Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
DomesticWorld War IThe first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.
World War IIDuring World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities. The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold WarDuring the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on DrugsThe National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988, but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998, is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States". The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.
Iraq WarIn early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program. The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts. On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America. Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt ActThe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.
Ad CouncilThe Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.
InternationalThrough several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.
Psychological operationsThe US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public. Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap."  The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia, as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.
See alsoReferences^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''741, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1741^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
This new disc is called "Tech Horny" and is specifically geared toward Dudes Named Ben. I'm going to ship 400 to my hotel in Las Vegas and hand them out at DEFCON. In the next few days I'll also have a more traditional NACD available. I'm going to ship some of those as well and hand them out on the strip during or after the No Agenda Meetup that Saturday. I figure the NA meet up attendees can put their NA shirts on and join me on the Las Vegas strip to hand out CDs to passersby, Planned Parenthood style.
Photo credit: Facebook Michael Hastings Facebook Photo
As readers of WhoWhatWhy know, our site has been one of the very few continuing to explore the fiery death two years ago of investigative journalist Michael Hastings, whose car left a straight segment of a Los Angeles street at a high speed, jumped the meridian, hit a tree, and blew up.
Our original report described anomalies of the crash and surrounding events that suggest cutting-edge foul play'--that an external hacker could have taken control of Hastings's car in order to kill him. If this sounds too futuristic, a series of recent technical revelations has proven that ''car hacking'' is entirely possible. The latest just appeared this week.
Hackers, seeking to demonstrate the vulnerability of automobiles to remote attacks, were able to largely take over the Jeep Cherokee driven by a writer for the tech magazine Wired:
Their code is an automaker's nightmare: software that lets hackers send commands through the Jeep's entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission, all from a laptop that may be across the country.
They were able to make his car decelerate suddenly, causing the writer to ''narrowly avert death'' at the hands of a semi-trailer coming up behind him.
In an earlier demonstration, they had been able to do similar things with other vehicles:
In the summer of 2013, I drove a Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius around a South Bend, Indiana, parking lot while they sat in the backseat with their laptops, cackling as they disabled my brakes, honked the horn, jerked the seat belt, and commandeered the steering wheel.
All of this is increasingly drawing the attention'--and action'-- of the authorities. U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday seeking to establish federal standards for security and privacy of drivers in today's computer-laden cars.
What we do not hear is any discussion about whether the risk has gone beyond the realm of possibility'...to a reality.
What About Hastings?
Back when Michael Hastings died, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke'--by all accounts a sober, no-nonsense man'--said that the Hastings's crash was ''consistent with a car cyber attack'' and that it was likely that intelligence agencies knew ''how to remotely seize control of a car.''
It is worth noting, too, that the day before his death, Hastings had ''urgently'' requested to borrow his neighbor's car'--he wanted to get out of town, but he feared his own car was being tampered with.
How is it then that ''mainstream'' publications, including even Wired, do not talk about the very odd circumstances surrounding the death of a journalist who had made powerful enemies? Did the fact that he had caused a famed general to be fired, that he was investigating the CIA chief, that he told colleagues he himself was being investigated by the FBI'--did none of this at least raise the slightest suspicion on the part of our journalistic community? How about the fiery explosion when his car hit a palm tree'--which automotive experts say should not normally take place; what about the fact that the engine flew out of the vehicle and landed a considerable distance away''which, again, we are told, is highly unusual?
As with so many of these things, the authorities raced to conclude that it was all an unfortunate accident and that there was no more to the story. And virtually the entirety of journalism'--Left, Right and Center, Mainstream and ''Alternative'''--accepted this conclusion without so much as a hint of skepticism.
So, now that it has been dramatically demonstrated that accidents can be caused remotely by those targeting a driver, will we see other media stepping up to take a good hard look at the key question: What really happened to Michael Hastings? We hope so, but we aren't taking any bets.
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VIENNA Iran on Thursday outlined plans to rebuild its main industries and trade relationships following a nuclear agreement with world powers, saying it was targeting oil and gas projects worth $185 billion by 2020.
Iran's Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said the Islamic Republic would focus on its oil and gas, metals and car industries with an eye to exporting to Europe after sanctions have been lifted, rather than simply importing Western technology.
"We are looking for a two-way trade as well as cooperation in development, design and engineering," Nematzadeh told a conference in Vienna.
"We are no longer interested in a unidirectional importation of goods and machinery from Europe," he said.
The United Nations Security Council on Monday endorsed a deal to end years of economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Sanctions are unlikely to be removed until next year, as the deal requires approval by the U.S. Congress. Nuclear inspectors must also confirm that Iran is complying with the deal. [ID:nL1N10231M]
While the Iranian and U.S. presidents have been promoting the accord, hardliners in Tehran and Washington have spoken out strongly against it.
Many European companies have already shown interest in reestablishing business in Iran, with Germany sending its economy minister Sigmar Gabriel on the first top level government visit to Tehran in 13 years together with a delegation of leading business figures. [ID:nL5N1001BN]
Iran's deputy oil minister for commerce and international affairs, Hossein Zamaninia, said Tehran had identified nearly 50 oil and gas projects worth $185 billion that it hoped to sign by 2020. OPEC-member Iran has the world's largest gas reserves and is fourth on the global list of top oil reserves holders.
NEW, LONGER CONTRACTS
In preparation for negotiations with possible foreign partners, Zamaninia said Iran had defined a new model contract which it calls its integrated petroleum contract (IPC).
"This model contract addresses some of the deficiencies of the old buyback contract and it further aligns the short- and long-term interests of parties involved," he said.
He said the deals would last 20-25 years - much longer than the previously less popular buybacks, which effectively were fee paying deals with global oil majors such as France's Total for services they performed on Iranian oil fields.
He said Iran would introduce the projects it has identified and the new contract model within 2-3 months.
Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Khazaei said Iran had already completed negotiations with some European companies wanting to invest in the country.
"We are recently witnessing the return of European investors to the country. Some of these negotiations have concluded, and we have approved and granted them the foreign investment licences and protections," Khazaei told the conference.
"Even in the past couple of weeks we have approved more than $2 billion of projects in Iran by European companies," he said, without naming the firms or providing further details.
Most European oil majors and oil service companies have so far expressed caution about the prospects of a windfall of deals in Iran, saying their compliance departments will want to first see sanctions being fully removed before any meaningful work can start on projects.
Beyond oil, Nematzadeh said Iran was looking to move away from state ownership in many sectors, creating joint ventures for auto parts manufacturers with the aim to produce 3 million vehicles by 2025, of which a third would be exported.
Central bank deputy governor Akbar Komijani said Iran's financial sector was offering opportunities for cooperation between domestic banks and foreign investors.
Nematzadeh said Iran aimed to join the World Trade Organization once political obstacles were removed and would be interested in trade deals with Europe and central Asian countries.
(Writing by Christopher Johnson and Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Jason Neely and Giles Elgood)
Iran's gold output is estimated to rise to 7 metric tons by 2017 which could significantly improve the country's place among the world's producers of the precious metal.
Zarshuran, the Middle East's biggest gold deposit, will yield 6 million tons alone, with another 700 kg coming from mines in East Azarbaijan Province and 300 km from Arghash in Nayshabour.
Production from Zarshuran in the Iranian city of Takab in West Azarbaijan began in November 2014 with the inauguration of a facility capable of processing 3 metric tons of gold on top of 2.5 tons of silver and one ton of mercury per year.
According to the Mehr news agency, the plant is undergoing expansion which will double output by 2017. Initial estimates have put recoverable gold deposits in Zarshuran at 55 tons, which could rise to 110 tons by further drilling in the anomalies.
Last year, Iran's gold production surpassed 4.1 metric tons.
Aq Darreh is another gold deposit in Takab where a processing plant produced 2.2 tons of gold a year before stopping in 2011.
In 2006, Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto pulled out of the Sari Gunay gold mining project in Iran's Kurdestan after deciding it was not commercially viable.
The company had initially estimated to produce 4 million metric tons of ore per year over 12 to 18 years from the mine before concluding that the reserves were too small to continue with the project.
Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade has identified as many as 15 mines so far, capable of yielding 320 metric tons of processed gold.
The provinces of West and East Azarbaijan, as well as Isfahan and Razavi Khorasan hold the country's biggest reserves for production of gold.
By Press TV
Gold Price Headed to $450.00? $2,000 is More Likely
A friend recently said to me, ''No matter how you look at it, gold price is going down to $450.00.'' He argued; there's simply no reason for the yellow metal to trade at $1,100 now.
He also added, ''All the problems everyone was worried about are slowly diminishing and the precious metal is simply reacting to it.''
Here's a little background: he's a trader. He looks for opportunities on a short-term basis and rarely bothers holding any position for longer than one month.
Also Read:Gold Prices Headed to $2,000? Gruesome Supply and Solid Demand Say So
Can Gold Price Really Go Down to $450.00?I disagree with my friend completely.
Here's where I do agree with him; he may be right in the very short-term. Gold price may fall simply because momentum is towards the downside. But $450.00, and anything below $900.00 in my opinion, is an outright unrealistic target for gold.
If gold price actually goes to $900.00, the entire precious metal mining sector will go through significant scrutiny. Major mining companies like the Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE/ABX) and Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE/GG) can't even produce at that price. There will be a very sudden supply shock.
Factors Working in Favor of the Yellow MetalYou see; the so called ''problems'' my friend talked about still remain. In fact, conditions, if you look closely, are much more fragile than they were before. Just a small hiccup can create significant problems.
Consider this; the recent decline in gold prices occurred after the fiasco in Greece ''ended.'' The stock market rallied, and the mainstream outlets told that everything was back to normal. Let's be honest here; the can was just kicked down the road. Greece got a bailout. Not a debt haircut. A few days later, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even came out and said that a debt haircut may be needed for the country.
Don't be shocked if Greece makes it to headlines again very soon.
Mind you, we still have Spain and Italy that are spiraling in debt. Italian banks still have $214 billion worth of bad debt, and it's been increasing. (Source: Reuters, July 8, 2015.)
Forget the eurozone. China is something to be worried about even more.
The Chinese stock market is crashing. The decline is currently halted by government interventions. When it ends, those who have been stuck will most likely want to sell. This isn't all; bad debt in China remains a problem as well.
Will investors in China run towards the safety of gold when their losses accumulate? That remains to be seen.
Where's Gold Going Next?Right now, the only factor impacting the gold market is the Federal Reserve and its stubbornness towards raising rates. Investors are spooked by it and are selling as a result. Even those who were holding tight are getting a little nervous.
Dear reader, when it comes to gold, you have to think from a big-picture perspective and in the long-term.
The recent decline in the gold prices hasn't changed my opinion. I continue to believe the precious metal is the next big trade in the making. Unlike my friend, I am targeting $2,000 an ounce as the price a few years down the road.
I believe this will happen because over the past few years, central banks and governments around the world haven't really tackled the real problems. They have used solutions that are not sustainable in the long-run; sweeping problems under the rug. It's only a matter of time until those problems resurface.
I think most gold bulls have left town. In fact, gold prices are at a five-year low thanks (in par) to a strong U.S. dollar and oil priced at below $50.00 per barrel. And many are calling for gold to fall even further. But despite the euphoria on Wall Street and optimism about the U.S. economy, the fact is, there are plenty of reasons for gold bugs to remain more than a little confident about the return of gold prices in 2016.
What Should We Expect for Gold Prices in 2016?Admittedly, most people predicting the glorious return to record high gold prices in 2015 have been caught a little off-guard. Used primarily as a hedge against economic uncertainty, gold prices have been declining since hitting a nominal record high $1920.70 in August 2011. Trading below $1,100 for the first time in more than five years, gold prices are down roughly 42% over 2011 highs.
But the fact of the matter is, the erratic movement of gold is not a result of sound, long-term reasoning. Rather, it is the result of blissful short-sightedness on behalf of those with access to cheap money. This is in sharp contrast to how those without money to invest are managing.
When you take into consideration everything Wall Street has been ignoring, the gold price forecast for 2016 looks bullish.
Top 4 Factors Burying GoldWhat are the primary catalysts driving the price of gold lower? Janet Yellen's unbridled optimism about the U.S. economy and interest rate environment is making gold speculators bearish.
Yellen said she expects the Fed to raise its federal fund rates at some point this year; the first rate hike in nearly a decade. While she cites some concern with the labor market and inflation, it seems she would rather see a so-called smaller rate hike in 2015 than be more aggressive in 2016. (Source: financialpost.com, July 21, 2015.)
