These 30 Regimes Are Using Coronavirus to Repress Their Citizens
As most governments around the world confront the unprecedented scale of the coronavirus crisis and what they need to do to protect their citizens and economies, dozens of others are seizing on the moment as an opportunity to crack down and consolidate their power.
Authoritarian leaders from Belarus to Venezuela have all looked to take advantage of the outbreak and the ensuing chaos to give themselves extraordinary new powers, while elections get delayed or forced to go ahead, depending on what suits the incumbent rulers. Security forces have been empowered to conduct brutal crackdowns, free speech has been censored, privacy has been eroded. More
Here's Who Just Voted to Let the FBI Seize Your Online Search History Without a Warrant
A bipartisan amendment that would have prohibited law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, from obtaining the web browsing and internet search histories of Americans without a warrant failed to pass in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday by a single vote.
Twenty-seven Republicans and 10 Democrats voted against the amendment to H.R. 6172, which will reauthorize lapsed surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The amendment offered up by Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Sen. Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, would have forced the government to get a warrant before obtaining the internet search history of Americans. More
28 Million Mail-In Ballots Went Missing in Last Four Elections
Between 2012 and 2018, 28.3 million mail-in ballots remain unaccounted for, according to data from the federal Election Assistance Commission.
The missing ballots amount to nearly one in five of all absentee ballots and ballots mailed to voters residing in states that do elections exclusively by mail.
States and local authorities simply have no idea what happened to these ballots since they were mailed – and the figure of 28 million missing ballots is likely even higher because some areas in the country, notably Chicago, did not respond to the federal agency’s survey questions. This figure does not include ballots that were spoiled, undeliverable, or came back for any reason. More
Can the Feds Close State Borders to Stop COVID-19?
On March 28, President Donald Trump floated a drastic idea for combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He told reporters outside the White House that he was considering closing the borders of New York, the state with the most reported cases of infections and deaths, and neighboring areas as well.
"I'm thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it but there's a possibility that sometime today we'll do a quarantine," Trump said, according to the White House transcript. "Short-term, two week on New York, probably New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut." Trump soon afterward reiterated the idea in a tweet, saying that "a decision will be made, one way or another, shortly." More
Arizona Bill Would Require Conviction Before Asset Forfeiture
PHOENIX, Ariz. – A bill prefiled in the Arizona House would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking a person’s property without a criminal conviction in most situations. The proposed legislation would build on important reforms signed into law in 2017.
Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) filed House Bill 2149 (HB2149) on Jan. 9. Under the proposed law, Arizona prosecutors would not be able to proceed with the asset forfeiture process without a criminal conviction. HB2149 is similar to another bill prefiled for the upcoming session (HB2032)
An AZCIR analysis in 2017 found that Arizona agencies seized nearly $200 million in property between 2011 and 2015 from people who may never have been charged or convicted of a crime. More
‘Officers are scared out there’: Coronavirus hits US police
WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. — More than a fifth of Detroit’s police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police.
For the 2,200-person department, that has meant officers working doubles and swapping between units to fill patrols. And everyone has their temperature checked before they start work.
An increasing number of police departments around the country are watching their ranks get sick as the number of coronavirus cases explodes across the U.S. The growing tally raises questions about how laws can and should be enforced during the pandemic, and about how departments will hold up as the virus spreads among those whose work puts them at increased risk of infection. More
Federal Government trying to Outlaw Tiny Homes and RV Living
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is in the process of putting the finishing touches on proposed regulations that would make living in an RV or a mobile Tiny Home illegal for most people.
The proposed regulations, entitled “FR–5877–P–01 Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Revision of Exemption for Recreational Vehicles”, will redefine the industry, and force HUD regulations on those that live the lifestyle. The new regulations are set to modify a current exemption in the Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations. According to the proposed docket information, RVs would be defined as “a factory build vehicular structure, not certified as a manufactured home, designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy.” More
When the U.S. Used 'Fake News' to Sell Americans on World War I
Tweets and accusations of “fake news” may be issued from the White House today, but in April 1917, the U.S. government created a whole committee to influence media and shape popular opinion.
When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson faced a reluctant nation. Wilson had, after all, won his reelection in 1916 with the slogan, “He kept us out of the war.” To convince Americans that going to war in Europe was necessary, Wilson created the Committee on Public Information (CPI), to focus on promoting the war effort. More
Afghanistan Papers Confirm That the Longest War Is a Lie
The Washington Post’s Afghanistan Papers, detailing a true history of the nation’s longest official war, reveals nothing new about the war’s futility or about the fact that it was doomed to failure from almost the beginning. The Post fought a legal battle for three years to obtain the documents from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a federal government watchdog agency that interviewed hundreds of officials about their honest assessments of the war.
What the Afghanistan Papers do offer is a confirmation of what critics had already been asserting for nearly two decades: that there is no clearly defined goal or endpoint to the war to help determine when to stop fighting, and that our efforts have been futile at best and deeply destructive at worst. More
Tables and chairs removed from Cumberland St. Tim Hortons
OTTAWA -- All tables and chairs have been removed from the Cumberland Street Tim Hortons in an effort to curb drug use and other criminal activity at the location.
“It does suck, you can’t come and enjoy a coffee in the morning but I understand where they’re coming from to be honest,” said customer Mario Brisson. Tim Hortons said it wants to provide a safe environment for guests and staff.
“This restaurant has recently had several occurrences of inappropriate customer behaviour in the dining area, some of which have been violent and have required police intervention,” the company said in a statement. More
Exposed: China’s Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm
A new leak of highly classified Chinese government documents has uncovered the operations manual for running the mass detention camps in Xinjiang and exposed the mechanics of the region’s Orwellian system of mass surveillance and “predictive policing.”
The China Cables, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, include a classified list of guidelines, personally approved by the region’s top security chief, that effectively serves as a manual for operating the camps now holding hundreds of thousands of Muslim Uighurs and other minorities. The leak also features previously undisclosed intelligence briefings that reveal, in the government’s own words, how Chinese police are guided by a massive data collection and analysis system that uses artificial intelligence to select entire categories of Xinjiang residents for detention. More
9 Farm attacks in South Africa, 1-15 January 2020
In the first fifteen days of January 2020, there were nine farm attacks, whilst one farm attack was successfully averted. And whilst the government denies the existence, thirty six farm attacks and two farm murders took place in South Africa during the month of December 2019, whilst three farm attacks were successfully averted.
There were forty six farm attacks and three farm murders in South Africa during the month of November 2019, whilst only one farm attack was successfully averted. From January 2019 to December 2019 there were 472 farm attacks and 49 farm murders. More
Mysterious drones flying nighttime patterns over northeast Colorado leave local law enforcement stumped
A band of large drones appears to be flying nighttime search patterns over northeast Colorado — and local authorities say they don’t know who’s behind the mysterious aircraft.
The drones, estimated to have six-foot wingspans, have been flying over Phillips and Yuma counties every night for about the last week, Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott said Monday.
The drones stay about 200 feet to 300 feet in the air and fly steadily in squares of about 25 miles, he said. There are at least 17 drones; they emerge each night around 7 p.m. and disappear around 10 p.m., he said. “They’ve been doing a grid search, a grid pattern,” he said. “They fly one square and then they fly another square.” More
For 20 years, a Tennessee baby thief kidnapped more than 5,000 children from Memphis
No one knows or perhaps cares to remember the exact day the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis closed. What is known is that 69 years ago, in late November or early December, the place workers later called "a house of horrors" closed its doors for good.
Shutting the Children's Home Society down may have cast it into obscurity, but by then the home had already permanently changed the lives of more than 5,000 children.
The unimaginable horror of the place still reverberates today not because many of the children were orphaned or abused but because they were stolen. The little-known story caught the attention of fiction author Lisa Wingate when she saw a late-night episode of "Deadly Women" on the Discovery Channel about the children's home matriarch, Georgia Tann. More
About That Che Guevara T-Shirt
Let’s say that all you knew about Adolf Hitler was that he painted scenic pictures, postcards, and houses in Vienna, loved dogs and named his adorable German Shepard “Blondie,” and frequently expressed solidarity with “the people.” You might sport a T-shirt adorned with his image if you thought such a charismatic chap was also good-looking in a beret. But your education would be widely regarded as incomplete.
If you later found out that the guy on your T-shirt was a mass murderer, you might ask your oppression studies professor why she left out a few important details. This hypothetical resembles a real-world phenomenon seen today on numerous college campuses. Fifty-two years after his demise in Bolivia – on October 9, 1967 – the maniacal socialist Ernesto “Che” Guevara is still making headlines and spoiling perfectly good clothes. More
London Bridge terror attack: 'the police rolled him over and saw he had a bomb vest'
The panicked screams echoing through the ornate surroundings of Fishmongers’ Hall were the first indication that terror had returned to the streets of London.
Those attending an event marking the five-year anniversary of a Cambridge University criminal justice initiative called Learning Together had just returned from their lunch break when a tall, bearded man burst in through the doors brandishing two large knives.
Around 100 attendees, including outreach workers, academics and criminologists, were caught up in the ensuing chaos, many unable to get out of his path. The group had spent the morning attending various workshops at the Grade II listed building, headquarters of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, one of the livery companies of the City of London. More
Dollar Tree gets FDA warning over ‘potentially unsafe’ drugs
The feds slapped Dollar Tree with a warning this month over the company’s imports of potentially dangerous over-the-counter drugs.
The discount retailer has received acne treatment pads and other products from foreign manufacturers that have committed “serious” violations of federal standards, the US Food and Drug Administration said in a Nov. 6 warning letter to the company.
The letter, released Thursday, demands the Virginia-based company put together a plan to make sure it does not import or deliver any more “adulterated” drugs. More
Black Friday backlash: Protests against Amazon erupt across France
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the company's French headquarters in Clichy, north of Paris.
Protesters also tried to blockade a shopping centre in Paris and a logistics centre near the eastern city of Lyon.
In video from Lyon riot police can be seen dragging activists away.
The protests aimed to disrupt Black Friday, a discount shopping day that activists have blamed for environmental damage. More
Homeland Security will soon have biometric data on nearly 260 million people
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to have face, fingerprint, and iris scans of at least 259 million people in its biometrics database by 2022, according to a recent presentation from the agency’s Office of Procurement Operations reviewed by Quartz.
