Facebook Gave Money To 85% Of House Committee “Questioning” Zuckerberg Next Week ~ ZeroHedge


 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/zuck_at_APEC.0%20%281%29_0.jpg?itok=848B2RIE

Facebook and affiliated political groups have donated heavily to members of two committees set to interview CEO Mark Zuckerberg next week, according to analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics via USA Today.

Since 2007, the social media giant has contributed a cumulative $381,000 to 46 of the 55 members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will hear from Zuckerberg on Wednesday.

While the average committee member received between $6,750 and $6,800, Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) received $27,000, and top ranking Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey received $7,000 from Facebook.

Rep. Anna Eschoo (D-CA), whose district is adjacent to Facebook headquarters and home to many Facebook employees, received the most from Facebook at $55,150 since 2007. Eschoo narrowly lost a battle with Pallone for ranking Democrat position on the committee in the 2014 election.

Walden and Pallone announced Zuckerberg’s appearance on Wednesday to testify on “critical consumer data privacy issues.”

“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online,” Messrs. Walden and Pallone said in a Wednesday statement. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th.” (also, thanks for all that money Zuck! We’ll be sure to put the softballs on a plastic “T” for you)

Meanwhile, a Roll Call report reveals that two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have nearly $100,000 invested in shares of Facebook – with Democratic Reps. Joe Kennedy of MA and Kurt Schrader of OR owning approximately $80,000 and $15,000 respectively.

Twenty-eight members listed stock in the social media giant, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress project. Among them, Democratic Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island sits on Senate Judiciary.

Both panels, along with Senate Commerce, invited Zuckerberg to appear before them after reports that Cambridge Analytica, a British big data firm, obtained access to private information of millions of Facebook users under questionable circumstances. Cambridge Analytica reportedly incorporated the data in ad-targeting tools used by political campaigns including President Donald Trump’s winning 2016 bid.

“Congressman Kennedy’s stock holdings do not influence his work in Congress,” his office said in response to questions from Roll Call about his Facebook shares. –Roll Call

Ten Democratic members of the Committee, including Kennedy, sent a letter last Thursday to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to commend the agency on its investigation into Facebook.

Meanwhile House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi owns at least $500,000 shares of Facebook through her husband, while Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul reported at least $1 million in Facebook stock and around $30,000 in 2016 capital gains through his wife and child.

Pelosi’s office noted “These investments are Mr. Pelosi’s not Leader Pelosi’s. Leader Pelosi plays no role in this investment and has no stock investments of her own,” an aide said.

That’s not all…

Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider has at least $200,000 in the company through his wife’s IRA, while Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, a fellow Democrat, holds stock worth at least $115,000 and had capital gains of more than $5,000, according to his 2016 financial disclosure. Ohio Republican Rep. James B. Renacci also owns at least $150,000 worth of Facebook stock.

Several lawmakers with holdings in the company say they recognize that new policies on social media oversight are needed after the latest developments. –Roll Call

Several other members of Congress own Facebook as well – however one Senator, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) wants nothing to do with Facebook, and has announced that he will be selling his shares.

According to Roll Call, here are all the members of Congress who listed Facebook holdings in their 2016 financial disclosures, along with the minimum worth of their stocks and of any capital gains or dividends.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-07/facebook-gave-money-85-house-committee-questioning-zuckerberg-next-week

Advertisements

Don’t Fix Facebook… Replace It ~ ZeroHedge


 

Authored by Tim Wu, op-ed via The New York Times,

After years of collecting way too much data, Facebook has finally been caught in the facilitation of one privacy debacle too many.

When Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, testifies before Congress this week, lawmakers will no doubt ask how Facebook might restore the public’s trust and whether it might accept some measure of regulation.

Yet in the big picture, these are the wrong questions to be asking.

The right question: What comes after Facebook? Yes, we have come to depend on social networks, but instead of accepting an inherently flawed Facebook monopoly, what we most need now is a new generation of social media platforms that are fundamentally different in their incentives and dedication to protecting user data. Barring a total overhaul of leadership and business model, Facebook will never be that platform.

Every business has its founding DNA. Real corporate change is rare, especially when the same leaders remain in charge. In Facebook’s case, we are not speaking of a few missteps here and there, the misbehavior of a few aberrant employees. The problems are central and structural, the predicted consequences of its business model. From the day it first sought revenue, Facebook prioritized growth over any other possible goal, maximizing the harvest of data and human attention. Its promises to investors have demanded an ever-improving ability to spy on and manipulate large populations of people. Facebook, at its core, is a surveillance machine, and to expect that to change is misplaced optimism.

What the journalist Walter Lippmann said in 1959 of “free” TV is also true of “free” social media: It is ultimately “the creature, the servant and indeed the prostitute of merchandizing.”

But social media itself isn’t going away. It has worked its way into our lives and has come to help satistify the basic human need to connect and catch up. Facebook, in fact, claims lofty goals, saying it seeks to “bring us closer together” and “build a global community.” Those are indeed noble purposes that social media can serve. But if they were Facebook’s true goals, we would not be here.

The ideal competitor and successor to Facebook would be a platform that actually puts such goals first. To do so, however, it cannot be just another data-hoarder, like Google Plus. If we have learned anything over the last decade, it is that advertising and data-collection models are incompatible with a trustworthy social media network. The conflicts are too formidable, the pressure to amass data and promise everything to advertisers is too strong for even the well-intentioned to resist.

So what stands in the way of building a genuine alternative? It isn’t the technology. A good Facebook competitor needs merely to build a platform that links you with friends and allows posting of thoughts, pictures and comments. No, the real challenge is gaining a critical mass of users. Facebook, with its 2.2 billion users, will not disappear, and it has a track record of buying or diminishing its rivals (see Instagram and Foursquare). But as Lyft is proving by stealing market share from Uber, and as Snapchat proved by taking taking younger audiences from Facebook, “network effects” are not destiny. Now is the time for a new generation of Facebook competitors that challenge the mother ship.

One set of Facebook alternatives might be provided by firms that are credibly privacy-protective, for which users would pay a small fee (perhaps 99 cents a month). In an age of “free” social media, paying might sound implausible — but keep in mind that payment better aligns the incentives of the platform with those of its users. The payment and social network might be bundled with other products such as the iPhone or the Mozilla or Brave browser.

Another “alt-Facebook” could be a nonprofit that uses that status to signal its dedication to better practices, much as nonprofit hospitals and universities do. Wikipedia is a nonprofit, and it manages nearly as much traffic as Facebook, on a much smaller budget. An “alt-Facebook” could be started by Wikimedia, or by former Facebook employees, many of whom have congregated at the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit for those looking to change Silicon Valley’s culture. It could even be funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was created in reaction to the failures of commercial television and whose mission includes ensuring access to “telecommunications services that are commercial free and free of charge.”

When a company fails, as Facebook has, it is natural for the government to demand that it fix itself or face regulation. But competition can also create pressure to do better. If today’s privacy scandals lead us merely to install Facebook as a regulated monopolist, insulated from competition, we will have failed completely.

The world does not need an established church of social media.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-09/dont-fix-facebook-replace-it

Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower: Facebook Able to Listen to You at Home and Work


Former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie (Image via YouTube)

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christoper Wylie, appearing before a committee of British MPs on Tuesday, said that Facebook has the ability to spy on users in their homes and offices.

The British parliament is investigating Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in the Brexit election. MP Damian Collins, who chaired the committee, asked Wylie whether Facebook has the ability to listen to what people are talking about in order to better target them with ads.

“There’s been various speculation about the fact that Facebook can, through the Facebook app on your smartphone, listen in to what people are talking about and discussing and using that to prioritize the advertising as well,” Collins said. “Other people would say, no, they don’t think it’s possible. It’s just that the Facebook system is just so good at predicting what you’re interested in that it can guess.” He asked for Wylie’s thoughts on the possibility.

