of the left to undermine Trump may have been triggered by a false start. They jumped the gun on Flynn, and then used that inauthentic narrative as a springboard for going after others in the White House.
For this to be confirmed, we'd have to see the actual Senate report that Grassley tried so hard to declassify. But if Solomon is even slightly right, it would seem the Mueller probe is indeed a witch hunt predicated on a falsehood.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Exculpatory Russia evidence about Mike Flynn that US intel kept secret | TheHill
Sometimes public silence can be deafening or, for that matter, misleading.
For nearly two years now, the intelligence community has kept secret evidence in the Russia collusion case that directly undercuts the portrayal of retired Army general and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as a Russian stooge.
That silence was maintained even when former acting Attorney General Sally Yates Sally Caroline YatesExculpatory Russia evidence about Mike Flynn that US intel kept secret WHIP LIST: Who's in and out in the 2020 race 10 pieces of evidence against most diabolical Russian spy ever MORE publicly claimed Flynn was possibly ''compromised'' by Moscow.
And when a Democratic senator, Al Franken of Minnesota, suggested the former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief posed a ''danger to this republic.''
And even when some media outlets opined about whether Flynn's contacts with Russia were treasonous.
Yes, the Pentagon did give a classified briefing to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley Charles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel Senate sets Barr's confirmation hearing Key players in new fight over Trump tax returns MORE (R-Iowa) in May 2017, but then it declined the senator's impassioned plea three months later to make some of that briefing information public.
''It appears the public release of this information would not pose any ongoing risk to national security. Moreover, the declassification would be in the public interest, and is in the interest of fairness to Lt. Gen. Flynn,'' Grassley wrote in August 2017.
Were the information Grassley requested made public, America would have learned this, according to my sources:
Before Flynn made his infamous December 2015 trip to Moscow '-- as a retired general and then-adviser to Donald Trump Donald John TrumpTrump says he may call a national emergency to build border wall O'Rourke signals support for 'concept' of Green New Deal Supreme Court to take up gerrymandering cases MORE 's presidential campaign '-- he alerted his former employer, the DIA.He then attended a ''defensive'' or ''protective'' briefing before he ever sat alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russia Today (RT) dinner, or before he talked with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.The briefing educated and sensitized Flynn to possible efforts by his Russian host to compromise the former high-ranking defense official and prepared him for conversations in which he could potentially extract intelligence for U.S. agencies such as the DIA. When Flynn returned from Moscow, he spent time briefing intelligence officials on what he learned during the Moscow contacts. Between two and nine intelligence officials attended the various meetings with Flynn about the RT event, and the information was moderately useful, about what one would expect from a public event, according to my sources.DIA spokesman James Kudla on Wednesday declined comment about Flynn.
Rather than a diplomatic embarrassment bordering on treason, Flynn's conduct at the RT event provided some modest benefit to the U.S. intelligence community, something that many former military and intelligence officers continue to offer their country after retirement when they keep security clearances.
It's important to wind back many months to where the Russia collusion narrative started and the media frenzy''driven suggestion that Flynn may have been on a mission to compromise America's security and endanger this great republic when he visited Moscow.
Would the central character in a Russian election hijack plot actually self-disclose his trip in advance? And then sit through a briefing on how to avoid being compromised by his foreign hosts? And then come back to America and be debriefed by U.S. intelligence officers about who and what he saw?
And would a prosecutor recommend little or no prison time for a former general if that former military leader truly had compromised national security?
The gap between the original portrayal of Flynn's activities and the actual facts likely is one of the reasons a prosecutor working for special counsel Robert Mueller Robert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE pointedly rejected a judge's suggestion at Flynn's aborted sentencing last month that the general might have engaged in treason.
There's no sugarcoating the mistakes Flynn did make. By his own admission, he misled the FBI and Vice President Pence about the fact that sanctions did come up in a December 2016 conversation with Kislyak, then Moscow's ambassador to the United States. He didn't file proper foreign-lobbying paperwork for money he received from Turkish sources. And he likely did not file the proper paperwork disclosing or seeking permission for the $45,000 in speaking and travel fees he got for the RT event.
Those are sins for which Flynn has paid, and will pay, dearly.
But there is ample evidence now that the event that many ''Russia collusion'' cheerleaders have cited as the start of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow was, in fact, something very different.
Flynn's attendance at the RT event was disclosed in advance to the intelligence community, he took proactive steps to ensure he could not be compromised by attendees and he then came back to the United States and reported intelligence designed to benefit America.
Flynn was never charged with any wrongdoing related to the RT event, so the belated revelations about his pre- and post-event conduct won't have any effect on his sentencing in the court of law. But in the court of public opinion, they should have a real impact.
On that score, the first accounts of the Russia-Flynn story '-- like many others in the still-unproven collusion narrative '-- should be amended to reflect that the retired general acted like a patriot, not a traitor, when he visited Moscow for the RT event.
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists' misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill's executive vice president for video.
Bernie Sanders' fans can't be allowed to poison another Democratic primary with personal attacks
I'm hardly the only political observer who blames Hillary Clinton's general election defeat to Donald Trump in part on personal attacks on Clinton first made by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his backers. Those attacks from her left laid the groundwork for copycat attacks lobbed by Donald Trump '-- and, in the process, helped hand the Supreme Court to the right-wing for a generation.
Don't believe me? Ask yourself who said what.
"I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.""I don't think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.""Do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of State and a foundation run by her husband collects many, many dollars from foreign governments '-- governments which are dictatorships? Yeah, I do have a problem with that. Yeah, I do.""The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people. It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history."''I think [superpredators] was a terrible thing to say.""Because [superpredators] was a racist term, and everybody knew it was a racist term."The answers: 1. Trump; 2. Sanders; 3. Sanders; 4. Trump; 5. Trump; and 6. Sanders.
And now, though the 2018 Democratic presidential primary has only just begun, those same long knives '-- mostly courtesy of supporters of Sanders' prospective candidacy '-- are out for outgoing Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, charging that he is not a true progressive.
The reason for these pre-emptive attacks (which has the markings of a coordinated effort) in a spate of news and opinion articles in a variety of publications, is obvious enough: After losing the Texas Senate race to incumbent Ted Cruz, O'Rourke nonetheless has shot to the top in Democratic primary polls since Election Day, overshadowing both Sanders and another left-wing favorite, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
In politics you shoot up, not down.
Berniecrats seem determined to dust off the same destructive playbook this time around, even though the attacks against O'Rourke are flimsy and misleading. O'Rourke unseated a conservative Democrat in a primary and never tacked right in an election in deep red Texas. He has run in favor of federal legislation legalizing marijuana and the impeachment of President Trump, and although he fails their litmus test on free college tuition, their claims that his support is weak for Medicare-for-all don't match his record: As a Senate candidate, he said he would vote for it.
Bernie supporters have made questionable claims about contributions to O'Rourke from the oil and gas industry, as well as his support for certain Republican-sponsored House bills '-- but neglect to mention that the oil and gas money came mostly from low-level industry employees (hundreds of thousands of Texans are employed by the industry), and that O'Rourke broke ranks with his party less than the average Democrat.
The real problem for Sanders' supporters seems to be that this "Kennedyesque golden boy," as one has derided O'Rourke, seems perfectly poised to steal Sanders' thunder among millennials and white liberals with his fresh energy and personal charisma. Thus, it's not enough to disagree with O'Rourke; his persona and reputation must be dragged through the mud.
Democrats should greet this early maneuvering by Sanders' supporters with alarm. If Democrats cannot show such tactics '-- which will be used against any non-Sanders candidate, because no one can get to the left of a socialist '-- for what they are, they ignore them at their own peril.
Failing to end this internecine warfare will mean that all members of the Democratic Party running for its presidential nomination will face months of minuscule ideological litmus tests turned into character assassinations. The narrative, driven by the far left and lapped up by the press, will likely result in a nomination fight that could well devolve into the kind of pointless factionalism that will only help Republicans.
We've seen this movie before: Sanders' assault on Clinton's progressive credentials were pernicious in large part because they were not about policy disputes at all, but rather intended to falsely impugn Hillary's character and integrity.
The atmosphere online was even more toxic: Pro-Bernie message boards lit up with a montage of Hillary hate. Here, Hillary was a "corporate whore," a likely criminal in the email case and the cheating mastermind of a rigged primary.
No wonder "Lock her up!" later became so resonant.
In 2016, I ran a pro-Hillary SuperPAC which attempted to defend the candidate against false attacks, many of which came from or originated to her left. Though they were hardly in charge of our messaging, it was made very clear to us by our allies at her campaign headquarters that any efforts on our part to push back against the left-wing anti-Clinton brigades were unwelcome assistance; they feared alienating Sanders' voters.
That head-in-the-sand posture was ultimately self-defeating.
Today, Democrats are rightly laser-focused on picking a winner in 2020, and the stakes are just too high to let bad faith actors '-- whose real aim is to smear Democrats as no different than Republicans '-- stage inter-party schisms. If Sanders decides to run again this time, he should focus on policy and eschew character attacks on Democrats '-- and admonish his supporters to do the same. Otherwise, they put the core values we all share at risk, yet again.
David BrockDavid Brock is the author of five political books, including "Killing the Messenger" (Hachette, 2015) and "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative" (Crown, March 2002). He founded Media Matters for America in 2004 and then American Bridge 21st Century in 2011.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch 'could be sinister Netflix ploy to steal THOUGHTS'
BANDERSNATCH is one of the most talked-about Netflix episodes ever '' and it could be the beginning of a sinister conspiracy to harvest your thoughts.
