Swedish eco-warrior Greta Thunberg crossed the Atlantic in the summer to speak to world leaders ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting. She had expected to stay in the Americas for another month to attend another important climate change summit in Chile, but there has been a sudden change of schedule.
Greta Thunberg is never in a flying mood, but recent developments in Chile might force her to reconsider her attitude to aircraft.
The 16-year-old activist '' whose climate expertise remains a source of debate '' made a 15-day voyage across the Atlantic this August. She has since addressed world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York and joined climate strikes in Canada, and is currently rallying young people in wildfire-hit California against the ''failing older generations'' of decision-makers.
Greta's initial plan was to visit South and Central America and wrap up her journey to the New World with an address to the UN COP25 climate conference, slated for early December. However, mass anti-government protests prompted Santiago to pull out as host this week. The event '' billed as the world's most important conference on climate change '' has been relocated to Spain.
The news has seemingly caught Greta off-guard. ''As #COP25 has officially been moved from Santiago to Madrid I'll need some help,'' she tweeted on Friday. ''It turns out I've traveled half around the world, the wrong way. Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November... If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.''
As #COP25 has officially been moved from Santiago to Madrid I'll need some help.It turns out I've traveled half around the world, the wrong way:)Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November... If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.-> https://t.co/vFQQcLTh2U
'-- Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 1, 2019Greta now has precisely 30 days to make it to Madrid, where the summit kicks off on 2 December. The task is all the more pressing because the team that accompanied her on the way to New York on board a zero-emission sailboat has already returned to Europe and is currently taking part in a trans-Atlantic yachting race.
Fellow sailor Pierre Casiraghi told the New York Times in a July interview that there are ''only a handful'' of zero-emissions vessels like the one that ferried Greta, which means that she will have to choose from a limited number of options.
And as if that wasn't difficult enough of a task, it will take her at least three days to return to the US east coast by train from California.
She added: ''I'm so sorry I'll not be able to visit South and Central America this time, I was so looking forward to this. But this is of course not about me, my experiences or where I wish to travel.''
I'm so sorry I'll not be able to visit South and Central America this time, I was so looking forward to this. But this is of course not about me, my experiences or where I wish to travel. We're in a climate and ecological emergency. I send my support to the people in Chile.
'-- Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 1, 2019
(10) Greta Thunberg on Twitter: "As #COP25 has officially been moved from Santiago to Madrid I'll need some help. It turns out I've traveled half around the world, the wrong way:) Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November... If anyone
Rising global temperatures are altering climatic zones around the planet, with consequences for food and water security, local economies, and public health. Here's a stark look at some of the distinct features that are already on the move.
By Nicola Jones ' October 23, 2018
As human-caused emissions change the planet's atmosphere, and people reshape the landscape, things are changing fast. The receding line of Arctic ice has made headlines for years, as the white patch at the top of our planet shrinks dramatically. The ocean is rising, gobbling up coastlines. Plants, animals, and diseases are on the move as their patches of suitable climate move too.
Sometimes, the lines on the map can literally be redrawn: the line of where wheat will grow, or where tornadoes tend to form, where deserts end, where the frozen ground thaws, and even where the boundaries of the tropics lie.
Here we summarize some of the littler-known features that have shifted in the face of climate change and pulled the map out from under the people living on the edges. Everything about global warming is changing how people grow their food, access their drinking water, and live in places that are increasingly being flooded, dried out, or blasted with heat waves. Seeing these changes literally drawn on a map helps to hammer these impacts home.
The tropics are expanding by half a degree per decade. Source: Staten et al., Nature Climate Change, 2018. Graphic by Katie Peek.
On an atlas, the boundary of the tropics is marked out by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at about 23 degrees north and south. These lines are determined by where the sun lies directly overhead on the December and June solstices. But from a climate perspective, most scientists draw the edges of the tropics instead at the nearby boundary of the Hadley cell '-- a large-scale circulation pattern where hot air rises at the equator, and falls back to earth, cooler and drier, somewhere around 30 degrees latitude north (the top of the Sahara desert and Mexico) and 30 degrees south (the bottom of the Kalahari Desert).
The word ''tropical'' often brings to mind rainforests, colorful birds, and lush, dripping foliage, but the vast majority of our planet's middle region is actually quite dry. ''The ratio is something like 100 to 1,'' says Jian Lu, a climate scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. About a decade ago, scientists first noticed that this dry belt seemed to be getting bigger. The dry edges of the tropics are expanding as the subtropics push both north and south, bringing ever-drier weather to places including the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, the smaller equatorial region with heavy rains is actually contracting, Lu says: ''People call it the tropic squeeze.''
In a paper published in August, Lu and colleagues tracked how and why the Hadley cell is expanding. They found that since satellite records started in the late 1970s, the edges of the tropics have been moving at about 0.2-0.3 degrees of latitude per decade (in both the north and the south) .The change is already dramatic in some areas, Lu says '-- the average over 30 years is about a degree of latitude, or approximately 70 miles, but in some spots the dry expansion is larger. The result is that the boundary between where it's getting wetter and where it's getting drier is pushing farther north, making even countries as far north as Germany and Britain drier. Meanwhile, already dry Mediterranean countries are really feeling the change: In 2016, for example, the eastern Mediterranean region had its worst drought in 900 years. The last time the tropics expanded northward (from 1568 to 1634, due to natural climate fluctuations), droughts helped to trigger the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
There are several reasons for the shift in the Hadley cell, Lu's team reports, including the ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere and warming black soot in air pollution from Asia, along with rising air temperatures from greenhouse gases. Changes in sea surface temperatures, Lu says, seems to be causing at least half of the shift. That means predicting future tropical expansion is difficult, says Lu. ''We can't put a number on it, but we have a rough idea it will keep increasing.''
Since 1902, the Sahara Desert has grown 10 percent, advancing as much as 500 miles northward over the winter months in some spots. Source: Thomas & Nigam, Journal of Climate, 2018. Graphic by Katie Peek.
The world's largest warm-weather desert is getting bigger. The Sahara already covers a vast 3.6 million square miles '-- an area nearly as large as the United States. The desert's edges are defined by rainfall; the line is usually drawn where the ground sees just 4 inches per year. When Natalie Thomas and Sumant Nigam, ocean and atmospheric scientists at the University of Maryland, looked at records stretching from 2013 back to 1920, they found that these boundaries for the Sahara had crept both northward and southward, making the entire region about 10 percent larger.
The change, which is expected to reduce some countries' ability to grow food, hardly seems fair. ''Morally, how do we deal with the fact that developing countries are paying the price?'' says Thomas. One study in the 1990s showed that the limit of where plants could grow in the dry southern edge of the Sahara had moved nearly 81 miles south in the 10 years between 1980 and 1990.
Taking the Long View: The "forever legacy" of climate change. Read more.
Across most of the Sahara the change is on the order of tens of miles over the study period, but in other spots it's far more dramatic: Libya has gone from being mostly not desert in 1920, to mostly desert in 2013, as the line there has advanced a shocking 500 miles or so in winter months. Lake Chad, which sits on the southern edge of the Sahara, shrank dramatically from 9,600 square miles in the 1970s to less than 770 square miles in the 1990s, in part due to reduced rainfall in the Sahel, the dry region just to the south of the Sahara.
Nigam and his colleague calculate that about two-thirds of the change might be accounted for by natural climate cycles, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which help to determine rainfall. But the remaining third, they reckon, is down to climate change '-- the northern edge of the desert, for example, seems to be moving because of the climate-driven poleward creep of the tropics.
The arid Western plains of North America meet the wetter, eastern region near the 100th Meridian. This climatic boundary has shifted about 140 miles east since 1980. Source: Seager et al., Earth Interactions, 2018. Graphic by Katie Peek.
Back in the 1870s, scientist and explorer John Wesley Powell noticed a stark transition between the arid Western plains of North America and the wetter, eastern region. As he wrote, ''passing from east to west across this belt a wonderful transformation is observed'': a ''luxuriant growth of grass'' gives way to ''naked'' ground with the occasional cacti. The line between the two regions goes from Mexico to Manitoba, cutting right through the continent's breadbasket. To the east, farmers grow mainly rain-loving corn; to the west, mainly drought-resistant wheat.
This climatic transition has long been called the 100th Meridian, after the longitudinal line that it roughly matches up with. But in March, climate scientist Richard Seager of the Lamont''Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and colleagues published papers showing the transition is on the move.
The reasons for the existence of the line are many: the Rocky Mountains force the wet air blowing in from the Pacific to rain out before the winds reach the plains; Atlantic storms and winds from the Gulf of Mexico bring moisture to the east. Now things are changing. Rainfall hasn't changed much in the northern plains, but rising temperatures are increasing evaporation from the soil and drying things out. Meanwhile, rainfall is diminishing further south due to shifts in wind patterns. In total, that seems to have moved the line about 140 miles eastward since 1980, Seager calculated. The shift seen so far might be due to natural variability, he says, but it's in line with what we expect to keep happening because of climate change. And it will keep moving east as the planet keeps warming.
U.S. farmers don't seem to report problems or changes yet, Seager says, but he predicts that the country's agriculture will eventually have to adapt, by adding more irrigation, for example, using different seeds, or shifting their crop entirely from one plant to another.
Hotspots for tornado formation in the U.S. have shifted east 500 miles since the mid-1980s, along with shifts in temperatures. Source: Agee et al, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 2016. Graphic by Katie Peek.
The author of the Wizard of Oz likely chose Kansas for the book's setting for a reason: it was smack dab in the middle of ''Tornado Alley,'' the stretch from South Dakota to Texas that's infamous for destructive storms. But things are changing; research shows that tornados are now more likely to hit homes some 500 miles to the east in Southern states, including Tennessee and Alabama.
Earth scientist Ernest Agee of Purdue University in Indiana and colleagues looked at tornado activity going back to the 1950s when modern tornado records began, and compared the first 30 years of records to the next 30. This showed a clear shift in where tornadoes were hitting hardest, both in terms of the total number of tornadoes and the number of tornado days. In the first half of the study period, from 1954 to 1983, an area in Oklahoma was king, with a total of 477 tornadoes. But that area's tornado count decreased dramatically, by 45 percent, in the second half of the study period, from 1984 to 2013. Meanwhile, an equivalently sized area in northern Alabama bumped up 48 percent to 477 large tornadoes. Tennessee's number of days of violent tornadoes doubled, from 14 to 28 days, making the state arguably the new heart of tornado activity, the authors argue.
The researchers don't know exactly why the shift happened. Part of the reason might be attributed to who is reporting tornados, notes co-author Sam Childs, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University. ''The storm prediction center is based out of Oklahoma City. There were a lot of reports there at first, and that's broadening out with time,'' Childs says. ''But there's definitely a meteorological effect too.'' The shift in tornadoes matches up with a change in the weather, he notes. The eastern half of the U.S. was about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer during the second half of the study, making it likely that climate had something to do with the move.
The general link between weather and tornadoes is fairly well established. Tornadoes need several things to form, including warm, wet, buoyant air and high wind shear. As the 100th Meridian moves eastward, it is pushing drier conditions further east (Oklahoma lies right on that line). But it's hard to say why Tennessee is seeing more of them, and the future for tornado activity is hard to predict.
Hardiness zones in the U.S., which track average low temperatures in winter, have all shifted northward by half a zone warmer since 1990. Source: United States Department of Agriculture. Graphic by Katie Peek.
As any gardener knows, the easiest way to keep track of which plants will fare well where you live, or when to plant your tomatoes to avoid a spring frost, is by taking note of your ''hardiness zone.'' In the frozen depths of Alaska and Siberia's zone 1, you might want to plant something like Yarrow to survive overwinter; in zone 5, which cuts through the Corn Belt in the U.S. Midwest, you can plant asparagus in March or April.
Hardiness maps are published around the world, but it's easiest to see change where the idea was first developed, in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's hardiness map, first published in 1960, is based on the average annual minimum temperature of any given spot '-- a metric that plays a big part in determining if perennial crops like orange trees will make it through the coldest months. Each zone marks out a 10 degrees F band, from -60 to -50 degrees F in zone 1 to 60 to 70 degrees F in zone 13. When that map was last updated, in 2012, nearly half the country was upgraded to half a zone warmer than it had been in 1990; in other words, all the lines shifted on average a little to the north. That was partly thanks to more detailed mapping techniques, the authors of the map reported, but also because temperatures were warmer in the more recent data set.
The researchers who produced the 2012 revision stopped short of saying the change was due to climate change, especially since the method of how they produced the map changed so much from one version to the next. But others have followed up on the same idea to show how climate change, specifically, is shifting U.S. hardiness zones.
Lauren Parker and John Abatzoglou of the University of Idaho tracked what would happen to hardiness zones from 2041 to 2070 under future global warming scenarios, and found the lines will continue to march northward at a ''climate velocity'' of 13.3 miles per decade. That means big changes in store for three major cash crops, they note. Almonds will see their suitable growing range expand from 73 percent of the continental U.S. from 1971-2000 to 93 percent from 2041''2070. Kiwifruit will bump up from 23 percent to 32 percent during the same period, and oranges from 5 percent to 8 percent.
So the shift in hardiness zones is good news for perennial cash crops in the U.S., but not necessarily good news overall for food security in North America, or globally. ''On the plus side, if we can expand the range over which we grow crops, that's a good thing,'' says Parker. But, she adds, ''On the flip side, you also allow for the expansion of weeds and pests.''
As global air temperatures rise, permafrost is retreating north, moving as far as 80 miles poleward over a half-century in parts of Canada. Source: Berkeley Earth. Graphic by Katie Peek.
As the planet warms, the Arctic is feeling it the most: Temperatures in northern regions are rising at about twice the global average. That's having a huge impact on the region's permafrost, ground that typically stays frozen all year round. As the line delineating an average temperature of 0 degrees Celsius moves north, so too does the permafrost line. ''They roughly track together,'' says Kevin Schafer, a permafrost expert at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Permafrost isn't particularly well documented: It's underground, so out of sight of satellites, and the Arctic is only sparsely covered with meteorological stations. ''There aren't a lot of measurements that far north,'' says Schafer. That means much of the evidence of permafrost thaw so far is either anecdotal or limited to specific well-monitored regions. One study in northern Canada found that the permafrost around James Bay had retreated 80 miles north over 50 years. Studies of ground temperatures in boreholes have also revealed frightening rates of change, says Schafer. ''What we're seeing is 20 meters down, it's increasing as high as 1-2 degrees C per decade,'' he says. ''In the permafrost world that's a really rapid change. Extremely rapid.''
As Greenland warms, nature's seasonal clock is thrown off-kilter. Read more.
The future looks similarly dire. One study predicts that by 2100, the area covered by permafrost might shrink from nearly 4 million square miles to less than 0.4 million; most of Alaska and the southern tip of Greenland would be permafrost-free.
The impacts are expected to be huge on both a local and global level. Right now, permafrost acts like cement, keeping the ground firm and impermeable to water. As it thaws, buildings and infrastructure collapse. In the northern Russian city of Norilsk, buildings are already tilting, cracking, and becoming condemned. In Bethel, Alaska, roads are buckling and homes collapsing. Many of the Arctic's uncountable small lakes will also drain away. ''That's going to have a massive impact on the [region's] ecology,'' says Schafer. Meanwhile, the thaw will also release vast amounts of climate-warming methane into the atmosphere.
Between 1990 and 2015, production dropped in much of Australia's Wheat Belt due to drier than average conditions. The areas that disappear from this map are those where output dropped 50 percent or more. Source: Hochman, Gobbett, & Horan, Global Change Biology, 2017. Graphic by Katie Peek.
Australia, renowned for its interior deserts and coastal beaches, is also one of the planet's largest wheat exporters '-- just after Canada, Russia, and the U.S. But the arable land at the nation's southern edge is shrinking, and its potential for growing wheat declining.
In the 1860s, surveyor George Goyder drew a line to show where the edge of Australia's arable land ended. More than a century later, Goyder's line is still considered an important feature in determining the country's ''cropping belt.'' But climate change is making that land drier, effectively pushing the line further south.
Any given patch of land has a ''theoretical potential'' for the amount of wheat it can support, given its soil, the climate, and other factors. Reductions in rainfall and warmer temperatures have already reduced the theoretical potential of southern Australia by 27 percent since 1990. So far, farmers have managed to adapt to the changing conditions and squeeze the same amount of wheat out of their lands. By tweaking things such as their seeds and harvesting practices, they have gone from harvesting 38 percent of their theoretical maximum in 1990 to 55 percent in 2015. But that can only go on so long '-- farmers can typically only reach about 80 percent of any given parcel of land's maximum potential. Once they hit that limit, Australian farmers probably won't be able to counteract the effects of the changing climate any longer. Zvi Hochman, of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), says he expects to see actual yields start to drop around 2040. Places like the farming community of Orroroo, currently right on top of Goyder's line, will be ''significantly impacted,'' writes Julia Piantadosi of the University of South Australia in Adelaide '-- they won't be able to keep farming the way they are doing today.
How the world passed a carbon threshold and why it matters. Read more.
North America is seeing the opposite phenomenon: Its arable land is romping northward, expanding the wheat belt into higher and higher latitudes. Scientists project it could go from about 55 degrees north today to as much as 65 degrees North '-- the latitude of Fairbanks, Alaska '-- by 2050. That's about 160 miles per decade. That's not all good news, as the southern edge gets drier, hotter, and less agriculturally productive. One study showed that U.S. farmers will likely have to change the strains of wheat they grow, while France and Turkey will have to invest heavily in irrigation systems. In Asia, half of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, which account for 15 percent of global wheat production, are predicted to become heat-stressed by 2050, significantly cutting yields.
Correction, October 23, 2018: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that one degree of latitude equals 100 miles. It is actually nearly 70 miles on average.
Vanaf nu ben ik officieel ''IPCC EXPERT REVIEWER''. Voor de duidelijkheid, ik heb geen expertise in klimaatwetenschap. Maar omdat sommigen deze titel misbruiken om desinformatie te verspreiden over het klimaat, heb ik even uitgetest of iedereen dat kon
@amra_dorjbayar 2. Onlangs verscheen het bericht dat 500 wetenschappers en professionals een open brief stuurden naar VN met de titel ''There is no climate emergency''. Ook 19 Belgen blijken de open brief te hebben ondertekend. Het document vindt u hier:
@amra_dorjbayar 3. Het initiatief komt van Clintel, een recent opgerichte lobbygroep die naar eigen zeggen ''de rol van 'klimaatwaakhond' op zich wil nemen, zowel op het gebied van de klimaatwetenschap als het klimaatbeleid.
@ClimateFdbk oordeelden dat de open brief veel onwaarheden bevat. De ondertekenaars blijken grotendeels te bestaan uit academici uit velden die niets te maken hebben met klimaatwetenschap. Dat leest u hier:
@amra_dorjbayar 6. Nu, terug naar de 19 Belgische ''wetenschappers en professionals'' die de open brief ondertekenden. Ik vond geen enkel wetenschappelijke publicatie over klimaat met (C)(C)n van deze namen als auteur terug.
@amra_dorjbayar 11. Dus interessant om te onderzoeken wat de titel ''IPCC Expert Reviewer'' nu betekent en of iedereen dat kan worden. Na wat zoeken op google vond ik een formulier om je aan te melden als ''IPCC expert reviewer''. Dat heb ik dus gedaan.
@amra_dorjbayar 14. Iedereen die zichzelf als expert verklaart, kan toegang vragen tot de voorlopige versie van het IPCC-rapport en vragen stellen aan de auteurs. Die moeten alle vragen van de "expert reviewers" beantwoorden, ook van degenen die niets weten over klimaatwetenschap.
The Upshot | Elizabeth Warren's 'Medicare for All' Math She thinks a single-payer health care system can save more than other analysts think. Here's where she says she'll get the money to pay for it.
Image Elizabeth Warren at an event two years ago in support of the ''Medicare for All Act of 2017.'' Bernie Sanders introduced the bill. Credit... Yuri Gripas/Reuters Elizabeth Warren's ''Medicare for all'' proposal would make substantial shifts to how the United States pays for its health care system. She would eliminate most other forms of coverage, including private insurance, and provide all Americans with a generous government-run plan.
To calculate its cost, she has modified estimates from the Urban Institute, a Washington research group that has assessed the legislative proposal she is endorsing.
To pay for it, she has proposed large new taxes, transfer payments and some cuts to government spending. Altogether, her campaign believes health spending under Medicare for all will cost $52 trillion over the next decade, with about half shifting from other sources onto the federal budget.
The Warren plan includes several key assumptions, including starkly lower prescription drug prices, minimal administrative spending and health care costs that grow at a significantly slower pace.
Warren backers describe these cuts as ambitious and assertive, contending that the American health system '-- which has the highest prices in the developed world '-- could weather the change. Other health care experts call the ideas unrealistic, given the revenue that American doctors, hospitals and drug companies have become accustomed to earning.
The key question in this debate is, how quickly can the United States tamp down its sky-high health care prices?
''The whole point of this analysis, which took weeks and was done with real discipline, was to come up with, what is realistic?'' said Don Berwick, a co-author of an economic analysis of the Warren plan, and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama. ''I think they're achievable and, for those who are critical, please show me yours.''
Here's a summary of what Ms. Warren has proposed on either side of the ledger.
To reduce the plan's costs:Change the way Medicare pays for certain types of hospital stays, such as paying a package rate rather than different fees for surgical services, and paying doctors in hospital-owned practices the lower prices paid to those in private practices. ($2.3 trillion)
Assume that the Medicare for all program itself can operate very leanly. The Urban Institute estimated that Medicare would devote about 6 percent of its health budget on administrators to decide what and how Medicare would pay for things, and to prevent fraud. In Ms. Warren's plan, that rate is 2.3 percent. ($1.8 trillion)
Assume very aggressive drug discounts. Ms. Warren believes a government system will be able to reduce spending on drugs substantially, including lowering the prices of branded prescription drugs by 70 percent. ($1.7 trillion)
Assume slower growth in health spending over time. The federal government now thinks health spending will increase by 5.5 percent a year; the Warren campaign assumes 3.9 percent growth under Medicare for all, closer to the rate of growth in gross domestic product. ($1.1 trillion)
Assume lower payments to hospitals. The campaign believes hospitals can be paid around 110 percent of what they are currently paid by Medicare, a number that would cause some hospitals to operate at a loss. Currently, private health insurers often pay a lot more to hospitals than Medicare for similar procedures. ($600 billion)
To pay for the plan: Employers would be required to pay fees to the federal government, equivalent to 98 percent of what they now spend on their employees' health care. Some companies would be exempt, and companies with unionized work forces would be able to lower this payment if they increased workers' wages. Currently, companies vary greatly in the cost and generosity of their health benefits, so this fee would vary substantially by firm. ($8.8 trillion)
States and local governments would be required to make payments to the federal government, similar to what they currently spend on government employee benefits and their share of Medicaid expenses. ($6.1 trillion)
Corporate taxation would be increased. ($2.9 trillion)
Tax collections would increase through improvements to I.R.S. enforcement, which Ms. Warren believes could raise a lot of money. ($2.3 trillion)
The top 1 percent of individual earners would pay new taxes on their capital gains; they would pay taxes on increases in investment value annually, instead of waiting until assets are sold. ($2 trillion)
Income tax collections would increase, since workers would no longer pay part of their salaries for insurance premiums, which are not taxed now. ($1.4 trillion)
Billionaires would pay a higher wealth tax than the rate Ms. Warren has previously proposed: 6 percent, up from 3 percent. ($1 trillion)
A new financial transactions tax would be imposed on stock trades. ($800 billion)
Pentagon spending from an overseas contingency fund, often criticized as a slush fund, would be eliminated. ($800 billion)
Income earned by immigrants, following the passage of her immigration overhaul plan, would provide new tax revenues. ($400 billion)
A risk fee on the liabilities of banks with more than $50 billion in assets would be introduced. ($100 billion)
The True Cost of Warren's Medicare for All Plan - The Atlantic
Her Medicare for All plan makes big assumptions about how much money she'll be able to squeeze from the health-care system.
Ronald Brownstein 5:00 AM ET Cheryl Senter / APThe biggest question surrounding Elizabeth Warren's new Medicare for All plan isn't whether she has produced a plausible pathway to raising $20.5 trillion over the next decade to fund it.
Rather, the biggest question is whether $20.5 trillion is actually a plausible estimate of how much her plan would cost.
Warren's estimate is considerably lower than most projections for a single-payer system, as her team acknowledged in its own analysis of the plan. Even at a flat $20 trillion, such a plan would cost more than the federal government now spends on Social Security alone or on Medicare and Medicaid combined. Estimates from the nonpartisan Rand Corporation, the conservative-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and the center-left Urban Institute have each placed the 10-year cost of a single-payer plan at $31 trillion to $34 trillion.
That gap matters so much because it probably determines whether a single-payer plan can be financed without raising taxes on the middle class, as Warren has pledged. The financing proposals she outlined Friday did not directly hit middle-class taxpayers, but those provisions wouldn't come close to covering the full cost of her plan if the actual price tag is closer to those other studies' estimates.