“On a comment about using audio and processing audio, you can use it for, my understanding generally of how companies use it… not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context,” Wylie said. “So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you’re in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment.” He clarified, “It’s not to say they’re listening to what you’re saying. It’s not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale. But to understand the environmental context of where you are to improve the contextual value of the ad itself” is possible.

Wylie continued: “There’s audio that could be useful just in terms of are you in an office environment, are you outside, are you watching TV?”

Facebook has long denied allegations that its app listens in on users in order to customize ads.

“I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true,” Rob Goldman, vice president of ads products at Facebook, tweeted on October 2017. “That includes Facebook-owned Instagram,” he added.

But users have raised concerns about the practice after observing that they’ve been targeted with ads for products they’ve never expressed an interest in online. Many Facebook users have reported examples and alleged evidence that the app is listening in on their conversations.

During the hearing, the former employee of Cambridge Analytica, who told MPs that he’s a “progressive Euroskeptic,”  was also asked whether the company used “coercion to achieve their desired electoral results.”

Citing the “Nigeria project” as an example, Wylie said he “got incredibly panicked phone calls” from people involved in the project. “Several people were threatened with their lives and they had to immediately leave the country,” he said.

Wylie told the committee that he was informed by Cambridge Analytica shortly after he began his position that Dan Muresan, his predecessor, had been poisoned and died in Kenya after a political deal went wrong. Emphasizing that what he had heard was “pure speculation,” Wylie said he had been told police had been bribed not to enter the hotel room where Muresan had been found.

“My predecessor was found dead. One of my former coworkers had a massive head injury and is missing part of his skull. People do get hurt at this firm.” He added that people are afraid to come forward to talk about the company “because it’s that intimidating.”

In an apparent pushback, Cambridge Analytica tweeted that Wylie’s role in the company had been limited.

You can watch the entire hearing below. The discussion of Facebook’s alleged audio surveillance begins at 2:58.

Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, and Hollywood Hypocrites….Sane Progressive


 

Note: Outstanding feedback on the manipulation from the mainstream press and the Hollywood celebrity’s who use their power to manipulate public opinion. So relieving to see people are finally waking up to the hypocrisy.

This was a good speech. Try to ignore the audio glitches, Sane Progressive was banned from YouTube 3mo’s ago for reporting truth on the Las Vegas shootings and it appears they may be tinkering with her video’s. Blessings, {~A~}

 

Ghion Journal article on Oprah: https://ghionjournal.com/oprah-20never/ Jeff Bezos CIA https://www.alternet.org/media/owner-… NBC tweets Our President: https://www.mediaite.com/online/nbc-t…

Puerto Rico: A Public Health Catastrophe By Stephen Lendman Global Research, October 03, 2017


VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke deplorably called the federal response to crisis conditions in Puerto Rico a “good news story,” adding she’s “very satisfied.”

San Juan Mayor Yulin Cruz emotionally responded, saying

“(w)ell, maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good-news story.”

“When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good-news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good-news story.”

“When you have to pull people down from their buildings – I’m sorry, but that really upsets and frustrates me.”

“I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that, which frankly is an irresponsible statement and contrast with the statements of support that I have been getting since yesterday when I got that call from the White House.”

Cruz continued adding

“(d)ammit, this is not a good-news story. This is a people-are-dying story. This is a life-or-death story.”

“This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food or water.”

“If I could scream it a lot more louder: It is not a good-news story when people are dying when they don’t have dialysis, when their generators aren’t working and their oxygen isn’t providing for them.”

“Where is there good news here? The good news is we’re getting heard. For heaven’s sake, somebody let them do their job. Let them get the food and water into the hands of people, and then we can talk about good news.”

Washington knows what to do.

“For heaven’s sake,” start doing it, Cruz stressed. “(W)hen you have people dying literally, scraping for food, where is the good news?”

Thousands remain in temporary shelters, many others stranded in the wreckage of their residences. Around 80% of Puerto Rican agriculture was destroyed. Nearly all power transmission lines were knocked out, over 95% of the island still without power, continuing for many months in isolated areas.

Around half the population has no access to drinking water. Hospitals can’t function normally, struggling to keep seriously ill patients alive. Many thousands of jobs were lost for impoverished islanders, many working in agriculture.

According to Agricultural Economics Professor Jayson Harper, Hurricane Maria destroyed high value crops. Some will take years to replace, he explained.

The coffee industry was hit at the worst time, just before beans are harvested, the crop largely destroyed.

Supplies delivered to ports are stuck in docks for lack of transportation. Nearly two weeks ago, the strongest hurricane in nearly 90 years devastated the Island, creating crisis conditions for its 3.4 million residents.

On Monday, Florida International University Dean Tomas Guilarte said conditions in Puerto Rico continue deteriorating. A public health catastrophe looms.

“When the sewer system stops working, wastewater – aka human feces and urine – and seaborne bacteria contaminate the water supply.”

“This leads to bacterial infections – such as cholera, dysentery, E. coli and typhoid – that can be disastrous. The typical treatments, like tetanus shots or powerful antibiotics, are not readily available on the island, where medical supplies are quickly running out.”

According to FEMA, 58 of the island’s 69 hospitals have no power or fuel for generators. Only one is operating normally. Water can’t be boiled to kill bacteria. Some toxins become concentrated by the boiling process.

It kills harmful organisms, not toxic chemicals, compounds, salts, and heavy metals. Disease-causing pathogens contaminated areas affected by floodwaters.

Toxicity seeping from Puerto Rico’s Battery Recycling Company in the Arecibo coastal area alone “could be off the charts,” said Guilarte.

Immediate congressional action is vital, appropriating enough funds for food, medical supplies and medicines, along with other essentials to life.

Most islanders are impoverished. Residents evacuated by government aircraft and other means of transportation have to sign promissory notes to repay the cost, a disgraceful situation.

Public health and welfare are essential human rights. Trump disgracefully lied, tweeting

“(w)e have done a great job with the impossible situation in Puerto Rico.”

Islanders are suffering under devastating conditions. The Trump administration failed to go all-out to help.

It serves privileged Americans exclusively, disdainful of others – notably millions of Puerto Ricans, Floridians and Texans devastated by hurricane damage, largely on their own to cope.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Volunteer Pilots Swoop Into Puerto Rico With Supplies and Leave With Survivors


Paul Weissman/Facebook

ANGELS

They came from as far away as Connecticut at a moment’s notice, landing at an airport without radar, and taking off with women and children.

Paul Weismann got the call for help Monday night at his home in Connecticut. By Tuesday afternoon, he was flying to Puerto Rico on his personal plane, with food, water, and power generators as his passengers.

“You fly over Puerto Rico on the way to the airport, and you see the place is wrecked,” Weismann told The Daily Beast. At night, “a few streets and highways are lit up, because of people and businesses with generators. But the rest of the island was just pitch black.”

After landing on the island destroyed by Hurricane Maria last week, Weismann reloaded his plane—this time with young children, mothers, and senior citizens—and took off for the U.S. mainland.

Weismann isn’t a professional rescue pilot though. He’s a Connecticut-based investor working with Patient Airlift Services (PALS), a network of volunteer pilots. PALS mobilized pilots from across the U.S. to help Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this hurricane season.

“You name it, we’ve done it,” said Eileen Minogue, the executive director of PALS. “We literally jumped into the deep end together to provide disaster relief and it just hasn’t stopped. We’ve been working for 30 days in a row right now pretty much round the clock just trying to provide support first in Houston and now in the islands.”

Her group, which usually provides airlift relief support within the United State’s northeast region, has partnered with other nonprofits to serve hurricane-stricken regions in Texas, Florida, and now the Caribbean. Since Maria hit, PALS has sent volunteer pilots to Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico daily, bringing satellite phones, water filters, generators, tarps, hammers, and medical supplies.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Pilots flew to Puerto Rico at their own risk; the storm disabled several traffic-control radars in San Juan.

“The hurricane knocked out all their radars, and I think most of their radio communications,” Weismann said. “They have technical teams, but the roads are all blocked, and the radars are up on the mountains.”

