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(C) EPA-EFE/ALI HAIDER
KUWAIT CITY, May 14. /TASS/. The central oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia has been hit by drones, Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday.
"The East-West Crude Oil Pipeline has been attacked by explosive-laden drones," the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV channel quotes him as saying. "The national Saudi Aramco company halted oil pumping in the pipeline."
At the same time, al-Falih did not specify who could have been behind the attack.
According to the minister, at 6-6:30 a.m. local time drones hit two pumping stations of the pipeline used to transport oil from the oil deposits in the East of the kingdom to the port of Yanbu in the West. The attack caused fire, the station 8 was slightly damaged. The fire was controlled, the Saudi Press Agency said.
ThemMinister said that the kingdom condemns this attack, underlining the fact that this act of terrorism and sabotage in addition to the recent incident in the Persian Gulf is targeting not only Saudi Arabia, but also the security of global oil supplies and the world economy. Al-Falih also stressed that export and extraction of oil had not been halted, the agency reported.
On May 12, the UAE Foreign Ministry reported that four commercial ships had been "subjected to sabotage operations" in the Emirati exclusive economic zone, there were no injuries or fatalities on board and "no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel". The authorities "took all the necessary measures" and started investigating the incident "in cooperation with local and international bodies". The statement underlined that navigation and the operation of ports had not been disrupted, however, it was not specified who had masterminded the attacks. Later, Minister al-Falih said that two out of four ships that had been subjected to sabotage were Saudi oil tankers. According to him, the attack "did not lead to any casualties or an oil spill but damaged the structures of the two vessels.".
In other media
No increased Iran threat in Syria or Iraq, top British officer says, contradicting US | US news | The Guardian
The top British general in the US-led coalition against Isis has said there is no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria, directly contradicting US assertions used to justify a military buildup in the region.
Hours later however, his assessment was disowned by US Central Command in an extraordinary rebuke of an allied senior officer. A spokesman insisted that the troops in Iraq and Syria were on a high level of alert due to the alleged Iranian threat. The conflicting versions of the reality on the ground added to the confusion and mixed signals in a tense part of the Middle East.
Maj Gen Christopher Ghika, who is a deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the coalition conducting counter-terrorist operations against Isis in Iraq and Syria, was repeatedly questioned by reporters about the threat from Shia militias in Syria and Iraq, cited by US officials over the past week as justification for speeding up the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Gulf and for sending B-52 Stratofortress bombers and an anti-aircraft battery to the region.
''No '' there's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,'' Ghika said in a videolink briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon. ''We're aware of that presence, clearly. And we monitor them along with a whole range of others because that's the environment we're in. We are monitoring the Shia militia groups. I think you're referring to carefully and if the threat level seems to go up then we'll raise our force protection measures accordingly.''
On Tuesday night, US Central Command '' whose area of operations covers the Middle East and Afghanistan '' put out a statement refuting Ghika's comments.
''Recent comments from OIR's deputy commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region,'' it said.
''US Central Command, in coordination with OIR, has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria. As a result, OIR is now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to US forces in Iraq.''
The rebuke was particularly striking as it implied that Ghika was unaware of the state of alert of his own troops. The remarkable comments heightened concerns that fabricated or exaggerated intelligence may be being used by administration hawks led by the national security adviser, John Bolton, to further the case for war against Iran, in a manner reminiscent of the buildup to the Iraq invasion.
The New York Times reported on Monday night that the acting defence secretary, Patrick Shanahan, had presented the White House with a plan that involved sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event of an Iranian attack or departure from the constraints of the 2015 nuclear deal that the US abrogated a year ago.
The revised plans were ordered by administration hardliners led by Bolton, the report said.
Donald Trump dismissed the account as ''fake news'' on Tuesday. ''Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that,'' the president said. ''Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that and if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that.''
US officials have said there was clear evidence that Iran was building up its proxy forces' combat readiness and preparing them to attack US forces in the region. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, went to Brussels on Monday to brief his European counterparts on the alleged threats.
Speaking in Russia on Tuesday, Pompeo said the United States does not want war with Iran but vowed to keep pressuring Tehran.
''We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran,'' he said, adding: ''We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.''
The Shia militias in Iraq are collectively known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), and have ties of varying strengths to Iran.
In his briefing from Baghdad on Tuesday, Ghika told Pentagon reporters: ''We've seen no change in the posture or the laydown of the PMF. And of course the PMF is a moniker for a very broad range of groups. So I think it's important to say that many of them are compliant and we have seen no change in that posture since the recent exchange between the United States and Iran. And we hope and expect that that will continue.''
The general stressed that the coalition's mission was exclusively focused on defeating the remains of Isis and not on confronting Iran, but he added that the issue of force protection had been reviewed ''in the light of the events of the last week or so''.
''Am I concerned about the danger? No, not really,'' Ghika said.
Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that armed drones had attacked two of its oil pumping stations, two days after two Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, said that the alleged drone attacks caused a fire and minor damage to one pumping station, and implied that the drone strikes and the sabotage of the tankers were the work of Iranian proxies.
''These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran,'' Falih said in an English-language statement issued by his ministry.
Iran's ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, denied any involvement by his country or any of its regional allies in the attacks.
''Definitely not,'' Ravanchi told CNN. ''Iran is not in the business of doing such a thing. We need to have a thorough investigation as to what has happened and who is responsible for it.''
Pompeo's briefing to European foreign ministers in Brussels reportedly failed to convince them of the urgency of the Iranian threat. They repeated their commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, and warned of the dangers of unintended consequences of a military build-up.
Spain announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn a frigate from a US-led naval group in the Gulf on the grounds that it had changed its mission from celebrating 500 years of the first circumnavigation of the globe, to focusing on alleged threats from Iran.
Additional reporting by Patrick Wintour
Hal Turner Radio Show - CONFLICTING REPORTS OF 7-10 OIL TANKER EXPLOSIONS IN U.A.E. - GOV'T DENIES
CONFLICTING REPORTS OF 7-10 OIL TANKER EXPLOSIONS IN U.A.E. - GOV'T DENIES
For the past eight to ten hours, NUMEROUS reports have been coming in of several oil tanker explosions in the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Local government DENIES any incident at all, while other sources say several tankers exploded and burned; and that IRAN is suspected in the incident.
The reports began coming in around 5:00 AM eastern US time and were quickly DENIED by the government of Fujairah. HOWEVER, the International Airport at Fujairah seems to have been suddenly closed and no air traffic is being permitted over the port.
Seven to ten oil tankers in the port have caught fire and are completely burnt, the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeennews channel quoted sources as saying.
A super tanker (9165762), the tanker Al-Maarij (9394741), another tanked named AMI JAL (91477674), and the Khamsa 10 tanker (94320704) are among the tankers damaged in the explosions, the TV channel reported.
The PHOTO Image above is even disputed, with no one in any official capacity willing to confirm it is an image of a burning tanker in the UAE from today! It's as though some type of lid has been slammed shut on this . . . someone apparently does NOT want this info to get out.
Initially, the Russia news service Sputnik reported the incident, but hastily DELETED the report from their web site.
It's this simple: The United Arab Emirates is a U.S. ally. If Iran or its proxies bombed seven to ten tankers in a UAE port, then war with Iran is upon us.
The UAE, however, does significant amounts of trade with Iran - the bulk of which is FOOD. It may be that the UAE wants to hush this up because they don't want to be the reason for the US to go to war with Iran.
Lots of geopolitics in-play right now.
As more info becomes available, this story will be updated.
UPDATE 4:06 PM EDT --
UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "Four merchant ships were subject to 'sabotage operations' within Emirati territorial waters. No casualties have been reported."
Your 5G Phone Won't Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise. - The New York Times
The cellphones known as 5G, or fifth generation, represent the vanguard of a wireless era rich in interconnected cars, factories and cities. Whichever nation dominates the new technology will gain a competitive edge for much of this century, according to many analysts. But a television network a few blocks from the White House has been stirring concerns about a hidden flaw.
''Just a small one,'' a TV reporter told her viewers recently. ''It might kill you.''
The Russian network RT America aired the segment, titled ''A Dangerous 'Experiment on Humanity,''' in covering what its guest experts call 5G's dire health threats. U.S. intelligence agencies identified the network as a principal meddler in the 2016 presidential election. Now, it is linking 5G signals to brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart tumors and Alzheimer's disease '-- claims that lack scientific support.
Yet even as RT America, the cat's paw of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has been doing its best to stoke the fears of American viewers, Mr. Putin, on Feb. 20, ordered the launch of Russian 5G networks in a tone evoking optimism rather than doom.
''We need to look forward,'' he said, according to Tass, the Russian news agency. ''The challenge for the upcoming years is to organize universal access to high-speed internet, to start operation of the fifth-generation communication systems.''
Analysts see RT's attack on 5G as geopolitically bold: It targets a new world of interconnected, futuristic technologies that would reach into consumers' homes, aid national security and spark innovative industries. Already, medical firms are linking up devices wirelessly to create new kinds of health treatments.
''It's economic warfare,'' Ryan Fox, chief operating officer of New Knowledge, a technology firm that tracks disinformation, said in an interview. ''Russia doesn't have a good 5G play, so it tries to undermine and discredit ours.''
5G is also a growing point of friction between Washington and Beijing, with each side lining up allies in what has become a major technology race. Moscow and Beijing are seen as possibly forming a 5G political bloc.
The Kremlin ''would really enjoy getting democratic governments tied up in fights over 5G's environmental and health hazards,'' said Molly McKew, head of Fianna Strategies, a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., that seeks to counter Russian disinformation.
RT's assaults on 5G technology are rising in number and stridency as the American wireless industry begins to erect 5G systems. In March, Verizon said its service will soon reach 30 cities.
RT America aired its first program assailing 5G's health impacts last May, its only one in 2018. Already this year, it has run seven. The most recent, on April 14, reported that children exposed to signals from 5G cellphone towers would suffer cancer, nosebleeds and learning disabilities.
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The network distributes its programming by cable, satellite and online streaming. It also posts individual stories on Facebook and YouTube. A declassified U.S. intelligence report, released early in 2017, said that RT videos on YouTube have averaged 1 million views per day, ''the highest among news outlets.''
Hundreds of blogs and websites appear to be picking up the network's 5G alarms, seldom if ever noting the Russian origins. Analysts call it a treacherous fog.
Anna Belkina, RT's head of communications in Moscow, defended the network's coverage of 5G. ''Unlike many other media, we show the breadth of debate,'' she said in an email exchange.
Asked if Mr. Putin's promotion of 5G technology in Russia conflicted with the health alarms raised by RT America, she said the U.S. network focused on local 5G issues, not ''the roll-out in Russia.''
''Our American audience expects us to bring American concerns to the front, first and foremost,'' Ms. Belkina said.
Image RT television vehicles outside St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin in Moscow. The network has been called "the Kremlin's principal international propaganda outlet." Credit Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images The 5G PlaybookThe Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in the 2017 report, described the network as ''the Kremlin's principal international propaganda outlet.'' The report noted that RT's most popular video on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign stated that 100 percent of the Clintons' charity ''Went to '... Themselves.'' The video was viewed more than 9 million times.
Later that year, the national security division of the Justice Department forced RT America, formerly Russia Today, to register as a foreign agent.
Moscow's goal, experts say, is to destabilize the West by undermining trust in democratic leaders, institutions and political life. To that end, the RT network amplifies voices of dissent, to sow discord and widen social divides. It gives the marginal a megaphone and traffics in false equivalence. Earlier campaigns took aim at fracking, vaccination and genetically modified organisms. One show called designer tomatoes ''good-looking poison.''
The network is now applying its playbook against 5G by selectively reporting the most sensational claims, and by giving a few marginal opponents of wireless technology a conspicuous new forum.
All cellphones use radio waves. RT America tends to refer to the signals as ''radiations,'' seemingly associating them with the very strong rays at the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as X-rays and ultraviolet rays, which in high doses can damage DNA and cause cancer.
Novel EHF therapies
Broadcast television (UHF)
But the radio waves used in cellphone communication lie at the opposite end of the spectrum, between radio broadcasting frequencies and the rainbow colors of visible light.
The frequencies employed in 5G are higher than those of past cellphones, allowing more information to be relayed more rapidly. Many other devices are expected to follow, including robots, drones and cars that send traffic information to one another.
Wireless high-speed communication could transform the news industry, sports, shopping, entertainment, transportation, health care, city management and many levels of government. In January, The Times announced a joint venture with Verizon to build a 5G journalism lab.
Over the years, plenty of careful science has scrutinized wireless technology for potential health risks. Virtually all the data contradict the dire alarms, according to public officials, including those at the World Health Organization.
Opponents of 5G claim the technology's high frequencies will make the new phones and cell towers extraordinarily harmful. ''The higher the frequency, the more dangerous it is to living organisms,'' a RT reporter told viewers recently.
The truth is exactly the opposite, scientists say. The higher the radio frequency, the less it penetrates human skin, lowering exposure of the body's internal organs, including the brain.
''5G emissions, if anything, should be safer than previous generations,'' said Dr. Marvin C. Ziskin, a medical doctor and emeritus professor of radiology and medical physics at the Temple University School of Medicine.
Health concerns were raised last year when a large federal study showed that 2G signals could produce brain cancer in male rats. But officials discounted a direct link to humans, saying people received smaller doses.
Nonetheless, RT has taken an active role in stirring up apprehension, casting the debut of 5G in biblical terms. The caption superimposed on a January show read, ''5G Apocalypse.'' The anchor reported that doctors, scientists and environmental groups were now calling for its ban.
RT America taps the ranks of existing anti-cellular activists to wage its 5G campaign. Some have railed for decades against cellphones, power lines and other everyday sources of electromagnetic waves. Much of their work appears not in reputable science journals but little-known reports, publications and self-published tracts, at times with copious notes of dubious significance. They tend to cite each other's research.
It's unclear how many RT experts realize they are aiding a Russian network or that it acts as Mr. Putin's mouthpiece. At times, RT simply mines existing videotape and print materials, editing them to reflect its perspective. And the intelligence report noted that some network staffers fail to disclose their RT affiliation when conducting interviews.
Even so, private analysts see the 5G attacks as reaching perhaps millions of online viewers '-- terrifying some, infuriating others.
''RT successfully feeds the conspiracy-oriented ecosystem,'' said John Kelly, chief executive of Graphika, a network analytics firm. ''This effort is having a real impact. It's bearing fruit.''
Image Screengrabs taken from recent RT America episodes, clips of which are available on YouTube. Credit RT, via YouTube A ''Firehose of Falsehood'' RT America began its assault last year with a news show captioned ''Wireless Cancer.'' The featured guest was Dr. David O. Carpenter, a prominent 5G critic.
Dr. Carpenter, 82, received his medical degree from Harvard in 1964 and has published hundreds of scientific papers. For decades, he has warned of cancer risks for people living near high-voltage power lines, although federal studies have failed to find credible evidence that would support his claims.
''The rollout of 5G is very frightening,'' Dr. Carpenter told RT America. ''Nobody is going to be able to escape the radiation.''
Dr. Carpenter's scariest alarms have been ''widely dismissed by scientific bodies the world over,'' according to David Robert Grimes, a cancer researcher at the University of Oxford, and his colleague, Dorothy V. M. Bishop, also of Oxford. They challenged Dr. Carpenter in a journal article that ran months before the RT program aired, calling his main claims ''scientifically discredited.''
In an interview, Dr. Carpenter defended his work as having ''served a major purpose'' by revealing a global health threat. He said he was unaware that he had been featured on RT America. ''I speak my mind to whomever I talk with,'' he said.
RT America's attacks on 5G have multiplied this year. On Jan. 14, the network aired ''A Dangerous 'Experiment on Humanity,''' which again featured Dr. Carpenter. RT followed a day later with ''How to Survive Dangers of 5G.''
On Feb. 7, a segment claimed that ''5G Tech is 'Crime under International Law.''' Its featured expert was Arthur Firstenberg, who once charged that a neighbor's wireless gear had hurt his health. He sued for $1.43 million in damages but lost after pressing his claim for five years.
Image President Vladimir V. Putin visits RT's studios in Moscow with editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan in 2013. Credit Yuri Kochetkov/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images The drumbeat continued. '''Totally Insane': Telecomm Industry Ignores 5G Dangers,'' was the title of a segment that aired March 6.
A program on March 14 was aimed squarely at parents: ''Could 5G Put More Kids at Risk for Cancer?'' The RT reporter told of a California elementary school that recently churned with fear of radiation from a nearby cellphone tower, and how angry parents kept home 200 students.
Even as RT America has worked hard to damage 5G, the scientific establishment in Russia has embraced a contrary and questionable position: that the high frequencies of 5G communications are actually good for human health. It recommends their use for healing wounds, boosting the immune system and treating cancer. Millions of Russian patients are said to have undergone such high-frequency therapies.
Beauty clinics in Moscow use these high frequencies for skin regeneration, according to a scientific study. One company says the waves can remove wrinkles and fight hair loss.
A Rand study once called RT America's approach a ''Firehose of Falsehood.'' For its part, Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election and has strongly defended RT's news coverage as socially constructive.
Likewise, RT America strongly defended its position on the potential health risks of 5G technology.
''Nothing I've seen says the book is closed,'' Rick Sanchez, an RT anchor on many of the 5G episodes, said in an interview. ''I think there's lots of unanswered questions. Before we commit to something on this scale, shouldn't we consider if people could possibly be hurt?''
Mr. Fox, the operations chief of New Knowledge, the technology firm, said the network's aggressive spin on 5G suggests Moscow is less interested in serving the public than dulling Washington's edge in the global race for the digital future.
''It's information warfare,'' he said.
Additional reporting by Sophia Kishkovsky in Moscow.
Earlier reporting on health misinformation
William J. Broad is a science journalist and senior writer. He joined The Times in 1983, and has shared two Pulitzer Prizes with his colleagues, as well as an Emmy Award and a DuPont Award. @ WilliamJBroad
ENVIRONMENT: Requests the Department of Environmental Quality in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health to study the effects of evolving 5G technologyCurrent Status: Pending House floor action
Date ChamberJournalPageAction sort history by ascending dates 05/15H Reported with amendments (11-0).05/14H3 Read by title, under the rules, referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Environment.05/13H2 Read by title. Lies over under the rules.
Green New Deal
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Climate Change & Inequality Joke | National Review
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, N.Y.) during a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 9, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's newest defense of her wacky ideas is that they're just '' dry humor '' and '' sarcasm. '' We should take her seriously but not literally, I guess.
Ocasio-Cortez got roasted over the weekend after saying her tax-the-rich scheme would only apply to '' like ten people. '' Sunday she checked in to say that it was just a joke, and moreover her previous remark about the world ending in 12 years was also a joke. Moreover, anyone who didn't get that these were jokes is an idiot.
This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and ''fact check'' it.
Like the ''world ending in 12 years'' thing, you'd have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it's literal.
But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows. https://t.co/pmkwrdeAnq
'-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 12, 2019
'' I was just kidding haha '' is a strange stance for someone seemingly as earnest and determined as Ocasio-Cortez. She didn't seem to be kidding when on March 29 she said dramatically and with great emphasis on MSNBC, '' We've got 12. Years. To turn it. Around'....when we actually finally pass something, it is a wimpy carbon tax and our kids are doomed. ''
This is Ocasio-Cortez's pinned tweet. Is it a joke too?
Climate change is here + we've got a deadline: 12 years left to cut emissions in half.
A #GreenNewDeal is our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for.
How did we get here?What is at stake?And where are we going?
'-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 17, 2019
Maybe '' Was this dry humor or sarcasm? '' is the new '' Are you the guy in the blackface or the guy in the Klan hood? '' Pro tip: If you have to explain to someone that your remark was humorous, it didn't work. Also, I'm not sure Ocasio-Cortez understands the meaning of the word sarcasm. It means, '' I actually mean the opposite of what I'm saying. '' Let's try it out: '' AOC is brilliant. '' See? If she was using '' sarcasm '' in either the '' 12 years '' or the '' like ten people '' remark, she meant . . . the opposite? So, instead of having 12 years, we've got . . . a lot of time? Instead of wanting to increase tax on ten people, she meant . . . a lot of people? Thinking that the climate is not going to collapse in 12 years, and thinking that AOC wants to stick a lot of people with huge tax increases, are standard GOP talking points. If the GOP is Dwight Schrute, is that now shorthand for '' the GOP is right? ''
I don't think that Ocasio-Cortez is one of the great wits of our age and I don't think she was being sarcastic. I think she is engaging in simple motte-and-bailey arguing. Make an outlandish claim, get called on it, then retreat to easily defensible territory. '' Hey, I don't really think we have only 12 years to save the planet. I'm just saying climate change is a serious problem that we should be dealing with. '' So? If there's no gigantic planet-on-fire emergency I guess we don't need emergency policies like the Green New Deal. Ocasio-Cortez is undercutting herself yet again. She also seems to be inviting people not to believe any proposal she offers in the future because you never know when she's going to say, '' That was just dry humor '' again.
Pelosi's Brother-In-Law's Company Received $737,000,000 From Obama's Energy Department As ''Loan Guarantee'' '' The Beltway Reporter
Opinion | In order to understand the future we certainly must understand the past. This is true at least when it comes to what we can expect from corrupt politicians.To envision the size of the pot of gold that Democrats envision for themselves at the other end of the Green New Deal rainbow we only have to look back to the Obama administration, the $3 Trillion in ''stimulus'' money, the Green Movement, and how it seemingly enriched Democrats, their donors, and Nancy Pelosi in particular.
For background we cite a September 2011 article from the Daily Mail:
Even as government financed ''green energy'' pioneer Solyndra was failing, the Obama administration approved an additional $1 Billion in loans to similar green energy projects.
A whopping 737 million of that money went to the Crescent Dunes project situated in Tonopah, Nevada, to finance a 110-megawatt desert solar power plant.