''The gap between what she says it will cost and what it will really cost is in the trillions of dollars, and the middle class will be on the hook to fill that gap,'' says Jim Kessler, the executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic group that has been critical of single-payer proposals. ''My guess is that with accurate numbers, she's somewhere between $5 trillion and $10 trillion short. [Her plan taps] the rich and corporations as much as possible. Who's left? The middle class.''
In estimating the plan's price tag, the Warren campaign used as its baseline a recent Urban Institute study that projected a 10-year federal cost of $34 trillion. The campaign released a 28-page white paper, with copious footnotes and appendixes, explaining how it reached its lower estimate. It was written by Donald Berwick, the former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Barack Obama, and Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.
The bottom line is that across all sectors of the medical industry, the Warren campaign assumes that her single-payer plan will squeeze much greater savings relative to the current system than the Urban Institute believes is possible'--or, in some cases, even desirable. ''We thought we were being pretty aggressive in the assumptions we are making in terms of lowering the cost of the program over time,'' Linda Blumberg, a co-author of the Urban Institute study, told me. ''They were clearly more aggressive.''
At the broadest level, Berwick and Johnson forecast that the plan could provide universal coverage with expanded benefits at roughly the same amount of total national health-care spending'--from the federal government, employers, and individuals'--that the Urban Institute projects under current law.
Warren's plan ''reduces'' total health spending ''while covering more people and providing more generous benefits because it uses the leverage of a single, integrated payment system to address the root causes of our high health spending and to help reduce waste across the system,'' Berwick and Johnson write.
The Urban Institute study, by contrast, estimated that a single-payer plan would spike total spending by $7 trillion over a decade, even with offsetting savings. That's in part because the system would insure more people, but also because people would use more services, since the plan would cover them at no cost.
Larry Levitt, the executive vice president for health policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, agrees that patients' use would rise under a single-payer plan, which leaves the proposals dependent on a bet that government can substantially reduce payments across the medical system.
''The only way to make that math add up is to pay doctors and hospitals and drug companies a lot less, as Warren has proposed,'' he told me. ''The fundamental question here is: Can you lower health-care prices enough to offset the increased costs from universal coverage and very comprehensive benefits?''
Indeed, forecasting substantially reduced payments to hospitals, doctors, and drug companies is central to Warren's conclusion that her plan will cost much less than the Urban Institute and other analysts estimate.
For instance, the Warren plan projects that single-payer will save $1.7 trillion more in drug costs than the Urban Institute forecasts. The organization estimated that single-payer could save 25 to 30 percent on drug costs relative to what Medicare now pays; Warren assumes that the federal government, through a variety of policy mechanisms, could drive down those costs much further, paying 30 percent less than Medicare now does for generic drugs and 70 percent less for name-brand.
Read: The eye-popping cost of Medicare for All
Drug companies might have no choice but to accept those payment rates if they were to become law, because they would be reluctant to abandon the huge U.S. market, Levitt noted. But cutting payments to drug companies that much wouldn't be possible, he predicted, without some consequences, such as less investment by firms in developing new drugs. ''The trade-off with drugs is, lower prices would inevitably lead to fewer drugs coming to market,'' he said.
The same dynamics apply to Warren's planned reductions in compensation for providers. Warren's is the first single-payer proposal to specifically identify how much providers would be paid under the new system. It matches the Urban Institute paper in projecting that a single-payer plan would reimburse physicians at the same rate Medicare now does, but assumes lower reimbursements for hospitals. Warren projects the new plan would pay hospitals at a rate 110 percent of what Medicare now covers, compared with 115 percent in the Urban Institute estimate.
Either of those scenarios would represent a substantial income reduction for hospitals, since, on average, private insurers now reimburse hospitals at twice Medicare's rates, Blumberg noted. Experts say that the experience for physicians would vary by their specialty: Some are now paid, on average, close to Medicare rates, and would not be radically affected by Warren's proposed prices, while others receive much more and would face greater disruption.
Berwick and Johnson write that the lowered administrative costs they assume under a Medicare for All plan would help hospitals (and physicians) survive the crunch, and that Warren's proposal allows for higher rates to be paid to hospitals under greater financial pressure, such as rural facilities. But Blumberg said that reimbursement-rate cuts as big as Warren is envisioning would be extremely politically difficult to pass through Congress'--and could lead to hospital closures or service cutbacks if they do.
''We are talking about very sizable average decreases across the country in what hospitals are being paid,'' she said. ''We thought 115 percent [of Medicare] was pretty aggressive and optimistic. I get the desire to lower the cost, I do. It's just a matter of what you think is realistic, and how that political process is going to play out, and how you want to ensure you are not overly disrupting the system's ability to deliver care.''
Len Nichols, a health economist at George Mason, also worries that cuts to providers as large as the ones Warren envisions would seriously disrupt the system.
''You can do this mathematically. The question is: Can you do it in real life with real people?'' says Nichols, who served as the senior health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget in Bill Clinton's administration. ''When you talk about 110 percent of Medicare for hospitals and the same as Medicare for physicians, there are a lot of practices that would have to close up shop, lay people off.''
Nichols believes that the largest and best-run urban hospitals could eventually adapt to Warren's payment rates if given a long-enough transition period. But he says such cuts would inevitably force a substantial number of less efficient hospitals, particularly those in small-town and rural markets, to close or transition into outpatient-care centers. ''The disruption we are talking about here would be severe,'' he told me.
Levitt said that lower reimbursement rates could have the positive effect of pressuring hospitals to more tightly control costs. ''Part of the difficulty is, these estimates often treat hospital costs as some law of nature,'' he said. ''For hospitals to survive, they would have to lower their costs. It's not like that doesn't happen in other industries. Companies cut back their workforce, trim costs based on market pressures, and sometimes they survive, sometimes they don't.''
But like Nichols, Levitt predicted that even with reform, such a constraint on revenues would likely increase the number of hospitals that shut down. And as in the Urban Institute study, he believes that the new system could create greater delays in access to care: More people will be seeking coverage, while the lower reimbursement rates may lead to less investment by hospitals and fewer people seeking careers in medicine. ''It would be a byproduct of both paying providers less and patients demanding more services,'' he said.
Despite all of these concerns, Levitt noted, the reality remains that most countries around the world have established and maintained quality universal-health-care systems that cost less than even Warren's proposal. And ''with better outcomes,'' he said.
The problem, of course, is that Warren and other single-payer advocates are not writing on a clean page, but rather seeking to reconfigure an enormously complex structure that consumes one-sixth of the national economy and employs hundreds of thousands of people. ''Other countries created their universal systems from a much blanker slate than is being proposed here,'' Levitt said.
That means all of the savings Warren is banking on from taking income from doctors, hospitals, and drug companies will be enormously difficult to pass into law.
Even with a $20.5 trillion price tag, Warren's single-payer plan would represent an increase of more than one-third in total federal spending over the next decade. But holding down the cost even to that level would require, as Blumberg said, ''heroic'' assumptions about how much savings could be squeezed from every corner of the health-care system. Warren's plan, by her own projections, would require the federal government to raise nearly 90 percent as much new revenue as the total projected receipts from the federal income tax over the next decade. Without those ''heroic'' savings, she'd need to raise even more'--and likely move beyond the targets for tax increases that she's identified so far.
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How much you have to earn to be in the top 1% in every US state
To be among the top 1 percent of U.S. earners, a family needs an income of $421,926, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute finds.
However, the threshold varies significantly among states. In Connecticut, for example, you need an annual income of $700,800 to be in the 1 percent. In New Mexico, you need $255,429.
Keep in mind that these numbers just represent the threshold '-- the average income of the top 1 percent nationwide is $1.32 million. The bottom 99 percent, on the other hand, earn an average of $50,107 a year.
Read on to see just how much your household would have to pull in to join the 1 percent club in every U.S. state.
AlabamaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $297,564
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $743,644
AlaskaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $400,017
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $910,059
ArizonaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $331,074
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $882,657
ArkansasAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $331,074
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $864,772
CaliforniaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $514,694
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.69 million
ColoradoAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $458,576
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.26 million
ConnecticutAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $700,800
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $2.52 million
DelawareAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $340,770
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $869,461
Washington, D.C.Annual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $598,155
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.86 million
FloridaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $417,587
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.54 million
GeorgiaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $371,811
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $995,576
HawaiiAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $310,566
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $797,001
IdahoAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $314,532
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $829,268
IllinoisAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $456,377
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.41 million
IndianaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $316,756
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $804,275
IowaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $331,572
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $788,419
KansasAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $375,344
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.03 million
KentuckyAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $274,818
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $719,012
LouisianaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $318,393
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $814,386
MaineAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $303,897
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $655,870
MarylandAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $445,783
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.14 million
MassachusettsAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $582,774
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.90 million
MichiganAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $328,649
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $917,701
MinnesotaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $443,118
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.19 million
MississippiAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $254,362
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $580,461
MissouriAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $326,839
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $944,804
MontanaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $321,849
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $855,976
NebraskaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $363,310
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $945,869
NevadaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $341,335
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.35 million
New HampshireAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $405,286
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.13 million
New JerseyAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $588,575
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.58 million
New MexicoAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $255,429
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $615,082
New YorkAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $550,174
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $2.20 million
North CarolinaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $343,066
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $902,972
North DakotaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $445,415
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.08 million
OhioAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $334,979
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $858,965
OklahomaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $333,139
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $932,520
OregonAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $358,937
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $908,898
PennsylvaniaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $388,593
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.10 million
Rhode IslandAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $346,657
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $928,204
South CarolinaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $318,463
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $761,185
South DakotaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $407,406
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.13 million
TennesseeAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $332,913
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $947,021
TexasAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $440,758
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.34 million
UtahAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $374,467
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.06 million
VermontAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $321,969
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $816,579
VirginiaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $425,144
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.11 million
WashingtonAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $451,395
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.38 million
West VirginiaAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $258,078
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $535,648
WisconsinAnnual income required to be in the top one percent: $349,905
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $964,358
WyomingAnnual income required to be in the top 1 percent: $405,596
Average annual income of the top 1 percent: $1.9 million
Joe Biden Backed Bills to Make It Harder for Americans to Reduce their Student Debt | Consumer Bankers Association
Jennifer Ryan did not love the idea of taking on debt, but she figured she was investing in her future. Eager to further her teaching career, she took out loans to gain certification and later pursued an advanced degree. But her studies came at a massive cost, leaving her confronting $192,000 in student loan debt.
''It's overwhelming,'' Ryan told International Business Times of her debts. ''I can't pay it back on the schedule the lenders have demanded."
In the past, debtors in her position could have used bankruptcy court to shield them from some of their creditors. But a provision slipped into federal law in 2005 effectively bars most Americans from accessing bankruptcy protections for their private student loans.
In recent months, Democrats have touted legislation to roll back that law, as Americans now face more than $1.2 trillion in total outstanding debt from their government and private student loans. The bill is a crucial component of the party's pro-middle-class economic message heading into 2016. Yet one of the lawmakers most responsible for limiting the legal options of Ryan and students like her is the man who some Democrats hope will be their party's standard-bearer in 2016: Vice President Joe Biden.
As a senator from Delaware -- a corporate tax haven where the financial industry is one of the state'slargest employers -- Biden was one of the key proponents of the 2005 legislation that is now bearing down on students like Ryan. That bill effectively prevents the $150 billion worth of private student debt from being discharged, rescheduled or renegotiated as other debt can be in bankruptcy court.
Biden's efforts in 2005 were no anomaly. Though the vice president has long portrayed himself as a champion of the struggling middle class -- a man who famously commutes on Amtrak and mixes enthusiastically with blue-collar workers -- the Delaware lawmaker has played a consistent and pivotal role in the financial industry's four-decade campaign to make it harder for students to shield themselves and their families from creditors, according to an IBT review of bankruptcy legislation going back to the 1970s.
Biden's political fortunes rose in tandem with the financial industry's. At 29, he won the first of seven elections to the U.S. Senate, rising to chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, which vets bankruptcy legislation. On that committee, Biden helped lenders make it more difficult for Americans to reduce debt through bankruptcy -- a trend that experts say encouraged banks to loan more freely with less fear that courts could erase their customers' repayment obligations. At the same time, with more debtors barred from bankruptcy protections, the average American's debt load went up by two-thirds over the last 40 years. Today, there is more than $10,000 of personal debt for every person in the country, as compared to roughly $6,000 in the early 1970s.
That increase -- and its attendant interest payments -- have generated huge profits for a financial industry that delivered more than $1.9 million of campaign contributions to Biden over his career, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Student debt, which grew as Biden climbed the Senate ladder and helped lenders tighten bankruptcy laws, spiked from $24 billion issued annually in 1990-91 to $110 billion in 2012-13, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
According to the Institute for College Access and Success, as of 2012, roughly one-fifth of recent graduates' student debt was from private loans that ''are typically more costly'' than government loans.
Consequently, every major Democratic presidential candidate has introduced his or her own plan to reduce college debt. Biden himself has spotlighted the issue as he has publicly pondered a White House bid. Earlier this month he attended an event to discuss student debt at community colleges, telling students at Miami-Dade College: ''I doubt there were many of you who could sit down and write a check for $6,000 in tuition without worrying about it.'' His comments amplified his rhetoric from the 2012 election, when he decried the fact that "two-thirds of all the students who attend college take out loans to pay for school." He said that the accumulated debt means that when the typical student graduates, "you get a diploma and you get stapled to it a $25,000 bill."
But advocates for stronger protections for debtors argue that Biden was a driving force in creating the laws that made the problem worse.
''Joe Biden bears a large amount of responsibility for passage of the bankruptcy bill,'' Ed Boltz, president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, said in an interview with IBT.
That legislation created a crisis, said Northeastern University law professor Daniel Austin. Federal Reserve data show that about 1.1 million people face student debt loans of $100,000 or more, and roughly167,000 face student loans of $200,000 or more.
''It is perverse and obscene,'' Austin told IBT. ''We are creating a generation of indentured people. It is mind-boggling that we would do this to a whole generation of young people. I can't understand any other modern society doing this.''
Historical Tuition vs. Student Debt - U.S College Education | StartClass
In a statement to IBT, Biden spokesperson Stephen Spector, said that as a senator Biden ''succeeded in making the bipartisan bankruptcy bill fairer.'' Spector added, ''Throughout his career, the Vice President has been a champion for middle-class families and has fought against powerful interests.''
Labor leaders earlier this month echoed that message. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called Biden ''a great champion of the working people,'' and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said Biden has ''been the voice of working people. He's fought with us and for us time and again. He has never ever let us down.''
Only a decade ago, though, leaders of the labor movement -- which plays an outsized role in Democratic primaries -- were among the chief critics of Biden's bankruptcy legislation. In 2005 AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Trumka's predecessor, said the Biden-backed bill ''is unnecessarily harsh and is further proof that big business is steamrolling legislation through Congress that will negatively impact the economic interests of hardworking Americans.''
For debtors like Ryan, such dire predictions about the bankruptcy legislation appear to have come true.
''I was really trying to negotiate in good faith,'' she told IBT. ''I was thinking I could go and eventually go back to these companies and repay them on a schedule I could afford, but in the end that wasn't possible,'' she said. The bankruptcy code ''left me with very few options, which is why my house is going to be sold and I'm going to have to find a place to live.''
'Unwise And Unjust'
Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, just as allegations about students abusing bankruptcy courts were beginning to make headlines. As recounted by Reuters' Maureen Tkacik, major newspapers started publishing anecdotes about students who took out large college loans and then quickly declared bankruptcy to avoid paying them off. A federal commission issued a report during Biden's first year in Congress recommending that government-backed education loans be barred from bankruptcy protections for at least five years after a student graduated.
''The notion originally was that students were filing for bankruptcy opportunistically,'' Maura Dundon of the Center for Responsible Lending said. ''The argument was that there needed to be tougher bankruptcy laws for federal student loans in order to make sure that the money was paid back and the government's pool of resources for those loans wasn't depleted.''
A 1977 Government Accountability Office report, however, challenged the stories implying students were systematically gaming the bankruptcy system. The analysis found that less than 1 percent of all educational loans were being erased in bankruptcy. In a 2014 report, researchers at Harvard University and the federal government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noted that the same GAO data at the time also ''found that the majority of students were not filing for bankruptcy immediately upon graduation.''
Still, Congress moved to amend the nation's 80-year-old bankruptcy code. The bill proposed in 1978 included provisions to specifically block most students from seeking bankruptcy protections for their federal student loans immediately after they graduated.
The proposal quickly divided the Democratic Party. Michigan Democratic Rep. James O'Hara said the student loan exemption would be ''treating students, all students, as though they were suspected frauds and felons;'' Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Allen Ertel said that failing to pass the restrictions would create a bill ''almost specifically designed to encourage fraud'' by students.
Historical American Household Aggregate Debt | StartClass
As the legislative debate intensified, Biden was appointed to serve as one of three of the Senate Democrats' representatives in a conference committee to meld the House and Senate versions of the legislation. The National Consumer Law Center sent a letter to Biden and other Senate negotiators asking them to prevent the final bill from including what the group called an ''unwise and unjust'' crackdown on student debtors, congressional records reviewed by IBT show.
But the legislation produced by Biden and his fellow conferees ended up including the provisions exempting government-sponsored educational loans from traditional bankruptcy protections for at least five years after a student graduates. In announcing the final deal, the sponsor of the bankruptcy legislation, Sen. Dennis Deconcini, D-Ariz., specifically thanked Biden in a floor speech for his ''lengthy and time exhausting work'' on the measure.
Within a few years, the crackdown that began in 1978 would extend beyond just government loans. In1984, as Biden was gaining seniority on the Judiciary Committee, the Delaware lawmaker reprised his role as one of his party's top negotiators on a new legislative proposal. Under that bill -- which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan -- bankruptcy exemptions were extended to non-higher-education loans like those for vocational schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Then came the 1990 Crime Control Act, whose chief sponsor was Biden. Though the bill was primarily focused on toughening criminal sentences, Biden's legislation also included provisions that further lengthened the amount of time debtors would have to wait before they got access to traditional bankruptcy protections for their federal and nonprofit student loans.
In 1997, a federal panel appointed by President Clinton recommended that Congress reverse all the changes, and once again make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy court like other forms of consumer debt. But lawmakers went in the other direction, making it even harder for student debtors to get bankruptcy protections. With Biden's support, Congress in 1998 passed a law limiting bankruptcy protections for educational loans to students who could prove their loans were an ''undue hardship.''
The undue hardship standard was not explicitly defined in the Biden-backed law, but many courts interpreted it to require debtors to attempt to prove that their economic prospects would never improve, a concept known in legal circles as ''certainty of hopelessness.''
A court ruling just this past June illustrates how difficult a legal barrier the standard was designed to be, even for the most cash-strapped debtors. In that case, a Clinton appointed federal judge, whose appointment was approved by Biden's Judiciary Committee, ruled that a disabled 45-year-old woman whose entire income is $10,000 per year in Social Security did not meet the ''undue hardship'' test for discharging her student loans.
'Out Of Luck And Out Of Options'
Between 1978 and 2005, Americans saw their non-mortgage debt grow from an average of $6,000 to more than $10,000, adjusted for inflation. Though the economy and job market were booming in the 1990s, debt nonetheless was exacerbated by both stagnating wages and the rising cost of healthcare and student loans. Among students who borrowed, the typical amount of educational debt rose from about $12,400 in 1992 to more than $26,000 at the end of the 2000s, according to data compiled by the Pew Research Center.
Despite congressional efforts to reduce protections for debtors, the incidence of bankruptcies increasedfrom 1978 to 1999, from approximately one per 1,000 people to approximately five per 1,000 people. That prompted a legislative push at the end of the Clinton administration by lenders to once again make it harder for people to discharge debts in court. They argued that because the overall economy was strong, the rising bankruptcy rates proved that bankruptcy courts were being abused by debtors who could afford to pay their bills.
"When you have this kind of a bankruptcy record in the midst of a booming economy and low unemployment, it's a sign that the system is broken and needs improvement,'' the American Bankers Association's Catherine Pulley said at the time. "Bankruptcy should absolutely be the last resort, no matter what.''
During that period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, liberal Democrats such as Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota countered that increasing rates of bankruptcy were not a sign of abuse, but the result of a convergence of factors bearing down on the disadvantaged. He cited liberalized lending rules that, by allowing poor people to take on more debt, inevitably led to a higher number of bankruptcies. Wellstone believed that the changes and their negative effects "shouldn't have been used to make the bankruptcy laws even more draconian,'' Wellstone's bankruptcy policy adviser, Perry Lange, told IBT.
Despite opposition from Wellstone and other liberals, Biden became a prominent Democratic supporter of legislation in 2000 to further restrict bankruptcy protections. The initiative was backed by one of Biden's top supporters: Delaware-based credit card titan MBNA. Not only had the company's employees collectively become one of his largest campaign contributors, the firm had employed Biden's son Hunterright out of law school and later paid Hunter Biden consulting fees while his father pushed the bankruptcy bill. MBNA's top executive had purchased Biden's Delaware home for a price that Biden's political opponents depicted as a sweetheart deal to a powerful legislator.
[Biden and son] Vice President Joe Biden (right) points to some faces in the crowd with his son Hunter as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., following the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama in January 2009. Hunter Biden got a job with credit card giant MBNA right out of law school and then was paid consulting fees as his father pushed bankruptcy legislation backed by MBNA. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
But while the bill was primarily viewed as an initiative for credit card firms, it included a little-discussed provision to continue the crackdown on student debtors. Buried in the 400-page legislation was a section designed to make it more difficult for students to get bankruptcy protections not just for their government and nonprofit loans, but also for the educational loans they received from private financial firms.
''The lenders have put constant pressure on Congress to exempt as much as possible from being discharged in bankruptcy over the years, and they succeeded by creating the caricature of a deadbeat who knowingly runs up debt rather than the reality of hardworking students reaching for the American dream but unable to find jobs when they graduate,'' Dennis Kelleher, a former Democratic senate aide who now runs the Wall Street watchdog group Better Markets, told IBT.
Biden helped the banking industry promote the negative portrayal of debtors. During the 2000 debate, hesaid the goal of the bankruptcy bill he was backing was ''to assure that those who have the ability to pay do not walk away from their legal debts.''
Robert Schiff, the Judiciary Committee counsel to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, an opponent of the legislation, told IBT that Biden was a powerful adversary.
''Anything that he was really involved in, he understood, he got into the details and he was not a guy who would just kind of grandstand over an issue that he couldn't actually talk on with some knowledge,'' Schiff, who now serves as the chief of staff to the chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, said. ''He had good staff, knowledgeable staff, so he was well-versed in the bankruptcy stuff that we dealt with him on.''
As the financial industry, including private student lenders, pumped millions into lobbying, and as Biden was on his way to collecting more than $100,000 for his re-election campaign from banking interests, he became one of three Democratic senators appointed to the committee responsible for hammering out a final bill. When word came down that President Bill Clinton was threatening to veto the measure, Biden delivered a floor speech pressuring his own party's president to reconsider.
''I know that important voices in his administration continue to support bankruptcy reform,'' Biden said of Clinton, ''and I hope that he will heed their advice.''
Though President Clinton had been an ally of the financial industry -- backing deregulation and raising campaign cash from Wall Street -- he ultimately vetoed the bill after First Lady Hillary Clinton reportedlypressured him to reject the legislation.
[Biden and Clinton] U.S. President Bill Clinton talks with then-Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., in 1999. Biden would push Clinton to sign bankruptcy legislation at the end of Clinton's term, but Clinton vetoed the bill. Reuters
Then George W. Bush assumed office -- after a campaign bankrolled by the financial industry -- and the bankruptcy bill quickly came back to life. In 2001, just eight weeks into the new Congress, and with the Senate evenly split between both parties, Biden began once again playing a pivotal role as a co-sponsor of the legislation.
When the bill first came up, Biden cast the only Democratic vote for it in the Judiciary Committee, allowing the measure to advance to the Senate floor. Biden then worked aggressively to promote the legislation's passage. During a floor debate with Feingold over the measure, he presented his effort to help the financial industry pursue debtors as a crusade to keep overall interest rates low for consumers.
''A lot of the very people I represent, and that my friend from Wisconsin and others talk about all the time -- working-class folks -- are getting hurt by the way bankruptcy is abused now,'' he said. ''The average person in America, the person who really is in a crunch, is hurt the most because interest rates go up.''
Biden asserted that he was concerned about the financial pressures of student debt, noting that students "declare bankruptcy because they run up tens of thousands of dollars in loans to go to college.'' But the solution, in Biden's view, was not to strip out the section of the bankruptcy bill that cracked down on student debtors. Instead, he suggested the remedy was his separate proposal to make college tuition tax deductible.
The bankruptcy bill initially passed the Senate, with the help of Democratic powerhouses such as then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., (who would later revert to her previous position of opposing it). Biden kept pushing, lobbying Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota to appoint him to be one of the party's representatives on the conference committee to negotiate a final bill with House members.
''The credit industry considers Biden vital to ensuring a favorable outcome in the conference committee,'' Congressional Quarterly reported that year. ''Biden, a staunch supporter of the industry, would be counted on to deflect pro-consumer amendments.''
