British students of veterinary medicine checked out a horse in 1929. Photo: Getty Images
Feb. 2, 2017 10:14 a.m. ET
In defending his executive order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, President Donald Trump has insisted that it is a necessary step in his plan to enforce “extreme vetting” to keep terrorists out of the U.S.
Sen. Rob Portman, in an interview on CNN last Sunday, noted an irony in the “vetting” order. “I think it was not properly vetted,” the Ohio Republican said. “So you have an extreme vetting proposal that did not get the vetting it should have had.”
How did “vetting” come to be applied to the careful evaluation of both people and proposals? The answer lies in 19th-century horse racing in Great Britain and Ireland.
The verb “vet” originated in the word’s usage as an abbreviation for “veterinarian.” That, in turn, comes from the Latin word “veterinum,” meaning “beast of burden”—perhaps related to “vetus,” meaning “old” (the root of “veteran” and “inveterate”), since it chiefly referred to old cattle.
Horse doctors were called “vets” as early as 1848, when a book called “The Pocket and the Stud: Or, Practical Hints on the Management of the Stable” was published in London. “Again comes the veterinary surgeon,” the author wrote, “and as of course came the cold, so of course comes the vet.’s bill.”
By 1875, “vet” had made its way into horse-racing lingo, as a verb for the veterinary examination of a horse. An article from that year in the Freeman’s Journal of Dublin had this to say about a racehorse: “He was slightly lame after his Rugby performance and returned to Dublin only to be ‘vetted.’ ”
From horses, “vetting” spread to the examination of people, originally as a humorous way to talk about a medical exam. Then the British military picked it up. In a 1904 story by Rudyard Kipling, “The Army and a Dream,” a character says of an Indian battalion, “They’ve been vetted, an’ we’re putting ’em through their paces.”
Five years later, Walter Bradford Woodgate used the word when writing about how Oxford University’s Union Society selected members: “the Union went through the farce of socially ‘vetting’ every candidate.”
Candidates for official posts could be “vetted” as well, and in British politics it became the term for thoroughly checking the background of a candidate. But the word rarely crossed over into American English before 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected and it began cropping up in articles about the new administration. In June 1981, for instance, The Wall Street Journal reported that the beer baron Joseph Coors was “helping oversee the vetting of candidates for presidential appointments.”
In 2008, when Arizona Sen. John McCain was taken to task for not properly vetting his presidential running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, “vetting” became firmly ensconced in U.S. political parlance. That year, Lynne Murphy, an American linguist who teaches at the University of Sussex in England, dubbed “vet” the “British-English-to-American-English Word of the Year” on her blog Separated by a Common Language. Since then, “vetting” has only become, as Mr. Trump might say, more extreme.
UAE say Donald Trump's migration ban is NOT anti-Islamic | Daily Mail Online
The United Arab Emirates claims Donald Trump's migration ban is not anti-Islamic after pointing out that the majority of Muslims are still free to travel to the US.
Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the controversial measure, affecting seven mainly Muslim countries, is not directed at any religion.
Trump's executive order on Friday singled out citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to prevent 'radical Islamic terrorists' from entering the United States.
The Sheikh, whose country like neighbouring Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Washington, said it was 'wrong to say' that the decision by the new US administration was 'directed against a particular religion'.
United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (pictured) said the controversial measure, affecting seven mainly Muslim countries, is not directed at any religion
'The United States has made... a sovereign decision,' he said at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, pointing out that it was 'provisional' and did not apply to 'the large majority' of the world's Muslims.
In his defence of the ban which has stirred widespread protests across the globe, Sheikh Abdullah also said that some of the countries on the blacklist had 'structural challenges' on the security front that they still had to overcome.
Hot on the heels of the travel ban, Trump called Saudi King Salman and UAE strongman Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi's crown prince.
Trump agreed with both on cooperation to fight 'radical Islamic terrorism', the White House said.
He also agreed with the Saudi monarch to 'rigorously' enforce the nuclear agreement with Riyadh's arch-foe Iran, an agreement that Trump had opposed.
The United Arab Emirates claims Donald Trump's migration ban is not anti-Islamic after pointing out that the majority of Muslims are still free to travel to the US
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reportedly lashed out at the ban describing Trump and his administration as newcomers who don't understand politics, saying, 'A man had been living in another world and now has entered the world of politics.'
Rouhani also said that Trump would end up harming not only his own nation but other countries as well and called the American administration dishonest for claiming to be on the side of the Iranian people, but then banning them.
The ban has exempted Muslim-majority nations associated with major attacks in the West.
Out of the 19 hijackers of planes used in the September 11, 2001 attacks, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, also the birthplace of Al-Qaeda founder and attack mastermind Osama bin Laden.
The other four included the Egyptian plot leader, two Emiratis and a Lebanese.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Arab nations are also home to scores of jihadists who have joined Al-Qaeda and its rival ISIS, both of which have been behind deadly attacks in Europe.
But the kingdom, cradle of the austere Sunni doctrine of Wahhabism, has traditionally been a strategic ally of Washington.
[Latin, Parent of the country.] A doctrine that grants the inherent power and authority of the state to protectpersons who are legally unable to act on their own behalf.
The parens patriae doctrine has its roots in English Common Law. In feudal times various obligations andpowers, collectively referred to as the "royal prerogative," were reserved to the king. The king exercised thesefunctions in his role of father of the country.
In the United States, the parens patriae doctrine has had its greatest application in the treatment of children,mentally ill persons, and other individuals who are legally incompetent to manage their affairs. The state is thesupreme guardian of all children within its jurisdiction, and state courts have the inherent power to intervene toprotect the best interests of children whose welfare is jeopardized by controversies between parents. Thisinherent power is generally supplemented by legislative acts that define the scope of child protection in a state.
The state, acting as parens patriae, can make decisions regarding mental health treatment on behalf of onewho is mentally incompetent to make the decision on his or her own behalf, but the extent of the state'sintrusion is limited to reasonable and necessary treatment.
The doctrine of parens patriae has been expanded in the United States to permit the attorney general of astate to commence litigation for the benefit of state residents for federal antitrust violations (15 U.S.C.A. § 15c).This authority is intended to further the public trust, safeguard the general and economic welfare of a state'sresidents, protect residents from illegal practices, and assure that the benefits of federal law are not denied tothe general population.
States may also invoke parens patriae to protect interests such as the health, comfort, and welfare of thepeople, interstate Water Rights, and the general economy of the state. For a state to have standing to sueunder the doctrine, it must be more than a nominal party without a real interest of its own and must articulatean interest apart from the interests of particular private parties.
relating to the border prosecution unit. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Chapter 772, Government Code, is amended by designating Sections 772.001, 772.002, 772.003, 772.004, 772.005, 772.006, 772.0061, 772.007, 772.0071, 772.008, 772.009, 772.010 as reenacted and amended by Chapter 1215 (H.B. 925), Acts of the 79th Legislature, Regular Session, 2005, 772.010 as added by Chapter 429 (S.B. 1136), Acts of the 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999, 772.010 as added by Chapter 1339 (H.B. 564), Acts of the 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999, 772.0101, 772.0102, and 772.011 as Subchapter A and adding a subchapter heading to read as follows: SUBCHAPTER A. PLANNING ENTITIES SECTION 2. Sections 772.0071(a)(1), (2), and (4), Government Code, are amended to read as follows: (1) "Border crime" means any crime involving transnational criminal activity that [occurs in the border region and that] undermines public safety or security, including an offense: (A) during the prosecution of which an affirmative finding may be requested under Section 3g(a)(2), Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure; (B) under Chapter 19, 20, 20A, 21, 22, 46, 47, or 71, Penal Code; (C) under Title 7 or 8, Penal Code; (D) under Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; (E) committed by a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and is not lawfully present in the United States; or (F) that is coordinated with or related to activities or crimes that occur or are committed in the United Mexican States. (2) "Border region" means the portion of this state that is located in a county that: (A) is adjacent to[: [(A)] an international border; [or] (B) is adjacent to a county described by Paragraph (A); or (C) is served by a prosecuting attorney whose jurisdiction includes a county described by Paragraph (A) or (B). (4) "Eligible prosecuting attorney" means an attorney [in a border region] who represents the state in the prosecution of felonies and who: (A) serves a county located in the border region; or (B) serves a county or counties that the criminal justice division determines to be significantly affected by border crime. SECTION 3. Chapter 772, Government Code, is amended by adding Subchapter B to read as follows: SUBCHAPTER B. BORDER PROSECUTION UNIT Sec. 772.051. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: (1) "Border crime" and "border region" have the meanings assigned by Section 772.0071. (2) "Border prosecuting attorney" means a prosecuting attorney in a border region who represents the state in the prosecution of felony border crimes. (3) "Criminal justice division" means the criminal justice division established under Section 772.006. (4) "Prosecuting attorney" means a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or county attorney with felony criminal jurisdiction. (5) "Unit" means the border prosecution unit. Sec. 772.052. GENERAL FUNCTION OF BORDER PROSECUTION UNIT. The governor shall establish the border prosecution unit within the criminal justice division to cooperate with and support members of the unit in prosecuting border crime. Sec. 772.053. MEMBERSHIP. (a) The unit is composed of the following prosecuting attorneys: (1) the district attorney for the 34th Judicial District; (2) the district attorney for the 38th Judicial District; (3) the district attorney for the 49th Judicial District; (4) the district attorney for the 63rd Judicial District; (5) the district attorney for the 79th Judicial District; (6) the district attorney for the 81st Judicial District; (7) the district attorney for the 83rd Judicial District; (8) the district attorney for the 112th Judicial District; (9) the district attorney for the 143rd Judicial District; (10) the district attorney for the 156th Judicial District; (11) the district attorney for the 229th Judicial District; (12) the district attorney for the 293rd Judicial District; (13) the district attorney for the 452nd Judicial District; (14) the criminal district attorney for Hidalgo County; (15) the county attorney with felony criminal jurisdiction for Cameron County; (16) the district attorney for Kleberg and Kenedy Counties; (17) the county attorney with felony criminal jurisdiction for Willacy County; and (18) any other prosecuting attorney who represents the state in the prosecution of felonies for a judicial district that is created by the legislature in the border region or who receives a grant under the prosecution of border crime grant program established under Section 772.0071. (b) A prosecuting attorney described by Subsection (a) shall serve on the unit in addition to the other duties of the prosecuting attorney assigned by law. (c) Each member of the unit shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the criminal justice division to collaborate and cooperate in the prosecution of border crime. Sec. 772.054. OFFICERS. (a) The unit, on a majority vote, shall elect from among its membership a presiding officer and an assistant presiding officer. (b) The presiding officer and the assistant presiding officer serve terms of one year. (c) The assistant presiding officer serves as presiding officer in the presiding officer's absence or if a vacancy occurs in that office until a new presiding officer is elected as provided by Subsection (d). (d) If a vacancy occurs in the office of presiding officer or assistant presiding officer before the end of the vacating officer's term, the unit shall elect a person to serve the remainder of the term. Sec. 772.055. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES. A member of the unit is not entitled to compensation for service on the unit but is entitled to be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of a member of the unit as provided by the General Appropriations Act. Sec. 772.056. DUTIES OF UNIT. (a) The unit shall meet at least once annually to provide the governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the members of the legislature with information regarding: (1) the status of border crime and its effect on prosecutorial resources; (2) the border crimes prosecuted by members of the unit; and (3) the number of border crimes that are committed by a person who is not lawfully present in the United States. (b) The unit shall advise the criminal justice division on: (1) the allocation of grants under the prosecution of border crime grant program established under Section 772.0071; (2) the division of the border region into two or more subregions for training purposes; and (3) any additional prosecutorial needs of the border prosecuting attorneys, including a need for the employment of regional counsel described by Section 772.057 to assist with the prosecution of border crimes. (c) The unit shall facilitate the coordination and collaboration of the border prosecuting attorneys with any regional counsel described by Section 772.057 and with other law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Public Safety, in the investigation and prosecution of border crime. (d) The unit shall develop a nonexclusive list of offenses not otherwise described by Section 772.0071(a)(1) that constitute border crime to provide guidance and enhance uniformity in the investigation and prosecution of border crime. (e) The unit shall serve as a clearinghouse for information related to the investigation and prosecution of border crime and shall develop best practices and guidelines, including best practices for the collection and protection of confidential law enforcement information. (f) The unit shall assist in developing a training program and providing training to members of the unit and law enforcement agencies in the border region on specific issues and techniques relating to the investigation and prosecution of border crime. (g) The unit shall develop accountability and performance measures for members of the unit who receive a grant under the prosecution of border crime grant program established under Section 772.0071. Sec. 772.057. DUTIES OF REGIONAL COUNSEL. (a) An attorney employed by a border prosecuting attorney as regional counsel shall assist the border prosecuting attorneys and other regional counsel, as needed, in: (1) the prosecution of border crime; (2) the screening of cases involving border crime; (3) the presenting of cases involving border crime to a grand jury; and (4) the preparation and trial of cases involving border crime. (b) The regional counsel shall serve as a liaison between the unit and other criminal justice entities, including the Department of Public Safety and federal, state, and local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies located in the border region, by: (1) working closely with those entities, as needed, to coordinate and assist in the investigation and prosecution of border crime; and (2) attending multiagency task force hearings and meetings held by federal, state, and local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies on the investigation and prosecution of border crime. (c) The regional counsel shall provide legal and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies investigating border crime, including by: (1) providing legal advice and recommendations regarding Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues, relevant statutes, and case law; (2) drafting and reviewing affidavits requesting the issuance of search warrants, wiretap orders, pen register and trap and trace orders, mobile tracking device orders, and similar court orders; and (3) drafting requests for court orders authorizing: (A) the interception of oral, wire, and electronic communications; (B) the installation and use of a pen register or trap and trace device; (C) the disclosure of subscriber or customer records and information; and (D) other similar court orders that are required to be filed by a prosecutor. (d) The regional counsel shall coordinate training with the unit for border prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement agencies, including by: (1) assisting in identifying training needs in the county or subregion, if any is created, in which the border prosecuting attorney's office or the agency is located; (2) assisting in the development of training curricula and guidelines for the investigation and prosecution of border crime; and (3) participating in and hosting training presentations and sessions in each subregion, if any is created. (e) The regional counsel shall provide legal and technical assistance to border prosecuting attorneys, including by: (1) performing legal research relating to investigating and prosecuting border crime, if requested; and (2) coordinating with border prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement agencies to identify experts in the investigation and prosecution of complex, long-term cases against organized criminal enterprises. Sec. 772.058. GIFTS AND GRANTS. The criminal justice division may apply for and accept gifts, grants, and donations from any organization described in Section 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for the purposes of funding any activity of the unit under this subchapter. The criminal justice division may apply for and accept grants under federal and state programs. SECTION 4. Section 772.0071(d), Government Code, is repealed. SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 2015. ____________________________________________________________ President of the SenateSpeaker of the House I certify that H.B. No. 12 was passed by the House on April 9, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 143, Nays 0, 2 present, not voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B. No. 12 on May 29, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 141, Nays 3, 2 present, not voting. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House I certify that H.B. No. 12 was passed by the Senate, with amendments, on May 26, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0. ______________________________ Secretary of the Senate APPROVED: __________________ Date __________________ Governor
'Sanctuary cities' bill advances in Texas, despite outcry
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) '-- A Texas Senate panel shrugged off 16 hours of sometimes tearful pleas and defiant opposition to approve a "sanctuary cities" proposal that would withhold grant funding from local jurisdictions that don't hand over immigrants already in custody for possible deportation.
A 7-2 vote around 12:45 a.m. Friday from the chamber's powerful State Affairs Committee sends the bill to the full Senate, where a vote could come as early as next week.
Hundreds of Texans traveled from all over the state to testify on the bill and proceedings were repeatedly disrupted by protesters. Supporters say the measure will impose the rule of law, but civic groups, immigration lawyers, church leaders and Hispanic activists oppose it, fearing it will lead to racial profiling and promote mistrust of law enforcement among minority communities.
The committee voted along party lines and the hotly contested bill should clear the Senate too, since Republicans control 20 of its 31 seats. Similar measures have been backed by top Texas Republicans in previous years but never became law. A bill reaching the Senate floor so early in the state's legislative session '-- which began Jan. 10 and runs through the end of May '-- bodes well for its chances this time.
The Texas Democratic Party accused Republicans of using the late hour to rush legislation that much of the state doesn't want. The committee had scheduled a second meeting to discuss the bill after 8:30 a.m. on Friday, but canceled that after succeeding in voting overnight.
"In the dead of the night, while the very families that will be targeted by this discriminatory legislation were asleep, Republicans voted to launch Trump's deportation force agenda," Manny Garcia, the party's deputy executive director, said in a statement Friday.
Republican state Sen. Charles Perry said local authorities must enforce the law.
"This is not a deportation bill, this is a rule-of-law bill," Perry said. "We have almost a culture of contempt for federal immigration law."
The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has promoted the legislation as a move to crackdown on criminal suspects who are in the country illegally. The issue has become contentious in many legislatures around the country, especially with President Donald Trump promising to wall off the U.S.-Mexico border and impose strict federal immigration policies.
As proposed, Texas' bill applies to local police forces and law enforcement at college campuses, and seeks to strip authorities of state-controlled grant funding if they don't comply '-- though some of its key provisions may change as it clears the Senate and makes its way through Texas' Republican-controlled state House.
Individual sheriffs and police chiefs '-- particularly in heavily Democratic areas '-- have long opposed enforcing federal immigration law, though some statewide law enforcement groups have endorsed the bill. Abbott has already blocked $1.5 million to be withheld from the Travis County sheriff, who has said the jails in the state capital, Austin, will no longer honor most federal immigration detainers. That funding supported projects such as family violence education and a special court for veterans. The governor has warned that more money could be cut.
On Friday, an Austin Democratic lawmaker launched a website to fundraise money to replace the grant dollars.
"If Governor Abbott is willing to sacrifice our veterans, women and children to score political points, then we will show him the power of love," state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez said.
Opponents of the measure say immigrant communities won't cooperate with law enforcement for fear of deportation if anti-sanctuary cities legislation is approved in Texas.
This story has been corrected to show that Manny Garcia is the Texas Democratic Party's deputy executive director, not its executive director.
London a 'sanctuary city' in Trump shadow? | The London Free Press
City politicians unanimously backed a call to make London a so-called sanctuary city, prompted by U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on refugees from seven predominately Muslim countries.
But the proposal '-- now going to city staff for study before final approval '-- drew hesitant support from some council members, who questioned exactly what such a designation would mean for London.
''Anyone who comes to London as a refugee should be welcomed to our city and access all services. That goes without saying,'' Coun. Phil Squire said Monday. ''My concern is, what is a sanctuary city?
''If the definition of sanctuary city includes people who've consciously broken the law to enter Canada and present a danger to Canada, that's a concern to me.''