That’s about 40 million more than the agency’s 2017 projections, which estimated 220 million unique identities by 2022, according to previous figures cited by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based privacy rights nonprofit.
A slide deck, shared with attendees at an Oct. 30 DHS industry day, includes a breakdown of what its systems currently contain, as well as an estimate of what the next few years will bring. The agency is transitioning from a legacy system called IDENT to a cloud-based system (hosted by Amazon Web Services) known as Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology, or HART. More
NASA Astronaut Accused of Identity Theft in First Criminal Allegation from Space
The situation is out of this world.
Anne McClain, a NASA astronaut and lieutenant colonel in the Army, is facing accusations that she committed identity theft through the "improper access" of her estranged wife's "private financial records," The New York Times reported.
Former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden didn't understand how her estranged wife, McClain, still knew details of her spending.
Worden recently noticed, though, that a computer owned by NASA had accessed her bank account, using her own login information. McClain admitted to doing so in space, aboard the International Space Station. More
The Endless Propaganda To Keep The Endless Wars Going
Americans have been voting for peace candidates for decades. One of the surest ways to become president in America is to promise that you'll put an end to the endless wars.
George W. Bush did it ... Obama did it ... and so did Trump.
Yet, despite the empty promises and Nobel Peace Prizes, neither Bush, nor Obama delivered. They expanded the forever wars with reckless abandon. While President Trump is still in the thick of it, he has made a very bold move to remove 1,000 American troops from Syria.
The propaganda against Trump's decision has been immense. The desire to keep the endless wars...well, endless...cannot be more apparent. More
Activists angry police who shoot can wait to face questions
After a police officer fatally shoots someone, it can take days or even weeks before the public or his supervisors hear the officer’s version of what happened.
In many states, that so-called cooling off period is carved out in state law or in a police department’s contract. That opportunity to take some time before undergoing questioning by investigators angers community activists and others seeking reforms of police departments around the country who believe it gives officers time to reshape their story to justify a shooting and avoid getting fired or charged. Law enforcement officials and experts say officers need to be able to collect their thoughts, so they don’t provide details that are tainted by the trauma of the shooting. More
Israeli intervention in US elections ‘vastly overwhelms' anything Russia has done, claims Noam Chomsky
Veteran activist Noam Chomsky has accused Israel of “brazenly” interfering in US electoral politics in a way that vastly outweighs any efforts that may have been carried out by Russia.
In comments in which he accused much of the media of concentrating on stories he considered marginal and ignoring issues such as the “existential threat” of climate change, the 89-year-old linguist said in much of the world, the US media’s focus with Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 was "a joke".
“First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support,” he said. More
Weaponizing women: how feminism is being used to sell guns
Firearms, it would seem, have become a feminist issue. Second amendment proponents and the gun industry are using female empowerment, and even the #MeToo movement, to sell their products and fight back against gun control. Meanwhile, the last few months have seen a spate of viral social posts by women brandishing guns, apparently in the name of feminism.
On Tuesday, a 22-year-old Kent State University graduate, Kaitlin Marie, garnered headlines after posting graduation photos in which she was holding a semi-automatic rifle. Marie wrote: “As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don’t have to be.” More
It's Not Just Hurricanes: America Wanted to Nuke Mines, the Moon and the Panama Canal
As long as the United States has had nuclear weapons, it’s wanted to nuke things. The list has included—but is not limited to—cities, beer bottles, salt mines, hurricanes, the moon. Yesterday, Axios reported that President Trump suggested using a nuke to stop a hurricane. Trump later denied the story on Twitter, but it’s not the most outlandish plan Trump’s ever denied putting forth. Nuking a hurricane is a terrible idea, but it’s one that America has been toying with for decades.
The raw power of a hurricane is several orders of magnitude greater than that of a nuclear weapon and launching a missile into a tropical storm will probably just create a radioactive hurricane. It’s a question the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration gets so often, it has created a page explaining why it’s a terrible idea. More
Mexico gang leaves 19 bodies, some hanging from bridge, as a warning
Mexican police have found nine bodies hanging from a road bridge alongside a drug cartel banner threatening rivals.
Seven more corpses were found hacked up and dumped by the road nearby in the western city of Uruapan, and just down the road were three more, making a total of 19.
The killing spree marked a return to the grisly massacres carried out by drug cartels at the height of Mexico's 2006-12 drug war, when piles of bodies were dumped on roadways as a message to authorities and rival gangs. More
FBI document warns conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat
The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a previously unpublicized document obtained by Yahoo News.
The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.
The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement). More
Fake honey still pouring into Canada, and local beekeepers are feeling the sting
Fake honey cut with corn syrup, rice, beet and other sugars is still pouring into Canada and onto grocery store shelves.
The producers, who pride themselves on turning out the real thing, have been abuzz about the food fraud for years. They say they are feeling the sting and consumers should be aware.
Since June 2018, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been zeroing in on fake honey, using "targeted surveillance." More
What is "domestic terrorism" and what can the law do about it?
The deadly shooting in El Paso is being treated as a "domestic terrorism" case, prosecutors there said. And the FBI said it has opened a "domestic terrorism" investigation into the July shooting at the garlic festival in Gilroy, California.
But the individuals who commit these violent acts will ultimately be indicted on different federal charges — hate crimes or weapons possession. Here's why: Domestic terrorism is defined in the U.S. legal code but it is not codified as a law that can be prosecuted.
"It's confusing to the public to call someone a domestic terrorist but not charge them with a crime of terrorism," said Mary McCord, a former Department of Justice official who served as acting assistant attorney general for national security from 2016 to 2017. More
This isn’t the first time concentration camps have appeared on American soil
The past few days have seen a firestorm of debate and criticism over whether to describe migrant detention centers along America’s southern borders as “concentration camps,” but the debate is missing a key point: the U.S. has operated concentration camps several times before.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) touched off the debate on Monday, saying on Instagram that “the fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing, and we need to do something about it.” Ocasio-Cortez has since stood by her remarks, tweeting Wednesday that she “will never apologize for calling these camps what they are.”
To be sure, the camps currently in the U.S. remain qualitatively different from the extermination camps seen during the Holocaust in places like Dachau or Auschwitz. They also remain far cries from those experienced by Boers in South Africa, which saw tens of thousands die in British concentration camps, or Cubans under Spanish rule, where hundreds of thousands perished. More
Rising Conservatives Are as Hostile to Freedom as the Leftists They Disdain
Delegates to the California Democratic Party convention last weekend drew national attention after they booed a presidential candidate, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, for saying that "socialism is not the answer." Conservative writers were aghast. Look at those crazy California Democrats, they insisted, who get upset at a few jabs at an ideology that's long been associated with collectivism and misery.
Yes, there's a deep rift within the Democratic Party between its traditional-liberal and progressive wings, with the latter moving in some troubling ideological directions. But Republicans, who have gleefully warned the public about Democratic flirtations with socialism, shouldn't be quick to gloat given the emergence of an anti-freedom movement on the Right. More
Armed Antifa group calls for “revolutionary resistance” against Trump
The “Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM)” is a militant far-left extremist movement that claims to have six active cells across the U.S. This group openly supports foreign Communist soldiers like the IRPGF and others, and routinely organizes domestic criminal activity using their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They have coordinated campaigns to destroy Christopher Columbus statues and even bragged about their “success” on their social media platforms, they have encouraged their Facebook followers to burn down luxury housing developments, and they do all of this without any consequences from the big tech companies or the law enforcement community
Now, they are escalating their rhetoric and have called for “revolutionary resistance” against Donald Trump. In a recent declaration that explicitly called for “revolutionary resistance”. More
Minneapolis’ ‘Little Mogadishu’ Sees 56 Percent Increase in Violent Crimes Caused by Somali Gangs
Violent crimes increased by more than 50 percent in 2018 in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, nicknamed “little Mogadishu,” which authorities attribute to Somali gang activity in the area.
Buried in a recent Star Tribune article was the fact that violent crimes jumped from 54 in 2010 to 84 in 2018, an increase in roughly 56 percent. Authorities attribute the violence to rivalries between Somali gangs, such as the Somali Mafia, the Somali Outlaws, the Hot Boyz, and Madhibaan with Attitude, Alpha News reports.
According to a 2014 Southside Pride article, the Outlaws and Madhibaan with Attitude have a rivalry that stretches back years, and likely resulted in the murder of two Somali men in April 2014. That article notes that the summer of 2013 was a particularly bloody season for gang warfare, which produced at least 4 killings. More
Millennials in China are Twice as Likely to Own Homes as Young Americans
There’s one group of millennials that seems to have no problems buying homes.
Seventy percent of young adults in China are homeowners, according to a recent HSBC survey. The study, which looked at more than 9,000 people born between 1981 and 1998 in nine countries, found that the home ownership rate of Chinese millennials is nearly double the global average.
Mexico, with 46% of millennials owning their own homes, was the next highest country. By comparison, only 35% of American millennials are property owners.
Not only are Chinese youngsters more prone to own real estate, more renters there aspire to become homeowners than their U.S. counterparts. More
Another member quits body that awards Nobel literature prize
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A member of the academy that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature said Wednesday she is leaving the body, the latest person to quit amid sex abuse and financial crimes scandals at the exclusive group.
Jayne Svenungsson is the eighth person to quit or to be forced off the 18-member board of the Swedish Academy since the scandals broke last year.
Swedish broadcaster SVT reported that Svenungsson, who joined in December, left after “careful consideration.” The broadcaster quoted her as saying she wanted to focus on her full-time job as a university theology professor. More
Potentially dangerous antibiotics
Ripley County, MO - Remembering the good times. That’s what the Whiteside family is focusing on these days.
“Her life was all about love and teaching us how to love others,” said Keith Whiteside.
Keith Whiteside is reflecting on what happened last Spring with his mother. Kathy Whiteside had just returned from a beach vacation with her husband, Randy.
Her family says she was excited about making plans for Easter. With six grandchildren, she was preparing for a celebration that included a big meal. “She’d contracted a cold and it dropped to her chest,” said Randy Whiteside. More
What Would You Say About A Nation That Lets The Poor Die From Diabetes?