The Black Mirror episode lets viewers choose their own path through the story using on-screen options, but experts warn that it marks a dangerous future of surveillance.
Bandersnatch follows a young computer programmer adapting a Choose Your Own Adventure novel into a video gameCharlie Brooker's latest dystopian TV wheeze is a Choose Your Own Adventure story played using a remote control.
But experts are now warning that this gives Netflix a wealth of data on the personal choices you make.
Netflix hasn't revealed exactly what it'll do with this data, but the company does offer up data to marketers and advertisers '' and government organisations, when asked.
"Netflix is bound by privacy laws especially when dealing with European subjects," Adam Brown, a cybersecurity expert at Synopsys, told The Sun.
Viewers can direct the storyline by making plot choices using their TV remote"Those same laws do have exceptions, for example law enforcement agencies can of course legally access the data."
For instance, imagine if you were charged with committing a violent crime.
The police could request Netflix data showing what decisions you made when watching TV shows.
For instance, Bandersnatch gives you the option to kill certain characters in very brutal, gory ways.
Data suggesting you chose violent actions during a viewing session could potentially count against you.
"Choices could reveal aspects of a viewer's psyche to law enforcement agencies," Brown explained.
But he added that your personality could be revealed by regular TV choices too '' outside of Choose Your Own Adventure stories.
The TV show features some violent scenes, depending on the choices you makeNetflix
Experts say there's a risk that data on the choices you make in interactive TV shows and movies could be abusedWhen combined with other data, this could mean bad things for your privacy, as one expert explains.
"Your smart TV, games console and AI assistant might know what you're watching, hear all the comments you're making, and even know which part of the screen you were looking at when you said that or made that expression," said Dr Ian Pearson, a professional futurist, speaking to The Sun.
"Your fitness band meanwhile is measuring your excitement level via your heart rate.
"So the data will go much deeper and more personal than just choosing a storyline."
What is Bandersnatch?
Here's what you need to know...
Bandersnatch is an interactive film / TV episode released by Netflix on December 28, 2018It's part of the Black Mirror TV series created by Brit writer Charlie Brooker, which features standalone episodes that portray dystopian futuresBandersnatch follows a young programmer named Stefan who is adapting a Choose Your Own Adventure book into a video game in 1984During the episode, viewers get a chance to direct the plot by selecting options that appear on screenThis results in viewers seeing different storylines and endings, depending on the choices they makeThe average viewing is 90 minutes, although it's possible to watch the episode at a length of between 40 minutes and 2.5 hoursThere are five "main" endings, although endings have small variants tooThe episode received largely positive reviews, although some criticised the storylineThis data could then be accessed by governments or big-money advertisers.
Dr Pearson explained: "While much of the date gathered about you is low value, just form filling and clicking, that might not give true indications about you, your intimate behaviours and choices when watching a programme alone could reveal much more accurate and detailed data about you.
"All of that could be available to any company willing to pay or any government official with the right to access it."
Netflix could learn about your personality by tailoring questions in future Choose Your Own Adventure showsNot everyone is convinced that Bandersnatch can provide such detailed data, however.
Michael Pachter, a media expert at Wedbush Securities, told The Sun: "It's not clear that Bandersnatch was effective in driving much consumer interest beyond the novelty of the experience.
He called the episode an "abject failure" and said: "I don't think that Netflix has the skills set (yet) to make a compelling interactive experience.
"They need video game developers to make the ''game'' if they want it to be fun, and they're letting movie makers dabble with a medium that they aren't particularly good at."
Pachter thinks that Netflix will create more Bandersnatch-style shows and will "endeavour to derive information", but said it "won't be effective or productive".
"Keep in mind that they know very little about users beyond what they watch," said Pachter.
"They don't know age, gender, purchase habits, household income, or pretty much anything else about their customer. They may know that I like Stranger Things, but so do 13 year-old girls.
"Marketing feminine hygiene products to me based upon my choices in Bandersnatch would not be a particularly effective strategy."
A Netflix spokesperson told The Sun: "The privacy of Netflix members is a priority for us.
"Documenting choices improves the experience and interactive functionality of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
"All interactions with the film and uses of that information are in compliance with our privacy statement.""Netflix does not sell or rent personal information to third parties for their marketing purposes or any other use."
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Use this Netflix trick to make sure you see fewer rubbish films.
You should also read our guide to the secret Netflix controls you never knew existed.
If you waste hours trying to find something to watch, you'll definitely want to try Netflix Roulette.
And find out how to get new Netflix features first.
Would a sinister data-harvesting scheme put you off watching Choose Your Own Adventure shows? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
The autonomous snackbots, built by Y-Combinator startup Robby Technologies, can travel 20 miles on a charge, and are equipped with a camera, headlights and all-wheel drive to handle rough or wet terrain. Once it arrives, you simply release the lid, grab your snacks and close it to complete the sale. The app presumably takes care of the security and dispensing end of things.
Small, sidewalk-going robots are probably the only way you're going to get autonomous deliveries in the near future. A campus, being a relatively self-contained environment, is the perfect place to try them, and the University of Pacific will serve as a test site for three to five snackbots, starting today.
PepsiCo said it is the first major food and beverage company to test autonomous snack deliveries. However, it was beaten to the punch by the KiwiBot, which has been delivering food around the UC Berkeley campus since 2017. Unfortunately, that robot famously caught fire due to a battery issue, prompting students to hold a candlelight vigil for the apparently beloved snack-bearer. Whether or not the University of Pacific's students will develop a similar attachment to the Snackbot remains to be seen.
Dutch astronaut calls 911 from the International Space Station - KXLY
NASA via Getty Images The International Space Station (ISS) is seen from NASA space shuttle Endeavour on May 29, 2011. NASA via Getty Images The International Space Station (ISS) is seen from NASA space shuttle Endeavour on May 29, 2011. Talk about a wrong number! Dutch astronaut, Andre Kuipers, accidently called 911 while in orbit on the International Space Station. He talked about the mistake on a Dutch radio program.
Kuipers said when astronauts want to call NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston they have to dial 9 to get an outside line. Then they dial 011 for an international line. Kuipers says his fingers didn't dial correctly and he ended up with 911.
"If you're in space, it's like you're making a call via Houston, first you dial the 9 for an outside line and then 011 for an international line," Kuipers told the hosts of 'With The Eye on Tomorrow'. "I made a mistake, and the next day I received an email message: did you call 911?"
Kuipers joked that he was a little disappointed that no one came to the International Space Center to check on him-- 200 miles above earth.
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US fashion group calls for more diversity in model size
A trade group representing hundreds of America's designers has called on the fashion industry to showcase women of greater size diversity, such as plus-size models Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine.
Graham, of Nebraska, in 2016 became the first plus-size model to make the cover of "Sports Illustrated." She also appeared on the cover of "Vogue," helping to break down barriers in the notoriously snooty fashion world.
"We are beginning to see signs of fashion moving in the right direction," Marc Karimzadeh and Nicky Campbell wrote on the website of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which says it represents more than 500 men's and women's designers as well as jewelry and accessory designers.
"Designers such as Michael Kors and Christian Siriano are casting models that defy tradition," they said in a reference to the fashion world's longstanding preference for slimness.
"Body Positivity is important in fashion and we want to see more designers and companies embrace this in 2019," the CFDA communication officials wrote.
A movement to recognize alternate body types started in 2017 at New York Fashion Week, with runway shows by Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano and Michael Kors.
In September, the CFDA launched with plus-sized brand Dia&Co the #TeeUpChange campaign to encourage greater diversity in size among young creators.
It also collaborated last year with Universal Standard, a brand that offers to exchange a piece of clothing in the year following its purchase if the customer's size changes.
"In the past year, we put more focus on size inclusivity," through the Dia&Co and Universal Standard tie-ups, "and it continues to be a focus going forward," Karimzadeh told AFP.
? 2019 AFP
Neil Tyson gets more bad news as investigation into sexual misconduct allegations continues - TheBlaze
Famed astrophysicist Neil Tyson has had his show temporarily pulled from the National Geographic Channel as an investigation continues into numerous allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Tyson's show, 'Star Talk, was halted in order to allow the investigation to continue, according to a statement from Nat Geo to Variety.
"In order to allow the investigation to occur unimpeded we chose to hold new episodes of 'Star Talk' until it is complete," a Nat Geo spokesperson said according to Variety.
"We expect that to happen in the next few weeks at which time we'll make a final decision," they added.
Tyson denied all the allegations, which range from one woman alleging he drugged and raped her, to another woman saying he groped her inappropriately. The celebrity astrophysicist penned a long defense of his actions, denying that he had committed any criminal act, but apologizing for any misunderstanding.
"According to her blog posts," Tyson wrote about one accuser, "the drug and rape allegation comes from an assumption of what happened to her during a night that she cannot remember."
"It is as though a false memory had been implanted, which, because it never actually happened, had to be remembered as an evening she doesn't remember," he added. "Nor does she remember waking up the next morning and going to the office."
"I kept a record of everything she posted, in case her stories morphed over time," he concluded. "So this is sad, which, for me, defies explanation."
Tyson has been a critic of Republicans and especially President Donald Trump. One one late night show, he distorted the Trump campaign slogan, saying, "I think we have a four-year mission now. I think what we need to do, let us together, make America smart again."