Stay with me.
Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law' company was a primary beneficiary of that money landing a $737 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for Crescent Dunes.
Funny that as Democrats scream that Saudi's renting out an entire floor of a Trump hotel is an untenable emolument. But I digress.
Despite knowledge that Solyndra was tanking then-Minority Leader Pelosi's brother-in-law, second in command at the energy investment firm backing the project, somehow secured government funding for the SolarReserve project.
PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC, listed as one of the investors in the project was given the staggering loan, which even dwarfs that given to failed company Solyndra.
The project was expected to generate enough electricity to power 43,000 homes. That's it.
Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the loan just two days after the doomed $535 million Solyndra disaster was scheduled for completion.
At the time, Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, then-chairman of the investigations subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce warned:
''The administration's flagship project Solyndra is bankrupt and being investigated by the FBI, the promised jobs never materialized, and now the Department of Energy is preparing to rush out nearly $5 billion in loans in the final 48 hours before stimulus funds expire '-- that's nearly $105 million every hour that must be finalized until the deadline.''
Despite the warnings, Energy Secretary Chu, said the projects would create 900 construction jobs and, get ready for this, trumpets please'... 52 permanent jobs. Whoopie!
More disturbing is that other investors, besides Pelosi's brother-in-law Ronald Pelosi, included Steve Mitchell, who served on the board of directors of Solyndra while the company was collapsing.
All told, Obama era expenditures, first put in place by Speaker Pelosi, who did away with the usual budgetary process, exceeded revenues by more than $1 Trillion each year.
This became the baseline for unquestioned omnibus spending packages that subsequent Republican Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan refused to reign in. Welcome to the UniParty ripoff of America's taxpayers.
This allowed politicians on both sides of the aisle to grow rich, while our children were saddled with a debt burden from which they are not likely to escape.
There's a reason Nancy Pelosi has a net worth ranging from $120-185 million. She more than likely earned her money the old fashioned '... way by stealing it from taxpayers.
It's the same reason Democrats are lining up behind the Green New Deal that reads like a Republican parody of a Democrat program.
Now put the ''Green New Deal'' in perspective. If the beltway elites grew rich by spending $4 trillion dollars each year, imagine how much can they believe they can skim from doubling or tripling those expenditures.
Asking for a friend.
Now you know why these beltway rats want to impeach President Trump.
Buffett Snookered: $340 Million Lost In Solar Tax Scheme Raises Questions About BHE - Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) | Seeking Alpha
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) reportedly lost $340 million in an investment in DC Solar. DC Solar is being accused of being a "Ponzi-like scheme", and Berkshire had to take a $377 million charge in its Q1 2019 report. It made the investments from 2015-2018, and had to reverse income tax benefits that it "recognized weren't valid".
Beyond the headlines, the question is, is this a one-off event, or does it represent some greater risk to Berkshire and the broader investment universe? With tax benefits, incentives, subsidies and guaranteed returns, Berkshire, utilities, and asset allocators have ramped up investments in alternative energy.
After writing an article about Berkshire's potential investment in Occidental Petroleum (OXY), which has subsequently materialized, I got frequent feedback about how surprised investors were about Berkshire's exposure to the regulated and unregulated energy markets. While Berkshire discloses some of that in its 10-k, the unfortunate joke about 10-k's is that "people will do anything to avoid reading a 10-k". And more disclosure is in a presentation in an often overlooked amendment to that 10-k, which is worth perusing in detail.
Here is an overview of Berkshire's energy business from that presentation:
Underlying this set of assets is a strategy:
Unsurprisingly considering Buffett's leadership, the strategy is capital allocation driven, with a focus to: "reinvest in our business" and "invest in internal growth). Focusing on "competitive advantage":
The major "competitive advantage" cited is Berkshire's ownership. It mentions access to capital, long term orientation and management, and "tax appetite", and emphasizes an insurance perspective, having ostensibly diversified away a number of risks. Not surprising for a subsidiary of an insurance-heavy company led one of the most famous and successful investors ever.
However, there is a reason many traditional "value investors" avoid regulated industries: tax arbitrage is often fleeting, and tax shelters can come with high risks. Berkshire was reminded of this with the DC Solar alleged ponzi like scheme and the $377 million charge.
Considering Berkshire's "tax appetite" is a "competitive advantage" for Berkshire Hathaway Energy, perhaps this business is less advantaged if searching for tax benefits leads to multi hundred million dollar losses. And perhaps returns. And with 11% of net income from BHE renewables:
Perhaps BHE's plan to deploy $6.6 billion into renewables in the next 3 years should be re-evaluated:
An interesting observation in the above slide, beyond the risk associated with the capital deployment, is that Berkshire planned to deploy $0 into additional solar assets. Note the $6.5 billion of solar assets in 2018 and in 2022E. Did Berkshire already know there was an issue with DC Solar? If not, why was solar "tax equity funding" deprived of any further capital investment?
With such a large, poorly understood asset base, and with competitive advantages that are challenged but at least some poor capital allocation, this is worthy of further review. Particularly considering the nearly straight line up to the right increases in net income, shareholders equity, cash flow and pp&e.
This compares to the more volatile performance of the utility sector etf (XLU), reflective of less straight line performance:
Data by YCharts Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment decisions. The author is not acting in an investment adviser capacity. This is not an investment research report. The author's opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of potential investment in securities of the companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment research of their own, including detailed review of the companies' SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author's best judgment as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice.
Attorney General asks John Durham to review Trump-Russia investigation
Attorney General William Barr told a Senate panel that he believes "spying did occur" on Trump campaign. He said "it's my obligation" to explore that. USA TODAY
WASHINGTON '-- Attorney General William Barr tapped Connecticut's chief federal prosecutor, John Durham, to assist in an investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation and the FBI's surveillance activities, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.
The person, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said that Durham has been assisting the attorney general for at least a couple of weeks to determine whether federal investigators acted appropriately in the early stages of the now-completed inquiry into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
Barr announced that he had launched the review last month during an appearance before a Senate subcommittee. He expressed concern about the FBI's use of surveillance involving associates of then-candidate Donald Trump as authorities sought to understand Russia's interference efforts, though Barr also said he did not know whether officials had done anything wrong.
"Spying on a campaign is a big deal," Barr told lawmakers then. "I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated."
At that time, the attorney general said he planned to examine the "genesis and the conduct" of the FBI's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In this April 25, 2006, file photo, John Durham speaks to reporters on the steps of U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn. (Photo: Bob Child, AP)
"I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred," Barr told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "I am concerned about it. There is a basis for my concern."
Democrats have seized on Barr's use of the term "spying," asserting that the attorney general has sided with President Trump to disparage the 22-month investigation that the president has repeatedly described as a "witch-hunt."
As recently as last week, however, FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was unaware of any evidence indicating that the FBI had abused its surveillance authority, distancing himself from the attorney general. "That's not the term I would use," Wray told the same Senate committee, referring to the "spying" reference.
Rod Rosenstein, until recently the department's second-in-command, said in a speech Monday that based on what he knew in 2017, "the investigation of Russian election interference was justified, and closing it was not an option."
The review involving the attorney general and Durham, a longtime Justice Department official, marks the third such inquiry into aspects of the Russia investigation that was led by special counsel Robert Mueller. It was first reported late Monday by the New York Times.
The department's inspector general is conducting a review of surveillance warrants authorities used to eavesdrop on a former campaign aide, Carter Page, in October 2016. Barr has said that effort should be completed by late May or perhaps June. The chief federal prosecutor in Utah, John Huber, also is in the midst of a separate review.
Trump and Republicans in Congress have complained repeatedly that the FBI targeted the president's campaign for political reasons, revealing text messages between two senior officials involved in the probe who expressed their personal contempt for Trump. And they have focused on the FBI's reliance on information from a former British spy who had been hired indirectly by Clinton's campaign to conduct research on Trump before the election.
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During his long career at the Justice Department, Durham has taken on a number of special investigations, including an appointment during the George W. Bush administration to investigate the CIA's destruction of videotapes depicting the torture of terror suspects.
"Snitty." That's the way William Barr described a letter from Robert Mueller expressing concerns about his portrayal of the Russia probe. (May 1) AP
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This is a digitized version of an article from The Times's print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.
Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 19, 1992, Page 00017 Buy Reprints The New York Times ArchivesIn a last-ditch maneuver to block an independent investigation into Iraqgate, Attorney General William Barr has hired a so-called "special" counsel. But the man lending his good reputation to this subterfuge can be fired by the very Attorney General he is supposed to investigate.
Why does the Coverup-General resist independent investigation? Because he knows where it may lead: to Dick Thornburgh, James Baker, Clayton Yeutter, Brent Scowcroft and himself. He vainly hopes to be able to head it off, or at least be able to use the threat of firing to negotiate a deal.
The last time Mr. Barr refused to ask the courts to appoint an independent prosecutor was when formally requested to do so by the majority of the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Jack Brooks huffed and puffed, but despite the urging of House Banking chairman Henry Gonzalez, flinched from impeaching the Attorney General.
Now the matter is in the Senate, which will not be as easily pushed around. The chairman of the Intelligence Committee, David Boren, caught the C.I.A. red-handed in misleading a Federal court in Atlanta about the Government's knowledge of high-level wrongdoing. Panicked C.I.A. lawyers said, "Justice made us do it."
When Senate Intelligence began to investigate (even telephoning Robert Gates, now on his final junket overseas to spice up his memoirs), that snapped Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden out of his torpor.
Senator Biden joined the Federal judge in the Atlanta case and the easily spurned House Judiciary Committee in calling for an independent counsel.
More important, Senator Biden tells me he is now getting the signatures of at least four other senators on an official call for a genuinely independent prosecutor, again triggering the Ethics Act. Pat Leahy, chairman of the lied-to Agriculture Committee and a member of Judiciary, has been pressing for this and is not fooled by the latest maneuver.
What would happen then? Wouldn't Attorney General Barr, responding 30 days later as the act requires, simply turn down the Senate as he did the House, using his patsy prosecutor as a new excuse?
Barr's strategy has been to stall past Dec. 15, when the law authorizing independent counsel expires; Republicans recently filibustered its extension to death. No matter who is inaugurated President in January, no autonomous prosecutor could then be named; Iraqgate might then become a matter between departing and incoming Presidents, and bygones could be bygones -- with a few career prosecutors and Agriculture lawyers thrown to the wolves.
But the Coverup-General may be overlooking the Senate's understanding of its prerogatives. If the Senate Judiciary's official call is rejected, chairman Biden is prepared to consult with chairman Boren about a joint committee investigation; or with Senate leaders about a special committee; or, he says, "one committee may be given jurisdiction by the Senate as a whole."
That would bring about the full panoply of a Watergate-style probe: a prestigious chief counsel, expert staff drawn from angry F.B.I. and Federal Reserve investigators, lengthy televised hearings, voluminous reports -- and the systematic destruction of the reputation of the Bush Administration.
With that in prospect, Mr. Barr is likely to consult with his friend and political sponsor, White House counsel Boyden Gray, and their social friend, C.I.A. chief counsel Elizabeth Rindskopf. They may get input from Michael Shepard, the 39-year-old Chicagoan recently brought in to head the "public integrity" section when it became clear that they could not trust Old Pros in Justice like Jerry McDowall.
Boyden Gray, who is like a son to President Bush, will make the lady-or-tiger call. If he chooses court-appointed independent counsel, he risks becoming a target of a grand jury along with other Cabinet members and senior aides. If he chooses prolonged Senate hearings, they will all probably gain partial immunity but at the cost of George Bush's place in history and the future of the Republican Party for a decade.
I think he will loyally bite the bullet and choose to suffer a genuinely independent prosecutor.
Continue reading the main story
The company behind Adblock Plus just backed Factmata, another fact-checking company that wants to profit on being arbiters of truth
There is nowadays sadly precious little about the ''Adblock brand'' that conveys much trust or even just plain basic reassurance among internet users '' especially the more savvy ones.
In other words, these days Adblock is left in the dust behind its more resource-friendly and policy-transparent competitors, ones that a majority of users appear to have moved on to, in order to filter out unwanted advertising and resource-hungry online technologies. These alternatives include the likes of uBlock Origin, a hot commodity among those seeking to protect themselves against privacy-invasive online advertising and tracking.
And while Adblock '' originally designed to filter content on the web to the benefit of the end user '' had been something of a pioneer in this field way back when '' it has since let its guard, its business model, and by extension, its users, dangerously down.
Thus back in 2011, AdBlock Plus and eyeo GmbH '' the Germany-based software company behind it '' caused considerable controversy among their users when they introduced the ''acceptable ads'' program that allowed, i.e. ''whitelisted,'' the likes of Google AdWords by default into a supposedly ''ad-free'' browser the extension was installed on.
But there was a business model behind this self-styled web gatekeeper role '' the focus of which seemed to be on making money off large advertising companies by allowing them to do as they please, at the expense of (at that point) trusting Adblock users.
However, whether casual or professional, whether diving deep into the technologies behind the web or not interested at all in how that particular sausage gets made '' the joint overarching interest of all internet users should by now be one and the same: first let the web do you no harm; first protect yourself from invasive tracking and/or advertising.
Fast forward to 2019 '' and now Adblock and eyeo '' such as they are '' are funding another at this time largely vague and unverifiable ''industry'' '' that of ''news fact-checking.'' At the helm of this particular and somewhat ragtag joint enterprise '' dubbed Factmata '' are a host of internet-has-beens, the web's early entrepreneurs '' some of whom have have become very rich thanks to the late 90s dot-com bubble '' but who have also petty much gone without an innovative or indeed useful tech industry thought, not to mention project, attributed to their names for the last 20+ years.
Be that as it may, enter Factmata '' a London startup backed by Biz Stone, Craig Newmark, Mark Cuban, Mark Pincus and others.
Factmata is also now in charge of Trusted News, a Google Chrome extension that, according to the website, checks and then tells its users whether a story on the web might be legitimate or wrong.
But fact checking, these days, is controversial.
This is because the political and ideological divide in the United States, and well beyond, makes any attempt to bring in ''verified'' groups to pass judgment on what's fake and what's real in the news domain seems doomed from the very start, as those holding opposing views invariably, and often convincingly, argue against each other.
In the end, the ruling might depressingly come down to a platforms' own ideological bias. And given the billions served by major tech enterprises across the world '' the role of a ''fake or real'' news arbiter cannot be a comfortable, or indeed, a credible and trustworthy spot to occupy. But it might still prove to be lucrative.
Factmata meanwhile, might gain '' or lose '' some of its credibility from the fact that its CEO Dhruv Ghulati founded the company with Sebastian Riedel '' himself a fake-news-fighting ''pioneer'' '' whose other effort to this end, Bloomsbury AI, was acquired by none other than Facebook last year, the report revealed.
Naturally, this is not to say that Factmata and its founders may not be undergoing an epiphany just now and end up proving to be a credible authority in the ''fact-checking'' business, now that it's all the rage. Alternatively, they might be looking for a politically and ideologically opportunistic chance to use the web and everyone on it to spring their failed tech careers back to life.
Only time will tell.
Facebook Shuts Down Populist Italian Pages Before EU Elections
Facebook has shut down 23 major populist Italian pages with 2.5 million followers just two weeks before the European elections.According to Italian media, the majority of the pages supported the populist parties La Lega (The League) and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) '-- who currently govern Italy in a temporary coalition.
Facebook has justified its dramatic move by claiming that the sites shared fake news, so-called ''hate speech'', and ''divisive content'' regarding immigrants, vaccines, and Jewish people.
Facebook used information from a report produced by a left-progressive NGO called Avaaz, which deals with ''human rights'' and environmental campaigns.
''We thank Avaaz for sharing its research so we could investigate,'' said a Facebook spokesperson. ''We are committed to protecting the integrity of the EU elections and around the world. We have removed a series of false and duplicate accounts that violated our policies on the subject of authenticity, as well as several pages for violation of the policy on changing the name.''
''We have also taken action against some pages that have repeatedly spread misinformation. We will take further measures if we find other violations,'' the spokesperson warned.
Delingpole: Then Facebook Came for Paul Joseph Watson'... https://t.co/sTtGf3fHrz
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 4, 2019
In its report, which was presented to Facebook on May 3, Avaaz said it had identified 14 Italian networks on Facebook comprising 104 pages and six groups, with a total reach of 18.2 million followers.
This week, Facebook took punitive action against 23 pages in these networks, with a total of 2.46 million followers and 2.44 million interactions over the last three months.
Facebook has also reportedly ''weakened'' pages that spread content with allegedly false news, presumably making them less visible to Facebook users.
The technical motivation for the closing of the pages is linked to name changes: it is claimed they initially suggested themes that did not seem to allude to political parties or movements, but later changed the theme.
Among the closed pages are ''We want the 5-star Movement in government'', which had 129,000 followers and almost 700,000 interactions in three months, ''Beppe Grillo for President'', ''Lega Salvini Sulmona'' '-- which had 307,000 followers'' '-- ''Lega Salvini Premier Santa Teresa of Riva'', and ''We Are 5 Stars.''
The most active page in support of the Lega party was among those closed, just as polls are showing that the Lega is currently the party with the most support among Italians for the upcoming elections.
Facebook's efforts in Italy to influence the European elections are just the tip of the iceberg, Italian media noted.
According to the Italian daily La Repubblica, on May 2 Facebook opened a ''war room'' in Dublin devoted full time to the European electoral campaign, with 40 teams of engineers, scientists, researchers, threat specialists, and experts for each country.
There are 500 people working on the elections, with the assistance of 21 supposed ''fact-checkers,'' operating in 14 different languages.
Who Is Nick Clegg? Left-wing, Anti-Brexit Former UK Deputy PM Hired as Facebook's Global Comms Chief https://t.co/5hmzM3yJR9
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 20, 2018
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome
Natasha Tynes: Author could lose book deal after Twitter backlash
Author Natasha Tynes looks set to lose her book deal after a tweet criticising a Metro employee for eating on the train sparked an online backlash.
Tynes, a Jordanian-American writer and World Bank employee in Washington, tweeted a photo showing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority employee in uniform, eating on the Red Line.
''When you're on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,'' Tynes tweeted. ''I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds.''
Within an hour, transit officials had responded thanking her for ''catching'' the employee eating and ''helping'' to ''make sure all Metro employees are held accountable''.
Eating, drinking, smoking and littering is banned on Metro buses or trains and in stations.
Officials asked Tynes to confirm the time she was on the train, the direction she was headed and the line she was on.
The writer provided those details, adding: ''Thank you for responding. Appreciate it.''
Social media users immediately slammed the self-described ''minority writer'' over the post, accusing her of publicly shaming a black woman.
Eating while Black
'-- Curious Chanda Prescod-Weinstein ð ð½''¸ ð§ð§ð (@IBJIYONGI) May 10, 2019 We all complain on social media but you... don't identify the person you're complaining about, in a photo no less, and try to get them fired. What on earth? For eating on the train?
'-- roxane gay (@rgay) May 10, 2019 So @NatashaTynes decided to use her power as a NBPOC to get a Black Women fired for eating on a train in uniform. When I tell Black Women we are ALL we got - this is the shit I'm talking about. #AintNoSisterhood pic.twitter.com/PGhnJtlb8Z
'-- LeslieMac ð¤ (@LeslieMac) May 10, 2019 1. Natasha, what you did was so horrible you need to explain why you did it in paragraphs/pages. Not bullet points and certainly not a tweet. There are few graver sins in my mind than targeting someone who works in a job like that woman does. https://t.co/VG8L21Cfds https://t.co/yk51qiq6ar
'-- Yashar Ali ð (@yashar) May 10, 2019It also sparked the viral hashtag #EatingWhileBlack.
Tynes apologised, deleted the tweet and later set her account to private so that only her followers could see her posts. Her website was also been taken down.
After the controversy, publishing house Rare Birds Books, which was set to distribute Tynes' upcoming novel, They Called Me Wyatt, released a statement condemning the author and vowing not to publish the book.
''Rare Bird is aware that an author distributed by us, Natasha Tynes, and published by an imprint that is sub-distributed by us, California Coldblood, did something truly horrible today in tweeting a picture of a metro worker eating her breakfast on the train this morning and drawing attention to her employer.
''Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behaviour directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies.
''We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it's acceptable to jeopardise a person's safety and employment in this way.''
California Coldblood, Tynes' publisher, issued a statement saying: ''We do not condone her actions and hope Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systematic racism the most and that we have to be allies, not oppressors.''
At the same time, social media users took to Goodreads to give Tynes' book negative one-star reviews in advance.
''Would you still go ahead and buy a book if you know it was written by a bigot who went out of her way to get an African American lady fired for eating on her way to work?'' one reviewer wrote.
''I didn't actually read the book. I just came here to let any potential buyers know that Natasha Tynes, the author, attempted to have a black woman fired from her job working for the DC metro just because she was eating her breakfast when Natasha is not allowed to,'' another said.
''Natasha Tynes is absolutely disgusting,'' said another reviewer. ''How are you trying to profit from being a minority while simultaneously displaying misogynistic and classist habits against black women.''
The publisher has since announced it will postpone the book's publication date ''while we further discuss appropriate next steps to officially cancel'' it.
Twitter launches new search features to stop the spread of misinformation about vaccines | TechCrunch
As measles outbreaks in the United States and other countries continue to get worse, Twitter is introducing new search tools meant to help users find credible resources about vaccines. It will also stop auto-suggesting search terms that would lead users to misinformation about vaccines.
In a blog post, Twitter vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey wrote ''at Twitter, we understand the importance of vaccines in preventing illness and disease and recognize the role that Twitter plays in disseminating important public health information. We think it's important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and well-being.''
When users search for keywords related to vaccines, they will see a prompt that directs them to resources from Twitter's information partners. In the U.S., this is vaccines.gov, a website by the Department of Health and Human Services. A pinned tweet from one of Twitter's partners will also appear.