Much of Weismann’s work has been delivering supplies to air traffic controllers, so the airport can handle more planes. But he and other PALS pilots have also worked to evacuate some people to Florida, especially young children and senior citizens. Those chosen for evacuation are vetted through FEMA or other philanthropic groups on the ground.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Bob Lambert is a pilot from Michigan and has flown rescue missions for the past 10 years. He said he recently evacuated around 20 people, including children and their chaperones, from St. Thomas after flying rescue workers to the island.

“What becomes a little difficult mentally when you evacuate people, is deciding who really needs to go first,” he said. “That’s always a tough one mentally for me… That’s the emotional drain, making sure the people are safe and doing the best you can for the people.”

Paul Weissman/Facebook

On Thursday morning, Weismann had evacuated 16 people, and was flying to Dominica, where he planned to evacuate more. Sometimes, as was the case with four mothers and their young children, Weismann coordinated with families to plan evacuations in advance. But spotty post-hurricane cellphone service meant that some planned evacuations fell through.

“People are contacting me asking if I can bring people out,” he said. “These contacts try to get in touch with people, telling them to get to the airport at the agreed time and find me. But they can’t get ahold of anybody because the phones are so terrible and spotty. People’s phones are going dead and can’t be recharged because they have no power.”

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Fortunately, communications are still working from the air. Lambert said the only difference between flying to a storm-ravaged area and flying under normal conditions is that pilots need to carry extra fuel for the plane in case they receive incorrect information about landing conditions and have to turn back.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

“It’s just human nature to try and help,” Lambert said. Small aircraft like those he and fellow PALS volunteers fly are “not a long-term necessity but the ability to react immediately and get on station quickly and land at small airports… we can literally respond in minutes or hours given the large number of airplanes that are willing to do this.”

Paul Weissman/Facebook

Minogue said PALS expects to continue their efforts in Puerto Rico for the next four to six weeks.

“It just has escalated,” she said. “The 150 flights that we did in Harvey was a piece of cake compared to what we’re having to do in the islands.

Weismann said with increased demand has come a flood of volunteers.

Paul Weissman/Facebook

“There’s hundreds of people coming out of chartered airlines,” Weismann said. “And firefighters, park service workers, forestry workers, rangers, and police. I saw a lot of FDNY there stacked up, ready to go inland and deploy. It was pretty moving to see what’s going on.”

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/volunteer-pilots-swoop-into-puerto-rico-with-supplies-and-leave-with-survivors

Iceland’s Government Just Collapsed Amid A Pedophilia Scandal


Meanwhile, Brexit is destabilizing the region, Donald Trump is rattling NATO and China is flexing its muscles.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland ― Iceland’s government has collapsed amid uproar over Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s father helping expunge the criminal record of a convicted child rapist.

The centrist Bright Future party dropped out of the three-party, conservative coalition, eliminating its one-seat parliamentary majority. Benediktsson called a snap election on Friday as protesters gathered near the parliament building in this city’s posh downtown area.

“We have lost the majority, and I don’t see anything that indicates we can regain that,” Benediktsson said Friday at a press conference. “I am calling an election.”

The party blamed Benediktsson for failing to inform the government that his father wrote a letter recommending a pardon for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson. Hauksson was convicted in 2004 of raping his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years, starting when she was 5 years old. He served nearly six years in prison, but was granted “restored honor” last August ― a legal status encoded in old Icelandic law that allows criminals who receive three letters of recommendation speaking to their good character to have their records wiped clean and go on to serve in public office or work as an attorney.

Hauksson’s victim described the pardon as “surreal” and said he continues to harass her in text messages and phone calls, according to The Reykjavík Grapevine, an English-language newspaper in Iceland.

Benediktsson said elections would take place in November. Despite the scandal, he could return to power.

Asgeir Asgeirsson / Reuters
Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson arrives at the presidential residence in Bessastadir, Iceland, on Saturday. 

The Independence Party leader refused to step down as the nation’s finance minister after his name appeared in the Panama Papers last year, despite 60 percent of Icelanders calling for his departure. The leaked cache of financial documents showed he once owned part of an offshore investment firm in the Seychelles. Then-Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned two days after reporters began publishing the documents, as an estimated 6.6 percent of Iceland’s population took to the streets in protest.

The tree-lined square near the parliament building was quiet on Saturday night, as well-heeled tourists dined at the neighborhood’s trendy restaurants and drank in its pubs.

Yet the disintegration of the coalition ― which had been in power for just nine months ― comes at a particularly sensitive time for the island nation of less than 335,000 people.

“Iceland needs to remain a functioning country despite the crisis at election time,” Damien Degeorges, a Reykjavik-based international consultant, told HuffPost on Saturday evening. “There’s no room for putting things on hold because you’re waiting on a new government.”

The head of the legislature, called the Alþingi, canceled a budget debate Friday after the government disbanded, and no other sessions were listed on its official website. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a parliamentarian from the anarchist Pirate Party, told HuffPost on Sunday that she was fighting to convene lawmakers at least one more time before the legislative session officially ended.

“The parliament is supposed to be a safety valve in regard to the executive branch,” she said in a phone interview, during which she jokingly derided Benediktsson as the “crime minister.”

“We still have pending bills and resolutions that need to be ratified,” she added. “It’s time-sensitive stuff.”

Top party officials are scheduled to meet Monday morning to discuss plans to move forward, she said. Alþingi President Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir did not immediately respond to a call and email requesting comment on Sunday.

Iceland emerged from a deep financial crisis in 2011 to a tourism-fueled economic boom. The country is set to welcome a record 2.3 million visitors this year, a 30 percent surge from 2016. The economy expanded 7.2 percent last year. In March, the government lifted capital controls put in place nine years ago after three banks failed and sent the country spiraling into its great recession. Cranes dot the skyline, a sign of rapid housing construction.

But Iceland’s recovery, hailed by some as a miracle, has made it a critical player in the drama over Britain’s exit from the European Union. The United Kingdom was Iceland’s second-largest trading partner in 2015, buying $611 million of the country’s roughly $5.4 billion in exports. Iceland is not a member of the EU, but it participates in the European Free Trade Association alongside Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Icelandic Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Thór Thórðarson extended an olive branch to the British during an interview on BBC Radio 4 earlier this month. The British risk being penalized by France and Germany in Brexit negotiations.

“Everyone wants to make a free-trade deal with Britain,” he said. “You are the fifth-largest economy in the world. Everyone wants to sell you goods and services. It’s as simple as that.”

Without a stable government in Iceland, British Prime Minister Theresa May appears even more alone. Her political mandate shattered after the Labour Party’s surprise surge in the election.

“Iceland needs to be functioning well for this period,” Degeorges said.

Despite its size, Iceland has long played an outsize role in international affairs. It hosted the famed 1986 summit between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union premier Mikhail Gorbachev that marked the beginning of the Cold War’s end.

The country also looked to confirm its status as an arbiter between the U.S. and Russia earlier this year, when officials in Washington and the Kremlin considered it as a venue for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit never took place, but the talks underscored the strategic importance of a country that has no military and therefore depends on NATO for its defenses. Trump has repeatedly threatened NATO allies for not paying enough for their defenses and made unprecedented suggestions that he would not honor long-standing security pacts.

Iceland has long courted superpowers. In 2013, it became the first European country to sign a free-trade agreement with China. The accord came as China ramps up its ambitions in the Arctic. Last year, Beijing took a nearly 10 percent stake in a Russian natural gas project, amounting to a $1.2 billion investment from its $40 billion Silk Road Fund. China has yet to expand into Nordic countries, but in March, two top Icelandic executives wrote an op-ed in The Diplomat proposing Beijing as a natural partner to build up infrastructure in the region.

Iceland seems keen to hold China at a comfortable distance. Earlier this month, the ruling coalition moved to tighten rules limiting foreign ownership of Icelandic land. The decision appeared to be aimed at blocking an unidentified Chinese investor from buying a nearly 5-square-mile plot of land to build a resort in the island’s touristy Golden Circle, according to Bloomberg.