Here's more on the allegations against Tyson:
'StarTalk' season on hold amid claims against host Tyson
LOS ANGELES (AP) '-- The current season of Neil deGrasse Tyson's ''StarTalk'' series is on hold amid sexual misconduct claims against the prominent astrophysicist.
The National Geographic channel said Thursday new episodes of the science-based talk show won't air until an investigation involving Tyson is completed, which could be within the next few weeks.
Late last November, National Geographic Networks and Fox said they would examine claims that Tyson behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner toward two women.
Tyson was host of ''Cosmos: Possible Worlds'' on Fox in 2014. A new edition of the series was set to air in March on the network and on National Geographic.
He has denied an accusation that he groped a woman and denied making sexual advances toward a production assistant at his home. Tyson apologized for making the assistant feel uncomfortable.
He has said he will cooperate fully with an ''impartial investigation.''
''StarTalk'' began its fifth season Nov. 12, with a handful of episodes aired before the show was put on hold. Guests for the previously announced 20 episodes include former Vice President Al Gore, writer George R.R. Martin and actors Jack Black and Jeff Goldblum.
A representative for Tyson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday regarding the ''StarTalk'' hiatus.
This story corrects the month the investigation was announced. It was announced in November.
Louis C.K. Parkland Routine: Comedy Not Off Limits | National Review
Executive producer Louis C.K. participates in a panel for the FX Networks series ''Baskets'' during the Television Critics Association (TCA) Cable Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif., January 16, 2016. (Kevork Djansezian/Reuters) 'Transgressive' is good, except when the Left gets offended I s there any precedent for the outpouring of loathing and contempt from former admirers and peers that landed on Louis C.K. as 2018 ticked to a close? Fellow comics and comedy writers broke an unwritten rule and attacked one of their own, joining the usual Twitterati and culture cops in a rage-fueled online stoning. A bit C.K. had performed at a Long Island night club on December 16, with no intention that a national audience hear it, and that leaked online without his permission, was mentioned on the front page of the New York Post and New York Times.
''You're not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot,'' C.K. said. ''Why does that mean I have to listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn't get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I've got to listen to you talking?'' C.K. also made fun of hypersensitive, scoldy, uptight young people and their pronoun posturing.
The response from Andy Richter, Judd Apatow, and other comedy pros was to label this routine ''hacky,'' ''lazy,'' ''shallow,'' ''easy,'' and ''fishing in a barrel.'' (I think that last one is supposed to be ''shooting fish in a barrel,'' Andy, it's important not to mangle the clich(C)s you use.)
But what C.K. said isn't hacky. A hack does a bit on how the Starbucks menu is too confusing or how women gain weight after marriage. And anyway, a hacky routine isn't worth mentioning, much less getting upset about. ''Parts of a comedy routine performed in an obscure club two weeks ago bombed'' is not news. To mock the Parkland kids in even so mild a way as to suggest they have no expertise on gun control is to venture into a high-voltage area. It's the opposite of ''hacky.'' It is in fact ''edgy.'' The edge in question is the frontier where ''things that can be said'' meets ''things that cannot be said.'' It's where ''funny'' meets ''offensive.'' It's where the audience will laugh while thinking, ''I can't believe he said that.'' It's where most of the top comics have wanted to live ever since Lenny Bruce inspired outrage for ''mocking Jackie Kennedy.'' (Actually the bit in question suggested that Mrs. Kennedy was guilty merely of being human, of trying to flee the limousine where her husband had been shot, rather than bravely seeking help. This was an edgy thing to say in 1964 but hit home because it was likely true.)
C.K.'s comments on youth weren't hacky and trite either, because their premise wasn't a kids-these-days clich(C) but something close to the opposite. He was pointing out that (first time in recorded history!) kids these days aren't adventurous enough, aren't frivolous enough, aren't freewheeling enough. Somehow every kid these days wants to clamp down on others, aspires to be a cultural vice principal or a language Niedermeyer. That's funny.
C.K. was not ''punching down.'' The Parkland kids are national heroes. They have been on the covers of magazines and dominated the conversation for weeks. They led a nationwide march. They logged countless hours of adulatory coverage on the television shows. They starred in a CBS documentary, 39 Days, and in a longish segment in the latest Michael Moore movie. Their views on matters unrelated to having been present at a school shooting are eagerly sought. Their youth isn't a source of vulnerability but is central to their power in a youth-worshipping culture (that doesn't much revere dumpy, balding, middle-aged white guys).
David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez have 2.5 million Twitter followers between them. Many of the Parkland kids were invited to sing ''Seasons of Love'' on the Tonys. C.K. wasn't. They aren't as rich or as famous as he is, but culturally speaking, they are lions and he is a masturbating rodent. C.K. is so loathed that the occasion of his venturing out of his apartment once to speak at a comedy club for 15 minutes inspired this New York Times headline: ''Louis C.K. Slithers Back.'' The attached column labeled him a ''malignancy'' and suggested he should work in a Gap rather than comedy.
The tone of Andy Richter and Judd Apatow's tweets was not that they were disappointed that C.K. had done a bit that wasn't funny at a show neither of them had attended. No, Richter and Apatow are outraged. And outrage is a double-edged sword, isn't it? Comics don't want to admit they're outraged. Because outrage traditionally makes you a butt of jokes, a bit like the teenaged pearl-clutching brigade C.K. mocked.
What is driving this episode of cultural citizens' arrest is that the Parkland kids are untouchable. They can't be made fun of. They are . . . icons. Comics can't say that because labeling the Parkland kids sacred cows would acknowledge the existence of sacred cows. And they want to reserve the right to barbecue everybody else's sacred cows. Jesus Christ is worshipped by even more people than Emma Gonzalez, but no comic wants to abandon the right to mock his story. (And if attacking a dead guy who was crucified at age 33 for speaking his mind isn't ''punching down,'' what is?) Louis C.K. went after icons. That makes him iconoclastic. And iconoclastic was a great compliment. Still is. Mocking the Parkland kids is taboo. And taboo-busting was a great compliment. Still is. C.K. was being transgressive. And transgressive was a great compliment. Still is. One almost begins to entertain a rumor of a hint of a suspicion that the culture cops don't approve of transgression per se, but only of the transgression of boundaries cherished by people they don't like.
The prototypical C.K. routine will be shocking (in that it ventures without euphemism into an area we don't like to talk about), subversive (in that he stakes out a contrarian position), and funny (because its premise is nevertheless true, or at least true-ish). If you don't agree with the premises, you're not going to find them funny. But the premise of his Parkland bit is that surviving a school shooting doesn't make you an expert on any public-policy question. This is not only true, it's obvious. C.K. is doing the same kinds of bits he has always done.
Police investigating alleged sexual assault after woman in coma for 14 years gives birth: report | TheHill
Police in Phoenix, Arizona are investigating after a woman in a coma for more than 14 years gave birth at a nursing facility.
A local CBS News affiliate, Arizona's Family, first reported the incident Thursday. According to their report, the victim, who remains unnamed, gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Dec. 29.
A whistleblower, who remains anonymous, told the CBS News affiliate that none of the staff knew she was pregnant.
''None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth,'' she said in a TV segment that disguised her voice and hid her face. ''From what I've been told she was moaning. And they didn't know what was wrong with her.''
In a statement, Hacienda HealthCare said it would also conduct an "internal review" to evaluate patient safety.
''As an organization, Hacienda HealthCare stands fully committed to getting to the truth of what, for us, represents an unprecedented matter," spokeswoman Nancy Salmon told Arizona's Family.
"We are already conducting a comprehensive internal review of our processes, protocols, and people to ensure that every single Hacienda resident is as safe and well cared for as possible. Anything less than that is unacceptable to our team, our company's leaders and the communities we serve."
The victim has reportedly been a patient at Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix for at least a decade after nearly drowning and falling into a coma.
Male staff are no longer allowed in the rooms of female patients at the facility as the investigation is underway.
The Arizona Department of Health Services said in a statement that it is also helping with the investigation.
Journalist Who Broke Story Of Mueller Deleting Text Messages Dies Mysteriously
Bre Payton was a writer for the conservative online news magazine The Federalist and a guest commentator on the Fox News Channel. And she was a rising star.
''From the moment we started talking I realized she was a potential star,'' Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist, said in an essay on Saturday. ''She was raw, yes, but that could be honed. She was eager to learn, to write, and to go places'--not because of ambition, but because she wanted to change the world.''
She seemed unafraid to take on things that mattered, including breaking the hard-hitting piece DOJ Destroyed Missing Strzok/Page Text Messages Before The IG Could Review Them on December 13th, where, unlike the mainstream media who later focused on the idea that there was 'no evidence' that these text messages were deliberately destroyed, Payton leaned towards the conclusion that there was criminal intent in these deletions, a notion supported by Donald Trump.
And then she died suddenly on Friday in San Diego. She was 26.
I don't have any definitive 'proof' for the notion that Payton was killed because she was going to disclose some type of sensitive information against the Deep State; however, it must be said that the cause and circumstances of her death are befuddling enough for one to consider such an idea. My only intention is to explain the facts and allow you to draw your own conclusions.
TimelineWednesday, December 26th: Bre Payton, who lives in Washington, was in San Diego to be a guest host on a show on the One America News Network. Her last tweet was announcing to followers that they could see the show broadcast 'right now' and responding to one follower who was watching it. So as of Wednesday night, all was well with Bre Payton.