In the early 1920s, researchers at the University of Toronto discovered a way to extract insulin that would prove life-saving for individuals essentially waiting to die after a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, and those researchers sold the patent for just $1 to the university to ensure all could have access to the treatment.
Fast forward to the present and Americans are dying from Type 1 diabetes — not for lack of a cure but lack of the funds to obtain it.
Since 2012, the price of insulin has more than doubled, leaving those with the least resources struggling to obtain the treatment they need to stay alive. More
Ford government will now require gas stations to display Trudeau carbon tax price
The Ford government announced today that it will be mandating that gas stations display stickers that reveal the cost of the federal carbon tax for those filling up.
They will also be mandating that heating bills clearly indicate the cost of the federal carbon tax.
This is part of what Ford Nation refers to as “transparency measures.” It will help consumers see exactly how much the carbon tax is costing them. More
Two men charged with beating, robbing man in MAGA hat
Two men who allegedly attacked and robbed a pedestrian because of his “Make America Great Again” hat have been arrested in Maryland.
The Montgomery County Department of Police said in a press release Monday that Jovan Crawford, 27, and Scott Duncan Roberson, 25, were arrested and charged over the weekend after they harassed a man for wearing the pro-President Trump and then beat him to the ground and robbed him in Germantown. More
US government spent over $500m on fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos that tracked location of viewers
A former contractor for a UK-based public relations firm says that the Pentagon paid more than half a billion dollars for the production and dissemination of fake Al-Qaeda videos that portrayed the insurgent group in a negative light.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that the PR firm, Bell Pottinger, worked alongside top US military officials at Camp Victory in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. The agency was tasked with crafting TV segments in the style of unbiased Arabic news reports, videos of Al-Qaeda bombings that appeared to be filmed by insurgents, and anti-insurgent commercials – and those who watched the videos could be tracked by US forces. More
More Canadians in U.S. overstayed visas than any other foreigners last year
More than 700,000 foreigners who legally entered the U.S. by sea or air last year stayed past the expiration of their visas and the top country of origin for those visa overstays was Canada, according to a new report from the Department of Homeland Security.
The report, which covers the period from October 2016 to September 2017, tracked overstays by citizens of countries that require a visa to enter the U.S., as well as those that participate in the visa-waiver program, which allows citizens to visit the U.S. without a visa provided those trips do not exceed 90 days. More
Government Criminalizes Off Grid Living: Tiny Homes Banned In US At Increasing Rate
Whether for political, ideological, environmental or financial reasons or perhaps simply because of a thirst for the simpler life, more and more people across the United States are choosing to move off grid and into tiny homes.
However, it appears that the United States’ government is not too happy about the challenge this new movement is posing to some of the biggest companies in America and now it looks as though this new way of life may be squashed before it has even taken off the ground. More
How an Experimental Billion-Dollar Privacy Lawsuit Could Clobber Facebook
Less than one week. That's all the time needed for Jay Edelson to swing into action in March and file suit upon splashy headlines that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from tens of millions of Facebook users in the interest of swinging the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Edelson was hardly the only class-action lawyer rushing to allege a huge violation of trust on the part of the world's biggest social network. But not every attorney is known to be a corporate America bogeyman, notorious for picking fights with large and small companies over the seedier sides of online life, including surreptitious information collection and the hawking of personal data to occasionally shady third parties. More
State police unions unanimously oppose legalizing marijuana
The New York state association of police unions unanimously opposes Gov. Cuomo’s plans to legalize recreational marijuana, calling it a “money grab,” the group’s president said Wednesday.
“We wanted to be on the record that we oppose it because it’s an act of total irresponsibility,” Michael Palladino, the head of the New York State Association of PBAs, said Wednesday.
“The Governor and lawmakers are trading public safety for a money grab to plug a budget deficit arising from mismanagement of taxpayer funds."
" Jeopardizing the public’s safety is not something cops support.” More
Al Gore’s dark past is an inconvenient truth
It seems like every time you open the morning paper, more powerful men are being accused of groping, raping and generally treating their female colleagues in inappropriate and degrading ways.
But it’s not just the political, corporate and entertainment titans of today who are being called out; many sins of the past are being re-examined in the context of our new sensitivities regarding gender relations.
You don’t have to look any farther than the pages of the New York Times or the airwaves of MSNBC to hear liberal voices openly opining that they blew it in the 1990s by not calling on former President Bill Clinton to step down after he admitted to an ongoing sexual relationship with a much younger intern. More
ICE set up a fake university enrolling hundreds of foreign students as part of a sting operation
The University of Farmington had no staff, no professors, no curriculum, and no classes. But it did have hundreds of foreign "students," who may now face deportation because of their willingness to participate in what authorities described as a "pay to stay" scheme in which they could live and work in the US under false pretenses.
It was part of a sting by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents who were secretly running the fake university in Farmington, Michigan, in an attempt to crack down on immigration fraud. More
China creates app to tell you if you are near someone in debt and encourages you to report them
The Chinese Government has developed a mobile app that tells users if they are near someone who is in debt. The app, called a "map of deadbeat debtors," flashes when the user is within 500 meters of a debtor and displays that person's exact location.
News of the app has caused quite a bit of controversy after it was originally reported by the state-run China Daily. It is an extension to China's existing "social credit" system which scores people based on how they act in public. It's no secret that China keeps a very close watch on its citizens, but this new public shaming approach takes it one step further. More
US Military Occupations Now Supported by Far More Democrats Than Republicans
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll has found that there is much more support for ongoing military occupations among Democrats surveyed than Republicans.
To the question “As you may know, President Trump ordered an immediate withdrawal of more than 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose President Trump’s decision?”, 29 percent of Democrats responded either “Somewhat support” or “Strongly support”, while 50 percent responded either “Somewhat oppose” or “Strongly oppose”. Republicans asked the same question responded with 73 percent either somewhat or strongly supporting and only 17 percent either somewhat or strongly opposing. More
The FBI is Trying Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Software
The FBI is piloting Amazon’s facial matching software—Amazon Rekognition—as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects during investigations.
The pilot kicked off in early 2018 following a string of high-profile counterterrorism investigations that tested the limits of the FBI’s technological capabilities, according to FBI officials.
For example, in the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas carried out by Stephen Paddock, the law enforcement agency collected a petabyte worth of data, much of it video from cellphones and surveillance cameras. More
Barwon Heads community seeks answers over cancer concerns
A Bellarine Peninsula community group has demanded answers from its local MP about the alarming incidences of cancer deaths among young adults in the region and contamination of former farmland.
The Barwon Heads Association has written to Bellarine MP Lisa Neville following reports in The Age about fears raised by residents about the deaths of 10 young adults in recent years, most of whom grew up in the town and attended Bellarine Secondary College at nearby Drysdale.
In its latest newsletter, the association asked Ms Neville to arrange a briefing at the association's next meeting, on February 18, about "concerns that are now being very strongly expressed". More
Six Mexican states are running short on gasoline, prompting frantic rush to the pumps
MEXICO CITY – Mexicans are scrambling for gasoline amid long lines at gas stations and widespread shortages prompted by a change in distribution methods aimed at stemming fuel theft.
State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said the use of more secure transportation methods has resulted in delays for fuel delivery to gas stations in the states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Mexico and Queretaro. It is urging consumers not to panic or hoard gasoline, promising that supply will soon stabilize.
Frantic consumers have made a run on the pumps and social media has been filled with images of gas station signs saying they are out of fuel, and consumers comparing the thin supplies to scarcity for basic goods like bread and milk that plagued Mexico during the 1970s. More
Private Companies Are Paying To Keep Roads Groomed, Bathrooms Cleaned In Yellowstone
Two weeks into the government shutdown, National Parks are starting to close. The public has been getting free access, since there are no employees to collect entrance fees of up to $35 per car. But neither are employees there to collect trash and clean bathrooms. So, with overflowing trash cans and toilets posing a threat to human health and safety, parks are shutting down.
But in the nation's oldest national park, Yellowstone, local businesses are pitching in to pay park staff to keep it open — or at least parts of it. Temperatures in the park regularly drop below zero this time of year, and the park is blanketed in snow. But still, between 20,000 to 30,000 people a month still come to Yellowstone in wintertime, and the snow is actually a big attraction. More
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tax plan would supply tens of billions of dollars, but how much would it cost Americans?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has touted a plan that would tax multimillionaire Americans 60-70% to fund massive energy and infrastructure overhauls related to a plan that aims to reduce the country's carbon emissions to zero and eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years.
The New York's representative said in a "60 Minutes" interview set to air Sunday that a new marginal tax rate would affect Americans making more than $10 million to help pay for the "Green New Deal."
"Once you get to the tippy-tops, on your $10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 percent or 70 percent," Ocasio-Cortez said.
"That doesn't mean all $10 million dollars are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more." More
Trump Says US Military Spending Is ‘Crazy’ High — Then Calls for Billions More
On Monday, President Trump seemed to be positioning himself against Pentagon calls for spending increases, saying that the spending levels are already “crazy” and that he didn’t envision the 2020 military budget should exceed $700 billion, despite Pentagon presumptions it would be $733 billion.
Having met with committee chairs, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, Trump has now completely reversed his position, and is calling on the Pentagon to seek an even bigger spending increase in the next budget.
Administration officials are now saying Mattis was assured that Trump will support a budget of $750 billion. This would be a substantial increase over the previous year’s budget, and over the requested budget. More
China's social credit system has blocked people from taking 11 million flights and 4 million train trips
China's social credit system has blocked people from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed train trips.
The numbers, from the end of April, were included in a report by China's state-run news outlet Global Times, but it is unclear what offenses those targeted in the travel ban have committed.
The social credit system is actually a collection of blacklists, of which there are more than a dozen at the national level. Each list is based on similar offenses — such as misbehavior on planes and trains, or failing to abide by a court judgment — and determines the punishments people face, from throttling internet speeds to blocking loans. More
U.S. military project could be seen as a bioweapon, scientists warn
A research arm of the U.S. military is exploring the possibility of deploying insects to make plants more resilient by altering their genes. Some experts say the work may be seen as a potential biological weapon.