But, at least for now, those have become a distant worry.

“Violence against women is a direct threat to the democratic participation of women, and therefore a direct threat to Icelandic democracy,” The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association wrote in a statement following the government’s collapse. “How can we build an equal and progressive society, when we still can’t guarantee the safety of all our citizens?”

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/iceland-government-collapse_us_59bddeb2e4b02da0e1427d63

The House Just Stripped Medical Marijuana States Of Protection From The DEA


Note: I’d have more to say on Attorney General Granny Clampets latest move to ignore the non-consent of the governed to repeal medical marijuana protections; but, as my grandmother always said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nything at all. Hopefully the Senate will stop that wretched Granny in her tracks…

Seriously, what good is this man as AG when the Clintons. Podesta and Bush’s still run free. Banker’s are still stealing peoples homes. And where are all the mass arrests for high profile pedophiles? Sessions is nothing but a prison for profit WHORE, another Swamp Monster who could care less about the wishes of American’s whose taxes fund his paychecks…

Oopss…that wasn’t very nice was it – sorry Grandma!

States that have legalized medical marijuana could soon get an unwanted visit from the DEA. Yesterday, Congress stunned the cannabis industry by rejecting the only legal protection preventing Attorney General Jeff “good people don’t smoke marijuana” Sessions from cracking down on those 30 states for violating federal cannabis prohibition.

Back in 2014, lawmakers passed an amendment to the federal budget to protect state-legalized medical marijuana industries and the patients they serve. The amendment prevented the DEA from spending a single penny on enforcing cannabis prohibition in those states. It didn’t overturn federal cannabis prohibition or legalize medical marijuana, but it did tie the Department of Justice’s hands by freezing their finances.

At the time, medical marijuana was legal in 21 states, a number that has grown to 30 since then. But they could all be shuttered soon because that amendment — which has to be renewed with every budget — was rejected yesterday by the House Rules Committee. That means the House can’t include the rider in their final version of the federal budget.

If the budget passes without that rider, budtenders, dispensary owners, doctors recommending cannabis and even medical marijuana patients could face prosecution for their involvement in the industry. And not just for what they’re doing right now. They could be charged with offences dating back to when they got involved in the state’s cannabis industry.

And Attorney General Sessions might do just that since he’s been itching to crackdown on those states. Since taking office, Sessions has ramped up anti-marijuana rhetoric in America. And last May, he asked Congress to drop the amendment so that he could unleash the DEA on medical marijuana states if he saw fit. His request was denied in July by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but it seems like his message resonated in the House.

The fight for the marijuana amendment isn’t over yet though. The budget has yet to reach the Senate, where the rider could be re-inserted with support from Senators Cory Booker (D – NJ), Mike Lee (R – UT), Lisa Murkowski (R – AK), Rand Paul (R – KY), Bernie Sanders (D – VT) and others.

But even if it does get reinserted and passed, the amendment only buys patients, doctors and businesses a small window of relief before they have to start looking over their shoulders for DEA helicopters again. The reality is that the industry won’t be safe until Congress listens to the 94 percent of Americans who support medical marijuana and changes the country’s criminally outdated cannabis laws.

 

https://www.civilized.life/articles/medical-marijuana-states-stripped-dea-protection/

Ohio Reporter Shot Without Warning For Photographing Routine Traffic Stop


In one of the more bizarre stories to hit national news this week, an Ohio sheriff’s deputy is under investigation for shooting a local reporter who innocently set up a camera and tripod on a public sidewalk to document a routine traffic stop. What’s more is the shooting took place in a small town where “everyone knows everybody” and the police officer and victim were actually friends.

Ohio based New Carlisle News reports that its own photographer was shot in the incident which occurred Monday night:

Andy Grimm was shot by a Clark County deputy Monday evening. Andy had left the office around 10:00 p.m. to take pictures of lightning. There was a traffic stop on Main Street near Studebaker’s Restaurant, but Andy was not the subject of the stop. He had his camera and tripod in his hands and Deputy Jake Shaw apparently mistook it for a weapon and fired, striking Andy in the side. He was rushed to Miami Valley Hospital for surgery. He is expected to recover from his wounds.


Image source: New Carlisle News

Body camera video released by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office shows Deputy Jake Shaw shoot Grimm. The shooting sequence begins at 3:20 in as the officer is checking info inside the police car on speeder he pulls over.

In an unexpected twist, the wounded cameraman is now pleading for the officer to keep his job. Grimm told local reporters, “I know Jake. I like Jake. I don’t want him to lose his job over this,” in reference to the sheriff’s deputy that shot him.

The victim’s father, Dale Grimm, told The Washington Post that his son “got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck. He was setting up his camera, and he heard pops.” Sheriff’s deputy Jake Shaw reportedly gave no warning before firing.

The case has been turned over to the the Ohio state attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Division. While it’s entirely possible that there’s much more here than what’s being reported – for example, there could have been some kind of personal dispute between the friends – the strange incident is part of a growing list of “shoot first, ask questions later” incidents which display an increasingly militarized and trigger-happy mentality by local and state police.

As we reported last week in The Alarming Militarization of American Police, it is deeply disturbing that the federal government currently seeks to pass on military hardware to local and state authorities which continue to display lack of judgement as well as over the top tactics while dealing with routine local civilian matters. Local police forces should never operate like the Pentagon, but it appears we’re headed down precisely that path:

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order clearing the way for local police in America to receive military gear such as grenade launchers, high-calibre weapons, and armored vehicles. Trump and the DOJ have just reversed former President Barack Obama’s restrictions that allows local police departments to receive surplus military equipment.

…Let’s not kid ourselves, America by the day is turning into a police state where power through police force is the objective. The citizens of the police state may experience restrictions on social or financial mobility, or even on their freedom to express or communicate alternative political views.

No, the sheriff’s deputy who possibly mistook a simple camera and tripod on a small-town street for a mounted assault rifle should not keep his job – he is an absolute danger to society. But could we imagine if such police made regular use of mounted 50-caliber machine guns and grenade launchers?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-06/ohio-reporter-shot-without-warning-photographing-routine-traffic-stop

Arkema Explosions – Plume may increase Evac Zone…Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules 8/31/17


Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules

Source link
News Report Video link

UPDATE at 4:13pm ET: Arkema originally reported that there were two explosions at its Crosby facility. Law enforcement authorities have since said that there were no explosions. The company’s CEO has said that there is “noxious” smoke coming from the facility. This story will continue to be updated to reflect the ongoing situation.

The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing “noxious” smoke and may explode successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times. The rules, which were set to go into effect this year, were halted by the Trump administration after a furious lobbying campaign by plant owner Arkema and its affiliated trade association, the American Chemistry Council, which represents a chemical industry that has poured tens of millions of dollars into federal elections.

The effort to stop the chemical plant safety rules was backed by top Texas Republican lawmakers, who have received big campaign donations from chemical industry donors.

Representatives from Arkema Americas and the American Chemistry Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2013, a West, Texas, chemical plant explosion killed 15 people, prompting the Obama administration to try to raise chemical plant safety standards (investigators later found the explosion was caused deliberately). In an executive order that year, President Obama proposed an overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program with the goal of increasing safety and transparency at chemical plants by strengthening existing regulations. The EPA said the enhanced rules would “seek to improve chemical process safety, assist local emergency authorities in planning for and responding to accidents, and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated source.”

Arkema has six production plants in Texas and has received more than $8.7 million worth of taxpayer subsidies from the state. Arkema’s Crosby plant — which OSHA fined more than $90,000 for ten “serious” violations earlier this year and has spewedsmoke in Crosby — appears to be covered under the existing EPA rules because of the kinds of chemicals it uses. While Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has given chemical companies legal cover to hide the locations of their EPA-regulated chemicals, the Associated Press reports that the imperiled Arkema facility houses large amounts of toxic sulfur dioxide and flammable methylpropen, which required Arkema to submit a risk management plan to the agency —  and which would have subjected the company to the strengthened safety rules.