Toronto has already adopted the policy, which news reports have described as allowing non-status residents to access city services without fear of being turned over by municipal employees to border officials.
Municipal services are limited, and do not include things like education and health care, for which the province shoulders the cost.
But Coun. Tanya Park pushed forward the motion '-- just one day after the deadly shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six people and left 19 injured '-- in response to the Trump ban on refugees from seven nations.
''With this motion, it's my intention that the City of London officially (become) a sanctuary city where people can access municipal services without fear,'' she said.
''It's so important that we stand against discrimination, exclusion and hate, and that we welcome individuals . . . from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, Lybia and Somalia.''
Trump campaigned on a building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and last week issued an executive order to begin construction.
He's also ordered cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities '-- which in the U.S. means cities that shelter illegal immigrants '-- and more border patrol agents and immigration officers.
Coun. Jesse Helmer estimated there are 5,000 Londoners originally from the seven predominately Muslim countries on Trump's refugee ban, noting the new U.S. president makes their ability to travel to the U.S. unclear.
Park's motion asked city staff to do two things:
Work with a city hall diversity committee and come back to council with ''the appropriate arrangements'' for making London a sanctuary city.Have the mayor and staff talk to the federal government about London's continued commitment to accept refugees from the seven countries under Trump's temporary ban.The debate naturally overlapped with the Sunday night massacre at the Quebec City mosque. It started with a moment of silence to remember the victims.
Said Mayor Matt Brown: ''There is no room for Islamophobia, for racism, for hate of any kind in our community or in our world.''
Coun. Mo Salih, who is Muslim, praised residents here who reached out to offer support to the local Islamic community since the shooting one province over.
''I love you, London,'' he said.
In an unrelated matter Monday, council, meeting as the strategic priorities and policy committee, agreed with a request from London police officers to have a provincial agency probe aspects of their now-resolved 2016 budget battle. Go to lfpress.com for that full story.
Forty percent of registered voters support impeaching President Trump, according to a poll released Thursday from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP).
Nearly half of voters, 48 percent, are opposed to impeaching Trump, and 12 percent remain unsure, according to the poll.
Pollsters also found that a majority of voters, 52 percent, would prefer former President Obama in his old role rather than Trump; 43 percent prefer Trump, and 5 percent are uncertain.
''Usually a newly elected president is at the peak of their popularity and enjoying their honeymoon after taking office,'' PPP President Dean Debnam said in a statement.
''But Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUS threatens North Korea with 'overwhelming' retaliation if it uses nuclear armsJudge dismisses Melania Trump's lawsuit against Daily Mail: reportNordstrom to reduce stock of Ivanka Trump merchandise: reportMORE's making history once again with a sizeable share of voters already wanting to impeach him, and a majority of voters wishing they could have Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump Cabinet picks offer hope for environmental progressPence reaffirms plans to 'repeal and replace' ObamaCareSenate GOP campaign arm backs Gorsuch with ad buyMORE back.''
PPP polling found that 49 percent of voters disapprove of Trump's performance since his inauguration on Jan. 20 and 47 percent approve.
Overall impressions of Trump remain negative, according to the poll, with 52 percent viewing him unfavorably and 45 percent viewing him favorably.
A number of major protests have punctuated the first two weeks of Trump's presidency, including over women's issues and Trump's order last week denying U.S. entry to travelers and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries.
Democrats and civil rights organizations have hammered Trump's move as unconstitutional and biased against Muslims. Trump has dismissed those criticisms, arguing that the order is crucial for protecting the nation from terrorism.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) on Wednesday said Congress should mull impeaching Trump if he orders federal agencies to ignore a judge's ruling halting parts of that order.
''There should be a resolution of censure,'' he told BuzzFeed. "And if he does it again, there should be articles of impeachment.''
The PPP survey of 725 registered voters was conducted via phone and online interviews Jan. 30''31. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump - POLITICO
Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration's agenda.
Whether inside the Environmental Protection Agency, within the Foreign Service, on the edges of the Labor Department or beyond, employees are using new technology as well as more old-fashioned approaches '-- such as private face-to-face meetings '-- to organize letters, talk strategy, or contact media outlets and other groups to express their dissent.
Story Continued Below
The goal is to get their message across while not violating any rules covering workplace communications, which can be monitored by the government and could potentially get them fired.
At the EPA, a small group of career employees '-- numbering less than a dozen so far '-- are using an encrypted messaging app to discuss what to do if Trump's political appointees undermine their agency's mission to protect public health and the environment, flout the law, or delete valuable scientific data that the agency has been collecting for years, sources told POLITICO.
Fearing for their jobs, the employees began communicating incognito using the app Signal shortly after Trump's inauguration. Signal, like WhatsApp and other mobile phone software, encrypts all communications, making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to them.
One EPA employee even got a new, more secure cellphone, and another joked about getting a ''burner phone.''
''I have no idea where this is going to go. I think we're all just taking it one day at a time and respond in a way that seems appropriate and right,'' said one of the EPA employees involved in the clandestine effort, who, like others quoted in this story, was granted anonymity to talk about the sensitive discussions.
The employee added that the goal is to ''create a network across the agency'' of people who will raise red flags if Trump's appointees do anything unlawful.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While many workers across the federal government are still in wait-and-see mode, the first two weeks of the Trump administration '-- with its flurry of executive orders that have in some cases upended lives '-- have sent a sobering message to others who believe they must act now.
In recent days, career employees at the State Department gathered nearly 1,000 signatures for what's known as a ''Dissent Channel'' memo, in which they express their anger over a Trump executive order that bars immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and halts refugee admissions to the country. The number of signatures was extraordinarily high, even though the letter was submitted after White House spokesman Sean Spicer essentially warned the dissenting diplomats they were risking their jobs.
The executive order on immigration and refugees caused widespread panic at airports, spurring protests and outrage around the world.
It also led to what has been the most high-profile act of defiance yet from a Trump administration official: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday ordered the Department of Justice's lawyers not to defend the order in court. Yates was fired that same night.
Current and former employees of the Labor Department, meanwhile, are using their private email accounts to send around a link to a letter asking senators to oppose the nomination of Andrew Puzder for secretary of their agency. The employees may sign on to the letter using Google Docs. The letter will not be submitted to the Senate HELP Committee, and the signatures will not be made public, unless 200 current employees sign on.
A federal worker familiar with the letter's circulation said that it's being signed by hundreds of current and former DOL employees.
According to a draft of the letter obtained by POLITICO, the employees write that they have "serious concerns" about the fast-food magnate's willingness to protect the rights of workers given some of his past comments and actions.
The draft of the letter criticizes Puzder's comments about women, and cites his restaurants' advertisements, some of which feature women in bikinis eating burgers. Puzder has defended the ads.
"One of us once heard a colleague ask, quite seriously, whether it would violate workplace rules of civility and prohibitions against sexual harassment to view Mr. Puzder's ads on a government computer," the letter says. "We think the question is a good one."
The federal employees interviewed for this story stressed that they see themselves as nonpartisan stewards of the government. But several also said they believe they have a duty to speak out if they feel a policy is undermining their mission.
Drafts of the Dissent Channel memo signed by the State Department employees insist, for instance, that instead of protecting U.S. national security through his new executive order on refugees and immigrants, Trump is endangering the United States by bolstering the terrorists' narrative that the West hates Muslims.
''I think we all have to look within ourselves and say 'Where is that line that I will not cross?''' one Foreign Service officer said.
Since Trump was elected in November, many State Department employees have also met quietly for other reasons. Groups of Muslims who work at Foggy Bottom, for instance, have held meetings to discuss fears that they could be subject to witch hunts and see their careers stall under the new administration. A few of Trump's top aides have spoken out against radical Islamism in such harsh terms that some Muslims believe the aides are opposed to the religion of Islam as a whole.
Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, indicated that it's too soon to say whether there's a broad trend of bureaucratic resistance to Trump taking hold.
"Quite a few federal employees seem to be looking for constructive ways to express discontent," he said. "Meanwhile, tension is still growing, not subsiding."
EPA employees are uniquely concerned about their future, having faced barbs from Trump advisers who have toyed with cutting the agency's staff by two-thirds and from other Republicans who want to eliminate the agency altogether. So career staffers are discussing the best way to alert the public to what's happening behind the scenes.
''I'm suddenly spending my days comparing the importance of the oath I took when I started my career service and the code that I have as an American,'' an EPA employee said.
EPA employees have started reaching out to former Obama administration political appointees, who they hope will help them spread the word about any possible improper conduct at the agency.
''It's probably much safer to have those folks act as the conduit and to act as the gathering point rather than somebody in the agency,'' the employee said. ''You're putting your career and your livelihood and your paycheck at risk every time you talk to somebody.''
Organizations such as the Government Accountability Project, which advocates for whistleblowers, have been busy as federal employees fret about what their new bosses may ask them to do.
''We've had a significant number of federal employees who have contacted us in recent weeks,'' said Louis Clark, the nonprofit's CEO. ''It has to be the largest influx of people trying to reach us that we've seen.''
The largest group of callers? ''The people who want to know what to do if they're asked to violate the law,'' Clark said.
Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said EPA employees are in perhaps the ''deepest pit of despair'' among his group's membership.
He said his group has been fielding calls on everything from what triggers a reduction in the federal workforce to how long they can carry health insurance benefits if they are pushed out.
Asked how EPA employees are feeling, Ruch said, ''In the broadest sense, scared and depressed.''
Rachael Bade contributed to this report.
Der Spiegel Magazine Cover Depicts Trump Beheading US Democracy
The illustrator is a Cuban immigrant who put his views on Trump into a piece of art that is now on the cover of one of the world's leading magazines.
The influential German news magazine Der Spiegel has released its Feb. 4 cover featuring a cartoon image of Donald Trump holding decapitated head of Lady Liberty, while the online version even offers an animated version, with the blood dripping from Lady Liberty's severed head.
RELATED: 100 Tweets, 100 Days: Follow Donald Trump's Twitter Tirade
Titled "America First," it shows a knife-wielding Donald Trump holding the Statue of Liberty's head. The cartoonist Edel Rodriguez, says that he drew the image to convey the message that 'Trump was beheading American democracy,' according to The Washington Post.
Rodriguez, who arrived to the United States as a refugee from Cuba in 1980, is the same illustrator who did the Time magazine's famous "Meltdown" and "Total Meltdown" Trump covers last summer and fall that depicted Trump's face melting.
Rodriguez was angered by Trump's executive order temporarily banning entry to the U.S. for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, which was why he chose to portray him as the stereotype of an extremist jihadist fighter.
In December 2015, after Trump called for a ''total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,'' the New York Daily News pictured him beheading the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty is seen as a symbol of the country's immigrant tradition, and a testament to the millions who've come to the U.S. in search of a better life.
RELATED: Black Lives Matter Responds to Trump's Muslim Ban
The ban and Trump's general rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants has sparked huge international criticism from the U.N. chief and several countries, including Germany and many Muslim-majority nations.
Many have criticized the retroactive nature of the travel ban, arguing it affects many who have legally made their way into the United States.
Trump has yet to publicly comment on the cover as of Saturday morning. However, he did take to Twitter to defend his executive order after a federal judge blocked it nationwide.
"When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security - big trouble!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Lubachs viral video krijgt internationaal vervolg (video overzicht)
For the second weekend in a row, there were huge demonstrations of opposition to Trump's Presidency.CreditPhotograph by Chip Somodevilla / Getty''Americans severely misjudged the authoritarians,'' Umair Haque, a consultant and social-media maven, commented on Twitter on Saturday night. ''But the authoritarians, it seems, also severely misjudged Americans.'' Yes, they did, and this weekend's events offered a bit of hope to everybody alarmed by Donald Trump. Saving America from the most unhinged and least qualified figure ever to occupy the Oval Office may well require a long and bitter fight. But a couple of early markers have been put down. The new President is not beyond the law. And many Americans will not stand by quietly as he traduces their country's values, threatens its democracy, and destroys its reputation around the world.
Clearly intent on giving the impression that he is a man of action, Trump spent his first week on the job issuing a stream of Presidential edicts: reining in regulations, approving oil pipelines, undermining the Affordable Care Act, freezing federal hiring, and pledging not to sign any more multilateral treaties. Every day seemed to bring a new display of chauvinism. But it was his executive order suspending entry to the United States for refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries that provoked, for the second weekend in a row, a huge demonstration of opposition to his Presidency and all it stands for.
As news broke of U.S. border agents detaining people'--refugees who had worked for the U.S. military in Iraq; Ivy League academics returning to their jobs; other blameless individuals'--thousands of people headed out to major airports. Most were going to protest. Others, including immigration lawyers and public defenders, were going to offer their professional services. (My colleague Nathan Heller reported on the scene at J.F.K., in New York City.)
As the number of demonstrators mounted, they received some encouraging news from the Federal District Court in Brooklyn. At about nine on Saturday night, in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued an emergency stay on part of the new policy, ordering that the U.S. government couldn't deport people who had arrived with valid visas or refugee status. Minutes later, at the Federal District Court in Virginia, a second judge issued an order preventing the government from deporting any green-card holders who had been detained at Dulles, and ordering border agents to give immigration lawyers access to them.
On Sunday, the demonstrations expanded to other cities and got larger. At New York's Battery Park and in Boston's Copley Square, tens of thousands gathered to protest against what they regarded as a ban on Muslims. By then, some of Trump's lackeys had given weaselly statements in the press suggesting that some sort of modification was in the works. On Sunday evening, the Department of Homeland Security announced that ''absent . . . information indicating a serious threat'' legal residents of the United States'--i.e., holders of green cards'--would be exempted from the bans.
In the scheme of things, it was a small reversal. The indefinite ban on refugees from Syria was still in place, as were the hundred-and-twenty-day ban on refugees from other countries and the ninety-day ban on visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. All three bans are senseless and arbitrary, and the two that apply to Muslim countries are clearly discriminatory (despite Trump's claim, in a statement on Sunday, that ''this is not about religion'--this is about terror and keeping our country safe'').
For all the awfulness, however, it is worth pausing to consider what has happened. Autocrats subvert democracies by undermining the institutions that sustain them: legislatures; representative local governments; the judiciary; the media and other nongovernmental organizations, such as civil-rights groups; and, of course, an active citizenry. With the Senate and House of Representatives under the control of a Republican Party that has made a Faustian pact with Trump, it was never likely that they would rein him in. In this instance, though, the other institutions of civil society fulfilled their roles.
Civil-rights lawyers sued to block parts of the new policy, and judges ruled against the government. Ordinary citizens demonstrated'--to themselves, and to people around the world'--that Trump and his bigotry don't represent the United States. Local and national politicians, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senators Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren, turned out alongside them. (It wasn't just a coastal protest. The mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, issued an apology to people who had been detained at Dallas''Fort Worth International Airport.) On Monday, Barack Obama issued his first statement since leaving office, offering support for the protests and, through a spokesman, saying that ''American values are at stake.'' The media reported what was happening, prompting Trump to go on another online tirade, in which he suggested that someone should buy the Times and ''run it properly'' or close it down.
There were a couple of other encouraging developments. On Sunday, after maintaining a pitiful silence for more than a day, some Republicans distanced themselves from Trump's policy. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said the order ''may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.'' Of course, McCain and Graham have both criticized Trump in the past. But on this occasion they were joined, for once, by other Republican senators, such as Cory Gardner, of Colorado, who said the Trump order went ''too far,'' and Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, who said it came close to being a religious test, which is ''inconsistent with our American character.''
For the first time since Trump's election, prominent business leaders also distanced themselves from him. ''We have many employees from the named countries, and we do business all over the region,'' Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, said in a memo to the firm's employees. ''These employees and customers are critical to our success and they are our friends and our partners. We stand with them.'' Tim Cook, of Apple, which was founded by the son of a Syrian immigrant, told his employees that the firm ''would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.'' Starbucks announced plans to hire ten thousand refugees in seventy-five countries around the world. In an open letter, Howard Schultz, the coffee-shop chain's C.E.O., said, ''We will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new Administration's actions grows with each passing day.''
Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, who emigrated to the United States from Russia at the age of five, attended a protest at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. ''I am here because I am a refugee,'' he told a reporter from Forbes. And on Monday, Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, a number of whose former employees hold senior positions in the Trump Administration, said in an internal memo that was leaked, ''This is not a policy we support.''
It is far too early to say that corporate America is abandoning Trump and refusing to work with his Administration. But business leaders are indicating that there are limits to what they will go along with. U.S. multinational companies are closely integrated into the global economy. In many cases, they rely on overseas countries for markets, labor, and capital. Trump's effort to turn the United States into a fearful, inward-looking, discriminatory, and isolationist country is potentially disastrous for them. As Immelt put it, ''There would be no GE without our smart, dedicated employees from all over the world. . . . We are a very global team, and we will stand together as the global political situation continues to evolve.''
Again, this is only a first step in resisting Trump, and nobody should underestimate the challenge ahead. We are dealing with a dangerous singularity'--a President who openly acknowledges that he is at war with the press, who endorses torture, who accuses senators who dare to criticize his policies of ''looking to start World War III,'' and who is surrounded by courtiers and advisers who think the United States and other Judeo-Christian countries are engaged in a fight to the death with Islam.
There is no telling how the struggle to rein in Trump, and save America's conception of itself, will play out, or how dark things might get. But the true patriots have raised their colors, and they won't be lowered without a mighty struggle.
Prof: ''Can you sue the President based on his tweets? We're about to find out'' | Ars Technica
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has sued the Trump Administration over its recent executive order, which restricts entry into the country for people who hail from seven predominantly Muslim countries.The new ACLU lawsuit (Al-Mowafak et al v. Trump et al), joins an ever-growing list of cases filed in various federal courts around the country that challenge the legality of the executive order. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday on behalf of a number of California students affected by the order.
What makes the ACLU proposed class action lawsuit remarkable is its creative use of President Donald Trump's tweets against him. The lawsuit points to specific instances in which the president described the executive order as a "ban" on Muslims.
Or, as Elizabeth Joh, a University of California, Davis law professor, put it:
Various plaintiffs, including that ACLU, argue that a de facto Muslim ban is unconstitutional. The First Amendment specifically prohibits "establishment of religion," including the government favoring one religion over another.
As Ars has reported before, the executive order, which was signed last week, restricts entry or re-entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. The order affects immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.
On Friday afternoon, a federal judge in Seattle ruled against the White House by imposing a temporary restraining order against the executive order. The restraining order is nationwide and went into effect immediately. A federal judge in Los Angeles granted a similar restraining order earlier in the week. So far, the government has lost all of its attempts to block such restraining orders. However, also on Friday, in yet another related case, a federal judge in Massachusetts declined to renew a temporary restraining order, which is set to expire on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Microsoft formally asked the US Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to grant it and other companies an exemption for their affected employees. Microsoft stated that "there is no evidence that they pose a security or safety threat to the United States."