If you tune in to @OANN RIGHT NOW you can watch me host ''Tipping Point'' for @Liz_Wheeler.
'-- Bre Payton (@Bre_payton) December 27, 2018Appreciate it!
'-- Bre Payton (@Bre_payton) December 27, 2018Thursday December 27th: Bre was staying with good friend Morgan Murtaugh while in San Diego. Morgan found Payton unconscious in her bed around 8:30 am, as disclosed in this tweet:
24 hours ago I found my friend unconscious and called 911. She's been in a coma since and really needs a miracle right now. Please, if you're religious at all, send prayers this way. We really need them. https://t.co/QqeXn0N6g2
'-- Morgan Murtaugh (@morganmurtaugh) December 28, 2018Friday, December 28th: By Friday morning, Bre had passed away. This web page for Bre on the Caring Bridge website, which appears to be a site that gives updated information on people who are in hospital, seems to be where Bre's death was first announced. This was the page that Murtaugh had referred to in her tweet above, although at the time she tweeted it, it had obviously not declared that Bre had passed away. There is no way of checking what it had said at that time, because unlike Twitter, this website only shows the latest update. Currently it reads as follows:
Around 8:30, on December 27th, Bre's friend went into her room and found her unresponsive and barely breathing. She immediately called 911 and Bre was taken to the hospital where she was admitted to the ICU, sedated & intubated, and doctors began working up a diagnosis. After a CT scan and hours of testing, they have determined she has the H1N1 flu and meningitis. George stayed at the hospital with her in San Diego for a long time, but her condition worsened and worsened.
She fought her illness with strength but, passed on December 28th, 2018. She will be survived by her four siblings and parents. She fought strong and lived a life worth noting in the books. We are so incredibly honored to have known this wonderful human being.
Something Just Doesn't Seem RightTrying to put some pieces together here, Morgan Murtaugh never mentioned noticing anything wrong with Bre on Wednesday night, so we are left to assume that a healthy, vibrant 26-year old girl became fully incapacitated during a nights sleep without showing any prior symptoms, and then was dead 24 hours later, with doctors saying that she had the Swine Flu (H1N1) and meningitis. Surprisingly, a New York Times obituary for Bre Payton said that 'Ms. Payton had the H1N1 flu, also known as the swine flu, and encephalitis, according to her family.' So, is it encephalitis or meningitis? And what is the actual cause of her death, one of these ailments or the H1N1 flu? I have not found an answer to this.
While the cause of death does not seem to have been determined, several mainstream media outlets are taking the opportunity to use this to subtly warn people that they should remember to take their flu vaccine, which includes an H1N1 component. The way mainstream media writes about this story is to ask how she died, mention and go into depth about the diagnosis and the history of the H1N1 virus, talk a little about her life, and then leave the initial question unanswered. They sway the typical mainstream reader to believe she died of the H1N1 virus without really saying it.
Some hypothesize that Bre Payton might have actually taken the flu shot and that led to her illness. But this tweet from her a few years back makes it highly unlikely that she would consent to any vaccine:
"@latimes: Whooping cough: State urges more people to get vaccinated http://t.co/Aee82iJ" // NOOO! vaccines are from the devil!
'-- Bre Payton (@Bre_payton) June 13, 2011I don't know enough to say it's impossible that Bre Payton died so suddenly from a virus she had contracted naturally without any prior symptoms, but it just doesn't feel right. You would expect that she would have some pretty significant symptoms in the days prior. Add that to the fact that we have covered many stories of people who have died mysterious deaths who all happened to be courageous, outspoken people who were willing to challenge the establishment, and might have had some information that was damaging to the Deep State and were willing to reveal it, as she showed in breaking the Mueller story, you can begin to understand the suspicions.
The TakeawayThere is certainly a pattern of untimely and mysterious deaths that have been on the rise in recent times, which involve people who are seen as a threat to the Deep State. Several of these suspicious deaths have been made to look like suicides, but other forms of sudden 'natural' deaths have been occurring as well, with some victims even being able to hint that they had been poisoned or otherwise targeted just before their deaths. The case of Bre Payton is uncertain and unproven, but all the signs certainly raise the suspicion of those who follow these patterns of events. The best we can do here is put together the facts that we have access to and allow you to consider and decide the most likely explanation for yourselves.
Read More...Related Articles:The nation's largest abortion provider just released guidelines for parents instructing them how to talk to their preschool-aged children about gender identity.
Former FBI director James Comey's decision to leak FBI documents to a friend may have violated the FBI's employment agreement regarding unauthorized leaks.
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War on Guns
House lawmakers prepare rollout of gun-control proposal - The Washington Post
Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, called for action on gun safety legislation at an event in 2017. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)House lawmakers are planning to roll out a measure on Tuesday that would require universal background checks for nearly all firearms purchases, as House Democrats attempt to make good on their pledge to address gun control with their new majority.
The proposal, headlined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), is a bipartisan measure, with Rep. Peter T. King (N.Y.) serving as the lead Republican co-sponsor. According to an aide familiar with the package, the existence of which was previously reported in Politico, it will seek to impose universal background checks for the purchase and transfer of firearms, with some exceptions for hunting and family, but will not address an assault weapons ban. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss legislation that has not yet been formally announced.
For years, Democrats and several Republicans have been calling for Congress to take steps to better regulate gun purchases and possession, pointing to a spate of recent mass shootings such as the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., the 2017 massacre at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas, the 2016 shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, and the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), herself a shooting victim from a 2011 assassination attempt, plans to be in Washington on Tuesday to help unveil the legislation.
''Americans have spoken,'' she said on Twitter. ''It's time to address our gun violence epidemic, and this new Congress will not sit silent.''
The new Democrat-controlled House will almost certainly be able to muster the votes to pass a gun-control measure that expands background checks. The measure may even pull along some Republican support: In late 2017, a similar proposal from Thompson and King drew 14 Republican co-sponsors.
But it remains unclear whether such legislation could clear procedural hurdles in the Senate, which remains under Republican control. The closest that the Senate has come to passing gun-control legislation expanding background checks was in 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, when 56 senators rallied behind a measure '-- four votes shy of what they needed to clear procedural hurdles.
Last year, Congress adopted a law to encourage states and force federal agencies to report crimes and other infractions that would prevent individuals from legally purchasing firearms to a national database, in compliance with existing laws.
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In Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells a voter why she took that DNA test - The Washington Post
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), speaks during an organizing event for her presidential campaign in Sioux City, Iowa, on Jan. 5, 2018. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News) SIOUX CITY, Iowa '-- The first question on the first full day of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Iowa presidential campaign swing was the one her political opponents craved. It came not from a reporter, or a heckler, but from an attendee among those packed into Sioux City's Orpheum Theatre on Saturday who, like everyone else, had gotten a ticket that allowed her to ask the senator anything.
''Why did you undergo the DNA testing and give Donald more fodder to be a bully?'' she asked.
There was a sound of muttering from the audience of 575 voters, and Warren let out a sigh. ''Yeah, well,'' she said. ''I'm glad you asked that question. I genuinely am. I'm glad for us to have a chance to talk about it.''
The controversy surrounding Warren's past claim of Native American ancestry, which first emerged during her 2012 campaign for Senate, has followed her despite two statewide election wins, a series of sometimes skeptical interviews, and a highly produced October 2018 video in which she released the results of a DNA test.
Warren's campaign team produced the video after supporters and critics, one of whom had tried to conduct a test by sending some of Warren's saliva to a DNA company, had asked how she could ever put the issue to bed.
''I recognize that it is unfair that you have to deal with this 'Pocahontas' allegation,'' said Jon Lovett, a co-host of the popular liberal podcast ''Pod Save America,'' in a March interview with Warren. ''Why not [get] some sort of a test, get some sort of a way to dispense with it once and for all, even if it's conceding in this one instance to Trump's bullying?''
The president, who appropriated the ''Pocahontas'' nickname for Warren from conservative Boston media, continued mocking her after the test. But the senator's visit to Iowa so far demonstrated both how she had navigated around her political problem and how a media ecosystem often shaped by the president could readily return to it.
On the stump, Warren boiled down her answer on the controversy itself to 55 seconds.
''I am not a person of color; I am not a citizen of a tribe,'' she said. ''Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry. Tribes, and only tribes, determine tribal citizenship, and I respect that difference. I grew up in Oklahoma, and like a lot of folks in Oklahoma, we heard stories about our ancestry. When I first ran for public office, Republicans homed in on this part of my history, and thought they could make a lot of hay out of it. A lot of racial slurs, and a lot of ugly stuff. And so my decision was: I'm just gonna put it all out there. Took a while, but just put it all out there.''
Warren, who has not otherwise mentioned the president by name on this trip, added that she could ''not stop Donald Trump from what he's gonna do,'' including ''hurling racial insults.''
''Yes, you can!'' shouted Glenda Verhoeven, a 63-year old farmer in the audience. Afterward, Verhoeven explained that she thought Trump had revealed just how nervous Warren made him: ''She already knows the enemy, and he knows her.''
The ancestry question was absent from Warren's Friday-night town hall at a packed venue in Council Bluffs, and from a policy-heavy roundtable in Storm Lake on Saturday.
While Massachusetts Republicans had mocked Warren outside her events '-- one candidate followed her last year in a bus, decorated by a photo illustration of Warren in native headdress '-- there were no antics or operatives outside this weekend's first Iowa events.