However, those rules — which would have taken effect on March 14 — were blocked by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The move was a big win for the chemical industry that has spent more than $100 million supporting federal lawmakers since 2008. Among those who have received more than $100,000 from the industry are powerful Texas lawmakers including Sen. John Cornyn (R), Rep. Joe Barton (R), Rep. Pete Olson (R), Rep. Gene Green (D), Rep. Pete Sessions (R) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R).

“Will Likely Add Significant New Costs”

Documents reviewed by IBT show that Pruitt’s announcement followed a lobbying campaign by Arkema and its colleagues in the chemical industry.

In May of 2016, Arkema sent a letter to the EPA criticizing the proposed rule. One part of the letter said the rule’s requirement of independent risk management audits “will likely add significant new costs and burdens to the corporate audit process.” The company also took issue with the rule’s “Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis” (STAA) requirements.

Those provisions would have required that companies consider using “inherently safer technology” that would encourage companies to “substitute less hazardous substances” and encourage firms to “simplify covered processes in order to make accidental releases less likely or the impacts of such releases less severe.”

“The additional requirement for STAA would be burdensome because there is no consensus methodology, definitions or standards for STAA,” the company told the agency. “Knowledge of ‘inherently safer technologies’ can vary greatly depending on the process being examined and the knowledge and expertise of the team performing the analysis. As a result, implementation of STAA would likely be inconsistent across companies.”

Federal records reviewed by IBT show that Arkema specifically lobbied on the chemical safety rules. In the first quarter of 2017, as the Trump administration was reviewing the rule, federal records show the company was lobbying on “EPA chemical regulations, including Significant New Use Rules and the Significant New Alternatives Policy program and EPA Risk Management Program regulations.” The records show the company directly lobbied the EPA and the White House on the issue. In the second quarter, federal records show Arkema lobbying the EPA and the National Economic Council on “EPA risk management program regulations.”

Of Arkema’s six production plants in Texas, five, including the Crosby plant, are near the coast and in the Houston area, raising the prospect of additional explosions due to flooding. The town of Beaumont, where there is a taxpayer-subsidized Arkema plant, has experienced severe flooding. Another plant is located in Houston, and two more, in nearby Pasadena, sit right on the Trinity Bay; one of these plants took in nearly $5 million in subsidies.

Arkema Push To Stop Rules Gets Boost From Its Lobbying Group & From Texas Republicans

In its letter to the EPA, Arkema noted that it is a member of the American Chemistry Council — a powerful lobbying group that has delivered $1.6 million of campaign donations to federal lawmakers since 2010. That Arkema-backed group helped spearhead the effort to block the EPA’s chemical plant safety rule. In January, the council was one of 21 groups that sent a letter to congressional leaders asserting that the new rule’s costs were not worth the alleged safety benefits.

“The lack of identifiable and quantifiable benefits stands in stark contrast to the clear costs associated with this rule,” said the letter. “Whether it be the requirement of third-party auditor participation that will reduce the pool of qualified auditors, changing well-established audit procedures already designed to maximize safety effectiveness, or imposing ineffective requirements to consider ‘inherently safer technology/design,’ the final rule includes a litany of costly changes that have not been shown to increase safety.”

The push to persuade the Trump administration to block the chemical plant safety rules was bolstered by an American Chemistry Council-backed resolution introduced on February 1 by Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma.

Among the 65 co-sponsors of the measure to block the rules were 10 members of the Texas Congressional delegation, including five who represent Houston area districts: Brian Babin (TX-36), whose district encompasses Crosby, where the Arkema plant lies; Michael McCaul (R-10), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, whose district sits northwest of Houston; John Culberson (R-7), whose district covers part of Houston; Randy Weber (R-14), who represents a coastal district just outside of Houston; Blake Farenthold (R-27), a representative whose coastal district lies southwest of Houston. Other co-sponsors include Louie Gohmert (R-1), vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Lamar Smith (R-21), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology who has challenged climate science. Weber and Babin are also members of that committee.

The Texas lawmakers who sponsored Mullin’s bill to block the chemical plant safety regulations have received more than $652,000 from the chemical industry, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Federal contribution data show the American Chemistry Council specifically has delivered more than $160,000 to the entire Texas congressional delegation since 2008, with top recipients including Gene Green ($20,288), Olson ($18,999), McCaul, who co-sponsored the Mullin bill, ($13,500), Barton ($16,500) and Sen. Ted Cruz ($15,000). Babin and Weber, who also co-sponsored the bill, each received $3,000 from Arkema. The National Institute on Money In State Politics reports that the American Chemistry Council has given more to federal lawmakers in Texas than lawmakers in any other state.

In 2017, after Mullin bill was moving through Congress, the American Chemistry Council directly lobbied the EPA — along with the U.S. House and Senate, the Department of the Interior, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Agriculture — on the resolution on behalf of Arkema and its many other corporate sponsors. In a May 2017 letter to the EPA, the American Chemistry Council advocated that the implementation of the safety rule be delayed for “at least eighteen months” — until February 19, 2019, arguing that the current rule would be too expensive for its members such as Arkema to implement.

“The Final Rule raises significant security concerns and compliance issues that will harm ACC members and others in the regulated community,” the trade association wrote to the EPA. “Certain provisions, such as the requirement to audit ‘each covered process’ in a facility’s compliance audit, impose costly and burdensome obligations on facilities.”

 

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/texas-republicans-helped-chemical-plant-exploded-lobby-against-safety-rules

Campbell Soup Company Buys Organic Pacific Foods for $700 Million


Campbell's Buys Pacific Foods
image via Pacific Foods

The Campbell Soup Company announced last Thursday its $700 million acquisition of Oregon-based organic nondairy milk, broth, and soup company, Pacific Foods.

“Pacific Foods is an excellent fit with Campbell,” said company president and CEO Denise Morrison in a statement. “Culturally, Campbell and Pacific Foods share similar values and a commitment to a purpose-driven approach. Philosophically, both companies believe in making food that we are proud to serve at our own tables using simple, recognizable ingredients.”

Thirty-year-old Pacific Foods will continue to operate from its certified organic plant in Tualatin, Oregon, and company CEO and co-founder Chuck Eggert will remain on board as a supplier of key ingredients through his family farms.

“We’ve spent the past 30 years focused on making nourishing foods with an emphasis on simple, organic ingredients and authentic, rich flavors,” said Eggert. “Looking ahead, a future with Campbell means we can maintain what we value while accelerating growth of the brand in a way that we couldn’t do alone, reaching more people while increasing our impact on sustainable agriculture.”

Pacific Foods also produces shelf-stable plant-based beverages and meals like baked beans, hummus, and cooked chicken in stock.

Pacific Foods will mark Campbell’s fifth purchase in five years, which include organic baby-food maker Plum Organics, salsa and hummus producer Garden Fresh Gourmet, and smoothie producer Bolthouse Farms. Alongside the company’s commitment to phase artificial ingredients out of its soups by 2018, these purchases show that Campbell’s is attempting to align itself the current trend in a consumer demand for natural and organic products.

“The acquisition is a smart move for Campbell, which has struggled with lagging demand for its marquee condensed soups and disappointing revenues for its Fresh segment,” reports Food Dive; in Campbell’s last earnings report, sales from the Campbell Fresh division, which includes salad dressings and refrigerated soups, had fallen 6 percent to $248 million.

“Analysts have said that Campbell’s foray into fresh is a cautionary tale of a CPG company trying to apply its previous center store success to the very different world of the store’s perimeter,” continues Food Dive.

USA Today reports that the deal still needs approval from regulators before being finalized.

Related on Organic Authority
Campbell’s Will Pull BPA After Study Found the Toxic Chemical in All of Its Canned Soup
Campbell’s Soup Pledges to Drop Artificial Ingredients by 2018
Stock Up on Campbell’s Soup: The Company is Shifting its Focus Away from Cans

 

http://www.organicauthority.com/campbell-soup-company-buys-organic-pacific-foods-for-700-million/

DOJ announces largest healthcare fraud bust in nation’s history


Thursday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced at a press conference the conclusion of a massive takedown operation by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving $1.3 billion in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billings.