In an opinion paper published Thursday in the journal Science, the authors say the U.S. needs to provide greater justification for the peacetime purpose of its Insect Allies project to avoid being perceived as hostile to other countries. Other experts expressed ethical and security concerns with the research, which seeks to transmit protective traits to crops already growing in the field. More
Belong to 'Quiet Skies'? Better Hope Not
It's called "Quiet Skies" and sounds for all the world like the name of some airline PR initiative. But as the Boston Globe reveals, "Quiet Skies" is actually the name of a TSA domestic surveillance program that has been operating on the down-low. It's not entirely clear how you can end up on this particular watchlist, but if anything about your travel history—say, for example, you're a business person who travels to world hot spots—raises even a hint of suspicion, that's enough. That's when the remarkably detailed surveillance starts. Marshals in the program get a list of people to follow in airports and then onto flights. If they fidget, use the bathroom a lot, use a cellphone, have a "jump" in their Adam's apple or a "cold penetrating stare," or check their reflection in glass (ostensibly to detect being followed), it will be fully documented on a checklist. More
Venezuela prepares for war with U.S. with ‘rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready’
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro called on his nation's military leaders Tuesday to prepare for war against the U.S. days after the Trump administration banned Venezuelan officials from entering the nation.
"We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace," said Maduro, who wore a green uniform and a military hat as he spoke with his army top brass during a military exercise involving tanks and missiles. "We need to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready....to defend every inch of the territory if needs be," he added.
The Trump administration has taken a hard stance against Maduro's regime by banning money lending to Venezuela's government or its state oil company PDVSA, and passing sanctions against Maduro and his top officials. More
Massive stockpile of bottled water found in Puerto Rico a year after Maria
Hundreds of thousands of water bottles meant for victims of Hurricane Maria are still sitting at a Puerto Rico airport — nearly a year after the deadly storm, according to a report.
A photo showing the bottles in boxes and covered in a blue tarp on a runway in Ceiba was shared widely on social media Tuesday evening.
“Although you don’t believe it… almost a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages,” posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures. “Is there anyone who can explain this?” More
New Mexico Solar Observatory to Reopen after Mysterious Closure
The Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico is set to resume operations Monday, nearly two weeks after the facility was evacuated over an unexplained security issue.
The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) made the decision on September 6 to vacate the 170-strong workforce from the research institute, a move that led to intense speculation—and conspiracy theories.
In a statement Sunday, officials said residents forced from their homes close to the site could now return and all employees will now come back to work. The center was shut due to concerns a suspect in a police probe "posed a threat to the safety" of those on Sacramento Peak, where the observatory is located. More
Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States
The nation's top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.
In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had "provided pcAnywhere remote connection software … to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006," which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them. More
Google, Mastercard cut a secret ad deal to track retail sales
For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S.
That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.
But most of the 2 billion Mastercard holders aren't aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That's because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.
Google and Mastercard brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant's strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com and others. More
These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You
It’s the smartphone conspiracy theory that just won’t go away: Many, many people are convinced that their phones are listening to their conversations to target them with ads. Vice recently fueled the paranoia with an article that declared “Your phone is listening and it’s not paranoia,” a conclusion the author reached based on a 5-day experiment where he talked about “going back to uni” and “needing cheap shirts” in front of his phone and then saw ads for shirts and university classes on Facebook.
Some computer science academics at Northeastern University had heard enough people talking about this technological myth that they decided to do a rigorous study to tackle it. More
New Mexico compound mysteriously destroyed by authorities
Following a court order, authorities seized an RV at the New Mexico compound where five adults are believed to have been abusing 11 children and training them for school shootings. An underground tunnel at the site where remains of a 3-year-old were found is now buried in rubble, as ammo and a bulletproof vest sit in piles of uncollected trash. More
Google is embracing evil
GOOGLE IS PLANNING to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.
The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.
Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app, different versions of which have been named “Maotai” and “Longfei.” The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials. More
The billionaires trying to control Saskatchewan's cannabis industry
Cannabis Life Network spoke with Pat Warnecke, the owner of Saskatchewan-based medical dispensary Best Buds Society on June 22, a day after he turned himself into police after finding out there was a warrant out for his arrest.
Pat Warnecke told us about his shock upon finding his face on the front page; the shadiness of Saskatchewan’s dispensary license lottery where people won multiple licenses (the chances of which were 1 in millions!); the shadowy billionaire family trying to control Saskatchewan’s cannabis industry; setting up dispensaries on First Nations’ land; why Saskatchewan wants to destroy its homegrown cannabis industry; and so much more. More
Teardown Of USB Fan Reveals Journalists Lack Of Opsec
Last month, Singapore hosted a summit between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. Accredited journalists invited to the event were given a press kit containing a bottle of water, various paper goods, and a fan that plugs into a USB port.
Understandably, the computer security crowd on Twitter had a great laugh. You shouldn’t plug random USB devices into a computer, especially if you’re a journalist, especially if you’re in a foreign country, and especially if you’re reporting on the highest profile international summit in recent memory. Doing so is just foolhardy.
This is not a story about a USB fan, the teardown thereof, or of spy agencies around the world hacking journalists’ computers. This a story of the need for higher awareness on what we plug into our computers. In this case nothing came of it — the majority of USB devices are merely that and nothing more. One of the fans was recently torn down (PDF) and the data lines are not even connected. More
Baby blues - no EU nation will replace itself on current trend
Rich Europeans are having more babies than those in the poorest member states, with Sweden and the UK joining France and Ireland in having the highest fertility rates, while southern and eastern European countries are producing the fewest babies.
Across Europe, no country is producing enough children to replace their parents.
France, where pro-family tax policies have been in place for more than a decade, is the nearest thing to an anomaly. Figures compiled by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, show the country recorded both the highest absolute number of births - 799,700 in 2015, and the highest fertility rate. More
‘Minority Report’ China: Railway police use facial recognition glasses to fight crime
Chinese police are using facial recognition glasses to identify ‘fugitives’ passing through a crowded train station. The futuristic technology may be the next step in making sure no criminals escape justice.
Officers deployed at Zhengzhou East high-speed rail station in the Henan province are the first in the country to don the cutting-edge, tinted glasses in the name of catching criminals.
The glasses contain in-built facial recognition software that allows police to scan passengers travelling through the station. Specifically designed for police use, the smart spectacles are connected to a tablet-like device that allows officers to take mugshots and compare them to a police database. More
Italy: "The Party is Over" for Illegal Migrants
Italy's new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has vowed to cut aid money for migrants and to deport those who illegally are in the country.
"Open doors in Italy for the right people and a one-way ticket out for those who come here to make trouble and think that we will provide for them," Salvini said in the Lombardy region, home to a quarter of the total foreign population in Italy. "One of our top priorities will be deportation." Salvini, leader of the nationalist League (Lega) party, formed a new coalition government with the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) on June 1. The government's program, outlined in a 39-page action plan, promises to crack down on illegal immigration and to deport up to 500,000 undocumented migrants.
"The party is over for illegal immigrants," Salvini said at a June 2 rally in Vicenza. "They will have to pack their bags, in a polite and calm manner, but they will have to go. Refugees escaping from war are welcome, but all others must leave." More
Investigative strategy of police prompts debate on DNA privacy rights
VICTORIA — As the years stretched into decades with no arrests after his sister’s body was found in Washington state, it was becoming hard for John Van Cuylenborg of Victoria, B.C., to maintain hope for any justice or answers.
Then he received a phone call about investigators getting a break in the cold case. It involved a controversial new investigative technique that American police have been using to comb through the genetic family trees of potential suspects in such unsolved crimes. The technique is raising questions about privacy of a person’s DNA on both sides of the border. More
Website flaw exposed most U.S. cellphones’ real-time locations
A website flaw at a California company that gathers real-time data on cellular wireless devices could have allowed anyone to pinpoint the location of any AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile cellphone in the United States to within hundreds of yards, a security researcher said.
The company involved, LocationSmart of Carlsbad, operates in a little-known business sector that provides data to companies for such uses as tracking employees and texting e-coupons to customers near relevant stores.
Among the customers LocationSmart identifies on its website are the American Automobile Association, FedEx and the insurance carrier Allstate. LocationSmart did not immediately respond to emails and telephone messages seeking comment on the flaw and its business practices. More
The State That Foreshadows America’s Future
In 1835, while running for re-election to Congress from Tennessee, the frontiersman Davy Crockett told his constituents that, should he lose, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” Narrowly defeated, he made good on his vow, writing his children that he’d found “the garden spot of the world,” the ideal place to settle and seek one’s fortune.
Crockett never got to put down roots in Texas — he died two months later defending the Alamo — but his faith in Texas’ exceptionalism, a much-maligned term today, would become a fixture of Lone Star culture. No state can match its swagger or eccentricities; no state generates more loyalty within its borders, or more controversy beyond.
If the title of Lawrence Wright’s superb new book, “God Save Texas,” seems a bit clichéd, consider this: A few months ago, long after Wright’s manuscript had gone to press, a district judge in Texas was removed from a case after informing the jury that the Lord had visited him to say the defendant was innocent. Far from apologizing, the judge insisted he had a duty to relay such celestial edicts. “When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” he explained.More
Surge in Child Exploitation in UK Sees Record Number of Slavery Victims
Child exploitation cases shot up by 66 percent in 2017 following an increase in the use of so-called county lines by organized criminal gangs; these children are often threatened with guns and violence and forced to run drugs and money between big cities and small rural towns along county lines, according to new data published by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The NCA recently published an update on the drug dealing model known as county lines, revealing, "dealers will usually use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of class A drugs — primarily heroin and crack cocaine — to customers. The county line becomes a recognized and valuable brand and is therefore protected with violence and intimidation. More
'Booby trap' set up to deter Haiku Stairs trespassers
KANEOHE, OAHU - A Utah visitor says he knows he was trespassing when he climbed a fence to get to Haiku Stairs in Kaneohe and slipped, impaling his neck on what he described as a "booby trap" — a wooden box with screws sticking out.