But the DNA answer was quickly sent to reporters by America Rising, a Republican opposition research group that has spent years tracking and researching Warren. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who represents Sioux City and narrowly won reelection amid controversy over his praise for white-nationalist politicians, responded to Warren hours later with a tweet pointing out that she would be traveling through ''Pocahontas, Sac & Cherokee Counties.''
Earlier in the day, asked whether she had any particular message for King, Warren had opted not to attack him.
''This is what America is: a place where people just want a chance to work hard and play by the rules,'' Warren said. ''That's why I'm here.''
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War on Weed
Opinion | What Advocates of Legalizing Pot Don't Want You to Know - The New York Times
The wave toward legalization ignores the serious health risks of marijuana.
By Alex Berenson
Mr. Berenson is the author of a forthcoming book on marijuana use.
Jan. 4, 2019 Image Credit Credit Annelise Capossela Marijuana seems to be on an unstoppable march to legalization in the United States.
New York and New Jersey are racing to join the 10 states that already allow recreational use of cannabis. Some 65 percent of Americans favor legalization, and several potential Democratic candidates for president support ending federal prohibitions on marijuana.
This huge shift in public attitudes comes even though most Americans do not use the drug. Only 15 percent of people over 12 used it even once in 2017, according to a large federal survey. That year, only three million people tried it for the first time.
Instead, the change has been largely driven by decadeslong lobbying by marijuana legalization advocates and for-profit cannabis companies.
Those groups have shrewdly recast marijuana as a medicine rather than an intoxicant. Some have even claimed that marijuana can help slow the opioid epidemic, though studies show that people who use cannabis are more likely to start using opioids later.
Meanwhile, legalization advocates have squelched discussion of the serious mental health risks of marijuana and THC, the chemical responsible for the drug's psychoactive effects. As I have seen firsthand in writing a book about cannabis, anyone who raises those concerns may be mocked as a modern-day believer in ''Reefer Madness,'' the notorious 1936 movie that portrays young people descending into insanity and violence after smoking marijuana.
A strange disconnect has resulted.
With large studies in peer-reviewed journals showing that marijuana increases the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, the scientific literature around the drug is far more negative than it was 20 years ago. Comparing two major reports from the National Academy of Medicine, the nonprofit group that advises the federal government on health and medicine, makes the difference clear.
In a report in 1999, the academy (then called the Institute of Medicine) reported that ''the association between marijuana and schizophrenia is not well understood.'' It even suggested the drug might help some people with schizophrenia. But in its next major report on marijuana, released in 2017, the academy reached a very different conclusion: ''Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.''
Yet the change in the scientific consensus has gone unnoticed. Americans in general are far more likely to believe the drug is safe, and even medically beneficial, than they once were. As a result, support for legalization has doubled since 1999.
Making matters worse, the ways Americans use cannabis are changing in ways that further increase its risks.
Many older Americans remember marijuana as a relatively weak drug that they used casually in social settings like concerts. They're not wrong. In the 1970s and 1980s, marijuana generally contained less than 5 percent THC. Today, the marijuana sold at legal dispensaries often contains 25 percent THC. Many people use extracts that are nearly pure THC. As a comparison, think of the difference between a beer and a martini.
And though legalization hasn't led to a big increase in Americans trying the drug, it has meant that those people who already use it do so far more frequently. In 2005, about three million Americans used cannabis every day. Today, the figure is eight million. Put another way, about one cannabis user in five uses it daily. By contrast, only one in every 15 drinkers, about 12 million Americans, consumes alcohol every day.
Scientists must do much more research to understand how cannabis can cause psychosis, and the strength of the link. But hospitals are already seeing the effect of these new use patterns. According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in 2006, emergency rooms saw 30,000 cases of people who had diagnoses of psychosis and marijuana-use disorder '-- the medical term for abuse or dependence on the drug. By 2014, that number had tripled to 90,000.
Federal surveys also show that rates of serious mental illness are rising nationally, with the sharpest increase among people 18 to 25, who are also the most likely to use cannabis. The surveys and hospital data cannot prove that marijuana has caused a population-wide increase in psychosis, but they do offer intriguing evidence.
I am not a prohibitionist. I don't believe we should jail people for possessing marijuana. But the advocacy community has sharply overstated the level of marijuana-related incarceration.
Many people are arrested for marijuana possession, but very few end up imprisoned. California reported in 2013, the most recent year for which this data is available, that only 441 of its 134,000 prisoners were incarcerated for all marijuana-related crimes. If arrests for marijuana possession are a major racial justice concern, the solution is decriminalizing possession, turning it into a violation equivalent to littering.
But advocacy groups don't view decriminalization as an acceptable compromise. They want full legalization, making marijuana a state-regulated and -taxed drug that businesses can sell and profit from.
States that allow recreational marijuana have found that legalization doesn't end the black market in unregulated cannabis. But it does lower prices, increase availability and acceptability, and drive up use.
Worse '-- because marijuana can cause paranoia and psychosis, and those conditions are closely linked to violence '-- it appears to lead to an increase in violent crime. Before recreational legalization began in 2014, advocates promised that it would reduce violent crime. But the first four states to legalize '-- Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington '-- have seen sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014, according to reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Police reports and news articles show a clear link to cannabis in many cases.
As Americans consider making marijuana a legal drug, it would be wise to remember the choices that fueled the devastating opioid epidemic. Decades ago, many of the same people pressing for marijuana legalization argued that the risks of opioid addiction could be easily managed.
A half-million deaths later, we have learned how wrong they were.
Marijuana's risks are different from opioids', but they are no less real. Let's remember that hard truth as we listen to promises that allowing the use of this drug will do no harm.
Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, is the author of the forthcoming ''Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.''
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.
Enes Kanter won't go to London because of a 'freaking lunatic'
LOS ANGELES '-- Enes Kanter revealed after the Knicks' 119-112 victory over the Lakers he won't be heading to London for their game against the Wizards on Jan. 17.
Kanter has an invalid Turkish passport because of his long-running feud against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the political dictator in his home country. Kanter said he's worried about ''spies'' in London.
''I talk to the front office and decided I'm not going,'' Kanter said. ''The freaking lunatic, there's a chance I can get killed out there. I talked to the front office. I'm not going. I'm going to stay here and practice. It's pretty sad. All this stuff affects my career in basketball. I want to help my team win, but because of one lunatic guy I can't even go there to do my job. It's pretty sad. They got a lot of spies there. I can get killed pretty easy.''
A Knicks spokesman clarified that Kanter won't be traveling to London because of ''these issues.''
Kanter scored 16 points with 15 rebounds in the win, playing 27 minutes off the bench. Earlier this week. Kanter met with general manager Scott Perry over his demoted role and the team's losing, but apparently London also came up. Kanter has not asked for a trade despite his displeasure in the team's direction.
''The Pyramid of Success'' poster hangs in Knicks coach David Fizdale's office. The pyramid details John Wooden's famous principles for building successful teams.
Fizdale is a Los Angeles native who stayed in state to play point guard for San Diego. He got the Knicks to practice at UCLA for two straight days '-- hopefully to gain karma from the ghost of ''The Wizard of Westwood.''
John Wooden Getty ImagesFizdale sat down with the late Wooden when he was a young assistant coach at San Diego in about 2001, when the Hall of Famer met with the Toreros' coaching staff.
''I was lucky enough my college coach, Brad Holland, was his last recruit to UCLA,'' Fizdale said after the shootaround Friday at UCLA. ''I was lucky enough to spend some time with Coach Wooden. I still have his autographed book and one of his cards of his pyramid and the whole pyramid in my office. I cherish those.''
Fizdale's cousin, Roy Hamilton, played for UCLA in the 1970s immediately following Wooden's retirement, and was teammates with former Bruins star David Greenwood. Fizdale wasn't starry enough to get recruited by UCLA, but played the Bruins as a freshman at San Diego. Fizdale said he ''dropped a couple of buckets'' at Pauley Pavilion.
''Obviously this is a big part of influence on my life and my basketball world,'' Fizdale said of the revered campus.
In a nutshell, ''The Pyramid of Success'' was Wooden's recipe for greatness and focuses on the fundamentals and intangibles of trust, punctuality and not taking shortcuts.
''I just find it phenomenal, the thought that went into building it,'' Fizdale said. ''You have to go through some stuff to be able to figure out that that was what's necessary. I think all coaches take a look at that pyramid to learn from it. It's all of it, it's a very holistic approach to basketball.''
Though Pat Riley is considered Fizdale's Miami mentor, Wooden came first.
''It was just good conversations,'' Fizdale said of their sit-down. ''I forgot how old he was. I was still a young coach. I was young young. It was his presence and patience he had talking to us. It was just an honor to say I got to do that before he passed [in 2010].''
Some Knicks officials attended UCLA's home game against Stanford on Thursday. Bruins guard Kris Wilkes is considered a first-round pick.
Rookie Mitchell Robinson was ruled out hours before game time as he missed a ninth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
''We're going to hold him out a little longer,'' Fizdale said. ''It's more important for us to be cautious.''
Once Robinson returns, Fizdale will have a trio of centers to juggle. Kanter eventually could be the odd man out, but the Knicks coach suggested he would try to get all three of them minutes. Fizdale said he still wants to see more of Luke Kornet, who started his fourth straight game Friday against the Lakers and scored six points in 21 minutes.