Amongst the three tweets cited, the ACLU's civil complaint specifically mentions this one that dates back to nearly a year before the presidential election of November 2016:One lawyer, Eunice Lee, the co-legal director at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings, told Ars that Trump's tweets and other public statements by members of his staff are clear.
"They're definitely making statements that the executive order is animated by animus towards Muslims," she said.
According to David Sklansky, a law professor at Stanford University, it's traditionally very difficult for plaintiffs to show specific animus against a particular protected group'--so Trump's Twitter account is fair game.
"It's quite extraordinary to have the president of the United States saying publicly, repeatedly, that what we are going to try to do is to single out a constitutionally-protected group," he told Ars. "It's quite strong evidence, and it would be remarkable if the plaintiffs didn't rely on it."
Similarly, Justin Cox, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, who is representing plaintiffs in a similar ongoing case in New York (Darweesh v. Trump), told Ars that such lawsuits are usually based on public statements made by more local public officials'--like city council members or state legislators.
"Because those are the folks that are usually saying those sorts of things that are on the public record," he said. "The president doesn't typically say racist things out loud where everyone can see it."
Cox referred Ars to a 1985 Supreme Court decision, Hunter v. Underwood, which turned on an interpretation of a section of the 1901 Alabama Constitution. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court found that a portion of the state's constitution disenfranchised African-Americans and was, therefore, unconstitutional under the United States Constitution. But, as Cox noted, not everything is so clear-cut, and cases like this don't come up very often.
"Politicians aren't dumb enough to capture things in explicitly racist terms," he added. "The case law on these types of claims'--you're talking about other types of evidence, deviations from normal procedures. Politicians don't say stupid shit like this out loud, so [Trump's] bucking that trend."
FRAUD NEWS-FTC-Meet the MSNBC Legal Eagle Who Proposes Destroying the Free Press - Hit & Run : Reason.com
MSNBCIt's the early days of a presidency that has openly declared itself to be hostile to the media (and to be fair'--the reverse is also true), and Ari Melber, MSNBC's legal correspondent and a lawyer, has what he thinks to be a brilliant idea'--let's have the federal government get more involved in evaluating the legitimacy of news.
I'm not a big MSNBC viewer, but I'm fairly sure that they haven't suddenly become big supporters Donald Trump's presidency. That's not what Melber is going on about. Rather, what Melber has suggested is that the federal government, particularly the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), can use its authority to protect consumers from fraudulent advertising claims in order to fight the existence of "fake news." He suggests that by classifying disprovable media claims as fraudulent, the government has the authority to intervene. "Fraud" is not considered protected speech. He makes the case in a piece for the New Jersey State Bar Association:
To follow First Amendment precedents, the framework could limit the FTC to only regulating posted articles'--not seeking prior restraints against future articles'--and to only regulate businesses devoted to fraud news.
Legally, a focus on deceptive businesses keeps the FTC in the ballpark of commercial speech, patrolling deceptive practices taken in pursuit of commerce. During the election, the most popular fraud news sites were launched by business people, often abroad, enticed by the market online for political news. They were trying to make money, not express any particular view. '...
Since these sites are clearly operating as businesses, it is logical to regulate their commerce and deceptive practices like any other business.
A focus on deceptive businesses would also keep the government away from meddling with actual journalists or citizens exercising their right to lie while engaged in politics.
Where to begin here. First of all most media outlets'--whether legitimate or "fake"'--are trying to make money, most were launched "by business people," and many are not trying to express any particular view. But some are. "Making money" and "expressing any particular view" are neither opposing choices, nor or they determinants of the validity of the existence of a media outlet. And that a media outlet might be a venture designed to make money doesn't mean it suddenly becomes exempt from the First Amendment protections that the government cannot censor the press.
But that's just semantics (and frustration at people who work in the media who think they aren't already engaged in acts of commerce). The much bigger, so much more important issue here is what it would actually look like were a government agency to decide that it can use a tool to fight consumer fraud to monitor the legitimacy of news.
We already saw what happened when the whole latest outburst about "fake news" happened during the election. People went looking for resources that separated "real" news from "fake" news and we ended up in a place where media outlets with heavily ideological slants were dumped in with media outlets that were deliberately making up stuff.
You don't have to go very far to determine what could happen when a politicized apparatus (and every government agency is partly political) can have control over what can be defined as "fraud" when it comes to information. You don't even have to leave this site! Several attorneys general for states across the country have teamed up to go after ExxonMobil for its participation in the larger debate over climate change. They have decided to attempt to prove that ExxonMobil knew more about what was going on with the burning of fossil fuels and the environment and deliberately attempted to mislead investors and customers. They are attempting to reclassify the debate (free speech) as deliberate consumer fraud (not free speech).
To do so, they've attempted to subpoena decades of communications between ExxonMobil and various policy groups in order to fish for information they hope will make that case. One of the policy groups targeted is the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit think tank that publishes Reason.com and Reason magazine. Reason was dragooned into a highly politicized case where government officials deliberately attempted to reclassify public debate as "fraud" in order to target a disliked business. One of the AGs involved, Kamala Harris, is now a United States senator.
Given Trump's general attitude toward the press and his propensity to declare unflattering coverage to be fake or fraudulent, you don't have to be either a lawyer or a journalist to recognize the very, very bad potential consequences of Melber's proposal. Nobody should make the mistake of assuming that the FTC's behavior would be a value-neutral analysis of truth vs. falsehood. Our government has an extremely lengthy history of applying regulatory pressure in ways that favor whoever is in power and the allies of said people.
Since the left these days is quick to point out the ties between Trump and Russia, let's remind folks like Melber that Russia passed a law classifying discussions of gay relationships in the media (and the public) as propaganda and criminalized it, meaning that the government sees the concept of same-sex couples and families as a fraudulent proposal. If you give the government the power to decide what news is "fake," you will create an environment where people will very quickly want to weaponize it for their own ends.
January 30, 2017REGULATING 'FRAUD NEWS'By Ari Melber Melber is the chief legal correspondent at MSNBC. He served on a panel discussion, ''Election Politics and More,'' presented by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education last fall. Barack Obama hates it. So does Donald Trump. The rise of 'fake news' has drawn widespread condemnation, though the meaning of the label itself is now a matter of political dispute. Obama has criticized fake news based on its original definition'--patently false disinformation masquerading as journalism. A few weeks after the November election, he lamented the impact of "active misinformation" that is "packaged" to deceive, so it "looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page" as a legitimate article. A false item claiming the Pope endorsed Trump, for example, was one of the top election 'stories' on Facebook, according to a Buzzfeed analysis. That means millions of Americans wrongly thought they were reading and sharing something that happened (it didn't) from a news source (it wasn't). In his first press conference as president-elect, however, Donald Trump dramatically reappropriated the term. Trump said he would not call on CNN because it reported "fake news." There are virtually no journalism experts who agree with that use of the label. Fake news is an intentional effort to spread false information in the guise of a factual news product. It does not refer to news one merely dislikes, or to false information erroneously published by a legitimate news outlet. (From newspapers to scientific journals, factual institutions do make mistakes. Even in error, their commitment to correction separates them from propagandists.) To use a legal framework, fake news is essentially a scheme to trick the consumer'--a fraud. Perhaps 'fraud news' is the better label. If this is a fraud, can it be regulated as one? Is there a role for the government in regulating and preventing fraud news, while respecting the robust speech protections in the Constitution? A Blurry Debate The government has an obvious interest in regulating fraudulent content. Frauds and disinformation offer virtually no benefit to society. Instead, they present one-sided risks: The perpetrator benefits by deceiving a victim, who loses money, time or something even more valuable. Buying a fraudulent smoke detector, for example, presents risks far graver than the cost of the item. As a matter of policy, there are few serious defenders of fraud. It is a violation of the social contract, an impediment to commerce and, quite obviously, an attack on any pursuit of truth. The Supreme Court has found "falsehoods have little value in and of themselves." Even the creators of fake news admit it is pernicious. Paul Horner, who led an influential "Facebook fake news empire," told the Washington Post he feels "bad" his work helped Donald Trump, and finds the public embrace of fake news "scary." Meanwhile, the traditional legal remedies for conventional journalistic harm'--like individually suing an outlet for libel'--are futile against hundreds of fraud news sites, bloggers and trolls. If the U.S. government spends time pursuing counterfeit purses and identity fraud, surely it has an interest in combating fraud news, which can influence elections and impact public safety. The consensus that fraud news is a problem, however, only provides the first legal step for government action'--a legitimate rational. The second step is to ensure any government remedy is constitutional, which means leaving ample room for speech protected by the First Amendment. It turns out that is legally difficult, because of the very nature of fraud news. A Right to Lie The Supreme Court has upheld laws banning conventional fraud, and upheld laws that provide penalties for words used to carry out fraudulent acts. But things get trickier when politics are involved. The Court affords special protection to speech about politics, including some false speech - the Court has ruled the First Amendment sometimes protects a right to lie. In 2012, the Court held that a politician had a constitutional right to lie about receiving a Medal of Honor (U.S. v. Alvarez). The Court struck down a federal law, the Stolen Valor Act, which provided up to a year in prison as punishment for lying about a Medal of Honor. The U.S. government defended the law as a way to combat false claims in an area where the government has a strong interest'--administering accurate military records and honoring veterans' service. The Court reasoned, however, that even deliberately false claims are an unavoidable part of open discussions in a free society. "Some false statements are inevitable if there is to be an open and vigorous expression of views in public and private conversation," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, noting it's the kind of "expression the First Amendment seeks to guarantee." The opinion concedes the Constitution allows punishment of false statements in many contexts, from fraud to libel to perjury. In every such instance, though, the Court emphasizes that the government is punishing something more than a lie itself. There is: 1) a lie, and 2) the lie directly causes damage (or, as the Court explained, "legally cognizable harm associated with a false statement"). Other cases show the context for that damage is critical. Take one of the more absurd free speech cases ever to reach the Supreme Court, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. Hustler, a pornographic magazine, spoofed a popular liquor ad by showing Jerry Falwell, the conservative minister, discussing his "first time." As Chief Justice William Rehnquist memorably wrote, the ad featured Falwell recounting a "drunken incestuous rendezvous with his mother in an outhouse." At the bottom of the page, a disclaimer stated "ad parody'--not to be taken seriously." A jury rejected Falwell's libel suit, finding the parody did not attempt to present real facts, but awarded him damages for "emotional distress" caused by the ad. The Supreme Court overturned the damages, finding the First Amendment protected "breathing space" for speech like Hustler's parody. To win, the Court explained, Falwell would need to prove the material was essentially published to deceive'--presented as true, with reckless disregard to whether it was true. (The reckless disregard standard is from the landmark libel case New York Times v. Sullivan.) The Court didn't write a blank check for every parody imaginable, but it drew a line protecting even outrageous satire'--which Falwell viewed as false and libelous'--so long as it wasn't offered as a claim of truth. That's an important distinction, given the deceit at the core of fraud news. Remedies Any new constitutional regulation of fraud news must work within the Supreme Court's precedents, which offer political speech a lot of 'room,' and err on the side of allowing even objectionable falsehoods by individual citizens. There are many precedents, however, upholding routine punishments for false speech in specific circumstances, such as fraud and deceitful content in commercial speech. The Court has ruled that some commercial speech, like advertising or communication concerned solely with business, gets less First Amendment protection than political speech. This area of the law is in flux; the general rationale has been that words used on behalf of a business are less important than words used on behalf of actual people to express ideas or participate in democracy. The distinction could prove pivotal for one comprehensive way to regulate fraud news. Here is one way for the federal government to address the issue: Subject the fraud news industry to the same regulatory oversight that other false commercial speech faces'--supervision by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Regulatory enforcement actions don't spark many headlines, but the FTC has actually spent years combating fake news schemes. It tracks, regulates, sues and even shuts down fake news sites peddling frauds, deceptive advertising and other misleading material. In 2013, for example, the FTC announced it reached a legal agreement to shut down an operation that was "deceptively using fake news websites to market acai berry supplements and other weight-loss products." The FTC has also won court battles with companies using fake news to sell deceptive products. In December, the Second Circuit upheld a monetary ruling for the FTC against a fleet of fake news websites pushing misinformation to push weight loss products (Federal Trade Commission v. LeadClick Media). The fake sites "had logos styled to look like news sites, and they included pictures of supposed reporters next to their articles," attorney Shari Claire Lewis explains in the New York Law Journal. Fradulent journalism was crucial to the scheme, because the (supposed) journalists cited their (false) reporting to vouch for the products. Since its founding in 1914, the FTC has used civil enforcement to protect consumers from unfair business practices, including patrolling "deceptive acts or practices" under a 1938 law. The FTC could develop a framework for pursuing fraud news about political propaganda, or work with Congress to define a framework consistent with the First Amendment. The FTC's recent actions against fraud news proprietors typically targeted a two-step practice: They posted misinformation about a product, then sold the product. In fraud news, however, the political misinformation is the product. And, it's free. We live in a world where most news consumers never purchase their news directly. They consume it online in exchange for viewing ads, or in exchange for providing their personal information (instead of money). An FTC framework for fraud news would treat these readers as 'consumers,' and target the websites for deceptive acts against them. To follow First Amendment precedents, the framework could limit the FTC to only regulating posted articles'--not seeking prior restraints against future articles'--and to only regulate businesses devoted to fraud news. Legally, a focus on deceptive businesses keeps the FTC in the ballpark of commercial speech, patrolling deceptive practices taken in pursuit of commerce. During the election, the most popular fraud news sites were launched by business people, often abroad, enticed by the market online for political news. They were trying to make money, not express any particular view. ''I started the site for a easy way to make money,'' a 17-year-old fraud news proprietor in Macedonia told BuzzFeed last year. Some tried posting liberal fraud news stories as well, but found "news about Trump" got more clicks, as the 16-year-old behind BVANews.com explained to BuzzFeed. Since these sites are clearly operating as businesses, it is logical to regulate their commerce and deceptive practices like any other business. A focus on deceptive businesses would also keep the government away from meddling with actual journalists or citizens exercising their right to lie while engaged in politics. There is no 'ministry of information' in American government, and the Constitution forbids government efforts to stifle the free press. Fake news may remain a slur against legitimate news organizations, but an FTC framework patrolling businesses devoted to fraudulent and deceptive practices would not ensnare any real news organizations. (Indeed, there is nothing new about government agencies respecting the role of reporters while enforcing laws or rules; the Justice Department has detailed policies for its interactions with the press during criminal inquiries.) As for citizens engaged in politics, the case law is clear. An individual citizen has a right to lie about many things, absent hurting or libeling another person, and there is a wide berth for political hyperbole. The FTC regulates trade, not speech, and patrolling fraud news would not give it any new authority to tackle statements made by individuals about politics. A quick parallel to the FTC's enforcement actions is instructive. The FTC could legally fine, and even shutter, websites peddling the acai berry treatments, since they used deceptive commercial speech. But it could not take any legal action against a person for simply lying about acai berry treatments, absent some deceptive commercial action. That distinction is why even robust FTC regulation of fraud news would not (and could not) aim to 'end' all fraud news, let alone address any protected false speech in society. Absent the existence of libel, Supreme Court precedents suggest the First Amendment protects a citizen expressing lies or his or her version of fake news. Political operatives have strong case law to defend deceptive assertions as protected speech, especially if they show the lies are part of some wider expression, be it political, satirical or artistic. If those kind of lies are 'effective' in politics, citizens may use them more frequently, regardless of whether the FTC prevents similar falsehoods in commerce. Even that scenario, however, would be an improvement over the current stalemate. It would be a world where the assertions in our society were a product of the people in society, allowing arguments about what people believe and why. Surely that is better than the current situation. We now live in a society where fraudulent businesses live off our democracy as parasites, exploiting the demand for news by serving its opposite'--disinformation that undermines trust and, perhaps, our ability to convene a factual debate on public issues. This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters.
On Thursday afternoon a Texas Judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro by Mohammed Mohammed, the father of "clock boy" Ahmed Mohammed.
Claiming defamation, Mohammed filed the lawsuit in October 2015 after Shapiro made an appearance on The Kelly File questioning Ahmed's story and motives surrounding a clock he brought to school that looked like a bomb. Ahmed was detained by police for the "clock" and was suspended. His family, who has ties to foreign regimes sponsoring terrorism, and CAIR promptly accused the school of Islamophobia and racial profiling.
Today, they were defeated in their quest to silence those who exposed them as activists, terror sympathizers and politically motivated.
"Ben Shapiro has always been a steadfast advocate of the First Amendment and there was never any doubt he was going to stand up for his right to speak freely," Shapiro's attorney Kurt Schlichter of Schlichter & Shonack LLP in Los Angeles tells Townhall. "I'm very grateful that the state of Texas takes the first amendment seriously,I only wish my own state of California would do the same, especially after the fiasco at Berkeley yesterday.''
According to the ruling, Shapiro is entitled to attorneys fees, court costs and other expenses from Mohammed. Payment must made within 14 days.
Editor's note: Kurt Schlichter is a regular columnist for Townhall.com. You can read his columns here.
This post has been updated with additional information.
White House: President Trump is Committed to Combating Christian Genocide By ISIS
Midnight ''Release'' Again '' 178 Page FBI Clinton Email Document Release With Interesting Content'...
Internet researcher Katica has again discovered the FBI quietly, and without explanation, just released another batch of documents from the ''ongoing'' FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's email use and classified information. This is release #6, and interestingly this release is titled ''part 06 of 06'' so there might not be any more. However, this batch is quite a bit more interesting.
The Super-Bowl weekend release is not a document dump; it surfaces as more of a leak than an official release '' this is the same way release #5 surfaced. Katica has an archive notification set-up to alert when the FBI host data site is changed or updated ''SEE HERE'' Like release #5, the #6 release is not visible directly, but is downloadable to review ''SEE HERE'' It's weird how they are doing this; whoever ''they'' are.
''Why aren't the Patriots 50 points ahead you might ask?'''... Well, we have downloaded the data and uploaded it into a visible pdf format embed below. Here's a few quick glance notes some of the more interesting pages.
'... Pages 11 and 12, outline an interview conducted as an outcome of a ''walk in'' to the FBI office by a long-term government official inside the Department of State who provided physical evidence and gave a statement.
'... Page 55 is really interesting because it shows the results of a forensic examination on July 15th 2016 which discovered 1,539 work related emails between Clinton and Huma Abedin that were not turned over to the State Department. The 7/15/16 date is important because this discovery was AFTER FBI Director James Comey gave the press conference stating the FBI did not -at that time- have evidence to support a criminal finding.
'... Page 80 Justin Cooper surfaces again. Some people suspect Cooper was cooperating with the FBI for much longer than it originally appeared. I agree with that suspicion.
'... Page 122 Interview Notes that appear to be related to page 80 (JC).
'... Page 130/131 Interview notes from a [REDACTED] caller (annoyingly redacted).
'... Page 139 Appears to be interview notes related to the discovery of Paul Combetta aka ''Stonetear'' on Reddit. Date of interview November 17th 2016, post election.