"It was wet, it had been raining out, and my right foot slipped which brought me down and I just did a direct kind of neck plant on the nails," Jonathan McWillie said, who added that he was taken to an ER after the incident about 2 a.m. on Feb. 17.
He underwent two hours of surgery to stitch up two inch-deep puncture wounds after falling on the contraption, affixed to a homeowner's fence on Kuneki Street. More
London murder rate is HIGHER than New York's for the first time ever
London's murder rate has overtaken New York City's for the first time ever as the twelfth person has been killed in just 19 days.
February marked the first month in history books that London had more murders than the American city with a total of 15 homicides. Out of the 15 killed, nine were aged 30 or younger.
In March, there were 22 murders, which is likely to match if not beat out New York's numbers.
The murder epidemic continued on Sunday when a man in his twenties was fatally stabbed after leaving a bar in Wandsworth, marking the 12th person to be murdered in London in 19 days. More
Horror on streets of Germany: State of emergency declared as 80 men brawl with MACHETES
Police were called to the Altmarkt area of the city over reports of the mass bawl. Officers used CS gas to control the brawling men. The scores of men were also using telescopic batons in the fight in Druisburg, which is on the west of Germany. Police said they were spat at and had objects hurled at them. Around 50 people were arrested and onlookers captured the brutality in shocking photos. Those arrested refused to explain what sparked the fight and 30 people were later released. More
Airline Orders Stranded Passengers to Delete Videos
Passengers of a Canadian airline who were stranded in Boston over the weekend say airline officials threatened to have them arrested if they didn't delete videos of employees announcing a flight cancellation. Kira Wegler tells CTV News she was among passengers who waited hours before being removed from a Friday flight bound for Toronto because of what Porter Airlines says was a frozen door on a luggage compartment.
Shuffled into Boston's Logan Airport, Wegler says frustrated passengers waited two more hours before learning the flight would be canceled. Some began taking video of what they considered to be poor customer service, and that's when officials "started threatening us," saying they would "have us arrested" unless the videos were deleted, Wegler tells Global News. More
Facebook logs SMS texts and calls, users find as they delete accounts
As users continue to delete their Facebook accounts in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a number are discovering that the social network holds far more data about them than they expected, including complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages.
The #deletefacebook movement took off after the revelations that Facebook had shared with a Cambridge psychologist the personal information of 50 million users, without their explicit consent, which later ended up in the hands of the election consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Facebook makes it hard for users to delete their accounts, instead pushing them towards “deactivation”, which leaves all personal data on the company’s servers. When users ask to permanently delete their accounts, the company suggests: “You may want to download a copy of your info from Facebook.” It is this data dump that reveals the extent of Facebook’s data harvesting – surprising even for a company known to gather huge quantities of personal information. More
How Iraq War destabilized the world and why the neocons aren't finished yet
The Iraq War architects have been thoroughly rehabilitated and are planning their next adventure, even as the catastrophic ramifications of their crimes continue to reverberate around the world.
Last week marked the 15th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. April 9 will be the 15th anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. The consequences of these events are still playing out today, from Mali to Niger, to the Philippines. Iraq has never recovered and is only beginning to emerge from the trauma, while American officials plan the next military adventure. More
Grooming still rife in Britain: Major report says police gave gangs 'green light' to sexually abuse girls and women
Grooming gangs are still sexually abusing girls and young women across the country despite repeated warnings and prosecutions, a shocking report revealed yesterday.
Efforts to stop the exploitation have been hampered by the authorities’ failure to understand why abusers target vulnerable white girls, the investigation found.
The author of a report into the latest abuse scandal yesterday urged the Government to order a national study into the ‘cultural influences’ on the offenders, predominantly from an ‘Asian British’ background. More
Welcome to the neighbourhood. Have you read the terms of service?
The L-shaped parcel of land on Toronto's eastern waterfront known as Quayside isn't much to look at. There's a sprawling parking lot for dry-docked boats opposite aging post-industrial space, where Parliament Street becomes Queens Quay. To its south is one of the saddest stretches of the Martin Goodman trail, an otherwise pleasant running and biking route that spans the city east to west.
But before long, Quayside may be one of the most sensor-laden neighbourhoods in North America, thanks to Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, which has been working on a plan to redevelop the area from the ground up into a test bed for smart city technology.
It's being imagined as the sort of place where garbage cans and recycling bins can keep track of when and how often they're used, environmental probes can measure noise and pollution over time and cameras can collect data to model and improve the flow of cars, people, buses and bikes throughout the day. More
How the baby boomers, not millennials, screwed America
Everyone likes to bash millennials. We’re spoiled, entitled, and hopelessly glued to our smartphones. We demand participation trophies, can’t find jobs, and live with our parents until we’re 30. You know the punchlines by now.
But is the millennial hate justified? Have we dropped the generational baton, or was it a previous generation, the so-called baby boomers, who actually ruined everything?
That’s the argument Bruce Gibney makes in his book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America. The boomers, according to Gibney, have committed “generational plunder,” pillaging the nation’s economy, repeatedly cutting their own taxes, financing two wars with deficits, ignoring climate change, presiding over the death of America’s manufacturing core, and leaving future generations to clean up the mess they created. More
Big Brother on wheels: Why your car company may know more about you than your spouse
DETROIT — Daniel Dunn was about to sign a lease for a Honda Fit last year when a detail buried in the lengthy agreement caught his eye.
Honda wanted to track the location of his vehicle, the contract stated, according to Dunn — a stipulation that struck the 69-year-old Temecula, Calif., retiree as a bit odd. But Dunn was eager to drive away in his new car and, despite initial hesitation, he signed the document, a decision with which he has since made peace.
“I don’t care if they know where I go,” said Dunn, who makes regular trips to the grocery store and a local yoga studio in his vehicle.
“They’re probably thinking, ‘What a boring life this guy’s got.’?” More
Head of German intelligence agency says the return of brainwashed ISIS families poses a 'massive danger'
The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency has warned of the 'massive danger' posed by returning ' brainwashed' ISIS women and children.
'There are children who have undergone brainwashing in the ISIS areas and are radicalised to a great extent,' said Hans-Georg Maassen.
He said Germany should consider repealing laws restricting surveillance of minors under the age of 14 to prepare for the increased risk of attacks by children as young as nine.
'We see that children who grew up with Islamic State were brainwashed in the schools and the kindergartens of the Islamic State,' he said. 'They were confronted early with the ISIS ideology ... learned to fight, and were in some cases forced to participate in the abuse of prisoners, or even the killing of prisoners.' More
Anger, dejection grows as only half of Puerto Rico has power
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The revelation that more than 660,000 power customers across Puerto Rico still lack electricity more than three months after Hurricane Maria has sparked outrage, surprise and resignation among some islanders who accuse officials of mismanaging their response to the Category 4 storm.
It's the first time the government of the U.S. territory has provided that statistic, which was released as authorities warned that a lot of work remains and that crews were still finding unexpected damage after Maria hit on Sept. 20 with winds of up to 154 mph, knocking power out to the entire island. Officials said 55 percent of Puerto Rico's nearly 1.5 million customers have power.
"It's just extraordinary that it is still so far away from being 100 percent recovered," said Susan Tierney, a senior adviser for Denver-based consulting company Analysis Group who testified before a U.S. Senate committee on efforts to restore power in Puerto Rico. "I'm not aware of any time in recent decades since the U.S. has electrified the entire economy that there has been an outage of this magnitude." More
China tightens screws on social media
Beijing - The campaign is intended not just to stamp out dissent but to ensure that all media “serves the direction of socialism”.
The continuing crackdown targets not only explicit depictions of sex and violence, but even rap music, crude cartoons, dirty jokes, celebrity gossip and tattoos.
Sina Weibo has failed to comply, Beijing’s Cyberspace Administration said Saturday on its official WeChat social media account, berating the site for letting users post “content of wrong public opinion orientation, obscenity, low taste and ethnic discrimination”.
The company “has violated the country’s laws and regulations, led online public opinions to wrong direction and left a very bad influence,” it said. More
New Reuters Poll Proves That Many Americans Can’t Think for Themselves
It is generally believed that America is more polarized than ever.
After all, one need only look at the fallout from the last election to test this theory: both liberals and conservatives are convinced that their ideas and principles are the best and should be followed.
But a recent survey by Reuters casts a bit of doubt on how well people really know their own minds and understand the political principles they say they adhere to. It appears that many Americans base their views on whether a particular authority figure holds them.
As Reuters explains, surveyors read a variety of political statements which Donald Trump made on the campaign trail to mixed groups of Republicans and Democrats. One group was told that each statement was made by Trump; the other omitted that important detail. More
The 1 habit that keeps 99% of people from ever becoming rich
There are only two ways to become rich: Make more. Spend less.
I am 27 years old, and one habit in particular I notice the vast majority of society (but specifically starting with 20-somethings) nurtures is the habit of making more to spend more.
As my father would say, "Expenses rise to meet income."
This is an (intentionally) overly simplified example, but unfortunately it's fairly spot on. The average savings amount for working-age families is around $95,000. More
Dollar stores are dominating retail by betting on the death of the American middle class
Dollar General and other dollar stores are thriving while department stores struggle to survive - and their success is built on the death of the American middle class.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Dollar General has become one of the most profitable retailers in the US by opening more locations in places across the country that have continued to struggle economically.
"The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer," Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos told the WSJ. The company's target shopper comes from a household making $40,000 or less a year.
"We are putting stores today [in areas] that perhaps five years ago were just on the cusp of probably not being our demographic, and it has now turned to being our demographic," Vasos said. More
Doug Jones May Have Won, But White Women Lost in Alabama Last Night
Last night, former federal prosecutor Doug Jones pulled off a long-shot victory over multiply accused child molester Roy Moore in the special election for Jeff Sessions’s vacant Alabama Senate seat, effectively restoring many Americans’ faith in humanity.