''That's going to be a juggling act that I've got to figure out, trying to get them all minutes and get them all where they all go, like they can get their feet wet and contribute,'' Fizdale said. ''That's stuff that we've been talking about as a staff.''
VIDEO - Gatwick Airport 'drone couple' Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk forced from home | Daily Star
Window fitter Paul Gait revealed that he and Elaine Kirk have barely left their home after being released by police.
He said the ordeal had ruined their Christmas and he just wanted to get out of the area.
The innocent pair were quizzed by police for 36 hours before being told they faced no further action.
ACCUSED: Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk were accused of flying drones above Gatwick (Pic: SWNS)
Paul, 47, has been signed off work due to the effect of their experience.
He exclusively told the Daily Star Sunday: ''I don't want to live here anymore. I just want out. I'm not in a good place to be fair.
''I'm off work, I've been signed off. It's affected me in a massive way. It's been difficult. Christmas was s***. I haven't been out for two weeks.
''I haven't got any intention of going out at the moment.''
INNOCENT: Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk outside their home (Pic: BBC)
''It's been difficult. Christmas was s***''
Paul Gait, wrongly accused of flying a drone above Gatwick AirportHe and Elaine, 54, were falsely accused of bringing the airport to a standstill by flying a drone over it.
They were released back to their home in Crawley, West Sussex, the day before Christmas Eve.
Sussex Police have come under scrutiny for their handling of the investigation. Det Ch Supt Jason Tingley said it was possible there hadn't been a drone over Gatwick.
He said their was no footage of one and they were just dealing with witness sightings.
Chief Constable Giles York then said some activity may have been the force's own surveillance aircrafts.
Mr Gait '' who used to fly model helicopters '' was given an alibi by his ex-wife Gemma Allard.
She said he had been with him at the time of the drone disruption which affected 120,000 air passengers.
Gatwick has offered a £50,000 reward through Crimestoppers to individuals with information on the perpetrators of the disruption, with the charity's boss Lord Ashcroft offering a further £10,000.
Police are examining relevant sightings by 115 witnesses, including 93 from ''credible witnesses'' such as a pilot, airport staff and police officers.
More than 1,000 house to house enquiries have also been carried out.
Since the incident, the UK's two busiest airports are investing millions of pounds in anti-drone technology.
Gatwick and Heathrow have brought in equipment at an equivalent level to that used by the armed forces. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Defence confirmed military equipment being used at Gatwick had now been withdrawn from the Sussex airport.
Related articles Man climbs Severn Bridge to fly a drone forcing road to CLOSE Terrifying moment bridge packed with New Year's Eve revellers COLLAPSES London Heathrow and Gatwick deploying MILITARY equipment '' fears of ANOTHER drone scare
VIDEO - US deploys army to secure DRC election: Trump - YouTube
50 Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands gets Islamic lecture Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands attended a concert in the capital, Amsterdam.
The Guest Conductor, who just happens to be Muslim, proceeded to give the Queen a lecture on the "beauty" of Islam.
The entire orchestra got up and walked out, refusing to be associated with someone lecturing their Queen. The staff of the music hall escorted the conductor off-stage, and after questioning, out of the building.
Now that took courage. Good for the people of Holland.
Watch the walkout at the link below. Bet you didn't see this on CBS, NBC, ABC, or MSNBC.
Liveleak does not tolerate racist comments and attacking or impersonating members - if you do spot comments that fall into this category, please report. Please review our commenting rules here
VIDEO - Don Lemon Criticizes Kevin Hart's Ellen DeGeneres Interview '' Variety
January 4, 2019 9:36PM PTIn a gripping segment on his CNN news show Friday night, anchor Don Lemon opened up as a member of both the African-American and LGBT communities and called for a deeper response from comedian Kevin Hart in renewed controversy over his defunct Oscar hosting gig.
Lemon addressed the spectacle of Hart's Thursday appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show, which has widely been criticized for Hart's perceived victimhood over backlash to previous homophobic tweets and DeGeneres' emphatic support of his return to the Oscar job, which many found tone deaf.
''Someone like Kevin Hart, with one of the biggest megaphones in the entire world, he can be a leader '... he can help change homophobia in the black community, something Kevin's old twitter jokes addressed but in the wrong way,'' Lemon said.
He then referenced an old tweet from Hart about theoretically disciplining his son for playing with a dollhouse.
''That was a joke to Kevin. The truth is, that is a reality for many little boys in the United States '... somewhere a black dad is beating his black son,'' Lemon said, referencing a story about his friend and Hollywood creator Lee Daniels. In his series ''Empire,'' Daniels scripted a real-life moment when his own father threw him into a garbage can as a little boy for wearing a pair of high heels.
''Those views of the LGBT people in the black community have consequences,'' Lemon said, calling up stats from the American Center for Progress, like their report that 44% of homeless gay youth in America are black.
Listen to Variety's exclusive interview with Kevin Hart:
''That's huge. Remember, black people only make up 12 percent of the U.S. population. Among homeless transgender youth? 62% of them are black. Those kids were likely kicked out of their homes or had to run away because of who they are,'' he added.
The anchor surmised that he did not see ''any meaningful outreach to the LGBT community. Nothing that you have spoken on,'' he said addressing Hart directly. Later in the show, GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis appeared and said that repeated invitations to Hart's representatives were ignored, but the group remains open to working with him.
''For many in the gay community, especially in the black community, the Twitter apologies on 'Ellen' have fallen flat,'' Lemon continued, noting reactions calling the talk show moment ''insincere'' and that Hart ''somehow turns himself into a victim instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia.''
In a music world where streaming services now overwhelmingly rule the market, who still actually bothers to buy albums? One obvious answer: people who also buy movie tickets. BuzzAngle Music's newly released data for 2018 shows that the two top selling albums of the year were the soundtracks for ''The Greatest Showman'' and ''A Star [...]
For many years, Oscar ''shortlists'' narrowed down the choices in a preliminary round that would eventually lead to the five nominees for original song and score. Academy executives discontinued that practice after the 1979 awards, but have brought it back for the 2018 honors. It was problematic then and it remains so now. Not everyone [...]
Debra Granik, who directed and wrote ''Leave No Trace,'' has received Film Independent's second Bonnie Award, given to recognize a mid-career female director. The trophy, which includes a $50,000 grant, was presented Saturday afternoon to ''Leave No Trace'' producer Anne Harrison at the organization's Spirit Awards brunch at Boa Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Granik could [...]
The National Society of Film Critics announced their 2019 award winners Saturday afternoon, with winners including Olivia Colman for ''The Favourite'' and Ethan Hawke for ''First Reformed.'' Chloe Zhao's ''The Rider'' took home the best picture title, with Alfonso Cuaron taking best cinematography for ''Roma'' and Regina King earning a nod for ''If Beale Street [...]
Last year Hollywood transformed the Golden Globes red carpet. As a sign of solidarity against sexual harassment '-- both in the entertainment industry and in careers across the globe '-- a large majority of the 2018 Globes attendees wore black. Waves of black dresses appeared on the camera-lined carpet outside the Beverly Hilton, turning a [...]
Timothee Chalamet will join Variety for a live chat Saturday at 12 p.m. PT on Facebook. The Q&A can be streamed on Variety's Facebook page at the link here or below. The Golden Globe nominee can be seen in theaters now in ''Beautiful Boy,'' which also stars Steve Carell. The pair play a son and father who struggle with Chalamet's character's [...]
Just call her Santa Claus! Sandra Bullock surprised the cast and crew of ''Bird Box'' with a holiday celebration while they were filming the hit thriller at the end of 2017. ''I'm in shock by how organized Sandy is,'' co-star Danielle Macdonald tells Variety. ''Because we were filming it towards Christmas a year ago, she [...]
VIDEO - Blind woman sues Beyonc(C)'s Parkwood Entertainment for website discrimination | abc13.com
Several hundred anti-Macron Yellow Vest protesters returned to Paris and other French cities Saturday to continue their now two-month-long demonstration against the French government.Update 2000 '-- Yellow Vests March Sees Fires, Teargas
The Associated Press brings this report from Paris:
French security forces fired tear gas and flash-balls after a march through picturesque central Paris went from peaceful to provocative Saturday as several thousand protesters staged the yellow vest movement's first action of 2019 to keep up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron.
A river boat restaurant moored below the clashes on the Left Bank of the Seine River caught fire. Smoke and tear gas wafted above the Orsay Museum and the gold dome of the French Academy as riot police, nearly invisible at the start of the demonstration, moved front and center when protesters deviated from an officially approved path.
Police boats patrolled the river while beyond the Seine, motorcycles and a car were set on fire on the Boulevard Saint Germain, a main Left Bank thoroughfare. Riot police and firefighters moved in, and barricades mounted in the middle of the wide street also glowed in orange flames.
Protesters made their way to the Champs-Elysees Avenue, the famed boulevard that has been at the center of previous yellow vest demonstrations, many removing their distinctive vests and mixing with shoppers.
Riot police moved in with a water cannon to evacuate the avenue. A line of parked cars burned on a nearby street.
In a first, the building housing the office of the French government spokesman was attacked. Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux was evacuated from his Left Bank office at the Ministry for Parliamentary Relations after the front door of the building was partially destroyed.
''It wasn't me who was attacked '... It was the institutions, the democratic form of government,'' Griveaux said later, explaining on French TV that he and a half-dozen colleagues were taken out a back door while a group attacked the front door with construction equipment.