The takedown is being described as the largest in the history of the Department of Justice, with charges being brought against 412 defendants across the nation, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical personnel, according to a DOJ press release.

As a result of the investigation, the HHS department has suspended or banned 295 health care providers from participating in federal healthcare programs.

Also speaking at the press conference, HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson confirmed this is the nation’s largest criminal healthcare fraud takedown in history, which required the expertise and coordination of over 1,000 federal state and local law enforcement, including nearly 350 agents from the office of Inspector General.

Arrests occurred Thursday in 41 federal districts, assisted by 30 state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

“Over 120  defendants, including doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics,” the DOJ reported.

Charges were filed for fraudulent billing schemes targeting Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE (a health insurance program for military members and veterans) for medically unnecessary and false drug prescriptions, including the illegal distribution of opioids.

According to the Department of Justice, arrests include the following:

  • Southern District of Florida – 77 defendants were charged in fraud schemes involving over $141 million in false billings for home health care, mental health services and pharmacy fraud.
  • Eastern District of Michigan – 32 defendants were charged for $218 million in false claims, including fraud, kickbacks, money laundering and drug diversion schemes.
  • Southern District of Texas – 26 individuals were charged for over $66 million in Medicare and prescription fraud.
  • Central District of California – 17 defendants were charged for $147 million of Medicare fraud schemes.
  • Northern District of Illinois – 15 individuals were charged for $12.7 million in fraudulent billing.
  • Middle District of Florida – 15 individuals were charged, involving over $12.7 million in fraudulent billing.
  • Eastern District of New York – 10 individuals were charged for $151 million worth of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billings.
  • Louisiana and Mississippi – 7 individuals were charged in connection with over $207 million in fraudulent billing.
  • To see the complete list, visit the press release on the Justice Department website.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in his remarks, expounded on just some of the schemes that were taken down:

One fake rehab facility for drug addicts in Palm Beach is alleged to have recruited addicts with gift cards, visits to strip clubs, and even drugs-enabling the company to bill for over $58 million in false treatments and tests.

Another illegal clinic in Houston allegedly gave out prescriptions for cash. Just one doctor at this clinic allegedly gave out 12,000 opioid prescriptions for over 2 million illegal painkiller doses. These defendants have been charged and they will face justice.

He spoke of the dangerous drug and opioid epidemic in America today. “One American dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are ensnared in addiction to prescription painkillers.”

“We are sending a clear message to criminals across the country: we will find you. We will bring you to justice. And, you will pay a very high price for what you have done,” Sessions said.

“Healthcare fraud is not only a criminal act that costs billions of taxpayer dollars – it is an affront to all Americans who rely on our national healthcare programs for access to critical healthcare services and a violation of trust,” said Secretary Price. “The United States is home to the world’s best medical professionals, but their ability to provide affordable, high-quality care to their patients is jeopardized every time a criminal commits healthcare fraud. That is why this Administration is committed to bringing these criminals to justice, as President Trump demonstrated in his 2017 budget request calling for a new $70 million investment in the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program. The historic results of this year’s national takedown represent significant progress toward protecting the integrity and sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid, which we will continue to build upon in the years to come.”

http://dennismichaellynch.com/doj-announces-largest-healthcare-fraud-bust-nations-history/

Cherry Blossom: How the CIA can hack into your internet router


Sputnik

© Pixabay

Wi-Fi routers typically sit in dusty corners of homes and offices, quietly transmitting internet accessibility to computers, tablets and phones in its immediate vicinity. However, these unpretentious devices are a goldmine for hackers – and were specifically targeted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, the latest Wikileaks release has revealed.

The release is the latest instalment of Wikileaks’ “Vault7” series, which the group has been drip-feeding to the public since March. Previous trickles have revealed CIA attempts to hack office computers, televisions and phones, among many other shock exposures.

This time, the documents contain detailed information on the CIA’s router hacking “toolkit” — and how the Agency sought to leverage common vulnerabilities in routers sold by companies such as D-Link and Linksys. The techniques range from hacking network passwords to rewriting device firmware to remotely monitor traffic flowing across a target’s network.

While few may have stopped to consider a router’s attractiveness to a hacker, in truth the devices are an obviously attractive entry point — routers typically aren’t equipped with interfaces beyond on/off and reset buttons, and have no means of alerting users they have been compromised.

A router could be hacked for years, with a user’s every online action tracked and recorded, without anyone being any the wiser.

The CIA’s router-hacking approach begins with a tool — “Claymore” — which scans a network to identify devices and then launches two exploiters — “Tomato” and “Surfside” — the former is noted to target vulnerabilities in at least two routers sold by D-Link and Linksys, and steals those devices’ administrative passwords. Moreover, the documents state at least two other routers sold by Linksys could be targeted with “Tomato” after a mere few weeks of development.

“Surfside” is left largely unexplained, though the documents hint it may abuse a protocol called Universal Plug and Play. Oft dubbed UPNP, and embedded in around 7,000 different devices — including routers, printers, media players and smart TVs — tech security experts have long-warned it poses a potential risk.

As the documents date back to early 2016, it’s unclear whether D-Link or Linksys have identified and/or rectified these vulnerabilities — however, routers are difficult to manually update, and given their ubiquity, providers are reluctant to dispatch professional staff to do so, instead obliging consumers to do so themselves. Any vulnerability in a router can be left to smolder for years before correction, if at all — and the aforementioned lack of a “warning” system alerting users to threats, ala antivirus software, means users may never discover if their device is vulnerable.

Another means of access mentioned in the papers is the failure of users to change default admin passwords — often, individuals are simply unaware there is an admin password, and it can be amended. This likewise offers unbridled access to the contents of an individual’s router — after access, a hacker or CIA agent could then install custom firmware (the CIA’s is called Flytrap) on the router monitor a target’s browsing, strip SSL encryption from webpages visited, and even inject other exploits into their traffic, designed to offer access directly to the target’s PC or phone. Yet another piece of software, CherryTree, serves as a command-and-control system, allowing operators to monitor and update infected network devices from a browser-based interface called CherryWeb.

Nonetheless, while acknowledging the exposures are “alarming,” Matthew Hickey, Founder of Hacker House, isn’t shocked the CIA would target routers.

“The information security community has been warning about this risk since 2005, if not before. Still, while technically adept users likely won’t be impacted by the technique, it does potentially mean the CIA can access millions of web histories — and there’s the prospect of it easily being misused and abused in surveillance operations. The only Godsend is the CIA wouldn’t be able to do this remotely or in bulk — they need to be in the nearby vicinity of a router network to access it, from a car or van or similar,” Mr. Hickey told Sputnik.

Ultimately, given the evident insecurities ingrained in average Wi-Fi routers, it’s perhaps unsurprising the world’s most well-financed spying group has exploited them — and maybe still does. Wikileaks’ latest revelations serve as a palpable reminder to net users to update their routers regularly, and change their default admin passwords. Otherwise, potentially no private, internet-equipped home is safe from US surveillance.

Slap on the wrist: Penn State administrators sentenced to only a few months in jail for their role in covering up child rape


 


Penn State school administrators were sentenced for their role in covering up Jerry Sandusky’s child rape, their combined sentences are less than 1 year.

Justice has finally been served to those now found responsible for covering up Jerry Sandusky’s crimes against children. The former president, vice-president, and athletic director at Penn State have all been sentenced to jail. However, their sentences do not fit their crimes of covering up what was one of the most explosive child rape incidents in U.S. history.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Former President Graham Spanier, 68, was sentenced to only two months in jail and eight months of house arrest. Former athletic director Tim Curley, 63, only got three months in jail. Former vice president Gary Schultz, 67, received just two months behind bars. They all pleaded guilty to child endangerment and will report to jail to begin their sentencing on July 15.