One of Twitter's new tools to stop the spread of vaccine misinformation
In addition to the U.S., the vaccine information tools will also appear on Twitter's iOS and Android apps and its mobile site in Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.
Harvey wrote that Twitter's vaccine information tools are similar to ones it launched for suicide and self-harm prevention last year. The company plans to launch similar features for other public health issues over the coming months, she added.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said measles cases in the U.S. had increased to 839. Cases have been reported in 23 states this year, with the majority '-- or almost 700 '-- in New York.
Social media platforms have been criticized for not doing more to prevent the spread of misinformation about vaccines and, as measles cases began to rise, started taking measures. For example, YouTube announced earlier this year that it is demonetizing all anti-vaccine videos, while Facebook began downranking anti-vaccine content on its News Feed and hiding it on Instagram.
California lowers penalty for exposing partners to HIV - CNN
(CNN) Starting January 1, it will no longer be a felony in California to knowingly expose a sexual partner to HIV with the intent of transmitting the virus. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that lowers the offense to a misdemeanor.
The California legislature passed SB 239 in September.
The law previously punished people who intentionally exposed or infected others with HIV by up to eight years in prison. The new legislation will lower jail time to a maximum of six months.
The new law will also eliminate the penalty for knowingly donating HIV-infected blood. This action is a felony under current law and will be decriminalized starting in January. Supporters of the change argue the previous law was antiquated because all donated blood is tested for HIV.
Bill sponsors Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, both Democrats, argued California law was outdated and stigmatized people living with HIV, especially given recent advancements in medicine. Evidence has shown that a person with HIV who undergoes regular treatment has a negligible chance of spreading the infection to others through sexual contact.
"The most effective way to reduce HIV infections is to destigmatize HIV," Wiener told CNN. "To make people comfortable talking about their infection, get tested, get into treatment."
Gloria released a statement Friday saying the bill will put the state "at the forefront in the fight to stop the spread of HIV."
Wiener said by destigmatizing HIV, the bill would encourage people to get tested, which will in turn lower HIV transmission in the state.
The governor did not respond to a CNN request for comment.
Opposition to the billMany Republicans staunchly opposed SB 239, saying it could lead to an increase in HIV infections.
Sen. Jeff Stone voted against the bill and strongly expressed his disapproval in September when the Senate voted on it.
Stone, who is also a pharmacist, took aim at Wiener and Gloria's argument that modern medicine can lower the spread of HIV. The senator said three out of four people who are on prescription medication in the United States do not comply with their doctor's orders on how to take it.
"If you don't take your AIDS medications and you allow for some virus to duplicate and show a presence, then you are able to transmit that disease to an unknowing partner," Stone said on the Senate floor.
Stone asked Brown to veto the bill in a letter obtained by CNN. The senator doubled down on his claim that "many people do not properly adhere to their drug treatment." Stone also wrote that the bill "runs contrary to the state's responsibility" of protecting Californians.
Sen. Joel Anderson, another Republican who voted against the bill, argued that people infected with HIV could never live their lives "to the same extent" again. He said it was irresponsible not to disclose the possibility of a life-altering infection.
"The critical word in this is 'intentionally,'" Anderson said in September. "When you intentionally put others at risk, you should have responsibility."
Organizational and LGBT supportThe bill enjoyed support from Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform (CHCR), a coalition of several organizations, including the ACLU of California, whose mission is to replace the "stigmatizing laws that criminalize HIV status."
Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California -- one of the organizations in the coalition -- told CNN his group was "elated" that the governor signed the bill and changed the state's "archaic laws."
"This is an important bill that modernizes California's HIV laws," Zbur told CNN. "It will really advance public health and reduce stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV have suffered."
The Los Angeles LGBT Center also supported the bill. The organization's director of government relations, Aaron Fox, told CNN the new law will see HIV-positive people "treated fairly under California law."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the language of the current law regarding the intent to transmit HIV. The story also incorrectly described the change in penalty for knowingly donating HIV-infected blood. The penalty has been eliminated under the new law.
The dark reason so many millennials are miserable and broke - MarketWatch
Millennials spend more time on social media than older generations: People ages 25-34 spend 141 minutes per day on it, versus 105 for the 35-44 set. And that could be hurting both their finances and mental health.
Indeed, nearly half of millennials (49%) say that their spending habits have been influenced by the photos and experiences their friends share on social media, compared with only about one-third of Americans in general, according to a data survey of more than 1,000 Americans by financial firm Charles Schwab.
Other surveys have uncovered similar trends: Roughly two in three millennials think that social media has a negative impact on their financial well-being, according to a 2018 survey of more than 2,000 millennials from financial firm Fidelity. Data released in 2018 by mobile bank firm Varo Money found that 53% of millennials admit to buying something they saw advertised on social media. And a 2018 survey from Allianz Life shows that more than half of millennials (57%, versus just 28% of Gen Xers and 7% of boomers) say they've spent money they hadn't planned to because of something they saw on social media.
This is partly because millennials say they feel pressure to keep up with their friends' spending '-- and of those, nearly half say that social media posts of friends' vacations and lifestyles contribute to that pressure, according to 2017 data from TD Ameritrade. Social media also makes 61% of millennials (versus just 35% of Gen Xers and 12% of boomers) feel inadequate about their own life and what they have, with 88% comparing themselves to others on social media (compared to just 71% of Gen Xers and 54% of boomers who say the same), according to the Allianz data. And the Varo data found that three-quarters of millennials feel social media portrays an unrealistically positive view of people's lives '-- and as a result 41% have made a purchase to feel better about their own lives.
''Social media has become the millennials' financial Achilles Heel,'' the Allianz survey, which questioned more than 3,000 adults ages 20-70, concluded. Adds Paul Kelash, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life: ''More than any other generation, social media and the allure to spend beyond their means could have long-term negative effects on [millennials'] finances if they're not careful.''
This likely exacerbates the already tough financial spot many millenials are in: ''Millennials (ages 18 to 34) are more likely than other generations to have nothing saved,'' according to a 2017 survey from GoBankingRates.com '-- with nearly half of young millennials (18-24) having $0 in savings. And most haven't saved appropriately for retirement either.
See also: Proof that social media may make you miserable
Not only can social media wreak havoc on our finances, it can also hurt our mental health. Younger adults who use social media a lot are at a higher risk of depression, and people who use many different social media sites are at higher risk for anxiety and depression. What's more, the more time people spend on social media, the more likely it is they feel socially isolated '-- with people who spend more than two hours swiping through social media sites nearly doubling their risk of feeling socially isolated.
Of course, social media can have plenty of positive impacts on our lives too, helping us stay connected to friends we might otherwise lose touch with and learn new things. Plus, some use it to keep themselves financially accountable, boasting about how much money they've saved, for example.
This story was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated.
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US government looking to develop AI that can track people across surveillance network | Daily Mail Online
US government has its sights on AI that can track people for MILES using footage from different surveillance systemsA research arm of the US government looks to create an AI surveillance networkIARPA wants the system to track areas spanning miles and dozens of camerasThe interest mirrors a push by law enforcement's to deploy facial recognition In China, mass AI surveillance systems have been deployed to concerning effectBy James Pero For Dailymail.com
Published: 17:49 EDT, 15 May 2019 | Updated: 21:34 EDT, 15 May 2019
An advanced research arm of the U.S. government's intelligence community is looking to develop AI capable of tracking people across a vast surveillance network.
As reported by Nextgov, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has put out a call for more information on developing an algorithm that can be trained to identify targets by visually analyzing swaths of security camera footage.
The goal, says the request, is to be able to identify and track subjects across areas as large as six miles in an effort to reconstruct crime scenes, protect military operations, and monitor critical infrastructure facilities.
The US government wants to track subjects using cameras across a vast network using an algorithm that is trained on other human subjects
To develop the technology, IARPA will collect nearly 1,000 hours of video surveillance from at least 20 camera networks and then, using that sample, test various algorithms effectiveness.
The agency's interest in AI-based surveillance technology mirrors a broader movement from governments and intelligence communities around the globe, many of whom have ramped up efforts to develop and scale systems.
Facial recognition in particular has seen a flurry of interest from law enforcement throughout the last several years.
As reported by the Washington Post, some law enforcement agencies now have the ability to use facial recognition software to assess mugshots of criminals, or in some cases even police sketches, and match those images with security footage.
In U.S. airports, facial recognition software has been particularly popular, with the Department of Homeland Security planning to roll out what it calls the 'biometric exit' in nearly all major air travel hubs across the country over the next several years.
The idea mimics methods used in China to track its citizens using cameras. A recent report shows that the county's program has gone even further. Stock image
The technology would use pictures of passengers face to monitor their travel and run their face profile against national databases.
IARPA's proposed system would go a step above those facial recognition applications, however, looking to identify subjects across multiple cameras and conditions.
Perhaps the broadest known application of advanced AI surveillance has taken shape in China, where camera networks monitor hundreds of thousands of faces every day in search of suspected terrorist, many of whom happened to be of a particular ethnic minority, the Uyghurs.
In a recent report from Human Rights Watch, the organization details how the AI systems have been coupled with an Orwellian 'app' that also tracks subjects blood type, height, vehicle registration, medications, and more to deem whether or not a person is 'dangerous.'
In the report, the organization warns that technology used to monitor citizens in China could be easily exported to the rest of the world, constituting a dangerous breach of human rights and privacy.
How do Chinese police catch criminals with facial-recognition sunglasses?In China, the police are now wearing sunglasses equipped with facial-recognition technology to catch criminal suspects.
Transport police in Zhengzhou, central China, were given the cutting-edge gadgets in 2018 to screen passengers and spot suspects in crowds at train stations.
A camera connected to the smartphone-like shades would allow the officers to take mugshots of the individual in question and compare them to a database back at headquarters.
Transport police in Zhengzhou, central China were given the cutting-edge gadgets in February to screen passengers and spot suspects in crowds at train stations
The system would then bring up the suspect's personal information including name, ethnicity, gender and address. All the information would be transferred back to the officer's glasses.
The glasses can also tell officers whether or not the targets are on the run from the law, the address of any hotel they are staying at and information related to their internet usage.
This is part of China's efforts to build a digital surveillance system that uses a variety of biometric data - from photos and iris scans to fingerprints - to keep close tabs on the movements of its 1.4 billion population.
The technology has since allowed police in Zhengzhou to nab seven suspects.
They were accused of crimes ranging from human trafficking to hit-and-runs.
Another 26 people were caught using fake IDs, according to the state-owned People's Daily, quoting the city's police department.
The facial recognition sunglasses system was expanded to Beijing in March as well, particularly at highway checkpoints on the city's outskirts.
The smart glasses can pick up facial features and car registration plates, and match them in real-time with a 'blacklist' of suspects, according to Reuters.
The rapid development of the technology has triggered a demand for commercial applications as well, with gyms, restaurants and even public toilets getting in on the facial recognition game.
San Francisco Picks Privacy in Banning Police From Using Facial Recognition
San Francisco's decision late Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to ban its police and other agencies from using facial recognition offers the latest lesson in the underlying conundrum of the technology.
Does government embrace facial recognition's promise of enhanced security? Or does it lean in the direction of protecting privacy? San Francisco, the worldwide hub of technology, chose the latter
In an 8-to-1 vote, the city's Board of Supervisors approved the ''Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance,'' which goes into effect in a month. It requires city agencies to get board approval for the use of facial recognition tools in surveillance, as well as audits of surveillance tech already in use.
''This is not an anti-technology policy,'' Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who wrote the proposal, said in a statement ahead of the vote. It is ''an ordinance about having accountability around surveillance technology.''
A key tenet of the law, cited by privacy advocates at the ACLU and elsewhere, is that ''technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring.''
Read our recent cover story: 7 Dividend Stocks for Volatile Times Ahead
What happens next is unclear for a technology increasingly eyed by government officials, law enforcement, and business owners.
In March, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced legislation that would bar businesses from using facial recognition without telling customers, and prevent them from sharing that data without people's consent. Microsoft (ticker: MSFT), which makes facial-recognition tools, has also called for some form of regulation.
Revenue from facial recognition is expected to more than double to $10.2 billion by 2025, according to ResearchandMarkets.com. Market researcher Grand View Research estimates the size of the government ''facial biometrics'' market will grow to $375 million in 2025, from $136.9 million in 2018.
Law enforcement, in particular, has embraced technology that makes it easier to identify possible criminal conduct based on facial files since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. More than 50% of American adults are already in a law enforcement facial-recognition database, according to research this year by Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology.
Facial recognition backers say the San Francisco law is a poor model for other U.S. cities because it doesn't take into account upgrades to the technology that make communities safer without trampling the privacy of citizens.
''It would be a mistake if San Francisco creates a domino effect of other cities following, though I suspect San Francisco is an outlier,'' said Daniel Castro, vice president of the industry-backed Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. ''There are safeguards to facial recognition in the works, in the form of required warrants to track the location of suspects, and best practices in the use of data.''
City-wide bans, he warns, would compromise the ability of law enforcement to pinpoint security risks in large crowds.
Use of the technology is not nearly as common in the U.S. as it is in Asia, because cities and communities are methodically studying how it is used, facial-recognition experts say.
''The vote in San Francisco points to the need for a larger debate on the proper use of facial recognition, how it works in concert with law enforcement, and how it is deployed for citizens,'' said Dan Grimm, vice president and general manager of computer vision at RealNetworks (RNWK), which has developed facial-recognition software for three years.
''The technology is indeed powerful, but it is an important additional tool for law enforcement,'' he said.
Write to Jon Swartz at email@example.com
Microsoft Confirms Intent To Replace Windows 10 Passwords For 800 Million Users
Davey Winder Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I report and analyse breaking cybersecurity and privacy stories
Microsoft has very quietly confirmed the death of Windows 10 passwords this week. Microsoft's crypto, identity and authentication team group manager, Yogesh Mehta, has made an announcement that he says puts ''the 800 million people who use Windows 10 one step closer to a world without passwords.'' Whether you love Microsoft or are a Windows 10 hater, I think most people will agree that passwords have long since reached their expiry date. By which I don't just mean in the sense of security policy baseline recommendations either, although Microsoft did also recently announce a change to Windows 10 passwords in that regard as well. Rather I am referring to the whole concept of the password as a secure authentication method.
Mehta confirmed that with the release of the forthcoming Windows 10 May update, Windows Hello becomes a fully FIDO2 certified authenticator. What does that mean, do I hear you ask? The FIDO Alliance, which stands for Fast Identity Online, is an industry body on a mission to solve the problem of passwords through the use of open standards to drive technologies that can securely replace them. FIDO2 is a set of such standards that enable logins backed by strong cryptographic security, and the certification in question applies to the use of Windows Hello for Windows 10 users.
Andrew Shikiar, the CMO of the FIDO Alliance, says that ''Microsoft has been a preeminent advocate of FIDO Alliance's mission to move the world beyond passwords.'' Indeed, it has been making great strides to get rid of passwords since the introduction of Windows Hello, which enables Windows 10 users to sign into devices using facial recognition, back in 2015. So does the arrival of FIDO2 certification for Windows 10 mean that passwords are now dead? Not quite. The death of the password for Window 10 could yet be a lingering and painful one. ''We encourage companies and software developers to adopt a strategy for achieving a passwordless future and start today by supporting password alternatives such as Windows Hello,'' Mehta says, before admitting that to arrive in this future requires ''interoperable solutions that work across all industry platforms and browsers.'' I say painful, by the way, as there will no doubt be no shortage of stories about password security fails until the final nail is hammered into this authentication coffin.
Jake Moore, a security specialist at ESET, is welcoming of the news. ''Considering the number of data breaches we have witnessed in the past few months,'' he says, ''it is great to see companies taking the steps required to protect their users.'' However, he warns that passwords will ''still be a feature in the background,'' and so users must be pushed to ''adopt better password management and multi-factor authentication to protect their data in case their information gets into the wrong hands.''
I have been covering the information security beat for three decades and Contributing Editor at PC Pro Magazine since the first issue way back in 1994. I contribute to'... Read More
I have been covering the information security beat for three decades and Contributing Editor at PC Pro Magazine since the first issue way back in 1994. I contribute to the Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Infosecurity Magazine and Digital Health Intelligence. The only three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called 'Threats to the Internet.' In 2011 I was honoured with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Please contact me in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org or happygeek via Signal if you have a cybersecurity story to reveal or some interesting new research to share. Read Less
Security software vendor Crowdstrike filed to go public on Tuesday, joining a growing crop of richly valued technology companies hitting the public markets.
In the year that ended on Jan. 31, Crowdstrike had a net loss of $140 million, while revenue more than doubled to $249.8 million, according to the company's prospectus. A majority of the company's sales comes through subscriptions sold to over 2,500 companies.
Crowdstrike's cloud-based technology is designed to detect breaches before they happen while tracking activity on desktops, server computers and other devices. Analysis of the breaches takes place in the cloud, giving the company enhanced data to analyze the growing number of threats that all companies face. Customers include Credit Suisse, Australian mobile phone company Telstra, Tribune Media, and Amazon Web Services.
"Organizations everywhere are becoming more distributed as they adopt the cloud, increase workforce mobility, and grow their number of connected devices," the company said in its prospectus.
Like most emerging businesses that sell to the enterprise, Crowdstrike spends heavily on its sales force. Sales and marketing costs jumped 66% last year to $172.7 million. The company said most of those costs are related to employee-related expenses, but it also spends on its Fal Con customer conference and other marketing events.
Of the six notable tech IPOs so far this year, two are broadly in the enterprise software market '-- PagerDuty and Zoom. Both have soared since their debuts, while ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft have stumbled. Slack, the mobile chat service used by businesses, is likely to be the next company to go public.
PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada with Pagey at the NYSE
Crowdstrike was valued at $3 billion in its last private round last June. It operates in a very competitive market against rivals like antivirus companies McAfee and Symantec and other software security vendors such as Cylance, Carbon Black, Palo Alto Networks and FireEye.
One unnamed channel partner represented 15% of Crowdstrike's revenue in the year that ended Jan. 31.
"We recently announced a strategic technology and go-to-market partnership with Dell Inc. that will enable Dell's business customers to seamlessly add the Falcon platform to their purchase of Dell hardware, " Crowdstrike said in the filing. "Dell and SecureWorks Corp. also agreed to take our Falcon platform to market as their preferred endpoint security offering through their global sales organizations. "
Warburg Pincus is Crowdstrike's biggest shareholder, with ownership of 30%, followed by Accel at 20% and Alphabet's CapitalG investment arm at 11%. Google is also a Crowdstrike customer.
The Sunnyvale, California-based company was founded in 2011 and launched its first endpoint-security product two years later.
The stock will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "CRWD." The filing says Crowdstrike is looking to raise as much as $100 million in the initial public offering, though that's just a placeholder. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays are leading the deal.
'-- CNBC's Ari Levy contributed to this report.
WATCH: It's difficult to compare Uber and Lyft to other companies, says Redpoint's Geoff Yang
A free, open and secure internet is a powerful tool to promote connectivity, enhance social inclusiveness and foster economic growth.
The internet is, however, not immune from abuse by terrorist and violent extremist actors. This was tragically highlighted by the terrorist attacks of 15 March 2019 on the Muslim community of Christchurch '' terrorist attacks that were designed to go viral.
The dissemination of such content online has adverse impacts on the human rights of the victims, on our collective security and on people all over the world.
Significant steps have already been taken to address this issue by, among others: the European Commission with initiatives such as the EU Internet Forum; the G20, and the G7, including work underway during France's G7 Presidency on combating the use of the internet for terrorist and violent extremist purposes; along with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT); the Global Counterterrorism Forum; Tech Against Terrorism; and the Aqaba Process established by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The events of Christchurch highlighted once again the urgent need for action and enhanced cooperation among the wide range of actors with influence over this issue, including governments, civil society, and online service providers, such as social media companies, to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.
The Call outlines collective, voluntary commitments from Governments and online service providers intended to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online and to prevent the abuse of the internet as occurred in and after the Christchurch attacks.
All action on this issue must be consistent with principles of a free, open and secure internet, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression. It must also recognise the internet's ability to act as a force for good, including by promoting innovation and economic development and fostering inclusive societies.
To that end, we, the Governments, commit to:
Counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of our societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality.
Ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws that prohibit the production or dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international human rights law, including freedom of expression.
Encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online, to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content.
Support frameworks, such as industry standards, to ensure that reporting on terrorist attacks does not amplify terrorist and violent extremist content, without prejudice to responsible coverage of terrorism and violent extremism.
Consider appropriate action to prevent the use of online services to disseminate terrorist and violent extremist content, including through collaborative actions, such as:
Awareness-raising and capacity-building activities aimed at smaller online service providers; Development of industry standards or voluntary frameworks; Regulatory or policy measures consistent with a free, open and secure internet and international human rights law. To that end, we, the online service providers, commit to:
Take transparent, specific measures seeking to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content and to prevent its dissemination on social media and similar content-sharing services, including its immediate and permanent removal, without prejudice to law enforcement and user appeals requirements, in a manner consistent with human rights and fundamental freedoms. Cooperative measures to achieve these outcomes may include technology development, the expansion and use of shared databases of hashes and URLs, and effective notice and takedown procedures.
Provide greater transparency in the setting of community standards or terms of service, including by:
Outlining and publishing the consequences of sharing terrorist and violent extremist content; Describing policies and putting in place procedures for detecting and removing terrorist and violent extremist content. Enforce those community standards or terms of service in a manner consistent with human rights and fundamental freedoms, including by:
Prioritising moderation of terrorist and violent extremist content, however identified; Closing accounts where appropriate; Providing an efficient complaints and appeals process for those wishing to contest the removal of their content or a decision to decline the upload of their content. Implement immediate, effective measures to mitigate the specific risk that terrorist and violent extremist content is disseminated through livestreaming, including identification of content for real-time review.
Implement regular and transparent public reporting, in a way that is measurable and supported by clear methodology, on the quantity and nature of terrorist and violent extremist content being detected and removed.
Review the operation of algorithms and other processes that may drive users towards and/or amplify terrorist and violent extremist content to better understand possible intervention points and to implement changes where this occurs. This may include using algorithms and other processes to redirect users from such content or the promotion of credible, positive alternatives or counter-narratives. This may include building appropriate mechanisms for reporting, designed in a multi-stakeholder process and without compromising trade secrets or the effectiveness of service providers' practices through unnecessary disclosure.
Work together to ensure cross-industry efforts are coordinated and robust, for instance by investing in and expanding the GIFCT, and by sharing knowledge and expertise.
To that end, we, Governments and online service providers, commit to work collectively to:
Work with civil society to promote community-led efforts to counter violent extremism in all its forms, including through the development and promotion of positive alternatives and counter-messaging.
Develop effective interventions, based on trusted information sharing about the effects of algorithmic and other processes, to redirect users from terrorist and violent extremist content.
Accelerate research into and development of technical solutions to prevent the upload of and to detect and immediately remove terrorist and violent extremist content online, and share these solutions through open channels, drawing on expertise from academia, researchers, and civil society.
Support research and academic efforts to better understand, prevent and counter terrorist and violent extremist content online, including both the offline and online impacts of this activity.
Ensure appropriate cooperation with and among law enforcement agencies for the purposes of investigating and prosecuting illegal online activity in regard to detected and/or removed terrorist and violent extremist content, in a manner consistent with rule of law and human rights protections.
Support smaller platforms as they build capacity to remove terrorist and violent extremist content, including through sharing technical solutions and relevant databases of hashes or other relevant material, such as the GIFCT shared database.
Collaborate, and support partner countries, in the development and implementation of best practice in preventing the dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content online, including through operational coordination and trusted information exchanges in accordance with relevant data protection and privacy rules.
Develop processes allowing governments and online service providers to respond rapidly, effectively and in a coordinated manner to the dissemination of terrorist or violent extremist content following a terrorist event. This may require the development of a shared crisis protocol and information-sharing processes, in a manner consistent with human rights protections.
Respect, and for Governments protect, human rights, including by avoiding directly or indirectly contributing to adverse human rights impacts through business activities and addressing such impacts where they occur.
Recognise the important role of civil society in supporting work on the issues and commitments in the Call, including through:
Offering expert advice on implementing the commitments in this Call in a manner consistent with a free, open and secure internet and with international human rights law; Working, including with governments and online service providers, to increase transparency; Where necessary, working to support users through company appeals and complaints processes. Affirm our willingness to continue to work together, in existing fora and relevant organizations, institutions, mechanisms and processes to assist one another and to build momentum and widen support for the Call.
Develop and support a range of practical, non-duplicative initiatives to ensure that this pledge is delivered.
Acknowledge that governments, online service providers, and civil society may wish to take further cooperative action to address a broader range of harmful online content, such as the actions that will be discussed further during the G7 Biarritz Summit, in the G20, the Aqaba Process, the Five Country Ministerial, and a range of other fora.
A PDF copy is available
Christchurch Call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist online content adopted | Beehive.govt.nz
French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have led a group of world leaders, tech companies and organisations to adopt a pledge that seeks to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online to stop the internet being used as a tool for terrorists.
The Christchurch Call, named for the New Zealand city in which 51 members of its Muslim community were murdered in a live-streamed terrorist attack on March 15, took place in Paris today and saw leaders from 10 countries and major tech companies commit to a set of collective actions that aim to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.
The Christchurch Call is an action plan that commits government and tech companies to a range of measures, including developing tools to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content; countering the roots of violent extremism; increasing transparency around the removal and detection of content, and reviewing how companies' algorithms direct users to violent extremist content.
''We can be proud of what we have started with the adoption of the Christchurch Call. We've taken practical steps to try and stop what we experienced in Christchurch from happening again,'' Jacinda Ardern said.
''The March 15 attack was shocking in its use of social media as a tool in the act of terror and with the Christchurch Call we have taken a unique approach to solving this problem.''
For the first time Governments and tech companies have jointly agreed to a set of commitments and ongoing collaboration to make the internet safer.
Today is just the first step towards a shared goal of eliminating terrorist content online. But action to achieve that does not end today, we have all agreed to ongoing collaborative work aimed at improving our collective security.
''We owe it to those affected by the attacks in Christchurch, and other attacks in cities and towns around the world where terrorism and violent extremism have struck, to undertake this work.''
The Call acknowledges that government regulation alone will not solve the problem. We need to harness the tech companies' creativity and technical know how to find solutions while ensuring internet freedoms are maintained and that we protect the internet as a force for good.
President Emmanuel Macron said: ''We need to build this new cyberspace, a free, open and secure Internet, which allows everyone to share, learn, innovate, but which also allows us to uphold our values, protect our citizen and empower them"
Prime Minister Ardern said ''From here, I will work alongside others signed up to the Christchurch Call to bring more partners on board, and develop a range of practical initiatives to ensure the pledge we have made today is delivered''.
New Zealand and France will take the Christchurch Call to other countries, organisations and companies, and advance its goals in other fora. We will come together again at UN Leaders' Week later this year, where we expect some meaningful progress will have been made on this issue.
The Call was adopted at the meeting by France, New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Norway, Senegal, the UK, and the European Commission as well as Amazon, Facebook, Dailymotion, Google, Microsoft, Qwant, Twitter, and YouTube.
Other countries who have adopted the Call but were not at the meeting are Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
A full copy of the text and the list of supporters can be found at www.ChristchurchCall.com
New Zealand: Citizens Receiving Home Visits From 'Political Police' '' Summit News
New Zealanders are receiving home visits from police to check on their political views, with one individual claiming that authorities asked him if he supported Donald Trump.
The visits are taking place as a response to March's Christchurch mosque massacre.
In one clip, armed police arrive at a man's home on Sunday morning to question him in relation to his political beliefs.
''The reason we're here, basically it's down to the recent events in Christchurch, with the shooting there, a number of people have been identified who we've been asked to go and speak to, so you're one of those people,'' says the officer.
The man is happy to talk to the cops, but they refuse to do so on camera and eventually leave.
In a separate clip, another man relates the story of how he was visited by armed police (again on a Sunday morning) because he makes YouTube videos criticizing mass migration.
The man's wife and daughter, who were both upset by the experience, were also interviewed by police.
''I was asked if I was a Trump supporter, I was asked if I was a racist and have I got any ethnic minority friends,'' said the man, who runs a YouTuber channel called Cross the Rubicon, adding that police also quizzed him on whether he owned guns.
Within a week, police returned to the house '' 15 of them this time '' closing off the entire street '' to again interrogate him on his political views.
''They're trying to force me to shut my mouth and to keep it shut,'' the man said.
He also warns that governments are exploiting the mosque shooting to deplatform conservatives.
One wonders whether random Muslims receive home visits from police after Islamic terror attacks. Unlikely.
Just 12 hours before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to welcome leaders to the Christchurch Call summit, Facebook has announced new measures in response to the March 15 tragedy.
In a statement from Guy Rosen, vice president integrity, Facebook will restrict more users who have broken certain rules from using Facebook Live.
It will also put US$7.5 million towards research partnerships to improve its image and video analysis technology that failed to block every upload of the gunman's video footage to its platform.
"Starting today, people who have broken certain rules on Facebook '' including our Dangerous Organisations and Individuals policy '' will be restricted from using Facebook Live," Rosen said in a statement.
The policy includes people who are involved in or support terrorist activity, organised hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, or organised violence or criminal activity.
Rosen said the policy before today's changes meant that users were blocked from Facebook if they kept violating the Community Standards, such as using terror propaganda in a profile picture or sharing images of child exploitation.
"We will now apply a 'one strike' policy to [Facebook] Live in connection with a broader range of offences.
"From now on, anyone who violates our most serious policies will be restricted from using Live for set periods of time - for example 30 days - starting on their first offense.
"For example, someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context will now be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time."
In coming weeks, he said those blocked users will also be prevented from creating ads on Facebook.
Facebook has come under intense criticism for its handling of the gunman's video on its platform. It took 12 minutes after the livestream ended before it became aware of it, and that notice came from police, not from its own algorithms or human moderators.
There were 1.5 million attempted uploads of the gunman's video within 24 hours of his livestream, and its AI technology automatically blocked 1.2 million of those uploads.
Users wanting to share the video changed aspects of the footage to side-step AI detection; Facebook said there were 900 different variations of the footage.
Rosen said the research money would go to partnerships with The University of Maryland, Cornell University and The University of California Berkeley for:
Detecting manipulated media across images, video and audioDistinguishing between unwitting posters and adversaries who intentionally manipulate videos and photographsIn a nod to what Facebook is expected to sign up for in the Christchurch Call To Action, Rosen said this was only the beginning."In the months to come, we will pursue additional collaboration so we can all move as quickly as possible to innovate in the face of this threat."
Part of the ongoing effort would look at videos depicting events that never happened, he said.
In response to the March 15 terror attack, Facebook has already banned white nationalist and white separatist content, and recently removed controversial figures for promoting violence or hate including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer.
This move was portrayed as an effort to tackle hate speech before it could erupt into something more destructive.
While Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said livestreaming safeguards would be explored, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has already said that putting a delay on livestreams would fundamentally break the service.
Neither Sandberg nor Zuckerberg will be at the Christchurch Call summit. Facebook will be represented by former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, its vice president of global policy and communications.
'Hello Brother': Film about Christchurch mosque shootings in works - NZ Herald
A feature film based on the Christchurch mosque shootings is already in the works.
Director Moez Masoud has unveiled plans to make a movie about the shootings that claimed 51 lives on March 15.
The Egyptian writer-director-producer had stated his intention to make the film just nine days after the mosque attacks.
The film's tentative title is Hello Brother '' the words spoken to the accused gunman as he entered the Al Noor Mosque and began shooting.
Film crew members had already visited Christchurch to meet officials and families of the victims of the shooting, as well as survivors and their families.
Rick Castaneda, who co-wrote the script with Masoud, arrived in Christchurch on Monday.
He has already spoken with Imam Gamal Fouda, leader of the Al Noor Masjid, and survivor of the attacks.
When contacted by the Herald yesterday, Fouda refused to talk about the possible movie.
Castaneda has also met with Linwood Mosque Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah, who also survived the shooting at his mosque where seven worshippers were gunned down during Friday prayer.
Castaneda was coy about the project when approached by the Herald.
He said he was in Christchurch for a fortnight and trying to meet as many people as possible.
Castaneda confirmed it would be a dramatised movie, which he hoped would "get closer to the truth".
"In Christchurch, on March 15, the world witnessed an unspeakable crime against humanity," Masoud said.
"The story that Hello Brother will bring to audiences is just one step in the healing process, so that we might all better understand each other, and the root causes of hatred, racism, supremacy and terrorism."
Global demand for New Zealand's meat and dairy products is under threat as the world responds to climate change by eating more and more plant-based protein, Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron told the government's Just Transitions conference in New Plymouth.
Now based in New Zealand and farming in the Wairarapa, the director of such blockbuster movies as Titanic and Avatar painted an even bleaker picture for the world if it fails to deal with climate change, which could see hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising sea levels and changing weather patterns.
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"The chaos and the human suffering will be unfathomable and the political outcome will be intolerable," said Cameron, who took the stage at a packed TSB Stadium with his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron.
"It will be a ruthless future. It will be the end of democracy. It will be the end of peace and I can't bear to think that we're not doing everything that we can do to not leave that world to our children or our grandchildren."
The flood of several hundred thousand refugees to Europe from civil war and crop failure in Syria and North Africa had toppled liberal European governments and "sent us back to the Dark Ages", said Cameron.
"So what happens to us globally when it's millions, then tens of millions, and eventually hundreds of millions of people, as is being predicted, fleeing from farms that have become deserts, fleeing coasts and rising seas that are devouring their fertile deltas and their coastal cities?
"The handwriting is on the wall about this kind of dark political scenario."
However, "sane" countries like New Zealand with small populations and the ability to adapt quickly had an opportunity to show global leadership on climate change, Cameron suggested.
"The elephant in the room here, the cow in the room here, is obviously animal agriculture," he said.
Expressing empathy for fellow farmers, Cameron acknowledged the importance of the dairy industry both to New Zealand and the Taranaki region, where the government's two-day, low-carbon summit is being held in response to last year's decision to stop issuing new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.
'"This is where the rubber's going to meet the road and it's going to affect a lot of people. There are alternatives to the way things are done and hopefully they can be as lucrative, if not more so if we're smart about it," he said. "But we have to change."
He suggested that if New Zealand moved away from animal agriculture, there would be a public health "win-win", since New Zealand was also among the most at-risk populations for "diseases that are known to be the result of eating meat and dairy", citing heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and bowel cancer.
With farmers around the country reeling from the government's announcement yesterday of a target to reduce methane emissions from cows, sheep and beef cattle by as much as 47 per cent by 2050, Cameron said those targets were "quite ferocious" but that one way to reduce methane was to move to shed-based farming.
"But is that what New Zealand really wants to do?" he asked. "Do we really want to shatter that bucolic image of the cows grazing naturally so we can lock them up in these filthy pens next to vast waste lagoons?
"That seems like such a huge step backwards to me and something that's really going to undermine that very, very important clean image of NZ's image worldwide."
However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stopped well short of endorsing a post-animal agriculture future for New Zealand, saying she was "from the Waikato", loved cheese and worried she might not be able to go home if she adopted such a stance.
"Ultimately those will be land use decisions for those who are already in the sector," she told journalists after the Camerons' keynote presentation. "So it's not about the government dictating the way that those in the agricultural sector use their land now and in the future.
"There will continue to be consumer demand for products NZ's really good at producing. That includes dairy products. What we need to be able to do when we promote our dairy products to the world, we've got to stamp that under the banner of being environmentally friendly and sustainable."
However, Cameron used a film industry analogy for the choices New Zealand agriculture faces.
"If we don't adapt to change then we're going to be like Kodak," he said. "Kodak refused to accept that the world was going to change away from film and here we are, 20 years later, with all movies being made digitally, all television and Kodak is long dead and the movie industry is doing just fine."
He urged the government to incentivise a shift in agricultural practice, citing the success of New Zealand government incentive schemes that had underpinned the growth of a New Zealand film sector.'
Build the Wall
Harvard "UndocuGraduation" For Illegal Immigrants Features Previously Arrested Prof | Zero Hedge
A student-run group at Harvard University hosted a special graduation ceremony for illegal immigrants Wednesday, an event dubbed ''UndocuGraduation.''
The special ceremony for those in the country illegally came amid President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration. According to the Harvard Crimson, the student-run group Act on a Dream hosted the event for illegals.
According to the group's website, it has four pillars, which include advocacy for the abolishment of ICE.
''The event was organized to highlight the struggles and the ways in which undocumented students persevere on this campus,'' Emily Romero, Act on a Dream co-director and a Harvard Crimson editorial editor, told the campus newspaper following the event.
''This campus can be very difficult to navigate, yet there are so many people who came out at the end of this tunnel as better individuals than how they entered it.''
Among the speakers at the "UndocuGraduation" was Harvard history professor Kirsten Weld, who, as Campus Reformreported in 2016, was one of more than 30 professors who were arrested while protesting Trump's decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which granted temporary legal status to those who first came to the U.S. as children, with their parents.
The "UndocuGraduation" event comes as many colleges now offer separate graduation ceremonies for, among other minorities, African American students and LGBT students. These separate ceremonies were, in part, the topic of rigorous research conducted by the National Association of Scholars.
The group released its research findings recently in a report, titled, "Separate but Equal, Again: Neo-Segregation in American Higher Education." The first report, released in May, focused specifically on Yale University but called attention to 173 other universities, including Harvard.
Veteran behind $20million 'build the wall' GoFundMe hits back at claims he is misspending funds | Daily Mail Online
The Purple Heart triple amputee veteran behind a $20million 'build the wall' GoFundMe has hit back at claims he is misspending the funds raised after he bought a $600,000 boat and donors began to question what happened to their money.
Brian Kolfage, 37, who was severely wounded in a 2004 rocket attack at an Iraq air base, losing both legs and one arm, garnered more than $22 million online for the project along the southern US border since the campaign's launch in December.
But the Florida resident is now facing repeated questions about the progress of the wall and attention has also turned to a $600,000 boat he says he bought a year before he began the GoFundMe appeal.
A source told The Stern Facts that Kolfage is now living a high-flying lifestyle, saying: 'Whether he ordered it last year with the year before is irrelevant it's still nearly a million dollar boat. Those new toys are very expensive as is flying private.'
He has previously posted image of his travels on private jets and with pricey cars. In February he posed, along with his wife, in front of a plane saying 'it looks like our first piece of land for @webuildthewall is a go!' The couple are understood to have flown with the Veterans Airlift Command.
But after a seemingly lack of progress and a reported 300,000 individual donations one supporter asked: 'I am very disappointed in you Brian Kolfage, where are the progress photographs?'
Another added: 'Quit talking about it and do it.' On Twitter another asked: 'Why no updates on the status of the wall? I have a feeling this is a scam.'
Brian Kolfage, 37, was severely wounded in a 2004 rocket attack at an Iraq air base, losing both legs and one arm. He helped to raise more than $22 million online 'to build the wall'
But the Florida resident is now facing repeated questions about the progress of the wall
Brian posted this picture to Instagram Monday showing a board member inspecting the wall
We Build The Wall Inc posted a video on Monday appearing to show steel bollards being cut
In an apparent attempt to alleviate donor's concerns the We Build The Wall Inc posted a video to Facebook on Monday appearing to show steel bollards being cut in the factory.
They wrote: 'Just when we thought that the fake news media couldn't get more ridiculously desperate, they're now proving how low they'll go by claiming that 'We Build The Wall' founder, Brian Kolfage, bought a yacht with the GoFundMe money.
'It takes simple skills to see that the boat he bought and posted photos on Instagram was purchased a YEAR before he began the GoFundMe.'
It's not clear how this private effort would interact with any federal plans sought by Trump to build a wall with government funds in many of the same areas, or with local building regulations.
Kolfage, who lives with his family in the resort community of Sandestin, in Florida's Panhandle has previously posted image of his travels on private jets
Attention has turned to a $600,000 boat he says he bought a year before the GoFundMe page
It's not clear how this private effort would interact with any federal plans sought by Trump to build a wall with government funds in many of the same areas
On his personal Facebook page Brian, who has been accused of misusing funds he raised in the past, said: 'There's no update because we are remaining silent for a very good reason.
'You all will have the best present very soon. Remember powerful people want to stop our progress, so to not tip anyone off we are radio silent! The ACLU would file a lawsuit to impede our wall success if they knew where and when.
'But when I guaranteed we'd build the wall I meant it, and we are working with many congressmen and senators to help us mitigate these issues from the left wing attack groups! We are in the homestretch and it's on a need to know basis.'
Iraq War veteran Brian Kolfage with his wife Ashley in 2012. Brian has been accused of misusing funds he raised in the past
Buzzfeed News reported in January this year that Kolfage said his program worked with military hospitals including Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
But all three told that website they have no record of Kolfage working with them.
Gia E. Oney, chief of public affairs for Landstuhl, said: 'We have no record of a donation made in his name to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.'
Kolfage, who lives with his family in the resort community of Sandestin, in Florida's Panhandle, said that BuzzFeed '100 percent lied' in the wake of that story.
Facebook are also said to have removed several of the pages he operated last year.
Brian posted a picture to Instagram Monday showing a board member inspecting the wall.
He wrote: '@webuildthewall board member Kris Kobach inspecting our wall construction equipment! The liberal fake news thinks it's not happening... but it's already begun!
'We have given exclusive rights to our completion ceremony to a major network, only then will we release Images of our completed wall. It's almost complete!'
But with doubt growing over the use of the money raised one person replied: 'Hey I have been behind you the whole way but I'm hearing some stuff that is making me wonder.'
Dailymail.com has contacted Brian Kolfage and We Build The Wall Inc for comment.
Turning Point USA
Hey Adam, I'm a longtime listener to the show and I heard
you ask for info on Charlie Kirk. I am deeply involved in university
Conservative and Republican politics in Orange County, CA. I have heard Charlie
Kirk give his sales pitch to get rich donors to give him tens of thousands of
dollars. This organization is ostensibly set up to promote Conservative causes
on University and College campuses nationwide. They operate by setting up
chapters at as many colleges as possible. They first start with a field
director who is not a student going onto the campus, collecting emails, and are
often the ones who get involved in the different scandals like weird activism
events. They then try to start a club on campus by getting 2 students and one
professor to make it official. Then they use the number of chapters combined
with the number of emails to go dazzle old white men into giving them money.
The organization uses youth activism as a currency to buy their portion of the
Millennials and Gen Z really ARE snowflakes | Daily Mail Online
Product of change: Millennials came of age during a time of significant technological change, globalisation and economic disruption '' giving them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents.
Digital natives: Exposure to technology since early childhood has led to technology-sophistication, resulting in a sense of immunity to most traditional marketing and sales pitches.
They are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews.
That said, 60% of UK Millennials will engage with online content that interests them, even if it's obvious that it's been paid for by a brand.
Work-hard, play-hard attitude: Millennial's are team-oriented, honest and enjoy building friendships with colleagues, but also want to have a life outside of work.
Naturally, most Millennials want to be at a company that appreciates this desire for balance and openness. They relish high levels of dual-direction feedback
Stability-anxiety : In spite of perceived across-the-board advantages of working as freelancers or consultants, nearly two-thirds of millennials said they prefer full-time employment.
Health-conscious: Millennial's devote time and money to exercising and eating right.
Being physically and mentally healthy topped the list (77%) for UK Millennials when asked what would most help them live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Experience-economy: Over half of UK Millennials would rather spend money on an experience versus a possession (only 22.6% valued material goods over experiences).
Generation ZBorn: 1995-2012
Coming of Age: 2013-2020
Age in 2017: 5 to 22
Realists: Hyper-aware of tough economy, terrorism, and climate change etc., Generation Z are somewhat jaded, maybe even cynical.
Entrepreneurial: In the US, 72% of current high school students want to start a business.
Tech-addicted, mobile natives (rather than Millennial digital natives): If we thought Millennials were addicted to technology, get ready for more.
In some surveys, Generation Z put technology in the same category as air and water.
Second-opinion purchasers: Generation Z has strongly integrated online ratings and reviews into the fabric of their consumer decision-making, almost half say they always get input from friends and family before making a purchase.
This could be a generational statement about who Generation Z most trusts, or it could simply be related to their current life stage, it will be interesting to see if this changes as Generation Z gets older and accumulates more consumer experience.
Tolerant: Whether it be different cultures, sexual orientations, races or gender fluidity, Generation Z is the most accepting generation of diversity so far.
Social media preferences: Facebook has lost 25% of this demographic since 2011, whereas apps like Snapchat and Instagram have exploded in popularity.
Around 70% of Generation Z watches 2hrs+ of YouTube per day and less TV than any previous generation.
Stephen Fry accused of using alt-right gesture instead of OK symbol | Metro News
Stephen Fry has been accused of using an alt-right and White Power symbol while promoting Mental Health Awareness Week.
Why? Because 2019, and also, Twitter.
The 61-year-old told followers he would not allow the 'OK' gesture to be co-opted by the alt-right and white supremacists, after some people urged him not to use it.
As Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off, Stephen showed his support for London's AOK Kitchen working with Mind by sharing a photo of himself holding up the OK gesture.
He tweeted: 'Are you A.O.K? Our friends @aok.kitchen are supporting @MindCharity this Mental Health Awareness Week, 13th '' 19th May. Follow them to find out more. ð#mentalhealthawarenessweek.'
But while Stephen was just trying to raise awareness and drum up support by sharing the universally recognisable OK symbol, others piped up to claim it was a sign of the alt-right.
One person wrote: 'Stephen and friends '' You might want to be super careful using this symbol if you don't want to be confused with white supremacist creeps. It's an unfortunate fact of life that even the kindest of intentions can be taken out of context.'Another replied: 'Are you aware that this hand symbol can be misinterpreted as support for white supremacy?', while one reply said:
'Didn't have you down as part of the alt-right.'
The miscommunication was so strong that Stephen followed up his post with a message stating no, he wasn't using a white supremacist symbol.
More: Mental healthThe former QI host wrote: 'PS: I really will not allow the simple ð gesture to belong to the moronic dogwhistling catfishing foghorning frogmarching pigsticking d***waving few who attempt to appropriate it for their own fatuous fantasies.'
It's believed the 'OK' gesture began to be associated with the alt-right via a meme, after 4chan users were instructed to claim that the symbol was linked to the alt-right and white supremacy in 2017.
However, in recent months, it has been used by a number of people showing support for white supremacist ideology '' in March 2019, alleged Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant flashed the inverted OK symbol at cameras during his arraignment in New Zealand.
But we're 100% sure Stephen Fry was just saying 'OK'.
Got a showbiz story?If you've got a story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk Entertainment team by emailing us email@example.com, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page - we'd love to hear from you.
MORE: Love Island's Iain Stirling given warning over new series' contestants
MORE: Transgender National Lottery winner Melissa Ede dies at 58
Twitter Blocked Ray Blanchard, a Ph.D. Psychologist Who Helped Write the DSM V Rules on Gender Dysphoria, for 'Hateful Conduct' in Expressing His Clinical Views on Transgender Identity
In the early hours of Sunday morning, an expert Ph.D. psychologist who helped write the official psychological position on transgender identity was blocked on Twitter for expressing his opinion informed by clinical experience. His well-reasoned position was flagged for "hateful conduct."
On Saturday, Ray Blanchard '-- the Ph.D. psychologist and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto who served on the working group for gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite your biological sex) for the DSM V, the gold standard of definitions helping psychologists diagnose disorders for patients '-- tweeted out his clinically-informed opinion on transgender identity.
He still affirmed the controversial idea that sex-change surgery is the "best treatment" for "carefully screened, adult patients, whose gender dysphoria has proven resistant to other forms of treatment," but he opposed "treating" children who may change their minds. (Even this position is debatable, as people who have undergone sex-change surgery after persistent gender dysphoria have later rejected their transgender identity and lamented the mutilation of their bodies.)
(2) Sex change surgery is still the best treatment for carefully screened, adult patients, whose gender dysphoria has proven resistant to other forms of treatment.
'-- Ray Blanchard (@BlanchardPhD) May 11, 2019 After this qualified statement of support, Blanchard explained his clinically-informed opinion that "sex change surgery should not be considered for any patient until that patient has reached the age of 21 years and has lived for at least two years in the desired gender role."
This call for a delay is controversial, as many transgender activists encourage hormonal and surgical treatments for minors, even children. Some researchers have received government grants to try such treatments on 8-year-old children, and a British transgender activist took her 15-year-old son to Thailand to get him castrated. When a Catholic woman complained about this child abuse on Twitter, U.K. police investigated her for abuse. Last year, 17-year-old transgender celebrity Jazz Jennings had his male organ surgically removed. Yet studies have shown that the vast majority of children who identify as transgender will revert to their biological sex if they are allowed to go through puberty. For this and other reasons, Blanchard's position makes sense psychologically.
(3) Sex change surgery should not be considered for any patient until that patient has reached the age of 21 years and has lived for at least two years in the desired gender role.
'-- Ray Blanchard (@BlanchardPhD) May 11, 2019 Blanchard defended this restriction by explaining the roots of gender dysphoria.
"Gender dysphoria is not a sexual orientation, but it is virtually always preceded or accompanied by an atypical sexual orientation '' in males, either homosexuality (sexual arousal by members of one's own biological sex) ... or autogynephilia (sexual arousal at the thought or image of oneself as a female)," the Ph.D. psychologist explained. "There are two main types of gender dysphoria in males, one associated with homosexuality and one associated with autogynephilia. Traditionally, the great bulk of female-to-male transsexuals has been homosexual in erotic object choice."
(5) There are two main types of gender dysphoria in males, one associated with homosexuality and one associated with autogynephilia. Traditionally, the great bulk of female-to-male transsexuals has been homosexual in erotic object choice.
'-- Ray Blanchard (@BlanchardPhD) May 11, 2019 While activists may find this offensive, Blanchard correctly referenced the true statistics on gender dysphoria.
Although the Ph.D. psychologist supported sex-change surgery for 21-year-old adults whose gender dysphoria has persisted against other forms of treatment, he acknowledged that even post-operative transgender individuals are still biologically male or female beneath the surgical changes. No matter how good transgender surgery gets, a biological male still has X and Y chromosomes in virtually every cell of his body and a biological female still has two X chromosomes. No surgery or identity can alter this.
Ostensibly for this reason, Blanchard took a nuanced, scientific approach. "The sex of a postoperative transsexual should be analogous to a legal fiction," he tweeted. "This legal fiction would apply to some things (e.g., sex designation on a driver's license) but not to others (entering a sports competition as one's adopted sex)."
(6) The sex of a postoperative transsexual should be analogous to a legal fiction. This legal fiction would apply to some things (e.g., sex designation on a driver's license) but not to others (entering a sports competition as one's adopted sex).
'-- Ray Blanchard (@BlanchardPhD) May 11, 2019 This approach takes into consideration both the true struggles of those with gender dysphoria and the concerns of conservatives and feminists who warn that full societal inclusion for transgender identity would allow biological males to invade women's spaces, bringing their natural advantages of strength with them. For instance, men who identify as women have displaced high-performing females and won world records in women's sports. Voyeurs have spied upon women in bathrooms and changing rooms, posing as transgender. Men who identify as women have sexually assaulted women in women's prisons.
Blanchard's position showed a true understanding of these issues and clinical support for what he sees as the proper treatment for gender dysphoric people. Activists can disagree with him, but his positions are scientifically based, rational, and based on his professional experience.
It seems transgender activists reported his tweets to Twitter, and the company chose to ban him. Helen Joyce, an editor at The Economist, called this decision "unreal."
"Ray Blanchard served on the gender dysphoria working group and chaired the paraphilia working group for DSM V," Joyce tweeted. "He is a world expert in the field. Twitter has just suspended his account for a thread setting out his findings from A lifetime of research. Unreal."
Ray Blanchard served on the gender dysphoria working group and chaired the paraphilia working group for DSM V. He is a world expert in the field. Twitter has just suspended his account for a thread setting out his findings fromA lifetime of research. Unreal pic.twitter.com/vgQCd4OzYs
'-- Helen Joyce (@HJJoyceEcon) May 12, 2019 Others echoed her outrage. Jesse Singal, contributing writer at New York magazine, expressed his fear that "as a journalist who often writes about science," he worries that he will not be able to continue using Twitter's platform.
"Gender dysphoria is in the DSM-5. Despite endless rumor-mongering and misinformation to the contrary, it *is* considered a mental disorder. Maybe it shouldn't be! But it's beyond insane to suspend someone for expressing an opinion which lines up with the DSM," Singal tweeted. "I have less and less faith that, as a journalist who often writes about science, I will be able to continue using Twitter without getting punished for communicating scientifically accurate information (sic)."
2/ less faith that, as a journalist who often writes about science, I will be able to continue using Twitter without getting punished for communicating scientifiically accurate infromation. Twitter is making a terrible and embarrassing error here that it should fix.
'-- Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 12, 2019 "Twitter is making a terrible and embarrassing error here that it should fix," Singal declared.
But he also warned that this is part of a growing inability among progressives to accurately convey the findings of science. "Anyway, this is part of a larger problem of a complete meltdown, in elite progressive spaces, of the ability to accurately convey science on stories having to do with social justice. Journalism, academia, social media -- same story everywhere. It's a slow-motion disaster," Singal argued.
3/ Anyway, this is part of a larger problem of a complete meltdown, in elite progressive spaces, of the ability to accurately convey science on stories having to do with social justice. Journalism, academia, social media -- same story everywhere. It's a slow-motion disaster.
'-- Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 12, 2019 "This is how you get the most important outlet in the world running an extremely misleading column on testosterone, the ACLU arguing women can compete w/and beat men in competitive sports. etc. We're approaching a Soviet/fundamentalist/take your pick level of science denialism," he added.
4/This is how you get the most important outlet in the world running an extremely misleading column on testosterone, the ACLU arguing women can compete w/and beat men in competitive sports. etc.We're approaching a Soviet/fundamentalist/take your pick level of science denialism. pic.twitter.com/SJ6ia3NvLe
'-- Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 12, 2019 Singal dared Twitter to suspend him for accurately citing the DSM. "I am begging you," he tweeted. "It would give me the perfect excuse to stay off this site and I will have too much pride and ego to delete my accurate tweets."
6/ In conclusion , Twitter, PLEASE suspend me for accurately citing the DSM. I am begging you. It would give me the perfect excuse to stay off this site and I will have too much pride and ego to delete my accurate tweets.
'-- Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 12, 2019 Activists have dismissed and demonized the Ph.D. psychologist's conclusions, but James Shupe (formerly Jamie Shupe), a man who used to identify as a woman and then as "non-binary," said he discovered the truth about himself in Blanchard's writings.
Twitter should restore Blanchard's account and apologize for this embarrassing mistake, or perhaps it should make its position clear and just ban every user who cites the DSM or refuses to jump on board with the most radical elements of transgender identity. After all, many feminists who disagree with transgender activism have been suspended on Twitter, even just for reporting activists who harass women in the name of transgenderism.
If Twitter will become a hostile censor, enforcing transgender orthodoxy against science and medical standards, it should make this position clear, and scientists and dissenters should find another platform. This suspension is absurd.
Update: After about 24 hours, Twitter freed Blanchard from Twitter jail and apologized "for any inconvenience this may have caused." Yet to some degree, this was a non-apology. The company went on to defend its error, saying, "Twitter takes reports of violations of the Twitter Rules very seriously. After reviewing your account, it looks like we made an error."
Twitter has unlocked my account and graciously apologized for their error. My sincere thanks to the people who expressed their concern during the past 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/fblijhdi5k
'-- Ray Blanchard (@BlanchardPhD) May 13, 2019 It looks like you made an error?! You banned a Ph.D. psychologist who helped write the book on gender dysphoria, for his clinical opinion on gender dysphoria and transgender identity. More than this is required.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
21st Century ClippyMicrosoft has a plan to make sure your writing is inclusive '-- and it involves artificial intelligence.
On Monday, the tech giant announced the upcoming integration of its AI-powered Ideas feature into Word Online, the cloud-based version of its popular word processor, Microsoft Word.
According to a Microsoft blog post, in addition to helping writers improve the structure and clarity of their documents, Ideas will also offer them suggestions for language that's more inclusive '-- a heartening example of AI helping shape a future in which all people feel welcomed.
Inclusive LanguageIn the blog post, Microsoft uses ''policeman'' as an example of a term that might raise a red flag with Ideas, noting that the feature may suggest a writer opt for the more inclusive ''police officer'' instead.
As noted by the Linguistic Society of America, ''inclusive language acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities'' '-- so if that's the kind of future Ideas can help shape, kudos to Microsoft for creating it.
READ MORE: How AI is making people's workday more productive [Microsoft 365]
More on gender: It's Time to Talk About How Siri is Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes
War on Cash
Visa Account Updater from Karl
You talked on a recent show about how your credit card
was updated to one or your autopay vendors without your knowledge.
I saw this on slashdot and think it might be what happen
The main topic was Charter Squeezes More Money Out of
Internet Users With New Cancellation Policy but one of the comments was
Re:Credit Cards, Bank Accounts and Autopay opt out
Make SURE to call the credit card companies and your bank
(debit cards) and make sure you tell them you want to Opt Out of the "Visa
Account Updater" and the "Mastercard Automatic Billing Updater".
I'm not sure what Discover calls theirs as I don't have one of their cards.
If you don't know what these are - YOU SHOULD! Research
them - they are NOT good for consumers! These things are a GOD SEND for
They allow merchants to have Visa/Mastercard send updated
CC info. So if your CC expires and they can't keep billing you, they can get
the CC companies to send the new expire date info to them. If you think you can
stop them by changing your CC number - WRONG! they can have the new number sent
Example: We had a CC number on file with IPass in
Chicago. We let it expire as we didn't want them auto charging us - we wanted
to control when we put money on our IPass account. Guess what? To our surprise
they had our new CC information on file! We had to find out HOW! And we did -
Visa Account Updater.
You will probably have to explain it to the people you
talk to on the phone as most have no clue about it. And they WILL NOT
voluntarily tell you about it either. The banks will automatically OPT you IN!
It's up to YOU to find out about this, call the Banks and force them to Opt you
out. It's only checking a box on a screen. Some may want you to fill out an
Cancelling at a cost '-- No more prorated final bills: Charter/Spectrum makes it more expensive to cancel. Jon Brodkin - May 7, 2019 5:08 pm UTC
Getty Images | Sean Gladwell
Charter is making it more expensive to cancel its Spectrum Internet service, as it will begin charging customers for the full month after they cancel instead of providing a prorated final bill.
Charter broke the news to customers in the fine print of their latest billing statements. Stop the Cap reported the change yesterday, and we were able to confirm it on the May billing statement received by an Ars staffer in Texas who subscribes to a triple-play package with Spectrum TV, phone, and Internet service.
"Effective on or after June 23, 2019 and consistent with the Terms and Conditions of Service, Spectrum will no longer provide a pro rata credit for services sold on a monthly basis that are cancelled prior to the end of the current billing month," the notice to customers says.
Under these terms, a customer is better off canceling right at the end of a billing period. But customers will inevitably pay for days of service that they don't use if they move out of their homes early or midway through a billing period. Depending on when a new occupant moves in and starts up service, there may be cases when Charter collects from two customers at the same home for nearly a month.
AT&T did the same in JanuaryAT&T and subsidiary DirecTV previously stopped providing prorated credits for a customer's final month of service in January this year.
Charter's no-prorating policy may have already applied to its cable TV service. An Internet Archive page capture of Charter's terms of service for cable TV shows that since at least August 2017, it has said that "Subscriber shall be responsible for the full monthly charge for those Cable Services that are offered on a monthly subscription basis to which the Subscriber has subscribed, regardless of Subscriber's termination of such monthly Cable Service prior to the conclusion of the respective subscription month."
However, the residential Internet agreement and the residential phone agreement did not include that language at the time. Another page capture shows that by January 2019, the no-prorating policy had been moved to the terms of service covering all residential services (i.e., phone, Internet, and cable TV).
Charter's new notice to customers that the change is "consistent with the Terms and Conditions of Service" may indicate that the policy was previously in the terms of service but not enforced or that it previously applied to cable TV only and now covers Internet and phone service. We contacted Charter to ask for clarification on those details and will update this story if we get a response.
We've confirmed that the no-prorating policy will apply at least in Texas and Ohio, and we assume it will be enforced in most of Charter's 41-state territory. But state-specific rules may prevent it from being enforced in some places. For example, the AT&T/DirecTV policy of charging for the full final month does not apply to any accounts in California, Illinois, and New York, and doesn't apply to U-verse TV, AT&T Phone, or AT&T Internet accounts in Michigan. AT&T said this is because of "local or state regulations or for other specific reasons."
Comcast, the only US cable company with more subscribers than Charter, apparently still prorates final bills. "Except for non-refundable fees and charges, we will refund all prepaid monthly service fees charged for Service(s) after the date of termination (less any outstanding amounts due us for the Service(s), affiliate services, Xfinity Equipment, or other applicable fees and charges)," the Comcast subscriber agreement says. Verizon's website also says it prorates the final bill for FiOS residential services.
Altice's Optimum service (formerly Cablevision) does not prorate the final bill.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Cond(C) Nast, which owns Ars Technica.
Bitcoin And Ethereum Now Accepted At Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Other Retailers (NYSE:JWN)(NASDAQ:AMZN)(NYSE:GME) | Benzinga
A brand new payment app called Flexa launched on Monday that will facilitate the use of bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies at a wide range of retail locations, including Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) and GameStop Corp (NYSE: GME).
What To KnowThe Flexa app Spedn essentially serves as an intermediary between a user's cryptocurrency wallet and a retailer like GameStop. When a user makes a purchase at a participating retailer, Spedn generates a QR code that can be scanned at the register. The merchant is then paid in dollars, and the cryptocurrency equivalent is automatically deducted from the user's digital wallet.
Fortunes said the Spedn app lets users spend four types of cryptocurrency: bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, ethereum and Gemini Dollar.
Why It's ImportantA large part of the long-term bull thesis for bitcoin hinges on the cryptocurrency becoming mainstream, yet only a small fraction of retailers currently accept bitcoin payment directly. Critics have said merchants hesitate to expose themselves to the extremely volatility of the cryptocurrency market, as wild swings in bitcoin prices can quickly wipe out the profit margin of a sale.
In one swoop, Flexa is making a large number of retailers, including Whole Foods, Caribou Coffee, Jamba Juice and Crate and Barrel, accessible to cryptocurrency users for the first time. Flexa has said its ultimate goal is to allow users to use any cryptocurrency to pay any merchant.
"[N]either Gemini...nor Flexa...were able to get any of their own clients to confirm via email, yet alone talk on the record. Nevertheless, all evidence points to the fact that as of today, some of the largest and best known companies in the world are now accepting [these cryptocurrencies]," according to a Forbes report.
What's NextCryptocurrency investors and users alike will be watching closely to see how the Spedn app is received and when Flexa may expand its list of eligible cryptos and retailers.
After a disastrous year in 2018, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (Btc) (OTC: GBTC) has bounced back by 161.5 percent so far in 2019.
The United States Congressman Brad Sherman has some fears on the potential impact that cryptocurrency can have. In addition, in his mind, the speculation and concerns that surround Bitcoin are right on the money.
Now, the popular crypto figure Anthony Pompliano agrees with the US Congressman's worries.
Last week, Sherman called up his colleagues in Congress to draft a bill which banned cryptocurrencies which he thinks could undermine the nation's status as an economic powerhouse.
''Clearing through the New York Fed is critical for major oil and other transactions, and it is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have on Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.''
''So whether it is to disempower our foreign policy, our tax collection enforcement or our traditional law enforcement, the purposes of cryptocurrency, the advantage it has over sovereign currency, is solely to aid in the disempowerment of the United States and the rule of law.''
''While many people will claim Brad Sherman doesn't know what he is talking about, I would argue that his statement highlights that the Congressman knows exactly what is happening. He sees the increased probability that we are moving to a world where non-sovereign currencies are the default and it sounds like he is scared.
Mr. Sherman realizes that the United States, and other countries with major currencies, will lose considerable power if they are no longer in control. While his understanding of the technology's potential is accurate, it appears that the Congressman does not understand the improbability of being able to ban ownership of these decentralized digital currencies.''
Speaking in a blog post last week, Pompliano looked into Sherman's biggest donors which include financial service firms like Allied Wallet, which is a payment processor for credit cards and e-commerce merchants.
''Without digging too much, it is easy to see that Brad Sherman's top donors are likely to be the first companies disrupted when Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are successfully adopted on a global scale.
Additionally, Congressman Sherman is worried that global superpowers will have no response to Bitcoin's decentralized, immutable, non-censorable, and non-seizable advantages. He quite literally states that cryptocurrencies have an advantage over sovereign currencies (which is the first time a politician has admitted this publicly I believe).''
Next article US Congressman: ''Get rid of the SEC, let the Market Regulate Crypto''
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes his keynote speech during Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019.
Stephen Lam | Reuters
Facebook on Wednesday said it is loosening its ban on ads related to blockchain and cryptocurrency, allowing more businesses working on those technologies to promote their efforts on the social network.
Facebook first started blocking ads promoting cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings in January 2018 over concerns that users might be scammed by initial coin offerings offered by some crypto start-ups. The company loosened its ban in June to allow ads from advertisers who received prior written approval. Now, it is further rolling back the policy so that many types of ads will no longer require approval.
"We've listened to feedback and assessed the policy's effectiveness," Facebook said Wednesday in a blog post. "While we will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, starting today, we will narrow this policy to no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency."
The company has come under scrutiny over the wide reach of this policy over the past year.
In October, CNBC highlighted the ban's impact on Bloom, a San Francisco start-up that uses blockchain technology to help people keep control over their personal data online. Bloom had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to promote its services, but the saw all of its ads suddenly banned by the social network in October.
"It's good to see them (hopefully) evolve their stance on new technology that puts users in control of their data," said Shannon Wu of Bloom in a statement.
Facebook's rollback of this ban comes amid reports that the company is working on its own blockchain project. In December, Bloomberg reported that the company is building a so-called stablecoin that will allow WhatsApp users to send cryptocurrency payments to one another. Facebook has been in talks with dozens of financial firms and e-commerce companies to support the initiative, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.
WATCH: Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data '-- and cut them off
College Admissions Scam
Felicity Huffman to get at least four months in prison in college scam | Daily Mail Online
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli spent $500,000 getting their two daughters into USC, according to prosecutors
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli
Actress Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo are among the three most well known names on the list. They have two daughters, Olivia, 20, Isabella, 19, and Mossimo also has a son from a previous relationship. It is not clear which of their children is in college.
Olivia is a YouTube star who has amounted millions of fans online but she is also enrolled at USC, as is their 19-year-old daughter Isabella.
They allegedly paid $50,000 to get their oldest daughter into USC under the guise that she was a crew coxswain when in fact she does not row crew.
Felicity Huffman is accused of paying a $15,000 bribe to get her oldest daughter Sofia into USC
Huffman is best known for her role on Desperate Housewives.
She is married to fellow actor William H. Macy but he has not been charged in the indictment.
The pair have two daughters, Sofia, 18, and Georgia, 16.
Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to have her daughter's exam proctored by Mark Riddell.
Riddell was described by authorities as 'just a really smart guy' who would either sit tests for students, change their answers afterwards or help them actively while they took it in one of two test centers that was 'controlled' by the scheme's 'mastermind' Rick Singer.
Huffman allegedly used the scheme in December 2017 but the indictment does not specify how Riddell allegedly helped her daughter.
She considered using it for her youngest daughter, Georgia, but decided in the end that she did not need to, according to authorities.
THE COLLEGE PROFESSORS, COACHES AND 'MASTERMIND'
William Rick Singer, the 'mastermind'
Rick Singer ran The Key, a college preparation business
Singer is accused of leading the scam.
He led a college counseling program and, according to prosecutors, also ran a fake charity through which he funneled bribes.
The scam worked in two ways; he would have people come into the exam to correct students' answers and he also then bribed sports coaches to offer them scholarships, in some cases for sports they did not even play.
Singer cooperated with authorities as part of the investigation and continued taking bribes after he had been contacted by police.
Some of his conversations were recorded by police who obtained a wire tap to listen in. He is facing a maximum of 65 years behind bars and has pleaded guilty on all counts he was charged with.
It remains unclear if he will be given leniency given his cooperation.
Meredith is a women's soccer coach at Yale. In his bio on the college's website, he is heralded as the 'winningest' coach, with 24 seasons under his belt.
Riddell is the director of IMG Academy , a college entrance exam preparation company.
Rudolph Meredith, the women's soccer coach at Yale (left) and Mark Riddell, director of IMG Academy
Vandemoer is the head sailing coach at Stanford.
Ernst is the head of women's tennis at the University of Rhode Island.
He taught at Georgetown in the past and worked as a personal tennis coach for Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, while they were in the White House.
John Vandemoer (left) is the head sailing coach at Stanford. Gordie Ernst was Michelle Obama's private tennis coach when she was First Lady. He is now the head of women's tennis at the University of Rhode Island.
Homa H Zadeh is a professor at USC. He is the Associate Professor and Director, Advanced Education Program in Periodontology.
Center is the men's soccer coach at the University of Texas.
Homa H Zadeh (left) is a professor at USC. Michael Center (right) is the men's soccer coach at the University of Texas.
Heinel is the senior women's athletics director at USC. She is alleged to have accepted a $50,000 from Lori Loughlin and her husband, among others, for admitting fraudulent tests.
Janke is a former assistant soccer coach at USC. She allegedly took payment from Loughlin and her husband for their youngest daughter.
Donna Heinel (left) is the senior athletic director at USC. Laura Janke (right) is a former assistant soccer coach
Khosroshahin is the head women's soccer coach at USC.
Vavic is the head coach for the men's and women's water polo teams at USC.
Ali Khosroshahin (left) is the head of women's soccer at USC and Jovan Vavic is the head of the men's and women's water polo teams at USC
Dvorskiy is the president of the West Hollywood College Preparatory School and he worked at the West Hollywood Test Center where he turned a blind eye as the cheating happened for $10,000 at a time.
Williams worked as a test administrator at one of the test centers Singer told parents he 'controlled'. She was a teaching assistant for Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas.
McGlashan is a prolific private equity investor who is the founder and managing partner of the firm TPG Growth.
He is also at the helm of The Rise Fund, a social impact fund he launched with Bono.
Gregory and Marcia Abbott
New York couple Gregory and Marcia Abbott, 68 and 59, were also named.
Gregory Abbott is the founder and chairman of International Dispensing Corp., a successful food and beverage packaging company.
The couple, who have homes in New York City and Aspen, Colorado, allegedly paid a total of $125,000 to have someone take the ACT and SAT subject tests for their daughter so she could gain entrance to Duke University.
Bill McGlashan and Gregory Abbott are pictured
Abdelaziz stepped down as president and COO of Wynn Resorts in 2016.
He is accused of bribing Donna Heinel, the senior women's athletics director at USC, to recruit his daughter for the basketball team in 2017.
According to court documents, his daughter played high school basketball but was not gifted enough to get recruited as an athlete so he arranged for her to be one.
He then made a $300,000 'donation' to the fictitious charity run by 'ringleader' Rick Singer and then made monthly $20,000 payments directly to Heinel.
His daughter got into the college but never joined the basketball team, according to the documents.
In a phone call with the fixer, they said: 'I'm not going to tell the IRS anything about the fact that your $300,000 was paid to Donna-- Donna Heinel at USC to get [your daughter] into school even though she wasn't a legitimate basketball player at that level.'
Buckingham is the owner of the now defunct market research firm, Youth Intelligence. She sold the company in 2003.
She is charged in the scheme for allegedly paying $50,000 to have someone else take her son's ACT exam in July 2018 because he had tonsilitis.
Buckingham sent a handwriting sample for her son to a test taker and had him take a fake exam at home so he wouldn't know about the fraud, court documents indicate.
Gamal Abdelaziz, the president and COO of Wynn Resorts (left) and Jane Buckingham, the owner of the now defunct market research firm Youth Intelligence
Caplan is a financial attorney and partner at the firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City. He lives in Connecticut.
He allegedly paid $75,000 to have Singer arrange a proctor to corrected his daughter's answers after she took the ACT in November or December 2018.
Flaxman is the CEO, Co-founder, Crown Realty & Development, Inc, a real estate company based in Orange County.
Gordon Caplan (left) is a financial attorney and partner at the firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City. Robert Flaxman (right) is the CEO, Co-founder, Crown Realty & Development
Vineyard owner Huneeus owns a range of wines that are produced in Napa Valley.
He allegedly participated in both the college entrance exam cheating scheme and the college recruitment scheme for his daughter in 2017 and 2018 by conspiring to bribe Heinel and Jovan Vavic, the USC water polo coach, to facilitate his daughter's admission to USC as a purported water polo recruit, according to the indictment.
Elisabeth Kimmel is the former president of Midwest Television. She sold it in 2017 for $325million. Agustin Huneeus, whose family owns vineyards in Napa Valley, was also charged
Lis and Manuel Henriquez
Kimmel, of Las Vegas, Nevada, is the former president of Midwest Television. She sold it in 2017 for $325million.
She allegedly used the scheme to get her daughter into Georgetown and her son into USC by pretending the former was a tennis player and the latter was a pole vaulter.
Kimmel ultimately facilitated $475,000 in payments to KWF, according to the affidavit.
MacFarlane and his wife Christy are well known on the San Diego social and charity circuit.
He sits on the board of multiple companies and the family has their own trust but it is not exactly clear what he does.
Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez
Diane and Todd Blake
I-Hsin "Joey" Chen
Amy and Gregory Colburn
Peter Jan Sartorio
Bruce and Davina Isackson
Roe v Wade
Alyssa Milano's #SexStrike proves that women have had the right to avoid unwanted pregnancy all along - TheBlaze
On Monday's episode of "Pat Gray Unleashed," Pat Gray and Keith Malinak highlighted actress Alyssa Milano and her tweet that called for a #SexStrike over the weekend.
Milano, 46, took to Twitter on Friday, calling on her feminist sisters to unite under #SexStrike and join her in fighting against the recently passed "heartbeat" bill that was signed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R). The new law prohibits doctors from performing abortions once a heartbeat is detected.
Click here to watch the full episode.
"Friday night, we had some powerful 'tweetage' from Alyssa Milano," Pat began. "She is such an incredible activist and such a powerful strong person ... she had a brainstorm, a 'thought shower' if you will, that was second to none."
Milano's tweet said:
Image source: Twitter screenshot
According to Pat, Milano hadn't taken into consideration that her tweet effectively made the pro-life argument that conservatives had been making for years.
"She played right into the hands of the pro-life movement. I mean, how long have we said that, if you don't want to get pregnant, then don't have sex?" Pat asked. "Huh, what a concept."
Pat read some of the best replies to Milano's tweet. Watch the video below for details.
Download the podcast here.
Want more from Pat Gray?To enjoy more of Pat's biting analysis and signature wit as he restores common sense to a senseless world, subscribe to BlazeTV '-- the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.
Alabama abortion ban: Republican state senate passes most restrictive law in US | US news | The Guardian
Alabama's Republican-controlled state senate has passed a near-total ban on abortion, making it a crime to perform the procedure at any stage of pregnancy.
The abortion ban is the strictest in the US, and allows an exception only when the woman's health is at serious risk.
The measure contains no exception for rape and incest. The bill now moves to the desk of Alabama's Republican governor, Kay Ivey, who is anti-abortion, and is expected to sign it.
Civil rights groups have pledged to immediately challenge the ban in courts, which would mean abortion would remain legal in the state for now. But this sets up a fierce legal battle that anti-abortion campaigners hope will lead to the supreme court, and eventually result in overturning Roe vs Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
The Alabama legislation, which passed by a vote of 25-6 on Tuesday night, makes it a class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in the state, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison. Women would not face criminal penalties for getting an abortion.
Alabama's move goes further than any other state has to restrict abortion, but marks the latest stage in a growing push against women's reproductive rights in the US. Other states including neighboring Georgia, have instituted bans on abortion after about six weeks into pregnancy, so early into gestation that many women may not yet know they are pregnant. These are also being challenged in the courts.
The bill is part of a trend across the US in which Republican-controlled states are attempting to put new restrictions on abortion, gambling that they will fare better in the courts following the confirmation of new federal judges and supreme court justices picked by the Trump administration.
The Alabama vote came after a battle broke out over whether to allow legal abortions for women who become pregnant due to rape or incest, an issue that divided Republicans who otherwise supported outlawing abortion.
Last week, chaos erupted on the floor of the Alabama state senate when Republican leaders stripped out the rape exception without a roll call vote, leading the final vote to be postponed. It got a full vote on Tuesday, but ultimately failed.
Anger erupts in Alabama senate over rape and incest exceptions to abortion bill '' videoOn Tuesday, lawmakers approved the legislation after a debate that stretched more than four hours on Tuesday, where minority Democrats introduced a slew of amendments in an attempt to block it.
''You don't have to raise that child. You don't have to carry that child. You don't have to provide for that child. You don't have to do anything for that child, but yet you want to make the decision for that woman,'' the state senator Vivian Davis Figures told the bill's proponents.
She introduced amendments that would require the state to expand Medicaid, force legislators who vote for the measure to pay the state's legal bills, or make it a crime for men to get vasectomies. All failed.
Figures questioned the backers' resistance to adding an exception for rape and incest. ''Do you know what it's like to be raped?'' she said. ''Why would you not want a woman to at least have that exception for such a horrific act?''
The legislation is poised for an immediate legal challenge and to be overturned at least by the lower courts.
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood ''will file a lawsuit to stop this unconstitutional ban and protect every woman's right to make her own choice about her healthcare, her body, and her future. This bill will not take effect anytime in the near future, and abortion will remain a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama,'' the ACLU of Alabama said on Tuesday.
''Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote,'' said Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, in a statement. ''In the coming days we will be mounting the fight of our lives '' we will take this to court and ensure abortion remains safe and legal.''
Backers of the ban are hoping the fight will go all the way to the supreme court, which ruled in the 1973 Roe v Wade case that women must be allowed to get abortions up to the point where the fetus can survive outside the womb.
''Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that's when we as government have to step in,'' said the state senator Clyde Chambliss. ''When God creates that life, that miracle of life inside the woman's womb, it's not our place as humans to extinguish that life. That's what I believe.''
The bill's architects resisted the rape exception, saying they wanted a clean ban to present to the courts, and believed exceptions would violate the principle that an unborn child is a human life.
Opponents said the bill's backers would squander public money defending a ban that will likely be struck down. ''Alabama taxpayers are going to be footing the bill for this unconstitutional action,'' said the state senator Linda Coleman-Madison. But Chambliss said the cost was worth it if the legislation is able to prevent abortions. ''That's pennies per baby,'' he said.
Opponents predict the legislation will drive doctors to leave Alabama, which already has some of the highest rates of infant mortality and cervical cancer.
Outside the Alabama statehouse, protesters wore costumes from The Handmaid's Tale and carried signs, one reading: ''Alabama does not own me.''
Pro-choice supporters protest against Alabama's abortion ban - videoRepublicans, who have a super-majority in the chamber, carried the vote by a large margin, but the debate was dominated by Democrats objecting to the legislation, while few supporters spoke out on the floor.
The Senate minority leader, Bobby Singleton, launched a filibuster in an effort to delay the vote, until Republicans approved a motion to end debate. ''You just raped the state of Alabama,'' he said. ''The state of Alabama ought to be ashamed of itself.'' The message to women, he added, is: ''We're just going to continue to kick 'em in the gut.''
As the vote was called, he concluded: ''I would just like to say to all the women of the state of Alabama, I'm sorry.''
DateChamberAction 2019-05-14SenateJudiciary first Amendment Offered 2019-05-14HouseForwarded to Executive Department 2019-05-14HouseEnrolled 2019-05-14HousePassed Second House 2019-05-14SenateChambliss motion to Reconsider and Table adopted Roll Call 720 2019-05-14SenateMotion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 719 2019-05-14SenateRules Committee Petition to Cease Debate adopted Roll Call 718 2019-05-14SenateSingleton motion to Adopt lost Roll Call 717 2019-05-14SenateSingleton Amendment Offered 2019-05-14SenateSmitherman motion to Adopt lost Roll Call 716 2019-05-14SenateSmitherman Amendment Offered 2019-05-14SenateColeman-Madison motion to Adopt lost Roll Call 715 2019-05-14SenateColeman-Madison Amendment Offered 2019-05-14SenateFigures motion to Adopt lost Roll Call 714 2019-05-14SenateFigures Amendment Offered 2019-05-14SenateFigures motion to Adopt lost Roll Call 713 2019-05-14SenateFigures Amendment Offered 2019-05-14SenateFigures motion to Adopt lost Roll Call 712 2019-05-14SenateFigures Amendment Offered 2019-05-14SenateThird Reading Passed 2019-05-09SenateMarsh motion to Carry Over to the Call of the Chair adopted Voice Vote 2019-05-09SenateChambliss motion to Table adopted Voice Vote 2019-05-09SenateJudiciary Amendment Offered 2019-05-09SenateThird Reading Carried Over to Call of the Chair 2019-05-08SenateRead for the second time and placed on the calendar 1 amendment 2019-05-02SenateRead for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary 2019-04-30HouseSells intended to vote "Yea" 2019-04-30HouseMotion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 425 2019-04-30HouseRogers motion to Carry Over to Day Certain lost Roll Call 424 2019-04-30HouseScott intended to vote "Nay" 2019-04-30HouseCollins motion to Table adopted Roll Call 423 2019-04-30HouseColeman Amendment Offered 2019-04-30HouseCollins motion to Table adopted Roll Call 422 2019-04-30HouseDaniels Amendment Offered 2019-04-30HouseThird Reading Passed 2019-04-18HouseRead for the second time and placed on the calendar 2019-04-03HouseRereferred from Judy to Health 2019-04-02HouseRead for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Judiciary
Kirsten Gillibrand Blames Her Campaign's Failures on "Gender Bias"
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became one of the first Democrats to jump into the 2020 presidential race earlier this year. She started with a large war chest left over from her successful Senate runs in 2012 and 2018, and hoped to capitalize on the historic 2018 election that saw a record number of women elected to the U.S. House.
She first formed an exploratory committee in January, and visited several key states around the country. But by the time she formally announced her candidacy in March, the field already had 13 candidates.
Now, the Democrats have over 20 candidates with more expected to enter.
Through it all, she has experienced disappointing fundraising and polling numbers. Seriously. If you look at the history of 2020 presidential polling, she's not even at a 1% average over a period of several months.
She's now in danger of not even meeting the Democratic party's minimum requirements to qualify for the first debate, which is scheduled to take place in late June.
With her campaign failing to gain traction in the media coverage wars, and her lackluster fundraising and polling numbers for the last five months, what has Gillibrand decided to do? Blame ''gender bias,'' as CNN's Dan Merica reported in a puff piece published on Sunday from the campaign trail in New Hampshire:
''My [2006 Congressional] opponent never took me seriously,'' she said at a coffee shop in Derry. ''Which is why I know I am going to beat Trump, because he is not going to take me seriously.''
Gillibrand, in an interview after the event, let out a hearty ''yeah'' when asked if she felt she was currently being underestimated in the race for the Democratic nomination.
''I think it's just gender bias. I think people are generally biased against women. I think also biased against young women,'' she said. ''There's just bias and it's real and it exists, but you have to overcome it.''
The frustration has clearly set in for Gillibrand, because just a few weeks ago she gave a more measured response on the ''why'' question:
''Why do you think white male candidates are doing better than any of the women candidates?'' [MSNBC's Andrea] Mitchell asked Gillibrand, one of several female senators running for president.
''Well, I don't know, but this is a marathon and not a sprint,'' Gillibrand replied. ''And I know that I have a vision for this country and the experience to actually get it done and a plan to get it done.''
Gillibrand and any other female candidate running for president who believes their gender has held them back from higher polling numbers among their base voters at this point have very short memories. Hillary Clinton, of course, won the Democratic nomination in 2016 and came very close to winning the nomination in 2008.
Clearly, the glass ceiling on a woman winning a major party's presidential nomination no longer exists.
And as I noted earlier, women candidates (most of them Democrats) won Congressional races all over the country last November, even in some areas that had a more reliably Republican rating than Democrat. Not only that, but a few male candidates have numbers at or near Gillibrand's. What would she blame their campaign failures on since the ''man card'' is off the table?
To the extent there is any gender bias in 2019 when it comes to choosing a candidate, it is mostly negligible, especially at the presidential level. It's just inexcusable '' not to mention embarrassing '' for any female presidential candidate at this point in America's history to default to the woman card when their campaigns aren't headed in the right direction.
Why not engage in some campaign introspection and fine-tune areas that need some work, instead of taking the ''it's not me, it's them'' approach?
If Gillibrand thinks her ''blame the voter'' game is going to win over converts, she's in for a rude awakening.
'-- Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym ''Sister Toldjah'' and can be reached via Twitter. '--
'Reboot' Beto O'Rourke is mocked on social media for live-streaming footage of his own haircut | Daily Mail Online
Democratic Presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke was ridiculed on social media for live-streaming a 'weird' 20-minute video showing him getting a haircut during a campaign stop in Texas.
The former Texas congressman, 46, made a stop at Chema's Barber Shop in El Paso as an assistant live-streamed footage of him in a barber's chair as indulged in some personal grooming.
And what came next made for awkward viewing as he made chitchat with the barber in Spanish and had to introduce himself to another customer who failed to recognize him.
His latest attempt at branding himself as a man of the people came just one day after claiming he regretted launching his 2020 election campaign on the cover of Vanity Fair, and said the move reinforced his 'privilege.'
Democratic Presidential Beto O'Rourke was ridiculed on social media for live-streaming a 'weird' 20-minute video showing him getting a haircut during a campaign stop in Texas
The video showed him speaking in Spanish with the barber named Manuel along with another man who entered the shop.
At one point in the live-stream another customer strolled in and said he recognized O'Rourke, but did not know who he was. The Texas Democrat explained to the man that he is running for president.
The former Congressman also took questions from viewers during the stream, before eventually discussing his education reform platform.
He made an attempt at humor when the barber appeared to trim some of his ear hair, with the politician explaining: 'We're cutting out some of this ear hair that you get when you get older. It grows out of your ears, and if you don't get it cut, it can be nasty.'
To fill the awkward silences, O'Rourke gave an update on his three children, explaining that his daughter Molly was taking a standardized test.
He went on to say that his son Ulysses has a basketball game Wednesday night, and his son Henry has a baseball game coming up, with the children expected to finish up in school in a couple of weeks.
He claimed he was 'doing an impromptu town hall at Chema's', as his assistant asked him to tell viewers what was going on.
O'Rourke then falls silent as the barber gives him a back massage with an electric device.
The-father-of three could've been mistaken for a weatherman at the end of the clip as he exited to the store, giving viewers a virtual tour of El Paso landmarks and an update on the warm temperatures in the Texas city.
In the 20-minute clip which was live-streamed on Facebook, O'Rourke chatted in Spanish to Manuel, the owner of Chema's Barber Shop in El Paso, as he stopped intermittently to answer questions posted from Facebook users
Another barber shop patron came over and spoke to O'Rourke as he said he liked El Paso and claimed he was using the exchange as an 'impromptu town hall stop'
O'Rourke has frequently live-streamed events to try to connect with voters, using the platforms to talk to his social media followers directly during his unsuccessful bid to beat Texas Senator Ted Cruz last year.
It also wasn't the first time O'Rourke gave voters an insight into his daily life, with the 2020 hopeful posting a live-stream video of a visit to the dentist back in January.
As could be expected, the video clip posted via his Facebook campaign page was mercilessly mocked on social media, with people branding him 'egotistical'.
One Twittter user named @126 wrote: 'Beto O'Rourke live streaming his haircut is 2020's saddest moment.'
Manuel the barber then videoed O'Rourke as he said hello in Spanish to his children
The end of the clip saw the Former Texas Congressman leave the shop and give viewers an update on the weather and a look at El Paso landmarks in the vicinity of the store
MAGABattaram wrote: 'Beto O'Rourke live-streaming a haircut. Was he pandering in Spanish? No one cares!'
A user named Ken tweeted: 'Really, how corny..Next, I suppose it will be you live-streaming your colonoscopy.'
@GDBlackmon claimed: 'So, to "reboot" his failing campaign, Beto O'Rourke live-streamed himself getting a haircut and having a massage today.
'I kid you not - nobody could possibly make this stuff up.'
Jonathan Williams said: 'I guess the campaign trail is already taking a toll on @BetoORourke, he has turned into Kevin Nealon... And whoever is advising his campaign and thought it would be a good idea to live-stream a haircut should be fired immediately.
As could be expected, the video clip posted via his Facebook campaign page was mercilessly mocked on social media, with people branding him 'egotistical' and questioning his campaign adviser's style of public relations
SusanW, using the name @gswickes, claimed O'Rourke should focus on his policy strategy instead of spending so much time behind the cameras.
She tweeted: 'This is just nonsense! A haircut?#!#! @BetoORourke turn off the cameras or you will just me another #egotistical leader! ''It's all about me!''
Austinb172 wrote: 'Hate to have to tell you this @BetoORourke but we care about your policies, not your haircuts. And frankly, you're lacking any substance in both.'
@Ryon claimed: 'I'm a supporter but stop doing weird/stupid stuff if you are running for President. Get a grip!!!'
However some people on Facebook praised the 2020 frontrunner and cheered the livestream. 'We need you Beto,' one Facebook user said. 'Lets go Beto,' another said in the comments section of the Live-stream.
O'Rourke launched his campaign in the April issue of Vanity Fair, and the cover story was titled 'Beto's Choice: His road to 2020 begins.' In the article, O'Rourke said he was born to be president. He faced a backlash for the comments he made
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump attacked some of the 2020 Democratic contenders and singled out O'Rourke's attempt to restart his campaign.
He made a joke of O'Rourke's appearance on Monday in the second half of Rachel Maddow's MSNBC program.
'What the hell happened? Remember about four weeks ago he said, "I was made for this." He was made for it! He was made to fall like a rock,' Trump mocked.
'Political geniuses, when you have to restart your campaign, history has said that that does not work out well, right?' he asked.
O'Rourke faced backlash for the mode in which he decided to announce his candidacy, revealed during his Vanity Fair interview for the April issue that he was running for president and was 'just born to be in it'.
O'Rourke later admitted that launching his campaign in Vanity Fair was a mistake and that it 'reinforced the perception of privilege.'
It wasn't the first time O'Rourke gave voters an insight into his daily life, with the 2020 hopeful posting a live-stream video of a visit to the dentist back in January
'You can probably tell that I want to run,' he said. 'I do. I think I'd be good at it.'
'I want to be in it. Man, I'm just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment,' O'Rourke told the magazine.
However he later admitted the interview was a mistake and that it 'reinforced the perception of privilege.'
He claimed: 'Yeah, I think it reinforces that perception of privilege,' O'Rourke said when appearing on The View after co-host Joy Behar asked if it was a mistake and 'elitist' to appear on the cover of the magazine.
'In the article I was attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service,' Beto said in reference to claims that in the interview with Vanity Fair he said he was born to be president.
During the video, O'Rourke gave an update on how his three children, Molly, Ulysses and Henry were, claiming they were looking forward to the summer holidays
'No one is born to be president of the United States of America, least of all me.'
O'Rourke also said that if he were to earn the Democratic nomination, he would be 'fortunate' to run on the same ticket as Stacey Abrams.
'There are a number of women who aren't running, who may run, including Stacey Abrams, who is a real hero to me. The grace with which she met that defeat on an unfair, unlevel playing field for the secretary of state, perhaps rigging in part that election.
'Her focus on democracy forum, a new voting rights act, ensuring that every single vote counts in this country, is inspiring stuff at a time that our democracy is so badly broken,' O'Rourke said when asked about the prospect of Abrams running as his Vice President.
STEM School Shooting
The Mexican father of alleged Colorado school shooter Alec McKinney, 16, was jailed for domestic vio
Jose Evis Quintana, 33, was jailed for 15 months for domestic violence against McKinney's mother Morgan Lynn McKinney and 'menacing with a weapon'The father of one of the alleged STEM School Highlands Ranch shooters in Colorado is a serial felon and illegal immigrant from Mexico, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Jose Evis Quintana, the father of alleged 16-year-old killer Alec McKinney was once jailed for 15 months for domestic violence against Alec's mother and 'menacing with a weapon'.'--More'...
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Father of Colorado school shooter Alec McKinney is serial felon and illegal immigrant | Daily Mail Online
Jose Evis Quintana's mugshot on April 17 2017 when he was arrested and deported to Mexico from Castle Rock, Colorado
The father of one of the alleged STEM School Highlands Ranch shooters in Colorado is a serial felon and illegal immigrant from Mexico, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Jose Evis Quintana, the father of alleged 16-year-old killer Alec McKinney was once jailed for 15 months for domestic violence against Alec's mother and 'menacing with a weapon'.
McKinney has been charged alongside his friend Devon Erickson of killing one student and injuring eight others at the school close to Denver, Colorado.
Records show Quintana, 33, who was also deported twice, had a string of arrests in Colorado dating from 2008 to 2017.
Court papers show that despite Quintana terrorizing Alec's mother Morgan Lynn McKinney, 32, he managed to convince her to marry him in 2009, a year before he was first deported.
Quintana, 33, who admitted to having a history of drink and drug problems, was sent back to his native Mexico on December 9, 2010.
Alec had posted a message on social media about missing his father, just 11 days before the Tuesday May 7 shooting allegedly committed by McKinney and 18-year-old Erickson.
Alec McKinney (above) wrote about missing his father just 11 days before allegedly shooting eight students and killing another at STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7
Transgender McKinney, who was born a girl called Mya, had turned 16 on April 14 and wrote on twitter on April 26: 'My mom talking to me about how she hates the new alec. Mom: I miss my Alec can you find him for me. Me: I miss my dad can you find him for me.'
Records at Douglas County District Court in Castle Rock, Colorado show Quintana had been jailed for 15 months in August 2009 for 'menacing with a weapon' and domestic violence against hairstylist Morgan.
Morgan McKinney (above) was terrorized by husband Jose Evis Quintana
Quintana and Morgan had Alec, born Mya Elizabeth, on April 14, 2003.
In January 2007 the couple had a son and in July 2008 they had a daughter.
But just two months later, on August 22, 2008, 5ft 10ins tall Quintana was charged with attempting to kidnap, 'menacing with a weapon', and failing to stop for police.
He was jailed on February 3, 2009, pending his trial, when he failed to see a court official.
Court papers said Quintana 'wishes to stay in custody since he has a problem with drugs and alcohol'.
The court agreed and also allowed Quintana to have supervised visits with Alec and his siblings in jail, on condition Morgan was not present.
On July 29, 2009, with Quintana in jail pending his trial, Morgan successfully gained permanent custody of their three children.
On September 2009, Quintana was sentenced to 15 months in prison when all the charges against him, apart from 'menacing' Morgan with a weapon, were dropped. He was also ordered to undergo domestic violence counseling.
Alec McKinney posted missing his father on April 26, just 11 days before allegedly shooting students at STEM High School Highlands Ranch near Denver, Colorado
Alec McKinney and his friend Devon Erickson are accused of injuring eight students and killing another on May 7 at STEM High School
Jose Evis Quintana appears in mugshots provided by Douglas County Sheriff's office in Castle Rock, Colorado. The above left is undated but the above right was in August 15, 2009 when he was arrested for breaking a protection order, a domestic violence offence and sent to jail
Jose Evis Quintana appears in undated mugshots provided by Douglas County Sheriff's office in Castle Rock, Colorado
Jose Evis Quintana appears in mugshots. The above left, from Douglas County Sheriff's office in Castle Rock, Colorado is undated but the above right, from Colorado Department of Corrections was taken on November 16, 2010 while he served his 15 month sentence for menacing with a weapon. He was deported to Mexico on December 9, 2010
Despite the sentence and the crimes Quintana committed against her, Morgan married Quintana in Castle Rock on November 28, 2009.
Qintana was then deported and sent back to Mexico on December 9, 2010.
In divorce papers filed by Morgan on November 19, 2014, Morgan described how Quintana 'has been traveling illegally between Colorado and Mexico' since the deportation.
Morgan was never able to serve her husband with papers but the court granted her a divorce on May 11, 2015.
On December 27, 2016, police in Castle Rock learned a warrant had been issued against Quintana in New Mexico for domestic violence.
They found him at a house in Castle Rock and arrested him for being a fugitive from justice. He was jailed pending his extradition to New Mexico.
Alleged school shooter Alec McKinney (right) with mother Morgan McKinney (left) in 2018
Quintana never made it to New Mexico. On April 21, 2017, he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported.
On July 4, 2017, Alec posted on his twitter account 'And I wonder why my dad left'.
Alec may have been the victim of bullying at the school. On January 25, 2019, he posted on twitter: 'F**K stem kids i swear to f*****g god.'
It has been revealed five months before the shooting, a district official urged the school's executive director Penelope Eucker to investigate allegations made by a mother who was concerned that student bullying could lead to the next 'Columbine'.
The December 19 letter said the anonymous parent had raised 'concerns about student violence due to a high-pressure environment'.
It added that the mother had told Douglas County School Board of Education Director Wendy Vogel by telephone that 'many students are suicidal and violent in school. Several students have reported sexual assault and nothing is being done.'
On July 4, 2017, Alec McKinney wrote about his father leaving. Jose Evis Quintana had been deported by ICE agents on April 21 2017
Alec McKinney, who was transgender, complained about students at STEM High School Highlands Ranch
The letter referenced an alleged bomb threat and 'an extremely high drug culture at STEM.
The parent had said she was worried about a repeat of what happened at Columbine High School, where 12 students and one teacher were killed, about five miles northwest of the STEM school.
Alleged school shooter Alec McKinney and Devon Erickson will appear in court on May 15
JOSE EVIS QUINTANA'S CRIMINAL HISTORY August 22, 2008 - Arrested by Douglas County Sheriff's in Castle Rock, Colorado for kidnapping, menacing with a weapon, evading police in a car, and driving without a valid license. He is released on bail
December 15, 2008 - Arrested for breaking bail conditions and held in custody
January 26, 2009 - Released on bail
February 2, 2009 - Arrested for failing to speak to court staff. He is jailed again
May 4, 2009 - He is released from prison with a protection order
July 10, 2009 - Arrested for breaking the protection order, a domestic violence offence, he is sent back to jail
September 11, 2009 - All charges bar menacing with a weapon are dropped and after pleading guilty he serves 15 months in prison
December 9, 2010 - He is deported to Mexico
December 27, 2016 - Douglas County Sheriff's Department are alerted he is wanted as a fugitive for a domestic violence crime in New Mexico. They arrest him in Castle Rock
April 21, 2017 - Fighting extradition to New Mexico, ICE agents deport him to Mexico
It had been the 25th anniversary for the Columbine massacre on April 20 this year.
The school hired a lawyer and told parents on February 1 it was looking at taking legal action against the unnamed mother who had made the accusations.
In an interview with CNN, the mother, who still wanted to remain anonymous pending legal action, said: 'When you don't listen to parents' concerns, when you don't support teachers' concerns, when you don't give teachers the kind of training that they need or the support that they need.
'Those are the elements that we need for the perfect storm, for something like a Columbine, or some kind of imminent threat to our children's safety in the school, whether it be a bomb or an active shooter, or a suicide.'
It is unclear what may have spurred Erickson, a keen drama student, to allegedly kill his classmates.
Friends told DailyMail.com he had recently split up from a girlfriend.
He was a keen fan of the television zombie show The Walking Dead. In 2014 he told friends he had applied for a role on the series and said his idol was actor Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl Grimes.
Just hours before Tuesday's attack Erickson and McKinney allegedly broke into the gun cabinet at Erickson's parents home.
At 150pm local time, they entered the middle school portion of the K-12 academy and began shooting.
Alleged school shooter Alec McKinney (left), then six, when he identified as daughter Mya, with mother Morgan McKinney (left) in April 2009
Students managed to overpower them but not before the pair had shot eight and killed Kendrick Castillo, an 18-year-old student who had attempted to stop them.
Erickson and McKinney are due in Douglas County District Court in Castle Rock on Wednesday May 15.
Vietnam culls 1.2 million pigs as African swine fever spreads nationwide | News | The Mighty 790 KFGO
HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam has culled more than 1.2 million farmed pigs infected with African swine fever, the government said on Monday, as the virus continues to spread rapidly in the Southeast Asian country.
Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 95 million people where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.
The virus was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to 29 provinces, including Dong Nai, which supplies around 40% of the pork consumed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's southern economic hub.
"The risk of the virus spreading further is very high and the evolution of the outbreak is complicated," the government said in a statement.
It said many provinces had failed to detect outbreaks and cull infected pigs properly due to a lack of funds and the space needed for burying the dead pigs.
The disease, which is harmless to humans but incurable in pigs, has also spread quickly across neighboring China.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in March advised Vietnam to declare the swine fever outbreak as a national emergency.
(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by James Pearson and Joseph Radford)
Vietnam to mobilize military in fight against African swine fever | Living | The Telegram
HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam said it will mobilize its military and police forces to help combat the outbreak of African swine fever that has already resulted in the culling of about 4% of the country's pig herd.
The virus, first detected in the Southeast Asian country in February, has hit farms in 29 provinces, and prompted the authorities to cull more than 1.2 million pigs.
"Soon, soldiers and policemen will take part in efforts to make sure infected pigs are culled in a timely manner, keeping the outbreak from spreading further," the state-run Tien Phong newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing Vietnam's deputy agriculture minister, Phung Duc Tien.
According to the report, Tien said police will launch an investigation into cases, where local authorities have failed to properly handle the outbreak.
"Vietnam had never faced such a dangerous, complicated and costly disease outbreak in its husbandry industry," agriculture minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said at a conference in Hanoi on Monday.
Many provinces had failed to detect outbreaks and cull infected pigs properly due to the lack of funds and space required for burying the dead pigs, the government said on Monday.
Pork accounts for three-quarters of the total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 95 million people, where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.
The disease, which is harmless to humans but incurable in pigs, has also spread quickly across neighboring China, the world's top pork producer.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in March advised Vietnam to declare the swine fever outbreak as a national emergency.
(Reporting by Khanh Vu, Editing by James Pearson and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
Woman is beaten to death with electric Bird scooter in Long Beach - Los Angeles Times
A man was arrested Monday in connection with the death of a 63-year-old woman who was bludgeoned with an electric Bird scooter, Long Beach police said.
Authorities say Rosa Hernandez of Long Beach was assaulted as she walked down the sidewalk in the 3100 block of East 64th Street. At one point during the attack, the suspect picked up the electric motorized scooter and used it as a weapon to bludgeon the woman. Authorities don't believe the attacker and woman knew each other.
Hernandez died at the scene.
The attacker was described as wearing a hooded sweatshirt and red shoes. He was found at a business within four hours of the attack and booked on suspicion of murder.
Police declined to release his name until records can confirm it. He is being held in lieu of $2-million bail.
Bird said in a statement that the company is deeply saddened by the act of violence.
''Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victim and her family,'' the company said. ''We will work with local law enforcement to help with the investigation into this tragedy."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Hams will save the world
Thanks to you and the encouragement of a few of my friends
who are HAMS I just got my Technician license.
Amazon offers employees $10K and 3 months' pay to start their own delivery businesses | TechCrunch
Following news of Amazon's plans to reduce Prime shipping down to one day, the company this morning announced an expansion of its Delivery Service Partner program, which now includes a new incentive that encourages existing Amazon employees to start their own package delivery company. The partner program, first announced last year, includes access to Amazon's delivery technology, hands-on training and a suite of other discounts for assets and services like vehicle leasing and insurance. For employees, it now includes a $10,000 incentive, too.
The retailer says it will fund startup costs up to $10,000, as well as the equivalent of three months of the former employee's last gross salary, to give the employees the ability to get their new business off the ground without worrying about a break in pay.
Amazon said last year that people were able to start their own delivery business with only $10,000. At the time, military veterans were able to get that $10K reimbursed, as Amazon was investing a million into a program that funded their startup costs.
The new incentive to do the same for any employee '-- and offer them three months' pay on top of that '-- is a much broader commitment. And it's one that makes sense, given Amazon's lofty ambitions to double the speed of its shipments.
Employees '-- or any other entrepreneur '-- who wants to become a delivery partner, are able to lease customized blue delivery vans with the Amazon smile logo on the side, and take advantage of other discounts, including fuel, insurance, branded uniforms and more.
Before the launch of the partner program, Amazon had relied on its Amazon Flex crowdsourced workforce to help it deliver packages to help it reduce costs. But these gig workers often faced too much uncertainty with regard to their pay because of things like fluctuating gas prices that cut into profits, lack of insurance and the general logistical challenges that come from trying to deliver packages from a smaller, unbranded personal vehicle.
Delivery partners, meanwhile, could earn as much as $300,000 in annual profit by growing their fleet to 40 vehicles, Amazon claims. The company said last year it expected that hundreds of small business owners will come to hire tens of thousands of drivers across the U.S.
That is already happening. Since the launch of the program in June 2018, more than 200 small businesses have hired ''thousands'' of local drivers, Amazon says this morning. It expects to add hundreds more small businesses this year, as well.
The incentive to employees also comes at a time when Amazon is increasing automation in its warehouses that will potentially put some workers out of jobs. A report from Reuters this morning noted that Amazon is rolling out machines that will automate a job that's currently held by thousands of workers: boxing customer orders. Some of these workers could be candidates for the delivery partner program now, given they may be looking for what's next '-- before they're laid off.
For Amazon, the funds it's investing today to help employees transition to this new business could be recouped over time as the retailer reduces its reliance on USPS, UPS and FedEx by shifting more of its business over to its own delivery network where it has control. In the near-term, however, all of Amazon's delivery partners will benefit from its plans to spend $800 million to make one-day shipping the new Prime default.
The employee incentives are available in the U.S., the U.K. and Spain.
VIDEO - FBI tells DeSantis Russians hacked 2 Florida counties
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two Florida counties were hacked by Russians prior to the 2016 elections, but there was no ''manipulation'' of voting results, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Tuesday morning.
DeSantis said the FBI recently briefed the governor and other members of his administration on what he called an ''intrusion'' into the two unidentified counties.
''There was no manipulation, or anything, but there was voter data that was able to be got,'' DeSantis said. ''Now, that voter data I think was public anyway. Nevertheless, those were intrusions. It did not affect any voting, or anything like that.''
The meeting at the FBI offices in Tallahassee, which did not appear on DeSantis' public schedule, came following last month's release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report that said a Russian intelligence agency gained access to at least one Florida county-government computer network in 2016.
Others who attended the Friday meeting were officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and DeSantis' chief of staff, Shane Strum, the governor said. DeSantis said he could not identify the counties because he signed a non-disclosure agreement, at the FBI's request.
DeSantis said he was frustrated that the FBI did not immediately provide additional information about the hacks after Mueller's report was released. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who was governor at the time of the voting-related breach, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio have expressed similar frustration.
''We are trying to figure out what the state knew at the time,'' DeSantis said Tuesday.
DeSantis said the FBI told him there were ''state agents on a task force who had access to some of this information.''
''Obviously the previous administration and the FDLE did not have that information. So we're trying to figure out what was the breakdown. Was it that FBI didn't want to share, or was it just simply that the information didn't get reported up. So we hopefully will be able to run that aground pretty soon,'' DeSantis said.
DeSantis, who took office in January, said he was never told about the intrusion, either by federal officials, or by his predecessor, Scott.
''No one ever said anything to me. Granted, I took office in 2019. This happened in 2016. So I get why the FBI wouldn't necessarily rush to tell me something that happened several years ago. But it was the position of people who were in the agencies at the time, and who are still serving, that the FBI did not brief them on this and that this was not something that they knew was going on. The FBI's position is that there were members on the FBI task force who had access to some of the information,'' he said.
The hackers used ''spearfishing'' through emails to access voter files, DeSantis said.
''Someone clicked on it, so someone was able to get access to things, but nothing that affected the vote count. I was pleased to hear from both the FBI and DHS during that meeting that Florida is one of the most engaged states in the country on election security, in their judgment,'' he said.
The two unnamed Florida counties had been working with the FBI prior to the 2016 election, according to the governor.