But while Jones won big, white women definitively lost the night, as CNN exit polls revealed that a majority of white female voters—an estimated 63 percent—picked Moore, compared to the overwhelming 97 percent of African-American women voters who supported Jones. A resounding takeaway from Jones’s big upset is that African-American women (and men) and the youth vote are the ones who clinched it, while an estimated two-thirds of white women voters preferred a white supremacist–leaning alleged child molester to a Democrat. More
43 States Suspend Licenses for Unpaid Court Debt, But That Could Change
In April 2015, Ashley Sprague was making $2.13 an hour plus tips as a waitress at Waffle House when she was pulled over for speeding in a small city near her home outside Nashville. The speeding ticket, plus another citation for failure to have proof of insurance, totaled $477.50, a sum that might as well have been a million dollars. Over the course of the next 13 months, she was cited twice more for administrative infractions, including — she was surprised to discover — driving on a suspended license.
Tennessee is one of 43 states, plus the District of Columbia, that suspends driver's licenses for people with unpaid court debt, according a recent report by the Legal Aid Justice Center, a Virginia-based organization that filed a lawsuit there challenging the practice. Although Tennessee says it gives drivers 30 days notice before suspending a license, Sprague and her lawyers say she was not told about her suspension and the state does not notify people in every case. More
Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite's hidden wealth
The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires.
The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.
The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times. More
Embracing New Cultures: Sweden Condones Child Marriage for Immigrants
An immigrant crisis of unprecedented proportions has brought with it problems which Sweden hadn't known previously, such as polygamy and underage brides. Recently, two juvenile immigrant girls in Karlskrona were reported to be staying with their husbands. Neither of the girls was separated from their adult men, even though minors are not allowed to tie the knot in Sweden.
One of the cases involves an underage wife who came to Karlskrona with her husband and a small child. In the other case, the girl was pregnant upon arrival. Despite these obvious violations of Swedish law, Karlskrona Social Committee chairperson Ingrid Hermansson of the Center Party defended the municipality's decision. The rule of the thumb in such cases, the community acts "for the child's best" interest. More
Drone stalking several women in rural Port Lincoln community
A group of women living in a rural setting near Port Lincoln on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula have been woken at night by a drone looking into their homes.
Police are yet to find the offender, and some of the women have told the ABC they are living in constant fear of another visit which usually happens late at night or very early morning.
One of the women, who like the rest of the group did not want to be identified, was asleep and alone at home on her relatively remote hobby farm. More
Unmasking Puerto Rico’s Biggest Debt Holders
Puerto Rico has been on a lot of minds recently. But Hurricane Maria only exacerbated the problems already plaguing the US territory. In addition to a seriously compromised infrastructure, the number of people without power is actually growing, Puerto Rico’s massive debt problems seem to have no immediate solution. Sarah Jaffe talked with Jonathan Westin, the director of New York Communities for Change, about some of the people profiting on Puerto Rico’s debt. More
Russian-linked campaign used Pokémon Go to meddle in election
Russian efforts to meddle in American politics did not end at Facebook and Twitter. A CNN investigation of a Russian-linked account shows its tentacles extended to YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go.
One Russian-linked campaign posing as part of the Black Lives Matter movement used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Pokémon Go and even contacted some reporters in an effort to exploit racial tensions and sow discord among Americans, CNN has learned.
The campaign, titled "Don't Shoot Us," offers new insights into how Russian agents created a broad online ecosystem where divisive political messages were reinforced across multiple platforms, amplifying a campaign that appears to have been run from one source -- the shadowy, Kremlin-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency. More
Ann Coulter calls for Trump impeachment, Death squads for those who ruined America
Ann Coulter is a friend of Donald Trump no more.
Recently, Coulter suggested that Mike Pence would be a better president and called for Trump’s ouster for not being tough enough against immigration.
Now, she has taken it one step further and has called for death squads to go after those who “ruined America” with immigration.
“We have made as clear as you can possibly make it, we want less immigration,” Coulter opined on Fox Radio. “Stop dumping the third world on the country.” She continued on: “If he continues down this path, well I guess there are three options. There’s the organizing the death squads for the people who ruined America, because there will be no more hope.” More
A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons
It was almost lunchtime inside the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, on May 12, 2008. The meatpackers, mostly migrants from Guatemala and Mexico, wore earplugs to block out the noise of the machinery and couldn’t hear the two black helicopters hovering overhead or the hundreds of armed federal immigration agents closing in around them until the production line stopped. One worker tried to flee with his knives, stabbing himself in the leg when he was pushed to the ground. “They rounded us up toward the middle like a bunch of chickens,” a 42-year-old Guatemalan worker later recalled. “Those who were hiding were beaten and shackled.” More
Mexico offers aid to Puerto Rico after Donald Trump's 'terrible and abominable' visit
Earthquake-hit Mexico has itself offered aid to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s destructive passage through the Caribbean.
The US's southern neighbour plans to ship experts from its state-run power company to the island, where large numbers of people are without electricity, along with 30 tonnes of water and mosquito repellent.
The offer came on Wednesday, a day after President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico. He told islanders they could be “very proud” that more people had not perished in the storm, compared to the toll from “a real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More
The IRS Just Hired Equifax To Handle Our Personal Information. No, Seriously.
The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and validation for the government agency under a no-bid contract issued on September 29, three days before a Congressional hearing in which legislators questioned Equifax’s former CEO Richard Smith about the company’s response to a data breach of 145.5 million people’s personal information. Members of Congress admonished Smith for the company’s oversight; the company had initially disclosed that 143 million people had been affected by the data breach. Members of Congress also tore into Smith for accepting $18.4 million in pension benefits after the fiasco. The Justice Department also opened an investigation into Equifax executives who sold almost $1.8 million of their company stock before the breach became public knowledge. More
Why Didn't FPL Do More to Prepare for Irma?
Four days after Irma, millions of Floridians are still stuck without power in the sweltering summer heat. Those outages have now killed eight elderly people trapped in a Hollywood nursing home without air conditioning, due to circumstances that FPL was warned about at least two days before the tragedy.
Many of those powerless residents are now asking hard questions of the area's power monopoly, which has spent millions of dollars fighting policies that would have strengthened the grid in the event of a major storm like Irma and, more broadly, stemmed the carbon-fueled climate change likely fueling monster storms.
"I am one of the many that has now been without power for more than two days as a result of Hurricane Irma," Elise McKenna, a West Palm Beach resident, told New Times via email. "My confusion came when so many of us lost power during the early hours of the storm that basically avoided us. We've been told time and time again that rate increases were to help prepare us for future storms." More
12 things you should delete from Facebook immediately
If you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time, you are fully aware of the dangers and disturbances it can cause. And we’re not just talking about all the predators out there going after your children. When was the last time you innocently posted something, tongue in cheek, that cost you a relationship? Or at least did serious damage to one? Have any of those photos of you drinking at a party years ago come up to haunt you at job interviews yet? And we won’t even get into the major time-suck Facebook can be. You know what we mean. You get on FB, start scrolling, and the next thing you know, HOURS have gone by, though it’s only seemed like minutes, and you’ve lost a massive amount of time in your life that you’ll never get back.
But with anything that powerful, you have to be careful how you deal with it.
While Facebook says protecting the privacy of its users is of utmost priority, there are certain pieces of information you might want to consider not having on there, like your home address, or where you went to school. More
The flight attendant did nothing wrong. Still, he was ordered: ‘Pull down your pants’
“And now,” said the Brazilian customs agent, “we need you to pull down your pants.” I stared at him, wide-eyed and disbelieving.
“You need me to do what?”
My eyes shifted to the other customs officer, hoping he would explain that this was just a cruel joke.
Instead, his glare made my stomach churn.
I had been hustled into a detention room at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport in Brazil, where I was facing a traveler’s worst nightmare: a customs strip search. More
Equifax security breach leaks personal info of 143 million US consumers
Equifax says a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — almost half the country.
Cyber criminals have accessed sensitive information -- including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver's licenses.
Additionally, Equifax said that credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. customers were exposed, as was "personal identifying information" on roughly 182,000 U.S. customers involved in credit report disputes. Residents in the U.K. and Canada were also impacted. More
When He Was 16, This Man Threw One Punch—and Went to Jail for Life
Tony Clayton was 30 years old, and just two years out from passing the Louisiana bar, when he walked into court in February of 1994, prepared to try his first murder case. He was, in his words, a “braggadocious kind of little young jit,” determined to prove himself with a case that would test even the most veteran of prosecutors.
The defendant, Taurus Buchanan, stood charged with second-degree murder—accused of throwing, at the age of 16, a single, deadly punch in a street fight among kids. If convicted, an automatic sentence would fate him to spend the rest of his life in prison, with no hope for parole. A section chief in the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office had told Clayton that securing a murder conviction under these circumstances would be a tough task. But Clayton had told her, “Ah, man, I can convict. I can do it. Just give me the damn case. More
‘Australian women need Muslim men to fertilize them,’ says halal food chief in Facebook rant
The head of a Muslim food certification body in Australia has said “Australian women need [Muslim men] to fertilize them,” causing an online outcry.
Mohamed Elmouelhy, the head of the Halal Certification Authority in Australia, wrote on his Facebook page that Australian women needed male Muslims because men in the country “are a dying breed.”
“Australian women need us to fertilize them and keep them surrounded by Muslim babies while beer swilling, cigarette smoking, drug injecting can only dream of what Muslim men are capable of,” his post read. He added that Muslims “have a duty to make your [Australian women] happy.” Elmouelhy concluded that the white race in the country “will be extinct in another 40 years” if Australia “is left to bigots.” More
The U.S. fertility rate just hit a historic low. Why some demographers are freaking out.
The United States is in the midst of what some worry is a baby crisis. The number of women giving birth has been declining for years and just hit a historic low. If the trend continues — and experts disagree on whether it will — the country could face economic and cultural turmoil.
According to provisional 2016 population data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the number of births fell 1 percent from a year earlier, bringing the general fertility rate to 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The trend is being driven by a decline in birthrates for teens and 20-somethings. The birthrate for women in their 30s and 40s increased — but not enough to make up for the lower numbers in their younger peers. More
A Story of Slavery in Modern America
The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.
Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding. More
Antifa Website Encourages All Manner of Physical Violence Against Trump Supporters and Capitalists
The Antifa website It’s Going Down has become the de facto resource for anarchists and “anti-fascist” activists currently engaging in sporadic street battles across the United States against Trump supporters and the government. The site calls for violence against capitalists and anyone it labels a “fascist.”