The decision to raise rates this year is not unanimous. Minutes from the June 16-17 discussion show that one Fed official was ready to raise rates right away. Most, however, don't believe the U.S. economy is strong enough to absorb an interest rate hike. (Source: theguardian.com, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
Pressure on gold prices can also be explained in part by the strong U.S. dollar'--the currency in which gold is priced. Since July 2014, the U.S. dollar index has been on a tear, up 23% year-over-year. Because gold is priced in U.S. dollars, it often trades in the opposite direction of the world's reserve currency.
(Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com)
Then there is China; one of the biggest buyers of gold bullion. Information from the up-to-date data-shy country shows the country's gold bullion holding increased much less than anticipated. (Source: wsj.com, July 17, 2015.)
''Official'' numbers of Beijing show the country has 53.32 million troy ounces of gold; up 57% from the 33.89 million ounces at the end of 2009 (the last time the country updated the figure). (Source: pbc.gov.cn, July 22, 2015.)
While that sounds significant (China is now home to the fifth-largest holding of gold), the stockpiling of 100 tons per year from one of the world's biggest economies is modest when you consider it has said its goal is to increase its reserves of precious metals and foreign currencies. China has never been shy about excess and pageantry. So you can decide whether or not you believe the figures released from Beijing.
Finally, if gold is considered a safe haven for investors during turbulent economic periods, then the stock market is saying to dump gold. The S&P 500 is up almost 220% since bottoming in 2009. While the S&P 500 is up just three percent year-to-date, it is showing support near 2050. On top of that, it quickly rebounds to the upside after taking a short breather.
2 Major Indicators Point to a Significantly Overvalued Stock MarketSustained corrections are a rarity in the world of cheap money. And thanks to ultra-low interest rates and those with access to cheap money, the stock market is the only racket in town. And they're taking advantage of it. No matter what.
The S&P 500, an index that captures 80% of the available market capitalization, is probably the best measure of the health of the U.S. economy. Investors can be forgiven for thinking all is well with the S&P 500 trading near 2120.
In the first quarter, the U.S. economy experienced negative 0.2% gross domestic product (GDP) growth. While not abysmal, it's certainly nothing for the world's largest economy to brag about after trillions of dollars of quantitative easing and government intervention. And it's hardly reflective in stock market evaluations.
If stock markets are only as strong as the companies that make them up, then the second quarter doesn't look any better. In the second quarter of 2015, S&P 500 companies are expected to experience a 4.5% year-over-year decline in earnings. That would mark the first decline since the third quarter of 2012 and the biggest one since the third quarter of 2009. (Source: factset.com, July 22, 2015.)
Not surprisingly, two major indicators are pointing to a seriously overvalued stock market.
i) According to the Case Shiller CAPE PE Ratio, the S&P 500 is overvalued by around 63%. The ratio is currently at 26.18; that means that for every $1.00 of earnings a company makes, investors are happy to fork over $26.18. The last time the ratio was this high was in 1929 (enter the Great Depression) and 1999 (watch the Dotcom bubble burst). (Source: Yale University, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
ii) Warren Buffet calls it the ''best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.'' Who am I to challenge him? The market cap to GDP ratio compares the total price of all publicly-traded companies to GDP. A reading of 100% suggests U.S. stocks are fairly valued. The higher the ratio over 100%, the more overvalued the stock market.
The Warren Buffet indicator is tracking the Case Shiller Ratio. Based on the historical ratio of total market cap over GDP, the stock market currently sits at 126.6%. The Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index is at $22,413 billion; which is 126.6% above first quarter U.S. GDP of $17,693 billion. (Source: bea.gov, July 22, 2015.)
The Warren Buffet Indicator has only been higher once since 1950; in 1999 when it stood at an eye-watering 153.6%. It only stood at 108% before the housing bubble burst in 2008.
When the broader stock market experiences a real sustained correction, investors will flock back into gold.
This (Unfortunately) is Why Gold's 2016 Forecast Looks BullishSo, gold prices are getting hammered because the U.S. dollar is doing well. The stock market is at record highs. China isn't hoarding as much gold as we thought. And the Federal Reserve is going to start to hike its federal fund rate because the economy is getting ''better.''
Unfortunately, the foundations holding up the stock market are shaky. And the mirror reflecting the sunny U.S. economy is cracked.
In light of the booming U.S. economy, there are nearly two million more children living in poverty in the U.S. than during the 2008 recession. Nearly one quarter of U.S. children (22% or 18.7 million) live below the poverty line. That's up from 18% (16 million) in 2008. (Source: aecf.org, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
The official poverty line, set by the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service, is $24,250 for a family with two adults and two children. Suffice it to say, children living under the poverty line will not have everything at their disposal to succeed in life. Yes, this is in spite of everyone being created equal. (Source: hhs.gov, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
Despite the economic recovery, an alarming number of people are receiving food stamps. In 2014, 46.53 million Americans received food stamps. That's a 64% increase over the 28.2 million who received food stamps before the recession in 2008. (Source: usda.gov, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
The unemployment rate is at an election platform worthy 5.3%. But the underemployment rate is still above 10%. Inflation might be in range, but real average hourly wages (dollar amount minus inflation) fell 0.4% from May to June. Costs are going up monthly while wages are going down.
For the roughly five percent of American workers that make minimum wage or less, and for those whose wages are not growing, this not good news. Nor is it good news for a country that gets 70% of its GDP from personal consumption.
Again, not a surprise, but despite the growing optimism in the U.S., the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has taken a different tact. It expects the global economy to expand at just 3.3% this year. The IMF has revised its 2015 growth projections downward three times since July 2014. The impetus, of course, has been China's lagging economy, Japan's cyclical visits to and from recession, and Greece's strain on the already-weak eurozone. (Source: imf.org, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
If you're a gold bug, you should care about the state of the global economy because roughly 48% of sales from S&P 500 listed companies come from outside the United States. And that dependency is growing. In 2013, that number stood at 46.3% and 46% for each of the previous four years. (Source: spindices.com, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
Wall Street might have turned its back on gold bullion and is downplaying the need to diversify your investing portfolio, but Central Banks around the world aren't listening. In 2014, global Central Banks purchased 477.2 tons of gold, the biggest amount in 50 years. In the first quarter of 2015, central banks bought 119.4 tons of gold. This represents that 17th consecutive quarter where central banks have been net buyers of gold. (Source: gold.org, last accessed July 22, 2015.)
Are central banks looking to diversify their holdings away from the U.S. dollar? Or are they looking for protection from a global meltdown? What do the central banks know that the rest of us don't? Wall Street isn't fond of buying gold when its prices are depressed, but central banks certainly are.
If someone had visited the U.S. from Pluto on an exchange program last week and looked at the state of the U.S., you'd probably think all is not well in the world's biggest economy. Wall Street is doing really well and the wealthy are getting wealthier.
Gold Price Forecast for 2016Even as an investment, Wall Street has a double standard when it comes to gold forecasts. The talking heads never have trouble reminding investors that the economy and stocks go in cycles. And that after ever thrashing, stocks eventually climb to new highs, as is evident by the long-in-the-tooth bull market following the gutting in 2009.
The same logic must hold true then for precious metals like gold. If the economy and stock market cycles, so too does gold. And the best time to profit off stocks and gold is not when they are at record levels. It's when you think they are at good entry points and conditions point to a rebound.
Gold was out of favor on Wall Street during the late 1990s and word on the street was that gold would never rally again. Gold bullion did. And gold bullion will again. It's the way the global economy works.
What is the gold forecast for 2016? Will it be a solid year for gold bugs? Will gold prices rally and top $2,000 an ounce? It's hard to say what the U.S. and global economies have in store for us. One thing is certain; there are a large number of catalysts that could propel gold prices seriously higher.
I'm doing some work with my family on emergency preparedness and I'm thinking about getting my Ham Radio license. What would you recommend as far as equipment for a novice like me? Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.
Every student is given a "THREAT ASSESSMENT" by police and school administrators!Schools and police are using V-STAG to assess a students threat level:
"The Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines (V-STAG) is a school-based manualized process designed to help school administrators, mental health staff, and law enforcement officers assess and respond to threat incidents involving students in kindergarten through 12th grade and prevent student violence."
The war on terror is out of control! Watch out that kindergarten kid could be a threat!
Did you know, police are giving American addresses color coded threat ratings? And our govt. has also assigned you a threat assessment while travelling inside the U.S.
V-STAG was developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Department of Education.
"Although both the FBI and Secret Service reports made a compelling case for student threat assessment, schools had no experience with this approach and there were many questions concerning the practical procedures that should be followed. In response, researchers at the University of Virginia developed a set of guidelines for school administrators to use in responding to a reported student threat of violence."
The Secret Service has the audacity to call threat assessing of kindergarten students a safety concern."The Final Report And Findings Of The Safe School Initiative."
"The Safe School Initiative" was implemented through the Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center and the Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.
Every student is being PROFILED and given a risk assessment rating, according to the Secret Services article titled "Evaluating Risk For Targeted Violence In Schools: Comparing Risk Assessment, Threat Assessment and Other Approaches."
"We then review the three assessment approaches that have been advocated and used in some jurisdictions (profiling, guided professional judgment, automated decision-making) and demonstrate why they are inappropriate and potentially harmful in preventing planned school-based attacks."
"In this article, we attempt to lay a foundation for developing an effective assessment approach to evaluate the risk of targeted violence in schools by addressing four issues. First, we delineate the contours of the problem of targeted violence by distinguishing the fear of this violence from its actual probability and by distinguishing targeted violence from other forms of aggression in youth. Second, we examine and critique three assessment approaches'--profiling, guided professional judgment, and automated decision making..."
V-STAG is also designed to provide students involved in threat incidents with appropriate mental health counseling services, with parental involvement, and reduce the numbers of long-term school suspensions or expulsions and alternative school setting placements.
What's really being said is police and school administrators can put your kid(s) into mental health counseling which will follow them throughout their adult lives! Oddly there isn't any mention of the school-to-prison pipeline!
The V-STAG, threat assessment team will be used even if a student is alleged to have committed a crime and can't be identified:
"Through V-STAG, the threat assessment team aims to prevent student violence by (1) taking immediate protective action in the most serious substantive cases (i.e., instances when there is a genuine intent to cause bodily harm or when the intent of the student making the threat cannot be clearly identified and resolved)"
"Any threat that cannot be clearly identified and resolved as transient is treated as a substantive threat.Substantive threats always require protective action to prevent the threat from being carried out. The remaining four steps guide the team through more extensive assessment and response based on the seriousness of the threat. In the most serious cases, the team conducts a safety evaluation that includes both a law enforcement investigation and a mental health assessment of the student."
Many schools also use the "Student Threat Assessment Program" to look for disruptive students.
Did you know there's anAssociation of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) who ironically, will be holding their conference at theDisneyland Hotel in California. How many troubling, disruptive, threatening kids will be in Disneyland?
In the conference brochure the LAPD'sThreat Management (Assessment) Unit is listed prominently because they founded the ATAP! If you guessed the ATAP has close ties to DHS give yourself a gold star, click here & here to read more.
"The ATAP is a diverse association comprised of professionals such as law enforcement officers, prosecutors, mental health professionals, and corporate security experts."
Is that supposed to be a joke? The people making threat assessments all stand to gain financially:
"... the increase of workplace violence incidents and terrorism has created a need to combine forces with the private sector."
There's also a "National Behavioral Intervention Team Association" (NaBITA) dedicated to giving students threat assessments. It has more than 800 active members from colleges, universities, schools and workplaces. If you guessed the NaBITA has close ties to DHS give yourself another gold star, click here & here to read more.
Threat assessments are also being given to college students, they're just using a different name calling them 'Campus Safety Teams.'
"While the prevention of campus violence may have been the catalyst for improving coordination and communication across campus departments with the creation of Campus Teams.''
"The creation of Campus Teams that identify and monitor students whose behaviors may be troubling is an opportunity to engage them sooner rather than later, so that they can receive needed referrals or other appropriate assistance and treatment."
To find out more about 'Campus Teams' read "Balancing Safety On Campus: A Guide For Campus Safety Teams." Some colleges like Youngstown State University have created a "Student Threat Assessment Team (STAT). "
The NaBITA has created a "Threat Assessment Tool" with NINE levels of Aggression.