Judge John Boccabella didn’t hold back his feelings at sentencing, saying, “They ignored the opportunity to put an end to his crimes when they had a chance to do so.” He added he was “appalled that the common sense to make a phone call did not occur…sort of robs my faith of who we are as adults and where we are going.”

Assistant Coach Mike McQueary said he witnessed Sandusky molesting a child in the Penn State locker room showers and reported the incident to his superiors, who did nothing to prevent the abuse from continuing. Sandusky, who ran a charity and was heavily involved in Joe Paterno’s Penn State football program, had access to children through his charity and was later found guilty of several felony child sex abuse charges.

The number of known victims stands at 10 and he’s currently serving 30 to 60 years in prison. Sandusky’s case, as gruesome as it was, served to expose the horrid nature of child rapists in positions of power. Politicians, police, the clergy — all of these roles attract society’s worst who use their authority to prey on the vulnerable.

As The Free Thought Project recently reported, a Netflix documentary entitled The Keepers described the horrors of rape, gang rape, sodomy, physical and mental abuse of over 100 girls at Baltimore’s prestigious Archbishop Keough High School. The girls, all middle-aged now (some have passed away), testify they were tortuously abused by Father Joseph Maskell, his well-connected friends in politics, and police.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that their voices were heard, but not believed. In fact, at least 100 victims reportedly gave testimony and depositions to Maryland’s state attorney Sharon May, who told the filmmakers of The Keepers that there was simply not enough evidence to charge Maskell — even though eye-witnesses stated police dug up enough evidence to put him away for life.

The documentary takes an interesting turn in episodes 7 and 8 when dentist Charles Franz said he, too, was abused in the late 1960s and that his mother went to the Archdiocese in Baltimore and told them Maskell had raped him as well. It was at that time Franz said Maskell was transferred to Keough, where he continued his reign of terror on countless victims for many years.

Not only was Maskell not held accountable for his crimes, but to date, no one in the Catholic Church has been arrested and charged with any crimes such as the charge of child endangerment for which Penn State’s administration was just convicted.

Adding insult to injury, Maskell’s victims say politicians, police and others were invited to the school to rape them as well. However, one brave victim said she confided in her teacher, Sister Catherine Cesnik. Shortly thereafter, Cesnik was found dead. To date, no one has been charged with her murder. No one has been charged with brutally raping the teens over decades of recorded abuse — and no one in the Catholic Church has been charged with covering-up the alleged crimes.

The fact that no one has been charged is most likely due to the status of those involved in the crimes. Because Maskell was well-connected within the police department, he was allowed to prey on his victims with impunity as he brought in officers who did the same.

Maskell’s brother was a high-ranking city cop. This connection had two facets. First, it allowed him to cover up their crimes using these police connections. Second, it allowed for these depraved police officers to enter into this dark child sex ring.

It’s time to charge the Church with breaking the law and not reporting the numerous allegations of child sexual abuse as they’re required to do, being that all clergy in the U.S. are considered “mandatory reporters.” They should have reported it to police when Franz says they knew about it in the 1960s.

For now, the church has been protected by Maryland’s seven-year statute of limitations. But that can change with enough pressure being placed on the Maryland State Legislature to abolish statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse. For those Maryland residents who are interested in advancing such legislation, contact MD State Representative C.T. Wilson who is spearheading the effort.

Comment: Sad, but rather unsurprising as those in power will always protect their own. Pedophilia is so pervasive among the elites, there is no real motive to punish those involved.

https://www.sott.net/article/352838-Slap-on-the-wrist-Penn-State-administrators-sentenced-to-only-a-few-months-in-jail-for-their-role-in-covering-up-child-rape

HUFF-POST: Congress Gives Jeff Sessions $0 To Go After Medical Marijuana Laws. It’s the latest sign that a major federal crackdown on state pot laws isn’t likely


Link to full HUFf-POST article and video

WASHINGTON ― Congress, once again, is blocking the Justice Department from spending any money that interferes with state medical marijuana laws.

In their newly unveiled budget bill, lawmakers included a provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, that allows states to carry on with crafting their own medical marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention. The bill, which funds the government through the end of September, is expected to pass this week.

Here’s the full text of the marijuana provision:

None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

It’s not unusual to find this tucked into a budget bill; lawmakers have been renewing the medical marijuana provision in every consecutive budget since it first passed in 2014. But what it shows is that Congress isn’t interested in stepping up federal oversight of state pot laws under the Trump administration, even as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hints that he wants a crackdown.

Link to full HUFf-POST article and video

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Attorney General Jeff Sessions may not like that some states have legalized marijuana. But he’s outnumbered.

 

Former SEAL: 3000 Elite Pedophiles Arrested – Media Silent


Former Navy SEAL says 3000 pedophiles arrested as part of elite pedo ring investigation amid media blackout

Former Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer says that over 3,000 pedophiles belonging to an elite satanic pedophile ring have been arrested, amid a total blackout by the mainstream media. 

Speaking with Infowars‘ Michael Zimmerman at the NRA’s annual convention, Sawyer says that intelligence insiders have confirmed that Trump’s vow to take down the elite pedophile ring in Washington DC is already being fulfilled.

According to Sawyer, his independent research has led him to discover that high-level government officials routinely torture and kill young children during satanic rituals. He says that despite a concerted effort by social media and the mainstream to suppress this information, they cannot escape the avalanche of truth being released by the independent media.

Transcript of interview with Former Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer

We started a nonprofit organization called ‘Veterans For Child Rescue’ and we are raising money to expose high level elite pedophile rings that are snatching up our children. Some of them are into satanic rituals and torturing little infants and toddlers to death.

I’m getting high level information from federal law enforcement and intelligence communities. There have been over 3,000 arrests since January. We have a President now who is not ok with children being raped and tortured to death, thank God.

With all of these arrests going on, I’ve been learning more and more about it and i’ve realised i have to go independent to get around the gatekeepers in the mainstream media who refuse to report on it.

My mission is to inform the American citizens of what they’ve been denied knowing. I want to provide a non permissive environment against these acts for these children and make a better environment for the children going forward. We have to do something.

I’ve assembled a task force of high level intelligence retirees and veterans who are very capable. So we’re going to shoot this documentary and shine a light on this cesspool of corruption and help clean it up.

Immediately after I told Alex Jones and announced our founding of the organisations. I got phone calls from officials saying there are two groups planning to attack the organisation.

I’m going to allow their attacks to illuminate what they’re doing.

Social media is suppressing my reach. Crowdfunding sites have undermined us. But every day we are gaining more and more support from high level officials. Its a grassroots movement that is growing very very quickly.

http://yournewswire.com/navy-seal-3000-pedophiles-arrested/

Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why


 

A new study published in the journal Current Biology has revealed some startling statistics — a group of researchers from the University of Adelaide have found that since the 1950s, the population of cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish) in the world’s oceans has exploded. What makes this truly curious is the fact that climate change, overfishing, and ocean acidification have caused the numbers of many fish and shellfish species to plummet during the same period.

octopus, cephalopod, squid, cuttlefish, marine life, ocean life, cephalopod population, ocean research, biodiversity

Scientists aren’t completely sure what’s causing these tentacled creatures to proliferate so widely, but they have a few theories. One idea is that humans have killed off large numbers of predatory fish that would normally compete with the cephalopods for food. But it’s also possible that these species are simply better equipped to deal with rising ocean temperatures than some other ocean animals.

octopus-01-lead-120x120The lead author of the study, Zoe Doubleday, told Gizmodo that the success of these species can largely be attributed to rapid population turnover rates, saying, “Cephalopods tend to boom and bust—they’re called the weeds of the sea. If environmental conditions are good, they can rapidly exploit those conditions because they grow so fast.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t all good news for the species involved. octopus-01-120x120Researchers warn that if the number of cephalopods rises too high, the animals may be forced to resort to cannibalism due to lack of food. As they take over larger portions of the marine ecosystem, they may also be harvested in greater numbers and become a more important staple in the human diet. Either way, the cephalopod population boom is likely to be a mixed blessing for the species involved.