[Biden and Bush] U.S. President George W. Bush and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., in 2001. Bush in 2005 signed the bankruptcy bill backed by Biden. Reuters
At the time, Democratic opponents of the bill worried that appointing Biden would tilt the legislation toward lenders. The head of one trade association for lenders called Biden "the only Democratic true believer" in support of the initiative. One Republican staffer ''said that excluding Biden from the conference would likely doom the bill,'' according to Congressional Quarterly.
''They won't stiff me on this,'' Biden said of his efforts to get on the panel, according to Congressional Quarterly. ''It would be a big mistake.''
Biden's 2001 push to pass the bankruptcy initiative ran into a coordinated campaign from consumer groups and unions who backed Wellstone's efforts to block the legislation. During the debate, the Minnesota senator pointed to data to argue that most bankruptcies were not related to abuses by debtors who could afford to pay, but stemmed from high medical expenses and job losses. Wellstone assailed the bill as ''a bailout for the big banks and credit card companies,'' and he specifically slammed Biden's top campaign contributor, MBNA.
''People who find themselves in terrible economic circumstances through no fault of their own do not have the same kind of clout that MBNA Corporation has,'' Wellstone said.
Biden took umbrage at those who depicted him as a tool of his donors. ''No one has ever accused me of being a friend of the banking industry,'' he said.
In the end, the House did not pass the 2001 bill, killing it over a disagreement on an abortion-related provision.
In 2005, though, lawmakers and financial industry lobbyists resurrected a new version of the legislation -- one that included provisions to make it more difficult for students to get bankruptcy protections not just for their government loans but also for the loans they received from private financial firms. This time around there was no Wellstone, a liberal icon who had died in a 2002 plane crash, to lead the Democratic opposition to the initiative. With Biden's support, the bankruptcy legislation sailed through the Senate in the first few months of the new congressional session. In April, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush, whose top campaign contributor had become MBNA.
'The Debtor Now Gets the Worst Deal'
While the student provisions slipped into the 2005 legislation received little scrutiny at the time, the new language represented an ''extraordinarily problematic'' legal shift, Northeastern University's Daniel Austin said.
''Federally guaranteed student loans are subject to forgiveness and repayment programs through which borrowers pay based on their income, with the loan being forgiven after 20 to 25 years,'' Austin said. He explained that such debtors may also be eligible for loan consolidation and other ''borrower-friendly remedies.'' But those kinds of assistance don't apply to private loans.
Private lenders aren't obligated to renegotiate payments or offer other forms of relief. ''Yet, private lenders got additional protection of the 'undue hardship' exception to bankruptcy discharge,'' Austin said.
The result, said Austin, is that ''the debtor now gets the worst deal, and the creditor gets the best deal.''
The timing of the 2005 bill was particularly significant: The cost of college was skyrocketing, combined with a financial crisis that would send many unemployed workers back to school for additional educational credentials.
The cost of an average private education has increased by more than 22 percent and the cost of public education has jumped by more than 32 percent since the 2005 bankruptcy bill passed, according to data collected by the College Board. The Wall Street Journal has reported that in roughly the same time period Federal Reserve data show that total student debt has doubled and almost a quarter of student debtors are not keeping up with their payments.
In 2012, a spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who along with Biden supported the bankruptcy bill as a member of the Judiciary Committee, downplayed the 2005 change, saying private loans typically comprise a ''small percentage of debt for the students who take them.''
However, with federal education loans failing to increase as fast as the tuition hikes, private lenders have become an increasingly significant player in financing education. Students' outstanding private educational debt went up from just $55.9 billion in 2005 to over $150 billion today, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"They removed the protections for borrowers just as the cost of higher education and student debt burdens began to rapidly increase," Adam Minsky, an attorney based in Brookline, Massachusetts, who helps student debtors navigate legal issues, said.
Lawyers like Minsky said the trend is illustrated by their clients. A 2012 survey by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys found that 81 percent of bankruptcy attorneys ''say that potential clients with student loan debt have increased 'significantly' or 'somewhat' in the last three-four years.''
The Consumer Bankers Association, a trade association for lenders, has downplayed the role of private student loans in that trend, telling the Wall Street Journal that less than 3 percent of those with such loans are in ''financial distress.'' But with the Biden-backed bankruptcy restrictions preventing courts from discharging most educational debt, more and more students have complained to federal regulators that private banks are unwilling to renegotiate the terms of high-interest loans.
"We are hearing from consumers that they are driven into default because private student-loan companies are not providing concrete loan-modification options," Richard Cordray, the director of the federal government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said. ''Struggling private student loan borrowers are finding themselves out of luck and out of options.''
'His Blue-Collar Roots Inform His Politics'
As Biden now mulls a presidential bid, his supporters have stressed his work as vice president in championing the White House's Middle Class Task Force, and they have cited his initiatives promoting college affordability, green jobs and boosting wages. They have also cast Biden as merely a reluctant supporter of the bankruptcy legislation.
''In an effort to reach a bipartisan compromise after nearly a decade of debate in Congress, then-Senator Biden made the tough decision to vote for the bipartisan bill,'' Biden spokesperson Stephen Spector told IBT.
That portrayal, though, was disputed in 2002 by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, then a Harvard law professor, in a paper documenting Biden's central role in spearheading what would become the final 2005 legislation.
''Senator Biden's role, as the credit industry has noted, has been crucial,'' Warren wrote. Quoting industry trade publications covering the bill's progress, she added that Biden was ''variously described as 'the linchpin' to passage, 'a staunch supporter, 'pivotal,' 'a strong proponent,' 'the only Democratic true believer,' 'possibly the bankruptcy bill's staunchest defender,' and 'the most ardent Democratic supporter of bankruptcy legislation.'''
Spector asserted that Biden's support for the 2005 bankruptcy legislation was not motivated by a desire to help the financial industry. He said Biden had demanded ''safe harbors to help low-income workers, veterans, members of the military, women and children -- despite opposition from the largest employer in his state,'' the finance industry.
Biden did support provisions in the bankruptcy bill to further prevent divorced parents from using bankruptcy to avoid paying alimony and child support. However, Biden also led the fight against his own party's efforts to soften the bill's impact on some of the most vulnerable debtors. In one case, he voted against an amendment that would protect divorced mothers who failed to receive child support from having to repay a portion of their debts in bankruptcy. He voted to oppose an amendment barring firms from charging more than 30 percent interest on loans. In still other cases, he voted against extending special bankruptcy protections for soldiers, victims of identity theft and those with especially high medical debt.
Since the bill passed, the political debate over its effects has continued to simmer.
''Bankruptcy protection remains available for those in need,'' Jeff Sigmund, a spokesperson for the American Bankers Association, told IBT. ''The bankruptcy law helped to eliminate abuses and ensure the bankruptcy system is used fairly." A report from Wayne State University researchers found that the bill reduced bankruptcies by 44 percent.
By contrast, analyses by Federal Reserve Bank researchers reported that the 2005 bill worsened the foreclosure crisis, by compelling debtors to pay unsecured debts like credit cards instead of paying down their mortgages. Democratic lawmakers say the effect of the student loan provisions has been devastating.
''The 2005 bankruptcy restrictions penalize borrowers for pursuing higher education, provide no incentive to private lenders to lend responsibly, and likely affect African-American borrowers more negatively than other borrowers,'' Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill, said. ''Private education debt is no different than other consumer debt; it involves private profit and deserves no privileged treatment.''
Meanwhile, critics say changes in higher education financing mean that Biden's bankruptcy reforms have even more pronounced consequences now.
''Many of these bankruptcy laws were made in a world where most of college financing came from grants and a small percentage comes from loans, but that's now flipped,'' Kelleher, of Wall Street watchdog Better Markets, said. The combination of decreasing public funding for higher education, spiking tuition rates and the rise of for-profit colleges ''should cause policymakers to give people back the ability to have bankruptcy courts treat their student debts like any other debt,'' Kelleher said.
Biden's office did not answer IBT questions about whether he supports Democratic efforts to repeal the student lending provisions of the 2005 bill.
If Biden chooses to run for president in 2016, he may be forced to respond to such queries, just as he was in the 2008 campaign when the issue had unexpected political traction.
"When I was in Iowa in 2007, I remember being surprised when a few people kept bringing up Biden's role in passing the bankruptcy bill,'' Biden's former political aide Jeff Connaughton said. ''I didn't fully realize then that certain voters were quite upset about it."
In the 2008 general election, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama -- who voted against the 2005 bankruptcy bill -- criticized Republican nominee John McCain for supporting it. During a vice presidential debate, Biden was pressed about the same legislation. He responded by defending his support for the bill yet also saying he believed new laws were needed to give some debtors more protections.
The latter call previewed Biden's more populist rhetoric as vice president -- a position in which he has occasionally criticized credit card companies and has backed a federal study looking at whether to give those facing educational debt more bankruptcy protections. That shift, say some Democrats, shows that Biden's Senate record representing Delaware does not necessarily present a full picture of how he would operate as president, should he win the White House in 2016.
''I think in general Biden's instincts are really good and populist, and his blue-collar roots inform his politics,'' Jeff Blodgett, who was Sen. Wellstone's longtime political aide, said. ''I think that the bankruptcy bill was just a case where he felt he needed to stand up for an industry based in his state -- and unfortunately, a bunch of Democratic senators bought into his public arguments about debtors.''
Whatever its political repercussions now, the legislative push by Biden a decade ago reverberates in the lives of thousands of burdened former students. For Jennifer Ryan, now 44, it has meant the imminent loss of her Massachusetts home, garnished wages from her teaching job -- and little prospect of relief.
''There's no money to be made in giving people with student loans a break,'' she said. ''There's no money to be made in helping people like me.''
Hillary Clinton Says Mark Zuckerberg 'Should Pay a Price' for Fake Ads '' Variety
November 2, 2019 5:23AM PTDemocracy is under attack and data is the weapon being used to drive wedges in our polarized society. That was the message that Hillary Clinton delivered at a New York City screening of the Netflix documentary ''The Great Hack'' on Friday night. The former secretary of state argued that tech giants such as Facebook need to fact check political ads that run on their platforms in order to ensure that elections remain free and fair.
''[Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg should pay a price for what he is doing to our democracy,'' said Clinton, adding. ''Part of our problem, those of us who are appalled by this war on truth and this fake news which is truly surrounding us these days, is we're not very good at combating it. It's hard because you're up against algorithms, plus all these other powerful forces, it's really hard.''
Clinton, who was joined on stage at the Crosby Street Hotel by filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer and Guardian journalist Carole Cadwallai, advocated creating ''a whole new agenda of legislation and regulation'' to govern how companies such as Facebook and Google exploit the data of its users. ''The Great Hack'' examines Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political consulting firm that played a critical role in Donald Trump's campaign by using data gleaned from Facebook to target persuadable voters in key swing states. Much of that outreach involved bombarding them with ads that were either factually challenged or that used racially charged wedge issues to encourage turnout. The data had been harvested without the consent of some 30 million Facebook users. ''The Great Hack'' argues that the same methods were deployed to convince voters in the U.K. to support Brexit, as well as in political campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago and Kenya.
''It's not just about one election, it's about so many of the choices that we're facing in society right now,'' Clinton said. ''The use of our data to manipulate us, to make money off of us, is really one of the cardinal challenges we face'...this is our information, but people seem to forget that they should demand to own it.''
Clinton was supposed to be moderating the panel at the posh affair, which drew a crowd of awards season voters and media heavyweights such as Bill Moyers, ''Paradise Lost'' filmmaker Joe Berlinger, and ''All in the Family'' creator Norman Lear. However, the filmmakers and Cadwallai seemed eager to turn the tables on the former Democratic standard bearer, knowing that she had first-hand experience of what it's like to be caught in the middle of a data-driven maelstrom.
''I'm like the hit-and-run victim, who you find on the side of the road,'' Clinton joked at one point.
The filmmakers said their film has an urgent message given that the 2020 presidential election is just around the corner. They labeled ''The Great Hack,'' as a ''horror film.''
''The issue is people don't understand the gravity yet and you say 'data rights' and 'privacy rights' and people's eyes kind of glaze over, but it really is about a war on truth,'' said Noujaim. ''It is an information war and we are so in the middle of it.''
''This is not a partisan issue,'' added Amer. ''Some things in this country should no longer be blue or red.''
Putting on her journalist hat, Cadwallai asked Clinton if she thought that Zuckerberg's White House sitdown with Donald Trump and private meetings with conservative leaders such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, had played a role in Facebook's decision not to alter its political ad policy. Facebook maintains that barring ads would violate freedom of speech.
''I can't draw any conclusions about closed door meetings, not only with Trump but with Tucker Carlson and with Breitbart and with many others that have been going on at Facebook headquarters,'' said Clinton. ''But if I were of a conspiratorial mindset, I might suggest that there seems to be some connection'...I don't understand the mindset that we currently see operating with Zuckerberg.''
Clinton praised Twitter for refusing political ads, but said she that Facebook's policy threatens the idea of free and fair elections because it has become such a critical source of news for Americans. Ultimately, however, she suggested that Silicon Valley companies that traffic in data mining will also suffer.
''It was an open society that enabled technology to be birthed and now be so dominant in our lives,'' said Clinton. ''It's like a bad fairy tale. They are going to kill that golden goose. They are going to create a political system that is going to either come down too hard on them and squeeze them in ways that are not productive or continue to have a laissez faire attitude toward them where they continue to undermine our privacy and our freedom and our democracy. It could not be a more imperative challenge for us.''
Democracy is under attack and data is the weapon being used to drive wedges in our polarized society. That was the message that Hillary Clinton delivered at a New York City screening of the Netflix documentary ''The Great Hack'' on Friday night. The former secretary of state argued that tech giants such as Facebook need [...]
Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, Texas, announced on Friday that he's withdrawing from the presidential race. O'Rourke captivated party regulars only a year ago, coming within a few points of unseating Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the midterm election. That campaign was fueled by massive contributions from small-dollar donors. That strategy initially [...]
UPDATED: Aaron Sorkin, who won a screenwriting Oscar for ''The Social Network,'' a fictionalized retelling of the early rise of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, has weighed in on the debate over the social giant's policy to accept all political advertising regardless of whether it's factual or not. Sorkin's message to Zuck: You're wrong. In an [...]
The House of Representatives voted 232-196 on Thursday to establish rules for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The vote was almost entirely on party lines, with only two Democrats opposed to the measure and zero Republicans voting in favor. The resolution allows for public hearings and the release of transcripts of closed-door depositions, and [...]
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the social service will no longer sell political advertising '-- an issue that has ensnared Facebook in recent weeks. ''We've made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,'' Dorsey wrote in a tweet Wednesday. We've made [...]
Kamala Harris is not leading in the polls or in fundraising. After a surge over the summer, following her first Democratic presidential debate performance, her campaign has steadily lost steam. But Harris is still the favorite among Hollywood donors, who, for once, are following their hearts and ignoring the trends. Harris has received more contributions [...]
The House of Representatives will vote to formalize its procedures for the impeachment of President Trump sometime this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday. The White House has refused to cooperate with the probe, arguing in part that the inquiry is invalid because the full House did not vote to authorize it. The House voted [...]
CIA and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free [john 8]
Back to Index Close Original Headquarters Building (OHB)The CIA's Original Headquarters Building was designed in the mid-1950s by the New York firm Harrison and Abramovitz. The designers followed the vision of former DCI Allen Dulles, who dreamed of a place where intelligence officers could work in a college campus-like atmosphere. He also wanted this secure and secluded environment to be close to US policymakers. (Langley is eight miles outside of downtown Washington.) OHB's cornerstone was laid on Nov. 3, 1959. Construction was completed in March 1961. OHB consists of 1,400,000 square feet of space. OHB and its companion, New Headquarters Building, sit on 258 acres of land.
Back to Top OHB CornerstoneIn May 1959, with the site under security surveillance and contractors wearing security badges, work began on the Original Headquarters Building. On November 3 of that year, President Eisenhower came to Langley to place the time capsule and to lay the cornerstone. But that November ceremony was largely symbolic. The box and cornerstone were later removed and held for safekeeping until they were permanently installed more than a year later. (The silver-engraved trowel the President used can be found in the CIA Museum Collection.)
When the press asked Dulles after the ceremony what was in the box, he smiled and said, "It's a secret." Despite the DCI's joke, everything in the copper-covered steel box was unclassified. In addition to the items mentioned below, the National Security Medal, the Distinguished Intelligence Cross, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Intelligence Star, and the Intelligence Medal of Merit were added to the box later.
Contents of the cornerstone box include:
Memorandum for President Franklin D. Roosevelt from Major General William J. Donovan, director of the Office of Strategic Services, dated November 18, 1944, regarding the establishment of a permanent centralized intelligence service; and Memorandum from President Roosevelt to General Donovan, dated April 5, 1945, directing that General Donovan discuss his plan with the appropriate officials of the Government.President Harry S. Truman's Executive Letter of January 22,1946, establishing the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group.Statement of General (then Lieutenant General) Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Director of Central Intelligence, before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, on April 29, 1947, in support of the sections of the proposed National Security Act of 1947 to establish the Central Intelligence Agency.Text and Explanation of Statutes and Executive Orders relating specifically to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including Enabling and Appropriations Acts for the construction of the new CIA building.Reproduction of the CIA seal and its official description."William J. Donovan and the National Security," a speech by Allen W. Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence, to the Erie County Bar Association, Buffalo, New York, May 4,1959.An aerial photograph of the CIA building site.Drawings of the CIA building as it would appear when completed.Invitation to the Ceremony, the Program, a recording, and photographs of the Cornerstone Ceremony.Microfilm copies of daily and weekly newspapers of 3 November 1959. Back to Top CIA SealThis CIA seal is a hallmark of the Original Headquarters Building lobby. The large granite seal '' which measures 16 feet in diameter '' has been the symbol of the CIA since Feb. 17, 1950. This emblem is comprised of the eagle, the shield and the16-point compass star. The eagle is our national bird and stands for strength and alertness. The 16-point compass star represents the convergence of intelligence data from around the world at a central point. The shield is the standard symbol of defense; US policymakers make decisions that defend our country through the intelligence we gather. This seal is one of the most identifiable symbols of the CIA and has appeared in many entertainment and documentary motion pictures.
Back to Top CIA Memorial WallThe Memorial Wall is on the north wall of the Original Headquarters Building lobby. This wall of 133 stars stands as a silent, simple memorial to those CIA officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Above the stars, a simple inscription reads: "In honor of those members of the Central Intelligence Agency who gave their lives in the service of their country." The Memorial Wall was commissioned by the CIA Fine Arts Commission in May 1973 and sculpted by Harold Vogel in July 1974.
133 stars There are 133 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall.
The Honor and Merit Awards Board (HMAB) recommends approval of the nomination to the CIA Director if it meets the following selection criteria:
Inclusion on the Memorial Wall is awarded posthumously to employees who lose their lives while serving their country in the field of intelligence. Death may occur in the foreign field or in the United States. Death must be of an inspirational or heroic character while in the performance of duty; or as the result of an act of terrorism while in the performance of duty; or as an act of premeditated violence targeted against an employee, motivated solely by that employee's Agency affiliation; or in the performance of duty while serving in areas of hostilities or other exceptionally hazardous conditions where the death is a direct result of such hostilities or hazards.
The HMAB reviews the circumstances surrounding the death of an employee and makes its recommendation to the DCIA for final approval. Once approved by the DCIA, the Office of Protocol arranges placement of the star on the Memorial Wall.
Stone carver Tim Johnston '' of Carving and Restoration Team in Manassas, Va. '' is called upon to add the star to the Memorial Wall.
Tim creates a star by first tracing the new star on the wall using a template. Each star measures 2-1/4 inches tall by 2-1/4 inches wide and half an inch deep; all the stars are six inches apart from each other, as are all the rows. Tim uses both a pneumatic air hammer and a chisel to carve out the traced pattern. After he finishes carving the star, he cleans the dust and sprays the star black, which as the star ages, fades to gray. Tim earned this craft from the Memorial Wall's original sculptor, Harold Vogel.
The new star is officially unveiled at the CIA's annual Memorial Ceremony.
Back to Top CIA Book of HonorBelow the Memorial Wall sits the glass-encased "Book of Honor." It lists the names of 98 officers who died while serving their country. The names of the remaining 35 officers must remain secret, even in death; each of these officers is remembered in the book by a star. This wall memorializes those men and women who served and sacrificed in silence.
Back to Top Allen Dulles Bas-ReliefIn the main lobby of Original Headquarters Building is a bas-relief of Allen Dulles. Dulles was the fifth and longest-serving Director of Central Intelligence. He envisioned a place where intelligence officers could work in a college campus-like atmosphere. This vision resulted in the CIA's current headquarters compound. Dulles was one of four directors who served in the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. The sculpture was a gift to the Agency from several CIA officers. Heinz Warneke sculpted the bas-relief; it was dedicated on March 20, 1968.
Back to Top Bible Quote CarvingAllen Dulles, the fifth and longest-serving Director of Central Intelligence, took a personal interest in the construction of the Original Headquarters Building (OHB). At the dedication ceremony for OHB, Dulles included a quotation in his speech: "And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free" '' John 8:32. Dulles insisted that the quotation be fixed in stone in the OHB Lobby.
Back to Top Office of Strategic Services MemorialOn the south wall of the Original Headquarters Building lobby is the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Memorial. The OSS was the precursor to the CIA. This memorial is dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the OSS during WWII. The memorial consists of a single star on the wall and a book that lists the names of the 116 OSS fallen.
Back to Top OSS Memorial Book of HonorThe OSS "Book of Honor" sits in a glass-enclosed case on a marble pedestal beneath the star. The book lists the names of the 116 OSS fallen. The page is held open by a black ribbon with a replica of the official uniform patch affixed to it.
Back to Top Donovan's StatueA statue of Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan stands in solemn watch next to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Memorial. Donovan was the head of the OSS and is the "Father of Modern American Intelligence Gathering." Donovan is responsible for developing the five principles of the CIA:
Be an independent agency,Be able to do overt and covert action,Set the tone for how intelligence would be gathered in the community,Coordinate all the Intelligence community, andHave no police powers.The Donovan statue was dedicated on Oct. 26, 1988, and was commissioned by the late Director of Central Intelligence William J. Casey.
The complete OSS Memorial '' with its single star and the OSS Book of Honor '' was dedicated on June 12, 1992 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Office of Strategic Services.
Back to Top Fallen Agent MemorialThis memorial honors the sacrifice of those from foreign nations who died while sharing CIA's mission. The inscription reads: In honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the silent struggle for freedom.
The sculpture symbolizes the concepts of unity, giving, trust, globalization, and loss. The fabric drape is representative of a global matrix of people working together, like the threads that make up fabric. The laurel, a symbol of commemoration, is knotted because the knot is a symbol of unity, solidarity, and trust. The knot further conveys the shared mission in the struggle for freedom. The etched map of the world signifies the global reach of the shared effort. The draping of the fabric can be seen as a veil: a symbol of silence, grief, and loss. The eagle is a symbol of vigilance.
Back to Top George Bush BustA bust of former Director of Central Intelligence and President George Herbert Walker Bush resides at the top of the steps in the Original Headquarters Building main lobby. In 1982, the late Vincent Melzac, a former director of the Corcoran Gallery, commissioned Marc Mellon to sculpt the likeness of then-vice president Bush. The bust was on display at the Bush residence until Melzac donated it to the CIA in 1985.
President Bush holds a distinction in CIA history '' he is the only man to serve as both head of the CIA and president of the United States. To honor his unique role in CIA's history, the Agency compound was renamed on April 26, 1999, by congressional action under the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, "The George Bush Center for Intelligence."
Back to Top Back to Top Directors Portrait GalleryDirectory HomeMajor General William J. DonovanRear Admiral Sidney W. SouersLt. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USARear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USNGen. Walter Bedell Smith, USAThe Honorable Allen W. DullesThe Honorable John A. McConeVice Admiral William F. Raborn, Jr., USN (Ret.)The Honorable Richard M. HelmsThe Honorable James R. SchlesingerThe Honorable William E. ColbyThe Honorable George H. W. BushAdmiral Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)The Honorable William J. CaseyThe Honorable William H. WebsterThe Honorable Robert M. GatesThe Honorable R. James WoolseyThe Honorable John M. DeutchThe Honorable George J. TenetThe Honorable Porter J. GossGeneral Michael V. HaydenThe Honorable Leon E. PanettaOfficial portraits of the former CIA directors are located on the first floor corridor of the Original Headquarters Building. Each director chooses the artist he wishes to paint his portrait after he leaves office. The gallery contains portraits of the Directors of Central Intelligence beginning with Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers (USNR) and currently concluding with Leon E. Panetta. Each portrait is painted only after the Director completes his tenure.
The portrait gallery also includes a portrait of Major General William J. Donovan. While Gen. Donovan did not hold the position of Director of Central Intelligence, he did serve as the Director of the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era forerunner of CIA. To learn more about the men in the portraits, read The Directors and Deputy Directors of Central Intelligence located in the Center for the Study of Intelligence section of our Web site.