Those who did this ''attacked the house of France,'' he said.
It was the first such attack on government property since the yellow vest movement began weekly protests eight Saturdays ago, in mid-November. Protesters have tried to reach the presidential Elysee Palace, which is protected like a bunker.
Saturday's march had been declared in advance and approved, in contrast to some illegal December demonstrations that degenerated into vandalism, looting and chaos.
The latest demonstration was a sort of test of the movement's staying power after proposals by Macron to address concerns of the French who have a hard time making ends meet, including canceling the fuel tax hikes at the origin of the protests.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner estimated that about 50,000 people participated in protests around France on Saturday. Police counted some 3,500 protesters in Paris.
The atmosphere was initially calm in the French capital, but turned when some protesters tried to cross the river on a pedestrian bridge not on the official route from City Hall to the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. Police used clubs and tear gas, then held the bridge in a standoff while violence broke out.
Video on French TV showed a man repeatedly stomping on an officer in riot gear on the ground and hitting the shield of another officer.
Some confrontations took place in other cities around France, with tear gas fired in Bordeaux and in Rouen in Normandy.
Protesters were looking to breathe new life into the yellow vest movement, named after the fluorescent protective gear French motorists must keep in their cars. The protests were launched in anger over fuel tax hikes, but have swelled with broader anger over Macron's economic policies, deemed to favor the rich.
On Saturday, protesters reiterated a call for Macron to resign.
''Resolution 2019: Demacronize,'' read one sign. ''Power to the people,'' read another.
Government spokesman Griveaux had said on Friday that those who show up to protest ''want insurrection'' as the movement appears to wane and radicalize.
He called on the French people to express their views during an upcoming ''national debate'' rather than by taking to the streets.
Security personnel form a line near a Christmas Market on a street in Paris on January 5, 2019, as fires burn during clashes between yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets again as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Zakaria ABDELKAFI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle burns on a street in Paris on January 5, 2019, during clashes between yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors and security personnel. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets again as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Zakaria ABDELKAFI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police officers walk towards a burning barricade in Paris on January 5, 2019 during an anti-government demonstration called by the yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' movement. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets again as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Eric FEFERBERG / AFP) (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters trie to extinguish a burning car in a street of Paris on January 5, 2019 during an anti-government demonstration called by the yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' movement. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets again as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT '' A demonstrator gestures on a burning barricade on January 5, 2019 in Paris, during an anti-government demonstration called by the yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' movement. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets again as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Abdul ABEISSA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ABDUL ABEISSA/AFP/Getty Images)
A forklift is picture after it has been used to destroy the shop window of a Societe Generale bank branch on January 5, 2019 in Paris, on the sidelines of a demonstration called by the yellow vests (gilets jaunes) movement for the eighth week in a row of nationwide protest against high cost of living, government tax reforms and for more ''social and economic justice.'' (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP) / The caption of this photo by Bertrand GUAY have been modified in AFP systems.Please immediately remove the previous caption from all your online services and delete them from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute them to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage.Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police officers stand on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris during an anti-government demonstration called by the yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' movement on January 5, 2019. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets again as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)
Read the original story below:
Launched in November over French President Macron's attempt to pursue green policies by making car ownership unaffordable through punitive fuel taxes, the Yellow Vest movement has since transformed into a broader protest group that pulls in activists from across the political spectrum.
Macron's back on the offensive https://t.co/9B811MhZBA
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 1, 2019
One of the key demands now being pushed by protesters after Macron bowed to pressure in December and gave in on the green taxes is the introduction of so-called Citizen Initiative Referendums, or 'RIC'.
Under the plans called for by the marchers, any petition in France that gained 700,000 signatures would be legally required to be put to a binding national referendum, with politicians forced to honour the results. The votes could be used to create or change laws, amend the constitution, and even fire the President.
New polling this week revealed the French public overwhelmingly support the idea, which if implemented would have the impact of dramatically reducing the power of politicians and handing it to the people. Some 80 per cent of French are thought to support of the initiative, while 47 per cent believed the Macron government was going to ignore the public.
Protests took place outside French Mainstream Media Headquarters https://t.co/Ymiag7YBfA
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 29, 2018
Now in its eighth week, Saturday's march saw fewer marchers than the tens of thousands seen nationwide in November, but also less of the violence that has marred some marches. Some political observers including populist leader Marion Marechal have suggested the violence was visited upon the marches by hard-left agent provocateurs using the grassroots movement as a pretext for violence.
Ahead of the protest on Friday, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux criticised the movement, saying those taking to the streets are ''agitators who want insurrection and, basically, to overthrow the government.''
Anger among the protesters intensified this week after prominent Yellow Vest organiser Eric Drouet was arrested by police who said he'd organised an illegal demonstration. So far 216 Yellow Vest activists are in jail either sentenced or awaiting trial, and over 4,5000 were arrested in relation to the protests in 2018.
Yellow vest protestors walk in front of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on January 5, 2019, during a rally by yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP)
''Yellow Vest'' (Gilets jaunes) anti-government protester gather material as they construct a barricade during a rally in Nantes on January 5, 2019, part of a nationwide day of demonstrations. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)
Anti-government yellow vest protestors demonstrate in Paris on January 5, 2019. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by Eric FEFERBERG / AFP)
Yellow vest protestors walk in front of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on January 5, 2019, during a rally by yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP)
A ''Yellow Vest'' (Gilets jaunes) anti-government protester kicks a teargas shell during a rally in Nantes on January 5, 2019, during a nationwide day of demonstrations. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)
''Yellow Vest'' (Gilets jaunes) anti-government protesterswalk with burning material on a street in Rouen, north-western France on January 5, 2019, during a nationwide day of demonstrations. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
''Yellow Vest'' (Gilets jaunes) anti-government protesters gather near a burning 'wheelie bin' on a street in Rouen, north-western France on January 5, 2019, during a nationwide day of demonstrations. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
Yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' protestors hold a French flag and a banner reading ''class struggle is wearing yellow'' as they staged a vigil during a rally by anti-government protestors on January 5, 2019 in front of the Law Court of Le Mans, northwestern France. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)
Yellow vest protestors gather outside the City Hall (hotel de ville) in Paris on January 5, 2019, during a rally by yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP)
TOPSHOT '' Yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' march along Rue Quatre September in Paris on January 5, 2019, during a rally by the anti-government protestors. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by Olivier MORIN / AFP)
''Yellow Vest'' (Gilets jaunes) anti-government protesters stage a rally in Rouen, north-western France on January 5, 2019, during a nationwide day of demonstrations. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
A ''Yellow Vest'' (Gilets jaunes) anti-government protester is struck by security personnel in Rouen, north-western France on January 5, 2019, during a nationwide day of demonstrations. '' France's ''yellow vest'' protestors were back on the streets as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government. Several hundred protestors gathered on the Champs Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said. Marches were underway in several other cities across France. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
Yellow vest protestors hold hands across a street in front of a line of security personnel in Paris on January 5, 2019, during a rally by yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by Lucas BARIOULET / AFP)
Yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors walk during a rally in Paris on January 5, 2019. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by Lucas BARIOULET / AFP)
Yellow vest ''Gilets Jaunes'' anti-government protestors walk behind a banner during a rally in Paris on January 5, 2019. '' Over the past six weeks, ''yellow vest'' demonstrators '-- so-called after the high-visibility jackets they wear '-- have repeatedly clashed with police in Paris and other big cities, plunging Macron's presidency into crisis. The ''yellow vest'' movement began in rural France over fuel taxes and quickly ballooned into a wider revolt against the 41-year-old president's pro-business policies and perceived arrogance by low-paid workers and pensioners. (Photo by Lucas BARIOULET / AFP)
VIDEO - "BREXIT IS A BAD IDEA"? Watch scaremongering Remoaner GET DESTROYED - YouTube
i think that trump will win the border wall skirmish.i feel that he has outmaneuvered the inferior opposition of schumer and pelosi.
ya see, my belief is that as this standoff goes on longer and longer, and furloughed federal workers run out of savings, THEY won't care if Trump builds FIVE walls!
They're going to need money to make house payments, pay rent, buy food and clothes, and so on.
They're going to be pissed at their dumb-o-crat senators and representatives for NOT doing what they could do to get them a pay check. Just give in and approve the wall. Those people know that the democrats don't give a rip about the 5 billion, or 20 billion dollars. That amount is chump change, in a 4.4 trillion dollar annual federal budget. suddenly their commitment to following pee-loosey and screwmwer over the cliff will evaporate into thin air.
BUT'....on the other hand, all the dumb0-dick voters who REALLY want open borders, above all else'.....looney liberal whites, and a lot of hispanics will be PISSED, if and when screwmwer and Pee-Loosey DO give in, as i think they eventually will.
I think that those 2 clowns have themselves painted into a corner, with no way out, and that their party will proably be punished at the polls, after all is said and done!!
I think that Trump knows this!
I may be wrong, but i can see a big R win in 2020, POTUS, SENATE, AND HOUSE!!!
Like Liked by 1 person
VIDEO - Bustos Calls for Dems to Compromise on Wall Funding: 'There's Gotta Be Some Give and Take' - YouTube
On December 20, 2018, the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (''21st Century IDEA'') was signed into law. As indicated in my previous post, DocuSign applauds the congressional leaders '' Representatives Ro Khanna and John Ratcliffe, Senators Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, and the many co-sponsors '' who championed this bipartisan, bicameral legislation and saw it through to completion.