The 'MILD' levels allege students might be emotionally troubled if the school considers his or her debating harmful!
Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy knowing a team of school administrators and police are profiling every student!
In general, the mission and purpose of 'Campus Teams' encompasses:
' Gathering information about students of concern. This may specifically focus on threats with thepotential to become violent (as is the case with threat assessment teams) or a broader range of behaviors. As noted below, this may also expand to include behaviors by others on or off campus, besides students.
' Assessing the information about each case in a systematic way to determine the most effectiveresponse for that particular person and situation.
' Defining the plan/response to address the needs of both the student and the safety of the community. The plan should consider specifics about who, when, where, and how the response will occur.
' Implementing the response in a way that de-escalates a potential crisis, reduces or removes threats, and attends to the needs of the individual who is demonstrating disturbed and/or disturbing behavior. Note that for many campus teams, the actual implementation of a response may be carried out by other individuals or departments; the team itself often acts in an advisory and coordinating role.
' Monitoring the disposition of the case to gauge whether any additional follow-up is needed, whether the response was effective, and what lessons may be learned for future cases, especially in terms of implications for school policies and procedures.
The dual purpose of housing these functions under one team's purview is:
' to prevent any particular instance of disturbed or disturbing behavior from falling through theorganizational cracks; and
' to connect disparate (and therefore seemingly innocuous or less troubling) pieces of information that may indicate a more serious or acute problem, in the hope of preventing a dangerous or critical outcome or event.
Colleges nationwide are using 'Campus Teams' to give their students sexual threat assessments, there is a "Legal Compliance and Sexual Violence Prevention Training" being held in Boston this July 27, 28th.
"This training will address the critical intersection between compliance with federal laws to address sexual and intimate partner violence, and the role that threat assessment can play in effectively addressing these issues."
Colleges are also using, "The Structured Interview For Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35)" by Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D.,
Our government has been using rare on campus shootings as a justification for schools and colleges to give students risk assessments.
"After the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, there was a natural inclination to form Campus Teams with a specific focus on threat assessment and management."
"Campus Teams can facilitate the flow, processing, and synthesis of safety related information, which in turn helps decision-makers identify foreseeable risks and construct and implement reasonable responses."
Our government want us to believe that EVERY student is a potential threat and we need threat assessments to stop them.
The fact is student homicides are RARE:
With nearly 106,000 public and private schools in the U.S., there were shootings at only 0.009% of schools since December 2012. According to the National Center for Education Statistics' 2013 ''Indicators of School Crime and Safety'' report, from the 1992-93 school year until the 2010-11 school year, there were between 11 and 34 homicides of youths ages 5-18 at schools each year (including attacks with weapons other than firearms), with an average of about 23 homicides per year.
Compare that to NCES's enrollment statistics, about 0.000044% of public and private K-12 students were killed at school per year between 1992-93 and 2010-11. That's about one out of every 2,273,000 students per year. By contrast, the odds of being hit by lightning in a given year is one out of 700,000 according to National Geographic. For more information read the "Youth Violence Fact Sheet"
To find out more about how the Secret Service and the FBI are using threat assessments, read the following articles:
"Threat Assessment: An Approach to Prevent Targeted Violence"."Threat Assessment: Defining an Approach for Evaluating Risk of Targeted Violence"Threat Assessment In Schools: A Guide To Managing Threating Situations And To Creating Safe School Climate"
In partnership with mental health, law enforcement, and juvenile justice agencies, the Student Threat Assessment Program, administered by ESD 112, provides Student Threat Assessment services to school districts.
Services Include:Training to key staff in schools regarding the Level I in-building threat screening process of students or situations of concernCoordination of Level II threat assessments in which a trained multidisciplinary team comes to a school site, assesses risk and assists in management and intervention planningPreparation of timely written threat assessment summaries following the Level II assessment process.
Intervention Summary - Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines
Documents ReviewedThe documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.
Study 1Cornell, D., Sheras, P., Gregory, A., & Fan, X. (2009). A retrospective study of school safety conditions in high schools using the Virginia Threat Assessment Guidelines versus alternative approaches. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(2), 119-129.
Study 2Cornell, D. G., Gregory, A., & Fan, X. (2011). Reductions in long-term suspensions following adoption of the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines. NASSP Bulletin, 95(3), 175-194.
Study 3Cornell, D. G., Allen, K., & Fan, X. (2012). A randomized controlled study of the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines in kindergarten through grade 12. School Psychology Review, 41(1), 100-115. (NOTE: At the time of the NREPP review, the manuscript of this article had been submitted for publication but not yet accepted.)
Supplementary MaterialsAllen, K., Cornell, D., Lorek, E., & Sheras, P. (2008). Response of school personnel to student threat assessment training. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 19(3), 319-332.
Bandyopadhyay, S., Cornell, D. G., & Konold, T. R. (2009). Validity of three school climate scales to assess bullying, aggressive attitudes, and help seeking. School Psychology Review, 38(3), 338-355.
Cornell, D. (2011). School Climate Bullying Survey: Descriptive report. Charlottesville: University of Virginia.
Cornell, D., & Gregory, A. (2008). Virginia High School Safety Study: Descriptive report of survey results from ninth grade students and teachers. Charlottesville: University of Virginia.
Cornell, D. G., Sheras, P. L., Kaplan, S., McConville, D., Douglass, J., Elkon, A., et al. (2004). Guidelines for student threat assessment: Field-test findings. School Psychology Review, 33(4), 527-546.
Gottfredson, G. D., Gottfredson, D. C., Payne, A. A., & Gottfredson, N. C. (2005). School climate predictors of school disorder: Results from a national study of delinquency prevention in schools. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42, 412-444.
Threat Assessment and Response Protocol (adapted from the Guidelines for Responding to Student Threats of Violence, by Cornell and Sheras, 2006)
OutcomesOutcome 1: Long-term school suspensions and expulsionsDescription of MeasuresLong-term school suspensions and expulsions were measured using the following:Data retrieved from the public archival database of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). The VDOE database captures State-mandated electronic reports that include 113 categories of disciplinary infractions. These reports, which are filed yearly by all public school principals, also indicate whether the infraction resulted in a student's long-term suspension or expulsion.Information retrieved from principal-completed school records of student threat incidents. The records indicate whether or not students identified as having made a threat of violence received a long-term suspension or expulsion. The record of each student threat incident also includes a description of the incident and the steps taken by the school in response to the threat.Key FindingsA retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2006-07 school year with 9th-grade students in 95 public high schools that used V-STAG, 131 public high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program, and 54 public high schools that had no threat assessment program. The average number of long-term school suspensions (i.e., denial of school attendance for more than 5 days) and expulsions (i.e., denial of school attendance for at least 1 year) per school was lower for all students in high schools that used V-STAG than it was in high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program (10.50 vs. 15.71; p = .05) and in high schools that had no threat assessment program (10.50 vs. 15.28; p = .05), after controlling for total student enrollment, proportion of minority students, proportion of students eligible for reduced-price meals, annual number of neighborhood violent crimes, number of school resource officers employed at the school, and student perceptions of school security. Small effect sizes were associated with the difference between high schools that used V-STAG and high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program (Cohen's d = 0.30) and the difference between high schools that used V-STAG and high schools that had no threat assessment program (Cohen's d = 0.30).A 3-year study was conducted with 23 public high schools that used V-STAG and 26 public high schools that had no threat assessment program. Data were retrieved from the VDOE archival database for the school years before (2006-07) and after (2008-09) V-STAG training and implementation in the intervention schools. The total number of long-term suspensions (i.e., denial of school attendance for more than 10 days) and expulsions (i.e., denial of school attendance for at least 1 year) by high school for the 2006-07 (baseline) and 2008-09 (follow-up) school years was converted to a rate on the basis of the fall student enrollment for the corresponding school year. Relative to baseline, the long-term school suspension and expulsion rate at follow-up in high schools that used V-STAG was lower than that in high schools that had no threat assessment program (8.2 at baseline and 3.9 at follow-up per 1,000 students in high schools that used V-STAG vs. 10.9 at baseline and 10.9 at follow-up per 1,000 students in high schools that had no threat assessment program; p < >A randomized controlled study was conducted during the 2008-09 school year with students in 40 public schools (26 elementary, 8 middle, and 6 high schools in a school division) that were assigned to the V-STAG condition or the control condition (i.e., a 1-year delay before receiving V-STAG). Of the students who made threats of violence at school during the study, those in schools assigned to the control condition were almost 3 times as likely as students in schools assigned to the V-STAG condition were to receive a long-term suspension (i.e., denial of school attendance for more than 10 days) or expulsion (i.e., denial of school attendance for at least 1 year) (p = .01). This group difference was associated with a medium effect size (odds ratio = 2.86).
Studies Measuring OutcomeStudy 1, Study 2, Study 3Study DesignsExperimental, Quasi-experimentalQuality of Research Rating3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)Outcome 2: Alternative school placementDescription of MeasuresAlternative school placement was measured using information retrieved from principal-completed school records of student threat incidents. The records indicate whether or not students identified as having made a threat of violence were placed in an alternative school setting. The record of each student threat incident also includes a description of the incident and the steps taken by the school in response to the threat.Key FindingsA randomized controlled study was conducted during the 2008-09 school year with students in 40 public schools (26 elementary, 8 middle, and 6 high schools in a school division) that were assigned to the V-STAG condition or the control condition (i.e., a 1-year delay before receiving V-STAG). Of the students who made threats of violence at school during the study, those in schools assigned to the control condition were more than 7 times as likely as students in schools assigned to the V-STAG condition were to receive an alternative school placement (p = .01). This group difference was associated with a large effect size (odds ratio = 7.69).Studies Measuring OutcomeStudy 3Study DesignsExperimentalQuality of Research Rating2.8 (0.0-4.0 scale)Outcome 3: Bullying infractions in schoolDescription of MeasuresBullying infractions in school were measured using the following:The Bullying Climate and Bullying Victimization subscales of the School Climate Bullying Survey, a 45-item self-report instrument used to assess the extent and nature of bullying problems in school. The Bullying Climate subscale consists of 7 items that describe the extent of teasing and bullying that student respondents observe taking place at school. Using a 4-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), students rate their level of agreement with each item (e.g., "Students here often get teased about their clothing or physical appearance," "Bullying is a problem at this school"). Response scores are summed (some items are reversed scored), and total scores range from 7 to 28, with higher scores reflecting more observed bullying and teasing at school. The Bullying Victimization subscale consists of 4 items that describe the extent of bullying that student respondents experienced. Using a 4-point scale ranging from 1 (never) to 4 (several times per week), students rate each item to indicate the frequency of bullying experienced in the past month. Response scores are summed, and total scores range from 4 to 16, with higher scores indicating more frequent bullying victimization in school. For both subscales, bullying was defined as "the use of one's strength or status to injure, threaten, or humiliate another person. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It is not bullying when two students of about the same strength argue or fight."A criminal victimization index composed of 7 items from the student version of the Gottfredson Effective School Battery. The items in the index describe forms of criminal victimization, and using a response of "true" or "false," students rate each item to indicate whether the forms of criminal victimization were personally experienced in school over the past year (e.g., "damage to personal property exceeding $10," "received obscene remarks or gestures from a student," "had a weapon pulled on me"). "True" responses are summed, and total scores range from 0 to 7, with higher scores indicating more forms of criminal victimization experienced in school.Three bullying infraction categories (assaults of other students, threats of other students, and bullying of other students) selected from the VDOE public archival database, which captures State-mandated electronic reports that include 113 categories of disciplinary infractions. These reports are filed yearly by all public school principals.Key FindingsA retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2006-07 school year with 9th-grade students in 95 public high schools that used V-STAG, 131 public high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program, and 54 public high schools that had no threat assessment program. Findings from this study included the following:Compared with 9th graders in high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program, 9th graders in high schools that used V-STAG had less of a bullying school climate (16.48 vs. 16.83; p = .05), less bullying victimization (1.21 vs. 1.40; p = .05), and less criminal victimization (1.27 vs. 1.41; p = .05), after controlling for total student enrollment, proportion of minority students, proportion of students eligible for reduced-price meals, annual number of neighborhood violent crimes, number of school resource officers employed at the school, and student perceptions of school security. These group differences were associated with small effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.35, 0.38, and 0.40, respectively).Compared with 9th graders in high schools that had no threat assessment program, 9th graders in high schools that used V-STAG had less of a bullying school climate (16.48 vs. 16.96; p = .05), after controlling for total student enrollment, proportion of minority students, proportion of students eligible for reduced-price meals, annual number of neighborhood violent crimes, number of school resource officers employed at the school, and student perceptions of school security. This group difference was associated with a small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.45).A 3-year study was conducted with 23 public high schools that used V-STAG and 26 public high schools that had no threat assessment program. Data were retrieved from the VDOE archival database for the school years before (2006-07) and after (2008-09) V-STAG training and implementation in the intervention schools. The total number of bullying infractions by high school for the 2006-07 (baseline) and 2008-09 (follow-up) school years was converted to a rate on the basis of the fall student enrollment for the corresponding school year. Relative to baseline, the bullying infraction rate at follow-up in high schools that used V-STAG was lower than that in high schools that had no threat assessment program (5.3 at baseline and 1.1 at follow-up per 1,000 students for schools that used V-STAG vs. 1.2 at baseline and 2.0 at follow-up per 1,000 students for high schools that had no threat assessment program; p < >Studies Measuring OutcomeStudy 1, Study 2Study DesignsQuasi-experimentalQuality of Research Rating2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)Outcome 4: Supportive school climateDescription of MeasuresSupportive school climate was measured using the following:The Learning Environment subscale of the California Healthy Kids Survey, a self-report survey of youth resiliency, protective factors, and risk behaviors. The Learning Environment subscale consists of 8 items regarding the following question: "How much do you agree that adults in this school'...?" Using a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), students indicate their agreement with each item (e.g., "really care about all students," "want all students to do their best," "believe that every student can be a success"). Response scores are summed, and total scores range from 8 to 40, with higher scores indicating a more supportive school learning environment.The Help Seeking domain subscale of the School Climate Bullying Survey, a 45-item self-report instrument used to assess the extent and nature of bullying problems in school. The Help Seeking domain subscale consists of 8 items that assess a student respondent's willingness to seek help from teachers or school staff for bullying and threats of violence. Using a 4-point scale ranging from 1 (somewhat disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), students indicate their agreement with each item (e.g., "If another student was bullying me, I would tell one of the teachers or staff at school," "There are adults at this school I could turn to if I had a personal problem"). Response scores are summed, and total scores range from 8 to 32, with higher scores indicating greater willingness to seek help from teachers and school staff.Key FindingsA retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2006-07 school year with 9th-grade students in 95 public high schools that used V-STAG, 131 public high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program, and 54 public high schools that had no threat assessment program. Findings from this study included the following:Compared with 9th graders in high schools that used a locally developed threat assessment program, 9th graders in high schools that used V-STAG had a more supportive school climate in terms of a more supportive learning environment (27.75 vs. 27.08 on the Learning Environment subscale; p = .05) and greater student willingness to seek help from teachers and school staff (22.58 vs. 22.14 on the Help Seeking subscale; p = .05), after controlling for total student enrollment, proportion of minority students, proportion of students eligible for reduced-price meals, annual number of neighborhood violent crimes, number of school resource officers employed at the school, and student perceptions of school security. These group differences were associated with small effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.31 and 0.27, respectively).Compared with 9th graders in high schools that had no threat assessment program, 9th graders in high schools that used V-STAG had a more supportive school climate in terms of a more supportive school learning environment (27.75 vs. 26.79 on the Learning Environment subscale; p = .05) and greater student willingness to seek help from teachers and school staff (22.58 vs. 21.87 on the Help Seeking subscale; p = .05), after controlling for total student enrollment, proportion of minority students, proportion of students eligible for reduced-price meals, annual number of neighborhood violent crimes, number of school resource officers employed at the school, and student perceptions of school security. These group differences were associated with small effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.42 and 0.40, respectively).Studies Measuring OutcomeStudy 1Study DesignsQuasi-experimentalQuality of Research Rating2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)Outcome 5: School counseling support and parental involvementDescription of MeasuresSchool counseling support and parental involvement were measured using threat assessment team documentation forms and information retrieved from principal-completed school records of student threat incidents. The records indicate whether or not students identified as having made a threat of violence were provided with some form of mental health counseling service appropriate to their needs and whether or not a school conference was held with a student's parents. The record of each student threat incident also includes a description of the incident and the steps taken by the school in response to the threat.Key FindingsA randomized controlled study was conducted during the 2008-09 school year with students in 40 public schools (26 elementary, 8 middle, and 6 high schools in one school division) that were assigned to the V-STAG condition or the control condition (i.e., a 1-year delay before receiving V-STAG training and implementation). Of the students who made threats of violence at school during the study, those in schools assigned to the V-STAG condition were almost 4 times as likely as students in schools assigned to the control condition were to receive mental health counseling services (p = .01) and approximately 2.5 times as likely as students in schools assigned to the control condition were to have a school-parent conference (p = .01). These group differences were associated with medium (odds ratio = 3.98) and small (odds ratio = 2.57) effect sizes, respectively.Studies Measuring OutcomeStudy 3Study DesignsExperimentalQuality of Research Rating2.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)Study PopulationsThe following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.
StudyAgeGenderRace/EthnicityStudy 113-17 (Adolescent)51% Male49% Female63% White23% Black or African American5% Hispanic or Latino5% Race/ethnicity unspecified3% Asian1% American Indian or Alaska NativeStudy 213-17 (Adolescent)18-25 (Young adult)50% Female50% Male53% White19% Black or African American15% Hispanic or Latino11% Asian2% Race/ethnicity unspecifiedStudy 36-12 (Childhood)13-17 (Adolescent)73% Male27% Female73% Black or African American24% White3% Hispanic or LatinoQuality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:
For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.
OutcomeReliabilityof MeasuresValidityof MeasuresFidelityMissingData/AttritionConfoundingVariablesDataAnalysisOverallRating1: Long-term school suspensions and expulsions18.104.22.168.02.73.53.12: Alternative school placement1.53.02.04.02.53.52.83: Bullying infractions in school22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199: Supportive school climate188.8.131.52.32.83.02.95: School counseling support and parental involvement0.52.52.04.02.53.52.5Study StrengthsSample reliability was provided for the student self-report scales on bullying, help-seeking behavior, and the learning environment, all of which are known in the field and have good psychometric properties established by independent investigators. In considering test-retest reliability, there was an assessment of the stability of the number (or proportion) of long-term school suspensions issued in each school across multiple years, resulting in a report of high intraclass correlation. Criterion validity was high for the long-term school suspension and expulsion data, which came from either the VDOE public archival database or the standard school records completed by school principals. In all three studies, a detailed manual was used to train school threat assessment teams in the use of V-STAG. In one study, a compliance score for intervention fidelity was constructed from measurable items based on the manual. One study used random assignment by school type to control for many potential confounding variables as well as sophisticated hierarchical linear modeling to statistically control for the clustering of students within schools. All three studies included effect sizes for the group differences in outcome findings.
Study WeaknessesThere was a lack of reliability information on principals' and school staffs' use of similar criteria for measuring alternative school placement outcomes. There was concern about interrater reliability across school staff for the school counseling support and parental involvement outcome measure, which relied on threat documentation forms that had been completed by the threat assessment teams of all participating schools; some teams did not complete these forms. Many bullying incidents may not have come to the attention of school staff and, consequently, may not have been reported. Intervention fidelity was not measured in the two quasi-experimental studies. Two studies lacked random assignment, and one of these studies (the retrospective study) did not offer information on potential preimplementation baseline differences between conditions.
Italy's controversial former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been offered a return to power in Russia, according to Italian media.
Vladimir Putin has told Berlusconi he can have Russian citizenship and a position in government heading up its economy ministry, reports La Stampa.
The Italian newspaper quoted Berlusconi saying: ''My future? Becoming minister for my friend Putin.''
He added: ''Think about it: in Italy I am marginalised while Putin tells me he is ready to give me (Russian) citizenship and get me the lead of the Russian economy ministry.''
Regardless of the chances of seeing Berlusconi in power in Russia, the two have been good friends since they shared a table during G8 meetings.
Massimo Gramellini, writing in La Stampa, is one commentator who has cast doubt over how serious Berlusconi's comments were, describing the story as ''five minutes of stupidity'' in the ''heart of a torrid summer''.
And they stayed in touch, last month sharing a relaxing weekend in Siberia. Putin meanwhile is a regular visitor to Berlusconi's villa in Sardinia.
It comes after French actor G(C)rard Depardieu was handed a Russian passport in January 2013. Reports emerged yesterday saying the extrovert actor had been banned from Ukraine because he was considered a threat to national security.
Top Climate Researcher Predicts Disturbing Future for Earth
Environment10:00 23.07.2015(updated 13:00 23.07.2015) Get short URL
Hanse used to outstrip other scientists by bringing the issue of global warming to the forefront in 1988 and saying that the deadly course had already begun.This time, he, together with 16 other contributors, published a new study that forecasts an alarmingly rapid rise of the sea level which may eventually lead to severe storm systems, the Washington Post reported.
According to one of Hansen's co-authors Eric Rignot, accelerating ice loss from several parts of our planet's ice sheets, West Antarctica in particular, could now be "irreversible," and in about merely 10 years the amount of ice loss could double.
The researchers question the stability of sea levels claiming that a rise of two degrees Celsius may be enough to cause a major sea level rise in 50 '-- 500 years from now. Their assumption contradicts with the IPCC (the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) expectations of no more than one meter of sea level rise by 2100.
"If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters," the new study says.
As soon as large volumes of cold, fresh water are poured into the seas, decreasing the salinity of the ocean, at both poles the overturning circulation of the oceans may be blocked for good, the scientists assume, and warm waters will be trapped deeply below that cold fresh surface layer in the Antarctic region. The inability to transport ocean heat to higher latitudes will basically cool most of the globe and leave Earth with ever-warming tropics and cold poles.The results of such a dramatic climate shift would be intense winter storms and more catastrophic type events similar to those of the Eemian period, the paper suggests. But this scenario all depends on how soon Greenland or Antarctica will suffer major ice loss.
Several top climate researches shared their opinion on the paper, and some of them were rather skeptical.
"There are way too many assumptions and extrapolations for anything here to be taken seriously other than to promote further studies," said Kevin Trenberth, an influential climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
Is Seattle next on the 'Ring of Fire' hit list? - Coeur d'Alene Press: Weather Gems
In the past year or so, there have been three horrificially destructive earthquakes in the same circum-Pacific system of fault lines called the horseshoe-shaped 'Ring of Fire,' which also features hundreds of active volcanoes.
First, came the violent 8.8 earthquake in Chile on February 22, 2010. Then, exactly a year later, Christchurch, New Zealand was hit by a 7.2 quake on February 22, 2011. But the most destructive quake of all struck on March 11 in Japan, a massive 9.0 shaker that produced a deadly tsunami that killed upward of 10,000 people and destroyed several nuclear power plants in northeastern Japan, an unprecedented 'triple whammy.' Agriculture may be stopped in its tracks by radiation-contaminated fields in the region.
Only the northeastern corner of this 'Ring of Fire' horseshoe has yet to see a catastrophic earthquake. This section runs from Alaska southward through Washington, Oregon and all of California into extreme northern Mexico.
In recent days, Meteorologist Randy Mann and I have received numerous phone calls and e-mails from people deeply concerned about dire predictions of a potentially disastrous earthquake striking the Seattle area in the near future or, perhaps, to the south in Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Seattle lies within the volatile "Ring of Fire." This region has been formed as the result of huge continental plates moving and sliding into one another. Many are familiar with the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate sliding past one another creating the notorious San Andreas Fault in California.
But, a smaller plate, called the Juan de Fuca, is located off the British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and extreme northern California coastlines. New evidence suggests that it is currently pressing against the North American Plate causing uplift and stress. Eventually, it's expected that the ground will break, perhaps causing another "mega-thrust" earthquake that could rival the recent Japanesedisaster. Also, a deadly tsunami could take thousands of lives in the region.
But, no one knows for certain when that may happen or how strong the quake might be. It could be soon or many, many years down the road. Accurate earthquake predictions are not possible with our current technology.
see GEMS, A3
And, there are many people trying to make a name for themselves by making these predictions that may not come to pass for decades or longer.
According to a recent National Geographic documentary, there have been 19 major earthquakes in the northwestern U.S. over the last 10,000 years. The last one, based on carbon dating, occurred around 1700 A.D., more than 300 years ago. At the same time, Japan was wiped-out by a huge tsunami.
Some scientists believe that Seattle is overdue for a major earthquake. And, the epicenter could be more inland rather than offshore. Many of Seattle's structures were not built to withstand a major earthquake, so damage in that city would likely be catastrophic.
According to some seismologists, "seismic activity is intensifying." They add, "the rate of occurring earthquakes has increased and the emission of energy has grown."
According to Randy Mann, who also teaches Physical Geography at North Idaho College, on average, since 1900, there is one quake with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher each year. (In 2007, there were 4.) There are approximately 17 quakes between a 7.0 and a 7.9 per year. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, "Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of a magnitude of 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant."
There has also been a large increase in the number of earthquakes that we have been able to locate each year because of the higher number of seismographic stations in the world and improved global communications. There are approximately 8,000 seismographic stations now compared to 350 in 1931.
As far as San Francisco or Los Angeles is concerned, the famous San Andreas Fault in California is a division between the large Pacific and North American Plates, which are sliding past one another at about 1-2 inches per year. Eventually, a major earthquake will strike California. In Los Angeles, for example, historical evidence points to a major quake every 200 years. The last major earthquake happened about 300 years ago, much like the Seattle area.
So what does all this recent activity mean? No one knows for sure as earthquakes are extremely difficult to predict. Many scientists thought that a large earthquake was in store for northern Japan due to the recent earthquake activity prior to the 9.0 magnitude quake of March 11.
Several Russian scientists, as well, are stating that large earthquakes are possible along the U.S. and South American West Coasts in the near future. Their information is based upon increasing subtle electromagnetic signals in the Earth's upper atmosphere over these regions. But again, these are only educated guesses. As usual, only time will tell.
North Idaho weather review and long-range outlooks
Nearly 10 inches of precipitation had fallen on Coeur d'Alene since Jan. 1 as of 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick's Day. This included 49 inches of snow during the same time span, which pushed our 2010-11 seasonal total to 111.4 inches, nearly 42 inches above our normal 69.8 inches of the white stuff for an entire season ending June 30. Some mountain locations near the Montana border have gauged more than 300 inches of snow during this prolonged winter that began with record accumulations last November and may not end until early May at elevations above 3,500 feet.
Even in the lowlands, we may still see occasional snow showers well into the month of April, especially during the colder overnight hours. Most of the daytime precipitation will arrive in the form of rain as temperatures rise into the upper 40s and low to mid 50s.
The cool, wet 'La Nina' event in the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean is still holding on to life. Therefore, the Inland Northwest should continue to be damp and chilly at least through early May, possibly later. There will be some brief mild and sunny periods this spring, but they won't last long.
Randy Mann and I are still hopeful, though, for a warmer and drier than normal summer season between mid June and late September. A strong ridge of high pressure is likely to build across the Inland Empire, especially in July and August. There will be many 'Sholeh Days' this summer with afternoon highs near or above 90 degrees and at least three or four days near the century mark.
Gusty winds at times and low humidity levels and amounts of precipitation could spell TROUBLE for the region's forests and grasslands as parched fuels will be in abundant supplies. Stay tuned.
Cliff Harris is a climatologist who writes a weekly column for The Press. His opinions are his own. E-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org
VIDEO-AG Lynch: Dylann Roof Indicted on 33 Counts, Hate Crime Charges - NBC News
A grand jury has indicted Dylann Roof, the confessed gunman who killed nine people during a Bible study at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina on 33 federal counts including hate crime charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Wednesday.
Roof, 21, went on what federal authorities are calling a "racially motivated" shooting spree during the June 17 rampage at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Roof faces state charges including nine counts of murder, is being held without bond and has a tentative trial date of July 11, 2016.
He could face the death penalty in South Carolina, Lynch said adding that "no decision has been made whether to seek that penalty." The state of South Carolina does not have a hate crimes statute.
Lynch called Roof's act of "racially motivated violence" the archetype of "the original type of domestic terrorism."
"We think that this is exactly the type of case that the federal hate crimes statues were, in fact, conceived of to cover," Lynch said.
Mother Emanuel Chuch, Lynch noted, was Roof's destination because of its significance as a historically African-American church.
Related: FBI Says Dylann Roof Should Not Have Been Sold Gun
"On that summer evening, Dylann Roof found his targets, African Americans engaged in worship," Lynch said. "Met with welcome by the ministers of the church and its parishioners, he joined them in their Bible study group. The parishioners had Bibles. Dylann Roof had his .45 caliber Glock pistol and eight magazines loaded with hollow point bullets."
The victims' family members were informed earlier of the indictment.
The FBI recently announced that a background check failure allowed Roof to illegally purchase a .45-caliber Glock handgun on April 11, eight days after he turned 21, at Shooter's Choice in West Columbia, South Carolina. Roof had previously acknowledged drug possession, according to the FBI.
Law enforcement officials had previously said the transaction was entirely legal, despite his pending drug charge. The weapon was purchased at the gun store, which is 25 miles from his home.
FBI director James B. Comey called that assessment "a mistake in a matter of heartbreaking importance."
"We are all sick this happened," Comey said at the time of the announcement. "We wish we could turn back time."
Donald Trump got a little snippy with Anderson Cooper tonight for citing not-so-good polls about him, and told him, ''The people don't trust you.''
Trump is leading in the polls, but complained to Cooper that he cited a less-than-flattering poll ''I didn't even know existed.'' He said, ''You only want to talk about the negative. Why don't you bring up the positive?''
And Trump kept on this for a while, continuing to air his grievances to Cooper, before telling him, ''The people don't trust you, and the people don't trust the media.''
Trump said that the media used to cover him ''accurately,'' but now he's discovered that most of the political media ''is really, really dishonest.''
Watch the video below, via CNN:
[image via screengrab]
Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac
VIDEO-MSNBC Guest Compares Getting an Abortion to Donating Blood; 'There Are Costs Associated With Donation' | MRCTV
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
While appearing on the Tuesday edition of MSNBC's Now, Dr. Anne Davis of the Physicians for Reproductive Health compared undergoing an abortion to donating blood in context of the Planned Parenthood video scandal and that both have ''costs associated with [the] donation'' of giving ''fetal tissue'' over to ''science.''
Davis was guided through the discussion by host Alex Wagner, who insisted that she confirm the ''numbers that are thrown out'' per baby by Planned Parenthood Medical Directors' Council President Dr. Mary Gatter in a second video released Tuesday from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP)
VIDEO-John McCain Would Really Like Folks to Stop Talking About His Record Regarding Vietnam | American Everyman
''I am a war criminal,'' (John McCain) confessed on ''60 Minutes'' in 1997. ''I bombed innocent women and children.'' Common Dreams, here.
John McCain spoke at the neoliberal Hudson Institute recently and he spoke lovingly of the need to use propaganda (state lies) in order to win the current cold war with Russia ''without firing a shot''
He also said that when the fake beheading videos first started to appear, ''we saw a jump of 30 to 40 percent'' of approval of the American people to engage 'ISIS' in an unending (ever shifting geographically) war.
Apparently he didn't understand the connection between those two statements. A little Freudian slip perhaps or just the machinations of a devious mind.
As interesting as that is, it pales in comparison to his opening remarks concerning the recent Trump ruckus. In short, he want's everyone to stop talking about it.
With a history like his, I can understand why.
Early in the talk, McCain boasts about how his efforts years ago helped bring about the normalization of relations with Vietnam which ultimately served US business interests and himself. What he fails to mention is that part of that process of his involved stomping on the Vietnam vets who were pushing congress back then to demand Vietnam release of certain records that would eventually aid in the release of the POWs who were still being held.
Bitterly opposed by the Pentagon, ''The Truth Bill'' got nowhere. It was reintroduced in the next Congress in 1991 '-- and again disappeared. Then, suddenly, out of the Senate, birthed by the Arizona senator, a new piece of legislation emerged. It was called ''The McCain Bill.'' This measure turned ''The Truth Bill '' on its head. It created a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the available documents could emerge. And it became law. So restrictive were its provisions that one clause actually said the Pentagon didn't even have to inform the public when it received intelligence that Americans were alive in captivity. The War Secrets John McCain Hides
There's a reason that McCain (son of a Navy admiral) wants to keep records a secret from the American public. His collaboration with his Vietnamese captors is well documented and though it's not uncommon for soldiers to give into torture and there is nothing shameful about it, his collaboration seems to go far beyond signing a confession.
This is the lesson of McCain's experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain's campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him and in return, he danced to their tune.
Not content with divulging military information, McCain provided his voice in radio broadcasts used by the North Vietnamese to demoralize American soldiers.
Vietnamese radio propagandists made good use out of McCain. On June 4, 1969, a U.S. wire service headlined a story entitled ''PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral.'' (7)
The story reported that McCain collaborated in psywar offensives aimed at American servicemen. ''The broadcast was beamed to American servicemen in South Vietnam as a part of a propaganda series attempting to counter charges by U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird that American prisoners are being mistreated in North Vietnam.'' Douglas Valentine
It's ironic that McCain would use the smoke-screen of defending Vietnam vets in that interview as a way of trying to get people to stop talking about his history regarding the country both while he was a pampered POW and afterward in congress as well. Ironic because a good number of Vietnam vets and former POWs hate the man with a passion for his betrayal of those left behind. Of course, that not uncharacteristic of a guy who handed over specific information to his captors detailing flight patterns of his fellow Navy pilots.
John McCain's entire life and career is based on a series of lies. He wasn't a war hero or a fighter pilot. He graduated last in his class and probably only graduated because his father was an admiral. For a short time, he dropped fire bombs on innocent civilians and in the process of doing that one day, he was shot down, crashed in a lake and was rescued by some of the same civilians he was trying to burn to death. From there his twisted history gets even worse.
During the Hudson Institute interview, McCain starts in with his ''bomb Iran'' bullshit, calls for Obama to openly attack Assad in order to stop ''ISIS'' and arm the Nazis in Ukraine. All standard stuff for the war-mongering chicken-hawk, McCain. Understandably, were the public to become more aware of his real history, his usefulness to the masters of the universe as front-man for the endless war everywhere would be at an end.
That's why he wants everyone to stop talking about his record.
He lovingly makes mention in the talk of when his committee had Henry Kissinger before them to tell them about all the various crises they have stirred up world-wide. That's the Kissinger testimony where a bunch of activists stood when he entered and chanted ''Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes in the name of the people of Vietnam, Chile, Laos, East Timor and Cambodia''
McCain had them thrown out of the committee room and threatened to have the 'low life scum' arrested for daring to insult the great Henry Kissinger.
By all accounts, John McCain is a despicable human being whose entire life and career are nothing more than one example after another of him being a sycophant to power. Whether it's Vietnam or AIPAC or the corrupt power structure here at home, John McCain will get on his knees and service anyone he can just so long as he gets something in return. His life as a whore as made quite probably mentally insane and his interview at the Hudson Institute displays that very clearly. Not only does he lie insesantly about what Putin and Russia are doing in Ukraine, but also now says that it was Russia who shot down Flight MH17. He'll probably be saying it was Putin himself in a few weeks.
Filed under: Uncategorized
VIDEO-Donald Trump: 'I'll change my tone' - CNNPolitics.com
Watch the full interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN at 8 p.m.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, Trump '-- who created one of the most memorable moments of the 2016 campaign so far by sharing rival Lindsey Graham's cell phone number on national television '-- suggested that he would shift his rhetoric as president.
"As president, you would change your tone?" Cooper asked.
"Oh, I'd think so," Trump said. "I'll change my tone."
Trump defended his recent attacks on his fellow candidates, saying he has been hitting back because he was first provoked.
"I didn't start it with Lindsey Graham. I couldn't care less about Lindsey Graham. He's registered at I think zero in the polls," Trump said. "Lindsey Graham called me a jackass. So am I supposed to say, 'Oh, it's OK'? I'm called a jackass. You have to fight back."
RELATED: Lindsey Graham: Donald Trump is a 'jackass'
The former host of "The Apprentice" was referring to comments Graham made in an interview with CNN's Kate Bolduan earlier this week. The South Carolina Republican has harshly criticized Trump for making disparaging comments about Sen. John McCain's service in the Vietnam War.
Trump remarked last weekend that McCain, a decorated veteran who spent more than five years in captivity and denied early release, was a "war hero because he was captured."
"I like people that weren't captured, OK?" Trump said, drawing swift and widespread criticism.
Being called a "jack ass" seems to have clearly struck a nerve with Trump. At a campaign event in South Carolina Tuesday, he called Graham an "idiot," then deployed an unorthodox method of political payback: he read out loud Graham's cell phone number.
"Let's try it," Trump said, twice reciting a 202 area code phone number and goading the audience to "give it a shot."
On Wednesday, Trump told Cooper that he had been "unfairly" targeted by Graham '-- whom Trump said just years ago had solicited him for money and advice.
"I was called names by somebody," Trump said. "Somebody that's hitting me saying what a bad guy I am, who was up in my office asking for money, and asking if I can get him on television."
Trump, who has recently taken the lead among GOP candidates in national polls, also said he wasn't worried about his high unfavorability ratings.
RELATED: GOP to Trump: You crossed the line
"I mean, I turned a lot of them around, and as you know in North Carolina, it was negative and now it's like, tremendously positive," he said. " hen people hear what I said about the vets, and how strong my commitment is to the vets that have been they've been treated so badly and to the border, which is just horrible, I mean every time people listen to me, all of a sudden it becomes very favorable."
'Repenting is terrific'At the same event where Trump ignited a political firestorm by questioning McCain's service in Vietnam, he said something else that raised eyebrows.
Discussing his faith, Trump said he had never asked forgiveness from God.
"When I drink my little wine -- which is about the only wine I drink -- and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness," he said.
In Wednesday's interview, Trump said it wasn't so much that he's opposed to the idea of repentance -- "I think repenting is terrific," he quipped -- but that he doesn't make a lot of mistakes that require asking for forgiveness.
"I try and lead a life where I don't have to ask God for forgiveness," he said. "Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you're not making mistakes? I work hard, I'm an honorable person."
On describing taking communion as eating a "little cracker," he said the comments were all good-natured and that the audience took no offense.
"We were having fun when I said, I drink the wine, I eat the cracker -- but we're talking about communion and you know what, the whole room was laughing," he said.
Political reporters are 'really dishonest'If Trump could have it his way, the 2016 campaign would be covered by the financial press rather than political reporters.
The real estate mogul bristled when Cooper mentioned a newly released Quinnipiac University poll that showed Trump with a high unfavorability rating in the early states.
"You only want to talk about negative. Why don't you bring up the positive polls, Anderson?" Trump said. "I'm leading across the board. And then you hit me with this poll that I didn't even see before.
He said he's largely received fair coverage from the financial press because his business ventures have been so successful. "Numbers are numbers, and my numbers happen to be great," he said.
Poliitcal reporters, however, are a different breed, he said. "I find that 60, 70% of the political media is really, really dishonest."
Sandra Bland controversyTrump weighed in on the controversial arrest of an African-American woman in Texas that has garnered national backlash.
A dashcam video shows a Texas state trooper pulling over a woman named Sandra Bland earlier this month for allegedly failing to use her turn signal. The exchange between the officer and Bland quickly gets heated when Bland declines to put out her cigarette, and is asked to get out of her vehicle.
The officer then pulls out what appears to be a Taser, screaming, "Get out of the car! I will light you up!"
Trump said he believed the officer seemed "overly aggressive."
"He just looked very aggressive. I didn't like his demeanor, I thought it was terrible, to be honest with you," he said. "I am a huge fan of the police. I think the police have to be given back power. But this guy was overly aggressive, terribly aggressive."
Trump went on to add that he has a "great relationship" with African-Americans: "I just have great respect for them and they like me, I like them."
"Only the induced implosion of the carbon economy offers a chance to avoid possible disaster."
This June '-- 2015 '-- was the hottest June since temperature records began, in 1880. Experts are saying that governments should treat climate change as seriously as threats to national security or public health '-- from 11 nations, they made the suggestion in a report earlier this month.
Global land and ocean temperature anomalies 1881-2014The term temperature anomaly means a departure from a reference value or long-term average. A positive anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was warmer than the reference value, while a negative anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was cooler than the reference value. In this graph, anomalies are with respect to the 20th century average.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the first half of this year has broken heat records, and last year was already the hottest yet.
Last month, in Pakistan, morgues in Karachi (population 20 million) and hospitals were overwhelmed; officially, more than 1,150 people died; 44 degrees Celsius coincided with power cuts and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when faithful abstain from eating or drinking by day.
In India, in May, the 47 degree heat killed some 2,500 people, in Andhra Pradeshet and Telangana states.
An international team wrote in the journal Science that ocean levels rose between six and 13 metres when temperatures during pre-historic ice thaws were around or slightly higher than today's.
That study warned of a possible repeat even if governments cut greenhouse gas emissions.
A top researcher, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, has said only the ''induced implosion of the carbon economy'' offers a chance to avoid possible disaster '-- the proverbial snowball's chance in Hell, perhaps.
Schellnhuber, founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), said: ''In the end it's a moral decision.''
Pope Francis did too: ''Our house is going to ruin, and that harms everyone, especially the poorest. Mine is therefore, an appeal for responsibility, based on the task that God gave man in creation: that he keep the garden in which he was placed.''
High-level activists like Schellnhuber and others have emphasised that the costs of the coming economic transition away from fossil fuels should be paid by the world's rich rather than the poorest.
Schellnhuber said: ''The poorest contribute maybe 1% of emissions; it's the richest who need to change their behaviour.''
VIDEO-Dutch police arrest 8 after 'unprecedented' weapons haul | euronews, world news
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted Tuesday that he banned the practice of giving homeland security officials waivers to use personal email on government computers only after a Bloomberg View article exposed that he and 28 other senior officials were using their personal emails at work.
"When I read the story I said, 'You know whoops this is not a good practice so I should discontinue it'," Johnson said at a Politico breakfast hosted by Politico's Mike Allen.
Johnson claims that he was only using his Gmail at work for personal use, and that he used his government email for all homeland security purposes. Personal email use was already prohibited on DHS computers for security reasons, but some senior officials were given waivers and allowed to use their emails.
While he acknowledges that he took a risk by accessing his private email, he doesn't think it was a large one.
"[It's] probably not an appreciable [risk] but one that probably should be eliminated so I'm eliminating it," Johnson said at the breakfast.
But that's not how security experts view it. According to Tripwire senior security researcher Ken Westin, Johnson has a much higher risk of being targeted than an average government worker because of his senior position.
"For an average user accessing Gmail from a work computer is no big deal," Westin told NBC News. "[But] the DHS is a very large target for some of these nation state actors."
He pointed out that there's a large risk right now of "phishing campaigns," where hackers can compromise a personal email account. If that account is used on a government computer, hackers may be able to access information on that computer. The DHS is actually one of the agencies who has warned other federal agencies about this threat.
"Executives are people that are in a position of power and have access to data," he continued. "People that have access to sensitive information '... that's definitely something they should not be doing."
Johnson said that now he'll just read his Gmail on his iPhone.
VIDEO-Report: New York prison escapee broke out of cell nightly - CNN.com
Story highlightsDavid Sweat frequently slipped out of his cell to explore possible escape routes, the Times saysHe reportedly spilled the details to investigators during interviews from his hospital bedSweat has been released from the hospital and is now in solitary confinementAnd during those nightly jaunts, Sweat learned his way through the maze of tunnels and pipes in the bowels of the Clinton Correctional Facility -- eventually devising the escape route that he and fellow inmate Richard Matt used to break out of the maximum security prison, he told investigators.
All the while, guards at the upstate New York prison apparently had no idea what was happening. Sweat ventured out after the 11:30 p.m. head count, when he suspected guards were asleep, the source said. He crawled back into his cell each morning before the 5:30 a.m. check.
This continued for many nights until June 6, when guards made their morning rounds and discovered Sweat and Matt were gone.
How the plot unfoldedMatt, who was imprisoned after killing and dismembering his former boss, was already a veteran escapee. In 1986, he broke out of an Erie County jail where he was serving time for a previous crime.
But Sweat was the mastermind behind this escape, he told authorities from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from two gunshot wounds sustained during his capture.
Matt wasn't there to support or dispute the claim; he was shot and killed by police while on the run.
Sweat said the plot to break out actually started in January, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie has told CNN.
That month, Matt and Sweat were moved into cells next to each other, the Times reported. Sweat used a hacksaw to cut a hole in his cell, then a hole in Matt's cell.
How did Sweat get access to a hacksaw? Joyce Mitchell, a prison tailor who has been charged with aiding the escapees, has admitted to smuggling hacksaw blades by hiding them in frozen hamburger meat, a law enforcement official told CNN last month.
At one point, another inmate heard what sounded like someone using a saw and asked Matt about it, the Times reported. Matt, known in the prison as a skilled artist, told the inmate he was stretching canvases for painting.
Dead ends and obstaclesSweat's nightly ventures into the hidden tunnels of the prison were marred by dead ends and obstacles, the source briefed on the investigation told CNN.
He found a sewer tunnel, which reminded him of the escape route used in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," Sweat reportedly told authorities. But the real-life sewer tunnel led to a dead end.
Then he found a portion of tunnel that led to outside the prison walls, according to Sweat's account. But the tunnel was encased in concrete. So he took a sledgehammer to it.
Where did the sledgehammer come from? Previously, a law enforcement officer told CNN that Sweat said he and Matt found a sledgehammer in an underground passageway. It was probably left behind inadvertently by a construction worker, said the official, who was briefed on Sweat's interviews.
Sweat's efforts to break through the concrete tunnel wall proved futile.
His lucky break came around May 4, the Times reported, when the prison shut down its heating system for the season. A 24-inch steam main, usually too hot to handle, started to cool. That pipe traveled through the concrete wall that Sweat couldn't break through.
Sweat started carving through the large pipe with hacksaw blades, according to his account. After more than four weeks, the duo had entrance and exit holes big enough for both of them to crawl through.
The night before their escape, Sweat and Matt slipped out of their cells and made a practice run all the way to a manhole leading out of the tunnel. The following night, they escaped Clinton for good -- only to discover their getaway driver never showed up, officials said.
From freedom to gunshots to prison againDespite their botched getaway plan, Sweat and Matt managed to elude authorities for about three weeks. They fled through the woods of upstate New York, breaking into a cabin and collecting supplies.
But eventually, Matt became a burden to the younger, more athletic fugitive.
"Sweat felt that Matt was slowing him down," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last month. Sweat also told investigators he was irked that Matt got drunk from alcohol found in a cabin.
He eventually ditched Matt, who didn't make it much farther. He died June 26 after getting shot by police.
Sweat came within 2 miles of the porous Canadian border before an officer found and shot him. He has been released from an Albany hospital and is now in solitary confinement at another prison.
VIDEO-If Trump's Comments on McCain Sound Familiar, You May Have Heard Them Before'...From the Left | Video | TheBlaze.com
As much of the media is focused on Donald Trump's comments about John McCain's military service and his status as a POW during the Vietnam war, there appears to be some amnesia when it comes to similar statements made by people on the left side of the aisle.
When Senator McCain was running for the White House in 2000, comedian/author Al Franken made comments very similar to Trump's. This happened before Franken was selected to the U.S. Senate.
''I have tremendous respect for McCain but I don't buy the war hero thing,'' Franken said at the time. ''Anybody can be captured. I thought the idea was to capture them. As far as I'm concerned he sat out the war.''
Franken's thoughts were part of a post on Salon.com in January of 2000 in a story titled, ''What's at Stake in the 2000 Elections?''
Image source: Salon.com
TheBlaze reached out to Senator Franken's office for comment about the last paragraph. His press secretary, Michael Dale-Stein, responded by saying it was all for fun.
''It was a joke, one that Sen. Franken told Sen. McCain when he was a guest on Sen. Franken's radio show in 2004, during which he also called Sen. McCain a hero with tremendous political courage,'' Dale-Sten told TheBlaze.
Noting that the original statement was from a print story from 2000, we asked Dale-Stein for additional clarification. ''That line in the Salon piece was a joke; a joke that Senator Franken repeated to Senator McCain in 2004 on Air America,'' the press secretary said.
Franken's office provided the following transcript from the 2004 radio interview, as well as a clip of another time the senator used the same language in his book, ''Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.''
Image source: Senator Al Franken
During the 2008 campaign cycle, Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark appeared on CBS's Face the Nation as a surrogate for Barack Obama. Clark did use the word ''hero'' to describe McCain's POW experience, stating, ''I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war.''
But Clark also made a statement about how the Arizona senator ended up a prisoner of war.
''Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,'' Clark told CBS' Bob Schieffer.
Watch the video:
Also from 2008, after the primaries were decided and Barack Obama was facing John McCain in the general election, comic Chris Rock tore into McCain during one of his comedy specials.
Rock mocked McCain's age (he was 72 years old at the time), and then talked about McCain's five and a half years as a POW.
''He a war hero. He a war hero. He a war hero that got captured,'' Rock said. ''There's a lotta guys in jail that got captured. I don't wanna vote for the guy that got captured. I wanna vote for the motherf*****r that got away.''
Watch Chris Rock's performance from 2008. The portion about McCain's war experience begins at the 3:00 mark [CONTENT WARNING for language]:
As recent as 2013, the left-leaning site Daily Kos published a piece by someone identified as ''Inkberries'' titled, ''It's Time to Stop Pretending John McCain is a 'Hero.'''
Inkberries' blog post goes after McCain, saying, ''He's not a joke. He's pathetic and a coward who hides behind something he once was. His 'record' as a Senator proves it.''
The liberal blogger wrapped up her piece denying McCain is a hero. According to her, ''He's anything but. He ceased to be a long time ago.''
__Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
VIDEO-Donald Trump says on TODAY Show John McCain is a war hero '-- but doesn't apologize - TODAY.com
Speaking in Birmingham, David Cameron said Britain has to confront a lack of integration in some areas that leaves young people vulnerable to the supposed "glamour" of Isis propaganda.
He said a new Extremist Bill would target radicals influencing people on all sides, including Islamists and the far-right, to stop them being able to "groom young people and brainwash their minds".
Read more: Rise of Isis is 'nothing to do with Iraq war'Parents to be given powers to cancel children's passportsDavid Cameron launches five-year extremism planHere is the Prime Minister's speech in full:
It's great to be here at this outstanding school, Ninestiles School. Your inspiring teachers and your commitment to British values means you are not just achieving outstanding academic success, but you are building a shared community where children of many faiths and backgrounds learn not just with each other, but from each other too.
And that goes right to the heart of what I want to talk about today.
I said on the steps of Downing Street that this would be a 'one nation' government, bringing our country together.
Today, I want to talk about a vital element of that. How together we defeat extremism and at the same time build a stronger, more cohesive society.
My starting point is this.
Over generations, we have built something extraordinary in Britain '' a successful multi-racial, multi-faith democracy. It's open, diverse, welcoming '' these characteristics are as British as queuing and talking about the weather.
It is here in Britain where different people, from different backgrounds, who follow different religions and different customs don't just rub alongside each other but are relatives and friends; husbands, wives, cousins, neighbours and colleagues.
It is here in Britain where in one or two generations people can come with nothing and rise as high as their talent allows.
It is here in Britain where success is achieved not in spite of our diversity, but because of our diversity.
So as we talk about the threat of extremism and the challenge of integration, we should not do our country down '' we are, without a shadow of doubt, a beacon to the world.
And as we debate these issues, neither should we demonise people of particular backgrounds. Every one of the communities that has come to call our country home has made Britain a better place. And because the focus of my remarks today is on tackling Islamist extremism '' not Islam the religion '' let me say this.
I know what a profound contribution Muslims from all backgrounds and denominations are making in every sphere of our society, proud to be both British and Muslim, without conflict or contradiction.
And I know something else: I know too how much you hate the extremists who are seeking to divide our communities and how you loathe that damage they do.
As Prime Minister, I want to work with you to confront and defeat this poison. Today, I want to set out how. I want to explain what I believe we need to do as a country to defeat this extremism, and help to strengthen our multi-racial, multi-faith democracy. Jihadi John, or Mohammed Emwazi, is one of the 'Five Brits a week' who travel to fight for Isis
Roots of the problem
It begins '' it must begin '' by understanding the threat we face and why we face it. What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine.
And like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. At its furthest end it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm. And it often backs violence to achieve this aim '' mostly violence against fellow Muslims '' who don't subscribe to its sick worldview.
But you don't have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.
Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality.
Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation.
Ideas '' like those of the despicable far right '' which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.
And ideas also based on conspiracy: that Jews exercise malevolent power; or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam. In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached '' that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan; that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn't do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash.
And like so many ideologies that have existed before '' whether fascist or communist '' many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it. We need to understand why it is proving so attractive. CCTV still of 15-year-old Amira Abase, left, Kadiza Sultana,16, center, and Shamima Begum, 15, on their way to join Isis in Syria
Some argue it's because of historic injustices and recent wars, or because of poverty and hardship. This argument, what I call the grievance justification, must be challenged.
So when people say ''it's because of the involvement in the Iraq War that people are attacking the West'', we should remind them: 9/11 '' the biggest loss of life of British citizens in a terrorist attack '' happened before the Iraq War.
When they say that these are wronged Muslims getting revenge on their Western wrongdoers, let's remind them: from Kosovo to Somalia, countries like Britain have stepped in to save Muslim people from massacres '' it's groups like ISIL, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram that are the ones murdering Muslims.
Now others might say: it's because terrorists are driven to their actions by poverty. But that ignores the fact that many of these terrorists have had the full advantages of prosperous families or a Western university education.
Now let me be clear, I am not saying these issues aren't important. But let's not delude ourselves. We could deal with all these issues '' and some people in our country and elsewhere would still be drawn to Islamist extremism.
No '' we must be clear. The root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself.
And I would argue that young people are drawn to it for 4 main reasons.
One '' like any extreme doctrine, it can seem energising, especially to young people. They are watching videos that eulogise ISIL as a pioneering state taking on the world, that makes celebrities of violent murderers. So people today don't just have a cause in Islamist extremism; iin ISIL, they now have its living and breathing expression. Isis fighters celebrating in Fallujah, which the militants took in 2014
Two '' you don't have to believe in barbaric violence to be drawn to the ideology. No-one becomes a terrorist from a standing start. It starts with a process of radicalisation. When you look in detail at the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were first influenced by what some would call non-violent extremists.
It may begin with hearing about the so-called Jewish conspiracy and then develop into hostility to the West and fundamental liberal values, before finally becoming a cultish attachment to death. Put another way, the extremist world view is the gateway, and violence is the ultimate destination.
Three: the adherents of this ideology are overpowering other voices within Muslim debate, especially those trying to challenge it. There are so many strong, positive Muslim voices that are being drowned out.
Ask yourself, how is it possible that when young teenagers leave their London homes to fight for ISIL, the debate all too often focuses on whether the security services are to blame? And how can it be that after the tragic events at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, weeks were spent discussing the limits of free speech and satire, rather than whether terrorists should be executing people full stop?
When we allow the extremists to set the terms of the debate in this way, is it any wonder that people are attracted to this ideology?
Four: there is also the question of identity.
For all our successes as multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country who don't really identify with Britain '' and who feel little or no attachment to other people here. Indeed, there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds. The town of Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, the home of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the four suicide bombers that attacked London on July 7, 2005
So when groups like ISIL seek to rally our young people to their poisonous cause, it can offer them a sense of belonging that they can lack here at home, leaving them more susceptible to radicalisation and even violence against other British people to whom they feel no real allegiance.
So this is what we face '' a radical ideology '' that is not just subversive, but can seem exciting; one that has often sucked people in from non-violence to violence; one that is overpowering moderate voices within the debate and one which can gain traction because of issues of identity and failures of integration.
So we have to answer each 1 of these 4 points. If we do that, the right approach for defeating this extremism will follow.
In the autumn, we will publish our Counter-Extremism Strategy, setting out in detail what we will do to counter this threat. But today I want to set out the principles that we will adopt.
First, any strategy to defeat extremism must confront, head on, the extreme ideology that underpins it. We must take its component parts to pieces - the cultish worldview, the conspiracy theories, and yes, the so-called glamorous parts of it as well.
In doing so, let's not forget our strongest weapon: our own liberal values. We should expose their extremism for what it is '' a belief system that glorifies violence and subjugates its people '' not least Muslim people.
We should contrast their bigotry, aggression and theocracy with our values. We have, in our country, a very clear creed and we need to promote it much more confidently. Wherever we are from, whatever our background, whatever our religion, there are things we share together.
We are all British. We respect democracy and the rule of law. We believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, equal rights regardless of race, sex, sexuality or faith.
We believe in respecting different faiths but also expecting those faiths to support the British way of life. These are British values. And are underpinned by distinct British institutions. Our freedom comes from our Parliamentary democracy. The rule of law exists because of our independent judiciary. This is the home that we are building together.
Whether you are Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian or Sikh, whether you were born here or born abroad, we can all feel part of this country '' and we must now all come together and stand up for our values with confidence and pride.
And as we do so, we should together challenge the ludicrous conspiracy theories of the extremists. The world is not conspiring against Islam; the security services aren't behind terrorist attacks; our new Prevent duty for schools is not about criminalising or spying on Muslim children. This is paranoia in the extreme.
In fact that duty will empower parents and teachers to protect children from all forms of extremism '' whether Islamist or neo-Nazi. Mr Cameron also took aim at the far-right
We should challenge together the conspiracy theories about our Muslim communities too and I know how much pain these can cause.
We must stand up to those who try to suggest that there is some kind of secret Muslim conspiracy to take over our government, or that Islam and Britain are somehow incompatible.
People who say these things are trying to undermine our shared values and make Muslims feel like they don't belong here, and we will not let these conspiracy theorists win.
We must also de-glamourise the extremist cause, especially ISIL. This is a group that throws people off buildings, that burns them alive, and as Channel 4's documentary last week showed, its men rape underage girls, and stone innocent women to death. This isn't a pioneering movement '' it is vicious, brutal, and a fundamentally abhorrent existence.
And here's my message to any young person here in Britain thinking of going out there:
You won't be some valued member of a movement. You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you.
If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. A British man who called himself Abu Musa al-Britani reportedly blew himself up in a suicide bombing operation for Isis
If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you.
That is the sick and brutal reality of ISIL.
So when we bring forward our Counter- Extremism Strategy in the autumn, here are the things we will be looking at:
using people who really understand the true nature of what life is like under ISIL to communicate to young and vulnerable people the brutal reality of this ideology
empowering the UK's Syrian, Iraqi and Kurdish communities, so they can have platforms from which to speak out against the carnage ISIL is conducting in their countries
countering this ideology better on the ground through specific de-radicalisation programmes
I also want to go much further in dealing with this ideology in prison and online. We need to have a total rethink of what we do in our prisons to tackle extremism. And we need our internet companies to go further in helping us identify potential terrorists online.
Many of their commercial models are built around monitoring platforms for personal data, packaging it up and selling it on to third parties. And when it comes to doing what's right for their business, they are happy to engineer technologies to track our likes and dislikes. But when it comes to doing what's right in the fight against terrorism, we too often hear that it's all too difficult.
Well I'm sorry '' I just don't buy that.
They '' the internet companies - have shown with the vital work they are doing in clamping down on child abuse images that they can step up when there is a moral imperative to act. And it's now time for them to do the same to protect their users from the scourge of radicalisation.
And as we do all of this work to counter the Islamist extremist ideology, let's also recognise that we will have to enter some pretty uncomfortable debates '' especially cultural ones. Too often we have lacked the confidence to enforce our values, for fear of causing offence. The failure in the past to confront the horrors of forced marriage I view as a case in point. So is the utter brutality of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
It sickens me to think that there were nearly 4,000 cases of FGM reported in our country last year alone. Four thousand cases; think about that. And 11,000 cases of so called honour-based violence over the last 5 years '' and that's just the reported cases.
We need more co-ordinated efforts to drive this out of our society. More prosecutions. No more turning a blind eye on the false basis of cultural sensitivities. Why does this matter so much?
Well, think what passive tolerance says to young British Muslim girls.
We can't expect them to see the power and liberating force of our values if we don't stand up for them when they come under attack. So I am glad we have gone further than any government in tackling these appalling crimes. And we are keeping up the pressure on cultural practices that can run directly counter to these vital values.
That's why the Home Secretary has already announced a review of sharia courts.
It's why we have said we will toughen the regulations. so schools have to report children who go missing from school rolls mid-year '' some of whom, we fear, may be being forced into marriage.
It's why we legislated for authorities to seize the passports of people they suspect are planning on taking girls abroad for FGM '' new protection orders which came into force last Friday and were used immediately by Bedfordshire police to prevent two girls being taken to Africa.
And it's why today I can also announce we will consult on legislating for lifetime anonymity for victims of forced marriage, so that no-one should ever again feel afraid to come forward and report these horrific crimes.
There are other examples of this passive tolerance of practices running totally contrary to our values. The failure of social services, the police and local authorities, to deal with child sex abuse in places like Rotherham was frankly unforgiveable.
And look what happened in Tower Hamlets, in the heart of our capital city. We had political corruption on an epic scale: with voters intimidated and a court adjudicating on accusations of 'undue spiritual influence' for the first time since the 19th century. As the judge said: those in authority were too afraid to 'confront wrongdoing for fear of allegations of racism'.
Well this has got to stop.
We need everyone '' government, local authorities, police, schools, all of us '' to enforce our values right across the spectrum.
Non-violent and violent
Second, as we counter this ideology, a key part of our strategy must be to tackle both parts of the creed '' the non-violent and violent.
This means confronting groups and organisations that may not advocate violence '' but which do promote other parts of the extremist narrative.
We've got to show that if you say ''yes I condemn terror '' but the Kuffar are inferior'', or ''violence in London isn't justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter'' '' then you too are part of the problem. Unwittingly or not, and in a lot of cases it's not unwittingly, you are providing succour to those who want to commit, or get others to commit to, violence.
For example, I find it remarkable that some groups say ''We don't support ISIL'' as if that alone proves their anti-extremist credentials. And let's be clear Al-Qaeda don't support ISIL. So we can't let the bar sink to that level. Condemning a mass-murdering, child-raping organisation cannot be enough to prove you're challenging the extremists.
We must demand that people also condemn the wild conspiracy theories, the anti-Semitism, and the sectarianism too. Being tough on this is entirely keeping with our values. We should challenge every part of the hateful ideology spread by neo-Nazis '' so why shouldn't we here?
Government has a key role to play in this. It's why we ban hate preachers from our country. It's why we threw out Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada. And it's why, since my Munich speech in 2011, we have redirected public funds from bodies that promote non-violent extremism to those that don't. We also need to do more in education.
We undertook an immediate review when it became apparent that extremists had taken over some of our schools in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal here in Birmingham. But I have to be honest here '' one year on, although we are making progress, it is not quick enough. It has taken too long to take action against the governors and teachers involved in the scandal and to support the schools affected to turn themselves around.
So as we develop our Counter-Extremism Strategy, I want us to deal with these issues properly, and we will also bring forward further measures to guard against the radicalisation of children in some so-called supplementary schools or tuition centres.
And there's something else we will do.
We need to put out of action the key extremist influencers who are careful to operate just inside the law, but who clearly detest British society and everything we stand for. These people aren't just extremists. There are despicable far right groups too. And what links them all is their aim to groom young people and brainwash their minds.
And again let's be clear who benefits most from us being tough on these non-violent extremists '' it's Muslim families living in fear that their children could be radicalised and run off to Syria, and communities worried about some poisonous far right extremists who are planning to attack your mosque.
So as part of our Extremism Bill, we are going to introduce new narrowly targeted powers to enable us to deal with these facilitators and cult leaders, and stop them peddling their hatred. And we will also work to strengthen Ofcom's role to enable us to take action against foreign channels that broadcast hate preachers and extremist content.
But confronting non-violent extremism isn't just about changing laws, it's about all of us, changing our approach. Take, for example, some of our universities. Now, of course universities are bastions of free speech and incubators of new and challenging ideas. But sometimes they fail to see the creeping extremism on their campuses.
When David Irving goes to a university to deny the Holocaust '' university leaders rightly come out and condemn him. They don't deny his right to speak but they do challenge what he says. But when an Islamist extremist goes there to promote their poisonous ideology, too often university leaders look the other way through a mixture of misguided liberalism and cultural sensitivity.
As I said, this is not about clamping down on free speech. It's just about applying our shared values uniformly.
And while I am it, I want to say something to the National Union of Students. When you choose to ally yourselves with an organisation like CAGE, which called Jihadi John a ''beautiful young man'' and told people to ''support the jihad'' in Iraq and Afghanistan, it really does, in my opinion, shame your organisation and your noble history of campaigning for justice.
We also need the support of families and communities too. The local environment, their families, their peers, their communities, are among the key influencers in any young person's life. So if they hear parts of the extremist worldview in their home, or their wider community, it will help legitimise it in their minds.
And government will help where it can. I know how worried some people are that their children might turn to this ideology '' and even seek to travel to Syria or Iraq.
So I can announce today we are going to introduce a new scheme to enable parents to apply directly to get their child's passport cancelled to prevent travel.
Together, in partnership, let us protect our young people.
Now the third plank of our strategy is to embolden different voices within the Muslim community. Just as we do not engage with extremist groups and individuals, we're now going to actively encourage the reforming and moderate Muslim voices. This is a significant shift in government approach '' and an important one.
In the past, governments have been too quick to dismiss the religious aspect of Islamist extremism. That is totally understandable. It cannot be said clearly enough: this extremist ideology is not true Islam. I have said it myself many, many times, and it's absolutely right to do so. And I'll say it again today.
But simply denying any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists doesn't work, because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims. The fact is from Woolwich to Tunisia, from Ottawa to Bali, these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative, one that claims to be based on a particular faith.
Now it is an exercise in futility to deny that. And more than that, it can be dangerous. To deny it has anything to do with Islam means you disempower the critical reforming voices; the voices that are challenging the fusing of religion and politics; the voices that want to challenge the scriptural basis which extremists claim to be acting on; the voices that are crucial in providing an alternative worldview that could stop a teenager's slide along the spectrum of extremism.
These reforming voices, they have a tough enough time as it is: the extremists are the ones who have the money, the leaders, the iconography and the propaganda machines. We need to turn the tables.
We can't stand neutral in this battle of ideas. We have to back those who share our values. So here's my offer.
If you're interested in reform; if you want to challenge the extremists in our midst; if you want to build an alternative narrative or if you just want to help protect your kids '' we are with you and we will back you '' with practical help, with funding, with campaigns, with protection and with political representation.
This should form a key part of our Counter-Extremism Strategy.
And let's remember that it's only the extremists who divide people into good Muslims and bad Muslims, by forcing their warped doctrine onto fellow Muslims and telling them that it is the only way to believe. Our new approach is about isolating the extremists from everyone else, so that all our Muslim communities can be free from the poison of Islamist extremism.
Now for my part, I am going to set up a new community engagement forum so I can hear directly from those out there who are challenging extremism. And I also want to issue a challenge to the broadcasters in our country. You are, of course, free to put whoever you want on the airwaves.
But there are a huge number of Muslims in our country who have a proper claim to represent liberal values in local communities '' people who run credible charities, community organisations, councillors and MPs '' including Labour MPs here in Birmingham '' so do consider giving them the platform they deserve.
I know other voices may make for more explosive television '' but please exercise your judgement, and do recognise the huge power you have in shaping these debates in a positive way.
Isolation and identity
The fourth and final part of our strategy must be to build a more cohesive society, so more people feel a part of it and are therefore less vulnerable to extremism.
And I want to say this directly to all young people growing up in our country.
I understand that it can be hard being young, and that it can be even harder being young and Muslim, or young and Sikh, or young and black in our country. I know that at times you are grappling with huge issues over your identity, neither feeling a part of the British mainstream nor a part of the culture from your parents' background.
And I know that for as long as injustice remains '' be it with racism, discrimination or sickening Islamophobia - you may feel there is no place for you in Britain. But I want you to know: there is a place for you and I will do everything I can to support you.
The speech I was proudest to give in the election campaign was where I outlined my 2020 vision for our black and minority ethnic communities.
20% more jobs; 20% more university places; a 20% increase in apprenticeship take-up and police and armed forces that are much more representative of the people they serve.
And it's not just about representation '' it's about being in positions of influence, leadership and political power. That also means more magistrates, more school governors, more Members of Parliament, more councillors, and yes, Cabinet Ministers too.
When we discussed childcare at Cabinet last week (political content), the item was introduced by a Black British son of a single parent '' Sam Gyimah, who was backed up by the daughter of Gujarati immigrants from East Africa '' Priti Patel '' and the first speaker was the son of Pakistani immigrants '' Sajid Javid '' whose father came to Britain to drive the buses.
So we've made good progress in recent years, including I am pleased to say '' in my own political party. But we need to go further. Because it comes down to this.
We need young people to understand that here in the UK they can shape the future by being an active part of our great democracy.
Achieve this and more people from ethnic minority backgrounds will feel they have a real stake in our society. And at the same time we need to lift the horizons of some of our most isolated and deprived communities. At the moment we have parts of our country where opportunities remain limited; where language remains a real barrier; where too many women from minority communities remain trapped outside the workforce and where educational attainment is low.
So we need specific action here. So I can announce today I have charged Louise Casey to carry out a review of how to boost opportunity and integration in these communities and bring Britain together as one nation. She will look at issues like how we can ensure people learn English; how we boost employment outcomes, especially for women; how state agencies can work with these communities to properly promote integration and opportunity but also learning lessons from past mistakes - when funding was simply handed over to self-appointed 'community leaders' who sometimes used the money in a divisive way.
Louise will provide an interim report early next year. And we will use this report to inform our plans for funding a new wider Cohesive Communities Programme next year, focusing resources on improving integration and extending opportunity in those communities that most need it.
But as well as tackling isolation, there is one other area we must look at if we are to build a truly cohesive society '' and that is segregation.
It cannot be right, for example, that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and faiths. That doesn't foster a sense of shared belonging and understanding '' it can drive people apart. Now let's be clear that these patterns of segregation in schools or housing are not the fault or responsibility of any particular community. This is a complex problem that dates back decades.
But we do need to recognise the scale of the challenge in some communities. Areas of cities and towns like Bradford or Oldham continue to be some of the most segregated parts of our country. And it's no coincidence that these can be some of the places where community relations have historically been most tense, where poisonous far right and Islamist extremists desperately try to stoke tension and foster division.
Now let me be clear. I'm not talking about uprooting people from their homes or schools and forcing integration. But I am talking about taking a fresh look at the sort of shared future we want for our young people. In terms of housing, for example, there are parts of our country where segregation has actually increased or stayed deeply entrenched for decades.
So the government needs to start asking searching questions about social housing, to promote integration, to avoid segregated social housing estates where people living there are from the same single minority ethnic background.
Similarly in education, while overall segregation in schooling is declining, in our most divided communities, the education that our young people receive is actually even more segregated than the neighbourhoods they live in.
Now, bussing children to different areas is not the right approach for this country. Nor should we try to dismantle faith schools.
Many faith schools achieve excellent results and I'm the first to support the great education they provide. I chose one for my own children. Today I visited King David's school, a Jewish school here in Birmingham where the majority of children are from faith backgrounds.
But it is right to look again more broadly at how we can move away from segregated schooling in our most divided communities. We have already said that all new faith academies and free schools must allocate half their places without reference to faith.
But now we'll go further to incentivise schools in our most divided areas to provide a shared future for our children, whether by sharing the same site and facilities; by more integrated teaching across sites; or by supporting the creation of new integrated free schools in the most segregated areas.
At the same time, we will continue to back National Citizen Service, which is bringing together 16 and 17 year olds from every background and every part of our country.
Because when you see how NCS changes the perceptions that young people have of other communities '' I've seen it myself many, many times '' it should give us all the hope and the confidence that our young people can be the key to bringing our country together.
So this is how I believe we can win the struggle of our generation. Countering the extremist ideology by standing up and promoting our shared British values. Taking on extremism in all its forms '' both violent and non-violent.
Empowering those moderate and reforming voices who speak for the vast majority of Muslims that want to reclaim their religion. And addressing the identity crisis that some young people feel by bringing our communities together and extending opportunity to all.
And I hope I have given a sense of how we have all got to contribute to this process. This isn't an issue for just any one community or any one part of our society '' it's for all of us. Of course, Muslim communities have crucial parts to play. You are part of the solution. But we in government have got to deal with failure, like dealing with extremism in schools.
We need the police to step up and not stand by as crimes take place. We need universities to stand up against extremism; broadcasters to give platforms to different voices; and internet service providers to do their bit too. Together, we can do this.
Britain has never been cowed by fear or hatred or terror.
Our Great British resolve faced down Hitler; it defeated Communism; it saw off the IRA's assaults on our way of life. Time and again we have stood up to aggression and tyranny.
We have refused to compromise on our values or to give up our way of life. And we shall do so again.
Together we will defeat the extremists and build a stronger and more cohesive country, for our children, our grandchildren and for every generation to come.