It features posters for self-identified anarchists that call for Trump supporters to be stabbed. A poster published in April shows the silhouette of a man with a Make America Great Again hat and a Pepe the Frog lapel pin being cornered by a bayonet.
Behind him is the transparent silhouette of a Nazi. More
Canadians Could Face Hate Crimes Over Using The Wrong Gender Pronouns
Canada passed a law Thursday making it illegal to use the wrong gender pronouns.
Critics say that Canadians who do not subscribe to progressive gender theory could be accused of hate crimes, jailed, fined, and made to take anti-bias training.
Canada’s Senate passed Bill C-16, which puts “gender identity” and “gender expression” into both the country’s Human Rights Code, as well as the hate crime category of its Criminal Code by a vote of 67-11, according to LifeSiteNews. The bill now only needs royal assent from the governor general.
“Great news,” announced Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister. “Bill C-16 has passed the Senate – making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. #LoveisLove.” More
Minneapolis Muslims protest 'sharia' vigilante in Cedar-Riverside area
A man trying to impose what he calls "the civil part of the sharia law" in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis has sparked anger among local residents and Muslim leaders.
Abdullah Rashid, 22, a Georgia native who moved to Cedar-Riverside last year, has been making the rounds in the Somali-dominated neighborhood, telling people not to drink, use drugs or interact with the opposite sex.
If he sees Muslim women he believes are dressed inappropriately, he approaches them and suggests they should wear a jilbab, a long, flowing garment. And he says he's recruiting others to join the effort. More
How Real Are Homeland and House of Cards? We Ask the Spy Chief
If you’re like me, and you’ve already binged through every season of House of Cards, then you may have wondered at some point: How true to reality are those dramatic briefings with President Frank Underwood? “They’re fairly realistic,” says John McLaughlin, who, as the former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, has briefed no fewer than four presidents — from Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush. “A real briefing takes place in the basement of the White House, but you’re seeing only a tensely dramatic snippet of the meeting, because if you saw the whole thing it would be like watching paint dry.”
McLaughlin, a fellow TV junkie when it comes to political thrillers, gets glued to the screen whenever his favorites come on. Yes, there’s House of Cards, but also The Americans, Homeland and Veep. Only, unlike many of us, he has far deeper insight into just how real those latest plot twists and love stories really are. More
Thieves now using Bluetooth devices at gas pumps to steal your data
COLUMBUS — Thieves are now getting your credit card numbers from gas pumps in a new way you might never even notice.
So how do they do it? Thieves are putting skimmers on the inside of gas pumps.
“Once they get the credit card on the magnetic strip…they can encode those numbers,” said Corey Schwartz with the Franklin County Auditor’s Office.
Thieves are known to try to put skimmers on the outside of gas pumps where you put your card in, but now the Franklin County Auditor’s Office says thieves are sneaking into pumps by unlocking them with universal keys they buy online. Then they attach the skimmer inside, and wait for unsuspecting victims. They don’t even have to return to the pump to get your numbers. More
Wild boars overrun Islamic State position, kill 3 militants
Three Islamic State militants setting up an ambush in a bitterly contested area of northern Iraq were killed by a herd of stampeding boars, local leaders say.
Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, told The Times of London the militants were hiding on the edge of a field about 50 miles southwest of Kirkuk when the boars overwhelmed them Sunday. Five other militants were injured, al-Assi said. He said the group was poised to attack a band of local tribesmen who had fled to nearby mountains since militants seized the town of Hawija three years ago.
“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,” he said. More
After Challenging Red Light Cameras, Oregon Man Fined $500 for Practicing Engineering Without a License
When Mats Järlström's wife got snagged by one of Oregon's red light cameras in 2013, he challenged the ticket by questioning the timing of the yellow lights at intersections where cameras had been installed.
Since then, his research into red light cameras has earned him attention in local and national media—in 2014, he presented his evidence on an episode of "60 Minutes"—and an invitation to present at last year's annual meeting of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
It also got him a $500 fine from the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.
According to the board, Järlström's research into red light cameras and their effectiveness amounts to practicing engineering without a license. No, really. Järlström had sent a letter to the board in 2014 asking for the opportunity to present his research on how too-short yellow lights were making money for the state by putting the public's safety at risk. "I would like to present these fact for your review and comment," he wrote. More
Unsettled leadership could hurt federal disaster response
More than a dozen major disasters, including winter storms, tornadoes and mudslides, have already hit the U.S. since President Trump took office. Recovery from disasters involves several federal agencies, which raises the question of what future support can be expected from an administration that has made its name promising major changes in federal management?
Last summer, a few thousand acres of forest burned in the foothills above Duarte, a town just northeast of Los Angeles. The charred remains of trees still stand among new vegetation that sprouted after a winter of unusually heavy precipitation. The fire left loose soil, which, when heavy rainstorms hit in January, became mud that slid down into neighborhoods. More
Poachers kill rhino at French zoo; cut off horn with chainsaw
Paris -- Poachers broke into a zoo near Paris on Monday and killed a 4-year-old rhinoceros before cutting off its horn with a chainsaw.
The rhinoceros, named Vince, was found dead today at the Thoiry Zoo, west of the French capital, according to The Independent. The animal had been shot three times in the head.
The animal's second horn was partially cut off, the paper said. That means the poachers likely ran out of time or their equipment failed. Two other rhinos at the zoo are safe and healthy. More
America may miss out on the next industrial revolution
Robots are inevitably going to automate millions of jobs in the US and around the world, but there’s an even more complex scenario on the horizon, said roboticist Matt Rendall. In a talk Tuesday at SXSW, Rendall painted a picture of the future of robotic job displacement that focused less on automation and more on the realistic ways in which the robotics industry will reshape global manufacturing.
The takeaway was that America, which has outsourced much of its manufacturing and lacks serious investment in industrial robotics, may miss out on the world’s next radical shift in how goods are produced. That’s because the robot makers — as in, the robots that make the robots — could play a key role in determining how automation expands across the globe. More
GOP senators’ new bill would let ISPs sell your Web browsing data
Republican senators yesterday introduced legislation that would overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers. If the Federal Communications Commission rules are eliminated, ISPs would not have to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties.
As expected, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced the resolution yesterday. The measure would use lawmakers' power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking "shall have no force or effect." The resolution would also prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future.
Flake's announcement said he's trying to "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation." Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that. More
'Black Hitler' to stand for election for far-right party in Finland
A Finnish pastor who has been dubbed 'the black Hitler' is to stand for election in the country's municipal elections.
Joao Bruno Putulukeso will stand for the ultra-nationalist True Finns party (also known as simply The Finns) in an attempt to moderate its uncompromising image.
Putulukeso, who came to Finland from Angola, will stand in the eastern city of Vaasa under the slogan "love is the weapon of victory," according to news agency EFE. He has said: "I want immigrants to understand that the True Finns are not enemies of the immigrants. Immigrants must respect the law and the rules, and then they can integrate in peace."
Despite his stated intentions, Putulukeso's decision to stand for the far-right party has caused uproar on social media and led some to call him "the black Hitler." More
FBI Used Best Buy's Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance
Recently unsealed records reveal a much more extensive secret relationship than previously known between the FBI and Best Buy's Geek Squad, including evidence the agency trained company technicians on law-enforcement operational tactics, shared lists of targeted citizens and, to covertly increase surveillance of the public, encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer's request for repairs.
To sidestep the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against warrantless invasions of private property, federal prosecutors and FBI officials have argued that Geek Squad employees accidentally find and report, for example, potential child pornography on customers' computers without any prodding by the government. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as "wild speculation." But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line. More
Marijuana Grow Lights Interfering with Ham Radio Transmissions
Amateur radio operators across the country have recently been noticing a harsh audible buzz when switching on their equipment. The source of the interference has been traced to cheap electrical ballasts used to regulate indoor lamps that are used to grow marijuana. The cheap ballasts that are causing the problems often have fake FCC-compliance stickers, which may go unnoticed by amateur growers.
Marijuana grow lights can be powerful enough to generate the same amount of radio interference as a 1,000 watt AM radio station, and one of the cheap ballasts popular among home marijuana growers was found to produce 640 times as much interference as a legal, FCC-approved unit. More
Electronic Media Searches at Border Crossings Raise Concerns
PORTLAND, OREGON — Watchdog groups that keep tabs on digital privacy rights are concerned that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are searching the phones and other digital devices of international travelers at border checkpoints in U.S. airports.
The issue gained attention recently after at least three travelers, including a Canadian journalist, spoke out publicly about their experiences. The episodes have gained notice amid an outcry over President Donald Trump's travel ban and complaints of mistreatment of foreign travelers, but the government insists there has been no policy change in the new administration.
Border Protection says searches increased fivefold in the final fiscal year of the Obama presidency, but still amounted to less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of all international arrivals. More
The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity
Most American school children learn that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading us to join World War II.
This week marks the 75th anniversary of Japanese-Americans being subsequently rounded up and interned as suspected enemies of the state.
But there's another tragic and untold story of American citizens who were also interned during the war. I'm a member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska and I've spent the better part of 30 years uncovering and putting together fragments of a story that deserves to be told. More
Swedish, Danish citizens arrested on terror accusations in Turkey
A Swedish citizen and a Danish citizen have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of planning acts of terror in Europe, according to Turkish media.
The pair are said to have been trained by Isis since 2014.
"We have received information from Turkish security services stating that a Swedish citizen has been arrested in Turkey," Nina Odermalm Schei, press chief with Swedish security agency Sapö, told news agency TT.
The 45-year-old Danish citizen is of Lebanese heritage, while the 38-year-old Swede has links to Iraq. According to the Anatolia news agency and other Turkish media, the pair have received training in terrorism during visits to Syria over several years, where they claimed to be participating in relief work. More
Berkeley Riots: How Free Speech Debate Launched Violent Campus Showdown
Last week's riot at University of California Berkeley has raised some big questions about the future of the free speech movement. A divided campus – which once incubated the ideals of the 1960s – was sent into lockdown as it struggled to balance inclusive values with its legacy of fighting for the right to voice your opinion, however ugly it may be.