This new law requires in part that federal agencies:
Offer mobile-friendly digital options for all paper-based forms.Make customer experience a priority in the federal IT strategy.Accelerate the use of electronic signatures.Now that that the 21st Century IDEA Act is law, it's worth taking a closer look not only at the advantages it will bring, but also at some of the time-sensitive requirements it places on federal agencies.
First off, the 21st Century IDEA Act is great news for the public.
This act will drive a digital transformation of federal government services by requiring modern, accessible websites, forms, and the use of electronic signatures. This will improve the experience for millions of citizens interacting with the federal government every year. It will also save taxpayer dollars with digital self-service processes that people prefer.
Saurabh Verma, managing director at Acumen Solutions, a leading provider of customer-centric experience solutions for the federal government, agrees:
''There is an incredible opportunity for government agencies to engage citizens and be responsive to their needs through a personalized citizen experience built on their prior government interactions. The government has been talking about doing this for years and the 21st Century IDEA Act gives them a nudge to move in this direction.''
The act includes some very short-term requirements for federal agencies.
In addition to a series of longer-term requirements (over a 1 to 2 year period), the act requires all executive agency heads to deliver a plan to Congress and the OMB within 180 days showing how they will accelerate the use of electronic signatures. These reports are due in June of 2019.
Federal agencies will improve how they deliver critical services to the public.
As but one example, DocuSign works with a company called QTC that has helped the Veterans Administration by automating medical evaluations for veterans' disability claims using electronic signatures. They've reduced a 32-hour document completion process to just 2 hours, to help American veterans get the services they need faster.
QTC CIO Nader Nemati adds:
''Based on our experience, accelerating electronic signatures and digital forms in servicing our government and commercial clients not only improves internal productivity, quality and timeliness in delivering services for the clients, but also improves the overall customer experience for those involved in servicing and interacting with the clients. Our stakeholders servicing government and commercial clients spend less time chasing paper and more time focusing on the core mission '' and the people we serve.''
Agencies will also see significant enhancements in their internal functions.
The City of Palo Alto described a ''ripple effect'' of efficiencies throughout their operations when they modernized their contracting process with the use of electronic signatures. Their transformation reduced contract turnaround time from up to 14 days to less than 5 days. Expanding these kinds of efficiencies across the federal government will have a dramatic effect.
Beyond operational efficiencies, the act will also trigger hard costs savings.
A single large state agency DocuSign has worked with saved $4 million in one year by eliminating the printing of 10,000 documents a day. Across the federal government (which reportedly spends over $38 billion managing paperwork per year), these kinds of savings could scale well into the hundreds of millions, or even higher.
DocuSign is uniquely qualified to help agencies meet their 180-day mandates.
DocuSign offers eSignature'--the world's #1 way to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time. Our System of Agreement Platform is FedRAMP-certified, and our 15 years of experience with over 450,000 customers informs all we do.
We very much welcome the opportunity to consult with executive agency professionals to help them develop their plans to accelerate electronic signatures in accordance with the 21st Century IDEA Act.
To learn more about the 21st Century IDEA Act, go to https://www.docusign.com/21st-century-idea-act
VIDEO - OBDM669 - Small Town Monsters Interview | Dark Overlord Hacking - YouTube
Nancy Pelosi, now Speaker Pelosi, made history today. Not only did is she the first woman to get the gavel twice. But she is also the antithesis of Donald Trump. She is loved by children and children love her. She is loving, brilliant, caring, empathetic and fearless. She is brave and compassionate and patriotic.
One of the most powerful moments was when she paused her swearing in to call all the children in the gallery up to the stage. She stopped her swearing in in order to give the children time to join her, leading to some adorable moments as kids scrambled to get their time on tv.
Congratulations, Speaker Pelosi!
Buckle up, Hair Furher. You are in for a world of hurt.
VIDEO - CNN Host Fumes Over Trump Briefing Stunt: 'He Didn't Even Take Questions!' | Crooks and Liars
Three minutes before it began, reporters got a heads-up that Donald Trump was going to do a "press briefing" at the White House. You will not find any clips from that "briefing" here at C&L because we knew it was a stunt from the start and would have nothing of substance. After all, today was Nancy Pelosi's day, and Donald Trump really hates it when anyone but he is the center of attention.
MSNBC aired about two minutes of it before cutting away. CNN, however, stayed with it to the bitter end. It doesn't matter what it was about because it had no substance, as host Brianna Keilar observed in a stunned voice.
After reviewing what had just happened -- Trump and some members of the Border Patrol Union went in front of the cameras to say he wants his wall -- Brianna Keilar described what it really was: a "stunt."
"This is a stunt. this isn't a briefing. so we thought there was -- it was billed as a last-minute briefing," she said, visibly annoyed. "It was not a briefing. a briefing is questions."
" A briefing has more than just a political stunt which is what we just saw," she added.
To which I reply, WHAT ABOUT THIS SURPRISES YOU? Will anyone learn? Clearly MSNBC has learned at least a partial lesson, since they quickly realized a stunt was in progress and cut back to Katy Tur. But over at CNN, the producers seemed to be intent on rolling the cameras and then sitting around and saying, "Golly, what just happened there?"
This was so predictable anyone could have guessed. Narcissist Donald Trump cannot abide anyone, and particularly a woman, garnering so much attention, especially since he's entering into the nightmare phase of his doomed "administration" now. So he used the power he has to yank the media's marionette strings and demand they attend to his needs for attention.
There is another way to have handled this. Go in the briefing room. Roll tape. Let him do what he's gonna do, but DECLINE TO RUN IT LIVE.
'' Story continues below ''
Record everything; air what matters. If there is nothing that matters on that tape, air nothing.
As for us, we MUST vote with our remotes. As soon as they started streaming Trump live, I switched to CSPAN. Nothing works better than viewers sending strong messages via their remote controls.
Start figuring it out, cables. Our democracy depends on it.
VIDEO - Newsweek on Twitter: "Rashida Tlaib on Trump: "We're going to impeach the Motherf***er" https://t.co/cCyKN4mzYk'... "
''We're not going to shirk our responsibility.'' Steve Watson | Infowars.com - January 4, 2019 Democrats have wasted little time in moving to impeach the President after taking office in the new year, with one new Congresswoman even declaring her desire to ''go in and impeach the motherfucker.''
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim Congresswoman from Michigan, was sworn in on Thursday, controversially taking her oath of office using a Quran.
According to reports, Tlaib quoted her son telling her, ''Look mama you won. Bullies don't win.''
Tlaib was said to reply in front of a MoveOn funded crowd ''You're right, they don't. And we're gonna go in and impeach the motherfucker.''
We got congresspeople out here calling the president a mother fucker pic.twitter.com/GCXSPQbPb8
'-- Barstool News Network (@BarstoolNewsN) January 4, 2019
Raucous reception for @RashidaTlaib at MoveOn reception near the Hill. Her closing remarks: ''We're gonna impeach the motherfucker.''
'-- Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 4, 2019
Rep. @RashidaTlaib at an event just now: Recalling a story in which her son said ''Look mama you won. Bullies don't win.'' And she said: ''You're right, they don't. And we're gonna go in and impeach the motherfucker.''
'-- Alexi McCammond (@alexi) January 4, 2019
Tlaib isn't the only Democrat calling for Trump's head. In addition to Tlaib's comments, coming after Democrats officially took over the House, Democratic California Rep. Brad Sherman reintroduced articles of impeachment against Trump.
Congressman @BradSherman (D-CA30) will reintroduce his legislation in House today on opening day of 116th Congress impeaching President Donald Trump for "high crimes and misdemeanors." https://t.co/HMUzQNpz53
'-- Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) January 3, 2019
The resolution accuses the President of ''high crimes and misdemeanors,'' and claims that Trump ''sought to use his authority to hinder and cause the termination of'' investigations related to alleged Russian ''collusion'' during the 2016 campaign.
In addition, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told Lawrence O'Donnell that ''Donald Trump is either going to be impeached by the Congress, or impeached at the ballot box.''
''It's really a race as to which one will happen first. I think for the sake of democracy, just as Speaker Pelosi said, I'd rather see it done at the ballot box, but we're not going to shirk our responsibility.'' Swalwell added.
Earlier Thursday, in an interview with NBC, new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to rule out the possibility of impeachment.
''Well we have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason. We just have to see how it comes,'' Pelosi said.
In addition, Georgia Rep Hank Johnson, a Congressman voted most clueless by congressional staffers, delivered a speech comparing Trump to Hitler, and yesterday doubled down on the comments.
The Witch Hunt continues.
VIDEO - Liveleak.com - Facebook smoke - don't breathe this!
30 Facebook smoke - don't breathe this! The problem is way bigger than I thought...
Morally bankrupt, Facebook's entire business model is built on intellectual property theft and end-user deception.
Theft of your private and marketable data, constantly tracking your location, they OWN any photos you upload there, will share your private messages with anyone who'll pay for them, and the cherry on top is that everything your stupid friends share from "UniLad" or "Top Viral Videos" is all stolen from the original content creators and allowed by Facebook to be shared all over their site.
It's cheap and it's dirty, Facebook really is for the brain-dead.
At the very least, uninstall the main App from your phone and use the mobile website if you must.
Start the year as you mean to go on. Happy 2019.
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