DirectorsMajor General William J. Donovan Coordinator of Information 11 July 1941''13 June 1942 Director of Strategic Services 13 June 1942''1 October 1945 Portrait by Thomas E. Stevens, 1957 Not a work of the US Government
Directors Home Next DirectorRear Admiral Sidney W. Souers 23 January''10 June 1946 Portrait by Clarence Lamont MacNelly Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorLt. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USA 10 June 1946''1 May 1947 Portrait by Clarence Lamont MacNelly Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorRear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN 1 May 1947''7 October 1950 Portrait by Marcella Comes Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorGen. Walter Bedell Smith, USA 7 October 1950''9 February 1953 Portrait by William F. Draper, 1958 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable Allen W. Dulles 26 February 1953''29 November 1961 Portrait by Gardner Cox, 1961 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable John A. McCone 29 November 1961''28 April 1965 Portrait by Cedric Baldwin Egeli, after William F. Draper Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorVice Admiral William F. Raborn, Jr., USN (Ret.) 28 April 1965''30 June 1966 Portrait by Rudolph A. Bernatschke Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable Richard M. Helms 30 June 1966''2 February 1973 Portrait by William F. Draper, 1971 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable James R. Schlesinger 2 February 1973''2 July 1973 Portrait by Lloyd Embry, 1973 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable William E. Colby 4 September 1973''30 January 1976 Portrait by Lloyd Embry, 1974 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable George H. W. Bush 30 January 1976''20 January 1977 Portrait by Clarence Lamont MacNelly, 1977 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorAdmiral Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.) 9 March 1977''20 January 1981 Portrait by Cedric Baldwin Egeli, 1985 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable William J. Casey 28 January 1981''29 January 1987 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1984 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable William H. Webster 26 May 1987''31 August 1991 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1990 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable Robert M. Gates 6 November 1991''20 January 1993 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1993 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable R. James Woolsey 5 February 1993''10 January 1995 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable John M. Deutch 10 May 1995''15 December 1996 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable George J. Tenet 16 December 1996''11 July 2004 Portrait by Steven Polson, 2008 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable Porter J. Goss 24 September 2004''21 April 2005 Portrait by Chas Fagan, 2008 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Next DirectorThe Honorable Leon E. Panetta 13 February 2009''30 June 2011 Portrait by Steven Polson, 2014 Not a work of the US Government
Previous Director Back to Top CIA MuseumThe CIA Museum was established in 1988 to give employees a sense of the unique history of their profession. This collection focuses on the CIA's World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, to the present-day CIA.
GalleriesMuseum Gallery HomeOSS GalleryCold War GalleryDI GalleryDS&T GalleryAfghan GalleryOffice of Strategic Service GalleryThe OSS Gallery features the personal effects reflecting the career of Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan, the head of OSS, as well as numerous examples of OSS tradecraft (much of which was used by CIA after it was established by President Truman in 1947), to items from the Persian Gulf War and the end of the Cold War.
Gallery Home Next GalleryCold War GalleryThe Cold War Gallery is located near the Original Headquarters Building main lobby. The staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, working in collaboration with collector and historian H. Keith Melton, established this exhibit in 1997 as part of the CIA's 50th Anniversary celebration. "The Cold War: Fifty Years of Silent Conflict" exhibit showcases some of Melton's 6,000 clandestine espionage artifacts from the United States, the former Soviet Union, and East Germany. These artifacts are currently on loan by Melton.
Previous Gallery Next Gallery Directorate of Intelligence GalleryFor over 50 years the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) has informed US presidents and other policymakers about the world in which they live. DI analysts have evaluated ''raw'' information relating to national security and turned it into ''finished'' intelligence, from current to long-range, written as brief reports or as in-depth studies. The DI has covered crises and confrontations, produced timely insights available nowhere else, and put them into the right hands. In November 2002, the DI and the CIA Museum opened the only exhibit on intelligence analysis in the country to commemorate the DI's 50th anniversary. Some of the unique items displayed include Francis Gary Powers' U-2 model and an al-Qa'ida training manual.
Previous Gallery Next Gallery Directorate of Science & Technology GalleryAmong the nation's greatest secrets are those involving the CIA men and women who apply their skills and expertise in pure science, applied engineering, master craftsmanship, operational tradecraft, and linguistics to provide America's leaders with critically important intelligence on the world. ''The Directorate of Science & Technology '-- People & Technology In the Service of Freedom'' commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the DS&T and provides a glimpse into this secret world. The items displayed here were designed by some of America's most advanced thinkers, adapting existing technologies or inventing new ones '-- selflessly putting themselves in the service of freedom.
Previous Gallery Next Gallery Afghan GalleryIn the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the President of the United States ordered the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to launch a operations against the al-Qa'ida terrorist organization and its Taliban supporters in Afghanistan. This order called for unilateral CIA operations to collect real-time, actionable intelligence to help shape the battlefield and to use all means to find and destroy al-Qa'ida. Within 15 days of the attacks on US soil, the first team of CIA officers was on the ground and operating in Afghanistan.
CIA teams blended diverse talents and highly experienced leaders who excelled in missions demanding independence, skill, initiative, and bravery. Operations officers, paramilitary officers, medics, field communications specialists, logistics officers, aircrews, firearms instructors, cartographers, computer technicians, analysts, reports officers, translators, and security officers were assembled by mission and operated as a flexible network that could accommodate varying geographic, tribal, and tactical conditions.
The combined efforts of US intelligence, US military forces, Afghan allies, and coalition partners formed the cornerstone of success in Afghanistan. In the ongoing Global War on Terror, all tools of US Intelligence will be directed toward defeating this global threat. CIA will continue to seek the right people to carry the battle to the enemy wherever they try to hide.
Through the exemplars of OSS and Operation Enduring Freedom unconventional warfare tradecraft and technologies, ''On the Front Lines: The CIA in Afghanistan'' presents artifacts and images relating to the global offensive against international terrorism. The uniquely visual exhibit addresses the importance of joint operations, cross-community relationships, and sacrifice while providing a current-mission focus in support of operational, training, and recruiting outreach.
Previous Gallery Back to Top CIA LibraryThe CIA's library is a valuable resource to Agency employees and is available to Agency personnel only. It contains approximately 125,000 books and subscribes to about 1,700 periodicals. The library maintains three collections: Reference, Circulating, and Historical Intelligence. New material for these collections is selected around current intelligence objectives and priorities.
The reference collection includes core research tools such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, commercial directories, atlases, diplomatic lists, and foreign and domestic phone books. CD-ROMs and extensive commercial database services round out the collection.
The circulating collection consists of monographs, newspapers, and journals. The library also participates in interlibrary loans of circulating items with other government and public libraries.
The Historical Intelligence Collection is primarily an open-source library dedicated to the collection, retention, and exploitation of material dealing with the intelligence profession. Currently, there are more than 25,000 books and extensive press clippings in the collection.
Back to Top Melzac Art CollectionEvery day, Agency employees walk past several abstract paintings that hang throughout the Headquarters buildings. These 29 paintings do not just break up the acres of wall space. They represent an elemental approach to art, a swashbuckling donor, and a connection to the architecture of the OHB.
The way the eye perceives color and pattern were the subjects of Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Kenneth Noland, Thomas Downing, Alma Thomas, and the other artists of the Washington Color School. Their patron '-- and the donor of this collection to the Agency, the late Vincent Melzac '-- was a larger-than-life figure.
Melzac's first loan of art to the CIA came in 1968, when eight large paintings by Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, and Jack Bush were selected by officials of the Corcoran Gallery to fit the large open spaces of OHB. A sculpture by Giorgio Spaventa was also loaned at that time; it now resides in the Vatican. Melzac also donated the bust of George Bush by sculptor Marc Mellon which is near the OHB lobby. Melzac was awarded the Agency Seal Medallion by DCI Casey in 1982 for his generous support to the CIA.
Back to Top New Headquarters BuildingBy the early 1980s, it was clear that the Agency needed to expand beyond the Original Headquarters Building. By this time, there was a need for an additional building and more parking. Smith, Hinchman and Grylls Associates presented a design that was functional for the Agency's needs and would blend in with the existing OHB structure.
The final design is two, six- story office towers built into a hillside behind OHB. The New Headquarters Building is linked to the OHB building in a seamless blend of the two structures. The main entrance to NHB is on the fourth floor. Inside the entrance, one is greeted by a huge skylight ceiling and, at the end of the entry corridor, a spectacular view of the OHB.
The groundbreaking ceremony for NHB took place on May 24, 1984; the building was completed by March 1991.
Back to TopAtrium Sculpture HallThe NHB atrium hosts a collection of statues donated to the Central Intelligence Agency. The statues in the collection include "The Day the Wall Came Down ," "Windwalker ," and "Intrepid ."
The Day the Wall Came Down '' NHBWindwalker '' NHB LobbyIntrepid '' NHB LobbyThe Day the Wall Came Down '' NHBCapturing the joy of freedom as the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, "The Day the Wall Came Down," by sculptor Veryl Goodnight, was added to the collection on Oct. 5, 2000. Known for her monument-size works, Goodnight is also one of the most renowned sculptors of horses in the United States. Artists have long used horses to represent freedom; this statue is no exception. Its flow of movement symbolizes the personal drive for freedom shared round the world. The wall in the sculpture represents all the obstacles to personal freedom both in the past and present. The stallion, representing man, is positioned on the east side of the wall urging the mares, representative of families, to a better life of freedom in the West.
Next SculptureWindwalker '' NHB LobbyOur national symbol, the eagle, represents vigilance, alertness, strength, courage and freedom. This dramatic 48-inch bronze eagle by sculptor Kitty Cantrell embodies all these qualities. Windwalker was added to the sculpture collection on April 1, 2002. Named for Cherokee medicine woman Five Feathered Windwalker, the sculpture belonged to the late Richard and Eleonore Morgner; their children gifted it to the Agency.
An example of an American success story, the Morgners emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1954 with little money and went on to establish 13 different companies. One of those companies, Superior Iron Works, a construction company, contributed to the construction of the New Headquarters Building, which now houses the statue. One of their children was also an employee of the CIA.
In 1999, Eleonore and Richard Morgner were killed when their private plane crashed. "Windwalker" was a favorite sculpture of Mr. Morgner's. As a tribute to their parents, the Morgner children donated the sculpture to the Agency in recognition of the courageous work of those who serve the CIA, acknowledging that, through this work, the Agency helps protect citizens of the United States and the immigrants who look to this country as the land of opportunity.
Previous Sculpture Next Sculpture Intrepid '' NHB LobbyA gift of the Intrepid Society of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, this 22-inch statue of Sir William Stephenson (code-named "Intrepid") was dedicated on May 2, 2000. The statue is a limited edition replica of a larger than life size bronze that stands on the Legislative grounds in Sir William's birthplace of Winnipeg, Canada. Sculpted by world-renowned artist Dr. Leo Mol, the statue depicts the WWII hero in his aviator's uniform.
Prior to America's entry in WWII, Sir William Stephenson, a Canadian entrepreneur, headed the New York Office of British Security Coordination. It was Stephenson who pressed President Franklin Roosevelt to establish an intelligence "coordinator" position to oversee FBI and military intelligence activities and lobbied for William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan as the man for the job.
Donovan, having recently toured British defenses, had gained the trust of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. When America entered the war, Donovan then headed the Office of Strategic Services which worked closely with and learned from British and Canadian intelligence officials.
Stephenson was the key liaison officer for the British intelligence services and highly regarded by the Americans who worked with him. In 1946, General Donovan awarded Sir William the Medal for Merit, the highest civilian decoration awarded by the United States (and never before awarded to a foreigner).
After the war, OSS officers formed the core of the CIA which was established in 1947. Though not the father of the CIA or OSS, Stephenson played a key role in the vision that established both entities and revolutionized America's intelligence capabilities.
Previous Sculpture Back to TopDCI William J. Casey Commemorative PlaqueOn the north wall of the New Headquarters Building lobby is a plaque honoring the late Director of Central Intelligence William J. Casey. The plaque is sculpted in green serpentine stone from Buckingham, Virginia. This plaque honors the DCI who was responsible for expanding on Dulles' dream with the design and construction of the New Headquarters Building.
Back to TopNew Headquarters Commemorative PlaqueOn Nov. 1, 1985, CIA employees participated in the CIA New Headquarters Building (NHB) Cornerstone Ceremony. To prepare for the ceremony, employees were asked to suggest documents and other materials that were sealed within the NHB cornerstone. The items selected provide a historical perspective of the Agency, as well as current (as of 1985) examples of Agency endeavors.
At some future date, when opened, the box will provide items of historic interest concerning the CIA. Contents of the cornerstone box include:
A copy of the CIA Credo, which sets forth the objectives and ideals governing our work in intelligence.A CIA medallion, which is representative of that given to all employees upon retirement from service.The program, photo booklet, and text of President Reagan's speeches to covert and overt employees at the groundbreaking ceremony on May 24, 1984.A copy of the current (as of 1985) editions of The World Factbook, containing political, geographic and economic data on all countries in the world, and of the Factbook on Intelligence.The publication Directors and Deputy Directors of CIA: Dates and Data 1946-1983.A miniature agent camera and crypto chip with a brief description of their use and technology employed.An aerial photograph of the CIA Headquarters complex before construction of the new building.An artist's rendition of the new building as it will appear when completed.Remarks of the DCI, William J. Casey, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, on Oct. 29, 1983.Remarks of the DDCI, John N. McMahon, at a memorial service.The program and Vice President's remarks at the Cornerstone Ceremony on Nov. 1, 1985. Back to TopNHB AtriumThe four-story, glass-enclosed atrium of the New Headquarters Building allows Agency employees to enjoy the outdoors in good and bad weather. This area between the two towers is where pedestrian traffic between the Original and the New Headquarters Buildings converges, hence a perfect place for exhibiting varied displays of interest to CIA employees.
Suspended from the ceiling are reminders of intelligence history: three models of the U-2, A-12, and D-21 drone. These models are exact replicas at one-fifth scale of the real planes. All three had photographic capabilities. The U-2 was one of the first espionage planes developed by the CIA. The A-12 Blackbird set unheralded flight records. The D-21 Drone was one of the first unmanned aircraft ever built. Lockheed Martin Corporation donated all three models to the CIA.
Back to Top The George Bush Center for IntelligenceCIA Headquarters was renamed for President George Herbert Walker Bush on April 26, 1999, to honor his unique role in Agency history. President Bush is the only former Director of Central Intelligence to become President of the United States '-- in effect becoming the most important consumer of the intelligence products of the Agency he once led.
Back to TopRoute 123 MemorialOn May 24, 2002, Agency officers dedicated the Route 123 Memorial to two fallen colleagues. The Memorial is located on the west side of the Virginia Route 123 entrance (alongside the outbound right lane). It includes a walkway leading to a 9-foot by 3 foot granite wall. Benches dedicated to Lansing Bennett and Frank Darling, who were shot to death on Jan. 25, 1993, on Route 123, face each other in front of the granite wall. On the wall is inscribed:
In Remembrance of Ultimate Dedication to Mission Shown by Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency Whose Lives Have Been Taken or Forever Changed by Events at Home and Abroad.
Dedicato Par Aevum (Dedicated to Service) May 2002
The grounds around the memorial are landscaped and feature juniper ground cover and flowerbeds. Two Japanese maples, standing on each side of the wall, will one day form a canopy over the memorial. Accent lighting illuminates the memorial at night.
Back to TopScattergoodVisible from Virginia Route 123, the 32-acre Scattergood-Thorne property has a rich history. It was once part of 2,800 acres acquired in 1719 by Thomas Lee from the Fairfax family. Lee named his land, which ran along the Potomac River from Little Falls to Great Falls, "Langley." After Lee's death, the land passed to his son; it later was divided among the family members. By 1852, a 935-acre parcel was named Rokeby Farm. Today the CIA Headquarters occupies two- thirds of the original Rokeby Farm.
In 1933 Margaret Scattergood and Florence Thorne purchased a 20-acre tract of that farm, and in 1935 added an adjoining 12 acres. The Misses Scattergood and Thorne named their turn-of-the century, wood-framed residence Calvert House. The property became known as the Calvert Estate.
During the 1940s, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acquired 742 acres near Georgetown Pike to be used for a research facility. In the 1950s, CIA obtained 225 acres of the FHWA property '-- including the Calvert Estate '-- to house its new headquarters, with the proviso that Scattergood and Thorne would be permitted to remain on the property until their deaths. The survivor, Miss Scattergood, passed away in 1986 at the age of 92, and the CIA took control of their acreage the following year.
The CIA now uses this former residence as a conference center.
Back to TopHeadquarters AuditoriumThe Headquarters Auditorium, called the "Bubble" by Agency employees, got its nickname for its bubble- or igloo-like shape. The auditorium was part of the CIA Headquarters design in the mid-1950s. The Bubble is the largest conference area at the CIA. It measures 7,000 square feet of floor space, can accommodate 470 people and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The auditorium is equipped with the latest in multi-media equipment, including side and rear lighting that accommodates color television cameras and motion picture filming. The large plaster disks on the inside surface of the dome enhance the acoustics of the auditorium. The Bubble is home to special events, prominent speakers, and large conferences.
Back to TopNathan Hale StatueA statue of Nathan Hale is located between the Auditorium and the Original Headquarters Building. Hale was the first American executed for spying for his country. This statue is a copy of the original work created in 1914 for Yale University, Nathan Hale's alma mater. The Agency's statue was erected on the grounds in 1973, 200 years after his graduation from Yale.
There is no known portrait of Nathan Hale; this life-size statue portrays what little written description there is of him. The statue captures the spirit of the moment before his execution '' a 21-year-old man prepared to meet his death for honor and country, hands and feet bound, face resolute, and his eyes on the horizon. His last words, "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," circle the base around his feet.
He stands vigilant guard on the Agency and is a continuing reminder to its employees of the duties and sacrifices of an intelligence officer.
Back to TopMemorial GardenThe Memorial Garden is located on a hillside between the Original Headquarters Building and the Auditorium. It is one of several memorials on the CIA compound (including the Office of Strategic Services Memorial and the CIA Memorial Wall). The garden is a memorial to all deceased intelligence officers and contractors who served their country.
Where some memorials are set in stone, this remembrance uses the quiet beauty of living nature to honor those who have died in service to their country: Agency officers, OSS members, and contractors. The garden is a blend of natural and landscaped plantings amid stone outcroppings from which a cascade of water continuously falls into a large fishpond, providing a tranquil and reflective place for Agency employees. The words, "In remembrance of those whose unheralded efforts served a grateful nation," are cast in a brass plaque set in fieldstone to ensure the living will not forget the fallen.
Back to TopA-12 OxcartCIA developed the highly secret A-12 OXCART as the U-2's successor, intended to meet the nation's need for a very fast, very high-flying reconnaissance aircraft that could avoid Soviet air defenses. CIA awarded the OXCART contract to Lockheed (builder of the U-2) in 1959. In meeting the A-12's extreme speed and altitude requirements, Lockheed '-- led by legendary engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson '-- overcame numerous technical challenges with cutting-edge innovations in titanium fabrication, lubricants, jet engines, fuel, navigation, flight control, electronic countermeasures, radar stealthiness, and pilot life-support systems. In 1965, after hundreds of hours flown at high personal risk by the elite team of CIA and Lockheed pilots, the A-12 was declared fully operational, attaining the design specifications of a sustained speed of Mach 3.2 at 90,000 feet altitude.
CIA's operational use of the A-12 was beset by not only many technical problems but also political sensitivity to aircraft flights over denied areas and competition from imaging satellites. After the U-2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960, all Soviet overflights were halted, thus blocking the A-12's original mission to monitor the Soviet Bloc. By the time of CIA's first A-12 deployment in 1967, CORONA satellites were being launched regularly to collect thousands of images worldwide each year. Although its imagery was less timely and of poorer resolution than the A-12's, CORONA was invulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles and much less provocative than A-12 overflights. At the same time, the US Air Force was developing the SR-71, a modified version of the A-12. Seeing little value in maintaining both overt SR-71 and covert A-12 fleets with similar capabilities, President Johnson ordered retirement of the A-12 in 1968.
The only A-12 reconnaissance operation, codenamed BLACK SHIELD, took place from May 1967 to May 1968. A detachment of six pilots and three A-12's based at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa flew 29 missions over East Asia. The panoramic stereo camera aboard each aircraft yielded considerable high-quality imagery that within hours of landing was processed. From the images, photointerpreters provided key intelligence information in support of US military operations during the Vietnam War.
The A-12 on display at CIA Headquarters '-- number eight in production of the 15 A-12s built '-- was the first of the operational fleet to be certified for Mach 3. No piloted operational jet aircraft has ever flown faster or higher.
Back to TopBerlin Wall MonumentIn developing this monument, the CIA Fine Arts Commission decided on five precepts for its placement: prominence, pedestrian orientation, a sense of the wall as an obstacle, an "unromantic presentation," and a measure of contemplation. The Wall is located near the southwest entrance to the Original Headquarters Building. It was dedicated on Dec. 18, 1992. A bronze plaque near the Wall reads, "These three sections of reinforced concrete were removed from the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie at Potsdamer Platz in November 1989."
The monument is oriented as it was in Berlin '-- the west side painted with graffiti and the east side whitewashed. The west side of the Wall is covered with graffiti that reflects the color, hope and optimism of the West itself. In stark contrast, the east side of the wall is plain and devoid of color and life. The Wall is located in the middle of a path so that it must be confronted directly '-- just as it was for nearly three decades by the citizens of Berlin. On both sides of the Wall is a bench- height wall where employees can sit and view the three segments and contemplate their history.
Back to TopCourtyardThe courtyard provides a popular setting for lunch, a chat with a colleague, or a short break in the fresh air. It provides a pleasant transition from the modern, glass-enclosed New Headquarters Building to the traditional architecture of the Original Headquarters Building. With its broad grassy lawn, fishpond and flowering plants and trees, the courtyard provides an attractive venue for special events.
Back to Top"KRYPTOS" SculptureJames Sanborn's sculpture "Kryptos" begins at the entrance to the New Headquarters Building and continues in the northwest corner of the New Headquarters Building courtyard.
The theme of this sculpture is "intelligence gathering." It was dedicated on Nov. 3, 1990. Kryptos incorporates materials native to the United States. A piece of petrified wood supports a large S-shaped copper screen that looks like a piece of paper coming out of a computer printer. On the "paper" are inscribed several enigmatic messages, each written in a different code. The sculpture continues to be a source of pleasure and mystery for Agency employees, with a few taking the challenge to "break the code."
"Kryptos" (C) Copyright 1988 James Sanborn. All rights reserved.
Back to Top
Anonymous Linguistics Professor
First of all,
please keep me anonymous.
only sending this message to you, as I'm predicting that John would not be very
receptive to it.
Please take my
comments as friendly feedback. They are not intended as accusations or attacks.
I have a PhD in linguistics (Here is my academic webpage: http://staff.washington.edu/rlhugo/)
and would be happy to follow up on any of the topics below with research
articles, etc. I apologize for the length of the letter, but I wanted to be
realatively clear, and a life in academia makes it hard to write about
controversial things succinctly.
In sum, because
NA deals so much with language, I thought I would send a note of caution
regarding how certain types of speech are ridiculed/highlighted on the show.
change/evolve inevitably. What dialect is correct/standard/prestigious is
related to political/sociological factors and not an objective standard of
correctness. The reason I'm a bit concerned is that most of the speech that is
targeted for ridicule is generally associated with female or non-white
speakers. A) I do not believe that you are sexist or racist (at least no more
than any of us are). B) Most of these 'attitudes' about language are
subconscious, but still present. C) I don't think much of this humor will age
well in the next few years as people become a bit more aware of the science.
In other words,
I think that type of commentary might be alienating/offending more people than
you think, or at least, I predict it will become more salient in the near
Making fun of a
'non-native' English speaker who is Dutch is very different than making fun of
an non-white immigrant in the U.S. or elsewhere. For the hypothetical Dutch
speaker, there are likely few to no issues. However, in other cases there are
serious power issues at play. Like many of the topics you discuss on the show,
oil, media, etc, language is a major tool of power internationally, and English
plays a role. It is a completely unequal playing ground linguistically.
Language is one of the last ways people can get away with (race, region,
gender, class) discrimination in the 'real world' without being called out.
While, I think there is far, far more than enough evidence to discourage it out
of human kindness and empathy, I think that the direct societal repercussions
are coming. (Also, as an aside the spread of English/French/Mandarin are having
horrible effects on cultures and minority language groups, which has 'real
world' political effects.)
For examples of
specific linguistic features that are discussed on occasion on NA are vocal fry
and 't' dropping.
exclusively a female feature, vocal fry is associated with younger female
speakers. It is not uncommon to have quality/register differences in language
dialects for gender (e.g., more standard-Japanese). Again, on one hand, yes, to
many listeners it can sound annoying, but there are also social/political/power
issues related to/driving/underlying the change. Asking ourselves, 'why is that
feature annoying but this other one isn't?' is a worthwhile exercise.
't' dropping, it is simply an ongoing change and not 'incorrect' speech. If you
pronounce the word 'Latter' in a sentence (e.g., 'I have a friend who goes to a
Latter Day Saints church.') my hunch is that you will say it more like 'lad-er'
and not 'lat-ter'. In fact, for many US English speakers, that 'd' is actually
a 'tap' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_and_alveolar_taps_and_flaps).