When the Berkeley College Republicans invited inflammatory Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, over 100 faculty members signed letters of protest, urging the administration to cancel his visit, while an op-ed by veterans of the free-speech movement defended his right to speak.
The university decided that the Berkeley College Republicans, a separate legal entity from the school itself, had the right to host Yiannopoulos – but many in the community didn't agree with that decision, pointing to other schools that have successfully prevented his appearances. More
More states confirm suspected cyberattacks sourced to DHS
2 other states’ election agencies confirm cyber-attacks linked to same DHS IP address as 11/15 cyber-attack on GA network.
The two states reporting the suspected cyberattacks were West Virginia and Kentucky.
"We need somebody to dig down into this story and figure out exactly what happened," said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
In the past week, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed 10 separate cyberattacks on its network over the past 10 months that were traced back to DHS addresses. More
The New Dark Age – Exploiting Faith to Coerce Climate Obedience
Climate worriers appear to be increasingly looking for ways to exploit people’s religious faith, to coerce ordinary people into accepting green destitution; into abandoning mechanised transport, into letting farmland return to wilderness.
For much of the history of civilisation, during the Dark Age, ordinary people were prey to the unscrupulous – to tyrants who exploited the honest faith of ordinary people, to coerce acceptance of inequity and injustice. Then along came the Age of Reason, and the Age of Enlightenment. Instead of simply accepting whatever they were told, ordinary people started to question, to demand answers, to know the evidence. People started to demand rational government, justice, liberty and fair treatment.
The Climate activist appeal to reason has failed – their evidence sucks, their models don’t work, public interest is plummeting, and their habit of calling people names, when their shoddy science is questioned, is starting to wear thin. More
Why cheap, outdated Android phones widen the digital security divide
In late November, the security team at Check Point Software Technologies revealed a new malware campaign named Gooligan, which breached the security of more than a million Android phones.
The malware, which can find its way onto phones via phishing links or apps downloaded outside the Google Play store, can steal authentication token information and use it to access Google-related accounts – including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, G Suite and more – without entering a password. Gooligan also can install and rate apps from Google Play and even install adware to generate revenue. The malware, which has been found in at least 86 apps outside the Google Play store, could affect users running versions 4 or 5 of the Android operating system, which were released between 2011 and 2014. More
An Entire Town's Police Force Just Resigned
A small Indiana town is entirely without a police force after a series of resignations Monday. (Editor's note: Criminals, please don't read any farther.) The AP reports Bunker Hill's town marshal and four unpaid reserve deputies submitted their letters of resignation during Monday's town council meeting.
In his letter of resignation, town marshal Michael Thomison accused the council of asking him and his deputies to "be involved in illegal, unethical, and immoral things," according to the Kokomo Tribune. Those activities included requests for confidential information and criminal background checks on fellow council members. Thomison tells Fox 59 deputies were threatened when they refused those requests and were forced to share one set of body armor while dealing with criminals. More
For Many Low-Wage Workers, Retirement Is Only a Dream
It was a striking image. A photo of an 89-year-old man hunched over, struggling to push his cart with frozen treats. Fidencio Sanchez works long hours every day selling the treats because he couldn’t afford to retire.
The photo and his story went viral and thousands of people donated more than $384,000 for his retirement.
His story is a window into a dark reality: Many low-wage workers say they can’t afford to retire.
With no money saved for retirement, home care worker Gwen Strowbridge, 71, of Deerfield, Florida, plans to stay on the job until she can’t physically work anymore. More
The UN doesn’t like the way you live
Participants at the UN’s Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador are exhorted on blue and white (the UN’s colors) billboards to do their best for the world’s cities. Our personal favorite read “Compact Cities.”
According to speakers addressing the conference, only by transforming cities and other human settlements into densely populated urban centers will future generations have any prospect of meeting the challenges facing them, first and foremost climate change (formerly known as “global warming”).
An endless parade of people described as “urban experts, “ warned that whatever plans were adopted at Quito would be pointless unless they were accompanied by comprehensive monitoring. But what would be the criteria by which a city’s performance could be evaluated?
Not to worry, said Michael Cohen of the New School in New York , his graduate students had developed the criteria that would assess cities’ compliance with the UN’s plans to ensure that urban areas take the lead in combating climate change. More
We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned
A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.
We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.
We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help. More
The nasty rise of ‘flash mob robbers’
In just 90 seconds, they’d made off with over $10,000 in cosmetics.
Groups known as “flash-mob robbers” storm a store, steal thousands in merchandise in minutes and bolt as quickly as they arrive. Among the most notorious are the Rainbow Girls — a group of female thieves, named for their brightly hued hair — who’ve hit dozens of stores in the Bay Area. Their high-stakes heists have included Ulta where the beauty burglars stole an estimated $11,000 worth of goods in less than two minutes. The mostly girl gang has also walked off with a combined more than $130,000 worth of luxury goods from Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton Christian Dior and Sunglass Hut according to charges filed against a dozen members of the Rainbow Girls in the Bay Area in October. More
DEA regularly mines Americans' travel records to seize millions in cash
WASHINGTON — Federal drug agents regularly mine Americans’ travel information to profile people who might be ferrying money for narcotics traffickers — though they almost never use what they learn to make arrests or build criminal cases.
Instead, that targeting has helped the Drug Enforcement Administration seize a small fortune in cash. DEA agents have profiled passengers on Amtrak trains and nearly every major U.S. airline, drawing on reports from a network of travel-industry informants that extends from ticket counters to back offices, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Agents assigned to airports and train stations singled out passengers for questioning or searches for reasons as seemingly benign as traveling one-way to California or having paid for a ticket in cash. More
The great Mexican wall deception: Trump’s America already exists on the border
At the federal courthouse, Ignacio Sarabia asks the magistrate judge, Jacqueline Rateau, if he can explain why he crossed the international boundary between the two countries without authorization. He has already pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor commonly known as “illegal entry” and is about to receive a prison sentence. On either side of him are eight men in the same predicament, all still sunburned, all in the same ripped, soiled clothes they were wearing when arrested in the Arizona desert by agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Once again, the zero tolerance border enforcement program known as Operation Streamline has unfolded just as it always does here in Tucson, Ariz. Close to 60 people have already approached the judge in groups of seven or eight, their heads bowed submissively, their bodies weighed down by shackles and chains around wrists, waists and ankles. The judge has handed out the requisite prison sentences in quick succession — 180 days, 60 days, 90 days, 30 days. More
Just how secure are electronic voting machines?
It's no secret, given the hacks that have plagued the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But security researchers warn that it's just the beginning.
"There's not even a doubt in my mind that there are other actors out there that have yet to be found," Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz told CNNMoney. "I'm sure there will be other hacks that come out over the course of this election and certainly beyond that."
Kurtz, whose firm was brought in by the DNC to investigate the hack, called the hack a watershed moment. He said Crowdstrike has been fielding calls from Washington as political parties wrap their heads around a new type of threat: Hackers trying to manipulate the U.S. election. More
This Guy Trains Computers to Find Future Criminals
When historians look back at the turmoil over prejudice and policing in the U.S. over the past few years, they’re unlikely to dwell on the case of Eric Loomis. Police in La Crosse, Wis., arrested Loomis in February 2013 for driving a car that was used in a drive-by shooting. He had been arrested a dozen times before. Loomis took a plea, and was sentenced to six years in prison plus five years of probation.
The episode was unremarkable compared with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, which were captured on camera and distributed widely online. But Loomis’s story marks an important point in a quieter debate over the role of fairness and technology in policing. Before his sentence, the judge in the case received an automatically generated risk score that determined Loomis was likely to commit violent crimes in the future. More
G20 to set up forum to combat world oversupply- EU diplomat
HANGZHOU (CHINA) - The Group of 20 leading economies will set up a global forum to combat world industrial oversupply, a senior European Union diplomat said Monday at a summit in China.
The final communique will say that "measures like subsidies are a root cause of market distortions" and a forum will be set up "to monitor the process" of cutting overcapacity, the official told reporters.
The global steel industry is assailed by huge oversupply with Chinese demand plummeting as its economic growth has slowed. More
A Stability Police Force for the United States
Establishing security is the sine qua non of stability operations, since it is a prerequisite for reconstruction and development. Security requires a mix of military and police forces to deal with a range of threats from insurgents to criminal organizations. This research examines the creation of a high-end police force, which the authors call a Stability Police Force (SPF).
The study considers what size force is necessary, how responsive it needs to be, where in the government it might be located, what capabilities it should have, how it could be staffed, and its cost. This monograph also considers several options for locating this force within the U.S. government, including the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in the Department of State, and the U.S. Army's Military Police. The authors conclude that an SPF containing 6,000 people — created in the U.S. Marshals Service and staffed by a “hybrid option,” in which SPF members are federal police officers seconded to federal, state, and local police agencies when not deployed — would be the most effective of the options considered. More
Asylum center placed with a view of naturist camp
It would take a lot of a poor planning to top the location of a new asylum center.
In Germany, 400 naturists have been told to get dressed when a new asylum center for Muslim men opens next month.
The asylum center is namely placed with a view of the naturist camp. The German naturist camp was founded 111 years ago.
The 400 members of the Familiensport-und FKK-Bund Waldteichfreunde Moritzburg nudist group have been told they will not be able to skinny dip in the lake that will separate them from the prying eyes of residents in the new £1.2million facility. More
US Airstrikes Kill Up to 200 Civilians in Northern Syria Villages, ‘Mistook Them for ISIS’
US and coalition airstrikes against the northern Syrian villages of Tokhar and Hoshariyeh have killed at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Other groups claimed the civilian toll was as high as 200.
The villages are ISIS-held villages near the city of Manbij, which US-backed rebels are attacking. This civilian toll comes less than 24 hours after an incident in which US airstrikes against Manbij itself killed 20 civilians.
The village attacks, however, have really raised eyebrows, and as the death toll is still getting sorted out, it could well stand as the deadliest US coalition attack on civilians in the entire war.
The Pentagon rarely accounts for civilians killed in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, occasionally issuing statements with dramatic undercounts of the number of civilians they’ve killed since the war began. US attacks in and around Manbij alone had killed over 100 before the village incidents. More