Via Gizmodo

Images via Wikimedia Commons (1, 2)

 

http://inhabitat.com/octopi-are-taking-over-the-oceans-and-no-one-knows-why/

Shailene Woodley on Malia Obama’s Presence at “Sundance Standing Rock Solidarity Event” Against DAPL


s09_malia

 

Sundance Film Festival has been abuzz this year with sightings of former first daughter Malia Obama. We speak to actress Shailene Woodley about how Malia attended a Sundance event in solidarity with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think President Obama could have done more to stop this from happening, done it earlier and been more forceful in really stopping the pipeline from moving forward?

SHAILENE WOODLEY: It’s hard to say. You know, as a citizen, of course, I would say that. But I’m not—I’m not in the White House. I don’t know what obstacles that man was up against. I don’t know what resistance he was up against. And so, obviously, again, as a citizen, I would love to say, yes, I wish he had stopped this in 2014, when it was originally proposed to the tribe and when the Army Corps of Engineers originally ignored the tribes—actually, you know, according to law, they were meant to meet with the tribe multiple times, and that didn’t happen. So, in 2014, I wish Obama had done something, but I don’t know, actually, that he could have. So, it’s kind of a—it’s hearsay for me.

AMY GOODMAN: Were you surprised to see Malia Obama yesterday at the protest?

SHAILENE WOODLEY: It was amazing to see Malia. I saw her last night when we did the event with Chairman Dave Archambault. And it was incredible to see her there. Also—

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama’s daughter.

SHAILENE WOODLEY: President Obama’s daughter. Also, to witness a human being and a woman coming into her own outside of her family and outside of the attachments that this country has on her, but someone who’s willing to participate in democracy because she chooses to, because she recognizes, regardless of her last name, that if she doesn’t participate in democracy, there will be no world for her future children.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s actor and activist Shailene Woodley. When we come back, Annie Leonard of Greenpeace.

Filed under: Dakota Access Pipeline

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/17035

The Open Source Seed Revolution – #NewWorldNextWeek ~ Corbett Report


Welcome to New World Next Week — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. In this week’s episode:

Story #1: Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates For Second Time In Decade
http://bit.ly/2hy7QPP

Deutsche Bank Advised… Poorly
http://bit.ly/2hziYvE

Rupee plunges 42 paise against dollar
http://bit.ly/2gfc2qg

Story #2: IMF Chief Lagarde On Trial In Paris Over Negligence Charges
http://bit.ly/2hGRbML

NWNW Flashback: IMF’ed – Lagarde Under Investigation In France (Aug. 28, 2014)
http://bit.ly/2hPurGB

Wikipedia: Rodrigo Rato
http://bit.ly/1NlQ2zX

Bush War Crimes Lawsuit Gets Heard In California Court
http://bit.ly/2gKKIk3

Justice for Neocons: Lawsuits Challenge American Status Quo
http://bit.ly/2hH3EQu

Saleh v. Bush oral arguments
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVNe3…

The Case Against Kissinger
http://bit.ly/2gvUG7d

Story #3: Open-Source Seed Producers Are Changing Global Food Production
http://bit.ly/2gKRc2p

Free the Seed! Introducing the Open Source Seed Collection
http://bit.ly/2hvmRnP

Open Seeds: Biopiracy and the Patenting of Life
http://bit.ly/2dnY7hr

#GoodNewsNextWeek: We Go Where Eagles Dare
http://bit.ly/2gKHJrH

#NewWorldNextWeek Headlines: Pipeline Spills 176,000 Gallons of Crude, 150 Miles From Dakota Protest Camp
http://bit.ly/2hPwGcJ

UK MPs Claim Russian Hackers “Probably” Swayed Brexit Vote
http://bit.ly/2gMNKm2

Bill Gates Says Trump Could Be New JFK
http://bit.ly/2gKNBBa

FBI Chief Exposes MK Ultra Programs That Murder, Use, & Traffic Children – High Level People Involved


Never before has so much been exposed in the mainstream about those we call our ‘leaders,’ those we ‘vote’ for, and those who appear one way in front of the masses, but represent something completely different when it comes to getting things done. 2016 seems to be a landmark year for transparency in the mainstream, and that’s in large part thanks to the efforts of researchers, activists, and whistleblowers like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

Unfortunately, what is being revealed to us is extreme corruption within Western politics and our entire political, corporate, and financial systems.

Whether it hints at a hidden government, the enactment of corporate/financial agendas, or rigged elections (as we saw in the DNC this year),  the “disastrous rise of misplaced power” that president Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address as president of the United States is and has been happening for decades, and it’s destroying our planet.

The entire political process up to this point has been about brainwashing the masses into accepting various agendas.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic societyThose who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

– Edward Bernays (“the father of public relations”), Propaganda, 1928 (note that Bernays’ book, Propaganda, begins with the above quote).

advertisement – learn more

The bright side to all of these revelations is the fact that we are waking up to what has been happening, the ability for people to simply ‘see’ through so much deception, like that which occurred on 9/11 or what is happening at Standing Rock for example, are excellent catalysts for people to have a shift in consciousness (defined here as awareness, perception, self-awareness etc) about our world and what is really happening on it.

As a result, more and more people every year desire change, and so the heart and collective intention of the human race begins to manifest it, we are living in the shift now.

Not only do these ruling bodies exist to brainwash us, some of our supposed leaders have been and are involved in some very disturbing things. Many of these revelations have been made by credible sources presented by several alternative media outlets, and have since been dubbed as ‘fake news,’ despite how clearly the elite were and are scrambling to hide this information that threatens their power and their ability to control the human race.

These revelations include pedophellia, child trafficking, and murder.

With regards to pedophellia, ever since Donald Trump brought to light the allegations against Bill Clinton and his treatment of women, others have come forward to corroborate his story.

One of the most recent examples is former U.S. State Department official Steve Pieczenik. His roles within U.S. politics were many, having been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vacne, and James Baker, and also serving the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan, and George H.W. Bush. If you’ve done research into U.S. politics, being associated with names like Kissinger and Bush is an automatic red flag. What’s even more concerning to some is that he was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a group many consider to be corrupt and even evil, operating under the guise of good deeds. However, he was removed from the membership as early as October 2012, the same time he started whistleblowing.

He says: “We know that both of them have been a major part and participant of what’s called The Lolita Express, which is a plane owned by Mr. Jeff Epstein, a wealthy multi-millionaire who flies down to the Bahamas and allows Bill Clinton and Hillary to engage in sex with minors, that is called Pedophilia.”  (source)

Here is some background coverage that was done on it last year. I’m not saying these examples are proof of a massive elitist global pedophile ring, but there have been several examples like this, and various scandals that have gone completely unreported by mainstream media.

Former U.S. representative Cynthia McKinney also knew about pedophilia within the government in 2005. She grilled Donald Rumsfeld on DynCorp’s child trafficking business of selling women and children. (source)

This is important information to share, especially with all that’s going on with the Pizzagate scandal,  which the elite are also trying to debunk. Here is another Pizzagate video put together by the underground resistance network.

It’s hardly surprising that they are trying to discredit this story, but with all of the other stories from investigations out there that are already verified, it’s important that we don’t ignore this and that somebody within the power structure actually initiates an investigation.

Investigations Reveal That It Goes Far Beyond Pedophilia

Unfortunately, investigations into this type of behaviour reveal that many working for mainstream politics, its corporate structure, the big banks, and parts of the military industrial complex (CIA, contractors, etc.) could be involved in even more disturbing things.

Not only are these children abused, they are tortured and often murdered as part of ‘satanic’ sacrifice ceremonies. Many of them, based on my research, are subjected to mind control techniques as well.

Ted Gunderson, former FBI special agent and head of their L.A. office, worked to uncover and expose these horrors before he died. A simple YouTube search of his name will show you what exactly he spent his last years researching (source). Here’s one of his last lectures.

He is one of several dozen to have investigated this topic and found some disturbing facts.

Below is another lecture that describes in detail what he’s experienced.

 

%d bloggers like this: