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Thursday, February 12, 2015

NEWS FOR 2/11/2015 Wednesday February 11th 2015


(If you like this idea, please comment on this post or email me with feedback)

In 2009, Bill Bowen released a trailer for a documentary film he was producing exposing the corruption within Child Protection Services across the United States. The film is called Innocence Destroyed. Bill Bowen died unexpectedly the next year, in 2010, reportedly from a heart attack, before he was able to finish the film.

The segments that were completed are now on YouTube, in three different videos. See below.

WARNING: Videos contain graphic content not suitable for children! For adults only.

Here is some information about Bill Bowen, including some quotes directly attributed to him, that we were able to find on the Internet. [CONTINUED IN THE ARTICLE]

(Black listed news, feb 11th)

POLICE STATE_________________

Shock Video: Police Execute Man With His Hands Up

Victim gunned down for refusing to comply

Shocking video shows a man being gunned down by police as he attempts to flee with his hands up.

(infowars, feb 11th)

Family Asks Cops To Check In On Sick Veteran; Cops Break Into House, Kill Him

74-year-old man was recovering from heart surgery; Police forced their way in at Midnight

A family in North Carolina asked police officers to check on the welfare of an elderly relative, a Korean war veteran, who was recovering from surgery. In response to the request, the cops went to the man’s house at midnight, broke in, and then shot him dead.

Clearly the family were under the impression that police officers can still be relied upon to perform such helpful community duties, but they were tragically wrong.

WSOCTV reports that while the family asked the officers to check on 74-year-old James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, the police opted to visit the man’s home very late in the evening.

When there was no answer, firefighters were called out to force open the door. On entering the building, police saw Mr Allen, who had just undergone heart surgery, pointing a gun toward them, prompting one officer to unload his own weapon at Allen.

(Infowars, feb 11th)

School Principal Calls FBI After 8th Grader Throws ‘Made In China’ Flag Out Of Window, Wants federal charges brought against child

A school principal in New Mexico is attempting to contact the government and have federal charges brought against a 14-year-old student who threw a small American flag on a stick out of a window.

Robert Archuleta wants the boy expelled, and presumably arrested, following the incident during which four students were misbehaving, also throwing other items such as workbooks out of the classroom window into snow.

The principal initially called the school police officer with Rio Arriba County, but because he told them he wished to report a federal offense, the cops referred him to the FBI.

(Infowars, feb 11th)

Jails Have Become Warehouses for the Poor, Ill and Addicted, a Report Says

Jails across the country have become vast warehouses made up primarily of people too poor to post bail or too ill with mental health or drug problems to adequately care for themselves, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The study, “Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America,” found that the majority of those incarcerated in local and county jails are there for minor violations, including driving with suspended licenses, shoplifting or evading subway fares, and have been jailed for longer periods of time over the past 30 years because they are unable to pay court-imposed costs.

(NYT, feb 11th)

Man cuffed for refusing to share video with police

A Lakeside Walmart customer pulled out his cell phone in front of the store on Monday evening to capture video of Lakeside Police arresting a man suspected of shoplifting. The man shooting the video, Chris Hoover, didn't expect he'd end up in handcuffs, too.

The video shows two police officers wrestling a man on the ground. When they get the man in cuffs one officer realizes there is a camera. During the commotion the officer points at the camera and says "that phone is evidence. I want it." Hoover then says "it's mine."

"So he snatched it out of my hand... I wasn't going to resist. He grabbed my wrist, and then he put me in cuffs," Hoover said.

Lakeside police would not go on camera, citing an ongoing investigation. However, they did say they stand by their officers. They say police have a right to detain someone if they have video of a crime.

(9news, feb 11th)

England bans smoking in cars with children

Drivers in England will be banned from smoking in their cars if they are carrying children as passengers.

The move, which will become law on 1 October, follows a similar ban in Wales and aims to protect young people under 18 from second-hand smoke. Scotland is also considering introducing a ban.

Anyone found flouting the law in England could be fined £50.

(BBC, feb 11th)

GLOBAL CONFLICTS________________

Last week, Politico and USA Today reported about a secret 2008 Pentagon study which concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s defining characteristic is…autism. The Office of Net Assessment’s Body Leads project asserted that scrutinizing hours of Putin footage revealed “that the Russian President carries a neurological abnormality…identified by leading neuroscientists as Asperger’s Syndrome, an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions.”

Putin’s spokesman dismissed the claim as “stupidity not worthy of comment.” But it was far from the first time the intelligence community has tried to diagnose foreign leaders from afar on behalf of American politicians and diplomats. The CIA has a long history of crafting psychological and political profiles of international figures, with varying degrees of depth and accuracy.

(Mother jones, feb 11th)

NORAD Head Says Russia Increasing Arctic Long Range Air Patrols

While Russian military aircraft have stepped up their activity everywhere from the North Sea to the Baltic to the Black Sea in the last year they have also been spotted more frequently closer to the U.S. territory in the Arctic, the head of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) told USNI News on Tuesday.

In particular – flights of Tupolev Tu-95 Bear ‘H’ Bombers have increased recently NORTHCOM’s Adm. Bill Gortney said.

“They’ve been very aggressive – under my NORAD hat – for us in the Arctic,” he said to USNI News following a keynote address at the WEST 2015 conference.

“Aggressive in the amount of flights, not aggressive in how they fly.”

(, feb 10th)

Ukrainians Dodging Draft in Soros-Fueled Conflict

Citizens refuse to take arms against fellow countrymen

Victor, just like an unknown number of other Ukrainians of military age, is on the run.

As the Ukraine-Russia conflict rages on, a 49-year-old engineer received a mobilization invitation ten days ago to report to the Ukrainian Army. He left his home and now spends nights at a friend’s house, struggling with a difficult choice.

“It is my biggest dilemma,” he said today, almost whispering in one of many coffee shops in Kiev downtown. “On one hand, I think I need to defend my country, which is being attacked, but on the other, I am frightened I will die for this corrupt regime. For what?”

(ABC, feb 11th)

President Barack Obama has said the reality of “American leadership” at times entails “twisting the arms” of states which “don’t do what we need them to do,” and that the US relied on its military strength and other leverage to achieve its goals.

In a broad-ranging interview with Vox, which Obama himself described as a venue “for the brainiac-nerd types,” the US president both denied the efficacy of a purely “realist” foreign policy but also arguing that at times the US, which has a defense budget that exceeds the next 10 countries combined, needed to rely on its military muscle and other levers of power.

Lauding the rule-based system to emerge in the post-World War II era, Obama admitted it wasn’t perfect, but argued “the UN, the IMF, and a whole host of treaties and rules and norms that were established really helped to stabilize the world in ways that it wouldn’t otherwise be.”

(russia today, feb 11th)

Saudi Arabia has ‘no problem’ with Muslim Brotherhood, says Foreign Minister

Remarks are seen by some as signalling a policy shift under the new king

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister has said publicly that Riyadh has “no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood,” in the wake of the accession of a new Saudi king expected to be more tolerant towards the group than his predecessor.

Saud bin Faisal made the comments during a two-hour interview with veteran Saudi journalist Samar al-Mogren, who was personally requested to interview Faisal.

“We do not have a problem with the Muslim Brotherhood; our problem is with a small group affiliated to this organisation,” said the world’s longest-serving Foreign Minister, who is recovering in the US after successful spinal surgery last month.

(middle east eye, feb 11th)

The U.S. and other Western nations closed their embassies here, as demonstrations swelled on the Yemeni capital’s streets on Wednesday amid mounting political tensions and fears of violence.

Thousands demonstrated both for and against the Houthi rebels who dissolved Yemen’s parliament and took over the government on Friday after their militants overran the capital in September. Protests spread to other cities and provinces, including the major central city of Taiz, said organizers.

In San’a, Houthi militants dispersed protesters opposing them and closed four squares that have drawn demonstrations in the past, said anti-Houthi protest organizers, who belong to a broad political coalition. These people said Houthi militants attacked and injured at least 40 protestors and detained dozens of them, taking them to an undisclosed location.

(WSJ, feb 11th)

A 13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months earlier that he lived in constant fear of the “death machines” in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.

“I see them every day and we are scared of them,” said Mohammed Tuaiman, speaking from al-Zur village in Marib province, where he died two weeks ago.

“A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from them and some now have mental problems. They turned our area into hell and continuous horror, day and night, we even dream of them in our sleep.”

Much of Mohammed’s life was spent living in fear of drone strikes. In 2011 an unmanned combat drone killed his father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family’s camels.

The drone that would kill Mohammed struck on 26 January in Hareeb, about an hour from his home. The drone hit the car carrying the teenager, his brother-in-law Abdullah Khalid al-Zindani and a third man.

(guardian, feb 10th)

Iranian officers working with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization are fighting their way closer to Israel’s northern border with Syria and could soon be in control of the Syrian side of the armistice line.

A government source from Syria’s Ministry of Information confirmed to WND a report Tuesday from a U.K.-based human rights organization which stated Hezbollah and Iranian forces were leading a counterinsurgency targeting rebel strongholds in Quneitra, just on the other side of Israel’s border with Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Hezbollah-Iran axis is also leading battles against Islamist insurgents in Daraa, at the Jordan-Israel border and along the southwest of Damascus province.

(WND, feb 11th)

The Islamic State has expanded its presence in the failed state of Libya, and if not confronted, the terror group may be able to gain strategic territory in its quest to form an Islamic Caliphate, according to the Washington Institute’s Andrew Engel. While the United States and its allies are focused on Syria and Iraq, IS (commonly referred to as ISIL or ISIS) has its eyes beyond that fight.

The report, titled The Islamic State’s Expansion in Libya, says Libya’s ex-ambassador to the Emirates Aref Ali Nayed is worried that if Washington does not act, IS will use Libya to threaten Europe. The IS has increased its physical and media presence in the last three months. A local terrorist organization, the Islamic Youth Shura Council (IYSC), has pledged its loyalty to IS.

“ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recognized the Libyan ‘provinces’ of Barqa (Cyrenaica), Tripolitania, and Fezzan as belonging to his self-styled ‘caliphate,’” Engel said.

(free beacon, feb 11th)


Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security Representative Michael McCaul said that about 5,000 of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorist group members were Westerners, many of whom are able to travel into the United States without obtaining a visa.

(sputnik news, feb 12th)

Two Immigrants For Every New Job Since 2000

The United States has accepted two new immigrants for each additional job created since 2000, according to federal data

(Daily caller, feb 11th)

Feds build bureaucracy to deal with Obama amnesty application onslaught

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services expects 800,000 applications at outset

The government expects so many applications for President Obama’s new deportation amnesty that it’s seeking a contractor just to open the new mail and enter the forms into the system, with plans to operate two shifts from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every workday to keep up with the anticipated workload.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency charged with approving the applications, expects more than 800,000 applications in just the first two and a half months, or a 70 percent surge compared to last year’s total intake for the entire agency. Over the first 18 or so months, the agency will process more than 4 million pieces of mail related to the larger part of the new amnesty, according to contracting documents.

All applications must be opened in the presence of two workers, one with “secret” security clearance, in order to maintain integrity of the applications, and mail may need to be X-rayed for security reasons, the documents show.

(washington times, feb 10th)

Driver's licenses for immigrants spur debate in New Mexico

For years, New Mexico led in handing out driver's licenses to people suspected of being in the country illegally. Now, legislation to stop the practice is gaining traction despite a trend sweeping through several states to offer driving privileges to everyone regardless of their status.

Fresh off a political power shift, the Republican-led House of Representatives is poised to pass a measure repealing a 2003 law that made New Mexico one of the first states to offer licenses to immigrants regardless of status. However, the momentum may not matter since Senate Democrats have vowed to fight the legislation.

The battle comes in a state with the nation's highest percentage of Latinos and the only Latina governor.

Proponents of the bill say polling indicates most New Mexicans want to reverse course and repeal the law. They argue it would help prevent fraud and bring the state into compliance with federal identification requirements.

Those who want to keep the law argue that working families stand to get hurt if it's repealed. They say other states that dole out licenses are not running afoul of federal laws.

California this year began issuing driver's licenses to immigrants who are in the country illegally, bringing the number of states that do so to 10. California expects 1.4 million people to apply for the licenses in the next three years.

(AP, feb 11th)

Swiss government proposes draft law to curb immigration from EU

- The Swiss government on Wednesday proposed a draft law to limit immigration from the European Union following a referendum, but said it was seeking talks with the EU in order not to violate other treaties including on the free movement of people.

The proposed law follows a successful referendum launched by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) to impose strict quotas on immigration. The measure was strongly opposed by the government as well as Swiss banks, drugmakers and other industries that rely heavily on skilled workers from the EU.

Switzerland risks violating bilateral treaties including on the free movement of labour between it and the EU.

The government plans to set yearly limits for the number of people allowed to move to Switzerland to work, President Simonetta Sommaruga said, without giving details.

Employers would be required to favour Swiss nationals when hiring staff, according to the draft, although there should be exceptions in certain jobs that have proved difficult to fill.

(Reuters, feb 11th)

U.S. AND WORLD ECONOMY___________________

The outgoing head of the Dallas Federal Reserve called Wednesday for major changes to the central bank’s power structure, arguing that current policies fuel perceptions that big banks have too much influence with regulators.

During a fiery speech to the Economic Club of New York, President Richard Fisher criticized the current structure, arguing that authority should be more equally distributed between the Fed’s 12 regional banks.

Meanwhile, Fisher urged steps to take away power from the New York Federal Reserve, which has long been seen as a dominant Fed force, in part because of its proximity to Wall Street.

(the hill, feb 11th)

Today we have Senator Elizabeth Warren trying to sound supportive of transparency but proclaiming that she opposes Rand Paul’s “Audit The Fed” Bill because it promotes “congressional meddling in the Fed’s monetary policy decisions.”

(zero hedge, feb 11th)

Over the past decade, there has been only one other time when the value of the U.S. dollar has increased by so much in such a short period of time.  That was in mid-2008 – just before the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression.  A surging U.S. dollar also greatly contributed to the Latin American debt crisis of the early 1980s and the Asian financial crisis of 1997.  Today, the globe is more interconnected than ever.  Most global trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, and much of the borrowing done by emerging markets all over the planet is denominated in U.S. dollars.  When the U.S. dollar goes up dramatically, this can put a tremendous amount of financial stress on economies all around the world.  It also has the potential to greatly threaten the stability of the 65 trillion dollars in derivatives that are directly tied to the value of the U.S. dollar.  The global financial system is more vulnerable to currency movements than ever before, and history tells us that when the U.S. dollar soars the global economy tends to experience a contraction.  So the fact that the U.S. dollar has been skyrocketing lately is a very, very bad sign.

Unfortunately, most Americans have absolutely no idea how important all of this is.  In recent years, growing economies all over the world have borrowed gigantic piles of very cheap U.S. dollars.  But now they are faced with the prospect of repaying those debts and making interest payments using much more expensive U.S. dollars.

Investors are starting to get nervous.  At one time, investors couldn’t wait to pour money into emerging markets, but now this process is beginning to reverse.  If this turns into a panic, we are going to have one giant financial mess on our hands.

(Economic collapse, feb 11th)

90% Of Big Pharma Spent More On Marketing Than Research In 2013...

....Oftentimes more than double the spending

(Natural society, feb 11th)

BoA helped hedge fund clients dodge taxes

Federally-insured banking unit of BoA financed billions of dollars in such trades, according to WSJ report

(Al jazeera, feb 11th)

Investor Steve Ricchiuto stunned CNBC hosts when he launched into a breathless rant about how there is no real economic recovery and that the Federal Reserve’s forecasts are pie in the sky.

Ricchiuto, Managing Director of Mizuho Securities USA, left anchors Simon Hobbs and Sara Eisen scrambling for words as he reeled off a barrage of factors as to why there is no acceleration in economic activity.

The highlights;

    “There is no acceleration in underlying economic activity.”

    “There’s this wrong concept that I keep on hearing about in the financial press about the acceleration in economic growth… It isn’t happening!”

    “We had a horrible retail sales number, we had a horrible durable goods number, we’re likely to have a very disappointing retail sales number coming forward, this month we have a strong payroll number we say everything’s great – it’s not great….it’s been the same thing for the last five years, there’s no improvement in the economy!”

    “After a string of dismal data on durable goods, retail spending, and inventories, we get a good jobs number and everyone saying the economy’s good – it’s not good!”

“And we can keep on going,” Ricchiuto responded when Hobbs interrupted him.

According to Zero Hedge, the clip was also edited to remove host Eisen’s glib response to Ricchiuto’s sobering reality check on the real economic figures.

“But the key is that’s not what The Fed is telling us,” she stated.

So according to the financial “experts” at CNBC, actual economic numbers are less important than placing blind faith what the Federal Reserve claims is happening in its press releases.

(Infowars, feb 11th)

Unemployment 'a cause of 45,000 suicides each year'

A new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry finds that between 2000 and 2011, unemployment was the cause of approximately 45,000 deaths by suicide around the globe each year, and it accounted for around nine times as many suicides as the recession, which first hit in 2008.

(medical news today, feb 11th)

Apple is now worth more than Microsoft and Google combined

Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching! Apple’s stock price has been on a tear lately and the company’s shares closed trading on Wednesday at a new high of $124.88. This gives Apple an absolutely massive market cap of $716.7 billion, which once again makes Apple the single most valuable American company ever just one day after it broke through the $700 billion barrier for the first time.

However, Wednesday’s closing number was remarkable for another reason: Apple’s total market cap is now more than the combined market caps of Google and Microsoft. You read that correctly: If you add Google’s market cap of $365.46 billion with Microsoft’s market cap of $349.89 billion, you get $715.35 billion, or $1 billion less than Apple’s market cap at the end of trading Wednesday.

(yahoo, feb 11th)

Obamacare Insurance is 'Unaffordable' for 105 Million Americans

Given that the authors of Obamacare had a very specific idea in mind for what constitutes affordable insurance, the American Health Policy Institute is out with a new study that asks a very interesting question: Does Obamacare meet its own standards for affordability? The answer is no. Here are a couple of the key findings from AHPI's study:

    Even now, under the Affordable Care Act’s own definition, over 105 million Americans will find plans in the ACA’s [Affordable Care Act's] public exchanges to be “unaffordable” when both premiums and deductibles are taken into account.

    Over 13 million employees with employer based coverage – 3.0 million with individual coverage, and 10.4 million with family plans – are now facing the prospect of “unaffordable” health care.

(weekly standard, feb 10th)

Brazilians hoard water, prepare for possible drastic rationing

 Brazilians are hoarding water in their apartments, drilling homemade wells and taking other emergency measures to prepare for forced rationing that appears likely and could leave taps dry for up to five days a week because of a drought.

In São Paulo, the country's largest city with a metropolitan area of 20 million people, the main reservoir is at just 6 percent of capacity with the peak of the rainy season now past.

Other cities in Brazil's heavily populated southeast such as Rio de Janeiro face less dire shortages but could also see rationing.

Uncertainty over the drought and its consequences on jobs, public health and overall quality of life have further darkened Brazilians' mood at a time when the economy is struggling and President Dilma Rousseff's popularity is at an all-time low.

After January rains disappointed, and incentives to cut consumption fell short, São Paulo officials warned their next step could be to shut off customers' water supply for as many as five days a week - a measure that would likely last until the next rainy season starts in October, if not longer.

(Reuters, feb 11th)


The Myth of Jon Stewart’s ‘Millennial’ Following

As of 2013, The Daily Show was bringing in approximately 2 million nightly viewers. And according to an exhaustive Pew Survey from 2012, 39 percent of The Daily Show’s regular viewers are between the ages of 18 and 29. That means that approximately 780,000 millennials are regular Daily Show watchers. In the United States, there are 53 million people between the ages of 18 and 29. That means that a whopping 1.5 percent of millennials watch the Daily Show regularly! Let’s be generous and assume that, say, 5 million people watch The Daily Show even occasionally. That would still mean a paltry 1.95 million out of 53 million millennials are Stewart fans.

(weekly standard, feb 11th)

Rich Obama Donor Wants to Give Jon Stewart $100 Million Per Year to Keep His Show

Democratic politicians are lamenting the news of Jon Stewart’s retirement from the Daily Show, but one rich Obama donor isn’t ready to go quietly into that good night. Digital media mogul Ross Levinsohn, whose only political donations are to President Obama and the Democratic Party, wrote a groveling Facebook post imploring Stewart to stay on the air, saying he would pay Stewart $100 million a year plus equity to do a new version of the Daily Show in a direct-to-consumer format.

The post, which reads like a teenage girl’s love letter to Justin Bieber, appears to have been deleted. However, Business Insider has preserved it here: [CONTINUED IN ARTICLE]

(Free beacon, feb 11th)

Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns.

During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet.

Noting the 32,000 public comments that came into the FEC in advance of the hearing, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, “75 percent thought that we need to do more about money in politics, particularly in the area of disclosure. And I think that’s something that we can’t ignore.”

But a former Republican FEC chairman said in his testimony that if the agency moves to regulate the Internet, including news voices like the Drudge Report as GOP commissioners have warned, many thousands more comments will flood in in opposition of regulation

(Washington examiner, feb 11th)

Police Officers Can Sue Newspaper For Publishing Descriptive Info, Raising Serious First Amendment Issues

It seems likely that this particular ruling is now likely to be cited against reporters quite a lot

We just recently wrote about a troubling case in the 9th Circuit in which a court tried to “balance” free speech rights against state publicity rights. Now, over in the 7th Circuit, there’s a troubling ruling that seems to suggest a particular privacy law might similarly override the First Amendment. The writeup at the Columbia Journalism Review is a really great overview of the case, or you can read the ruling itself.

(tech dirt, feb 11th)

EXCLUSIVE: How This Left-Wing Activist Manipulates the Media to Spread His Message

'Jetsetting terrorist' Peter Young tells us how he gets malleable bloggers and lazy journalists to generate outrage and attention for him

Tell us how and why you decided to make this something the media would pounce on? What did you do? How did it work? How much traffic /attention did it get?

The Jetsetting Terrorist was launched with the stated goal of going mainstream within two weeks. It took about eight hours. The specific end-goal was The Alex Jones Show. While culturally considered fringe, he has a larger platform than most websites and TV shows. And he hates the TSA. (Spoiler alert: Alex has yet to call me.)

My blueprint—straight from your Trust Me, I’m Lying playbook—was as follows:

    -Set up an anonymous burner email account.
    -Identify people (leftist/libertarian-leaning celebrities and public figures) with large Twitter followings, get their personal email addresses.
    -Email them a link to the site and a two-line email about how this is the best site ever and how “surprised” I am they haven’t tweeted it yet. Pretty simple.
    -Trade it up the chain until hitting something big.
    -Leverage my anonymity to offer Alex Jones the exclusive on my identity reveal, for an interview.

Why Twitter? Better credibility-to-ease-of-penetration ratio. Here’s what I mean:

Writing a blog post is a time investment. Bloggers are selective of what they dedicate a post to. A prolific blogger might post once or twice a day. A Tweet is copy, paste, done. A prolific Twitter user might post on Twitter 20-plus times a day. But for the purpose of leveraging mentions to receive larger mentions, they are the same: A single tweet has a unique URL that can be sent to larger platforms needing some social proof before running a story. In short, baiting John Cusack into tweeting a link is lower-effort, higher-yield than coverage on a low-level libertarian blog

(Observer, feb 11th)

FCC Commissioner: ‘Unprecedented Involvement Of Executive Branch In Our Decision-Making’

(daily caller, feb 10th)


If you’ve been remiss in cleaning out your email in-box, here’s some incentive: The federal government can read any emails that are more than six months old without a warrant.

Little known to most Americans, ambiguous language in a communications law passed in 1986 extends Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure only to electronic communications sent or received fewer than 180 days ago.

The language, known as the “180-day rule,” allows government officials to treat any emails, text messages or documents stored on remote servers – popularly known as the cloud – as “abandoned” and therefore accessible using administrative subpoena power, a tactic that critics say circumvents due process.

As you rush to purge your Gmail and Dropbox accounts, however, be forewarned that even deleted files still could be fair game as long as copies exist on a third-party server somewher

(McClatchy, feb 11th)

US court tosses out mass surveillance case against NSA, AT&T

A longstanding case against the NSA – filed before the Snowden revelations were made public – has suffered a setback as the judge rules the plaintiff is unable to demonstrate she was placed under illegal surveillance.

(russia today, feb 11th)

On a crisp winter’s day, a tethered blimp almost as big as a football field slowly rises into the blue Maryland sky, casting its radar eye over greater Washington and well beyond.

The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Elevated Netted Sensor System, better known as JLENS, is intended to spot low-flying cruise missiles amid thousands of aircraft in this corner of the US east coast.

“This balloon is a radar that covers, oh, (a radius of) 300 miles (485 kilometers) — about the size of Texas — to allow us to see threats at a further distance out,” said Colonel Frank Rice, commander of air defense operations for the US capital region.

(AFP, feb 11th)

Parents are alleging that a New Hampshire school district with a history of willful disregard for parental authority has been wiretapping students on school buses for four years in violation of state law and its own policies.

The Gilford School District in Gilford, New Hampshire, contracts with a private company to operate its school-bus service with oversight by the superintendent’s office.

Cameras with video and audio-recording ability have been installed in buses at least since 2011, recording every word and action of every student riding the buses.

Chapter 570-A of New Hampshire’s Wiretapping and Eavesdropping statute forbids secret wiretapping but gives a list of exceptions for law enforcement and public safety.

One exception is for school buses. However, to qualify for the exception, the entity in charge of the buses must have “a sign informing the occupants of such recording prominently displayed on the school bus.”

No such signs were posted on the Gilford buses until this week, says Josh Youssef, a local business owner and former Republican candidate for state Senate who is representing the parents.

(WND, feb 11th)

After the Internal Revenue Service’s inspector general recovered some 80,000 emails to and from former agency executive Lois Lerner, lawmakers began asking why the IRS had previously claimed most of those emails were permanently lost.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson demanded details about the agency’s attempts to produce the emails before its watchdog, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, succeeded in doing so.

The Wisconsin Republican cited a November report from the Washington Examiner that revealed TIGTA’s discovery of an estimated 30,000 emails on disaster recovery tapes.

But TIGTA officials informed Johnson’s staff last week that it had ultimately extracted 80,000 from the tapes, raising questions about whether the IRS truly went to “great lengths” and made “extraordinary efforts” to find the lost emails, as Koskinen testified last year.

(Fox news, feb 11th)

Jeb Bush Basically Just Doxxed Thousands of Floridians

Florida governor Jeb Bush bills himself as a tech-savvy politician, but he just made a major email etiquette mistake: Bush has published over 250,000 emails people sent to him as governor, easily searchable by date— and he hasn't redacted email addresses or the content of messages, meaning anyone who reached out to the governor now has their messages completely out in the open

(Gizmodo, feb 11th)


Robot with empathy will add ability to learn from IBM's 'Watson'

 Japanese mobile carrier Softbank said Tuesday it will incorporate artificial intelligence technology from IBM into its empathetic robot Pepper that will be available to Japanese consumers around midyear.

The AI engine "Watson" is already used in health care, travel and insurance services in English, but an adaptation was needed to make it work and think in Japanese, said Steve Gold, Vice President, IBM Watson Group.

Unlike other cognitive technology that responds rather mechanically, Watson can learn over time like a human brain, and understands the concept of probability, which makes it sophisticated and more human-like for applications, according to IBM.

(Mercury news, feb 10th)

Europe on Wednesday said it successfully launched and brought back to Earth a prototype space plane in a strategy to join an elite club of space powers.

In a 100-minute operation, the European Space Agency (ESA) took a wedge-shaped wingless robot craft on a sub-orbital flight to test re-entry technologies.

It marks the first step in an effort to emulate the United States, Russia and China in mastering the skill of not just launching a spacecraft but also bringing it home intact.

"The mission has come to an end according to plan... it couldn't have been better," ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said in a live webcast.

(AFP, feb 11th)

Navy Building Terrifying Humanoid Robots to Fight Fires

The US Navy has begun to test the firefighting abilities of a humanoid robot it has been developing for several years. The Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) walks on two legs, operates a fire hose, and even wears a track suit. The Navy is hoping SAFFiR can one day supplement its traditional human firefighting teams.

“This is a program that’s been going on for about five years basically to develop a humanoid capable of fire suppression,” Thomas McKenna said in an Office of Naval Research (ONR) video about the project. “There’s substantial losses incurred when you have a major fire and you can’t suppress it at an early stage.”

John Farley of the Naval Research Laboratory said that he sees the robot’s quick learning curve as a likely lifesaver.

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep the sailors up to the latest as far as training is concerned,” Farley said. “Sometimes they could create an environment and make it worse.”

“Now, the robot could be trained and constantly updated to make sure that conditions are not as bad as what a human could make it.”

Tests of the firefighting robot have gone well thus far with SAFFiR being able to hold and operate a fire hose while putting out a fire. However, there are plenty of problems to address before SAFFiR can become deployed on Navy ships. For one, the robot is not yet waterproof or fireproof.

(free beacon, feb 11th)

This Incredible Hospital Robot Is Saving Lives. Also, I Hate It

The robot, I’m told, is on its way. Any minute now you’ll see it. We can track them, you know. There’s quite a few of them, so it’s only a matter of time. Any minute now.

Ah, and here it is.

Far down the hospital hall, double doors part to reveal the automaton. There’s no dramatic fog or lighting—which I jot down as “disappointing”—only a white, rectangular machine about four feet tall. It waits for the doors to fully part, then cautiously begins to roll toward us, going about as fast as a casual walk, emitting a soft beep every so often to let the humans around it know it’s on a very important quest. It’s not traveling on a track. It’s unleashed. It’s free.

The robot, known as a Tug, edges closer and closer to me at the elbow of the L-shaped corridor and stops. It turns its wheels before accelerating through the turn, then suddenly halts once again. Josh, the photographer I’d brought along, is blocking its path, and by way of its sensors, the robot knows it. Tug, it seems, is programmed to avoid breaking knees.

This hospital—the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay wing—had opened four days before our visit. From the start, a fleet of Tugs has been shuffling around the halls. They deliver drugs and clean linens and meals while carting away medical waste and soiled sheets and trash. And by the time the fleet spins up to 25 robots on March 1, it’ll be the largest swarm of Tug medical automatons in the world, with each robot traveling an admirable average of 12 miles a day.

The whole circus is, in a word, bewildering. The staff still seems unsure what to make of Tug. Reactions I witness range from daaawing over its cuteness (the gentle bleeping, the slow-going, the politeness of stopping before pancaking people) to an unconvincingly restrained horror that the machines had suddenly become sentient. I grew up in Silicon Valley and write for WIRED and even I’m confused about it. The whole thing is just weird.

It’s really weird. And I’m not sure I like it much.

(wired, feb 10th)


Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who denies charges of pimping, has told a court in northern France that he took part in only a few rare sex parties.

He said prosecutors had greatly exaggerated the frequency of his "licentious evenings". There had only been 12 in three years, he said.

Mr Strauss-Kahn is accused of helping procure sex workers for a prostitution ring based at a hotel in Lille.

He has argued that he did not know the women were prostitutes.

Although using prostitutes is not illegal in France, supplying them or assisting in supplying them is. Prosecutors have been quoted as saying Mr Strauss-Kahn, 65, played a pivotal role in facilitating the orgies, describing him as the "party king".

(BBC, feb 10th)

Japanese revolutionaries to '"crush St Valentine's Day" ..... "Oppressive chocolate capitalists"

(telegraph, feb 11th)

LA Health Officials Take Action After Local Supermarket Sells Raccoons As Food

nspectors from the LA County Health Department visited the Metro Supermarket in Temple City on Tuesday, after being informed that the market was selling raccoons as food.

Employees at the market declined to appear on camera, but did show entire raccoons, frozen, bagged, and selling for $9.99 per pound. The employees say raccoon is considered a delicacy in China.

Customer Christina Dow was at the market, and upon seeing the frozen raccoons, filmed the scene on her cell phone. She shared the video on social media.

“The way it’s packaged in the store, it’s so real, and it’s so fresh, and you don’t see chickens with their feathers and blood all over them, and their expression, with their tongue hanging out,” Dow said.

Dow also went on to contact the LA County Health Department, who says that selling raccoons as food may indeed be perfectly legal, depending on the origins of the meat.

The market has ceased selling raccoons, since the department’s visit, until it and be reviewed and officially approved.

(CBS LA, feb 10th)

A Pennsylvania school district is under fire after middle school children were given “Fifty Shades of Grey” themed word search puzzles.

Based on the popular erotic romance novel and upcoming film, the puzzle includes such sexual terms as “bondage,” “handcuffs,” “leather cuffs” and “spanking.”

According to numerous news outlets, the issue became known after parents approached educators at a Tuesday evening school board meeting.

School officials with the Monessen School District reportedly began an investigation into the matter the day prior, asserting that no solid information had been gathered as of Wednesday.

Infowars reached out to district officials and was unable to learn any additional information regarding who provided the worksheets to students.

A parent speaking with CBS Pittsburgh stated that several administrators including the school’s principal refused to answer questions when an audio recording device was present.

Other Pennsylvania parents took to social media to voice their concern over what they saw as a lack of oversight.

“This is what you get when our society no longer has any kind of moral compass,” one parent said.

(Infowars, feb 11th)

A Muslim Brotherhood member who recently was hosted at the State Department along with several of the Islamist group’s key allies now claims that a White House official also was present in that meeting, according to recent remarks.

Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member and former Egyptian parliamentarian, was in the United States late last month along with a delegation of fellow Brotherhood leaders and allies.

The Brotherhood-aligned delegation caused an international stir after the Washington Free Beacon revealed that it had been hosted for a meeting with several State Department officials.

Another member of the group, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol.

While the State Department initially misled reporters about the meeting, it was eventually forced to admit that several Obama administration officials—including a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor—and State Department officials met with the delegation.

Al-Dardery now claims that in addition to these State Department representatives, a member of the White House also participated in the sit-down.

(free beacon, feb 10th)

It’s Hard To Know Where Gluten Sensitivity Stops And The Placebo Effect Begins

Thirty percent of Americans say they’re trying to reduce or eliminate gluten in their diets. But only about 1 percent of the population has an autoimmune response to gluten. Somewhere in that gap, a diet fad is thriving.

There are two groups of people who should definitely avoid gluten: those diagnosed with wheat allergies and those who have celiac disease. The latter is more common, affecting about 1 percent of the population. The former affects perhaps 0.1 percent of people and is more common in children, who often grow out of it.

What is less clear is whether there is another group of individuals whose digestive systems have some “gluten sensitivity” and who would, therefore, benefit from avoiding gluten. The people who think they’re sensitive to gluten are filling the gap between those who should avoid gluten and those who are doing it anyway. But how many people really are sensitive?

(Fivethirtyeight, feb 11th)

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