It seems reasonable that this group of consonants when in that position in a
word, will continue to soften from 'tt' to 'd' to 'ɾ' to 'ʔ' to perhaps nothing
for some speakers. Phonology rules can be a lot of fun. (e.g., how do you
pronounce the 'ed' in 'washed', 'waned', 'waited'?)
In other words,
novel speech (by them youths and foreigners) will likely always sound weird,
but like NA teaches us all to be aware of the hidden powers and ways of media,
I think it might be good to stop and ask why something sounds 'weird' and if it
is actually annoying for dialect/pragmatic reasons (e.g., repetitive 'ums',
hedging, etc), or actually annoying for subconscious reactions against change,
or annoying/funny because it is simply different (and then, what informs that
difference and is it ethical to ridicule it)?
As a small
aside, on Thursday's show, you played a clip of a voice coach and were
concerned because they were not speaking properly. You were probably thinking
of a speech therapist, as a voice coach generally helps people with the quality
of their voice (speaking or singing) and not the content.
Thanks for the
show - it has helped a few folks I hit in the mouth with their mental health.
(Some folks, have not responded well to how gender/race and other ethical
topics are dealt with, even though the general content resonates well... hence
some motivation for writing this letter.)
Text based communications has disabled people to understand nuance. No context
Ring watched your kids trick or treat and then bragged about it
On the morning after Halloween, we got an email from Ring public relations.
"Where were you at 6pm last night? If you were trick-or-treating, you were part of the millions of people out ringing doorbells this Halloween!"
It then shared some *fun* facts, like which cities captured the most footage and how many more "moments" were captured in 2019 than last year.
It also shared videos from Ring users, which featured masked and unmasked children and adults engaging in Halloween antics. Some were funny moments of pranks and cuteness, others featured misbehavior like '-- gasp '-- pumpkin theft.
The videos are pretty innocent, but it's creepy as hell that Ring decided to use video captured on Halloween as a PR stunt to show that, uh, Ring is always watching.
Whether you used Ring to keep an eye on your home or to enjoy the festivities while away, we want to hear from you! Tell us how Ring helped you celebrate Halloween this year in the comments and share your stories with us at email@example.com.Happy Halloween! #AlwaysHome pic.twitter.com/mSb20EPbLW
'-- Ring (@ring) November 1, 2019
Mashable asked Ring whether the people featured in the videos gave their consent to be used in a publicity stunt. Ring did not immediately respond, and we'll update this story if they do.
Using video for PR purposes got Ring in trouble before. After the company used video captured on Ring devices in an advertisement, a BuzzFeed report criticized the practice. Amazon responded with a defense from its terms and conditions.
The videos featured in those ads were "shared," most likely to the Neighbors app. When you "share" content, you grant Amazon a blanket license to use any and all footage captured on Ring devices for whatever it wants: "The company is able to do this thanks to a broad terms of service agreement that grants it the perpetual right to use footage shared with it for 'any purpose' it chooses," BuzzFeed wrote.
SEE ALSO: 9 creepy tech gadgets and features spookier than a Halloween movie
Even if trick-or-treating videos come from Ring owners, the use of the footage for a Halloween story is just plain obtuse. It highlights a major problem with big tech: these companies turn our human interactions into data, and use that data (and content) for whatever they please.
Did literally anyone ask for data about trick or treating? Did kids and parents pan-handling for candy or making mischief in their neighborhoods do it as a publicity stunt for a corporation? Absolutely not.
This might seem like a cringey PR blunder, but it speaks to the larger issue that letting Ring into your home exposes all of your neighbors to Amazon's watchful eye '-- turning innocent moments into the property of a large tech company.
Investor money vs. public interest: did Google fail to build a non-evil platform?
Google engineers Paul Buchheit and Amit Patel coined the phrase during a 2002 company meeting. Buchheit, who also happens to be the creator of Gmail, describes the brainstorm session to author Jessica Livingston in her book Founders at Work:
''It just, sort of, occurred to me that 'don't be evil' is kind of funny,'' he says. ''It's also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent.''
Ironically, that is exactly what many individuals are now accusing the tech giant of doing. Which begs the question:
Has Google morphed into the very thing it vowed never to become?
Google's corporate mission is to: ''Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.''
W hat was originally a humble search engine is now also a business SaaS provider, a maps purveyor and a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence. Obviously, Google deserves a huge amount of praise, appreciation and gratitude for its many contributions to the world.
But many individuals now claim the tech giant has become greedy, untrustworthy and ''too powerful.''
History is abundant with examples of corporations, world leaders and politicians who adopt win-lose mentalities while climbing to the top.
However, we're in an unprecedented territory '-- Google is running a monopoly that affects how some of the 7.7 billion people on the planet obtain and interact with information; information that allows them to make both important and inconsequential decisions alike.
Y es, competitors like Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo exist, but the primary-colored provider maintains 93 percent of search engine market share worldwide. In conjunction with Facebook, the company also commands nearly 85 percent of the Internet's advertising dollars.
This monopolization combined with a growing public concern over data collection, and Google's increasing omnipresence over daily life, has the tech giant facing increased scrutiny.
As the founder and CEO of Ahrefs (a search engine optimization toolkit), I spend significant time considering how the Internet might be improved upon for authors, entrepreneurs and makers. As such, I'm most concerned with Google's increasing number of win-lose decisions concerning content creators.
One of those decisions involves a feature called ''Featured Snippets.'' These selected search results, displayed above organic results and below ads, feature scraped content from websites. The snippets attempt to immediately answer search queries, like this one:
While the feature does provide convenience, it's often criticized for presenting search-goers with inaccurate information. It also reduces monetization opportunities for content creators like Brian Warner, founder of CelebrityNetWorth.com.
In 2008, Warner started a small media business to detail celebrity financial information. He employed around a dozen people to research, maintain and publish it.
As reported by The Week, Google contacted Warner for permission to scrape his data before launching ''Featured Snippets.'' Warner says that he declined the offer, but Google still scraped his content.
The worst part? His traffic dipped 65 percent within a month, causing him to reduce his staff by half. Not cool, Google.
More recently, Genius Media Group Inc. told the Wall Street Journal that its traffic is dropping because Google has been publishing its lyrics without attribution. Genius relies upon the search engine to direct music fans to its site where they can find lyrics to popular songs.
T he company reportedly ''caught'' Google by using a series of alternating straight and curved apostrophes within its lyrics that revealed the words ''red handed'' when converted to Morse Code. As reported by The Verge, the complaint comes on the heels of an impending antitrust investigation against Google by the U.S.Department of Justice.
Such controversies suggest a disregard for the small entrepreneur whose content is scraped and traffic is reduced. However, is that really the best way to treat the content publishers who made your huge success possible?
It's no secret that Google would have nothing if no one ever published anything online. In the beginning, we assumed the arrangement of self-publishing in exchange for free traffic was fair.
And, for a while, maybe it was. During the pre-search era, businesses were limited to attracting customers via expensive print advertisements, radio ads and curb appeal.
However, look closely, and you will notice something remarkable about the whole thing:
Google convinced us to write, produce and publish content on its behalf without paying us a dime.
You know who else follows a similar business model?
Newspapers. The primary difference, of course, is that print publications use their ad revenue to pay journalists. Let's just take a moment to marvel at the genius of Google's decision to flip the traditional publishing model on its head.
T he company created something so revolutionary, and so valuable, that its users never even question the fact that Google makes approximately $100 billion in annual ad revenue from the content its users work so hard to make.
I don't know any journalists, besides college interns, who would willingly write free articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal. To be clear, I am not saying Google is doing something evil.
The platform provides the general public with a useful service at seemingly no cost. However, the keyword is ''seemingly.''
Unbeknownst to many, Google isn't truly free. The search platform's advertising costs affect users similar to how gasoline prices affect non-drivers. Translation: Just because you don't fill up a tank doesn't mean you don't pay for the price of fuel in the products and services you purchase.
While I don't think Google is bad for developing this ingenious business model, I do believe $100 billion is too high a valuation for the service they provide '-- about 10 times too high.
Which leads to a thought-provoking question:
Why didn't Google ever embrace YouTube's business model after acquiring the company in 2006?
YouTube utilizes a profit-share model that inspires everyone from celebrities to stay-at-home moms to produce quality content. In lieu of shared ad revenue, professionally produced channels like this, simply wouldn't exist.
Being venture-backed, Google's success is measured in terms of growth '-- not fairness. Sharing ad revenue with content creators would massively dilute the company's valuation. Due to increasing pressure from investors, Google continually releases new features that make them richer at the expense of content creators.
Are they ''evil'' for making that decision? No, but it begs the question posed by Reddit-user Mondrahgon: When is enough, enough [in regards to growth]?
Google is unlikely to share its wealth anytime soon. However, that doesn't mean an alternative search provider couldn't introduce some healthy competition.
So, here's what I propose:
A business model that splits advertising profits with the content creators who make search results possible.In this regard, the authors could make a living by publishing helpful content.
This business model would allow renowned experts, independent journalists and passionate individuals to spend time creating high-value content; the kind of articles that just can't be regularly produced on the side of a 9-to-5.
Say, you love pancakes more than anything else in the world. Imagine getting paid to share creative recipes, take photos and instruct website visitors on how they too can make amazing pancakes.
W ith a search profit-sharing model, you wouldn't need to fill your pages with advertisements, sell baking pans or ask for donations via Patreon in order to turn that dream into a reality. Add to that the ability to create unbiased content, as your content will finally earn based on value, not by hard-plugging some sleazy affiliate links.
Alternatively, a citizen journalist uncovering corruption on the side of a full-time job, could start earning more while spending less time trying to monetize content. After ''going full-time,'' the person might invest additional profits into user-friendly databases that organize complex research for public use. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
If either scenario sounds like a stretch, again, look no further than YouTube. The chart below depicts the platform's biggest earners:
YouTube's revenue for 2018 is estimated at between $9.5 billion and $14 billion. Analysts estimate the platform's creators earn as little as $0.35, or as much as $5, per 1,000 views.
Unfortunately, YouTube doesn't publish much information about its financials. However, using this table, we can approximate that top-earners receive $0.0015 for every one view.
Considering how much more ad revenue Google SEPR clicks generate in comparison to YouTube views, a Google profit-share model could generate significantly higher returns for top content creators.
Based on a quick analysis, serving one search could pay an average rate from $0.05 to $0.25 in the US. Say Anne from Kentucky helps 4,000 people learn how to build container gardens via her Wordpress blog every month. She would receive $1,000 monthly from the search engine in return.
That extra income might go toward feeding her family, saving for her kid's college education or marketing her site to generate even more monthly views.
This is just one example of how a moderately successful content creator would be significantly impacted by a 90''10 profit share model. The system would further encourage the best, brightest and most diligent content publishers to rise to the top.
And who wouldn't benefit from that? Even if you aren't a content publisher yourself, wouldn't it be cool to stumble across more high-quality researchers, educators and writers? I think so.
The Internet is a global effort to preserve knowledge, free speech and equal opportunity for humankind. Fundamentally, no one should ''own'' something meant for the good of all.
Those who wish to protect the Internet from unfavorable economic forces must begin taking small steps to challenge the status quo.
For this reason, Ahrefs is publically committing to build a general-purpose search engine based on a 90/10 profit-share model. I first introduced this idea back in March:
Some people cheered me on, while others questioned my sanity in competing with a multi-billion-dollar company.
But here's the thing: Someone always has to be the first when challenging existing norms. So, why not Ahrefs?
Here's our plan moving forward:
1. Get people talking about profit share for search.The concept of receiving automatic direct payments in exchange for publishing content on the Web may sound ''too good to be true'' to some. However, that's only because they have grown accustomed to an arguably unfair search model.
Over the next several months, we'll be publishing more content to illustrate how profit share would benefit content publishers and Internet searchers alike. Increased content quality, financial opportunity and creative freedom are just some of these benefits.
2. Begin developing a new search engine with profit-share model.We would be thrilled for any major provider to ''run with our idea,'' but we aren't counting on it. Which is why Ahrefs has already begun developing a new search engine with profit-share capabilities behind the scenes.
3. Lower barriers for entry.Finally, we are open to providing access to our crawl data to help other players enter the search field and foster competition.
Our ultimate goal: Attract the attention of larger companies like Microsoft who can afford to bring the idea to scale. In case you didn't know, the tech giant owns the less-frequently-used search engine Bing.
Considering the platform only generates a fraction of the company's $120 billion revenue, the organization could easily revamp Bing under a profit-share model. It's my prediction that the positive public sentiment alone would have greater ROI than existing ad revenue. If we succeed in our endeavors, Google will finally get some long overdue competition for search.
Companies like Firefox are now testing $5/month subscriptions for ad-free news, and Medium is successfully attracting some of the Internet's best writers with its compensation model. Could our search platform grow into something groundbreaking following similar premises?
Honestly, we're not sure. But we won't know until we try.
Thanks for reading.
Are you an online entrepreneur, content creator or search fanatic? What's your experience with Google? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
Bombings in Sweden Now Routine. Muslim Gangs Responsible.
Neither Swedes nor anyone else ever thought they would read that ''bomb attacks are now a normal part of Swedish life,'' but that's the headline over a story in the latest edition of London's Spectator.
Why are the peace-loving Swedes subjected to bomb attacks morning, noon, and night, with cops sometimes responding to multiple attacks at the same time? Muslim gang violence.
Thus does the latest news from the land of the Vikings demonstrate once again the peril of open borders and growth of a hostile alien population.
The New NormalThe Spectator report comes from Quillette editor Paula Neuding, who's been writing about the bomb attacks for some time. Such is their frequency that the national news in Sweden barely reports them.
''One night last week, explosions took place in three different locations in and around Stockholm.'' she wrote. ''There were no injuries this time, just the usual shattered windows, scattered debris and shocked people woken by the blast.''
''The police bomb squad was already on its way to the first explosion in the district of Vaxholm when it had to turn around and prioritise the detonation at a residential building in the more densely populated city centre,'' she continued.
But here's the nut of Neuding's story:
''Normalisation'' is a term that we have come to associate with domestic violence: the victim begins to think of abuse as a part of everyday life. Explosions have become so normalised in Sweden that SVT, Sweden's equivalent of the BBC, did not even mention the three explosions in the country's capital on its national news programme that evening. Instead, the main domestic story was the purported censorship of 'big female bodies' on Instagram. Apparently, we mustn't be referred to as 'women' any more, but 'female bodies', lest anyone's gender be assumed. The explosions were left to the local news....
Consider the statistics: between January and June this year, more than 100 explosions were reported in the country, up from about 70 in the same period last year.... More than 160 suspected attacks with explosives were reported last year. There are no comparable figures available for earlier years because it's such a recent phenomenon. Until recently no one would have thought of adding a column on bombings to the national Swedish crime statistics.
Writing at Zero Hedge, ''Tyler Durden'' offered figures for January through July, citing Swedish media: 120 bombings compared to 83 through the same seven months last year, a 45-percent increase. Sources for last year's data conflict. Some sources put the figure as high as Neuding's; another at about 108.
Clan RuleWhatever the number, Sweden's in trouble.
Neuding doesn't mention Islam or Muslims, but that's clearly what she's writing about. Savage gang violence appeared in Sweden with the massive influx of Muslim ''refugees'' that began in 2014.
The country's seething Islamic colonists have set up ''clan structures'' and ''parallel societies'' in which the ''Swedish state is weak,'' meaning the justice system cannot operate, and so ''witness intimidation is systematic and ordinary citizens are pressured to submit to clan rule.''
Sweden's gangs, which mainly operate out of the country's socioeconomically weak immigrant neighbourhoods, do not only use explosives to assert their dominance. Sweden had 45 fatal shootings in so-called criminal environments last year '-- a tenfold increase in one generation....
According to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, nine out of ten perpetrators of Sweden's gang shootings are either first- or second-generation immigrants. The country has gone from having among the lowest rates of violent crime in western Europe to one of the highest. When it comes to bombings, no other developed country in the world which is not at war has experienced anything like Sweden's epidemic.
Although the government appears to be cracking down now with wire taps and video surveillance, its pathetic initial response to the bombings was a laughable ''failed attempt at an 'amnesty for explosives.''' Turn in your bombs, Muslim immigrants, and we won't arrest you.
Colonization Must Be StoppedYet the real peril isn't bomb attacks, but instead fear of the truth. No one, Neuding wrote, wants to deal with the ''new reality'' of either bomb attacks as a practical matter or the more abstract problem: ''Gang violence is intimately tied to the issue of immigration and failed integration, so those who highlight the problem have often been smeared as bigots.''
In early October, Judith Bergman of the Gatestone Institute reported that Swedes are fleeing their once peaceful cities and towns where Muslim immigrants have seized control. No wonder.
''It's Time for Sweden to Admit Explosions Are a National Emergency,'' Neuding wrote for Quillette in July.
And it's time for Swedes to admit that Muslim colonization will soon destroy their country if they don't fight back.
Image: inese online via iStock / Getty Images Plus
Nearly Half of Brussels Residents Now Carry 'Means of Self-Defense'
Nearly half of residents in Brussels, Belgium, are carrying an object intended for self-defense, according to a new survey.
A poll conducted by the Brussels''Prevention & Security (BPV) service found that 44 percent of Brussels inhabitants carry a "means of defense," with a large number (38%) toting actual weapons.
''In more than a quarter of those cases, daily accessories were listed, such as keys, umbrellas and rings,'' Bruzz reports. ''In 38 percent of the cases, however, real weapons are actually mentioned, with knives in particular, but brass knuckles, alarm and air pistols, and extendable batons were also named."
"Another 18 percent of people with a defensive weapon in their pocket indicate that it is a 'defensive agent,' such as pepper spray.''
Additionally, 14 percent of respondents said they had taken courses in self-defense, such as martial arts, and 15 percent say they simply do not travel through Brussels at night on foot or by metro to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
"We are shocked by these figures," BPV said its report.
BPV says it questioned 1801 residents, 401 commuters, and 200 tourists to assess their feeling of safety in the city.
Interestingly, residents indicated that "the longer they live here, the more negatively they assess safety."
In particular, transit stations and public transportation in Brussels have become hotspots for crime, as Infowars Europe has often reported.
Alex Jones breaks down George Soros' plan to destroy America.
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Pig Plague Starts Rippling Through American Meat Markets
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. meat markets had so far been shielded from the effects of a deadly pig disease wiping out Asian herds. That's starting to change.
As pork supplies plummet in China, the world's top consumer is desperate for meat and is ramping up imports. As a result, it's becoming harder to set longer-term protein contracts amid concerns over market volatility and changing trade flows, according to Jayson Penn, chief executive officer of Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the No. 2 U.S. chicken producer.
''The contracting season is moving somewhat slower this year'' for chicken, Penn said on a conference call with analysts following the release of third-quarter earnings. While major fast food restaurant chains are looking for beef contracts, ''there are not many sellers willing to forward price,'' he said.
American markets have so far been protected from the impact from African swine fever, which kills most infected pigs in 10 days. That's largely due to trade barriers that were either in place -- the case for chicken -- or imposed as retaliation to President Donald Trump's trade war with China. But expectations of rising prices are now affecting the U.S. market.
Pilgrim's Pride also cited a slowdown in Australian beef trim shipments to the U.S. that's affecting the burger market. That's just one of the countries boosting sales to China to take advantage of rising demand. The executives also cited rising prices for chicken-leg quarters in the past week after China said it would end a ban on American imports as part of a partial trade deal with the U.S. The cut is processed for domestic consumption, but it's also a hot item for export.
Meat exports from the U.S. have lagged behind levels many in the market expected following the swine fever scourge. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., one of the world's largest agricultural commodity traders, said protein producers have been slow to boost production outside China. The company now only expects tailwinds from the disease next year, CEO Juan Luciano said.
''We thought acceleration of growth production outside China was going to be faster,'' he said on an earnings call with analysts.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures for December settlement fell 9.1% this month, the biggest drop among major agricultural commodities. The slump underscores the challenges for U.S. farmers who have increased production. China has bought U.S. pork in stops and starts, contributing to elevated volatility in hog futures.
Pilgrim's Pride said it's ''cautiously optimistic'' that chicken prices will be higher in the next 30 to 60 days. If China lifts a ban on U.S. poultry, American shipments to the Asian nation may top 2014 levels, said Penn, whose company shipped 200 million pounds (about 90,700 metric tons) to China five years ago.
While chicken feet are the major cut exported to China, demand for leg quarters and breasts may also gain because of depressed prices, he said.
Declines in China's pig population have peaked and surging prices are giving an incentive for producers to ''think about how to rebuild the herd,'' ADM's Luciano said. About a third of the Chinese producers affected by the disease have switched to poultry, while many are looking to increase animal weights before slaughter, he said.
(Updates with comments from ADM CEO starting in sixth paragraph.)
--With assistance from Michael Hirtzer.
To contact the reporters on this story: Lydia Mulvany in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org;Isis Almeida in Chicago at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Millie Munshi at firstname.lastname@example.org, Patrick McKiernan
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
(C)2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Scientists say quarter of all pigs could die of swine fever
SYDNEY (AP) '-- Around a quarter of the world's pigs are expected to die from African swine fever as authorities grapple with a complex disease spreading rapidly in the globalization era, the World Organization for Animal Health's president said Thursday.
A sharp reduction in the world's pig population would lead to possible food shortages and high pork prices, and it might also cause shortfalls in the many products made from pigs, such as the blood-thinner heparin that's used in people, said Dr. Mark Schipp, the organization's president.
The disease's spread in the past year to countries including China, which has half the world's pigs, had inflamed a worldwide crisis, Schipp told reporters at a briefing in Sydney.
''I don't think the species will be lost, but it's the biggest threat to the commercial raising of pigs we've ever seen,'' he said. ''And it's the biggest threat to any commercial livestock of our generation.''
African swine fever, fatal to hogs but no threat to humans, has wiped out pig herds in many Asian countries. Chinese authorities have destroyed about 1.2 million pigs in an effort to contain the disease there since August 2018.
The price of pork has nearly doubled from a year ago in China, which produces and consumes two-thirds of the world's pork. And China's efforts to buy pork abroad, as well as smaller outbreaks in other countries, are pushing up global prices.
''There are some shortages in some countries, and there's been some substitutions using other sources of protein, which is driving up the prices of other proteins,'' said Schipp.
Progress had been made toward a vaccine, but Schipp, who is also Australia's chief veterinary officer, said the work was challenging because the virus itself is large and has a complex structure. He said a big step forward was the announcement last week that scientists had unraveled the 3D structure of the virus.
African swine fever is spread by contact among pigs, through contaminated fodder and by ticks. It originated in South Africa and appeared in Europe in in the 1960s. A recent reappearance in western Europe came from wild pigs transferred into Belgian forests for hunting purposes.
Its capacity to spread rapidly is shown by its spread from China in the past year, Schipp said. Mongolia, the Korean Peninsula, Southeast Asia and East Timor have had outbreaks as well.
He said the spread reflects the global movement of pork and of people but also the effect of tariffs and trade barriers, which sends those obtaining pork to seek out riskier sources. And Schipp said quality control was difficult for products such as skins for sausages, salamis and similar foods.
''Those casing products move through multiple countries,'' he said. ''They're cleaned in one, graded in another, sorted in another, partially treated in another, and finally treated in a fourth of fifth country. They've very hard to trace, through so many countries.''
An emerging issue in the crisis is a potential heparin shortage, Schipp said.
''Most of it is sourced from China, which has been badly hit. There are concerns that this will threaten the global supply of heparin,'' Schipp said.
He praised China's efforts to battle the disease and said the outbreaks would change the way pigs are raised.
''In China, previously they had a lot of backyard piggeries. They're seeing this as an opportunity to take a big step forward and move to large scale commercial piggeries,'' Schipp said. ''The challenge will be to other countries without the infrastructure or capital reserves to scale up in those ways.''
Where are the vape deaths in EU or China?
Text - H.R.4742 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a tax on nicotine used in vaping, etc. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Text: H.R.4742 '-- 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)There is one version of the bill.
Shown Here: Introduced in House (10/18/2019) 116th CONGRESS 1st Session
H. R. 4742
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a tax on nicotine used in vaping, etc.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. Suozzi (for himself and Mr. King of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a tax on nicotine used in vaping, etc.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Imposition of tax on nicotine for use in vaping, etc .
(a) In general .'--Section 5701 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating subsection (h) as subsection (i) and by inserting after subsection (g) the following new subsection:
''(h) Nicotine .'--On taxable nicotine, manufactured in or imported into the United States, there shall be imposed a tax equal to the dollar amount specified in section 5701(b)(1) (or, if greater, $50.33) per 1,810 milligrams of nicotine (and a proportionate tax at the like rate on any fractional part thereof).''.
(b) Taxable nicotine .'--Section 5702 of such Code is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(q) Taxable nicotine .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the term 'taxable nicotine' means any nicotine which has been extracted, concentrated, or synthesized.
''(2) E XCEPTION FOR FDA-APPROVED NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPIES.'--Such term shall not include any nicotine if the manufacturer or importer thereof demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that such nicotine will be used in a product which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sale as a nicotine replacement therapy.
''(3) C OORDINATION WITH TAXATION OF OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS.'--Cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco shall not be treated as containing taxable nicotine solely because the nicotine naturally occurring in the tobacco from which such product is manufactured has been concentrated during the ordinary course of manufacturing.''.
(c) Taxable nicotine treated as a tobacco product .'--Section 5702(c) of such Code is amended by striking ''and roll-your-own tobacco'' and inserting ''roll-your-own tobacco, and taxable nicotine''.
(d) Manufacturer of taxable nicotine .'--Section 5702 of such Code is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(r) Manufacturer of taxable nicotine .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--Any person who extracts, concentrates, or synthesizes nicotine shall be treated as a manufacturer of taxable nicotine (and as manufacturing such taxable nicotine).
''(2) A PPLICATION OF RULES RELATED TO MANUFACTURERS OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS.'--Any reference to a manufacturer of tobacco products, or to manufacturing tobacco products, shall be treated as including a reference to a manufacturer of taxable nicotine, or to manufacturing taxable nicotine, respectively.''.
(e) Effective date .'--The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to articles manufactured or imported in calendar quarters beginning more than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
Dog are People Too
Fur Babies and Pre-deceased
Ministry of Truthiness
The Washington Post's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week
Considering the current state of our media class, cataloging a single newspaper's patterns of journalistic malpractice is a seemingly pointless task. And yet, when a publication claims to be the purveyor of preventing our democracy from dying in darkness, the importance of cataloging its very dark week becomes imperative '-- you know, for democracy's sake.
Here's how the Washington Post's banner week in bad journalism went down.
SundayIt started on Sunday with a bizarre obituary for the world's most wanted terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Someone decided the original headline that labeled Baghdadi a ''terrorist-in-chief'' needed to be sugar-coated and changed to ''austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State.''
Social media exploded with similar versions of satirical headlines announcing the deaths of infamous historical figures, including the vegetarian Adolf Hitler and noted traveler Genghis Khan. A spokesperson for the paper, Kristine Coratti Kelly, later tweeted, ''Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.'' The headline was amended again to ''extremist leader.''
Voldemort, austere political reformer and aspiring school teacher, killed by teen terrorist. #WaPoDeathNotices
'-- Robby Soave (@robbysoave) October 28, 2019
"Jeffrey Dahmer, connoisseur of exotic and locally sourced meats, dies at 34" #WaPoDeathNotices pic.twitter.com/tkJWf0iLcY
'-- Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 27, 2019
Nevertheless, the sympathetic portrayal of the ISIS founder remained in the first paragraph of the obituary.
When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010, few had heard of the organization or its new leader, then an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing.
It's still unclear what the Post is referring to when it says ''scholar.'' Baghdadi graduated from Saddam Hussein's ''Saddam University,'' a propaganda program for radicalizing Islamists, but is not an author or scholar of any works other than ISIS recruitment videos.
MondayOn Monday, the judge who previously threw out Covington Catholic teen Nick Sandmann's $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post reversed course and reinstated the case after reviewing an amended complaint.
The Post, which thought it was off the hook for its misreporting, will now enter the discovery phase, where it will likely be forced to hand over internal communications on its reporting of Sandmann and his classmates at the March for Life in January.
Senior Contributor at The Federalist Margot Cleveland explained how the presiding judge is reconsidering the Post's decision to run with the unverified account of Native American elder Nathan Phillips and to portray Sandmann as a smirking, MAGA-hat-wearing racist.
Judge Bertelsman then noted that after giving ''this matter careful review,'' he had decided that Sandmann sufficiently alleged a claim for defamation against the Post based on the statements identified as ''Statements 10, 11, and 33,'' ''to the extent that these three statements state that plaintiff 'blocked' Nathan Phillips and 'would not allow him to retreat.'''
All three statements consisted of the Washington Post repeating Phillips's fabled encounter with Sandmann. In what was identified as Statement 10, the Washington Post wrote: ''It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: 'I've got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,' Phillips recalled.''
Later that day, Washington Post opinion writer Max Boot churned out another offensive terrorist take, insinuating blowing up three children with a suicide vest proves ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was not a coward.
''Trump could not possibly have heard 'whimpering and crying' on the overhead imagery because there was no audio, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointedly refused to confirm those details. The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was, in any case, contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured, he blew himself up,'' Boot wrote.
The Washington Post was forced to issue a correction after backlash from people pointing out just how far Boot will go, evidently to the point of praising a terrorist, just to oppose any successes of President Trump.
''An earlier version of this column included a sentence questioning whether Trump was right to call Baghdadi a coward because he blew himself up,'' the paper said. ''The line was removed because it unintentionally conveyed the impression that I considered Baghdadi courageous.''
TuesdayOn Tuesday, Washington Post editors, who love to write about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment, green-lighted an op-ed calling for government censorship via hate speech laws.
hahahaha, the lede to this WaPo piece in favor of hate speech laws, what the actual effhttps://t.co/LvOtuL2zRY pic.twitter.com/ErSeYbQfvd
'-- Halloween Name Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) October 29, 2019
Richard Stengel, a former editor of Time magazine who then went to work in the Obama administration, writes that the ''underpinning of the First Amendment was engineered for a simpler era,'' and warned against the ''damaging'' impact of hate speech.
A window into the future: Today's editors of major mainstream publications are tomorrow's appointees in a Democratic Administration, and next week's advocates to curb the freedoms guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. https://t.co/qefKxEE7o7
'-- Tim Carney (@TPCarney) October 29, 2019
And as if one bizarre op-ed wasn't enough for Tuesday, the Post also published a piece by Democrat Lanny Davis and Republican Anthony Scaramucci arguing for the impeachment of Trump without a Senate trial.
If such public announcements of open-mindedness by at least 20 Republican jurors do not occur within a month or so after the House impeachment resolution, then we suggest a Senate trial would be a waste of time and unwise.
Forget evidence and due process, that's just a waste of time!
WednesdayOn Wednesday, the Post's ''conservative'' columnist Jennifer Rubin took a beatdown from CBS News journalist Jan Crawford on Twitter after Rubin tried to smart off with disparaging comments about Trump's judicial nominees.
Rubin tweeted HuffPost links digging up something Judge Neomi Rao wrote in college.
Whats your point here? Are you saying 46-yr-old Neomi Rao lacks experience to be a judge because of something she wrote when she was in college at Yale 25 years ago? That's your standard for experience? https://t.co/rCXMUHyXD5
'-- Jan Crawford (@JanCBS) October 31, 2019
So only a federal district court judge or state court appellate judge can be nominated to an federal appellate court?
'-- Jan Crawford (@JanCBS) October 31, 2019
I guess Justice Kagan can be glad President Obama didn't agree with you on that
'-- Jan Crawford (@JanCBS) October 31, 2019
Of course, Rubin proclaimed Justice Elena Kagan was an exception to the rule, but Crawford swiftly put an end to her ludicrous argument:
Haha. Nope. You're not doing that straw man crap with me. I said it was wrong to paint all these judges with a broad brush as unqualified, wrong to say Republicans don't take judges seriously. That is factual and something everyone should be aware of https://t.co/KV5gpPaeDD
'-- Jan Crawford (@JanCBS) October 31, 2019
ThursdayA top National Security Council official, Tim Morrison, who listened to President Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, testified in front of Congress on Thursday. But that morning, ahead of the testimony, senior political reporter Aaron Blake reported that Morrison would confirm acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor's account that Trump appeared to seek a quid pro quo.
White House official Tim Morrison expected to confirm Bill Taylor's account that Trump appeared to seek quid pro quo https://t.co/wypvMpkox5
'-- Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) October 31, 2019
In fact, the opposite happened. Morrison noted the multiple false assertions made by Taylor, and testified that he never thought anything illegal was discussed on the phone call.
Another headline from the Post on Thursday read, ''Trump judicial nominee cries over scathing letter from American Bar Association.'' The story was about how a judicial nominee for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Lawrence VanDyke, got choked up in his hearing when senators asked him about a disparaging letter written by the chair of an ABA committee.
You have to wait till the 27th paragraph, literally the last paragraph, before WaPo mentions the letter was written by his political opponent. What a garbage article from a garbage paper. https://t.co/QnojRALZmC
'-- Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) October 31, 2019
What reporter Hannah Knowles conveniently left out of her reporting was that VanDyke's lead ABA evaluator is a Montana attorney, Marcia Davenport, who has a history of politically opposing VanDyke. Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino points out, ''A search of Montana's campaign electronic reporting system shows that in 2014 Davenport contributed $150 to Michael Wheat, VanDyke's opponent when he ran for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court.''
The very last paragraph of the Post's report mentions Davenport but fails to explain her full connection to VanDyke.
Lastly, the Post did not want to get left out of Thursday's action in which the entire White House press corps committed to debunking the ''doctored'' photo Trump tweeted of the Special Forces dog that chased down terrorist al-Baghdadi.
Weird flex but Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan was photoshopped out of a photo and replaced by a dog in a pic Trump tweeted (hours before another MOH ceremony) https://t.co/d1C3N0vXIn
'-- Alex Horton (@AlexHortonTX) October 30, 2019
Without this deep dive, the American people would have been led astray to believe Trump was draping a medal of honor around the German Shepherd's neck.
There is simply no way to take the media seriously when they fact-check obvious jokes. No one thinks Trump actually gave a medal to a dog. No one actually thinks Allie Stuckey interviewed AOC. No one actually believes the Babylon Bee is non-satire. https://t.co/2hFfkpBwC6
'-- Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 31, 2019
FridayFinally, to top its banner week off, the Post ran a glitzy profile of Congressman Adam Schiff in the ''Style'' section, fawning over how his dreams of becoming a screenplay writer have transitioned into becoming ''the chief storyteller of this drama-filled political moment.''
He's in charge of calling witnesses, taking depositions and subpoenaing documents. More than that, it's his job to stitch it all together into a believable, easy-to-follow narrative. Imagine the pitch meeting: It's like ''The Manchurian Candidate,'' except the president has heel spurs. It's ''The Godfather'' meets ''Borat.''
Of course Schiff is more than a storyteller. He's a corrupt liar and has been spinning his stories of collusion on CNN for three years now, and more recently has even implicated himself in his own web of lies.
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, told The Federalist, ''Schiff is using his authority as a chairman presiding over an impeachment inquiry to prevent the investigation and discovery of facts about his own actions or the actions of his staff.''
Unfortunately, the facts are too convenient for reporter Ben Terris, who writes, ''Political storytelling is often more like writing a movie script than laying out an exhaustive account of known knowns and known unknowns.''
Terris catalogs the hate aimed at Schiff from Republican members and conservative media outlets, but leaves out any reasons Schiff might be hated. He instead focuses on painting Schiff as a character from ''The Big Lebowski'' and interviewing Schiff's mentors about his screenplays.
There was the Holocaust-era screenplay the congressman wrote, called ''Remnant.'' There was ''Minotaur,'' the courtroom drama with this mysterious plot: While a jury deliberates a gruesome murder, and with the suspect locked away, someone commits an identical crime. And when Schiff was getting deeper and deeper into the world of intelligence in Congress, he worked on a spy thriller.
It's understandable why some journalists would want to misconstrue facts, make knowingly deceptive omissions, write columns defending terrorists, or start tweetstorms about topics they have little knowledge of but plenty of bias to project, but it's unclear why Washington Post journalists would participate in such antics with the fate of democracy on the line. Here's to trying again next week.
Copyright (C) 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
Not enough people understand the role of the Lawfare group in the corruption and political weaponization of the DOJ, FBI and larger intelligence community.
What Media Matters is to corrupt left-wing media, the Lawfare group is to the corrupt DOJ and FBI.
All of the headline names around the seditious conspiracy against Donald Trump assemble within the network of the Lawfare group.
Three days after the October 21st, 2016, FISA warrant was obtained, Benjamin Wittes outlined the insurance policy approach.
FBI Director James Comey, FBI Legal Counsel James Baker, Comey memo recepient Daniel Richman, Deputy AG Sally Yates, Comey friend Benjamin Wittes, FBI lead agent Peter Strzok, FBI counsel Lisa Page, Mueller lead Andrew Weissmann and the Mueller team of lawyers, all of them -and more- are connected to the Lawfare group; and this network provides the sounding board for all of the weaponized approaches, including the various new legal theories as outlined within the Weissmann-Mueller Report.
The Lawfare continuum is very simple. The corrupt 2015 Clinton exoneration; which became the corrupt 2016 DOJ/FBI Trump investigation; which became the corrupt 2017 DOJ/FBI Mueller probe; is currently the 2019 ''impeachment'' plan. Weissmann and Mueller delivering their report evolved the plan from corrupt legal theory into corrupt political targeting. Every phase within the continuum holds the same goal.
The current ''impeachment strategy'' is planned-out within the Lawfare group.
After the 2018 mid-terms, and in preparation for the ''impeachment'' strategy, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hired Lawfare Group members to become committee staff. Chairman Schiff hired former SDNY U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman (link), and Chairman Nadler hired Obama Administration lawyer Norm Eisen and criminal defense attorney Barry Berke (link), all are within the Lawfare network.
Remember, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller didn't come into this process as an 'outsider', and Mueller didn't select his team. The corrupt Lawfare team inside government (FBI Counsel James Baker, DOJ Deputy Andrew Weissmann, FBI Deputy McCabe etc.) already knew Mueller. The team had established personal and professional connections to Mueller, and they brought him in to lead the team.
When you realize that Robert Mueller didn't select the team; rather the preexisting team selected their figurehead, Robert Mueller; then results make sense. Robert Mueller can never be allowed to testify to congress because if questioned he actually has very little understanding of what took place.
A disconcerting aspect to the Lawfare dynamic is how current U.S. Attorney General William Barr has knowledge of this. Barr knows and understands how the Lawfare network operates. Barr is from this professional neighborhood. Like Mueller, Barr also knows these people.
''As a matter of law. In other words, we didn't agree with the legal analysis- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not reflect the views of the department. It was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers'''...
~ AG BILL BARR
Under Eric Holder, Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, Tom Perez, Robert Mueller, James Comey and Andrew McCabe, the focus of the DOJ and FBI became prismatic toward politics and tribalism. All of the hired senior lawyers and officials had to be aligned with the political intents of the offices.
[CIA Director John Brennan brought the same political goals to an intelligence apparatus that held a preexisting disposition of alignment, see Mike Morell: ''I ran the CIA now I'm endorsing Hillary Clinton''.]
Their agencies were used against their ideological enemies in large operations like Fast-n-Furious, IRS targeting, Gibson Guitar etc. And also smaller operations: Henry Louis Gates, George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Baltimore etc. All of these activist Lawfare examples were pushed and promoted by an allied media.
Many of the 'weaponized' approaches use radical legal theory (ex. disparate impact), and that ties into the purposes and methods of the Lawfare Group. The intent of Lawfare is described in the name: to use Law as a tool in Warfare. The ideology that binds the group is the ideological outlook and purpose: using the legal system to target political opposition.
The Lawfare group ensures you have the right to remain guilty until they verify your politics and determine your alignment with the tribe. If accepted, your disposition shifts to innocent and you receive a pass to avoid any legal jeopardy'...
When special counsel Robert Mueller formally closed the Russia investigation on May 29th, he opened the door to wide-ranging speculation as to the intent behind his statement. In the eyes of Former Texas Prosecutor Sidney Powell, Mueller's words stood the rule of law and the presumption of innocence on their heads.
Lawfare Strategy '' Pelosi House Sets Contempt Vote Against AG Barr for June 11th'... | The Last Refuge
Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are structuring a contempt vote against U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr for next week, June 11th. As part of the current construct, the Lawfare alliance of legal advisers and staff are writing specific language into the vote that will automatically allow more contempt votes against the Trump administration without hearings.
Their collective goal is to use a legislative vote to open a civil lawsuit against Bill Barr for his failure to deliver the fully unredacted Mueller report to them. Additionally, the contempt vote will be written so that any other arbitrary Trump administration official can also be held in contempt, without a committee vote, and thereby initiate a civil lawsuit against the executive officer that will have to be defended in court.
WASHINGTON DC '' The House will vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller's fully unredacted report and underlying evidence, according to multiple Democratic sources.
The resolution would clear the way for the House Judiciary Committee to take Barr to court to enforce its subpoena and settle the matter legally '-- a crucial step for Democrats seeking to accelerate their obstruction of justice investigation against President Donald Trump.
The vote, which will take place on June 11, will also include broad authority for congressional committees to take legal action against the Trump administration in future subpoena fights, the Democratic sources say. Democrats are still discussing whether to include former White House counsel Don McGahn in the resolution. (read more)
Pelosi and the Lawfare group are avoiding a criminal contempt process because that would require the DOJ to participate. Instead lawyers working on behalf of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, HPSCI Chairman Schiff, and/or White House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings will sue the Trump administration in civil court.
If they can win a civil award (they will carefully select the judge) Pelosi and Nadler can start issuing civil fines for contempt against individual cabinet members. Adam Schiff has previously stated his recommended target amount would be $25,000 per day/per person.
Now go back to December 2018 and the specific rule changes that Pelosi put in place, and you'll see how this was planned out long ago. This lawfare approach, including every aspect of the Mueller probe and the delivery of the Weissmann report therein, is all part of one carefully planned continuum of activity. By design at the end of their plan is the official impeachment investigation.
Washington, D.C. ''The House Judiciary Committee will continue hearings focused on the alleged crimes and other misconduct laid out in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. The next hearing entitled ''Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes'' will take place on June 10th. The hearing will feature former White House Counsel John Dean as well as former U.S. Attorneys and legal experts. The Committee also plans to consider targeted legislative, oversight and constitutional remedies designed to respond to these matters. (read more)
See how it is all sequenced, timed and connected?
This has been their plan all along. Pelosi's poo-pooing of impeachment was always a head-fake to the compliant media, designed to fabricate a narrative around unlikely impeachment, and throw people off the scent of a plan that was designed even before the mid-term election of 2018.
[Trust me, Pelosi's approach to hide their plan works. Look at how many people criticized CTH warnings that Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler and Cummings were planning this out all along.]
After the 2018 mid-terms, and in preparation for the ''impeachment'' strategy, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hired Lawfare Group members to become committee staff. Chairman Schiff hired former SDNY U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman (link), and Chairman Nadler hired Obama Administration lawyer Norm Eisen and criminal defense attorney Barry Berke (link), all are within the Lawfare network.
[IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that Speaker Pelosi has selected former insider DOJ official Douglas Letter to be the Chief Legal Counsel for the House. That becomes important when we get to the part about new powers granted to the House Counsel.]
The Pelosi House rules clearly present the outline for an impeachment calendar as directed by changes to the oversight committees. Additionally, there is a myriad of new processes which appear to have been developed through the Lawfare alliance. Here's some of the overview (full pdf below):
Pelosi sets up a new, much narrower, oversight priority for Chairman Elijah Cummings; specifically to tailor oversight to the White House and President Donald Trump. Additionally we see the outlined time-schedule for hearings.
In subsection ''k'' the ''clarification'' is the narrowing of Elijah Cummings focus. ''Oversight Over the Executive Office of the President''. This sets up the system for Cummings to target President Trump, his family, and all members of the executive branch as they relate to specific White House functions.
The Pelosi rules tell Chairman Cummings to deliver his schedule for his investigation(s) to the House by April 15th, 2019. Thereafter the hearing sessions will commence. The objective of those hearings is House impeachment of the President; so now we know the general timeline the Democrats plan to follow.
'... To help achieve that objective on Page #3 Pelosi changed the rules on depositions:
In previous oversight hearings depositions of witnesses could not be conducted by counsel unless minority members were also present. Pelosi removes that rule allowing an expanded team of House lawyers to question anyone regardless of whether there is a republican present to defend/protect the interests of the witness or target.
Additionally, in the event Republicans develop immediate defensive plans to push back against the weaponization of these oversight committees, Pelosi gives her Chairs 60 days to make up the rules for their committees so they can deflect any defenses.
'... Following with the investigative plans for impeachment; and in conjunction with all new powers granted to a massively expanded group of House lawyers with new and expanded power; page #7 has specific rules to benefit HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff:
HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff can now, autonomously, demand and instruct depositions from anyone, at any time, for any reason; and the House Intelligence Committee does not need to consider any possible scheduling conflicts for any of the targets, or have any republican members present therein. [Schiff granted far more power than Nunes.]
'... Page #9 is the beginning of a very interesting new power being granted to an expanded office of House Legal Counsel:
This is only the first part of this Pelosi rule. This part speaks to coordination with Lawfare and similar activist groups outside government. The House will now defend Obamacare, and all other possible constructs, with a legal team '' regardless of what the DOJ might be doing on the same legal matter. In essence, a mini-legislative DOJ branch that will fight the U.S. Dept of Justice if needed. (more on this in another section).
'... Page #13 is the most interesting, and ties back to the Page #9 rule.
Here Speaker Pelosi sets up an internal House division of lawyers, paid with taxpayer funds, to defend Obamacare against any adverse action. In essence Pelosi is setting up her own Legislative Branch division of justice, to fight against the Executive Branch U.S. Department of Justice if needed.
The primary issue surrounds defending Obamacare from possible legal removal. However, it doesn't take a deep political thinker to see where this approach ends up. It would be naive to think the Lawfare group (Benjamin Wittes) did not help create this new internal legal system.
Normally/traditionally House Counsel represents the interests of the entire Legislative Branch on any issue that might surface. However, Pelosi is setting up a legal activist agency within the House Counsel that will specifically ''advocate'' for Democrat priorities, against the position of the U.S. Department of Justice, and use taxpayer funds to finance the scheme.
Speaker Pelosi is creating her own mini DOJ (the Lawfare alliance) inside the legislative branch. And, with additional investigative powers granted to House committees, we might even see a mini-FBI units, dispatched to conduct investigations, accountable only to speaker Pelosi. Heck, considering congress already has subpoena power, there's no telling where this might end.
Trump-Ukraine whistleblower gets stage fright; lawyers break off negotiations amid new revelations -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
A CIA officer who filed a second-hand whistleblower complaint against President Trump has gotten cold feet about testifying after revelations emerged that
he worked with Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, and a DNC operative who sought dirt on President Trump from officials in Ukraine's former government.
According to the Washington Examiner, discussions with the whistleblower - revealed by RealClearInvestigations as 33-year-old Eric Ciaramella have been halted, "and there is no discussion of testimony from a second whistleblower, who supported the first's claims."
Ciaramella complained that President Trump abused his office when he asked Ukraine to investigate corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as claims related to pro-Clinton election interference and DNC hacking in 2016.
Eric Ciaramella was an Obama-era holdover.
On Thursday, a top National Security Council official who was present on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky testified that he saw nothing illegal about the conversation.
"I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed," said Tim Morrison, former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs who was on the July 25 call between the two leaders.
(C) C-SPAN Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council official under Trump, told Rep. Adam Schiff in testimony today that he was never concerned that Trump discussed anything illegal in his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainain president.
And now, the partisan whistleblowers have cold feet;"There is no indication that either of the original whistleblowers will be called to testify or appear before the Senate or House Intelligence committees. There is no further discussion ongoing between the legal team and the committees," said the Examiner's source. The whistleblower is a career CIA officer with expertise in Ukraine policy who served on the White House National Security Council during the Obama administration, when 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was "point man" for Ukraine, and during the early months of the Trump administration. - Washington Examiner In other words, House Democrats are about to impeach President Trump over a second-hand whistleblower complaint by a partisan CIA officer, and neither he nor his source will actually testify about it (for now...). On Thursday, the House passed a resolution establishing a framework for Trump impeachment proceedings, belatedly granting Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, but only if Schiff and fellow Democrats on the Intelligence Committee agree.Mark Zaid, who along with Andrew Bakaj is an attorney for both the original whistleblower and the second whistleblower, told the Washington Examiner the legal team was willing to work with lawmakers so long as anonymity is ensured. "We remain committed to cooperating with any congressional oversight committee's requests so long as it properly protects and ensures the anonymity of our clients," Zaid said.
On Wednesday, Zaid and Bakaj declined to confirm or deny in a statement to the Washington Examiner that Eric Ciaramella, 33, a career CIA analyst and former Ukraine director on the NSC, was the whistleblower after a report by RealClearInvestigations. - Washington Examiner
In September, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who lied about contacts with Ciaramella (and hired two Ciaramella associates as staffers) said that the whistleblower "would like to speak to our committee."
Once Ciaramella's status as a CIA officer and his links to Biden emerged, however, Schiff backtracked. On October 13 he changed his tune, saying "Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected."
once the House impeaches Trump - which it most certainly will -
the tables will turn in the Senate, which will hold a mandatory trial. Not only will the GOP-Senators controlling the proceedings be able to subpoena documents and other evidence,
they'll be able to compel Ciaramella, the Bidens, Chalupa and any other witnesses they desire as we head into the 2020 US election.
Nancy Pelosi saw this coming and caved to her party anyway. There isn't enough popcorn in the world for what's coming.
Paula White, Trump's Personal Pastor, Joins the White House - The New York Times
Ms. White, a controversial figure even among evangelical Christians, will be overseeing a White House division that conducts outreach to key parts of the president's base.
Paula White, President Trump's personal pastor, during a prayer at an evangelical leadership dinner at the White House last year. Credit... Doug Mills/The New York Times Oct. 31, 2019, 5:59 p.m. ET Paula White, a televangelist based in Florida and personal pastor to President Trump whom he has known since 2002, has joined the Trump administration in an official capacity, according to a White House official.