'... Pages 150+ there are multiple pages of hand written interview notes by the FBI investigators. Based on the notes, it appears some of these latter FBI interviews were quite lengthy.
HERE is the full release in a 178 page readable and sharable pdf format:
Feel free to use the comments section for your review and notes. Oh, and thanks in advance for people who can read that chicken scratch FBI handwriting in places.
Lidstaten gaan plechtig trouw zweren aan Europese Unie | NOS
De Europese leiders willen binnen zes weken plechtig vastleggen dat ze door willen met de EU. Eind maart zal in Rome daartoe een speciale verklaring worden ondertekend. Dat moet gebeuren tijdens de viering van 60 jaar Verdrag van Rome, het verdrag waarmee in 1957 de Europese Economische Gemeenschap werd opgericht.
Dat hebben de regeringsleiders van de Europese Unie, uitgezonderd de Britse premier May, vanavond afgesproken bij hun topontmoeting op Malta.
Lidstaten gaan plechtig trouw zweren aan Europese UnieDe Europese Unie: eenheid of verdeeldheid? Op Malta praten de regeringsleiders van de EU-landen over de toekomst van de EU. Uitkomst: ze gaan plechtig vastleggen dat ze door willen met de EU.
De verklaring moet vooral worden gezien als een intentieverklaring, bijna een soort hernieuwing van de trouwbeloften, zo omschrijven diplomaten het proces. De verklaring doet nog het meest denken aan de Verklaring van Berlijn van tien jaar geleden. Ook toen zat de EU in een crisis, na het wegstemmen van de Europese grondwet door Nederland en Frankrijk.
Destijds in Berlijn spraken de regeringsleiders af dat de EU verder zou gaan. Bondskanselier Merkel wees er in haar toespraak bij de ondertekening op dat stilstand achteruitgang zou betekenen. Zo werd die gezamenlijke verklaring de start van een nieuwe periode, waaruit in 2009 het Verdrag van Lissabon voortkwam.
Het nieuwe Europa moet wel een realistisch Europa zijn, vindt premier Rutte. "Stop met dromen over een federaal Europa." Hij is er niet helemaal zeker van dat zijn oproep zin heeft. "Soms denk ik dat ik net zo goed tegen de maan kan blaffen." Er blijven, volgens de premier, altijd mensen die blijven geloven in een federaal Europa, waarin landen steeds verder naar elkaar toe groeien.
Op Malta, ver weg van het 'bureaucratische' Brussel, hebben de leiders de weg naar Rome verder uitgestippeld. De discussie ging vooral over de vraag hoe die route loopt. Wat Nederland betreft moeten vooral de gemaakte afspraken worden uitgevoerd. Of het nu gaat om begrotingsafspraken of afspraken om vluchtelingen op te nemen.
Europese regeringsleiders op MaltaAFP
Nederland wil dat de EU niet verder uiteenvalt als de Britten eruit stappen. "Dat is niet in ons belang", vindt premier Rutte. "Ik wil ook zo min mogelijk kopgroepen, maar als het moet dan moet het."
Er bestaan nu al kopgroepen, bijvoorbeeld van de eurolanden en de Schengenlanden. Niet alle lidstaten doen daaraan mee. Omgekeerd wil Nederland ook het recht hebben om niet mee te doen als Den Haag er het nut niet van inziet.
Zo wil het kabinet niet deelnemen aan een Europees Openbaar Ministerie, iets waar een meerderheid in de EU w(C)l voor is. "Wij moeten dan gewoon het recht hebben om te zeggen: leuk idee, maar niet voor ons", verduidelijkt een Nederlandse diplomaat.
Hopeless Eurocrats 'beg EU leaders to agree to DEEPER INTEGRATION & MORE BUREAUCRACY' | World | News | Express.co.uk
Donald Tusk will ask EU nations to commit to deeper integrationMr Tusk will reportedly urge leaders to pledge allegiance to the crumbling Brussels bloc and agree to ''an ambitious vision'' of ''political consolidation''.
The European Council president will cite ''unprecedented external threats'' during a meeting in Malta with leaders from EU nations as a reason for recommitting to the European project.
Donald Tusk is in Malta ahead of the EU summit with member states '' minus BritainAccording to Politico, the document which will be proposed to officials later today, says ''the EU is at a historical turning point'' and is ''facing important internal challenges as exemplified by Brexit''.
Tusk's lackeys, along with Italian and Maltese officials, will use Friday's meeting to draft the proposed ''Rome declaration'' which will outline a future vision for the bloc.
The document urges leaders to commit to ''greater unity in foreign policy and more investments in our defence'' and ''further deepening the Economic and Monetary Union'' '' two key reasons why Britain chose to divorce itself from the EU.
EU leaders will also be told to sign up to an ever-increasing swathe of legislative measure in June following the ''Rome declaration'' a few months earlier.
The report moans that Trump, Brexit, terrorism, increased military expansion by Russia and the migrant crisis pose serious threats to the stability of the EU.
It also details the financial instability in Greece as another hinderance to the volatile political union.
Eurocrats are reportedly hoping for deeper integrationTue, January 17, 2017Twitter
1 of 8
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk tweets his frustration.
It adds that the upcoming meeting in Rome in March should ''offer an ambitious vision on how to preserve unity and achieve political consolidation''.
The EU is set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome '' which laid the basis for ''ever closer union'' between nation states and which critics argue has forced countries towards a federal Europe.
Some EU diplomats are expected to rebel against the top brass of the Brussels bloc, arguing there should not be deeper economic integration between nation states.
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See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.
SJW / BLM / LGBBTQQIAAP
Emma Niles: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Help Block Potential Rollback of LGBT Rights - Truthdig
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. (Screen shot via Us Weekly)
It's no secret that President Trump's family has played a key role in shaping the new administrations' politics, and a new report reveals the extent to which Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, hold sway over the president.
As first reported by Politico, Ivanka Trump and Kushner personally helped squash a potential executive order that would have rolled back LGBT protections created during the Obama administration. Politico reports:
A draft executive order on LGBT rights that outlines how to roll back former President Barack Obama's protections and expand legal exemptions based on religious beliefs has been circulating among journalists and worried progressive groups this week.
But two sources close to Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who have a record of supporting gay rights, said the couple favored putting out a clear statement from the president, promising to uphold the 2014 Obama executive order and stopping the momentum for the turnaround in its tracks.
The White House released a statement Tuesday pledging to uphold the Obama-era protections.
''President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,'' it reads. ''President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.''
This development reveals the clash between Trump's liberal social circles in New York City and the conservative position on social issues. The New York Times writes:
The executive order has exposed what is likely to be a persistent schism in Mr. Trump's paradoxical presidency: He is a cosmopolitan New Yorker who has long operated in an environment where sexual orientation is often an afterthought, but is nonetheless beholden to the social conservatives who backed him overwhelmingly in 2016, despite reports of his crudeness and sexual misdeeds.
Mr. Kushner, a lifelong Democrat, and Ms. Trump, an independent, travel in liberal social circles and have long supported L.G.B.T. rights.
The Times adds that Trump perhaps extended an ''olive branch'' to religious conservatives this week when he proposed to eliminate the Johnson Amendment.
Some praised Ivanka Trump and Kushner's move on social media, but many were wary to commend the couple:
This report could spell future trouble within the Trump administration, particularly as Vice President Mike Pence is known for his evangelical beliefs and socially conservative views.
''There are some in Trump's family that have some views on these things,'' Politico's source says about issues like LGBT rights. ''That's where the decision is ultimately being made.''
'--Posted by Emma Niles.
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President Donald J. Trump Will Continue to Enforce Executive Order Protecting the Rights of the LGBTQ Community in the Workplace | whitehouse.gov
President Donald J. Trump Will Continue to Enforce Executive Order Protecting the Rights of the LGBTQ Community in the Workplace
President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.
2009 Jack the Pelican Presents, NYC, ''Art Neighborhood.''
2009 Jack the Pelican Presents, NYC, ''My Heroes,'' curated by David Gibson.
2009 Stux Gallery, NYC, ''Low Blow.''
2009 Queens Museum of Art, NYC. "Those About To Die Salute You."
2009 ''A New Currency,'' 55 Delancey Street, NYC, curated by Dan Cameron.
2009 Visual Arts Gallery, NYC, ''Cardsharper,'' curated by Lauren Ross.
2008 Weisman Museum, Minneapolis, MN, ''American Political Sideshow.''
2006 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NYC, ''Speed Limit.''
2015 DNA Gallery Summer Artist Residency, Provincetown, MA.
2013 DNA Gallery Summer Artist Residency, Provincetown, MA.
2012 Offshore Project, Residency with Omada Filopappou, Kardamyli, Greece.
2010 Artist Residency, Byrdcliffe, Woodstock, NY.
1999-2001 Ceramic Residency, Greenwich House Pottery, NYC.
Published Articles, Reviews and Interviews
2016 Huffington Post, ''Why Porn is the Perfect Weapon To Fight Hatred, Fear and Trump,'' by Priscilla Frank.
2016 Ms. Magazine, ''Q&A: Mushkin Goldman's Art Exhibition Smile! is Taking on the Catcall,'' by Emily Colucci.
2016 Art F City, ''Is 2016 the new 1994? Feminism in the Art World,'' by Emily Colucci.
2016 Huffington Post, ''These Feminist Artists Are Tired of Being Told to Smile,'' by Priscilla
2016 Newsweek Magazine, ''NYC Art Exhibit Responds to '2016 Presidential ElectionCharade','' by Stav Ziv.
2016 Hyperallergic, ArtRx NYC, ''Trump/Palin Performance Art Rally,'' by Jillian Steinhauer.
2015 The Huffington Post: ''17 Visual Artists You Should Know in 2016,'' by Priscilla Frank andKatherine Brooks.
2015 Art F City, ''The Terrifying Experience of Extra Teats,'' an interview with Irena Jurek.
2015 The Huffington Post, ''14 Fourth-Wave Feminist Artists Kicking A** And Showing ItToo," by Priscilla Frank. 2015 Vice Magazine, '''Hot Girl Art' Turns Heads at Art Basel Miami,'' by Rachel RabbitWhite.
2015 Dazed Digital, ''Instagram is a new gallery space for these U.S. female artists,'' byAshleigh Kane.
2015 The Huffington Post, ''The 10 Most Crazy/Beautiful Art Happenings This Most Wild Of Freize Weekends,'' by Priscilla Frank.
2014 Slutist Magazine, ''Creating Confrontational Characters and the Art of Lobsta Porn,'' byKristen Korvette.
2014 Slutist Magazine, ''August Sluts of the Month: Wolftits and Octopussy.''
2014 Hyperallergic, ''Feminist Protest Disrupts the Whitney Biennial,'' by Jillian Steinhauer.
On Saturday, the Women's March on Washington will kick off what opponents of the incoming administration hope will be a new era of demonstrations against the Republican agenda. But in some states, nonviolent demonstrating may soon carry increased legal risks '-- including punishing fines and significant prison terms '-- for people who participate in protests involving civil disobedience. Over the past few weeks, Republican legislators across the country have quietly introduced a number of proposals to criminalize and discourage peaceful protest.
The proposals, which strengthen or supplement existing laws addressing the blocking or obstructing of traffic, come in response to a string of high-profile highway closures and other actions led by Black Lives Matter activists and opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Republicans reasonably expect an invigorated protest movement during the Trump years.
In North Dakota, for instance, Republicans introduced a bill last week that would allow motorists to run over and kill any protester obstructing a highway as long as a driver does so accidentally. In Minnesota, a bill introduced by Republicans last week seeks to dramatically stiffen fines for freeway protests and would allow prosecutors to seek a full year of jail time for protesters blocking a highway. Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests that are deemed ''economic terrorism.'' Republicans in Michigan introduced and then last month shelved an anti-picketing law that would increase penalties against protestors and would make it easier for businesses to sue individual protestors for their actions. And in Iowa a Republican lawmaker has pledged to introduce legislation to crack down on highway protests.
Protesters demonstrating against the Dakota Access oil pipeline stand on a burned-out truck near Cannon Ball, N.D., which they removed a day earlier from a long-closed bridge on a state highway near their camp, Nov. 21, 2016.
Photo: James MacPherson/AP
The anti-protesting bills have alarmed civil liberties watchdogs.
''This trend of anti-protest legislation dressed up as 'obstruction' bills is deeply troubling,'' said Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, who views such bills as violations of the First Amendment. ''A law that would allow the state to charge a protester $10,000 for stepping in the wrong place, or encourage a driver to get away with manslaughter because the victim was protesting, is about one thing: chilling protest.''
In North Dakota, the author of the bill that would permit the killing of protestors has linked his legislation directly to anti-pipeline activists' successful protests that involved obstructing roadways. Although the bill ostensibly requires drivers to have acted ''negligently'' or accidentally in killing a protestor, the bill's co-sponsor, Republican state Rep. Keith Kempenich, has said that some accidents might occur if motorists ''punched the accelerator rather than the brakes,'' according to the Bismarck Tribune.
''If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue,'' said Kempenich. ''Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road.''
Republican legislators behind the anti-protesting bill in Minnesota have also said that their effort is in response to an increasing number of highway closures by activists. In recent months, Black Lives Matter protests have made national news for shutting down major freeways in Minneapolis, most recently in July when a group of protestors blocked a main downtown thoroughfare to protest the police shooting of Philando Castile. The bill elevates such protesting to a ''gross misdemeanor,'' punishable by both a year in jail and a fine of $3,000.
In addition to the highway-protesting bill, Minnesota lawmakers also proposed a separate piece of legislation that greatly increases penalties for nonviolent cases involving ''obstructing the legal process.'' Under the bill's language, nonviolent obstruction of authorities would carry ''imprisonment of not less than 12 months'' and a fine of up to $10,000.
Jordan S. Kushner, a Minneapolis civil rights attorney who has represented Black Lives Matter protesters, said this latter bill was ''most alarming'' because of its dramatic penalty enhancement and its apparent targeting of nonviolent protests.
''The statute is very heavily abused by police to charge people with crimes in response to minor resistance to police based on good faith disagreements with what they are doing,'' Kushner told The Intercept in an email. ''It is frequently used in response to people who verbally challenge or try to observe/record police at protests.''
While other anti-protesting proposals in Washington state and Iowa focus on protesters blocking transit routes, a bill that was floated in Michigan appeared to target labor unions. The legislation, which was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives before being set aside by the state Senate last month, would have enabled the state to fine individual picketers $1,000 per day of picketing and would place a $10,000 daily penalty on a union presiding over such a protest. A companion bill would have made it easier for employers to replace striking workers.
Although it's unclear whether Michigan Republicans will reintroduce the legislation, Democrats are not optimistic. ''I think they absolutely will revive it,'' Democratic state Rep. Leslie Love told The Intercept.
In Washington, a state where Democrats control both houses of the state legislature, there is little chance that the plan to label protestors as ''economic terrorists'' will advance. Prospects are better for the anti-protesting bills in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota, all of which have Republican-dominated legislatures.
In the case of Minnesota, Kushner says the bills in question are seen as a ''serious cause of concern,'' and he characterized the state's new legislation as being purely political.
''I think that the motivations for the Republican legislators proposing bills to penalize protests are to cater to the general public hostility towards Black Lives Matter in the overwhelmingly white suburban and rural districts they represent,'' said Kushner in an email. ''The goal is to criminalize protesting to a greater degree and thereby discourage public dissent.''
Correction: Jan. 19, 2017
An earlier version of this article referred to Philando Castile as ''unarmed.'' In fact, Castile told the officer who shot him that he was armed and had a license to carry the weapon.
Top photo: Police form a line across the road as demonstrators shut down the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles a day after President-elect Donald Trump's election victory, Nov. 9, 2016.
All in for Equality Advocacy Day | American Civil Liberties Union
Urge state lawmakers: Protect LGBT Texans from discrimination!Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Human Rights Campaign, Texas Freedom Network, and Transgender Education Network of Texas invite you to our All In For Equality Advocacy Day. This is an opportunity for you to ask state leaders to pass inclusive policies that protect all Texans, including our children; and end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Advanced registration is required. Lunch will be provided.
WHITEWAHSING-NABJ Statement on Tamron Hall's Departure From NBC - National Association of Black Journalists
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 (0 Comments)Posted by: Aprill TurnerWASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2017) -- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is saddened by Tamron Hall's departure from NBC. She broke ground as the first black female "Today Show" cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show's third hour of programming.
NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.
Published reports suggest Kelly will be replacing "Today's Takes," the hour of programming led by Hall and Roker. Roker tweeted last week that the show leads the ratings in its time slot and consistently beats its competition. This achievement deserves praise, not punishment, as replacing talent often is associated with low ratings performance. Kelly has a well-documented history of offensive remarks regarding people of color. On The Kelly File, her Fox News show, the host said then-First Lady Michelle Obama's commencement address at Tuskegee University pandered to a "culture of victimization."
While NABJ wishes Hall well on her next move, NABJ requests a meeting with NBC leadership on the top-rated show's dismantling. We look forward to dialogue and resolve regarding black journalists and their continuing roles at NBC both in front and behind the camera.
About the National Association of Black Journalists:
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.
CTA lands $1.1 billion from Obama - Blogs On Politics - Crain's Chicago Business
City Hall has received the parting gift it wanted from the Obama administration: just under $1.1 billion in federal grants to rebuild a key stretch of the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line north.
The city and U.S. Department of Transportation officials are scheduled to sign a contract tomorrow known as a full-funding grant agreement, committing the DOT's Federal Transit Agency to provide $957 million in "core capacity" funds and another $125 million in anti-congestion money for the CTA's Phase One Red/Purple Modernization project.
The money will be matched with city property taxes collected by a special transit tax-increment financing district that the City Council in November unanimously voted to establish, covering property one half mile on either side of the Red Line from North Avenue to the city limits.
More coverage:' Biggest TIF in city history gets council OK' City races to get $1.1 billion for CTA while Obama's still in power' Obama brings CTA a gift of up to $281 million
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a phone interview, called the Red Line "the central nerve" of the CTA system.
The federal money "means 6,000 (construction) jobs, and it means decades of neighborhood improvements," he said. "Forty percent of the people who take the CTA take that line."
WHERE THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT
The money will go for new stations, signals, track and structures in a mile-long stretch from Lawrence Avenue to Bryn Mawr Avenue, as well as for a flyover or bypass separating Red and Brown line tracks just north of Belmont Avenue at a spot known as the Clark Junction.
Officials say the flyover project will speed up traffic, allowing the CTA to add more trains in an area where cars often are filled to capacity during rush periods.
The other work will allow more capacity to be added, too, but mostly it's needed to rebuild track and an embankment that is at least 93 years old, and in some cases 117 years old.
Also in the Lawrence-to-Bryn-Mawr stretch, supporting structures'--some steel trestle, others dirt embankment held up by concrete'--will be replaced or rebuilt.
Also to be completely rebuilt are the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations. The latter was renovated 30 years ago, but the others look pretty much like they did when constructed nearly a century ago, only with 100 years of paint and grime.
Each of the stations also is to receive an elevator, making them wheelchair accessible.
Engineering is scheduled to begin this year, with four or five years of construction to be done by 2023.
Though the grant will be one of the final official actions by the administration of outgoing President Barack Obama'--he's due in town Jan. 10 to give a goodbye speech, ahead of Donald Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration'--officials stressed that the grant process was competitive.
Just a few days earlier, Los Angeles received an even larger, $1.6 billion core capacity agreement to extend one of its train lines west through the Wilshire Avenue corridor to the UCLA campus.
Members of Congress also were notified of the pending deal, and did not object.
Emanuel credited U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and state officials for taking the necessary preliminary steps to make it happen.
Said the senator in a statement:
''With public transit ridership on the rise, we need to ensure our transportation agencies have the funding they need to grow and keep up with demand. . . .The funding announced today builds on $191 million already received from the federal government, and will expand capacity, create jobs, and improve accessibility for local residents along the red and purple CTA lines."
Chicago and Emanuel, who was Obama's first chief of staff, had to scramble for the money.
The federal programs involved require a dollar-for-dollar local match, but the city did not have that sort of money, so it pushed passage of state legislation authorizing the transit TIF. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure into law just in time for the City Council to establish the TIF on Nov. 30, the last day to apply for the grant this funding cycle.
The Red Line north is considered the core of the CTA's system and, along with the Brown Line, has been its fastest-growing. The city earlier in Emanuel's tenure rebuilt the Red Line south'--a much cheaper job, since much of it runs in the median strip of the Dan Ryan Expressway'--and is seeking funds to extend the line south of 95th Street to the city limits.
The CTA also is beginning to search for funds to remake the remaining section of the Red Line, from Bryn Mawr to Howard Street. That is expected to cost additional billions, but the CTA is not giving a specific figure.
'Can she eat more kale?' Hordes of liberals want reassurance RBG's health is good - SFGate
Monica Hesse, The Washington Post|on February 2, 2017
On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's long-empty seat. On Wednesday morning, liberals woke up, did the math and realized it was time to be concerned about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's fiber intake. Also bone density. Also exposure to airborne viruses (Madame Justice, what is your flu shot status?), and salmonella, and slippery ice, and also: Has anyone heard how scientists are coming along with a Zika vaccine?
"I'm very interested in this." says Jeanette Bavwidinski, a community organizer in Pennsylvania. "I'm interested in what her daily regimen is. Like, what are you all feeding RBG? Is she getting enough fresh air? Is she walking? Is she staying low-stress? What is she reading? Is she reading low-stress things?"
"Can she eat more kale?" asks Kim Landsbergen, a forest ecologist in Ohio. "Eat more kale, that's all I can say. We love you. Eat more kale.
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press
In this 2015 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.
In this 2015 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated PressImage3of18
President Donald Trump's busy first week in the White House came with many executive orders. Click though this slideshow to see what they all were.
President Donald Trump's busy first week in the White House came with many executive orders. Click though this slideshow to see what they all were.
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, APImage4of18
Softening of the Affordable Care ActTrump's first executive order as president called for the delay of the implementation of "any provision or requirement of the act" that places a "fiscal burden" on states and individuals. President Trump and congressional Republicans have made the repeal of the Affordable Care Act a top priority in their agenda. less
Softening of the Affordable Care ActTrump's first executive order as president called for the delay of the implementation of "any provision or requirement of the act" that places a "fiscal burden" on states ... more
Photo: Evan Vucci, APImage5of18
New regulation freezePresident Trump signed a presidential memorandum that implements a "freeze" on regulations until they are approved by the president or one of the new heads of his governmental agencies.
New regulation freezePresident Trump signed a presidential memorandum that implements a "freeze" on regulations until they are approved by the president or one of the new heads of his governmental agencies.
Photo: Evan Vucci, APImage6of18
No federal funding for organizations that provide abortion servicesPresident Trump revoked a presidential memorandum by Barack Obama that ended a ban on funding to organizations that provide abortion services overseas. Ronald Reagan first implemented this ban in 1984, and since then Republican and Democratic presidents have taken turns de-implementing and re-implementing it.lessNo federal funding for organizations that provide abortion services... morePhoto: Pool, Getty ImagesImage7of18
Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)One of President Trump's first executive actions was to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal Trump believes will hurt U.S manufacturing jobs.
lessWithdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)One of President Trump's first executive actions was to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal Trump believes will hurt U.S manufacturing
... morePhoto: PoolImage8of18
A "hiring freeze" for governmental employeesPresident Trump signed a presidential memorandum that temporarily prevents government agencies from filling vacancies or opening new ones. The military is exempt from this memorandum.
lessA "hiring freeze" for governmental employeesPresident Trump signed a presidential memorandum that temporarily prevents government agencies from filling vacancies or opening new ones. The military is exempt from
... morePhoto: NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP/Getty ImagesImage9of18
President Trump signed an executive order to clear the way for the Dakota Access pipeline. Trump moved assertively on Tuesday to further dismantle his predecessor's policies as he signed a document clearing the way to government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as well as for the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. lessPipeline approval
President Trump signed an executive order to clear the way for the Dakota Access pipeline. Trump moved assertively on Tuesday to further dismantle his predecessor's policies as he signed a ... morePhoto: DOUG MILLS, NYTQuicker environmental reviews of "high priority" infrastructure projectsPresident Trump signed an executive order calling for the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to establish faster deadlines for environmental reviews of "high priority" infrastructure projects. Trump is expected to work with Senate Democrats on an infrastructure bill in the near future.
Pictured: In this March 26, 2014 file photo, Infrastructure construction continues along Stratford Ave., which run through the Steel Pointe property in Bridgeport, Conn.
lessQuicker environmental reviews of "high priority" infrastructure projectsPresident Trump signed an executive order calling for the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to establish faster
... morePhoto: Ned GerardImage11of18
Mandate for American-made steel in new pipelinesPresident Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Commerce Secretary to "ensure" that all pipelines built or repaired in the United States are made with American-made steel.
Pictured: In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, foreman Javier Garcia works with his crew as they lower a section of pipe into the ground with cradles, along the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline section two near Winona, Texas. less
Mandate for American-made steel in new pipelinesPresident Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Commerce Secretary to "ensure" that all pipelines built or repaired in the United States are made ... more
Photo: Sarah A. Miller, Associated PressImage12of18
Review of manufacturing regulationsPresident Trump ordered the Commerce Secretary to conduct a 60-day review of manufacturing regulations, in the hope that many can be repealed.Pictured: In this Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, Susan Stacy moves a tube to sort recycled plastic bottle chips being processed at the Repreve Bottle Processing Center, part of the Unifi textile company in Yadkinville, N.C. less
Review of manufacturing regulationsPresident Trump ordered the Commerce Secretary to conduct a 60-day review of manufacturing regulations, in the hope that many can be repealed.Pictured: In this Oct. 21, 2016 ... more
Photo: Chuck Burton, Associated PressImage13of18
Mexico border wall moves forward
President Trump signed executive actions to jumpstart the construction of an U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump also blocked federal grants from immigrant-protecting "sanctuary cities." Trump has continued to insist, through unspecified means, that Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for the cost. Meanwhile, Mexican President Enrique Pe±a Nieto insists Mexico will not pay for the wall and is planning to meet with Trump next week. Pictured: In this Nov. 10, 2016 file photo, workers raise a taller fence along the Mexico-US border between the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico. lessMexico border wall moves forward
... morePhoto: Christian Torres, APImage14of18
Strengthening ICE, deportation instructions and cracking down on sanctuary citiesPresident Trump signed an executive order that calls for the hiring of 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Also included in the order is a mandate for federal agencies to "step up" and deport undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, charged with a crime, committed a chargeable offense, misrepresented themselves to the government, abused a welfare program, are under deportation order and who may ''in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security." The order also calls for the U.S Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to block federal grants to "sanctuary cities" that do not follow federal immigration laws.
Pictured: In this Aug. 17, 2015 file photo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrest a man in San Antonio, Texas.
lessStrengthening ICE, deportation instructions and cracking down on sanctuary citiesPresident Trump signed an executive order that calls for the hiring of 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. ... more
Photo: John Davenport, Staff / San Antonio Express-NewsImage15of18
Reconstruction of the United States MilitaryAlongside Defense Secretary James Mattis, President Trump signed an executive order that calls for "new planes, new ships, new resources, new tools for our men and women in uniform." lessReconstruction of the United States MilitaryAlongside Defense Secretary James Mattis, President Trump signed an executive order that calls for "new planes, new ships, new resources, new tools for our men and ... morePhoto: Susan Walsh, APImage16of18
"New vetting measures" for immigrantsPresident Trump signed an executive order calling for "new vetting measures" in an attempt to keep "radical Islamic terrorists" out of the United States. "I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want 'em here," Trump said. "We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people." less"New vetting measures" for immigrantsPresident Trump signed an executive order calling for "new vetting measures" in an attempt to keep "radical Islamic terrorists" out of the United States. "I'm establishing ... morePhoto: MANDEL NGAN, AFP/Getty ImagesImage17of18
The White House said Obama's 2014 executive order prohibiting LGBTQ workplace discrimination would remain intact "at the direction" of Trump.
The White House said Obama's 2014 executive order prohibiting LGBTQ workplace discrimination would remain intact "at the direction" of Trump.
'Can she eat more kale?' Hordes of liberals want reassurance RBG's health is good
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The facts in play: Ginsburg is 83 years old, the oldest justice by more than three years. She is one of the four reliably liberal jurists on the Supreme Court, and a mascot and hero to the left. There is one swing vote on the court, Anthony M. Kennedy, and there are three staunch conservatives. Adding Gorsuch would maintain the balance that existed when Scalia was alive: conservative replacing conservative.
But what if Ginsburg retires? What if Ginsburg gets sick and needs a leave of absence? What if Trump ends up replacing Ginsburg? In a week that has seen a relentless churn of White House news, liberal residents of the nation funneled their worst fears into a tiny, elderly woman.
"I kept thinking, you know, I could organize a bunch of gays," says John Hagner, a consultant for Democratic campaigns who lives in Washington. "I could organize the gays, and we would just make a protective circle around her at all times. We could help her get up and down the stairs. We got this."
With a rainbow phalanx protecting the justice against potential slips and falls, Hagner would then feel free to turn his attention away from external dangers, and toward microbial pathogens. "At that point," he says, "what I'm mostly concerned about is the cancer. Is she getting her checkups? Do her doctors realize how important it is for her to get her checkups? Do they? The woman is 98 pounds."
Ginsburg, appointed to the bench 23 years ago, has the endurance of a "Law & Order" franchise, but there are those YouTube clips of her nodding off during the State of the Union address, and she has already survived both colon and pancreatic cancer (a death sentence to many, though Ginsburg was back at work two weeks after surgery). And there are those people who remain furious that she didn't step down during Barack Obama's presidency: "Looking back, it was seriously dumb (and, frankly, selfish) of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer not to retire from #SCOTUS in 2013," fumed a user on Twitter shortly after the Gorsuch announcement.
Read Full Article But! Bygones. Now was the time for liberals to work with the reality they had. Now was the time to channel the energy of thousands of anxious supporters into a solution for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg problem.
"I was just talking to a friend about this," says Michael J. McClure, an associate professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin. "Like, what could we do? What could we do to help Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Could we protect her with packing peanuts? Then it turned into, 'I need to become a vampire. Like in 'Twilight.' I need to become a vampire so I can make her a vampire with eternal life.' If I'm damned to eternal life myself, so be it. It's a sacrifice worth making."
BREAKING NEWS: In the middle of all the Wednesday fretting, a Ginsburg sighting! She took to the stage for a livestreamed Q&A at Virginia Military Institute. She wore a gray suit, matching gray gloves, and a lace jabot, as has become her trademark. A questioner asked about her health.
She regularly does push-ups, she told the crowd, as well as situps and "something called a plank." She can do more than 20 push-ups. She does the full push-ups, not the knee variation. She has a personal trainer. This personal trainer also now works with Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen G. Breyer, too. "He does his best to keep us all in shape," Ginsburg reports.
Still, "I have O-negative blood that she's welcome to at any time," offers Mikayla Thatcher, a lecturer at the University of Michigan. "I feel like this is getting a bit post-apocalyptic - no wait, that's not the right word. Dystopian. I feel like this is all getting a bit dystopian. But she's welcome to my O-negative blood at any time."
World leaders duped by manipulated global warming data | Daily Mail Online
Data Science,Climate and satellites Consultant John J Bates, who blew the whistle to the Mail on Sunday
The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world's leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The report claimed that the 'pause' or 'slowdown' in global warming in the period since 1998 '' revealed by UN scientists in 2013 '' never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world's media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.
But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, 'unverified' data.
It was never subjected to NOAA's rigorous internal evaluation process '' which Dr Bates devised.
His vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a 'blatant attempt to intensify the impact' of what became known as the Pausebuster paper.
His disclosures are likely to stiffen President Trump's determination to enact his pledges to reverse his predecessor's 'green' policies, and to withdraw from the Paris deal '' so triggering an intense political row.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the world climate change conference
The PM, the Prince and 'the pause': David Cameron and Prince Charles attended the historic 2015 Paris climate change conference with 150 world leaders. Cameron committed Britain to an EU-Wide emission cut as a result. And Charles, writing in this paper last month, stated there was no pause in global warming, influenced by the flawed NOAA paper that made this claim
In an exclusive interview, Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data '' the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) '' of 'insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation'... in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy'.
Dr Bates was one of two Principal Scientists at NCEI, based in Asheville, North Carolina.
A blatant attempt to intensify paper's impact
Official delegations from America, Britain and the EU were strongly influenced by the flawed NOAA study as they hammered out the Paris Agreement '' and committed advanced nations to sweeping reductions in their use of fossil fuel and to spending £80 billion every year on new, climate-related aid projects.
The scandal has disturbing echoes of the 'Climategate' affair which broke shortly before the UN climate summit in 2009, when the leak of thousands of emails between climate scientists suggested they had manipulated and hidden data. Some were British experts at the influential Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
LED TO THESE GREEN COMMITMENTS Data published by NOAA, the world's top climate data agency, claimed global warming was worse than previously thought. The information was published to coincide with the Paris climate change conference in 2015, where world leaders agreed that...
$100bn be given every year in extra 'climate-related' aid to the developing world by rich nations
2 degrees C be set as the limit for maximum temperature rise above pre-industrial times
40% of CO2 emissions would be cut across the EU by 2030
£320bn'... what the UK's pledges will cost our economy by 2030
NOAA's 2015 'Pausebuster' paper was based on two new temperature sets of data '' one containing measurements of temperatures at the planet's surface on land, the other at the surface of the seas.
Both datasets were flawed. This newspaper has learnt that NOAA has now decided that the sea dataset will have to be replaced and substantially revised just 18 months after it was issued, because it used unreliable methods which overstated the speed of warming. The revised data will show both lower temperatures and a slower rate in the recent warming trend.
The land temperature dataset used by the study was afflicted by devastating bugs in its software that rendered its findings 'unstable'.
The paper relied on a preliminary, 'alpha' version of the data which was never approved or verified.
A final, approved version has still not been issued. None of the data on which the paper was based was properly 'archived' '' a mandatory requirement meant to ensure that raw data and the software used to process it is accessible to other scientists, so they can verify NOAA results.
Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards 'to produce and preserve climate data records'.
Yet when it came to the paper timed to influence the Paris conference, Dr Bates said, these standards were flagrantly ignored.
The paper was published in June 2015 by the journal Science. Entitled 'Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus', the document said the widely reported 'pause' or 'slowdown' was a myth.
Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found 'a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years'. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.
WHY OBAMA'S GREEN GURU WILL MAKE TRUMP SEE RED NOAA's climate boss Thomas Karl, below left, had a hotline to the White House, through his long association with President Obama's science adviser, John Holdren.
Karl's 'Pausebuster' paper was hugely influential in dictating the world agreement in Paris and sweeping US emissions cuts. President Trump, above right, has pledged to scrap both policies '' triggering furious claims by Democrats he is a climate 'denier' and 'anti-science'.
Thanks to today's MoS story, NOAA is set to face an inquiry by the Republican-led House science committee.
Some scientists argued that the existence of the pause meant the world's climate is less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought, so that future warming would be slower. One of them, Professor Judith Curry, then head of climate science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said it suggested that computer models used to project future warming were 'running too hot'.
However, the Pausebuster paper said while the rate of global warming from 1950 to 1999 was 0.113C per decade, the rate from 2000 to 2014 was actually higher, at 0.116C per decade. The IPCC's claim about the pause, it concluded, 'was no longer valid'.
The impact was huge and lasting. On publication day, the BBC said the pause in global warming was 'an illusion caused by inaccurate data'.
One American magazine described the paper as a 'science bomb' dropped on sceptics.
Its impact could be seen in this newspaper last month when, writing to launch his Ladybird book about climate change, Prince Charles stated baldly: 'There isn't a pause'... it is hard to reject the facts on the basis of the evidence.'
Data changed to make the sea appear warmer
The sea dataset used by Thomas Karl and his colleagues '' known as Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperatures version 4, or ERSSTv4, tripled the warming trend over the sea during the years 2000 to 2014 from just 0.036C per decade '' as stated in version 3 '' to 0.099C per decade. Individual measurements in some parts of the globe had increased by about 0.1C and this resulted in the dramatic increase of the overall global trend published by the Pausebuster paper. But Dr Bates said this increase in temperatures was achieved by dubious means. Its key error was an upwards 'adjustment' of readings from fixed and floating buoys, which are generally reliable, to bring them into line with readings from a much more doubtful source '' water taken in by ships. This, Dr Bates explained, has long been known to be questionable: ships are themselves sources of heat, readings will vary from ship to ship, and the depth of water intake will vary according to how heavily a ship is laden '' so affecting temperature readings.
Dr Bates said: 'They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and ''corrected'' it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that's what they did '' so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.'
ERSSTv4 'adjusted' buoy readings up by 0.12C. It also ignored data from satellites that measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, which are also considered reliable. Dr Bates said he gave the paper's co-authors 'a hard time' about this, 'and they never really justified what they were doing.'
Now, some of those same authors have produced the pending, revised new version of the sea dataset '' ERSSTv5. A draft of a document that explains the methods used to generate version 5, and which has been seen by this newspaper, indicates the new version will reverse the flaws in version 4, changing the buoy adjustments and including some satellite data and measurements from a special high-tech floating buoy network known as Argo. As a result, it is certain to show reductions in both absolute temperatures and recent global warming.
The second dataset used by the Pausebuster paper was a new version of NOAA's land records, known as the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), an analysis over time of temperature readings from about 4,000 weather stations spread across the globe.