After the release of Mueller's report last month, officials with the Florida Department of State said federal officials told them in 2017 that hackers had unsuccessfully targeted Florida in 2016. The Department of State was unable to verify the intrusion, however.
''Upon learning of the new information released in the Mueller report, the department immediately reached out to the FBI to inquire which county may have been accessed, and they declined to share this information with us,'' Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell said in a prepared on April 18. ''The department maintains that the 2016 elections in Florida were not hacked. The Florida Voter Registration System was and remains secure, and official results or vote tallies were not changed.''
According to the Mueller report, the FBI believed the Russian spearfishing operation ''enabled the GRU (a Russian intelligence agency) to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.''
The election-related hacking became an issue last year in Scott's successful bid to unseat long-serving U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Nelson, a Democrat, told reporters that ''Russians are in Florida's election records,'' but he refused to elaborate.
Scott repeatedly criticized Nelson's comment, demanding that the Democrat reveal how he received the information or admit it wasn't true. At the time, Nelson was the ranking member of the U.S. Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Cybersecurity.
Nelson told reporters last summer that local election officials could get help to secure their databases and records from Russian cyber-hacking, noting the Russians had ''penetrated'' some voter-registration systems.
DeSantis on Tuesday said the cyber threats go far beyond elections offices.
''Really, agencies, private sector, this stuff is very, very significant, in terms of what it could affect, far beyond just this,'' he said.
DeSantis acknowledged that ''core information'' regarding elections is ''very sensitive," but said he disagreed with the secrecy involving the identification of the counties.
''I think it should be named,'' he said.
As part of the budget that awaits DeSantis' action, county election supervisors would be able to draw from a $2.8 million grant to continue cybersecurity improvements in advance of next year's presidential election. County supervisors, in part, would be required to provide detailed descriptions of the programs being implemented.
DeSantis said he was confident that Florida's 2020 elections would be secure.
''Obviously, for me, my main concern is that people go in, they vote, the vote gets counted and we have a fair result," he said. ''DHS has said we've taken good action. '... Look, we obviously want to protect against any intrusion, but if something happens like that, there's not a way to then get into what I would consider core election infrastructure.''
Copyright WJXT and News Service of Florida. All rights reserved.
VIDEO - Superheroes Among Recruits For CIA Jobs : NPR
The CIA had a booth at the recent Awesome Con gathering for movie and comic book superheroes in Washington. It's one quirky example of the way the spy agency is reaching out to a broader potential pool of recruits. Greg Myre/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Greg Myre/NPR The CIA had a booth at the recent Awesome Con gathering for movie and comic book superheroes in Washington. It's one quirky example of the way the spy agency is reaching out to a broader potential pool of recruits.
Greg Myre/NPR At a superhero extravaganza in Washington, comic book fans dressed the part. No matter which way you turned, middle-aged men were in Batman costumes.
Not exactly the place you'd expect a CIA discussion on recruiting foreign spies. And yet CIA staff historian Randy Burkett, wearing khakis and a polo shirt with the CIA logo, was doing exactly that.
"We came up with this game," explained Burkett, who handed out copies of an actual letter Albert Einstein sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 warning about early Nazi efforts on an atomic bomb.
Einstein was already in the U.S. by this time. But for this game, the twist was to pretend he was still in Nazi Germany and figure out how to recruit him '-- without getting him arrested or killed.
A man dressed as the Joker explained: "Clearly a stable individual, forward thinking. It's going to be difficult to get in and out of Germany."
CIA Director Gina Haspel has made just two public speeches since she took over the top job a year ago and has emphasized recruiting in both of them. In this speech at Auburn University in April, she said, "We just had our best recruiting year in a decade." Courtesy of CIA hide caption
toggle caption Courtesy of CIA CIA Director Gina Haspel has made just two public speeches since she took over the top job a year ago and has emphasized recruiting in both of them. In this speech at Auburn University in April, she said, "We just had our best recruiting year in a decade."
Courtesy of CIA Presence on social media
This is just one quirky example of the agency's new outreach to a broader base of potential recruits. For generations, the CIA recruited its workforce discreetly '-- by word of mouth, a tap on the shoulder, or through a friend of a friend.
But under Director Gina Haspel, the CIA is reaching out in very public ways it has never done before. The agency says it needs a wider range than ever of specialized skills '-- from linguists to scientists to cyber experts. It advertises positions on Twitter and Facebook. And it just joined Instagram.
In a recent speech at Auburn University, Haspel noted the change since she applied in the mid-1980s. "I wrote a letter to the CIA on my manual college typewriter. I mailed it to CIA with my r(C)sum(C). I didn't have an address. So I just put, 'CIA. Washington, D.C.,' " said Haspel. "And here I am."
They get Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts with puppies and everything like that, because they want to be friendly. They want to be on your side.
Edward Snowden, former NSA, former CIA
Haspel's two speeches since taking over as CIA director a year ago have both been delivered at universities and have come with explicit recruiting pitches.
The CIA doesn't talk specifics, though broadly speaking, applications shot up after the 2001 al-Qaida attacks. They dipped in more recent years. But, Haspel says, "We just had our best recruiting year in a decade."
There are still plenty of challenges. President Trump has been a persistent critic of the intelligence community. Haspel is linked to the post-Sept. 11 controversies involving waterboarding of suspected terrorists. She ran a CIA prison in Thailand in the early 2000s, which was the focus of her Senate confirmation hearing last year.
All this prompted a heckler at her Auburn speech: "Tell these young children, tell them who you tortured. You know their names. They're still in Guantnamo Bay," the heckler shouted before being escorted out of the hall by security.
CIA staff historian Randy Burkett leads a discussion with members of the public at a recent event in Washington. Participants were asked how they might try to recruit Albert Einstein to spy for the U.S. from Nazi Germany without getting him arrested or killed. Greg Myre/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Greg Myre/NPR CIA staff historian Randy Burkett leads a discussion with members of the public at a recent event in Washington. Participants were asked how they might try to recruit Albert Einstein to spy for the U.S. from Nazi Germany without getting him arrested or killed.
Greg Myre/NPR Style or substance?
Another harsh critic, Edward Snowden, worked for the CIA before he became a contractor at the National Security Agency and disclosed some of that agency's most sensitive surveillance programs in 2013. He sees the more public face of the CIA as a change in style, not substance.
"They get Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts with puppies and everything like that, because they want to be friendly. They want to be on your side," said Snowden, speaking from Russia, where he has lived the past six years. He made his comments on the Motherboard podcast Cyber.
He said the intelligence community had trouble recruiting after his revelations and believes this explains the new approach. "They went: 'Maybe the real story of 2013 isn't that we got caught breaking the law. We got caught violating everybody's rights, so we should pull back a little bit. Instead, what we really have here is a PR issue,' " he said.
A few hours after Haspel spoke at Auburn, several dozen Auburn students turned up for a CIA recruiting session in the evening.
"With every organization you go into, you have to think the ethical, and the implications of what they do, and what their real mission is, undercover, and what they say to the public," said Sydney Kelsey, who is graduating this spring.
So is she going to apply?
"Oh, yes. Most definitely," she said.
Greg Myre is NPR's national security correspondent. Follow him @gregmyre1.
VIDEO - Explosive: NY Times 5G ties uncovered - YouTube
Earlier this week socialist Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) reached peak levels of ridiculousness at a Green New Deal rally in Washington DC.
Appearing before a live audience, while being televised on C-SPAN to people all over America, AOC unintentionally disproved global warming alarmism (in less than 60 seconds).
As she stood before the podium the young socialist proclaimed, "It was reported today that this weekend for the first time in human history we have reached atmospheric levels of carbon at 400 parts per million. This has never been seen in recorded human history. In fact, meteorologist Eric Holthaus, and journalist said, simply about this measurement and development, 'We do not know a planet like this. The last time our planet hit 415 was in the Pliocene period. Bacteria and diseases we have never seen before roamed the Earth.'"
Quiet, everyone! She's sciencing! Or is she actually just higher than the CO2 levels?
Just so we're all 100% clear, the Pliocene period was a time in Earth's history when mammals, birds and reptiles roamed the earth with some of the earliest ancestors of humans known as Australopithecus. Actual homo sapiens didn't come along until millions of years later.
AOC proclaiming Earth was covered with bacteria that humans had never seen before is a ridicolous statement to make simply because there were no humans in existence to see any bacteria. Of any kind. Thankfully the mammals of the Pliocene era saved Earth by decreasing their carbon emissions! Maybe they drove hybrids?
Of course, if you listen carefully, you'll realizing she's defeating her own case for man made global warming.
A couple months ago a group of environmentalists at the World Economic Forum published an article about a bunch of civilizations who supposedly fell because of global warming. The used the Mayans, the Vikings and Mesopotamia as examples. The problem is, these civilizations all existed before the use of fossil fuels.
That's the same logic AOC is using in this absurd rant: the Earth had a dangerous level of CO2 and somehow mammals were still able to survive and humans still evolved and survived.
In all reality, AOC has never seen any bacteria of any kind. She's a bartender masquerading as a scientist. Someone else clearly prepared this statement for her and it doesn't sound like she's explaining this information correctly (or at least, not the way they explained it to her).
We'll assume the person who spoon fed her this crap was meteorologist "and journalist" Eric Holthaus. You've probably never heard of him but he's one of those guys who thinks flying in a plane and procreation are immoral. Are you a parent who recently flew from Dallas to Miami on a business trip? If you answered yes to that question, Eric Holthaus thinks you're the devil! If there were an earlier time in human history, Eric would simply be tolerated as the village cranky-pants. Instead, his ability to write things has now allowed the rest of us to see his true mental illness on full display (more on that in a minute).
Here's what's really amazing about people who push this brand of junk science: they're either (A) too stupid to stop and think about they're saying before they say it, (B) they think we're so stupid we don't understand what they're saying, or (C) a combination of both.
People like AOC believe the only reason Earth can experience high CO2 levels stems from humans doing something very bad. It's a mental illness, like anorexia, gender dysphoria or Trump derangement syndrome (red hat bad too)! Climate change alarmism syndrome should be treated like any other mental disorder.
We're dealing with mass narcissism here, folks. These far-left so-called environmentalists think humans are terrible creatures who exist on Earth for unnatural reasons and only they (other humans) can save us from ourselves. That's a warped sense of ego masquerading as the reality they created for themselves.
And AOC is their new pseudo science religious leader.
VIDEO - DTR Ep 375: Moon Hoax 50th Anniversary - YouTube
Suggestions that Democratic candidate Kamala Harris be the running mate of one of her peers strikes many in her circle as sexist and "infuriating." | Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo
The focus on her as vice presidential material is seen by some allies as sexist.
Kamala Harris used humor to swat aside the chatter about her becoming Joe Biden's running mate: Maybe it should be the other way around, she said Wednesday, given Biden's experience in the No. 2 job.
But inside her campaign and among allies, such talk is not a laughing matter. They're rankled by the suggestion, privately venting that it's demeaning to a woman of color and perpetuates an unfair critique that she's somehow not prepared for the job she's actually seeking.
Story Continued Below
"It's infuriating," a Harris confidant fumed several days before the idea began taking hold in the media.
Since then, the chorus of Democrats sizing up her run and concluding she'd be perfect as Biden's running mate has rapidly gone from whisper campaign to national narrative. They include some fans of the California senator: Last week, members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus floated Biden and Harris as a ''dream ticket.'' That put her in the uncomfortable spot of trying to delicately push back on it without offending the group, of which she's a member.
On Wednesday, Harris joked that Biden would make a fine running mate, rounding out a ticket on which she's at the top: ''As vice president, he's proven that he knows how to do the job,'' Harris told reporters after her town hall in Nashua, N.H.
Harris' casting as the underling in a possible Biden-Harris duo is partly a product of the former vice president's big lead in early polling '-- including in South Carolina, the linchpin of the senator's electoral strategy.
Privately, her aides and confidants say that it's far too early to entertain a vice presidential run and that the idea only diminishes her candidacy.
Harris had already been working to dispel the narrative that she's less ''electable'' than other 2020 contenders as Democrats try to win back white, working-class voters who backed Donald Trump. The focus on her as vice presidential material is seen by some allies as sexist given the general lack of discussion about whether male presidential hopefuls are viable.
Ian Sams, a campaign spokesman, told POLITICO, ''She's running for president, period, and she intends to win.'' Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, sent a nearly identical tweet.
Anticipating questions from news media on Wednesday, Harris and her advisers settled on the humorous one-liner, according to an aide.
Further galling to Harris aides and allies is the apparent disregard for her 2-0 electoral record in a state that's larger than all but a handful of countries. That feat is unmatched by any of her rivals, they say, noting that, yes, Biden won two national elections, but as Barack Obama's deputy.
"Kamala Harris is seeking the office of the presidency '-- period," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "She is qualified, more than capable to lead this country and has never lost an election."
Harris has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee to Biden for months, if not years. A New York Times story in March said Biden allies discussed naming Harris, Beto O'Rourke or Stacey Abrams as his running mate long before the nomination is sealed. At the time, such contemplation was seen as a way to elevate a next-generation Democrat while assuaging concerns about Biden's age. Abrams said she and Biden didn't discuss their presidential ambitions when they met earlier this year.
''I do not believe you run for second place, and I do not intend to enter a presidential race as a primary candidate for vice president,'' Abrams said later.
Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist who advised Abrams, told POLITICO it's one thing when a candidate's opponent has dropped out of the race. But homing in on a potential vice presidential pick so early actually does a disservice to Biden.
''It's ham-handed, but it also shows a lack of understanding of Democratic primary voters,'' she said. ''Now is the time to be talking about the strength of your candidate '-- and why your candidate can beat Donald Trump and has the right vision to win, not hypothesizing about running mates.''
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are divided over whether to back Harris or Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), both members of the group, in the primary, or to support Biden, a popular figure with CBC members and others on the Hill from his decades as a senator and wingman to Obama.
It's not exactly surprising that Harris is viewed as an appealing No. 2 for Biden. She's two decades younger and is winning praise from liberals for her tough cross-examinations of Trump officials. Biden has preached bipartisanship and is already clashing with progressives over his stances on the environment and his central role in the 1994 crime bill, which he argues didn't lead to mass incarceration '-- a point Harris said Wednesday she ''sadly'' disagreed with.
California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Harris supporter, said the veep talk is a reflection of a strong field in which many Democrats are struggling to pick a favorite. ''It's a real shift from previous elections where typically you pick one person you're supporting and then you're against everybody else,'' Kounalakis said.
Harris, meantime, remains focused on her own campaign.
''I will tell you that the voters, in my experience, are smarter than a lot of folks give them credit for,'' she told CNN on Sunday, pointing to the times when she has been underestimated in previous campaigns. ''And people would say, 'Oh, they're not ready for that. Oh, no one like her has done it before. Oh, it's not your time. Oh, it's going to be a lot of hard work.'''
''And I didn't listen,'' Harris added. ''As far as I'm concerned, my track record on this issue tells me the voters are smarter than hearing and listening to all that noise.''
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VIDEO - DiGenova: 'For the first time I actually believe' people will go to jail over 'Spygate'
Former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova, long an advocate for justice to be done over the Obama-era ''Spygate'' scandal aimed at deposing POTUS Donald Trump said Tuesday night that for the ''first time'' he actually believes at least some of the co-conspirators will get some jail time.
Specifically, diGenova, who served as a federal prosecutor in the D.C. district, said that fired FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan should be lawyering up big time.
''This is very serious business,'' he told Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
''For the first time, I believe some of these guys are going to prison,'' he continued.
''Let me tell you something, [Justice Department Inspector General Michael] Horowitz has already concluded that the final three FISAs were completely illegal,'' diGenova continued. ''He's now on the brink of finding that the first FISA was completely illegal.
''[U.S. Attorney John] Durham has already used a grand jury in Connecticut. They've already gotten documents. He's already talked to the intel people,'' diGenova said.
Ingraham asked how long Durham, a corruption specialist, has been on the case.
''Durham's been working for a couple months. The bottom line is this. This is now '' big time. This is where Brennan needs five lawyers. Comey needs five lawyers,'' diGenova added.
Earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr said that Durham had been appointed to look into potential abuses of the law regarding Spygate '-- to include, of course, the reportedly fraudulent circumstances surrounding the FISA warrants used to spy on 2016 Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
EXTRA: AG Barr already outmaneuvering the Obama-Hillary deep state with brilliant Durham pickFox News followed up that report by noting that Durham was actually appointed several weeks ago by Barr, giving him a giant head start on the deep state snakes now trying to throw each other under the bus and slither away unscathed.
It will be interesting to see which one of the scoundrels sells out former President Obama as the ringleader first.
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VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "New Hampshire voter to Joe Biden: "I have a very severe case of what's called Trump Derangement Syndrome... He won it because he had help by the Russians... I don't want to live in a country run by Vladimir Putin. He is
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VIDEO - NASA Moon on Twitter: "We're sending humans to the Moon again and we are HERE for it. Join us live Tuesday, May 14 at 12:30 PM ET as @JimBridenstine answers questions from NASA employees about the plan to go forward to the Moon. #Moon2024 https://
\n HomeVideoPoliticsUSWorldEntertainmentSportsBusinessOpinionOutdoorsComedyShopDaily Caller ShopDaily DealerWine ClubSend a Tip9:28 PM 06/18/2018 | USChuck Ross | Reporter
The Department of Justice's inspector general said Monday that his investigators went to extensive lengths to obtain a text message in which former FBI official Peter Strzok suggested that he planned to help prevent President Donald Trump from becoming president.
Michael Horowitz, the head of the DOJ's office of inspector general (OIG), said that his cyber forensics team took four separate investigative steps before discovering a controversial Aug. 8, 2016 text message that Strzok sent to former FBI attorney Lisa Page.
The forensic team went as far as contacting the Pentagon for help in extracting text messages that were missing from Strzok and Page's FBI-issued cell phones.
The text message in question was recovered early last month and first publicized on Friday in a report that the OIG released on the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices. (RELATED: STRZOK: 'We'll Stop' Trump Presidency)
''(Trump's) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!'' Page, the FBI lawyer, wrote to Strzok.
''No. No he's not. We'll stop it,'' replied Strzok, who served as the FBI's top investigator on ''Crossfire Hurricane,'' the FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia.
The investigation started days before the text message, on July 31, 2016.
Republicans have pointed to the text message as evidence of political bias on the part of Strzok, who worked for several months on the special counsel's Russia investigation. The OIG report said that the text message showed that Strzok ''of a biased state of mind'' and implied ''a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate's electoral prospects.''
Strzok's response to Page is conspicuously absent from previous batches of text messages given to Congress. Page's question to Strzok was included in those earlier releases. (RELATED: FBI Official's Anti-Trump Text Was Missing From Earlier Document Productions)
Horowitz said that while the initial process of obtaining Strzok-Page messages from the FBI was ''easy,'' recovering the ''We'll stop it'' text proved ''challenging.'' He also said that the painstaking process used to recover the message and others raises concerns about the FBI's text message retention system.
Horowitz said that the OIG's cyber forensic team obtained Strzok and Page's FBI phones in order to extract any missing text messages. The team then relied on an outside contractor that the agency frequently uses in order to see whether there were other forensic tools that could extract messages from the phones.
''They provided us with some additional tools, so we did a second extraction and gained more text messages,'' Horowitz testified.
The third step was an outreach to the Department of Defense to see if Pentagon experts had any other tools that could be used for the investigation.
''They gave us those tools and we used that and we extracted more text messages,'' said Horowitz.
The Aug. 8, 2016 Strzok text was discovered during a routine quality control check that the OIG conducted in early May, Horowitz said.
OIG's forensic examiners discovered ''that the phone had a database on it that was actually also doing a collection of text messages,'' said Horowitz.
''They extracted those messages from the phone and found the second part of the August 8 text, 'No, no, We'll stop it.'''
''It turned out that the FBI wasn't aware that that database on there, which was supposed to be an operating function, was actually collecting data,'' explained Horowitz, who plans to release a report on the OIG's text message recovery process.
What Horowitz did not explain '-- and was not asked '-- was why Strzok's portion of the Aug. 8, 2016 message was so difficult to find.
Horowitz said that the FBI's failure to discover the text messages raises concerns about whether the bureau was able to collect all of its agents' and officials' text messages.
''We are not convinced that the FBI was collecting 100 percent of the text messages,'' he said.
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VIDEO - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Ed Markey & Others Discuss "Green New Deal" | C-SPAN.org
May 13, 2019 2019-05-13T19:00:00-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/3a3/1549560867.jpg Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), and others discussed the ''Green New Deal'' and climate change.Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), and others discussed the ''Green New Deal'' and climate change.
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
This election cycle is shaping up to be a ginormous pain in the butt, but hey '-- at least we get to watch the media turn on Golden Boy Beto O'Rourke!
This morning, Mika Brzezinski took Skateboard Jesus to task for saying that he'd love to have a woman like Stacey Abrams as his running mate:
.@BetoORourke floated @staceyabrams as possible running mate if he was the nominee this weekend, and @morningmika didn't like it: "I don't think she appreciates that." pic.twitter.com/Qw6Sf4fLPU
'-- David Rutz (@DavidRutz) May 13, 2019
He's drowning and he's grabbing for a life line.
'-- Son Of Central Scrutinizer (@SonOScrutinizer) May 13, 2019
But wait! There's more:
More MSNBC trashing of O'Rourke for floating Abrams as possible running mate pic.twitter.com/vkDsW0rgk3
'-- David Rutz (@DavidRutz) May 13, 2019
I struggle to see how two campaigns offering Abrams a vice presidential slot this early in the game and without the traditional vetting process constitutes an insult. https://t.co/g3LfmhoXa0
'-- Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) May 13, 2019
Well, to be fair, as a white man, Noah can't possibly understand the struggles of a black woman. Good thing we've got two white women like Mika Brzezinski and Karen Tumulty to speak for Stacey Abrams! Who's being ''insulting'' now?
VIDEO - Green New Deal: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - YouTube