Ms. White will work in the Office of Public Liaison, the official said, which is the division of the White House overseeing outreach to groups and coalitions organizing key parts of the president's base. Her role will be to advise the administration's Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which Mr. Trump established last year by executive order and which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty and fighting poverty.
As Mr. Trump campaigns for a second term, he cannot afford to lose support from the religious conservatives who voted for him in 2016 in significant numbers. Without their backing, his path to re-election would be significantly narrower.
He has taken repeated steps to ensure they turn out for him again '-- by issuing executive orders, making cabinet appointments and nominating federal judges that pass muster with the religious right. On a range of issues from abortion rights to tax exemptions for churches, Mr. Trump has tried to grant Christian conservatives their policy wish lists whenever legally and politically feasible.
But Ms. White cannot be easily categorized as either a political asset or a liability. She has a large following among Christians who believe in the ''prosperity gospel,'' which teaches that God blesses people he deems to be of strong faith with wealth, good health and other gifts.
But many other Christians consider these beliefs to be heresy. And Ms. White's presence in the top tier of Mr. Trump's coterie of informal religious advisers has long been a source of contention with many evangelical Christians.
Despite this controversy, Ms. White has remained in good standing with Mr. Trump, who invited her to deliver an invocation at his inauguration and has hosted her as a guest at the White House numerous times. In a recent interview with The New York Post to promote her new book, she said she sometimes visits the White House several times a week.
In the interview, she spoke admiringly of the president's intellect. ''He's in total control,'' she told The Post. ''He's not at all impulsive '-- he's so far ahead of everyone, very much a strategic thinker.''
Alexander Vindman's Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know | Heavy.com
Facebook/Getty Alexander Vindman family including his twin Eugene Vindman.
Alexander Vindman is the Ukrainian-born Purple Heart recipient and U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who is testifying about his concerns regarding President Donald Trump's interactions with Ukraine. Vindman is from a family of immigrants who was raised in Brooklyn's ''Little Odessa.'' He was 3 years old when his family left Ukraine for America.
He has a twin brother, a wife with Oklahoma ties, and an older brother in investment banking. His full name is Alexander Semyon Vindman, with the middle name coming from his father. As for his politics, campaign finance records do not show any federal donations for him, and his social media page does not contain anything visibly political. The Jewish Telegraph Agency describes Alexander Vindman, 44, as ''a Jewish refugee from that country (Ukraine) when it was part of the Soviet Union.''
''I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine,'' Alex Vindman said in the written statement he was giving to Congress on Trump.
In his statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Alexander Vindman wrote, ''I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours, including South Korea and Germany, and a deployment to Iraq for combat operations. In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart.''
Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees October 29, 2019 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
''I am a patriot,'' Alex Vindman declared in his statement. ''It is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.'' He wrote that he had served the country in a ''non partisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations.''
Here's what you need to know about Vindman's family:
1. Vindman's Father Learned English at Night While Working Multiple Jobs to Support His FamilyThe Vindman brothers.
Alexander Vindman said in his statement that his ''family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old.'' In his statement to the House, Alex Vindman described his father's sacrifices after the family first arrived in America.
''Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night,'' it says. ''He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom.''
He referred to himself as an immigrant in the statement. ''The privilege of serving my country is not only rooted in my military service, but also in my personal history. I sit here, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant.''
According to The New York Times, the family had ''only their suitcases and $750'' when they arrived in America. The father, Semyon Vindman, became an engineer, The Times reported.
A page by Carol Kitman photography describes the Vindman family in greater detail. The page says the photographer ''first saw Sanya and genya Vindman and their grandmother, Mrs. Kalmanovitch, under the El on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn's 'Little Odessa''' Sanya and Genya were the names given to Vindman and his twin at that time.
That was more than 30 years ago. ''The Vindman family had emigrated to the US from Kiev in the Ukraine in December of 1979. Semyon Vindman wanted a free and better life for his 3 sons '' the twins, then 4, and 11 year old Leonid. Their mother had recently died, in Kiev and when they came to America, their maternal grandmother came along to help with the boys,'' the page continues.
''I think their father felt they would do better in the United States as Jews,'' Kitman told The New York Times. Kitman's page contains photos of the Vindman family throughout the years. Here's a photo of the boys with their father and older brother.
A photo of the Vindmans, including Alexander, from 1985, was featured in a Ken Burns documentary on the Statue of Liberty, according to Jewish Telegraph Agency.
2. Vindman's Twin Brother Also Works in a Top Position in American GovernmentEugene Vindman
Vindman's twin brother lists his title as attorney at the White House on his Facebook page. Born Yevgeny Vindman, he goes by Eugene Vindman on social media.
The twin's Facebook page lists the following pieces of biographical information:
Attorney at The White HouseFormer Attorney at Judge Advocate General's Corps, United States ArmyFormer Senior Trial Counsel at U.S. ArmyFormer Major at United States ArmyFormer Campaign Strategist at Bobby Saxon for Congress (GA District 10)Studied Law School at University of GeorgiaStudied General Administration at Central Michigan UniversityStudied at UGA School of LawStudied History at SUNY BinghamtonWent to Franklin D.Roosevelt High SchoolLives in Washington, District of ColumbiaFrom Brooklyn, New York
Saxon ran as a Democrat.
A 2010 NPR article on the U.S. connecting dots to find roadside bombers quoted Eugene Vindman. ''Maj. Eugene Vindman, a JAG officer, or judge advocate general'' said that a ''network analysis course put him and other military lawyers in a better position to carry out oversight responsibilities in Iraq,'' the article stated.
''[You could] maybe do a little bit of analysis on your own or ask some intelligent questions of the targeteers,'' Eugene Vindman said to NPR, ''to make sure that the target they've identified is not a guy that might have made a wrong phone call to a bad guy but actually has enough links to that bad guy through other activities to actually be a bad guy and therefore be a legal military target.''
Alexander Vindman is also similarly investigated in American government work. ''Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia,'' he wrote. ''In this role, I have served in the United States' embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council.''
3. Vindman Is Married to the Daughter of an Oklahoma High School Football CoachAlexander Vindman's Facebook page profile
You can see a photo of Alexander Vindman and his wife at their wedding here.
Alexander Vindman's wife is named Rachel Cartmill, now Rachel Vindman, according to the Kitman page and online Ancestry records. They married in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 18, 2006.
She is the daughter of a high school football coach from Oklahoma, according to her father's obituary. An obituary for her mother described Rachel's husband as ''US Army Major Alex Vindman of Moscow, Russia,'' at that time, in 2013. Rachel Vindman's social media accounts are deleted, except for a Pinterest page, where she posts typical boards about crafts and the like.
Alex Vindman has an active Facebook page, but there's nothing visible on it except the above profile picture, and he only has 80 friends.
4. Alexander Vindman's Older Brother Works in Investment BankingLeonid Simon Vindman
Alex Vindman also has an older brother named Leonid Simon Vindman.
Leonid Simon Vindman is the ''Founder and Managing Partner, Tungsten Capital Advisors'' and ''has approximately thirty years of experience in the financial markets,'' his company website states.
''During the past twenty five years, he has been focusing predominantly on Central Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia where he completed some of the biggest investment and advisory transactions in the region,'' according to the website. ''He also completed transactions in the Middle East, and traveled extensively in Asia and Africa.''
The page continues: ''Prior to founding Tungsten he was a Managing Director responsible for investment banking origination and client coverage activities for Russia and CIS region at UniCredit Group '' the largest international bank in Central and Eastern Europe at that time. Previously he worked as a Vice President Investment Banking at JPMorgan Chase, Principal Banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the EBRD), Senior Associate at Bankers Trust and Manager at Central Europe Trust.''
Leonid Vindman ''received his Bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business,'' his company website says.
The company's founding and managing partner Maria Starkova-Vindman is described as ''an art historian and art advisor'' who previously ''worked at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow as an assistant keeper and curator, and taught on the Courtauld MA course on global contemporary art.''
5. Alex Vindman Attended Harvard University & Served in Political-Military Advisory Roles Alexander Vindman LinkedIn Alexander Vindman LinkedIn Photo
On LinkedIn, Alexander Vindman lists his experience as ''service in political-military advisory roles'' and the following:
Specialties: Extensive leadership experience.Russian and Ukrainian language fluency.Expertise in civil-military relations.
He wrote that he served in the US Army for 20 years and 10 months, working as a ''foreign area officer'' from 2008 to present, and an infantry officer from 1999 to 2008. He listed these titles:
1-506 Infantry (AASLT) 3/11 Infantry (OCS) 1/25 Infantry Division (SBCT) 1/5 Infantry (Stryker) 1/2 SCR See less
He is a graduate of Harvard and Binghamton Universities.
(4) October 30, 2019 Meet another of Trump Accuser - Leonid Vindman - Iran and Libya Smuggler - YouTube
For the British policy advisor and former Downing Street chief of staff, see
Fiona McLeod Hill.
Fiona Hill (born October 1965) is a British-born American foreign affairs specialist and national security official specializing in the former Soviet Union and Russian and European affairs.
Intelligence work for three Presidents [ edit ] Hill served as an intelligence officer under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama from 2006 to 2009.
She was appointed in April 2017 by President Donald Trump as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on his National Security Council staff.
Early life, family, and education [ edit ] Hill was born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in northern England, to parents who worked as a coal miner and a nurse. She studied at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, for her undergraduate degree. She then studied at Harvard University, where she gained her master's degree in Russian and modern history in 1991, and her PhD in history in 1998 under Richard Pipes, Akira Iriye, and Roman Szporluk. While at Harvard she was a Frank Knox Fellow, and met her future husband at Cabot House.
Career [ edit ] She worked in the research department at the John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1991 to 1999, and at the National Intelligence Council as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia from 2006 to 2009. She is currently on leave of absence from the Brookings Institution, where she is director for the Center on the United States and Europe, while serving on the staff of the U.S. National Security Council. Hill is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the board of trustees of the Eurasia Foundation.
2017: Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council staff. In this role, she was the lead interagency coordinator for U.S. foreign policy relating to Europe and Russia.
Resignation from the NSC [ edit ] Hill decided to step down from her position in the Trump National Security Council in August 2019.
On 14 October 2019, Hill, responding to a subpoena, testified in closed-door session for ten hours before special committees of the United States Congress, as part of the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.
Writings [ edit ] Hill's books include:
The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold (2003); ISBN 9780815736455Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival (2004); ISBN 9781903558386Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (2013, 2nd ed. 2015). ISBN 9780815723776See also [ edit ] Impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump: §TestimonyTrump''Ukraine scandalReferences [ edit ] ^ Levy, Gabrielle (March 3, 2017). "Former Intelligence Officer and Putin Critic Tapped for White House Role". U.S. News & World Report . Retrieved July 2, 2019 . ^ a b "Fiona Hill". Brookings Institution. July 7, 2016 . Retrieved July 3, 2017 . ^ Clauss, Kyle Scott (March 2, 2017). "Fiona Hill, Trump's New Russia Expert, Went to Harvard". Boston . Retrieved September 30, 2019 . ^ Gramer, Robbie; MacKinnon, Amy (June 18, 2019). "Trump's Top Russia Aide to Depart". Foreign Policy . Retrieved July 2, 2019 . ^ Lederman, Josh; Lee, Carol E.; Welker, Kristen (October 10, 2019). "Trump's former Russia aide set to give revealing testimony on Giuliani, Sondland". NBC News . Retrieved October 10, 2019 . ^ Acosta, Jim; Borger, Gloria; Raju, Manu; Herb, Jeremy (October 15, 2019). "Trump's former top Russia adviser told Congress she saw 'wrongdoing' in US policy toward Ukraine, source says". CNN . Retrieved October 22, 2019 . ^ Baker, Peter; Fandos, Nicholas (October 14, 2019). "Bolton Objected to Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Calling Giuliani 'a Hand Grenade ' ". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved October 22, 2019 . External links [ edit ] Appearances on C-SPAN"Global Perspectives - Fiona Hill". PBS . Retrieved July 2, 2019 .
Why America needs a hate speech law - The Washington Post
Richard Stengel, a former editor of Time, is the author of ''Information Wars'' and was the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs from 2013 to 2016.
When I was a journalist, I loved Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s assertion that the Constitution and the First Amendment are not just about protecting ''free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.''
But as a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier. Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?
It's a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ''thought that we hate,'' but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.
It is important to remember that our First Amendment doesn't just protect the good guys; our foremost liberty also protects any bad actors who hide behind it to weaken our society. In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Russia's Internet Research Agency planted false stories hoping they would go viral. They did. Russian agents assumed fake identities, promulgated false narratives and spread lies on Twitter and Facebook, all protected by the First Amendment.
The Russians understood that our free press and its reflex toward balance and fairness would enable Moscow to slip its destructive ideas into our media ecosystem. When Putin said back in 2014 that there were no Russian troops in Crimea '-- an outright lie '-- he knew our media would report it, and we did.
That's partly because the intellectual underpinning of the First Amendment was engineered for a simpler era. The amendment rests on the notion that the truth will win out in what Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas called ''the marketplace of ideas.'' This ''marketplace'' model has a long history going back to 17th-century English intellectual John Milton, but in all that time, no one ever quite explained how good ideas drive out bad ones, how truth triumphs over falsehood.
Milton, an early opponent of censorship, said truth would prevail in a ''free and open encounter.'' A century later, the framers believed that this marketplace was necessary for people to make informed choices in a democracy. Somehow, magically, truth would emerge. The presumption has always been that the marketplace would offer a level playing field. But in the age of social media, that landscape is neither level nor fair.
On the Internet, truth is not optimized. On the Web, it's not enough to battle falsehood with truth; the truth doesn't always win. In the age of social media, the marketplace model doesn't work. A 2016 Stanford study showed that 82 percent of middle schoolers couldn't distinguish between an ad labeled ''sponsored content'' and an actual news story. Only a quarter of high school students could tell the difference between an actual verified news site and one from a deceptive account designed to look like a real one.
Since World War II, many nations have passed laws to curb the incitement of racial and religious hatred. These laws started out as protections against the kinds of anti-Semitic bigotry that gave rise to the Holocaust. We call them hate speech laws, but there's no agreed-upon definition of what hate speech actually is. In general, hate speech is speech that attacks and insults people on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.
I think it's time to consider these statutes. The modern standard of dangerous speech comes from Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and holds that speech that directly incites ''imminent lawless action'' or is likely to do so can be restricted. Domestic terrorists such as Dylann Roof and Omar Mateen and the El Paso shooter were consumers of hate speech. Speech doesn't pull the trigger, but does anyone seriously doubt that such hateful speech creates a climate where such acts are more likely?
Let the debate begin. Hate speech has a less violent, but nearly as damaging, impact in another way: It diminishes tolerance. It enables discrimination. Isn't that, by definition, speech that undermines the values that the First Amendment was designed to protect: fairness, due process, equality before the law? Why shouldn't the states experiment with their own version of hate speech statutes to penalize speech that deliberately insults people based on religion, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation?
All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I'm all for protecting ''thought that we hate,'' but not speech that incites hate. It undermines the very values of a fair marketplace of ideas that the First Amendment is designed to protect.
The Post's View: The dark side of regulating speech on Facebook
The Post's View: Free speech doesn't mean Facebook must run dishonest ads
Danielle Allen and Richard Ashby Wilson: The rules of incitement should apply to '-- and be enforced on '-- social media
Jonathan Friedman and Soraya Ferdman: Alabama and Texas are putting free speech at colleges in jeopardy
David Ignatius: Why America is losing the information war to Russia
Transgender Groups Threaten, Jeer Feminist's Pro-Biology Speech
Women's rights depend on the public's recognition that women are different from men, said Canadian author Meghan Murphy, as hundreds of pro-transgender progressives shouted threats and tried to blockade her speech in a Toronto library.''Women who have raised concerns about the impact of gender identity ideology and legislation '... have been fired from their jobs, threatened, punched, kicked out of their left-wing political parties, ostracized by friends and fellow activists,'' Meghan Murphy told her audience at the Toronto Public Library October 29.
Murphy, the influential feminist editor of Feminist Current, argues that the gender-identity movement will eliminate the legal and civic recognition of all women. Unless women are legally defined by their biology, she explains, men will declare themselves to be women and take over women's private spaces, cultural events, sports competitions, legal rights, and political movements.
That view is increasingly recognized by mainstream U.S. conservative groups, such as Concerned Women for America.
The agreement between feminists and conservatives comes as the two political movements remain far apart on other issues, including abortion, sexual autonomy, and the relative status of women in what some describe as a ''patriarchal society.''
In contrast, the left argues Americans are wrong to view women and men as biologically different, complementary, and equal. That view is an unfair ''social construct'' which prevents transgender people from living as their ''true selves,'' say progressives who argue that women can have penises, that men can be lesbians, that children can change their sex, and that civic propaganda unfairly imposes ''compulsory heterosexuality'' on adults and children.
Many pro-transgender groups surrounded the library speech and threatened Murphy's audience:
Women gathering to discuss sex-based rights face baying crowd (again) -this time in Toronto for #MeghanMurphy talk. This happens because lobbying groups insist on pitting sex against gender identity, & sew tissue of confusion around those distinctions. It's inexcusable. https://t.co/0fawD9LlRr
'-- Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) October 30, 2019
''I have personally been threatened with death and rape numerous times, libeled, and called every name you can imagine, simply for asking questions about the impact of gender identity legislation on women, and for stating it is not possible to change sex through self-declaration,'' Murphy said in her speech, adding:
This is unacceptable. Women have the right to speak about their sex based rights and to discuss valid concerns about the impact of men identifying as women on their safety.
This trans activist movement '-- this gender identity ideology '-- is nothing if not an absolutely regressive, irrational, anti-woman movement that appears to have become incredibly authoritarian, as no one is allowed to question, challenge, or disagree. And those who do, like myself, are threatened with just about every social and physical punishment imaginable '-- jail, social ostracization, loss of income, violence, even death. It is insanity. Even more so when you consider that it is those of us simply trying to speak '-- to have a conversation '-- to ask pivotal questions about laws and ideas and policies that impact our lives and the lives of others '-- who are accused of ''bigotry,'' ''fascism,'' and ''violence.'' The reversals boggle the mind. And the government and the media have completely failed women on this issue.
If you shut your eyes and listen, you can easily imagine the protesters screaming, "Witches! Witches! Burn them! Burn them!
Except, this isn't the Salem witch trials.
This is 21st century activism. Transgender activism.
'-- gender is harmful (@genderisharmful) October 30, 2019
Her opposition to the transgender ideology and the gender-identity movement does not mean hostility to people who claim to be transgender, she argued:
I have not said trans people should not have rights or that they are dangerous. I have not suggested trans people be excluded from spaces. I am not interested in whether or not people identify as trans, it has no bearing on my arguments. I am interested in who is male and who is female. I do not wish violence on anyone. I have never encouraged violence. I have never engaged in hate speech.
I have never said that ''transwomen are not real women.'' I have said that trans-identified males are male. Because they are. This is not a judgement or an insult, it is simply a material reality '-- a biological reality. If you are born male, you remain male for life. Everyone knows this. It is not a belief or an opinion, it is a fact.
Also, to be clear: This does not '-- or should not '-- preclude males from wearing clothing designated for women, wearing makeup, growing their hair long, or even getting cosmetic surgery. I personally believe cosmetic surgeries are serious surgeries that should be considered very carefully and analyzed within the context of a culture that demands women be sexually desirable and pleasing to the male gaze above all else, but nonetheless, I'm not in the business of trying to ban people from spending tens of thousands of dollars going under the knife in a fruitless pursuit of the ''perfect body,'' if that's what they desire.
The mob chanted 'Walk of Shame ''...F..k you bitch '...i know you motherf'...er '....The Left is lost: https://t.co/1sUAse61ZI
'-- Julie Bindel (@bindelj) October 30, 2019
The transgender supporters are changing the language to subordinate women to men, she said:
In 2019, the trans movement has determined there are not women and men, but males and ''non-males,'' essentially defining women right out of the picture. I guess the future isn't so feminist after all. And that isn't just a mistake made by one journalist.
The entire language of the trans activist movement has taken up the erasure of women in order to accommodate a tiny minority of people who would like us all to pretend that material reality doesn't exist. We are no longer women, but 'cis women', which means, supposedly, we are women who 'identify with the gender assigned to us at birth'.
This is insulting. I am not a woman because I identify with femininity. Femininity refers to the set of stereotypes imposed on women in a patriarchal society. I do not identify with those stereotypes. I am not passive, irrational, or over emotional. I am not a woman because I wear makeup or high heels. My long hair does not make me a woman. If I were currently in sweatpants and sneakers, if I shaved my head and went makeupless and took up football, I'd still be a woman.
This is insane. It's 2019, and women may not meet in a public library to talk about how changes to the law affect them without being intimidated and harassed by a braying crowd of men (I don't give a shit about their identity, it's entirely irrelevant). https://t.co/8GkitgJ3Yu
'-- Helen (@MsHelenWatts) October 30, 2019
The law and culture need to recognize that women have different needs from men; she said:
One of the reasons I challenge gender identity ideology is because I think it is regressive, sexist, and nonsensical. I think it limits us, rather than allowing us a full range of options as human beings with diverse interests and personality traits. But I also think it has incredibly negative impacts on women's rights, in particular.
Over and over again, I ask those who insist that ''transwomen are women'' what the word ''woman'' means. They refuse to answer. They simply say, ''It's a person who identifies as a woman,'' which essentially means, ''it's nothing at all'' '-- it is anything anyone says it is.
On what basis do women's rights exist, if the word ''woman'' is meaningless? If anyone can identify in and out of femaleness on a whim?
If we wish to maintain women's rights and protect women's spaces, we cannot separate women from femaleness. It is irrational and dangerous. It makes women and girls vulnerable. Beyond that, there is absolutely no reason why we can't protect the rights of individuals to step outside gender roles, and to express themselves as they like, and also understand that sexual dimorphism is real, that males and females exist, and that those differences matter.
None of this is about transphobia. It is about women having the right to say no to men. To not be gaslighted and bullied for daring to consider their own safety, rights, and feelings first. To speak, to tell the truth, to name reality, and to maintain their sex-based rights.
I love #meghanmurphy 's inisistence that we are not alone. We may feel alone, but no one *really* believes that humans can change sex. Keep talking. Keep whispering. Keep spreading the word: #sexnotgender And read Female Erasure. ð https://t.co/T1v7iUHmNW
'-- eHungerford ð' (@ehungerford) October 30, 2019
Murphy asked her audience to speak out on the issue, despite intimidation from the pro-transgender groups:
It is not ok that I am standing here with a police presence and body guards to state the obvious. It is not ok that people are afraid to speak, never mind to show up. And the only way to combat this is to speak more.
So thank you all for being here, thank you for pushing back, or at least engaging '-- for refusing to join the mob, and for instead trying to understand the issues. Thank you to the library and Vickery Bowles, for standing up for what is right, and for free speech in the face of extreme backlash, and thank you to the organizers of this event, who are just regular women, with no funding, no social or political power, who just want this conversation to happen.
Conservatives & (some) feminists agree biology shapes our personalities & politics. They're uniting to stop the progressives' ruthless "transgender" demand that we deny biology's impact on people & politics despite the known hazards to adults, teens & kids https://t.co/gND8VfyMOl
'-- Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) October 9, 2019
In general, the transgender ideology says a person's legal and civic recognition as a man or a woman is determined by their ''gender identity,'' not by their biology.
The ideology also insists that men and women are more or less interchangeable, and it objects to the public's view of the two sexes as simultaneously different, complementary, and equal.
The transgender advocates want to impose their ideology on Americans by establishing ''transgender rights'' laws. Those rights would require the Department of Justice to penalize individuals and groups who insist that biology determines male or female status '-- and also shapes peoples' likely political, civic, and personal priorities.
Polls show the transgender ideology is deeply unpopular, especially among women and parents. In 2017, former President Barack Obama told National Public Radio (NPR) that his promotion of the transgender ideology made it easier for Donald Trump to win the presidency.
Multiple polls show that most Americans reasonably wish to help and comfort people who think they are a member of the opposite sex, even as they also reject the transgender ideology's claim that people's legal sex is determined by their feeling of ''gender identity,'' not by biology. A U.K. survey shows a similar mix of sympathy for people who say they are transgender alongside lopsided opposition to the ideology.
The transgender movement is diverse, so its different factions have competing goals and priorities. It includes sexual liberationists, progressives, feminists who wish to blur distinctions between the two sexes, and people who glamorize the differences between the two sexes. It includes high-profile children, people who are trying to live as members of the opposite sex, troubled teenage girls trying to flee womanhood, and people trying to ''detransition'' back to their sex.
It also includes men who demand sex from lesbians, masculine autogynephiles who say they are entitled to women's rights, alpha males who insist they are the natural leaders of women, parents eager to support their children's transgender claims, wealthy donors, politicians, political professionals, revenue-seeking drug companies, surgeons, and medical service providers.