The unstable land readings: Scientists at NOAA used land temperature data from 4,000 weather stations (pictured, one in Montana, USA). But the software used to process the figures was bug-ridden and unstable. NOAA also used 'unverified' data that was not tested or approved. This data as merged with unreliable sea surface temperatures
The 'adjusted' sea readings: Average sea surface temperatures are calculated using data from weather buoys (pictured). But NOAA 'adjusted' these figures upwards to fit with data taken from ships '' which is notoriously unreliable. This exaggerated the warming rate, allowing NOAA to claim in the paper dubbed the 'Pausebuster' that there was no 'pause'
This new version found past temperatures had been cooler than previously thought, and recent ones higher '' so that the warming trend looked steeper. For the period 2000 to 2014, the paper increased the rate of warming on land from 0.15C to 0.164C per decade.
In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a 'highly experimental early run' of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.
This had undergone the critical process known as 'pairwise homogeneity adjustment', a method of spotting 'rogue' readings from individual weather stations by comparing them with others nearby.
However, this process requires extensive, careful checking which was only just beginning, so that the data was not ready for operational use. Now, more than two years after the Pausebuster paper was submitted to Science, the new version of GHCN is still undergoing testing.
Moreover, the GHCN software was afflicted by serious bugs. They caused it to become so 'unstable' that every time the raw temperature readings were run through the computer, it gave different results. The new, bug-free version of GHCN has still not been approved and issued. It is, Dr Bates said, 'significantly different' from that used by Mr Karl and his co-authors.
Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: 'I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.'
The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.
The flawed conclusions of the Pausebuster paper were widely discussed by delegates at the Paris climate change conference. Mr Karl had a longstanding relationship with President Obama's chief science adviser, John Holdren, giving him a hotline to the White House.
The misleading 'pausebuster chart': The red line shows the current NOAA world temperature graph '' which relies on the 'adjusted' and unreliable sea data cited in the flawed 'Pausebuster' paper. The blue line is the UK Met Office's independently tested and verified 'HadCRUT4' record '' showing lower monthly readings and a shallower recent warming trend
They were forced to correct it: 18 months after the 'Pausebuster' paper was published in time for the 2015 Paris climate change conference, NOAA's flawed sea temperature dataset is to be replaced. The new version will remedy its failings, and use data from both buoys and satellites (pictured) '' which some say is the best data of all. The new version will show both lower temperatures and a lower warming trend since 2000
Mr Holdren was also a strong advocate of robust measures to curb emissions. Britain's then Prime Minister David Cameron claimed at the conference that '97 per cent of scientists say climate change is urgent and man-made and must be addressed' and called for 'a binding legal mechanism' to ensure the world got no more than 2C warmer than in pre-industrial times.
President Obama stressed his Clean Power Plan at the conference, which mandates American power stations to make big emissions cuts.
President Trump has since pledged he will scrap it, and to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, 'there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I'm hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community '' a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn't happen again.
'I want to address the systemic problems. I don't care whether modifications to the datasets make temperatures go up or down. But I want the observations to speak for themselves, and for that, there needs to be a new emphasis that ethical standards must be maintained.'
He said he decided to speak out after seeing reports in papers including the Washington Post and Forbes magazine claiming that scientists feared the Trump administration would fail to maintain and preserve NOAA's climate records.
Dr Bates said: 'How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity '' and failed.'
NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.
Last night Mr Smith thanked Dr Bates 'for courageously stepping forward to tell the truth about NOAA's senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion'. He added: 'The Karl study used flawed data, was rushed to publication in an effort to support the President's climate change agenda, and ignored NOAA's own standards for scientific study.'
Professor Curry, now the president of the Climate Forecast Applications Network, said last night: 'Large adjustments to the raw data, and substantial changes in successive dataset versions, imply substantial uncertainties.'
It was time, she said, that politicians and policymakers took these uncertainties on board.
Last night Mr Karl admitted the data had not been archived when the paper was published. Asked why he had not waited, he said: 'John Bates is talking about a formal process that takes a long time.' He denied he was rushing to get the paper out in time for Paris, saying: 'There was no discussion about Paris.'
They played fast and loose with the figures
He also admitted that the final, approved and 'operational' edition of the GHCN land data would be 'different' from that used in the paper'.
As for the ERSSTv4 sea dataset, he claimed it was other records '' such as the UK Met Office's '' which were wrong, because they understated global warming and were 'biased too low'. Jeremy Berg, Science's editor-in-chief, said: 'Dr Bates raises some serious concerns. After the results of any appropriate investigations'... we will consider our options.' He said that 'could include retracting that paper'.NOAA declined to comment.
Helena Christensen addresses demonstrators in the center of Copenhagen on climate change
Dr John Bates's disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the 'Pausebuster' paper is the biggest scientific scandal since 'Climategate' in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a 'trick' to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.
Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.
Because of NOAA 's failure to 'archive' data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.
Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science's most hotly contested debates.
Left, blowing up the graph show is disappears in 1961 artfully hidden behind the other colours. Right, the reason? Because this is what it shows after 1961, a dramatic decline in global temperatures
Has there been an unexpected pause in global warming? If so, is the world less sensitive to carbon dioxide than climate computer models suggest?
And does this mean that truly dangerous global warming is less imminent, and that politicians' repeated calls for immediate 'urgent action' to curb emissions are exaggerated?
Figueres: First time the world economy is transformed intentionally
3 February 2015 - The Top UN Climate Change Official is optimistic that a new international treaty will be adopted at Paris Climate Change conference at the end of the year. However the official, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, warns that the fight against climate change is a process and that the necessary transformation of the world economy will not be decided at one conference or in one agreement.
"This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history", Ms Figueres stated at a press conference in Brussels.
"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 - you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation."
The so called 'Lima draft', which was adopted in December 2014 at the UN Climate Conference in Lima (Peru) will be subject of further negotiations by members states, starting in Geneva next week. Two rounds of negotiations are expected before the Climate Change Conference convenes in Paris in December.
The current draft is 39 pages including options, sub-options and brackets. The negotiators in Geneva have until 13 February to "manage and streamline" the draft. According to Ms Figueres, there are a lot of differences now in comparison to the run up to the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change in 2009, during which a successor treaty to the Kyoto protocol on limiting CO2 emissions was last attempted. She pointed out that with one year to go there already is a draft, whereas there was none until the start of the Copenhagen Summit.
Figueres, however, pointed out that the legal treaty is only one of four important parts of the process. In addition to the treaty, there are the current Climate Change actions from now and until 2020, the financing packages and the so-called Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are the actions that countries intend to take under a global agreement from 2020 and have to be publicly outlined before the start of the conference. It is expected that all major economies will deliver their plans in time: the US, China, and the European Union have already shown their cards.
Maximum level of ambition
Ms Figueres went on to say that the sum total of the national contributions are not expected to be enough to limit the increase of world temperature to 2ºC.
"That is not a discovery, that is not a breaking news item. We need to get to the maximum level of ambition of collective INDCs because what we are going to have to do all of the time is to close the gap between what science tells us where we have to be and where we actually are'....But the point is will we be at the end destination? I would argue, yes."
Christiana Figueres was appointed as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010, and was reappointed for a second three year term in July 2013.
Absurd plan: EU-vlag op shirt Oranje|Binnenland| Telegraaf.nl
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ONZE AANBIEDINGEN03 FEB 2017Onze Correspondent
Brussel - Terwijl de EU-leiders zich op Malta verzamelen om te bespreken hoe grote, internationale dreigingen moeten worden aangepakt, houdt het Europees Parlement zich bezig met futielere zaken. Want als het aan het parlement ligt spelen sportteams voortaan met een Europese vlag op de borst.
Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world, not Donald Trump | The Independent
When Barack Obama revealed that his last phone call as President was to Angela Merkel, reaffirming their alliance and friendship of the last eight years, he wasn't just saying goodbye. He was handing over his baton. The German Chancellor isn't just the leader of Europe, she is now the de-facto leader of the free world.
The thrice-elected, soft-spoken former scientist from East Germany, armed with a doctorate in quantum chemistry, doesn't just carry the weight of Germany and Europe on her shoulders, but that of defending freedom and liberalism across the world.
This is not an attempt to be provocative or exaggerate for effect. Donald Trump cannot claim the mantle of ''leading'' the free world by default. America's military might is not the only criteria necessary.
Donald Trump's closest advisor Steve Bannon thinks there will be war with China in the next few years
The title also requires the President to be committed to the values of liberal democracy. But unlike his predecessors since the Second World War, it is already clear that Trump has no such inclinations. He is heading, at terrifying speed, in the opposite direction.
Do I even have to make the case for this? Since his inauguration Trump has undermined and ignored judges, even though an independent judiciary and a separation of powers is key to a democracy.
But the ban on immigrants highlighted something far more draconian. If a President can abruptly restrict the rights of US residents without bothering with lawmakers or even government departments, he in effect an autocrat. That is exactly what Trump did and will continue to do so. His actions don't just undermine the rights of all Americans, they undermine the institutions that support American democracy.
Then there is Trump's assault on international trade and cooperation. He is already threatening Mexico, China and now the EU. Who will be next? We can debate whether globalisation benefits people equally, but only a fool would deny that international trade is a global good. And it can only work if done on an equal, rules-based footing. But Trump doesn't care for those, he is ripping up international agreements so he can bully smaller countries into submission. That sets a dangerous precedent for the entire world.
And lastly there is the Trump administration's hostility towards the media. Regardless of its bias, a thriving democracy needs a media willing to challenge the government. Trump isn't just hostile to criticism, in his warped world it must be driven by lies and vindictiveness. He is wracked by deep insecurity. When his chief aide Steve Bannon says the media should ''keep its mouth shut'' '' they mean it. They don't want a free media criticising them at all. These are words that dictators use, not democrats.
The US President isn't motivated by protecting liberal democracy or freedom, his sole ideology is Trumpism: corporate autocracy with a populist facade. And he surrounds himself with white nationalists even more hostile to liberal democracy than he is.
Having grown up in communist East Germany before re-unification, Angela Merkel is the polar opposite. She doesn't just recognise the sounds of autocracy, she chose to escape it.
This is why she has stood up to Trump's bullying and bigotry, saying on Monday that the ''necessary battle against terrorism'' did not justify putting ''groups of certain people under general suspicion''. The British government in sharp contrast has been slavish and spineless.
It's now abundantly clear that the free world needs a new leader. With respect to Justin Trudeau, Canada simply isn't powerful enough. It has to be Angela Merkel.
Her opponents know this, which is why the pro-Trump, pro-Putin, far-right forces are lining up against her. We know this. And she knows it. It's time the most powerful woman in the world embraced her new role. The world needs her.
Puerto Rico Launches New Push For Statehood | News | teleSUR English
The referendum will be the fifth vote in the island's history to change the dynamic of the current colonialist relationship with the U.S.
Puerto Rico Friday approved a measure to hold another referendum to vote on becoming a state, set for June 11. It comes as the U.S. territory continues to struggle with the ongoing effects of colonialism and a major debt crisis.
RELATED: Puerto Rico Passes 'Emergency' Law Regulating $70B Debt
Governor Ricardo Rossello approved the non-binding referendum and said that ''Colonialism is not an option for Puerto Rico.''
The new referendum will ask voters for the option of statehood or for independence/free association. If the majority of people vote for independence/free association, a second referendum will take place in October to choose the country's political status.
The island has so far had four referendums on its political status: in 1967, 1993, 1998 and 2012. In the last referendum, the majority of voters favored statehood, but the measure has not yet been approved by U.S. Congress, the final hurdle on the path to statehood.
Puerto Rico has been a territory of the U.S. since 1898 when it seceded from the Spanish empire. In recent years, the island has struggled with a US$70 billion government debt. Many Puerto Ricans who support statehood say that becoming the 51st U.S. state could help the island tackle the deficit.
Unlike a state, Puerto Rico's colonial status denies it the legal right to file for bankruptcy, which would allow the protection of public assets and pay for essential services. Puerto Ricans currently do not have the right to vote in presidential elections and have no voting powers in the U.S. Congress.
RELATED: Non-Aligned Movement Calls for Puerto Rican Independence
Since becoming president, Donald Trump has not spoken on the issue of Puerto Rican statehood. In his election campaign, he said that the will of the island's people ''should be considered'' by U.S. Congress.
''Having a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican president, there's no excuse for not carrying it out,'' Rossello earlier said.
David Beckham tried to use his UNICEF charity work to win a knighthood, explosive emails reveal
DAVID Beckham's multi-million pound image was shattered last night after damning emails revealed he used charity work as part of a desperate campaign to win a knighthood.
In a series of bombshell leaks, the football legend branded the honours committee ''unappreciative c****'' and dismissed lower awards, ranting: ''Unless it's a knighthood f*** off.''
David Beckham. who met with babies and mothers who survived Typhoon Haiyan, wrote that he would have been awarded a knighthood '10 years ago' if he was AmericanAs reported by a number of European media outlets, including L'Equipe, the furious star also:
The former England captain turned philanthropist and businessman raged at the failure of officials to make him Sir David and admitted his charitable efforts were a conscious effort to win an honour.
One of his closest advisers even said his work with UNICEF and other good causes had ''a halo effect'' for the 41-year-old star.
The cache of leaked messages between Beckham, who currently holds an OBE, and his closest aides could see his reputation shattered as it reveals the concerted efforts to win favour from the honours committee and the public.
Images were handed out to media of Beckham visiting the town of Makeni in a visit to Sierra Leone in 2008 '' with it now revealed his work was an effort to be recognised as a knightPA:Press Association
In one explosive email, David Beckham spoke of his disdain for other awards, saying: 'unless it's a knighthood f*** off'Getty Images
The Beckham brood is said to be worth £500million thanks to their work in the business, fashion and entertainment worldsDavid Beckham speaks of his pride at being a UNICEF Goodwill ambassadorMessages also suggest he forcefully backed the 'stay' campaign in the 2014 Scottish referendum in a bid to appeal to ''the establishment'' and raise his chances of being rewarded with a gong.
After missing out on a knighthood in 2013, the footballer - who has an estimated networth of £280million - wrote a furious email to his long-time PR man Simon Oliveira, raging that classical star Katherine Jenkins had been handed an OBE writing: ''Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke. F***ing joke.''
Jenkins has previously admitted to taking drugs in her past, including cocaine and ecstasy, and confessed ''curiosity got the better of me''.
And railing at the honours committee, the organisation who recommend worthy recipients for titles, in December 2013, Beckham also blasted: ''They're a bunch of c**** I expected nothing less. Who decides on the honors?
"It's a disgrace to be honest and if I was American I would of got something like this ten years ago."
In response, Oliveira wrote to Beckham's agent and best friend David Gardner: ''This gives us even more reason to work this year on Unicef, the armed forces, and other charitable commitments.''
He also advised Becks to ''remain positive'' in public, and avoid the temptation to direct jibes or critical comments at the committee in public adding: ''We need to remain dignified if asked, but if you want me to work up something cutting I will work up one, but my advice is it's not productive.''
The football star has been involved with the charity for a number of years, appearing at several eventsPA:Press Association
Beckham travelled to Swaziland in 2015 as part of work to help HIV-positive children, meeting young Sebenelle as part of the trip to MakhewuUNICEF
Beckham admitted in emails that his charitable work was aimed at winning an awardBut his efforts hit a road block when HMRC clamped down on the use of the Ingenious scheme used by a host of celebrities, including Beckham, to reduce their tax bill.
The financial loophole involved investing in loss-making companies to offset tax obligations, and officials are said to have been concerned that his involvement was not compatible with him becoming Sir David.
The shocking dossier about the star, considered the golden boy of British sport and an international charitable icon, was obtained by the European Investigative Collaborations network and Der Spiegel, which were then published yesterday across Europe on respected newspaper websites including L'Equipe in France and El Mundo in Spain.
Only a week ago the A-lister, married to Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, spoke about his charity work on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.
The UNICEF ambassador told host Kirsty Young: "It's not for vanity. I want to get involved, it's important that I do this."
Last night Oliveria told The Sun the information was "stolen and hacked".
David Beckham was recently pictured at LAX - with the star's image threatened by the release of emailsDavid Beckham was also warned from posting a pic of his gold laptop by his advisers - who wanted him to be a "man of the people".
David Beckham became involved with UNICEF in 2005, launching his own fund with the charity in 2015 to help protect children in danger.
He also met with the UK's former Prime Minister David Cameron, calling for more action to help children affected by malnutrition.
As part of his work with the charity, Beckham has visited the Philippines after it was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, as well as visiting South Africa to raise awareness for children living with HIV and AIDS.
The Beckham family are said to have a wealth of more than £500million - equal to that of the Queen.
HOME TO POSHDavid Beckham jets out of Los Angeles after partying with model Poppy Delevingne
becks' secret vowsDavid Beckham reveals he and Victoria renewed wedding vows in a secret ceremony at home
Shoe knew?David Beckham reveals that he has been hiding a secret collection to rival wife Victoria's
CROOKED BOOTSMan Utd star David Beckham's football boots have been sold for £300 after being seized from criminals
'marriage is difficult at times'David Beckham admits 'mistakes' and 'tough times' with Victoria - and he may have more trouble after he snubbed her Spice Girls tracks on Desert Island Discs
KNICKER-BECKER GLORYDavid Beckham recalls time he wore 'burgundy, velvet knickerbockers' on Desert Island Discs
Becks UNICEF launch new fund for children in danger across globeNew pictures of the soccer ace visiting a village in Swaziland, Africa, were recently shared with media, with Beckham pictured speaking to local children during the trip.
The former Manchester United player recently starred in a new UNICEF campaign that delivered a stark message about violence towards children.
He has previously spoken out about the work he has performed with UNICEF, saying the family did a lot for the humanitarian charity.
His wife, fashion icon Victoria Beckham, has also worked with the United Nations - with her work in fashion earning her a place on the Queen's 2017 Honours list.
But it's not the first time that Beckham's fiery temper has been put on show - The Sun recently revealing that he had a blazing public row in the Maldives with former F1 boss Ron Dennis.
David Beckham moaned that Katherine Jenkins had been awarded an OBE, saying it was a 'f***ing joke'AFP
David Beckham first made his name playing football, moving into philanthropy and the business world after his successful careerGetty Images - WireImage
Beckham started working with the charity UNICEF in 2005, starting up his own fund about 10 years laterTwitter
Simon Oliveira, Beckham's PR manager, was part of the leaked email conversationsDavid Beckham was praised for using his 'powerful voice' to create change for children around the worldBeckham was most recently spotted heading home with his wife Victoria, having partied with model Poppy Delevingne.
He has previously been praised for helping an elderly woman who had collapsed while he was driving through Kensington.
Beckham's confidant Simon Oliveria was recently named as the future manager of One Directioner Liam Payne.