Transgender advocates claim that two million Americans say they are transgender to a greater or lesser extent. But very few people who describe themselves as transgender undergo cosmetic surgery of the genitals. Only about 4,118 Americans surgically altered their bodies in hospitals from 2000 to 2014 to appear like members of the opposite sex, according to a pro-transgender medical study. A Pentagon report commissioned by former Defense Secretary James Mattis said that ''rates for genital surgery are exceedingly low- 2% of transgender men and 10% of transgender women.''
Yet the gender ideology is rapidly gaining power, aided by huge donations from wealthy individuals and medical companies.
In Ohio, for example, in February, a judge forced parents of a teenage girl to give up custody so she could begin a lifetime of drug treatments and surgery that would allow her to appear as a male.
The progressive push to bend Americans' attitudes and their male-and-female civic society around the idea of ''gender identity'' has already attacked and cracked many of the popular social rules that help Americans manage the cooperation and competition among and between complementary, different, and equal men and women.
These pro-gender claims have an impact on different-sex bathrooms, shelters for battered women, sports leagues for girls, hiking groups for boys, K-12 curricula, university speech codes, religious freedoms, free speech, the social status of women, parents' rights in childrearing, children's safety, practices to help teenagers, health outcomes, women's ideals of beauty, culture and civil society, scientific research, prison safety, civic ceremonies, school rules, men's sense of masculinity, law enforcement, military culture, and children's sexual privacy.
Microsoft's Experiment With Introduction of 3-day weekend Shows 40 Percent Productivity Boost
Microsoft Japan carried out a ''Working Reform Project'' called the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, offering 2,300 employees every Friday off during the month '' and saw a record boost in productivity.
For one month last August, the company implemented a three-day weekend every week, calling the Fridays ''special paid vacation'' that did not come at the expense of any other vacation time '' and the results turned out to be incredible.
According to the company, the employees took 25.4 percent fewer days off during the month, printed 58.7 percent fewer pages, and used 23.1 percent less electricity in the office, saving money for the company.
The productivity went up by a staggering 39.9 percent, meaning that even though the employees were at work for less time,they got more work done.
A lot of the increase in productivity is attributed to the changing of meetings: with only four days many meetings were cut, shortened, or changed to virtual meetings instead of in-person to get the work done on time.
Moreover, 92.1 percent of employees said that they liked the four-day workweek at the end of the trial. Due to its success this year, Microsoft is planning on repeating it again next summer or perhaps at other times as well.
Pakistan Azadi march: Women absent from anti-Imran Khan protest - BBC News
Image copyright AFP Image caption The convoy began its journey last weekend, but only reached the capital on Friday The convoy of bearded protesters, waving black and white flags and dressed in mustard yellow, descended on Pakistan's capital Islamabad hoping to force Prime Minister Imran Khan from office less than 18 months into the job.
The vast majority were members of Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazal-ur-Rehman (JUI-F), one of Pakistan's largest Islamist parties, travelling from all over the country to try to oust the cricketer-turned-politician.
But as eye-catching as they were, there was something else more noticeable: the lack of any women.
Their absence, however, was not a mistake: pamphlets released before the Azadi (freedom) march set off last Sunday told women to stay at home to "fast and pray".
It worked. BBC Urdu reporters say not a single woman was part of the JUI-F convoy as it wound its way around Pakistan over the course of the next five days.
Then, as it reached the capital for a mass rally alongside other opposition parties on Friday, another command was rumoured to have been sent out: female reporters were reportedly banned from covering the event.
Some found themselves blocked from entering, while others said they were harassed to the point where they had no choice but to leave.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The vast majority of those marching have been JUI-F supporters "A man came and started saying women aren't allowed, women CANNOT be here. Leave! Slowly but in a minute's time a crowd of men encircled us and started chanting the slogans, we had to leave," tweeted journalist Shiffa Z Yousafzai..
JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman was quick to say they had a "lot of respect for our women" and that female journalists could attend the rally in "full dress code", APP news agency reported.
Meanwhile, Naeema Kishwar Khan, who represents JUI-F in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, denied women had been formally banned and defended the lack of female representation.
"If you look in the army, there are men in the front, and women provide medical help behind," she told BBC Urdu. "Our movement is like a war, the situation is deteriorating. If not, women would not be behind."
According to BBC Urdu reporters, the women who did attend - some of whom were linked to the other opposition parties taking part - kept a low profile.
On social media, the outcry began to grow. But journalist Benazir Shah shrugged it off. "I see this is for the better," she told BBC Urdu.
"The women of this country do not need to be part of a battle between two men and their egos, which is what this march is, a power play between two men.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The party has defended its policy on the march "This march is not a movement for social change, as the one the world is witnessing in Lebanon, which has the equal participation of women and men. JUI-F aims to remove a democratically elected government and it uses whatever foul play it can to do so, such as religion.
"The women of this country should not be on the wrong side of history."
What is the march actually about?This is the first major challenge to Mr Khan, led by his long-term rival, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and backed by other prominent opposition parties. On Friday, they gave the PM 48 hours to step down.
Mr Khan has been hit by claims his election win in 2018 was unfair. An EU observer mission overseeing Pakistan's election in 2018 found no evidence of vote rigging but a "lack of equality of opportunity" for each party in the run up to the election.
Marchers are also angry with Mr Khan over the state of the economy, which is putting a financial strain on the people he promised to help.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Some female reporters who covered the rally said they were told to leave "They have not come to power on the public's mandate but on someone else's direction... they won't work for the public, rather they will only please their selectors," Mr Rehman told supporters.
However, some analysts have suggested Mr Rehman has different reasons for the march.
A canny political operator, he has played a role in government for years - until he lost his seat last year.
He is also no stranger to the headlines - publicly doubting the shooting of Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai back in 2012, and then calling for a "people's court" to retry Asia Bibi, the Christian woman wrongly sentenced to death for blasphemy, after she was freed from jail.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The Azadi march was led by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Columnist Arifa Noor told AFP: "He's been left out of a game and he thinks he's been cheated out of his rightful place."
What does the lack of female participation suggest?On the surface, it doesn't look good. But the JUI-F is a very particular case.
"I wouldn't say that because women have been asked to sit out a march by a right-wing party, it means that they have been excluded from politics altogether," Ms Shah told the BBC.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What did Pakistani women want from PM Imran Khan last year?"The JUI-F has never been a pro-women party. They have opposed the honour killing bill, the women protection act and more recently a bill against child marriages.
"We should be more worried about what the other three political parties are doing to include women and especially the ruling party. The federal cabinet has a paltry representation of women. In Punjab, there are only two women in the provincial cabinet."
Additional reporting by Abid Hussain from BBC Urdu
Shut Up Slave!
No luxury hotels or private schools: Record-setting Chinese tech founder hit with travel & spending ban '-- RT World News
A Chinese court has barred a smartphone company founder from flying, traveling on high-speed trains, or splashing his cash at luxury hotels and clubs after his company failed to comply with rulings over a contract dispute.
The travel and spending ban on Smartisan Technology's Luo Yonghao, known for making bombastic claims including that he intended to buy US tech giant Apple, comes after the firm reportedly failed to follow earlier court rulings on a dispute with an electronics company.
The businessman is also not allowed to buy property or send his kids to pricey private schools, under the order.
Smartisan has yet to challenge any of the top five smartphone companies in China, but made something of a name for itself in creating a huge buzz around its launches, even holding a 2018 event at the National Stadium in Beijing and selling around $751,000 in tickets to it. The event set a Guinness World Record for the largest audience at a tech product launch.
Also on rt.com Posh country life: Elderly couple from Ukraine used VINTAGE LOUIS VUITTON trunk to STORE CORN, not knowing it was worth a fortune The company is currently developing a phone with Chinese social media outfit ByteDance, and just launched a new product on Thursday. In a Weibo post about the launch, the company said Luo had left the firm for personal reasons, but didn't elaborate.
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Volunteers at Duke, other sites to be paid $3,300 to be deliberately infected with flu virus | WRAL TechWire
It's widely accepted that the flu and the torrent of uncomfortable symptoms that come with it are to be avoided at all costs.
But a few selfless souls have signed up to get the the infection so that one day, perhaps none of us will have to endure it ever again '' and they get paid, too.
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are infecting willing subjects with influenza A (the infamous H1N1 virus, which has caused pandemics) and closely monitoring their symptoms to better understand how the virus works and how to control it.
For a handsome sum of up to $3,300, 80 adult participants across four research facilities will receive a nasal spray with the virus and spend at least one week at an inpatient facility until they've stopped ''shedding'' the virus '-- that is, potentially infecting other people.
The study runs now until May (the long end of a typical flu season) at vaccine research units at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development in Missouri, Duke University and Ohio's Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Christopher Woods, M.D, is the lead investigator at Duke.
As volunteers cough, heave, sleep and shiver, researchers hope to glean how levels of preexisting flu antibodies will impact the duration and severity of participants' flu symptoms.
'No significant safety issues'''Volunteers will receive a nasal spray containing a strain of seasonal influenza virus made under good manufacturing practice conditions,'' the NIH notes.
''The challenge virus, InfluenzaA/Bethesda/MM2/H1N1, was developed by NIAID scientists and reliably produces mild to moderate influenza disease in most recipients. It has been administered to approximately 400 participants in four previous influenza challenge trials conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
''No significant safety issues or severe or complicated cases of influenza occurred, and no transmission of the virus outside of the clinic was seen during the earlier trials.''
The study runs now until May (the long end of a typical flu season) at vaccine research units at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development in Missouri, Duke University in North Carolina and Ohio's Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
The flu can be fatalUnderstanding how the flu operates is vital to defeating it: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 36,400 to 61,200 people died from the flu in the United States between October 2018 and May 2019, and more than half a million people were hospitalized.
The flu can turn deadly when there are other infections involved, when it aggravates another health condition or when there's an overwhelming immune response to the infection. It's linked to serious complications including pneumonia, heart attack and sepsis.
Though annual flu vaccines aren't foolproof '-- scientists and doctors can't be sure which strain will reign each flu season '-- they're the best way to avoid the infection and stop its spread. Those infected with the flu can treat it with antiviral drugs that shorten its duration and severity.
For more information, read about the program online.
WRAL TechWire contributed to this report.
Racism rising since Brexit vote, nationwide study reveals | World news | The Guardian
Ethnic minorities in Britain are facing rising and increasingly overt racism, with levels of discrimination and abuse continuing to grow in the wake of the Brexit referendum, nationwide research reveals.
Seventy-one percent of people from ethnic minorities now report having faced racial discrimination, compared with 58% in January 2016, before the EU vote, according to polling data seen by the Guardian.
The data comes amid rising concern at the use of divisive rhetoric in public before this week's European parliament elections, where some leading candidates, including Ukip's Carl Benjamin and the independent Tommy Robinson, have records of overt racism.
ChartThe survey by Opinium suggests racists are feeling increasingly confident in deploying overt abuse or discrimination. The proportion of people from an ethnic minority who said they had been targeted by a stranger rose from 64% in January 2016 to 76% in February this year, when the most recent polling was carried out of 1,006 people weighted to be nationally representative.
The trend appears in line with crime figures, which have shown that racially motivated hate crime has increased every year since 2013, doubling to 71,251 incidents in England and Wales in 2018, according to the Home Office.
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and a leading anti-racism campaigner, described the findings as ''alarming'', while Omar Khan, the chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, a race equality thinktank, said it was now clear that Brexit, while not the source of racism, had led to higher levels of racism being expressed and that social media was ''normalising hate and increasing division''.
How Ukip normalised far-right politics '' video explainerThe poll comes amid a wave of headlines about racism in Britain, from the BBC's sacking of Danny Baker for tweeting a picture of a couple with a chimp following the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby, to growing anger from professional footballers at racism online and in stadiums.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour have been tainted by allegations of Islamophobia and antisemitism respectively.
The survey found that at the end of 2016, 37% of people saw racism on social media on a day-to-day basis, but that has now risen to 50%, and is even higher for younger minority ethnic people aged 18 to 34.
Online racism has more than doubled since before the referendum, to 51%, and there were rises of about 50% in the number or people reporting hearing people ranting or making negative comments about immigration or making racist comments made to sound like jokes.
Chart: daily experience on social media etcPeople from a black background reported the greatest increase in discrimination, with the proportion saying they had been abused or discriminated against rising from 59% in January 2016 to 65% the following October and to 74% this February and March, when the latest poll was conducted. Respondents from the east of England were most likely to say they had suffered racism.
Minority ethnic women also reported a sizeable increase, with 74% saying they had faced racial discrimination this year, compared with 61% in the latter half of 2016. This increase in racial discrimination is mainly down to racism from strangers. Looking at the types of racial discrimination faced, the proportion saying they have experienced someone making a racist comment in jest has risen to over half (55%) of people from ethnic minorities.
Chart: main findingsLammy said: ''It is no coincidence that this rise has come as anti-migrant populists seek to divide the country using the playbook of Donald Trump.
''This has both legitimated and encouraged abuse online and in the real world. I have experienced first-hand the rise in racist content on social media, and the level of abuse experienced by the younger generation makes dealing with this problem of paramount importance.''
Khan said: ''The EU referendum has both revealed and amplified the experience of racism among ethnic minorities in Britain.
''Even before the referendum a clear majority of Britain's 8 million ethnic minorities reported experiencing racism and being targeted with overt discrimination. Following the referendum, these figures have now risen to around three in four ethnic minorities, meaning that millions of ethnic minorities have been targeted with overt racism.''
He said the large rise in racism on social media raised concerns about whether online channels were normalising hate and increasing division.
''Rather than dismissing or ignoring the extent of racism, it's important for politicians '' as well as media and social media companies '' to show leadership in challenging racism,'' he said. ''Britain's leaders must reflect on how they can ensure Britain's ethnic minorities feel safe and secure, and have equal opportunities and choices in where they work, commute and live.''
There were small falls in the number of people who felt they were victims of more tacit forms of discrimination such as being treated with suspicion by police or security guards, being turned down for promotion at work or suffering workplace bullying.
Ghislaine Maxwell Was a Guest at Jeff Bezos's Secret Book Retreat - VICE
Every fall, the elite of the literary world and Hollywood convene at a highly secretive writer's retreat hosted by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and no one talks about it.
Not every Campfire attendee is a household name: Tech entrepreneurs and industry power brokers are also invited to rub shoulders with celebrities.
Now, Motherboard has learned that one of Campfire 2018's attendees was Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who is alleged to have been instrumental in grooming young women into convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking ring. Reporting on Maxwell's alleged role, via victim statements and court records, goes back to 2011.
Two Campfire 2018 attendees independently confirmed to Motherboard that Maxwell attended the exclusive retreat that year. One of the sources maintained that Maxwell had attended three Campfires including 2018, but that Maxwell was not an attendee at Campfire 2019 held in early October. Campfire 2018 took place shortly before a Miami Herald investigation resurfaced Epstein's crimes and Maxwell's alleged links to them, which eventually led to new charges against Epstein.
The news further illustrates the connections that Epstein and Maxwell maintained to the wealthy elite. Tech moguls, presidents, well-known actors, and Prince Andrew all came into their orbit even after Epstein's misdeeds and Maxwell's alleged role first came to light. In fact, a secretive 2011 dinner in Long Beach, California attended by Bezos and other tech CEOs was also attended by Epstein, less than two years after he served time for underage sex crimes.
Maxwell, who has never been charged or arrested and has only faced allegations in civil lawsuits, has always denied any wrongdoing or involvement with Epstein's crimes and has made few public appearances since they first surfaced in media reports.
Amazon did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story. Several requests for comment were also sent to Bezos' space company Blue Origin, with no response.
Do you know something about Campfire? We would love to hear from you. Using a non-work computer or phone, you can contact Ben Makuch securely on Wickr @benmakuch. You can also reach him via email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BMakuch.
Started in 2009, Campfire is an all-expenses-paid retreat courtesy of Bezos and Amazon that is completely off the record for attendees, who often bring their spouses and partners on the free trip. With no front-facing website, almost nobody talking, and only occasional reports, the retreat has largely remained under the radar. Amazon's (and by extension, Bezos's) powerful status in the creative world has only grown since the company launched as an e-commerce site in 1994. Amazon has long been influential in publishing, and is now a film and television powerhouse via its Amazon Studios arm.
The sources who attended the 2018 retreat contacted by Motherboard confirmed key details of Maxwell's appearance at Campfire that year.
Maxwell was accompanied by tech entrepreneur Scott Borgerson (who recently denied reports that the two were romantically linked), sources said. When Motherboard contacted Borgerson for comment on this story, messages sent directly to his company CargoMetrics and his LinkedIn account went unanswered. Maxwell was generally known for her non-profit ocean conservation company TerraMar Project, which shut down in July after federal charges against Epstein dropped.
Maxwell's location is currently unknown. Motherboard viewed what's believed to be Maxwell's private Instagram account, which last posted a photo in April 2017. A strange photo of Maxwell surfaced in August, showing her having a burger and milkshake at a fast-food joint in California, while reading a book on the CIA. Recent reports place Maxwell in Brazil, hiding out of public sight with another alleged Epstein associate. The lawyer of one of her accusers says she has disappeared and gone into hiding.
VIDEO - Fox News Guest Blurts Out 'Epstein Didn't Kill Himself'
A former Navy SEAL invited to talk about military dogs on Jesse Watters' Fox News show also offered some unprompted and unexpected thoughts about the death of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Watters was finishing up his segment on Watters' World with Mike Ritland, who is the founder of the Warrior Dog Foundation. The nonprofit is dedicated to finding homes for military dogs that are no longer in service and in need of a home.
Ritland asked if he could offer a PSA about military dogs as news coverage swirls about the dog who helped take down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
''The remarkable nature of these dogs and them being highlighted in news creates a huge demand by people that frankly shouldn't have them. If you see the coverage and you decide I want one of these dogs either buy a fully trained and finished dog from a professional or don't get one at all,'' Ritland said.
''Epstein didn't kill himself,'' he added.
''Alright,'' Watters said, at first not apparently realizing what Ritland just said. Watters then started laughing and said ''OK.''
''Thank you for that commentary,'' Watters said, chuckling. ''Maybe more on that later.''
A medical examiner has said Epstein killed himself by hanging himself in his cell while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. However, the circumstances of his death have resulted in swirling conspiracies about how Epstein could have died.
Watch above, via Fox News.
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VIDEO - (33) Tom Elliott on Twitter: "Former CIA director John McLaughlin on Trump's impeachment: ''Thank God for the deep state'' https://t.co/t4pQhFOBuj" / Twitter
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VIDEO - (2) Dan Noyes on Twitter: "#PGE's CEO tells people who can't afford to restock food spoiled by blackouts to use food banks, and "we didn't burn down any houses ... One of the things we did was give them the opportunity to actually refill their ref
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose and Oakland each are receiving a half-million-dollar grant from the state to address power interruptions. San Jose is planning to use that money to generate its own back-up power.
While PG&E is being pressured by irate customers and regulators, San Jose is trying to come up with its own solution.
RELATED: Shop, dine and make a difference to businesses affected by PG&E's power shutoffs
"We'll be looking at critical facilities throughout the city where we can assure we have local generation of power, primarily through solar and fuel cells and local storage of that electricity," said Liccardo.
The goal is to keep small retailers and restaurants operating, to keep home medical devices working, and to keep essential city services operating, not to mention keeping thousands of homes from going dark. But it's going to take time and a lot more than what the state is funding.
RELATED: ABC7 special 'Fire, Power, Wind: What Now?'"This is a multiple billion dollar proposition," noted the Mayor. "Nonetheless, we need to get started."
State Senator Jim Beall, who represents San Jose, sits on the budget committee in Sacramento. He said no strings are attached how San Jose can use the money.
"We're not putting a lot strings on it or any kind of rules," Beall said. "We want it to be spent on the emergency that we have now-- and fast."
San Jose hasn't added up all its expenses from the PG&E PSPS events, but the Mayor estimates it's at least a half-million dollars. He's not hopeful that small businesses that lost sales or perishables will see reimbursement from PG&E due to the bankruptcy.
RELATED: Solar companies see surge in demand for battery storage with PG&E power shutoffsMayor Liccardo said he's also working on creating a coalition to work on these long-term power needs, but he's not ready to announce any details.
However, four public power agencies on the Peninsula and in the East Bay are planning to announce next Tuesday how a coalition they have formed will provide power during PG&E shutdowns.
For more stories and videos about the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs go here.
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VIDEO - (11) Racist professor recorded teaching anti-white curriculum - YouTube
Classes were back to normal at White Plains High School Friday, after an apparent telephone glitch caused a lockdown alert.An alert went out around 2:30 p.m. Thursday that triggered a large police response and notified parents that police were on the scene and clearing the building.
Some parents said within seconds of receiving the alert, they stormed out of work and rushed there. They say they were especially worried because the school had just conducted a practice drill on Monday and knew they wouldn't have another one just a few days later.
Students say they were confused and scared as rumors started to go around. Junior Troanna Durbs of Ossining High School says she heard a rumor on social media that said White Plains High School had a lockdown due to weapons in the school.
MORE: Telephone glitch may have caused lockdown alert at White Plains High School
Superintendent Joseph Ricca says the district believes the false alarm was a malfunction in one of the school telephones.
The school is trying to determine whether the alert was a technical or human error.
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VIDEO - Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) on Twitter: "WATCH: Joe Biden says, "I'm going to make sure that we rejoin the Paris Peace Accord on day one." The Paris Peace Accords = a treaty to end the Vietnam War that was signed in 1973, Biden's first ye
31 October 2019 at 5:00pm Video report by ITV News Health Editor Emily MorganWe all know it's against the law to discriminate someone based on their race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion or indeed to subject anyone to a hate crime.
We know that don't we? So why is it that discrimination and hates crimes still occur and why do people still tolerate it?
I ask because ITV News has done some research on racism in the NHS and the results are somewhat worrying.
We found the number of recorded racist attacks against NHS staff increased from 589 in 2013 to 1448 last year - that's an increase of 145%.
Of the Trusts that responded a massive 70% recorded a rise in such abuse.
Some Trusts fared better than others (and I must point out we're talking about incidents of racist attacks by patients that staff have recorded).
Medical professionals performing surgery at a hospital in England. Credit: PAUniversity of Derby and Burton Trust recorded the biggest rise, from 194 to 439 in 2018 and Guys and St Thomas' in London went from none to 109.
Maybe the way they record incidents has got better, or maybe the number of incidents is just going up year on year. Either way, it's pretty shocking.
The evidence we've heard is what I find most appalling.
One nurse, from the Philippines who works in Devon, told me she is routinely told to go home or asked by the patient to go away and find an English nurse to treat them. It's so regular she says she doesn't notice it anymore, let alone report it to the hospital. And it's not just nurses.
I've also spoken to a senior surgeon who happens to be Indian and has worked in the NHS for more than 20 years.
Mr Radhakrishna Shanbhag was reduced to tears when I asked how he is spoken to by patients.
He's sidelined by them, he's told they want a white doctor, is ignored and generally treated as if he shouldn't be in the hospital.
Asked how it makes him feel, he said 'worthless'. And remember, we're talking about a senior surgeon here.
Others say they've been called "little China girl", "P*** doctor" and "black bitch". So casual are the comments, one nurse said, she doesn't even bother to report them.
Doctors and medical professionals doing the morning rounds in a hospital. Credit: PAIt doesn't take many anecdotes to illustrate the problem. I asked the Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North Essex Hospital Trust what is being done to protect staff from such abuse.
He was adamant that there are systems in place to record incidents of racism and that he personally encourages all staff to report everything, whether it's racist, sexist or homophobic.
He then went one step further; Nick Hulme would like to deny treatment to patients who are racist, unless it was life or limb.
He says there should be zero tolerance of any sort of abuse and wants to prove he means it.
The only problem is those in the medical profession have such an overwhelming sense of duty to treat patients, many might well find that hard.
Does the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, agree then that we should take a zero tolerance approach? Yes he said but then stopped short of agreeing treatment should be denied to those who are racist.
He says Trusts should manage cases on an individual basis.
The most pressing questions our findings pose are why this is happening and why, in this day and age, is it getting worse?
The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the findings are shocking but not surprising. Rebecca Hilsenrath, the group's CEO, admits some of the figures could be because of better recording of incidents.
That of course does explain some of it but quite obviously not all. Mrs Hilsenrath says much of it is down to lack of representation of BAME people in all industries.
Surgeons preparing for a medical operation in the operating room. Credit: PAShe says until there is equal representation and equal pay, racist comments will continue to pervade our society.
Brexit has also had an impact she claims as hate crimes have increased since the referendum; "We live in an era when it seems there's a permission for political discourse to be carried out in quite a confrontational way".
To that end the Commission has written to political parties to ask them to consider the impact of the way they talk, since politicians are role models and the more respectful dialogue we see, the more it's echoed in society as a whole. How much will this really effect racist patients in the health service though?
There isn't a single magic bullet to solve this. That's obvious.
What there should be though is an intolerance for racist abuse and proper systems in place to report it.
Until that happens, the perpetrators of racist comments will continue to thrive and get away with it.
Last updated Thu 31 Oct 2019
VIDEO - Thierry Baudet on Twitter: "Nieuw hoofdstuk in de bizarre #stikstofsoap. Het kabinet wil boeren nu gaan verplichten een speciaal soort chemisch aangepast voer aan hun koeien te geven dat zou zorgen voor minder ''uitstoot''. Niet getest is het ef