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Saturday Premier League match preview featuring Chelsea v Arsenal
BANGKOK (AP) -- Thai media organizations are protesting a bill that would require journalists to be licensed and would establish a council that can penalize news outlets for violating professional standards.The bill was submitted Thursday to a military-appointed body tasked with reforming the Thai government.Journalists delivered a protest letter to the body and four former journalists resigned from the group that authored the bill."It will bring Thailand back to the dark ages, when state power was in control of the media," says Thepchai Yong, president of the Confederation of Thai Journalists.The government says the legislation is needed to clean up corruption and prevent false reporting. But critics say it is a way for officials to avoid scrutiny.The Thai press is already kept on a leash. Self-censorship is widespread due to Thailand's draconian lese majeste laws, under which insulting the monarchy can land someone up to 15 years in jail. Last July, the ruling junta gave regulators the power to shut down broadcasters deemed a threat to national security, and in December the junta passed a cybercrime act that strengthens online censorship.The bill was given to the National Reform Steering Assembly, the body that heads various subcommittees that are tasked with enacting political reform by Thailand's military junta, including the media.Thepchai delivered the protest letter to the steering assembly, while the four former reporters resigned because they said their views were ignored.Journalists said it was unacceptable that the bill would require individual reporters to be vetted and licensed by the government."This is unprecedented. Journalists don't need practicing licenses," said Thepchai. "By licensing the media, it means you have direct control over them."Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has said that all professions need to be trained and standardized, and that journalists were no exception. Coauthors of the bill say licenses are necessary to deter false reporting and corruption."Be a good man and good woman, and tell the truth... don't do this gray business," said Kanit Suwannate, air chief marshal and chairman of the committee that proposed the bill. "(Misreporting) has occurred, but I cannot tell you the evidence, because they try to hide the way they run the business."The bill will be debated by the steering assembly. Then it must be approved by the Thai cabinet and parliament before becoming law.The proposed 13-member media ethics committee would have four seats reserved for government officials, and would set standards and "codes of conduct," and would have the power to fine and confiscate the licenses of broadcasters and newspapers that violated them.Journalists say because of the nature of Thai politics, the government appointees would be able to put pressure on other council members.
Scalia CPAP Machine Feedback
I spoke with my wife who is a Respiratory Therapist (4 year degree and 6 yrs experience) about turning off the machine or 'pressing the green button' for a sleep apnea patient as was mentioned on CSPAN, and she informed me that they would have trouble sleeping, but it shouldn't be deadly.
That $2/mo guy,
As the opioid epidemic rages, Ohio scrambling to handle flood of dead bodies | Ars Technica
Enlarge/ OxyContin 80 mg pills.Last year, it was refrigerated trucks. Now, it's ''temporary storage'' in funeral homes. The Coroner's Office in Montgomery County, Ohio, has been so overwhelmed by the death toll of the raging opioid epidemic that it has had to turn to makeshift morgues to keep up.
''We're running at full capacity,'' Kenneth Betz, director of the coroner's office, told The New York Times in a phone interview. ''We've never experienced this volume of accidental drug overdoses in our history. We now call funeral homes immediately," he said.
So far in 2017'--just 33 days into the year'--the Coroner's Office has already handled 163 accidental overdose deaths. That's more than half the yearly totals of overdose deaths from 2015 and 2016. In fact, in the last decade the number of yearly overdose deaths has quadrupled in Ohio and surpassed deaths from car crashes.And the state is not alone'--in fact, it may not even be the worst off. West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2015, reaching 41.5 per 100,000, according to the CDC. Ohio came in tied for third with Kentucky, at 29.9 per 100,000. New Hampshire was second with 34.3 per 100,000.
Those deaths and the increases are driven by widespread addiction to opioid pain killers.
The rest of the country, too, has seen dramatic impacts of the epidemic, particularly in the northeast and some in the south. The CDC reports that 91 people a day die from an opioid overdose in the US.
''This increase from year to year'--I've never seen anything like this,'' Betz said. ''The drug problem we have is absolutely phenomenal.''
Amid Opioid Overdoses, Ohio Coroner's Office Runs Out of Room for Bodies - The New York Times
PhotoMedics from Colerain Township, Ohio, near Cincinnati, trying to resuscitate a person who overdosed and was involved in a traffic accident in September.Credit Ty Wright for The New York TimesThe bodies just keep arriving. On Thursday, only two days into February, the coroner's office in Dayton, Ohio, had already handled 25 deaths '-- 18 caused by drug overdoses. In January, the office processed 145 cases in which the victims' bodies had been destroyed by opioids.
Now, the Montgomery County Coroner's Office is so crammed with corpses that it has asked a local funeral parlor to take in four bodies for ''temporary storage,'' the first time it has had to make such a request, Kenneth M. Betz, director of the coroner's office, said on Thursday.
''We're running at full capacity,'' he said in a phone interview. ''We've never experienced this volume of accidental drug overdoses in our history. We now call funeral homes immediately'' to ask if there is space available, he added.
Widespread abuse of powerful opioid pain relievers in the United States '-- including oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl, heroin's cheaper but deadlier cousin '-- has driven overdose death rates to historic highs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
GraphicDrug deaths have surged in nearly every U.S. county, reaching a new peak in 2014.
The C.D.C.'s numbers show that 91 people in the United States die every day from opioid overdose.
The number of bodies from accidental overdoses that have come to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office in the first 33 days of the year '-- 163 '-- is already more than half the yearly totals for the past two years. In 2015, the total was 259; last year, the number of deaths from January to September was 253, figures from the office show.
In Ohio, fatal overdoses more than quadrupled in the past decade and by 2007 had surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death, according to the Department of Health. In 2015, 3,310 deaths were recorded in the state from unintentional drug overdoses, a 21.5 percent increase from the previous year, according to the C.D.C.
Addiction is so entrenched and widespread that police officials say there are now third and fourth generations of prescription drug abusers. These days, hospitals in Cincinnati require drug testing of new mothers and infants because of a surge in newborns exposed to addictive drugs.
The five states with the highest rates of death linked to drug overdose were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000), according to the C.D.C.
But significant increases were also seen in the Northeast and the South, the agency said, including Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Last year, Mr. Betz said Montgomery County's coroner's office had to use refrigerated trucks to store bodies for a week.
In his 40 years in forensics, Mr. Betz said, he has never seen such a steady increase in overdose deaths, and it has left him and his colleagues feeling overwhelmed.
''Our staff is, quite frankly, tired,'' he said. ''The doctors are tired. The investigators are tired. We've never had volumes like this.''
''This increase from year to year '-- I've never seen anything like this,'' he said. ''The drug problem we have is absolutely phenomenal.''
Continue reading the main story
474 Arrested, 28 Sexually Exploited Children Rescued During Statewide Human Trafficking Operation: LASD | KTLA
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department patrol car is seen in this file photo. (Credit: KTLA)
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department patrol car is seen in this file photo. (Credit: KTLA)
Hundreds of people were arrested and dozens of sexually exploited children and adult victims were rescued across California during a statewide operation to combat human trafficking, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday.
More than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces, including the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, participated in the third annual ''Operation Reclaim and Rebuild'' enforcement operation, according to a sheriff's news release.
The statewide operation took place over the three-day period between last Thursday and Saturday.
In total, 474 arrests were made, including 142 males on solicitation charges, and 36 males on suspicion of pimping, according to figures provided by the Sheriff's Department.
Additionally, 28 commercially and sexually exploited children and 27 adult victims were rescued.
''You are worthy of more. And we will work tirelessly with our partners '... to provide you services and help you rebuild your life,'' Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, addressing the victims during a news conference on Tuesday.
The minors who were recovered during the operation were being cared for by various children and family services agencies across the state, according to sheriff's officials. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and the Saving Innocence organization were coordinating efforts to help victims in L.A. County.
''Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers,'' the release stated.
''Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate: Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state!''
Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect surname for the L.A. County sheriff. The story has been updated.
''L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Announce the Arrest & Rescue of Many During 'Operation Reclaim & Rebuild' '' from LASD - Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept Information Bureau (SIB) : Nixle
Sheriff McDonnell Announces Hundreds of Arrests Made and Dozens Rescued by California Law Enforcement and theLos Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task ForceDuring 'Operation Reclaim and Rebuild'
In conjunction with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced details and results from the third annual 'Operation Reclaim and Rebuild' enforcement operation, conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and more than 30 participating federal state and local law enforcement agencies, and task forces from across California. The three-day, statewide effort aimed at combatting human trafficking took place between Thursday, January 26, and Saturday, January 28, 2017, was conducted in various mediums and met with positive results. The press conference was held Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at the iconic Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles. Sheriff McDonnell was joined by District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney's Office; Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg, Chief of Detectives, Los Angeles Police Department; Special Agent In Charge Joseph Macias, Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles; Executive Director Kay Buck, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST); Human Trafficking Bureau Captain Chris Marks, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; representatives from 15 the 30 participating federal, state and local law enforcement agencies; and representatives from public and private service providers. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers. Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate: Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state! In preparation for the event, an operational planning meeting took place in Los Angeles, with over 120 federal, state and municipal law enforcement detectives from all over California in attendance. Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of human beings took place, from confronting the reality of sidewalk prostitution by conducting ''john'' stings, to challenging the virtual reality of the cyber world where traffickers believe they can operate anonymously using the internet. The internet has furnished a vast variety of opportunities for traffickers, but with the experience of specially-trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and customers who were anxious to exploit found their plans foiled. Minors encountered during enforcement efforts were cared for by personnel from various Department of Children and Family Services Agencies in each county. In Los Angeles County, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) and Saving Innocence (SI) coordinated the emergency services response for victim care and collaborated with similar, non-governmental victim service organizations throughout the state. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was widely successful in its endeavor with 28 commercially, sexually-exploited children and 27 adult victims being recovered; 142 males arrested for the charge of Solicitation; and 36 males arrested for pimping. In total, 474 arrests were made. As Sheriff McDonnell relayed the mission, efforts and results of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, he pointedly addressed the traffickers and johns who conduct their illegal business in Los Angeles County and the state of California, and reminded them of the gravity of their crimes and the prosecution to accompany their actions when discovered. Next, the Sheriff directly addressed the victims, ''You are worthy of more. And we will work tirelessly with our partners'...to provide you services and help you rebuild your life.'' ''It is our job in law enforcement to protect children '' all children '' especially those who have fallen prey to adults who seek to profit from their bodies,'' Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. ''We will not tolerate the sexual exploitation of children by anyone, not the sex traffickers and not the people who pay to sexually assault them.''Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Joseph Macias also spoke at the event said, ''Our goal in this unprecedented collaborative enforcement effort was two-fold.'' ''First, to provide vital services to any sex trafficking victims we encountered, so they can begin to reclaim and rebuild their lives,'' he said. ''Second, to start the process to reclaim and rebuild the neighborhoods that have been degraded by organized prostitution schemes which not only exploit the vulnerable, but also often draw other criminal enterprises into the area.'' The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department would like to remind the public of the dangers of posting ''nude selfies''. To access the letter from Sheriff Jim McDonnell on posting ''nude selfies'', please visit https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesCountySheriffsDepartment/posts/1305629852797258 The following agencies and task forces participated: Anaheim Police DepartmentChino Police DepartmentCitrus Heights Police DepartmentClovis Police DepartmentCoalinga Police DepartmentConcord Police DepartmentCosta Mesa Police DepartmentDelano Police DepartmentFederal Bureau of Investigation, Los AngelesFederal Bureau of Investigation, FresnoFederal Bureau of Investigation, MontereyFresno Police DepartmentHomeland Security Investigations, Los AngelesHomeland Security Investigations, VenturaKern County Sheriff's OfficeLivingston Police DepartmentLos Angeles County District Attorney's OfficeLos Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task ForceLong Beach Human Trafficking Task ForceLong Beach Police DepartmentLos Angeles County Sheriff's DepartmentLos Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles Unified School District PoliceMarina Police DepartmentMerced Police DepartmentOrange County Sheriff's OfficeOrange County Human Trafficking Task ForceOxnard Police DepartmentPlacer County Sheriff's Special Investigations UnitPomona Police DepartmentRiverside County Sheriff's OfficeRiverside County Anti-Trafficking Task ForceRoseville Police DepartmentSacramento County Sheriff's OfficeSacramento Police DepartmentSan Bernardino County Sheriff's OfficeSan Bernardino County Trafficking Task ForceSan Bernardino Police DepartmentSan Diego County Sheriff's OfficeSan Diego Police DepartmentSanta Ana Police DepartmentSanta Barbara County Sheriff's OfficeSanta Barbara Human Trafficking Task ForceSanta Clara Sheriff's OfficeSanta Monica Police DepartmentSimi Valley Police DepartmentSouth Gate Police DepartmentTorrance Police DepartmentVentura County Sheriff's OfficeVentura County Coalition Against Human TraffickingVentura Police Department For additional information contact Los Angeles County Sheriff's Human Trafficking Bureau Lieutenant David Oliva at 323-526-5156, Lieutenant Kent Wegener at 323-526-5159, or the Sheriff's Information Bureau at 213-229-1700. The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's Human Trafficking Bureau houses the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, the nation's largest co-located human trafficking task force. This task force is a collaboration of federal, state, county and local law enforcement, social service agency and non-government and community-based organizations investigating and serving the needs of commercially exploited adults and minors victimized for the purpose of sex and labor. The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force brings together systems and disciplines to address victims' needs through a victim-centered, trauma- informed approach. The task force employs a regionalized strategy which crosses jurisdictional boundaries to identify and rescue victims, while aggressively pursuing traffickers and buyers. Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Partners: FederalUnited States Attorney's OfficeHomeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs EnforcementFederal Bureau of InvestigationUnited States Marshals ServiceUnited States Department of Labor StateCalifornia Attorney GeneralCalifornia Department of Corrections and RehabilitationCalifornia Employment Development DepartmentCalifornia Highway Patrol CountyLos Angeles County Sheriff's DepartmentLos Angeles County District Attorney's OfficeLos Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Bureau of InvestigationDepartment of Children and Family ServicesLos Angeles County Probation DepartmentLos Angeles County Department of Public Health CityLos Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles Unified School District Police DepartmentPomona Police DepartmentSanta Monica City Attorney's OfficeNon-Governmental/Community-Based OrganizationsCoalition to Abolish Slavery and TraffickingSaving InnocenceThe Guardian Group (Hotel/Motel Outreach, Education and Signage)Los Angeles County Sheriff's Executive Clergy CouncilPet Prescriptions Therapy Dog ProgramDemand Abolition Cease NetworkRestoration Diversion ServicesVirtuous Woman, Inc.Legal Aid Foundation of Los AngelesInternational Institute of Los Angeles Prepared by: Lieutenant Kent WegenerHuman Trafficking Bureau And Deputy Lillian PeckSheriff's Information Bureau211 West Temple Street,Los Angeles, CA 90112213-229-1700 Website LASD HQ: http://www.lasd.orgRecruitment LASD: http://www.careers.lasd.orgFollow LASD HQ via text and email: http://www.Nixle.comhttps://nixle.com/lasd---los-angeles-county-sheriffs-dept-information-bureau-sib/ Twitter: @LASDHQ http://twitter.com/LASDHQTwitter: @LASDtalk https://twitter.com/LASDTalkTwitter: @LASDvideos https://twitter.com/LASDvideosTwitter: @LASDespanol https://twitter.com/LASDespanol Facebook LASD HQ: http://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesCountySheriffsDepartmentInstagram LASD Photos: http://instagram.com/LASDHQPinterest LASD Photos: http://pinterest.com/lacountysheriff/YouTube LASD Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/LACountySheriff/videos?view=0SNAP LA County: Specific Needs Disaster Voluntary Registryhttp://snap.lacounty.gov/Alert LA County: Telephone emergency mass notification systemhttp://www.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/alertla Text and email, register for LASD Nixle messages: To receive more detailed, up-to-date information via E-MAIL and/or TEXT directly from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD), sign up for "Nixle" alerts at http://www.Nixle.com and register for "LASD '' Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept Information Bureau (SIB)" AND your local LASD station area. To receive URGENT TEXT ALERTS ONLY, text your zip code to 888777. Standard text messaging rates may apply depending on your calling plan. "If You See Something, Say Something"L.A. Crime Stoppers: Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff's station. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may call ''L.A. Crime Stoppers'' at 800-222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the ''P3 MOBILE APP'' on Google play or the App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org. Jim McDonnell, SheriffLos Angeles County Sheriff's Department
A record radiation level has been detected inside the No. 2 reactor at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, with the estimated reading of up to 530 sieverts per hour, the plant operator said Thursday.
The reading means a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors that melted down in the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
The plant operator also announced that based on an image analysis, a 1-square-meter hole has been found on a metal grating beneath the reactor pressure vessel, likely caused by melted nuclear fuel that fell through the vessel.
The new radiation level, described by some experts as ''unimaginable,'' far exceeds 73 sieverts per hour, the previously highest radiation reading monitored in the interior of the reactor.
An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.
According to TEPCO, the extremely high radiation level was detected inside the containment vessel, in the space around 2.3 meters away from the base of the reactor pressure vessel.
According to the institute, 4 sieverts of radiation exposure would kill one in two people.
Experts say 1,000 millisieverts, which equals 1 sievert, could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts, while exposure to radiation doses above 100 millisieverts increases the risk of cancer.
The latest discovery spells difficulty in removing the fuel debris as part of decommissioning work at the plant. The government and TEPCO hope to locate the fuel and start removing it from a first reactor in 2021.
The debris is believed to have been created as nuclear fuel inside the reactor pressure vessel overheated and melted due to the loss of reactor cooling functions.
In the coming weeks, the plant operator plans to deploy a remote-controlled robot to check conditions inside the containment vessel, but the utility is likely to have to change its plan.
For one thing, it will have to reconsider the route the robot is to take to probe the interior because of the hole found on the grating.
Also, given the extraordinary level of radiation inside the containment vessel, the robot would only be able to operate for less than two hours before it is destroyed.
That is because the robot is designed to withstand exposure to a total of up to 1,000 sieverts of radiation. Based on the calculation of 73 sieverts per hour, the robot could have operated for more than 10 hours, but 530 sieverts per hour means the robot would be rendered inoperable in less than two hours.
The latest analysis follows TEPCO's discovery Monday of a black mass deposited on the grating directly beneath the pressure vessel, possibly melted fuel after the unit suffered a meltdown along with two other reactors at the six-reactor plant.
Images captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm on Monday also showed part of the grating has gone.
If the deposits are confirmed as fuel debris, it would be the first time the utility has found any at the three units that suffered meltdowns.
Following the world's worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, the plant's No. 1 to 3 reactors suffered fuel meltdowns.
Portions of the fuel in the reactors are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessels. But the actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown due to high radiation levels.
'I haven't eased anything,' Trump says after Treasury amends sanctions on Russian FSB '-- RT America
US President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer have denied the administration was easing anti-Russian sanctions. Speculation was stirred after the Treasury Department amended the restrictions on acquiring IT licenses from the FSB.
The procedure, enacted in December by former President Barack Obama over Russia's alleged interference in last year's presidential election, forbade all exchanges of US corporations with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), and four more Russia-based entities accused of hacking American institutions ahead of the election.
Obama's move at the time was branded a ''poisoned gift'' for the new administration by Aleksey Pushkov, chairman of Russia's Federation Council Mass Media Committee.
In the amendment to the order, dated February 2, the new administration's Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control officially enabled American tech companies to make limited transactions with the FSB.
The permission covers a rather narrow range of deals, namely ''requesting, receiving, utilizing, paying for, or dealing in [FSB] licenses to import, sell and use information technology products'' in Russia. Such deals must not involve exports to Crimea or violate pre-existing US sanctions, and are further capped at $5,000 a year.
Reporters apparently saw the amendment as a step toward easing Obama's sanctions and were quick to speculate on the matter. However, when they asked the president about it several hours after the announcement had been made by the Treasury, Trump responded dismissively.
''I haven't eased anything,'' Trump told reporters, without going into specifics.'
Spicer also waved away speculation, but was more outspoken on the matter.
''We are not easing sanctions,'' he said, arguing that it is common for Treasury to issue specific amendments to help different US industries, products and services overcome unintended business consequences after sanctions are put in place.
''The Treasury Department '-- from what I understand, it is a fairly common practice for the Treasury Department, after sanctions are put in place, to go back and to look at whether or not there needs to be specific carve-outs for different either industries or products and services that need to be going back and forth,'' the spokesman said.
The new administration did not issue any further explanation to the move. However, just days before his inauguration last month, Trump hinted that the US could lift its sanctions against Russia in exchange for a nuclear reduction deal.
The Kremlin appears to share the idea that the supposed easing of sanctions is nothing out of the ordinary. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Russia doesn't see it as a step to lifting sanctions altogether.
''We are not inclined to treat this step as easing of sanctions, it is rather a manifestation of American pragmatism,'' presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
''In the spheres where it is beneficial for them, Americans are not that enthusiastic with sanctions and tend to make the system more flexible.''
Ron Paul, a veteran US politician and former senator, told RT that the order to ease some restrictions on the FSB is a step in the right direction, noting that Trump can't be any ''bolder'' at the moment while awaiting reaction from the US political establishment.
''I think he wants to reduce the sanctions and I think he's going to get a lot of heat for it. A lot of people believe in all the rhetoric and the discourse about 'The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming, we've got to punish them.' So he has to deal with this more gently. So he puts on this example of trying to reduce sanctions, and he doesn't remove them, but I think he is sort of testing the waters,'' Paul said.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - Iben Thranholm: European Men Need to Return to Heroes, Quit Acting like Women! - YouTube
Hi Peter, Thank you and no, I thought some silence may be best after a stormy motion. I don't think, and as far I have discovered reading the many people who write and share their thoughts and ideas on POM, there are none that were upset and traumatized about the disgusting and sick burning on the clip that JC posted. However, everyone of us human beings regardless of where we come from have their own unique and perhaps distinct way of dealing with trauma.
I am also unsure as to why and how you came to the conclusion that anyone has been taking a ''nibble at your heel'' Peter. I am certain you have taken this completely the wrong way. I am old enough, now in my mid 50's to know not be resentful or nasty with people who share high ideals and are good natured, well informed and wise. Why would I do that to you or anybody else, Peter? I am sorry, I think you have misunderstood me and my comments.
I also have no cause other than seeing abundance, loving-kindness and seeing people around me and everywhere happy, fulfilled and content. That has been my aim since my early 20's. So, no Peter, I can assure you that I had no bad or negative feelings or intentions regarding your comment whatsoever, but you are free to interpret what I wrote earlier, or not! In fact, with English being my second language, I often search for certain words, such as slangs and colloquial local terms that people use, in various English speaking countries, from which I had the fortune of having lived in 3 of them.
I have to admit, I have to read your particular posts a couple of times since I feel you have a lot to say and your writing style is far more complex than mine, and my range of vocabulary is probably not as good as a native English speaker, but I love etymology of words and that helps me a great deal to find the meanings of terms often.
Regarding Gurdjieff, I have to admit I am a big fan of this unique man of enigma and I had the fortune of meeting few of the ''remarkable men'' that admired his work, in my early years as an initiate of an Iranian Sufi order. So we share more than you thought perhaps.
Anyway, I do hope if you felt the slightest that I was in any way unkind or rude to you, I sincerely seek your forgiveness and I want you to know that there was no motives or any bad feelings whatsoever on my part.
I wish you a wonderful Saturday my dear friend.
VIDEO - Post-Brexit Brits seek Belgian nationality | Euronews
Very interesting Climate Change analyst done in a comical fashion by a Geologist.
What he says makes absolutely common sense and shows that all this 'Carbon Gas' fear is just simple plain politics (Put fear into the people and create money out of nothing by selling carbon credits).
BTW, if anyone on LL is a Geologist it'd be interesting if what he's saying is 'accurate as can be'.
Ian Rutherford Plimer (born 12 February 1946) is an Australian geologist, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companie
VIDEO - State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump, et al | United States Courts
Case Summary: 17-CV-00141-JLRThe State of Washington (State) filed this action challenging the President's Executive Order on immigration of January 27, 2017. The State seeks a finding that certain sections of the Executive Order are contrary to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and enjoining Defendants from implementing or enforcing those sections. The State further seeks entry of a nationwide temporary restraining order. The hearing on this matter was conducted on February 3, 2017.
Case HighlightsCase highlights for this case are not yet available.
Case-related documents, including those referenced above, are available via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. For more information, visit Pacer.gov.
State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump, et al
State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump, et al, Case Number 17-CV-00141-JLR, TRO Hearing, Civil Rights Case, 02/3/2017, 1:00 PM (PST), Seattle Federal Courthouse, Seattle, WA, Judge James L. Robart presiding.
VIDEO - Airlines allow passengers after judge blocks travel ban - CNNPolitics.com
US Customs and Border Protection informed major American airlines on a conference call late Friday that it was "back to business as usual," effective immediately, an airline executive told CNN.
The State Department has reversed the cancellation of visas provisionally revoked after Trump's executive order -- so long as those visas were not stamped or marked as canceled.
The State Department has said fewer than 60,000 visas were revoked since Trump signed the order January 27. It was not immediately clear how many from that group will continue to be without their visas because their visas were physically canceled.
Also, the Department of Homeland Security has suspended all actions to implement the order.
The department will resume inspections of travelers as it did before Trump's order, the agency's acting press secretary, Gillian Christensen, said in a statement Saturday.
Trump's executive order temporarily barred citizens from Yemen, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Iraq from entering the country. The move last week immediately prompted a slew of legal challenges.
Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, major operators that connect the Middle East to the United States, said Saturday they would allow citizens of the affected nations on their US-bound flights. Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways said those presenting a valid, unexpired visa or green card would also be allowed to board.
Air France also said it would accept passengers from the seven countries.
"Air France takes note of the decision of the American courts to suspend the presidential decree of 27 January 2017 prohibiting entry into the US for citizens of seven countries," the airline said.
"Consequently, and subject to satisfying the conditions of entry into the United States, as from today Air France will accept passengers from the countries concerned on its flights to the US."
Germany's largest carrier, Lufthansa, made a similar announcement but warned that "short-notice changes to the immigration regulations may occur at any time."
At New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, an advocate for immigrants praised the judge's order and said her organization is trying to educate travelers and family members about the latest developments.
Camille Mackler of the New York Immigration Coalition said she expects arrivals to begin soon. She said it's a "terrible, terrible thing" that some visas were marked as canceled and that people will have to begin the long, expensive process of replacing them."We're going to continue to fight back," she said. "This is wrong. This isn't how you govern a country."
No rush to the US
The travel ban has caused confusion in many countries, raising questions of whether people with dual nationality would still be barred from entering the country.
It first appeared that the Trump administration would strike deals country by country, but the Department of Homeland Security later clarified that the ban did not apply to dual nationals with passports from countries not on the list.
People traveling on diplomatic, NATO or UN visas were also exempt from the ban.
Despite the judge's ruling and airlines' announcements that the ban was halted, there appeared to be no rush to the United States from the regional hubs connecting passengers from the Middle East.
Dubai International Airport was quiet and orderly Saturday afternoon as two flights departed for New York and Los Angeles, a CNN journalist there said.
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport also was calm as flights departed as usual to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, Boston and Miami.
US District Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee in Washington state, temporarily stopped Trump's travel ban Friday night.
The White House quickly responded, calling the order "outrageous" and vowing to appeal.
"At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
The White House dropped the word "outrageous" minutes later in a second statement.
CNN's Adam Levine, Milena Veselinovic, Radina Gigova, Heba Moussa, Daniel Nikbakht, Atika Shubert, Jennifer Deaton and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.
[See NewsBusters for more.] Veteran journalist Tom Brokaw on Friday had some surprisingly tough words for rioting liberals at the campus of UC Berkeley, calling it ''outrageous'' that they would encourage violence over a speaker they didn't agree with. Appearing on Morning Joe, Brokaw also heaped praise on Judge Neil Gorsuch as ''distinguished'' and wondered why Democrats were picking a fight. Regarding the riots at Berkeley, Brokaw derided, ''They go to one of the great universities in the world. They are privileged people at that university and they can't hear somebody who comes and has a message that is'' unpopular. He scolded the protesters ''I think it's outrageous, quite honestly.''
VIDEO - Donald Trump Addresses Polish American Congress | Video | C-SPAN.org
September 28, 2016Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Remarks to the Polish American Congress Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke to a meeting of the Polish American Congress at the office of the Polish National Alliance in'... read more
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Remarks to the Polish American Congress Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke to a meeting of the Polish American Congress at the office of the Polish National Alliance in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Trump spoke about the need for a strong NATO and a missile defense system for the Republic of Poland, as well as Poland's inclusion into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. He was introduced by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. close
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - Gay Trump Supporter Beaten Unconscious on Texas Street After He Pulls Out Trump Lighter
Scott Sauter, a gay conservative, was walking from a comedy club back to his apartment in the Riverside Neighborhood of Austin, Texas this Sunday when he was brutally attacked, just for supporting our president.
Scott contacted The Gateway Pundit with his story.
Scott was beaten unconscious because he is a Trump supporter.He spoke with us tonight:
The Gateway Pundit: We've seen the pictures, what happened:
Scott Sauter: I lit up a cigarette and pulled out my lighter which has a picture of Donald Trump on it, a man approached me after noticing the lighter. He said 'You're in Austin. You are actually pulling a Donald Trump Lighter?! You don't think that's a big deal?' I told him that I support our president. That's when things got crazy. He became verbally aggressive. He started swearing, telling me that Austin is mostly Hispanic. It escalated from there, he stole my lighter and then he started beating the living sh*t out of me.
TGP: You didn't throw the first punch or anything? This man attacked you just for supporting the President?
Scott: I wasn't being aggressive at all. He grabbed my lighter, took it from me and then he started berating me. I told him that I support our president and I believe in his policies. That's when he started hitting me.
TGP: What did this man look like?
Scott: It was an African American man'... the police came when I was on the ground knocked unconscious. My head was busted open. I couldn't find my glasses. I could barely speak because my mouth was so swollen. I had to just get back to my apartment'... That's what you get for being a gay conservative.
TGP: That's a nightmare. Have you heard any more about the police investigation?
Scott: So far it's all pending. They aren't sure if it's a hate crime.
TGP: I'd go so far as to say that its a double hate crime. Not only are you gay '' which I know is liberal identity politics '' but more importantly you're conservative. And right now hate crimes against conservatives are on the rise. Did he take anything from you?
Scott: Just my trump lighter, and my glasses. He didn't mug me if that's what you're asking.
Liberal media and the narrative that they are pushing is inciting violence against everyday people who support the president of the United States.
Could you imagine if an Obama supporter was severely beaten up in 2008, simply for ''supporting the president of the United States''? Scott filed a police report in a predominantly liberal city in Texas. But what happened to him is considered acceptable behavior these days. Liberals think that if you're a conservative if you support our president, nothing else matters: they think we deserve to be physically attacked.He was a
He was a victim of what liberal media is making mainstream; it is alright to attack, to punch, to leave someone unconscious, just as long as they support our the president of the United States. How is this acceptable?
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VIDEO - Adding Insult to Injury, Trump Flirts With Classic Holocaust Denial - YouTube
De haat stroomt door de straten en de (sociale) media. Maar het is de goede haat, het is de haat tegen Donald Trump. De man is slecht en zal niets goed doen. Hij dient bestreden te worden altijd en overal en alles is geoorloofd. Alles. Madonna is niet de enige die droomt van een bom op het Witte Huis. "Waarom is hij nog niet dood?", las ik op een facebookpagina. Ook dat is Holland Against Hate.
Protestmarsen, politici in verkiezingstijd, journalisten, twitteraars en facebookvrienden, iedereen draagt zijn steentje bij aan de internationale strijd tegen het monster in het Witte Huis. Voor vragen is geen reden, twijfel is verdacht. Marianne Zwagerman deed bij RTL Late Night een dappere poging zich een moment aan de feiten te wijden, maar haar tafelgenoten hadden daar geen zin in en speculeerden liever in het luchtledige over wat Trump egenlijk van plan is.
Het is de dynamiek van alle berichtgeving over Trump. Elke maatregel, elk decreet is maar kort het nieuws, omdat in no time de reacties erop het nieuws worden. Luchthavens die bezet worden, manifestaties, artiesten die zich uitspreken, speculeren aan een talkshowtafel. Een handige manier om het beleid van Trump publicitair te kapen en naar eigen wens in te kleuren.
Zo kan het strengere deurbeleid in Amerika voor de zeven islamitische landen blijven voortleven als toegangsverbod voor moslims, terwijl het dat niet is. Zo'n plan had Trump w(C)l als kandidaat, maar heeft dat blijkbaar om meerdere redenen moeten inslikken. Op de selectie van landen valt van alles af te dingen, op de stuntelige invoering ervan nog meer en het - tijdelijke - inreisverbod veroorzaakt een boel leed, maar daarmee discimineert de maatregel nog geen moslims.
Daarvoor blijven voor de meeste moslims de toegangsregels voor Amerika dezelfde als voor wie dan ook. En toch houdt iedereen die het uitkomt 't op een toegangsverbod voor moslims.
Het plan voor een muur met Mexico leverde Trump in de verkiezingstijd al het stempel 'racist' op, omdat hij latino's uit Mexico, Guatamala en Honduras buiten de deur zou willen houden. Desondanks stemde een vijfde van de latino's in Amerika op Trump.
De muur lijkt er te komen, niet om Amerika af te grendelen voor immigranten, maar om illegale immigratie te stoppen. De stempelinkt is onuitwisbaar, Trump is en blijft altijd een racist.
De Verenigde Staten worstelen al decennia met illegale immigratie. Dit is wat de Democraat Bill Clinton er over zei toen hij president was:
"Veel Amerikanen zijn terecht verontwaardigd over de grote aantallen illegale immigranten die ons land binnenkomen. De banen die ze inpikken en hun gebruik van publieke diensten betekenen extra lasten voor onze belastingbetalers. Daarom gaat deze regering op een agressieve manier onze grenzen beter bewaken. Door het aanstellen van een record aantal grensbewakers en het deporteren van twee keer zoveel criminele illegalen."
Clinton werd niet uitgemaakt voor racist en zelfs niet voor populist. Clinton kreeg een staande ovatie.
Ik kan me voorstellen dat er gisteren tussen de demonstranten op het Malieveld in Den Haag een aantal mensen liep, dat elkaar herkende van de demonstraties tegen het vrijhandelsverdrag TTIP. Dankzij Trump ligt TTIP in de prullemand. Alle reden voor linkse anti-globalisten Trump daarvoor te bedanken. Tsja, dat zou wat zijn. Nee, Trump is duizend keer erger dan TTIP.
Maar de man is gekozen als president van de Verenigde Staten. Het is van groot belang dat we een heldere blik houden op zijn daden. Wat helpt is nuchter kijken naar de feiten en het selecteren van een aantal scherpe commentaren op zijn beleid. Die staan ook in Nederlandse kranten.
Wat niet helpt zijn politici in verkiezingstijd, die zo graag aanhaken bij de anti-Trump hysterie. De tandem Pechtold-Klaver die zich zorgen maakt of Rutte en Koenders wel krachtig genoeg de Amerikaanse immigratiekoers veroordelen. Of Asscher die aan de tafel van DWDD hengelt naar kiezers op het Malieveld door Trump te vergelijken met Adolf Hitler.
Ik mag hopen dat Trump hier geen groot verkiezingsthema wordt. Daarvoor zijn de eigen problemen - in Nederland en Europa - te talrijk.
Maar de haat voor Trump doet anders vrezen. Nog maar 10 van zijn eerste 100 dagen achter de rug en we lijken al niet meer los te komen van een vreemde, overweldigende en angstaanjagende werkelijkheid waarin helder zien en handelen hebben plaats gemaakt voor een voortdurend waarschuwen tegen Donald Trump.
VIDEO - Drew Carey's son was the Deploraball firestarter | Page Six
The boy who boasted to a reporter that he started a fire at a pre-Inauguration Day protest is the son of comic Drew Carey '-- an outspoken critic of the Leader of the Free World, according to a report on Thursday.
Connor Carey simply got ''caught up in the emotions of the crowd'' at the Jan. 19 protest in Washington, DC, a source close to the 11-year-old's famous pop told TMZ.
He was in ''hot water'' after his parents saw the clip '-- although it's not clear what, if any, discipline was imposed.
At the protest, a grinning Connor is asked why he started the small blaze outside the National Press Club in Washington, where a pro-Trump ''Deploraball'' party was being held.
He responded: ''Because I felt like it and I'm just '... saying, screw our president!''
Connor ''regretted his choice of words'' after a sit-down with his parents, the source told the site.
The clip of the news segment was shared on Facebook more than 10.4 million times, with many commenters criticizing the parents of the initially unidentified lad.
''This is what happens when you don't discipline your kids,'' Facebook user Michael Brown commented.
Eric Lucas commented, ''Horrible parenting! Should be in bed and parents in jail.''
But it appears the younger Carey takes after his famous father.
The Cleveland-born comic, 58, while a registered Republican, backed Libertarian Gary Johnson for president because he said the ex-governor of New Mexico wasn't a ''maniac or a liar.''
''I don't need a national daddy, or mommy,'' Carey said when asked about his support for Johnson. And when asked who was the ''lesser of two evils'' between Trump and Hillary Clinton, he said ''Gary Johnson. I don't give a f'--k. If your person doesn't get enough votes, you lose. I don't want to hear it. There are more than two choices and you are allowed to vote for whoever you want. This is America. If you can't get the votes to win, tough s'--t.''
And in 2015, Carey tweeted ''Donald Trump Is a Bad Person,'' linking to an article with that same headline.
VIDEO - Andrew Breitbart Explains Cultural Marxism - YouTube